April 30th 2013 - Posted 5:20 PM Eastern Time


There are only 2 NBA games scheduled tonight and after careful consideration, we have decided to pass. There are 3 baseball teams we like tonight however; two small favorites and one underdog.



#1: Take Boston Red Sox on the Money Line (-118) against Toronto Blue Jays risking 2% (Lester and Morrow must start)

The Boston Red Sox missed the playoffs the past two seasons but have come back with a vengeance this year and are right now technically the "best" team in the league so far. The Red Sox own a league best 18-7 record and have won 5 consecutive games! They are 7-3 in their last 10 games, 7-2 on the road this season and they currently have a 3 game lead in the AL East. As a team the Red Sox are hitting .272 with David Ortiz hitting .516, Dustin Pedroia hitting .330, Daniel Nava hitting .310, and Shane Victorino is hitting .292. There isn't a spot in this batting order that isn't capable of producing hits and getting men on base. The Red Sox this season are turning into the Yankees of old as they make teams pay for allowing players on base. Each and every Red Sox batter is a threat to hit it out of the park and the fact that they have already hit 23 home runs as a team supports that.

The Red Sox opponents are hitting just .221 and the Boston pitching staff has a combined ERA of 3.39. In seasons past it has been the pitching that has truly let the Red Sox down. Both Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester struggled to find any kind of rhythm last season. This season however, those two have been the stars of the Red Sox pitching rotation. For game one in Toronto the Red Sox start Jon Lester who has been on fire thus far this year. For the season Lester has allowed 25 hits and 8 earned runs while striking out 28 over 31.2 innings for a 2.27 ERA! Tonight Lester will look to join both Buchholz and Tampa's Matt Moore as April's only 5-0 pitchers.

The Blue Jays are a team with a good squad that has struggled to start the season. The Jays have lost four in a row and are just 2-8 in their last 10 games! As a team the Blue Jays are hitting .229 with Melky Cabrera hitting .250, J.P Arencibia hitting .242, and Edwin Encarnacion hitting .227. The Blue Jays opponents are hitting .263 and the Toronto pitching staff has a combined ERA of 4.46. Brandon Morrow gets the start for the Jays tonight and Morrow is still looking for his first win of the season. Morrow has allowed 33 hits and 16 earned runs while striking out 19 over 27.1 innings of work for a 0-2 record and a 5.27 ERA so far this season.

Toronto is 7-20 in their last 27 games against the AL East and only 6-18 in their last 24 games as an underdog. Boston on the other hand is 4-0 in their last four road games, 13-3 in their last 16 games overall, and 7-3 in Lester's last 10 road starts. There is good value backing the Red Sox tonight who I feel are the better team and have the better pitcher.



#2: Take Philadelphia Phillies on the Money Line (-110) against Cleveland Indians risking 2% (Halladay and McAllister must start)

The Philadelphia Phillies have been perennial playoff contenders for the last decade or so and the Phillies name has been synonymous with the cream of the crop of the National league. Over the last couple of seasons however, questions have been swirling as to whether or not this same Phillies team can contend for a playoff spot this season. After getting off to a slow start to begin the season they have seemingly turned things around and look to be making a move in the NL standings. The Phillies have won 3 games in a row! As a team the Phillies are hitting .251 with Michael Young hitting .352, Chase Utley hitting .295, Ryan Howard hitting .286, and Jimmy Rollins hitting .267. The Phillies opponents are hitting .239 and the Philadelphia pitching staff has a combined ERA of 4.08.

For tonight's game, the Phillies will start Roy Halladay who after struggling in his first couple of outings looks to have found some of his old magic once again. Halladay has been nothing short of dominant in his last 3 starts picking up 2 wins and a no decision while allowing just 4 earned runs in his last 3 starts. In his last 2 starts, Halladay has only given up 3 total hits in 13 innings of work. For the season Halladay has allowed 20 hits and 16 earned runs while striking out 28 over 28.1 innings of work for a 2-2 record and a 5.08 ERA. Halladay is also 6-2 lifetime against Cleveland with a 3.56 ERA.

The Indians are a team that had high hopes in the off-season and recently signed on Terry Francona as the new manager. Expectations were definitely high but so far the results have been lacking. Cleveland is 5-5 in their last 10 games, and just 2-6 at home this season, currently they are in 4th place in the AL Central 3.5 games behind the Tigers. As a team the Indians are hitting .251 with Carlos Santana hitting .386, Mark Reynolds hitting .291, and Michael Brantley hitting .291. The Indians opponents are hitting .243 and the Cleveland pitching staff has a combined ERA of 4.57.

Zach McAllister gets the start tonight for Cleveland and he has lost 3 of his last 4 starts! On the season McCallister has allowed 22 hits and 9 earned runs while striking out 20 over 23 innings of work for a 1-3 record and a 3.52 ERA. McAllister has given up at least 3 earned runs in each of his last 2 starts.

Looking at a side by side comparison between Halladay and McCallister's ERA, one would assume that because Halladay's ERA is higher that he is at a disadvantage tonight, that is simply not the case. The veteran Halladay may be past his best but he's still one of the better pitchers in the league and is no doubt Philadelphia's "Ace". Getting him at this price is too good to pass up. Halladay was beat up pretty bad in his first couple of outings but has rebounded solidly and is simply in "a groove" right now. Given his past success and the fact that the Phillies offense have finally woken up and are scoring runs, that makes this team dangerous tonight. Halladay will outduel McAllister and Philadelphia should put up enough runs to get the win tonight.



#3: Take Colorado Rockies as +130 underdogs on the Money Line against LA Dodgers risking 2% (De La Rosa and Ryu must start)

The Rockies were nothing short of a "terrible" team last season. This year however, they appear to have turned things around and are tied for first place with the Arizona Diamonds in the NL West right now. The main issue for the Rockies last season was not anything to do with their offense, in fact their offense was one of the only bright spots for this team as they are near the top of the league in total runs scored. The issue with the Rockies was their pitching. They could score themselves but their pitching staff could not stop anyone else from scoring. Although they haven't completey addressed all their issues when it comes to pitching, they have certainly improved it and they owe part of their early success to that.

The Rockies have been mediocre most recently as they are 5-5 in their last 10 games and 7-7 on the road this season. As a team the Rockies are hitting .279 with Michael Cuddyer hitting .333, Wilin Rosario hitting .329, and Troy Tulowitzki hitting .308. The Rockies' opponents are hitting .259 and the Colorado pitching staff have a combined ERA of 3.81 which is a drastic improvement from last season. Tonight the Rockies will start Jorge De La Rosa. De La Rosa is 2-2 on the season (2.86 ERA) and has been the Rockies' most consistent starter. On the season De La Rosa has allowed 22 hits , 9 earned runs while striking out 18 in 28.3 innings of work. It's worth noting that a majority of the hits and runs accumulated were in De La Rosa's first 2 starts. In his last 3 outings he has only allowed 11 hits and 3 earned runs in 18 innings of work.

The Dodgers will counter with rookie, Hyun-Jin Ryu (2-1, 3.41ERA). On the season Ryu has allowed 30 hits, 14 runs (12 earned) while striking out 34. For a rookie, Ryu does have some "nasty" pitches that he utilizes and it helps that no batters have seen him this season. However, he has been susceptible to leaving some pitches dangling over the plate and that has cost him. Tonight he will be facing one of the tougher lineup in the majors. Ted Lilly who had only started 1 game this season was lit up by this Rockies lineup last night, giving up 4 earned runs in 3 innings of work. Ryu may be in for some of the same tonight.

The Dodgers are 5-5 in their last 10 games, 6-6 at home this season, and they are 2.5 games back in the division standings. As a team the Dodgers are hitting .250 with Mark Ellis hitting .342, Adrian Gonzalez hitting .337, and Carl Crawford hitting .307. The Dodgers opponents are hitting .247 and the Los Angeles pitching staff has a combined ERA of 3.82.

The issue with the Dodgers right now is that they are simply not giving their pitching staff any run support. They are only averaging 3 runs per game and have scored only 2 runs in each of their last 2 games. Colorado is one of the most dangerous lineups in the majors and can go off offensively on any given night (much like last night). Rookie Ryu has had a good start to the season, however it is only a matter of time before hitters figure him out. After their offensive explosion last night I will look for some of that momentum to carry over into tonight and Colorado could slip past the offensively challenged Dodgers once again. Take Colorado at the good value as underdogs.



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