Blue Jays vs Indians -1.5 (-115)
Corey Kluber has had an extremely hot start this season racking up 27 strikeouts and just 4 walks along with a 1.57 ERA. Kluber has struggled against the Jays in his career, boasting just a 2-3 record, but I think the Indians ace is going to continue to pitch his ass off all season and try to reclaim the CY Young this season. Both offenses in this game have been inconsistent so far this season, but the Indians have weapons all up and down their lineup. Jaime Garcia is allowing a lower groundball rate (40.7%) than his usual (56.1%). The wind is going to be blowing in at 18 mph in this game, so the long ball will not be a factor, but the Indians have a very talented team that can play small ball if need be. I don’t think this will be a high scoring game, but a 3-1 Indians win will still cover, and with one of the best pitchers in the Major Leagues on the mound at home, this is a number too good to pass up especially with a good margin.
Rangers vs Astros -1.5 (-110)
Chuck Morton is chucking for the Stros in this one and he’s been lights out against lineups that aren’t considered the best in the league. How good has he been? How about a 0.00 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP and an opponents batting average of .159 in 12 innings of work? Sounds pretty damn good to me. Chuck has found himself again and is carrying over his spectacular World Series Game 7 performance into the regular season. The Rangers are a feast or famine offense and Morton has faced two of those this season already in the Orioles and Padres. The Rangers only hope in this game is for Mike Minor to come out dealing and give them 6 scoreless innings on the road. This is entirely possible and really any number of things in this game are possible, which makes betting on baseball very difficult, but I’m going to go with my gut and not look too much into it. The Astros have an extremely potent offense that will rip Minor to shreds early on if he isn’t locating his pitches. Morton is a new man and while I think it’s unrealistic to expect that he’ll completely shut down the Rangers offense, I do think that the Astros offense will come alive in this one and really show out. Players on the Rangers have a combined 41 at-bats against Charlie Morton and players on the Astros have a combined 39 at-bats against Mike Minor. I expect another low scoring game, but the Astros should be able to put some runs on the board to win by more than 2.
Phillies (+100) vs Rays
The Phillies have been red hot and their offense has been a large part of that. We’re going to have two aces in Arrieta and Archer in this one. The only players on Tampa Bay to have a decent amount of at-bats against Arrieta are Carlos Gomez and Denard Span, neither of which have put up great numbers. This is going to play into the Phillies advantage because Arrieta is more effective against teams and players that don’t see him much. The same can be said for the other side. There are only two players on Philadelphia that have faced Archer in their careers. These are not two teams that play often and are unfamiliar with each other. All the elements are taken out of this game because it’s being played in a dome. I think that the Phillies offense will win them this game rather than their pitching. I love Arrieta, but Archer is also very good and I think the bullpens are going to determine who wins this game. I don’t necessarily think that the Phillies bullpen is better, but I think they have a better chance at scoring on the Rays bullpen than they do Chris Archer. This is another good margin and the ace matchup makes it even that much more appealing. We’ll see what happens, but I think Jake is going to come out and lock down the Rays lineup and set up his bullpen nicely to close out the game for him.
Pictured: Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Jake Arrieta