Dave’s Free Play, Monday 3/31/14
This blog will be almost all baseball for the next few months. But I would be remiss if I didn’t at least acknowledge an incredibly brilliant coaching job that took place yesterday. Certainly the players had to execute the game plan, and UConn sure did that as they sent home Michigan State and moved on the the Final Four in the process. But I’ve got to send major props out to Kevin Ollie, who was a true mastermind in the Huskies upset win.
Ollie and the Huskies did as good a job as I’ve seen in a long time in giving Michigan State absolutely nothing in this game. The Spartans were completely shut down in the paint and were forced into taking way too many threes. One amazing statistic illustrates just how sensational UConn was on defense in this game. Michigan State had a grand total of eight field goal attempts in this game. That’s not eight makes, that’s eight shots. That’s truly remarkable. It’s also the reason Connecticut is heading to Texas for an unexpected shot to win the national title.
And here we go! The baseball season gets started in earnest today and tonight with all but four teams in action, and after picking up a few units with very limited exhibition offerings, I’m ready to go as well.
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Good job by the Nets as the Sunday free play. I’ve got a baseball selection today, and this will be part of my personal card as well.
03/31 07:05 PM MLB (923) SEATTLE MARINERS (924) LOS ANGELES ANGELS
Take: (923) SEATTLE MARINERS +115
Playing baseball at the start of the season is more about projection than actual data. While that is clearly not as reliable as having true numbers to work with, it’s also an opportunity to cash in playing on or against pitchers before the betting lines adjust.
I’ve got a big red flag next to Jered Weaver right now. The telltale signs of a pitcher in decline are unmistakeable. Weaver looks to be on that slippery slope heading into the new season.
There’s no question that the Angels righty knows what he’s doing, and that savvy will have to serve him well. The numbers simply don’t lie on Weaver. Three straight years with drops in velocity, and many of the peripheral stats are in lockstep with that fading profile.
I don’t think Weaver is going to fall apart at the seams. He was never a big heat pitcher. His game has always been about location and changing speeds. But there comes a point where a pitcher cannot get by if his location is off, and I believe Weaver has reached that point. There’s just little room for error when the fastball arrives in the mid-80’s, and that’s about where Weaver is now.
Felix Hernandez is throwing here for Seattle, and King Felix is hoping for better fortune than he’s generally gotten at Anaheim. He’s up against what should be a prolific Angels offense, but Hernandez is usually very tough out of the gate, and I don’t see why that’s about to change. Hernandez is also gradually losing velocity, but he throws six different pitches and his location is actually getting better with age.
The Mariners look as though they’re going to be vulnerable to lefties this season. But I think they could be pretty effective offensively vs. righties, and with the heavy dose of injuries plaguing both Oakland and Texas, this team has a chance to make some real noise in the AL West if they can get started in decent form.
There’s much more to beating the bases than just relying on starting pitching. But I feel as though there might be some value in going against Weaver if he’s still going to be priced as a top tier hurler. I like the idea of backing King Felix at plus money tonight, so the Mariners are the play.