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|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|04-19-12||Tampa Bay: Hellickson v. Toronto: H Alvarez -117||Top||9-4||Loss||-117||8 h 24 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on TORONTO. I won with the Jays in the opener of this series, as well as in their victory in the finale of the previous series, which was vs. Baltimore. Off a blowout loss yesterday, I feel this will be another good spot to back them. Note that the Jays are an outstanding 17-9 (+8.6) the past couple of seasons, after allowing double-digits in runs in their previous game. Alvarez has a stellar 2.77 ERA and 0.923 WHIP thus far. Both his starts have been here at Toronto. So, he's clearly been comfortable here. He limited Baltimore to three runs through seven innings and held Boston to just one run in six innings. He hasn't hurt himself with walks, allowing just one in each game. Hellickson, on the hand, has seven walks in his two starts. He was good at home but has a terrible 9.00 ERA and 2.00 WHIP from his lone road start. The Rays are at the end of a long road trip here. This will be their 10th straight away from Tampa. On the other hand, the Jays are at the end of a homestand and head out on a fairly long trip of their own after this. I expect them to be highly motivated to close out the homestand with a victory and behind another solid effort from Alvarez, I expect them to do just that. *10
|04-18-12||Texas Rangers v. Boston Red Sox -110||Top||6-3||Loss||-110||10 h 26 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on BOSTON. The Rangers are playing well and easily grabbed yesterday's series opener. I expect the Red Sox to return the favor this evening though. Holland's numbers are a bit better than Beckett's thus far. That was thanks to Beckett getting roughed up in his first start, at Detroit, though. Beckett has already responded with a dominant effort in his most recent outing, limiting Tampa Bay to five hits and one run, through eight complete innings. That gives him a 1.12 ERA and 0.75 WHIP at home. Note that Holland will be making his first road start. He's faced the White Sox and Mariners thus far. Those teams both entered Tuesday's action in the bottom five of the AL, in terms of runs scored. Each were in the bottom three in terms of hits. The Red Sox, already 2-1 against southpaw starters (2-0 here at Fenway) figure to be a much tougher opponent. They're averaging 6.3 runs per game against southpaw starters, nine runs per game in the two home games vs. southpaws. Admittedly, Holland's career numbers vs. Boston are good and he was very sharp against the Red Sox the only time he faced them last season. Beckett was also very tough in his lone 2011 start vs. the Rangers though, allowing one run on four hits, en route to a 13-2 victory. While the Red Sox have tomorrow off, the Rangers will be playing a big game at Detroit. Behind another strong game from Beckett, I expect the Bosox to bounce back and avoid the "sweep." *10
|04-13-12||Milwaukee Brewers v. Atlanta Braves -124||Top||8-10||Win||100||13 h 42 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on ATLANTA. The Atlanta Braves welcome the Milwaukee Brewers to town Friday afternoon in their home opener riding a two game win streak after going 0-4 to start the season. The Brewers are 4-3 after getting beat up by the Chicago Cubs and Matt Garza Thursday afternoon 8-0. The Braves had been in an offensive funk to start the season scoring 10 runs in their first 4 games before getting perennial all star and first ballot hall of famer Chipper Jones back in the lineup Tuesday afternoon. Chipper made his offensive presence known right away smacking a two run homer and leading the Braves to their first 2 wins of the season in back to back games. He is batting .444 since getting back in the lineup but more than that, the Braves have found their groove with their leader back as the young phenoms Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman have less pressure to perform. It cannot be stressed how important Chipper is to the psyche of this lineup. This is evidenced by the fact that the Braves have piled on 12 runs in their past 2 games as Heyward looks like he has found his power stroke that had Bobby Cox comparing him to Hank Aaron in spring training last season. Opposing the Braves will be Randy Wolf. At 35 years old, Wolf is well past his prime and with a career record of 127-108 with an ERA of 4.09, WHIP of 1.33 and opponents batting avg. of .255, I believe Wolf will be in tough Friday afternoon. In Wolf's first start of the season, he had no answer for the St. Louis Cardinals lineup as their offense put up a .375 combined batting average against him while posting 9 hits over 5 innings of work. Jair Jurrjens takes to the mound for Atlanta after struggling in his first start of the season. Before writing him off, keep in mind that Jurrjens had the best season of his young career in 2011 with a record of 13-6 an ERA of 2.96, WHIP of 1.22 and opponents batting avg. of .252. In fact, Jurrjens is a commanding 50-34 overall in his career. He's also 2-1 lifetime against Milwaukee with an ERA of 2.95 and WHIP of 1.21. I expect Jurrjens to find his groove against the Brewers on Friday as he looks to regain the form that challenged Roy Halladay for the NL starting pitcher role in the All Star game in 2011. Look for Jurrjens to out pitch Wolf on Friday afternoon and when the Braves take the lead into the 7th inning look to O'Flaherty, Venters and Kimbrel to seal the deal. After being compared to the Cincinnati Reds "Nasty Boys" of 1990 World Series fame, there is no other trio in 2011 that came close to putting up the numbers that these 3 did out of the pen. In 2011, Eric O'Flaherty became the first Major League to pitcher to record a sub 1.00 ERA with at least 70 appearances, Jonny Venters has allowed a total of 3 home runs in his last 171 innings and Craig Kimbrel led the Majors last season with a staggering 14.84 K/9 innings on his way to 46 saves and Rookie of the Year honors. The Braves were 47-34 last season at home, the Brewers were 39-42 on the road. In the past 3 seasons, the Brewers are 17-30 as a road underdog of +100 to +125, the Braves are 31-15 in the same time frame as a home favorite in the -125 to -150 range. Atlanta is 10-5 against Milwaukee in the past 3 seasons and has won the last 5 straight at home between these two. With the pitching matchup, venue and momentum in their favor, at this price, I believe the value in this game clearly lies with the Braves. *10
|04-13-12||Cleveland Indians v. Kansas City Royals -120||Top||8-3||Loss||-120||9 h 28 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on KANSAS CITY. Both teams are off a loss last game; each had Thursday off. At 3-2 KC has gotten off to a better start than Cleveland though, as the Indians are only 1-4. Playing their home opener, I look for the Royals to be the team which bounces back with a victory. Hochevar goes for the Royals. He outpitched Dan Haren, at LA, in his opening start, winning as a +170 underdog. Hochever's career numbers against Cleveland admittedly aren't spectacular. He was dominant his last start against the Indians though, allowing just three hits and a single unearned run, through eight innings. He got the "W" as KC won 5-1. Lowe was also sharp in his first start. He's getting a little long in the tooth though. This will be his first start at KC for several years. His last start here came way back in 2005. He allowed eight runs (3 earned) and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings, en route to suffering a 9-6 loss. The Royals are only hitting .244 against right-handed starters. That's admittedly not too great. However, Cleveland is far worse, hitting a mere .159 vs. right-handed starters. If early numbers are any indication, KC also figures to have the advantage in the bullpen department. The Royals' relievers have a respectable 3.37 ERA through 18 2/3 innings, thus far. On the other hand, Cleveland relievers have a terrible 6.65 ERA through 23 combined innings. KC relievers have walked just six batters, allowing only one home run. Cleveland relievers have allowed four home runs, walking 12. The Indians gave up 10 runs last time out, a 10-6 setback. With Lowe on the mound, they're unlikely to give up that many again here. However, that doesn't mean they're going to fare any better. Look for the Indians to fall to 6-21 the last 27 times that they gave up double-digits in runs in their previous game. *10
|04-12-12||San Francisco Giants -124 v. Colorado Rockies||Top||4-2||Win||100||5 h 51 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on SAN FRANCISCO. I successfully played against the Giants in Bumgarner's first matchup. I feel this will be a far more favorable matchup for Bumgarner and the Giants though. In his first start, Bumgarner was up against Daniel Hudson. Not surprisingly, he didn't get tons of run support. He's opposed by veteran Jamie Moyer here though and that should lead to some solid report. Most would have thought he retired, as Moyer hadn't started since 2010. However, he actually had Tommy John surgery. He struggled in his first start (4 runs, 3 earned, in 5 innings) and has an ugly 6.88 ERA while losing his last three outings against San Francisco. On the other hand, Bumgarner has been dominant in his last five meetings with the Rockies, going 2-1 with a commanding 0.82 ERA. In his only start at Coors Field in that stretch, he allowed only a single unearned run in seven innings, en route to earning a 9-1 victory Sept. 16. This will be the first southpaw starter that the Giants will have faced this season. They should be happy about that as they were 54-38 (+10.9) the last two years against left-handed starters. After yesterday's blowout loss, I expect them to bounce back and improve on those stats here. *10
|04-11-12||St.Louis Cardinals v. Cincinnati Reds -125||Top||3-4||Win||100||6 h 25 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on CINCINNATI. At 5-1, St. Louis is looking for its fourth win in a row. Cincinnati is just 2-3 on the season. After taking 2 of 3 in their opening series against Miami, obviously the Reds were hoping for better results in this series. I expect them to step up and to salvage the final game of the series here though, avoiding the sweep. The Cardinals have been on fire to start the season having hit 11 home runs in their first 6 games. Leading the charge is David Freese who has been on a torrid pace so far mashing 3 home runs and 10 RBI to start the season. Naturally, St. Louis cannot keep up this pace forever though. I expect the Cards to hit a wall Wednesday afternoon in the name of Johnny Cueto. Cueto is 1-0 on the season after pitching 7 scoreless innings against the high powered Marlins offense in his opening start; he gave up just 3 hits and 2 walks with 4 strikeouts. In 24 starts last season, Cueto's stuff was electric, going 9-5 with a microscopic 2.31 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. In fact, at 25 years old, I believe this could be the year Cueto breaks out and positions himself as a darkhorse CY Young Candidate. Don't be surprised if Cueto goes 7 strong again here, before turning the ball over to the budding superstar Aroldis Chapman. Chapman has recorded the hardest fastball ever clocked in an MLB game at 105 mph. In 3 innings pitched this year, he has been virtually untouchable giving up 1 hit and striking out 5. In 71 career games, Chapman is 7-3 with a 3.12 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and opponents batting average of .155! In 66.1 career innings, Chapman has 95 strikeouts. Chapman's one knock has been walks, having given up 41 in 50 innings in 2011, he had made it his goal in spring training to work on his command. Chapman was 2-0 as a starter in the spring with a 2.12 ERA. Opposing Cueto will be Jaime Garcia who is 1-0 on the season winning his opener 11-5 over the Milwaukee Brewers. Garcia had a decent outing, allowing 2 runs and 5 hits over 6 innings. In 7 games against Cincinnati he is 6-1 with a 3.13 ERA. In 71 career games, Garcia is 28-16 with an ERA of 3.27, WHIP of 1.32 and opponents batting average of .258. Clearly, he's no slouch. Still, I don't expect him to be quite as tough as Cueto. Wednesday's battle should be a low scoring affair with pitching at a premium. On paper, Cueto is a slight favorite over Garcia and being at home facing a potential sweep, look for the Reds bats to lead the charge and provide the victory for the home town crowd. Joey Votto has had a slow start to the season but has hit the ball hard to all fields. Despite batting .154 on the season with 1 home run and 2 RBI, look for Votto heat up in this one. With a career batting average of .312, its only a matter of time for the 2010 NL MVP. As cold as Votto has been, Jay Bruce has been the exact opposite. In 4 games this season he has 3 home runs and 5 RBI. With a new, patient approach at the plate, look for the 24 year old Bruce to continue the pace he set last year when he hit 32 home runs and evolve into one of the stars of the game. In the past 3 seasons the Reds are 95-74 at home and 91-68 against their own division. Tomorrow is a critical game for them to prove they can compete and win against the top teams in the Central, a sweep at home to the Cardinals this early in the season could be devastating. Look for a highly motivated team effort and a big game for Cueto as the Reds deliver a much-neeed victory for their home fans. *10
|04-10-12||Arizona: T Cahill v. San Diego: E Volquez +100||Top||4-2||Loss||-100||13 h 26 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on SAN DIEGO. I won with the Padres on Sunday. Facing the possibility of starting the season 0-4, the Padres responded with a solid win over LA. I expect them to carry the positive momentum into this evenings opener against Arizona. Cahill did win 18 games in 2010. However, he was only 12-14 with a 4.06 ERA in pitcher-friendly Oakland. He also had a poor 4.86 ERA in the spring. Volquez had some control issues in his opening start. He's already got a start under his belt now though and figures to settle down here. The Padres actually won the season series vs. Arizona last season. In fact, they're an impressive 13-5 (+7.4) the last 18 times that they were a host in this series. Don't be 'shocked' when they improve on those stats tonight with Arizona falling to 12-25 the last 37 times it played a road game with an O/U line of seven or less. *10
|04-09-12||Kansas City: L Mendoza v. Oakland: T Milone -107||Top||0-1||Win||100||13 h 51 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on OAKLAND. The Royals are off to the better start. I expect the A's to be the team which starts this series off with a victory though. Lets keep in mind that the Royals are 61-104 on the road the past couple of seasons while hte A's are a respectable 90-74. Mendoza may have had a strong spring, but he was 2-6 with a terrible 9.40 ERA as a starter last season. Milione was very solid for the A's after getting called up last September. He was 3-1 with a 3.81 ERA. The A's have won 12 of the last 20 series meetings here and I look for them to get it done once again. *10
|04-09-12||St Louis: Westbrook v. Cincinnati: H Bailey -114||Top||7-1||Loss||-114||10 h 56 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on CINCINNATI. The defending champs are off to a nice start, seemingly unaffected by the loss of Pujols. I feel they'll be in tough here though. The Reds are in one of their best roles. They're 26-13 (+10.6) the past couple of seasons, when playing at home with a line in the +100 to -125 range. Its true that Bailey's overall numbers against St. Louis are not good. However, he did pitch a gem in his lone home start against the Braves last season. In that one, he allowed a mere three hits and one run, through 7 1/3 innings, en route to a 3-1 victory. (Westbrook gave up two home runs in five innings in his lone start at Cincinnati last season. While he's 2-1, his team is 2-5 in his seven starts vs. the Reds.) Note that Westbrook has a terrible 4.96 ERA in April, which by far is his worst in any month. Including Bailey's 3-1 victory last July, the Reds are 5-1 their last six as a host in this series. I expect them to improve on those stats here, starting the series off with a victory. *10
|04-08-12||Los Angeles: A Harang v. San Diego: C Richard -117||Top||4-8||Win||100||10 h 1 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on SAN DIEGO. The Poor Padres. Its only April 8th and they're already 0-3. While it may indeed prove to be another long year, I do expect them to bounce back and avoid the sweep this afternoon. Former Padre Aaron Harang goes for LA. He's 0-4 with a terrible 5.82 ERA his last five starts against San Diego. On the other hand, Clayton Richard is 4-1 with a stingy 2.58 ERA in seven career outings against the Dodgers, including 2-0 with a stellar 2.45 ERA in four at home. Richard struggled at the beginning of the spring but closed out strong. He tossed six shutout innings in his final spring start. He had 5 K's without walking a batter in that game, allowing just three singles. After that outing Richard was quoted as saying: "With the progress I made late in spring it
|04-07-12||San Francisco: Bumgarner v. Arizona: D Hudson -122||Top||4-5||Win||100||10 h 10 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on ARIZONA. The Diamondbacks grabbed yesterday's opener. They'll now be going for their seventh straight win over the Giants. With Daniel Hudson on the mound, I expect them to continue that recent series dominance. Hudson went 7-1 with a superb 1.69 ERA in 2010 after the Dbax acquired him from Chicago at the trade deadline. Last season, he followed it up by going 16-12 with a 3.49 ERA in 33 starts. It should be mentioned that Hudson was 7-6 with a 3.86 ERA and 1.25 WHIP on the road but an even better 9-6 with a 3.17 ERA and 1.16 WHIP at home. When pitching at home he gave up fewer walks and home runs, while striking out more. Also, note that Hudson was 2-0 with a superb 2.37 ERA this spring, too. In his final spring start, Hudson was dominant, limiting the Dodgers to a single run through five shutout innings. After that game Hudson was quoted as saying:
|04-06-12||St Louis: J Garcia v. Milwaukee: Y Gallardo -118||Top||11-5||Loss||-118||8 h 56 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on MILAWAUKEE. The Cardinals got the season started with a win at Miami. They're still just 86-87 (-8.5) on the road the past couple of seasons. During the same stretch, the Brewers have gone an outstanding 102-67 (+18.8) at home. Gallardo has been a huge part of that success as he was a commanding 11-2 (Brewers were 15-3) in 18 home starts last season. He had a 2.80 ERA and 1.109 WHIP here, recording 121 K's to only 28 walks. On the other hand, Garcia had a 4.97 ERA and 1.555 WHIP on the road last season. The Cards were 8-10 (-4) in his 18 road starts. True, Gallardo has had some trouble with St. Louis. However, the same can be said of Garcia here at Milwaukee. His last start here saw him allow six runs in four innings, en route to a 9-6 loss. In the end, I look for Gallardo and the revenge-minded Brewers to start the new season and post-Fielder era off with a victory over the hated Cards. *10
|04-05-12||Los Angeles: C Kershaw v. San Diego: E Volquez +1.5||Top||5-3||Loss||-128||13 h 47 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing SAN DIEGO on the RUN-LINE. (+1.5 Runs.) With the Dodgers listed as mid-sized road favorites, we're able to get a very reasonable price on the run-line option with the Padres. In a game that could well be low-scoring - games at Petco are famous for being low-scoring and this game has an O/U line of 6u20 - every extra run becomes even more valuable. That said, I feel the run-line is offering us excellent value here. Kershaw, the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, is obviously tough - and he's enjoyed plenty of success against the Padres over his career. They've also seen him a lot though, so at least have some familiarity. Volquez, on the other hand, has only made one start against the Dodgers and that came back in April of 2008. For what it's worth, Volquez was dominant (1.29 ERA) in that game. He allowed just one run and only three hits, striking out seven in seven innings, en route to an 8-1 victory. Volquez, a former 17-game winner, should be thrilled to come over from hitter-friendly Cincinnati to pitcher-friendly San Diego. He should be also be highly motivated to get off to a good start in front of his new fans. In getting the opening day start, he was quoted as saying: "It is very exciting for me. It's my second time doing it and it's a big honor for me. To come to a new team and have them pick me feels good." Note that Volquez has made three career starts here and that he allowed two runs or less in ALL three. (He won two and all three were decided by a single run.) The Reds were 10-6 in Volquez's 16 April starts. While I won't be at all surprised if the Padres continue that winning trend, I'll gladly grab the extra +1.5 runs to make my chances of cashing even better. *10
|10-28-11||Texas Rangers v. St. Louis Cardinals -138||Top||2-6||Win||100||9 h 44 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on ST. LOUIS. The Cardinals have to feel pretty fortunate to be in this position. For much of the season, it didn't look like they'd even make the playoffs. Now, they've done everything but hand the World Series to Texas on a silver platter and yet they're still home for a Game 7 with their ace, Chris Carpenter on the mound. Last night, after already having battled back a couple of times, the Cards found themselves down two runs and down to their final strike in the ninth inning. Yet, they managed to force extra innings. Then, down two runs in the 11th, they won 10-9. As Freese, potential "goat" turned hero said: "We just kept battling, that defines our team. It's incredible to be part of this." Obviously, they're "sky high" after that remarkable victory. I would argue that the pressure is less now, as they were already "dead" yesterday. On the other hand, the Rangers figure to be devastated. Yesterday's game will go down in history and if they lose today, they'll know they'll go down in the record books with the likes of the Buffalo Bills, teams that got to the big game more than once, but couldn't win it. That makes for considerable pressure. Indeed, no team had ever come back twice in the ninth inning or later to tie a World Series game or take the lead - and Texas was on the wrong side of that. The Rangers gave it everything they had last night and still came up short. Its true that they've been bouncing back all season but I really feel they "left it all on the field" yesterday and that it will be tough to bounce back from that today. True, he didn't pitch that well on 3-day's rest earlier. However, Carpenter only threw 101 pitches last time out. At the time, taking him out may have been a questionable decision by La Russa - but it should serve Carpenter well here. He's 3-0 with a 3.30 ERA over five postseason starts this season compared to Harrison's 1-1 mark and 5.02 ERA in his three starts and four appearances overall. I'm backing the team with the momentum, the team with the support of the home fans the team with the former Cy Young Award winner on the mound. *10 Annihilator
|10-28-11||Texas Rangers v. St. Louis Cardinals UNDER 8||Top||2-6||Push||0||9 h 43 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on Texas and St. Louis to finish UNDER the total. Its certainly been a "bizarre" World Series. We've seen a couple of "crazy" high-scoring games, as we did last night. We've also seen four "low-scoring" ones too, though. In fact, four of the six games have produced six or fewer combined runs. Prior to last night's "wildness," the previous two games here at St. Louis had finished with scores of 3-2 and 2-1. The two games that Carpenter was involved in had scores of 3-2 and 4-2. After the previous high-scoring game (16-7 Game 3) the bats went cold, with the teams combining for only four runs the next game. While Harrison hasn't been dominant in the postseason, he's had a very solid season and is more than capable. His manager has been adamant about having him in there for Game 7. Meanwhile, Carpenter has proven that even at 36 he remains among the best "big game" pitchers in the game. (Who can forget his showdown vs. Halladay.) I expect him to "do his thing" as this game does a complete reversal from last night, with improved pitching (and better defense!) stealing the show. *10 Best Bet
|10-27-11||Texas Rangers v. St. Louis Cardinals -112||Top||9-10||Win||100||9 h 16 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on ST LOUIS. Tony LaRussa and the Cardinals are taking a lot of heat for their Game 5 loss. In fact, many appear to be writing them off. While some of that 'heat' is certainly deserved, that doesn't mean that the Cards can't respond with a victory in Game 6. In fact, with this game back at Busch Stadium and with Jamie Garcia on the mound, I expect them to do just that. You may recall that Garcia delivered a gem in Game 2, tossing seven scoreless innings. The fact is, in addition to having a solid 3.97 October ERA overall, Garcia been getting it done at home all season. He was 9-4 with a superb 2.55 ERA here in 15 starts here, compared to 4-3 with a poor 4.61 ERA on the road. Opposing batters hit only .230 against him here but .313 on the road. In October, Garcia has posted a 7.36 ERA in two games away from Busch Stadium compared to a 0.77 mark in St. Louis. Garcia had this to say: "I prepared myself really good in between starts and I feel really good about myself right now. I know it's going to be a tough challenge, a tough team, a tough lineup. But at the same time, we feel really good as a team, too." Lewis also pitched well in Game 2 and is certainly capable. That said, he's got an ERA above four on the season and he's allowed 38 home runs compared to Garcia's 18, despite the two pitching a nearly identical (218.7 vs. 217.3) number of innings. The Rangers haven't hit as well away from Texas all season and they didn't hit well here at all in the first two games. Even with the Game 5 setback, the Cards are still a profitable 47-32 (+11.6) off a loss. They haven't lost three in a row in weeks and they're 13-7 their last 20 here at home. I'm not counting them out yet. *10
|10-15-11||Detroit Tigers v. Texas Rangers UNDER 9||Top||5-15||Loss||-115||9 h 27 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on Texas & Detroit to finish UNDER the total. Tonight's game features a rematch of the Game 2 starters, Scherzer and Holland. While I didn't personally play on that game, some of you may recall that Game 2 was truly a tough beat for 'under' bettors. The score was 3-3 into the bottom of the 11th when Cruz hit arguably the biggest of his many home runs this series, a walk-off grand slam. Assuming we can avoid multiple runs being scored in extra innings again, I expect a low-scoring affair here. True, the Rangers are known to hit well in this park. However, the Tigers typically don't nearly hit as well on the road. They managed only five total runs in the first two games here and average 4.5 on the road overall. Not bad but not nearly as many as they score at home. For the playoffs overall, the Tigers are batting a dismal .232, averaging only 3.7 runs. As for the Rangers' big bats, they're actually batting only .238 during the playoffs, averaging 4.4 runs. While Holland wasn't at his best in Game 2, he's still a guy with a 17-5 record and his ERA still remains below four. He won his lone start against the Rays. Scherzer is certainly capable and the Tigers know they'll need him to come up big here. Prior to limiting the Rangers to three runs in six innings last time out, he shut down the Yanks, pitching six scoreless innings at the Bronx. Both bullpens should benefit from finally getting a day off yesterday. While the last couple of games have been high-scoring, I look for the opposite to be true tonight. *10
|10-14-11||Milwaukee Brewers v. St. Louis Cardinals -120||Top||1-7||Win||100||9 h 60 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on ST LOUIS. I successfully played on the Brewers when today's two starters squared off against each other in Game 1. That was at Milwaukee though. While the Brewers did snap their lengthy playoff road losing streak yesterday, they're still generally not nearly as strong away from Milwaukee. While great at home, note that the Brewers hit just .245 on the road, averaging only 4.1 runs. Like most of the opposing Brewers, St. Louis starter Garcia prefers to sleep in his own bed. He's been inconsistent on the road all season but terrific at home. Indeed, he's 9-5 with a stellar 2.63 ERA and 1.113 WHIP here. He took the loss in his last start here but still delivered a quality performance, limiting the Phillies to three runs through seven innings. The Cards are a lucrative 11-5 (+3.4) in his 16 starts here. Greinke got the win in Game 1 but that wasn't due to the way he pitched. In fact, he allowed six runs in six innings. For the season, while he was perfect at home, he was just 5-6 with a poor 4.70 ERA on the road. The last time that Garcia pitched at home against the Brewers was back in the spring. All he did was toss a complete-game 2-hit shutout, en route to earning a 6-0 victory. I expect him to bounce back and for the Cards to win this critical game. *10
|10-10-11||St. Louis Cardinals v. Milwaukee Brewers UNDER 8.5||Top||12-3||Loss||-113||9 h 59 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on St. Louis and Milwaukee to finish UNDER the total. The bats certainly came to life yesterday. I expect a much lower-scoring affair here though. Neither of these starting pitchers has a particularly "big name" but both quietly had solid seasons and both are fully capable of coming up big here. Marcum didn't fare too well in his first postseason start but is still 13-7 with a solid 3.54 ERA and stingy 1.16 WHIP on the season. Jackson, who was solid against the Phillies in his playoff debut, is 12-9 with a respectable 3.79 ERA. Marcum has seen the UNDER go 9-3-3 his last 15 starts and he saw the UNDER go 2-1-1 against the Cards this season. He last faced them on 8/30 and allowed 0 earned runs through seven innings. That game finished with a score of 2-1, as the Cards scored a pair of unearned runs. Three of Marcum's four starts against the Cards finished with eight or fewer combined runs. Jackson struggled the first time he faced the Brewers but went 1-0 with a stellar 2.08 ERA in his most recent two starts against them. He opposed Marcum in the 8/30 game and allowed just one run through seven complete innings, without walking a batter. After the 8/30 game, Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said this: "Edwin Jackson was outstanding. That was as good as I've seen him throw." I won't be surprised if this one also proves far lower-scoring than most will be expecting. *10 (Blue Chip)
|10-07-11||Arizona Diamondbacks v. Milwaukee Brewers UNDER 7.5||Top||2-3||Win||100||6 h 31 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on the UNDER in the Milwaukee/Arizona game. Both games at the desert were high-scoring. Back in Milwaukee and with both aces on the mound, I expect a much lower-scoring affair this afternoon. Gallardo has a superb 1.27 ERA and 0.75 WHIP his last three starts and he's 11-2 with a 2.87 ERA and 1.097 WHIP here at home. The UNDER is 10-7 in his home starts. Meanwhile, Kennedy is 21-5 with a superb 2.95 ERA and 1.093 WHIP on the season. The UNDER is 19-14-1 in his 34 starts. Looking at some more O/U stats shows that the Brewers have seen the UNDER go a lucrative 114-75, excluding 'pushes' the last 189 times that they allowed 10 or more runs in their previous game, including a 5-2 UNDER mark their last seven in that situation. The Game 1 meeting between these two starters produced just five runs, a 4-1 Milwaukee win. Gallardo's previous home start against Arizona resulted in a 3-1 game. Gallardo's got 33 K's (and only three walks) in his last three starts, allowing one run in each. I expect him to continue his strong pitching and that to keep this one below the number. *10
|10-06-11||Detroit Tigers v. New York Yankees -161||Top||3-2||Loss||-161||10 h 46 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on the NEW YORK YANKEES. Written off by many, the Yankees are still alive thanks in large part to a clutch performance from AJ Burnett. Back home for a 1-game showdown and given a "new life," I expect them to make the most of their opportunity and to advance to face Texas in the AL Finals. Both starters have had strong seasons and both finished the regular season in excellent current form. Nova was much better than Fister when the two finished Game 1, after Verlander and Sabathia had started that game the previous day. Nova allowed two runs in 6 1/3 innings, both coming in the 9th inning. Fister, on the other hand, allowed six runs in 4 2/3 innings. That translates to an 11.57 ERA After struggling in that outing and given his previous numbers against the Yankees, Fister's confidence may not be that high here. As a starter (he didn't officially start Game 1) Fister is 1-2 with a poor 6.00 ERA vs. the Yankees, including a loss in his lone start here in New York. The Detroit bullpen enters today's game with a 4.14 ERA and 1.413 WHIP on the season, including a 3.93 ERA and 1.376 WHIP on the road. On the other hand, the New York bullpen enters today's game with a 3.10 ERA and 1.283 WHIP on the season, including a 2.93 ERA and 1.233 WHIP at home. The Tigers hit .267 on the road, averaging 4.6 runs. Conversely, the Yankees hit .273 at home, averaging 5.8 runs. The Yanks are 9-3 (+4.3) the last 12 times that they hosted the Tigers. The Tigers were a respectable 45-36 on the road this season but the Yankees were an excellent 52-29 at home. The Tigers were a money-burning 40-54 (-11) the past few seasons, when playing a road game with an O/U line of nine or 9.5. During that stretch, the Yanks have gone an outstanding 95-41 (+23.3) when playing at home, with an O/U line of nine or 9.5. I expect the Yanks to advance and all things considered, I feel the price is reasonable. *10
|10-05-11||Philadelphia Phillies v. St. Louis Cardinals UNDER 7.5||Top||3-5||Loss||-105||8 h 50 m||Show|
I'm playing on St. Louis and Philly to finish UNDER the total. After the first two games at Philadelphia both finished above the total, yesterday's game here at St. Louis stayed below the total. That often seems to happen when the venue shifts, as it did in the Rangers/Rays series - both games at Texas finished above the total but both at Tampa stayed below. I expect another well-pitched affair in Game 4 today and with the O/U line having climbed from seven to 7.5, I feel we're getting excellent value.
Oswalt gets the call for the Phillies. I successfully played against "Little Roy" a few times during the regular season and noted that he wasn't as dominant as the "Big 3," of Halladay, Lee and Hamels. That doesn't mean that I don't respect him though and that he's still not capable of getting it done. Indeed, Oswalt is in the starting rotation for good reason - he's a perfect 5-0 with a very solid 3.25 ERA in 10 career playoff starts. That includes a 2-0 mark with a 3.15 ERA in three playoff starts against the Cards.
Oswalt, who had a 2.61 ERA his final three reg. season starts, knows what to do here and is obviously not bothered by the big stage. He was quoted as saying: "My approach is to try to set the tone early, attack hitters ... "
Jackson certainly doesn't have the postseason resume that Oswalt does but he's also very capable. He was 5-2 with a 3.62 ERA in 12 starts since coming over to the Cards in July. Nine of those starts were of the "quality" variety. In his "home" starts this season, Jackson had a superb 2.94 ERA, much better than his mark on the road.
Three of Jackson's last four home starts have stayed below the total. In his eight starts here at St. Louis, he allowed two or fewer earned runs seven times. Oswalt tossed six shutout innings last time and has seen the UNDER go 3-1-1 his last five. He's allowed one earned run or less in four of his last six October starts, allowing three or fewer in five of those. I expect another well-pitched affair. *10 Main Event
|10-03-11||New York Yankees v. Detroit Tigers -125||Top||4-5||Win||100||10 h 15 m||Show|
I'm playing on DETROIT. As you probably know, tonight's game features the same two starters that we (briefly) saw in Game 1, which was eventually postponed and played the next day. As a result, Sabathia and Verlander know go head-to-head here at Detroit, rather than at New York. I expect that to favor the Tigers.
Detroit averaged 5.1 runs per game here this season, hitting a healthy .288. On the other hand, the Yankees hit .252 on the road, averaging 4.9 runs. The Yankees were 45-36 on the road. The Tigers, however, were a terrific 50-31 at home.
Sabathia remains among the elite. However, this season, Verlander was in a class of his own. Sabathia went 19-8 with a 3.01 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. Excellent numbers, no doubt. Verlander went a remarkable 24-5 with a 2.43 ERA and 0.925 WHIP though. At home, he was 10-3 with a 2.37 ERA, striking out 117 in 117 innings.
Another thing about this game being played at Detroit, Sabathia is 0-4 with a terrible 7.56 ERA in his last four starts here.
The Tigers averaged 5.2 runs per game vs. left-handed starters this season and they're a profitable 86-63 (+17.7) against southpaw starters the past few seasons.
The Tigers are 27-22 vs. the Yankees at Comerica Park and they took three of four against the Yanks here in May.
The Tigers have won 16 of their last 20 home games. They know this is their chance to seize control of the series and I look for them to make the most of it. *10 Personal Favorite
|10-02-11||St. Louis Cardinals v. Philadelphia Phillies UNDER 7||Top||5-4||Loss||-110||10 h 11 m||Show|
I'm playing on St. Louis and Philadelphia to finish UNDER the total. The first two days of playoff action have been high-scoring, more than we usually expect. Four of the first five games finished above the total, including Game 1 of this series. I expect a much lower-scoring affair in Game 2 on Sunday night though.
Yesterday's game got "thrown off course" early, as Halladay uncharacteristically allowed three runs in the first inning. That meant the Phillies were "forced" to put up big runs, in order to win - which they did. Note that Halladay didn
|09-30-11||Tampa Bay Rays v. Texas Rangers -175||Top||9-0||Loss||-175||6 h 23 m||Show|
I'm playing on TEXAS. The Rays have certainly shown that we can never count them out. That said, while they've been a remarkable story, I feel they'll be in over their heads this afternoon.
I'm aware that the visiting team won each game in last year's playoff series. I expect homefield to help the red hot Rangers this year though. Texas, which has won 14 of its last 16 games and six straight, was 52-29 here this season.
While the lineup is arguably even better, the Rangers no longer have Cliff Lee, as they did last year. That means that CJ Wilson has become the team's ace. He's been more than up to to the task. For the season, he was 16-7 with an extremely stingy 2.86 ERA and 1.182 WHIP, recording more than 200 K's. He's got a 1.88 ERA his last three outings.
You may recall that Wilson threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings against the Rays in Game 2 of last year's playoff series. More recently, only a few weeks ago on 9/6, Wilson tossed a complete game shutout against the Rays, en route to earning an 8-0 blowout win. In fact, he's 4-0 with a 2.18 ERA and 0.97 WHIP vs. the Rays.
While the Rangers have known Wilson would start for some time, the Rays have decided to go with Matt Moore. Some may remember that Moore made a spot start for the Rays against the Yankees on 9/22. He pitched well in that game, although only went five innings. Still, that was his first big league start and he was up against a Yankee lineup which was missing some key players and which knew it was already in the playoffs. Facing a red hot and highly motivated Texas team is an entirely different matter.
The Rangers average 6.1 runs per game in this ballpark, hitting a staggering .296 as a team here. With Wilson continuing his dominance of the Rays, I expect them to start things off with an important victory. *10
|09-28-11||Washington Nationals v. Florida Marlins +1.5||Top||3-1||Loss||-126||6 h 56 m||Show|
I'm playing FLORIDA on the RUN-LINE (+1.5 Runs.) I won with the Marlins yesterday, a 1-run win for Florida. I feel that the Marlins have an excellent shot at closing out their season and their time at this stadium with a victory. In fact, I expect them to do so. However, as they're listed as fairly healthy underdogs on the moneyline, we're able to get them at an excellent price on the run-line. In a game that could easily again be close, like yesterday's that may well prove valuable and that's the way I'm going to play it.
The Nats are favored largely because they've got Stepehn Strasburg on the mound. He's certainly got bigtime talent. However, he's also made just four starts since coming off Tommy John surgery. He's seen his innings limited since coming back and has only gone more than five innings once - a six-inning effort in a 4-1, 13-inning loss to these same Marlins on Sept. 17. Note that this will be Strasburg's first road start.
Volstad outlasted Strasburg in the 9/17 game, although he didn't factor in the decision either. He followed it up with a gem last time out. That's back to back games where he's gone seven complete innings and allowed only a single run.
While the Nats are 1-2 in Straburg's starts vs. Florida, the Marlins are 10-3 in Volstad's starts vs. Washington.
True, the Marlins can't wait to get out of here and into their new home. Still, they've gone 780-720 in 19 years here and I believe that they would like to close things out with a victory, while also playing hard for 80-year-old Jack McKeon, who will retire at season
|09-27-11||Washington Nationals v. Florida Marlins -152||Top||2-3||Win||100||9 h 4 m||Show|
I'm playing on FLORIDA. The Nationals grabbed yesterday's opener. However, with Javier Vazquez taking the mound, I expect the Marlins to bounce right back this evening.
Vazquez has spoken of retirement. However, given the way that he's been pitching, its hard to imagine that actually happening. Indeed, he hasn't given up a run in 25 innings - a Marlins' record (for starting pitchers). While he has a 0.00 ERA his last three outings, he's got a 0.25 ERA his last five. Truly, a remarkable streak. Since a 9-5 loss to Arizona in early June, he's gone 9-5 with an extremely stingy 1.91 ERA.
Not that he figures to need much help, but Vazquez should get some solid run support here. Lannan is 0-2 with a poor 5.40 ERA vs. Florida this season and he's 1-2 with a terrible 8.00 ERA in four lifetime starts at Sun Life Stadium.
While Lannan did get a victory last time out, he allowed three runs on eight hits in five innings. So, he was hardly dominant. He's now 1-2 with an ugly 6.75 ERA and 2.176 WHIP his last three, averaging only 4.4 innings per start.
With the Marlins motivated to bounce back and end their final series (ever) here on a high note and given the current form of the starters, I feel the price is more than fair. *10 (Personal Favorite)
|09-26-11||Chicago Cubs v. San Diego Padres -173||Top||0-2||Win||100||19 h 38 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN DIEGO. At first glance, this price seems rather high, given that the Padres are a losing team which is "playing out the string." However, the same can be said of the team which they are hosting and the matchup on the mound figures to give the Padres a significant advantage.
Latos has been much better than his record indicates. He's also in excellent current form. Last time out, at Colorado, he allowed just one run through 8 2/3 innings. He had an impressive nine K's with just one walk, en route to earning a 2-1 victory. Going back a bit further finds him with a stellar 2.38 ERA and 1.059 WHIP his last three starts. During that 3-game stretch, he has 25 K's and only three walks, averaging 7 2/3 innings per start.
While lack of run support has been a recurring theme for Latos, he should get some help tonight. As a starter, Coleman is 3-8 with a terrible 6.40 ERA and 1.784 WHIP on the season.
Going back to the high price, note that the Padres are 16-6 (+6.6) the past few seasons, when listed as home favorites in the -150 to -175 range. Should the line climb above that mark, note that San Diego is 37-18 (+3.5) the past 55 times it was a home favorite in the -175 to -200 range, including 5-2 (+1.2) its last seven in that role. Meanwhile, the Cubs are a horrible 2-15 (-11.9) their last 17 as road underdogs in the +150 to +75 range.
The Padres are also a healthy 13-7 the last 20 times that they hosted the Cubs. I expect them to improve on those stats tonight. *10 (Personal Favorite)
|09-24-11||Oakland A's v. Los Angeles Angels -147||Top||2-4||Win||100||10 h 19 m||Show|
I'm playing on the LA ANGELS. While they can no longer catch Texas, the Angels are still mathematically alive for the Wildcard. Although their chances aren't very good, I still expect them to give us a huge effort today.
Torii Hunter noted: "It hurts that we can't win the division title. That's understandable. But Texas played so well, we just couldn't catch up to those guys. Now we still have a shot at the wild card, and we still have some life left. All you want is just to have a chance to get in. We still have a shot..."
Moscoso has been superb at home but has struggled on the road. He's 2-5 with a 4.95 ERA in eight road starts, the A's going 2-6.
On the other hand, Williams is 2-0 with a spectacular 1.20 ERA and 0.533 WHIP here at home. Overall, he's 3-0 with a 2.48 ERA and 1.164 WHIP.
The Angels are 18-7 (+8.7) as home favorites in the -125 to -150 range and I expect them to improve on those stats here. *10
|09-22-11||Chicago White Sox v. Cleveland Indians UNDER 9||Top||2-11||Loss||-125||9 h 46 m||Show|
I'm playing on Chicago and Cleveland to finish UNDER the total. Yesterday's game was high-scoring, an 8-4 victory for the Sox. I won't be surprised if we don't even see half that many this evening though.
Since being recalled from Triple-A Columbus on Aug. 30th, Jeanmar Gomez is a perfect 4-0 with a superb 1.88 ERA. He faced the Sox a couple of weeks ago, at Chicago, allowing two runs through six complete innings. He didn't walk a batter and outpitched Buehrle in that one.
Gomez has allowed two runs or less in each of his last three starts and has a 2.31 ERA as a starter here at home.
Humber wasn't so good at KC last time out. However, he's still 6-2 with a stellar 3.26 ERA and 1.15 WHIP on the road this season, averaging a healthy 6 2/3 innings per road start. The UNDER is 8-4 when he's pitched on the road and 14-7-3 overall.
Note that before the loss at KC, Humber had been 1-0 with an outstanding 1.26 ERA in his previous three starts, allowing just two earned runs in 14 1/3 innings.
Humber should be happy to see the Indians. He's got a 2.45 ERA in two starts against Cleveland this season. He allowed two runs through six complete innings against the Tribe earlier this month, striking out seven and walking none.
Excluding 'pushes,' the Sox have seen the UNDER go a lucrative 114-65 the last few seasons when the O/U line was either nine or 9.5, including 50-26 on the road. Meanwhile, during the same stretch, the Indians have seen the UNDER go 36-17 when favored at home with a line of -125 or less.
With some important bats not in the lineups, I expect a relatively low-scoring affair. *10 (Blue Chip)
|09-21-11||Atlanta Braves v. Florida Marlins -122||Top||0-4||Win||100||9 h 51 m||Show|
I'm playing on FLORIDA. These teams have split the first two games of this series. The Marlins won 6-5 on Monday. The Braves returned the favor with a 4-0 victory yesterday. With the Braves fighting to hold off the Cardinals in the Wildcard race and the Marlins "playing out the string," many bettors will be looking to back Atlanta here. That's given us an excellent price on a Florida team which should have an edge on the mound and which should be determined to beat the Braves in the final game between the division rivals at Sun Life Stadium. (Marlins move to a new stadium next year.)
Vazquez gets the call for the Marlins and he's been absolutely superb for weeks now. Indeed, he's got a sensational 1.96 ERA in his last 16 starts. He's 4-0 his last four starts. During that stretch, he's allowed only one run in 29 innings! The Braves haven't seen him since 2005 either, so aren't all that familiar with what he's currently bringing to the table.
On the other hand, Lowe is 0-3 with a terrible 10.13 ERA in three September starts. He was quoted as saying: "This has been a long year. I mean, this is probably my worst year I've ever had. Right now you obviously feel discouraged and frustrated and all those things..."
Lowe has had success against the Marlins this season and I won't be surprised if he bounces back with a better effort. However, a "better effort" doesn't mean that he's going to be able to match Vazquez.
The last time that the Marlins got shutout (9/7) they responded by scoring 13 runs in their next game, earning a 13-4 victory. Catching Lowe at an all-time "low," I expect the bats to again "bounce back," closing out the all-time series here with a solid victory. *10
|09-20-11||Tampa Bay Rays v. New York Yankees -170||Top||0-5||Win||100||9 h 58 m||Show|
I'm playing on the NEW YORK YANKEES. Will the Yankees try and hurt the archrival Red Sox by not giving their best effort vs. the Rays? Not a chance! The Rays are no friends to the Yankees either. More importantly, with the teams playing seven of their final 10 games against each other, the Rays are still mathematically able to catch the Yanks for first in the division. Today, I expect the Yanks to quietly put any of that talk to rest, before it even gets started.
Manager Joe Girardi had this to say of this series and the upcoming week: "There's a lot of really good things that could happen for our club. We have an opportunity to accomplish what we set out to at the beginning of the year, the first step of it. This week could be very telling."
Admittedly, Davis has been fairly solid for the Rays recently and he's also had some success vs. the Yankees. That said, he got roughed up at Baltimore last time out (lost 6-2) and he has a poor 5.40 ERA and 1.519 WHIP on the road.
Nova is a perfect 11-0 with a 3.35 ERA in his last 14 starts and he dominated the Rays in his lone 2011 start against them. Including that victory, the Yanks are a lucrative 18-7 (+8.6) in his 25 starts this season.
The Rays bullpen has a 4.72 ERA and 1.411 WHIP on the road. The Yanks bullpen has a 2.97 ERA and 1.219 WHIP at home. The Yanks average 5.4 (5.8 at home) runs per game. The Rays average 4.3.
The Yanks are an outstanding 20-5 (+11.7) the last 25 times that they were listed as home favorites in the -150 to -175 range and I look for them to improve on those stats here. *10
|09-16-11||Tampa Bay Rays v. Boston Red Sox -138||Top||3-4||Win||100||8 h 22 m||Show|
I'm playing on BOSTON. The Rays have certainly made things interesting. With yesterday's 9-1 victory, they're now only three back of
Boston. Playing at home and with their ace back on the mound, I expect Boston to bounce back today though.
While the Rays offense exploded yesterday, keep in mind that Tampa entered the series hitting .243 and averaging 4.3 runs. Boston, on the other hand, entered the series with a .280 average, scoring 5.4 runs per game. At home, those numbers were .297 and 5.7 runs per game.
Beckett is 5-1 with a 2.24 ERA and 1.061 WHIP in 12 home starts. The Red Sox are a profitable 10-2 (+5.6) in those games.
Beckett has also absolutely dominated the Rays. In fact, he has not allowed a run in 21 straight innings against them, dating to 2010.
This season, in two starts, he's limited Tampa to just two hits over 17 innings, while going 1-0. While both those games came at
Tropicana Field, Beckett is also 5-0 with a 2.47 ERA in his last eight outings against the Rays, here at Fenway.
Admittedly, Shields is also very capable and its true that he's been excellent lately. However, its also true that he is 1-8 with an awful 6.99 ERA in nine career starts at Fenway.
While the Rays haven't seen Beckett since July, the Red Sox just had a look at Shields on 9/11. Facing him for the second time in less than a week and this time catching him here at Fenway, I expect them to have more success. With Beckett "doing his thing," I expect that to be more than enough. *10
|09-14-11||Detroit Tigers v. Chicago White Sox -110||Top||6-5||Loss||-110||4 h 9 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHICAGO. As you're probably aware, the Tigers are on a red hot roll. They won again yesterday and have all but mathematically wrapped up the Central. They're now a commanding 12.5 games up on both the White Sox and Indians. While they'd certainly like to keep their current streak going, they don't "need" to. In fact, I expect it to come to an end right here, this afternoon.
For all their recent success, note that the Tigers are still a horrible 27-43 (-12.5) the last 70 times they played on the road when the line ranged from +100 to +125, going 8-14 (-5.3) their last 22 in that role.
The White Sox may be out of it - but they're still a team with a lot of pride. After getting blanked by Verlander yesterday, I expect them to be swinging the bats well against Penny today.
Penny is 3-4 with a horrific 6.89 ERA over his last nine starts and he's not getting any better. Over his last three starts, he's allowed 19 runs - 15 earned - over 15 innings. That's a 9.00 ERA to go along with a brutal 1.933 WHIP.
Penny just gave up eight runs - four earned - and 10 hits over five innings against these same Sox on Sept. 3 and avoided a loss only when the Tigers pulled off a stunning rally for a 9-8 victory.
While the Sox are very familiar with Penny, the Tigers will be getting their first look at Axelrod, who will be making his first start.
Its true that one never knows exactly what to expect from a pitcher making his starting debut. However, they often fare better than many bettors imagine. In Axelrod's case, he was 6-1 with a superb 2.27 ERA in 15 starts for Triple-A Charlotte before being recalled last week. So, he's currently in excellent form and should have plenty of confidence.
He was quoted as saying: "I'm definitely excited to get that chance. I want to go out there and see what I can do. It should be great."
I expect the Sox to provide the rookie with plenty of support as they bounce back and close out the homestand with a much needed victory. *10 Best Bet
|09-13-11||Los Angeles Angels v. Oakland A's UNDER 7.5||Top||6-3||Loss||-103||12 h 59 m||Show|
I'm playing on Oakland and LA to finish UNDER the total. I won with the A's last night. Tonight, however, with a pair of starting pitchers in excellent current form, I feel the value lies with the total.
I've won with the A's in several of Moscoso's home starts now. Last time that he pitched, I successfully played on both the A's the "under 8.5." Moscosco came through for me with flying colors. Indeed, he only allowed two hits through 8 2/3 shutout innings. The A's won 7-0.
Including that gem, Moscoso is now 6-2 with a superb 2.26 ERA and 0.927 WHIP in 10 starts here this season, the A's going 8-2.
Moscoso's lone start against the Angels came back in the spring, at LA. He tossed six shutout innings, en route to a 6-0 A's victory.
While I expect another strong effort from Moscoso, I also expect the Angels to receive solid pitching. Last time out, Williams allowed just one run on one hit, through eight innings. The Angels won 3-1. That brings him to 3-0 with an outstanding 2.45 ERA and 0.773 WHIP in three starts.
Yesterday's game finished above the total. However, even including that result, the UNDER is an extremely profitable 45-16-4 when the Angels have played in the month of September the past few seasons. I expect those stats to improve here. *10
|09-12-11||Los Angeles Angels v. Oakland A's -138||Top||3-6||Win||100||12 h 53 m||Show|
I'm playing on OAKLAND. Its true that the Angels have a lot more to play for then the A's. However, that doesn't mean that the A's don't want to beat them.
Oakland manager Bob Melvin isn't planning on loading up his lineup with rookies, as he wants to win these gams. He said: "You want to evaluate talent going forward, but you've got to put forth your best lineup and continue to play your veterans. Pretty much everybody we play is a contender - the Rangers, Angels and Tigers."
The Angels have been playing well but are off a tough 6-5 loss to the Yankees, one that saw them go 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position. That type of defeat can often be a bit deflating. LA manager Mike Scioscia noted: "We shot ourselves in the foot all day on the offensive side. You need to pick up those runs and keep pressure on them. We just didn
|09-11-11||Philadelphia Phillies v. Milwaukee Brewers -115||Top||2-3||Win||100||3 h 2 m||Show|
I'm playing on MILWAUKEE. This has suddenly become an important game for the Brewers. Suddenly, their lead over the Cardinals is down to six games - they were 10.5 games ahead on Monday. They need to start winning to finish off those pesky Cards once and for all. Perhaps more importantly, the Brewers need a victory here, as they know their path to the World Series will surely involve facing these same Phillies. Having lost all three games, from a mental standpoint, they'd badly like to avoid the 4-game sweep, here at Milwaukee. That's particularly true with their ace on the mound, facing the Phillies 4th (or 5th) starter.
True, Worley has been exceptional - no ordinary, 4th or 5th starter. However, he's still not ready to be put in the same class as Halladay, Lee or Hamels. In fact, the Phillies may put Oswalt ahead of Worley when it comes time to choosing a 4th starter for their playoff rotation - although personally, I'd go with Worley. Either way, he's not their ace - which is what Gallardo is for their Brewers.
Worley's road stats (5-1 record, 3.97 ERA and 1.39 WHIP) are certainly solid but they aren't as good as Gallardo's 9-2 record, 3.18 ERA and 1.191 WHIP here at home.
Gallardo also has an outstanding 0.84 ERA in two starts vs. the Phillies, including a 2-1 victory in his lone home start against them. That came way back in 2007 and saw him allow only four hits and one run through 6 2/3 innings. He had seven K's and one walk.
The Brewers are 29-8 when playing at home w/ an O/U line of eight or 8.5 and I look for them to bounce back and improve on those stats here. *10
|09-10-11||Kansas City Royals v. Seattle Mariners -137||Top||4-2||Loss||-137||12 h 34 m||Show|
I'm playing on SEATTLE. The Mariners have now won two games in a row. They won with pitching on Thursday, earning a 4-1 victory. Last night, the offense caught fire; the M's belted out 15 hits, even getting a home run from Ichiro, who went four for five overall. Miguel Olivo and Justin Smoak each had three hit performances for the Mariners. In fact, Olivo was only a single short of the cycle. He doubled, homered then tripled in his first three at-bats. Afterwards, he was quoted as saying: "I'm very happy. Me and Smoak and Ichiro today, we put things together." With the offense suddenly catching fire and with their star rookie on the mound, I expect the M's to make it three in a row here.
Pineda hasn't gotten much run support of late but is off three straight quality starts, recording a stingy 0.944 WHIP in those games. During that three game stretch, he has 20 K's in 18 innings, with only three walks and one home run allowed. For the season, he's 5-3 with a stellar 2.87 ERA and 1.044 WHIP here at Safeco. He gets a chance to earn his 10th victory tonight and this should be the perfect opponent to do it against. Pineda dominated KC back in the spring, allowing three hits in six innings, en route to a 3-2 victory.
Run support shouldn't be such a problem for Pineda here. Not only did the M's bats come to life last night, but Paulino has a horrible 6.35 ERA and 1.824 WHIP his last three starts.
The Royals are 12-27 (-10.2) as road underdogs in the +125 to +150 range. On the other hand, the M's are 8-5 (+1.4) as home favorites in the -125 to -150 range. With Pineda getting the better of Paulino, I expect them to pad those stats tonight. *10
|09-09-11||Atlanta Braves v. St. Louis Cardinals -130||Top||3-4||Win||100||10 h 8 m||Show|
I'm playing on ST. LOUIS. Its true that the Cardinals probably aren't going to make the playoffs. They'd need an epic collapse by the Brewers (or these same Braves) for that to happen. However, its also true that the Cards are still mathematically alive - which means that they aren't about to roll over and quit. The Cards, who had yesterday off, have won nine of 13 to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. They took two of three against the Brewers and watched Milwaukee lose again yesterday. They know the Brewers are up against Halladay today, too.
Albert Pujols, batting better than .400 over his last eight games, had this to say: "We're just looking to win as many games as we can and see where we're at on the 28th of September. Just try to give our best, go out and play hard every day and try to win series. Hopefully we can get a little streak going here."
While the Braves do have the better record overall, they're 0-4 here at St. Louis this season.
While the Cards had a day off yesterday, the Braves were forced to play a double-header. Now, playing their 11th game in the past 10 days, the Braves have a rookie pitcher on the mound, one who only lasted five innings last time out. In three career starts, Delgado is 0-1 with a 4.20 ERA.
On the other hand, Jackson is 2-0 with an extremely stingy 1.80 ERA over his last three starts. Last time out, Jackson had eight 8 K's and 2 walks. Delgado had half as many K's (4) but walked three.
Jackson, who has allowed two earned runs or less in six of eight starts as a Cardinal, (3 or fewer runs in 7 of those starts) has a 3-0 record with an outstanding 2.30 ERA at Busch Stadium this year. Overall, he's 5-3 with an excellent 2.63 ERA in 14 "home" starts.
This game should be more important for the Cards. They've got the schedule and venue in their favor. They should have a fresher bullpen as well as an edge in the starting pitching department. All things considered, I feel getting the Cards as a very modest favorite is more than fair. *10
|09-07-11||Kansas City Royals v. Oakland A's -137||Top||0-7||Win||100||5 h 14 m||Show|
I'm playing on OAKLAND. I lost with the A's yesterday. They're playing to avoid the sweep here this afternoon though and with Moscoso on the mound, I'm coming right back with them today.
Moscoso has quietly been excellent at home and we've won with him a few times here. He's 5-2 with a 2.62 ERA and 1.018 WHIP in nine starts here. The A's were a profitable 7-2 (+4.6) in those games. Last start here, he allowed two runs in seven innings but only one of those was earned. He gave up just five hits and had six K's with just one walk. In his previous start here, he allowed one run on three hits, through eight innings. In that one, he had seven K's with only one walk. He'll have the advantage of starting against KC for the first time.
Chen is capable but his numbers don't compare to the ones I just mentioned for Moscoso. In nine road starts, he's got a mediocre 4.30 ERA and 1.357 WHIP.
The A's had won four straight before this series. The last thing they want to have happen is to get swept by the lowly Royals. Behind another quality home effort from Moscosco, I expect them to bounce back here. *10
|09-07-11||Texas Rangers v. Tampa Bay Rays -149||Top||4-5||Win||100||3 h 46 m||Show|
I'm playing on TAMPA BAY. After the Rays won Monday's opener, the Rangers crushed them by a score of 8-0 yesterday. The Rays had previously won three straight though and with Price on the mound, I look for them to bounce back and close out the series with a victory.
Price has a superb 2.05 ERA and 0.909 WHIP his last three starts. Over that stretch, he's recorded a whopping 31 K's in 22 innings, walking just seven. He also didn't allow a single home run. He's only 12-12 on the season but could easily be better, as evidenced by his 3.41 ERA and 1.093 WHIP.
Price may be winless against Texas but he was very solid in his lone 2011 start in this series. In that 6/1 game, he allowed three runs only five hits, through eight complete innings. He had eight 8 K's and issued only one walk. He didn't get any run support that day but I expect him to get some this afternoon.
Holland has also pitched well lately. His seasonal stats (4.13 ERA and 1.387 WHIP) are only mediocre though and he's had real trouble with the Rays - arguably more so than Price has had with the Rangers. In four starts vs Tampa, he's got an awful 7.29 ERA and 1.714 WHIP.
Yesterday notwithstanding, the Rays have had plenty of success vs left-handed starters. I expect Price to be the better southpaw here and for TB to close out the series with a win. *10
|09-06-11||Kansas City Royals v. Oakland A's -168||Top||7-4||Loss||-168||19 h 34 m||Show|
I'm playing on OAKLAND. The Royals grabbed yesterday's opener. They're now an awful 25-44 on the road. The A's, on the other hand, are still a somewhat respectable 38-31 at home. Prior to yesterday's loss, they'd won four straight. That winning streak started the last time that Gio Gonzalez started. With Gonzalez on the mound again this evening, I look for the A's to immediately bounce back and even things up.
Facing the Indians, a team he has always dominated, Gonzalez was superb last time out. He allowed only four hits through seven shutout innings. He got the "W" and the A's won 7-0. After a small rare off stretch, Gonzalez has returned to the way he was pitching for most of the season. In other words, he's been extremely sharp. In his last three starts, he's 3-0 with a 2.18 ERA.
While his recent gem vs. the Indians was on the road, Gonzalez is also nearly always tough at home. I backed the A's in his last start here and watched him limit the Jays to one run on four hits, through eight complete innings. He had nine K's and issued only one walk. The A's won 5-1.
Including the win over the Jays, Gonzalez is 8-4 with a stingy 2.37 ERA and 1.139 WHIP in 14 home starts. Gonzalez, already 2-0 vs. the Royals this season, should get some run support here.
Duffy gave up five runs in five innings in his last start. That gives him an ugly 6.06 ERA his last three starts. For the season, Duffy has an awful 5.88 ERA and 1.615 WHIP in 10 road starts. The Royals were 3-7 in those games.
Yesterday's victory came when the Royals were facing a right-handed started. Today, however, they'll be matched up against a southpaw. Note that KC is a dismal 44-83 (-33.9) against southpaw starters the past few seasons.
Even with yesterday's loss the A's are still 16-8 the last 24 times they faced the Royals, going 8-4 when hosting KC. With Gonzalez getting the better of Duffy, I expect them to pad those stats here. *10
|09-05-11||Cincinnati Reds v. Chicago Cubs -139||Top||3-4||Win||100||4 h 58 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHICAGO. I won with the Cubs yesterday. Off that momentum-building victory and with Garza on the mound at home, I'm coming right back with them again today.
Garza hasn't always gotten much run support but he's been outstanding here at Wrigley. In 14 home starts, Garza has a terrific 2.76 ERA and 1.183 WHIP, averaging 6.5 innings. In those 91 1/3 home innings, he's got a very impressive 101 K's with only 29 walks.
Garza is also currently in excellent form. He beat the Giants last time out, improving to 2-1 with a 2.41 ERA his last three starts. He's got 20 K's vs. only five walks in those games, allowing just one home run.
Willis looked pretty good in his first few starts but has looked shaky of late. Really, he's been quite fortunate not to have been hurt worse than he has. Last time out, he walked five batters, while also allowing five hits, in 6 2/3 innings. Yet, still only gave up three runs. Before that, he also walked five batters, this time allowing six hits, still only giving up three runs. Ten walks in two games is NOT good though and that type of control, or lack thereof, is likely to catch up with him soon. In fact, it already has. Willis is winless in four road starts (team was 0-4) and is 0-4 overall with the team going 3-7.
With yesterday's victory, the Cubs are now a (surprisingly) profitable 9-3 (+5) the last 12 times that they were home favorites in the -125 to -150 range. With Garza getting the better of Willis, I expect them to improve on those stats here. *10 Main Event
|09-05-11||Texas Rangers v. Tampa Bay Rays -140||Top||1-5||Win||100||3 h 40 m||Show|
I'm playing on TAMPA BAY. Both teams won yesterday. Both teams have starters that have enjoyed success against today's opponent. The Rays are playing at home though and their starter has been getting it done much longer (this season) than the Rangers' starter. That said, I expect Tampa to start things off with a win.
Feldman pitched very well last time out, shutting out these same Rays through six innings. That was his first start of the entire season though and now he'll face the same team, at its home field. Having scored 14 runs over the weekend, the Rays bats finally appear to be waking up and are in better form than they were when Feldman faced them last week.
Unlike Feldman, Shields has been getting it done all season. In 28 starts, he's got a terrific 2.84 ERA and 1.038 WHIP. The Rays are a profitable 18-10 in those games. Last time out, he blanked these same Rangers - unlike Feldman, he lasted eight innings instead of six. In his previous start, he tossed a complete game and held Toronto to one run, recording 12 K's and walking one. In fact, he's got 26 K's vs. only three walks his last three starts and leads the majors in complete games. At home, his ERA dips to 2.59. He's got 109 K's in 107 innings here.
Shields was quoted as saying: "I'm going to go out there and try and do what I did last time. I pitched pretty well last time in Texas, and we're at home here now so I hope I can do the same..
Texas manager Ron Washington had this to say of Shields' last start: "After the first inning when we didn't get him, he started pitching. He did a great job
|09-04-11||Chicago White Sox v. Detroit Tigers UNDER 8.5||Top||2-18||Loss||-114||10 h 35 m||Show|
I'm playing on Chicago and Detroit to finish UNDER the total. The first two games of this series have both been very high scoring. That doesn't mean we necessarily need to expect more fireworks tonight though. In fact, I look for the starting pitchers to steal the show.
Buehrle continues to get it done. Last time out, he tossed 7 2/3 shutout innings, en route to a 3-0 victory. He allowed just four hits. For the season, he's 11-6 with a very solid 3.05 ERA and 1.215 WHIP. The UNDER is a profitable 14-8-4 in his starts.
Buehrle is 18-9 with a 3.12 ERA and 1.18 WHIP vs. Detroit. He last faced the Tigers in July and allowed two runs in six innings. Both were unearned.
Admittedly, Scherzer's numbers aren't quite as good as Buehrle's. For the season, he's got a 4.03 ERA and 1.321 WHIP at home. However, he's still seen the UNDER go a lucrative 9-6 in his 15 home starts. He's got 70 K's vs. 24 walks in those games, averaging a solid six innings per outing. Two of his last three starts have finished with five or fewer combined runs.
Scherzer has also pitched very well vs. Chicago. In fact, he's got a 2.61 ERA and 1.084 WHIP in seven starts against the Sox. In three 2011 starts against Chicago, he's allowed only four combined runs in 22 innings. All three games finished below the total. They had scores of 3-0, 5-0 and 2-1.
The White Sox, who have now dropped three straight, have seen the UNDER go 31-18-2 the past few seasons, when off three or more consecutive losses. That includes a profitable 13-5-1 UNDER mark their last 19 in that situation. I expect those stats to improve here. *10
|09-04-11||Pittsburgh Pirates v. Chicago Cubs -130||Top||3-6||Win||100||4 h 1 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHICAGO. The Cubs lost a heartbreaker yesterday. Leading 5-3, the gave up four runs in the 9th inning, losing 7-5. While those losses can sometimes be difficult to deal with, the Cubs have a starter in much better current form here. That said, I look for them to bounce back and avoid the sweep.
After a slow start, Wells has been superb in recent weeks. Indeed, he's 5-1 over his last eight starts. During that stretch, he's held opposing hitters to a .214 average while recording a solid 3.42 ERA.
Wells is showing no signs of slowing down either. In fact, he's only getting better. Two starts ago, in his most recent start here at Wrigley, he limited Atlanta to one run on just two hits, through 6 2/3 innings. Wells got the "W" and the Cubs won 3-2. He had six K's and and two walks. While that was extremely impressive, he was even better last time out. Indeed, all he did was outpitch Lincecum, tossing a complete-game 2-hit shutout. He had seven K's with only one walk and the Cubs won 7-0.
Morton, on the other hand, has lost back-to-back starts, while recording an awful 8.38 ERA. Last time out, facing lowly Houston, he walked four batters and allowed six hits, giving up four runs in just 5 2/3 innings. In his previous start, he gave up nine hits in only 4 1/3 innings, giving up five runs.
Even with yesterday's victory, the Pirates are still a dismal 36-74 the past few seasons, when facing a team with a losing record after the break. The Pirates head home after this and could easily be caught looking ahead to getting back. They've played every day since Aug. 19th and they played two games on one of those days. They should have had a day off but had to play a single game vs. the Dodgers on 9/1, which interrupted their current 10-game road trip. They play again tomorrow, vs. Houston.
All things considered, I feel the price is more than fair. With Wells continuing his recent strong pitching, I expect Chicago to avoid the sweep. *10
|09-03-11||Texas Rangers v. Boston Red Sox -147||Top||7-12||Win||100||13 h 12 m||Show|
I'm playing on BOSTON. The Rangers embarrassed the Red Sox in yesterday's opener. I expect Boston to return the favor here though. While he doesn't have the wins to show for it, Bedard has pitched well of late. He's got a 2.81 ERA his last three starts. For the season, he's got a very solid 3.45 ERA and 1.21 WHIP, striking out 113 in 117 innings, walking only 39.
Lewis has a mediocre 4.19 ERA on the season. Perhaps more importantly, over his last two starts, he's got an awful 9.00 ERA. Last time out, he allowed five runs in six innings. In his previous start, which came vs these same Red Sox, Lewis allowed seven runs in six innings. For the season, he's allowed a whopping 31 home runs. (Bedard has allowed 13.)
Bedard is 4-4 with a solid 3.42 ERA vs. Texas. Including the recent poor outing, Lewis is 2-2 with an ugly 4.93 ERA vs. Boston.
Texas is 20-18 (+0.2) in day games this season. On the other hand, Boston is 29-11 (+12.4) in day games.
Even with yesterday's loss, the Red Sox are still 40-19 against teams with a winning record. I expect them to bounce back and even the series. *10
|09-02-11||Arizona Diamondbacks v. San Francisco Giants -162||Top||2-6||Win||100||12 h 46 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN FRANCISCO. Obviously, this is a huge game for both teams. Its bigger for the defending champs though, as they're the ones behind in the race. Entering tonight's action, the Giants are six games behind Arizona in the NL West race, with 25 games to go. While the Diamondbacks are red hot, with Cain on the mound, I expect the Giants to grab tonight's opener.
I played on the Giants on Wednesday and watched Madison Bumgarner deliver a gem to lead his team to a 4-0 victory over the Cubs. That was a critical win and gave them some positive momentum for this all important series.
While he hasn't always received much run support, Cain has an excellent 2.87 ERA and 1.064 WHIP on the season. In 14 home starts, he's got a 2.93 ERA and 1.047 WHIP. He's averaged seven complete innings in those starts, recording 80 K's to just 25 walks. Over that entire 98 1/3 innings, he only allowed four home runs.
Lately, he's been very sharp. Indeed, in his last three starts, Cain is 1-0 with an outstanding 1.96 ERA and extremely stingy 0.783 WHIP. Over that stretch, he has recorded 20 K's in 23 innings, walking only two.
Saunders also pitched very well last time out - but his overall numbers don't compare favorably vs. Cain's. He's still got a 4.22 ERA his last three starts and is 9-11 with a 3.87 ERA on the season. Solid - but not dominant like Cain.
Saunders is 0-2 with a poor 5.27 ERA and a terrible 1.829 WHIP vs. the Giants. Cain, on the other hand, is 9-5 with a solid 3.52 ERA and 1.172 WHIP vs. Arizona.
Both bullpens have been solid but the Giants' relievers' 2.40 ERA and 1.083 WHIP at home is superior to Arizona's 3.02 ERA and 1.391 WHIP on the road.
In addition to being 18-6 the last 24 times that they were a host in this series, the Giants are 37-16 (+11.1) the last 53 times that they were listed as home favorites in the -150 to -175 range. That includes a 13-4 (+6.8) mark their last 17 in that role. With Cain getting the better of Saunders, I expect the champs to improve on those stats tonight. *10
|09-01-11||St. Louis Cardinals v. Milwaukee Brewers -180||Top||8-4||Loss||-180||6 h 1 m||Show|
I'm playing on MILWAUKEE. The Cardinals have taken each of the first two games of this series, making things somewhat more interesting in the Central. The Brewers are still a healthy 8.5 games ahead in the race though and they're still a remarkable 50-18 here at home. With their ace on the mound, I fully expect them to bounce back and avoid getting swept here for the first time in more than a year.
For the season, Gallardo checks in with an impressive 15-8 record to go along with a very solid 3.37 ERA. Its here at home where Gallardo has been really dominant though. In 13 starts here, Gallardo is 9-1 with an excellent 2.51 ERA and 1.14 WHIP, allowing only four home runs. The Brewers are a lucrative 11-2 (+7.8) in those games.
The Brewers' ace has been particularly sharp of late. In fact, he's 2-0 (Milwaukee is 3-0) in his last three starts with a remarkable 1.23 ERA and 0.909 WHIP. He's averaged 7 1/3 innings in those starts and has 25 K's in 22 innings, walking only four.
Gallardo is 1-1 with a stellar 2.77 ERA in two starts against the Cards in 2011; both those games were played in St. Louis. Surprisingly, he's had some trouble with the Cards here at Miller Park over the years. However, he wasn't dominating here the way he has this year and a big part of his trouble at beating the Cards here has been a lack of run support. Gallardo should fare better in that department here.
Brandon Dickson had a fairly solid K/W ratio down at Triple-A Memphis. However, he still had a losing record down there and his ERA was solid but not spectacular. Overall, he was 8-9 with a 3.73 ERA. Now, he takes on a determined Brewer lineup that (usually) hits the ball very well here.
While the line may seem steep, consider that the Brewers are 36-13 (+15.1) as home favorites in the -150 to -175 range the past few seasons. Should the line be even higher than that, note that they're also 22-6 (+11.1) as home favorites in the -175 to -200 range the past few seasons, including 11-2 (+7.5) this season. On the other hand, the Cards are only 1-7 (-5.5) the last eight times that they were listed as road underdogs in the +150 to +175 range.
With this being an afternoon game, note that the Cards are a money-burning 79-83 (-31.7) in afternoon games the past few years. This season, they're 19-23 (-9.8) when playing during the day. They've hit just .240 in those games. The Brewers are a far more respectable 26-19 (+4.9) when playing during the afternoon. I expect Gallardo to continue his recent roll and for the Brewers to return to their winning ways here at home. *10 (Top NL Central Play)
|08-31-11||New York Yankees v. Boston Red Sox -165||Top||5-9||Win||100||9 h 41 m||Show|
I'm playing on BOSTON. I won with the Yankees in yesterday's series opener. However, that was with Sabathia matched up against Lackey. Today, the shoe is on the other foot, as Beckett will take on Hughes. Instead of the Yankees having a big edge on the mound, this time the Red Sox should enjoy a significant advantage.
Beckett is having an exceptional season. Last time out, he held a powerful Texas lineup to just one run on four hits, through six innings. Boston won 13-2. That's not all that surprising, given that the Red Sox are now 18-7 (+7.8) in his starts.
Beckett has a terrific 2.43 ERA overall and that number dips to an outstanding 1.95 ERA in his 11 home starts. The Sox were 9-2 in those games.
Beckett has been particularly dominant against the Yankees, too. Indeed, he's 3-0 with a remarkable 1.00 ERA in four starts against New York this season, with the Red Sox taking each of those games. He has limited the Yankees to a .170 average, while posting a 0.85 WHIP. For good measure, over 27 innings, he's got an impressive 30 strikeouts.
While Beckett is rolling, Hughes is struggling. Last time out, he allowed six runs in 2 2/3 innings. For the season, he's got an ugly 6.46 ERA and 1.529 WHIP.
Note that Hughes is also 1-3 with an awful 7.03 ERA and 1.813 WHIP vs. Boston. In this season's earlier start vs. the Red Sox, he gave up six runs in two innings.
Even with yesterday's setback, the Red Sox are still a profitable 39-17 (+18.9) when facing a team with a winning record. With Beckett "doing his thing," I expect them to bounce back and improve on those stats here. *10
|08-31-11||Oakland A's v. Cleveland Indians -132||Top||3-4||Win||100||9 h 57 m||Show|
I'm playing on CLEVELAND. I won with the Indians the last time that Jimenez took the mound. The former Colorado ace finally gave the Indians what they needed and expected from him, delivering a gem. In seven complete innings, he allowed one run while recording 10 K's. The Indians won that one and it seemingly helped provide them with a badly needed spark. With another victory yesterday, they're now 4-1 their last five games. With Jimenez back on the mound, I expect them to keep it rolling for another day.
As I mentioned in the writeup when he last pitched, while he'd struggled on the road, Jimenez was also sharp in his previous home start. In fact, he's now 2-0 with an extremely stingy 0.60 ERA at Progressive Field. In 15 innings here, he has 16 K's.
While Jimenez was dominant last time out, Harden was terrible. He allowed 10 hits and six runs in just 4 1/3 innings.
While the Indians have seen plenty of Harden over the years, Jimenez will have the advantage of starting against Oakland for the first time.
With yesterday's victory, the Indians have now won five of the last six meetings against the A's. Overall, Oakland is now an awful 25-45 on the road.
Oakland manager Bob Melvin had this to say of his team's recent effort: "We've basically done nothing. We'll search for those answers, but I don't have one right now."
On the other hand, Cleveland manager Manny Acta is far more "up beat." He was quoted as saying: "I feel like we've got a couple of streaks left in us. There's a month to go. The pitching is there. You get good pitching, you're in every game. It's someone different every day, getting big hits, pitching well. The young guys are coming up and getting it done."
The Indians were slight underdogs for yesterday's game and still won 6-2. Now, listed as "modestly" priced favorites, they're in one of their best roles. Indeed, we find the Indians at a profitable 16-4 (+10.4) the last 20 times that they were listed as home favorites in the -125 to -150 range. With Jimenez building off his recent victory, I look for the Indians to improve on those stats here. *10
|08-30-11||New York Yankees -147 v. Boston Red Sox||Top||5-2||Win||100||9 h 58 m||Show|
I'm playing on the NEW YORK YANKEES. I only back the Yankees a small handful of times each season and I generally do fairly well when I do. I feel that tonight's series opener at Fenway will be a good spot to do so.
While both teams have now won two in a row, the Red Sox come in as the slightly "hotter" team. They currently have a slight -1.5 game lead in the AL East race. The Yankees should have a significant edge on the mound though.
I watched all four of his Sabathia's starts against the Red Sox this season, beginning with a winning "under" ticket back on 4/10, a 4-0 Boston victory. So, I'm well aware that Sabathia has really struggled in those games and is 0-4. That said and with all due respect to the Red Sox, I expect Sabathia to be at his best here.
Keep in mind that Sabathia is a remarkable 17-3 with an extremely stingy 2.40 ERA against all other teams besides Boston. Also, remember that Sabathia was 4-1 with a 3.04 ERA in eight starts against the Red Sox the previous two seasons. So, its not like he hasn't had success against them in the past.
Sabathia said this of the Red Sox: "They have a good lineup ... they wear on you." However, he also finished off that statement by saying: "When I'm right, I can beat anybody."
Sabathia has seen three of this season's four starts come against Beckett. His most recent came against Lackey. Sabathia struggled in that 8/6 game and Lackey got the "W". That game notwithstanding, Lackey has really struggled for most of this season and his numbers don't even come close to comparing to Sabathia's.
In 22 starts, Lackey has a 5.98 ERA and 1.546 WHIP. AT home, his ERA climbs to 6.16. He's only been marginally better recently, too. Over his last three starts, he's got a 5.12 ERA and 1.603 WHIP.
Lackey averages less than six innings per start. Sabathia averages greater than seven. Sabathia has 100 more K's than Lackey, yet has allowed four fewer home runs. The Red Sox are 7-6 (-2.5) in Lackey's home starts. The Yankees are 10-4 (+4.3) in Sabathia's road starts.
I expect a highly motivated "team effort" from the Yankees and for Sabathia, who has 23 K's and two walks in his last three starts, to finally get himself a "W" in this year's rivalry. *10
|08-29-11||Tampa Bay Rays v. Toronto Blue Jays -146||Top||3-7||Win||100||9 h 53 m||Show|
I'm playing on TORONTO. Its certainly been a disappointing homestand for the Jays. Off four straight losses, they're now just 1-5. This is a big game for the Jays and I expect them to bounce back with a much-needed victory.
I call this a "big game" for the Jays for a few reasons. For starters, they've lost four straight, so need to get back on track. Also, this is the final game of the homestand and they'd at least like to close it on a high note. Additionally, yesterday's loss was of the "embarrassing" variety, as they were blown out by a score of 12-0.
Having Ricky Romero on the mound should give the Jays an excellent shot at a victory. Romero didn't factor in the decision but the Jays still won his last start. Romero is now 2-0 with a superb 1.64 ERA his last three starts, all three of them Toronto victories. For the season, he's got an excellent 2.83 ERA and 1.144 WHIP, averaging seven innings per start.
Davis has also pitched well recently, just not as well as Romero. His overall numbers don't compare favorably to Romero's overall numbers either. Davis has particularly struggled on the road. In 11 road starts, he's got a 4.92 ERA and 1.448 WHIP.
While the Rays are 4-9 the last 13 times that they were listed as road underdogs in the +125 to +150 range, the Jays are a profitable 21-9 (+6.4) the last 30 times that they were listed as home favorites in the -150 to -175 range.
These same two starters went head-to-head against each other here back in May. Davis was ok. But Romero was much better. The Jays won that one and I look for them to "do it again" here. *10
|08-28-11||Los Angeles Angels v. Texas Rangers UNDER 8.5||Top||5-9||Loss||-100||9 h 26 m||Show|
I'm playing on Texas and LA to finish UNDER the total. The first two games of this series have both been high-scoring, each producing a minimum of a dozen combined runs. I expect the pitchers to steal the show tonight though.
At 15-6 with a 2.03 ERA, Weaver is having an exceptional season. That includes a 2-1 mark with a 1.86 ERA in four games against the Rangers this season. Going back a bit further finds him at 4-1 with a outstanding 1.99 ERA in his last seven starts against Texas.
Lewis got roughed up last time out. He's still got a 3.72 ERA his last three starts, recording 17 K's with four walks. Note that prior to his bad outing vs. Boston, Lewis had a superb 1.74 ERA and 0.726 WHIP his previous three starts.
For those that find this type of thing interesting, note that Lewis has alternated 'overs' and 'unders' in his last nine straight starts, going O/U/O/U/O/U/O/U/O ...
More importantly, Lewis has allowed two or fewer earned runs in three of his last four vs. the Angels, three of those games producing eight or fewer combined runs. The most recent was 10 days ago, a 2-1 game at Anaheim where Lewis didn't allow a single earned run through seven innings.
Weaver opposed Lewis that day and allowed one run in seven innings. His previous start vs. the Rangers resulted in a 1-0 victory. He's seen the UNDER go 7-2 his last nine against Texas, including 4-0 the last four. I expect more of the same tonight. *10
|08-28-11||Pittsburgh Pirates v. St. Louis Cardinals -148||Top||4-7||Win||100||4 h 50 m||Show|
I'm playing on ST. LOUIS. Time is running out on the Cardinals. Off a shutout loss and now playing the final game of a 7-game homestand, they absolutely need this one. I expect them to respond accordingly.
Lohse gets the call for the Cards. Its true that Lohse got roughed up last time out, while going for his 100th career win. However, he's 6-2 with a 3.50 ERA in his career against the Pirates and before his last outing, he'd been 2-0 (Cards were 3-0) with a 3.31 ERA in his previous three starts. Given a second chance at earning his 100th victory and with his team desperately needing a big effort, I expect Lohse to bounce back.
Karstens has pitched quite well recently for the Pirates. He left his last start with a cramp in his shoulder though and has been going through various tests ever since. While he claims to feel fine, its entirely possibly he'll feel differently against a normally potent St. Louis lineup, determined to bounce back after yesterday's shutout loss.
Including last Sunday's 6-2 win at Wrigley, the Cards are 5-2 (+3.2) the last seven times that they were coming off a shutout loss.
The Pirates haven't won back to back games (in the same series) here since the spring of 2007. I don't expect them to accomplish that feat today. Lohse wins #100 and the Cards bounce back with a big win. *10
|08-27-11||Kansas City Royals v. Cleveland Indians -150||Top||7-8||Win||100||9 h 43 m||Show|
I'm playing on CLEVELAND. I won with the Indians yesterday and I'm coming right back with them again today. Yesterday's victory was very important in a number of ways.
It got the Indians "back on track" and prevented them from falling further behind Detroit, which also won. It got them back to .500. It also got saw the fans come out in hordes to see the return of Jim Thome. Thome didn't get any hits but he did put an extra 10,000+ fans in the seats and all the extra energy seemingly helped "provide a much-needed spark" for the team.
The Tribe also got an outstanding outing from Jimenez, the big name pitcher they had picked up before the trade deadline, who had previously struggled. (If they want any hope at making a late run, they're going to need him to pitch like that the rest of the way.)
While catching Detroit certainly won't be easy (and is unlikely) these are all the types of things that can help a team start believing again and which can help provide positive momentum going forward. I expect that to be the case for Cleveland, at least for today.
Of course, it also helps when you've got a starter in much better current form. Last time out, Carmona allowed two runs (only one was earned) through six complete innings. He had six K's and walked only one batter. He now has a stellar 2.11 ERA his last three starts. He's averaged better than seven innings per start during that stretch.
Going back further and we find that Carmona has now allowed three or fewer earned runs in eight of his last nine starts and that he has pitched at least six innings in ALL of those games.
On the other hand, even though he was better last time out, Duffy is still 0-3 with a terrible 7.31 his last three starts. Going back further finds him at 2-4 with an ugly 6.38 ERA in his seven starts since the All-Star break.
I expect Carmona and the re-energized Indians to build off yesterday's win and make it two in a row. *10
|08-26-11||Kansas City Royals v. Cleveland Indians -160||Top||1-2||Win||100||10 h 47 m||Show|
I'm playing on CLEVELAND. The Indians have lost six of their last seven and are in danger of falling too far behind the Tigers to stay in the race. Needless to say, this is a huge game and series. They simply can't afford to keep losing. Rather, they need to take advantage of a visit from one of the league's weaker teams. Having had a day off to "regroup," I expect the Indians to "come out swinging" today and for the entire team to be at their best.
For starters, the Indians have recently re-signed Jim Thome. While Thome may not even be in the lineup tonight, his signing and presence alone should help "boost morale."
The Indians should also have outfielder Shin-Soo back in the lineup. Shin-Soo noted: "We're still going. It's tough. But we
|08-25-11||Boston Red Sox v. Texas Rangers -157||Top||6-0||Loss||-157||10 h 58 m||Show|
I'm playing on TEXAS. After the Rangers grabbed Monday's opener, the Red Sox responded by winning both Tuesday and Wednesday's games. Today, however, I fully expect the Rangers to bounce back and salvage the series split.
Ogando gets the call for Texas. He didn't get off to a great start this month but is coming off a very solid outing. Last time out, he allowed two runs through seven complete innings. He gave up six hits and had five K's with one walk.
For the season, Ogando is 12-5 with a stellar 3.30 ER and 1.12 WHIP. In 12 home starts, he's 7-2 with a 3.33 ERA and 1.178 WHIP. The Rangers are a profitable 9-3 (+3.9) in those games.
Miller was also solid last time out, as he allowed just one run through 5 1/3 innings. That was at Kansas City against the lowly Royals though and it was his first start since late July. He's still 5-1 with a poor 4.93 and a terrible 1.773 WHIP in nine starts overall. He's averaged only 5.1 innings per start and has only 28 K's and 27 walks. (Ogando has 107 K's and 37 walks.)
The Red Sox, who recently lost the finale of their West Coast road trip, are playing the final game of an 8-game road trip. This will mark their 14th road game in their past 17 overall and the Red Sox players figure to be looking forward to finally getting home.
Even with yesterday's embarrassing loss, the Rangers are still 17-8 the last 25 in this series. The Rangers are also a highly profitable 16-4 (+9.5) as home favorites in the -150 to -175 range. I expect them to bounce back and improve on those stats here. *10
|08-24-11||Los Angeles Dodgers v. St. Louis Cardinals -145||Top||9-4||Loss||-145||4 h 60 m||Show|
I'm playing on ST. LOUIS. The Dodgers have won each of the first two games of this series. After a close win on Monday, they embarrassed St. Louis 13-2 yesterday. Determined for some payback and desperate for a victory, I expect the Cardinals to bounce back and avoid the sweep.
Kuroda has pitched well this season, particularly lately. He's still got a poor 9-14 record though with the Dodgers going just 10-15 (-7.4) in his starts. Lack of run support has often been an issue for him this season and I expect that to be the case again here.
Note that St. Louis featured right-handed starters in the first two games of this series. Today, the Cards are sending a southpaw starter to the mound. That's noteworthy as the Dodgers are only averaging 3.5 runs in games vs. left-handers, down from their average against right-handers.
Although no longer perfect here, Garcia is still 6-3 with a superb 2.06 ERA and 1.036 WHIP in 11 home starts. The Cards are a profitable 8-3 (+3) in those games. After a rare tough stretch, he delivered a quality start last time out.
While that certainly wasn't the case yesterday, the Cards still boast the better hitting lineup. Falling further and further behind the Brewers, they also "need" this game more than the Dodgers.
The Dodgers haven't swept a 3-game series here since the early 1990s. I don't expect it to happen this year either. *10
|08-23-11||San Diego Padres v. San Francisco Giants -140||Top||7-5||Loss||-140||18 h 2 m||Show|
I'm playing on the SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS. The Giants have taken five of the last six meetings with the Padres. With Matt Cain on the mound, I expect the champs to have the advantage again tonight.
With a 2.86 ERA and 1.087 WHIP through 26 starts, Cain has been tough all season. With a 1.23 ERA and 0.864 WHIP his last three starts, he's been downright dominant in August. Last time out, Cain allowed limited the Braves to just one unearned run on only five hits. In eight complete innings, he had an impressive nine K's and only walked one batter.
Latos has pitched better than his 6-12 record indicates. However, he still hasn't been nearly as good as Cain. Also, his 4.10 ERA away from pitcher-friendly Petco Park isn't very good.
Note that these same two pitchers squared off against each other, at San Diego, on 7/17. Cain allowed one earned run and three hits, striking out nine. Latos allowed three earned runs on seven hits, striking out five. The Giants won 4-3.
True, the Padres have been winning a few games lately. They're still "playing out the string" though. Meanwhile, with Arizona losing lately, the Giants know they need to seize the moment and step up and win some games. They're a solid 46-29 (+6.6) the last 75 times that they were listed as home favorites in the -125 to -150 range. With Cain getting the better of Latos once again, I look for them to improve on those stats tonight. *10
|08-22-11||Boston Red Sox v. Texas Rangers -133||Top||0-4||Win||100||17 h 37 m||Show|
I'm playing on TEXAS. The Red Sox won again yesterday while the Rangers were embarrassed 10-0 by the White Sox. This is an entirely different series though and I look for the Rangers to bounce back and begin the new week with a victory.
The Rangers may have been blanked at Chicago yesterday. They're back home now though and they average a whopping six runs per game here to go along with an impressive .294 team batting average. Not surprisingly, they're 39-23 here on the season.
Prior to yesterday's game, it was the Rangers which were swinging better bats. The Rangers entered Sunday's game averaging 5.1 runs per game over their previous seven games, hitting .289. On the other hand, prior to yesterday's victory, the Red Sox were hitting only .212 in their previous seven games, averaging a mere 3.3 runs during that stretch.
As for yesterday's shutout, lets not forget that the last time that the Rangers scored zero runs (July 24th) they responded by scoring 20 in their next game! Including that result, they're 5-0 the last five times that they were off a shutout loss and 16-9 the last 25.
Wilson gets the call. After a sub-par July, he's been superb lately. Indeed, he's 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA his last two starts and 2-0 with a 1.83 ERA his last three. For the season, he's 12-5 with an extremely solid 3.20 ERA and 1.21 WHIP, to go along with an impressive 159 K's. He's 5-1 in 12 home starts, the Rangers going 8-4 in those games.
The Red Sox know what Wilson is all about. In four starts against Boston, Wilson has gone 3-0 with a superb 1.35 ERA and 1.012 WHIP. The Rangers won all four of those games. Each victory came by multiple runs. (Here, Wilson will get to face a Boston team missing some of its big guns.)
Bedard has also been solid since coming over to Boston. Keep in mind that he missed nearly all of July with a knee injury though and that he's still 4-8 on the season. Also, he got rocked for five runs (3 earned) in five innings, taking a 6-4 loss, in his last start here at Texas.
Including Wilson's victories, the Rangers are 16-6 (+12.4) against the Red Sox the past few seasons, including a commanding 10-2 (+9.2) here at Texas. Behind another solid effort from Wilson, I expect the Rangers, 43-20 (+14.6) as home favorites in the -125 to -150 range during that stretch, to bounce back from yesterday's debacle and to continue their dominance in this series. *10
|08-21-11||Toronto Blue Jays v. Oakland A's -120||Top||1-0||Loss||-120||6 h 49 m||Show|
I'm playing on OAKLAND. I won with the A's yesterday and I'm coming right back with them this afternoon. The A's have now won back to back games and have victories in four of their last five games. The Jays, on the other hand, are off back to back losses. Playing the final game of a West Coast road trip, they may already have the return trip home to Toronto on the back of their minds.
After scoring a pile of runs at Seattle, the Toronto bats have suddenly gone silent. The Jays scored zero runs in Friday's game. Last night, playing without Jose Bautista in the lineup, they managed only one run. Even with Bautista in the lineup, the Jays rarely hit very well during the afternoon. As a team, they're hitting only .235 in day games. Not surprisingly, they're just 18-28 (-10.4) when playing during the afternoon.
While Bautista (currently questionable) may return, the Jays also lost Adam Lind to a wrist injury, after he got hit by a pitch in the first inning last night. Regardless of whether or not Bautista and/or Lind are in the lineup, I don't expect the jays to hit too well here.
I won with the A's in Guillermo Moscosco's last start. Moscosco allowed two earned runs through six innings, en route to earning an 8-4 victory. In his previous start, Moscosco defeated these same Blue Jays, earning a 10-3 victory. Moscosco allowed just three hits and one earned run, through six innings. He had six K's and two walks. That translates to a superb 1.50 ERA and 0.833 WHIP.
Moscosco has been better at home, too. He's 4-1 with a solid 3.15 ERA (1.15 WHIP) in seven starts at O.co Coliseum. Moscosco has allowed three runs or less in five of those seven games. Most important, the A's were a lucrative 6-1.
Meanwhile, the Jays will have a first time starter on the mound, as rookie Luis Perez has been moved from the bullpen to get a spot start. The A's have seen Perez as a reliever though and rocked him for five runs - two earned - in just 2 1/3 innings. Perez issued three walks. So, even though he's a rookie making his first start, the A's already know what he's all about.
With Friday's victory, the A's are 5-3 their last eight games against southpaw starters. With yesterday's victory, the A's are also now 9-2 (+6.4) the last 11 times that they played a home game with an O/U line of either eight or 8.5. I feel the current price is very reasonable and I expect them to improve on those stats here. *10
|08-20-11||Toronto Blue Jays v. Oakland A's -145||Top||1-5||Win||100||11 h 1 m||Show|
I'm playing on OAKLAND. After the Jays grabbed Thursday's opener by a 7-0 score, the A's responded with a shutout victory (2-0) of their own yesterday. That makes it three wins in four games for the A's and it brings them to a somewhat respectable 34-29 here at home. The A's have gone 8-5 (+1.1) when Gio Gonzalez has pitched here and I expect them to follow up yesterday's win with another victory here.
Gonzalez has admittedly not been his very best recently. He's still 7-4 with a superb 2.48 ERA and 1.188 WHIP in 13 starts here though, recording an impressive 87 K's in 83 1/3 home innings.
Alvarez is making just his third start and he's got a 5.90 ERA and 1.50 WHIP thus far. I had good seats for his most recent start (at Safeco on 8/15. I was able to see that he did have "good stuff" but that he was also very capable of making mistakes, like most inexperienced pitchers are. He ended up giving up six hits and four runs in just five innings of that game. He didn't factor in the decision but the Jays lost.
While they do tend to make mistakes, one thing inexperienced pitchers like Alvarez often have going for them is that opposing hitters will be facing them for the first time. Unfortunately, for Alvarez, he won't have that advantage here. That's because these same two starting pitchers just squared off against each other on 8/10, at Toronto, in Alvarez's debut. Neither was that great in that one but the Jays won.
Now, we're at Oakland though. Not only are the A's much better at home, Gonzalez is far more comfortable here. Of course, the Jays will have just seen Gonzalez, too. However, as a more experienced starter and a proven winner here, he has other advantages that Alvarez may not necessarily have yet. Keep in mind that even with a couple of recent losses, the A's remain an outstanding and profitable 14-6 in Gonzalez's last 20 starts here.
Gonzalez's lone home start vs. the Jays came almost exactly one year ago, on 8/18/2010. Gonzalez allowed just one run on only two hits, through seven innings of that game. He didn't factor in the decision but the A's won 5-4. I expect Gonzalez to come through once again as the A's improve to 14-7 as home favorites in the -125 to -150 range. *10
|08-19-11||San Francisco Giants v. Houston Astros +1.5||Top||0-6||Win||100||10 h 47 m||Show|
I'm playing on HOUSTON on the Run-Line (+1.5 Runs.) With the Giants listed as mid-sized favorites on the moneyline, we're able to get quite a reasonable price on the Astros on the run-line. I believe that's providing us with excellent value.
The Giants are off a tough 1-0 loss against Atlanta yesterday. That was a very big series for them and watching their ace pitch very well, only to lose, figures to take a toll.
Rodriguez has a very solid 3.50 ERA and 1.288 WHIP on the season. His 117 K's to 47 walks is also very solid. His career stats at home are significantly better than his road stats.
Rodriguez did get roughed up by the Giants in 2006, his first start against them. However, he's only made two starts against them since that time (both last year) and he delivered quality efforts in each of those, most recently allowing only two unearned runs on just four hits, en route to earning a 7-5 Houston win.
Vogelsong has been dominant at home. Although still solid (3.46 ERA, 1.365 WHIP) his road numbers aren't nearly as good.
The Astros are off three straight 1-run games and they won the last two of them. Meanwhile, the Giants have now seen three of their last four decided by a single run. Houston is finally playing a bit better and here we're getting an extra +1.5 runs to work with against a SF lineup which has scored three or fewer runs in five of its last eight games. *10
|08-19-11||Seattle Mariners -113 v. Tampa Bay Rays||Top||2-3||Loss||-113||9 h 3 m||Show|
I'm playing on SEATTLE. These teams both had an off day yesterday. If recent history is any indication, that should favor the visiting Mariners. The M's are a surprisingly solid 27-24 (+4.8) when playing with a day off the past few seasons. During that stretch, the Rays are an awful 16-24 (-14.4) when playing with a day off. That's not why I'm playing on Seattle here though. Rather, its because they've started to swing the bats better and because they've got their ace on the mound.
I was happy to see the M's get shutdown by their former teammate (Brandon Morrow) on Wednesday, as I had the "under" in that game. However, prior to that game, they'd been swinging the bats very well. In fact, they entered that game averaging 5.3 runs per game over their previous seven games, while hitting a very healthy .301. They're getting solid production from some of their young hitters and the team seems to be relaxed and playing better again.
While the M's have been hitting better lately, their ace has also been hitting his stride. Last time out, he beat Beckett and the Bosox. Prior to that, in his most recent road start, he limited the Angels to two runs on only four hits through eight innings. While he got no run support, the fact that he had 12 K's without walking a batter shows what kind of stuff he had. For the season, he's got a 3.06 ERA and 1.113 WHIP in 15 road starts, averaging better than seven innings in those outings. In 106 road innings, he has 104 K's with only 29 walks.
Hernandez should be happy to see the Rays, as he's dominated them over his career. In eight starts vs. Tampa, Hernandez is 3-1 with a superb 2.29 ERA and 1.068 WHIP. The M's were a highly profitable 7-1 (+5.4) in those games, including an 8-2 victory back in June. "King Felix" recorded 11 K's in that one, allowing only one run on five hits, through seven innings.
On the other hand, Davis gave up five runs in his lone start vs. the M's this season. While the Rays lost 9-6, he was fortunate to avoid factoring in the decision. Davis did lose his lone 2010 start vs. Seattle though and has a poor 4.82 ERA in three lifetime starts vs. Seattle overall. Perhaps more importantly, Davis has a terrible 5.93 ERA over his last five starts.
I expect Hernandez to outpitch and outlast Davis here as the M's start the series with a win. *10
|08-18-11||Texas Rangers v. Los Angeles Angels -139||Top||1-2||Win||100||12 h 58 m||Show|
I'm playing on the LA ANGELS. The Rangers have taken the first three games of this series and are pulling away in the West. That makes tonight's contest absolutely critical for the Angels. With their ace on the mound, I expect them them to respond accordingly.
I successfully played against the Angels the last time that Weaver pitched, so I was happy to see him have a rare bad outing. Weaver got rocked and I easily cashed my ticket on the Jays, an 11-2 winner. However, given what he's done on the season, I feel we can cut Weaver some slack. Indeed, he's 14-6 with a superb 2.13 ERA on the season.
When I played against Weaver last time out, he was on the road - matched up against Ricky Romero. Now, he's at home - facing a pitcher arguably not as good as Romero - and yet the Angels are laying roughly the same price they were for the game at Toronto.
Given Weaver's dominance at home, I feel that's providing us with very fair value. In 10 home starts here, Weaver is 6-1 with an outstanding 1.51 ERA and 1.009 WHIP. The Angels are 8-2 (+4.9) in those games. He's averaging 7.7 innings per start here too, leaving little work for the bullpen. In 77 1/3 innings here, he's got an excellent 71 K's to only 21 walks. Perhaps most impressive, in that entire 77+ home innings, he's allowed only a single home run.
You may recall that in his last start here, Weaver tossed nine shutout innings. He didn't factor in the decision but the Angels won 1-0.
Speaking of 1-0 shutout victories, Weaver's last start against Texas was exactly that. Weaver tossed seven shutout innings in that 7/21 contest, en route to earning the "W" in a 1-0 Angels win. Overall, for his career, Weaver is 9-5 with a very solid 3.23 ERA and 1.188 WHIP against Texas. Including last month's gem here, the Angels are a perfect 8-0 in Weaver's last eight home starts vs. the Rangers.
Lewis pitched well last time out and has a solid 11-8 record. However, his 4.01 ERA for the season is nearly double what Weaver's ERA is. He got rocked in his lone start against the Angels this season (Angels won 15-4!) and the Rangers are 0-3 his last three starts in the series, getting outscored by a combined margin of 23-6.
Last game notwithstanding, Weaver rarely allows many home runs - and almost never at home. On the other hand, Lewis has allowed a whopping 28 in 24 games this season.
The Angels are 24-8 (+13.9) the last few seasons, when playing a home game with an O/U line of seven or less. I expect Weaver to "do his thing" here as the Angels earn a badly needed win. *10
|08-17-11||Toronto Blue Jays v. Seattle Mariners UNDER 7.5||Top||5-1||Win||100||11 h 16 m||Show|
I'm playing on Toronto and Seattle to finish UNDER the total. The ball has certainly been flying out of Safeco Field the past couple of nights. I was there in the stands for both Sunday's game against Boston (an "under") and Monday's "slug-fest" in the series opener vs. Toronto. While I didn't catch it live, yesterday's game was even higher-scoring. That's not all that "normal" at Safeco though and tonight I expect pitching to take center stage.
Brandon Morrow goes for the Jays. For the season, Morrow is 4-1 with an outstanding 2.97 ERA and 1.006 WHIP on the road. The Jays are 7-2 in his road starts and he's allowed only four home runs in those nine games. He's averaged 6.4 innings per road start and has more K's than innings pitched.
Morrow, who has seen each of his last two starts finish below the total, should have added motivation to pitch well. This will be his first start here at Seattle, the team which he once played for. As the pitcher he got traded for is now Seattle's closer, Morrow would love to show the Seattle (and all the Toronto fans there and there are lots) fans what they are missing out on.
Meanwhile, Beaven will have the advantage of starting against Toronto for the first time. He had some trouble with the powerful Red Sox last time out but in his previous start he limited the Angels to one run through eight complete innings.
Even after the b2b high-scoring games, the UNDER remains a healthy 122-88 the last 200+ games here at Safeco, stats I expect to improve this evening. *10
|08-17-11||Chicago Cubs v. Houston Astros -117||Top||3-4||Win||100||4 h 38 m||Show|
I'm playing on HOUSTON. Momentum can be an important factor in all sports and baseball is no exception. Positive momentum can be particularly important for a struggling team - like the Astros. The Cubs recently gained some positive momentum and have strung together some victories. However, after last night's game, Houston has "Big Mo" on its side here. The Astros won 6-5 off a pinch hit grand slam in the ninth inning. Perhaps more importantly, the Astros should have a solid edge on the mound.
Norris didn't get any run support against the Dodgers and that's been a problem for him this season. However, I expect him to get some here. Not only did his team just potentially build some positive momentum from last night's thriller but they're facing a pitcher who was just called up from the minors.
Instead of facing Carlos Zambrano - a longtime "Astro Killer," who is currently unable to play - the Astros get to face Casey Coleman. Coleman hasn't made a big league start since early July and he was 2-4 with a terrible 7.23 ERA and 1.939 WHIP before getting sent down to the minors.
Norris goes for the Astros and he's been solid at home almost all season. Last time out, pitching at LA, he allowed only two hits through seven shutout innings, striking out eight. Houston manager Brad Mills noted: "You can't say enough about Norris. He did outstanding."
Coleman got the better of Norris in a "pitcher's duel" here last October. This afternoon, I expect Norris to get the better of him and I look for the Astros to record a rare "winning streak." *10
|08-16-11||Baltimore Orioles v. Oakland A's -134||Top||4-8||Win||100||12 h 59 m||Show|
I'm playing on OAKLAND. The Orioles grabbed yesterday's series opener, their second straight win. They haven't won three in a row in many weeks though and they're still a brutal 18-37 on the road. In fact, they haven't won back to back road games since June. The O's are also still an ugly 2-12 their last 14 games here at Oakland. I expect the A's, who have now lost four straight, to bounce back with a much needed victory this evening.
Moscoso is off an excellent effort in which he limited the Jays to two runs (1 earned) on only three hits, through six complete innings. That was at Toronto. He was also sharp in his last home start. In that one, he held the Twins two two runs through 6 1/3 innings. With that victory, he's 3-1 with a very solid 3.18 ERA and 1.176 WHIP in six home starts. The A's were a profitable 5-1 in those games. His lone home start against Baltimore resulted in a 6-4 victory, back on 5/29.
Matusz gets the call for the O's. After a 3-game stretch in late June saw him go 0-3 with an awful 12.15 ERA and 2.176 WHIP, he got sent to the minors. He did have some success there. However, that doesn't necessarily mean he'll be able to keep it up now that he's returning to the big leagues. Keep in mind that he's 1-4 with a terrible 8.77 ERA and 1.988 WHIP in six big league starts this season.
Matusz's lone 2011 victory did come against the A's. However, he's still got a poor 5.48 ERA in four career starts against them.
For the season, the Oakland bullpen has much better numbers than the Baltimore bullpen.
The A's are a lucrative 51-40 (+7.5) the past few seasons, when playing a home game with an O/U line of eight or 8.5. That includes a 5-2 (+2.4) mark this season. They've been better against southpaws than against right-handers all season and they're also a profitable 12-7 (+2.6) when listed as home favorites in the -125 to -150 range. I expect them to bounce back and improve on those stats here. *10
|08-15-11||Toronto Blue Jays v. Seattle Mariners -139||Top||5-6||Win||100||12 h 2 m||Show|
I'm playing on SEATTLE. Both teams closed out the weekend with a big win. The Jays rallied for an extra-inning victory over the Angels. Meanwhile, the Mariners knocked off the Red Sox, their second straight win over one of the top teams in baseball. (Note that the M's were the first team since June to beat Boston in a series!) I feel that the M's are in excellent shape to start his series off with a victory, making it three in a row.
I won with the M's in Pineda's last home start, a 3-2 win over Tampa on 7/30. Pineda allowed only one hit in 6 1/3 innings in that game, striking out a whopping 10. (Speaking of K's, Pineda entered the weekend with the most strikeouts of any rookie pitcher.)
Including that dominating effort, Pineda is 5-2 with an extremely impressive 2.33 ERA and 1.000 here at Safeco. In 58 innings here, he's got 60 K's.
One of Pineda's home victories came against these same Jays, back in the spring. In that 4/12 outing, Pineda allowed only two runs (only one was earned!) through 7 1/3 innings. During that stretch, he allowed just five hits while striking out seven.
Pineda was up against Ricky Romero in that one, arguably the Jays top pitcher. However, this time he'll be opposed by Henderson Alvarez.
The Jays did win Alvarez's major league debut but he wasn't particularly impressive, as indicated by his poor 4.76 ERA and 1.587 WHIP. While Pineda was an All Star, lets not forget that Alvarez was in Double-A (New Hampshire) last week.
The M's climbed above .500 at home with yesterday's victory. Note that they've also quietly gone a profitable 38-30 (+8.2) when playing a game with an O/U line of seven or less.
Including Pineda's earlier win against the Jays here, the M's have taken five of the last seven home meetings in the series. I expect them to improve on those stats here. *10
|08-14-11||Colorado Rockies v. St. Louis Cardinals -152||Top||2-6||Win||100||10 h 57 m||Show|
I'm playing on the ST. LOUIS CARDINALS. After the Cardinals grabbed Friday's opener by a score of 6-1, the Rockies bounced back with a 6-1 win of their own yesterday. I expect the Cards to have a solid edge for this evening's series finale.
For starters, note that the Cards are still a profitable 44-23 the past few seasons, when listed as home favorites in the -150 to -175 range. That includes an outstanding 15-7 mark their last 22 in that role.
Jackson struggled in his lone road start, since joining the Cards. He's been solid in both starts here at St. Louis though. In his first start here, he limited the Cubs to one run through seven innings. Most recently, facing the Brewers, he allowed three runs (only two were earned) in six innings. That's been a pattern for Jackson all season, even before coming here. While he's had some trouble on the road, he's got a terrific 2.67 ERA in 11 "home" starts. Averaging well over six innings per outing, he's only allowed four home runs in his 11 home starts (1 in 2 starts here) and has 57 K's to just 21 walks.
Rogers has an impressive 6-1 record. However, he hasn't pitched nearly as well as that suggests. For the season, he's got an ugly 5.85 ERA and 1.725 WHIP. His numbers as a starter are slightly better (4.91 ERA and 1.667 WHIP) but are still far from impressive. He's 3-0 with a 3.18 ERA his last three starts, which is obviously very good. However, a closer look reveals that he's got an awful 1.824 WHIP during that stretch. In other words, he's been giving up a large number of baserunners (nearly two per inning) and has arguably been fortunate not to have allowed more runs recently.
The Rockies have had some remarkable late-season runs in the past. However, they're currently 11.5 games back in their division with both the Giants and the Diamondbacks well ahead of them and I don't feel that this year's team has what it takes to make a serious run at catching either of those clubs. On the other hand, the Cards are still only five games back of the Brewers. They're still well within striking distance but badly need to start stringing together victories. They've got a potent lineup and I look for them to bounce back and grab today's rubber game. *10
|08-14-11||Texas Rangers v. Oakland A's +1.5||Top||7-6||Win||100||6 h 1 m||Show|
I'm playing on OAKLAND on the Run-Line. The Rangers have won each of the first two games of this series in convincing fashion. Today, however, I expect them to have their hands full the entire way. With the Rangers favored on the moneyline, we're able to get the A's at a very reasonable price on the run-line. While I feel the A's have an excellent shot at the "outright win," in a game where runs are expected to be fairly limited, (O/U line is currently 8u15) getting an extra +1.5 runs to work with could easily prove to be very valuable.
Harden goes for the A's. When healthy, he's always been extremely capable. He showed that in his last start. Pitching at Toronto, he allowed just one run on only five hits, through seven complete innings. He had eight K's with only two walks and the A's won by a score of 4-1.
While he didn't factor in the decision, Harden was also very sharp in his most recent home start. In that one, he allowed just two runs on only three hits, through six complete innings. He had seven K's and allowed just two walks. Including that start, Harden has a very solid 3.32 ERA in three home starts, to go along with an outstanding 0.789 WHIP. In 19 innings here, he's got an impressive 22 K's with only four walks.
Note that Harden figures to have some extra motivation, as he pitched for Texas last season. The Rangers already roughed him up on 7/1 (at Texas) but that was just his second start of the season. He's in a much better groove now and I expect him to be much better, here at Oakland. Note that Harden's teams are a profitable 11-5 in his last 16 August "home" starts. Two of those five losses came by a single run. So, if getting +1.5 runs on each, his teams would be 13-3 in his last 16 August home starts.
Admittedly, Harrison is also very tough. That said, the Rangers are just 6-9 his last 15 road starts. Note that the last four of those victories all came by two runs or less, one of them by a single run. So, they'd be just 5-10 his last 15 road starts, if laying -1.5 runs in each. One of those losses came in Harrison's last start here at Oakland. In that game, he allowed four runs in just 1 2/3 innings, en route to suffering a 7-2 loss. While Harrison should be better than that this afternoon, I look for Harden to match him pitch for pitch and for the A's to earn AT LEAST the "cover." *10
|08-13-11||Boston Red Sox v. Seattle Mariners +1.5||Top||4-5||Win||100||12 h 50 m||Show|
I'm playing SEATTLE on the Run-Line. The Red Sox grabbed yesterday's series opener. With their ace on the mound, I feel that the Mariners have an excellent shot at bouncing back and evening up the series this afternoon. That said, with the Red Sox favored, we're able to get the M's at +1.5 runs at a very reasonable price. In a game where runs are expected to be precious, (O/U line is currently 6.5) getting an extra +1.5 runs to work with could easily prove to be very valuable.
As noted, Hernandez goes for the home team. He suffered a very tough 2-1 loss last time out. (Note that it came by only one run.) In that outing, he allowed just four hits and two runs through eight innings. He also had 12 K's and didn't walk a single batter. His previous two starts resulted in a 4-2 victory over the A's and a 9-2 win over the Yankees. That give shim a 2-1 record (3-0 if getting +1.5 in all games) with a superb 2.11 ERA and 0.985 WHIP his last three starts. He's averaged greater than seven innings in those games and has a very impressive 26 K's in 21 1/3 innings.
Note that Hernandez is 4-2 in 10 starts vs. the Red Sox. Seattle was 6-4 in those games and one of the four losses came by a single run, so they'd be 7-3 if getting +1.5.
Of course, Beckett has also been very tough and he's also enjoyed plenty of success vs. the Mariners, since joining Boston. That said, his last three starts (and four of his last five) have ALL been decided by a single run. Additionally, his last start here at Seattle was also decided by a single run, a 2-1 "pitcher's duel."
With the M's now 12-3 in Hernandez's last 15 August home starts, I'll happily grab the extra +1.5 runs. *10
|08-12-11||New York Mets v. Arizona Diamondbacks -156||Top||3-4||Win||100||12 h 31 m||Show|
I'm playing on ARIZONA. This game is arguably more "important" for the Diamondbacks. Not only are they playing in front of their home fans but they're also right in the middle of a battle with the defending World Champs for first place in the NL West. On the other hand, even the most optimistic of Mets' fans have to now realize that their team is now officially "playing out the string." Additionally, Arizona may have some additional motivation from having been swept at New York earlier.
Both today's starters have excellent records. Gee is an impressive 10-3 with a solid 3.93 ERA on the season. Kennedy has been even better. He's 14-3 with an outstanding 3.20 ERA. Note that Gee averages 5.8 innings per road start while Kennedy averages 6.9 innings per home start.
Lately, the gap in between the pitchers has been even larger. Gee has a 5.40 ERA his last three starts, to go along with a poor 1.62 WHIP. During that stretch he needed 300 pitches to get through just 16 1/3 innings. He had 12K's and 10 walks.
On the other hand, Kennedy is 3-0 with a 3.00 ERA and a terrific 0.90 WHIP his last three starts. During that stretch, he's recorded 19 K's while walking only three. He's thrown nearly the same number of pitches (311) as Gee, yet has been far more efficient, tossing 21 innings over that stretch.
Going back further finds Kennedy with a stellar 2.63 ERA his last six starts, going undefeated during that stretch. For the season, he's 12-2 with a superb 2.94 ERA in 19 evening starts.
Note that Arizona has already seen Gee once this season while the Mets haven't seen Kennedy for more than a year.
The Dbax are 5-1 the last six times that they hosted the Mets, including a 13-2 victory in Kennedy's lone home start in the series. All things considered, I feel the price on the home team is more than fair. *10
|08-11-11||Colorado Rockies v. Cincinnati Reds -133||Top||1-2||Win||100||12 h 34 m||Show|
I'm playing on CINCINNATI. The Reds got back on track with a 3-2 victory last night. With an advantage in the starting pitching department, I expect them to carry the positive momentum into this afternoon's contest.
Cueto is off a rare bad start. However, before getting too concerned about that, keep in mind that he still has a 2.06 ERA overall (best in NL) and that before his last start, he'd allowed three or fewer earned runs in 17 straight starts. Also, note that he pitched on the road last time out. Two starts ago, in his most recent home start, he delivered a complete-game three-hit shutout against the Giants. Including that gem, he's got a superb 1.51 ERA in seven starts here. Opposing batters are hitting a mere .176 in those games.
Chacin has quite respectable numbers on the season. He walked five in his last start though, allowing three runs in just five innings.
He's also been dealing with an injury to his pitching hand. Additionally, with this being an "early" start, note that Chacin has a poor 4.82 ERA in eight daytime starts compared to a strong 2.81 ERA in 15 evening ones. I expect Chacin to struggle and the Reds to roll. *10
|08-11-11||Kansas City Royals v. Tampa Bay Rays -175||Top||1-4||Win||100||11 h 10 m||Show|
I'm playing on TAMPA BAY. Things didn't look good for the Rays yesterday, as they trailed 7-3 heading into the bottom of the 9th inning. They didn't give up though, scoring five runs and winning 8-7. That gives them plenty of momentum heading into this afternoon's contest, while also potentially having a deflating effect on the Royals. In addition to having "Big Mo" in their corner, the Rays figure to have a major advantage in the pitching department.
Niemann is 5-0 with a stellar 2.68 ERA in the eight starts since coming off the disabled list. He's also 3-0 with a superb 1.15 ERA in four career appearances (three starts) against Kansas City.
On the other hand, Duffy has an ugly 7.24 ERA his last three starts. After losing his last start, he Duffy was quoted as saying: "I didn't have very good command. I didn't do my job. I didn't locate very well. I was really frustrated. I'm really frustrated with myself right now. I didn't keep my team in the game. They battled back but by no means did I give us a chance to win."
The Rays are now 17-7 against the Royals the past few seasons, including 11-3 here in Tampa. With Niemann getting the better of Duffy, I expect them to ride the momentum from last night's thriller and continue that series dominance here. *10
|08-10-11||Colorado Rockies v. Cincinnati Reds -165||Top||2-3||Win||100||16 h 46 m||Show|
I'm playing on CINCINNATI. Having dropped the first two games in this series and five of their last six overall, the Reds badly need a victory. I expect this matchup to provide them with the perfect opportunity to get one.
The Reds entered last night's game averaging 5.2 runs per game at home while hitting a respectable .270 here. The Reds' bullpen entered last night;s game with a stingy 2.98 ERA and 1.298 WHIP at home.
While the Rockies bullpen entered last night's game with a solid 3.55 ERA on the road, the Rockies offense entered last night's game averaging a mere 3.6 runs per game on the road, hitting only .236.
Leake has been pitching very well recently. His last three starts have all been of the "quality" variety and he has a 2.89 ERA in those games. His last home start saw him allow just one earned run through 6 1/3 innings. He had seven K's without walking a batter and beat the Giants by a score of 7-2. With that victory, the Reds are 7-4 in his 11 starts here.
Boston signed Millwood to a minor-league contract back on May 19 and he posted a 4.28 ERA in his 13 minor league starts. That wasn't good enough for the Red Sox but it landed him a job here, filling in for the injured Juan Nicasio. Lets not forget that Millwood was 4-16 with a 5.10 ERA in 2010, the third time in four seasons that his ERA finished above five.
I expect Leake to continue his recent solid pitching and the Reds to bounce back with a victory. *10
|08-10-11||Philadelphia Phillies v. Los Angeles Dodgers +1.5||Top||9-8||Win||100||12 h 58 m||Show|
I'm playing on the LA DODGERS at +1.5 runs. With the Phillies listed as mid-sized road favorites, we're able to get the Dodgers on the run-line at a relatively reasonable price. I feel the Dodgers have an excellent shot at the "upset" here. However, the Phillies are a very tough team and in a game that is expected to be low-scoring (the O/U line is only 7) getting that extra +1.5 runs could prove very valuable. (We saw that last night, when the Dodgers scored with two outs in the bottom of the 9th to lose 2-1.)
There's no denying that Worley has been very good. That said, note that four of his last eight starts resulted in a 1-run victories. This again demonstrates that getting an extra +1.5 runs to work with could easily come into play.
For the most part, Billingsley has been very stingy at home. In 11 starts here, he's got an excellent 2.87 ERA and 1.222 WHIP. He's allowed one earned run or less in three of his last four home starts. Not surprisingly, the Dodgers were 3-1 in those games. He's only allowed three home runs in his last 11 starts here and opposing hitters are batting only .226 against him here.
While Worley hasn't started against the Dodgers, Billingsley has pitched very well against the Phillies each of the past two seasons. In 2009, he beat them 5-3, allowing just one run in seven innings. Last season, almost exactly one year to the day, he held them to two runs through six complete innings.
Even after last night's loss, the Dodgers are still 47-36 against the moneyline the past few seasons, when playing a home game with an O/U line of seven or less. Catching the Phillies playing the final game of a 10-game road trip, I expect the Dodgers to earn at least the "cover." *10
|08-09-11||Milwaukee Brewers v. St. Louis Cardinals UNDER 8.5||Top||5-3||Win||100||10 h 55 m||Show|
I'm playing on St. Louis and Milwaukee to finish UNDER the total. Admittedly, neither of tonight's scheduled starters fared too well in their last start, each of those starts coming against today's opponent. However, those games were both at Milwaukee. With tonight's contest being played at St. Louis, I expect both to bounce back with much better performances.
Jackson has a stellar 2.64 ERA in his 10 "home" starts. He allowed two or fewer earned runs in five of his last six home starts. In his lone home start as a Cardinal, he allowed only one run in seven complete innings. Six of his 10 home starts have fallen below the total.
Meanwhile, Marcum has seen the UNDER go a profitable 9-2 in his 11 road starts. In those games, he's gone 5-2 with a superb 2.40 ERA and 1.025 WHIP. His last three road starts have all finished with seven or fewer combined runs and those starts came at venues like Coors Field and Yankee Stadium.
Note that the Cards are off a 4-game series sweep at Florida. That's worth mentioning as we find the UNDER at a lucrative 35-14-6 the past few seasons, when the Cards are off three or more consecutive victories.
While the "over" is now 7-2-1 the last 10 times that the Cards played at Milwaukee, the UNDER is a profitable 9-2 the last 11 times that the Brewers played here at St. Louis, including a perfect 5-0 UNDER mark the last five meetings here, dating back to last August. Those five games had final scores of 3-2, 3-2, 6-0, 4-0 and 3-1. I expect another low-scoring affair here. *10
|08-09-11||San Diego Padres v. New York Mets -134||Top||4-5||Win||100||9 h 51 m||Show|
I'm playing on the NEW YORK METS. The Mets grabbed yesterday's series opener, snapping the Padres' 4-game winning streak. I expect them to have the advantage again for tonight's "all southpaw" affair.
For starters, note that yesterday's loss may have been rather "deflating" for the Padres. I say that because they fought so hard for a victory, only to come up short. Down most of the way, they fought back to tie the game and eventually take an 8-4 lead. The Mets scored five in the final two frames, including three of San Diego's star closer, Heath Bell. Those types of losses can take a toll.
Conversely, a win like the Mets had last night can really provide a boost and give a team some confidence. After the win, David Wright noted: "We're not conceding anything. There are a lot of games left. Crazier things have happened."
As for the all southpaw affair, note that New York is batting .259 and averaging a healthy five runs per game against left-handed starters. Meanwhile, San Diego is batting .247 and averaging a mere 3.3 runs per game in its games vs. southpaw starters.
Although he didn't factor in the decision, Capuano pitched very well last time out. In six innings, he allowed only two runs on just four hits. He's now quietly gone a minimum of six complete innings in eight straight home starts. Even better, he's allowed two or fewer earned runs in six of those eight home starts.
Capuano finally figures to get some decent run support. In four starts, Leblanc has an ugly 4.98 ERA and a terrible 1.892 WHIP. In two road starts, those numbers climb to a brutal 7.04 ERA and 2.216 WHIP. Last time out, he gave up only three runs in six innings.
However, that was at pitcher-friendly Petco Park and a closer look shows that he still allowed nine hits and two baserunners. His previous start came on the road and he gave up seven hits (walking two) in just three innings, en route to a 14-5 loss.
While they've managed to enjoy some success when playing during the afternoon, the Padres are now a dismal 26-48 (-20.5) when playing during the evening. Those numbers should be even worse by the end of this one. *10
|08-08-11||Houston Astros v. Arizona Diamondbacks -180||Top||9-1||Loss||-180||11 h 20 m||Show|
I'm playing on ARIZONA. The Diamondbacks got back on track yesterday afternoon, earning a much-needed 4-3 victory. That wasn't "easy," as it came against Clayton Kershaw, a starting pitcher who entered the game with a 14-3 record. Today, the Diamondbacks will be taking on a Houston team which is a dismal 18-37 on the road and an awful 37-77 overall. With Hudson on the mound, I look for them to string together consecutive victories.
True, the price may initially seem a little steep. Keep in mind that Arizona is 23-9 (+8.2) the past few seasons when listed as a home favorite in the -150 to -175 range. During the same stretch, the Astros were 17-34 (-6.6) as road underdogs in the +150 to +175 range. Note that Houston is also a money-burning 2-17 the last 19 times that it played a road game with an O/U line of either eight or 8.5.
Hudson is 6-3 with a very solid 3.14 ERA and 1.11 WHIP at home this year. He's 11-7 overall and the Diamondbacks are 2-0 in his two starts vs. Houston. On the other hand, Rodriguez is just 7-8 on the season and 2-5 with a terrible 6.35 ERA and 1.647 WHIP in seven starts against Arizona.
Hudson outpitched Lincecum, at San Francisco, in his last start. Now, he returns home where the Diamondbacks are 12-5 in his 17 starts since coming over from Chicago. I expect them to improve on those stats here. *10
|08-07-11||New York Yankees v. Boston Red Sox UNDER 9||Top||2-3||Win||106||10 h 31 m||Show|
I'm playing on New York and Boston to finish UNDER the total. After a low-scoring (3-2) opener, yesterday's game sailed above the number with 14 runs. I expect this evening's finale to see a return to the type of pitching we saw on Friday.
Beckett is a perfect 3-0 against the Yankees this season. He's allowed only two runs in 21 innings, striking out 25. His lone home 2011 start against the Yankees saw him allow just two hits through eight shutout innings, strking out 10, en route to a 4-0 victory.
For the season, Beckett is 9-4 with a superb 2.20 ERA and 0.92 WHIP. Opposing batters are hitting a mere .187 against him. In 10 home starts, he's 4-1 with a 1.99 ERA. In 17 evening starts, he's 7-3 with a 2.11 ERA and 0.93 WHIP.
Garcia has been tough lately. He's got a 2.21 ERA his last three starts. While he hasn't been at his best vs. Boston, Garcia has been excellent on the road. In eight road starts this season, he's got a 2.85 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. Four of his last five starts have produced eight or fewer combined runs. His last road start saw him toss 6 2/3 shutout innings, en route to a 4-0 victory. I look for another well pitched affair. *10 (Main Event)
|08-07-11||Philadelphia Phillies v. San Francisco Giants -127||Top||1-3||Win||100||6 h 2 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN FRANCISCO. I successfully played on the Giants on the "run-line" yesterday. That extra +1.5 runs turned out to be critical as the Giants lost by a score of 2-1. Today, however, I don't expect to need any extra runs. Not with Tim Lincecum on the mound and the defending champs desperate for a victory and looking to avoid getting swept at home.
While he hasn't received much run support, Lincecum has a superb 1.74 ERA his last nine starts. He's also 3-1 with an even better 1.45 ERA in his last five regular-season starts against the Phillies. Most recently, on 7/28 at Philadelphia, he limited the Phillies to three hits through six shutout innings, en route to a 4-1 victory.
Lincecum figures to have a chip on his shoulder. It wasn't long ago Phillies manager said this about Lincecum and Matt Cain: "They're good pitchers. You say they're great pitchers. To me, I don
|08-06-11||San Diego Padres v. Pittsburgh Pirates -113||Top||13-2||Loss||-113||9 h 50 m||Show|
I'm playing on PITTSBURGH. The Pirates have been falling fast and they got hammered in yesterday's opener. With many of the Pirate faithful abandoning ship, the line has come down all the way into the "pick-em range." I feel that provides us with excellent value and I look for the Bucs to bounce back with a badly needed victory.
Yesterday's opener featured a pair of right-handed starters, while today's game features a pair of southpaws. I expect that to favor the Pirates. Pittsburgh has now faced right-handed starters in six straight games. Going back further shows that the Pirates have only faced one southpaw starters over their last 12 games. That came on the road at Philadelphia and it was against Cliff Lee, one of the best left-handers in the business.
Even though they lost that one vs. Lee, the Pirates are still a very solid 18-12 (+8.8) against left-handed starters overall, including an impressive 12-6 since late May. On the other hand, the Padres are 14-19 (-4.2) against southpaw starters. San Diego averages just 3.3 runs, hitting only .242, in games against left-handers.
Admittedly, Maholm's record isn't too impressive. However, he's pitched a lot better than that record indicates. That's particularly true at home. In 13 starts here, he's got a stellar 2.63 ERA and 1.195 WHIP, averaging better than six innings per outing. He's only allowed four home runs here in 13 games.
After a recent strong start in the San Diego rotation, Luebke has quickly cooled off. He's 0-3 with a 5.40 ERA his last three starts. Last time out, he gave up five runs on 10 hits. In his previous start, he gave up three home runs.
All things considered, getting what should be a "desperate" Pirates team at this price seems more than fair. *10
|08-06-11||Philadelphia Phillies v. San Francisco Giants +1.5||Top||2-1||Win||100||6 h 55 m||Show|
I'm playing SAN FRANCISCO on the Run-Line. (+1.5 runs.) In a game featuring a pair of excellent pitchers, one which has an O/U line of less than seven runs, runs figure to be at a premium. That said, getting an extra +1.5 runs to work with becomes extremely valuable.
Coincidentally, even though I have plenty of respect for Hamels, I also played against the Phillies in his last start, also taking the +1.5 runs with the home underdog. The Phillies did rally for a comeback extra-inning 4-3 victory but the +1.5 runs came in extremely handy, as it turned a losing ticket into a winner. It was Hamels' second straight start which was decided by a single run. His previous start came against none other than Matt Cain.
Cain was better than Hamels on that day. He allowed one run through seven innings - and it was unearned. Hamels was also tough, just not quite as good as Cain. He allowed two runs, both earned, through 7 2/3 innings. Hamels allowed six hits, Cain gave up just four.
That was at Philadelphia but Cain's last home start against the Phillies also came against Hamels. He also outpitched Hamels in that one, earning a 3-0 victory. Cain allowed just two hits through his seven shutout innings. That brings the Phillies to 0-3 in Hamels' last three starts in this series.
Despite a couple of recent losses, the Giants are still 14-6 in Cain's last 20 starts here. Four of the six losses came by two or fewer runs, which again helps to show how valuable the +1.5 runs could be. Cain should be highly motivated here. Not only is he looking to bounce back from a rare bad outing and to help his team get a badly needed victory but he's also looking to make Phillies manager Charlie Manuel eat his words. After the last series, Manuel said Cain and Lincecum were "good but not great." I expect Cain to be "great" today, or at least "good" enough to get the Giants a win on the run-line. *10
|08-05-11||New York Yankees v. Boston Red Sox -156||Top||3-2||Loss||-156||9 h 45 m||Show|
I'm playing on BOSTON. I expect the home team to have the edge in Round 1 of the latest clash of these AL East heavyweights.
Naturally, as usual, its a very big game and series. As Boston's Dustin Pedroia noted: "We are excited. We feel like we have a great team and so do they. We are trying to win the division..."
The teams enter the series tied in the standings. However, even with a loss yesterday, the Red Sox 35-21 home record is better than the Yankees' 31-20 mark on the road. The Red Sox have also been on a roll in the series, winning eight of nine meetings this season. Boston outscored New York by a commanding 60-37 margin in those games.
The pitching matchup should give the Sox an excellent shot at continuing that series success for another night.
Colon is 8-6 with a 3.30 ERA and 1.229 WHIP, averaging 6.1 innings per start. Lester's numbers are a bit better. He checks in at 11-4 with a 3.17 ERA and 1.191 WHIP, averaging 6.4 innings per start. Colon is 2-1 with a solid 2.95 ERA and 1.255 WHIP. Lester has been even better though. He's 1-0 with a 1.56 ERA and 0.866 WHIP. Last time out, Colon needed 105 pitches just to get through five innings.
Colon is just 8-11 against the Red Sox for his career, including 0-2 this season. Meanwhile, Lester is 8-1 vs. the Yankees.
I expect the Sox, who are a profitable 28-12 in divisional play this year, to reclaim sole possession of first in the division. *10
|08-05-11||San Diego Padres v. Pittsburgh Pirates -145||Top||15-5||Loss||-145||8 h 15 m||Show|
I'm playing on PITTSBURGH. After hanging around all season, the Pirates recent losing streak has seen them dip below the .500 mark. Naturally, they could desperately use a victory. I feel that tonight's matchup will provide them with an excellent opportunity to get one.
The Pirates and their fans still believe and aren't ready to roll over, quite yet. As reliever Joe Beimel noted: "It's how you rebound after a streak like this. We're very capable of going on a streak where we win 10, 11 in a row. We've just still got to believe that, and hopefully pull it together."
Sending Karstens to the mound should improve the Pirates' changes. He's off a quality start at Philadelphia, holding the Phillies to three runs through seven complete innings. That was on the road. In nine home starts, he's 4-2 with a fantastic 1.83 ERA, averaging 6 2/3 innings per outing here. He's allowed three or fewer earned runs in all three career starts vs. San Diego but has received little run support.
Harang had been pitching well but has started to struggle recently. Last time out, he gave up six runs in 5 2/3 innings. He now has an ugly 6.88 ERA and 1.647 WHIP his last three starts. He lost his lone 2011 start against the Pirates, giving up four runs in just five innings.
While I won with the Padres on Wednesday, they're just 17-30 (-12.3) when coming off a victory. I expect the highly motivated Pirates to be too much to handle for them in tonight's opener. *10 (N.L. Personal Favorite.)
|08-04-11||Washington Nationals v. Colorado Rockies -138||Top||3-6||Win||100||18 h 7 m||Show|
I'm playing on COLORADO. After getting swept by the powerful Phillies, the Rockies should be thrilled to step down in class to host the Nationals. Not only are the Nats a poor 21-34 on the road but the Rockies are 13-4 in the series the past few seasons, including 6-1 the last seven here at Colorado.
Esmil Rogers has made four starts this season. He got rocked in one of them, which has hurt his overall numbers. However, he allowed three or fewer runs in each of the other three, winning each of them. He's now allowed three earned runs or fewer in five of his last six starts, dating back to last August.
Most recently, after Jimenez got pulled due to the trade on Saturday, Rogers came in and allowed just one run and one hit through five innings.
Rogers was quoted as saying: "I feel really good. All I'm thinking about is that, whether it's out of the bullpen or in the rotation, I'm going to be ready. My arm and my body are feeling really good."
Detweiler has made only one start this season and that came a month ago, on 7/5. He started against the Rockies once before and got pummeled for six runs in just four innings, allowing eight hits and walking three. Including that 10-4 loss, the Nats are a money-burning 1-7 in Detweiler's eight career road starts, going 7-13 in his 20 starts overall.
For his career, Detweiler is 3-9 with a 5.08 ERA in those 20 starts. Manager Davey Johnson said this of putting Detweiler in the rotation: "If we were fighting for a pennant, we might not do it. But since we're where we're at, it's time to start looking at some young arms."
While they lost a tough one against Cole Hamels (blew lead in 9th and lost in extra innings) here on 8/1, the Rockies are still 6-3 the last nine times that they faced a southpaw starter here. I expect them to improve on those stats and to continue their domination in this series tonight. *10
|08-03-11||Toronto Blue Jays v. Tampa Bay Rays -154||Top||1-9||Win||100||9 h 54 m||Show|
I'm playing on TAMPA BAY. Behind a gem from Romero, the Jays grabbed yesterday's series opener. I expect the Rays to return the favor here.
Shields got really roughed up last time out. While that was admittedly a pretty bad outing, let's keep in mind that it came on the road though. Also, in Shields' defense, he may have been distracted by trade rumors. In his previous start, Shields pitched at home vs. the Yankees. He was dominant in that one, allowing only one run in 7 2/3 innings, en route to earning a 2-1 victory. He's back home now and I expect him to bounce back with a big performance.
Including the gem vs. the Yankees, Shields has a superb 2.46 ERA and 1.036 WHIP in 11 home starts. He's averaged 7.6 innings per start here and has an impressive 88 K's in 84 innings here. Also note that in his lone 2011 start vs. the Jays, Shields tossed a complete-game 4-hit shutout.
Shields should finally get some run support here. Villaneuva has gone less than six innings in each of his last two starts and has just one strike out in each of those games. He's got an ugly 6.48 ERA (1.62 WHIP) his last three starts and his seasonal ERA has ballooned up to 4.33.
After his last outing Villaneuva was quoted as saying: "I had horrible command with my fastball ... "
The Rays, who roughed up Villaneuva in a very brief look at him in relief back in April, are 73-27 (+29.2) the last 100+ times that they were listed as home favorites in the -150 to -175 range. Behind a big "bounce-back" performance from Shields, I expect them to improve on those stats here. *10
|08-03-11||St. Louis Cardinals v. Milwaukee Brewers UNDER 8.5||Top||5-10||Loss||-111||4 h 58 m||Show|
I'm playing on Milwaukee and St. Louis to finish UNDER the total. This has been a high-scoring series thus far. After the first game snuck above the total with eight runs, the teams combined for 15 yesterday. While I lost on the 'under' yesterday, with an even higher O/U to work with, I'm fully willing to come back and give it another shot this afternoon.
While his 7-8 record isn't too impressive, Randy Wolf is quietly having a solid season. Through 22 starts, he's got a very respectable 3.44 ERA. He hasn't fared too well in the run support department though which has led to the UNDER going a profitable 15-7 when he's taken the mound. At home, Wolf's numbers are better. He's 4-2 with a 3.17 ERA, averaging a healthy 6 1/2 innings per outing.
Wolf has been at his best recently, too. After posting back to back quality starts on the road, he returned home last time out and promptly tossed seven shutout innings. He allowed just four hits, earning a 4-0 victory. That brings the UNDER go 3-0 his last three starts; Wolf has a stellar 2.21 ERA in those games.
Wolf's lone 2011 start against the Cardinals stayed below the total. In 16 career starts against them, he's got a 3.83 ERA and 1.208 WHIP with the UNDER going 9-6-1, including 3-0 the last three.
As sharp as Wolf has been recently, Jackson has been even better. He's 3-0 over his last three starts with an outstanding 1.23 ERA. He won his first start as a Cardinal and his last two road starts have both fallen below the total. Jackson allowed a total of two runs in 15 innings in those games and won by scores of 4-2 and 5-0.
Both Jackson's career starts vs. the Brewers have fallen below the total, most recently a 3-2 "pitcher's duel" vs. Gallardo last May. I look for this one to also prove lower-scoring that many will be expecting. *10
|08-02-11||Arizona Diamondbacks v. San Francisco Giants -147||Top||6-1||Loss||-147||12 h 57 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN FRANCISCO. The Giants will likely be a "popular" pick tonight. After all, they've lost four in a row and with Tim Lincecum on the mound, most will assume that they'll snap their skid. While I often find myself against the masses, sometimes the "popular" side can also be the "right" side. I expect that to be the case tonight.
Lincecum's overall numbers still aren't probably as good as we've come to expect. However, with a 2.78 ERA and 1.194 WHIP, they're starting to get better and better. That's because "The Freak" has started to turn up the heat. Over his last three starts, he's got a 0.95 ERA, allowing just two runs while striking out 20 in 19 innings. Last time out, he went into Philadelphia and tossed six shutout innings, allowing only three hits.
Lincecum has allowed one run or less in seven of his last 14 home starts; the Giants won nine of those games.
Hudson is also tough. However, he's generally much stronger at home. On the road, he's got a poor 4.64 ERA, through 11 starts. Hudson hasn't been as sharp as Lincecum the last couple of outings. Last time out, he allowed four runs in six innings, at Petco Park. Hudson's previous start saw him allow five runs on 10 hits.
Hudson has already lost vs. the Giants twice this season. Meanwhile, Lincecum tossed eight shutout innings, allowing just four hits, in his lone 2011 start vs. Arizona. He didn't get the decision but the Giants won 1-0. The Giants are 3-0 his last three starts vs. Arizona. Lincecum had 31 K's in 21 2/3 innings and the Giants won by a combined score of 10-4. Overall, in 15 starts, Lincecum is 7-2 with a 2.42 ERA vs. Arizona.
The Giants are 33-14 (+10.4) the past few seasons, when listed as home favorites in the -150 to -175 range. That includes a 9-2 (+6) mark their last 11 in that situation. With "The Freak" doing his thing, I expect them to improve on those stats here. *10
|08-02-11||Oakland A's v. Seattle Mariners -152||Top||2-4||Win||100||12 h 3 m||Show|
I'm playing on SEATTLE. Prior to yesterday's series opening victory, the Mariners had only two wins in many weeks. I was on them for both those games and I expect them to come through with another victory this evening.
While the A's still have the better record overall, the M's home record is actually much stronger than the A's road record. Oakland is now a dismal 18-36 on the road. Meanwhile, if they could manage to sweep this series, the M's could get back to .500 here, as they're 27-29 at home on the season. Summer has officially arrived in the Pacific Northwest and I look for the M's to finally "heat up" to the point that they can string together consecutive victories. Having their ace on the mound should certainly help matters.
"King Felix" looked like his old self last time out. Pitching at Yankee Stadium, he limited New York to five hits and one run through seven complete innings. While that was a "July start," note that the M's are 10-4 the last 14 times that Hernandez pitched at home in the month of August, including 4-1 the last five. Hernandez allowed three earned runs or less in ALL 14 of those starts while also pitching at least six complete innings in ALL 14 of them. His last five August starts have seen him allow a grand total of one earned run in 37 combined innings! It doesn't get much better than that.
After dominating the Yanks and snapping the M's losing streak last time out, Hernandez was quoted as saying: "You've got to win this game, because you've got 17 losses in a row. You better do something. You better pitch the way you're supposed to pitch."
Oakland knows all about Hernandez. Indeed, the A's are just 6-14 against the M's when King Felix is on the mound. In those games, Hernandez is 11-4 with a stellar 2.52 ERA. Felix is 2-0 with an awesome 1.09 ERA in three starts against Oakland in 2011 and has won four straight home games in this series.
When healthy, Harden is certainly also capable. Its also true that Harden has previously had success here at Safeco. That said, he's got an awful 6.10 ERA and 1.839 WHIP on the road thus far this season. He last faced Seattle last September and lasted just four innings, giving up four runs.
These pitchers last opposed each other way back in July of 2007. Hernandez got the better of Harden that day, en route to a 4-0 Seattle victory. I expect another dominant effort from the M's ace, leading to a victory for the home team. *10
|08-02-11||St. Louis Cardinals v. Milwaukee Brewers UNDER 7.5||Top||8-7||Loss||-100||10 h 60 m||Show|
I'm playing on Milwaukee and St. Louis to finish UNDER the total. I won with the Brewers in yesterday's series opener. Today, however, I feel that the value lies with the total. Yesterday's game didn't develop into quite the pitcher's duel that many might have expected, as the final score of 6-2 finished above the total. That one could have easily been lower-scoring though, as the Brewers just happened to string together a number of hits, scoring five runs in one inning - after previously having failed to hit the ball out of the infield.
Today's pitchers don't have the "big names" that we saw in yesterday's Carpenter vs. Greinke clash, however, they're both extremely capable. Lets take a closer look.
Admittedly, if we look at the season as a whole, Garcia has been better at home than on the road. He's been very sharp his last couple of road outings though, seemingly becoming more comfortable pitching away from home. His last road start came at Pittsburgh and he limited the Pirates to just one run through 7 1/3 innings. Prior to that, pitching at Cincinnati, Garcia held the Reds to one earned run in seven complete innings. In those two games, he had a combined 11 K's with only one walk.
Garcia has enjoyed plenty of success vs. the Brewers. In six starts in this series, he's got a stellar 2.37 ERA and 1.105 WHIP. The UNDER was 5-1 in those games. His lone 2011 start against Milwaukee saw him toss a complete game 2-hit shutout, en route to a 6-0 victory.
Marcum is also very solid. He's 10-3 with a 3.33 ERA and 1.118 WHIP on the season. The UNDER is 14-8 in his 22 starts. His last three starts have all finished below the total with Marcum recording a 3.00 ERA and 1.056 WHIP. Marcum's lone start vs. the Cardinals was of the "quality" variety and stayed below the total.
The two starters both have excellent K/W ratios. Marcum has 114 Ks with 37 walks on the season. Garcia has an identical 114 Ks, walking just 35.
The Brewers have seen the UNDER go a profitable 16-7-1 against southpaw starters, averaging just 3.7 runs in those games. I expect another low-scoring affair. *10
|08-01-11||St. Louis Cardinals v. Milwaukee Brewers -123||Top||2-6||Win||100||10 h 53 m||Show|
I'm playing on MILWAUKEE. These are currently the top two teams in the NL Central, making this is a very important series. The Cardinals are trying to catch Milwaukee while putting some distance between themselves and the Pirates and Reds. The Brewers are trying to extend their lead. While both teams have been rolling, I expect the Brewers to have the advantage for Monday's opener.
For starters, the fact that the game is being played at Milwaukee is significant. While the Cards are a mediocre 28-27 on the road, the Brewers are now a fantastic 39-14 at home. No team has lost fewer games at its home park.
Looking at the starting pitching matchup and we find that, like their teams, Chris Carpenter and Zach Greinke both prefer their "home cooking."
Carpenter has a 4.46 ERA in 11 road starts this season, compared to a 2.88 ERA in as many home starts. He's allowed three home runs at home but eight on the road.
Meanwhile, Greinke is 2-4 with a poor 5.61 ERA on the road but 6-0 with a 3.55 ERA at home. The Brewers are a perfect 8-0 in his eight starts here and he's got an extremely impressive 71 K's to just seven walks in 50 2/3 innings here.
Carpenter has pitched fairly well recently. He's got a 2.74 ERA and 1.304 WHIP his last three starts. However, Greinke has been practically unhittable. He's got a 0.92 ERA and 0.915 WHIP his last three starts.
While it seems like both these guys have been around for ages, Greinke is still only 27, as compared to Carpenter being 36. Greinke already outpitched Carpenter when the two faced each other in the spring (5-3 win on 6/11) and I look for the younger man to have the advantage again this evening. *10
|07-31-11||Chicago Cubs v. St. Louis Cardinals UNDER 8.5||Top||6-3||Loss||-108||10 h 35 m||Show|
I'm playing on St. Louis and Chicago to finish UNDER the total. The first two games of this series have both been high-scoring. After Friday's opener saw 11 runs scored, yesterday's produced 18. I expect to see better pitching on ESPN tonight though and for the teams to combine for less than half that many.
Westbrook's overall numbers aren't great but he's been outstanding lately. Last time out, he allowed just one run over six inning. That gives him a 2-0 record with a 2.37 ERA his last three starts. Each of his last two starts have fallen below the total. Going back a bit further finds that he's allowed two or fewer runs in four of his last five starts.
Dempster's overall stats aren't impressive either. However, he's quietly been pretty good, more often than not. He delivered a quality start at Milwaukee last time out, giving up three runs through six complete innings. He had seven K's and one walk. He did get roughed up at Philadelphia in his previous start.
However, before that Philadelphia start he'd thrown eight shutout innings against Florida, which marked the seventh consecutive time that he allowed three or fewer runs.
At the time, teammate Marlon Byrd commented: "That's the Dempster we know. He's a bulldog out there. We always know we'll get something good out of him. Seeing that today was a beautiful thing."
So, that's three earned runs or less in eight of nine starts, which is much better than his overall numbers suggest. Looking back a bit further finds the UNDER at a profitable 9-2 in Dempster's last 11 starts, including 3-0 the last three. Six of his last 10 starts vs. the Cardinals have fallen below the total.
Overall, even including yesterday's result, the Cubs have seen the UNDER go 50-35-3 the past few seasons, when playing a road game with an O/U line of either eight or 8.5. During that stretch, the Cards have seen the UNDER go 43-34-2 when playing a home game with an O/U line of either eight or 8.5. I expect those stats to improve this evening. *10
|07-31-11||Arizona Diamondbacks v. Los Angeles Dodgers UNDER 7.5||Top||6-3||Loss||-118||5 h 29 m||Show|
I'm playing on LA and Arizona to finish UNDER the total. The first two games of this series have both finished above the total. However, the UNDER remains a profitable 9-5-1 the last 15 meetings and I expect this afternoon's finale to result in a low-scoring affair.
Saunders has been very sharp for the Diamondbacks recently. Last time out, he pitched a complete game and only allowed a single run. Prior to that, he allowed two runs through seven complete innings. For the season, through 11 road starts, he's got a stellar 2.81 ERA and 1.14 WHIP, averaging a healthy 6 2/3 innings in those games.
Saunders has allowed three earned runs or less in six of his seven starts vs. the Dodgers and four or less in all seven. His three starts here at LA have all finished with seven or fewer runs, two of which stayed below the total. In those three games, Saunders allowed seven earned runs in 18 2/3 innings. That translates to a solid 3.37 ERA.
De La Rosa also comes in on a roll. In fact, he's got an outstanding 1.59 ERA his last three starts. His last two home starts have seen him allow a combined four hits and one run through 12 innings, striking out 13. He'll have the advantage of starting against Arizona for the first time.
For the season, the Diamondbacks haven't hit particularly well on the road while the Dodgers' offense has really struggled at home. With both starters continuing their recent strong pitching, look for this one to prove lower-scoring than expected. *10
|07-30-11||Kansas City Royals v. Cleveland Indians -160||Top||2-5||Win||100||9 h 55 m||Show|
I'm playing on CLEVELAND. The Indians have been struggling to score runs and were blanked in yesterday's series opener. I expect that embarrassing 12-0 loss to be "rock bottom" for the Tribe though and for them to bounce back in convincing fashion today.
Masterson goes for the Indians today and he's got a superb 1.72 ERA in his last nine starts. In 21 starts overall, he's got a 2.57 ERA and 1.17 WHIP, allowing only four home runs on the year. He's 2-0 in two starts vs. the Royals.
Manager Manny Acta said this of Masterson: "I can't even remember anymore when he had a rough outing. He's been so good the whole season."
While Masterson hasn't got run support, he should be able to rely on some here. Paulino is 1-4 with a poor 5.22 ERA his last six starts. For the season, Paulino is 1-8 including 1-6 with a 4.53 ERA and 1.49 WHIP on the road. He's also 1-6 with a 5.08 ERA and 1.54 WHIP when pitching during the evening.
After a 5-0 loss last time out, KC manager Ned Yost said this of Paulino: "He just struggled with his command, especially in the first, second and third innings. He settled down in the fourth, but he lost it again in the sixth."
Even with yesterday's result, the Royals are still 17-32 on the road while the Indians are still 28-23 at home. The Indians desperately need to "stop the bleeding" and I look for them to do so in convincing fashion. *10
|07-29-11||Minnesota Twins v. Oakland A's -145||Top||9-5||Loss||-145||12 h 54 m||Show|
I'm playing on OAKLAND. Both these teams saw minor winning streaks snapped yesterday. I expect Oakland to be the team which bounces back and resumes its winning ways tonight.
Admittedly, Gio Gonzalez wasn't his best last time out. However, in fairness to Gonzalez - that start came at Yankee Stadium - and that's not always an easy venue to pitch at. Gonzalez is back home tonight though and that's typically good news for Oakland fans. Prior to his loss at the Bronx, Gonzalez tossed seven shutout innings against the Angels, allowing only four hits. Including that 9-1 victory, Gonzalez is 7-2 with an outstanding 1.87 ERA and 1.111 WHIP in 11 starts here. In 72 innings pitched here, he has an impressive 78 K's.
The A's are now 14-4 in his last 18 starts here, dating back to late last July.
Gonzalez has made one start vs. the Twins this season. That came back in the spring, at Minnesota. Gonzalez was dominant (6 shutout innings) in that game and the A's won 1-0. In his last home start vs. the Twins, he allowed two runs through seven innings, earning a 5-4 victory.
Liriano wasn't sharp last time out. He allowed four runs in just 2 1/3 innings, losing 5-2. He's now 6-8 with a poor 4.82 ERA on the season.
Liriano is also just 1-3 with an ugly 5.45 ERA vs. the A's. His last start against them (last September) saw him give up five runs in five innings, en route to suffering a 6-2 loss.
Gonzalez is supported by an Oakland bullpen with a 3.35 ERA and 1.309 WHIP. Liriano is supported by a Minnesota bullpen with a 4.81 ERA and 1.468 WHIP.
Over the past couple of years, the A's have gone a profitable 30-20 (+9) against losing teams, in the second half of the season. With Gonzalez continuing his strong pitching here, I look for them to improve on those stats here. *10
|07-28-11||Arizona Diamondbacks v. San Diego Padres UNDER 6.5||Top||3-4||Loss||-120||5 h 1 m||Show|
I'm playing on San Diego and Arizona to finish UNDER the total. Even with a rare sub-part outing last time out, Hudson still has a solid 3.54 ERA his last three starts. He's 10-6 with a 3.72 ERA on the season, the UNDER going 11-9-1 in his starts. Now, he gets to pitch at Petco, where he's never allowed a run. In three starts vs. the Padres, Hudson is 3-0 with an outstanding 0.83 ERA. All three games stayed below the total. His lone start here at San Diego saw him allow just five hits through seven shutout innings. He had six K's and didn't walk a batter.
Not to be outdone, Latos is 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA in two starts vs. the Diamondbacks - both starts came at Arizona. In 12 innings against the Diamondbacks, Latos allowed just six hits and one run, striking out an impressive 16. Latos has arguably been better than his overall record indicates and he has a stingy 3.10 ERA and 1.082 WHIP his last three starts. Both bullpens are solid.
With both starters continuing their success against today's opponent, I look for this afternoon's finale to be the lowest-scoring of the series. *10
|07-28-11||Los Angeles Angels v. Detroit Tigers -131||Top||12-7||Loss||-131||3 h 49 m||Show|
I'm playing on DETROIT. I played against the Tigers yesterday. However, they're now back home with a far more favorable setup.
For starters, I like the scheduled starting time. While they've been away from the West Coast for some time now, the Angels are still a West Coast team playing a very early game - and they had to travel a bit after yesterday, changing hotels. The Tigers also played on the road yesterday but at least got to sleep in their own beds. The Angels have admittedly been pretty good in the afternoon but the Tigers have been even better. Even with a loss yesterday, they're still 25-15 when playing during the day.
More importantly, I feel the pitching matchup favors the Tigers. Penny is 3-2 with a solid 3.15 ERA and 1.276 WHIP at home, averaging 6.5 innings per start here. The Tigers are 7-4 (+3.1) in his home starts. On the other hand, Pineiro is 2-3 with a 4.54 ERA and 1.512 WHIP on the road. The Angels are 3-5 (-1.3) in his road starts. Note that Pineiro also has a dreadful 9.24 ERA and 2.37 WHIP his last three starts, as he's been allowing more than two runners per inning to reach base.
Both Pineiro and Penny are 1-0 this season against today's opponent. The Tigers got to see a lot more of Pineiro last season than the Angels saw of Pineiro. Pineiro's last start here at Detroit happened to also be Penny's lone 2010 start vs. the Angels. Penny came out on top of that 5/21/2010 meeting, a 9-5 Tigers' victory. Penny wasn't good, as he allowed four runs and five hits in three innings. That was more than good enough though, as Pineiro allowed a whopping 10 runs (9 earned) in 3 1/3 innings.
While the Angels took two of three from the Tigers at Detroit in July, the Tigers are 6-3 (+1.9) as a host in the series, the past few seasons. Over that time, they're 132-82 (+26.6) at home overall. I expect them to improve on those stats here. *10
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