With the Final Four coming up this weekend and Tiger Woods chasing Masters history the following week, the opening of baseball can be easily overlooked.
And yet, it’s here.
Let this column serve as an introduction to five months of what we hope is some helpful information and predictions that will help gain an edge to winning wagers. Wiseguys don’t need any help. They know which pitchers to bet on and against.
Still, it’s fun for us to size up the daily action and look for favorable situations. Baseball, more than any other sport, offers the best chance for the underdog to upset the favorite. The first week of the season debuts "Two For Tuesdays" ”” two selections each Tuesday where we will put our money on the line and hope not to choke on the change.
The big guns are out in force Tuesday, which doesn’t offer much in the way of upset possibilities. Tough to bet against Schilling, Zito and Lowe ”” all of whom figure to send bettors to the run line in order to gain the maximum amount of positive revenue.
After all, what’s the point of betting these guys at —300?
We will have a better idea for devising a winning formula next week, but for now it’s wise to go with the ones who paid off in 2002.
Boston at Tampa Bay (Lowe vs Zambrano): The Red Sox come back with 21-game winner Derek Lowe after showing off Pedro the previous night. Martinez and Lowe ranked 1-2 in ERA in the AL last year. With Nomar Garciaparra, Manny Ramirez and Shea Hillenbrand facing Victor Zambrano (who?) the Red Sox figure to score plenty. Playing at Tropicana Field helps Boston, which gets the full 27 outs. A rough beginning to a long year for new Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella. RED SOX + 1Â½.
Texas at Anaheim (Park vs Callaway): Chan Ho Park was supposed to be the pitcher that helped make Texas a contender in the AL West. Park wound up spending much of his time on the DL as the Rangers faded to the rear. Right-hander Mickey Callaway has replaced Ramon Ortiz as the No. 2 pitcher in the Anaheim rotation. John Lackey was shaky in Sunday’s 6-3 loss in the opener. The maligned Texas bullpen tossed four scoreless innings.. Maybe a 2-0 start is possible. RANGERS.