We picked up another win last night when we backed the Boston Red Sox against the Tampa Bay Rays. Tampa Bay burned me on opening day as the Rays exploded for six runs in the bottom of the eighth inning after getting just one hit in the first seven innings against Boston to steal a win.
I expected a lot more of what they did in the first seven innings in game two, and that is exactly what happened. I mentioned that I expect a big bounce-back year for Red Sox starter David Price and he got his season off to a great start.
Price went seven innings, allowed only four hits and no runs while striking out five along the way. The Red Sox bats were quiet, so this game remained a nail-biter to the end, but we scooped up the win when Craig Kimbrel came in and slammed the door closed in the ninth by striking out the side.
Low scoring games are likely to be a regular occurrence for this Rays team, and they could end up losing a hundred games before it is all said and done. Today I will break down the matchup between the Seattle Mariners and the Cleveland Indians.
The Cleveland Indians are in Seattle for game two of a three-game series with the Mariners.
These teams matched up on opening day, and the Mariners used a vintage King Felix start to upset the Indians and their ace, Cory Kluber. The power for the offense was supplied by the boomstick of Nelson Cruz, who jacked a two-run home run in the first inning and the Mariners held on for the 2-1 win.
Both teams enjoyed a day off after opening day and will resume the series today. The Mariners will start lefty James Paxton (0-0 0.00 ERA), and the Indians will send Carlos Carrasco (0-0 0.00 ERA) to the mound.
The Indians are -121 money line betting favorites. The game total over-under is set at seven runs. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 PM PST from Safeco Field.
Seattle starter James Paxton exploded onto the scene last season. He showed some really good stuff, and while Felix Hernandez is still the fan favorite in Seattle, people in the know understand that Paxton is the ace of this staff.
Paxton has struggled to stay healthy over the course of his short career but has shown flashes of brilliance when he manages to stay on the field.
We saw this last year when after the season’s first two month’s Paxton was 4-0 with an ERA under one. The big lefty got hurt and spent some time on the disabled list and was slow to get going again, but when he did, he might have been a top-five pitcher in the American League.
In July last year, Paxton went 6-0 with an ERA of 1.37 while striking out forty-six batters in just thirty-nine innings. It is those stretches of greatness that have the people in Seattle thinking that Paxton might have a Cy Young Award in his near future.
They will need a strong outing from Paxton today if the Mariners want to move to 2-0 on the year against a potent Indians lineup.
The Cleveland Indians are going to win a lot of games this year. Their division is down. The White Sox are going to be bad, the Tigers could be really bad, and the Twins are ripe for regression.
That leaves the Indians as the prohibitive favorite to win the American League Central title. A big reason why? Their depth at starting pitching. Not many teams have a number two starter as good as Carlos Carrasco.
Carrasco enjoyed his best season yet for the Tribe last year. The long-time Indians starter won a career-high eighteen games and finished with the lowest ERA of his career at 3.29. You can expect similarly good numbers from Carrasco this year as the AL Central doesn’t boast many good offenses.
One thing that really stuck out last year for Carrasco was his ability to get guys out by himself. The right-hander struck out batters at a 10.2 per nine inning rate, his best ever.
This is a great early season matchup. I like what both teams did in the offseason, and I expect both of these balls clubs to be in the mix for the playoffs all season long.
I would think the Indians will likely enjoy a bit more success, they are the more talented team, and have the softer division, but don’t count the Mariners out this year. This team has speed and power up and down the lineup, and if their rotation can stay healthy, they should be right towards the top of the American League standings this year.
What separates this for me is James Paxton. The Big Maple, as he is becoming know in Seattle, has dominate, ace-level stuff. If he stays healthy, you can pencil him in for double-digit wins and possibly two hundred plus strikeouts.
I doubt there will be many times that you will be able to get Paxton with dog money, so I just can’t pass up on that opportunity today.
Both starters are good ones, so this game should be lower scoring and competitive, but I just can’t miss taking the value of getting Paxton as a dog, epically at home where he had a 2.45 ERA last year.
Give me the Seattle Mariners +103 today from Safeco Field!