Odds to Win the 2015 American League Pennant

Masahiro Tanaka's health will be of extreme importance if the Yankees are to be in the running for the AL Pennant.

Boston Red Sox 11/2 – Pablo Sandoval may have shown up to Spring Training looking like Barney from “The Simpsons” but he is still being relied upon to deliver after the BoSox acquired this offseason. Offensively I think Boston will be fine. I am a tad concerned about the lack of a stud leading the rotation but this should be a good team in 2015.

Los Angeles Angles 6/1 – The Angels racked up 98 wins last season and the team appears to be largely the same. Even with Josh Hamilton’s pending suspension, LAA should be right there in the mix for the pennant.

Chicago White Sox 7/1 – This should be one of the more entertaining teams in the AL to watch. There’s plenty of offensive firepower now and the only question is how far can the pitching take them? Chris Sale will miss the opener after he injured himself getting out of a pool. Either way, this could be the team to beat in the AL Central.

Seattle Mariners 7/1 – Robinson Cano has some help in the lineup now and that’s something he didn’t have last year. Nelson Cruz and Seth Smith should both give Cano better looks at the plate. If the pitching can follow the lead of King Felix then this could be a team right there at the finish.

If the Tigers are going to win the AL Pennant then Justin Verlander must be much better than he has been the last two seasons.

Detroit Tigers 8/1 – The Tigers have had a wonderful run dating back to the arrival of Dave Dombrowski but is age finally catching up to them? Both Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera are banged up entering the season and what can they expect from Justin Verlander who has been average the last two seasons?

Cleveland Indians 9/1 – The Indians return Cy Young winner Corey Kluber and a lot of youth that gained valuable experience last year as the Indians pushed both Detroit and Kansas City to the brink. I can see this team winning the division or finishing well back in the pack. That’s how hard they are to figure out right now.

Toronto Blue Jays 10/1 – The Jays added Josh Donaldson and field general Russel Martin but how much will they improve the team? Toronto was right there for a good part of the season in 2014 so can they see this year to the end?

Oakland Athletics 12/1 – Count me as one who thinks the A’s take a step back this year. Yes, there are some new faces, the outfield is the same and there are two good starters leading the rotation but this division will be a bear and I don’t see the A’s winning the pennant.

Baltimore Orioles 14/1 – Most people would say the Orioles did more than expected last year especially with Chris Davis having a brutal year. The Birds do get both Manny Machado and Matt Wieters back so perhaps they will be in the race again but pitching depth will be vital.

Kansas City Royals 14/1 – The Royals aren’t returning to the World Series this year but they should still be competitive despite the loss of James Shields. If the bullpen is as successful as it was last year than anything is possible but I see a step back here.

New York Yankees 14/1 – The Yanks have potentially deep rotation and solid bullpen. If they can get through the early portion of the season where all the talk will be “A-Rod” they could be right there. The first season without Derek Jeter in the locker room will be curious to watch as well.

Texas Rangers 22/1 – The Rangers were devastated by injuries last season and this year isn’t starting much better. Shortstop Jurickson Profar is likely out for the season with a shoulder injury. Yu Darvish is expecting a big season but how much can he do?

Houston Astros 28/1 – Houston added guys like Jed Lowrie and Evan Gattis but at the end of the day this will continue to be a team on the rise rather than one that will compete.

Tampa Bay Rays 33/1 – Beloved manager Joe Maddon is in Chicago and these Rays have very little depth. This will be nothing short of a miracle if the Rays can even get to .500.

Minnesota Twins 50/1 – Well, at least the fans have a lovely stadium to attend games in…. Sorry, this isn’t happening in the Twin Cities in 2015.

My Favorite: I love the Mariners. They’ll fly under the radar in the Pacific Northwest before it’s too late for most opponents to notice.

MLB Win Projections for 2015

Can the Royals duplicate their success of last year?

Can you believe teams have already reported for spring training in Florida and Arizona? Seems like the season just ended doesn’t it? Here are you season total win total projections from our friends at Bovada.

Arizona Diamondbacks – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      71½ (-115)

Under                                   71½ (-115)

Despite the changes, I like the UNDER.

Atlanta Braves – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      73½ (-115)

Under                                   73½ (-115)

The Braves always seem to find a way to succeed. Take the OVER.

Baltimore Orioles – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      82½ (-115)

Under                                   82½ (-115)

I think they take a step back but go with the OVER.

Boston Red Sox – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      86½ (-115)

Under                                   86½ (-115)

The BoSox have upgraded in all the right places. Take the OVER.

Chicago Cubs – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      82½ (-115)

Under                                   82½ (-115)

Will the Cubs be better? Yes, but I’m not ready for over .500 so take the UNDER.

Chicago White Sox – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      81½ (-115)

Under                                   81½ (-115)

I’m just not convinced this team is ready for recovery yet. Take the UNDER.

Cincinnati Reds – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      77½ (-115)

Under                                   77½ (-115)

Take the UNDER as the Reds are still reshuffling the deck.

Cleveland Indians – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      83½ (-115)

Under                                   83½ (-115)

Take the OVER. I like the direction of the Indians.

Colorado Rockies – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      71½ (-115)

Under                                   71½ (-115)

I don’t see much to be positive about here. Take the UNDER.

Detroit Tigers – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      84½ (-115)

Under                                   84½ (-115)

It’s really hard to see them doing as well as recent years with injuries and pitching losses. Take the UNDER.

Houston Astros – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      74½ (-115)

Under                                   74½ (-115)

Arrow up on the Astros. I like the OVER.

Kansas City Royals – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      79½ (-115)

Under                                   79½ (-115)

Can they repeat last year’s success? I say no. Take the OVER.

Los Angeles Angels – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      89½ (-115)

Under                                   89½ (-115)

Take the OVER. Big year coming from the Halos.

LA Dodgers
Can the Dodgers get over the hump and get to the World Series?

Los Angeles Dodgers – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      92½ (-115)

Under                                   92½ (-115)

It’s a big number but I’ll take the OVER.

Miami Marlins – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      81½ (-115)

Under                                   81½ (-115)

I really like the OVER here as new additions boost the Marlins.

Milwaukee Brewers – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      78½ (-115)

Under                                   78½ (-115)

Take the UNDER in a super-competitive NL Central.

Minnesota Twins – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      70½ (-115)

Under                                   70½ (-115)

Managerial change brings instability. Take the UNDER.

New York Mets – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      81½ (-115)

Under                                   81½ (-115)

What reason have they given me to be excited? Take the UNDER.

New York Yankees – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      81½ (-115)

Under                                   81½ (-115)

If A-Rod can contribute without being a problem, I like the OVER.

Oakland Athletics – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      80½ (-115)

Under                                   80½ (-115)

They stumbled to the finish last year and it continues in 2015. Take the UNDER.

Philadelphia Phillies – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      68½ (-115)

Under                                   68½ (-115)

Can they really be this bad? Yes, take the UNDER.

Pittsburgh Pirates – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      83½ (-115)

Under                                   83½ (-115)

Playoffs for two straight years in Pittsburgh and things look as good this season. Take the OVER.

San Diego Padres – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      85½ (-115)

Under                                   85½ (-115)

Fantastic additions but I’m still going UNDER.

San Francisco Giants – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      84½ (-115)

Under                                   84½ (-115)

The defending champs have some offense to replace but I still like the OVER.

Seattle Mariners – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      86½ (-115)

Under                                   86½ (-115)

Could the Mariners be the cream of the crop in the AL? Maybe and I’m taking the OVER.

St. Louis Cardinals – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      88½ (-115)

Under                                   88½ (-115)

This number is really close for me. I’ll take the UNDER but barely.

Tampa Bay Rays – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      78½ (-115)

Under                                   78½ (-115)

I just don’t see this team improving much. Take the UNDER.

Texas Rangers – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      77½ (-115)

Under                                   77½ (-115)

With Profar likely out for the season I’ll take the UNDER.

Toronto Blue Jays – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      82½ (-115)

Under                                   82½ (-115)

Lots of excitement in Canada about this team and rightfully so. I’ll take the OVER.

Washington Nationals – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      92½ (-115)

Under                                   92½ (-115)

I see no reason why this shouldn’t be a World Series team. Take the OVER.

A-Rod is Just Pathetic Plus The Tigers Two Big Bats are Banged Up

With a hand-written apology, A-Rod proves once again he just doesn't get it.

Well thank the lord almighty! Alex Rodriguez has formally issued an apology for his year-long suspension and performance-enhancing drug use!

A-Rod wasn’t apologizing for those things as much as he was apologizing for getting caught for cheating. It’s easy to dislike Rodriguez and that in and of itself is troubling. We shouldn’t want or need to dislike our fellow man but sometimes people do things so arrogantly and so recklessly that it becomes difficult to find anything becoming about them.

Earlier this week, Rodriguez told the New York Yankees he was ready to issue his formal apology to the fans, the Yankees’ Organization and Major League Baseball. They offered him the opportunity to host the press conference at Yankee Stadium but A-Rod had something else in mind. Or at the very least, the people calling the shots for him did.

Rodriguez decided to forgo the presser and instead went with…. A hand-written letter.

Apparently Rodriguez’s advisors must include a daycare provider who convinced him that he needed to write down his feelings. He mistook this as the actual issuing of his apology and ran with it.

Actually I don’t think it went down like this at all. A hand-written apology is right up the alley of A-Rod and is typical behavior. I have to give him credit because his penmanship was pretty good!

His sentences tended to move upward to the right but all in all it wasn’t bad for a baseball player who never went to college. But in all honesty, this was pathetic. I honestly feel bad for both the New York Yankees and their fans. The fact that they have to put up with this narcissist jackass for another season really is quite a sad development.

Because Major League Baseball has guaranteed contracts, the Yankees are still on the hook for about $60 million for A-Rod. They have insurance in case he were to get injured again which is entirely possible considering the hip surgery and his age. Still, the Yankees would love nothing better than for A-Rod to just walk away but he won’t.

He’s like that bad penny that just keeps showing up . Perhaps a more relevant analogy is that of George Costanza from ‘Seinfeld.’ If you recall, George, who worked for the Yankees on the show, once had to climb through the ducts in order to get to his office. That’s because his employer was doing everything he could to make George quit.

So far, it appears A-Rod has the same type of staying power as George Costanza did.

Tigers in ER

The Detroit Tigers since 2006 have been one of the better teams in baseball reaching the World Series twice but losing. As the Tigers head into the 2015 season, they know they will already do so without Max Scherzer who has signed with Washington.

They are also going to be a bit behind the eight ball offensively because Victor Martinez has a knee injury he’s recovering from and Miguel Cabrera is recovering from a bad foot. Both could be ready by opening day but it’s unlikely they’ll get many swings if any in spring training.

With team owner Mike Ilitch not getting younger, the time is now for the Tigers to give him the World Series title he’s been hoping for. Ilitch’s Red Wings have more than delivered in terms of Stanley Cups but Ilitch is desperate for the title. He’s brought a re-birth to Motown that wasn’t there for many years and whether the Tigers can deliver for him is based in large part on the health of two of his superstars.



Don’t Blame Jeter for All-Star Game Tongue Bath

Don't hate on Derek Jeter for MLB falling all over itself. Just appreciate Jeter for what he has accomplished in 20 years.

I found it really interesting to listen to sports’ talk radio the day after the American League defeated the National League 5-3 in Tuesday night’s All-Star Game. Some hosts and callers were appreciative and respectful towards New York Yankees’ shortstop Derek Jeter while some were just down-right vicious towards him.

Such is life in the 24/7/365 world of sports’ talk.

Personally, I found it to be almost a sign from the gods when during Jeter’s first at-bat some idiot in the crowd shouted “over-rated” as Jeter stripped a double into right field. In many ways this has been a microcosm of Jeter’s career.

Much of the hatred towards Jeter is the fact he wears pinstripes and has worn them for his entire 20-year career. The Yankees are the ‘Notre Dame’ of Major League Baseball meaning you either love them or hate them. There is no in between.

Jeter will not be placed among the game's giants but that doesn't mean he isn't a Hall of Famer.

Many fans and even some ‘baseball’ people think Jeter is over-rated and this is their opinion. It’s wrong, but it’s their opinion. Does he belong on a pedestal with Ruth, Cobb, Mays and Aaron? No he certainly does not. Is he a Hall of Famer? Absolutely he is so why can’t we just appreciate the guy?

On Tuesday night, he was given a standing ovation as he came to bat in the bottom of the first inning. The ovation lasted just over a minute and it was obvious the private, humble Jeter was a bit overwhelmed and ready to get on with baseball.

When he exited the game he was given an ovation that lasted over two minutes as he tried on several occasions to escape into the dugout. If you asked Jeter in a private moment I guarantee he’d tell you it was a bit much but why was everyone mad at him?

Last year, MLB gave a very appropriate goodbye to Mariano Rivera but I fear that who ever is ‘producing’ the All-Star Game is trying to do too much to give each installment a ‘special moment.’

There is no question in my mind that Jeter deserved to be honored and in his first at-bat it was perfect. It could have been finished there and then when he exited the game he could have tipped his cap, received another nice round of applause and retired to the dugout.

The question was raised many times this week and I feel it’s an honest one; would Jeter have received this had he been wearing the uniform of another team? No, no he wouldn’t have and the reasons are simple.

Would Derek Jeter have won five World Series titles while playing in Kansas City? Los Angeles? Atlanta? More than likely not and that’s the difference. Jeter wasn’t the reason the Yanks won those five titles because he had plenty of talent around him but he had a hand in winning them with clutch play and hitting that has rarely been seen in contemporary baseball.

Jeter is currently at .311 for his lifetime batting average and that won’t change a ton over the final few months of the season, but his more important totals were his career average of .308 in the playoffs (158 games) and his .321 average (38 games) in the World Series.

Think of the great plays and clutch hits that Jeter has provided and your left with no doubts as to why MLB wanted to honor him, but MLB also has other agendas as well. This means making sure its’ stars are celebrated but it also means they are searching for the next face of baseball which most believe will be Mike Trout and with good reason.

Hopefully you can just appreciate Jeter’s accomplishments without having to judge where he belongs all-time. Let MLB handle all of the pomp and circumstance.

Yankees Making AL East Interesting As Season Midpoint Approaches

As the All-Star Game approaches in major league baseball, division races are taking shape. In the American League East, the New York Yankees are back in the think of the race trailing the division leading Toronto Blue Jays by just 1 ½ games.

The Yankees defeated the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night thanks to a walk off three-run home run by Carlos Beltran. The Yankees trailed 3-1 entering the ninth but scored three runs to take the win.

With the win, the Yankees moved to 39-33 on the season, have won 4 straight and 8 of their last 10 overall.

Last week, the Yankees swept a three-game series from division leading Toronto marking the 16th consecutive loss by Toronto at Yankee Stadium.

On Bovada and topbet, the Yankees were still a long shot at 20 to 1 to win the World Series, but that was prior to the team sweeping the Blue Jays and winning Friday night’s thriller.

With New York winning 9 of its past 13 and the Blue Jays dropping 9 of their past 12, you can see how quickly the Yankees have moved into contention.

The Orioles are up and down and the Red Sox are still sleeping off a World Series hangover, meaning the biggest race could be between the Yankees and Blue Jays.

Toronto as of Monday June 16 on betonline and sportsbook.com sat at 10 to 1 to win the World Series. That number is sure to be adjusted when a new updated list of World Series futures is released on Monday June 23.

Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter who is playing his farewell season has been instrumental in the recent surge by the Yankees. Jeter is hitting .405 over his past 9 games in which the Yankees are 7-2.

During the same stretch of nine games, Brett Gardner who hits in front of Jeter has a .361 average with 3 home runs.

Jacoby Ellsbury the free agent acquisition from Boston has been just what the Yankees expected he would be. He is hitting for power, has 20 stolen bases and defensively in centerfield he controls the outfield.

The Yankees have Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran in the lineup again, making the offense look quite strong for the Pinstripes.

However, pitching is still suspect. They team can only pitch first year sensation Masahiro Tanaka every five days. Tanaka is 11-1 with an ERA of 1.99. He already is considered an elite pitcher in the league with the likes of Clayton Kershaw.

His unbelievable record from last season of 24-0 with an ERA of 1.27 in Japan can now be believed. New York is 12-2 in Tanaka’s 14 starts this season.

If New York was to reach the postseason and Tanaka continues to pitch at this level, he could be considered for not just the Cy Young and rookie of the year, but also the MVP.

The rotation for New York was expected to be a strength with Michael Pineda, Hiroki Kuroda, C.C. Sabathia and Ivan Nova. However, injuries changed things quickly.

However, with Tanaka and one or two more strong starters, the Yankees will battle for the AL East crown.

Thursday Sports Rants; Tanaka, The Olympics and Vince Young

The Yankees have signed the 25-year old Japanese phenom Masahiro Tanaka in hopes that he'll return them to the playoffs.

The longer I keep writing about sports and sports betting, the more I realize that there is just no shortage of topics. On any given day, there are at least two to three stories per sport worth noting and that’s where I find myself again today. With that said, I find myself loaded with thoughts on several issues so let me get to them.

Yankees Break the Bank… Again

The New York Yankees have scored several free agents already this season and they may now have arguably grabbed the top one on the market. Japanese sensation Masahiro Tanaka, who was in the midst of a bidding war by several teams, will sign with the Yanks for $155 million. When added to what they’ve already spent this offseason, New York has spent almost a half a billion dollars to get back to the World Series.

Most scouts rate Tanaka even higher than Yu Darvish, but whether he finds the same success he has had in Japan will remain to be seen. He comes off a season in which he went 24-0 and I have a very hard time imagining him, or any other pitcher for that matter doing that in the Major Leagues.

One thing is for certain; the Yankees are very serious about winning another championship. They should be too because Boston winning them doesn’t make the Bronx Bombers feel too good.

Intolerance and terrorism could dominate the games in Sochi, Russia.

Future of Olympics in Limbo?

The Winter Olympic Games are just a few weeks away from taking place in Sochi. For those of you not familiar, Sochi is in Russia and is located along the eastern coast of the Black Sea. This current Olympics makes me wonder if we’ll even see an Olympic Games in the future considering the political strife these games are already causing.

By now you know about the Russian Government’s attitude regarding homosexuality and how that will be a major issue of these games. The other issue is terrorism. These games have already been called ‘the most likely to have a terrorist attack’ by one political pundit. The American Government is so concerned about the safety of their fans and athletes that they have deployed warships into the Black Sea.

This whole scenario makes me wonder about the future of the games. We saw terrorism at the 1972 Games in Munich and again in Atlanta in 1996 and while those were obviously horrible events, they were somewhat centralized. What if we see an attack on the scale that Russia has already seen where not just a few, but hundreds of lives could be lost.

Is this what has become of the Olympic Games?

Vince Young Files for Bankruptcy

It wasn’t that long ago when the University of Texas was winning a national championship behind the arm and legs of Vince Young. The Longhorns now have a different coach and Vince Young is no longer in the game of football. At the age of 30 now, Young’s football career is likely over which is a shame but what is really sad is that he filed for bankruptcy today.

Millions of Americans do this all the time but they didn’t have $25 million contracts though. Young is not the first and won’t be the last professional athlete to do this but his story is but another warning shot across the bow of future professionals. Some of Young’s reasoning for filing was that he is on the hook for nearly two million dollars in unpaid loans.

It seems almost impossible for most of to think about blowing $25 million but apparently it can be done. Hopefully Young can get himself right sooner rather than later.

Why the Next Round of PED Suspensions Matters to Your Betting

Despit the Brewers being out of the race, a Ryan Braun suspension would still impact your wagering.

To be brutally honest, I’m sick and tired of hearing the acronym ‘PED.’ In case you’ve been on the starship Enterprise for the last 20 years, PED is short for ‘performance-enhancing drugs.’ We’ve seen players from Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds to Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte either admit to, deny or or flat-out lie about their use of PEDs.

I’m over it, but unfortunately we are about to inundated with more discussion of them. According to various reports, Major League Baseball is expected to announce suspensions for former MVP’s Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez as well perhaps 20 other players. This is all in connection to the Biogenesis clinic in South Florida that has been implicated in supplying PEDs to these players.

The main person involved with the clinic is Tony Bosch. He has reportedly been cooperating with MLB and will be the key provider of information for whatever MLB does. Accoring to T.J. Quinn of ESPN, baseball is prepared to suspend both Braun and Rodriguez for 100 games despite it being a first, not second offense.

Quinn is surmising that the suspensions will come right after the All-Star break.

How do these potential suspensions impact baseball down the stretch? Furthermore, how does it impact you if you choose to lay some money on a team to win a division, League pennant or World Series?

The easy answer for Ryan Braun is that it won’t effect anything because he plays in Milwaukee where the Brewers are out of any potential chance at the playoffs. I don’t necessarily buy that though because while his team might be out of it, his presence on the field could still impact teams you might be wagering on.

The National League Central, in which the Brewers play, is hotly contested between the Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds right now. If Ryan Braun isn’t on the field over the final 50 games of the 2013 season, then that could impact any of those three teams because they all play the Brewers in the second half of the season.

A-Rod is expected to meet with MLB on Friday about the PED investigation in South Florida.

Therefore, don’t automatically assume that just because Braun is on a losing team his absence won’t impact anything.

In terms of on-field action, Alex Rodriguez has started rehab assignments in the minor leagues and wants to join the Yankees after the break. he is coming off of hip surgery and the Yanks desperately need his bat because the third base position up to know has provided literally nothing from the batter’s box.

Unlike the Brewers, New York is in the hunt for a post-season berth. Their division is highly-competitive with all five teams still in the running for a playoff spot.

Because we’ve already seen the Yankees without A-Rod this year, we have a good idea of how division rivals have fared against them so his absence won’t be as glaring as Braun’s. Regardless, how you choose to wager, whether on the Yankees or another AL East team, is impacted by whether or not A-Rod is suspended.

Two other key names that hav ebeen linked to the Biogenesis clinic are Bartolo Colon of Oakland and Nelson Cruz of Texas.

The 40-year old Colon is 12-3 and is a major reason why the A’s are in a battle for the AL West with Cruz’s Rangers. For his part, Cruz has 22 home runs with 68 RBIs on the season. Should either one of these guys be suspended this would be a significant blow to each team’s chance of winning a division title.

Because of the leads the two teams have over the rest of the division, I predict they’ll still both be there at the end, but their success in the playoffs will be affected.

While I can’t stand the thought of another summer filled with PED talk, we have to acknowledge that it is in fact an issue and one that can seriously alter how we wager on teams.

A-Rod, Jeter on the Comeback Trail for the Yanks

Will Jeter's return come with results and a switch from shortstop?

I have to admit I didn’t see the New York Yankees being as close to the top of the American League East standings as they as we get ready to enter July. With very little Mark Teixeira and no appearances yet from Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter, it really is a testament to Manager Joe Girardi, General Manager Brian Cashman and the players themselves that they are still within shouting distance of division-leader Boston.

With Teixeira now under-going season-ending surgery on his wrist, the returns of Rodriguez and Jeter could not come sooner despite the fact that their expected return dates are still unknown as of yet. Obviously the Yankees would love to have the leadership and clutch-hitting of Jeter back as well as a powerful right-handed bat which A-Rod can hopefully provide.

What you should find intriguing about this is just what will the return of these two guys ultimately mean for the Yankees in the final three months of the Major League season.

The argument can be made that A-Rod may actually come in a provide more in the way of numbers. Actually, any improvement would help their 26th best batting average of .236 which makes their current standing all the more impressive. Rodriguez is of course coming off of hip surgery and on his new Twitter account last week proclaimed himself “ready” which didn’t sit well with Cashman who was pretty clear that the doctors have not officially cleared him yet.

The Yankees are desperate for some more power which A-Rod could provide when he returns.

Yankees’ President Randy Levine said “We need Alex back.” If he means in the purest baseball sense, which I believe he does, he is right. The problem is that A-Rod is such a polarizing figure that many fans will not be crazy to see him. Don’t forget he may have yet another performance-enhancing drug issue hanging over his head with the coming forward of the South Florida doctor. Levine isn’t a fool and clearly knows that the Yanks would love nothing better than to dump his monstrous salary which they are on the hook for for another few years. I don’t see any team wanting A-Rod regardless of how well he performs because of his contract so I believe the Yankees will have to eat it.

In Jeter’s case, he is recovering from that broken ankle suffered against the Detroit Tigers in the first game of the American League Championship Series last October. He was thought to be back for the season opener but suffered a setback in spring training. No figure in pinstripes will receive a more hearty welcome back than Jeter which of course is deserved but will he be able to put up productive numbers?

Perhaps the better question is from what position will Jeter be playing? His top replacement, Eduardo Nunez is getting ready to come off the DL as well and at 26 years old, has much better range than the 39-yeard old Jeter. It’s possible we could see Jeter in a DH role against left-handers because he still has great success against them versus only average success against righties. With Teixeira gone, is first place a possibility? From time to time I believe it is.

Honestly, I don’t think it matters if both men come back and play well in 2013. Boston appears to be deeper and have more pitching and the Baltimore Orioles could have the same thing said about them. I feel like Tampa will hang around but just doesn’t have enough horses while Toronto needed a recent 11-game winning streak just to pull back withing five game of the Sox. I have no doubt the Yanks will add some guys at the trade deadline if they are still hovering around the five-games out area. I don’t believe it will be enough however so put your money elsewhere because we all know A-Rod doesn’t exactly handle pressure very well.

Sunday MLB Top Quick Picks: April 7, 2013

With one week of Major League Baseball’s 2013 regular season in the books, bettors have a little more of an idea how strong teams may be this season. Obviously, a lot can happen over the course of the long 162-game schedule, but after seeing clubs in action for the first time, we can see where divisional races may be headed. Here are our quick picks for the top 10 games of the day!

New York Yankees +1.5 at Detroit Tigers -1.5

The injury-ridden Yankees have gotten off to a slow 1-4 start, which is understandable since they are currently without Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira. The depleted lineup will have even more trouble today as it takes on one of the league’s best arms in Justin Verlander. This is a pretty easy one. Take Detroit to cover -1.5 at home.

Washington Nationals -1.5 at Cincinnati Reds +1.5

This match-up features two of the NL favorites and two of the best pitchers in the league, as Johnny Cueto and Stephen Strasburg square off on the hill today. This game will likely be a low-scoring pitchers duel, but expect it to be within a run either way, so take the Reds to cover +1.5 at home.

Boston Red Sox +1.5 at Toronto Blue Jays -1.5

Toronto came into the season as the futures odds favorite to win the World Series, but it’s been a shaky 2-3 start for the Jays. Still, they’ll be sending out their big offseason acquisition – 2012 NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey – today and although he was saddled with a loss in his first start with Toronto, we should expect him to fare better against the Sox at home. Take Toronto to cover -1.5.

Minnesota Twins +1.5 at Baltimore Orioles -1.5

With Chris Davis’ red-hot bat and with home field advantage, look for the O’s to capture the win against the lowly Twins. Take Baltimore to cover -1.5 here.

Chicago Cubs +1.5 at Atlanta Braves -1.5

With four wins in their first five games, the Braves have already shown they can get the job done in several different ways. Last night, they relied on the late game heroics of the Upton brothers. Tonight, who knows who will step up, but one thing is clear: Atlanta should take care of the Cubs and improve to 5-1. Take Atlanta to cover -1.5.

Cleveland Indians +1.5 at Tampa Bay Rays -1.5

The Indians aren’t expected to be much of a threat in the AL this season and they certainly won’t be a threat to David Price and the Rays today. Take Tampa Bay to cover -1.5 in the win.

Seattle Mariners +1.5 at Chicago White Sox -1.5

Considering Chris Sale didn’t give up a run in his first start of the season, he shouldn’t have too much trouble shutting down one of the AL’s weakest lineups. Look for the White Sox to cruise to the win, covering -1.5.

St. Louis Cardinals +1.5 at San Francisco Giants -1.5

The defending champs got the better of the Cardinals in last year’s NLCS and it was Matt Cain who sent St. Louis home. The Cardinals will get a rematch against him and SF today and you better believe they’ll come out looking for revenge. St. Louis may not get the win, but expect a close one here today and for the Red Birds to at least cover +1.5.

Pittsburgh Pirates +1.5 at Los Angeles Dodgers -1.5

The Pirates should be one of the more improved clubs this season, but the Dodgers simply have too many ways to beat them, especially at home. Take L.A. to win this one and cover -1.5.

Los Angeles Angels +1.5 at Texas Rangers -1.5

Yu Darvish came within one out of perfection last time out this season, but that was against the weak hitting Astros. The Angels not only have the firepower to light Darvish up, but they also have some sluggers who are very familiar with the young ace, including Josh Hamilton, who spent several years in Texas. Look for the Angels to get the better of Darvish and the Rangers in the win as they cover +1.5.


MLB Opening Day!

Major League Baseball is back!

The 2013 season officially got underway last night with the Houston Astros defeating the Texas Rangers 8-2, but with 24 teams throwing out their first pitches of the year today, Monday marks Opening Day and the beginning of the long, but beautiful 162-game MLB schedule. Here are today’s match-ups and our quick picks:

Boston Red Sox +1.5 at New York Yankees -1.5

Look for the Sox to get their season started off right and upend the injury-ridden Yankees by covering +1.5.

Miami Marlins +1.5 at Washington Nationals -1.5

The Nationals are going to be the team to beat in the NL this year. Look for them to earn their first win today and cover -1.5.

San Diego Padres +1.5 at New York Mets -1.5

The Mets should be able to take care of the Padres at home. Take New York to cover -1.5.

Kansas City Royals +1.5 at Chicago White Sox -1.5

The Royals should be improved this season, but against Chris Sale and the Sox, they’ll struggle getting out of the gate with a win. Take the White Sox to cover -1.5.

Detroit Tigers -1.5 at Minnesota Twins +1.5 

The Tigers are one of the favorites in the AL and that’s because they have Justin Verlander. Since he’s pitching today, things don’t look good for the Twins. Take Detroit to cover -1.5.

Chicago Cubs +1.5 at Pittsburgh Pirates -1.5

We saw a huge improvement from the Pirates last year. Look for them to continue to get better with a win today.

Seattle Mariners +1.5 at Oakland A’s -1.5

With King Felix on the hill, the Mariners should be able to at least keep things close against Oakland. Take Seattle to cover +1.5.

Colorado Rockies +1.5 at Milwaukee Brewers -1.5

The Brew Crew is a bit too powerful in their own park for a team like Colorado. Take the Brewers to cover -1.5.

San Francisco Giants +1.5 at Los Angeles Dodgers -1.5

If you remember, the defending champs got off to a little bit of a slow start last year. Expect the same today as the Dodgers get the win.

Philadelphia Phillies +1.5 at Atlanta Braves -1.5

The Braves made some key acquisitions in the offseason. Look for them to pay off right away as they earn the win.

St. Louis Cardinals +1.5 at Arizona Diamondbacks -1.5

The Cardinals have too much firepower to lose to Arizona, even on the road. Take St. Louis to get this one.

Los Angeles Angels +1.5 at Cincinnati Reds -1.5

The Angels are more stacked than ever, but Johnnu Cueto shut down everybody last season. Expect him to do the same and guide the Reds to an Opening Day win.