A full slate of MLB action is scheduled to go over the course of the opening weekend, and the following is a breakdown of some of the more intriguing matchups on tap in both the American and National League.
Saturday, Apr. 7
Washington Nationals (1-0, $100) vs. Chicago Cubs (0-1, -$100) 1:05 ET: The Nats went into Wrigley and scored a win from the jaws of defeat after tallying a pair of runs against the Cubs’ bullpen to secure the 2-1 win in Thursday’s opener. The win snapped Washington’s two-game losing streak in the recent series and moved them to 6-4 in the team’s last 10 trips to the “Friendly Confines.” Lefthnader Gio Gonzalez will be matched up against Cubs ace Matt Garza on Saturday; it will be his first start as a member of Washington’s starting staff. He was tattooed for eight hits and six ERs in his lone career start against the Cubs (2010), but Garza’s had no luck vs. Washington throughout three career starts, going 0-1 while giving up 21 hits and 12 ERs through just 13.2 total innings of work; Zimmerman, Werth, and DeRosa are a combined 8-for-17 (.470) against him. Total players should be aware that the ‘under’ has cashed each of the eight times these squads have faced one another in Chicago.
Kansas City Royals (0-1, -$100) vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (1-0, $100) 4:05 ET: The time has arrived! Everyone at Angel Stadium will be pumped to see their new 250 million dollar man in the form of Albert Pujols take the field donning “Angels” across his chest. That said; the Royals will be just as amped looking to build upon last year’s solid September, which saw them win 15 of their 25 games played. Luke Hochevar will get the starting nod this afternoon looking to build off a solid second-half as well as a terrific spring. He went 6-3 with a 3.52 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and .222 batting average against through 12 starts after the All-Star break, and Kansas City took seven of these teams 10 overall meetings last season; one out of three in Anaheim. It’ll be tough to dispose of the Halos in this spot, since Dan Haren has owned KC throughout his career going 4-1 with a 1.91 ERA and a .226 BAA through eight career starts. ‘Under’ bettors have cashed tickets 16 of the L/21 times these squads went at it in the “Big A.”
New York Yankees (0-1, -$120) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (1-0, $110) 7:10 ET: A good old fashioned AL East rivalry headlines Saturday night’s MLB Network broadcast between the Yanks and Rays. Tampa Bay won each of these rivals final four 2011 meetings but the pair ended up splitting the 18 game season series; the ‘under’ has cashed in nine of the L/12 overall confrontations. Hiroki Kuroda will make his pinstripes debut looking to build off a season in which he set career highs in wins (13), ERA (3.07), starts (32), innings pitched (202), and strikeouts (161) with the Los Angeles Dodgers. This will be his first career look at Tampa Bay. Opposing him will be Rays’ southpaw David Price, who enters off a decent but not nearly as impressive 2010 season when he was the AL Cy Young runner-up. Though he possessed a 3.49 ERA & .230 BAA in 2011, he surprisingly had his toughest time pitching at home where he went 4-9 and gave up 103 hits through just 116.1 innings of work. He does however check in 4-2 with a 4.05 ERA over the course of 12 career starts versus the Bronx Bombers.
Sunday, Apr. 8
Atlanta Braves (0-1, -$103) vs. New York Mets (1-0, $100) 1:10 ET: The NL East rival Braves and Mets close out their three-game series at Citi Field with a pair of lefties squaring off. The Mets took their home opener 1-0 behind a stellar effort from Johan Santana who limited Atlanta to just two hits through five innings of work; it’ll be interesting to see how the Braves lefty rich line-up deals with Jonathon Niese’s curveball in this one. He’s 3-2 with a 3.55 ERA and .298 BAA the eight times he’s stared back at Atlanta. New York has now gotten the best of its division rival in three of the last four meetings dating back to last season. Both sides have earned five wins apiece the L/10 times they went at it in the “Big Apple” with the total holding steady (5-5) during that stretch. Mike Minor posted a 3.51 ERA in his final 10 starts of the 2011 season, but overall, he’s been much more effective at Turner Field than on the road where he’s 3-3 with a lofty 5.82 ERA and .310 BAA through 12 career starts; he surrendered no less than four earned runs in three outings against the Mets last season.
Chicago White Sox (0-1, $-100) vs. Texas Rangers (1-0, $100) 8:05 ET: The reigning AL champion Rangers will close out their weekend series with the White Sox on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball telecast. This one will pit Palehose righty Gavin Floyd against Rangers lefty Matt Harrison. The 2008 season in which he won 17 games seems like a decade ago for Floyd who’s gone a combined 33-37 the L/3 seasons. He enters off a 12-13 campaign that saw him strike out 151 batters and only walk 45, but the righty surrendered 180 hits through 193.2 total innings of work. He was at his best away from “The Cell” where he went 8-6 with a 3.41 ERA & .248 BAA; he’s 2-3 with a 4.73 ERA through six career starts vs. Texas. Harrison will attempt to get off to a good start in curing his April woes as he possesses a career 5.42 ERA in the opening month of the season. In a pair of no decisions at Chicago last season, he gave up a combined seven hits and six ERs through 11.1 total IP. Texas has tallied wins six of the L/10 times it hosted this rivalry with the ‘under’ 5-3 during that stretch.