We had a nice start to the baseball season, as did Adam Wainwright and the Cardinals, as we cashed in together on their 3-0 shutout of the new-look Chicago Cubs. If only Kris Bryant was in the lineup… I jest, but I am sure that he and Scott Boras got at least a little flicker of smug satisfaction as he sat down in the minor leagues watching. I’m sure they could have used a guy who hit .425 with 8 HRs this Spring in the middle of a sputtering lineup…
Baseball begins for real today with parades and parties and celebrations at more than a dozen cities across the country. It’s one of the best days of the year, a veritable holiday, so let’s enjoy some great baseball action from early until late in the day and see if we can make it a second straight profitable day to start the season.
Today’s Free Picks:
Baltimore Orioles +117 at Tampa Bay Rays -127
Chris Tillman vs. Chris Archer
Let’s start the year with a nice plus-money wager. I like the O’s on the road today in Tampa. Chris Tillman isn’t a flashy ace like most of the playoff contending teams will begin 2015 with, but he is a serviceable starter who served well as Baltimore’s number one starter last season.
Baltimore will be without JJ Hardy for a little while, but I like Manny Machado and Chris Davis’s return to fuel the lineup and get them a few runs today in the Trop. Being in Florida (and indoors) these two teams won’t have to deal with the cold weather that will be part of many teams festivities today.
The Rays finished last year just 2-6 in Archer’s last eight starts. He could have some struggles early this season too as he slots into the number one starter role with injuries and departures from the usually-reliable Rays pitching staff.
Pittsburgh Pirates +112 at Cincinnati Reds -122
Francisco Liriano vs. Johnny Cueto
Banking on Johnny Cueto was a good strategy last year. He may not get the fanfare of some other elite starters, but aside from Clayton Kershaw, no one in baseball has been better than him the last three seasons, especially when you consider that half of his starts are made in extremely hitter-friendly Great American Smallpark.
The Reds have fared well against the Priates and Liriano especially. Cincinnati is 8-2 in their last ten games facing Liriano and Liriano is personally 2-6 in his eight starts in the Queen City. The Reds stumbled down the stretch last season as the season of injuries eventually gave way to tossing away the month of September. However, with Bruce, Votto and Phillips healthy, along with the acquisition of Marlon Byrd and the emergence of Frazier and Mesoraco last season, the Reds could be poised to have a sneaky bounce-back season. There’s no better way to start than by sending an ace like Cueto to the bump.