Five to Follow MLB Betting: Friday June 13, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 6/13/2014
You have to wonder if teams like the Yankees or Rangers are kicking themselves for not signing free-agent Kendrys Morales when they had the chance. The Minnesota Twins were the surprise winners for his services late last week, and he's been terrific so far. The Twins could be buyers ahead of the trade deadline as well as they are just 3.5 games out of first in the AL Central and 2.5 games out of the wild-card lead. Here's a look at their matchup and four others on Friday's schedule.
Blue Jays at Orioles (-101, 9)
The Toronto Blue Jays were criticized this offseason for not taking a chance on free-agent pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, but they are certainly glad they didn't. Jimenez (2-7, 5.01) has been fairly awful for the Orioles, who are on the hook for three more expensive years after this one. Jimenez was rocked for six runs in 2.1 innings last time out. He faced the Jays on April 13 and was clobbered for 10 hits and five runs in 5.1 innings. Jimenez owns Jose Bautista for some reason as the slugger is just 2-for-22 off him. Drew Hutchison goes for Toronto. Hutchison (4-4, 3.96) has made two starts against the O's this year without a decision despite a 1.50 ERA.
Key trends: Toronto is 4-0 in Hutchison's past four road starts. Baltimore has lost six straight Jimenez starts at home.
Early lean: Jimenez is a mess right now so getting Toronto at only -109 is nice value.
Twins at Tigers (-171, 8.5)
Minnesota can cut Detroit's lead in the AL Central with a win in Friday's series opener. It's obviously early still but Morales, who didn't even require a minor-league assignment, is hitting .462 with three RBIs for Minnesota. He is 0-for-4 career against Tigers starter Drew Smyly (3-4, 3.81). The Tigers had lost four straight Smyly starts before he held the Red Sox to an earned run over six innings last Friday. He's 2-2 with a 3.70 ERA at home. The Twins counter with Kyle Gibson (5-5, 3.91). He blanked Houston over seven innings last time out after the Twins had lost his previous three. He was rocked for six runs in two innings on May 10 in Detroit. Miguel Cabrera hit a three-run homer off him.
Key trends: The Twins are 1-5 in their past six series openers. They are 0-4 in Gibson's past four against teams with a winning record. The "over" is 10-1 in Minnesota's past 11 following an off day.
Early lean: I'd go Detroit at +125 on the runline. The Tigers are due to break out offensively and go on a winning streak.
Nationals at Cardinals (-111, 7)
Washington lost catcher Wilson Ramos to the 15-day DL on Wednesday with a hamstring issue but the news is much better for St. Louis as first baseman Matt Adams (.325, 17 RBIs) is expected to be activated from the DL and be in the lineup for the first time since May 28. Adams is 3-for-6 career with a home run off Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann (5-2, 3.17). He has been dealing of late, not allowing a run over 17 innings and just seven hits in his past two starts. Zimmermann faced the Cardinals April 19 and allowed an earned run over seven innings. Lance Lynn (6-4, 3.49) starts for St. Louis. Lynn pitched in that April 19 game and gave up a run over 5.2 innings. The Cards have lost his past two starts.
Key trends: The Nats have won five straight against teams with a winning record. St. Louis is 1-6 in its past seven at home. Washington is 1-5 in Zimmermann's past six against St. Louis.
Early lean: Take the "under" at +100.
Royals at White Sox (-122, 8.5)
One of your best bets in baseball of late has been to wager against Kansas City when Jeremy Guthrie starts. He hasn't won in 11 starts and the Royals have lost seven of his past 10. Guthrie (2-6, 4.10) is 1-0 with a 3.55 ERA this season in two starts against the White Sox. Chicago star rookie Jose Abreu is 0-for-2 with a strikeout against him. The Sox start lefty Jose Quintana (3-6, 3.59). He has allowed nine runs over 10.1 innings in his past two starts. He is 0-1 with a 3.68 ERA in one start against the Royals. Mike Moustakas is 8-for-19 with two home runs off him.
Key trends: The White Sox are 0-9 in Quintana's past nine against teams with a winning record. The "under" is 5-0 in Guthrie's past five overall and in his past five against the Royals. K.C. is 7-1 in is past eight at the White Sox.
Early lean: Quintana is due to break that streak against winning teams (albeit Royals just a game over .500).
Diamondbacks at Dodgers (-220, 6.5)
Arizona has to be wondering why it didn't bring up pitcher Chase Anderson earlier than it did. Anderson has won all five starts with an ERA of 3.14. One of those was against the Dodgers, his worst start so far, allowing five runs in 5.1 innings. Clayton Kershaw (5-2, 3.17) opposed Anderson in that start and he was shelled for seven runs in just 1.2 innings. It was the second-shortest outing of Kershaw's career. Kershaw has won two straight starts overall, striking out 18 with no walks over 13 innings. The Dodgers may or may not have shortstop Hanley Ramirez in the lineup. He has missed Wednesday and Thursday with a shoulder problem.
Key trends: Arizona is 5-12 in its past 17 against lefties. The Dodgers are 1-4 in Kershaw's past five at home against teams with a losing record. L.A. is 1-7 in Kershaw's past eight against Arizona.
Early lean: It's unusual how Arizona has Kershaw's number. The best value here is probably the Snakes at -105 on the runline.
Doc's MLB handicappers are offering $60 worth of member's baseball picks free - no obligation, no sales people - You can use this $60 credit on any of our top MLB handicappers picks here now.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews