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James McDonald (2-2, 4.38 ERA) gets the call for the visitors. McDonald has been erratic this year and his 15 total walks lead the NL at the moment. In his last start he gave up five hits and three runs in a no-decision vs. the Cardinals on April 27th (McDonald would finish a sub-par 6-6 with a pedestrian 5.95 ERA on the road last year). Marco Estrada gave up two runs off five hits over 6 1/3's frames of work and was unfortunate to be saddled with a 2-1 loss to the Padres on Wednesday; he struck out three and walked two in his first setback of the year. Here's a big opportunity for the right-hander to make an immediate return to the winners circle vs. a team he dominated last season, going 1-0 with a 1.83 ERA in three starts vs. the Pirates in 2012 (note that Estrada was 3-2 with a 2.97 ERA in friendly confines a season ago). Recent performance plays a part in my handicapping toolbox and in this case, there's no question that Estrada comes into this contest with considerable momentum. I simply can't see McDonald's control issues being 100% resolved since his last outing and believe the talent discrepancy on the mound justifies in laying this mid-sized price.
Play On - Any team (ARIZONA) poor baserunning team - averaging 0.5 or less SB's/game on the season, after 5 straight games where they had less than 10 hits
295-224 over the last 5 seasons. ( 56.8% 94.8 units )
14-22 this year. ( 38.9% -7.1 units )
StatFox Situational Power Trends™ - FoxSheets
MLB LA ANGELS at OAKLAND
OAKLAND is 94-58 (+44.1 Units) against the money line when the total is 7 to 8.5 over the last 2 seasons.
The average score was: OAKLAND (4.5) , OPPONENT (3.8)
100* Take Detroit -250 over Minnesota (MLB TOP PLAY)
Minnesota has lost 14 of the last 15 games as an underdog of +200 or
higher and they have also lost 44 of the last 70 games when playing in
the month of April. Minnesota has lost 50 of the last 65 games coming
off a loss by two runs or less and they have lost 51 of the last 81
road games when the total posted is between 7 and 8.5 runs.
100* Take NY Yankees -265 over Houston (MLB TOP PLAY)
Philip Humber has lost 20 of the last 24 games when the total posted
is between 8 and 8.5 runs and he has lost 10 of the last 13 games when
pitching in the month of April. Philip Humber has lost 10 of the last
16 games vs. AL East Division Opponents and he is 0-5 in all starts
this season with an ERA of 7.98.
100* Take Texas -200 over Chicago White Sox (MLB TOP PLAY)
Texas has won 13 of the last 15 games after getting shut-out in their
last game and they have also won 26 of the last 35 home games when the
total posted is between 7 and 8.5 runs. Texas has won 31 of the last
44 games when playing as a favorite of -200 or higher and they have
won 33 of the last 47 games when playing in the month of April.
Game: Tampa Bay at Kansas City (8:10 PM Eastern)
Pick: Tampa Bay +115 (moneyline)
The Tampa Bay Rays will get to face their former teammate James Shields for the first time. They will have a pretty good one of their own on the hill with Alex Cobb, who is off of 8.1 innings vs. the Yankees, allowing no runs, and retired 19 of 20 at one point in that game. Cobb has allowed 3 runs or less in 18 of his last 19 starts, dating back to last year. The Royals have faced a soft schedule, but that changes starting tonight, as they enter a stretch of 29 of their next 32 games vs. teams that were over .500 last year. The Rays are 8-2 in Cobb's last 10 starts vs. a winning team, and 7-0 when he takes the ball if they scored 5+ in their previous game. Make the play on Tampa Bay.
2 UNIT = Boston Red Sox @ Toronto Blue Jays - RED SOX TO WIN (-127)
Listed Pitchers: Lester vs Morrow
(Note: I'm risking 2.00 units to win 1.57 units)
The Red Sox are 18-7 on the year and 7-2 on the road, while the Blue Jays are 9-17 on the year and 5-8 at home. These two teams met three times in Toronto early in April and the Red Sox won 2 of 3 including the game that Lester started 13-0. Lester is a solid 4-0 on the year with a 2.27 ERA, .214 OBA and 1.11 WHIP. Brandon Morrow will take the mound for Toronto and he is 0-2 on the season through 5 starts with a 5.27 ERA, .292 OBA and 1.54 WHIP. Morrow doesn't look like the pitcher he was last year when he went 10-7 with a 2.96 ERA. In his last start Morrow went 6.1 innings giving up 3 hits and 3 earned runs with 4 strikeouts and 3 walks. As a Toronto fan they have been hard to watch as they sit 28th in the Majors with a .229 batting average and 27th with a team .291 OBP. The Red Sox are 3rd in the MLB with a team batting average of .272 and 2nd with a .347 team OBP. Toronto enters this game losers of 4 straight and 6 of their last 7, while the Red Sox have won 5 straight and 6 of 7. Boston is a perfect 5-0 in Lester's 5 starts, and 7-3 in his last 10 road starts. Toronto is just 1-4 in Morrow's 5 starts, and 7-20 in their last 27 games vs AL East opponents dating back to last season. Take Boston tonight.