|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|05-22-10||Toronto Blue Jays v. Arizona Diamondbacks -129||Top||5-8||Win||100||18 h 15 m||Show|
I'm playing on ARIZONA. The Diamondbacks bats came to life again last night, as Arizona earned a 8-6 victory. They've now scored 29 runs over their last three games, all of them victories. I expect the Diamondbacks' run to keep their roll going, for at least another day.
Eveland has slightly better overall numbers for the season that Jackson does. However, Jackson is in better current form and has shown some really encouraging signs recently. He's gone at least 6 2/3 innings in three straight starts, going eight complete innings in his last outing. In that game, he allowed just four hits through eight shutout innings. He also had an impressive 12 K's to just two walks. That gives him a solid 3.74 ERA and 1.276 WHIP his last three starts. During that stretch, he had 27 K's in 21 2/3 innings.
On the other hand, Eveland is 0-2 his last two starts, failing to go more than four runs in either of them. In eight innings, he's allowed 11 runs, nine of them earned. In those eight innings, he gave up 15 hits while issuing eight walks, striking out only four.
Jackson doesn't have a great career record vs. the Jays. However, he's actually pitched well against them. In his last 10 starts vs. Toronto, he's allowed three earned runs or less in seven of them. In fact, he's allowed two earned runs or less in six of those 10 starts, averaging greater than six innings in those starts.
With Jackson in much better current form than Eveland and with the Dbax suddenly swinging the bats very well, I feel that the current price is more than fair. *10
|05-21-10||Cincinnati Reds v. Cleveland Indians UNDER 9||Top||7-4||Loss||-107||18 h 25 m||Show|
I'm playing on Cleveland and Cincinnati to finish UNDER the total. These teams have faced each other 12 times that past couple of seasons. Eight of those 12 games have stayed below the total. I feel that this year's first meeting will also prove to be relatively low-scoring.
Arroyo is a streak pitcher. He can be very bad for a few games and then reel off a string of really strong starts. That's been the case lately as he's off back to back gems. Indeed, in his last two starts, Arroyo has allowed just three runs in 16 complete innings. That translates to a 1.69 ERA.
Westbrook has been arguably even better over his last two starts. In those games, he allowed just two runs through 15 complete innings. That translates to a 1.20 ERA.
Westbrook has made three starts vs. Cincinnati. All three were of the 'quality' variety, two of which stayed below the total. He has a 3.20 ERA in those games.
Arroyo has made five starts against Cleveland. Three of those five games stayed below the total with Arroyo recording an excellent 2.94 ERA and 1.09 WHIP.
Even with yesterday's game finishing above the total, the Indians have seen the UNDER go 7-5-1 when playing a game with an O/U line of either nine or 9.5. Meanwhile, the Reds have seen the UNDER go 8-4-4 when they've played a game with a total of nine or 9.5. Looking back further finds the UNDER at a profitable 80-58-17 (58%) their last 155 in that situation. With both starters in excellent current form, I expect those stats to improve here. *10
|05-19-10||Toronto Blue Jays v. Seattle Mariners -118||Top||3-2||Loss||-118||12 h 53 m||Show|
I'm playing on SEATTLE. The Jays bats were alive again yesterday afternoon but I expect them to cool off this evening. For starters, Safeco is among the most difficult places in the league to hit home runs. Indeed, only one home run is being hit here per game, so far this season, which ranks as the lowest in the American League. Additionally, the Jays will be facing a red hot pitcher.
Fister has quietly been outstanding for Seattle. Through seven starts, he's gone 3-1 with a 1.72 ERA. He's allowed two earned runs or less in six of those seven starts and three or less in all of them. His numbers here at Seattle are extremely good. In four home starts, he's 2-0 with a 1.20 ERA and 0.633 WHIP. Opposing batters are hitting a mere .162 in those games. He's also 3-0 with a 1.67 ERA at night.
Mariners catcher Adam Moore said this of Fister: "He gives us quality every time he gets on the mound..." While the Jays home run power has been impressive this season, note that Fister has only allowed one home run in seven starts.
After a great start, Cecil has come back to earth for the Jays. He lost two starts ago and last time out, he got rocked for eight runs in two innings. He now has a 5.46 ERA on the season.
The Jays are just 5-11 their last 16 trips to Seattle, including 2-7 the last nine. Behind another quality outing from Fister, I look for the Mariners to continue their recent homefield dominance of the Jays, starting their homestand with a much-needed victory. *10
|05-17-10||Colorado Rockies v. Chicago Cubs -138||Top||2-4||Win||100||19 h 10 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHICAGO. The Cubs rallied for a much-needed win yesterday. They're a better team than their record indicates and I expect them to carry the positive momentum from yesterday's big win into this evening's contest.
Wells gets the call and he's been respectable, for the most part. For the season, he's 3-2 with a 4.57 ERA. Four of his seven starts have been of the 'quality' variety and he's gone a minimum of six innings in six of those. His 36 K's to just nine walks is impressive. He's also got a solid 1.181 WHIP at home, averaging nearly seven innings per start here.
Cook remains capable for the Rockies. However, he's also been inconsistent, particularly on the road. Indeed, he's 0-3 with a terrible 8.84 ERA (2.018 WHIP) away from Colorado. Opposing hitters are batting .329 against him in those games. Cook's last trip to Wrigley saw him give up 10 hits (3 HRs) and seven earned runs.
The Cubs are 9-5 in Wells' last 14 home starts, including 3-1 the last four. Conversely, the Rockies are 9-11 in Cook's last 20 road starts, including 1-3 the last four and 2-5 the last seven.
The Cubs are 9-1 the last 10 times that they hosted the Rockies, going 15-5 the last 20 times that they were a host in the series. Off yesterday's momentum-building win, I expect them to improve on those stats here. *10
|05-16-10||Arizona Diamondbacks v. Atlanta Braves UNDER 8||Top||1-13||Loss||-100||12 h 28 m||Show|
I'm playing on Arizona and Atlanta to finish UNDER the total. The first two games of this series have both been high-scoring. However, I expect a well-pitched affair this afternoon.
Hudson gets the call for the home team and he's been outstanding. His numbers for the season (3-1, 2.64 ERA) are great and he's been at his best lately. Over his last three starts, he's 2-0 with a 1.83 ERA.
Arizona counters with Haren and he's every bit as capable as Hudson. He gave up four runs in 6 2/3 innings last time, for him, that's a bad start. He still had 10 K's and 1 walk in that game though, which shows the type of stuff he brings to the table. In his previous start, he went the distance, striking out nine, walking one. For the season, he's gone 2-0 with a 2.76 ERA and 1.193 WHIP on the road.
Haren only faced Atlanta once last season. He went eight innings and allowed two runs, striking out seven with 0 walks. That game finished with a score of 5-2.
Hudson's last start vs. Arizona saw him toss seven shutout innings. His previous start against the Diamondbacks saw him throw eight complete innings. For his career, he's 4-0 with a 1.61 ERA in six starts vs. Arizona.
Yesterday's game was a tough loss for 'under' bettors as the score was 1-0 going into the 5th and 6-1 going into the 9th. Even with that result, the UNDER is 10-8 in Atlanta's games with a total of either eight or 8.5, going . While the bats have come to life the last couple of days, the Diamondbacks had scored three runs or less in six straight games, prior to this series. I won't be surprised when they struggle to score here. *10
|05-15-10||Chicago White Sox -135 v. Kansas City Royals||Top||5-4||Win||100||18 h 43 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHICAGO. I won with the White Sox in Peavy's last start, a 7-3 win over the Jays last Saturday. While the Royals grabbed yesterday's opener, I feel that Peavy and the Sox are providing us with solid value here and I expect them to bounce back and even up the series.
Both starters have similar overall stats for the season. However, Peavy is in much better current form. In his last two starts, Peavy has allowed a mere two runs in 15 innings. That's the type of dominance he used to bring to the table at San Diego and it appears that he's finally found his rhythm here in the American League.
On the other hand, Hochevar allowed four runs in 2 2/3 innings in his last start. He's now got a terrible 10.32 ERA and 2.381 WHIP his last three starts.
Hochevar had an excuse for a poor outing in his last start, as he was sick. After that game, KC manager Trey Hillman was quoted as saying this of Hochevar: "Sick as a dog. He was throwing up in the bullpen during his warmup. We tried to get as much fluids in him as we could. He was scuffling. He didn't make any excuses, he still wanted to start but the fact is he was pretty sick. He couldn't keep anything down. He's got a little bug." While Hochever has had time to recover, his strength still may not be back to 100%. Either way, note that he was just 7-13 with a 6.55 ERA last season.
Hochevar did perform very well against the White Sox on 5/3. He allowed just one unearned run through six innings. However, Peavy was even better vs. the Royals the next day, allowing 0 runs through seven complete innings. A look at the stats from those games shows that Peavy was arguably more dominant. He had 9 K's and 1 walk in his 5-1 win. Hochevar had four walks and 3 K's.
The White Sox are 86-59 the last 145 times that they were listed as road favorites in the -125 to -150 range, including 14-8 (+3.3) their last 22 in that role. With Peavy getting the better of Hochevar, I expect them to improve on those stats this evening. *10
|05-11-10||Los Angeles Dodgers v. Arizona Diamondbacks -155||Top||13-3||Loss||-155||11 h 28 m||Show|
I'm playing on ARIZONA. Haren gets the call and that's good news for the Diamondbacks. While his ERA is only 4.04 on the season, he's got a 4-1 record and a respectable 1.224 WHIP. He's been particularly sharp lately, going 2-0 with a 2.74 ERA and 1.174 WHIP his last three starts. While those three games were all on the road, he's also typically very tough to beat in this park. The Diamondbacks are 12-5 his last 17 home starts.
I won with Ely in his last start, so I'm aware that he pitched very well. That was at home though and it was only one road start. His lone road start saw him allow five runs in six innings, suffering a 7-3 loss.
That translates to a 7.50 ERA. Yes, he was very good in AA-ball last year. However, he struggled in single-A the previous season and is still very raw. While he may develop into a solid major-leaguer, at this early stage of his career, it's asking a lot to expect him to go on the road and go pitch for pitch with the likes of Dan Haren.
Even with yesterday's victory, the Dodgers are still just 5-11 on the road. They're also 2-4 in six all-time road starts vs. the Diamondbacks, when Haren was on the mound. Haren went a minimum of six innings in all six of those games, averaging 6.7. He allowed three earned runs or less in five of those starts, two or less in four of them. I expect Haren to deliver another quality start, leading his team to a much needed victory. *10
|05-09-10||San Diego Padres v. Houston Astros -119||Top||3-4||Win||100||13 h 15 m||Show|
I'm playing on HOUSTON. **Note this is still a play after SD pitching change** The Padres have won the first two games of this series. However, I expect the Astros to enjoy an edge on the mound and look for them to bounce back and avoid the sweep.
Correia comes in with a 4-2 record. Conversely, Oswalt comes in at 2-4. However, those records are deceiving as Oswalt has actually pitched quite a lot better than Correia has.
Oswalt comes in with a stellar 2.47 ERA. He's averaged 6 2/3 innings per start and has gone seven complete innings in three straight starts. On the other hand, Correia has a 3.97 ERA and has averaged less than six innings per start. In fact, he hasn't gone more than six innings in a start yet this season. A closer look reveals that he's benefited from pitching at pitcher-friendly Petco Park and that his road numbers aren't very good. Indeed, he's got a 5.40 ERA away from San Diego.
It's also worth noting that Correia has a 5.06 ERA during the day, not nearly as good as his 3.47 ERA under the lights. Opposing hitters are batting .198 against him at night but .300 during the afternoon.
On the other hand, Oswalt has been dominant when pitching during the day. In his two daytime starts, he has an outstanding 1.38 ERA, striking out 14 (2 walks) in 13 innings.
Correia hasn't had much success against the Astros, either. In three starts against them, he's gone 0-1 with an ugly 5.60 ERA and 1.471 WHIP. Houston won all three of those games. In his last start vs. the Astros, Correia gave up six earned runs in five innings.
Conversely, Oswalt is 10-2 (Astros are 11-2, +8.6) in 13 starts vs. the Padres. In his last start against them, Oswalt tossed a complete game, allowing a mere two hits and one run. While that 3-1 victory was at San Diego, the Astros are 4-0 in Oswalt's last four home starts vs. the Padres, winning by a combined score of 29-10.
I expect Oswalt to continue his strong pitching and this time, for his team to finally give him enough support to come away with the victory. *10
|05-05-10||Atlanta Braves -145 v. Washington Nationals||Top||7-6||Win||100||9 h 49 m||Show|
I'm playing on ATLANTA. As you're probably aware, the Braves are on an extended road losing streak. I expect them to finally snap that streak today though.
Hanson gets the call and he's off to a very strong start. For the season, he has a 2.17 ERA and 1.138 WHIP, striking out more than one batter per inning. Last time out, he pitched eight complete innings, en route to earning a 4-2 victory. He allowed only two runs on four hits and had 7 K's without walking a batter. While that was at Atlanta, Hanson has been particularly dominant on the road. Indeed, in two road starts, he's posted an outstanding 0.82 ERA.
Hanson has also enjoyed plenty of success vs. today's opponent. He's made four starts against the Nationals and has gone into the seventh inning in every one of them. Over those four starts, he's 2-0 with a 2.28 ERA and 0.831 WHIP. He's allowed one earned run or less in three of four starts against the Nats and has 30 K's in 27 2/3 innings.
Rookie Luis Atilano goes for the home team. Like Hanson, he's off to a very strong start. However, he's only made two starts, so its a very small sample size. Give him credit for pitching well. However, before getting too carried away, let's not forget that he was in the minors for eight years - so, he wasn't exactly considered a "can't miss prospect," as Hanson was. He only found his way into the starting rotation due to an injury to Jason Marquis and even Washington's manager (Jim Riggleman) acknowledged: "I didn't know about Atilano, really. We didn't have a plan for him to be in the rotation..."
The Braves know they desperately need a road win and they aren't about to throw in the towel. As Bobby Cox had to say: "We've never given up on ourselves. We got ourselves in a mess together and we'll get out of it together." Behind another quality effort from Hanson, I expect them to bounce back and snap their longest road losing streak since the 1990s. *10
|05-04-10||Arizona Diamondbacks v. Houston Astros -133||Top||1-0||Loss||-133||19 h 59 m||Show|
I'm playing on HOUSTON. After getting pounded in yesterday's opener and currently on an extended losing streak, the Astros desperately need a victory. I feel that this evening's pitching matchup provides them with a great opportunity to get one.
Kennedy earned his first win in a couple of seasons last time out. He still allowed five runs though (4 earned) and he's still got a 5.19 ERA in his three road starts. Arizona was 1-2 in those games.
Oswalt gets the call for the Astros and he's been pitching very well. Certainly, he's been a lot better than his 2-3 record indicates. He was a hard-luck loser last time out but still came through with another solid outing. Houston manager Brad Mills said of Oswalt: "He's pitched five quality starts and done a great job." He's gone seven complete innings in three straight starts and has a 2.73 ERA on the season.
Oswalt should be happy to see Arizona. Indeed, he's 9-1 with a 1.96 ERA and 1.013 WHIP 11 career starts against the Diamondbacks. The Astros were a profitable 10-1 (+8.5) in those games. That includes a perfect 7-0 record here at Houston. The Astros won those seven games by a combined score of 36-9! In his last two home starts against Arizona, Oswalt has allowed 0 runs and four hits through 15 combined innings. I expect him to continue his dominance of the Dbax, leading his team to a badly needed victory. *10
|05-03-10||New York Mets v. Cincinnati Reds -120||Top||2-3||Win||100||23 h 42 m||Show|
I'm playing on CINCINNATI. The Reds have the schedule in their favor here. Not only are they playing at home but they played an early afternoon game at St. Louis (6-0 loss) yesterday. On the other hand, the Mets played a late Sunday Night ESPN game vs. the Phillies. More importantly, I expect them to enjoy an edge on the mound. Mike Leake gets the call for the home team and he's off to a great start to his season and career. Through four starts, he's got a very solid 3.25 ERA. He's allowed three earned runs or less in three of his four starts (1 in two of them) and has gone more than six complete innings in all four starts. Last time out, he went seven complete innings, the third straight time he did so, allowing just one run on five hits. He threw 105 pitches, 60 of them for strikes. Leake should enjoy an advantage over the Met hitters as they'll be seeing him for the first time. Unlike Leake, Perez lasted just 3 2/3 innings in his last start, walking four batters. In his previous start, he lasted only five innings. For the season, he's 0-2 with a 4.35 ERA. That doesn't sound that terrible and it's admittedly still a small sample size. However, let's not forget that he was 3-4 with a very ugly 6.82 ERA last time out. Perez has ok career stats vs. the Reds. However, he got rocked in his lone start against them last season. In fact, in 4 1/3 innings, he allowed a whopping eight earned runs. Perez took the loss in an 8-6 win for the Reds. The Mets have gotten off to a strong start at home. However, they've still got a losing record on the road, where they've been terrible the past few seasons. The Reds are .500 at home and I look for them to climb above that mark by starting this series with a victory. *10
|05-02-10||Texas Rangers v. Seattle Mariners -107||Top||3-1||Loss||-107||6 h 11 m||Show|
I'm playing on SEATTLE. The Rangers have grabbed the first two games of this series and are looking for the sweep this afternoon. They haven't swept a series at Seattle since the 1990s though and have never done so at Safeco Field. I expect them to have some trouble here. Both starters have been excellent so far. CJ Wilson goes for Texas and he's gone 2-1 with a 2.10 ERA and 1.208 WHIP. That includes a 1-1 record with a 2.13 ERA on the road. Fister gets the call for the home team and he's been even better than Wilson. Indeed, he's gone 2-1 with a 1.67 ERA and 0.926 WHIP. That includes a 2-0 record with a remarkable 0.60 ERA and 0.467 WHIP here in the Pacific Northwest. The Mariners won his two home games by a combined score of 11-2. Fister admittedly didn't fare too well in his lone appearance vs. the Rangers. However, that was at Texas and the Rangers are still fairly unfamiliar with him. On the other hand, the Mariners have seen Wilson plenty of times. He made his major league debut against them, at Seattle back in 2005, and allowed four runs in just two innings. Since then, he's also faced them plenty of times out of the bullpen. In fact, he's made 37 overall appearances vs. the M's and has an ERA above five in those games. While both bullpens have been very sharp so far this season, it should also be noted that Fister has been able to go somewhat deeper into games than Wilson. While Wilson has failed to go seven complete innings in any of his last three starts, Fister has gone at least seven in all three of his latest. I expect him to continue his superb pitching at home and for that to help his team avoid the sweep. *10
|05-01-10||Oakland Athletics v. Toronto Blue Jays -118||Top||4-3||Loss||-118||13 h 11 m||Show|
I'm playing on Oakland and Toronto to finish UNDER the total. The first two games have both finished above the total. However, I'm expecting a well-pitched affair this afternoon. Today's starters have some similarities this season. Both have made four starts. Both have been excellent in three of those four starts while struggling against a powerful A.L. East lineup in the other. After struggling vs. the Yankees, Gonzalez was superb last time out. He allowed just five hits through seven shutout innings. He's now allowed two earned runs or less in three of his four starts. Off that shutout victory, he brings both momentum and this afternoon's game. Eveland struggled vs. Boston last time out. However, he'd allowed two earned runs or less in each of his previous three starts and entered that game with a superb 1.93 ERA. He should be extra "fired up," here, as he's a former member of the A's and will be facing his former team for the first time. The A's are hitting just .239 vs. southpaw starters. Meanwhile, the Jays are hitting a mere .155 vs. southpaw starters, with four of their five games vs. left-handers staying below the total. They're also hitting only .197 in their seven afternoon. games, with the UNDER going 6-1. More of the same this afternoon. *10
|04-30-10||Minnesota Twins v. Cleveland Indians -113||Top||9-3||Loss||-113||9 h 45 m||Show|
I'm playing on CLEVELAND. The Twins took two of three from the Indians at Minnesota. I expect the Indians to return the favor by getting this series started with a victory. Carmona gets the call and he's been reminding Cleveland fans of the dominant pitcher that went 19-8 a few seasons ago, nearly winning the Cy Young award. Through four starts, he's gone 3-0 with a stellar 2.96 ERA. He's lasted nearly seven innings per start and is coming off a gem in his last outing. In that game, he allowed just one earned run through 7 1/3 innings. He didn't walk a batter (a really good sign, as he's battled control problems the last couple of years) and the Tribe won by a score of 6-1. The Twins didn't have to face Carmona in the recent series at Minnesota, which should work in Carmona's favor here, as they haven't just seen him. While he's had some trouble at Minnesota, he dominated the Twins the last time that he faced them here at Cleveland, allowing one run through six complete innings. The Indians won by a score of 2-1. On the other hand, the Indians just saw Slowey, 10 days ago. Slowey pitched well in that game and has had some success against the Tribe. However, now the Indians are facing him for the second time in less than two weeks and now he's pitching on the road. Note that he lost his last road start (at KC) allowing
|04-29-10||Cincinnati Reds v. Houston Astros -166||Top||4-2||Loss||-166||19 h 22 m||Show|
I'm laying the price with HOUSTON. The Astros had been rolling before this series, having won seven of eight games. However, the Reds have beaten them each of the last two days. With a significant advantage on the mound, I expect Houston to bounce back and avoid the sweep.
Oswalt gets the call and he's been superb. He's got a 2.42 ERA on the season and in his last three starts, he's gone 2-1 with an outstanding 1.80 ERA and 0.85 WHIP his last three starts.
Arroyo goes for the visitors and his stats are every bit as bad as Oswalt's are good. Indeed, he's gone 0-2 with a 7.43 ERA on the season and that includes a terrible 10.80 ERA and 1.667 WHIP his last three starts. Last time out, he lasted just over three innings, allowing eight runs. I actually believe that Arroyo is a better pitcher than those numbers indicate. That said, I still don't feel that he'll be a match for Oswalt.
While he's had success against them recently, Arroyo has been mediocre over his career vs. Houston. Conversely, Oswalt has absolutely owned the Reds, to say the least. In fact, Oswalt boasts a 23-1 career record against the Reds with an extremely stingy 2.58 ERA. The Astros are 9-1 in Oswalt's last 10 home starts vs. the Reds and the lone loss came in a game where Oswalt allowed 0 runs through six innings. In 15 home starts vs. the Reds, Oswalt has never allowed more than four runs and he's allowed one or less in nine of them.
Even with the wins the last two days, the Reds are still a money-burning 73-98 on the road the past 2+ seasons. During the same stretch, the Astros are a respectable and profitable 96-77 at home. Behind another strong effort from Oswalt, I expect them to bounce back and improve on those stats. *10
|04-28-10||Arizona Diamondbacks v. Colorado Rockies UNDER 11||Top||12-11||Loss||-107||5 h 38 m||Show|
I'm playing on Arizona and Colorado to finish UNDER the total. I respect both these offenses and am aware that the Rockies scored 12 runs themselves yesterday. That said, I feel that this number is generously high, even for an afternoon game at Colorado. Note that the first two games of this series had O/U lines of just 8.5 and 9. In fact, this is the highest O/U line for a game at Colorado this entire season.
We tend to think of Colorado afternoon games flying above the total. That's not the case though. The UNDER is 63-45-4 in their day games the past 2+ seasons and that includes a 6-2-1 mark this season.
While the Rockies are now averaging a healthy 5.8 runs per game at home, the Diamondbacks are managing a mere 3.9 on the road, hitting only .231. They scored just one yesterday. Granted, that was against Jimenez and he's been outstanding. However, they haven't fared very well against today's starter either. Greg Smith has only faced Arizona once and he allowed only one run and three hits through five innings in that start. That game, which was back in June of 2008, would finish with a score of just 2-1.
While Smith is going on 3-day's rest, note that the Rockies bullpen has a superb 2.12 ERA on the season and that includes a remarkable 1.42 ERA and 1.053 WHIP here at home. His last two starts have finished with scores of 4-1 and 4-3.
Benson goes for Arizona and he's off to a very solid start. He's made two starts this season and has gone six innings in each, allowing just two earned runs in both. Those games averaged eight runs.
Benson hasn't faced Colorado since 2005, which should work in his favor. He's also had great success against the Rockies over his career. He's made seven starts against them and has a 3.02 ERA and 1.217 WHIP. The UNDER was 5-1-1 in those games with his last start against them finishing with a score of 3-2.
Even with yesterday's result, the UNDER is still 10-7-1 the last 18 times that the Diamondbacks played here. I expect those stats to improve here as the final combined score stays below the generous number. *10
|04-26-10||San Diego Padres v. Florida Marlins -155||Top||1-10||Win||100||19 h 57 m||Show|
I'm laying the price with FLORIDA. The Padres saw their 8-game winning streak snapped yesterday and I expect them to lose their second straight here.
The Marlins, who are 9-4 the last 13 meetings with the Padres, send Josh Johnson to the mound. The Marlins' ace had a sub-par start to the season, losing his first start, at New York. However, his ERA has been coming down ever since and he's off back to back quality starts. He's allowed just nine hits (12 K's, 4 walks) and three earned runs over 12 innings in those starts, which translates to a 2.25 ERA. He's got a 3.27 ERA in his two home starts, both of them Florida wins. Overall, the Marlins are an excellent 15-5 his last 20 home starts. Keep in mind that Johnson was 15-5 with a 3.23 ERA overall last season and that included a 7-3 mark with a stellar 2.67 ERA at home.
Johnson has only made one start against the Padres. That came back in 2007. He pitched five shutout innings but had to leave with a stiff arm and was placed on the disabled list afterwards.
Latos gets the call for the visitors and he's admittedly coming off a very strong start. That was at pitcher-friendly Petco Park though. His only road start saw him allow 3 HR's, giving up four earned runs in six innings. That translates to a 6.00 ERA. While Latos has certainly got potential, he still young and hasn't made that many road starts in his career. Last season, he was 2-3 with a 4.80 ERA on the road.
It should also be noted that Latos is 0-1 with a 10.80 ERA vs. the Marlins. He lasted only 3 1/3 innings in his lone start against them, giving up four runs.
While they've been excellent at home, the Padres are still below .500 (4-5) on the road. They're now a money-burning 65-106 (-19.3) on the road the past 2+ seasons. During the same stretch, the Marlins have gone a fairly respectable 92-77 (+4.6) at home. That includes an excellent 18-7 (+6.6) record as home favorites in the -150 to -175 range. While the Padres are averaging just over four runs per game on the road, the Marlins are batting .275 at home while averaging over six runs per game here. With another quality effort from Johnson, I expect them to hand the Padres their second straight loss. *10
|04-25-10||Seattle Mariners v. Chicago White Sox -150||Top||2-3||Win||100||15 h 18 m||Show|
I'm playing on the CHICAGO WHITE SOX. The Mariners came into this series as the much hotter team. However, the White Sox have cooled them off with back to back 9th inning victories. Now playing with some much needed momentum, the Sox figure to have an edge in this afternoon's finale.
Danks gets the call and he's been superb. In three starts, two of which came at home, he's gone 2-0 with an outstanding 1.29 ERA and 0.857 WHIP. He's gone a minimum of six complete innings in all three starts, averaging seven, and has yet to give up more than one earned run. In fact, he's gotten stronger each time out, going six innings in his first start, seven in his second and eight last time out. He's allowed a mere two hits in each of his last two starts and has 21 K's to just six walks for the season.
Vargas has been decent at home. However, he got roughed up in his lone road start. He took the loss in that game, allowing eight hits and five runs in just 5 1/3 innings. That translates to a 8.44 ERA and 1.689 WHIP. While that's a very small sample size - note that Vargas was also much better at home than he was on the road last year too. In fact, he was 2-1 with a 2.77 ERA at home but was 1-2 with an awful 6.49 ERA on the road. Clearly, he prefers sleeping in his own bed.
Also, note that this is Vargas' first daytime start this season and that he had an ugly 5.68 in his daytime appearances last season, significantly worse than his stats were underneath the lights.
Including yesterday's result, the M's are now a money-burning 65-106 (-27.6) on the road, the past 2+ seasons. During the same stretch, the Sox are a respectable 103-72 (+11.5) at home.
With yesterday's victory, the Sox are now 7-1 the last eight times that they hosted the Mariners and 14-5 the last 19. Behind another quality effort from Danks, I expect them to continue that homefield dominance this afternoon. *10
|04-24-10||BlueJays(Toronto) v. Rays(TampaBay) -140||Top||3-9||Win||100||15 h 7 m||Show|
I'm playing on TAMPA BAY. The Jays took yesterday's opener. However, I expect the Rays to bounce right back with a victory here.
Even with yesterday's result, the Rays are still 10-2 the last 12 times that they hosted the Jays, going 17-4 the last 21 meetings here. Of course, the Rays have been outstanding here, regardless of opponent. Even with yesterday's loss, they're now 117-60 here the past 2+ seasons. That includes a profitable 31-15 (+10.3) record when listed as home favorites in the -125 to -150 range.
Niemann has only made one home start. That came back on 4/8 vs. Baltimore. He got knocked out of that game early. However, that was due to getting hit by a line drive - as he didn't even give up a single run or hit. While the Rays went on to lose that one (a no-decision for Niemann) they're still a solid 8-3 in Niemann's last 11 home starts. He allowed three earned runs or less in nine of those starts, allowing just four in the other two. He was 6-2 with a 3.05 ERA here last season.
In his last start, Niemann went into Fenway and limited the Red Sox to just five hits and two runs through seven complete innings. The Rays won that one by a score of 8-2 and are now 4-1 in his last five starts.
Niemann has made three starts against the Jays, all at Toronto, winning two of them. Both wins came when Halladay was pitching for the Jays, so he wasn't exactly going up against a 'slouch.'
The Jays have been playing well on the road and Romero has admittedly been very sharp so far this season. He took the loss last time out (not his fault) and doesn't figure to get much support today either. Romero has only made one road start so far though and he was only mediocre on the road last year, going 5-5 with a 4.20 ERA. (He was 8-4 at home) Opposing hitters batted .293 against him on the road last season. Given those numbers, it's no surprise to learn that Romero dominated the Rays at Toronto last year but struggled here at Tampa. In his lone start here, he gave up four runs on seven hits and four walks, through six innings, taking a 4-0 loss.
Yesterday's game was the Rays' first game back home from a 10-game road trip, so we can cut them a little slack for the loss. However, the last time that the Rays were off a loss, they bounced back with a 12-0 victory vs. Beurhle and the White Sox. Given their overall home record the last few seasons and dominance of the Jays here, I feel that they've got a great shot at bouncing back again and that the price is more than fair. *10
|04-22-10||Philadelphia Phillies v. Atlanta Braves -135||Top||8-3||Loss||-135||9 h 56 m||Show|
I'm playing on ATLANTA. The Braves were on the wrong side of a pitcher's duel yesterday, as Halladay got the better of Hudson. However, today, I expect it to be Atlanta which has the advantage on the mound.
Lowe gets the call and he's already 3-0 through his first three starts. Granted, his 4.67 ERA isn't very impressive. However, that's due largely to his first outing. In his last two starts, he's allowed just four combined runs through 11 1/3 innings. That works out to a very respectable 3.18 ERA. Note that the Braves have won his three starts by a combined score of 32-12!
Lowe figures to get some decent run support again here, as Moyer has been struggling. In fact, he's allowed five earned runs in each of his first two starts, going 1-1 with a 7.50 ERA.
It's also worth noting that Lowe has been better against Philadelphia than Moyer has been against Atlanta. Indeed, Lowe is 6-1 with a 2.56 ERA vs. the Phillies. Conversely, Moyer is 4-9 with a 5.49 ERA vs. the Braves.
The Braves are 9-2 in Lowe's last 11 home starts. They're also a perfect 4-0 on the season when listed as home favorites in the -125 to -150 range. I expect Lowe to be the better of the two veterans here, as he continues his success vs. the Phillies and the Braves grab the rubber game of the series. *10
|04-21-10||New York Yankees v. Oakland Athletics +1.5||Top||3-1||Loss||-120||12 h 39 m||Show|
I'm playing on OAKLAND on the Run-Line (+1.5 runs.) I feel that the A's have a great shot at winning this game. However, with the run line option priced very reasonably, I'm going to grab the extra +1.5 runs. Sheets gets the call and he's been great in his comeback with the A's. Yes, he's been walking a few more batters than he'd like to. However, he's also 1-0 with a 2.64 ERA. Additionally, he's got an even more impressive 1.64 ERA in his two home starts. Last time out, he went six innings and didn't allow a run.
While Sheets has already made three starts, Hughes has made just one. The stats will show that he was reasonably solid, going five innings and allowing two runs. However, he issued five walks, which is more than Sheets allowed in any of his three starts. Also, he threw a career-high 108 pitches in that five innings, so wasn't exactly 'efficient.'
While Sheets is "ace material," Hughes is the Yankees fifth starter, beating out Chamberlain for that role during the spring.
Sheets, who was rumored to be going to New York in the past, dominated the Yankees in his lone start against them. In that 2005 outing, he tossed seven shutout innings, allowing only two hits, en route to earning a 2-1 victory.
Even with a couple of losses lately, the A's are still 8-5 their last 13 and they're still 6-3 at home for the season. They're 6-6 the last 12 times that they hosted the Yankees but two of those losses were by a single run. In other words, they'd be 8-4 vs. the run-line, the last dozen series meetings here. I expect them to have an edge on the mound and look for Sheets to cool off the surging Yanks. *10
|04-20-10||St. Louis Cardinals v. Arizona Diamondbacks -139||Top||7-9||Win||100||20 h 21 m||Show|
I'm playing on ARIZONA. The Cardinals grabbed yesterday's opener and enter tonight's game as the hotter team. However, I feel that Haren provides the home team with a significant advantage over Lohse.
Haren didn't receive a decision in his last start. However, he was still very solid. In 6 2/3 innings, he allowed just two runs. He now has a 3.60 ERA through his first three starts. The fact that he's had 20 K's with just four walks, in 20 innings, shows the type of dominant stuff that he brings to the table.
Note that the Diamondbacks are 5-1 in Haren's last 6 starts, when listed as a home favorite in the -110 to -150 range. Looking back further and we find the Dbacks at 22-8 in Haren's last 30 starts as a favorite (any venue) in that range. Overall, they're 35-16 his last 51 as a favorite and 5-2 his last seven home starts, dating back to last season.
On the other hand, the Cardinals are an ugly 3-14 in Lohse's last 17 road starts and 5-15 his last 20 starts overall. With the O/U line opening at nine (it could go down to 8.5) note that the Dbax are also a dismal 1-12 in Lohse's last 13 starts, when the total was either nine or 9.5.
While it's too early to judge Lohse on this season's 6.00 ERA (only one game) note that he was 1-6 with a 6.10 ERA on the road last season.
Lohse has respectable career numbers against the Diamondbacks. However, his teams are 0-3 his last three starts here at Arizona. Lohse allowed eight runs in 19 innings in those games and his teams lost by a combined score of 13-10. With Haren on the mound, Lohse isn't likely to get much support here.
In two starts vs. the Cards, Haren has gone 2-0 with a superb 1.80 ERA. The Diamondbacks won those games by a combined score of 18-5. Behind another strong game from Haren, I expect the Dbax to bounce back with a much-needed victory. *10 GOW
|04-19-10||Chicago Cubs -119 v. New York Mets||Top||1-6||Loss||-119||19 h 54 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHICAGO. The Mets are playing at home. However, the schedule and the matchup favors the visiting Cubs. Both teams lost yesterday and both had to travel to get here. However, the Cubs loss came yesterday afternoon, while the Mets' loss came last night. Additionally, as you probably saw, or at least heard by now, the Mets played a 20-inning "marathon" on Saturday. Not only did that seriously deplete their bullpen but it figures to have taken a toll on the energy level of the entire team, particularly after losing last night's game in the late innings.
Even if both teams were equally "fresh," the Cubs figure to have the advantage on the mound. Chicago is already 2-0 when Wells has pitched. He's got a 2.92 ERA overall and in his lone road start, he tossed six shutout innings, en route to earning a 2-0 win at Atlanta.
Note that the Cubs are 12-4 in Wells' last 16 starts as a favorite and 6-1 the last seven times that Wells took the mound when the line was in the -110 to -150 range.
Also, note that Wells has a 1.50 ERA and 1.167 WHIP from his lone start vs. the Mets.
Niese goes for the Mets and, unlike Wells, he's off to a poor start. Yes, he's got decent stuff. However, he's also 0-1 (Mets are 0-2) in two starts and has an ugly 6.55 ERA and 1.818 WHIP. Last time out, he allowed nine hits and five runs in five innings.
Additionally, note that Niese got destroyed in his lone start vs. the Cubs. In that game, he allowed six earned runs in just three innings, suffering a 9-5 loss. That translates to an 18.00 ERA and 3.000 WHIP!
Even with a loss yesterday, the Cubs are still a profitable 48-33 against southpaw starters, the past 2+ seasons. I expect them to improve on those stats here, moving to 6-0 the last six times that Wells got the call in the opening game of a series. *10
|04-18-10||San Francisco Giants v. Los Angeles Dodgers -159||Top||1-2||Win||100||16 h 50 m||Show|
I'm playing on the LA DODGERS. I won with the Dodgers in Friday's series opener and I'm coming back with them again for this afternoon's finale.
Kershaw goes for the home team and he's got huge potential. While his ERA is 4.50 through his first two starts, the Dodgers have won both of them. Additionally, let's not forget that he had a 2.79 ERA last season and that he allowed a mere 6.3 hits per nine innings last season. That was the best mark in all of baseball! He also had more K's than inning pitched last season and that's been the case through this season's first two starts, as well.
Note that Kershaw was absolutely dominant in his lone start vs. the Giants. Indeed, in that game he allowed just one hit and one run through seven complete innings, recording a commanding 13 K's while walking only one.
Note that Kershaw has a 3.38 ERA during the day (and at home) with opposing hitters batting a mere .158. Last season, he was 3-1 in eight daytime starts last season with opposing hitters batting only .177.
Zito has admittedly gotten off to a great start for the Giants this season. However, note that his first two starts have come against the Astros and Pirates. The Astros are averaging the fewest number of runs in all of baseball and the Pirates aren't that far ahead of him. Now, he'll take on a much more potent Dodgers lineup. Also, before jumping on the Zito bandwagon, consider that he was just 31-43 in his three previous seasons with the Giants. He had ERA's of 4.03, 5.15 and 4.53 in those seasons.
It should also be noted that each of Zito's first two starts came under the lights, while today's is an afternoon affair. That's noteworthy as he's had a higher ERA during the day in five straight seasons.
While the first two games have featured four right-handed starters. Today's matchup features a pair of southpaws. Note that the Giants are 42-53 against left-handers the past 2+ seasons. During the same stretch, the Dodgers have gone 60-47 against left-handed starters.
Even with yesterday's loss, the Dodgers are still 12-8 the last 20 times that they hosted the Giants. I expect Kershaw to be the "better southpaw" and look for the Dodgers to bounce back from yesterday's embarrassing loss and take two of three in the series. *10
|04-16-10||San Francisco Giants v. Los Angeles Dodgers -142||Top||8-10||Win||100||12 h 60 m||Show|
I'm playing on LA. I successfully played against Padilla last time out. However, that was on the road (at Florida) and it was against the opposing team's ace, Josh Johnson. Today's matchup is far more favorable.
This time, Padilla gets to pitch at home. Additionally, this time, instead of facing an 'ace,' he's matched up against the opposing team's fifth starter.
While Padilla admittedly isn't going to win any Cy Young awards, he's better than he's shown in his first two starts. He pitched very well when coming over to the Dodgers last season and he's had success against the Giants over his career. I expect him to deliver his best start of the young season here. I also expect him to get plenty of run support.
Todd Wellemeyer gets the call for the visitors and he's already 0-1 with a 5.68 ERA and 1.738 WHIP. That shouldn't come as that big a surprise as he was just a horrid 5.89 ERA with the Cardinals last season. In fact, in seven previous big league league seasons, he's only had an ERA below 4.14 once. Overall, his career ERA is 4.75. Note that opposing hitters batted a whopping .341 against him on the road last season!
The Giants are off to a strong start on the road this season. However, let's keep in mind that they're still 73-91 on the road the past 2+ seasons, including 17-25 as road underdogs in the +125 to +150 range.
The Dodgers are off to a winning start here and are now 104-68 at home the past 2+ seasons. That includes a profitable 34-20 (+6.8) mark as home favorites in the -125 to -150 range. Note that they've also gone an outstanding 88-59 (+11.4) against divisional opponents, during that stretch. They beat Haren last night (no easy task) and I expect them to pad those stats here, starting the series off with an important victory. *10
|04-16-10||Los Angeles Angels -110 v. Toronto Blue Jays||Top||7-5||Win||100||8 h 23 m||Show|
I'm playing on the LA ANGELS. The Jays are off to a great start. They followed up a strong road trip to open the season by going 2-1 in their first three games here at Toronto. They're facing a tough Angels team here though, one which will be extremely motivated to get back on track. They're also matched up against an opposing pitcher who has always given them real trouble.
Weaver gets the nod for the visitors and he's delivered a pair of quality starts to open the season. The Angels won both games, 6-3 and 4-3. In his last start, Weaver allowed just four hits and one run through seven complete innings. Note that he had seven K's to just one walk.
Weaver is 5-1 against the Jays over his career with a 3.00 ERA and 1.056 WHIP. He's been absolutely dominant against them his last few starts, too. Indeed, he's gone 3-0 the last three times that he's faced Toronto, allowing only four earned runs and 12 hits in 23 1/3 innings. That translates to an extremely stingy 1.54 ERA. Over that 3-game stretch, Weaver had a commanding 24 K's to just three walks.
Marcum has also gotten off to a strong start and he'll be highly motivated to keep it going here, as this is his first start at home. However, he may be a little emotional, as this is his first start here in some 19 months. Either way, I don't expect him to receive much run support.
While this season has gotten off to a slow start, let's not forget that the Angels are still an excellent 101-70 (+36.2) on the road the past 2+ seasons. That includes a 29-18 (+9) mark when playing on the road with a line in the +100 to -125 range.
The Angels, who lost last night, are also an outstanding 84-54 (+23.7) the past 2+ seasons, when coming off a loss. Behind another quality effort from Weaver, I expect them to improve on those stats here. *10
|04-15-10||Atlanta Braves v. San Diego Padres UNDER 7.5||Top||6-2||Loss||-120||18 h 17 m||Show|
I'm playing on the Padres and Braves to finish UNDER the total. While the opening game of this series, which was the first game at Petco Park this season, finished with a whopping 19 runs, I expect this afternoon's finale to be of the low-scoring variety.
Monday's game notwithstanding, Petco remains a pitcher's park and the Padres still have a weak hitting lineup. Keep in mind that San Diego ranked last in all of baseball in both runs per game (3.94) and batting average (.242) last season
Hudson goes for the visitors and he's coming off an outstanding first start. He allowed just three hits (0 walks) and two runs through seven complete innings. That translates to a 2.57 ERA and a superb 0.429 WHIP.
Hudson didn't face the Padres last season but was excellent against them in both 2007 and 2008. In his lone 2007 start against them, he allowed two runs through six innings. He was even better in 2008, allowing two runs through seven innings. For his career, he's 3-0 in six starts against them (team is 5-1) with the UNDER going 4-1-1.
Note that the UNDER is 6-2-2 in Hudson's last 10 road starts vs. a team with a losing record. Also, note that the UNDER is 9-4-2 in Hudson's last 15 starts when listed as a road favorite.
Latos wasn't as good as Hudson in his first start, as he allowed four earned runs in six innings. Like Hudson, he didn't walk a batter though. Additionally, that start came in the "thin air" of Colorado, so his mediocre effort can be "forgiven." Note that he had a very solid spring and that he's a young pitcher with plenty of potential.
Also, note that Latos has been excellent against the Braves. He faced them twice last August and allowed a mere eight hits, two walks and two runs through 14 impressive innings. That translates to a terrific 1.29 ERA and 0.714 WHIP. Not surprisingly, both games stayed below the total, finishing with scores of 2-1 and 4-2. I expect another low-scoring affair. *10
|04-14-10||La Angels v. Ny Yankees UNDER 10||Top||5-3||Win||100||3 h 28 m||Show|
I'm playing on the Yankees and Angels to finish UNDER the total. These teams saw yesterday's game finish above the total. That was a tough loss for those who played the 'under' though, as the score was 5-0 going to the eight inning and 7-1 in the ninth inning. With both this afternoon's starters having struggled in their opening start, many will be expecting to see double-digits again this afternoon. However, it's important not to over-react to one game. I believe that both pitchers are better than we saw last week and also feel that the O/U number is generously high.
Pineiro wasn't pleased with his Angels' debut, taking the loss in a 10-1 Angels setback. However, he wasn't nearly as bad as the final score indicates, as he allowed just three runs and five hits through six innings. That isn't exactly dominant but it still qualifies as a 'quality' start. Note that after escaping a first inning jam, he didn't allow another hit until the fifth inning. Also, let's keep in mind that Pineiro was 15-12 with a very solid 3.49 ERA last season. He had 105 K's to just 27 walks.
Vazquez also took the loss in his first start and admittedly wasn't very good, although he did take a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the fourth inning. Let's not forget that he has reached double-digits in wins in 10 straight seasons though. Last season, he was 15-10 with a stellar 2.87 ERA. He's had 200 or more K's in three straight seasons. Last season, he had 238 K's to just 44 walks. In other words, he knows how to pitch.
Neither pitcher has faced today's opponent recently, which should work in their favor. Both have had success against them in the past though.
Vazquez hasn't faced the Angels since May of 2008. In that game, he allowed three runs, only two of them earned, through 6 2/3 innings. He had six K's and 0 walks and his team won by a score of 4-3. Prior to that, his last start vs the Angels came back in May of 2004, in his previous stint with the Yankees. That game finished with a score of 1-0 (for the Angels) with Vazquez allowing just five hits through seven shutout innings. Overall, he's allowed two earned runs or less in three of his four career starts vs. the Angels.
Pineiro hasn't faced the Yankees since 2006 and has faced them seven times since 2002. He went a minimum of six complete innings in ALL seven of those games and allowed two earned runs or less in six of them. (He allowed just four runs in the other one.) The UNDER was 3-0 his last three starts vs. the Yankees and 5-1 his last six.
Even with yesterday's result, the UNDER is still 4-1 the last five times that the Yankees hosted the Angels. I expect those numbers to improve here. *10
|04-13-10||Tampa Bay Rays v. Baltimore Orioles OVER 8.5||Top||8-6||Win||100||8 h 20 m||Show|
I'm playing on Tampa Bay and Baltimore to finish OVER the total. Yesterday's opener was low-scoring with the Rays winning by a score of 5-1. I'm expecting a higher-scoring game this evening and I feel that the O/U number, which has come down to 8.5 at most shops, is providing us with excellent value.
These same two pitchers faced each other, at Tampa, less than a week ago. That 4/8 game finished below the total. However, that's because the total was 9.5. The game still produced nine combined runs, which would get us a win here.
Neither starter lasted long in last week's meeting. Matusz gave up only two runs and got the 'W.' However, he lasted just five innings and walked five batters. Now the Rays get a second look at him in less than a week and face him in a ballpark where they love to hit. Note that Matusz's only previous start against the Rays finished with a score of 8-7.
Niemann was 'cruising' for the Rays. However, he got hit by a line drive after throwing 12 pitches. While manager Joe Maddon thinks Niemann will be 'fine,' (that remains to be seen) he's never enjoyed much success here at Baltimore. Indeed, he's got an awful 8.47 ERA in five starts here at Camden Yards. In his last start here, he gave up 11 hits and six earned runs in just 4 1/3 innings. Overall, his last three starts against the O's have averaged greater than 12 runs, each finishing with a minimum of nine.
Even including yesterday's result, the OVER is 5-3 the last eight times that the Rays played here. I expect those numbers to improve here. *10
|04-12-10||Milwaukee Brewers v. Chicago Cubs -145||Top||5-9||Win||100||17 h 4 m||Show|
I'm laying the price with CHICAGO. This is the Cubs' home opener and I expect them to enjoy several advantages.
In addition to the advantage of playing on their home field, the Cubs have the schedule in their favor. That's because they played yesterday afternoon while the Brewers played on Sunday Night vs. St. Louis.
Note that even with yesterday's loss, the Cubs are still a profitable 93-64 when playing during the day. On the other hand, during the same stretch, the Brewers are a money-burning 59-63 (-8.9) when playing during the afternoon.
The Cubs should also enjoy an edge on the mound. Dempster gets the call and he was superb in his first start. In that game, he allowed just three hits and one run through six complete innings. (Note that Dempster was in line for the victory in his first start but the bullpen blew the lead for him.) Dempster had an impressive nine strikeouts while walking two. That translates to a 1.50 ERA and 0.833 WHIP. While its obviously still very early in the season, note that the Brewers are 11-28 in their last 39 games vs. a starter with a WHIP less than 1.15.
Davis goes for the visitors and unlike Dempster, he got roughed up in his first start this season. In that outing, he gave up six hits, three walks and four runs in just four innings. That translates to a 9.00 ERA and 2.25 WHIP.
Davis admittedly pitched very well vs. the Cubs last season and has solid career stats against them. However, those career numbers don't compare to what Dempster has done vs. the Brewers. Dempster was 3-1 vs. the Brewers last season with a 3.67 ERA. For his career, he's gone 11-3 with a superb 2.69 ERA against them.
While the Cubs have faced nothing but right-handed starters so far this season, note that they were a solid 47-32 against southpaws the past two seasons. Breaking that down further and we find them at an impressive 36-17 in their last 53 home games vs. a left-handed starter. With the Cubs also at 25-11 in Dempster's last 36 home starts, given the scheduling situation, the current price seems more than reasonable. *10
|04-11-10||Los Angeles Dodgers v. Florida Marlins -122||Top||5-6||Win||100||3 h 54 m||Show|
I'm playing on FLORIDA. The Marlins won yesterday's game in dramatic fashion. I feel that this afternoon's matchup gives them a great chance to string together consecutive victories.
Anibal Sanchez gets the call for the home team. Sanchez, who has a 1.50 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers, has plenty of talent (threw a no-hitter in 2006!) but has dealt with injuries in recent seasons. He's healthy now though and is excited to get the season going. He was quoted as saying: "This is awesome. From my first start of spring training, I said this is the first time I've felt like I did a long time ago. When I go to bed at night, I say, 'Thank you God for that.' Now I'm forgetting about everything before. I'm forgetting about '06, '07, '08 and '09. I'm starting over. It's a new season. New everything."
Sanchez will be helped by the fact that the Dodgers are expected to give several stars the day off. Manny Ramirez and Russell Martin will reportedly get the day off and Andre Ethier won't start.
LA counters with knucke-baller Charlie Haeger. Note that Haegar has a poor 5.26 ERA in 25 appearances over four seasons, including four starts.
With yesterday's victory, the Marlins are now 32-21 (+14.9) when playing in the month of April, the past few seasons. Playing an early game against a 'depleted' Dodger lineup, I expect them to improve on those stats here. *10 GOW
|04-08-10||Cleveland Indians v. Chicago White Sox -135||Top||5-3||Loss||-135||10 h 46 m||Show|
I'm playing on the WHITE SOX. After Chicago took the opener, Cleveland bounced right back with a victory yesterday. That was their first win in 17 road tries though and I expect them to return to their losing ways here.
Gavin Floyd goes for the home team and I look for him to start the season on a winning note. While Floyd was only mediocre last season, he was exceptional (17-8) in 2008 and early indications are that he could return to that type of form.
Floyd did have one poor start in five official spring appearances, which caused his ERA to balloon. However, in the other four games, he allowed just three earned runs in 16 innings, which translates to a 1.69 ERA. In his final spring start, he tossed four shutout innings, beating Tommy Hanson and the Braves. He was quoted as saying: "I threw everything. The slider was good. I think the slider was working for me more than anything."
Floyd, 4-2 against the Tribe, dominated the Indians the last two times that he faced them. In those two games, he allowed only one combined run in 14 1/3 innings. Naturally, Chicago won both games, earning 6-3 and 4-2 victories.
Masterson is certainly capable of striking out a lot of batters. That said, he also gives up a lot of hits. That was the case in spring training too, where he allowed 28 hits in 21 innings, finishing with a 5.14 ERA. Note that Masterson's teams are an ugly 2-12 his last 14 starts, including 1-9 since he came over to Cleveland.
Behind a solid outing from Floyd, I look for the Chisox to grab today's rubber game. *10 Personal Favorite
|04-08-10||Toronto Blue Jays v. Texas Rangers UNDER 9||Top||3-1||Win||100||12 h 23 m||Show|
I'm playing on Texas and Toronto to finish UNDER the total. After these teams combined for nine runs in Monday's opener, yesterday's game finished with 11. I expect this afternoon's "all southpaw" finale to be the lowest scoring of the bunch.
Romero gets the call for the Jays. He was 13-9 last season and that included a 7-2 mark with a 3.45 ERA in 11 daytime starts. He's made one start against the Rangers and that game finished with a score of 1-0. He allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings in that one, suffering a hard-luck loss.
It should also be noted that Romero is coming off a very strong spring. Indeed, he posted a stellar 1.89 ERA in five starts. In his last start, he allowed one run through five innings - that run didn't come until the fifth. Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said of his young left-hander: "Ricky did fine, he did great..."
CJ Wilson gets the nod for the home team and he should be highly motivated to deliver a strong performance. Wilson made 74 appearances out of the bullpen last season, posting an excellent 2.81 ERA.
He closed out spring training by throwing five hitless innings against the Royals, en route to a 2-1 Texas victory. He was quoted as saying: "I felt it was a pretty good tuneup..."
Note that Wilson had a stellar 2.25 ERA in five relief appearances against Toronto last season. With the UNDER at 23-15-3 the past couple of seasons, when the Rangers were favored in the -125 to -150 range, I'm expecting a low-scoring affair. *10 Getaway Day TOW
|04-07-10||St. Louis Cardinals v. Cincinnati Reds +1.5||Top||6-3||Loss||-135||8 h 17 m||Show|
I'm playing on CINCINNATI ON THE RUN LINE (+1.5 RUNS.) While I believe that the Reds have an excellent shot at winning this game, I feel that getting them at +1.5 runs, at this price, is very fair.
Wainwright is admittedly coming off a great year. However, he's been anything but "great" against the Reds. Indeed, he's 1-2 with a 5.56 ERA in four career starts against them. That includes an 0-1 record with an ugly 7.36 ERA in two starts at the Great American Ballpark. The Reds won one of those games by a score of 5-1. The Cards on the other (Wainwright got a no-decision) but that win came by only a single run.
It should also be noted that Wainwright had a terrible 6.14 ERA in spring training. In his last spring outing, facing the weak-hitting Nationals, he gave up five runs and 10 hits over five innings
Cueto gets the call and he allowed one earned run or less in three of his four April starts last season. In fact, he was 6-3 with a 2.33 ERA in his first 12 starts last season, before running into some "issues." He hopes those issues are behind him now and is highly motivated to get off to another strong start.
Like Wainwright, he wasn't great in the spring. However, unlike Wainwright, Cueto has had some recent success against today's opponent. Indeed, he was 2-0 with a 1.76 ERA in three starts against the Cards last season. In his last home start against the Cards, he allowed one run through seven complete innings, en route to earning a 6-4 win.
While the Cards pounded the Reds by an 11-6 margin in Monday's opener, note that the Reds have gone a profitable 14-9 (+5.4) the last 23 times that they were coming off a double-digit loss. In a game that could well be close the entire way, I'll grab the +1.5 runs. *10
|10-22-09||New York Yankees v. Los Angeles Angels -118||Top||6-7||Win||100||20 h 31 m||Show|
I'm playing on the LA ANGELS. Naturally, I have a lot of respect for both the Yankees and AJ Burnett. Burnett is capable of dominating and has come through for me many times over his career. Meanwhile, the Yankees are as loaded as ever and they're hungry to get back to the World Series. All that said, I also have every bit as much respect for the Angels and John Lackey and I don't think they're quite ready to throw in the towel on the season quite yet. Playing at home, in a "must win" situation, with the price practically in pick'em territory, I feel that they are providing us with exceptional value.
I've already noted that I respect Burnett. However, his 4.59 ERA and 1.471 WHIP on the road this season, are only mediocre.
Yes, Lackey took the loss on 10/19. He still only allowed two earned runs though. More importantly, that game was at New York while this game is at LA. That's worth noting as Lackey tossed 7 1/3 shutout innings in his last start here, holding Boston to just four hits and one walk. It was the third time in his last five home starts that he's tossed more than seven innings of shutout baseball. The Angels won those three games by a combined score of 17-1. Looking back further and we find that Lackey has now allowed two earned runs or less in eight of his last 10 home starts.
Lackey has also had plenty of recent success here at home vs. the Yankees. In his lone home start vs. the Yankees this season, he outpitched Sabathia back in July, allowing two runs through seven complete innings. Including that 5-4 victory, the Angels are 5-1 in Lackey's last six home starts.
The Yankees are just 9-11 the last 20 times that they played with a day off in between games. During the same stretch, the Angels were 14-7 when they did so. The Angels were beaten 10-1 last time out. However, they're a profitable 25-14 the last few seasons, after giving up double-digits in their previous game. I expect them to improve on those stats, bouncing back and extending the series. *10 GOY
|09-30-09||Minnesota Twins v. Detroit Tigers +1.5||Top||2-7||Win||100||8 h 24 m||Show|
I'm playing DETROIT ON THE RUNLINE (+1.5 Runs). With the Twins being favored for the game, we're getting a very reasonable price on the Tigers at +1.5 runs. While I expect the Tigers to win, I also believe that this game will likely be close and that having an extra run to work with could prove valuable. Note that both of yesterday's games were decided by a single run, a sign of how close and important this series is.
Including yesterday's results, the Tigers are 49-27 at home. The Twins are 37-42 on the road. As their overall records are close, clearly both teams prefer their "home cooking." Note that the Tigers are 6-4 (vs. the moneyline) as home underdogs in the +100 to +125 range.
Bonine gets the call for the Tigers and he's been solid as a starter. In three starts, he's got a 3.06 ERA and 1.245 WHIP. He took a loss last time out. However, that was on the road (Tigers are 2-0 in his home starts) and he only allowed two unearned runs and two hits through 6 2/3 innings. Note that all three of his starts have been decided by two runs or less, two of them by a single run. Additionally, note that he'll have the advantage of starting against the Twins for the first time this season.
Pavano goes for the Twins and he's admittedly got some great numbers against Detroit. However, this will be the fourth time that the Tigers have faced him since the beginning of August and they just saw him on 9/19, only two starts ago. That should give the hitters an advantage. Actually, Pavano was fortunate to give up only two runs vs. Detroit in that game as he also gave up 11 hits. He was also quite hittable in his most recent start as the lowly Royals got eight hits (two of them HR's) and scored four runs off him in six innings. Overall, he's got a 4.86 ERA incl. a 4.84 ERA on the road.
As Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said, "This is playoff baseball - we just got started a little early this year..." With this being "playoff baseball," I expect another close and hard-fought affair and considering the Tigers overall home record, I feel that getting them at +1.5 runs for this price provides us with excellent value. *10 Top Run Line
|09-23-09||Chicago Cubs v. Milwaukee Brewers -125||Top||2-3||Win||100||9 h 16 m||Show|
I'm playing on MILWAUKEE. The Cubs have won the first two games of this series. They haven't swept the Brewers here since July of 2008 here though. I expect the Brewers to bounce back and close out the season series with a victory.
The Brewers send southpaw Chris Narveson to the mound. While he's not very experienced, Narveson isn't exactly a youngster (he'll be 29 in December) and he knows that he needs to make the most of his opportunity up here. He hasn't gone deep into any games but he has delivered a solid 3.37 ERA in three career starts, two of them coming since Milwaukee called him up. Last time out, he allowed just four hits and one run through five complete innings. He didn't get the decision but the Brewers did win by a score of 3-2. Narveson should get some more run support here.
Jeff Samardzija will be making his second start for the Cubs and he was absolutely rocked in his previous start. In that game, he allowed seven runs and eight hits over just 3 1/3 innings taking the loss in a 12-5 setback for the Cubs. Note that Samardzija also has a terrible 7.11 ERA in five career relief appearances vs. Milwaukee.
While Narveson is settling into a bit of a routine (this is his third straight start in the rotation) Samardzija only previous start came six weeks ago. I expect Narveson to get the better of Samardzija, earning his first win as a starter and helping the Brewers to avoid the sweep. *9 NL Central GOM
|09-21-09||St. Louis Cardinals v. Houston Astros -140||Top||7-3||Loss||-140||8 h 17 m||Show|
I'm playing on HOUSTON. Off a loss last night, many will want to back the Cardinals as an underdog here, particularly as the Astros have really struggled lately. I'm not one of them. Lets take a look at the current form of tonight's two starters.
Wandy Rodriguez comes in with a stellar 1.35 ERA and 0.95 WHIP his last three starts. Over that stretch he has 21 K's and four walks. On the other hand, Lohse comes in with a horrible 8.53 ERA and 2.054 WHIP his last three starts. During that stretch, he has nine K's and six walks.
Now, let's take a look at the home/road records. Rodriguez has always been tough at home. This season, he's been downright dominant. In 14 road starts, he's gone 8-2 with a 1.58 ERA and 0.979 WHIP. The Astros are a highly profitable 12-2 in those 14 games. Conversely, Lohse is 0-5 with an ugly 6.58 ERA and 1.859 WHIP in his eight road starts. The Cards were a money-burning 0-8 in those games. While Lohse averages only five innings per game on the road, Rodriguez has averaged nearly seven per game at home.
Lohse admittedly does have some decent career stats vs. Houston. However, Rodriguez has also been very solid against St. Louis. In fact, he's allowed one run or less in three straight starts and five of his last six vs. the Cards. I expect him to get the better of Lohse and for the Astros to get a rare victory. 9* Personal Favorite
|09-17-09||Chicago White Sox -130 v. Seattle Mariners||Top||3-4||Loss||-130||8 h 18 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHICAGO. After the White Sox won Tuesday's opener, yesterday, I successfully played on Seattle to bounce back and even up the series. While it wasn't the reason for making the play, at the time I noted that these teams had alternated wins/losses against each other all season. It's true, they've now played eight games this season and neither team has won twice in a row. I expect that pattern to continue for another day and for the Sox to bounce back and close out the series with a victory.
Yesterday, knowing that Floyd has struggled on the road, I expected the Mariners to have the advantage on the mound. Today, with Danks toeing the rubber, I expect the Sox to have the advantage on the mound. Unlike Floyd, Danks has enjoyed success on the road. For the season, he's 7-3 with a 3.45 ERA and 1.266 WHIP in 15 road starts, averaging better than six innings per outing. His lone start here at Seattle resulted in a gem. In that 8/11 game, Danks allowed just one run through eight complete innings. He had eight K's and just one walk and the Sox won by a score of 3-1. Danks has been sharp since then, too. Over his last three starts, he's got a stellar 2.84 ERA. In fact, Danks has now recorded seven consecutive quality starts, going 3-1 with an outstanding 2.31 ERA during that extended stretch. Last time out, he tossed six shutout innings vs. the Angels.
Danks will be opposed by Brandon Morrow. Morrow started the season in the bullpen and recently made his first start since July. While he won that game, he still only lasted five innings, allowing three runs. He gave up five hits (1 HR) and had two walks and just one strikeout. In other words, he was far from dominant. For the season, he's 1-4 with a poor 5.29 ERA and a terrible 1.745 WHIP. In two home starts, he's 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA and 1.7 WHIP.
Yesterday, it was the M's who had a southpaw pitching for them while the Sox had a right-hander. Today, its the opposite and that also figures to favor Chicago. The Sox are averaging 4.5 runs per game vs. right-handers. The M's are managing only 3.8 runs per game vs. left-handers. I expect Danks to deliver another quality effort and for the Sox to close out the series with a victory. *9 MLB GOW
|09-11-09||Milwaukee Brewers v. Arizona Diamondbacks -127||Top||6-3||Loss||-127||11 h 23 m||Show|
I'm playing on ARIZONA. Neither of these teams will be making the playoffs. While both are struggling, Arizona is actually the team which brings a very small amount of momentum into tonight's contest. The Diamondbacks, who had yesterday off, snapped their losing streak with a 4-3 win over the Dodgers on Wednesday. The Brewers, on the other hand, have lost three straight. They're 1-5 their last six and 2-7 their last nine. I played on the Dbax in Wednesday's win and noted manager A.J. Hinch's comments: "Man, it feels good to come out on top..." I expect them to carry those positive feelings in this evening's opener.
Davis gets the call and he's been extremely consistent. In fact, he's delivered a quality start in eight of his last nine starts. For the season, he's got a very solid 3.22 ERA at home, averaging better than six innings per start. Davis, a former Brewer, hasn't faced Milwaukee yet this season. The last time he faced the Brewers was 6/30/08. Davis got the win in that start, a 6-3 Arizona victory.
Looper is coming off a strong start. However, that was at home and he wasn't nearly as sharp in his most recent road outing. For the season, he's got a poor 5.02 ERA and 1.521 WHIP on the road. Looper lost to the Diamondbacks back in May and has an ugly 7.16 ERA in three career starts against them. He got rocked in his lone start here at Arizona, giving up seven runs (6 earned) in just 3 1/3 innings.
While they've had real trouble with elite teams, the Dbax have quietly taken care of other bad teams in recent weeks. In fact, they've gone a surprising 18-8 (+8.6) their last 26 games against teams with a losing record, most recently sweeping Houston from 8/21 to 8/23. This is their first opportunity to face a losing team since then and I expect them to start things off with a victory. *9 Personal Favorite
|09-09-09||Texas Rangers v. Cleveland Indians UNDER 8.5||Top||10-0||Loss||-100||2 h 45 m||Show|
I'm playing on Cleveland and Texas to finish UNDER the total. These teams played a double-header yesterday and both games were extremely high-scoring. I'm expecting a much different result this afternoon.
Feldman gets the call for the Rangers. He's having an excellent season and he's truly been sensational of late. Over his last three starts, he's got an awesome 0.47 ERA, allowing just one run through 19+ innings. Not surprisingly, all three of those games stayed below the total. For the season, he's now 15-4 with a 3.24 ERA and 1.2 WHIP. That includes a stellar 2.63 ERA and 1.158 on the road. The UNDER is a profitable 18-7 in his 25 starts, including 9-4 in his 13 road starts. Note that Feldman is 7-0 with a 1.57 ERA in his last seven road starts. Additionally, note that both of Feldman's career starts vs. the Indians have stayed below the total.
Carmona goes for the Tribe. Naturally, his numbers aren't as good as Feldman's. However, he is coming off a quality start, which saw him go 6 1/3 innings while allowing three earned runs on four hits. That game, at Detroit, stayed below the total with a score of 4-3. Additionally, in his most recent home start (8/23 vs. Seattle) Carmona allowed only one run through seven complete innings. In that game, he had eight K's and only one walk, allowing just five hits. It also stayed below the total, finishing with a score of 6-1. The fact that Carmona pitched so well in his last home start wasn't that surprising as he has always been a much better pitcher during the day than he has been at night.
Prior to yesterday, the Rangers, who will be without slugger Josh Hamilton, had seen the UNDER go 9-2 their last 11 games, including 5-1 their last six. Meanwhile, prior to yesterday's high-scoring games, the Indians had seen the UNDER go 7-1 their past eight and 5-0 their last five.
For the season, the Rangers have now seen the UNDER go 31-15-3 when playing a game with a total of either nine or 9.5 and a profitable 25-11-1 when playing during the day. I expect those numbers to improve as this afternoon's well-pitched affair stays below the number once again. *9 Getaway Day TOM
|09-08-09||Seattle Mariners v. Los Angeles Angels -125||Top||2-3||Win||100||12 h 44 m||Show|
I'm playing on LA. Some of you will recall that I successfully played on the Mariners when Felix Hernandez and Scott Kazmir squared off against each other last week. Both pitchers were great but Hernandez was better and the M's won by a score of 3-0. I expect Kazmir and co. to return the favor tonight.
Note that for his career Kazmir is 3-2 with a 2.93 ERA in seven starts against the Mariners. On the other hand, even with last week's gem, Hernandez is 4-5 with a 4.40 in 15 starts against the Angels. Kazmir, who now has six quality outings in his last seven starts, was quoted as saying: "I think I have a good feel for what I want to do against the Mariners..." Including last week's game, Kazmir has a superb 2.29 ERA and 0.814 WHIP his last three starts, recording 22 K's (4 walks) in 19 2/3 innings. As good as Hernandez has been, his numbers from his last three starts (2.57 ERA, 1.048 WHIP, 18 K's in 21 innings) still aren't quite as good as those that I just mentioned for Kazmir.
Last week's game was being played at Seattle though, while tonight's rematch is at LA. Playing at Safeco was an advantage for the M's, as they're well above .500 (39-30) at home but below that mark (33-36) on the road. Another advantage for the M's in last week's game, which I pointed out in my analysis at the time, was that they were getting to see Kazmir for the second time in a short span while the Angels hadn't seen Hernandez since the spring. This time, both lineups will be seeing the opposing pitcher for the second time in less than a week.
Speaking of 'lineups,' the M's lineup is batting a mere .253 and averaging only 3.8 runs per game vs. southpaw starters. On the other hand, even after Hernandez blanked them last week, the Angels are batting a very respectable .291 vs. right-handers while averaging a healthy 5.6 runs per game.
While the M's have enjoyed some success against the Angels this season, note the LA is still a profitable 16-9 (+3.9) the last 25 times it was a host in this series. The Angels won their last game here by a score of 9-1. I feel that the current price is very reasonable and behind another strong effort from Kazmir, I expect them to get their homestand started with another victory. *10 Back to School Blowout
|09-07-09||Minnesota Twins v. Toronto Blue Jays -120||Top||6-3||Loss||-120||3 h 5 m||Show|
I'm playing on TORONTO. The Jays have dominated the Twins in recent seasons. In fact, they're 15-5 the last 20 meetings, including 12-1 the last 13. I expect them to extend that run of dominance this afternoon.
In addition to playing on their home field in front of the holiday crowd, the Jays are the team which brings a little momentum into this afternoon's clash. While the Twins managed a mere three hits and one run yesterday, the Jays belted out 15 hits, scoring a whopping 14.
Manship makes just his second start for the Twins. He pitched well in his first start but only went five innings and this will be his first big league start on the road. Note that Manship has an awful 10.13 ERA in his two road relief appearances, with opposing hitters batting .500 in those games. Additionally, note that he pitched well at single-A but was just 3-6 with a 4.46 ERA at AA-New Britain.
Richmond goes for the Jays and he's admittedly not been as sharp recently as he was earlier in the season. I expect him to have some success here though. Note that despite his recent struggles, over his last four starts he still has 27 K's in 23 innings. In other words, he's still got the stuff to dominate hitters. Last time out, he had 7 K's in seven innings, allowing three runs. Additionally, note that Richmond's daytime ERA is almost a full run lower during the day than it is at night. Opposing hitters are batting only .229 against him during the day.
Richmond will have the advantage of facing a Minnesota offense that has really struggled recently. In addition to having scored only one run yesterday, the Twins have only managed nine runs their last four games. The Twins have scored four runs or less in nine of their last 10 games - they scored five in the other. The Twins have also really struggled when playing during the afternoon. In fact, with yesterday's loss, they're just 19-29 when playing during the day. Lastly, note that Richmond was dominant against the Twins in his lone career start against them. He's 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA against the Twins - the Jays won that game by a score of 12-2. I look for them to continue their success against the Twins, improving to 16-7 the last 23 times that they played a home game when the line ranged from +100 to -125. *9 Personal Favorite
|09-06-09||San Diego Padres v. Los Angeles Dodgers UNDER 8.5||Top||4-3||Win||100||9 h 29 m||Show|
I'm playing on LA and San Diego to finish UNDER the total. After we saw a 2-0 pitcher's duel in the opener, yesterday's game produced 11 runs, a 7-4 LA victory. I expect this evening's finale to more closely resemble Friday's contest.
Kuroda returns after getting hit in the head back in August. While that certainly must have been a nerve-wracking experience (he was quoted as saying: "...I feel lucky to be alive...") I expect him to be "just fine" in his return to the mound. Note that he was solid in his rehab start. Additionally, note that he was 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA in his six starts prior to the incident. That includes a 2-0 mark with a stingy 2.60 ERA and 1.154 WHIP over his last three starts. For the season, Kuroda has a 3.83 ERA and 1.138 WHIP in his 15 starts. Note that the UNDER was a profitable 11-4 (73.3%) in those games.
Stauffer goes for the Padres and he's coming off a great game. In that outing, he allowed just one run through 6 2/3 innings. The Padres won that game by a score of 3-1. After his last victory, Stauffer, who will have the advantage of not having faced LA for a few years, was quoted as saying: "I still had a couple of walks, but my aggressiveness was better. I felt like I had better stuff."
Even with yesterday's "slug-fest," the Padres have still seen four of their last five games finish below the total. The Dodgers have also seen the UNDER go 4-1 their last five. Looking back further and we find the UNDER at 10-2-1 their last 13 games.
For the season, the Dodgers have seen the UNDER go 29-19-5 when playing a game with either a total of eight or 8.5. That includes a 20-12-3 mark here at home. As for the Padres, the lowest scoring team in all of baseball, they've seen the UNDER go 28-14-2 when playing a game with a total of either eight or 8.5. I expect those stats to improve here, as the final combined score stays beneath the generous number. *10 TOM
|09-04-09||Chicago Cubs -161 v. New York Mets||Top||2-6||Loss||-161||7 h 14 m||Show|
I'm laying the price with the CHICAGO CUBS. This price is a little higher than I typically like to lay, particularly on a road team. However, with the number has fallen quite a bit from it's opener and given the situation and pitching matchup, I believe that the current price is actually very reasonable. Note that the Cubs are a highly profitable 10-2 (+6.8) the last dozen times that they were listed as road favorites in the -150 to -175 range.
As you're probably aware, the Cubs have had a disappointing season. However, they're not completely done yet. While it would take a miracle, at least they're not far back enough to quit fighting. They now that every game is critical now. As Manager Lou Pinella noted: "... "We don't have much margin for error anymore." On the other hand, the Mets, who remain decimated by injuries, have known for ages that they have absolutely no chance of advancing to the postseason.
Zambrano goes for the Cubs and he's admittedly struggled his last two starts. However, he's been a big game pitcher over the years, one with more than 250 career victories. Manager Lou Pinella believes Zambrano had some mechanical issues and that he and pitching coach Larry Rothschild have now worked them out. For the season, Zambrano is still 5-2 with a very solid 3.17 ERA on the road. Sunday's loss notwithstanding, he's also enjoyed some success vs. the Mets over his career, going 4-2.
Unlike Zambrano, Bobby Parnell has yet to have success at this level. He's 1-4 with a 10.29 ERA and 1.857 WHIP as a starter. That includes a 0-3 record and an awful 15.63 ERA and 2.289 WHIP his last three starts. He gave up eight runs vs. the Cubs in his last start and I expect him to get roughed up again here.
I expect the Cubs to bounce back from yesterday's loss as they continue their strong play as road favorites in this range and improve to 18-9 their last 27 games against teams with a losing record. *10
|08-26-09||Cleveland Indians v. Kansas City Royals -125||Top||4-2||Loss||-125||4 h 8 m||Show|
I'm playing on KANSAS CITY. While neither the Royals/Indians will be going to the playoffs, Cleveland entered this series as the hotter team. The Indians carried that momentum into the series, winning Monday's opener by a score of 10-6. However, behind a dominant performance from Zach Greinke, the Royals cooled them off yesterday. I feel that the Royals will have the edge on the mound again this afternoon and I look for them to now be the team which builds some positive momentum.
Naturally, Hochevar's numbers aren't as strong as Greinke's and he's admittedly had some real trouble on the road. However, he's quietly been quite respectable here at home. In fact, in 10 home starts, he's gone 4-2, averaging greater than six innings, recording a 4.09 ERA and 1.2 WHIP. While he didn't receive a decision, note that Hochevar is coming off a very solid outing. In that game, he limited the Twins to just five hits (0 walks!) and three runs through seven complete innings.
Unlike Hochevar, Huff got rocked in his last start. In that game, he allowed six hits and issued four walks (0 K's!) while giving up five runs and lasting just 3 1/3 innings. For the season, he's got an ugly 6.87 ERA and 1.709 WHIP on the road. Additionally, note that Huff has a 7.24 ERA in eight daytime starts, averaging only five innings, with opposing hitters batting .335.
I expect Hochevar to build off his strong outing in his last start and for the Royals to build from yesterday's decisive victory. *Getaway Day GOM
|08-25-09||Cleveland Indians v. Kansas City Royals UNDER 8||Top||2-6||Push||0||10 h 59 m||Show|
I'm playing on Cleveland and KC to finish UNDER the total. While yesterday's series opener was of the high-scoring variety, I'm expecting to see some much better pitching this evening.
Greinke gets the call for the home team. While he did give up four runs in seven innings last time out, the fact that he had 8K's to just one walk shows that he was still throwing the ball well. Note that in his previous start, he tossed seven shutout innings. For the season, he's now 11-8 with a stellar 2.44 ERA.
That includes a 1-0 record with a 2.45 ERA in three starts against the Indians. In 173 innings, he has a very impressive 182 K's to just 38 walks. Not surprisingly, the UNDER is a profitable 16-9 in Greinke's 25 starts, including 2-1 in the three vs. Cleveland. Note that Greinke has been particularly dominant at home. In 13 starts here, he's averaging better than seven innings and has an outstanding 1.94 ERA and 1.122 WHIP.
Naturally, Masterston's numbers aren't as good as Greinke's. For the season, he's 4-4 with a mediocre 4.36 ERA, incl. a 4.59 ERA as a starter. Masterston is coming off a very strong outing though as he outpitched Lackey and beat the Angels. In that game, he allowed only one unearned run and gave up a mere three hits. Of course, the KC lineup (averaging 4.1 runs and hitting .255, incl. .251 against right-handers) isn't nearly as good as the Angels lineup, either. While Masterston did get hit hard by the Royals out of the bullpen this season, he had a 1.08 ERA against them last season. His lone start against KC came last season and had a final score of just 2-1. Masterson allowed only three hits and one run through 6 1/3 innings. I expect another relatively well-pitched affair with the final combined score also staying below the total. *9 AL Central TOM
|08-24-09||Tampa Bay Rays v. Toronto Blue Jays -130||Top||12-7||Loss||-130||9 h 9 m||Show|
I'm laying the price with TORONTO. Most know that the Rays have a better record than the Jays. However, some may not realize that the Jays' home record (33-30) is actually quite a lot better than the Rays money-burning 25-35 (-11.2) mark on the road. The Rays' home/road disparity isn't a one-year trend either. Last season, they were 57-24 at home but below .500 on the road. Coming off a big series with Texas, one of the teams they are currently battling with for a wildcard spot, and facing one of the best pitchers in the game, I expect the Rays' road woes to continue this evening.
While they know this season is a write-off, the Jays aren't ready to pack it in quite yet. They got back on track over the weekend, taking two of three from the red hot Angels. That gives them some momentum for this series and they'd surely love to help damage Tampa's playoff chances.
Halladay gets the call and he's 13-6 with a 2.78 ERA on the season, including 8-4 with a 2.89 ERA at home. Halladay has faced the Rays four times this season and has a superb 2.10 ERA in those games. Most recently, he held them to two runs (1 earned) through eight innings, en route to a 5-2 win at Tampa 10 days ago. In his last six starts against the Rays, Halladay has 45 K's to just five walks.
Nieman goes for the Rays and he's admittedly having an excellent season. He even defeated Halladay here in June. That said, he got pounded here last month and he's now given up four or more earned runs in three straight road games. Tampa, which managed only five hits, lost all three of those games.
I expect Halladay to be fired up for this "rematch" and I expect him to get the better of the rookie this time. Even with a loss to Boston in his last start here, the Jays are 13-7 in Halladay's last 20 home starts. Look for them to build off yesterday and string together consecutive victories. *9 Personal Favorite
|08-23-09||New York Yankees v. Boston Red Sox UNDER 9||Top||8-4||Loss||-125||9 h 22 m||Show|
I'm playing on Boston and New York to finish UNDER the total. The first two games of this series have both been of the high-scoring variety. I expect a much different result this evening. With the number having climbed from 8.5 to nine at many shops, I also feel we're getting excellent line value.
Sabathia goes for the Yankees and he's been terrific lately. Indeed, he's gone 3-0 with an extremely stingy 1.14 ERA and a 0.634 WHIP over his last three starts, averaging nearly eight innings per outing. It should also be noted that Sabathia has seen the UNDER go 8-2-1 (or 7-2-2) in his 11 career starts vs. Boston, including 2-0 as a member of the Yankees. He allowed four earned runs or less in nine of those 11 starts, most recently tossing 7 2/3 shutout innings against them on 8/8. In that game, he allowed a mere two hits, recording nine 9 K's along the way.
Beckett gets the call for the Red Sox and that should make the Fenway faithful feel optimistic. That's because Beckett is an awesome 8-0 (Sox are 10-1) in 11 home starts, recording a very impressive 2.58 ERA and 0.978 WHIP in those games. Not surprisingly, the UNDER has gone a profitable 7-4 in those games and is now 9-4-1 his last 14 home starts, dating back to last season.
Beckett has also been superb in his last couple of starts vs. the Yankees. In fact, in his last two starts vs. New York, he hasn't allowed a single run, giving up a mere five hits in 13 innings, while recording 15 K's. You may recall Beckett's last start vs. New York, as it was the game which stayed scoreless all the way until the bottom of the 15th inning. Prior to that, in his most recent home start vs. the Yankees, he tossed six shutout innings. That game also stayed below the total.
Even with the high-scoring results of the first two games, the UNDER is still a healthy 10-4-2 the last 16 times that these teams faced each other. I expect those numbers to improve here. (10* Top AL total)
|08-22-09||Milwaukee Brewers v. Washington Nationals -133||Top||11-9||Loss||-133||8 h 13 m||Show|
I'm playing on WASHINGTON. After a solid run, the Nationals have now lost four in a row. I expect them to get back on track this evening though.
If you've followed my baseball picks this season, you already know that Lannan has been an entirely different pitcher at home than he has been on the road. In fact, while he's just 3-8 with a poor 5.96 ERA on the road, he's 5-1 with an outstanding 1.98 ERA at home.
Burns showed that he is capable of pitching well at this level last time out. However, that's been the exception, rather than the norm. For the season, this 'spot starter' has a poor 5.36 ERA. Like Lannan, he's been much better at home, while really struggling on the road. Indeed, he's 0-3 with a terrible 6.87 ERA on the road. Opposing hitters are batting .350 against him in those games.
Prior to yesterday's victory, the Brewers had also lost four in a row. Even with yesterday's victory, they know they have very little hope of catching the teams in front of them in the Central. They're still below .500 on the road and they're an awful 26-39 (-19.1) when facing a team with a losing record. The Nationals, on the other hand, have been a (modestly) profitable team when matched up against other teams with a losing record. Behind another well-pitched game from Lannan at home, look for them to get their first victory on their current homestand. *9 Personal Favorite
|08-21-09||Texas Rangers v. Tampa Bay Rays -150||Top||3-5||Win||100||17 h 44 m||Show|
I'm laying the price with TAMPA BAY. The Rays were upset as large favorites yesterday. They're still a solid 4-1 their last five games though and they're still an outstanding 40-20 at home on the season. On the other hand, despite yesterday's victory, the Rangers are 1-2 their last three games.
Additionally, they're just 27-28 on the road. While the Rangers did sweep the Rays at Texas in a 3-game set over the July 4th long weekend, they're an ugly 2-8 their last 10 trips to Tampa and just 4-12 their last 16 visits here. I expect the revenge-minded Rays to have the advantage once again for tonight's series opener.
Kazmir is a much better pitcher than his current stats indicate. The Rangers can attest to that. Indeed, Kazmir is 4-1 with an excellent 2.06 ERA in eight starts against the Rangers. He limited them to two earned runs or fewer in each of those games with the Rays going a profitable 7-1 (+5.9). It's also worth noting that Kazmir is 3-0 with a solid 3.26 ERA in his last three home outings. The Rays are 5-0 his last five home starts and 15-5 his last 20 home starts.
Conversely, the Rangers are just 1-3 (-1.3) in Nippert's four road starts, including 0-3 the last three. During that 4-game stretch, Nippert has gone 0-1 with a poor 5.40 ERA, averaging less than five innings per start. Nippert also got rocked in his lone start vs. the Rays. That came last season and also happened to come against Kazmir. Kazmir was solid. Nippert was not. In fact, he got hammered for seven runs in just four innings. Tampa won by a score of 7-4.
The Rays have fared very well as home favorites in this range. Behind another strong effort from Kazmir, look for them to start this series with a victory. *9 Personal Favorite
|08-19-09||San Francisco Giants v. Cincinnati Reds -115||Top||1-0||Loss||-115||9 h 3 m||Show|
I'm playing on CINCINNATI. The Giants come in as the hotter team and they won yesterday's series opener. I expect the Reds, who are still 4-1 the last five times they were a host in this series, to have the edge on the mound this evening.
Some of you may recall that I used the Reds as my 'GOW' in Arroyo's last start. He was superb in that outing, tossing a complete game 2-hit shutout. The Reds won 7-0. Arroyo now has a 2.35 ERA and 0.87 WHIP over his last three starts. Considering that he's always pitched well vs. the Giants here, I expect him to build upon his recent success and deliver another quality effort. Note that he's 3-0 with an outstanding 1.99 ERA in three home starts against the Giants since joining Cincinnati in 2006. The Reds won those games by a combined score of 18-6 with all three victories coming by a minimum of three runs.
I respect Zito and he's won a few games for me this season. That said, he's still just 4-7 (Giants are 4-8) with a poor 4.92 ERA on the road. Last time out, he lasted five innings - allowing three runs - the Giants lost. They're now 1-4 the last five times that Zito started on the road.
Zito did beat Arroyo and the Reds a little less than two weeks ago. That was at SF though. The last time (08/29/08) that he pitched here at Cincinnati, he got absolutely rocked. In that start, he lasted just 3 1/3 innings while giving up eight runs, seven of them earned, and suffering an 11-7 loss. Overall, Zito has an ugly 8.59 ERA in six career games against the Reds. The Giants are 0-2 in his two road starts at Cincinnati.
All things considered, I feel the current price is very reasonable. Note that the Reds are a profitable 36-26 (+6.1) the last 62 times they played a home game with a line ranging from +100 to -125. I expect Arroyo to get the better of Zito and for the Reds to even things up. *9 GOW
|08-18-09||Colorado Rockies v. Washington Nationals UNDER 9||Top||4-3||Win||100||9 h 50 m||Show|
I'm playing on Colorado and Washington to finish UNDER the total. Four of the last six meetings here at Washington have stayed below the number with five of those games producing nine combined runs or less. Overall, these teams have seen the UNDER go 9-6-2 in 17 meetings since 2007, including two of three this season. One of those games featured tonight's starter (Stammen) for the Nationals and it finished with a score of just 1-0. I'm expecting another relatively low-scoring contest this evening.
Jimenez gets the call for Colorado and he's been outstanding recently. Last time out, he tossed eight shutout innings, allowing a mere four hits. That gives him a 3-0 record with a stellar 1.19 ERA and 0.926 WHIP over his last three starts. Not surprisingly, all three games stayed below the total. For the season, he has a very respectable 3.47 ERA. Note that Jimenez has made three career starts vs. Washington and the UNDER was 2-0-1.
In the previously mentioned game, his only start vs. the Rockies, Stammen allowed just one run and five hits through seven complete innings. While his overall numbers admittedly aren't great, he's coming off a strong outing in which he allowed four hits and two runs through six innings. I expect him to build off that performance with another solid effort here and for that to help to lead to the final score staying below the total. *9 TOW
|08-16-09||Washington Nationals v. Cincinnati Reds -120||Top||5-4||Loss||-120||3 h 16 m||Show|
I'm playing on CINCINNATI. These teams have alternated wins and losses with the Nationals winning the first and third games of this four game-set. I expect the Reds to bounce back and look for them to salvage the series split. With the price coming down from it's opener, I also believe we're getting excellent line value.
Regulars know that I've had plenty of success when playing on Lannan this season. However, that's come primarily when the Nationals' southpaw has come at home and he's been an entirely different pitcher on the road. Check this out. At home, Lannan is 5-1 with an outstanding 1.98 ERA. However, on the road, he's 3-8 with a terrible 5.92 ERA. Note that he's also been a little better in the evening than he has been during the day.
Lehr gets the call for the Reds and he's been great. In three starts, he's got a 2-0 record with a terrific 1.80 ERA. He's averaged a very healthy seven full innings in his two home starts, recording a 1.93 ERA and 1.071 WHIP.
Even with yesterday's victory, the Nats are still an awful 16-42 away from Washington - that's the worst mark in the major leagues. That includes a 3-8 record in Lannan's 11 road starts. I expect their road woes to continue here. *10 Top NL Play
|08-15-09||Toronto Blue Jays v. Tampa Bay Rays -170||Top||3-8||Win||100||9 h 5 m||Show|
I'm laying the price with TAMPA BAY. The Rays badly need a victory. After finishing off their road trip with four straight losses, they returned home and were beaten by Roy Halladay yesterday. Today's matchup figures to be considerably more favorable and I expect them to bounce back with a much-needed win.
While Halladay remains one of the very best in the game, the same cannot be said of Brian Tallet. For the season, Tallet is 5-6 with a 5.01 ERA and 1.456 WHIP in 18 starts. The Jays were just 6-12 (-6.6) in those games. Tallet has been particularly brutal lately. In his last three starts, he's gone 0-1 (Jays are 0-3) with a terrible 9.00 ERA and 2.067 WHIP.
Unfortunately, for Tallet, this will be just his fourth start since the beginning of July and it will mark his third straight vs. the Rays. They Jays lost both the previous two games and he had a horrific 13.00 ERA and 2.367 WHIP.
Kazmir's numbers admittedly aren't great either and he's also coming off a rough outing. However, that was on the road and he was very sharp in each of his previous starts, both of them coming here at home. Note that the Rays are 4-0 his last four starts here and 15-5 his last 20 here.
Even with yesterday's loss, the Rays are still a healthy 15-7 the last 22 times that they hosted the Jays and 7-3 for the season series overall. It's also worth noting that the Rays are an outstanding (and highly profitable) 42-8 (+28.8) the last 50 times that they were listed as home favorites in the -150 to -175 range. I expect them to improve on those stats here. *9 AL GOW
|08-14-09||Chicago White Sox v. Oakland Athletics -152||Top||8-7||Loss||-152||13 h 44 m||Show|
I'm laying the price with OAKLAND. The White Sox have a better overall record than the A's. However, the A's home record is slightly better than Chicago's road record. Additionally, the A's have been playing better baseball recently. Oakland has won seven of its last 10 games. Chicago, on the other hand, has gone 2-5 in its last seven games. While the Sox are averaging 3.7 runs over that stretch, the A's are averaging six runs per game during their last seven.
The A's won Wednesday. The Sox were blanked 1-0, losing in the bottom of the 14th. Even though they've had a day off to 'recover', that type of loss can take a toll. Already 3-1 against the Sox this season, I expect the A's to have the advantage in this evening's opener.
Anderson gets the call for the home team and he's been great. He's coming off three straight quality starts (A's were 3-0) and has now allowed three earned runs or less in seven of his last eight starts - going 4-1 over that stretch. The only time he allowed more than three runs, during that stretch, was a game in which he allowed only four. For the season, he's got a solid 3.75 ERA and 1.271 WHIP at home. He also was dominant in his lone start vs. Chicago. In fact, he outpitched Buehrle in that game, tossing seven innings of shutout ball. Today, Anderson will be opposed by Contreras and he's not nearly as tough as Buehrle.
Last time out, Contreras lasted just 4 2/3 innings, giving up four runs and taking a loss. In his previous start, he pitched only 2 2/3 innings. He's 2-6 with a poor 5.40 ERA on the road for the season and 0-2 with an awful 6.92 ERA and 1.922 WHIP over his last three starts.
The Chicago bullpen has been solid - but not as good as Oakland's bullpen has been here at home. In 180+ innings pitched, the A's relievers have a combined 2.73 ERA and 1.087 WHIP.
I expect Anderson to get the better of Contreras and look for the A's to start things off with another victory. *9 Personal Favorite
|08-13-09||Washington Nationals v. Cincinnati Reds -155||Top||0-7||Win||100||9 h 37 m||Show|
I'm laying the price with CINCINNATI. The Reds are 4-0 the last four times that they hosted the Nationals. Looking back further and we find them at 10-4 as a host of the Nationals - since the team moved from Montreal. I expect them to have a solid advantage in tonight's series opener.
Arroyo's season stats admittedly aren't all that great. However, he's been pitching well lately. In each of his last two starts, he allowed three runs in seven innings. That gives him five quality starts in his last six outings, including three straight.
Arroyo has also had some success against the Nationals. The last time (07/04/08) that he faced them, he tossed six shutout innings. The Reds won 3-0. Including that gem, the Reds are 4-1 in Arroyo's five career starts vs. Washington. In addition to the six inning shutout, Arroyo also has a pair of 8-inning shutouts vs. the Nationals.
Balestar didn't fare well last time out. In that game, he allowed five runs and eight hits - three of them home runs - in just 4 1/3 innings. Balestar took the loss in his lone start here at Cincinnati. In that game, he allowed five runs in 5 2/3 innings.
It should also be noted that the Reds' bullpen has much better numbers. The Reds' relievers have a combined 3.61 ERA at home. On the other hand, heading into Wednesday's action, Washington relievers had a horrible 5.76 ERA and 1.757 WHIP on the road. That's definitely helped contribute to the Nats' woeful 14-41 road record - by far the worst in the majors.
I expect Arroyo to continue his recent quality pitching and look for the Reds to start their homestand with a victory. *9 GOW
|08-12-09||Chicago White Sox v. Seattle Mariners -128||Top||0-1||Win||100||12 h 32 m||Show|
I'm playing on SEATTLE. This is quite the pitching matchup as it features a pair of pitchers from this year's AL All Star team. with all due respect to Buehrle, who is certainly very capable, with this game being played at Safeco, I'll take my chances with "King Felix," who is currently in much better form.
Most heard about Buehrle's no-hitter. Some may not have heard that he's been struggling lately though. In fact, he's given up five or more runs in each of his last three starts, taking the loss in all three. During that stretch, he has an ugly 8.35 ERA and 1.746 WHIP. On the other hand, while he wasn't at his best last time out, Hernandez is still coming off back to back quality starts, earning victories vs. Texas and Tampa.
While Hernandez has admittedly been somewhat better on the road, he's still got a fairly respectable 4.05 ERA here at home. On the other hand, Buehrle has been much better at home than he has been on the road. In nine road starts, he has a 4.89 ERA.
Even though his road numbers are better, Hernandez has been pretty sharp at home. Five of his last six starts here have been of the 'quality variety' and he allowed just one earned run in three of them. Overall, the Mariners are an impressive 10-1 his last 11 starts.
Buehrle beat Seattle last time he faced them, almost exactly one year ago. He wasn't that good though, as he allowed 11 hits and five runs in 5 2/3 innings. Additionally, note that the Sox have lost four of his five starts at Seattle, including three straight. Buehrle gave up at least four runs in all three of those games.
Hernandez faced the Sox once already this season and he was dominant. In that game, he allowed only four hits through eight shutout innings, striking out nine and walking only one. I expect him to continue his stellar season and look for the M's to close out the series with a victory. *Personal Favorite
|08-11-09||Texas Rangers v. Cleveland Indians -125||Top||0-5||Win||100||9 h 59 m||Show|
I'm playing on CLEVELAND. Both teams had yesterday off after both won convincingly on Sunday. The Indians have gone 5-2 their last seven games though while the Rangers are still 3-4 their past seven. During that stretch, the Rangers hit .266 and averaged 4.7 runs while the Indians hit .310 and averaged a whopping 5.9 runs per game. Note that the Rangers, who blanked LA on Sunday, are just 1-5 (-4.5) the last six times that they were coming off a shutout victory. With their recent run of success, the Indians are now a highly profitable 40-24 (+17.8) in their August games the past few seasons. I expect it to be the Indians which have the advantage for this evening's opener and I look for them to build on those strong late-summer numbers.
Both starters are off strong outings. Nippert tossed five shutout innings against Oakland but received a no-decision for his efforts, as Texas lost 3-2. Laffey was arguably even better. That's because he went eight complete innings, allowing only a single unearned run. He received the victory, as the Indians won by a comfortable 8-1 margin.
Laffey has also been better at home than Nippert has been on the road. Nippert has made three road starts. He's averaged less than five (4 1/3) innings in those games and has a mediocre 4.38 ERA and 1.459 WHIP. The Rangers are 1-2 in those games. On the other hand, Laffey is 3-0 with an outstanding 1.98 ERA in his four home starts, averaging nearly seven innings in those starts.
I expect Laffey to outlast Nippert with the Indians continuing their recent strong play and improving to 9-3 the last dozen times that Laffey started at home. *Personal Favorite
|08-09-09||Milwaukee Brewers v. Houston Astros UNDER 7.5||Top||0-2||Win||100||4 h 50 m||Show|
I'm playing on Milwaukee and Houston to finish UNDER the total. These teams played a high-scoring game against each other yesterday evening but I expect to see some much better pitching this afternoon.
Wandy Rodriguez goes for the Astros and he's been superb lately. In fact, he was 4-0 with a 0.75 ERA in five July starts, which earned him NL Pitcher of the Month honors. While Rodriguez had to leave his last start after only four innings due to a strained hamstring, he's confident that there are no lingering effects. After Friday's bullpen session he was quoted as saying: "I felt great today. I threw 30 or 35 pitches, and I feel great and I'm ready for Sunday." Note that Rodriguez, who has held opponents to one run or less in six straight starts, is 2-0 with a stellar 1.65 ERA in five games - four starts - at Minute Maid Park, when facing Milwaukee.
Gallardo got roughed up by the Dodgers last time out. However, keep in mind that he had a 1.88 ERA in his previous two starts. For the season, he's still got a very respectable 3.59 ERA and 1.268 WHIP with the UNDER going 12-9-1 in his 22 starts. Note that Gallardo is 3-1 with an excellent 2.48 ERA and 1.103 WHIP vs. the Astros with two of his last three starts against them staying below the total. Additionally, note that Gallardo has been much better during the afternoon than he has at night. Under the lights, he has a 4.50 ERA. During the afternoon, he has a much better .252 mark. Opposing hitters are batting a mere .204 against him in his 10 daytime starts.
Both teams have been profitable to 'under' bettors when playing during the afternoon. Houston hits just .258 during the afternoon and scores only 4.1 runs. Milwaukee has been worse. In fact, the Brewers are hitting a mere .221 and averaging only 3.5 runs when they've played during the afternoon. Facing red hot Rodriguez, who has a 2.00 ERA when pitching during the afternoon, won't make things any easier. *NL Central TOM
|08-08-09||New York Mets v. San Diego Padres UNDER 7.5||Top||1-3||Win||100||12 h 48 m||Show|
I'm playing on San Diego and New York to finish UNDER the total. Last night's Padres/Mets game was a tough loss for those who bet on the 'under.' The score was 2-0 most until the seventh and it was still 2-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth. Thankfully, as I had San Diego, the Padres rallied to win it. They didn't just win by a score of 3-2 though. Rather, they tied it first and then hit a grand-slam. Without the game going to extra innings, it was the only way to turn a 2-1 score in the bottom of the ninth into a game which finished above the total of 7.5. All the same, until that final frame, it was a well-pitched game.
Before getting too carried away with the Padres recent "offensive explosion," let's remember that the Padres came into this series having scored only 13 runs in their previous five games and that they're still the lowest scoring team in all of baseball.
Mat Latos goes for San Diego and he's been excellent. In four starts, he's gone 3-1 with a stellar 2.66 ERA and a superb 0.887 WHIP. The 21-year-old right-hander has pitched seven innings in each of his last two outings, allowing a mere three runs and seven hits. Not surprisingly, all four of his starts have finished below the total. He'll have the advantage of facing the injury-depleted Mets for the first time.
Bobby Parnell makes his first career start for the Mets. He's got a respectable 3.74 ERA out of the bullpen. Parnell has had plenty of starting experience though. Of his 94 minor-league appearances, 92 came as a starter. Parnell, who pitched a perfect inning of relief against the Padres in the spring, was quoted as saying: "I'm excited. Coming up, I always thought I'd be a starter in the big leagues." Facing the worst offense in the league at a great pitcher's park, is a perfect chance for him and I expect him to make the most of his opportunity.
With this line currently at/above -150 at many shops, note that the UNDER is a highly profitable 20-6 the last 26 times that the Padres were listed as home favorites in the -150 to -175 range. I expect this evening's game to also fall below that mark. *August TOM
|08-07-09||New York Mets v. San Diego Padres -145||Top||2-6||Win||100||12 h 51 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN DIEGO. I won with the Padres in last night's opener and I'm backing them again. With yesterday's 8-3 victory, the Padres are now 7-3 their last 10. Meanwhile the Mets, who remain decimated by injuries, are just 2-6 their last eight.
As I mentioned yesterday, San Diego has dominated New York here. Looking at the series history and we find that the Padres have beaten the Mets in 10 of the last 13 meetings, going 12-5 (+9.5!) the past few seasons. That includes a perfect 6-0 record the last six times that the teams met here in San Diego. Looking back further and we find the Padres are 8-1 the last nine times they hosted the Mets and 15-6 the last 21.
These pitchers faced each other earlier this season with Perez and the Mets coming away with the victory. That game was at New York though and Perez has been horrendous on the road. In five road starts, he's gone 0-2 with a terrible 8.87 ERA and 2.187 WHIP. The Mets lost all five (-5.2) of those games. Conversely, the Padres have gone a profitable 7-5 (+2.9) in Correia's dozen home starts.
Note that the erratic Perez has issued a remarkably ugly 32 free passes in his last five starts alone. He walked at least four in every one of those games. Through 10 starts he has a 7.03 ERA and 2.03 WHIP with 47 walks and 44 strikeouts.
Perez who has seen his teams (Mets and Pirates) lose his last two starts at San Diego, has a poor 4.56 ERA and 1.663 WHIP in five starts vs. the Padres. On the other hand, even though he hasn't beaten them yet, Correia has managed a stellar 2.08 ERA and 1.077 WHIP in two starts vs. the Mets. In those games, he had an impressive 6/1 K/W ratio (12 K's, 2 walks). Now, he'll face a New York lineup which remains a shell of its former self.
All things considered, I feel the current price is very reasonable and I expect the Padres to continue their homefield dominance in this series. *Personal Favorite
|08-06-09||New York Mets v. San Diego Padres -140||Top||3-8||Win||100||11 h 8 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN DIEGO. From looking at only yesterday's results, one would assume that the Mets are currently playing much better baseball than the Padres. New York beat the Cards 9-0. San Diego lost 6-2 against Atlanta. However, a closer look shows that the Padres are still 6-3 their last nine games. Meanwhile the Mets, who had to travel to get here after yesterday's game, are still just 2-5 their last seven. I expect the Padres, who have dominated the Mets here, to bounce back with a victory this evening.
Looking at the series history and we find that the Padres have beaten the Mets in nine of the last 12 meetings, going 11-5 (+8.5!) the past few seasons. That includes a perfect 5-0 record the last five times that the teams met here in San Diego. Looking back further and we find the Padres are 7-1 the last eight times they hosted the Mets and 14-6 the last 20.
Hernandez has been solid lately, recording a 3.15 ERA his last three starts. He had an awful 8.57 ERA in his previous four starts though and he's still got a poor 4.92 ERA on the road. While he's got strong overall career stats vs. the Padres, he's been rocked in two of his last three starts against them. In those three starts, he allowed 14 combined earned runs in just 12 2/3 innings. That's a 9.95 ERA!
While Hernandez has been solid lately, Richard has been outstanding. In his first start for San Diego, he allowed a mere two hits and one run through 5 2/3 innings. (He didn't allow a hit until the fifth inning.) Prior to that, he'd been superb in his final two starts as a member of the White Sox. In those two games, facing a pair of quality offenses (Tigers and Rays) he allowed only nine hits two runs in 16 innings. That gives him a 1.25 ERA and 0.821 WHIP his last three games!
Richard will have the advantage of starting against the Mets for the first time and also of facing a lineup which is still decimated by injuries. I expect him to continue his recent success and for the Padres to continue their recent home field dominance in this series. *Personal Favorite
|08-05-09||Florida Marlins v. Washington Nationals UNDER 8.5||Top||4-5||Loss||-120||15 h 40 m||Show|
I'm playing on Washington and Florida UNDER the total. Yesterday's game was a tough loss for those who wagered on the 'under' (and the Marlins) in the opener of this series. The total was 8.5 (went to 9 at some books late in day) and the score was 4-0 for Florida, late in the game. However, the Nationals rallied for six runs in the bottom of the eighth, to score the upset and send the game 'over' the total. That wasn't typical for the Marlins as their relievers had a combined 2.28 ERA on the road, entering the series. I expect another well-pitched game this evening, this time with the final score staying below the number.
If you've followed my picks this season, you'll know that Lannan has been outstanding at home. In 12 games here, he's gone 4-1 with a superb 1.91 ERA and 1.106 WHIP, averaging greater than seven innings in those games. Not surprisingly, he's been fairly kind to 'under' bettors in those games. In fact, nine of his 12 home starts have stayed below the total. Overall, the UNDER is a highly profitable 16-6 in his 22 starts for the season.
The sample size on Vandenhurk is much smaller, as he's only made three starts. That said, he's been very sharp in those three starts, allowing two earned runs or less in each of them. Two of his starts have come on the road. He has a 2.45 ERA in those games, both of which stayed below the total. They finished with scores of 4-3 and 3-2.
The UNDER is 7-3 the last 10 times that the Nats have been listed as home favorites in the -125 to -150 range. With Lannan, who dominated (1 run, 3 hits, 1 walk and 8 K's in 6 1/3 innings) the Marlins here earlier, continuing his strong pitching in this park, I expect those numbers to improve. *Top NL East Total
|08-04-09||Texas Rangers v. Oakland Athletics +105||Top||0-6||Win||105||12 h 60 m||Show|
I'm playing on OAKLAND. Momentum is an important factor in sports and baseball is no exception. With last night's dramatic comeback victory (in the bottom of the ninth inning) the A's enter tonight's game with "Big Mo" in their corner. I expect them to follow it up by scoring the minor upset this evening.
You've probably heard the saying: "Momentum is tomorrow's starting pitcher." While, I also expect the A's to get a strong performance from their starting pitcher. Gio Gonzalez gets the call and lately he's been MUCH better than his overall stats indicate. Last time out, Gonzalez was pitching well and on track to beat Boston. However, the bullpen let him down and he left with a no-decision - David Ortiz hit a 3-run home run with two outs in the seventh - an at bat that wouldn't have happened if a routine fly ball didn't get lost in the sun to extend the inning. All the same, Gonzalez did his job and looked impressive doing it. He's now unbeaten in five appearances since June 30 with the A's winning three of his last four starts. Prior to facing Boston, he dominated the Yankees, allowing a mere two hits and one run in 6 2/3 innings.
Like Gonzalez, Texas starter Derek Holland is also better than his overall ERA indicates and he was also sharp last time out. He's still just 2-5 (Gonzalez is 2-2) as a starter though and he was rocked in his last road outing. That game came at KC and he was roughed up for seven hits, two walks and four runs in just 4 2/3 innings. Note that while Gonzalez has faced powerful Boston and NY in his last two starts, Holland has faced KC and Seattle - those two offenses are currently tied for the fewest number of runs scored per game in the American League.
Speaking of 'offenses,' it's fairly common knowledge that Texas hits a lot better than Oakland. Right? While, that's only partly true. Yes, the Rangers have a few "scarier" hitters in their lineup and yes, they do have better overall numbers. However, as I pointed out yesterday, the A's actually hit better at home than the Rangers do on the road. In fact, Texas entered the series batting only .237 on the road and averaging just 4.2 runs per game. Conversely, Oakland entered the series batting .252 at home while averaging 4.9 runs.
The A's relievers entered the series with a 2.80 ERA and 1.102 WHIP at home. The Rangers' relievers entered the series with a 4.10 ERA and 1.382 WHIP on the road. After last night, those numbers will be even more in favor of Oakland.
Speaking of relief pitchers, both today's starting pitchers have only faced today's opponent while pitching out of the bullpen. While Gonzalez has pitched three perfect innings of relief against the Rangers, Holland has allowed two runs and five hits in four innings of relief work vs. the A's.
While the Rangers, who are still without Ian Kinsler, figure to be rather deflated after last night's tough loss, the A's should be 'sky-high.' I expect them to ride that momentum to an upset. *Top '09 Underdog
|08-03-09||Texas Rangers v. Oakland Athletics -125||Top||2-3||Win||100||12 h 56 m||Show|
I'm playing on OAKLAND. I really like the A's in this spot. The fact that the game is being played at Oakland is very important. For starters, the A's played here yesterday afternoon. The Rangers played a night game at Arlington and then had to travel. In theory, that should make the A's a little "fresher" for tonight's game. Additionally, like most teams, both these squads are better at home, particularly Texas. The Rangers are great at home but they've hit just .237 on the road, averaging only 4.2 runs. The fact that Oakland lost yesterday and Texas won doesn't bother me, either. If anything, that should provide the A's with some added motivation here. Most importantly, I also feel the pitching matchup favors Oakland.
Brett Anderson has been very solid of late. His last three starts came against the likes of the Angels, Yankees and Red Sox, currently the top three teams in the American League. Despite the tough opposition, Anderson went 1-1 with a 3.05 ERA and 1.016 WHIP in those games, averaging nearly seven innings per start. Looking back a bit further and we find Anderson is 3-1 with a superb 1.85 ERA in his last six starts. During that stretch, the rookie southpaw has 40 K's in 39 innings and is limiting opponents to a mere .173 batting average. For the season, he has a respectable 4.01 ERA and 1.289 WHIP in seven home starts, averaging better than six innings in those starts.
Dustin Nippert goes for the Rangers (due to an injury to Millwood) and he's got an ugly 7.36 ERA and 2.044 WHIP in his two road starts. He didn't last four complete innings in either of those starts.
With the total currently holding at 8.5, note that the Rangers are a money-burning 4-10 (-4.6) this season when playing a game with a total of either eight or 8.5. On the other hand, even with yesterday's loss (total dropped from 9 to 8.5) the A's are still above .500 (21-20) in that situation, earning a modest profit.
While they've had trouble at Texas, the A's have won three of their last four home meetings with the Rangers. I expect them to provide Anderson some run support and look for them to start the series with a much-needed victory. *AL West GOY
|08-02-09||New York Yankees -155 v. Chicago White Sox||Top||8-5||Win||100||4 h 41 m||Show|
I'm laying the price with the NEW YORK YANKEES. The White Sox have won the first two games of this series and now they've got Mark Buerhle on the mound to complete the sweep. That's given us a very reasonable price on the Yankees. The results from this series notwithstanding, the Yankees have been the much stronger and more consistent team this season. The Yankees are still 62-42. The Sox are still 54-51. Prior to this series, Chicago had lost six of seven. New York had won 11 of 13.
Buerhle has been a very solid pitcher for a long time now. Two starts ago, he added to his legacy by throwing a perfect game, which he followed up with a loss to the Twins. It's true that Buerhle's been remarkably tough to beat at home. However, it's also true that he's had serious trouble with the Yankees over the years. In fact, he's 1-6 (Sox are 1-7) with an ugly 6.11 ERA in eight starts vs. the Yankees and that includes a 0-4 record with a terrible 6.91 ERA in five home starts. Of course, it doesn't help Buerhle's cause, when guys like Derek Jeter are hitting .400 against him.
Like Buerhle, Sabathia has been a very solid pitcher for a long time now. Unlike Buerhle, he's also had plenty of success against today's opponent. In fact, Sabathia is a commanding 14-4 with a 3.65 ERA in 26 starts against the White Sox. The Yankee southpaw is also 7-1 with a stellar 2.84 ERA in 13 starts at U.S. Cellular Field. Not surprisingly, that's his best visiting record in any American League park.
Note that Sabathia has dominated several Chicago hitters. Paul Konerko has a .190 average against him, going 12 for 63 for his career. A.J. Pierzynski has been worse, going just four for 24 (.167) against him. Not to be outdone, Jim Thome is hitting a mere .143 against Sabathia, going just three for 21.
Even with yesterday's loss, the Yankees are still a highly profitable 116-61 the last dozen years, after allowing the opposing team to score double-digits against them in their previous game. They haven't been swept in a 4-game series at Chicago in my entire lifetime and I expect them to bounce back with an important victory this afternoon. *GOM
|08-01-09||Los Angeles Dodgers v. Atlanta Braves -130||Top||3-4||Win||100||6 h 1 m||Show|
I'm playing on ATLANTA. The Dodgers beat Hanson in yesterday's series opener. I expect the Braves to return the favor this afternoon. Both today's pitchers have been very solid lately. However, while the Braves are 3-0 in Lowe's last three starts, the Dodgers are just 1-2 the last three times that Wolf took the mound.
Lowe, a former Dodger, should be extremely fired up and I expect him to perform well. He's watched his old team perform very well without him and he'll be highly motivated to show them that he could have also been a big help to them. That's particularly true as Wolf is the guy who they signed to replace him. Lowe, who has a 3.21 career ERA vs. LA, will be facing the Dodgers for the first time since leaving LA.
While the Dodgers haven't faced Lowe since 2004, the Braves are quite familiar with Wolf and they've always liked facing him. For his career, Wolf is 4-11 with a 5.36 ERA in 25 appearances (23 starts) against the Braves. Over his last eight starts against the Braves, Wolf has gone 0-4 with a terrible 8.75 ERA.
It's true that the Dodgers entered the series with better offensive stats than the Braves. LA came in hitting .279 and averaging 4.9 runs per game. Atlanta came in hitting .265 and averaging 4.4 runs per game. Those numbers got even worse yesterday. However, with Wolf being a southpaw, note that the Braves are hitting a much better .281 vs. left-handers, averaging a whopping 5.5 runs per game. They've gone 6-4 their last 10 vs. southpaws and are a respectable 20-15 (+2.4) against them for the season.
The Braves won last season's two meeting vs. Wolf by a combined score of 17-5. Behind another solid effort from Lowe, I expect them to win this one, too. *Non Divisional GOW
|07-29-09||Cleveland Indians v. Los Angeles Angels UNDER 9.5||Top||3-9||Loss||-119||5 h 3 m||Show|
I'm playing on Cleveland and LA to finish UNDER the total. The Indians have been on quite an 'over' streak recently and they saw last night's game finsih above the number once again, thanks to an LA rally in the bottom of the eighth. I look for that 'run' to come to an end this afternoon though, as I expect to see a well-pitched affair.
It took awhile but Lackey has found his groove. He's 3-0 with a 1.52 ERA and 0.803 WHIP his last three starts, averaging nearly eight innings in those outings and going at least seven in all three of them. In fact, he's gone at least seven innings in seven of his last eight starts.
Lackey has seen the UNDER go 7-3 his last 10 starts against the Indians, allowing three earned runs or less in eight of those games. Note that he's 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA in five daytime starts. Opposing hitters are batting .196 in those games. (That's a whole lot better than his 5.58 ERA at night!)
Laffey comes off a great effort, which saw him toss seven shutout innings. That game finished with nine runs (total was 8.5 or 9) but his previous two starts had both stayed below the total. He's allowed three earned runs or less in five of his last seven games, two or less in four of those. Since returning from the DL, he's got a 3.32 ERA.
Even with the first two games finishing above the total, the UNDER is still 9-6 the last 15 times that the Indians traveled to LA to visit the Angels. I expect those numbers to improve here. *Getaway Day TOW
|07-28-09||Philadelphia Phillies v. Arizona Diamondbacks -125||Top||4-3||Loss||-125||12 h 31 m||Show|
I'm playing on ARIZONA. The line on Arizona has fallen from it's opener. That's not all that surprising. Many will see this matchup and wonder why the Phillies aren't favored. After all, they're the defending champs, they've got a significantly better record than the Diamondbacks and they've got Cole Hamels on the mound. However, with all due respect to the very capable Hamels, the Diamondbacks have a star of their own on the mound, one who is having a much better season than Hamels.
Of course, I'm referring to Dan Haren. All Haren has done is go 10-5 (Dbax are 13-7) with a superb 2.14 ERA and 0.839 WHIP. When considering that other Arizona starters have a combined 18-37 record, Haren's record is that much more impressive. He's been "getting it done" where ever he pitches but he's been particularly tough at home. In 10 home starts, he has an extremely stingy 2.07 ERA and 0.77 WHIP. He's averaged nearly 7 1/2 innings per start in those games, too. Note that Haren is 2-0 with a 2.05 ERA in his last three starts. Arizona won all three games, winning by a combined score of 23-6.
Haren, who went 16-8 with a 3.33 ERA for Arizona last season, leads the league in opponents
|07-27-09||Detroit Tigers v. Texas Rangers -145||Top||2-5||Win||100||11 h 29 m||Show|
I'm playing on TEXAS. The Tigers have dominated the Rangers this season, winning all six meetings. However, those six games were all played at Detroit. Now, the Rangers get a chance for some payback, while playing at their own ballpark. That's significant as the Rangers are 32-19 (+10.3) at home while the Tigers are just 21-29 (-7.4) on the road.
The Rangers hit .271 and score 5.4 runs per game at home. The Tigers hit .243 and average four runs on the road.
The Rangers' relievers have a combined 3.62 ERA and 1.256 WHIP at home. Detroit relievers have a combined 4.79 ERA and 1.528 WHIP on the road.
Both teams entered the weekend playing well. The Tigers won on Saturday by a score of 4-3, extending their winning streak to three games. The Rangers lost their game on Saturday but had previously won five straight. However, while the Rangers returned to their winning ways (7-2 win at KC) yesterday, the Tigers got shutdown by Richard Clayton and the White Sox, falling by a score of 5-1.
Note that both teams had to travel to get here and that the Rangers played yesterday afternoon while the Tigers played the Sunday Night ESPN game. In other words, while the Rangers were home in their own beds at a reasonable time, the Tigers didn't get in to their hotel rooms until late.
Many will assume that a matchup of Armando Galarraga vs. Tommy Hunter will favor the Tigers. With all due respect to Galarraga, who is a very capable pitcher, that's not necessarily the case. Galarraga has admittedly been better lately but he's still just 5-8 with a 4.82 ERA and 1.486 WHIP on the season. Those numbers are even worse on the road, where he's got a 2-4 record with a poor 5.24 ERA and 1.679 WHIP.
With this being an evening game, another thing that should be noted about Galarraga is that he tends to be much better when pitching during the afternoon. Last season, he had a 2.69 ERA during the afternoon but a much higher 4.30 ERA when pitching under the lights. The difference has been even more significant this season. Check this out. Galarraga is 4-0 with a 3.86 ERA in his daytime starts. However, he's 1-8 with a 5.25 ERA at night.
Hunter has made five starts and he's gone 2-1 with a stellar 2.17 ERA and 1.207 WHIP. He's been downright dominant lately. In fact, over his last three starts, he's gone 2-0 with a 1.04 ERA. Most recently, he limited the Red Sox to one run and four hits through six innings, outpitching Josh Beckett. Prior to that, he shut out the Mariners for six complete innings, also allowing only four hits. He's seemingly getting better and better and has yet to allow more than three earned runs in any start. Hunter will have the advantage of starting against the Tigers for the first time. I expect him to continue his solid pitching and look for the Rangers to exact a small measure of revenge for the earlier losses. *Personal Favorite
|07-26-09||Tampa Bay Rays v. Toronto Blue Jays UNDER 9||Top||1-5||Win||100||3 h 39 m||Show|
I'm playing on Tampa and Toronto to finish UNDER the total. As you probably know, these teams were involved in an extremely 'wild' game yesterday, a 10-9 Tampa victory in 12 innings. I expect a much lower-scoring contest this afternoon though.
Yesterday's result notwithstanding, the Rays have still seen the UNDER go 21-10-1 when playing during the afternoon this season. They've also seen the UNDER go 13-8 when playing a road game with a total of either nine or 9.5 and 13-6 in 19 July games overall. In fact, prior to yesterday, the Rays had seen seven straight games stay below the total.
Not to be outdone, the Jays have still seen the UNDER go 12-6-1 this month. Even with yesterday's big score, they've also still seen the UNDER go 23-10 in their divsisional games. Looking back a bit further and we find the UNDER at 16-7 the last 23 times that the Jays hosted the Rays.
This afternoon, the Jays will be matched up against Jeff Nieman. Toronto fans will recall this guy from about a month ago, as he came here and defeated Roy Halladay. That game, which finished with a score of 4-1, saw Nieman allow just four hits and one run through 7 1/3 innings. That's a 1.23 ERA and 0.819 WHIP. Nieman is having a very solid season and he's been superb lately. Indeed, in his last three starts, he's gone 3-0 with a 1.11 ERA and 0.945 WHIP. All three games stayed below the total, none of them producing more than six combined runs. Note that Nieman has averaged better than eight innings in those outings - which would be a welcome "relief" for the TB bullpen. Looking back further and we find that he's 7-1 with a 2.65 ERA his last 12 starts, allowing three earned runs or less in 11 of them.
Brett Cecil goes for the Jays and he's also been pitching very well. Two games ago, he allowed just four hits through six shutout innings. He followed that up by tossing seven shutout innings vs. Cleveland. Those games finished with scores of 2-0 and 2-1. With 13 consecutive shutout innings, he brings plenty of confidence into this afternoon's matchup. While the Rays got a very brief look at him in a relief appearance, Cecil has the advantage of starting against them for the first time. I expect a well-pitched affair. *Top AL East Total
|07-25-09||Atlanta Braves v. Milwaukee Brewers -130||Top||0-4||Win||100||9 h 56 m||Show|
I'm playing on MILWAUKEE. The Brewers got beaten up in yesterday's series opener. They're still 8-5 their last 13 vs. the Braves though and I expect them to bounce back with a much-needed victory this evening.
I've successfully played on Atlanta rookie Hanson more than once, including in his major league debut. I was somewhat fortunate to win that one though, as Hanson wasn't particularly sharp. In fact, the Brewers hit three home runs against him and scored seven runs, six of them earned. Hanson and I were bailed out by a big performance from the Atlanta offense - the Braves rallied from a 7-5 deficit with three runs in the eighth to earn a 8-7 victory. I don't expect Hanson to get anywhere near that kind of run support today though.
While he didn't receive a decision, Gallardo got the second half started with a quality start, allowing three runs through six innings. For the season, he's now got a 3.28 ERA and 1.26 WHIP - numbers very comparable to Hanson, who has a 3.00 ERA and 1.271 WHIP. Gallardo should be happy to see the Braves as he is 1-0 with an outstanding 1.20 ERA in two starts against them. He allowed just two hits in eight innings of a 4-0 win at Atlanta on June 5. Gallardo knows his team badly needs a victory and I expect him to be fired up to match up against the highly touted rookie.
Even with yesterday's loss, the Brewers are still a profitable 43-26 the last few seasons when playing a home game with a total of either eight or 8.5. Behind a strong effort from Gallardo, I expect them to improve on those stats here. *NL GOW
|07-22-09||New York Mets v. Washington Nationals -115||Top||1-3||Win||100||9 h 35 m||Show|
I'm playing on WASHINGTON. I won with the Nationals yesterday and I expect them to have the edge again today. Yesterday, I noted how the majority of the betting public would prefer not to bet on a 'bad' team like the Nats and how that can often lead to solid line value. I feel that's the case again here.
Yes, the Mets have the better overall record. They're still nowhere close to being healthy though. Last night, the Mets only had one batter reach second base. They've now been shutout nine times on the season, tied for the most in the majors. They've been batting in the low 200's as a team for quite some time and through the first three weeks of this month, they've managed a mere four home runs.
While there's still a long way to go, yesterday's loss had to have been a bit of an 'eye-opener' or for any Mets players or fans who were still entertaining thoughts of winning the division or earning a wildcard spot. The seriously depleted Mets are now 10 games back of first place Philadelphia in the division and they've got both Florida and Atlanta in between them and the Phillies. They're also five games below .500 in a National League which currently has 10 teams above the .500 mark. Clearly, reality has to be setting in and with it the realization that the playoffs are now very unlikely.
The Mets are likely just now beginning to accept the fact that they'll be playing out the string. The Nats, on the other hand, have known this for months. They've accepted it and putting the final nail in New York's coffin would be something to feel good about. Speaking of feeling good, the Nats are feeling a lot better about themselves after yesterday's victory. As manager Jim Riggleman noted, "I can't lie to you, it feels good to win a ballgame..."
While New York's Pelfrey has a better record than Washington's Stammen, Stammen has the better overall ERA and WHIP. That's largely due to the fact that he's been significantly better than Pelfrey recently. Stammen has come into his own recently, averaging better than seven innings over his last three starts, recording an outstanding 2.45 ERA and 1.045 WHIP during that stretch. Conversely, Pelfrey has averaged less than five innings over his last three starts. During that stretch, he has an awful 10.05 ERA and 1.954. The Mets lost his last start by a score of 11-0. Two starts before that, Pelfrey lost by a score of 8-0.
I feel the 'situation' favors the Nats and I expect them to earn a rare series victory. *Situational Top play
|07-21-09||New York Mets v. Washington Nationals -142||Top||0-4||Win||100||9 h 50 m||Show|
I'm laying the price with WASHINGTON. As you're probably aware, the Nationals are a pretty bad team these days. As you can also probably imagine, not many bettors like backing a team like this. That's particularly true when a team like the Nationals is favored against a team like the Mets, which is the case this evening. In this case, I believe that's given us some excellent value, as even though they're favored, I feel that the Nats are currently under-priced.
The Nats were also favored for yesterday's game and yet they still got pounded. However, that was with a starting pitcher (Martin) who was making his major league debut and against a starting pitcher (Hernandez) who had previously dominated Washington. Tonight's matchup is significantly more favorable.
While Hernandez had owned the Nats, Oliver Perez has struggled against them. He's faced them once this season (4/26) and he got rocked. Lasting just 4 1/3 innings, Perez gave up nine hits (two HRs) and issued three walks, while allowing a whopping seven runs. Washington won that game by a score of 8-1. Prior to that, in Perez's most recent start vs. Washington, which came in September of last year, he gave up seven runs in only 3 1/3 innings. Looking back further and we find that Perez is just 3-4 with an ugly 7.29 ERA in nine career starts vs. Washington
When Perez got pounded by the Nationals back in the spring, the game was being played at New York. This evening's game is being played at Washington, which could spell even bigger trouble for the Mets southpaw. Perez, who recently spent 2+ months on the disabled list, has an awful 9.87 ERA and 2.366 WHIP in four road starts this season. Not surprisingly, the Mets lost all four of those games. Overall, the Mets are just 2-7 in his last nine starts.
Lannan gets the call for the Nats and he's quietly been superb at home all season. Some of you will recall that I played on the 'under' in Lannan's last start, a winner on 7/16. At the time, I mentioned that Lannan had allowed three earned runs or less in seven of his previous eight home starts. Those numbers are even better now, as Lannan did it again, allowing just two earned runs through 6 2/3 innings. For the season, he's 3-1 with an outstanding 2.25 ERA and 1.191 WHIP in 10 home starts. While the bullpen admittedly hasn't done him many favors, note that he's averaged a very healthy 6.8 innings per start, when pitching here at home.
Lannan has also been dominant in his last two home starts vs. the Mets. In this season's lone home starts vs. the Mets, he tossed a complete game 4-hitter, allowing just one (unearned) run. The Nationals won by a score of 7-1. His previous home start vs. the Mets resulted in a 7-2 Nationals victory.
It should be noted that as bad as the Nationals have been, the banged-up Mets haven't exactly been tearing up the league either. With yesterday's victory, they're still just 19-28 on the road, including a money-burning 7-14 mark when playing a road game with an over/under line of either nine or 9.5.
We saw Pittsburgh snap a long losing streak vs. Milwaukee last night. Tonight, I expect Washington to snap it's current losing streak. *Personal Favorite
|07-20-09||Milwaukee Brewers v. Pittsburgh Pirates -110||Top||5-8||Win||100||9 h 32 m||Show|
I'm playing on PITTSBURGH. I'm well aware that the Brewers have dominated the Pirates in recent seasons. Naturally, the Pirates are well aware of that fact too. As Pittsburgh's Freddy Sanchez said after losing to Milwaukee in May, "There's not much you can say, they've had our number and you try to put that in the past, but then they've beat us every time this year..." That said, I believe that this is the right time and matchup for the Pirates to finally earn a victory in this series.
The Brewers, who have now lost 10 of 15 games in July, send Mike Burns to the mound. The former reliever has managed a couple of victories through his first four starts, going 2-2. However, he's also got an awful 6.54 ERA during that span. Additionally, three of his four starts came at home. In his lone road start, he got pounded for nine hits (two HR's) in just 4 2/3 innings, giving up a whopping seven runs. That translates to a 13.49 ERA and 2.141 WHIP.
Conversely, Pittsburgh's Ross Ohlendorf has quietly gone 5-2 in nine home starts, recording a 3.38 ERA and 1.144 WHIP. The Pirates were a very profitable 7-2 (+5.6) in those games. In his most recent home start, Ohlendorf tossed seven shutout innings, recording eight K's (0 walks) and allowing just four hits. The Pirates won by a score of 3-0. Ohlendorf is backed by a Pittsburgh bullpen which has also been surprisingly solid at home this season.
Even with Milwaukee having won a couple games here back in the spring, the Pirates' home record of 24-18 is still quite a lot better than the Brewers' .500 (23-23) mark on the road. Given Ohlendorf's strong pitching at home, I feel that the current price is very fair and that the time will be right for the Pirates to finally defeat their nemesis. *Personal Favorite
|07-19-09||Boston Red Sox v. Toronto Blue Jays -125||Top||1-3||Win||100||8 h 52 m||Show|
I'm playing on TORONTO. It's not often that we find Roy Halladay at home for this reasonable a price. Of course, that's because he's matched up against the Red Sox, currently the #1 team in the American League. However, while it's true that the Red Sox have a much better overall record, a closer look reveals that the Jays' home record is actually slightly better than Boston's road mark. With yesterday's victory, the Jays are now 26-21 at home. The Red Sox fell to 24-21 away from Fenway. Looking back at the last 2 1/2 seasons and we find the Jays' home record of 122-85 is significantly better than Boston's 115-102 mark on the road.
Another reason for the low price on Halladay is that he is matched up against another top tier pitcher. Lester is a tough southpaw and he was admittedly pitching very well before the break. After shaking off a slow start, he finished the first half with a 8-6 record and a solid 3.87 ERA and 1.289 WHIP. That said, his 4.61 ERA in nine road starts still isn't particularly good.
Halladay's been stuck on 10 wins for a few starts and took a hard-luck loss at Tampa in his most recent outing. However, the starter for the A.L. All Star team still finished the first half with a 10-3 record to go along with an outstanding 2.85 ERA and 1.089 WHIP. That WHIP dips to 0.985 in his nine home starts - note that he's averaged better than seven innings per start at home. The highly competitive Halladay should be extremely motivated to "get back on track" and start the second half with a victory.
In addition to the fact that this game is being played at Toronto, another advantage that I expect the Jays to have is that they've already seen Lester twice this season while the Red Sox will be seeing Halladay for the first time since last September.
Coincidentally, Halladay's last start vs. Boston also came vs. Lester. The Jays were small favorites for that game and won by a score of 6-3. Halladay allowed three runs. Lester allowed five. Including that result, the Jays are 6-2 the last eight times that Halladay faced the Red Sox here at Toronto.
The Jays built some positive momentum yesterday while snapping Boston's winning streak. Behind another big game from their ace, I expect to grab the rubber game, improving to 11-3 in Halladay's last 14 home starts. *Top AL East play
|07-18-09||Milwaukee Brewers v. Cincinnati Reds -115||Top||5-1||Loss||-115||9 h 47 m||Show|
I'm playing on CINCINNATI. I won with the Reds yesterday and I'm going to back them again today. This line has fallen from it's opener. It's now getting closer to the "pick'em range," which I feel has given us excellent value.
At first glance, Cincinnati's Aaron Harang has better overall numbers than Milwaukee's Manny Parra. Harang is 5-9 (team is 9-10) with a 4.18 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP. Parra is 3-8 (team is 3-11) with a 6.78 ERA and 1.786 WHIP. However, when we look at the home/road numbers, Harang's advantage becomes even more significant.
Harang has gone 4-3 with a superb 2.83 ERA and 1.167 WHIP in seven home starts with the Reds winning nine of those games. In his last home start, Harang allowed two runs in seven innings, giving up just four hits while recording eight K's. Looking back further and we find that he's allowed three earned runs or less in six straight home starts, going at least seven innings in four of those games. Going back still further and we find he's allowed three earned runs or less in 10 of his last 12 home starts (allowed four and five in the other two) with the Reds winning nine of those 12 games.
Conversely, Parra is 2-5 (Brewers are 2-6) in eight road starts this season, recording an absolutely terrible 8.92 ERA and 2.113 WHIP. In his last three road starts, he has given up five, eight and 10 runs. Going back further and we find that the Brewers are a money-burning 2-10 his last 12 road starts. Parra allowed at least five earned runs in more than half (seven) of them.
Parra did win one of this season's two starts against Cincinnati. However, the Brewers are still just 1-3 in his four career starts against the Reds. Harang was beaten by Milwaukee earlier, getting roughed up in the process. That was at Milwaukee though. In his last home start vs. the Brewers, he allowed one run in eight innings. He allowed just four hits and had eight K's without walking a batter. The Reds won that game by a score of 4-3 and are 4-2 his last six starts vs. the Brewers. His last three home starts vs. the Brewers have seen Harang allow just four earned runs in 25 innings, striking out 25 while walking only two. I expect Harang to continue his strong home pitching and look for the Reds to follow up yesterday's victory with another one today. *Best Bet
|07-16-09||Philadelphia Phillies v. Florida Marlins -125||Top||4-0||Loss||-125||9 h 50 m||Show|
I'm playing on FLORIDA. Moyer's 8-6 record in the first half was better than Volstad's 6-8 mark. However, Volstad's 4.44 ERA was much more respectable than Moyer's poor 5.99 mark. Additionally, Volstad enters this evening's start in much better current form.
In his last start, Volstad tossed a complete game 5-hit shutout vs. the Giants. He had six K's and 0 walks and needed to throw only 105 pitches. He was quoted as saying: "This series is going to be huge. You want to start off not only the second half but that series you want to start off well. Hopefully I can repeat what I did in San Francisco."
By comparison, Moyer threw 102 pitches in just five innings in his last start. During that span he allowed eight hits and six runs. Including that result, the 46-year-old southpaw has allowed more than three runs in 10 of his 17 starts. Note that Moyer is a perfect 5-0 with a 4.11 ERA when pitching during the afternoon but just 3-6 with an awful 7.06 in 11 starts under the lights.
It's true that Moyer has enjoyed success against the Marlins over his career. However, while it's a smaller sample size, Volstad has been every bit as good against the Phillies. In five starts against Philadelphia, he's gone 2-1 with a stellar 2.60 ERA, allowing three earned runs or less in all five starts. Most recently, Volstad outpitched Moyer back on 5/25, en route to a 5-3 Florida victory.
The Marlins are 12-5 their last 17 against left-handed starters. I look for them to improve on those stats, beginning the second half with an important victory. *Personal Favorite
|07-12-09||Los Angeles Dodgers v. Milwaukee Brewers -140||Top||7-4||Loss||-140||10 h 4 m||Show|
I'm playing on MILWAUKEE. After suffering a tough 12-8 extra-innings loss Friday, the Brewers bounced back with a big 6-3 win Saturday. I expect them to carry the positive momentum from that victory into this afternoon's game.
Surprised to see the Brewers favored vs. the best team in baseball? Don't be. Not with Yovani Gallardo on the mound. Gallardo's 8-6 record is certainly respectable but it doesn't reveal how good he's really been. Overall, he has a 2.95 ERA, 1.194 WHIP and has held opposing to a .199 batting average. He's averaged greater than six innings per start and has more K's (120) than innings pitched At home, opponents are hitting just .181 against him. His 2-3 record in day games is particularly deceiving, as he has an outstanding 1.36 ERA and a .179 BAA when pitching during the afternoon. Note that Gallardo has the edge of facing the Dodgers for the first time. The Dodgers only have two players on their roster, Orlando Hudson and Mark Loretta, whom have ever stepped in the batters box against him.
Clayton Kershaw has solid overall numbers (6-5, 3.27 ERA) this season and he's admittedly been very sharp recently. That said, he's been much better at home this season than he has been on the road. At home, he's got an excellent 1.85 ERA. However, on the road, it jumps all the way to 4.80 - the Dodgers are 4-4 in his road starts. In his career, he's 6-6 on the road with a poor 5.09 ERA. He has a tendency to struggle with control and in 10 of his 17 starts he's pitched less than 6 innings. Additionally, unlike Gallardo, Kershaw's got a higher ERA during the afternoon than he does during the evening. Kershaw has a 2.73 ERA under the lights but when pitching during the afternoon, it climbs to 4.55.
This game is arguably more important for Milwaukee. The Brewers, currently two back of the Cardinals, are in a dogfight with a few other teams (Cubs, Astros, Reds) in the Central. The Dodgers, on the other hand, have a fairly comfortable lead over the rest of the pack in the West. Knowing that they'll still be taking the best record in the majors into the All-Star Break, regardless of what happens today, I feel that it may be easy for them to get caught "looking ahead" to the All Star game and/or the All Star vacation.
The Brewers, who got a look at Kershaw last season, are 74-53 (+12.3) against left-handed starters over the last few seasons. That includes a profitable 13-9 (+4.2) mark this season. They've also been at their best when playing the league's better teams. In fact, with yesterday's victory, they're now 23-12 when matched up against teams with a winning record. Behind another strong daytime home start from Gallardo, I expect them to improve on those stats by earning their second consecutive victory. 1st Half GOY
|07-11-09||New York Yankees v. Los Angeles Angels UNDER 10||Top||8-14||Loss||-105||6 h 1 m||Show|
I'm playing on the Yankees and Angels to finish UNDER the total. This line has moved from 9.5 to 10 at several shops and I feel that's providing us with excellent value.
These pitchers faced each other back on 5/1 with that game finishing with a wild 10-9 final score. That was at New York though and this afternoon's game will be played at LA. Big difference.
Pettitte has struggled at New York this season. However, he's been fantastic on the road. In seven road starts, he's gone 4-1 (team is 6-1) with a 2.79 ERA and 1.286 WHIP. Five of those seven games stayed below the total. He's allowed a total of 14 home runs on the season but only two came on the road.
Likewise, Weaver has been much better here at home. In fact, he's been dominant. In nine starts here, he's gone 6-1 (team is 7-2) with an outstanding 2.05 ERA and 0.894 WHIP. He's averaged better than seven innings in his home starts with the UNDER going 6-2-1.
The UNDER has gone a profitable 66-43-6 the last 115 times that the Angels played during the afternoon. With both pitchers in their "preferred environment" (Weaver at home, Pettitte on the road) I expect those numbers to improve this afternoon *TV TOM
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|07-08-09||Baltimore Orioles v. Seattle Mariners -135||Top||5-3||Loss||-135||6 h 22 m||Show|
I'm laying the price with SEATTLE. After the Mariners grabbed Monday's opener, the Orioles responded with a big victory yesterday. I expect the M's to bounce back with a convincing win of their own this afternoon.
Vargas gets the call and he's been superb here at SafeCo Field. Indeed, in four home starts he has an outstanding 1.82 ERA and 0.973 WHIP. Not surprisingly, the M's have won all four of those games. Averaging better than six innings per start in those games, Vargas gave up one earned run in three of those games and two in the other. Dating back to his time in the NL, Vargas' teams are now 7-1 his last eight home starts.
David Hernandez has made two road starts, one of them here at Seattle. The M's won that game 8-2 with Hernandez giving up 10 hits and five runs in just 5 1/3 innings. Including that poor effort, he's got a 6.00 ERA and 1.583 WHIP when starting on the road.
Note that Vargas is supported by a much better bullpen than Hernandez. Prior to yesterday's game, the Seattle relievers had a combined 2.31 ERA at home. Conversely, the O's' relievers entered yesterday's game with a horrible 5.62 ERA on the road.
In addition to their edge on the mound, the M's have been the much better team when playing during the afternoon. Seattle comes in with a profitable 16-11 (+6.3) record during day games. On the other hand, Baltimore enters today's action with a horrible 6-16 (-9.4) mark when playing during the afternoon. Looking back further and we find the O's at a money-burning 33-76 (-41.8) in afternoon games over the past few seasons. During the same stretch, the O's are also just 48-75 when facing a southpaw starter.
Even with yesterday's setback, the Mariners have still won five of their last seven vs. the O's and 10 of their last 13 home games overall. I expect them to bounce back and close out the series with a victory. *"Getaway Day" GOM
|07-07-09||St. Louis Cardinals v. Milwaukee Brewers -145||Top||5-0||Loss||-145||10 h 33 m||Show|
I'm laying the price with MILWAUKEE. After winning big on Sunday, the Cardinals were idle on Monday. They're 1-4 (-3.8) this season when playing with a day off and I expect them to have some trouble in this evening's series opener.
In addition to their strong 22-13 record against divisional opponents, the Brewers have been at their best when playing the league's better teams this season. In fact, Milwaukee is an impressive 21-9 this season when playing a team with a winning record.
The Brewers lost 8-2 on Sunday afternoon game. Note that they've been much better in the evening, going 32-22 in night games this season.
The Brewers' starting pitcher, Yovani Gallardo, has also excelled in night games in his career. Gallardo is 14-5 under the lights. Gallardo is currently enjoying his most dominating stretch ever. In June and July he has allowed a total of just nine earned runs in 39 2/3 innings. That's a 2.04 ERA!
In his first start this month, Gallardo allowed just five hits in seven innings. In June, opponents hit just .172 against him. That was also all they could manage to hit against him in April too. Note that on May 25th, Gallardo held the Cardinals to just two hits in eight shutout innings. That was the first time he'd faced them since 2007 and he out- dueled Carpenter en route to a 1-0 victory.
With 58 K's in his last 45 innings, Gallardo is arguably one of the most dominant hurlers in the league right now. For the season, he has 114 K's in 104 innings overall to go along with a stellar 2.47 ERA at home.
Adam Wainwright gets the start for the Cardinals Tuesday. Even though Wainwright has some solid overall numbers this season, he's not been the same pitcher on the road that he's been at home. Wainwright is 5-1 on the road this season but he's compiled a 4.80 ERA, 1.578 WHIP and a .298 BAA. It isn't just this season, either. In his career, Wainwright's ERA on the road is more than a full run higher than what he's produced at home.
Wainwright is coming off of a nine inning effort against the Giants in his last start. St Louis won that game in extra innings and Wainwright threw 122 pitches. That type of effort could easily have him "running out of gas" earlier than usual in this game.
With Gallardo continuing his recent dominance, I look for the Brewers, already 4-2 vs. the Cards on the season, to earn an important victory, moving into a tie for first place in the division. *Personal Favorite
|07-05-09||Chicago White Sox v. Kansas City Royals -118||Top||3-6||Win||100||4 h 38 m||Show|
I'm playing on KANSAS CITY. While many tend to think otherwise, when a team has a lengthy winning streak snapped - like the White Sox did yesterday - it can be tough to immediately bounce back. The White Sox had won seven straight games before yesterday's loss. Conversely, when a team snaps a losing streak - as the Royals did yesterday - it can help create some "positive energy." The Royals shifted the "momentum" for both teams with yesterday's 6-4 win and I expect them to have the advantage this afternoon.
Brian Bannister has lost three straight starts but he's deserved much better. The right-hander gave up just 18 hits in 21 innings in those games. During that stretch, he managed a 3.43 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. Bannister has a stellar 2.87 ERA at home and opponents are hitting just .233 against him at Kaufmann Stadium. Note that Bannister is a remarkable 15-6 in day games in his career and that this season, he's got a super 2.38 ERA and a .224 BAA in five daytime starts. He'll be happy about today's early starting time and he should finally get at least a few runs to work with.
Clayton Richard is expected to get this start for the White Sox and he's given up 11 earned runs in his last 11 and 1/3 innings. Even though Richard's overall numbers are still somewhat respectable, he really hasn't been shutting down teams of late and there's a good chance of him giving up at least a few today. Even though Richard has averaged less than five innings through his last six games, he's still given up at least three earned runs in five of them.
While he did beat Bannister earlier this year, Richard still has a poor 6.35 ERA and 1.677 WHIP in two starts vs. the Royals, who have hit .306 against him at Kaufmann Stadium. It's also worth noting that righthanded hitters have hit .313 against Richard in his career and that he'll be seeing very few lefthanded batters in the Royals lineup. Additionally, in day games in his career, Richard has a 5.59 ERA and a .319 BAA.
I expect Bannister to outpitch Richard, avenging the earlier loss, and look for the Royals to build positive momentum from yesterday's win, closing out the series with a victory. *Sunday Main Event
|07-04-09||Tampa Bay Rays -135 v. Texas Rangers||Top||4-12||Loss||-135||10 h 38 m||Show|
I'm laying the price with TAMPA BAY. The Rangers grabbed yesterday's series opener but I fully expect the Rays to bounce back and even things up today. This game featured a pair of southpaw starters and Tampa's has proven to be much better.
David Price goes for the Rays and he's got a respectable 3.93 ERA through his first seven starts, four of which have resulted in Tampa victories. Price brings some momentum into today's game, as he was excellent his last time out. In that outing, he allowed just two hits and one run through 6 1/3 innings, earning a 5-2 victory over the Marlins. Note that Price is supported by a Tampa bullpen which has an ERA a full run lower than the Texas bullpen.
Derek Holland goes for the Rangers and he's 1-5 with a poor 6.20 ERA on the season. That includes an 0-4 mark as a starter. He's been particularly brutal here at Texas. Indeed, in three starts here, he's gone 0-3 with a terrible 8.62 ERA and 2.234 WHIP. The Rangers have lost those three games by a combined score of 22-8. Last time out, in 5 2/3 innings he gave up a whopping 13 hits, allowing seven runs, six of them earned. That was against the light-hitting Padres, too. Now, he'll face a much more potent Tampa Bay offense, a lineup which will be highly motivated for a "bounce back" performance. Note that the Rays lead the majors with 443 runs.
After Price and the Rays beat the Marlins last week, Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Price: "..He's a good one..." I expect Price, who had a 1.93 ERA in Tampa's World Series run last year and who was the #1 overall pick in the 2007 draft, to build from that outing and for the Rays to bounce back with a convincing victory. *"Independence Day Massacre"
|07-03-09||Chicago White Sox v. Kansas City Royals -143||Top||5-0||Loss||-143||9 h 5 m||Show|
I'm laying the price with KANSAS CITY. While the White Sox have been rolling, the Royals have been struggling. They lost again yesterday. However, with their ace on the mound, I feel that this will be an excellent spot to get back on track, at least for a night.
After his first tough stretch of the season, Zach Greinke now appears to be back in a groove, as he's resumed the type of form he had displayed in starting the season 8-1 with a 0.84 ERA. Greinke has won his last two starts and allowed just three earned
runs in 14 1/3 innings. Note that Greinke is 2-0 in his three starts against the White Sox this season with an outstanding 1.23 ERA. After blanking the Sox in his first two starts against them, he received a no-decision in a loss vs. Danks just over a month ago - although he did outpitch Danks. That should provide Greinke with some added motivation here, as will the fact that KC badly needs a win. The Sox are hitting just .218 against him this season.
The Royals have been swinging the bats somewhat better than what their recent run totals would lead one to believe, as they've managed 38 hits in their last four games. After scoring just one run on 12 hits Wednesday, the Royals then hit three double plays on Thursday. After struggling against Mark Buehrle of the White Sox last night, KC gets an opportunity to bounce back against John Danks. While he's admittedly been quite sharp of late, the White Sox southpaw has still lost three of his last five outings. In his start prior to his current 2-3 stretch, Danks got a no decision but he arguably deserved a loss. That was a game at Kansas City where he was pounded for four earned runs on nine hits in just 5 1/3 innings. The Royals are getting a second shot at Danks in a span of about five weeks and they should be able to hit him well again. Even though Danks has a 4-2 record on the road this season, he also has a poor 4.99 ERA and a .274 BAA in those games. Additionally, in night games, Danks is just 4-6 with a 5.00 ERA so far this season.
The White Sox have struggled as road underdogs in this range the past few seasons. On the other hand, the Royals are 7-1 (+5.8) as a home favorite in the -125 to -150 range this season. Going further back, the Royals are 19-8 (+8.2) in this role over the last three seasons. Behind another quality effort from their ace, look for them to bounce back with a much-needed victory. *Personal Favorite
|07-03-09||Atlanta Braves v. Washington Nationals +115||Top||9-8||Loss||-100||8 h 13 m||Show|
I'm playing on WASHINGTON. While I didn't necessarily anticipate the sweep, the fact that the Braves fared well vs. the Phillies didn't come as a shock to me. I successfully backed the Braves in Game 1 and stated how important a series it was for them to win. After that big sweep, the Braves have suddenly become a popular pick - particularly when facing the lowly Nationals. However, I believe that the Nats will have some advantages.
For starters, the Nats have both the schedule and the venue in their favor. The Braves recent sweep came at home. Now they're on the road, where they've won just five of their last 16. Additionally, while the Braves have dominated the Nats at Atlanta, they've had trouble against them on the road. In fact, they lost two of three earlier this season and are just 1-8 their last nine here.
It should also be noted that the Nats had yesterday off while the Braves played. Off a sweep vs. the defending champs, the best team in the division, a "letdown" vs. the worst team won't surprise.
Atlanta's Kenshen Kawakami does bring better overall stats to the table than does Washington's Ross Detwiler. However, a closer look shows that Detwiler's home numbers are much better than Kawakami's road numbers. Detwiler has a 3.64 ERA and 1.18 WHIP at home. Conversely, Kawakami has an ugly 5.29 ERA and 1.732 WHIP on the road.
Detwiler has the advantage of facing the Braves for the first time. On the other hand, Washington will be seeing Kawakami for the third time already this season. The Nats were beaten by Kawakami at Atlanta but returned the favor by beating him at Washington. For the two games, Kawakami had a combined 1.636 WHIP, showing that the Nats were having no trouble getting runners on base. It should also be noted that Kawakami hasn't pitched since June 24th, as he was hit by a line drive in the neck. Kawakami was quoted as saying: "...I'm alive. At first, I was worried that it might have hit a bone. I'm glad it didn't."
Even with yesterday's victory, their fourth straight, the Braves are still a money-burning 17-23 (-13.6) the last 40 times that they were coming off three or more consecutive victories. I expect their troubles here at Washington to continue for another day. *Top July Dog
|07-01-09||Chicago White Sox v. Cleveland Indians -120||Top||6-2||Loss||-120||9 h 34 m||Show|
I'm playing on CLEVELAND. Having lost the first two games of this series by a combined score of 17-7, the Indians are looking to avoid getting swept in front of their home fans. Note that Cleveland has only been swept at home two times this season and that the White Sox have only swept one road series so far. I expect "the Tribe" to have an edge on the mound and I look for them to bounce back in a big way.
Jeremy Sowers gets the call for Cleveland. Sowers' overall numbers are disappointing. However, a closer look shows that he's allowed two earned runs or less in five of his last seven starts, while pitching at least five innings in six of his last seven.
Last time out, Sowers allowed just six hits and two runs in seven innings. He didn't allow any home runs and he had six K's to just one walk. That's certainly the type of start that a pitcher can "build" from. Sowers has admittedly had some trouble beating the Sox. However, he hasn't gotten much help either - he's held them to a .253 batting average overall - most recently holding Chicago to two earned runs in six innings but getting no run support and losing by a score of 4-2. I expect the Indians to provide Sowers with considerably more support this evening.
The White Sox, who are just 29-48 as a road dog of up to +125 over the last three seasons, send Jose Contreras to the mound. Contreras gave up five runs (4 earned) last time out, losing 5-4 vs. the Cubs. Including that result, the White Sox have lost eight of the ten starts that he's made this season. Dating back to last season, they're a money-burning 2-10 in Contreras' last 12 starts & 2-8 his last 10 on the road. Contreras, who has walked 24 in 37 career innings at Cleveland, has a 4.97 ERA on the road and a 4.80 ERA in night games. Both of those numbers are inferior to what he's produced at home and in day games. This season, he's 1-4 with a 6.43 ERA and 1.501 WHIP away from Chicago. Additionally, Contreras is 1-5 in night games this season while compiling a 6.61 ERA under the lights.
Despite the results from the first two games, the Indians are still 98-78 (+6.4) against divisional opponents over the last three seasons and 8-6 the last 14 in this series. During that stretch, they're also 20-14 after allowing double-digits in their previous game. I expect them to bounce back and improve on those stats with a much-needed victory. *Personal Favorite
|06-30-09||Philadelphia Phillies v. Atlanta Braves -130||Top||4-5||Win||100||9 h 39 m||Show|
I'm playing on ATLANTA. Both teams were off Monday. History would indicate that's an advantage for Atlanta, as over the last few seasons, this situation has benefited the Braves much more than it has the Phillies. Atlanta is 34-17 (+17.2) when it has had a day off. Philadelphia is a much more modest 29-21 (+4.8) when it has had a day off. That's not why I'm backing the Braves though. Rather, I'm playing on them because I feel that this is a critical game for them and because I expect them to have the edge on them mound.
On Sunday the Braves snapped their four game losing streak and the victory gives them some positive momentum to take into this important (arguably, critical) home series against the defending champs, a division rival with a five game lead on them in the standings. Note that Hamels (Philadelphia's ace) is expected to go tomorrow, making tonight's opener that much more important.
While some of the local Atlanta media would have one believe otherwise, it hasn't been all "doom and gloom" for the Braves recently. Before their four game losing skid, they'd won four of their last six and they had outscored their opponents by a combined score of 21 to 2 in the four wins. Atlanta, which is hopeful of having both Escobar and McLouth back in the
lineup, (both currently questionable) after the day off allowed for extra healing time.
The Phillies won the final two games of their series with Toronto. However, keep in mind that the champs had previously lost 11 of their last 13 games. Philadelphia's bullpen has not been nearly as reliable as it was last season. Closer Brad Lidge's health is a question mark. While they've put up big numbers in a couple of their wins, the Phillies have been held to three runs or less in seven of their last 11 losses.
Blanton, formerly of Oakland, pitched relatively well in his return to the American League, during Interleague play. However, the Phillies didn't give him any run support and are 0-4 in his last four starts. Blanton, who has a 5.06 ERA on the season, is also winless in three starts against Atlanta. He has an awful 9.64 ERA (1.714 WHIP) in those games and Atlanta has hit .323 against him. This will be the third time that the Braves have seen him already in the past few months, an advantage for the hitters.
The Braves are sending Derek Lowe to the mound to open up this series. Lowe admitted that he was "terrible" in his most recent start, an 11-7 loss vs. the Yankees. However, he was solid in his previous start, holding the Red Sox to three runs in 6 1/3 innings at Fenway and he's 5-1 against the Phillies in his career. Lowe has a 2.61 ERA and 1.053 WHIP against Philadelphia and has held the Phils to a low .218 BAA. Note that Lowe's best start this season came against the Phillies, as he shut them out over eight innings and allowed just two hits. That was the only time that he faced them this season.
In addition to faring better against today's opponent, Lowe has better numbers than Blanton both this season and for his career. He knows the importance of this game, arguably much more important for Atlanta, and he'll be highly motivated to bounce back from his poor effort last time out. I expect him to continue his success against the Phillies and look for the Braves to start the series with a much-needed victory. *June GOM
|06-29-09||Los Angeles Angels v. Texas Rangers -130||Top||5-2||Loss||-130||10 h 32 m||Show|
I'm playing on TEXAS. The Angels, who have won 12 of their last 15, come in as the "hotter" team. That said, I feel that this will prove to be an excellent spot to go against them.
Vicente Padilla has been throwing extremely well ever since the trade rumors started circulating. As soon as he realized he had been put on the trading block and there were no takers, it seemed to fire him up. Indeed, Padilla has given up just six earned runs on 21 hits in his last 25 innings. Last time out, he outpitched Dan Haren, en route to a 2-1 win at Arizona. Padilla would allow just one run through seven complete innings. Padilla is now 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA his last three starts and he's now produced a quality start in seven of his last nine outings.
After Padilla was 14-8 for Texas last season, the Rangers are now 9-4 in his 13 starts this season. Including a win against them here last month, Padilla is 6-3 in his career against the Angels. The Rangers won his last two starts against them by a combined score of 17-4. Additionally, it's worth noting that Padilla's best month throughout his career has been June, where he has a record of 20-10 in 57 games (34 starts).
Sean O'Sullivan of the Angels is making just his third career start. After a sparkling debut, O'Sullivan was much less effective in his second start. This isn't uncommon with young rookie pitchers and I won't be surprised if he has some trouble this evening. Note that O'Sullivan walked three and gave up two homers while lasting just five innings in his second start.
The Angels are just 5-8 as a road dog of up to +125 this season and they're 9-12 against divisional opponents this year. Conversely, the Rangers are 13-3 against divisional opponents this season, including a sweep of the Angels here last month. Despite dropping last night's game, the Rangers are also a respectable 10-4 when listed as a home favorite in the -125 to -150 range. With tonight's o/u line currently listed at 10.5, note that Texas is also 17-6 this season when at home and the total is either 10 or 10.5 In that same situation over the last three seasons, the Rangers are a highly profitable 60-37.
While the Angels are the team playing with 'revenge,' this game is arguably even bigger to the Rangers. I expect them to bounce back from last night's loss and for them to grab the opener of this important series. *Personal Favorite
|06-28-09||Los Angeles Angels v. Arizona Diamondbacks -122||Top||12-8||Loss||-122||6 h 54 m||Show|
I'm playing on ARIZONA.The Diamondbacks never trailed in yesterday's game until, with one out and nobody out in the top of the 9th, Mike Napoli hit a home run. That was the difference as the Angels squeaked out a tight 2-1 win. Arizona is now playing to avoid getting swept in front of the home fans, which should ensure a highly motivated effort. Note that the Diamondbacks have been swept at home just once all season. More importantly, I believe that they'll have the advantage on the mound.
Max Scherzer has been "money" for Arizona over the last month and a half. Indeed, the Diamondbacks are 7-2 in Scherzer's last nine starts. He's allowed two earned runs or less in nine of his last 13 starts overall, including each of his last three. Over those three starts, he's gone 3-0 with an outstanding 1.83 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. Arizona won those three games by a combined score of 22-7. For his career, Scherzer has a very solid 3.33 ERA and a .245 BAA. Additionally, he's fanned an impressive 48 in his last 41 1/3 innings on the mound, an indication of what he brings to the table. While he did throw a career high in pitches last time out, I expect Scherzer to be "just fine" again this afternoon.
Matt Palmer of the Angels has a 6-1 record but a poor 4.70 ERA. In five career road starts, he's got an ugly 6.93 ERA. He got pounded last time out, allowing six earned runs in 4 2/3 innings vs. Colorado. The Angels lost by a score of 11-1. After he walked five in that game, Manager Mike Scioscia was quoted as saying: Matty gets out of sync a little bit and gets behind (in counts..." That gives Palmer a 6.35 ERA his last three starts to go along with a terrible 1.941 WHIP. Speaking of "terrible WHIP's," Palmer also has a 1.81 WHIP in his career against left-handed batters. That could prove to be an issue against this Diamondbacks team.
The Diamondbacks, who have now dropped four straight, are still 7-2 this season after three or more consecutive losses. Arizona is 29-16 (+11.5) the last few seasons in this same situation - after three or more consecutive losses. Coincidentally, prior to yesterday's setback, the last time the Diamondbacks had lost three straight was in Scherzer's last start. They bounced back with an 8-2 win vs. Texas. Behind another quality effort from Scherzer, I expect them to bounce back once again, dropping the Angels to 5-10 when playing on the road with a total of either nine or 9.5. *Personal Favorite
|06-28-09||Colorado Rockies v. Oakland Athletics UNDER 8||Top||3-1||Win||100||6 h 39 m||Show|
I'm playing on Oakland and Colorado to finish UNDER the total. Yesterday's game was an extremely high-scoring one. However, I expect a MUCH lower-scoring contest this afternoon.
Vin Mazzaro brings some impressive stats to the table for the A's. In five starts, he's recorded a stellar 2.56 ERA and 1.074 WHIP. He's gone at least six complete innings in ALL five of his starts and NONE of those games has produced more than five combined runs. Those games had scores of 5-0, 3-0, 3-0, 3-2 and 4-1. Naturally, all five stayed below the total.
Cook gets the call for Colorado and he's been looking every bit like the Rockies' ace recently. Last time out, he limited a tough Angels lineup to a mere three hits and one run through seven complete innings. Including that outstanding effort, he's now 3-0 with a stellar 2.25 ERA and 1.00 WHIP over his last three starts, averaging nearly seven complete innings per outing. He'll face an Oakland lineup which is hitting only .221 when playing during the afternoon.
While Mazzaro will have the advantage of facing the Rockies for the first time, Cook was dominant in his lone start vs. Oakland, which came back in 2006. In that outing, Cook allowed just four hits and one run through eight complete innings. The final score was 3-2.
Yes, the A's gave up 11 runs yesterday. They've seen the UNDER go a profitable 23-10 the last 33 times that they gave up double-digits in their previous game though. They've also seen the UNDER go 16-9 when playing during the afternoon. I expect those stats to improve as this well-pitched affair stays below the number once again. *IL TOY
|06-27-09||Seattle Mariners -129 v. Los Angeles Dodgers||Top||5-1||Win||100||20 h 33 m||Show|
I'm playing on SEATTLE. Many may be surprised to see the Mariners favored over the Dodgers, particularly for a game being played at LA, where the Dodgers have admittedly been very tough. After all, the Dodgers have the best home record in the National League and they pounded the Mariners here last night. However, this is an entirely different pitching matchup, one that significantly favors the visitors.
Felix Hernandez gets the start for the Mariners and he's allowed a mere five earned runs in his last six starts, a span of 45 innings. In that stretch, Hernandez has struck out 42 while allowing just 34 hits. He's got a 1.16 ERA and 0.986 WHIP his last three starts. For the season, Hernandez is 4-1 on the road with a 1.98 ERA and a .210 BAA. In his last road start, Hernandez tossed a complete game 2-hit shutout. Note that June has historically been the best month for Hernandez. He's 10-2 in the month of June in his career with a 2.72 ERA.
Eric Milton is back from the disabled list and he has a very solid 2.89 ERA this season. However, that low ERA doesn't have much "substance" to it, as he's only made four starts. A closer look shows that, after being tough to hit in his first
start, Milton has allowed 21 hits in his next 14 2/3 innings. He's only made one home start and he allowed more than two baserunners (2.079 WHIP) per inning.
Righties have hit Milton, who hasn't started more than six games in a season since 2006, hard in recent seasons, including .333 this year. That's worth noting as the Mariners will have a lineup loaded with right-handed batters. Note that Milton is 1-5 with an awful 9.41 ERA (1.886 WHIP) in his career against the Mariners.
Yesterday's result notwithstanding, the Mariners have been better than the Dodgers in Interleague play in recent seasons and they've hit better against southpaws than against right-handers. The Mariners have also been tough as small road favorites this season. With their ace in top current form, I expect the M's to bounce back and even up the series. *Personal Favorite
|06-26-09||San Francisco Giants v. Milwaukee Brewers -150||Top||1-5||Win||100||10 h 32 m||Show|
I'm laying the price with Milwaukee. Milwaukee has won four straight home games against San Francisco, pounding out eight home runs in those games. Looking back a bit further and we find that the Brewers are 12-2 in their last 14 home games against the Giants, averaging seven runs per game. I expect them to continue that homefield dominance this evening.
Yovanni Gallardo gets the call for the Brewers and he's gone 3-2 with an excellent 1.88 ERA in his last six starts. In his career, Gallardo is 8-4 at home with a 2.63 ERA and a .197 BAA. This season, he's gone 3-2 at home with an outstanding .167 BAA. He strikes out more than a batter per inning. He's 2-1 vs. the Giants, winning earlier at SF this season and winning his lone home start against the Giants, a 5-4 victory in 2007. Gallardo will have the support of a Milwaukee bullpen which has been excellent at home.
Although Matt Cain is enjoying a strong season, he's just 1-2 in his career against the Brewers. In his lone start here at Milwaukee, he gave up five runs, en route to a 5-3 loss. He's also supported by a Giants' offense which is averaging only 3.4 runs per game on the road. The Giants did earn a 6-3 win on Wednesday but in their prior four games, they were just 3 for 33 with runners in scoring position.
While they had some trouble vs. the Twins, the Brewers have "stepped up" against quality competition this season. In fact, they're a profitable 18-8 (+10.2) when playing against a team with a winning record. Behind another strong home start for Gallardo, I expect them to improve on those stats here, dropping the Giants to 3-9 the last 12 times that they were road underdogs in the +125 to +150 range. *Personal Favorite
|06-25-09||Phi Phillies v. Tam Rays -145||Top||4-10||Win||100||9 h 49 m||Show|
I'm playing on TAMPA BAY. After getting blown out in Tuesday's opener, the Rays bounced back with a much-needed victory last night. A win here will give them the series victory vs. the team which defeated them in the World Series last year. While Maddon and the Rays may say otherwise, clearly this is a big game for them. A victory here would allow the Rays to finally put last year's postseason behind them.
The Rays come in as the hotter team. Including yesterday's result, Tampa has won nine of 13. Philadelphia has lost nine of 11.
Andy Sonnanstine is all about precision. When he's able to locate his pitches he can fool most any major league hitter. However, when he's off, things can go bad in a hurry. This is a big part of the reason that Sonnanstine has performed much better at home than on the road throughout his career. As you know, he pitches his home games in the domed conditions of Tropicana Field in Tampa. His career record at home is 13-9 while his career record on the road is 11-17. Sonnanstine's overall numbers this season show a 5-7 record, a 6.60 ERA, and a .307 BAA. However, at Tropicana Field, he's a perfect 4-0 with a much more respectable 4.15 ERA and a .258 BAA to go along with a solid 1.252 WHIP. While Sonnanstine doesn't always get the "W," dating back to last season the Rays are an impressive 15-4 his last 19 home starts.
The Phillies have faced Sonnanstine just once and that came in last year's World Series. Although the Phillies got the better of Sonnanstine in that game, note that it was played in Philadelphia. Naturally, he'll be highly motivated to get some "payback." The Rays hit very well at home and given the current form of the opposing starter, I feel that they're likely to provide Sonnanstine with some decent support.
The Phillies send Antonio Bastardo to the mound and he's quickly come back down to earth after winning his first two starts. Bastardo's first two outings were at pitcher-friendly Petco Park and Dodger Stadium. He followed that up with back to back home outings at hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park. Now he makes his first ever start in a dome and Tropicana Field is not exactly "pitcher-friendly." Note that Bastardo has allowed eight earned runs in his last eight innings.
After yesterday's loss, the Phillies are now just 4-10 in interleague action this season while the Rays are a solid 9-5 against the National League. Additionally, it's also worth noting that Tampa Bay is a profitable 7-2 this season as a home favorite in the -125 to -150 price range, going 34-21 (+5.7) in that role the last few seasons. Still bitter about last October, I expect the revenge-minded Rays to build off last night's big win and I look for them to close out the series with another victory. *Personal Favorite
|06-25-09||Bos Red Sox v. Was Nationals +1.5||Top||3-9||Win||100||9 h 36 m||Show|
I'm playing on WASHINGTON on the run line at +1.5 runs. Smoltz has had a great career and he's a bigtime competitor. That said, at 42, he's growing rather "long in the tooth." While I do think he'll prove to be valuable to the Red Sox this season, keep in mind that he hasn't pitched in the big leagues in more than a year and he'll be limited to 85-90 pitches.
Smoltz will be matched up against a much younger Jordan Zimmerman. The Nationals' rookie was only two years old when Smoltz started pitching in the majors. Despite his youth, Zimmerman already knows how to pitch and has really come into his own recently.
In fact, he's got a 2.16 ERA and 1.02 WHIP his last three starts - two of those coming against other AL East teams. For the season, he's got more strikeouts than innings pitched.
Despite dropping the first two games of this series, the Nationals have still won four of their last six games. Note that two of those games were decided by a single run. As for the Red Sox, they've seen two of their last five decided by a single run. In other words, both teams have been involved in some close ones lately. With Zimmerman in top current form, I feel that this one could also be very tight. With the run-line price having fallen significantly from its opener, I feel we're getting excellent value with the home team at +1.5 runs. *Run-Line GOM
|06-23-09||Texas Rangers v. Arizona Diamondbacks -135||Top||2-8||Win||100||19 h 28 m||Show|
I'm laying the price with the Arizona Diamondbacks. With a record of 14-23 at home so far this season, Arizona has one of the worst home records in the majors. However, I feel that is serving to give us some line value because that's a record that should absolutely start turning around as the season goes on. Keep in mind that the Diamondbacks were a combined 98-64 at home the last two seasons. I expect that they'll start to get back on track at Chase Field, sooner rather than later. For now, it's giving us a nice opportunity to take advantage of some additional line value.
The Diamondbacks are coming off of a tough series sweep at Seattle. That was just fine with me, as I had the Mariners in a couple of those games. However, prior to those three defeats, Arizona had won back to back games at Kansas City by identical 12-5 scores. Without a doubt, the Diamondbacks are thrilled to be out of Seattle and to be back home in Arizona.
They've got Max Scherzer on the mound this evening and they've won six of his last eight starts. The right-hander has pitched much better at the major league level than his 4-8 career mark would lead one to believe. He's got a 3.35 ERA in his career and he's held opponents to a .243 batting average. The Diamondbacks have won four of his six home starts this season. Additionally, he's been particularly stingy of late. In fact, he's gone 2-0 with an outstanding 0.96 ERA his last three starts. During that 3-game stretch, he's averaged better than six innings per outing and has allowed only two combined runs. (He didn't allow a home run in any of those games.)
Scherzer is facing a Rangers team that has been much quieter than usual at the plate this month. Texas, still without Josh Hamilton, has averaged just 3.33 runs per game in June. That's not nearly what you would expect from the Rangers and that's certainly played a key role in them going just 7-11 so far for the month. Over their last seven games, the Rangers are hitting a mere .207, averaging 3.4 runs. Conversely, the Diamondbacks are averaging five runs per game over their last seven.
While the Rangers will be facing a red hot pitcher, their own starter (Matt Harrison) could be in for a rough evening. The Texas southpaw has put up some poor numbers after a strong run in early to mid-May. Harrison has since allowed 15 earned runs on 26 hits in 15 innings. While he was relatively solid in his first start after returning from the disabled list, I feel that this will be a tough matchup for him. That's because right-handed hitters are batting .341 against him this season and the Diamondbacks have a roster built for going heavy with righties when they are facing a southpaw.
While both teams are currently mired in slumps, the Diamondbacks have been the better team at keeping those streaks from getting out of hand. Indeed, the Diamondbacks are 6-1 the last seven (and 28-15 the last few seasons) times that they are on a losing streak of three games or more. Behind another quality effort from Scherzer, I expect the Diamondbacks to bounce back with a much-needed victory. *Personal Favorite
|06-22-09||Chicago Cubs v. Atlanta Braves -150||Top||0-2||Win||100||9 h 31 m||Show|
I'm laying the price with ATLANTA. The Cubs come in as the hotter team. Yet, I believe that the Braves are favored for good reason.
The Braves lost a real heartbreaker yesterday. They left the bases loaded in the top of the ninth in a tie game and then paid for it when the Red Sox got a walkoff homer in the bottom half of the inning. It was a frustrating game all the way around including not only a player but also manager Bobby Cox getting ejected from the game. The Braves came out on the wrong end of the scoreboard yesterday despite outhitting Boston 14 to 10. Before dropping the last two games of their series at Fenway Park, they'd gone through a 6-6 stretch where they averaged nearly seven runs per game in the six wins. After yesterday's game Cox was quoted as saying: "We did everything but win. We had more line shots than we did all year long, at people, with men on, too." The point that I'm trying to make here is that the Braves are currently swinging the bats well.
Atlanta sends Javier Vazquez to the mound tonight and he's pitched much better than his 4-6 record this season would indicate. He's got a solid 3.41 ERA this season and opponents have hit just .219 against him.
Ryan Dempster gets the start for the Cubs. Even though he's an impressive 21-10 the last two seasons, that record has been built up at home. In fact, he's gone just 4-6 on the road during that stretch. Currently, he's got a .270 BAA on the road this season compared to a .200 BAA at home. Also, Dempster has a .276 BAA in night games compared to a .196 BAA in day games. Additionally, despite a strong start against them last season, he's just 2-10 with a 5.31 ERA in his career against the Braves.
Both starters have been victims of poor run support of late but both have pitched well. Vazquez has an outstanding 0.545 WHIP his last three starts though, compared to Dempster's 1.316 mark during the same stretch.
While the Cubs have been rolling, their success has come at home. On the road this season they're just 13-18. Additionally, as a road dog of up to +150 this season, the Cubs are just 2-8 on the year and 4-7 on the road this season when the total is an 8.5 or an 8. I feel that this relatively unusual scheduling situation (make-up from earlier rainout) and taking to the road to face Vazquez will be "just what the doctor ordered" to see their winning streak snapped. *Personal Favorite
|06-21-09||Los Angeles Dodgers v. Los Angeles Angels -133||Top||5-3||Loss||-133||17 h 34 m||Show|
I'm playing on the LA ANGELS. John Lackey is a highly competitive big-game pitcher. He's nearly always "up" for inter-league action and he especially gets up for facing the rival Dodgers. Lackey is 5-1 in his career against the Dodgers and has an outstanding 1.50 ERA and 0.925 WHIP against them. The Angels' big right-hander also has held them to a mere .197 batting average in his career.
At this relatively early point in the 2009 season, there is still excellent line value available with Lackey because his numbers include a 6.10 ERA. However, a closer look shows that is numbers this season have been greatly impacted by one bad start where he allowed eight earned runs in just five innings at Tampa Bay. He's only had the benefit of making one home start so far this season and Lackey is 43-28 in his career outings at Angel Stadium. Lackey has produced a quality start in three of his last five outings and, after missing the first month and a half of the season, he now seems to be settling into a nice groove. Note that he struck out 10 in his win at San Francisco on Monday.
The Dodgers are going with Clayton Kershaw Sunday. He's struggled with his efficiency at the major league level as he only averages about five innings per start. Also, Kershaw is a southpaw and he's been much more effective against left-handed hitters than right-handed batters. That may be an issue tonight. Kershaw did have some success against the Angels the first time he saw them but their righty-dominated lineup is now getting a second look at him. Additionally, he's got an ugly 6.75 ERA in six road starts, four of them resulting in LA losses.
Yesterday's loss notwithstanding, the Angels are still 9-2 their last 11 inter-league games and a highly profitable 33-14 over the last three seasons. Behind a big effort from Lackey, I expect them to improve on those stats this evening. *Main Event
|06-20-09||Arizona Diamondbacks v. Seattle Mariners -145||Top||3-7||Win||100||19 h 53 m||Show|
I'm playing on SEATTLE. After successfully playing 'against' the Mariners on Thursday, I came back and played 'on' them yesterday.
For much of the way, that didn't look like a very good call as the M's squandered numerous opportunities and found themselves down 3-0 in the late innings. They didn't give up though and finally strung some hits together when it counted - in the bottom of the eighth. They did it just the way the city and fans of Seattle wanted to see it, too - with their favorite son, Ken Griffey Jr. playing a pivotal part.
I had that game on TV when Griffey came to the plate, as a pinch-hitter, and the entire crowd was going nuts. All the noise and applause seemed to be inspire Griffey, as he wasted little time in hitting a 2-run game-tying blast into the seats. Moments later, the M's had connected with another pair of hits to take the 4-3 lead. David Aardsma (1.67 ERA) came in to close the door in the ninth and recorded all three outs via the strikeout. That's the the type of victory that builds momentum for a team - while on the other side, it had to be a very bitter (deflating) loss for the Diamondbacks.
Now 5-1 their last six at home, needless to say, the M's are thrilled to be back home. They've dominated the Diamondbacks (5-0 L5 and 10-3 L13 meetings) and I expect them to have the pitching matchup in their favor this evening.
Vargas gets the call and despite a sub-par outing last time out (at Coors Field) he's got a very solid 3.56 ERA on the season. That includes a stellar 2.04 ERA and 1.189 WHIP in three home starts, all of them Seattle victories. Vargas didn't get any run support in those games but he didn't need any. The M's won them by scores of 3-2, 2-1 and 3-2. Dating back to 2005, Vargas' teams are now 6-1 his last seven home starts. Vargas, 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA in two starts vs. Arizona, will face a Diamondbacks team that is now an ugly 7-13 vs. southpaws on the season.
Vargas should finally get some run support here as Buckner has been rocked in back to back outings. Last time out, he gave up six runs in five innings. In his previous start, he gave up 13 hits and eight runs in 5 2/3 innings. The Diamondbacks lost those games by a combined score of 17-7 with Buckner giving up four home runs. While he has fared better on the road, he's now got an ugly 7.36 ERA and 1.606 WHIP on the season.
In addition to the advantage in the starting pitching department, last night's game showed that the M's also have an advantage in the bullpen. Entering the series, Seattle relievers had a combined 3.23 ERA including an excellent 2.32 mark at home. Conversely, Arizona relievers entered the series with a poor 4.92 ERA.
Now 33-19 the last 52 times that they were home favorites in the -125 to -150 range, I look for the Mariners to build momentum from yesterday's thriller and continue their dominance over the Diamondbacks. *IL GOM