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April 3, 2011
For Amusement Only 4/3
There are five games on Sunday's schedule that I like, based on the early odds, including three underdogs. I reiterate that I firmly believe in mixing in underdog plays in order to have a winning bankroll at the end of the season.
I'll take the Indians and Justin Masterson plus-121 over the White Sox and John Danks. I thought Masterson turned a corner late last season and is ready to emerge as a reliable starting pitcher. Meanwhile, Danks had an infected tooth treated Saturday morning by a dentist in Cleveland. While he looked no worse for the wear in the White Sox's clubhouse after the game, I am going strictly on personal experience here. I went to the dentist to have an infected tooth treated in mid-February, developed a blood infection and wound up spending four days in a hospital. It might not be very scientific but it factors into this pick.
I'll take the Diamondbacks and Joe Saunders plus-156 over the Rockies and Jhoulys Chacin. This is just a gut feeling. I realize Saunders had an awful spring and his lifetime won-loss record makes him look better than he has really performed. However, getting him at a price this good just seems like an appealing opportunity.
My third and final underdog pick is in the ESPN Sunday night game as I'll go with the Giants and Barry Zito plus-125 over the Dodgers and Hiroki Kuroda. I saw Zito pitch in Arizona this spring and he looked good. Remember, too, that he also got off to a good start before fading. I figure he's worth a shot early as an underdog before he reverts back to the bad Barry.
As always, stick with all underdog plays as long as the line is even money or better.
That Buchholz failed to get past four innings in any of his Grapefruit League starts is alarming but we've already seen the extent of the Rangers' reliable starters in the first two games of the season and the Red Sox should light up Harrison. Kazmir is a risky pick, to be sure, but scouts who saw him pitch in the Freeway Series against the Dodgers earlier this week said it was by far the best he had looked this spring. Furthermore, the Angles are 49-20 in their last 69 meetings with the Royals. Finally, doesn't it just seem logical to take the other side in any game that Chen pitches?
I would stick with the Red Sox all the way to minus-170 but wouldn't go any higher on the Angels.
There are three others matchups that I like if the line moves favorably: The Blue Jays and Brett Cecil over the Twins and Nick Blackburn at minus-135 or less, the Reds and Bronson Arroyo over the Brewers and Randy Wolf at minus-120 or less, and the Braves and Tim Hudson over the Nationals and Jordan Zimmermann at minus-145 or less.
Saturday was a winning day with a 3-2 record and a net of plus-75.
The winners were the Blue Jays and Kyle Drabek plus-106 over the Twins and Francisco Liriano, the Reds and Travis Wood minus-121 over the Brewers and Shaun Marcum and the Rangers and Colby Lewis minus-105 over the Red Sox and John Lackey. The losers were the Indians and Carlos Carrasco plus-115 over the White Sox and Edwin Jackson and the Cardinals and Jake Westbrook minus-131 over the Padres and Clayton Richard.
Season record: 5-5 (.500)
Net profit/loss: minus-44