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Mlb Fixtures National League Fixtures For Monday March 31st 2014

MLB fixtures – National League fixtures for Monday, March 31st 2014

CHICAGO CUBS (0-0) @ PITTSBURGH PIRATES (0-0) PNC Park – 18:05 GMT Expected – Samardzija (0-0, -.–) vs. Liriano (0-0, -.–) The Pittsburgh Pirates will look to build upon their success from 2013 as they start off a new year at home. A 94-68 record last year saw the team through to their first playoff appearance since 1992. Center fielder Andrew McCutchen (2013 – .317, 21HR 84RBI) was the National League MVP last season, and will look to continue his ascension among the ranks of the game’s all-time best center fielders. Pirates ace Francisco Liriano (2013 – 16-8, 3.02ERA) takes the hill Monday amid concerns about his health (groin injury) The Chicago Cubs will try and put the memories of a miserable 66-96 season behind them, and move on to bigger and better things in 2014. They haven’t seen playoff baseball at Wrigley Field since 2008, and with a roster that’s largely on the front end of a rebuild, they’re unlikely to see it this year, either. Righty Jeff Samardzija gets the start for the Cubbies, who will look to young bats including Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo to lead them out of the depths of the NL Central in 2014. PICK: Pittsburgh WASHINGTON NATIONALS (0-0) @ NEW YORK METS (0-0) Citi Field – 18:10 GMT Expected – Strasburg (0-0, -.–) vs. Gee (0-0, -.–) After what many considered a disappointing 2013 campaign, the Washington Nationals will try and reestablish themselves as favorites in the NL East in 2014. They have an excellent batting order, led by mercurial 21 year old star Bryce Harper (2013 – .274, 20HR 58RBI), whom many in the baseball world see as poised for a breakout in 2014. Flamethrower Stephen Strasburg (2013 – 8-9, 3.00ERA) gets the opening day start for the team, in place of the pitcher who was arguably the best on the staff last year, lefty Gio Gonzalez The New York Mets continued their downward spiral in 2013, finishing well out of the playoff hunt with a 74-88 record. With departing veterans and a young and unproven starting roster, things aren’t likely to get much better for the team in 2014, either. After an excellent showing in Spring Training, 27-year old righty Dillon Gee (2013 – 12-11, 3.62ERA) gets the start for the team on opening day. They will look to veteran All Star David Wright (2013 – .307, 18HR 58RBI) to lead a platoon of mostly unproven bats. PICK: Washington ATLANTA BRAVES (0-0) @ MILWAUKEE BREWERS (0-0) Miller Park – 19:20 GMT Expected – Teheran (0-0, -.–) vs. Gallardo (0-0, -.–) In many ways, it was a story book season for the Braves in 2013. A team that entered the year as an underdog Wild Card pick, stormed to a 96-66 record en route to an AL East title. Coming into the 2014 campaign, hopes were high on the back of that performance, and considering a lineup which, on paper, was only getting strong. The team lost 2 starting arms to Tommy John surgery in Spring Training though, and enter 2014 with questions abound in their pitching rotation. One player who isn’t a question mark though, is opening day starter Julio Teheran (2013 – 14-8, 3.20ERA). The Milwaukee Brewers will get perennial All Star Ryan Braun back in their lineup, after one of the more protracted and dramatic PED-related suspensions in recent memory. The shadow of the 100-game suspension handed to Braun hung over the Brewers for much of the 2013 season, and their resulting 74-88 record was seen as a reflection of the turmoil surrounding the club. The team will hope that Braun is back and better than ever, and still able to carry the offensive load for a team which relies on him heavily. PICK: Milwaukee ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (0-0) @ CINCINNATI REDS (0-0) Great American Ball Park – 21:10 GMT Expected – Wainwright (0-0, -.–) vs. Cueto (0-0, -.–) The long road to hoe back to the World Series begins on Monday night for the St. Louis Cardinals. The defending National League champions will be out to avenge their Championship series loss to Boston in 2014, and will do so without a few key pieces from their 2013 run. Heavy hitting outfielder Carlos Beltran and playoff hero David Freese both left for other pastures in the 2013 offseason, so the team will be heavily reliant of the bat of veteran Matt Holliday (2013 – .300, 22HR 94RBI) to give them the necessary pop to drive the offense. Ace Adam Wainwright (2013 – 20-11, 2.42ERA) is an absolute stud, and gets the ball to start on Monday night. The Cincinnati Reds had a largely successful 2013 season, although it ended on a sour note with a loss in the Wild Card play-in game to the Pittsburgh Pirates. With much of the same skilled lineup intact, the Reds will hope that they can carry their success over into a new campaign. One player who wasn’t there for the majority of their 2013 campaign is ace Jonny Cueto (5-2, 2.82ERA), whose return from injury gives the team added hope that they can push through into legitimate contention in 2014. PICK: Cincinnati COLORADO ROCKIES (0-0) @ MIAMI MARLINS (0-0) Marlins Park – 00:05 GMT Expected – De La Rosa (0-0, -.–) vs. J. Fernandez (0-0, -.–) There wasn’t much to say about the Colorado Rockies 2013 season, other than that, much like the five seasons that preceded it since the 2008 World Series appearance, it went by without a playoff game. The team enters the 2014 season with an overhauled roster, but still the same two offensive pillars in place: Venezuelan outfielder Carlos Gonzalez (2013 – .302 26HR 70RBI) and longtime shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (2013 – .312 25HR 82RBI). With ace Jhoulys Chacin out with an injury, the team hands the ball to veteran Jorge De La Rosa on opening day. There’s nowhere to go but up for a Miami Marlins team which finished dead last in the NL East with a 62-100 record in 2013. There’s is a young, inexperienced roster, but is one that is definitely getting better. Opening day starter Jose Fernandez (2013 – 12-6, 2.19ERA) was an absolute beast for the Marlins last season, and looks well on his way to being a perennial Cy Young candidate. He gives them a chance to win every time he hits the mound. The Marlins will also hope that 24 year old rightfielder Giancarlo Stanton (2013 – .249 24HR 62RBI) can recover from an off-year in 2013 PICK: Miami SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS (0-0) @ ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS (0-2) Chase Field – 02:40 GMT Expected – Bumgarner (0-0, -.–) vs. McCarthy (0-0, -.–) Repeating as champions after winning in 2012 was never going to be easy for the Giants, but even they must’ve expected more than the miserable 76-86 record they posted in defense in 2013. They did suffer through some injuries to key players, but even with a healthy lineup, they suffered from significant under-performance. One man who did manage to impress in 2013 was young Madison Bumgarner (13-9, 2.77ERA), who gets the ball for opening day. With a mostly healthy lineup heading into the season, the Giants will expect much greater things in 2014. The Arizona Diamondbacks had the pleasure of playing the two ‘Opening Series’ games last weekend in Sydney, Australia, against division rival Los Angeles Dodgers. The Diamondbacks will not be happy that they started the year by losing both games, but there is still plenty of room to improve for Arizona. They will again rely on hard hitting All Star Paul Goldschmidt (2013 – .302 36HR 125RBI) in 2013, though there is now the added bat of 34 home run man Mark Trumbo, added from the Angels in the off-season, to help. Trumbo had 1 home run in the opening two-gamer. PICK: Arizona.

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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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