Toronto Blue Jays at Texas Rangers (-120, 9)
Blue Jays lead series 1-0
The Toronto Blue Jays attempt to take a commanding lead in their American League Division Series when they visit the Texas Rangers for Game 2 on Friday afternoon. Less than 48 hours after outlasting Baltimore in 11 innings in the Wild-Card Game, Toronto put the boots to Texas ace Cole Hamels by tagging the left-hander for seven runs over 3 1/3 frames en route to a 10-1 triumph in the series opener.
Jose Bautista homered and drove in four runs, Troy Tulowitzki collected three RBIs and Josh Donaldson went 4-for-4 while plating a pair as the Blue Jays drew first blood in their attempt to knock off the Rangers in the ALDS for the second straight year. Toronto is hoping Bautista can solve Texas’ Yu Darvish in Game 2 as the slugger is 1-for-18 lifetime versus the three-time All-Star. Elvis Andrus recorded two of the Rangers’ four hits in the opener while Shin-Soo Choo drove in their lone run with a groundout in the ninth inning. Jonathan Lucroy, who recorded 11 homers and 31 RBIs in 47 games for Texas after being acquired from Milwaukee, looks to continue to batter Toronto Game 2 starter J.A. Happ as he is 7-for-19 lifetime with five RBIs against the left-hander.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, TBS, Sportsnet (Toronto)
LINE HISTORY: The Rangers have opened Game 2 as -120 home favorites. The total opened at 9. Check out the complete line history here.
WEATHER REPORT: The forecast is calling for mostly cloudy skies with temperatures in the low 70’s and a 60 percent chance of rain. There will also be a moderate hitters wind gusting out to right field at approximately nine to 11 miles per hour.
SERIES PRICE (PER SPORTS INTERACTION):
PITCHING MATCHUP: Blue Jays LH J.A. Happ (20-4, 3.18 ERA) vs. Rangers RH Yu Darvish (7-5, 3.41)
Happ is coming off the best season of his career, finishing as one of the major league’s three 20-game winners while also posting a career best in strikeouts (163). The 33-year-old native of Illinois won his only start against Texas this year, limiting the Rangers to one run and six hits over seven innings on May 5. Happ has posted a 4.82 ERA in eight career postseason games, including one start at Colorado on Oct. 11, 2009 in which he yielded three runs and five hits over three frames while with Philadelphia.
Darvish finished his injury-plagued campaign strong, allowing fewer than two runs in three of his final four outings – including a six-inning victory over Tampa Bay in his final start on Sept. 30 in which he gave up one run and three hits while registering a season-high 12 strikeouts. The 30-year-old from Japan is 3-2 with a 2.45 ERA in seven career turns against the Blue Jays but did not face them this year. Darvish lost the only previous postseason start, yielding three runs – two earned – and five hits over 6 2/3 innings in the 2012 AL Wild-Card Game versus Baltimore.
* Blue Jays are 4-0 in Happ’s last four road starts.
* Rangers are 8-2 in Darvish’s last 10 starts.
* Under is 18-3-1 in Darvish’s last 22 starts versus American League East opponents.
* Under is 12-2 in Blue Jays’ last 14 games versus a right-handed starter.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Bettors are backing the home team in Game 2, with 55 percent of wagers backing the Rangers. Meanwhile for the total, 64 percent of bettors are on the Under.
Boston Red Sox at Cleveland Indians (OFF)
Indians lead series 1-0
David Price looks to continue his success at Progressive Field as the Boston Red Sox try to even the American League Division Series at one contest apiece when they visit the Cleveland Indians for Game 2 on Friday. The veteran left-hander boasts a 5-0 record in seven outings at Cleveland in his career, but has struggled in the postseason with a 2-7 mark and 5.12 ERA in 14 games – eight of them starts.
Price, who has never won a postseason start, hopes to keep the ball in the park after the Indians belted three homers in the third inning and held on for a 5-4 victory in the series opener Thursday. Cleveland’s Jason Kipnis hit one of those blasts and finished with three hits to go along with two RBIs in Game 1 while catcher Roberto Perez came up big with a homer, a single and two runs scored. The Indians need a big performance from scheduled starter Corey Kluber after their top relievers Andrew Miller and Cody Allen each threw 40 pitches Thursday. Kluber was deemed healthy after a quad strain caused him to miss his final start of the regular season, and the former Cy Young winner makes his first playoff appearance.
TV: 4:30 p.m. ET, TBS
LINE HISTORY: The line for this game is currently off the board.
WEATHER REPORT: It should be a beautiful afternoon for baseball in Cleveland. The forecast is calling for clear skies with temperatures in the mid 70’s. There will also be a six to seven mile per hour hitters wind gusting out to center field.
SERIES PRICE (PER SPORTS INTERACTION):
Series price not on the board.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox LH David Price (17-9, 3.99 ERA) vs. Indians RH Corey Kluber (18-9, 3.14)
Price finished the season strong by going 8-1 with a 3.27 ERA over his last 11 starts and has won 10 of 12 decisions with a 2.24 ERA in 14 lifetime games against the Indians. The 31-year-old Vanderbilt product ended up fourth in the AL in strikeouts with 228 and completed 230 innings — the second most of his career. Carlos Santana is 10-for-31 with four doubles versus Price, who beat Cleveland with six innings of two-run ball April 5.
Kluber was one of the best pitchers in the majors after the All-Star break, registering a 9-1 record with a 2.52 ERA in 14 starts. The 30-year-old Alabama native finished one strikeout behind Price at 227 – his third straight season with at least that many. David Ortiz and Jackie Bradley Jr. have each gone deep twice while Mookie Betts is 4-for-10 with one blast against Kluber, who went 1-1 with a 4.38 ERA in two starts versus the Red Sox this season.
* Red Sox are 1-6 in their last seven overall.
* Indians are 6-1 in Klubers last seven starts versus a team with a winning record.
* Over is 7-1 in Price’s last eight road starts.
* Over is 5-1-1 in Indians last seven overall.
COVERS CONSENSUS: With the game off the board there is currently no consensus.
Los Angeles Dodgers at Washington Nationals (+138, 6)
Series tied 0-0
Everybody agrees that Clayton Kershaw is one of the top pitchers in baseball but his postseason history hasn’t come close to matching his regular season success. The left-hander gets another opportunity to alter his October reputation when the Los Angeles Dodgers open the National League Division Series against the host Washington Nationals on Friday.
Kershaw, a three-time NL Cy Young Award winner, is 2-6 with a 4.59 ERA in 13 career postseason appearances (10 starts) and bristles at the notion that he is an underachiever on baseball’s big stage. “Nobody talks about the success I’ve had in the postseason,” Kershaw told reporters. “That’s fine. Ultimately, what it comes down to is if we win the World Series, everybody will stop saying everything, good or bad. That mindset is what I have to think about.” Washington counters with Max Scherzer and the right-hander – a candidate to win his second Cy Young award – has experienced mixed results in the playoffs by going 4-3 with a 3.73 ERA in 12 career appearances (10 starts). Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy (strained buttocks muscle) said he expects to be in the starting lineup and manager Dusty Baker said he thought the 2015 playoff hero looked good during Thursday’s workout.
TV: 5:38 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
LINE HISTORY: The Nationals opened as +126 home dogs going up against Kershaw and have been faded to as high as +138. Since then they have come back down to the current number of Nationals +133. The total for this matchup is a super low 6. Check out the complete line history here.
WEATHER REPORT: There will be a slight 20 percent chance of rain in D.C. tomorrow with temperatures in the low 70’s. There will also be a slight five to six mile per hour wind blowing out to center field.
SERIES PRICE (PER SPORTS INTERACTION):
PITCHING MATCHUP: Dodgers LH Clayton Kershaw (12-4, 1.69 ERA) vs. Nationals RH Max Scherzer (20-7, 2.96)
Kershaw has thrived against Washington with a 10-2 mark and 2.02 ERA in 14 career appearances (13 starts), including a victory June 20 when he gave up one run and six hits over seven innings. The left-handed hitting Murphy smacked two homers off Kershaw in last season’s NLDS as a member of the New York Mets. Kershaw missed more than two months with back issues but finished the season strong by compiling an 0.72 ERA over his last four starts.
Scherzer didn’t face the Dodgers this season and is 2-4 with a 3.29 ERA in 10 career appearances (eight starts) against Los Angeles. The 32-year-old won his past eight decisions and aims to carry his regular-season success into the postseason when he faces Kershaw. “It’s what you play this game for. You don’t measure yourself against the worst; you measure yourself against the best,” Scherzer said at Thursday’s press conference. “And I think this is best opponent I could possibly face with the Dodgers and Kershaw throwing.”
* Dodgers are 1-6 in their last seven road games.
* Nationals are 5-0 in Scherzer’s last five home starts.
* Under is 8-1-1 in Kershaw’s last 10 road starts.
* Under is 9-2 in Scherzer’s last 11 home starts.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Bettors are almost split down the middle for this classic pitchers duel, with 52 percent of wagers giving Kershaw and the Dodgers the slightest of edges. As for the total 54 percent of wagers are on the Under.
San Francisco Giants at Chicago Cubs (-175, 7)
Series tied 0-0
The Chicago Cubs led the majors with 103 regular-season victories but that doesn’t guarantee them rare postseason success when they open the National League Division Series on Friday against the visiting San Francisco Giants. Chicago was swept out of the playoffs last season in the NL Championship Series by the New York Mets and hasn’t won the World Series since 1908.
San Francisco won three World Series crowns this decade and earned the trip to Chicago by blanking the Mets 3-0 in Wednesday’s NL wild-card game. “We’re looking forward to the next series, and it’s good to be moving on, trust me because we had to scratch and claw just to get to this point,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said in a press conference. “But it’s all about persevering, and this club has done a great job of that.” The Cubs are led by budding superstar third baseman Kris Bryant, the probable NL MVP after having 39 homers and 102 RBIs in his second big-league season. “For me, it’s never going to be good enough,” Bryant told reporters. “I’m so stubborn. I’m so hard on myself. There’s always going to be ways for me to look at my game and say, ‘I can do this better.'”
TV: 9:15 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
LINE HISTORY: The Cubs opened as -175 home favorites and have already been bet up to -181. The total for this game opened at 7. Check out the complete line history here.
WEATHER REPORT: It should be a great night for baseball in the Windy City. The forecast is calling for clear skies with temperatures in the mid 50’s for the game. There will also be an eight to 10 mile per hour pitchers wind blowing in from left field.
SERIES PRICE (PER SPORTS INTERACTION):
PITCHING MATCHUP: Giants RH Johnny Cueto (18-5, 2.79 ERA) vs. Cubs LH Jon Lester (19-5, 2.44)
Cueto went 4-0 with a 1.91 ERA over his final four outings to reach the third-highest victory total of his nine-year career. The 30-year-old is 2-3 with a 5.35 ERA in seven career postseason starts and struggled badly in his first three outings in last year’s postseason with Kansas City before coming up big in Game 2 of the World Series with a complete-game two-hitter in a 7-1 victory over the New York Mets. Cueto is 9-8 with a 3.24 ERA in 24 career starts against the Cubs and is 5-5 with a 3.07 ERA in 15 outings at Wrigley Field.
The 32-year-old Lester was superb at home this season with a 10-2 mark and 1.74 ERA and that helped make him an easy Game 1 choice for manager Joe Maddon. “He always embraces the moment. Good things tend to happen,” Maddon told reporters. “He really does rise to the occasion. Everything locks in and he tends to execute at a really high level.” Lester, who is 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA in five career starts against the Giants, dropped both turns last postseason for the Cubs but is 6-6 with a 2.85 ERA in 16 career appearances (14 starts).
* Giants are 7-0 in their last seven Divisional Playoff road games.
* Cubs are 7-0 in Lester’s last seven home starts versus a team with a winning record.
* Under is 7-0 in Giants last seven road games versus a left-handed starter.
* Over is 10-2 in Cubs last 12 playoff home games.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Bettors are backing the North Siders in Game 1 with 62 percent of wagers on the Cubs. Wagers on the total are almost split down the middle with 51 percent of them on the Under.