Tuesday’s MLB Tip Sheet
Published on April 17 at 12:30 a.m. Eastern.
By Brian Edwards
**Cubs at Marlins**
–After both clubs enjoyed Monday off, they begin a three-game series Tuesday night in Miami at Marlins Field. Miami (4-6, -255) will welcome back first-year manager Ozzie Guillen, who returns from a five-game suspension stemming from remarks made about Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
–Josh Johnson (0-2, 8.38 ERA) will make his third start of the season as he hopes to return to the form he displayed last April when the right-hander had six brilliant starts. Johnson has been shelled in his first two outings this year, giving up 21 hits and nine earned runs in 9 2/3 innings. He’ll be making his first start against the Cubs since 2008.
–Chicago (3-7, -319) has lost all three of its series that it has played so far this year. The Cubs won Friday’s series opener at St. Louis before dropping back-to-back contests, including Sunday’s 10-3 setback as plus-154 underdogs.
–Ryan Dempster (0-1, 1.80) has made 16 career appearances (six starts) against the Marlins, his former team that he came up with before being traded in 2002. The 34-year-old righty is 4-1 with a 2.11 lifetime ERA against the Fish.
–Dempster has been outstanding in a pair of starts this year, but the Cubs have lost by a 2-1 count in both spots. The Canadian righty has surrendered seven hits and three earned runs in 14 1/3 innings.
–The Cubs are 1-2 in three road games this year. However, they have won straight road games against the Marlins.
–Miami owns a 2-2 record in four home games at its new park. The ‘over’ is 7-3 overall for the Marlins, 3-1 in their home outings.
–The ‘over’ is 6-4 overall for the Cubs, 2-1 in their three road assignments.
–Miami RHP Carlos Zambrano will not face his former club in this series. Zambrano has a pair of no-decisions with a 3.75 ERA to date.
–This game will come off the board at 7:10 p.m. Eastern.
–Most books are listing Miami as a minus-175 favorite with a total of seven ‘over’ (minus-115). Gamblers can take the Marlins on the run line (minus 1 ½ runs) for a plus-130 return (risk $100 to win $130).
**Rangers at Red Sox**
–Most spots are listing Boston (4-6, -236) as a minus-120 ‘chalk’ with a total of 8 ½ ‘under’ (minus-115). Bettors can take the Red Sox on the run line for a lucrative plus-175 payout.
–Bobby Valentine’s team had a rough Monday. For starters, Valentine issued an apology to third baseman Kevin Youkilis after the first-year skipper took some heat about comments he made about Youkilis on Sunday. With Dustin Pedroia defending Youkilis, who missed Monday’s game due to a sore groin, it’s clear that Valentine’s new players aren’t exactly buying into his style yet. Making matters worse, the Red Sox saw their three-game winning streak halted in a 1-0 loss to Tampa Bay.
–Boston is 3-1 at home, winning its first three games at Fenway Park against the Rays by scores of 12-2, 13-5 and 6-4. The Red Sox will turn to Jon Lester (0-1, 2.40) in Tuesday’s series opener. The lefty hasn’t won since Sept. 6 of last year, a span of six starts. However, Lester isn’t to blame in his first two outings this year when he’s been given just one combined run of support from the Boston bats.
–Texas (8-2, +425) has won four in a row, including a weekend sweep of the Twins at Minnesota. Josh Hamilton cracked his fourth home run of the season in Sunday’s 4-3 win. The slugger went 2-for-4 to up his batting average to .390.
–Colby Lewis (1-0, 1.42) has had nasty stuff this year, fanning 15 batters while walking only one. The ‘under’ has been a winner in both of his starts.
–Texas is 2-0 against lefties this season.
–The ‘under’ has cashed in six straight Texas games and is 9-1 overall. The ‘under’ is 3-0 in the Rangers’ road games.
–The ‘over’ is 6-4 overall for Boston, 3-1 in its home contests.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
–The Mets ended the Braves’ five-game winning streak with a 6-1 win in Monday’s series opener at Atlanta. Ike Davis hit a three-run homer and Dillon Gee worked seven quality innings for his first victory of the year.
–Atlanta slugger Chipper Jones finally cooled off with Monday’s 0-for-4 effort. Nevertheless, he’s still batting .313. Jason Heyward improved his average to .375 by going 2-for-3. Tommy Hanson gave up four earned runs over seven innings and took the loss.
–Washington maintained its one-half game advantage over the Mets for the lead in the National League East thanks to Monday’s 6-3 home win over Houston. Stephen Strasburg (2-0, 1.42) threw six innings and gave up a pair of earned runs. The hard-throwing righty struck out five.
–Detroit remained in first place in the AL Central thanks to a 3-2 win at Kansas City. Justin Verlander went the distance and worked out of a jam in the ninth to record his first win. Bettors backing the Tigers as minus-175 favorites came out a winner. However, those like me that took Detroit on the run line lost a heartbreaker when the Royals scored a run in the ninth. Jim Leyland’s team is up 1 ½ games on the second-place White Sox, who lost 10-4 to Baltimore in extra innings Monday.