The talk of the baseball world is all focused on the West Coast and the brawl last night between the Dodgers and Padres, but the better story for bettors is the ridiculous play of the defending American League West champs, the Oakland A’s.
Oakland completed a three-game sweep of the more highly-touted Los Angeles Angels last night, and finished the series outscoring the Halos 28-11. The series sweep gave the A’s their 8th straight win and already has them staked to a sex-game lead over LA. The old axiom is that you can’t win a pennant in April… but you damn sure can lose one, as LAST YEAR’S Angels well found out after a dreadful start.
Let’s move from the best of the American League to the start of a fantastic weekend series featuring the two hottest teams in the National League when Atlanta takes their 8-1 record into Washington, who is fresh off a sweep of the Chicago White Sox.
Atlanta Braves +122 at Washington Nationals -131 (Total: 8)
Julio Teheran vs. Ross Detwiler
The Braves are fresh off a convincing three game sweep, but the only thing sweeping the hapless Marlins convinces anyone of is that the Marlins are epically terrible. I am sure the 900 or so fans in Marlins Park were disappointed… but now the Braves get a chance to show their hot start is for real with a huge early weekend series in Washington.
Julio Teheran, the prize young arm of the Braves system, gets his second start tonight and will try to rebound from a five inning, five-run debut against the Cubs. His first real start was rocky, but he did post a dazzling 1.04 ERA in six games in the Spring. I think some of the rookie jitters will be out of his system and I look for his incredible stuff to give the National bats some trouble tonight.
Washington will counter with Ross Detwiler, who was fantastic in his first appearance of the year. He held the Reds just one unearned run over six innings last week. Detwiler is one of the better bottom of the rotation starters in the National League, but something about this revamped Upton-laden Braves offense has me impressed. Between the two of them and a healthy Jason Heyward, this lineup finally has the teeth to go with the fantastic pitching depth.
I like the value of a potentially dominant arm at +122 tonight with the Braves. This should be a great series all weekend long (and I like the Nats with Gio Gonzalez later in the series), but I’m taking the value of the Braves in the opener.
Free pick: Atlanta Braves to WIN +122