Southpaws Square Off For Phillies & Rays
A couple of lefthanders oppose each other at Charlotte Sports Park today when the Philadelphia Phillies travel to meet the Tampa Bay Rays. First pitch will come a bit past one o'clock (ET) and the Rays have been installed as consensus -130 favorites according to the odds at SBR.
John Lannan is taking his turn in the Philadelphia rotation while Matt Moore goes for Tampa Bay. It's the fourth appearance for both with Lannan making three previous starts and Moore working once from the 'pen plus twice as a starter.
For Lannan, it's an opportunity to make up for one bad inning against the Rays in his most recent outing. The former star at Siena worked four innings at the Phillies' spring home in Clearwater last Saturday, posting zeroes in three of the frames but struggling in the other when Tampa Bay plated four against him. Two of those runs came on a Sean Rodriguez homer, the only long ball Lannan has allowed in the exhibition season.
His previous assignment resulted in three scoreless frames against the Pittsburgh Pirates on March 4, and aside from the third inning vs. the Rays last week, Lannan has allowed just one other run this spring. It's his first season with the Phils after signing as a free agent from Washington this past winter, and manager Charlie Manuel is expected to relieve Lannan today with two more lefties, Antonio Bastardo and Jeremy Horst, plis righthander Justin De Fratus. Horst and De Fratus have both struggled this spring.
Moore has also struggled for the Rays and come away with the loss in two of his three trips to the mound. One of those defeats was vs. Detroit on Feb. 28 when he made his spring debut in relief, and the other came last Sunday against the Boston Red Sox, a team he is sure to see multiple times once the regular season begins.
The biggest issue for Moore has been control with the Florida native issuing six free passes in his 7.2 innings. Walks were also a problem spot for him last season with 81 in his 177.1 frames. Rays manager Joe Maddon would like to get four innings out of his young hurler today before bringing on his relievers. Expected to follow Moore to the hill are Kyle Farnsworth, Joel Peralta, Jamey Wright, Brandon Gomes and J.D. Martin.
The weatherman is calling for sunny skies and the thermometer reaching the mid-70s this afternoon in Port Charlotte. A couple of relievers on both sides bug me, but I'm going to put my faith in the Phils to come through as small road pups.
Cain Builds Towards Opening Day, Faces Lowe & Rangers
The same baseball betting odds await gamblers across the Lower 48 in Scottsdale where the San Francisco Giants host the Texas Rangers. It's the second and final spring meeting for the 2010 World Series participants after the Giants posted a 2-1 win at Texas' spring home in Surprise on Monday.
San Francisco is sending ace Matt Cain to the mound for this contest as -130 chalk. The Rangers counter with Derek Lowe who is making his first appearance this spring after signing with the club just last week.
Cain got off to a very rough start to the spring when he allowed seven runs in his first two assignments, but that didn't keep manager Bruce Bochy from naming the 28-year-old righty his Opening Day hurler. The last two appearances have gone much better with the most recent coming this past Sunday vs. Milwaukee, and he should work 4-5 frames today.
Lowe was inked to a minor league deal with the idea he would likely pitch in long relief for Texas. The veteran is now with his seventh MLB team after splitting the 2012 season with the Indians and Yankees. He posted a 3.04 ERA working 17 games out of New York's bullpen after starting 21 games earlier in the season for Cleveland.
A warm, cloudy day is in store for Scottsdale, though no rain is in the forecast. It's very tough to get behind Lowe for my basebal picks, who is unlikely to toss more than two.
My picks: Phillies +110, Giants -130 at Bookmaker
Preseason: 8-7 ($0.33)