Monday MLB Action
April 8, 2013
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The first full week of the 2013 MLB season is in the books and there have been some surprises on both ends of the board. Teams like Houston and Miami were expected to struggle all year and both start week two with 1-5 SU records. But other teams that were expected to be at the bottom of the standings like Minnesota and Colorado enter Monday's action with winning records; 4-2 and 5-1 SU respectively.
So with a few teams playing their home openers on Monday, here are a few games I'm looking at for my card.
Cincinnati (-110) vs. St Louis (-110); Total set at 8
Pitchers: Mat Latos vs. Jaime Garcia
Both of these NL Central rivals have World Series aspirations but it is the Reds who come into this game with the better start at 4-2 SU. They couldn't have played two tougher teams either after taking two of three from the Angels and Nationals, but now Cincinnati has to head on the road. St Louis is coming back from a west coast trip to start their year and have got to be excited to play for their home fans for the first time this season. Jamie Garcia was very good in his first outing (6-1 win) and has had quite a bit of success against the big bats in this Reds lineup in his career. He has really given the Reds left-handers (Votto and Bruce) a tough time and should likely do the same in this one.
On the flip side, the Cardinals have pounded on Latos in his career with the likes of Beltran, Molina, Jay, and Furcal all hitting over .364 against him in their careers in double digit at-bats. Add in the fact that David Freese is 4-for-7 with three walks against Latos and the Cincinnati starter will struggle to get through this lineup all afternoon.
Take the Cardinals.
Tampa Bay (+140) vs. Texas (-160); Total set at 9
Pitchers: Jeremy Hellickson vs. Alexi Ogando
These two starters were on opposite ends of the spectrum with their first start of 2013 as Hellickson was shelled for 7 runs while Ogando didn't give up one. But going up against Baltimore's offense is much more difficult than Houston's and I believe Hellickson finds a way to bounce back strong tonight.
It's tough to be emotionally drained this early in the year, but if there is a candidate for that today it would be the Texas Rangers. They are coming off an opening series against in-state rival Houston and followed that up against the hated Angels as slugger Josh Hamilton came back to town. The Rangers managed to take two of three from both those teams after a 7-3 win on Sunday Night Baseball and must now quickly turn around to play a very good Rays squad. After wanting to embarrass Hamilton all weekend by intentionally walking Pujols to face Hamilton because they knew they could expose his flaws, I have a tough time seeing the Rangers mentally "get-up" for this opener.
Add in the fact that the Rays are coming in off a 13-0 drubbing at the hands of Cleveland on Sunday and Tampa will be extremely motivated to get back in the winner's circle. Tampa is a very patient team at the plate and the concern with Ogando is his endurance after coming out of the bullpen this year. That is something the Rays will look to exploit as they are 5-1 SU in their last six after getting shutout.
Take Tampa Bay on the ML.