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Mlb Fixtures American League Fixtures Preview And Picks For Friday April 11th 2014

Here’s our preview of tonight’s MLB action in the American League…


Yankee Stadium – 00:05 GMT Expected pitchers – Lester (0-2, 2.51) vs. Sabathia (1-1, 7.50) The Red Sox haven’t exactly gotten off to a banner start to the season. A 4-6 record is certainly salvageable, and no one on the team has been noticeably poor or under performing, but the Sox will want to ensure that they don’t fall too behind in the difficult AL East. The team really likes the production it has gotten from center fielder Jackie Bradley (.364, 0HR 5RBI) to this point in the season, and his spot atop the order seems secure for now. Rookie Xaender Bogaerts (.314, 0HR 0RBI) has also been a revelation at shortstop, and figures to be a big part of the Red Sox plans moving forward. New York beat Boston 4-1 on Thusday, in the first of their four game home set with their arch rivals. The win was on the back of an excellent pitching performance from number 5 starter Michael Pineda, an unfamiliar narrative for a Yankees team which has seen it’s starting staff knocked around a bit in the early season. Staff ace C.C. Sabathia (1-1, 7.50) gets the start on Friday, and the Yanks will hope that he can improve upon his first two starts, which have seen him yield 15 hits and 10 earned runs in just 12 innings pitched. PICK: Boston TORONTO BLUE JAYS (5-5) @ BALTIMORE ORIOLES (4-5) Camden Yards – 00:05 GMT Expected pitchers – McGowan (0-1, 13.50) vs. Tillman (1-0, 1.35) Toronto finds itself at .500 after a start to the season which has been up and down. They won their most recent set, at home to Houston, and now head out on the road for three consecutive series along the Eastern seaboard. The team has seen a strong start from their bats, particularly outfielder Melky Cabrera (.333, 4HR 5RBI), but would probably like to see a little more consistency from their starting pitching. With the exception of veteran Mark Buehrle, Jays starters have been knocked around a bit, including staff ace R.A. Dickey (1-2, 5.30), who surrendered 2 home runs and 5 earned runs in 7 innings pitched against Houston on Thursday. The Orioles were many pundits pick for ‘potential surprise team’ in the AL East, thanks in large part to a batting order which is one of the most dangerous in the Majors. That order includes 2013 home run king Chris Davis (.303, 0HR 6RBI), who has yet to go yard in 33 at bats to this point in the season. Center fielder Adam Jones (.303, 1HR 4RBI) is also hitting well enough for average, but is struggling to give the Orioles the kind of power they expect from the middle of the order. With the exception of catcher Matt Wieters (.367, 2HR 6RBI), the team will expect a lot more from its loaded line up as the season progresses. PICK: Baltimore HOUSTON ASTROS (4-6) @ TEXAS RANGERS (4-5) The Ballpark at Arlington – 01:05 GMT Expected pitchers – Feldman (2-0, 0.66) vs. Darvish (1-0, 0.00) Considering that they were the very worst team in the majors last season, the Astros 4-6 has to be seen as a positive. The team has looked competitive, particularly on the offensive side, where second baseman Jose Altuve (.297, 0HR 5RBI) is continuing his ascension into the ranks of elite second basemen in the league. The only thing that has really held the club back to this point in the year has been their pitching staff, which, with the exception of Friday starter Scott Feldman, has been poor.  The Rangers have had to overcome injuries to some key players to start the season, but will still be disappointed with a 4-5 start that has seen series losses to AL rivals Tampa Bay and Boston. Staff ace Yu Darvish gets the start on Friday night; he missed his opening day start with some shoulder issues, but came back last week to post an excellent 7-inning shutout against the Rays. He is fast developing into one of the best arms in the game today. The team likes the early season production they have got from some unexpected bats in Alex Rios and Shin-Soo Choo, but will hope that big man Prince Fielder (.162, 0HR 3RBI) can find his way out of early season struggles sooner, rather than later. PICK: Texas CLEVELAND INDIANS (5-5) @ CHICAGO WHITE SOX (5-5) U.S Cellular Field – 01:10 GMT Expected pitchers – Carrasco (0-1, 6.35) vs. Sale (2-0, 1.76) The Indians lost for the first time in 14 games to the White Sox on Thursday night, 7-3. They are at U.S Cellular Field for a four-game weekend set, and are looking to reassert themselves as a competitive club in the AL Central. Leading the charge for the Tribe this season has been recent center field pick up Nyjer Morgan (.389, 0HR 4RBI), who was brought in as an early season stopgap for star outfielder Michael Bourn, who began the season on the injured reserve. With Bourn set to return by next week, expect Morgan to remain in the lineup; his .389 is far and away the best of any of the Indians’ everyday starters right now. The White Sox will be pleased to get off the schneid with a win against the Indians on Thursday, and now have the benefit of turning to stellar staff ace Chris Sale (2-0, 1.67) for the Friday start. Sale gives them a chance to win every time he takes the mound, and is far and away the best arm on the staff. The team also really likes the production it has gotten from the bat of young Jose Abreu (.300, 4HR 14RBI), who looks to be emerging as an excellent offensive performer in his first season in the league. Abreu has been getting some solid top-order support from shortstop Alexei Ramirez (.421, 2HR 9RBI) as well, as he continues to perform like one of the best offensive shortstops in the game today. PICK: Chicago White Sox KANSAS CITY ROYALS (4-4) @ MINNESOTA TWINS (3-6) Target Field – 01:10 GMT Expected pitchers – B. Chen (0-0, 1.42) vs. Gibson (1-0, 1.80) The Royals were expected to be competitive in the AL Central this year, and have looked exactly that in their first few series. They won their most recent set, taking 2 of three at home from a talented Tampa Bay Rays squad. The team has gotten another outstanding start from 23 year old catcher Salvador Perez (.458, 0HR 2RBI), who is fast developing into one of the best catchers in the game today. The team has also been getting some good production from the arms in its rotation, which was seen as a bit of a soft spot on the club entering the season. Friday starter Bruce Chen was solid in his first outing, and will look to continue that form through tonight. As was to be expected with a young and mediocre roster, the Twins have struggled to show form in the early going. Normally reliable veteran Joe Mauer (.250, 0HR 0RBI) has struggled in his adjustment to first base, and isn’t put up the numbers they need him to. Everyday left fielder Jason Kubel (.448, 1HR 6RBI) has been the best bat, but it has been a tough start for their pitchers that has most hobbled the Twins. With 4 of their 5 starters having gone through two starts already, none has an ERA better than 6.17. Young Kyle Gibson will look to build upon a strong first start of the season with another one on Friday night. PICK: Kansas City NEW YORK METS (4-5) @ LOS ANGELES ANGELS (4-5) Angels Stadium – 03:05 GMT Expected pitchers – Gee (0-0, 4.50) vs. Skaggs (1-0, 0.00) Considering they entered this season with rock-bottom expectations, the Mets have to be fairly pleased with a 4-5 start that includes a recent 2-1 series win over defending NL East champion Atlanta. The team hasn’t particularly excelled at anything, and the players they need to perform (particularly 3B David Wright), have struggled to engage to this point in the season. But they like what they have gotten from every day second baseman Daniel Murphy (.321, 0HR 3RBI), and hope that veterans like Wright and Curtis Granderson can turn things around, and help guide this relatively young lineup out of the dregs of the NL East basement. The Angels were dealt a significant blow on Thursday, when it was revealed that they will be without big slugger Josh Hamilton for the better part of two months due to injury. Considering the strong start to the season Hamilton was having (.444, 2HR 6RBI), this will be a significant blow to the team. All-world center fielder Mike Trout (.257, 2HR 5RBI) hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire to start the season, but he is sure to find his form soon. The team sure would love to be able to say the same of future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols (.250, 2HR 5RBI), but it is too difficult to tell at this point whether or not he is done as a heavy producer in the league. PICK: New York Mets OAKLAND ATHLETICS (6-3) @ SEATTLE MARINERS (5-3) Safeco Field – 03:10 GMT Expected pitchers – Milone (0-0, -.–) vs. F. Hernandez (2-0, 1.88) The Athletics have gotten out to the best start of any team in the AL, which may be considered a surprise if it weren’t so typical of them. Their balanced offense has been buffered by a pitching staff which has looked outstanding to start the season. Young lefty Tommy Milone gets his first start of the season on Friday, and will look to continue the strong run of form for A’s pitchers to this point in the year. If there’s one thing the team could look to improve on at this point, it’s their power game; they have just 9 home runs combined from their first 9 games of the season. The Mariners will send ace Felix Hernandez to the mound on Friday, which means that they are automatically the favorite to come out of the game on top. They have looked like a much stronger team after an off-season roster overhaul, particularly on the mound. Hernandez, James Paxton and Roenis Elias have all given the team reliable starting arms to this point in the season, something that had always been a contention for an M’s staff that had looked sparse behind their ace. So long as their bats, led by perennial All Star second baseman Robinson Cano (.300, 0HR 2RBI) can improve a little in their consistency, this could very well be the first of many successful seasons for the rejuvenatedM’s. PICK: Seattle

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Richard Roche
Richard is our sportsbook specialist. Spotting the best odds on the market or a curveball spread opportunity is his job - and he dedicates himself to it.

Richard is our sportsbook specialist. Spotting the best odds on the market or a curveball spread opportunity is his job - and he dedicates himself to it.

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