MLB Weekly Dose 5/03-08
By Brandon Shively
5/03 Chi Cubs @ Pittsburgh - It’s that time of the week when Jake Arrieta takes the mound, and the lines keep growing larger and larger as Arrieta continues to win and solidify himself as the best pitcher in the Majors currently. However, I am looking at this game and seeing the Pittsburgh Pirates as a huge home underdog with Jonathon Niese on the mound. The Pirates have won ALL five of Niese’s starts this season. This game has big meaning for the Pirates after getting eliminated in an elimination game last year that would have gotten them into the Playoffs. The Pirates are leading the Majors with a .287 batting average. They are 3rd in the Majors drawing the most walks a game. So, there is potential for them to get on base and manufacture enough runs to get a much needed win here. Arrieta had gotten into a bases loaded jam his last start in the first inning vs. the Cubs. He got out of it, but my feeling here is if he gets in a jam against the Pirates offense, then they make him pay. Taking a closer look at the Pirates is much worth it on Tuesday night as they are getting big time $$ at home.
5/04 Texas @ Toronto - This is a four games series and game 3 is a crucial one for Toronto to win. Aaron Sanchez looked great this Spring and had much improved numbers from 2015 that earned him a spot in the rotation. Sanchez has been light’s out in four of his five starts this season and carries a 1.15 WHIP into tonight's game. Colby Lewis gets the start for the Rangers and current members of Toronto are hitting .298 against him with a .571 SLG% and he has a 20K/17BB career mark vs. the current Blue Jays roster. Lewis remains to be a victim of the ‘longball’ and I see this appears to be a tough spot for him. Let’s take a closer look at Toronto with Sanchez on the mound Wednesday night.
5/05 Texas @ Toronto - I’m not wanting to sound like a broken record, but Derek Holland is slated to start on Thursday night. Holland has a 2:1 flyball/groundball rate on the season. He gave up 3 home runs last year in the ALDS deciding game 5. Bautista and Encarnacion both took him deep. I think the advantage tonight is with the Toronto lineup that is stacked with right handed batters, facing a lefty in Holland. Holland’s 2.48 ERA on the season is in part due to facing bad offenses (LA Angels 2x,Mariners, Astros, White Sox. J.A. Happ has won both of his home starts this year and Toronto has given him 7 and 9 runs of support in those games. Happ has a 1.22 WHIP on the season and has been consistent dating back to his last ten starts of last season. He has not given up more than 3 ER in his last 15 starts. Let’s take a closer look at the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday night.
5/06-5/08 - Weekend Series
The Red Sox play the Yankees, this time at Yankee Stadium. After the Yankees got swept last weekend by the Red Sox, I can guarantee they will be looking to win this series. The Yankees can’t play much worse, and can only get better. If the bats heat up, I think the starting pitching can be good enough in this series to get a ‘series win’ in a quick ‘revenge series’. Let’s take a look at taking the N.Y. Yankees to WIN the SERIES against the Boston Red Sox. ‘Series odds’ are usually posted by your respected book around noon time on Friday.
5/06 Arizona @ Atlanta - Zack Greinke has been terrible at Chase Field this year. Fortunately he gets to face the Braves at Turner Field and has a 25K/3BB career mark vs. current members of the Braves lineup. Aaron Blair will be making his 3rd Major League career start. Greinke has a huge experience edge here and the Diamondbacks have the much better offense. Playing way from Chase Field I think gives them a better chance of winning at this time in the season. The price will be in the -150 range, but I feel it’s worth it for Greinke who has a 1.93 road ERA in two starts this season.
5/07 LA Dodgers @ Toronto - Ross Stripling has been getting progressively worse for the Dodgers every start after starting out his MLB career not allowing a hit in 7.1 innings. He gave up 5 runs to the Padres inept offense last start. I feel like the Toronto bats are overdue to crank up and facing Stripling might be just what the doctor ordered. The price on this game will be steeper than what I prefer to lay, so looking at laying the 1.5 runs is an option. This is a day game with a 1:07 EST start time which is early for the ‘West Coast’ Dodgers, which also gives us an advantage with Toronto here.
5/08 Milwaukee @ Cincinnati - This should be a game of inexperienced starting pitching and two of the worst bullpens in baseball being played in a hitters ballpark. I expect the total to be set at 9, or maybe 8.5 here. Neither starter should get past the 5th inning and we could see a lot more runs being scored when the relief, or lack of for that matter, comes in. Let’s take a closer look at the official lineups for this game on Sunday, and if there are no major absences from the lineups, then this game is shaping up to be ‘high scoring’ and for an easy ‘over’.
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