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MLB Betting News and Notes Thursday, April 4

MLB Betting News and Notes Thursday, April 4

Thursday Matinee Tips
By Kevin Rogers

Baseball season is underway as teams are wrapping up their first series of the new campaign. Four series during matinee action involve rubber contests, including the Rays and Orioles wrapping up their wild series at Tropicana Field. We'll start in Cincinnati with the first interleague stanza coming to a close.

Angels at Reds

Cincinnati rebounded from an opening day loss in 13 innings to Los Angeles, as the Reds held off the Angels in Wednesday's 5-4 walk-off triumph. The Reds cashed as $1.20 favorites thanks to Joey Votto's game-winning single in the ninth inning after Cincinnati blew an early 4-0 lead.

Bronson Arroyo takes the mound for the Reds in the series finale after closing last postseason with a one-hit gem in seven innings of work against the Giants in the NLDS. Cincinnati won nine of his 14 starts at the Great American Ballpark in 2012, but lost his final two outings as a home favorite to the Brewers and Dodgers.

Joe Blanton makes his Angels' debut after coming over from the Dodgers in the offseason, as Los Angeles won five of his final six outings. One of those victories was a no-decision for Blanton in a 3-1 Dodgers' win at Cincinnati last September, as the righty allowed just one earned run in 5.2 innings of work.

Cubs at Pirates
The first two games of this series involved great pitching performances in the wins. On opening day, Jeff Samardzija tossed eight solid innings in a 3-1 victory for the Cubs. Last night, Wandy Rodriguez shut down the Chicago offense by allowing two hits in 6.2 innings as the Pirates grabbed a 3-0 shutout. Today, the Bucs look for a share of first place in the NL Central with a win.

James McDonald started fast in 2012 as the Pirates put together a 13-4 record in his first 17 starts. However, the righty soon fell apart after the All-Star break, as Pittsburgh stumbled to a dreadful 2-8 record in his final 10 trips to the mound. The final two defeats came to the Cubs, who scored seven runs and racked up 12 hits in two victories over McDonald in the underdog role.

The Cubs counter with southpaw Travis Wood, who went 4-8 away from Wrigley Field last season. However, Wood picked up road underdog triumphs of $1.60 or higher against the Mets, White Sox, and Pirates. In the victory at PNC Park last September, Wood allowed only one hit in six scoreless innings of a 12-2 rout over the Pirates as a $1.70 'dog.

Tigers at Twins

Detroit's biggest issue headed into the season was the closer role. Phil Coke shut the door in the season opening win over Minnesota, but the southpaw gave up the game-winning two-run double in the ninth inning to Eduardo Escobar in Wednesday's 3-2 defeat. Anibal Sanchez silenced the Twins' bats by allowing just two hits in five innings of work, as the right-hander received a no-decision in Detroit's first loss of the season.

The Tigers go for the series victory today with Rick Porcello on the bump, who makes his first start since a pair of relief appearances in Detroit's run to the World Series. Porcello lost seven of his final nine starts in 2012, while posting a 2-4 mark as a road favorite overall. The Tigers won his lone start at Target Field, a 4-3 triumph as $1.15 'chalk,' but Detroit bailed out Porcello by scoring two runs in the top of the ninth to take the lead for good.

Mike Pelfrey makes his Minnesota debut after making just three starts with the Mets last season. The righty had a career season in 2010 with 15 victories, but tailed off in 2011 by winning just seven times in 33 starts. Pelfrey didn't have a great spring by compiling a 6.38 ERA in six starts, while winning just once.

Orioles at Rays

Baltimore turned many heads last season with its run to the playoffs in the competitive AL East. With the Yankees down due to injuries and age, the crown is up for grabs in the division. Tampa Bay doesn't want to be forgotten in spite of missing the postseason in 2012, as the Rays look for a series win this afternoon at Tropicana Field.

The Rays rallied for an 8-7 win over the Orioles after falling behind 4-0 on Wednesday night. Matt Joyce's solo homer in the ninth inning was the difference for Tampa Bay, who has allowed 14 runs in the first two games. Roberto Hernandez (the former Fausto Carmona) makes his first start in a Tampa Bay uniform today after coming over from Cleveland. Hernandez lost all three starts with the Indians last season, while posting an 0-2 record in spring training with an ERA of 5.33 in six starts.

Miguel Gonzalez was racked in his first start against Tampa Bay last season, allowing seven earned runs in less than three innings of a 12-2 home defeat. However, the righty bounced back by giving up a grand total of just two earned runs in his next three outings against the Rays, including a pair of shutout wins at Tropicana Field. Since the loss to the Rays in July, the Orioles won nine of Gonzalez's final 11 starts.

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MLB: Streaks, Tips, Notes

Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves

The revamped Braves and their power-infused lineup sending six over the fences lead by newcomer Justin Upton (2HR, 3 RBI) have gotten off to a great start defeating Phillies 7-5 in the opener followed by a 9-2 victory last night. Braves should feel pretty good about their chances at sweeping when they send Kris Medlen to the bump in the finale at Turner Field. The Braves have won 25 of the hurlers 27 starts since 2010 and the right-hander heads to the mound sporting a 0.97 ERA in thirteen starts since moving from the bullpen last July (12-1 TSR). Consider sticking with Atlanta knowing Braves are 14-0 in Medlen's last 14 starts against a divisional rival, 7-0 his last seven starts in game three of a series. Adding fuel, Braves are on a 6-2 stretch at home vs Phillies and have won 13 of the past 17 encounters vs their divisional rival.

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Cliff Notes -Day Baseball
By Dave Essler

Cubs at Pirates: Wood is always a dicey proposition. He finished last season with a WHIP of only 1.25 but gave up a ton of jacks. Super-tough on lefties. Pitched well as a whole against the Pirates, save Neil Walker. McDonald had his best year, and although his WHIP was down (far less hits/no less walks) he too gives up the long ball. With the chilly temperature and slight breeze in from RF, looks like yet another under is possible here. Not sure McDonald is worth -150 here, so IMO the value lies with Wood and the Cubs.

Padres-Mets: At first glance we like the Mets, if nothing else as a fade of Stults rather than a play on Dillon Gee. Both these starters have had a hard time keeping the ball in the park as well, which is only magnified by the fact that they both play in pitchers' parks. Limited exposure to either teams' lineup, which would also make me lean under. The Mets had been almost an auto fade against lefties last season, and I don't think the Padres pen is quite as bad as the Mets made them look in game one, so I could see taking the Padres here. Gee's Spring wasn't all that great. I might have considered taking the over here, but in these day games often times starters rest (after night games) so we do need to see the lineups first.

Philadelphia at Atlanta: We love Medlen and his post Tommy-John surgery numbers. The kid went from the pen to starting last year, and had a beastly 0.97 WHIP in 12 starts. He does keep the ball in the park, but I did notice that in limited at bats some of the Phillies had had success. With that in mind, I may make a case for Cliff Lee here. His six wins last year perhaps diminish his value early on, coupled with the lower expectations placed on the Phillies. There's little or no doubt who has the better bullpen. There is supposed to be a significant weather front coming through the area on Thursday, but I do think it'll be through by tomorrow night. However, it should be damp and windy in from RF, so in a pitchers' park we've got to think Braves and under.

Detroit at Minnesota: I've always looked to fade an almost always over valued Porcello. This game for sure we need lineups. Not likely Mauer will catch, and perhaps a switch with he and Doumit at DH. I can certainly see taking the Twins here since they have the momentum from Wednesday's comeback and the Tigers pen three relievers, including Villareal and Benoit (again). Of course that would mean taking the Twins pen again, who costs us Monday, but the hard bets to make are more often than not the ones we win. That total is on the high side of 8.5 after opening on the low side, probably in part because the wind may well be blowing straight out. That and the fact that most of the Tigers have lit up Pelfrey.

Kansas City at Chicago: Lost on the Royals today. Sure enough Santana did the one thing he can do, which is give up bombs. The Royals had their chances and have to feel pretty good about a loss, actually. Guthrie may be under valued early since he had a decent year with the Royals until he had to pitch a few months in Coors Field. Floyd was actually better on the road last season, and is much tougher on right handed hitters, so given all the LHH's in the Royals lineup and the fact that at -125 they're begging for White Sox money, I will take the Royals.

Baltimore at Tampa Bay: Even as well as the Orioles are hitting, day games at the Trop are almost automatic under bets, or have been over the years. But, this is still Fausto Carmona no matter how you slice it. Upside is he's fare well against the Orioles over the years. Have to think if Showalter named him the number three starter that he's got the confidence that he can duplicate last season. After Monday's Rays bullpen meltdown, and knowing Carmona won't last forever, I could see taking the Orioles here, especially at plus money.

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MLB Weather Report

Here's the MLB weather report for April 4, with the Phillies-Braves game having a high potential to be rained out.

Los Angeles Angels vs. Cincinnati Reds

Temperatures in the early- to mid-50s with partly cloudy skies and slight winds blowing in from right center field at four mph.

Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

Temperatures between the mid-40s and low-50s with clear skies and slight winds coming in from right field at seven mph.

Detroit Tigers vs. Minnesota Twins

Partly cloudy skies with temperatures in the mid-40s and wins blowing out to center field at 10 mph.

San Diego Padres vs. New York Mets

Temperatures in the mid-50s with clear skies. Winds getting stronger throughout the game, starting at seven mph and going as high as 11 mph towards center field. The over was 5-2 in 2012 at Citi Field when the wind blew towards center field.

Kansas City Royals vs. Chicago White Sox

Temperatures in the mid-50s with partly cloudy skies and winds blowing out to left field at 13 mph. The White Sox were 5-1 in 2012 in games when the wind blows toward left field.

Seattle Mariners vs. Oakland Athletics

Rain is in the forecast in Oakland with, temperatures in the low-60s and winds blowing out towards left field. The A's were 6-0 in 2012 when the wind blew towards left field.

Miami Marlins vs. Washington Nationals

Temperatures in the low-50s with winds slightly blowing towards center field at seven mph. The Nationals were 5-1 in 2012 when the wind blew out to center and the under was 2-4.

Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees

Partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid-40s with winds blowing at nine mph out to left field. The Yankees were 7-3 when the wind blew out to left in 2012 and the under was 7-3.

Cleveland Indians vs. Toronto Blue Jays

Clear skies and mid-40 temperatures in Toronto. Winds blowing towards right field at 14 mph at first pitch.

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves

There will be rain in Atlanta, and possibly thunderstorms. Temperatures in the mid-40s and winds blowing at six mph in from right field.

MLB Baseball Weather Analyzer

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