The Nationals have to be excited going into a season with Dan Haren signed to be their #4 starter. Last night may have put just a little damper in National fans exuberance. Their pitching staff looked like the ’72 Orioles through the first three games, but the Marlins aren’t in town anymore (who won their first game of the season yesterday, coincidentally). The Cincinnati Reds simply unloaded on the Haren and the rest of the Nats bullpen yesterday, tallying the highest run total of the MLB season so far with 15-0 at Great American Ballpark.
We all know how fickle the nature of “momentum” is in baseball, so the Nats could very well win 8-0 today, but for one night at least, Cincinnati gave the NL and bettors a quick preview that there is another team to be reckoned with in the National League.
Today features a ton of day games across MLB, but for our featured picks we will stick with some late afternoon and evening contests. Yesterday was our first losing day of the season as Milwaukee was stymied by Arizona 3-1. Today, let’s bounce back with a pair of runline wagers.
Scoring was down the first few days in MLB and then rocketed up yesterday. Why? Starting pitching! Teams throw their aces on Opening Day. They throw their last starters on the first weekend. Ergo, scoring skyrockets. It’s not rocket science, but surprisingly, it has yielded a rare opportunity to get one over on the sharps in Vegas.
Here’s a few I like today:
St. Louis Cardinals +122 at San Francisco Giants -131 (Total: 7)
Shelby Miller vs. Ryan Vogelsong
The weather should be nice and warm in the mid-sixties in the Bay Area today, and I like the bats to finally start heating up as well. Vogelsong had a great season and is a remarkable story, and I like him to have a good year, but I think the Cards will be able to scratch a few runs out against him today. For St. Louis they are throwing their prize 22-year old rookie Shelby Miller in just his second major league start.
San Francisco is a tough lineup to make one of your first starts against. They are patient, work counts, and have a lot of speed should they get on base to disrupt a young pitcher’s rhythm.
These two teams know each other well, having met a few times in the Playoffs including last year, and having combined for the last three World Series championships. It should be a fun game today, but I like the total creeping towards nine or ten runs and going over.
Free Pick: Run TOTAL OVER 7 (-110)
Chicago Cubs +159 at Atlanta Braves -167 (Total: 7.5)
Carlos Villanueva vs. Julio Tehran
It seems the supply of Braves pitchers is never-ending. Tonight they throw yet another brilliant young arm, the top prospect in their organization, 22-year old Julio Tehran. He had a fantastic Spring, compiling a 1.04 ERA in six starts. However, today will be his MLB debut, and even facing a less-than-stellar Cubs lineup, it will be a slightly different atmosphere than Spring Training.
The Cubs, though not blessed with the Braves abundance of arms, are also throwing a prized youngster today in pitcher Carlos Villanueva. Like Tehran, he has great stuff; but also like Tehran he doesn’t have big league experience.
This sounds like a nice recipe for a few extra runs scored to me.
Free Pick: Run TOTAL OVER 7.5