If you are looking for a brief summary of what you need to know today to make informed betting choices, you’ve come to the right place!
1. R.I.P. King Felix’s arm
The injury bug that has been infecting some of the game’s biggest starting pitchers finally sunk its fangs into one of baseball’s most durable players. Felix Hernandez left last night’s 19-9 loss to the Tigers with “dead arm,” and will have his shoulder examined back in Seattle, while the Mariners continue a 10-game road trip without him.
King Felix was on pace for his worst season as a starter, but after averaging 32 starts over the past 11 years, it’s understandable that the 31-year-old may finally be hitting a wall. However, the Mariners don’t really have the luxury of waiting for Hernandez to get better. As bad as he’s been this season, he’s still a better option than most of their starters. Hisashi Iwakuma and Yovani Gallardo haven’t been strong, while Drew Smyly is already on the DL.
Those are just the starting pitching issues for the Mariners: they’re also missing Kyle Seager and Mitch Haniger from the starting lineup. Luckily for Seattle, they have ace James Paxton on the mound tonight to stop the bleeding. But outside of his appearances, this team will be a stay-away for the coming week, sporting a dismal 2-10 record on the road.
Overall, if you bet on the M’s futures, you’re allowed to panic a little. But take solace in the fact that their offense has been productive. There’s reason to think the rest of the pitching staff will find it’s rhythm, and they’ll be aided by the return of reliever Steve Cishek.
2. Bulls turn to Isaiah Canaan
If you needed any more evidence that the Bulls point guard depth was non-existent, Isaiah Canaan is currently a headline in the NBA playoffs. The Murray State product, who played less than 600 minutes this season, is going to start tonight in hopes of igniting Chicago’s offense as their first round series returns to Boston knotted up at two.
After Jerian Grant and Michael Carter-Williams couldn’t hack it as Rajon Rondo replacements, Fred Hoiberg has turned to the journeyman Canaan, who scored 13 in Sunday’s loss. He’ll need to play big minutes and contain Isaiah Thomas, but Dwyane Wade or Jimmy Butler should be the primary ball handlers. Chicago still has a distinct advantage on the glass with Robin Lopez, so if they can get the ball to him in the post and dictate the pace of the game, they’ll still have a chance to pull off the upset.
Boston has been able to take advantage of the injury to Rondo so far, and enters tonight’s tilt as healthy eight-point favorites. However, the Celtics weren’t a great cover at home this season, so the Bulls should be the play here.
Photo Credit: LiAnna Davis (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons