It wasn’t a pretty rough day for aces in major league baseball. Seemingly every big-name pitcher going yesterday got absolutely shelled. R.A. Dickey and David Price got run out of the game early and their teams got blown out. Matt Cain and the Giants yielded a nine-spot to the Cards in the fourth inning en route to a 14-3 loss, and Steven Strasburg got touched up for six runs in as many innings in a 603 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. It wasn’t ‘terrible’, but even the outings from Justin Verlander, Yu Darvish and Jared Weaver were FAR below their normal standards of excellence.
So much for the year of the pitcher, huh?
We still had a profitable day, going 2-1 with our picks despite a surprisingly high-scoring day, including our pick, the Angels and Rangers edging comfortably over the 8.5 run total. But thanks to the Dodgers continued domination of the Pittsburgh Pirates, we scratched out another winning day.
Let’s take a look at the opening game of an interesting three-game series and home opener in Cleveland and see if we can build on the great winning rate of the opening week.
New York Yankees +111 at Cleveland Indians -119 (Total: 8)
Hiroki Kuroda vs. Ubaldo Jimenez
The Yankees have to be encouraged by yesterday’s 7-0 win over Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers. It was also nice for the fans of the pinstripes to see a dominant performance by CC Sabathia following his Opening Day struggles against the Red Sox. The Yankee bats are still going to have their early struggles, but as long as CC can be their rock, they should be able to tread water long enough to remain in the race when their All-Stars begin to return from injury. Today, Hiroki Kuroda will try to bounce back from his first start minor injury, in which he left the game early after bruising his arm by a struck line drive.
Meanwhile, Cleveland is off to a decent 3-3 start (and a +5 run differential) and has generated some positive buzz around the city. Their opening day game sold out in six minutes and the acquisitions of Swisher, Drew Stubbs and Mark Reynolds should provide a little more punch (and strikeouts) to their lineup. It will be a feast or famine kind of year for the Indians at the plate.
The thing that can keep them in the AL Central race is their pitching, particularly the tantalizing potential of Ubaldo Jimenez. He looked like one of the best pitchers in baseball three years ago in Colorado, but has had some real struggles the last two years. In 2012 he posted a 5.40 ERA, but through Spring and one start he looks more like the Jimenez of old. I like him to have another strong outing this afternoon against the Yankees.
I like a good game this afternoon, and likely a low scoring one. My lean is towards the Indians, but I am not willing to go the -1.5 runline. I’ll take the Indians at -118, but also the UNDER 8 run total.
Free Picks: Cleveland Indians to WIN -118 & Run TOTAL UNDER 8.5 (-110)