April 8, 2011
For Amusement Only 4/8
Eight games stand out on Friday's docket, based on the early odds, starting with the Mets and R.A. Dickey -156 in their afternoon home opener at Citi Field over the Nationals and Jordan Zimmermann. Dickey was masterful in the big ballpark last season, going 7-3 with a 1.99 ERA in 12 games, 11 starts.
At night, I like the Pirates and Ross Ohlendorf -111 over the Rockies and Jorge De La Rosa. The Pirates have been playing much better baseball in the early portion of the season, save for Thursday's home-opening loss to the Rockies, while De La Rosa left his first start of the season with blister problems.
I'll go with the Marlins and Ricky Nolasco as a -131 road favorite over the Astros and Wandy Rodriguez in their home opener at Minute Maid Park. Rodriguez was awful in his first start, getting tagged for seven runs in four innings by the Reds, while Nolasco held the Mets to two earned runs in seven innings in his 2011 debut.
I'll go with the Orioles and Zach Britton as a +106 home underdog over the unbeaten Rangers and Colby Lewis. Britton, a rookie, pitched great in his major-league debut against the Rays last weekend and the Orioles have won six of their last eight games against the Rangers at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Though the Reds fell from the ranks of the unbeatens on Thursday, I'll go right back with them and Travis Wood as a -121 road favorite over the Diamondbacks and Ian Kennedy in their home opener. The Reds have won eight games in a row at Chase Field.
I like the Blue Jays and Kyle Drabek at +121 to spoil the home opener of the Angels and Ervin Santana. Drabek limited the Twins to one run and one hit in six innings while notching his first major-league victory last weekend and I suspect he is going to be a strong candidate for American League Rookie of the Year.
As far as potential line movement, I'll go with the Mets to -275, the Marlins to -165, the Orioles to -115, the Reds to -125, the Padres to -215, the Blue Jays to -110 and the Indians to -105. I would not step any higher on the Pirates than the aforementioned -111.
Thursday wasn't a very good day as the picks went 2-4 for -233 units. The winners were the Indians +165 over the Red Sox and the White Sox -139 over the Rays while the losers were the Reds -150 over the Astros, the Blue Jays -119 over the Athletics, the Pirates -109 over the Rockies and the Braves -120 over the Brewers.
Season record: 17-18 (.486)