GAME: (953) CINCINNATI REDS vs (954) NEW YORK METS
PICKS: (954) NEW YORK METS
REASON FOR PICK:
The Mets are back home following a pretty good finish to their road trip, as they won three of the final four. As for the Reds, their normally tough bullpen was way off this weekend, and as a result Cincinnati took two late losses at Philadelphia.
Tonight marks the return of Johnny Cueto from his disabled list stint, and Cueto has been chomping at the bit to get back in action. But he'll be doing so against a lineup that has given him a load of trouble for some reason. The probable Mets starters on Monday night are a collective 23-65 with two HR against Cueto. I'm also factoring the suddenly slumping Reds bullpen into this mix, as they're a little off their stride right now.
The Mets have Shaun Marcum on the bump tonight and he's off his best start of the season. The Mets eventually lost that game at St. Louis, but Marcum pitched well enough to win. He is definitely not a dominant pitcher, and Marcum's mistakes are going to get hit. He's done reasonably well against the guys he likely faces here, with the probable Reds weighing in at 18/65, 1 HR against Marcum. Also, Marcum might finally be getting a little bit of a correction on what is presently a bloated BABIP.
The team data is somewhat significant here. No doubt the Reds are the clearly superior team, but they're still currently a losing team on the road. Sub-.500 road teams should generally not be laying in the -160 neighborhood unless they're facing a team that is really horrendous. The Mets are not good by any means, but they're also not the Marlins or Astros.
I would put this in the value category. Meaning, the Reds deserve to be favored, but not by this much. The Reds deserve to be the chalk here, but I see the number being about 20 cents higher than it ought to be. That's enough to get me interested in the Mets as a live home dog tonight.
GAME: (967) NEW YORK YANKEES vs (968) BALTIMORE ORIOLES
PICKS: (968) BALTIMORE ORIOLES
REASON FOR PICK: Our play against the Yankees Sunday got rained out, but we are coming right back and going against them here on Monday. Not really sure how they have done it, but the Yankees are in first place in the AL East. They have accomplished this without most of their star players, who remain on the injured list. One thing is for sure, it's not a dominant hitting attack, as the Yankees are sixth from the bottom of the AL in runs/game (4.21) and below the league average in batting average (.252). Pitching has been good for the Yankees, ranked 2nd in the league in ERA (3.74) and fifth in WHIP (1.258). Still the injuries mount for NY. With Kevin Youklis (15 dl), Derek Jeter (60 day DL), Alex Rodriquez (60 day DL), Mark Teixeira (60 day DL) all still missing from the lineup. Now the pitching staff has seen Andy Pettitte (Trap) and IVan Nov (Tricep) also land on the 15-day DL. The Orioles had a very good April, going 16-11 and staying close to first place in the AL East. However, May hasn't been as kind, seeing the O's go just 7-9 and losers of five straight after Sunday's setback to the Rays, 3-1. Still, big edge here today in hitting to the O's who are 3rd in baseball in runs scored, fifth in batting average and fifth in slugging. Like I said yesterday, the Yankees are not going to run away from anyone with their offense. So we have value with the O's knowing they will be in this one to the end. Take Baltimore here on Monday.
GAME: (971) KANSAS CITY ROYALS vs (972) HOUSTON ASTROS
PICKS: (971) KANSAS CITY ROYALS
REASON FOR PICK: Play On: Kansas City w/Guthrie
Note: The Royals and Astros open a three-game set in Houston Monday night where Jeremy Guthrie toes the slab for Kansas City looking to improve on his 16-3 recent mark in his last nineteen team starts. Guthrie is also 3-0 in his career team starts against the Astros. With Houston 8-24 under the lights at night this season, look for more of the same this evening. We recommend a 1-unit play on Kansas City. Thank you and good luck as always.
Marc zeroes in on another Top Key winner on Monday night's MLB card in a 100% ATS perfect winning situation. Put it on your ticket now - you'll be glad you did!