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|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|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
|07-28-11||New York Mets v. Cincinnati Reds -140||Top||10-9||Loss||-140||2 h 22 m||Show|
I'm playing on CINCINNATI. I'm surprised that the Reds are 0-3 in this series and my wallet has suffered because of it. I still fully expect them to step up and avoid the sweep though.
Bailey is off back to back gems. Two starts ago, he limited the Cardinals to three hits and one run through 7 1/3 innings. Last time out, he held the Braves to five hits and two runs through six complete innings. The Reds won those two games by a combined score of 14-3. Including those results, Bailey is 4-1 with a stellar 2.51 ERA and 1.144 WHIP at home.
On the other hand, Capuano has allowed four earned runs in each of his last two starts. The Mets lost those games by a combined score of 12-6 with Capuano taking the "L" in each game. For the season, he's 8-10 (Mets are 8-11) with a mediocre 4.21 ERA.
While Bailey will have the advantage of starting against the Mets for the first time, the Reds have seen plenty of Capuano. In 10 starts against Cincinnati, Capuano is 2-3 with an ugly 4.83 ERA and 1.492 WHIP. That only tells part of the story though, as the Mets were just 2-8 in those games. Capuano's most recent start against the Reds came here at Cincinnati last October. He lasted only 3 2/3 innings and gave up 10 hits. He escaped with a no-decision but the Reds still won, 7-4.
The Reds are hitting a very healthy .284 and averaging 5.5 runs in games against southpaw starters. They badly need a win and I look for them to get one. *10
|07-27-11||Arizona Diamondbacks v. San Diego Padres UNDER 6||Top||4-3||Loss||-120||12 h 30 m||Show|
I'm playing on San Diego and Arizona to finish UNDER the total. At first glance, this O/U line seems quite low. Its true, under "normal" or "average" circumstances, this would be a very low O/U line. However, these aren't average circumstances. Lets take a closer look.
Starting with the obvious, Petco Park is a great place to pitch. The Padres are hitting only .215 here, averaging a mere 2.8 runs per game. Opposing teams haven't fared much better, as as they're batting only .238 here.
Next, both starters have been excellent. Kennedy already has 11 wins to go along with a very solid 3.22 ERA and 1.131 WHIP. He's 6-1 on the road. Last time out, he tossed seven shutout innings and allowed only four hits, en route to a 4-0 victory. Before that, he tossed seven very solid innings, allowing two runs on five hits. That one finished with a score of 3-2.
I was at Petco for Luebke's first ever start and was quite impressed with him. He battled Tim Hudson in that game and left without allowing a run. The Padres would eventually rally for four runs in the bottom of the eighth, earning a 4-1 victoy. I liked what I saw enough that I played on the Padres in Leubeke's next home start - Leubeke was extremely solid once again and the Padres won with ease.
Luebke now has a superb 1.86 ERA and 0.793 WHIP in five starts. Four of those finished below the total. In 29 innings, he's got an impressive 30 K's with only five walks. At home, he now has an outstanding 1.50 ERA and 0.667 WHIP.
While Luebke hasn't started against Arizona, Kennedy is 2-0 with a terrific 2.25 ERA in three starts vs. the Padres. His last start here at San Diego saw him allow just one hit through seven shutout innings, striking out 12.
The Arizona bullpen has a solid 3.41 ERA on the road. The San Diego bullpen has a stingy 2.72 ERA at home.
Even with yesterday's game finishing above the total, the Diamondbacks have still seen the UNDER go 20-12-1 in divisional play. They've also seen the UNDER go a lucrative 18-12 against southpaw starters. More of the same tonight. *10
|07-27-11||New York Mets v. Cincinnati Reds -135||Top||8-2||Loss||-135||9 h 50 m||Show|
I'm playing on CINCINNATI. I lost with the Reds yesterday but I'm fully ready to give them another shot here.
Admittedly, Arroyo's overall numbers aren't too impressive, largely because he's been victimized by the long ball. That said, he usually at least gives the Reds a chance to win. In each of his last two starts, he went 6 2/3 innings, allowing four runs. Unfortunately, he was matched up against Chris Carpenter and Jair Jurrjens in those games, so his relatively solid performances still both resulted in Cincinnati losses.
Today, however, Arroyo will be facing a team which he has dominated AND he'll be opposed by a starting pitcher that's not nearly as good as the ones he's been matched up against recently.
Arroyo is 7-2 with a very solid 3.31 ERA and 1.029 WHIP for his career vs. the Mets. That includes an extremely stingy 2.54 ERA in his last six starts vs. the Mets. Arroyo was undefeated in those games (Reds were 5-1) and he averaged a healthy 7 2/3 innings.
Arroyo should get some solid run support here. Pelfrey is 2-8 with a terrible 5.79 ERA and 1.60 WHIP in 13 road starts. The Mets were 3-10 in those games.
I watched Pelfrey's last start and felt he was very fortunate to only allow four runs in six innings. He walked four and gave up two home runs and it easily could have been much worse. Note that Pelfrey has also walked four batters in two of his last three starts vs. the Reds. His lone 2010 start against them saw him walk four batters while giving up nine hits and getting rocked for seven runs, lasting only 4 2/3 innings. The Reds won 8-6.
I expect Pelfrey's road woes to continue as Arroyo continues his success in this series and the Reds bounce back with an important victory. *10
|07-26-11||New York Mets v. Cincinnati Reds -144||Top||8-6||Loss||-144||8 h 18 m||Show|
I'm playing on CINCINNATI. The Reds followed up their dramatic Sunday night victory over the Braves by dropping yesterday's series opener vs. the Mets. I expect them to bounce right back this evening though.
Cueto has simply been outstanding. He's 6-3 with a superb 1.98 ERA and 1.003 WHIP. The Reds are 9-5 in his 14 starts with Cueto averaging 6.8 innings per outing. That includes a 3-0 mark his last three starts. Last time out, he allowed one run and four hits through six innings, en route to a 3-1 victory.
Niese has been mostly solid - just not spectacular like Cueto. Last time out, he allowed five runs (only 3 were earned) and suffered a 6-2 loss. He's got a mediocre 4.07 ERA on the road.
Niese is supported by a NY bullpen which entered the series with a 4.25 ERA and 1.351 WHIP on the road, having blown six saves. On the other hand, Cueto is supported by a Cincy bullpen which has a 2.75 ERA and 1.261 WHIP at home, having blown just two saves.
The Mets, who scored four yesterday, entered the series averaging 4.2 runs per game vs. right-handed starters. They'll face another righty here. The Reds also faced a right-hander yesterday but today will be seeing a southpaw. That's significant as we find them hitting .283 and averaging 5.5 runs vs. left-handed starters - significantly better numbers than they have vs. right-handers.
Cueto struggled against the Mets early in his career but hasn't faced them yet this season and he beat them in his lone 2010 start. That 5/5/2010 game came against Niese. Cueoto was better than Niese that day. He gave up three runs and seven hits through six innings. Niese gave up four runs on 12 hits, also lasting six. Cueto allowed one home run and had six K's. Niese allowed two home runs and had four K's.
I expect Cueto to get the better of Niese once again and for the Reds to bounce back and even up the series. *10 (Personal Fav)
|07-26-11||Florida Marlins v. Washington Nationals UNDER 7.5||Top||11-2||Loss||-100||9 h 50 m||Show|
I'm playing on Florida and Washington to finish UNDER the total. The Marlins have seen the UNDER go 7-4 when playing with a day off this season. With a pair of highly capable starters on the mound, both determined to bounce back with a big effort, I expect those stats to improve this evening.
Neither offense is particularly potent. The Marlins average four runs per game and hit .247. Those numbers dip slightly vs. right-handed starters. The Nats' bats are even worse. They average only 3.9 runs per game, hitting just .235.
Both bullpens are fairly solid and both are rested. Florida relievers have a combined 3.36 ERA and 1.238 WHIP. Washington relievers have a 3.21 ERA and 1.284 WHIP. At home, those numbers are even better, dipping to an excellent 2.58 and 1.162 on the season.
Zimmerman gets the call for the home team. He's off a rare sub-par outing. However, given his overall stats, I believe we can cut him some slack. For the season, he's got an extremely solid 3.00 ERA and 1.084 WHIP. He may have been rusty last time out, as he was pitching on eight day's rest. He still had 5 K's without a walk. Note that prior to that, he'd allowed two earned runs or less in nine of 10 starts and had gone at least six complete innings in 13 straight.
Zimmerman's lone 2011 start against Florida also came against Nolasco. It finished with a score of 3-2.
Like Zimmerman, Nolasco is off a forgettable outing. In fact, he called it the worst performance of his career. However, as was the case with Zimmerman, I believe we can cut him some slack. Prior to the beating the Padres put on him, Nolasco had been pitching brilliantly. In fact, he had an outstanding 0.56 ERA in his previous four outings, two of them complete games.
Nolasco's last start here at Washington came last August. He was great in that game, recording eight K's (with only one walk) through six shutout innings. He earned the "W" in a 5-0 Marlins' victory. Including that result, the UNDER is 9-4 his 13 starts in this series. The last three all finished with five or fewer combined runs. I expect another low-scoring affair. *10
|07-25-11||Detroit Tigers v. Chicago White Sox -140||Top||3-6||Win||100||18 h 28 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHICAGO. It's true that the Tigers have had plenty of recent success here vs. the White Sox and also that they've dominated the series overall the past few seasons. However, that's all "ancient history" and I look for the Sox to be the team which has the advantage in this evening's series opener.
Both teams are playing well right now and both earned important victories yesterday. This is another big game and series for both teams.
The Tigers, now with a small 2-game cushion for first place, want to put some distance between the Indians and White Sox, while making sure the Twins can't make it a 4-team race. Its arguably even bigger for the White Sox though, as they're 4.5 games back and know this series provides them with an excellent opportunity to close the gap.
Buehrle gets the call and he's pitching as well as ever. While he's "only" 7-5 this season, he's got a very solid 3.37 ERA and 1.234 WHIP. Additionally, the Sox are a lucrative 13-6 (+7.6) in his starts. Over his last three starts, Buehrle has a superb 2.05 ERA and 0.864 WHIP. The Sox were 3-0 in those games, with Buehrle going a minimum of seven innings in each. In fact, a closer look reveals that he's now allowed three or fewer earned runs in 14 straight outings - if he does it again here, he'll become the first Sox pitcher in more than 20 years to allow three or fewer runs in 15 straight starts.
For the season, Buehrle is 4-1 with a terrific 2.47 ERA and 1.145 WHIP in nine home starts. The Sox were 7-2 (+4.8) in those games, including 7-0 the last seven. The Sox are 14-5 his last 19 here.
Also, note that Buehrle is also 17-9 with an excellent 3.22 lifetime ERA vs. the Tigers. The Sox are 10-3 in his 13 home starts vs. the Tigers, including 2-0 the past two seasons. Buehrle went a minimum of six complete innings in all 13 of those starts and allowed three or fewer earned runs in 10 of them. Today, he'll take on a Detroit team which is just 16-30 (-8.4) when listed as a road underdog in the +125 to +150 range, the past few seasons.
While Buerhle has been getting it done game after game, year after year, the Tigers will be relying on a starting pitcher (Duane Below) making just his second career big league start. He went only five innings in his debut, a 7-5 Detroit loss.
Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said this of the way things are currently going for his team: "The ball is bouncing our way now. Every time somebody makes a mistake, we take advantage of it." With the veteran outpitching and outlasting the rookie, I expect things to continue to go Guillen's way for at least another day. *10
|07-24-11||Atlanta Braves v. Cincinnati Reds UNDER 9||Top||3-4||Win||100||9 h 21 m||Show|
I'm playing on Atlanta and Cincy to finish UNDER the total. The first two games of this series have both finished above the total. However, I'm expecting a much lower-scoring finale. I successfully played against the Braves in Beachy's last start. However, that was at Coors Field and I felt he might have some trouble in his first start there. While that proved to be the case, Beachy still has a stingy 3.12 ERA and 1.096 WHIP in six road starts, striking out 39 and walking only nine. While this isn't exactly an "easy" venue either, he will have the advantage of facing the Reds for the first time. Dontrelle Willis is back and has a solid 3.37 ERA in his two 2011 starts, both of which fell below the total. Those games had scores of 4-3 and 2-0. After Willis' last start, second baseman Brandon Phillips had this to say: "Willis pitched real good today. We just didn't come through for him. We just couldn't get it done, period." Willis has had some trouble vs. past Atlanta teams. However, this year's lineup has really struggled vs. southpaws. Indeed, the Braves are hitting a mere .214 vs. southpaw starters, averaging just 3.7 runs. While they did break out for 11 runs yesterday, keep in mind that the Reds had scored just 11 combined runs over their previous six games. During that stretch, they were batting a mere .195. The Braves have seen the UNDER go 11-8-2 the past few seasons, after allowing double-digit runs in their previous game. I expect those stats to improve here. *10
|07-24-11||Washington Nationals v. Los Angeles Dodgers -135||Top||1-3||Win||100||5 h 27 m||Show|
I'm playing on the LA DODGERS. The Nationals won big in the opener and they also appeared to be in pretty good shape much of the way last night. The Dodgers erased deficits of 3-0 and 6-2 though and rallied for a 7-6 victory, scoring the winning run in the bottom of the 9th inning. I expect them to carry the positive momentum from that "thriller" into this afternoon's finale. More importantly, I expect them to have a significant edge on the mound. While the Nats have been better overall, they've really struggled on the road. They've dropped eight of 11 away from Washington and are now 21-33 on the road overall. (By comparison, the Dodgers' 24-28 home record doesn't seem quite so bad.) Rafael Furcal was the hero last night, while Trent Oeltjen scored the winning run. Oeltjen said this of Furcal's double and of the team's "mood" after the win: "That was awesome, Furky came through big at the end. He's been unlucky with some injuries this year, so it's huge for him and huge for this team to get us going. I hope we can take off from here and keep it going." Note that Furcal is 7 for 20 (.350) with a with a home run against Marquis. Also, note that Marquis has allowed nine runs in eight innings in his last two outings here, losing both. Marquis won last time out (vs. Houston) but still has a poor 5.87 ERA and 1.566 WHIP his last three starts, going 1-2. On the other hand, Billingsley has a solid 3.38 ERA and 1.078 WHIP his last three. He's been at his best at home, by far. In nine starts here, he's got a terrific 2.43 ERA. He's allowed just one run in 13 1/3 innings over his last two starts here, winning both. Billingsley has also dominated Washington. He's 3-1 with a 2.75 ERA vs. the Nats. He's beaten them in all three meetings at Dodger Stadium and I look for him to do it again this afternoon. *10
|07-24-11||Los Angeles Angels v. Baltimore Orioles -114||Top||9-3||Loss||-114||3 h 53 m||Show|
I'm playing on BALTIMORE. The Angels will likely be a fairly popular pick here. After all, they've got a better overall record and are currently in a divsional race. There also up against a pitcher with a 4-13 record. However, I feel that the Orioles are favored for good reason and that their 13-game loser is actually quite a lot better than his record indicates. Let's check it out. True, Guthrie's 4-13 record is pretty dismal. However, I believe he's a lot better than what his record suggests. I stated that last week, when I successfully played on the Orioles in Guthrie's start vs. Boston. Rather than repeat myself, as it still applies, here's an excerpt from that writeup: "Guthrie checks in with an ugly 13 losses on the season. He's a lot better than that record suggests though, as the Red Sox can vouch for. In two games (one start) against the Sox this year, Guthrie has allowed just one earned run through 9 1/3 innings of work. That translates to a 0.96 ERA. Guthrie didn't factor in the decision but the O's won his lone 2011 start against Boston and that was against Beckett. It should also be noted that Guthrie has also been much better in the evening (3.87 ERA) than the day, when he has a 5.33 ERA. Guthrie reportedly may get traded to a contender (Detroit?) and that may give him some added incentive to pitch well here - not that he should need any..." Guthrie went on to hold the Red Sox to two runs through seven complete innings, en route to a 6-2 victory. While they haven't seen him yet this season, the Angels also know how capable Guthrie is. In two 2010 starts against the Angels, Guthrie was 2-0 and allowed only three runs in 15 1/3 innings. The O's won by scores of 6-3 and 1-0. In the 15+ innings, Guthrie gave up just nine hits and walked only one batter. He outpitched Weaver the last time he faced LA, tossing eight shutout innings. Chatwood still has respectable numbers. He's 5-6 with a 3.71 ERA on the season. However, a closer look reveals a fairly high 1.582 WHIP, which means he's been allowing a relatively high number of baserunners. Worse, that number climbs all the way up to an obscene 2.218 the last three games. Not surprisingly, he's 0-2 and the Angels are 0-3 in those games, most recently a 7-0 loss. This is the O's last home game in the month of July. With Guthrie getting the better of Chatwood, I look for them to close out the month here a big winner. *10
|07-23-11||Detroit Tigers v. Minnesota Twins -132||Top||1-4||Win||100||5 h 26 m||Show|
I'm playing on MINNESOTA. The Tigers won big yesterday and are now 2-0 in the series. I expect the Twins to have the advantage this afternoon though. The first thing many will notice is that both starters have similar records. That part is true. Penny is 7-6. Baker is 7-5. A closer look reveals that Baker's numbers are considerably better though, particularly his home stats compared to Penny's road stats. While he hasn't pitched since July 5th, Baker's got a very solid 3.01 ERA and 1.175 WHIP overall. At home, he's 4-1 with a spectacular 1.97 ERA and 1.029 WHIP in seven starts, averaging 6 1/2 innings. In 45 innings here, he's got an impressive 46 K's with only 10 walks. He's 2-0 his last two and has allowed just one unearned run in those games. In fact, Baker is 4-0 his last five starts at Target Field and has allowed just one earned run in 36 1/3 innings, during that stretch! On the other hand, Penny has a 4.47 ERA and 1.414 WHIP. Worse, he's 3-4 with an awful 6.55 ERA and 1.632 WHIP on the road. Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said this of today's game: "We
|07-21-11||Seattle Mariners v. Toronto Blue Jays UNDER 7.5||Top||5-7||Loss||-100||2 h 23 m||Show|
I'm playing on Seattle and Toronto to finish UNDER the total. The first two games of this series, both of which were played during the evening, have each been high-scoring. I expect a much lower-scoring affair for this afternoon's finale.
Romero has a very solid 3.25 ERA on the season and has seen the UNDER go 12-6-1 in his 19 starts. While his recent numbers aren't that great, keep in mind that his last three starts came against the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies. Those are three of the top teams in baseball, one of which will likely win the World Series. Now, he takes a major step down in class to face the Mariners.
The Mariners can't hit at the best of the times and they're particularly brutal in the afternoon AND against southpaws. Seattle hits only .212 vs. southpaws, averaging just 2.6 runs in those games. Also, the M's hit only .208 in day games, averaging a mere 2.7 runs.
Fister checks in with a stingy 3.18 ERA and 1.165 WHIP on the season. He's seen the UNDER go 12-5-2 in his 19 starts with each of his last three finishing with six or fewer runs.
Fister will face a Toronto team which also struggles to hit during the afternoon. The Jays hit only .233 during the afternoon, averaging only four runs in those games.
Fister has made two starts vs. the Jays. He has a 0.886 WHIP in those games and they both stayed below the total. They had scores of 5-0 and 3-2.
Romero has made two starts against the M's the past two seasons. They finished with scores of 4-3 in 2010 and 3-2 earlier this season.
The M's have seen the UNDER go 70-51-11 the past few seasons against southpaw starters, including 14-7-3 this year. I expect more of the same here. *10
|07-21-11||San Diego Padres v. Florida Marlins -162||Top||5-3||Loss||-162||2 h 4 m||Show|
I'm playing on FLORIDA. The Marlins were embarrassed yesterday and are now in danger of being swept. They haven't lost three in a row since the coaching change though and I expect them to bounce right back this afternoon.
Vazquez checks in with some pretty poor overall numbers. For the season, he's 6-8 with a 5.14 ERA. He's really gotten it together lately though and enters this afternoon's game on a roll. Over his last three starts, he's 2-0 (Marlins are 3-0) with a very solid 3.15 ERA and an outstanding 0.85 WHIP. Over those three starts, the veteran has 17 K's with only one walk.
McKeon said this of Vazquez: "He
|07-20-11||Texas Rangers v. Los Angeles Angels -135||Top||8-9||Win||100||12 h 50 m||Show|
I'm playing on the LA ANGELS. The Rangers enter on a red hot roll and off another victory last night. That makes it 12 in a row. The Rangers have been getting it done with pitching, as was the case last night. While tonight's starter (Holland) has contributed to the streak, he's also struggled in this series. Additionally, the Rangers will now be going up against an elite pitcher. I expect the streak to finally come to an end here.
For starters, note that the Angels have been terrific at bouncing back, when coming off a shutout loss. They were last blanked on July 1st, losing 5-0 in the opening game of a 3-game set vs. the rival Dodgers. Despite facing a tough pitcher (Kershaw) in the next game, they responded with a 7-1 victory. Including that result, they're 17-8 (+6.5) the last 25 times that they were off a shutout loss, going 7-3 their last 10 in that situation.
True, Holland has been great recently. (He's off back to back shutouts.) However, lets not forget that he's 2-3 with a poor 4.75 ERA in six career starts against the Angels. In his last start here at Anaheim, he lasted only 3 2/3 innings, giving up six hits, three walks and four runs. He took the loss as the Angels won 7-4. For the season, Holland's 4.32 ERA and 1.407 WHIP is still only mediocre. In 118 2/3 innings pitched, he's walked 40 and given up 13 home runs.
Haren, on the other hand, is 10-6 with a stingy 2.75 ERA and 0.981 WHIP. At home, his ERA dips to 1.86 and his WHIP goes all the way down to 0.768. Those numbers are simply dominant. Haren has pitched 22 more innings than Holland but has walked less than half as many. (He also has more K's and has allowed less home runs.)
Also, note that Haren has an excellent 1.52 ERA in four starts against the Rangers, since he joined the Angels. He outlasted Holland back in May, as the Angels won 3-2.
The Angels are 11-5 (+4.4) as home favorites in the -125 to -150 range. They were one game back behind the Rangers at the Break and now suddenly find themselves five back. They need to "stop the bleeding" and I feel that Haren will be up to the task. *10
|07-20-11||San Diego Padres v. Florida Marlins -151||Top||14-3||Loss||-151||9 h 50 m||Show|
I'm playing on FLORIDA. The Padres won yesterday's opener by a score of 4-0. The Marlins are still 9-2 their last 11 though while the Padres are only 2-8 during the same stretch. With a red hot Nolasco on the mound, I look for the Marlins to bounce right back and return to their winning ways.
Yesterday notwithstanding, the Marlins tend to "take care of business" against weaker teams, at this time of the year. Even with yesterday's loss, they're still a profitable 52-33 the past few seasons, when facing a team with a losing record during the second half of the season. That includes a 7-2 mark this season.
Both starters have been extremely sharp lately. Harang has a 0.95 ERA his last three starts. Remarkably, Nolasco's is even better. He's got a 0.78 ERA his last three. Both allowed two earned runs over those three games but Nolasco threw 23 innings to Harang's 19. (It should also be noted that two of Harang's three came at pitcher-friendly Petco Park while the third came at Dodger Stadium. Nolasco didn't have that advantage.)
While the recent numbers are similar, Nolasco has been much better against today's opponent than Harang has. Harang has a terrible 6.99 ERA and 1.805 WHIP in 10 starts vs Florida. His last start against the Marlins saw Harang give up eight runs in four innings. Florida won 10-2. On the other hand, Nolasco is 3-2 with a solid 3.72 ERA and 1.112 WHIP vs. the Padres. That includes a 3-0 mark with a terrific 2.25 ERA over his last four starts against them. I expect Nolasco to continue his success in this series and for the Marlins to get right back on track with a victory. *10
|07-19-11||Atlanta Braves v. Colorado Rockies -134||Top||3-12||Win||100||10 h 29 m||Show|
I'm playing on COLORADO. I lost with the Rockies (while winning with Arizona) last night but I'm willing to give them another shot here.
I played on the Rockies in Jimenez's last start. In that one, they beat Gallardo and the Brewers by a score of 12-3. Jimenez got the win, allowing two runs through six solid innings. Here's an excerpt of what I had to say of Jimenez, prior to that outing:
"At this time last year, Jimenez was coming off a win in the All Star game. This year, with a record of only 4-8, he didn't make the All Star team. That poor record has worked in our favor by keeping the line reasonable here. A closer look shows that Jimenez has been MUCH better recently than his overall record indicates. Last time out, Jimenez allowed just one run through eight outstanding innings. He gave up just five hits and had 8 K's with only one walk. Jimenez had this to say about his last start before the break: "It's really good when you finish on a high note. Especially with the kind of beginning I had, I struggled a lot, and to finish in this way is going to help me a lot for the second half. Not only me, but the whole team." Todd Helton said this of Jimenez: "He was dirty, no doubt about it. That was the old Ubaldo." Manager Jim Tracy added: "I think it's safe to say that tonight we won with pitching, and that was the Jimenez of a year ago. He was in complete control from the outset." Going back further shows that Jimenez has allowed three or fewer runs in eight straight starts. He allowed two or less in six of those. The Rockies are 7-3 his last 10 July home starts and Jimenez is 25-17 with a 3.67 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in his career after the All-Star break."
While Jimenez did lose vs. the Braves (at Atlanta) on July 4th, he still only allowed three runs, striking out nine and walking one. Including that outing, he's got a stellar 2.21 ERA in his last three starts vs. Atlanta. His lone 2010 start vs. the Braves saw him toss a complete game shutout.
Admittedly, Beachy has been very solid, particularly on the road. However, unlike Jimenez, he hasn't started since the All Star Break. In fact, his last start came back on July 8th. For a young pitcher that was going well, the long layoff likely didn't come at an ideal time. Also, starting at Colorado for the first time isn't always easy.
Jimenez should be motivated to continue to impress contenders interested in his services while the Rockies should be hungry to snap their winless streak and get this season's first win against the Braves. I expect them to bounce back and even the series. *10
|07-19-11||Boston Red Sox v. Baltimore Orioles +110||Top||2-6||Win||110||9 h 1 m||Show|
I'm playing on BALTIMORE. The Red Sox continue to show that they can win both ways. A night after the a 1-0 extra-inning "pitching gem" victory, the offense scored eight runs in the eighth inning, en route to last night's 15-10 victory. I don't expect the Sox to score nearly so many runs this evening though, nor do I expect them to get the type of pitching that they received on Sunday. Let's take a closer look.
Guthrie checks in with an ugly 13 losses on the season. He's a lot better than that record suggests though, as the Red Sox can vouch for. In two games (one start) against the Sox this year, Guthrie has allowed just one earned run through 9 1/3 innings of work. That translates to a 0.96 ERA. Guthrie didn't factor in the decision but the O's won his lone 2011 start against Boston and that was against Beckett.
It should also be noted that Guthrie has also been much better in the evening (3.87 ERA) than the day, when he has a 5.33 ERA.
Guthrie reportedly may get traded to a contender (Detroit?) and that may give him some added incentive to pitch well here - not that he should need any.
Either way, I expect Guthrie to get some run support. The O's scored 10 runs yesterday and have now scored 39 over their past six games. More importantly, they'll also be facing Kyle Weiland, who they just rocked for six runs (in 4 innings) on 7/10. That was Weiland's only career start. He escaped with a no-decision but was left with a horrible 13.50 ERA and a 2.50 WHIP. Now, he has the misfortune of facing the very same team again.
You may recall that Weiland, who managed just 42 strikes in 78 pitches, hit Baltimore's Vlad Guerrero in the 7/10 game, causing Weiland and Red Sox manager Terry Francona to get ejected. (The fact that Guerrero is still out may further motivate the O's here.)
True, the Red Sox are tough. They're likely going to be at a disadvantage on the mound here though and lets not forget that they played a 16-inning game on Sunday night. It can sometimes take a couple of days but a game like that can have an effect.
The Red Sox are just 5-6 (-1.8) when playing on the road with a line in the -100 to -125 range. On the other hand, Baltimore is a more respectable 10-9 (+2.1) as a home underdog in the +100 to +125 range. Going back further finds Boston at 24-26 (-4.9) in that role the past few seasons and Baltimore at 32-30 (+5.4). With Guthrie improving his potential trade value, I expect the motivated O's to step up and score the minor upset. *10
|07-18-11||Milwaukee Brewers v. Arizona Diamondbacks -123||Top||0-3||Win||100||11 h 18 m||Show|
I'm playing on ARIZONA. Both teams are off back to back victories. I expect the Diamondbacks to be the team which makes it three in a row.
The Brewers have enjoyed success here in the desert recently, as has Wolf. However, lets not forget that this year's Brewers are still only 18-31 on the road while the Diamondbacks are a far better 25-20 here at home. The Diamondbacks average 4.7 runs per game at home. The Brewers manage a mere 3.5 runs per game on the road, hitting only .234.
Note that Milwaukee, which is 5-13 (-7.3) as a road underdog in the +100 to +125 range, may not have Ryan Braun in the starting lineup again.
Wolf was NOT sharp vs the Diamondbacks on July 5th. He gave up 10 hits, walked four batters and gave up seven runs.
Collmenter, on the other hand, was excellent at Milwaukee, the following day. He allowed just three hits through six shutout innings.
Collmenter has a superb 2.88 ERA and 0.92 WHIP at home. Wolf has been mediocre on the road and the Brewers are just 4-6 in his 10 road starts. I expect Collmenter to get the better of Wolf here as the Diamondbacks snap their home losing streak in this series. *10
|07-18-11||Atlanta Braves v. Colorado Rockies -124||Top||7-4||Loss||-124||11 h 33 m||Show|
I'm playing on COLORADO. The Braves bring the better record to the table and they're also currently the hotter team. Don't expect the Rockies to "go trough the motions" though. They got swept in a 4-game set at Atlanta recently and I expect them to be extremely motivated to get this series started off with a victory.
Hammel gets the call for Colorado. His overall numbers are certainly nothing to write home about. (He's 5-8 with a 4.23 ERA and 1.382 WHIP.) He has shown real signs of turning the corner lately with a pair of quality starts. He closed June out by limiting the White Sox to two runs through seven innings, here at Coors. That was followed by a poor outing vs the Royals. However, he bounced back with another strong effort last time out, limiting the Nationals to two runs and five hits, through 6 1/3 innings.
Note that Hammel has been working with his pitching coach (Bob Apodaca) and has recently adjusted his windup. He's now got his hands moving above his head, which is creating better rhythm and control for his fastball. He noted: "I needed to change something up."
Hammel did get roughed up at Atlanta last year but responded with a much better effort in his last start vs. the Braves, which was here at Colorado. He allowed three runs in 6 1/3 innings in that one, striking out six and walking one. He didn't factor in the decision but Colorado won by a score of 5-4.
Lowe has had some good second halves in the past. However, he's getting long in the tooth and his first half numbers (5-7 4.30 ERA and 1.381 WHIP) are practically identical to what Hammel brings to the table. Unlike Hammel, he's not off a quality start last time out though, as he gave up 10 hits and four runs, while suffering a loss.
Prior to that, Lowe beat these same Rockies. He wasn't exactly dominant though, as he allowed three runs in just 5 1/3 innings, while allowing eight Rockies (5 hits, 3 walks) to reach base.
I feel that may prove to be one of the Rockies' advantages here. They just saw Lowe, less than two weeks ago - while Hammel hasn't faced the Braves since last summer. Often, little edges are the the difference between winning and losing and having a recent look at a pitcher can sometimes provide hitters with a slight edge.
While the Braves score 3.8 runs and hit .222 on the road, the Rockies hit .280 and average 5.5 runs at home.
The Rockies are 7-3 the last 10 times that they were listed as home favorites of -125 or less. They're also 5-2 (+2.6) against the Braves here the past couple of seasons. Looking for some "payback" and to climb back above .500 here at home, I look for them to improve on those stats this evening. *10
|07-17-11||Boston: J Beckett v. Tampa Bay: J Niemann UNDER 8||Top||1-0||Win||100||9 h 29 m||Show|
I'm playing on Boston and Tampa to finish UNDER the total. The first two games of this series have both been high-scoring. However, I look for a pitcher's duel in tonight's finale.
Beckett has been terrific. For the season, he's 8-3 with a 2.27 ERA and 0.946 WHIP. The UNDER is a profitable 12-4-1 in his 17 starts overall, including a lucrative 8-2 on the road. His last road start saw Beckett allow only one run through eight innings, en route to earning a 2-1 victory.
Beckett has also been dominant against Tampa, particularly recently. His lone start against the Rays this season finished with a score of 3-0. Over his last three starts vs. the Rays, he's allowed just one earned run (2 runs overall) through 21 complete innings.
Niemann has been tough lately, too. He's allowed one run in each of his last two starts. Both finished below the total with identical 5-1 scores. Most recently, he limited the Yankees to one run through 7 1/3 innings.
Niemann hasn't faced the Red Sox this season. He struggled in his last start at Fenway but was excellent in his last home start in this series. In that game he allowed just one unearned run on four hits, through six complete innings. He got the "W" in a 3-2 Rays' victory.
Despite the high-scoring results in the first two games, the Rays have still seen the UNDER go an excellent 30-13 at home. As for the Red Sox, they've seen the UNDER go 29-19-4 the past few seasons, when listed as road favorites in the -125 to -150 range. More of the same tonight. *9
|07-17-11||Los Angeles Dodgers v. Arizona Diamondbacks -150||Top||1-4||Win||100||6 h 55 m||Show|
I'm playing on ARIZONA. The Diamondbacks finished on the right side of last night's pitcher's duel. Their 3-2 victory snapped a 3-game losing streak while also putting an end to the Dodgers 5-game winning streak. Now the Diamondbacks have the momentum in their favor.
They're playing at home and arguably have more to play for - they're in the thick of the division race while the bankrupt Dodgers have (arguably) been out of it for sometime. Perhaps most importantly, the Diamondbacks should have a significant edge on the mound.
Hudson has been a bit part of Arizona's success. Overall, he's 9-5 with a solid 3.74 ERA and 1.248 WHIP. He's been his best here in the desert. In nine home starts, he's gone 5-2 with a stingy 3.05 ERA and 1.123 WHIP. He's averaged better than seven innings per start here and the Diamondbacks are a profitable 7-2 (+5) in those games. He's 5-0 with a 2.77 ERA his last seven starts here.
Hudson has an impressive 54/11 K/w ratio here and has only given up four home runs in 65 home innings. He's a perfect 6-0 his last 11 outings.
On the other hand, Lilly is 6-9 with a poor 4.79 ERA on the season. He was solid last time out but that was at home against light-hitting San Diego. He's still got an ugly 5.74 ERA his last three starts. Before the win vs. the Padres, he had lost four straight decisions while compiling an awful 8.71 ERA. In his last road outing, Lilly was rocked for nine hits and six runs, lasting only 4 2/3 innings.
Lilly has averaged only 5.5 innings per road start and has allowed seven home runs in 49 road innings.
While the Diamondbacks are 12-7 (+4.8) in Hudson's starts, the Dodgers are only 8-11 (-3.3) in Lilly's. The Diamondbacks are 10-2 in Hudson's last 12 home starts, dating back to last September, including a perfect 7-0 his last seven here.
In addition to being a better pitcher than Lilly this season, Hudson is also capable of helping himself with the bat. In fact, among pitchers with at least 30 at-bats this season, Hudson ranks first in RBIs average AND on-base percentage. (He's hitting .333 and has 9 RBIs!)
Lilly is 3-6 with a brutal 5.19 ERA vs. Arizona. He's 1-3 with a 6.26 ERA the last four of those. On the other hand, Hudson is 1-0 with an extremely stingy 2.08 ERA and a superb 0.451 WHIP vs. LA. (He limited the Dodgers to two hits through 8 2/3 innings in his lone start against them.)
The Dodgers entered the weekend averaging 3.7 runs per game while the Diamondbacks average 4.5 runs per game.
The Diamondbacks are a lucrative 22-8 (+8.8) the last 30 times that they were listed as home favorites in the -150 to -175 range, including 7-2 (+3.8) their last nine in that role.
All things considered, I feel the price is more than fair. I look for Hudson to get the better of Lilly and for the Diamondbacks to string together consecutive victories. *10
|07-17-11||Los Angeles Angels v. Oakland A's -133||Top||1-9||Win||100||6 h 43 m||Show|
I'm playing on OAKLAND. The Angels entered the weekend as the hotter team and they won the first game of yesterday's double-header. The A's bounced back with a dramatic win in the bottom of the 10th inning in the night-cap though. That made for an extra long day. With the A's finishing the final game in such positive fashion, I look for them to be "fresher" this afternoon. More importantly, I look for them to have an edge in the starting pitching department - arguably even a bigger factor than normal, the afternoon following a double-header.
LA's Torri Hunter, who went 0 for 8 yesterday, said this of losing the second game: "It's a tough loss..."
Angels' manager Mike Scioscia said "We didn't hit the ball well all afternoon and we're lucky to come out with a split."
Gio Gonzalez gets the call and he's been superb, particularly here at home. For the season, he's 8-6 with a 2.47 ERA and 1.274 WHIP. At home, he's a sizzling 6-2 with an outstanding 2.08 ERA and 1.138 WHIP. In 10 starts here, he's averaging 6.5 innings per outing and has only given up four home runs in 65 innings. During that span, he's got an impressive 70 K's.
Gonzalez, who blew away the only hitter (Jay Bruce) he faced in the All Star game, is 4-2 with a 2.96 ERA during the day. These numbers are no 1-year fluke either. Last season, he was 7-1 with a 2.17 ERA during the day and 8-3 with a 2.56 ERA at home.
Last year, opposing batters hit only .199 against Gonzalez here at Oakland. This year, they're only hitting .189 against him here. Speaking of ".189." Gonzalez has a 1.89 ERA his last three starts. In his last two home starts, he's gone 2-0 and allowed one earned run in 15 combined innings. The A's are 6-1 his last seven starts here and 13-4 his last 17 here.
Admittedly, Pineiro has also been solid. (I won with the Angels in his Independence Day start.) However, with a 3.70 ERA and 1.422 WHIP his numbers aren't in the same class as Gonzalez's numbers. Those numbers could easily be worse too, as opposing hitters are batting .299 against him on the season including .332 for left-handed hitters.
The Angels are already 0-2 in Pineiro's two starts against the A's this season. His teams are an ugly 4-9 his last 13 starts vs. the A's, including 1-4 his last five here at Oakland.
On the other hand, the A's are 5-2 in Gonzalez's seven career starts vs. the Angels, including 2-0 the last two here at Oakland. The A's won those two games by a combined score of 22-0 (14-0 and 8-0!) with Gonzalez allowing just five hits through 13 shutout innings. Look for Gonzalez to get the better of Pineiro and for the A's to follow up last night's thriller with another big win here. *10
|07-16-11||Boston Red Sox v. Tampa Bay Rays -137||Top||9-5||Loss||-137||15 h 45 m||Show|
I'm playing on TAMPA. I won with the Rays yesterday and I'm coming right back with them this afternoon. The Rays scored a whopping nine runs yesterday. While all those runs were certainly welcome for a team which has struggled to hit at home, the Rays likely won't need that many here. Not with Shields on the mound.
While he often hasn't received much run support, Shields has been superb all season. Last time out, pitching at Yankee Stadium, he allowed just four hits and a single unearned run. Yet, suffered a very tough 1-0 loss. That gives him a 2.33 ERA in 19 starts this season. Despite a few recent tough losses, the Rays were still a profitable 12-7 (+2.7) in those games.
Shields has been particularly stingy at home. In nine starts here, he's got a 2.05 ERA and 0.981 WHIP. He's averaged a very healthy 7.8 innings per start here and has an extremely impressive 74 K's in 70 1/3 innings, walking just 15.
It should also be noted that Shields has a terrific 1.41 ERA in eight daytime starts. Opposing batters are hitting a mere .189 in those games.
Shields should finally get some run support here. Lackey was tough last time out and has shown signs of coming around lately. That said, he's still 6-8 with a terrible 6.83 ERA in 14 starts this season. It should also be noted that Lackey has a brutal 8.65 ERA in seven daytime starts this season. Opposing hitters are batting a whopping .308 in those games. Here he'll face a Tampa lineup which gained some much needed confidence with yesterday's "outburst."
With yesterday's victory, the Rays are now a profitable 36-20 (+8.2) the past few seasons, when listed as home favorites in the -125 to -150 range. That includes a lucrative 14-6 mark (+5.7) this season.
The Rays are also now 7-3 the last 10 times that they were a host in this series. I expect Shields to get the better of Lackey and for the Rays to follow up yesterday's big win with another important one this afternoon. *10
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