Chicago White Sox vs. Toronto Blue Jays Preview and Pick (Peavy vs. Tallet) – Betting Line

Chicago White Sox (2-4) Jake Peavy, at Toronto Blue Jays (5-1)
Brian Tallet, Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario, 7:20 PM EST, Monday,
April 12th, 2010

by Badger of

Betting Line: White Sox -125/Blue Jays +115
Total: 8

The red hot Toronto Blue Jays will open up the home portion of their 2010 season Monday with Opening Night in the Rogers Centre in Toronto when they welcome the Chicago White Sox and their newly acquired ace Jake Peavy to the dome.

The Blue Jays have once again surprised many by sprinting out of the
gate with a 5-1 record after the first week of play, but Sundays
victory shows the Blue Jays are just taking advantage of their
opponents mistakes in the early season.

The Jays completed the three-game sweep of the AL East rival
Baltimore Orioles yesterday when Orioles now third baseman Miguel
Tejeda booted a ground ball to third with two outs in a 2-1 game in
the 8th. The Jays next batter, Jose Bautista, hit a two-run homerun
to take the lead, Alex Gonzalez followed with back-to-back shots, and
part time closer Kevin Gregg got his second save as the Blue Jays stole the
finale of the three-game set in Maryland by a 5-3 score.

If not for a blown save in the ninth inning of the season opener in
Texas, wed be taking about the 6-0 Blue Jay right now.

The White Sox used ace Mark Buehrle to halt a four-game losing streak
yesterday, savaging the final game of their three-game set with the
Minnesota Twins, 5-4, and giving Buehrle both of the teams victories
this season. Pinch-hitter Andruw Jones delivered the go-ahead single
to score Carlos Quentin in the 8th and closer Bobby Jenks earned his
first save of the year in the Sox win.

The White Sox will turn to Peavy to try and cool off the Toronto
lineup and get them back on track in the Al Central, while the Blue
Jays will hand the ball to lefty Brian Tallet to make the opening day
start at the Rogers Centre.

Oddsmakers have staked Peavy and the White Sox as early favorites on
the overnight line, with a Sox moneyline bet opening at -125 on the
board. Toronto is listed as +115 on the dimeline, and the over/under total is listed at 8 at most of the offshore sportsbooks that have
opened their windows for betting already.

This is another one of those games where if youre looking to
handicap it solely based on starting pitching, you may be looking
elsewhere quickly.

Not only is Peavy coming off of arm and foot injury issues that shut
him down last year, but hes also spent his career in the National
League and has never faced the Blue Jays or pitched in Rogers Centre.
The lefty Tallet made 25 starts for the Jays last year, but the jury
is still out on him as well.

For what its worth Tallet made the more impressive start to the season last week, going 6.2 innings only giving up four hits and two
runs to the Rangers (a 7-4 win). The worrisome part is that those two
runs both came via homerun, and in his three starts against the White
Sox previously hes given up three homeruns in 20 innings pitched, so
he is a little prone to the long ball.

The good news for Tallet is that the Sox offense is struggling right
now, hitting just .203 as a team so far with just seven homeruns and
a low 3.5 runs per game average. Historically there arent too many
current White Sox that have hit him well either, although they all
are very small samples. Mark Teahan is 1-for-3 with a bomb in his
career for the best tally of anyone in the Sox lineup.

Peavy on the other hand was good, but not great in his first start
this season, going five innings (7 H, 3 R) for a no-decision in the
Sox 5-3 loss to Cleveland last Wednesday. He threw 106 pitches
against the Indians, which is why he got the quick hook, so I would
expect the bullpen to factor into his starts in April and May as he
stretches himself out.

As mentioned, Peavy has no history against the Blue Jays as a
franchise, but he has faced several of their veteran players over the
years (Lyle Overbay 1-for-3; Gonzalez 4-for-12) to very little
success. Hell have to stop a Blue Jays lineup that currently has an .
811 OPS as a team with a MLB-leading 11 homeruns so far in 10.

Perhaps the most interesting nugget is the fact that the Blue Jays
have literally OWNED the White Sox in the past two seasons. For the
past two seasons the Jays have won 6 of the 7 head-to-head games
against the Sox, sweeping all four at Rogers both years too, making
them 12-2 overall and 8-0 at home. You actually have to go back 13
games since the last time the Sox won in Toronto (1-12).

Theres no strong betting trend in regards to the total. The over is
7-3 in the last 10 games head-to-head overall, but its the under
that actually 6-2 in the games played at Rogers the past two seasons.

Badgers Pick: Normally Id be all over Peavy at what I would
consider low -125 odds, but he wasnt exactly sharp in his first
outing so Im not sold on his health just yet. Plus, the Blue Jays
are on one of their April tears again. Im on Tallet as the +115
underdog here simply because the Blue Jays are playing better
baseball right now.