April 2, 2011
For Amusement Only 4/2
Based on the early odds for Saturday, I like three matchups:
I'll take a pair of underdogs in afternoon games and I am a firm believer that you must sprinkle in some dog plays over the course of the season to turn much of a profit. Thus, I'll go with the Indians and Carlos Carrasco plus-115 over the White Sox and Edwin Jackson, and the Blue Jays and Kyle Drabek plus-115 over the Twins and Francisco Liriano.
I wish I had a real solid reason on the Indians but it's just a gut feeling from watching Carrasco pitch in person a couple of times late last season. The Blue Jays continued their recent dominance of the Twins by whipping them 13-3 in their opener Friday night, giving Toronto 21 wins in the teams' last 27 meetings. I believe Drabek, buoyed by the confidence he gained with a good spring, is ready to notch his first major-league victory and I'm not sure Liriano is completely ready for the season after showing up to spring training with his arm out of shape.
In a night game, I'll go with the Reds and Travis Wood minus-125 over the Brewers and Shaun Marcum. As in Thursday's opener, I'll ride the fact the Reds have won 17 of their last 21 games against the Brewers. I also worry about Marcum's readiness after he also miss time during spring training with shoulder problems.
I'd stick with the Indians and Blue Jays as long as the odds stay better than even money, but I wouldn't go any higher than minus-125 on the Reds.
There are four other potential plays depending on line movement: The Giants and Matt Cain over the Dodgers and Ted Lilly if the line drops to minus-110 or under, the Cardinals and Jake Westbrook over the Padres and Clayton Richard if the line drops to minus-140 or under, the Rays and James Shields over the Orioles and Chris Tillman if the line drops to minus-145 or under, and the Rangers and Colby Lewis over the Red Sox and John Lackey if the line drops to minus-120 or under.
I went 1-2 on Friday's picks, hitting on the Rangers at an even 100-100 over the Red Sox in the afternoon but losing on two night games—the Athletics at 119-100 over the Mariners and the Giants at 100-102 over the Dodgers.
One other note: While I don't pick over/unders, I enjoyed the conversations and predictions about them in yesterday's comments section. In fact, keep the comments coming and it was fun to see the discussion yesterday.
Season record: 2-3 (.400)