The Toronto Blue Jays acquired R.A. Dickey in the offseason, looking for the 2012 NL Cy Young winner to add some strength to its rotation. Tuesday’s MLB betting slate has the 38-year-old making his debut north of the border against the Cleveland Indians, who send fellow righty Justin Masterson to the hill.
Dickey lightly used in spring
Dickey made just two starts for Toronto in the team’s exhibition weeks, giving up five earned runs over five frames of action. The veteran last took the hill on March 2, giving up a homer to Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard as part of a no-decision in an 11-6 victory for the Blue Jays.
Dickey faced AL lineups on three occasions last season as part of interleague play, notching two victories and one no-decision. The two wins came pitching tight ball against the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays, allowing no earned runs over 18 IP, while the New York Yankees racked up five runs in six frames to notch a 6-5 home triumph over Dickey’s Mets.
Toronto also picked up Melky Cabrera and Jose Reyes from the San Francisco Giants and Miami Marlins, respectively. Cabrera changes clubs after serving a drug suspension at the end of last year’s stellar .346 season, while Reyes hit .287 for the Marlins en route to notching 57 RBIs.
Masterson goes five in finales
Masterson took the hill six times for Cleveland during the spring, going five innings in each of his final two starts. The Jamaica native allowed three earned runs over the 10-frame span to the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres, picking up a loss and a no-decision.
Masterson opposed Toronto twice last year, giving up just one earned run over 15 IP. The stretch included a no-decision in April to start the year, with 10 strikeouts logged against the Blue Jays lineup as part of a 7-4 defeat for Cleveland as a 108 home dog.
Cleveland’s lineup has Nick Swisher now added at first base in an acquisition from the Yankees, while Chris Perez returns as the team’s closer. Swisher hit .272 for New York, finishing with 24 HRs and 93 RBIs. Perez came away with 39 saves last year for the Indians, making the American League’s All-Star squad for a second straight year.
Back the UNDER in Toronto
The MLB odds makers at Bookmaker.eu opened Dickey as a 175 home favorite, with initial betting on Cleveland dropping the MLB odds to minus 170. The ‘total’ was first posted at eight, followed by early wagers on the OVER driving the number north a ‘hook’ to 8 ½.
For today's sports picks, I am adding a ticket on the UNDER in this duel, looking for both starters to keep this a tight affair.
Cleveland saw its share of low-octane affairs toward the end of last year, with the UNDER cashing 10-3-1 in the team’s final 14 spots facing hurlers with a 1.15 WHIP or less. The Indians ranked in the American League’s bottom three squads in slugging (.396 SLG) and runs (450) against right-handed pitching.
Toronto last hosted a three-game series with Cleveland in July, with the UNDER going 2-1. The series included a 1-0 victory for the Indians with Masterson on the hill, holding the Blue Jays to five hits over seven innings.
Dickey's first 12 starts last year saw the UNDER collect at 8-4, coming out of the gate holding foes to three earned runs over the first pair of outings (13 IP). Look for UNDER backers to get the money again here, with the ‘total’ set a bit too high by MLB oddsmakers.
MLB Picks: UNDER 8 ½ (Bookmaker.eu)
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