We are off to a nice start to the MLB season as we cashed two more winners yesterday, including a nice underdog +120 play on the Seattle Mariners (who won 10-3, thanks to a scary 9th inning six-run performance by the suspect Angels bullpen). We are just two days into the marathon that is the MLB season, but I’ll take a nice 3-0 start with a plus-money winner any season.
With the exception of the All-Star Break, we will have baseball and a loaded slate of games every single day until October, so expect at least a pick or two on most every day. The second day of the season is always a little interesting because the pomp and circumstance of Opening Day fades, the number one starters and aces have almost all already thrown, and now we get down to the nuance and grind of a major league baseball season.
Let’s take a look at two of the better values on the board for Tuesday action.
Tonight’s Free Picks:
Los Angeles Dodgers -142 vs. San Diego Padres +135 (Total: 6.5)
Zach Greinke vs. Ian Kennedy
Oh MLB, sometimes you do delight! Need a reason to tune into a ballgame tonight? How about the first pitching match between Greinke and Kennedy since the most awkward baseball brawl of 2013, sacred after hitting Yasiel Puig in the face and then Greinke in the back. I doubt the benches will clear tonight, but it does add a nice backdrop of tension for tonight’s game. For the record, Kennedy was with the D’Back at the time, but don’t think the change in jersey makes all forgotten, especially with the elephant-like memories of baseball players.
I expect Greinke to use it to be extra sharp and to mow through the Padres slightly improved lineup with intensity. Meanwhile, the Dodgers have hit Kennedy well in the past. Last year they touched him up for 6 runs in 5 2/3 innings, and they’ll be looking for more tonight, especially after being shut down by Cashner in the opener.
I like the Dodgers to even the series tonight and to get to Kennedy relatively early.
Philadelphia Phillies +127 at Texas Rangers -133 (Total: 8.5)
A.J. Burnett vs. Martin Perez
A.J. Burnett makes his debut for Philly today after moving across the state from Pittsburgh in the offseason. He struggled in the Spring, but says he feels good and ready to go for the opener. For Philadelphia’s sake, they hop he’s right. Much of Philly’s success might be contingent upon the veteran righty giving them a season full of quality starts.
Despite yesterday’s output in a 14-10 win, there are still a ton of question marks around Philly’s offense which scored only 610 runs last season – fourth lowest in the bigs. They have aging, injury-prone veterans or young question marks at every single position. In a perfect world, everyone stays healthy, Utley and Rollins bounce back, Ben Revere makes a huge impact and Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and A.J. Burnett for a top-three as good as any in the National League.
But baseball is rarely a perfect world, and I think this team will have its fair share of struggles in the improved NL East.
Shaking off a tough Spring Training might be easier if Burnett wasn’t facing the Rangers in Arlington. I expect Texas to keep on hitting and Philly to cool off a bit. I’ll take Texas at home to even the series at a game apiece.