Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, April 8

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, April 8

Teddy Covers

Minnesota vs. Kansas City
Pick: Minnesota

The Twins have won each of their first two series to open the season, a far cry from their debacle of a campaign in 2012.  Manger Ron Gardenhire: “It's early in the season but our goal is to win series.  Get our fans back and excited about this baseball team in a positive way.”

Today’s starter Kevin Correia is at his best in April, with career splits clearly showing a bias towards strong early season results.  Correia threw a gem in his debut last week, seven innings of two run ball against Detroit.  Expect more of the same today!

KC’s Erwin Santana has struggled with the gopher ball throughout his big league career, and his Royals debut was no exception – three dingers allowed in a loss at Chicago.  The bullpen behind him nearly blew another ninth inning lead yesterday after blowing the save on Saturday; not reliable to close out games comfortably.

The Royals opened up the 2012 campaign with a solid road trip, just like they did this year.  But when KC returned home for their season opening homestand, they proceeded to go 0-10; a lingering and lurking slump that’s still hanging over their collective heads a year later.  I don’t view that as a good thing…. Take Minnesota.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, April 8

Jack JonesFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Colorado Rockies +155FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Colorado Rockies came into the season way undervalued as most people had them picked to finish last in the NL West division. With a healthy Troy Tulowitzki and a dangerous line-up to start the year, they have cruised to a 5-1 start.
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In fact, this is one of the best lineups in baseball when Tulo is healthy. They are hitting .333 and scoring 6.5 runs/game thus far on the season, which is a lot better than their counterparts. The Giants are hitting .224 and scoring 2.5 runs/game.
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Jorge De La Rosa has dominated the Giants throughout his career. The left-hander is 7-3 with a 2.95 ERA and 1.114 WHIP in 12 career starts against San Francisco.
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The Rockies want to make a statement and let the defending World Series champs know that they are a contender in the NL West in 2013. It starts with Game 1 of this series tonight. Bet Colorado Monday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, April 8

Dave PriceFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Arizona Diamondbacks -143FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Pirates are 0-3 on the road this season and 95-195 in their last 290 road games. They are also a poor 5-22 in their last 27 series openers. Pittsburgh will have a tough time earning its first road win of the season with Wandy Rodriguez on the hill. The southpaw has struggled against the D-backs with his clubs going just 1-5 in his last 6 starts against them. He gave up at least 4 runs in all 5 of the losses. The Snakes carry a lot of momentum into this series after earning a sweep in Milwaukee. Plus, Trevor Cahill has given up 3 earned runs or fewer in each of his last 7 starts, and the D-backs have won 5 of these as a result. Take the Snakes.

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Joe GavazziFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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San Francisco -165FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Rockies enter as a red hot team with a 5-1 record winners of 5 straight. That includes pounding the punchless Padres at Coors this weekend. The Rockies have now won 5 straight. For the season, they have averaged 6.5 RPG and blasted 13 homeruns. That is all about to change as they matchup with the San Francisco pitching staff. In fact, the Giant hurlers have owned this series leading the defending Champs to a recent season-series record of 21-5 with 6 consecutive victories at this site. de la Rosa struggled in his first outing at Milwaukee. He allowed 4 runs on 5 hits in 3 walks in 4 1/3 IP. He doesn't figure to get healthier against a San Francisco team. In his last 4 starts vs the Giants, de la Rosa is 1-3 with a 5.66 ERA. Bumgarner opened with a strong performance this season, allowing just 2 hits in 8 IP in 3-0 win vs the Dodgers. In his career vs. Colorado, Bumgarner is 5-1 with a 1.75 ERA including a 1.13 ERA from this mound. Look for that excellence to continue as Bumgarner was one of the best home pitchers in the league last year with a 2.38 ERA.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, April 8

Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAY

Baltimore/ Boston Under 9: This Sox offense is hot right now, but I just don't see them hitting 6 HR's in this one. Wei-Yin Chen has pitched well vs Boston going 2-0 with a 2.50 ERA in 3 starts vs them, while allowing just 1 ER in each of his last 2 starts vs them last year. Chen also had a decent opener, allowing just 2 ER's in 5.2 innings vs the Tampa Bay Rays. Clay Bucholz got off to a nice start this year as well, allowing just 1 ER in 7 innings at New York. He does have a 4.68 ERA in his last  starts vs the Orioles, but in his last start here vs them (Last year) he did pitch a complete game 4 hit shutout vs them. Both offenses are swinging the bats very well right now, but I just see the pitching rising up and keeping the scoring down.


TEXAS -151 over Tampa Bay: Tonight it should be the Rangers night. Alexi Ogando is pitching just like he was back in 2012 and that is dominating. Dating back to last year he has now allowed 0 ER's in his last 17.1 innings of work. He will also be helped by a Rangers offense that is very good in this park and showed it by knocking in 3 homers in each of their last 2 games. I don't think this team will miss Hamilton all that much and they should have another good showing vs Jeremy Hellickson, who was hit hard in his home start vs Baltimore. Overall the Tampa staff has struggled, ranking 27th in ERA (5.50) and 19th in WHIP (1.37). I just don't see them Stopping a hot Rangers offense in this one, while their own offense, that is 15th in scoring, will not put up much on a rejuvenated Ogando.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, April 8

Brett Atkins

My free winner for tonight is going to be on the Houston Astros, mired in a five-game losing streak, against the Seattle Mariners, catching a huge price. Sounds crazy, as the Astros have already showed us signs of being the worst team in baseball. But that won't scare me away from playing the 'Stros snapping that skid and shocking the M's in this one.

I'm not listing pitchers in this one cause I simply believe Houston is ready to snap that skid and should challenge Joe Saunders tonight in a pitchers' duel.

Humber was solid in his first start of the season, against the Texas Rangers, allowing just one run on five hits over 5-2/3 innings. It was a rock-solid performance that lowered his career ERA against AL West teams to 2.80 over 70-2/3 innings.

Saunders was solid against the M's in nine visits to Safeco, so I'm sure he'll be on top of his game, sparking Humber to do the same. But the way I see it, if Seattle's lefty doesn't take the Astros serious and comes in a bit overconfident, he could get caught making a mistake.

The fact Houston has failed to score three runs in a game since its 8-2 win against the Rangers on Opening Night hasn't escaped me, yet rather it tells me the Astros are due.

Take Houston tonight.

3♦ HOUSTON

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, April 8

Brad Wilton

Monday's free play is to ride the streaking Braves on the Run Line as they play against the Marlins in the home opener for Miami.

Atlanta has claimed 5 of their 6 games played thus far, and 4 of those 5 wins have come by 2 runs or better. That includes Paul Maholm's first assignment, as Maholm limited the Phillies to just 2 runs in a 9-2 Atlanta win last week.

To no one's surprise, Miami is out of the gate at 1-5 straight up, and they have have been outscored 22-7 in their 5 losses this season.

The Marlins are just not a very good team, and I don't see them slowing down the Braves in this spot at all.

Atlanta has won the last 4 series meetings, and 8 of the last 10 overall versus Miami, and 7 of the 8 wins have come by 2 runs or more.

Nothing changes tonight, Atlanta to best Miami by at least 2 runs.

Braves on the Run Line your Monday comp play winner gentlemen.

5♦ ATLANTA -1.5

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, April 8

Jeff Benton

Today's freebie is the Yankees and Indians to hold Under the total.

Both teams were on field yesterday afternoon, and both teams blanked their opposition, the Yankees handling Detroit 7-0, while the Indians shutout Tampa Bay, 13-0.

I have a feeling Hiroki Kuroda and Ubaldo Jimenez are going to hook up in a pitcher's duel this afternoon in the home opener for the Tribe.

Series numbers show the teams having played Unders in each of their last four meetings, and they are on an overall 7-2-1 Under run the last ten times they have faced one another.

Runs scarce today, Yanks-Indians to go Under the total.

3♦ NY YANKEES-CLEVELAND UNDER

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, April 8

Chris Jordan

My free winner for Monday night will be on the Arizona Diamondbacks laying the run line against the Pittsburgh Pirates, as the Snakes will destroy a road-weary team that arrives in Phoenix with the league's lowest hit total (21) and batting average (.119) following its series loss in Los Angeles.

The Dodgers swept the weekend set, while the Bucs have now lost their two season-opening series, and could very well be in trouble and poised to lost their third in a row.

With the run line play, you're going to end up with Trevor Cahill and Wandy Rodriguez  as the listed pitchers, and this is a good thing for us. First and foremost, Rodriguez is 3-6 in his career against Arizona, with a 5.48 ERA in 46 innings pitched.

I'd rather side with Cahill, who will be out to avenge his season-opener against the Cadinals. He looked good until the sixth innning, when he gave up a pair of runs in the sixth on a home run by Matt Holliday, allowing three runs in 5-2/3 innings. He should have confidence in this one, too, as he was stellar in his only previous meeting with the Bucs, allowing no runs over 7-2/3 innings in a 5-0 shutout. He finished that game allowing a mere two hits while striking out 10.

Love the Diamondbacks in a big time way here. And don't forget, with college hoops ending tonight, my focus will turn to my No. 1 sport, and getting premium baseball selections like the Diamondbacks tonight will come at a price. Get your long-term package now.

3♦ ARIZONA -1.5

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, April 8

Scott Delaney

My free winner for championship night is going to be on the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants, laying the run line to the Colorado Rockies. We're catching a huge price for playing this one on the run line, but I think it's the perfect time to catch the hot-hitting Rox off-guard.

The surprising Rockies lead the league in hitting, I know this, but if you look at the pitching they've faced - not to mention competition as a whole - they could very well come in a bit overconfident for this game.

Tonight they'll get a heavy dose of a restructured Madison Bumgarner, who has forgotten about his two-seam fastball, and focused much more on his four-seamer that tails away slightly from right-handed batters. That won't fare well for the Rockies, who are explosive at the plate, but predominately right-handed. And when Bumgarner finds his groove, then mixes in his cutter, which runs in on hitters, he's as good as anyone else in this rotation.

And get this, Bumgarner is a stellar 32-4 lifetime when his offense scores at least three runs for him, and I don't think that'll be a problem against Jorge De La Rosa tonight. For some reason, even though he is 3-2 with a 2.58 ERA in seven games at AT&T Park, I think he's going to feel as if he has to look over his shoulder after anager Walt Weiss pulled him to avoid the Brewers' Ryan Braun in his season debut. Just cause Braun had homered earlier, it looked like a strategic move. But it might have sent a message just how much confidence Weiss has in his pitcher when facing pressure.

And something tells me pressure is exactly what the Rockies will face tonight, knowing San Francisco won 14 of 18 meetings against the Rockies last season, outscoring them, 125-75.

Play this on the run line, as the Giants roll to the series-opening win.

2♦ SAN FRANCISCO

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, April 8

NellyFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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New York + over Cleveland FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Hiroki Kuroda was the best pitcher for the Yankees last season and the right-hander had a short and scary 2013 debut with a hand injury but all signs point to him being fine to make this start and he is eager to be back on the mound. New York is just 2-4 on the season but they have scored 24 runs in six games as the offense is doing its part even with several injury replacements in the lineup. New York got a confidence-building win in Detroit yesterday beating Justin Verlander and Kuroda made two high quality starts against Cleveland last season. With cool and potentially wet conditions a veteran like Kuroda who has excellent control should have the advantage over a young wild card like Ubaldo Jimenez. Jimenez had a dominant run with the Rockies in 2010 but he has mainly struggled since, including a disastrous season with the Indians last year featuring 17 losses and a 5.40 ERA. Jimenez allowed 95 walks last season and his control is incredibly unreliable. He made an encouraging debut start this season with six strong innings but it took him 103 pitches and he is likely in for a long day against a patient New York lineup. The Yankees beat Jimenez both times they faced him last season and Cleveland continues to be an inconsistent offensive team. The Indians are 3-3 but they have been shut out twice and then inexplicably scored 13 runs yesterday facing off against the 2012 AL Cy Young winner. Cleveland is batting just .231 against right-handed pitching this season and there is great value on the Yankees today in the home opener for the Indians as New York won't be as bad as some of the gloomy first week predictions indicate and Kuroda continues to be an undervalued pitcher.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, April 8

Harry BondiFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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PHILADELPHIA (-120) over NY MetsFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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It's hard to believe that Doc Halladay has fallen so far that he is just a 120 favorite over the Mets, a team he has absolutely owned over the years going 7-1 lifetime. New Yorkers were very fortunate to beat the Marlins on Sunday as they got out of a ton of jams and while the Phillies lost to Kansas City their bats have woken up and should have no problem getting to Matt Harvey. Halladay's release point has been off this spring but the Mets are just what the doctor ordered. Take the Phillies as a small favorite.

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