Who else is insanely excited that baseball season has started again? As I type this, the White Sox are 1-0 (on their way to an undefeated season) and I’ve been brushing up on my team knowledge across the league. So what’s in store for the baseball gambler this early in the season? Let’s take a look.
How about an NL matchup between two teams I expect to be competetive this year. Dodgers at Marlins. Yeah, even the Marlins say they’re still rebuilding, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them in the Wild Card hunt in late August. The Dodgers send Kuroda, who was a .500 pitcher last year, up against Chris Volstad of the Marlins. Volstad was a mess last year, and his only somewhat tolerable stat was a 1.43 whip. Will he turn over a new leaf in 2010? This is our first chance to find out. It’s waaaay to early to start looking at team stats, so it’s the pitching matchup and the early energy you need to use when deciding how to bet. I expect this one to be an HR fest, and I’d bet the over (even though it’ll be on the higher side to reflect the poor pitching matchup). The Dodgers will probably be a slight favorite, maybe -115 to +125 on the Marlins, which is an early guess on the Dodgers keeping the chemistry and hitting power going from last year. I’d take the Dodgers to win this one, though. Volstad, new year or not, deserves no faith until he proves he can hold his ERA down.
In the AL, how about Yanks at Rays? Which Rays team was the fluke? The World Series team or last year’s disapointment? Well, you probably know where I stand, so let’s see if the Rays can prove me wrong. And if there’s anyone to do it against, it’s Javier Vazquez – the eternal 5-inning pitcher if I’ve ever seen one. I don’t care what his ERA was last year, I’ll never bet on the team when he’s starting. He’s burned me too many times before. It’s like drafting Kevin Barlow for your fantasy team in football. Why take a chance when so much can go wrong? David Price goes for the Rays, and I like this guy’s potential and upside. Facing the Yanks this early in one’s career can still be daunting, though, so be careful how he responds. This is another matchup I’d take the over. And the Yanks, who even behind Vazquez will go in around -135 to +145 for the Rays, will be the favorite. But I think Vazquez breaks down early and the Rays try to make a very early statement that the AL East isn’t a two-team race this year.