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|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|05-28-11||Arizona Diamondbacks v. Houston Astros -112||Top||11-3||Loss||-112||9 h 31 m||Show|
I'm playing on HOUSTON. The Diamondbacks rallied for a comeback victory (7-6) in yesterday's series opener. Today, however, I expect the Astros to have the advantage.
Having returned from the disabled list, Duke will be making his first start of the season and first start as a member of the Dbax. That's not necessarily good news for Arizona though. Indeed, Duke was just 8-15 with an awful 5.72 ERA for Pittsburgh last season. Going back further finds him at a dismal 27-53 the past four seasons. He hasn't had an ERA below four since 2005. Note that Duke pitched 5 1/3 innings in his final rehab start at Triple-AAA Reno, on Monday. He allowed five runs on seven hits in that game, so wasn't exactly dominant.
Also, note that Duke is 0-2 with a 4.38 ERA in four starts (five total outings) at Minute Maid Park.
Rodriguez was supposed to go for the Astros but he got scratched. That would have likely been "fine" for Houston, as Rodriguez has pitched well recently. However, I also feel that Bud Norris should be able to "take care of business."
Through 10 starts, Norris has a fairly respectable 3.77 ERA. However, that only tells part of the story. A closer look reveals that he's been terrible on the road but excellent here at home. In four road starts, he's 0-3 with a 6.55 ERA. Opposing hitters are batting a whopping .330 in those games. On the other hand, in six home starts, he's gone 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA. Opposing hitters are batting a mere .196 in those games. Norris has struggled vs. the Dbax but he's only ever pitched one inning against them here at Houston, back in 2009 - his last two starts against them came at Arizona. And, we've seen he's pitched very well here this season.
While they've been rolling recently, most of their success has come at home. The Dbax are still below .500 on the road, including a money-burning 2-8 (-5.6) mark as road underdogs in the +100 to +125 range.
While Duke would love to make a "triumphant return," I expect it to be the Astros which bounce back and even up the series. *10 (Personal Favorite)
|05-27-11||Cincinnati Reds v. Atlanta Braves -155||Top||5-1||Loss||-155||9 h 5 m||Show|
I'm playing on ATLANTA. I expect the Braves to have a number of advantages in this one. While they're fairly heavy favorites, I feel that the price could easily be much higher than it currently is. Lets check it out.
For starters, the Reds are 11-14 on the road. The Braves are 14-10 at home. The Braves are also currently playing better baseball. They've won three of four. The Reds have now dropped eight of nine.
In addition to having homefield advantage and being the "hotter" team, the Braves also have the schedule in their favor. While Atlanta had yesterday off, the Reds were busy getting thumped 10-4 by the Phillies. The Reds could have really used the day off too, as they were off a 19-inning marathon the previous day. That game ended at 1:19 am and then they had to play an early game the following day. The effects of those back to back losses still figure to "linger" here. Indeed, the Reds will now be playing their 15th game in 15 days.
After facing the likes of Hamels, Halladay and Lee at Philadelphia, the last thing the Reds needed was to see Tommy Hanson to start this series. Hanson checks in with a 4-0 record and a sparkling 2.09 ERA (44 K's) over his last six outings. In five home starts, Hanson is 3-1 with a superb 2.05 ERA and 0.946 WHIP. In his last game here, he allowed just three hits and one earned run through seven complete innings. He had 10 K's and 1 walk and earned a 3-2 victory.
The Reds have been struggling offensively - no surprise, given some of the pitchers they faced. Bruce has continued to hit well for them though and has helped to carry the load. They may not be able to count on much from him here though. Not only is he hitless vs. Hanson, but he's 1 for 21 with 9 K's, his last six games against Atlanta overall.
Leake, on the other hand, hasn't started in the majors since 5/3. He got rocked for seven runs in 3 2/3 innings in that outing and sent back down to the minors. He's got an ugly 5.77 ERA in six starts this season. Note that Leake allowed eight runs over 7 1/3 innings in two appearances at Louisville. So, he wasn't exactly dominating down there either!
The Braves have been excellent as home favorites of this size. In fact, they're 39-19 (+8.1) the past few seasons, when listed as home favorites in the -150 to -175 range. That includes a 6-1 mark (+4.4) their last seven in that role. With Hanson getting the better of Leake, I expect them to pad those stats, starting the homestand with a solid victory. *10
|05-27-11||Cleveland Indians v. Tampa Bay Rays -149||Top||0-5||Win||100||9 h 50 m||Show|
I'm playing on TAMPA BAY. I played against the Rays in each of their three games at Detroit. I went 2-0 with those three plays. The third was rained out. That postponement wasn't so good for me, as I was already winning 2-0 with the Tigers. It did, however, provide Tampa with a little good fortune though. Additionally, the Rays got to follow it up with a day off yesterday. Now well-rested, back at home and facing a team which they have dominated here, I expect them to get back on track.
Its true that the Indians have gotten off to a very good start. They dropped the final two games of the Boston series by a combined score of 18-4 though. Those losses may well prove to be a sign of what's to come over the next week, as the Indians plays six more consecutive games against teams from the AL East.
Playing here at Tampa has not been kind to the Tribe the past few seasons. Indeed, the Indians are just 2-10 their last 12 visits here. That includes a 1-5 mark last season. Note that the Indians are also a money-burning 12-22 (-8.2) the past 34 times that they allowed double-digits in runs in their previous game.
While the Rays initially may seem "expensive," keep in mind that they were laying a minimum of -195 (and as much as -260) for all six games here last season. Perhaps more importantly, keep in mind that the Rays are an outstanding 71-26 (+28.9) the last 97 times that they were listed as home favorites in the -150 to -175 range.
Admittedly, Tomlin has pitched very well for the Indians. He wasn't particularly "dominant" against the Rays, at Cleveland, a few weeks ago though. That was his first start against Tampa and he gave up six hits and three runs in six innings, which translates to a 4.50 ERA. He didn't factor in the decision. Note that Tomlin doesn't strike out that many batters and that he had a 4.56 ERA last season. Like the Indians, I expect him to start to come back down to earth.
On the other hand, Price "dominated" the Indians at Cleveland this season. In fact, he snapped the Indians' 14-game home winning streak, allowing just two runs on five hits, through eight complete innings. Price had 7 K's and 0 walks in that game. He's now 3-0 with a stellar 2.59 ERA in four starts against Cleveland. Tampa won the 5/11 game by a score of 8-2. The Rays have won Price's last three starts vs. the Indians by a combined score of 20-7.
The Rays are 13-7 in Price's last 20 home starts, including 3-1 his last four here. He threw shutouts of eight or more innings in two of his last four starts here.
The Rays, 6-2 their last eight home games against AL Central teams, can't afford to fall further behind in the ultra-competitive AL East. Behind another strong effort from Price, I expect them to start the series with a victory. *10
|05-26-11||Arizona Diamondbacks v. Colorado Rockies -159||Top||6-3||Loss||-159||10 h 2 m||Show|
I'm playing on COLORADO. The Diamonds are off back to back wins and have taken two of the first three meetings. Today, however, I expect the Rockies to bounce back and salvage the series split.
I successfully played against the Rockies in Mortenson's last start. However, even though Colorado lost (3-2) Mortensen still pitched well. He allowed just five hits and two earned runs through 6 2/3 innings. In six outings this season (3 starts) he now has an excellent 2.17 ERA and 1.034 WHIP.
Manager Jim Tracy said this of Mortensen: "He's been nothing short of terrific."
I played against the Rockies in Mortensen's last start in large part because I didn't expect Mortensen to get much run support. I don't feel that will be much of an issue here though. Not only do the Rockies hit better at home than they do on the road, but they'll be facing a pitcher making just his second start since 2009.
Owings spent all of last season as a reliever for the Reds. He wasn't effective. In 22 appearances, he had an ugly 5.40 ERA and 1.59 WHIP. The previous season, in 2009, he had 26 appearances, 19 of them starts. He was 7-12 with a 5.34 ERA and 1.59 WHIP. In the offseason, he signed a minor-league deal to return to the Diamondbacks organization. He made this season's first appearance with Arizona on 5/21 and proceeded to give up four runs (3 earned) in just 5 1/3 innings. During that stretch, he gave up seven hits, two of them home runs. That was against a Minnesota team which has really struggled, too.
While they did manage a 2-1 victory yesterday, the Dbax entered Wednesday's action hitting only .224 and averaging only 3.4 runs per game on the road. The Rockies, on the other hand, entered yesterday's action averaging 5.0 runs per game at home, hitting .255.
Note that the Dabx are a money-burning 21-36 (-9.3) the past few seasons, when playing a road game with an O/U line of nine or 9.5. During the same stretch, the Rockies are a lucrative 61-30 (+16) when playing a home game with an O/U line of nine or 9.5. With Mortensen getting the better of Owings, I look for the Rockies to improve on those stats here. *10
|05-26-11||Chicago White Sox v. Toronto Blue Jays UNDER 8||Top||3-1||Win||100||8 h 11 m||Show|
I'm playing on Chicago and Toronto to finish UNDER the total. The Jays saw all three of their games against the Yankees finish above the total. They're back home now though where three of their last four have finished below the number. I expect a well pitched affair.
Humber has been quite tough for the White Sox. Indeed, in eight starts, he's got an excellent 2.86 ERA and 0.894 WHIP. He hasn't gotten much run support though and as a result the UNDER has gone a highly profitable 7-1 in his eight starts, including a perfect 4-0 in his four road starts. I feel that lack of run support may well again be an issue for Humber here.
The White Sox are averaging a mere 3.6 runs, when playing during the evening, hitting only .236 in those games. Today, they'll face Brandon Morrow. Morrow's numbers admittedly aren't that great yet. However, he's got excellent stuff and is a very highly capable pitcher. The fact that he's got 43 K's in 32 innings shows how dominant he can be. I like that he's only allowed one home run in his six starts, none in his last three.
While the White Sox relievers have a "respectable" 3.89 ERA on the road, the Jays relievers have an excellent 2.83 ERA at home.
While the Sox have struggled to score during the evening, the Jays are hitting a mere .241 vs. right-handers, averaging only 4.2 runs. Those numbers are down considerably from their stats vs. southpaws.
The Sox have seen the UNDER go 27-17-2 the past few seasons, when listed as road underdogs in the +125 to +150 range. That includes a 3-1-1 UNDER mark their last five in that role. During that stretch, the Jays have seen the UNDER go 3-0 when listed as home favorites in the -125 to -150 range. I expect those numbers to get even better after tonight. *10
|05-25-11||Washington Nationals v. Milwaukee Brewers UNDER 7.5||Top||4-6||Loss||-110||3 h 35 m||Show|
I'm playing on Washington and Milwaukee to finish UNDER the total. The first two games of this series have each finished above the total, averaging 13.5 runs. I expect a much lower-scoring contest this afternoon.
For starters, note that neither team has hit particularly well during the afternoon. The Nationals, who rarely hit well no matter what the time of day, are hitting only .224 and averaging 3.6 runs, when playing during the afternoon. The Brewers are batting a mediocre .256 while averaging 4.2 runs during the day, stats which are down from their overall numbers at home.
Greinke gets the call. His overall numbers aren't admittedly that great yet. However, his K/W ratio is outstanding (In 21 2/3 innings over four starts, he's struck out 29 while walking only two!) and I believe its only a matter of time before he starts to really shine. Last time out, while he did allow four runs, he had 9 K's and 0 walks. Clearly, he's still capable of dominating hitters.
Facing Washington for the first time should provide an excellent opportunity to do just that. Note that Greinke did once face the Expos (back in 2004) and that he tossed seven shutout innings, allowing only three hits and 0 walks.
Marquis wasn't great last time out but had previously been off back to back quality starts. He faced the Brewers once already this season. In that 4/17 game, he allowed just two runs through seven complete innings, outpitching Gallardo.
Note that Marquis has been better during the afternoon than at night, both this season and during his career. Also, note that he's got a stellar 2.23 ERA in five career starts at Miller Park. I expect a well-pitched affair. *10
|05-24-11||Seattle Mariners v. Minnesota Twins UNDER 8||Top||2-4||Win||100||10 h 31 m||Show|
I'm playing on Minnesota and Seattle to finish UNDER the total. Yesterday's series opener was "over" by the bottom of the fourth inning. With both starting pitchers currently in excellent form. I'm expect a much lower-scoring affair this evening. (*I also feel that the O/U, which has now climbed from 7.5 to 8 at some shops, is providing us with very fair value.)
While the bats came alive yesterday, keep in mind that the Mariners entered this series hitting a mere .230 and averaging 3.5 runs per game. Not to be outdone, the Twins entered the series averaging 3.4 runs per game, hitting only .232.
Fister goes for Seattle. He's gone eight innings in each of his last two starts, allowing a total of three earned runs in that span.
Unfortunately, for Fister, the Mariners rarely provide him with any run support. That was the case last season and it has been again fairly regularly this season. He last start finished with a score of 2-1. Note that Fister also has a very respectable 3.66 ERA in three career matchups against Minnesota.
With Blackburn on the mound, Fister likely won't get that much help here tonight either. Blackburn has been very solid for the season and he's got a superb 1.71 ERA his last three starts 2-0 and has an even better 1.63 ERA in four starts this month. Last time out, he gave up just one run and five hits through seven complete innings.
Blackburn is also 2-1 with a 3.13 ERA in six career matchups against the Mariners and he held them to only two hits over 8 2/3 shutout innings in his last start against them. Coincidentally, Fister was the opposing pitcher that day. Fister allowed only one run through seven innings - but got no run support - and the final score finished at 1-0. I expect another well-pitched game. *10
|05-23-11||Cincinnati Reds v. Philadelphia Phillies -162||Top||3-10||Win||100||17 h 35 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHILADELPHIA. The Phillies are relatively high priced favorites here. However, given how many advantages they should enjoy, I feel that the price could easily be higher. Lets take a closer look.
For starters, the Phillies are currently playing better baseball. Even with a loss yesterday, they've still won two of three and three of five. On the other hand, the Reds have now lost five straight.
Next, the game is being played at Philadelphia. Naturally, that favors the home team. The Reds are 10-11 on the road. The Phillies are 16-9 here at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies have also owned the Reds here. In fact, they've won eight straight home games in the series. The Phillies have shut out the Reds in four of the last five overall, winning seven straight.
Additionally, the Phillies have a better starting pitcher and also one who is currently in better current form. Hamels allowed one run in eight complete innings last time out, winning 2-1. For the season, he's 5-2 with a 2.92 ERA. Conversely, Arroyo allowed five runs last time out, losing 5-0. For the season, he's 3-4 with a 4.11 ERA.
Over his last three starts, Arroyo has 10 K's and 3 walks. By comparison, Hamels has 24 K's with just 3 walks in his last three starts.
Also, note that Hamels has also been MUCH better against today's opponent. In fact, he's dominated the Reds while Arroyo has been pounded by the Phillies.
Hamels has allowed only one run in 23 2/3 innings in winning all three of his career home starts against the Reds. That's a 0.38 ERA! The Phillies won those three games by a combined score of 28-1! Overall, Hamels is 7-0 (Phillies are 8-0) with a 0.90 ERA and 0.855 WHIP vs. the Reds.
On the other hand, Arroyo is 1-5 with a 5.32 ERA vs. the Phillies. That includes an awful 8.10 ERA in his last four regular-season starts against Philadelphia, Arroyo taking the loss in each.
Not that they should need any more help, given Hamels' dominance of the Reds, but the Phillies are expecting to get Chase Utley back here, which can only help the offense. Even if he doesn't immediately return and go 3 for 4, his presence alone can provide a boost.
As Raul Ibanez noted of Utley's return: "It's not only what he does for you on the field, but what he does in the clubhouse. It's a big boost for us."
I expect Hamels to get the better of Arroyo and for the Phillies to continue their domination in this series - and all things considered, I feel the price is more than reasonable. *10
|05-22-11||Chicago Cubs v. Boston Red Sox -195||Top||1-5||Win||100||9 h 48 m||Show|
I'm playing on BOSTON. The Red Sox entered the series on a big winning streak and they won Friday's opener by a score of 15-5. Yesterday, the Cubs scored eight runs in the eighth inning, en route to earning a 9-3 victory and evening up the series. Tonight, however, I expect the Red Sox to bounce right back and resume their winning ways.
Now 7-1 their last eight, the Red Sox send veteran Tim Wakefield to the mound. Wakefield's numbers (0-1, 5.40 ERA) admittedly aren't very good and he's only made two starts. One was good. The other wasn't.
Wakefield still knows how to pitch though and he typically fares well against National League opponents, who aren't as familiar with his knuckleball. Note that Wakefield is 3-1 with a 3.81 ERA in five career starts against the Cubs and that he's 9-4 against National League opponents over the past five years.
Note that Chicago's Marlon Byrd, who is 4 for 8 lifetime against Wakefield, isn't expected to play, after getting hit by a pitch yesterday. He was replaced by Reed Johnson yesterday - Johnson is 2 for 18 vs. Wakefield.
Wakefield should get some solid run support. For starters, he's backed by a Boston lineup which is averaging 6.28 runs per game, its last seven games.
More importantly, the Cubs' pitching situation is a real mess right now. Already dealing with some injury issues, the Cubs will now be without Garza tonight. That means James Russell is expected to get the "spot start."
Garza was quoted as saying: "I haven't missed a start for anything. This is a first. It stinks. I feel like I let my team down..."
As for Russell, he's 0-4 with a horrific 10.05 ERA in four starts this season. He never lasted through the fifth inning in any of them. Note that the Cubs have lost Russell's two road starts by a combined score of 16-4.
Making matters worse, Russell just pitched three innings out of the bullpen on Friday night!
Even with yesterday's result, the Cubs are still 15-20 in IL play the past few seasons while the Red Sox are still 25-13, during the same stretch. I expect the Sox to bounce right back, improving on those numbers and closing out the series and weekend with a convincing victory. *10
|05-22-11||Minnesota Twins v. Arizona Diamondbacks UNDER 8||Top||2-3||Win||106||5 h 3 m||Show|
I'm playing on Minnesota and Arizona to finish UNDER the total. The first two games of this series have both finished above the total. In fact, each produced 15 combined runs. However, with a pair of red hot pitchers on the mound, I don't even expect half that many runs in this afternoon's finale.
Hudson takes the mound for Arizona. I was 2-0 in his last start, successfully playing on both Arizona and the "under." Hudson rewarded my trust by allowing just one run through seven complete innings. That gives him a 1.74 ERA his last three starts, all of which stayed below the total. They had scores of 6-1, 3-2 and 6-0. That brings the UNDER to a profitable 7-2 in his nine starts this season.
Liriano's overall numbers remain poor. However, that's due to a slow start. Lately, he's been "on fire." Last time out, pitching at Seattle, he outpitched Feliz Hernandez. Liriano had 9 K's and only one walk and allowed a mere three hits and one run, through seven complete innings. The final score was 2-1. In his previous road start, he threw a "no hitter," earning a 1-0 win at Chicago. Including that result, the UNDER is a perfect 5-0 in his road starts.
The Twins are still only batting .221 on the road and just .229 vs. right-handers. Meanwhile, Arizona is batting just .238 vs. southpaw starters.
Hudson's lone start (back in 2009) vs. Minnesota stayed below the total while Liriano will have the advantage of starting against Arizona for the first time. I expect a well-pitched affair. *10
|05-21-11||Texas Rangers v. Philadelphia Phillies -152||Top||0-2||Win||100||8 h 6 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHILADELPHIA. I won with the Phillies yesterday and I'm coming right back with them again today.
Cliff Lee gets the call for the Phillies. As you probably remember, Lee helped the Rangers get all the way to the World Series last year, but then left for Philadelphia in the offseason.
Naturally, the Rangers would like to beat Lee. Even Lee noted: "You want to try to beat everyone, especially the guy who didn't come back to your team."
Lee figures to be highly motivated himself though, too. With the game being played here at Philadelphia, I expect the Phillies to again have the advantage.
Including yesterday's result, the Rangers are 8-13 on the road. The Phillies, on the other hand, are 15-8 at home.
Like Lee, Colby Lewis can be very tough. While he's off a great start, note that Lewis has a 2.34 ERA during the day but just a 4.08 ERA during the evening. Lewis is backed by a Texas offense that's hitting only .238 and averaging only 3.7 runs on the road though. Also, while the Phillies bullpen has a combined 2.78 ERA, the Texas relievers have a combined 4.23 ERA.
Lee has made seven home starts since last September, three with Texas and four with Philadelphia. ALL seven were of the quality variety. Facing his former team, I expect him to rise to the occasion and deliver another quality outing and for that to lead to another Phillies victory. *10
|05-20-11||Cincinnati Reds v. Cleveland Indians UNDER 8.5||Top||4-5||Loss||-103||8 h 16 m||Show|
I'm playing on Cincinnati and Cleveland to finish UNDER the total. Eleven of the last 19 games in this series have fallen below the number. The UNDER is also 10-6 the last 16 times that the Reds played here at Cleveland. I expect this year's first meeting to also result in a well-pitched affair.
The Indians have hit well so far this season and they began the week by scoring a ton of runs vs. the Royals. However, their bats cooled off significantly the past couple of days. In fact, the Indians only managed two total runs in the two games vs. Chicago. Now, in addition to the fact that they're dealing with some injuries to their offense, the Indians will be facing a red hot pitcher - and seeing him for the first time.
Travis Wood gets the call and he's 2-0 with a superb 1.93 ERA in three May starts. In his last road start, Wood tossed 6 2/3 shutout innings at Houston. He had 6 K's and only walked one batter. Wood earned the "W," in a 6-1 Cincinnati victory, a game which stayed below the total. Overall Wood has been very solid on the road, far better than he has been at home. Also, note that he's only allowed one home run in four road starts, a span of 24 2/3 innings.
Alex White goes for Cleveland. He's only made two starts but both have been of the "quality" variety. Those games finished with scores of 4-3 and 3-2. While will face a Reds' lineup which has also struggled the past couple of days. Cincy hit a mere .219 while losing back-to-back games vs. Pittsburgh. The Reds scored just three combined runs in the series.
Now the Reds take to the road, where they're hitting only .244 as a team. The UNDER is already 4-1-1 in their May road games (average of 6.7 runs per game) and I look for those stats to improve here. *10
|05-19-11||San Francisco Giants v. Los Angeles Dodgers UNDER 6.5||Top||3-1||Win||100||11 h 5 m||Show|
I'm playing on LA and San Francisco to finish UNDER the total. Yesterday's series opener saw 13 runs scored, an 8-5 victory for the Giants. Given the current form of the starters, I don't expect to see even half that many this evening.
Billingsley checks in for the Dodgers. His last start resulted in a 1-0 loss. His previous two starts both resulted in 4-1 losses. That certainly hasn't been Billingsley's fault though. Indeed, he's posted a 1.64 ERA and 0.864 WHIP during that stretch. Two of those games came here at LA, which gives him an outstanding 1.24 ERA and 0.655 WHIP here in four starts this season. Those games averaged just four combined runs!
The UNDER is now 6-0-1 in Billingsley's last seven home starts, dating back to the beginning of last September.
Note that Billingsley also has a 5-1 record and 2.56 ERA in eight career starts vs. the Giants here at Dodger Stadium. The UNDER is 4-1-1 the last six of those.
Unfortunately for Billingsley, he's unlikely to get much run support again tonight.
Bumgarner goes for the Giants and he's got a superb 1.80 ERA his last four starts, allowing just five earned runs in 25 innings. He hasn't gotten any run support either though and the UNDER is 4-1 his last five starts, all of which were of the "quality" variety.
Note that Bumgarner's lone start at Dodger Stadium stayed below the total. He allowed one earned run in 5 2/3 innings.
While an O/U line of 6.5 is low, note that the Dodgers entered the series averaging only 2.7 runs per game at home, hitting a mere .235, while the Giants entered the series averaging just 3.7 on the road, hitting .239.
Even with yesterday's result, the Giants have still seen the UNDER go 14-9-2 when playing in the evening. I expect another well-pitched affair. *10
|05-19-11||Tampa Bay Rays v. Toronto Blue Jays -130||Top||2-3||Win||100||8 h 10 m||Show|
I'm playing on TORONTO. The Rays grabbed yesterday's series opener and they've admittedly played very well on the road. I expect the Jays to have the advantage in this evening's series "finale" though. I respect both starting pitchers and both are very capable. However, the Jays' starter was much better last time out.
Romero gets the call and he's off an outstanding start, his best of the season. He had a no-hitter much of the way and finished by allowing just four hits through 8 2/3 shutout innings. He had 8 K's and the Jays won 2-0.
Davis, on the other hand, wasn't so great last time out. He allowed four runs and lasted just 5 2/3 innings. He gave up seven hits (2 HRs) and issued three walks, while only striking out three.
The Jays are a respectable 22-15 (+1.2) the past few seasons, as home favorites in the -125 to -150 range. The Rays were 18-19 as road underdogs in the +100 to +125 range. Going back further finds them at a money-burning 83-117 (-24.6) their last 200 in that role.
The Jays have really struggled during the afternoon but remain a terrific 16-8 (+11) when playing during the evening. They desperately want to "stay in the race" and to avoid falling below .500. Behind another big game from Romero, I look for them to do just that. *10
|05-18-11||Cleveland Indians v. Chicago White Sox UNDER 8.5||Top||0-1||Win||100||10 h 51 m||Show|
I'm playing on Chicago and Cleveland to finish UNDER the total. The Indians have been on quite the "over" roll. However, I expect that streak to come to an end for tonight's opener at Chicago.
Masterson gets the call. He's off a rare rough outing, taking a loss vs. Tampa Bay. I believe that we can cut him a bit of slack though, as he was 5-0 with a 2.11 ERA before that. He's still 2-0 with a very impressive 1.86 ERA in three road starts this season, two of which stayed below the total. Note that he didn't allow a single home run in any of those three games. In fact, he's only allowed one home run in all eight starts combined.
In addition to this season's outstanding stats, Masterson has also dominated the White Sox of late. In his last three starts in this series, he's allowed just three combined runs, one in each start. He was 2-0 with a spectacular 1.33 ERA in those games, the last two of which both stayed below the total.
Note that Masterson is also 1-0 with a stellar 1.84 ERA in three lifetime starts at U.S. Cellular Field.
Peavy gets the call for the White Sox. The one-time Padre ace made his first start last time out. While he gave up four runs, I felt he was solid and believe he can build on that effort. I liked the fact that he didn't walk a batter and didn't allow a home run, over six complete innings.
After that start, Peavy was quoted as saying: "I thought I had pretty good stuff tonight, and plenty of stuff to compete at this level and expect to win. I just didn't catch any breaks, but I'm as excited as I can be to go out there and compete with the boys."
With another low-scoring game here last night, the UNDER is now a lucrative 12-5-1 in games played here this season. Those games averaged less than eight runs (7.7) and I look for another relatively low-scoring affair here. *10
|05-18-11||Colorado Rockies v. Philadelphia Phillies -135||Top||1-2||Win||100||9 h 36 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHILADELPHIA. The Phillies were beaten by a tough left-handed starter yesterday. However, they're still a profitable 70-43 against southpaw starters the past few seasons. That includes a 9-2 record their last 11 against left-handed starters. They're also 13-4 against the Rockies the past few seasons, including 7-2 as a host. I expect them to have the edge in this evening's 'all southpaw' series opener.
True, Hamels did struggle in his only career start vs. the Rockies. However, that came back in 2009 and it was his very first start of the season - and it was at Coors Field. Since that time, he's continued to prove more than capable. In his last three home starts, all of which were of the "quality" variety, Hamels has allowed just six earned runs in 23 innings. That's a 2.35 ERA. During that stretch, he's got an impressive 22 K's to just four walks.
While the Phillies offense has admittedly struggled recently, I expect them to provide Hamels with some solid run support here.
De La Rosa checks in with a solid 5-1 record and he managed a win in his last start. However, he didn't "deserve" the "W" as he gave up five runs on nine hits in just 5 2/3 innings of work. Afterwards, he was quoted as saying: "I was not so good today..." Now, he faces a
Philadelphia team which crushed him in the past. Indeed, he's 0-3 with an awful 11.34 ERA and 2.04 WHIP in four starts vs. the Phillies. That includes a 12.46 ERA his last three starts against the Phillies.
In fact, in two lifetime starts here at Citizen's Bank Park, De La Rosa has allowed 14 runs in 8 1/3 innings. That translates to a 15.12 ERA! The Phillies won each of those games by a minimum of seven, 7-0 and 20-5!
While the Rockies may initially appear to offer good value at this price, keep in mind that they're an awful 16-28 (-6.4) the last 44 times that they were listed as road underdogs in the +125 to +150 range. Going back further finds them at a money-burning 115-204 (-46.7) their last 300+ in that situation.
I expect Hamels to be the better "southpaw" and for the Phillies to bounce back and start the series with a "statement" win. *10
|05-17-11||Milwaukee Brewers v. Los Angeles Dodgers -127||Top||0-3||Win||100||11 h 6 m||Show|
I'm playing on the LA DODGERS. The Brewers took the opener of this 2-game series last night. Tonight, I look for the Dodgers to bounce back and avoid the "sweep."
Tonight' starting pitching matchup features Wolf vs. Kuroda. Both starters have shown flashes of brilliance. However, both have also struggled at times. That said, Kuroda has been a little more "consistent" and is coming off a much better outing, last time out. I expect him to follow it up with another quality effort here.
Two starts ago, Wolf gave up six runs in five innings, suffering a 6-0 loss. Last time out, Wolf was even worse. He gave up 12 hits and five runs in just 3 1/3 innings.
On the other hand, Kuroda was dominant in his last start. He allowed just three hits through seven shutout innings.
That prompted Mattingly to comment: "He can do pretty much what he wants with the baseball, if he's going."
He's had two tough outings. In his other six starts he's gone 4-1 with a superb 1.90 ERA.
Even with yesterday's victory, the Brewers are still just 7-15 on the road.
The Dodgers have enjoyed plenty of success vs. southpaw starters. The price is very reasonable and I look for them to bounce back with a much-needed victory here. *10
|05-16-11||Los Angeles Angels v. Oakland A's -132||Top||4-5||Win||100||12 h 5 m||Show|
I'm playing on OAKLAND. The Angels took two of three from the A's at LA a few weeks ago. Tonight, I look for the A's to start off the series here at Oakland with a victory.
Admittedly, Pineiro has been pitching very well since coming off the disabled list. Its still a limited "sample size" though, as he's made just three starts, two on the road. Going back a bit further finds that he's not always very good away from home. The Angels are 1-1 in his road starts this season, but just 4-7 in his last 11 road starts, dating back to this time last season.
Over that 11-game road stretch, Pineiro has allowed 43 earned runs in 67 innings. That translates to a 5.78 ERA! Note that Pineiro walked four batters in his last road start.
The Angels bullpen has often been a team strength. That hasn't been the case lately though. LA relievers have an awful 7.36 ERA over the last seven games and have blown three saves in their last five chances.
Anderson has struggled in two starts vs. Texas. However, he has a superb 1.65 ERA in six starts against other opponents. In his last game here, Anderson tossed a complete game and allowed just two runs. He didn't walk a batter and didn't allow a home run.
While he doesn't always get much run support, Anderson is very tough here at home. A look at his last 17 starts here shows that he allowed three or fewer earned runs in 15 of them. In fact, he's allowed two or fewer earned runs in 15 of his last 20 starts here. Behind another quality outing from Anderson, I look for the A's to start the series with a victory. *10
|05-16-11||San Diego Padres v. Arizona Diamondbacks -114||Top||8-4||Loss||-114||12 h 43 m||Show|
I'm playing on ARIZONA. I successfully played on the Padres the last time that they faced Galarraga. However, that 5/6 matchup was being played at Petco Park. Also, the Padres had a starting pitcher going (Stauffer) who had a 1.83 ERA and 0.763 WHIP in his previous three starts. Tonight's game sets up much differently. Not only are the Padres now playing on the road, but they've also got a struggling starting pitcher on the mound.
After getting absolutely hammered last time out, Richard is now 0-3 with a terrible 6.43 ERA and 2.071 WHIP, his last three starts. He's got an even worse 7.97 ERA in four road starts.
In addition to the fact that he was on the road and facing a red hot pitcher, one of the reasons that I played against Galarraga in the 5/6 game was that he'd been giving up a lot of home runs. However, he's managed to improve in that area since, as he's allowed just one "long ball" the past two games. While his numbers still aren't great - they're better than Richard's road numbers - and he's showing signs of coming around. In his last home start, Galarraga allowed three runs through seven complete innings.
The Diamondbacks won 6-5 here last August (8/7) when facing Richard. The Padres' starter lasted just 3 2/3 innings and gave up five runs. Including that result, the Diamondbacks are a commanding 15-5 the last 20 times that they were a host in this series. I expect them to improve on those stats here. *10
|05-16-11||Toronto Blue Jays v. Detroit Tigers UNDER 8||Top||4-2||Win||100||9 h 53 m||Show|
I'm playing on Toronto and Detroit to finish UNDER the total. The Tigers saw yesterday's finale against the Royals postponed. That's tough luck for the Jays as it means that they'll have to face Max Scherzer this evening. Not only has Scherzer been excellent vs. Toronto, but he's been practically unhittable at home this season. Scherzer's four home starts this season have averaged a mere 4.75 combined runs and I expect another relatively low-scoring affair this evening.
In four starts here this season, Scherzer is 3-0 with a fantastic 0.96 ERA. He
|05-15-11||Boston Red Sox v. New York Yankees OVER 8.5||Top||7-5||Win||100||10 h 36 m||Show|
I'm playing on Boston and NY to finish OVER the total. The first two games of this series have both finished below the total. While tonight's starting pitchers are also capable, I expect the "bats to come to life" this evening.
Even with yesterday's 6-0 Boston win, the Red Sox and Yankees have still combined for a minimum of nine runs in seven of the last 11 meetings here at the Bronx and eight of the last 11 overall. Those 11 games produced an average of 10.7 runs per game.
Note that the Yankees have seen the OVER go 8-6-3 the past few seasons, after getting blanked in their previous game.
Garcia gets the call for the Yankees. While his overall numbers are very solid, a 1.778 WHIP his last three starts shows that he's been allowing far too many baserunners. That could easily catch up with him here, facing a Boston lineup which has started to find its groove.
Note that six of Garcia's last eight starts vs. Boston have produced a minimum of nine combined runs. Those eight games averaged 10.75 combined runs.
Admittedly, Lester can be tough. Also, he's had some success against the Yankees. That said, he got rocked last time out. In that start, he gave up seven hits, (and issued five walks!) en route to allowing five runs in just 5 1/3 innings, at Toronto. That game finished with a final score of 7-6.
As for Lester's success vs. the Yankees, note that six of his last eight starts against New York, including four of his last five, have still produced a minimum of nine runs.
Even with yesterday's result, the OVER is still a lucrative 4-1 the last five times that the Yankees played a home game with an O/U line of either eight or 8.5. I look for those stats to improve tonight. *10
|05-14-11||Toronto Blue Jays v. Minnesota Twins -113||Top||9-3||Loss||-113||6 h 35 m||Show|
I'm playing on MINNESOTA. The Twins enter this afternoon's game off a tough loss in yesterday's opener and mired in an extended losing streak. While this team appears to be in for a tough year overall, I do expect them to have an advantage here and for them to bounce back with a much needed victory.
Reyes goes for the Jays. We've enjoyed success playing against him in the past. That hasn't really required "picking the best spots," as he's been a great "go-against," almost all the time, these past few years. Indeed, he's 0-12 with a 6.11 ERA in his last 25 starts!
While Reyes will eventually snap that streak, he's hardly an "ace" - and I don't expect him to get much run support here. Not only have the Jays been dreadful when playing the during the afternoon, but Minnesota's Nick Blackburn has really started to pitch well recently.
In fact, Blackburn is 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in his last two outings. Note that Blackburn also has a stellar 2.33 ERA and 0.879 WHIP in three career starts against the Blue Jays. That includes a 1-0 mark this season. He allowed two earned runs or less in all three starts
Blackburn will face a Toronto team which is just 3-13 (-10.4) when playing during the afternoon, hitting a dismal .204 and averaging only 2.5 runs in those games.
Behind another quality outing from Blackburn, I look for the Twins to bounce back and avoid dropping 7-straight home games for the first time since 2007. *10
|05-13-11||Pittsburgh Pirates v. Milwaukee Brewers -162||Top||2-5||Win||100||10 h 29 m||Show|
I'm playing on MILWAUKEE. To say the the Brewers have owned the Pirates would be an understatement. With a pair of "blowout" wins (4-1 and 6-0) at Pittsburgh last month, they've now beaten the Pirates six straight times. Here at Milwaukee, they've beaten the Pirates six straight times and are a remarkable 28-2 the last 30 meetings in the series. With their ace on the mound and catching the Pirates off a 2.5 hour "rain delay" yesterday, I expect the Brewers to continue their dominance in this series, this evening.
Gallardo's stats admittedly aren't too good yet. However, despite a high 5.04 ERA and 1.48 WHIP here, he's still managed to go 2-0 (Brewers are 3-1) in four home starts. Also, his last outing (at St. Louis) showed that he's still more than capable. Indeed, he limited the Cardinals to one hit through eight shutout innings. Keep in mind that Gallardo was 14-7 with a 3.84 ERA last season, recording 200 K's for the second straight season.
Catcher Jonathan Lucroy said this of Gallardo's last start: "He showed what kind of pitcher he is. He was throwing strikes, getting ahead, and his stuff was just nasty. It was Yovani Gallardo. That's who he is. That's what he does."
McDonald has admittedly pitched well his last few starts. However, two of those came at home and the third was at "pitcher-friendly" Petco Park. Even with the quality start at San Diego, his road stats remain horrible. In four road starts, McDonald has an awful 9.00 ERA and 1.889 WHIP. He's averaged less than five innings per outing and has given up a whopping five home runs in 18 road innings. (*By comparison, Gallardo has gone 25 innings in his four home starts and has allowed just one home run.)
Note that McDonald got rocked in his lone start vs. the Brewers. He gave up six runs in 6 1/3 innings, en route to a 7-2 loss. (That translates to an 8.53 ERA.)
On the other hand, given Milwaukee's dominance of the Pirates, its no surprise to learn that Gallardo has owned the Pirates. He's made 10 starts against them and had gone 6-1 with a superb 1.80 ERA. The Brewers were 9-1 in those games, including 4-0 the last four. They've never lost a home game against the Pirates when Gallardo has been on the mound, going a perfect 5-0. (They won those games by a combined score of 33-9, which is an average score of 6.6 to 1.8 per game.
In fact, Gallardo hasn't allowed a single earned run in his last three starts against the Pirates and the Brewers won those games by a combined score of 28-5! All things considered, the price is more than fair and another "blowout" win by Gallardo's Brewers won't surprise. *10
|05-10-11||Chicago White Sox v. Los Angeles Angels UNDER 7.5||Top||2-6||Loss||-115||11 h 13 m||Show|
I'm playing on Chicago and LA to finish UNDER the total. Last night's series opener finished above the total by half a run, an 8-0
victory for Chicago. While I wouldn't go so far as to call that a "bad beat," that was somewhat of a tough loss for those who bet the
'under' as the score was just 4-0 entering the 7th inning. Either way, I expect a lower-scoring contest this evening.
Pineiro gets the call for the Angels. He's made just two starts but he's been superb in each of them. In fact, he's allowed just one run
in 12 2/3 combined innings. In his first start, he held the Red Sox to one run through seven complete innings. Last time out, he limited
the Rays to 0 runs and just three hits, through 5 2/3 innings. That translates to a 0.71 ERA and 0.947 WHIP!
While this is his first start here this season, note that Pineiro is 6-0 with a superb 1.63 ERA in his last 10 outings at Angel Stadium.
Pineiro's excellent form should come as no surprise to Chicago starter John Danks. Thus far, he seems to run into a hot opposing starter
(or at least the starter gets hot when he faced Danks) practically every time he takes the mound. Indeed, Danks has received a mere 3.26
runs per game, in terms of run support.
After last night's gem from Jackson, Chicago starters now have an outstanding 1.37 ERA during the last seven games. With Danks on the
mound, they should get another quality effort tonight. Not only does he have a solid 3.33 ERA in three road starts this season, but
Danks is also 2-0 with a terrific 1.71 ERA in four career starts in Anaheim. Overall, Danks has a 2.56 ERA in nine starts vs. the Angels, the UNDER going 6-2-1 in those games.
In three road starts this season, Danks has 21 K's to just three walks. Therefore, given those stats combined with the lack of run support which he has received, its no real surprise to learn that the UNDER is 3-0 in his three road starts, most recently a 3-0 loss at Detroit.
Even with last night's result, the UNDER is still 11-4-3 here and also 7-2-1 in Chicago's last 10 visits here. Pineiro's lone start against Chicago the last few seasons came last September and resulted in a 2-1 "pitcher's duel." I expect another low-scoring contest. *10
|05-09-11||Chicago White Sox v. Los Angeles Angels -141||Top||8-0||Loss||-141||12 h 50 m||Show|
I'm playing on the LA ANGELS. Both teams won yesterday. The Angels did so here at Anaheim though while the White Sox did so at Seattle, also having to play 10 innings. The Angels swept the White Sox at Chicago last month. With Santana on the mound, I expect them to have the edge again in this evening's opener.
The boxscore will show that Santana pitched only four innings last time out. However, that wasn't his fault. In fact, he had a no-hitter going through those four innings and had seven K's already. The only reason he came out of the game was because of a two-hour, 35-minute rain delay.
That gives Santanta a 3.18 ERA and 1.00 WHIP his last three starts. During that stretch, he's recorded 21 K's, while walking only four.
On the other hand, Jackson isn't in nearly as good form. Over his last three starts, he's had 10 walks while striking out only seven.
That's helped lead to an 0-3 record and an ugly 7.13 ERA and 1.811 WHIP.
In four road starts, Jackson is 1-3 with an awful 7.54 ERA and 2.029 WHIP. In addition to his problem with walks, opposing batters hit a whopping .344 against Jackson in those games.
While Santana is 4-3 with a 3.92 ERA vs. Chicago, Jackson is 2-4 with a 4.68 ERA vs. the Angels. Santana made two starts against the Sox last season and he allowed just a single earned run in 15 complete innings.
It should also be noted that the Angels bullpen has been superior to the Sox bullpen.
While the Sox are still just 3-8 their last 11, the Angels have won four of five. I expect them to keep on rolling here and feel the price is more than fair, given the current form of the starters. *10
|05-08-11||Atlanta Braves v. Philadelphia Phillies OVER 7||Top||5-2||Push||0||8 h 39 m||Show|
I'm playing on Philadelphia and Atlanta to finish OVER the total. I waited a bit to post this play, as I felt that the overnight O/U line of 7.5 would likely fall to seven. That's exactly what has happened (at least at many shops) and I'm now ready to jump in and make a play on the OVER.
Even with a couple of low-scoring games here to start this series, games here at Philadelphia are still averaging 8.3 combined runs per game.
Jurrjens brings a very good ERA into tonight's game. He's still given up 16 hits his last two starts though. More importantly, each of his last three starts have still finshed above the total, each producing a minimum of eight combined runs. He made one start against Philadelphia last season (also against Hamels) and it finished with nine combined runs.
Hamels has admittedly been tough lately. He's still got only a mediocre 4.34 ERA in three home starts though and the Braves will be seeing him for the second time in less than a month.
Even with the first two games being low-scoring, 11 of 18 meetings between these teams have still produced at least seven runs and 10 of those 18 games finished with more than seven. In the end, I look for the number to prove to be too low. *10
|05-08-11||Washington Nationals v. Florida Marlins -160||Top||0-8||Win||100||3 h 52 m||Show|
I'm playing on FLORIDA. The Nationals have grabbed the first two games of this series. However, I fully expect the Marlins to bounce back and avoid the sweep this afternoon.
Sanchez gets the call for the home team. While he's had some trouble on the road, Sanchez has been excellent here at Florida. In three home starts he's gone 1-0 with a 2.29 ERA and 0.966 WHIP. He averaged 6 2/3 innings per start and the Marlins won two of his three starts here.
Going back further and we find that the Marlins are 4-2 in Sanchez's last six home starts and 12-8 his last 20 starts here. Note that Sanchez allowed four earned runs or less in ALL 20 of those starts.
The Nats know all about how tough Sanchez can be. In his last seven starts against Washington, Sanchez is 2-0 with an outstanding 1.50. Going back further finds him at a perfect 5-0 with a 2.34 ERA in 14 career starts vs. the Nats. The Marlins were 10-4 in those games, including 4-0 the last four.
A closer look reveals that Sanchez has allowed two or fewer runs in nine straight starts vs. Washington. In his last four starts against the Nats, Sanchez has allowed a mere three earned runs over a span of 28 innings.
In fact, the Marlins are a perfect 7-0 in Sanchez's seven home starts vs. Washington, winning by a combined score of 36-16.
While Sanchez has excelled at home, Hernandez has struggled badly on the road. Indeed, he's 0-2 (Nats are 0-3) in three road starts, posting a terrible 6.23 ERA and 2.193 WHIP in those games. The Nats are now 4-12 his last 16 road starts. (That includes an 0-3 mark last May.)
Note that Hernandez's teams are just 1-5 his last six starts against Florida. In his starts here last month, Hernandez walked five batters, while striking out only one. That led to him giving up four runs and lasting just five innings.
The Marlins, who haven't lost four in a row all season, are still 12-4 the last 16 meetings in the series. With Sanchez "doing his thing" against the Nats, I expect them to bounce back and snap their skid. *10
|05-07-11||Detroit Tigers v. Toronto Blue Jays UNDER 7.5||Top||9-0||Loss||-115||6 h 42 m||Show|
I'm playing on Detroit and Toronto to finish UNDER the total. Yesterday's series opener sailed above the number. However, with Romero and Verlander squaring off against each other, I'm expecting a pitcher's duel this afternoon.
Romero gets the call for the Jays. He had his previous start pushed back a couple of days but says he currently feels "great." Of course, that almost always seems to be the case for him here. In three home starts, he's got an exceptional 1.74 ERA and 0.92 WHIP. His last start here finished with a score of 2-0. Romero had 10 K's with just one walk.
Romero made two starts against the Tigers in 2010. Both games stayed below the total.
Verlander averages nearly seven innings per start and already has 51 K's in 48 innings. While he had a bit of trouble with walks (had 8 K's and 4 walks in 6 innings) last time out, he still delivered a "quality start."
Verlander had some trouble with Toronto in the past. However, he "made things right" in two starts against the Jays last season. In those two 2010 outings, he allowed just four runs in 16 complete innings, two runs in eight complete innings in each start. His home start against the Jays on 7/22, which happened to be against Romero, finished with a score of 5-2. His start here at Toronto on 8/27 was even lower-scoring. It finished with a score of 3-2. Naturally, both games stayed below the total.
The Tigers are hitting just .241 against southpaw starters, averaging only 3.8 runs in those games. They also average just 3.9 runs in their day games, hitting only .246.
Meanwhile, the Jays are hitting a mere .214 when playing during the afternoon, averaging just 2.7 runs in those games. Not surprisingly, the UNDER is already 9-3-2 in their day games.
Even with yesterday's result, the Jays have still seen the UNDER go 6-1-1 their last eight. With both starters "doing their thing," I expect those stats to improve this afternoon. *10
|05-05-11||Milwaukee Brewers v. Atlanta Braves UNDER 7.5||Top||1-2||Win||100||8 h 14 m||Show|
I'm playing on Milwaukee and Atlanta to finish UNDER the total. This series has featured three relatively high-scoring games. Today, however, I expect pitching to steal center stage.
Marcum gets the call for Milwaukee. Through six starts, he's gone 3-1 with an excellent 2.21 ERA and 1.064 WHIP. He's averaged better than six innings per start and had 34 K's to just 11 walks.
Marcum has been at his best on the road, too. In four road starts, he's got a 1.09 ERA and 0.973 WHIP. Not surprisingly, three of those four games stayed below the total. A closer look reveals that he's allowed only one unearned run in 20 innings over his last three road starts, going 2-0 while holding opposing hitters to a .167 average.
Marcum is showing no signs of slowing down either. The former Jay has a 1.89 ERA and 0.947 WHIP. Last time out, he tossed seven shutout innings and allowed only three hits. The Brewers won 5-0.
Beachy has been very sharp as well recently, arguably even better than Marcum. In fact, over his last three starts he has the same ERA (1.89) as Marcum and an even better (0.579!) WHIP. Over those three starts, he's allowed only eight hits and four runs through 19 innings. He also has 19 K's to just three walks.
Today, Beach will face a Milwaukee lineup which is hitting only .189 the last seven games, averaging just 2.4 runs.
Beachy has made one start against the Brewers. He allowed just one run on four hits, recording seven K's and walking only one. That translates to a 1.50 ERA and 0.833 WHIP. Not surprisingly, the final score stayed below the total. It was 2-1.
Marcum has also made just one start against today's opponent. It also stayed below the total, a 4-2 Milwaukee victory. Marcum allowed two runs and five hits through six complete innings.
The Brewers, who lost 8-3 and 8-0 yesterday have seen the UNDER go a solid 77-57-3 the past few seasons when off a shutout loss. With both starters in excellent current form, I expect those stats to improve here. *10
|05-05-11||Baltimore Orioles v. Kansas City Royals -106||Top||1-9||Win||100||4 h 33 m||Show|
I'm playing on KANSAS CITY. After the Royals grabbed a 6-5 victory in the opener, the Orioles bounced back with a 3-2 victory yesterday. This afternoon, I look for the Royals to be the team which bounces back with a win.
Playing the final leg of a 7-game road trip, the O's may be getting a little road weary here. Its already been a winning trip and with division rival Tampa Bay on deck tomorrow, it would be easy to look ahead to the return trip home.
Regardless of whether or not that proves to be a factor, the Orioles have a number of other things going against them.
For starters, they're hitting just .239 when playing during the afternoon this season, averaging a mere 3.6 runs. On the other hand, KC is averaging 6.3 runs in the afternoon, scoring a whopping 6.3 runs in those games.
Baltimore's poor afternoon stats are nothing new. The O's are a dismal 37-59 (-10.3) in day games the past few seasons and their longterm numbers are even worse.
The O's are also awful against southpaws. Indeed, they're 44-76 (-15.7) their last 120 against left-handed starters, including 2-7 (-4.4) their last nine. This season, they're hitting .206 vs. southpaw starters averaging only 3.3 runs in those games.
Baltimore sends Tillman to the mound. To his credit, he held the White Sox to one run last time out. However, he did still allow six hits and two walks in just five innings of work - and he didn't record a single strikeout. Even with a victory in that game, he's still 1-2 with an ugly 6.75 ERA and 1.799 WHIP his last three starts.
Chen, a former Oriole, is 2-0 with a solid 3.55 ERA and 1.421 WHIP in four home starts. The Royals won all four of those games. Chen's teams are 2-0 in his two starts vs. Baltimore. All things considered, a price in the "pick'em range," seems very fair. *10
|05-04-11||Cleveland Indians v. Oakland A's -144||Top||1-3||Win||100||11 h 47 m||Show|
I'm playing on OAKLAND. The Indians have gotten off to a better start than the A's and they grabbed yesterday's series opener. I expect the A's to be the better team this evening though.
Both teams send red hot starters to the mound. Cahill goes for Oakland and he's 4-0 with a 1.88 ERA. Tomlin goes for Cleveland and he's 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA. Not a significant difference there. However, a closer look reveals that Cahill is 2-0 with a magnificent 0.92 ERA in his three home starts.
Also, Cahill's 33 K's are more impressive than Tomlin's 18. Tomlin has given up five home runs. Cahill has given up only two.
Looking back to last season and we find that Tomlin was 6-4 with a 4.56 ERA in 12 starts last year. On the other hand, Cahill was 18-8 with a 2.97 ERA last season.
Even with yesterday's loss, the A's are still 13-4 the last 17 times that they hosted the Indians. They're also 15-5 in Cahill's last 20 home starts, including 8-2 the last 10. Cahill allowed two or fewer earned runs in eight of those 10 starts, including 0 in five of them. I expect him to get the better of Tomlin tonight, as the A's bounce back and climb back over the .500 mark. *10
|05-04-11||Chicago Cubs v. Los Angeles Dodgers -120||Top||5-1||Loss||-120||4 h 16 m||Show|
I'm playing on the LA DODGERS. I won with the Dodgers in the first game of this series, a 5-2 LA victory. I didn't play yesterday's game; the Cubs bounced back with a 4-1 victory. I'm back on the Dodgers for this afternoon's rubber game though, as I expect them to enjoy an advantage on the mound.
Carlos Zambrano takes the mound for the visitors. Zambrano is still capable and is coming off a quality start in his last outing. He's also got a fairly impressive 3-1 record on the season. That all said, he was rocked by these same Dodgers in his previous start and he's got an ugly 5.60 ERA and 1.528 WHIP on the road, for the season.
While Zambrano has been fortunate to get a lot of run support, he's not likely to receive much this afternoon.
Zambrano's last three starts against the Dodgers have seen the Cubs score just nine combined runs, three in each. The Dodgers won 7-3, 10-3 and 7-3. That brings him to 0-4 with a 7.42 ERA his last five vs. LA.
Ted Lilly gets the call for the home team. While he's had some issues on the road, (including recently at Wrigley) the former Cub loves pitching here at Dodger Stadium. Since being traded from Chicago last July, he's gone 6-2 with a superb 2.23 ERA in nine starts here.
Lilly allowed one earned run or less in five of those nine starts, including each of his last two here this season. The Dodgers won those games by scores of 3-2 and 4-2 with Lilly allowing just a single earned run through 13 complete innings.
One further note about Lilly's time in LA. In all nine starts here since the July trade, he's allowed two or fewer walks.
The Cubs are a money-burning 78-94 (-38.9) the past 172 times that they were off a victory. During the same stretch, the Dodgers are a profitable 96-73 (+11.8) when coming off a loss. With Lilly delivering another solid home start, I expect them to bounce back and improve on those stats this afternoon. *10
|05-02-11||New York Yankees v. Detroit Tigers -120||Top||5-3||Loss||-120||9 h 15 m||Show|
I'm playing on DETROIT. The Tigers have really struggled on the road. Not only did they they lose two of three at New York earlier but they just got swept at Cleveland. They're back home now though, where they took three of four from the Yankees last year. Desperate to snap their skid and with their ace on the mound, I expect them to get this series started with a victory.
Verlander gets the nod and he's pitched MUCH better than his 1-2 home record indicates. In three stars here, he's averaging 7 1/3 innings and had a 3.27 ERA to go along with an outstanding 0.864 WHIP.
Dating back to last season, Verlander has now made eight straight quality starts here at Detroit. The Tigers were 6-2 in those games with Verlander allowing just 13 combined runs in 59 total innings. That translates to an average of greater than seven innings per outing and an ERA of only 1.98. Throw in the fact that he had 64 K's (and only 10 walks) and one can see that he's been very dominant here.
Going back further finds the Tigers at an impressive and profitable 15-5 in Verlander's last 20 starts here.
Its also worth noting that Verlander has always been tough at this time of year, as May has traditionally been his best month. Indeed, he's 18-8 with a 2.75 ERA in May, for his career. That includes a 6-0 win vs. the Yankees last May.
Overall, Verlander is 3-1 with a terrific 2.01 ERA in his last four outings against the Yankees at Comerica. On the the other hand, Colon is 0-6 with a terrible 7.33 ERA in his last 10 starts against the Tigers. In his last three starts against Detroit, Colon has gone 0-2 (teams are 0-3) and has allowed 25 hits (6 HRs) and 16 earned runs in 17 2/3 innings.
The Tigers are a lucrative 37-20 (+9.2) the past few seasons, when playing a home game with an O/U line of either eight or 8.5. With Verlander getting the better of Colon, I expect them to bounce back and improve on those stats. *10
|05-01-11||Chicago Cubs v. Arizona Diamondbacks -161||Top||3-4||Win||100||5 h 4 m||Show|
I'm playing on ARIZONA. After an 11-2 blowout win by the home team on Thursday, the visiting Cubs managed to take both Friday and Saturday's games, each victory coming by two runs. The Cubs haven't won three road games in a row all season though and this afternoon, I expect the Diamondbacks to bounce back and salvage the series split.
Casey Coleman goes for the Cubs. While he's been quite sharp in his previous few outings, he was downright dreadful in his last start. That came back on 4/22 and saw him allow a season-worst six runs in just 2 2/3 innings.
Coleman's performance prompted manager Mike Quade to say: "I don't think I've seen Casey like that since he got here last year. He looked completely out of sync from the get go. I really haven
|05-01-11||Texas Rangers v. Oakland A's UNDER 7.5||Top||2-7||Loss||-110||6 h 30 m||Show|
I'm playing on Texas and Oakland to finish UNDER the total. After Friday's series opener produced only four combined runs, yesterday's game saw the Rangers and A's combine for a whopping 13 runs. I expect this afternoon's game to be much closer to Friday's, in terms of final combined score.
I successfully played against the A's in Gio Gonzalez's last start. However, that was on the road and Gonzalez's opponent was Jered Weaver. Not only is Weaver one of the hottest pitchers around right now (6-0 with a 0.99 ERA, heading into Sunday) but Gonzalez typically isn't as good away from home. Now, however, Gonzalez is back home and I expect him to come through with another quality outing.
For the season, Gonzalez has a 2.70 ERA. His ERA dips down to a superb 2.37 here at Oakland. Those numbers are no fluke either. Looking back to last season and we find that Gonzalez was 8-3 with a 2.56 ERA at home. Opposing batters hit only .199 in those games. With this being an afternoon game, it should also be noted that Gonzalez's career numbers are much better in the day than they are at night. Last season, he was 7-1 with a 2.17 ERA during the afternoon. Opposing batters hit .192 in those games.
Gonzalez has also enjoyed success vs. Texas. Indeed, he's 3-1 with a 2.27 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in six starts vs. the Rangers. He's allowed two earned runs or less in five of six starts vs. the Rangers, including four straight.
With Harrison taking the mound, Texas should also be able to expect quality starting pitching. Harrison checks in with a 2-0 record and an outstanding 1.20 ERA and 0.867 WHIP in two road starts. Opposing batters are hitting .184 in those games. While he did struggle last time out, Harrison had previously been 3-1 with a 1.88 ERA.
The A's know what Harrison is capable of. In three starts vs. Oakland, Harrison is 3-0 with a superb 1.35 ERA. In his last start here at Oakland, he tossed a complete-game 5-hit shutout.
Even with yesterday's high-scoring game, the Rangers have still seen the UNDER go 7-3-1 on the road and 7-4-1 when playing during the afternoon. Looking back further and we find the UNDER at 100-75-6 the Rangers' last 181 road games. During the same stretch, the UNDER was 56-41-8 when they played during the afternoon. The A's have also been a profitable 'under' team, during the afternoon. The UNDER is now 64-48-5 in their day games the past few seasons. I expect a low-scoring affair. *10
|04-30-11||Baltimore Orioles v. Chicago White Sox -127||Top||6-2||Loss||-127||9 h 40 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHICAGO. While I lost with the White Sox yesterday, given the pitching matchup and relatively reasonable price, I'm fully willing to give them another shot today.
Through four starts, Humber has an outstanding 2.70 ERA and 0.986 WHIP. His ERA dips to 2.45 in his two home starts. He's only allowed one home run all year and that was on the road. Humber is showing no signs of slowing down either. In fact, in his last start, he went into Yankee Stadium and limited the Yankees to one hit through seven dominant shutout innings. That hit came in the 7th inning, as Humber had a no-hitter going, up until that point.
The White Sox should be extremely motivated to turn things around today. As yesterday's starter John Danks noted: "We're all putting the work in and there's no reason why it's not going our way. We need to turn around quick."
Its particularly important to take advantage of a Baltimore team which entered the series averaging only 3.5 runs per game on the road, while hitting just 0.238. (Even with yesterday's win, the O's are still a money-burning 58-113 on the road the past few seasons.)
Humber didn't need any run support last time out (won 2-0) but I expect him to get some today.
Tillman checks in with an ugly 6.15 ERA. In two road starts, he's 0-1 with an awful 7.04 ERA and 1.695 WHIP. Bothered by right groin soreness, he's been particularly struggling in his last three starts. During that stretch, he's pitched 13 innings, giving up 13 runs and 21 hits. That's translated to an 0-2 record with a simply terrible 8.99 ERA and 1.845 WHIP. The fact that he missed his last start, due to rain, doesn't figure to help matters.
Asked of his struggles and his groin problem, Tillman responded: "It's a lot disappointing. I'm not happy about it..."
With the Sox desperate for a victory and with Humber in much better current form than Tillman, I expect a victory for the home team. *10
|04-30-11||Florida Marlins v. Cincinnati Reds UNDER 7.5||Top||3-4||Win||100||9 h 52 m||Show|
I'm playing on Florida and Cincinnati to finish UNDER the total. Yesterday's series opener produced plenty of offensive fireworks. Today, however, I expect the pitching to steal the spotlight.
Johnson goes for the Marlins and he's simply one of the best in the business. In five starts, he's got a 1.06 ERA and 0.647 WHIP. Over his last three starts, he's 2-0 with an outstanding 0.42 ERA and 0.609 WHIP. In those three games, he's allowed only one earned run and a mere six hits, going at least seven complete innings in each. His lone road start came at Atlanta and saw him allow 0 earned runs on one hit, through 7 1/3 innings. Not surprisingly, that game stayed below the total.
Over the last 12 months, dating back to 4/21 of last year, Johnson has made 13 road starts. He allowed three earned runs or less in 11 of them. In fact, in five of them, he didn't allow a single run.
While Johnson did struggle in his most recent outing against the Reds (a RARE bad outing) he pitched well in both previous games against them. In those two games, he was 1-0 with a 2.03 ERA and had 16 K's with one walk in 13 1/3 innings.
Volquez doesn't have very good numbers, yet. However, he got back on track with a much better performance last time out, holding the Cardinals to three runs. They came on one swing of the bat (3 run HR) in the 6th inning. So, he'd thrown five shutout innings and was one pitch away from an even better result. The fact that Volquez has 31 K's in 28 1/3 innings pitched shows that he's still got excellent stuff. You may recall that he went 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA and more than 200 K's a couple of years ago.
After Volquez's last outing, Dusty Baker said this: "Volquez threw the ball better than he has in a couple of years - under control, throwing strikes and excellent changeup, a good breaking ball..."
Of course, the Marlins know all about what Volquez can do. He's 4-0 with a 1.73 ERA against them. In two starts against the Marlins the last two seasons, Volquez has allowed only one run in 14 innings.
Even including yesterday's 7-6 "slugfest," the UNDER is still 5-2-1 in Florida's eight games played here since the start of the 2009 season. I expect those stats to improve here, as this one turns into a "pitchers duel." *10
|04-29-11||Baltimore Orioles v. Chicago White Sox -145||Top||10-4||Loss||-145||9 h 14 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHICAGO. After getting hammered in yesterday's finale at New York, the White Sox should be happy to return home and step down in class to take on the Orioles.
Danks checks in at 0-3. However, he's been MUCH better than that record indicates. Through five starts, he's got a solid 3.27 ERA and 1.303 WHIP. He's averaging 6 2/3 innings per start and has an impressive 33 K's (with 10 walks) in 33 innings. At home, where he's averaging a full seven innings per start, Danks' numbers dip to a 3.21 ERA and 1.286 WHIP.
Over his last three starts, Danks has an excellent 2.57 ERA to go along with a solid 1.238 WHIP. In those games, Danks has 20 K's to only five walks.
While Danks has only received three combined runs of support in the last two games combined, I expect the White Sox to provide him with some offense here.
Through five starts, Arrieta has a poor 4.94 ERA, averaging 5.5 innings per outing. He'll have the support of a Baltimore bullpen which already had a combined 5.25 ERA even before giving up four runs in three innings yesterday.
Danks has pitched well vs. the Orioles in his career and he's allowed just two runs in 13 1/3 innings in his last two starts against them. His lone 2010 start against the Orioles came at Baltimore on 8/6. Danks allowed one run through seven complete innings. He had 5 k's and didn't walk a batter.
Arrieta has made one start vs. the White Sox. That also came last August and it was here in Chicago. It didn't go well. He lasted just four innings and allowed four runs on seven hits with three walks.
The Orioles average only 3.5 runs per game on the road, hitting just 0.238. (They're 57-113 (-19.8) on the road the past few seasons.) Their numbers are even worse against southpaw starters. That's nothing new as they've been terrible vs. left-handed starters for years. Indeed, with another loss yesterday, they're now a money-burning 43-74 (-14.9) against southpaw starters, the past few seasons.
I expect Danks to get the better of Arrieta and to finally get rewarded with a "W." *10
|04-28-11||Seattle Mariners v. Detroit Tigers -110||Top||7-2||Loss||-110||11 h 15 m||Show|
I'm playing on DETROIT. I won with the Mariners in the opening game of this series. I didn't play yesterday's game but that also resulted in a victory for the visiting Mariners. This afternoon, however, I look for the Tigers to take care of business and for them to avoid the sweep.
I won with the M's in Pineda's last start. Therefore, I'm aware that the rookie has been pitching well and that he's capable. However, that was at home and against Oakland. He's still only made two road starts, going 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA. The lone win was at Kansas City though and this figures to be a much tougher venue.
Even with yesterday's loss, the Tigers are still an impressive 109-65 here the past 2+ seasons, earning their backers roughly 25 net units vs. the moneyline. That includes a superb 30-18 (+9.1) mark when playing a home game where the line ranged from +100 to -125.
During the same stretch, the M's are now 69-106 on the road and that includes a money-burning 15-26 (-9.8) record when playing on the road when the line ranged between +100 to +125.
While his overall numbers aren't great, Penny has been outstanding in two home starts. Indeed, he's 1-0 with a 1.88 ERA and 0.8.05 WHIP. The Tigers have won both those games, beating the Rangers and White Sox by a combined score of 14-4. In fact, in his last start here, Penny tossed seven shutout innings and allowed only one hit!
While the Tigers are a respectable 74-62 in day games the past few seasons, the M's are a money-burning 43-62 (-18.7). They're hitting .195 and averaging 2.2 runs in their afternoon games this season. All things considered, with all due respect to Seattle's fine rookie, I feel the price is very reasonable on the home team. *10
|04-27-11||Cincinnati Reds v. Milwaukee Brewers -152||Top||7-6||Loss||-152||3 h 41 m||Show|
I'm playing on MILWAUKEE. After the Reds grabbed Monday's opener by a 9-5 score, the Brewers eked out a 3-2 victory yesterday. I expect the Brewers to have an even more significant advantage for this afternoon's series finale.
After a bit of wildness to start the season (9 walks in first three games) Gallardo has regained his control on the mound. In fact, he's issued just one walk in his last two starts, recording 12 K's in those games. Note that Gallardo, who was 14-7 with a 3.84 ERA last season, is 2-0 with a 3.60 ERA in his three home starts.
Lecure, who saw his last start pushed back due to rain, is 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA in three starts. Note that he was 1-4 with a 4.86 ERA as a starter last season and he was 0-2 with a 6.88 ERA on the road.
While Gallardo is averaging 6.3 innings per start, Lecure is averaging 5.4. Also, note that the Milwaukee relievers have been far more effective at home than the Reds' relievers have been on the road.
Additionally, the Brewers have hit much better at home than the Reds have on the road.
The Brewers are now an excellent 11-4 in Gallardo's last 15 home starts. That includes a 5-0 mark his last five starts here. They won those five games by an average score of 6.1 to 3. All things considered, I feel the price is more than fair. *10
|04-26-11||Seattle Mariners -117 v. Detroit Tigers||Top||7-3||Win||100||8 h 10 m||Show|
I'm playing on SEATTLE. The Tigers have the better record. However, the Mariners will have the better starting pitcher on the mound and I expect that to provide them with the advantage.
The M's won Hernandez's last start by a score of 1-0. After that start, the Seattle ace was quoted as saying: "I just put it in my mind to pitch the way I know how to pitch. That's what I was doing. Everything was on the corners and my breaking pitches were good. That's all I can do. Throw strikes."
I expect Hernandez, who has a stellar 2.57 ERA and 1.048 WHIP in three road starts, to follow it up with another strong effort here.
Note that the Tigers hitters didn't get a look at Hernandez when they recently played at Seattle. In fact, they only saw him once last season and that was back on 4/16. Hernandez did his "usual thing" in that outing and earned the "W" in an 11-3 Seattle victory. Including that result, he's 6-2 with a 2.68 ERA and 1.158 WHIP vs. the Tigers. He allowed three earned runs or less in eight of those nine starts, including two or less in seven of them.
A closer look reveals that the M's are 6-1 in Hernandez's last seven starts vs. Detroit and that he allowed just four runs in 20 2/3 innings over his last three starts in the series. That's a 1.74 ERA!
Coke has gotten off to a very solid start to the season. However, this isn't a favorable situation for him. Not only is he going up against one of the top pitchers in the game, but he's also going up against the same team he faced in his last start.
Coke's last start game on 4/19 at Seattle. In that outing, he allowed six runs (only two were earned) in just 3 2/3 innings. He gave up six hits and walked four, without recording a strikeout. The M's won by a score of 11-3.
Both teams had the day off yesterday. That's been a more favorable situation for Seattle in recent seasons. Despite their overall poor record during that stretch, the M's are 22-18 (+5.8) the last 40 times that they played with a day off. During the same stretch, Detroit was just 20-28 (-11.1) when playing with a day off.
The M's are 9-4 in Hernandez's last 13 starts and they're 19-9 (+8.6) the last 28 times that they played on the road with a line in the +100 to -125 range. With Hernandez getting the better of Coke, I expect them to improve on those stats here. *10
|04-25-11||Colorado Rockies v. Chicago Cubs -127||Top||5-3||Loss||-127||10 h 41 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHICAGO. Both teams lost yesterday. The Cubs were beaten by the Dodgers. The Rockies were beaten by Florida. While the Rockies had to travel here off yesterday's loss, the Cubs were already here waiting for them. Given the venue and starting pitching matchup, I feel that the Cubs have a much greater chance of being the team which bounces back and grabs today's series opener.
While the Rockies took two of three from the Cubs at Coors recently, the Cubs are 11-1 the last 12 times that they were a host in this series.
Garza gets the call for Chicago. He may only be 0-2 but he's pitched a lot better than that record indicates, at least here at Wrigley. Garza, who won 15 games last season, leads the majors with an average of 12.4 strikeouts per nine innings. Although he struggled at Coors Field, he's got a superb 2.08 ERA in his two starts here at Wrigley. He didn't get the decision in his last start. However, he pitched six shutout innings and the Cubs won by a score of 2-1. He now has 21 K's with only three walks here at Wrigley.
Garza was quoted as saying: "Personal wins don't matter. If I don't win a game all year, but we win my games it doesn't bother me one bit."
That's the "proper" thing to say, but surely Garza does indeed care about getting his first "personal win." I expect him to deliver another solid performance.
While Garza was outstanding last time out, Rogers got rocked in his last start. I played against him in that one and he gave up eight runs (3 HRs) in three innings. He's got a 6.75 ERA on the season and his only good start came vs. the Pirates.
Although they got off to a hot start away from Colorado this season, they've cooled off now. Note that the Rockies are still just 81-94 (-11.3 ) their last 175 road games.
The Cubs have gone a respectable 30-20 (+2.6) the last 50 times that they were listed as home favorites in the -125 to -150 range. With Garza determined to get his first victory and his teammates motivated to get him one, I expect the Cubs to improve on those stats and continue their home dominance in this series. *10
|04-24-11||Atlanta Braves v. San Francisco Giants -127||Top||9-6||Loss||-127||6 h 33 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN FRANCISCO. I lost with the Giants yesterday as Hudson got the better of Lincecum. Today, however, I'm willing to give them another shot.
The Braves, who have now won the first two games of the series, would love to complete the series sweep. After all, the Giants are the defending World Champions and were the team that knocked Atlanta out of the playoffs last year. That said, the Braves have NEVER swept a series at AT&T Park and they'll have a rookie on the mound this afternoon.
Beachy is off a strong outing last game, earning a 10-1 win over the Dodgers. Keep in mind that was his first ever career victory though, in seven career starts. The Braves are just 2-5 in those games.
Sanchez has been dealing with the flu but is expected to be fine. He's coming off a very solid season and the Giants are already 3-1 in his four starts. That includes a 2-0 mark at home. The Giants are now an impressive 12-5 in Sanchez's last 17 starts.
Sanchez has allowed three earned runs or less in all four starts this season and in 14 of his last 15, dating back to last year. The only time that he allowed more than three runs, he allowed only four - and that was at Texas, in the playoffs.
Including this year's two victories, the Giants are 5-0 in Sanchez's last five home starts and 14-6 his last 20 here.
While his overall numbers aren't great against them, Sanchez did dominate the Braves the last time he saw them. In that October playoff game, he allowed just two hits and one earned run, through 7 1/3 innings. He had 11 K's and 1 walk and the Giants won by a score of 3-2. I expect him to deliver another quality performance, as the Giants bounce back and avoid the sweep. *10
|04-24-11||Tampa Bay Rays v. Toronto Blue Jays -136||Top||2-0||Loss||-136||3 h 34 m||Show|
I'm playing on TORONTO. After the Jays won Friday's opener by a score of 6-4 (in extra innings) the Rays returned the favor with a 6-4 victory of their own yesterday. I expect the Jays to have the advantage in this afternoon's series finale.
Romero is off a poor outing. However, we can cut him some slack as he had a superb 1.66 ERA in his previous three starts. Also, keep in mind that his last start was at Fenway. In two starts here at Toronto, Romero is 1-0 and has a commanding 1.32 ERA and 0.952 WHIP. He averaged 6.8 innings in those two starts, didn't allow a home run and had 12 K's to just 2 walks.
Admittedly, Romero didn't fare too well vs. the Rays overall last season. However, he did pitch well against them on this exact date (4/24) last year, allowing two runs through seven complete innings - and I feel that he's more than capable of duplicating that performance this afternoon.
Note that Romero has allowed three earned runs or less in 15 of his last 18 home starts, going at least six complete innings in 14 of those games.
Shields is off a great game. That was at home though. He's got a 7.50 ERA on the road. That's nothing new for Shields. For his career, Shields has a 5.04 road ERA, as compared to a much better 3.53, when pitching in St. Petersburg.
Given those stats, its not that surprising that Shields has had far more success against the Jays in Florida, than he has in Canada. Indeed, Shields is 5-2 with a very solid 3.38 ERA in nine career home starts against the Jays. However, he's 1-3 with an ugly 5.87 ERA in six games in Toronto. Note that he had a terrible 12.00 ERA in two outings here last season.
Yesterday's result notwithstanding, the Jays' home record past few seasons is much better than the Rays road record. The Jays are a respectable 22-14 (+2.6) the last 36 times that they were listed as home favorites in the -125 to -150 range. Behind a quality "bounce back" effort from Romero, I expect them to improve on those stats here. *10
|04-23-11||Atlanta Braves v. San Francisco Giants -157||Top||5-2||Loss||-157||6 h 36 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN FRANCISCO. When he's on his game, Lincecum is right there among the very best pitchers in the game. I backed the Giants in Lincecum's last start and the Giants' ace was certainly "on his game." Lincecum took a no-hitter into the 7th inning of that game. He ended up allowing only three hits and one run, while striking out 10, through 7 2/3 innings. Not surprisingly, San Francisco won by a score of 8-1. The Giants were only -120 for that game, which I felt was extremely fair.
Now 2-1 with an outstanding 1.67 ERA and 0.889 WHIP on the season, this afternoon Lincecum will be facing one of his favorite opponents. I expect him to deliver another strong effort. While we're laying a little more, with the game now being played at San Francisco and given Lincecum's dominance of the Braves here, I feel that the price on the Giants is again very reasonable.
Lincecum is an impressive 7-2 with a 2.47 ERA and 1.032 WHIP for his career vs. the Braves. The Giants were 7-2 (+5.1) in those games. He's been particularly dominant against the Braves here in San Francisco. Indeed, Lincecum is a perfect 5-0 in five home starts vs. the Braves. During that 38-inning span, he's allowed just six runs and only 23 hits, while striking out 45. That translates to a 1.42 ERA. The Giants won those five games by a combined score of 18-7.
There's nothing "wrong" with Tim Hudson and he's had some recent success vs. the Giants. That said, he's not in Lincecum's class. He's also off back to back losses and he allowed nine runs in 12 innings in those game. The Braves are now just 4-7 his last 11 road starts.
The Giants entered the series with a 110-65 (+28.2) mark at home the past few seasons and having won 10 of 13 as a host in the series. After dropping yesterday's series opener, I expect them to bounce back with a victory here. *10
|04-22-11||Chicago White Sox v. Detroit Tigers -155||Top||3-9||Win||100||17 h 35 m||Show|
I'm playing on DETROIT. The White Sox earned a big and much-needed win yesterday. They've still lost seven of their last eight though and tonight they'll be facing a very stingy starting pitcher. I expect them to return to their recent losing ways.
Verlander may only be 1-2 but he's still been pitching well. In four starts he's got a solid 3.41 ERA and an excellent 1.069 WHIP. He's averaging better than seven innings per start and has 27 K's to just 10 walks. In his lone home start, Verlander allowed two runs on six hits, in nine innings - but took the loss. That translates to a 2.00 ERA and 0.778 WHIP.
Buehrle, on the other hand, is 1-0 in two road starts but has an awful 7.36 ERA and 1.727 WHIP in those games.
While the Sox played yesterday, the Tigers had an off-day. Now they return home where they've gone an outstanding 106-63 (+25) the past 2+ seasons. That includes a 24-12 (+4.8) mark as home favorites in the -150 to -175 range.
During that stretch, the Tigers are also 59-44 (+13.8) vs. southpaw starters.
Buerhle has had a great career and he's got quite good overall numbers vs. the Tigers. However, the Sox are still just 5-6 his last 11 starts here at Detroit and I don't expect him to get much run support here.
Even with a hard-luck loss last time here, the Tigers are still a terrific 16-4 in Verlander's last 20 home starts. In his last six starts here, Verlander has allowed a mere seven combined runs. He's allowed four earned runs or less in 16 straight home starts, three or less in 15 of those and two or less in 13 of them. He's also averaged better than eight innings per start, his last five starts here.
The Tigers are a perfect 5-0 in Verlander's last five starts vs. Chicago. They won those games by a combined score of 27-9. Verlander gave up only eight earned runs in 41 2/3 innings. That's a 1.96 ERA. Behind another quality effort from Verlander, look for the Tigers to start the series with a victory. *10
|04-21-11||Oakland A's v. Seattle Mariners -137||Top||0-1||Win||100||11 h 14 m||Show|
I'm playing on SEATTLE. I won with the A's a couple of days ago. That 5-0 victory marked their third straight victory. They followed it up with a loss yesterday though and I expect them to be at a disadvantage again tonight.
The A's aren't a particularly good hitting team but they often have an edge on the mound. I don't expect that to be the case here though.
Felix Hernandez may only be 1-2 thus far, but he's proven to be one of the top pitchers in the game. He should be extremely determined to get things turned around and I expect him to deliver a big performance.
Note that Hernandez had a 2.06 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in 16 starts here last season, going 8-4. He had 119 K's in 118 innings here, walking a mere 25. He averaged greater than 7 innings per start here. The previous season, Hernandez was 19-5 with a 2.49 ERA. Clearly, he can pitch.
Also, note that even though he struggled here last start, the Mariners still managed to win the game. They're now 7-1 in Hernandez's last eight home starts, including a perfect 5-0 his last five here. Going back further finds the M's at 14-6 his last 20 home starts. Hernandez allowed two or fewer earned runs in 16 of those games and he's now gone at least six complete innings in 13 straight here.
When asked of the slow start, Hernandez was quoted as saying: "It will be fine. It's just the beginning of the season. We're trying hard. We're trying to do the best we can. We've just got to keep working hard, just keep trying to hit and pitch. That's all we can do."
McCarthy has admittedly gotten off to a solid start. He's not in Hernandez's class though and he's also got a 6.93 ERA in five starts vs. Seattle.
While the M's certainly aren't a great hitting team, they're still averaging 4.7 runs per game at home (hitting .243) which is better than Oakland's 3.6 runs per game on the road.
Including a 6-2 victory at Oakland on 4/1, the M's are 11-3 in Hernandez's last 14 starts vs. the A's. I expect them to start the series with a victory. *10
|04-19-11||Boston Red Sox v. Oakland A's -113||Top||0-5||Win||100||12 h 34 m||Show|
I'm playing on OAKLAND. With three straight wins over the Jays, the Red Sox have finally started to play better. I expect their current win streak to come an end in tonight's series opener at Oakland though.
Like their guests, the A's have also been playing better baseball of late. They've won back to back games and are now 6-3 their last nine. After scoring 11 runs over the weekend, manager Bob Geren noted: "Big offense, up and down the lineup. Great win going into the off-day. Just a nice way to finish off the weekend."
While the Red Sox played in the East yesterday afternoon, (and then traveled to the West Coast) the A's had yesterday off. Note that Boston remains winless (0-6) on the road. In six road losses, the Red Sox have hit a mere .181 while averaging only 2.7 runs. They may have a difficult time scoring again tonight, as they'll be up against a tough Oakland starter.
Anderson gets the call for the A's. While he's 0-1 through three starts, he's pitched much better than that record indicates. In fact, he's got a stellar 2.29 ERA to go along with a solid 1.22 WHIP. He's averaging 6 2/3 innings per start and has 13 K's to only two walks. In his lone home start, he allowed a single earned run on five hits, striking out five while walking only one.
Anderson has enjoyed success against Boston in the past. In five starts against the Red Sox, he's gone 3-1 (A's are 4-1) with a 2.61 ERA and 1.129 WHIP. That includes a 3-0 mark (with 24 K's) his last four against Boston.
I still respect Lackey, as he's had plenty of success in the past and as he also has an excellent record against Oakland. In fact, I even won with Boston in his last start. However, that was thanks to the Boston offense and not Lackey and one can't deny that he's struggled so far this season. In fact, in two starts, he has a 15.57 ERA and 2.422 WHIP. Granted, that's a very small sample size and those two games came against the Yankees and Rangers. However, that doesn't excuse him for allowing 15 earned runs in 8 2/3 innings. Note that opposing batters are hitting .395 against him.
Note that Lackey also hasn't pitched in 10 days, as his last start was rained out and the Sox just decided to skip his turn in the rotation.
Even pitching coach Curt Young acknowledged: "Ten days feels like a long time when you're a starting pitcher like that..."
The A's have won four of the last five in the series, one of those victories coming when Anderson beat Lackey last September. Looking back further finds the A's at 13-7 the last 20 times that they were a host in this series. All things considered, I believe the price is very fair. *10
|04-18-11||San Diego Padres v. Chicago Cubs -141||Top||0-1||Win||100||9 h 22 m||Show|
I'm playing on the CHICAGO CUBS. Off a 4-5 road trip, the Cubs should be happy to return to Wrigley. They should be even happier to have Carlos Zambrano on the mound.
While Zambrano has admittedly been a little "fortunate" to be undefeated so far this season, it takes more than "luck" to have gone 10-0 with a superb 2.35 ERA in his last 14 starts. That's exactly what Zambrano has done, dating back to his last loss, which came way back in June.
While the Cubs should be happy to see "Z" on the mound, Zambrano should be happy to see San Diego. Indeed, he's 7-2 with a superb 2.37 ERA in 12 starts against the Padres. Last season, he went 1-0 in two starts against them, allowing a single run over 13 innings.
Stauffer gets the call for the Padres. He's 0-2 against the Cubs and 0-1 with a 4.80 ERA on the season. That ERA could be even worse, as his 1.867 WHIP shows that he's allowing nearly two baserunners per innings. (He's given up 23 hits and five walks in 15 innings.)
While Zambrano has gone at least 5 2/3 innings in all three starts, Stauffer has failed to complete a full five innings in each of his last two starts.
The Padres, who won yesterday afternoon, are 1-5 (-4.6) when off a victory. They're also 1-6 when playing under the lights.
On the other hand, the Cubs, who lost yesterday afternoon, are 4-3 (+1.5) when playing under the lights and 6-1 off a loss.
Yesterday's loss notwithstanding, Chicago manager Mike Quade likes the direction of his team. He was quoted as saying: "...But as far as effort - our guys are playing and getting after it. I'm very optimistic about this club getting better."
Zambrano got the better of Stauffer last September and I look for him to do it again here. *10
|04-17-11||St. Louis Cardinals v. Los Angeles Dodgers UNDER 7.5||Top||1-2||Win||100||6 h 6 m||Show|
I'm playing on LA and St. Louis to finish UNDER the total. The first three games of this series have all produced double-digits in combined runs. I expect to see much better pitching in this afternoon's finale.
Carpenter gets the call for the Cardinals. Admittedly, he's off to a poor start. However, as Carpenter noted: "...I'm not going to concern myself a whole lot with it. Get ready to go on Sunday."
Of course, its easy to cut Carpenter a little slack, based on many years of excellence. It also helps that Carpenter is 6-1 with a superb 2.21 ERA and 1.082 WHIP in nine starts against the Dodgers. He made two starts against LA last season and allowed only 10 hits and one run through 15 complete innings. That translates to a 0.60 ERA. Note that he had 11 K's and only one walk in those games. Last year's lone start here at LA resulted in a 1-0 game.
While its still a very small sample size, note that Carpenter has a 2.08 ERA during the day but a 18.00 ERA at night!
Like Carpeneter, Billingsley has also gotten off to a poor start. Like Carpenter, he's also capable of pitching much better. Of course, Billingsley is almost always much better at home than he is on the road. His lone home start saw him allow a respectable three runs and five hits through six innings.
Including this season's result, Billingsley has now allowed three or fewer earned runs in 14 of his last 20 home starts. He allowed four or less in 17 of those 20. It should also be noted that he went a minimum of 5 2/3 innings in 19 of those 20 starts.
The UNDER is 5-1-1 in Billingsley's last seven starts here and six of those finished with seven or fewer combined runs. His last home start vs. the Cards came in 2009 and saw him allow two runs through six very solid innings. (He gave up only 3 hits and didn't walk a batter.)
Also, with this being an afternoon start, note that Billingsley's career daytime stats are much better than his evening stats. Last season, he had a 4.23 ERA at night but a 0.94 ERA during the day!
As a team, the Cards have seen the UNDER go 67-52-6 (56.3%) the last 125 times that they played during the afternoon. With both starters determined to improve, I expect those stats to improve today. *10
|04-16-11||St.Louis Cardinals v. Los Angeles Dodgers -142||Top||9-2||Loss||-142||11 h 17 m||Show|
I'm playing on the LA DODGERS. The Cardinals come in as the hotter team and they've taken the first two games of this series in convincing fashion. As the baseball saying goes, however, "momentum is the next day's starting pitcher..." In this case, I expect the Dodgers to have an edge on the mound and I look for that to ultimately be the deciding factor in the game.
While the Cards' bats have admittedly been hot, the majority of their recent success has come against right-handers. They're just 1-2 vs. southpaw starters, hitting .221 in those games. In fact, dating back to last season, the Cards are an ugly 6-14 their last 20 against left-handed starters. They'll be facing a good one tonight.
Kershaw gets the call and he's off to an excellent start. Through three outings, he's gone 2-1 with a 1.37 ERA. In those three games he has an impressive 24 K's to go along with only four walks. Kershaw began the season by outpitching Lincecum. That was his only home start and he tossed seven shutout innings, allowing only four hits. He had 9 K's and 1 walk.
His next start was his "worst" and he allowed just three runs in six innings, at Colorado. He had 8 K's with one walk but didn't receive any run support. Last time out, Kershaw "bounced back" to again toss 6 2/3 shutout innings.
Note that he's 2-1 with an excellent 2.95 ERA in seven career outings against the Cardinals. He allowed three earned runs or less in six of those seven starts including all four here at LA. The Dodgers were 3-1 in those games, including 2-0 the last two. In his lone start against the Cards here last season, Kershaw outpitched Wainwright en route to earning a 4-3 LA victory.
McClellan is off a solid start for the Cards. However, the 11 baserunners (4 walks, 7 hits) that he allowed in six innings (1.833 WHIP) last time out doesn't bode well for him vs. a hungry LA lineup. Note that McClellan is a converted reliever and this will be just his third start.
The Cards enter the weekend with a dismal 6-16 (-8.2) record the last 22 times that they were listed as road underdogs in the +125 to +150 range. During the same stretch, the Dodgers were an outstanding 38-19 (+12) when listed as home favorites in the -125 to -150 range.
Even with losses in the first two games, the Dodgers are still 5-2 the last seven times that they hosted the Cards. They're also now 5-1 in Kershaw's last six starts. Kershaw has allowed two earned runs or less in 12 of his last 20 starts here. I expect him to continue his strong start, outpitching and outlasting McClellan en route to a much-needed victory for the home team. *10
|04-15-11||San Diego Padres v. Houston Astros UNDER 8.5||Top||4-2||Win||100||9 h 11 m||Show|
I'm playing on San Diego and Houston to finish UNDER the total. I won with the 'under' when these teams faced each other yesterday, while also cashing with Houston in the same game. The score was 0-0 until the bottom of the 6th inning, when Houston scored the only run of the game. The Padres would finish with a mere three hits. While today's 'under' likely won't be quite that "easy," I do expect another relatively low-scoring affair.
Harang, a San Diego native, sure seems to be happy to be with the Padres. After a few tough years with the Reds, he's started out 2-0 with a stellar 1.50 ERA for the Padres. True, it helps to pitch at San Diego, where both those starts came. Winning builds confidence though (always important) and Harang should have plenty of it against Houston, a team he fared well against last season. In two 2010 starts against the Astros, Harang allowed just three runs in 13 innings.
San Diego manager Bud Black said this of Harang: "He's been extremely motivated to get back to a level of performance that he was accustomed to for a number of years there in Cincinnati..."
Harang may not get much run support. As mentioned, the Padres managed a mere three hits yesterday. The Padres were 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position and that was after they were just an awful 2 for 22 in that situation in their previous series vs. the Reds.
For the season, the Padres are now averaging 3.0 runs per game overall and they're hitting a dismal 0.185 on the road.
AJ Happ goes for Houston and he's coming off an excellent start. In facet, he held the Marlins to only four hits and one run through 7 2/3 innings, which translates to a 1.17 ERA.
Afterwards, Happ was quoted as saying: "I was trying to get ahead of hitters and pitch aggressively. More or less just have some conviction with what I'm throwing and be aggressive with it..."
Happ also delivered a dominant performance in his lone start vs. San Diego. That came in 2009 when he was with the Phillies. He allowed only four hits through seven shutout innings, en route to a 5-1 victory.
Including yesterday's result, the Padres have now seen the UNDER go 49-31-5 the last 85 times that they played a game with an O/U line of either eight or 8.5. During that stretch, the Astros have seen the UNDER go an even more profitable 40-21-1 when playing a home game with an O/U line of either eight or 8.5.
With the UNDER also at 4-0 in San Diego's games against southpaw starters (those games averaged only 4.4 combined runs and none produced more than six runs) I'm expecting another low-scoring affair. *10
|04-14-11||Detroit Tigers v. Oakland A's -145||Top||3-0||Loss||-145||16 h 34 m||Show|
I'm playing on OAKLAND. I won with the Tigers yesterday afternoon. For the second straight day, they earned a late home win vs. Texas. Its a whole different day now though and Detroit is now thousands of miles away. Instead of facing Bush, a mediocre pitcher making his first start of the season, as they were yesterday, the Tigers are now facing a talented pitcher who is already in top form. The Tigers are a money-burning 12-25 (-8.9) as road underdogs in the +125 to +150 range the past few seasons. I expect them to struggle again here.
Regulars will recall that I successfully played on Gio Gonzalez numerous times last season. Gonzalez isn't "flying under the radar" as much this year, as last. That said, I've already won with him this season and I feel that he's offering solid value once again.
Gonzalez closed out last season with seven innings of shutout ball and he's picked up right where he left off. In two starts so far, Gonzalez is 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA. I played on the A's in his first start and they won by a score of 7-1.His next start resulted in a 1-0 Oakland victory.
Note that Gonzalez was 8-3 with a 2.56 ERA at home last season, as compared to 7-6 with a 3.92 ERA on the road. Opposing batters hit only .199 against him here last season. Not surprisingly, the A's are 7-1 in Gonzalez's last eight home starts and 11-3 his last 14.
Having made three appearances, two out of the bullpen, Coke is 0-2 with a 4.00 ERA. His lone start came at home against KC (about as easy a matchup is there is) and the the Tigers lost. That was against a southpaw (Chen) and the Tigers really struggled to get hits. For the season, they're 1-2 in games vs. left-handed starters, averaging only three runs per game while hitting a mere .215.
With the Tigers off to a slow start, note that the A's are a highly profitable 71-51 (+19.7) against teams with a losing record. They're off a momentum-building win of their own, having rallied for three runs in the 9th yesterday and then three more in the 10th. The A's are 11-5 the last 16 times that they hosted the Tigers. Behind another strong effort from Gonzalez, I expect them to keep on rolling for another day. *10
|04-13-11||Texas Rangers v. Detroit Tigers -128||Top||2-3||Win||100||3 h 6 m||Show|
I'm playing on DETROIT. After getting blanked 2-0 in Monday's opener, the Tigers responded with a 5-4 victory in yesterday's game. Having finally cooled off the Rangers and with an expected edge on the mound, I expect Detroit to grab this afternoon's rubber game.
The Tigers, now 105-63 (+23.8) at home the past 2+ seasons, send Max Scherzer to the mound. Scherzer got roughed up in his first start, although he did still manage to earn the victory. That was at Yankee Stadium though. His second start came here at home and he was far better. In fact, he allowed just one run through six complete innings, en route to picking up up a 5-2 victory.
Note that Scherzer was 8-4 with a stellar 2.99 ERA at home last season. The Tigers are 9-4 his last 13 starts here. Scherzer went at least six complete innings in 12 of those 13 starts, and threw 5 2/3 shutout innings in the other. He allowed four earned runs or less in all 13 of those starts and three or fewer in 11 of them.
Note that Scherzer won't have to face Josh Hamilton, as the reigning AL MVP got hurt yesterday. Hamilton hit 359 with 32 home runs and 100 RBIS last season and he's already hitting .333 again this season.
Bush goes for Texas. After going just 8-13 for Milwaukee last season, Bush made the Rangers as a long reliever. He hasn't even pitched yet this season (had a poor 5.14 ERA in 5 spring training games) and is only getting the start because both Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison were used in Saturday's doubleheader in Baltimore.
Bush has seen long struggled on the road and has seen his team drop eight of his last 12 away starts. For his career, he's been a .500 pitcher at home but has gone a terrible 23-35 with an ugly 5.27 ERA on the road.
Bush is also 0-2 with an awful 11.37 ERA in four games - three starts - lifetime against Detroit. That's his worst ERA against any opponent. The three starts (all losses) saw him have a 12.19 ERA and 2.321 WHIP! On the other hand, Scherzer is 2-0 with a stellar 2.25 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in three starts vs. Texas. In his lone home start against the Rangers last season, he tossed seven shutout innings and allowed only four hits. The Tigers won that one by a score of 4-1 and I look for them to do it again here. *10
|04-12-11||Chicago Cubs v. Houston Astros -111||Top||2-11||Win||100||10 h 59 m||Show|
I'm playing on HOUSTON. While the Astros have gotten off to an ugly start to the season, this evening's game should provide them with an excellent opportunity to earn an important victory.
Myers may still be winless, but he's been superb. His two starts have come at Philadelphia and Cincinnati, both often tough venues for pitchers. However, he's got a stellar 2.03 ERA and 1.125 WHIP, averaging nearly seven innings per start.
After his last start, manager Brad Mills commented: "How good was Myers again? You've got to love the way he battled all the way through."
Myers should get some better run support here, as he'll be opposed by a pitcher making his first major league start, James Russell. Russell's in the starting rotation (for now) to take injured Andrew Cashner's turn. However, he's not expected to make more than 50 pitches.
In addition to taking on a first-time starter, Myers will also be facing his favorite opponent. I say that as he's absolutely owned the Cubs. He was 3-0 with a 1.21 ERA against them last season and is now 8-0 with a 2.12 ERA in his last nine starts against them. For his career, he's 10-2 (teams are 11-2) with a 2.22 ERA and sparkling 0.935 WHIP in 13 starts against them.
Note that Myers went greater than six complete innings in ALL 13 of his starts against the Cubs. He allowed two earned runs or less in 11 of those 13 starts and three and four earned runs in the other two.
Not surprisingly, most of the Cubs have some pretty poor numbers against him. Starlin Castro is 2 for 12 lifetime against Myers. Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano are a combined 14 for 67 (.209) with 24 strikeouts against him. Meanwhile, Carlos Pena is 0 for 5 against Myers. To name just a few.
With Myers currently in fine form and the Astros badly needing a victory, I feel the near-pick'em price is extremely fair. I expect Myers to outpitch and outlast Russell and look for that to lead to a much-needed Houston win. *10
|04-11-11||Toronto Blue Jays v. Seattle Mariners -156||Top||7-8||Win||100||12 h 17 m||Show|
I'm playing on SEATTLE. Admittedly, the Mariners have been struggling. Their recent results have worked in our favor here though, as they've kept the price on this "pitching mismatch" to a reasonable level.
Hernandez gets the call for the M's and he's among the best around. True, he did lose his last game. However, that was at Texas and he still only allowed two earned runs through seven complete innings. Now, he's back in the pitcher-friendly Pacific-Northwest, where he really tends to dominate. In his other start this season, he tossed a complete game and allowed just five hits (0 walks) and two runs. Seattle won by a score of 6-2.
Now, Hernandez makes his 2011 home debut, where he absolutely dominates. In his last seven starts here, Felix has allowed a mere five combined runs, including 0 in four of those games, over 54 2/3 innings. For starters, that's nearly eight innings per start. Even better, that translates to a simply superb 0.82 ERA. Not surprisingly, the M's were 6-1 in those games.
Going back further and we find that Hernandez has gone greater than six innings in 12 straight home starts, while allowing three earned runs or less in all 12 of them. In fact, in 11 of those 12 starts, he went a minimum of seven complete innings while allowing two or fewer earned runs or less in ALL 11 of them.
Hernandez will face a Toronto lineup that just struck out 15 times against Jered Weaver yesterday, while getting only one run on four hits. In his lone start vs. the Jays last season, Hernandez allowed just one earned run and only two hits through eight complete innings. He was a "hard-luck loser" on that day though, dropping a 1-0 decision. While the M's bats aren't exactly "on fire," Hernandez should still receive considerably more run support here - and he generally doesn't need much.
Litsch is fortunate to have a 3.94 ERA in three starts vs. Seattle, as he has an ugly 1.875 WHIP in those games. (That means he's allowed nearly two baserunners per inning.) He's given up 10 hits in each of his last two starts against the M's and the Jays are 0-3 in his three career starts against them.
Litsch was mediocre in his lone start this season and that was at home vs. Oakland. Now, he's on the road - and the Jays are 4-11 his last 15 road starts. Note that he lasted less than six innings in nine of those starts, too. I mention that as the Jays bullpen has been seeing some work lately, given Saturday's 14 inning affair. All things considered, I believe the price is very reasonable. *10
|04-11-11||Texas Rangers v. Detroit Tigers -129||Top||2-0||Loss||-129||12 h 19 m||Show|
I'm playing on DETROIT. The Rangers bring the much better record to the table. However, I feel that the Tigers are favored for good reason.
Verlander gets the call and he's 1-0 with a solid 3.86 ERA and superb 0.929 WHIP in two starts, both of which came on the road. In 14 innings, he's already got an impressive 17 K's. Last time out, he beat the Orioles. With that victory, the Tigers are now 6-2 his last eight starts.
Note that Verlander's victory over the O's marked the 10th straight start, dating back to last August, that Verlander had pitched a minimum of six complete innings. In fact, he averaged a whopping 7.4 innings per outing, over that 10-game stretch.
Now Verlander pitches at Detroit, where he really dominates. Dating back to last August, the Tigers are a perfect 5-0 his last five home starts.
During that stretch, Verlander allowed a mere five combined runs through 38 innings. That translates to a stellar 1.18 ERA. Looking back a bit further finds the Tigers at 10-1 in Verlander's last 11 starts here and 17-3 his last 20 starts here. It doesn't get much better than that.
Of course, the Rangers know all about how dominant Verlander can be. They're just 1-7 against him. In those eight starts, Verlander was 6-1 with a 2.37 ERA and 1.115 WHIP. That includes a 5-0 record with a superb 1.66 ERA in his last six starts against Texas.
Verlander's last four home starts vs. Texas saw the Tigers win by a combined score of 24-9.
Admittedly, Ogando has also been impressive. However, he's only made one start - and that came against Seattle, the weakest-hitting team in the majors. This figures to be a much tougher matchup.
Given the Tigers' awesome record when Verlander pitchers at home, given Verlander's fantastic stats vs. the Rangers and given the fact that the Tigers are 12-2 the last 14 times that they were a host in this series, I believe the current price is more than fair. *10
|04-10-11||New York Yankees v. Boston Red Sox UNDER 9.5||Top||0-4||Win||100||10 h 41 m||Show|
I'm playing on Boston and New York to finish UNDER the total. The first two games of this series have both been high-scoring. I expect tonight's finale to be much lower-scoring.
While he's still winless, Sabathia has been superb in his first two starts this season. Last time out, in his lone "evening" start, he allowed just two hits over seven scoreless innings. For the season, he has a 1.38 ERA and has 13 K's with three walks. Opposing batters are hitting just .178 against him, 0.87 under the lights.
Keep in mind that Sabathia was 21-7 with a 3.18 ERA last season, including a 1-0 record with a 1.80 ERA in his final two starts against the Red Sox. The previous season, he was 19-8 with a 3.37 ERA. He's now 157-88 with a 3.56 ERA for his career. In other words, he's a proven winner, both in the short and the long-term.
Sabathia has seen the UNDER go 6-4-1 his last 11 against the Red Sox and he's allowed three or fewer earned runs in six of his last seven starts against them.
Beckett, who had a 10-1 home record in 2009 but who struggled in 2010, is hoping for and expecting a big "bounceback" season. He wasn't great in his opener, allowing three runs in five innings. However, I feel he's capable of better. Playing a very important game for his team and knowing he's matched up against one of the best around, I look for him to rise to the occasion here.
Note that in Beckett's final spring training start, he put it all together, allowing just one hit through five shutout innings. While that's admittedly a lot differently than a regular season game vs. the Yankees, the point is that he's recently tasted success.
While he had struggled with the Yankees last season, Beckett has still allowed three earned runs or less in nine of his last 15 starts against them.
Beckett's first 2011 start resulted in a 3-1 loss. Including that result, dating back to last season, the UNDER is 6-3 his last nine starts. I look for this one to also prove lower-scoring than expected. *10
|04-09-11||New York Yankees v. Boston Red Sox -144||Top||9-4||Loss||-144||3 h 46 m||Show|
I'm playing on BOSTON. I won with the Red Sox yesterday and I'm coming right back with them today. Often, when a really good team has been struggling, all it takes is one big win to "get the ball rolling." Yesterday's victory should be just what the Red Sox needed to get going. Of course, playing at Fenway also helps.
As Dustin Pedroia, who had three hits and his first homer, noted:
|04-08-11||New York Yankees v. Boston Red Sox -125||Top||6-9||Win||100||4 h 52 m||Show|
I'm playing on BOSTON. I was happy to see the Red Sox get blanked yesterday, as I had a play on the 'under.' While nobody expected them to be 0-6 to start the season, the Red Sox remain a very talented team, one with a lot of pride. Playing their home opener and facing their arch-rivals, I expect them to elevate their game and finally enter the win column.
Lackey goes for the home team. Admittedly, he didn't fare very well in his first start. He remains a very capable and competitive pitcher though and has pitched in his share of "big games." He's also got a 3.20 ERA vs. the Yankees, since joining Boston and his teams (Boston and LA) are a combined 7-2 his last nine "home" starts vs. New York. In his two starts at Fenway, vs. the Yankees last season, he allowed a mere two runs through 13 2/3 innings, striking out 13 while walking four.
Hughes goes for the Yankees and he got roughed up for five runs in four innings in his first start. That puts him at 0-1 with an awful 11.25 ERA. While he had some success against them last season, Hughes is still a poor 1-3 with an ugly 5.70 ERA and 1.633 WHIP in six lifetime starts against the Red Sox.
Lackey's teams are 6-2 in his April 'home' starts since 2006. Overall, the Red Sox and Angels are 14-6 his last 20 home starts. I look for him to get the better of Hughes today and for the Red Sox to reward the home faithful with a much-needed win. *10
|04-06-11||New York Mets v. Philadelphia Phillies -131||Top||7-10||Win||100||9 h 52 m||Show|
I'm playing on the PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES. The Mets got grabbed yesterday's series opener, as they beat up on Cole Hamels. Through four games, both teams are now 3-1. Today, the second game of the series, features Pelfrey vs. Blanton. While the Phillies are still medium-sized favorites, this is the "cheapest" that we'll see them in the series. Yesterday, with Hamels on the mound, they were much larger favorites - and with Halladay slated to go tomorrow, that'll certainly be the case again for the finale. That said, I believe that today's matchup provides us with the best value.
Blanton hasn't had the kind of longterm success that Philadelphia's "Big 4" (Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Oswalt) has had. Therefore, he doesn't get much attention. Those guys have all been "aces" though and Blanton is actually a very capable pitcher, in his own right. Indeed, he's arguably among the best "5th starters" around.
Blanton's coming off an extremely solid spring, one which saw him go 2-1 and record a 3.19 ERA and 1.19 WHIP, over 31 innings. During that stretch, he walked only four batters, striking out 18. Anxious to prove that he deserves to be in the same rotation as the other four, I expect him to get off to a strong start.
Note that Blanton enters the season having allowed four earned runs or less in 16 straight starts, dating back to last July. He went a minimum of six complete innings in 13 of those starts. The Phillies are 10-2 his last 12 starts and 10-1 his last 11 home starts.
Blanton's teams are also a perfect 4-0 in his home starts (3 at Philly, 1 at Oakland) vs. the Mets. Blanton went a minimum of seven complete innings in ALL four of those games and he allowed only four combined runs. His teams won those four games by a combined score of 17-7, including a 2-0 shutout victory where Blanton got the better of Johan Santana.
Pelfrey had won his first game in five straight seasons. That didn't happen this year though, as he got rocked in his first start, giving up five runs, four hits and four walks in 4 1/3 innings. He's likely going to have to wait for that victory as this is clearly no easy venue. Note that the Mets are only 6-12 in Pelfrey's last 18 starts, 7-13 his last 20 on the road. In fact, they're only 1-7 his last eight road starts.
I actually played against Pelfrey in his lone start at Philadelphia in 2010 and it ranked among my easiest winners of the entire season. Pelfrey got rocked and the Phillies won 10-0. It may not be quite that "easy" this time, however, I expect the end result to be the same. *10
|04-05-11||Atlanta Braves v. Milwaukee Brewers -104||Top||0-1||Win||100||10 h 14 m||Show|
I'm playing on MILWAUKEE. Off to an 0-4 start, things are already starting to get desperate in Milwaukee. With Gallardo on the mound, I expect them to finally break through with a victory this evening.
Gallardo is off a quality start in his opener and he had a very solid spring. Keep in mind that he went 14-7 with a 3.84 ERA and 200-to-75 strikeout-to-walk ratio last season.
While Gallardo's 2011 debut was an afternoon affair, this is an evening start. A closer look at last year's stats reveal that Gallardo was only 3-5 with a 4.24 ERA during the day but 11-2 with a 3.62 ERA at night.
Admittedly, Lowe was very sharp in his opener - and he's certainly still capable. That said, keep in mind that he was 6-7 with a 4.30 ERA on the road last season and 7-9 with a 4.26 ERA when pitching during the evening.
While Lowe has fared well vs. Milwaukee, Gallardo has been arguably even better vs. Atlanta. He's made four starts against the Braves and has a stellar 1.27 ERA and 0.953 WHIP in those games. In each case, he allowed two earned runs or less (0 in two of them) while pitching at least six complete innings. (He averaged better than 7 innings in those games, which is noteworthy, given Milwaukee's early season bullpen issues.)
Overall, the Brewers have been a more profitable team "under the lights" than the Braves the past couple of seasons. During that stretch, Atlanta was -14.3 net games vs. the moneyline. Milwaukee was +7.3.
Gallardo has made six home starts in the month of April the past few seasons. In three of those games, he went a minimum of six innings and allowed 0 runs.
After dropping yesterday's game, Milwaukee second baseman Rickie Weeks noted: "We know we
|04-04-11||Arizona Diamondbacks v. Chicago Cubs -145||Top||1-4||Win||100||15 h 29 m||Show|
I'm playing on the CHICAGO CUBS. (*Listing Wells, "Action" on Arizona) The Cubs lost a tough one yesterday afternoon, blowing a lead in the 9th inning. I expect them to bounce back this afternoon. (*Note this IS a play, whether its Saunders or Enright for Arizona.)
Wells went just 8-14 last year. However, I feel there's reason to believe that he'll improve on those numbers this season - or, at least, that he'll help earn the Cubs a victory this afternoon.
For starters, his ERA was 4.26 last year and 4.09 at home. That's not great - but its still "respectable" and could have easily led to be a better record.
Also, Wells was 12-10 with an excellent 3.05 ERA in 2009.
Additionally, note that he posted an outstanding 2.10 ERA over 25 2/3 innings in the Cactus League this spring, recording an impressive 23 strikeouts along the way.
Lastly, note that he's 2-0 with a 3.46 ERA vs. the Diamondbacks in his career. The Cubs won those two games by a combined score of 16-5 and Wells had 18 combined K's with only one walk.
Enright is also coming off a strong spring. Lets not forget that he allowed a whopping 20 home runs in just 99 innings last season. Also, keep in mind that Enright was just 2-3 with a 4.87 ERA on the road last season.
Note that Enright is 0-1 wit a 4.76 ERA vs. the Cubs. His lone start against them resulted in a 6-4 Arizona loss.
Saunders, who was supposed to go yesterday but saw his start postponed, was 9-17 with a 4.47 ERA last season. He was 4-9 on the road. Opposing batters hit .315 against him on the road. Also, note that he was 1-3 with an ugly 6.47 ERA in six afternoon starts.
Saunders' lone start vs. Chicago resulted in a 12-1 Cubs' victory. He gave up five earned runs in 2 2/3 innings.
With yesterday's game having been cancelled, note that the Dbax remain an awful 32-60 (-26.9) their last 92 afternoon games.
The Cubs are 7-3 the last 10 times that they were a host in this series, taking each of the last three meetings here. I expect them to pad those stats this afternoon. *10
|04-03-11||San Francisco Giants v. Los Angeles Dodgers -139||Top||5-7||Win||100||9 h 22 m||Show|
I'm playing on LA. After the Dodgers grabbed a pair of 1-run victories on Thursday and Friday, the Giants came back and embarrassed them by a 10-0 score yesterday. I expect the Dodgers to respond with a victory.
Looking at the current line and we find that the Giants were a poor 16-26 (-4.5) as road underdogs in the +125 to +150 range the past few seasons. Meanwhile, during the same stretch, the Dodgers are 37-19 (+11) as home favorites in the -125 to -150 range.
Zito goes for the Giants. He's recently been dealing with a sore neck and back after being involved in a two-car accident in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
Keep in mind that Zito went 1-10 with a 5.19 ERA in his last 15 games last year and wasn't on the Giants' postseason roster. In Zito's last start at LA, he allowed four runs in four innings, walking four along the way.
While he didn't have a very good spring, Kuroda had a solid 3.39 ERA last season to go along with 159 strikeouts, both career bests.
Kuroda has pitched well (3.56 ERA, 1.14 WHIP vs. the Giants but did lose his last home start against them. However, he pitched eight complete innings in that game, striking out eight, while allowing three runs. In other words, it wasn't his fault - he just didn't get any run support. (In his previous start vs. the Giants, he outpitched Matt Cain, en route to a 10-3 win.) I expect Kuroda to get considerably more run support here as the Dodgers bounce back and close out the series with a victory. *10
|04-03-11||New York Mets v. Florida Marlins -130||Top||9-2||Loss||-130||3 h 41 m||Show|
I'm playing on FLORIDA. These teams have split the first two meetings. Florida won its home opener, but the Mets returned the favor yesterday. The Marlins are still 10-3 the last 13 times they hosted the Mets though (New York hasn't won consecutive games at Sun Life Stadium since Aug. 27-Sept. 25, 2009) and I like them to bounce back and grab this afternoon's rubber game.
Dickey did have an excellent season for the Mets last year. However, its hard to say whether or not the 36-year old knuckleballer, practically from out of nowhere, will be able to do it again. Either way, even when he was pitching well against other teams, he had an ugly 6.38 ERA in three starts vs the Marlins.
Dickey's lone start here at Florida resulted in a 10-3 loss. He gave up five runs in five innings.
On the other hand, Vazquez has an outstanding 0.90 ERA in winning two of his last three starts against New York. Naturally, he'll be anxious to get off to a good start with his new team.
Vazquez was very sharp in his final spring start and I look for him to carry it over into today's start. He limited St. Louis to five hits and one run over 5 1/3 innings, walking only one while striking out four.
Afterwards, Vazquez was quoted as saying: "The last few starts, I felt the life on my fastball is there. I am not worried about my velocity. I'm just worried about location and the life of my pitches. Right now, my pitches have pretty good life on them."
Even with yesterday's victory, the Mets are still a money-burning 13-26 the past few seasons as road underdogs in the +125 to +150 range. The Marlins, on the other hand, are a respectable 28-18 as home favorites in the -125 to -150 range. With Vazquez getting the better of Dickey, I expect them to pad those stats here. *10
|04-02-11||Baltimore Orioles v. Tampa Bay Rays -180||Top||3-1||Loss||-180||7 h 29 m||Show|
I'm playing on TAMPA BAY. The Orioles spoiled the Rays' opener. I expect Tampa to bounce back and even the series here.
Shields gets the call and I expect him to perform well. Last season's numbers weren't where he wanted but he's proven to be more than capable in the past. Shields had his final spring start cancelled due to rain on Monday. However, he came back and threw 30 pitches on Tuesday and that was enough to strike out the likes of Evan Longoria, Johnny Damon and B.J. Upton.
Shields, who had a stellar 1.88 ERA in his four grapefruit league starts, was quoted as saying: "I feel really good, really strong. My last four outings of spring training have been exactly where I want it to be. My delivery is as good as it
|04-01-11||Minnesota Twins v. Toronto Blue Jays -125||Top||3-13||Win||100||9 h 46 m||Show|
I'm playing on TORONTO. The Twins are the defending AL Central Champs and they expect to finally have Justin Morneau in the lineup. However, playing their home opener and with Ricky Romero on the mound, I expect it to be the Jays which start the season with a victory.
These same two pitchers faced each other at the end of last regular season. In that October 1st game, Romero allowed just two runs on six hits, through eight complete innings. Pavano was also solid, just not quite as sharp. He allowed two runs on nine hits, through seven innings. Pavano had 3 K's with 1 walk. Romero had 5 K's and 0 walks. While Pavano escaped with a no-decision, Romero earned the victory.
That was at Minnesota. Romero's home stats were better than Pavano's road numbers too though. Pavano was solid on the road, going 9-7 with a 3.77 ERA. Romero was even better at home though, going 6-4 with a superior 3.27 ERA.
Yes, the Twins are expected to have Morneau back. I'm not expecting any immediate heroics from the former AL MVP though. (He had a .152 average in 10 spring training games.)
The Twins were 79-86 (-3.9) on the road the past couple of seasons. During the same stretch, the Jays were 90-72 (+7.7) at home. That includes a solid 22-14 (+2.6) mark as home favorites in the -125 to -150 range.
The Jays are 4-2 the last six times that they faced Pavano and they pounded him for six earned runs in both his starts at Toronto last season. Overall, they're 12-4 the last 16 times that they were a host in the series. Behind a quality effort from Romero, I expect them to improve on those stats today. *10
|10-30-10||San Francisco Giants v. Texas Rangers -160||Top||2-4||Win||100||8 h 16 m||Show|
I'm playing on TEXAS. Down 2-0, naturally, this is an absolutely critical game for the Rangers. Its true that teams don't always win these "must win games." Far from it. Its also true that we generally have to pay a little extra for the team in the "must win" role. In this case, however, given the venue, pitching matchup and character of the team, I expect the Rangers to respond with their best effort.
For starters, the Rangers are a far stronger team at home. They were 51-30 here during the season, as compared to only 39-42 on the road. Meanwhile, the Giants aren't as good away from San Francisco.
On of the reasons for the better record here, is that the Rangers are more comfortable hitting in their own park. They averaged 5.3 runs and hit .286 here. True, it can be a good hitter's ballpark. However, opposing teams didn't hit too well here. Visiting teams hit .248 here and averaged only 4.2 runs. Note that those stats are nearly identical to what the Giants typically do on the road.
Returning home also allows the Rangers to get Vladimar Guerrero's bat back in the lineup, as a DH, which is obviously significant. As Texas manager Ron Washington noted: "We get to get all of our weapons in that lineup. It's just comfortable to be back home in front of our fans. We can draw energy from them, and that's what we need."
I respect Jonathan Sanchez and know that he's capable of being very tough. That said, he hasn't been as "nasty" as Colby Lewis during the playoffs. Facing the Rays and Yankees (twice), Lewis is 2-0 with a superb 1.45 ERA and 1.178 WHIP over his last three starts.
True, the Giants have been playing great and they've now won three in a row. However, note that they're a money-burning 21-37 (-17.6) the past few seasons, after winning three straight.
Returning home, in a "must win" situation, I expect the Lewis and the Rangers to bounce back and make things interesting. *10
|10-28-10||Texas Rangers v. San Francisco Giants UNDER 7||Top||0-9||Loss||-110||10 h 38 m||Show|
I'm playing on SF and Texas to finish UNDER the total. With Lee and Lincecum on the mound, yesterday was supposed to be the "pitcher's duel."
Obviously, that didn't pan out. The game had an O/U line of 5.5 and finished with 18 runs! That doesn't mean that we can expect another "slugfest" today though. In fact, I expect the opposite.
Before looking at the starting pitchers, note that the O/U line has climbed all the way from 5.5 to seven. Naturally, that's an extremely significant jump. Instead of losing, one now gets a win if the game finishes with six runs and a 'push' if it lands on seven.
Today, its Cain vs. Wilson. Neither get the recognition of guys like Lee or Lincecum, however, both quietly had excellent seasons. Cain is 14-11 with a 2.96 ERA and 1.08 WHIP on the season, averaging 6.8 innings per start. He saw the UNDER go 18-15-2. At home, he was 9-4 with an even better 2.60 ERA.
In his last start, Cain tossed seven shutout innings, limiting the Phillies to only two runs. I successfully played on the 'under' in that game and the final score was 3-0. Prior to that, Cain limited Atlanta to a single unearned run, through 6 2/3 innings.
Manager Bruce Bochy said this of Cain: "He's commanding his fastball, and his secondary pitches, he's throwing strikes and he's getting it where he wants."
Wilson didn't fare so well in his last start. However, in his defense, he was pitching at New York and the Yankees were seeing him for the second time in less than a week. He was extremely stingy in his other playoff starts, including limiting Tampa to two hits through 6 2/3 shutout innings on 10/7.
Including that 10/7 result, Wilson has a very solid 3.03 ERA and 1.228 WHIP on the road, averaging 6 1/3 innings per outing. Combine those stats with the fact that the Rangers generally don't score as many runs away from Texas, and we find the UNDER at 11-5 in Wilson's 16 road starts.
Cain made one start against Texas (last season) and was dominant. He allowed just three hits and one run through eight innings. The Giants won 2-1. Meanwhile, while the Giants had seen plenty of Lee, this is Wilson's first start against them. That should work to his advantage.
Even with yesterday's result, the Rangers have seen the UNDER go 11-7 when playing a road game with an O/U line of seven or less. Meanwhile, the Giants have seen the UNDER go 32-24-6 when playing at home with an O/U line of seven or less. I expect those stats to improve. *10
|10-27-10||Texas Rangers v. San Francisco Giants +1.5||Top||7-11||Win||100||10 h 34 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN FRANCISCO on the Run-Line, at +1.5 RUNS. The World Series begins with another great pitching matchup, Cliff Lee vs. Tim Lincecum. Both former Cy Young award winners are in excellent current form and both are capable of dominating each and every time they take the mound. Naturally, its expected to be a low-scoring game. Indeed, the O/U line is just 5.5. I feel that the Giants, who are small underdogs, have an excellent shot at winning the game "outright." However, in a game like that, where runs figure to be at such a premium, getting an extra +1.5 runs to work with becomes that much more valuable.
Not even factoring in them laying an extra -1.5 runs, note that the Rangers are only 6-13 (-8.7) vs. the moneyline, when playing on the road with a line in the 100 to -125 range. During that stretch, the Giants are 5-4 (+1.3) as home underdogs of +100 to +125.
I successfully went against Lincecum in his last start. (He was up against Halladay and the Phillies were in a "must win" spot.) He still pitched very well though, allowing two earned runs (Philly also scored an unearned run against him) on just four hits, through seven complete innings. He had 7 K's and one walk. Overall, he now has a 1.96 ERA and 0.739 WHIP in the playoffs, averaging 7 2/3 innings while recording 29 K's with only five walks.
Again illustrating the importance of runs, in a game like this, Lincecum's last five home starts have all been decided by two runs or less, three of them by a single run. With the run-line price having fallen from its opener, I'm grabbing the +1.5 runs with Lincecum and the Giants. *10
|10-19-10||Philadelphia Phillies v. San Francisco Giants UNDER 6.5||Top||0-3||Win||100||6 h 1 m||Show|
I'm playing on the Phillies and Giants to finish UNDER the total. The first two games of this series both finished with seven runs. With the series shifting to San Francisco and with yet another pair of highly capable pitchers on the mound, I expect an even lower-scoring affair.
Yes, both Cain and Hamels have had longer layoffs than normal, which can sometimes have a negative effect. However, in this case, I feel that both starters will be just fine. These guys would be 'aces' on a lot of staffs. Both were excellent in their first round start and since then, both have been watching all these other outstanding pitching performances. They'll both be anxious to get back out there and show what they're capable of.
Hamels was absolutely dominant in his lone playoff start vs. the Reds. In that game, he tossed a complete-game 5-hit shutout. He recorded 9 K's and 0 walks, en route to earning a 2-0 victory.
Hamels, the 2008 World Series MVP, was quoted as saying: "Postseason is where it's at. It's the ultimate time to really show what kind of player you are, what kind of pitcher you are. These are the types of games and types of moments when you set foot in spring training it's the ultimate goal for the whole team to go out and enjoy."
For the season, Hamels had a 2.94 ERA, including a very solid 3.02 ERA (1.15 WHIP) on the road. In 104 innings on the road, he had 109 K's with only 30 walks. The UNDER was 11-6 in his road starts and 22-12 overall.
Like Hamels, Matt Cain was very tough in this season's lone playoff appearance. In 6 2/3 innings, he limited the Braves to a single unearned run. Cain was also very stingy at home all season. In 12 starts here, he went 8-4 with a 2.75 ERA and 1.032 WHIP.
Cain was quoted as saying: "You just feel comfortable pitching at home. Just try to relax and try to almost enjoy it and soak it all in, to try to take the nerves off a little bit."
True, its a low O/U line. However, when considering that the Phillies have seen the UNDER go 15-5-2 the last 22 times that they played a game with an O/U line of seven or less, including 10-3-1 on the road, it starts to seem a lot more reasonable. Look for those stats to improve here, as this one proves lower-scoring than many will be expecting. *10
|10-10-10||Philadelphia Phillies v. Cincinnati Reds +1.5||Top||2-0||Loss||-140||9 h 1 m||Show|
I'm playing CINCINNATI on the RUN-LINE. Everyone knows that the Phillies are a very good team. With a 2-0 series lead and with Hamels on the mound, they're currently listed as medium-sized road favorites. That hasn't been one of their better roles though. Indeed, they're a money-burning 19-30 (-22.4) the last 49 times that the were listed as road favorites in the -125 to -150 range, including an ugly 4-13 (-14) their last 17 in that role. With the Phillies favored on the "regular" moneyline, we're able to get a very reasonable price on the Reds on the run-line. I believe that offers us the best value here.
As mentioned, the Phillies are tough. Admittedly, Hamels is also tough. While he was only 5-6 on the road, he's had plenty of postseason experience and he's also pitched well here at Cincinnati.
That said, the Reds have been tough at home all season. They were 49-32 here, better than the Phillies 45-36 mark on the road. They've also had plenty of success against southpaw starters, going 34-22 (+9.1).
Cueto may not have pitched in the playoffs, but I believe he will pitch well. He was 1-0 with a 1.20 ERA in two starts against the Phillies this season. Cueoto's also got a sparkling 0.96 ERA in his last four starts here at Cincinnati. For the season, he was 6-3 with a 3.20 ERA and 1.223 WHIP here, most recently allowing one earned run through seven complete innings.
Cueoto was quoted as saying: "I'm going to throw a nice game. I'm going to do my job. That's all I think."
Hamels' lone start against the Reds this season resulted in a 1-0 final. His last start at Cincinnati (May of 2009) was also decided by a single run. The Reds lost Cueoto's start at Philadelphia by one run but they won 7-3 when he pitched at home vs. the Phillies. With the Reds desperate and fighting for their lives, I'm grabbing the +1.5 runs. *10
|10-07-10||Atlanta Braves v. San Francisco Giants -153||Top||0-1||Win||100||20 h 58 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN FRANCISCO. While we saw two of three visiting teams win yesterday, I feel that the fact this game is being played on the West Coast is significant. The Braves were an outstanding 56-25 at Atlanta. However, they were just 35-46 on the road. The Giants were a respectable 43-38 on the road but an excellent 49-32 here at San Francisco. The Giants are only 2-6 their last eight games played at Altanta. However, they're a commanding 9-2 the last 11 times that they hosted the Braves.
I also feel that the Lowe vs. Lincecum matchup will work in the Giants favor. Lowe is a capable veteran with plenty of experience. He's also been pitching very well recently. However, Lincecum is a pitcher taking it to a whole other level. When he's "on," he's in the class of guys like Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay. And we saw what those two former Cy Young Award winners did yesterday.
Even in a "down year," Lincecum was still 16-10 with a 3.43 ERA and 1.272 WHIP. The Giants were 21-12 (+3.7) in his starts. Note that he has a 1.20 ERA his last two starts, allowing just two runs in 15 innings.
While I've already noted that Lowe has pitched well of late, it should also be mentioned that he was just 6-7 with a very mediocre 4.30 ERA and 1.467 WHIP on the road. The Braves were 7-9 in his road starts.
The Giants are a perfect 4-0 in Lincecum's four career home starts vs. the Braves. They won those games by a combined score of 17-7. Lincecum went a minimum of six innings in all four starts and allowed two earned runs or less in each of them. Overall, he allowed just six earned runs in 29 innings, which translates to a 1.86 ERA. The Giants are 26-14 the last 40 times that they were listed as home favorites in the -150 to -175 range and with Lincecum "doing his thing," I look for them to improve on those stats here. *10
|10-06-10||Cincinnati Reds v. Philadelphia Phillies UNDER 8||Top||0-4||Win||100||52 h 15 m||Show|
I'm playing on Philadelphia and Cincinnati to finish UNDER the number. The Reds have played here at Philadelphia a dozen times since the beginning of the 2008 season. Nine of those 12 games, including three of four this season, stayed below the total. With a pair of highly capable pitchers taking the mound, I won't be surprised if Game 1 of their playoff series also proves low-scoring.
Halladay gets the call and he's had yet another superb campaign. For the season, he was 21-10 with a 2.44 ERA and 252 strikeouts in 250 2/3 innings. That includes a 12-5 mark with a 2.21 ERA here at home, with four complete games.
Not only is he coming off a great season, Halladay is a fierce competitor, one who values and understands his spot in the history books. He made one home start against the Reds this season. You may remember that one. Cincinnati's Travis Wood dominated Philadelphia's lineup, which was depleted by injuries at the time, and took a perfect game into the 9th inning. Yet, Halladay didn't blink. Rather, he tossed nine shutout innings of his own, keeping the game scoreless. The Phillies would eventually win 1-0 in the bottom of the 11th.
While I expect Halladay to "do his thing," run support may well be again prove to be an issue. Since returning from elbow surgery, Volquez's overall numbers are fairly mediocre and his road stats are poor. However, it just took some time for him to get going and, after a brief stint in the minors to work on his mechanics, he's been putting it all together of late.
All four of his September starts were of the "quality" variety and ALL four of them finished UNDER the total. Overall, Volquez allowed just six earned runs through 27 1/3 innings. That translates to an ERA of less than two. Note that he had 27 K's in those 27 innings and that he didn't give up a home run in any of them. His last road start was at Milwaukee on 9/21. He tossed eight complete innings and allowed only three hits and a single earned run.
Volquez knows how important this game is and knows his team is relying on him. While it will be awfully difficult to outpitch Halladay, I do expect him to pitch well. He was quote as saying: "It's an honor for me," Volquez said. "For me it's big because I was out for one year and came back from Tommy John surgery. This is the first game of the playoffs, it's big-time."
Volquez's lone start here at Philadelphia came in June of 2008. He three eight shutout innings with 8 K's and only two walks. The Reds won that game by a score of 2-0.
Looking at some O/U stats and we find that the Phillies have seen the UNDER go 14-4-5 the last 19 times that they played a game with an O/U line of seven or less and that includes a 4-1 mark at home. As for the Reds, they've seen the UNDER go 17-7 their last 24 games played in October and 14-5-1 the last 20 times that they were listed as underdogs in the +175 to +200 range. I expect another well-pitched affair. *10
|10-01-10||Oakland Athletics v. Seattle Mariners +1.5||Top||9-0||Loss||-153||11 h 21 m||Show|
I'm playing on SEATTLE on the RUN-LINE (at +1.5 runs.) The A's pounded the M's in yesterday's series opener. The A's are still 1-6 their last seven games though. Tonight, I feel that the value lies with the home team, particularly when we can get an extra +1.5 runs to work with, at a fairly reasonable price.
French gets the call for Seattle and he's pitched very well here. In fact, in five home starts he's gone 3-1 with a stellar 2.57 ERA and 0.971 WHIP, averaging seven innings per start. He allowed four earned runs or less in all five of those starts while also going at least six innings in each. French's last start came on the road, at Tampa. He allowed two runs and earned the "W" in a 6-2 Seattle victory. Note that French's last start vs. Oakland resulted in a 1- run loss.
Cahill has enjoyed a very strong season for the A's. However, while he's been exceptional at home, he's only been mediocre on the road. In 14 road starts, he's gone 6-5 with a 4.17 ERA. The A's are just 1-3 his last four road starts and that five of his last 20 road starts have been decided by a single run.
Cahill's last start came at home - and he got rocked. In four innings, he gave up 12 hits (2 HR's) and seven runs. His last road start was also rough. In five innings, he gave up two home runs and six earned runs.
Note that the A's are 1-3 (Cahill is 0-3) in his four starts vs. Seattle and that the lone victory came by a single run. Also with such a low O/U line, note that the A's are an awful 7-18 (-11.4) the last 25 times that they played a road game with an O/U line of seven or less.
Even with yesterday's loss, the M's are still 16-4 the last 20 times that they hosted the A's, 17-3 if one had been getting +1.5 runs in all those games. *10
|09-30-10||Toronto Blue Jays v. Minnesota Twins -146||Top||13-2||Loss||-146||19 h 25 m||Show|
I'm playing on MINNESOTA. The Jays were involved in an emotional game yesterday. Not only were they facing the rival Yankees but it was also their regular season home finale. More importantly, it marked Cito Gaston's final home game as the Jays' manager. Many former players were on hand and there was a pre-game ceremony. Gaston will always be well loved in Toronto (and Canada) and the players responded with a great effort for him. They got good pitching, played strong defense and hit the ball well, earning an 8-4 win.
Tonight's matchup figures to be far more difficult. Yesterday, in addition to playing at home and having the added motivation of trying to "win for Cito," the Jays were matched up against a struggling right-hander, Javier Vazquez. Vazquez entered that game with a 9.23 ERA and 1.973 WHIP over his previous three starts and the Jays wasted little time in jumping all over him.
Today, however, the Jays will be on the road, at one of the most difficult venues in the league. (Opposing teams are 25-52 here this season.) Additionally, they're now taking on an elite pitcher, Francisco Liriano. Making matters worse, Liriano is a southpaw.
With yesterday's victory, the Jays improved to a profitable 70-54 (+19.7) vs. right-handed starters. As I pointed out in Tuesday's winning 'under' play, the last time the Jays faced a southpaw, games against left-handed starters have been an entirely different story. Including that 6-1 loss, where they managed only three hits and one run, the Jays are an awful 12-22 (-8.6) vs. southpaw starters. They're hitting a dismal .212 in those games, averaging a mere 3.4 runs.
The Twins got a solid pitching performance last night, which helped them snap their losing streak. Now, with some positive momentum behind them, they'll look to get Liriano back on track. Some of you will recall that I successfully played against Minnesota the last time that Liriano pitched. That was at Detroit though. Not only are the Tigers tough in their own park but they had Verlander pitching and he's been nearly unbeatable at home.
Liriano's back at home now though (the Twins are 6-1 his L7 starts here) and he should be highly motivated to bounce back with a big effort. Note that he's got a stellar 2.83 ERA and 1.151 WHIP in 15 starts here. He's averaged nearly seven innings per start here and has 102 K's to just 27 walks. In 15 games here, he's given up only three home runs.
Hill has made only one road start this season and the Jays lost that one by a score of 11-3. He gave up nine hits in 5 2/3 innings. Including that start, his teams are an ugly 2-12 his L14 road starts. Hill also got rocked in his lone career start vs. the Twins. That was back in 2008. He lasted only 3 2/3 innings and gave up seven runs, six of them earned. Hill allowed 13 batters to reach base, giving up 10 hits and walking three. Not surprisingly, he was on the wrong side of a 9-3 loss.
Liriano lost his lone start vs. the Jays. However, that was at Toronto and the opposing pitcher was Roy Halladay. He still pitched very well, allowing just one earned run through six complete innings. I expect him to get the better of Hill here as the Twins start the series off with a victory. *10
|09-29-10||Minnesota Twins v. Kansas City Royals UNDER 9||Top||4-2||Win||100||10 h 59 m||Show|
I'm playing on KC and Minnesota to finish UNDER the total. After losing Monday's series opener by a score of 10-8, Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said this of his starting rotation. "We better get the edge back ... it won't make a difference if we don't pitch better." What happened? His team allowed three runs in the first inning and again allowed 10 for the game. I expect Gardenhire to finally receive some quality pitching for tonight's finale though.
Baker did recent miss some time with tendinitis. However, he's already since gotten a start under his belt and will be anxious to help the staff stop the bleeding here. Baker was solid in his return start. He allowed two runs (only 1 was earned) over five innings. He gave up just four hits and had an impressive seven K's while only walking one batter. Baker's last road start was back at the end of August, at Seattle. He allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings.
Baker has faced the Royals twice this season. He pitched well in one game and poorly in the other. Overall, he's had good success vs. KC over his career though. In 14 starts, he's gone 8-4 with a solid 3.44 ERA and an excellent 0.944 WHIP. The UNDER was 9-5 (or 8-5-1) in those games. Note that five of Baker's six road starts vs. the Royals have produced nine or fewer combined runs. In fact, three of them finished with less than five combined runs.
The Twins bats were cold yesterday. They've now scored just one run in three of their last five games. While there's a chance that Mauer could DH tonight, note that the Twins lineup will definitely be without Thome and Hardy. They'll also be facing a pitcher who has been throwing well.
Hochevar has allowed four or fewer earned runs in five straight starts. He's also allowed three earned runs or less in four of his last five home starts. Not surprisingly, the UNDER was a profitable 4-1 in those games. For the season, Hochevar has a very respectable 3.35 ERA and 1.174 WHIP in eight home starts, averaging 6 2/3 innings per outing. He's had 40 K's to only 12 walks here, while allowing just four home runs. In his last three starts here, Hochevar has allowed just four earned runs in 18 innings, which translates to a stellar 2.00 ERA. He should be highly motivated to pitch well as he's trying to match a career high in victories. All things considered, I feel the O/U number is generously high and I expect a relatively well-pitched affair. *10
|09-24-10||Minnesota Twins v. Detroit Tigers -130||Top||1-10||Win||100||16 h 17 m||Show|
I'm playing on DETROIT. While the Twins have already wrapped up the AL Central, they still have plenty to play for. That's because they'd still like to secure home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs. That said, there's often a natural letdown when a team finds itself in this situation. That wasn't the case on Wednesday, as the Twins were able to take care of business. However, that was at home. Now, they've had a day off for the "division title" to sink in AND they're on the road, at one of the more difficult venues in the league. Making matters worse, they're up against a pitcher who has been practically unbeatable here.
The Tigers, who also had yesterday off, are playing well. They've won five of their last six games. For the season, they're 49-29 here at home. That includes a profitable 12-3 (+8) record when Verlander has started here. In those 15 games, Verlander has averaged 6.9 innings per start, while recording an outstanding 2.51 ERA and 1.096 WHIP. In 104 innings here, Verlander has an impressive 100 K's with only 28 walks.
Verlander has also been excellent lately. Over his last three starts, he's gone 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA and a spectacular 0.792 WHIP. He's averaged eight innings per start while recording 26 K's and only three walks. He didn't allow a home run in any of those games, either. The Tigers won those games by a combined score of 21-6. Looking back further and we find Verlander at 4-0 with a 2.35 ERA in his last six starts
The Twins have a pretty good starter of their own taking the mound, as Liriano will get the call. That said, he wasn't nearly as sharp as Verlander in his most recent start. Last time out, he got rocked for five runs in five innings, suffering a 6-2 loss. For the season, he's got a mediocre 4.19 ERA on the road, averaging less than six innings per start.
Liriano's last start here at Detroit also happened to come against Verlander. Liriano lasted only 1 2/3 innings and he gave up seven earned runs.
For all their success this season, the Twins have only been mediocre on the road this season and they've fared poorly as road underdogs of this size. Note that they may not have Joe Mauer again, as he's still recovering from a sore left knee.
The Tigers are still playing hard and they're 4-1 the last five times that they hosted the Twins. Given they're 16-3 record in Verlander's last 19 home starts, dating back to last season, I feel that the current price is more than fair. *10
|09-22-10||Houston Astros v. Washington Nationals UNDER 8||Top||3-4||Win||100||9 h 43 m||Show|
I'm playing on Washington and Houston to finish UNDER the total. The first two games of this series have each finished above the number, although yesterday's game could be considered a 'bad beat' for 'under' players. (The score in that game was 3-1 with two outs in the bottom of the 8th inning.) Either way, I expect a lower-scoring affair this evening.
Rodriguez continues to be extremely consistent for the Astros. In fact, he's allowed four earned runs or less in 11 straight starts and he allowed three or less in 10 of those. He also went a minimum of six complete innings in all 11 of those starts. He has now gone at least six complete innings in 16 straight outings. He did allow three runs vs. the Reds in his last start. However, he also took a no-hitter into the sixth inning of that game. In other words, he's capable of really dominating.
Rodriguez should be pleased to face a Washington lineup which has scored two runs or less in seven of its last 12 games. He's only faced the Nats once this season. He allowed one run and the Astros won 5-1.
Marquis is coming off a disastrous outing at Philadelphia, where he lasted only 1/3 of an inning. That happens every so often, particularly against that type of lineup at that kind of ballpark. (In his defense, it should also be noted that Marquis is Jewish and that he was pitching on "Kol Nidre," the start of "Yom Kipper.") He'll be highly motivated to bounce back with a big effort and I expect him to be much better. While his overall numbers are admittedly very poor, note that before the "debacle" at Philadelphia, Marquis had actually been pitching well. In fact, he had a 2.40 ERA his previous five starts, having allowed just eight runs through 30 innings. The UNDER was 3-1-1 in those games.
The Astros are currently listed as small favorites. That's noteworthy as we find the UNDER at 6-1 the last seven times that the Astros played on the road with a line in the +100 to -125 range. During that stretch, the UNDER is 13-6-2 when the Nats have played at home with a line in the +100 to +125 range. I expect those stats to improve here. *10
|09-21-10||San Diego Padres v. Los Angeles Dodgers -122||Top||6-0||Loss||-122||12 h 56 m||Show|
I'm playing on LA. I won with the DODGERS in their last game and I feel that they've got an excellent shot at making it two in a row here. While thoughts of the playoffs are now a distant memory, Sunday's win showed that the Dodgers haven't quit trying. It was also the type of victory that a team can really build some positive momentum from. I say that as the Dodgers erased an early 6-1 deficit and fought all the way back, against a red hot Colorado team, for a 7-6 victory in extra innings. I expect them to have the edge on the mound for tonight's series opener.
Billingsley has pitched better than his 11-10 record indicates and he's been extremely consistent for many weeks. Over his last 11 starts, he's only allowed four earned runs once. In all 10 other starts, he allowed three or less. Over that 11 games, he allowed only one home run. It should be noted that the one time, during that stretch, that Billingsley allowed four runs ago was at San Diego, two starts ago. However, it should also be noted that he's still 10-6 with a stellar 2.68 ERA lifetime vs. the Padres. The Dodgers are 5-2 in Billingsley's last seven home starts vs. the Padres.
Billingsley was a hard-luck loser in his last start. He pitched very well though, allowing only one run through seven complete innings. That gives him a 2.21 ERA his last three starts. In his most recent home start, he allowed just two unearned runs through eight complete innings. The Dodgers won 4-2. Including that victory, the Dodgers are 4-1 in Billingsley's last five home starts.
Richard is coming off a forgettable outing. He got rocked for 11 hits and eight runs, lasting just three innings. The Padres are 0-3 his last three starts and he's got a high 4.85 ERA and poor 1.665 WHIP on the road.
Richard has had some success vs the Dodgers and he beat them here in August. However, a closer look reveals that he didn't exactly dominate. In fact, he gave up 10 hits, three walks and four runs in 5 1/3 innings. He was just fortunate to benefit from decent run support. Given Billingsley's form in recent weeks, I don't feel Richard will be so fortunate here.
In addition to wanting to "spoil" San Diego's playoff chances, the Dodgers are motivated to try and finish the season above .500, sending Joe Torre out a winner. They're 13-7 the last 20 times that they hosted the Padres and I look for them to improve on those stats here. *10
|09-20-10||Atlanta: B Beachy v. Philadelphia: C Hamels -153||Top||1-3||Win||100||9 h 56 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHILADELPHIA. The Phillies are absolutely rolling right now. Yesterday, they got a 2-run home run in the bottom of the 9th to win 7-6. That's the kind of momentum-building victory that can really keep a streak going. They're now 7-0 their last seven and 19-4 their last 23. Now, already three games ahead in the East, they've got a chance to really finish the Braves off. With Cole Hamels on the mound, I expect them to start the series off with another victory.
For starters, note that the Braves are 34-41 on the road and that the Phillies are 48-27 at home. Over the last few seasons, the Phillies are 39-19 (+7.5) as home favorites in the -150 to -175 range.
While he had some trouble with the Braves earlier this season, Hamels is throwing much better now than he was then. In fact, he ranks among the very hottest pitchers in baseball right now. Over his last four starts, he has allowed just one earned run and 16 hits. That's over a span of 28 2/3 innings. That translates to a 0.31 ERA! During that stretch, he had 31 K's, including 13 in his last start. For the season, Hamels has a 2.66 ERA and 1.105, in 15 home starts.
Phillies closer Brad Lidge recently said this of Hamels: "He's locked in right now. It's fun to see. He has complete command and confidence with all his pitches."
Unlike Hamels, Jurrjens has had some trouble recently. He's 1-2 with a poor 6.32 ERA and 1.723 WHIP his last three starts. The Braves have lost his last two starts by a combined score of 17-4. For the season, he's 1-4 with an ugly 5.81 ERA in 10 road starts.
Given the venue and the current form of the starting pitchers, I feel that the price on the favorite is more than reasonable. *10
|09-19-10||Colorado Rockies v. Los Angeles Dodgers -130||Top||6-7||Win||100||6 h 54 m||Show|
I'm playing on LA. The Rockies are red hot. In fact, yesterday's 12-2 victory was their third straight and it brought them to 12-2 their last 14 games. With the Dodgers currently struggling, many will expect the Rockies to keep on rolling here. The Dodgers haven't been swept in a 3-game home series by the Rockies since 2007 though. And, as they say, "momentum is the next day's starting pitcher..." With Kershaw on the mound, I expect the Dodgers to have a significant edge on the mound and look for them to bounce back and avoid the sweep.
Kershaw comes off a complete game 4-hit shutout. He didn't walk a single batter and the Dodgers won 1-0. That gives him a terrific 1.64 ERA and 0.773 WHIP his last three starts. For the season, he's got a very solid 2.85 ERA and 1.191 WHIP.
In addition to being in excellent current form, Kershaw is also 3-0 with an outstanding 1.04 ERA in four outings against Colorado this year. In five career home starts vs. the Rockies, he's got an incredible 0.58 ERA. In fact, entering today's game, he's got a 29-inning home scoreless streak in tact, against the Rockies.
While he has also enjoyed success against today's opponent, Hammell hasn't been nearly as consistent as Kershaw. He had been pitching well for a stretch. However, last time out, he gave up 10 hits and four runs in just four innings. He was quoted as saying: "I think I got ambushed tonight. They came out and were swinging early. They were aggressive early and I kind of played right into their hands."
For the season, Hammell is 3-6 with a poor 5.15 ERA on the road.
For all their problems, the Dodgers are still a profitable 49-29 (+9.3) the past few seasons, as home favorites in the -125 to -150 range. That includes a 16-9 record in that role this season. With Kershaw "doing his thing," I expect them to bounce back from yesterday's embarrassing loss and close out the series with a victory. *10
|09-14-10||Boston Red Sox v. Seattle Mariners +1.5||Top||9-6||Loss||-142||20 h 14 m||Show|
I'm playing SEATTLE on the RUN LINE. Here, we're getting a very reasonable price on Seattle at +1.5 runs in a game in which the Mariners should have a significant advantage on the mound.
French is 2-1 with a 2.33 ERA and 0.879 WHIP his last three starts. For the season, he 3-1 with an outstanding 1.93 ERA and 0.964 WHIP in four home starts. In all three home victories, he went at least seven innings and allowed no more than one run.
Matsuzaka, on the other hand, has a terrible 7.85 ERA his last three starts. He's allowed at least four earned runs in all three of those starts, including eight in his last one.
Matsuzaka has made five career starts here at Seattle and the Red Sox won only two of them. Note that all five games were decided by two runs or less and that three of them were decided by a single run.
While they lost yesterday's opener, the M's have played the Red Sox fairly tough here in recent seasons, as the teams are now 10-10 the last 20 meetings at Seattle. If taking Seattle at +1.5 in all those games, one would have been 12-8. With French getting the better of Matsuzaka, I expect the M's to improve on those stats here. *10
|09-13-10||Milwaukee Brewers v. Houston Astros -135||Top||2-4||Win||100||10 h 35 m||Show|
I'm playing on HOUSTON. The Brewers won yesterday. They still only managed two runs though. That was better than their previous two games, as they'd been blanked in each of those. Tonight, the Brewers find themselves up against a red-hot pitcher. I expect their offensive struggles to continue for another night.
Myers goes for the home team and he's been outstanding lately. Indeed, he's 3-0 with a superb 1.76 ERA in his last six starts. For the season, he's 11-7 with a very solid 2.91 ERA. A closer look reveals that he's a perfect 6-0 in his 12 home starts. He's averaged better than seven innings in those 12 starts and has a stellar 2.23 ERA. The Astros were a highly profitable 10-2 (+8.7) in those games. In his last start, Myers tossed seven shutout innings. He allowed only three hits and had eight K's with just one walk. He earned the "W" in a 4-0 Houston victory.
In three career home starts against the Milwaukee (all were with Philadelphia) Myers is 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA. Two of those were complete games.
Narveson has also pitched well recently. That said, he still got a 5.20 ERA on the season and he's averaged less than six innings per start. Narveson faced the Astros once this season and he lasted just four innings. He gave up eight hits and four runs, en route to taking a 5-0 loss.
While they've had some real trouble at Milwaukee, the Astros are 5-1 the last six times that they hosted the Brewers, including 3-0 this season. They won those games by a combined score of 16-2.
The Brewers have had trouble as small road underdogs. They're 4-9 (-4.6) as road underdogs of +100 to +125 and 7-14 (-4.6) as road underdogs in the +125 to +150 range.
On the other hand, the Astros have fared very well as home favorites in this range. They're a profitable 11-3 (+7) as home favorites in the -125 to -150 range. Behind another quality effort from Myers, I expect them to improve on those stats here. *10
|09-11-10||Baltimore Orioles v. Detroit Tigers -160||Top||5-3||Loss||-160||8 h 20 m||Show|
I'm playing on DETROIT. The Orioles won again yesterday and have certainly been a different team under Showalter. With a red hot pitcher on the mound, I expect the Tigers to cool them off this evening though.
Max Scherzer gets the call and he's got an outstanding 1.72 ERA in his past eight starts. For the season, he's 7-3 with a 3.05 ERA in 13 home starts. It's also worth noting that he's lasted at least seven complete innings in eight consecutive home starts.
Scherzer has faced the Orioles only once. In that July 7 outing, he allowed only a single run through seven innings. That translates to a 1.29 ERA. Note that Detroit, which won that game by a score of 4-2, was laying a price of -225. Now, as Baltimore is playing better, we're getting a far more reasonable price on Scherzer and the Tigers.
Guthrie hasn't faced the Tigers yet this season but the Orioles were 0-2 in his two 2009 starts against Detroit. Overall, he's got a poor 4.66 ERA and 1.552 WHIP vs. the Tigers for his career.
Like many Baltimore pitchers, Guthrie has been pitching well lately. He's still just 3-7 (4.02 ERA, 1.362 WHIP) on the road though, with the Orioles going a money-burning 4-10 (-2) in his 14 road starts.
Recent results nothwithstanding, the Tigers are still the much better team in this matchup. Keep in mind that the Tigers are still 46-27 at home while the O's are still 24-46 on the road.
Even with yesterday's loss, the Tigers are still 12-5 the last 17 times that they hosted the Orioles. They're also a profitable 11-3 the last 14 times that they were listed as home favorites in the -150 to -175 range. Behind another quality performance from Scherzer, I expect them to improve on those stats here. *10
|09-10-10||New York Yankees v. Texas Rangers -135||Top||5-6||Win||100||11 h 11 m||Show|
I'm playing on TEXAS. The Rangers won at Toronto yesterday while the Yankees had the day off. One might assume that would favor the Yankees. Surprisingly, New York is just 27-29 (-13.5) the past 56 times that it played with a day off. As for the Rangers, they're 3-0 the last three times that they played their first game back home, after having just finished a road trip. On 8/23, having just returned home, they beat Minnesota 4-0, outhitting the Twins by a 10-1 margin. On 8/10, they returned home to beat these same Yankees. Prior to that, on 7/22, they returned home to beat the Angels.
Overall, the Rangers are 43-26 here at home, better than the Yankees' 38-28 mark on the road. In addition to having the venue in their favor, the Rangers figure to have an edge on the mound.
Wilson gets the call and he's 14-6 with a very solid 3.15 ERA and 1.215 WHIP. In 28 starts, note that he's only given up eight home runs. That includes an extremely impressive 10-2 record with a 3.20 ERA and 1.184 WHIP, here at home. That Rangers are a lucrative 21-7 (+12.3) in Wilson's 28 starts, including 13-3 here at home. In his last home start, he outpitched Duensing and the Twins, earning a 4-3 victory. Speaking of 4-3 victories, note that Wilson's lone home start vs. New York also resulted in a 4-3 win.
Wilson figures to get some run support here. Vazquez had a 6.69 ERA from July 21-Aug. 21st. That was enough to get him dropped from the rotation. He returned last weekend but was hardly impressive, allowing five runs, four walks and two home runs in just 4 2/3 innings. Girardi was quoted as saying: "He did OK. My plan is for him to stay in the rotation. I can't tell you what's going to happen. There are no guarantees in this game." Not exactly a ringing endorsement.
Including last weekend's result, Vazquez now has a dismal 8.48 ERA and 2.228 WHIP his last three starts. For the season, he's 8-9 with a 5.23 ERA as a starter. He last pitched here exactly one month ago and that start was the "last straw" that led to his leaving the starting rotation. In 4 1/3 innings, he allowed six runs.
The Rangers are 16-7 the last 23 times that they were listed as home favorites in the -125 to -150 range. With Wilson getting the better of Vazquez, I expect them to improve on those stats here. *10
|09-09-10||Cincinnati Reds +1.5 v. Colorado Rockies||Top||5-6||Win||100||5 h 49 m||Show|
I'm playing CINCINNATI on the RUN-LINE. The Reds have dropped the first two games of this series and badly need to avoid getting swept. While I feel that they've got an excellent shot at closing out their road trip with a victory, I also believe there a number of reasons to lay the extra 'juice' and take them at +1.5 runs (on the run-line) instead.
Wood had a bad start at San Francisco a few starts. That was the exception rather than the norm though and he responded in a big way last time out. With his team badly needing a win and playing a huge game against the division-rival Cards, Wood outpitched Wainwright. Wood allowed just a single unearned runs through seven innings. The Reds won 6-1. (Wood even hit a home run.)
Wood is now 5-1 with a 3.18 ERA and 0.963 WHIP in 10 road starts. The Reds were a profitable 8-2 in those games and opposing batters hit a mere .197. Note that one of the two losses was a 1-0 loss at Philadelphia, vs. Roy Halladay and the Phillies. In other words, if getting the Reds at +1.5 in all 10 of Wood's road starts, one would be 9-1.
Speaking of 1-0 games, Wood's only career start vs. the Rockies resulted in a 1-0 loss.
It should also be noted that Wood has been very tough in 'day' games. In six daytime starts, he's gone 3-1 with a 2.72 ERA.
Hammel gets the call for the Rockies. Like Wood, he's been pitching well lately and has had a solid season. Also, like Wood, he's seen all his career starts vs. today's opponent decided by a single run. His two starts vs. Cincinnati finished with scores of 4-3 and 3-2.
Hammel has made 18 starts since the beginning of June and seven of them were decided by only one run.
Also, even including yesterday's 9-2 "blowout," this series has still seen five of the last 10 games decided by a single run.
The Reds closed out their last road trip with a victory (was a 1-run game) on 8/25. Prior to that, they closed out their previous road trip with a victory, at Chicago, on 8/8. Wood was on the mound for that 11-4 victory. With Wood back on the mound here, I feel that the Reds have a great shot at 'doing it again.' *10
|09-08-10||San Francisco Giants v. Arizona Diamondbacks -130||Top||1-3||Win||100||11 h 29 m||Show|
I'm playing on ARIZONA. Yesterday was a touch matchup for the Diamondbacks, as Tim Lincecum was on the mound for the Giants. Today, however, the Diamondbacks have a starter in much better current form than the on the Giants will have. I expect them to bounce back and snap their 4-game skid.
The Diamondbacks send Daniel Hudson to the mound and he's been superb since coming over from Chicago. In seven starts, he's gone 4-1 and hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in a single start. He's also gone at least six innings in all seven of those starts, going seven or more in six of them. Overall, he's allowed just 11 runs in 49 2/3 innings. That translates to a 1.99 ERA. His teams are now 8-3 his last 11 starts. Over his last three starts, he's got a 1.80 ERA with 21 K's in 20 innings.
While Hudson has been on fire, the opposite has been true of Barry Zito. Indeed, the veteran is 0-7 with a 5.79 ERA in his last 10 starts and he hasn't made it past the fourth inning in any of his last four starts. He's 0-3 with a terrible 12.70 ERA and 2.469 WHIP his last three starts. One of those came against these same Diamondbacks. Zito allowed nine runs, seven of them earned, in 3 2/3 innings. Arizona won by a score of 11-3. Hudson was also the opposing starter in that one. He allowed two runs in seven innings. While that was Hudson's lone start against the Giants, Zito is now 3-7 with a poor 5.33 ERA and ugly 1.706 WHIP vs. Arizona.
True, the Diamondbacks are playing out the string while the Giants are battling for first in the West. That's kept the line generously low though. Given the current form of the starting pitchers, it could easily be much higher. I feel that provides us with excellent value. *10
|09-07-10||Chicago White Sox v. Detroit Tigers -162||Top||1-9||Win||100||16 h 19 m||Show|
I'm playing on DETROIT. The White Sox are on a roll and are off back to back comeback wins. Sunday saw them rally in the 9th inning to come from behind and beat Boston. Yesterday, they erased a deficit to force extra innings, eventually beating the Tigers by a 5-4 score. I expect their good fortune to come to an end here though.
The Tigers send Verlander to the mound. More often than not, when playing here at Detroit, that means a victory. Indeed, the Tigers are a profitable 10-3 (+6) in Verlander's 13 home starts. During that stretch, Verlander has a stellar 2.63 ERA and 1.146 WHIP. He's averaged 6.8 innings per start here and has an impressive 82 K's to just 26 walks. In his last home start, Verlander allowed just one run through eight complete innings. That brings him to 7-1 his last eight here.
On the other hand, Garcia has a poor 5.10 ERA and 1.507 WHIP on the road, averaging less than six innings per road start. He has the same amount of walks (26) on the road that Verlander does at home, but only half as many (41) strikeouts. Note that Garcia lasted only four innings in his last start, leaving with a tight back.
True, Garcia has an impressive record against the Tigers and he's fared well against them this season. However, it's also true that they've seen him four times already this season. Seeing him for the fifth time, the hitters are becoming more and more familiar with him.
On the other hand, Verlander hasn't faced Chicago since last season. Note that he did have a 1.62 ERA in winning both his home starts against the White Sox last season.
Even with yesterday's loss, the Tigers are still 43-26 at home, including 10-4 as home favorites in the -150 to -175 range. Behind another big game from Verlander, I expect them to bounce back and improve on those stats here. *10
|09-06-10||Los Angeles: V Padilla v. San Diego: T Stauffer -155||Top||2-4||Win||100||11 h 23 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN DIEGO. Both these teams badly need a victory. The Dodgers lost last night and are now 2-6 their last eight games. They're eight games back of the division leaders and can't afford to fall further back. The Padres are actually still in first place in the West. However, they lost again yesterday afternoon and have now dropped 10 straight. Clearly, they should be desperate to snap their skid. While its debatable about which team "needs" a victory more, playing at home and with an edge on the mound, I expect the Padres to be the team that temporarily rights the ship.
Latos has allowed one run in each of his last two starts. Remarkably, he's now allowed two earned runs or less in 14 straight starts. He's the first pitcher to do so since Greg Maddux accomplished the feat back in the early 1990s. During that stretch, he's 8-1 with an exceptional 1.51 ERA. Note that he went a minimum of six innings in 12 of those 14 starts, going at least five innings in all 14 of them.
Latos, who strikes out more than an inning, had 10 K's last time out. Over his last three starts, he has an impressive 26 K's in 20 innings, walking only four.
Padilla's numbers aren't nearly so impressive. He did pitch well vs. these same Padres a few starts ago. However, since then, he's been rocked. Two starts ago, he allowed four runs in five innings vs. the Phillies. Last time out, he was far worse. He lasted just 4 1/3 innings and gave up eight runs. He now has a horrible 6.41 ERA in nine road starts. The Dodgers were a money-burning 2-7 in those games.
While the price may seem a bit steep, for a team on a 10-game losing streak, given Latos' amazing run, I feel it could easily be higher. Even with all their recent struggles, the Padres are still a terrific 9-1 the last 10 times that they were listed as home favorites in the -150 to -175 range. With Latos getting the better of Padilla, as he did back in late July, I expect the Padres to finally earn a victory. *10
|09-03-10||Detroit Tigers v. Kansas City Royals -161||Top||9-5||Loss||-161||10 h 2 m||Show|
I'm playing on KC. We don't normally find the Royals laying this large a price against a team like the Tigers. However, in this case, given the venue and pitching matchup, I feel that the higher line is justified. In fact, it could easily be even higher.
Greinke hasn't had the amazing year that he did last year. He's still been solid though and he's currently in excellent form. Over his last four starts, he's gone 1-0 with a stellar 2.10 ERA. He's gone eight complete innings in three of those four starts. His last two home starts have both resulted in KC victories. The Royals won by scores of 3-2 and 2-1.
Greinke has enjoyed plenty of success vs. the Tigers, particularly recently. Indeed, he's 4-1 with a commanding 0.92 ERA his last seven starts vs. Detroit. Note that the Tigers haven't hit a home run in any of their last nine games against Greinke, a span of 60 innings. The Tigers haven't seen him since back in the spring.
After his last start, Cleveland's manager Manny Acta said this of Greinke: "Greinke is so darned tough. It's not just his velocity. It's his off-speed stuff and how he locates it, too."
Unlike Greinke, Bonderman is not in good form. In fact, he's got an awful 7.41 ERA his last three starts. His last start came against these same Royals, which should work in KC's favor. He was actually solid in that start, although far from dominant. In six innings, he allowed eight hits and three runs. That was at home though, where he and the Tigers are much better. On the road, Bonderman is just 2-5 with a terrible 6.83 ERA on the season. He's been especially brutal on the road lately, going 1-4 with a dismal 8.68 ERA in his last five road starts.
As if he didn't have enough problems when healthy, note that Bonderman missed his last start due to "inflammation around his right rib cage."
It should also be noted that the Tigers may be without Miguel Cabrera as he left yesterday's game at Minnesota with left biceps tendinitis. (He's only 3 for 16 against Greinke the past 2 years anyway.)
One normally assumes that the Tigers are the better hitting club. However, the Royals actually hit much better at home than the Tigers do on the road. Although still below .500, the Royals home record (30-35) is far better than Detroit's 23-43 mark on the road.
With Greinke in top current form, I expect him to get the better of Bonderman and for the Royals to start this series with a victory. *10
(***Note: This play lists Greinke only. If Bonderman can not go, Alfredo Figaro would go for Detroit. If this happens, it would still be a play for us on KC. ***)
|09-02-10||Cleveland Indians v. Seattle Mariners -145||Top||6-3||Loss||-145||12 h 4 m||Show|
I'm playing on SEATTLE. These teams are both playing out the string, as thoughts of the playoffs are ancient history. Both teams lost again yesterday, both suffering 'tough' losses. Seattle outhit the Angels 10-5 but still managed to lose 4-2. After falling behind 1-0 in the first inning, the Mariners tied the game in the third. They briefly held a 2-1 lead before the Angels reclaimed it in the 7th inning and added an insurance run in the eighth. Cleveland's loss was arguably even more difficult to swallow. Not only were the Indians trying to avoid a sweep, they held a lead from the 4th inning right until the 8th. They got a great game from Carrasco, in his 2010 debut, but squandered it by allowing four runs in the 8th and another in the 9th. Off that difficult setback, they then had to travel across the country to get ready for this series.
Fister goes for the Mariners and he's been excellent at home all season. In 13 starts here, he's got a stellar 2.99 ERA and 1.053. He's averaged 6 2/3 innings in his starts here and has walked only 12 batters, less than one per game. Fister hasn't received much run support though and that was the case again his last start. Fister went seven innings and allowed only one run. However, the Mariners couldn't manage a single run and lost 1-0. Fister should get some better run support here though.
While it didn't translate to many runs, the Mariners did manage 29 hits in the 3-game series with the Angels, pounding out nine, 10 and 10 in the three games. That was against some fairly tough Angel pitching. Now, the M's will face Josh Tomlin, who brings a 4.91 road ERA to the table. Tomlin got the win in his last start. However, he was far from dominant. Facing KC, he allowed eight hits and walked four batters, in just five innings. He had only one strikeout and gave up three runs. That gives him a 5.62 ERA and 2.00 WHIP his last three starts.
The Indians are just 24-41 on the road this season and they've struggled as road underdogs of this size. Coming off what managed Manny Acta described as "tough series" and now flying across the country to face a pitcher who has been "tough" at SafeCo all season, I expect their road woes to continue for another day. *10
|09-01-10||Washington Nationals v. Florida Marlins -150||Top||10-16||Win||100||17 h 51 m||Show|
I'm playing on FLORIDA. Momentum can change quickly in baseball. The Nationals entered yesterday's game on a roll. The Marlins entered yesterday's game having lost three in a row. The Marlins managed to snap that skid with a 1-0 victory in the bottom of the 10th inning. I believe that it was the type of victory that can really build some positive momentum for the Marlins. At the same time, it was also a potentially deflating loss for the Nationals.
Any time you lose a 1-0 game, its a bit tough to take. Yesterday's 1-0 loss was arguably tougher on the Nats than some though. They got an absolute gem from Zimmerman, in just his second start back from Tommy John Surgery. The Nats also squandered a chance to take the lead in the top of the 10th, only to see the Marlins win on a very close play at the plate in the bottom of the inning.
In addition to playing at home and now having the momentum in their corner, the Marlins should have the pitching matchup in their favor.
Volstad and Olsen just opposed each other on 8/11, at Washington. Olsen was horrible (7 runs in 1 2/3 innings!) that day and the Marlins won by a score of 9-1. In five starts vs. the Marlins, he has an awful 6.93 ERA and 1.702 WHIP. His teams were 1-4 in those games.
Volstad, on the other hand, is now 3-0 vs. the Nationals this season. In this season's lone home start vs. the Nats, he tossed a complete game and allowed only four hits and one run. He had eight K's and only walked one batter. The Marlins won 7-1.
Since Volstad beat Olsen on 8/11, the Marlins have gone 2-1 in Volstad's starts. During that time, the Nats have gone 0-3 in Olsen's starts, getting outscored by a combined 20-4 margin.
With Olsen being a left-hander, it should be noted that the Marlins have enjoyed remarkable success vs. southpaw starters. In fact, they're 14-3 their last 17 vs. southpaws, improving to a highly profitable 79-55 (+29.7) the past few seasons.
In addition to being excellent as home favorites in this range, the Marlins have dominated this series. Yesterday's victory brought the Marlins to 35-14 the last 49 meetings including 19-7 the last 26 here at Florida. Off yesterday's momentum-building victory, I expect them to continue that series domination here. *10
|08-30-10||Colorado: De La Rosa v. San Francisco: J Sanchez -124||Top||2-1||Loss||-124||20 h 58 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN FRANCISCO. These teams have home/away records which are nearly a mirror image of each other. The Rockies are 25-40 on the road. The Giants are 40-26 at home. I expect the Giants to again have the advantage.
While both teams hit very well in winning yesterday's games, the Giants have been scoring more runs over the past couple of weeks. They entered yesterday's game averaging six runs per game and hitting .290, over their last seven games. The Rockies entered yesterday's game averaging 4.4 runs and hitting .252. For the season, the Rockies are hitting a mere .226 on the road, averaging only 3.6 runs in those games.
Sanchez is 5-4 with a respectable 3.93 ERA and 1.282 WHIP in 13 home starts. Over that stretch, he's averaged slightly better than a strikeout per inning, recording 76 K's to just 35 walks. The Giants were 8-5 in those games and are 16-10 in his 26 starts overall. That includes a 10-0 San Francisco victory the last time that Sanchez started against Colorado.
Note that SF is 2-0 in Sanchez's last two starts, winning by a combined score of 21-7.
While he has fared well vs. the Giants in his career, De La Rosa is 1-2 with a poor 5.74 ERA and 1.65 WHIP in his five road starts this season. The Rockies were 1-4 in those games.
Note that the Rockies are in one of their worst roles here, as we find them at a money-burning 6-17 (-10.4) the last 23 times that they were listed as road underdogs in the +100 to +125 range.
Yesterday's big victory snapped a losing streak and was exactly what the Giants needed. I expect them to build some positive momentum from that win and look for them to start the new series with another victory. *10
|08-29-10||Boston Red Sox v. Tampa Bay Rays -139||Top||3-5||Win||100||9 h 15 m||Show|
I'm playing on TAMPA BAY. I had the Rays yesterday and they rewarded me with an extra-inning victory. In my analysis, I noted that both starting pitchers were in excellent form but that the Rays' bullpen and the fact that they were playing at home gave them the advantage. Here's what I had to say:
"....While its hard to argue between Buchholz and Garza, note that the Rays have a significant advantage in the bullpen department. Tampa relievers have a combined 3.41 ERA and 1.169 WHIP at home. Boston relievers have a combined 5.07 ERA and 1.491 WHIP on the road. True, this season's Rays have come to be known more for their success on the road. They're still an excellent 39-25 at home though and that brings them to a highly profitable 153-81 (+32.2) here the past few seasons. During that same stretch, the Red Sox have gone just 115-116 (-11.6) on the road...."
That proved to be the case as the Rays used their "last bats" and strong bullpen to their advantage. That was the type of victory that can really build some positive momentum. That's exactly what I expect from the Rays here.
Neither of today's pitchers has been as red hot as yesterday's and both have fairly similar stats on the season. Shields has been a little better his last two starts though. He's allowed just three earned runs in 13 innings (2.08 ERA), recording an impressive 16 K's to go along with only two walks. Lackey, on the other hand, has allowed seven runs in 15 innings, over his last two starts.
While Lackey got the better of Shields at Boston, back in late June, note that the Red Sox are a money-burning 4-8 (-4.8) when Lackey has started on the road.
On the other hand, Shields started off poorly at home, but he's gone 3-1 with a superb 2.42 ERA in his last four home starts. Joe Maddon said this of Shields: "He's been a rock for us the last several years. He's going to really get on a nice run."
Overall, the Rays are now an impressive 16-5 their last 21 games here.
While the Red Sox are desperate to get back in the race, I would argue that the Rays are every bit as hungry to step on them while they have the change. The Rays are a profitable 38-20 (+10.3) the last 58 times that they were listed as home favorites in the -125 to -150 range. I expect Shields to continue his recent strong home pitching, avenging the June loss and helping the Rays close out the series with an important victory. *10
|08-28-10||Baltimore Orioles v. Los Angeles Angels -173||Top||5-0||Loss||-173||11 h 40 m||Show|
I'm playing on the LA ANGELS. The Orioles managed to score the upset in yesterday's opener and they've had plenty of success against the Angels. In fact, if LA had taken care of business with the Orioles, it would be a lot closer to contending for the playoffs. That said, I expect the Angels to bounce back here.
Kazmir has a respectable 3.80 ERA in four starts since returning from fatigue in his pitching shoulder. His last two starts have come vs. Tampa and at Boston. Both the Rays and Red Sox can really hit the ball. Prior to that, he faced Toronto, the team with the most home runs in baseball and pitched at Detroit, where the Tigers have really hit well. Now, he faces an Oriole team which entered the series averaging a mere 3.6 runs per game on the road, while hitting .250.
Note that the Orioles hit only .243 and average just 3.3 runs vs. southpaw starters. They're an ugly 14-27 their last 41 vs. left-handed starters.
Also, note that there's a possibility that Kazmir will not have to face Adam Jones and/or Brian Roberts. Jones' status remains unknown because of a sore left shoulder. Roberts could miss today's game after straining his left hip in yesterday's win.
Kazmir figures to get some run support. Millwood is 1-8 with a terrible 6.00 ERA and 1.71 WHIP in 12 road starts. The Orioles were 1-11 (-9.2) in those games and are 7-18 in his 25 starts overall. Last time out, Millwood gave up six runs in six innings. He's now lost three straight starts and each of his last six decisions.
For all this season's problems, for some reason, the Angels still seem to come up big on Saturdays. Last Saturday, they beat the Twins 9-3. The previous Saturday, they beat the Jays 7-2. Overall, they're 15-5 their last 20 Saturday games. (Baltimore is 6-15 on Saturday games in same stretch.) I expect Kazmir to get the better of Millwood and look for the Angels to bounce back with a much-needed victory. *10
|08-28-10||Minnesota Twins v. Seattle Mariners +101||Top||1-0||Loss||-100||6 h 50 m||Show|
I'm playing on SEATTLE. The Twins grabbed yesterday's series opener and the majority of the betting public will likely expect them to also take this afternoon's contest. I expect the Mariners to have the advantage though.
As noted a number of times this season, Fister has been a much better pitcher at home than he has been on the road. Away from Seattle, he's gone 1-5 with a 5.10 ERA and 1.59 WHIP. However, here in the Pacific-Northwest, he's gone 3-4 with a very solid 3.14 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. Fister's last start here was on August 9th, vs. Oakland. He allowed one run in six innings, recording five K's to just one walk. He earned the victory and the Mariners won by a score of 3-1.
With this being a day game, its also worth noting that Fister has been better in the afternoon than he has been in the evening. At night, he's got a 4.09 ERA. In the day, he's got a 3.10 ERA. Note that in five daytime starts, a span of 29 innings, he's only given up one home run. Fister's last daytime start was back on July 25th, vs. Boston. Fister allowed only two runs but didn't factor in the decision. The M's won by a score of 4-2 though.
Blackburn was solid last time out. In seven innings, he allowed eight hits and three runs. He got outpitched by Harden though and the Twins were beaten by Texas. Prior to that, Blackburn had been in the minors for a stint. That's because he'd been absolutely horrible for an extended stretch. In fact, after he got rocked for five runs in 3 2/3 innings here at Seatte on June 1st, Blackburn proceeded to go on a 1-6 streak with a 9.88 ERA. For the season, including the 7-1 loss here at Seattle, he's a terrible 2-7 with a dismal 9.12 ERA and 2.027 WHIP in 10 road starts. Clearly, he's had real problems.
With this being a day game, its also worth noting that Blackburn has been worse in the afternoon than he has been in the evening. In 60 innings at night, he has allowed seven home runs and has a 5.64 ERA. However, in 50 innings during the day, he has a much higher 7.51 ERA and has allowed a whopping 11 home runs. Opposing batters are hitting .351 against him, during the day.
Note that Suzuki and Figgens, Seattle's top two hitters, are a combined 17 of 31 (.548) vs. Blackburn.
While the Twins have obviously been a much better team overall, there isn't that much difference between their road record (34-33) and Seattle's home record of 29-33. Given Fister's success here and Blackburn's problems on the road, I feel that we're getting excellent value with the home team. *10
|08-27-10||Houston Astros v. New York Mets -150||Top||1-2||Win||100||9 h 51 m||Show|
I'm playing on NEW YORK. The Astros enter this game as the hotter team and off an unlikely 4-game sweep of the Phillies. Recent games notwithstanding, the Mets (37-24) have been far stronger at home than the Astros (26-36) have been on the road though. I expect them to have the advantage this evening.
Pelfrey gets the call and he's been outstanding lately. Over his last three starts, he's got a 1.64 ERA and 0.909 WHIP. He's 7-3 with a 3.19 ERA at home for the season. He'll have the advantage of not having faced Houston in quite some time. His last two starts vs. the Astros came in 2007 and 2008. Pelfrey allowed only three runs in 14 1/3 innings and his teams won by a combined score of 20-4.
Figueroa has also pitched well lately. He's made two recent starts (both no-decisions) and the Astros won both of them. That said, there's a reason why he's not normally a starter. He's been in the league for a decade and has never made more than 13 starts. Working to Figueroa's disadvantage, he just faced the Mets 11 days ago.
The Astros have not fared well as road underdogs in this range. Over the past few seasons, they've gone 22-36 (-5.8) as road underdogs in the +125 to +150 range. The Astros haven't had much recent success here at New York either.
The Mets are a perfect 4-0 the last four times that they hosted the Astros. Looking back further and we find them at 15-5 the last 20 times that the teams faced each other here in New York. With Pelfrey in excellent current form and seeing Figueroa for the second time in less than two weeks, I expect them to continue their homefield dominance in the series. *10
|08-26-10||Detroit Tigers v. Toronto Blue Jays -133||Top||7-1||Loss||-133||18 h 52 m||Show|
I'm playing on TORONTO. The Tigers may be mathematically closer to a playoff spot (neither team will make it) than the Jays, however, its the Jays who have the better record. Note that Toronto's home record of 34-27 is significantly stronger than Detroit's dismal 20-39 mark on the road.
The Tigers had been rolling. However, their winning streak came to an end yesterday. They blew an 8th inning lead vs. the Royals and eventually lost in extra innings. That type of loss can be demoralizing. That's particularly true in this case, as the Tigers were just starting to think they might had a glimmer of hope to get back in the playoff race. Of course, the Tigers have struggled on the road this entire season, regardless of the situation.
The Jays are coming off a solid 6-3 win over the Yankees yesterday. That earned them a 2-1 series victory. Note that the Jays are 7-3 the last 10 times that they were home favorites in the -125 to -150 range. They're also a lucrative 55-44 (+14.2) their last 99 vs. right-handers.
I successfully played on the Tigers the last time that they were matched up against Romero. That 7/22 game was played at Detroit and saw the Tigers win by a score of 5-2. At the time, I said this of Romero: "...he's been much better at home. When pitching in Toronto, Romero is 4-2 with a 2.16 ERA. Opposing batters are hitting only .192 against him there. However, on the road, he's just 3-4 with a poor 4.71 ERA. Opposing batters are hitting .290 against him on the road..."
Romero's numbers have changed a bit since I said that of him last month. However, he's still been much better at home. He's now 5-5 with a 4.17 ERA on the road and 5-2 with a 2.63 ERA at home. Opposing hitters bat .218 against him here.
Admittedly, Scherzer has pitched very well recently. However, like most Tigers, if we look at his stats for the season we find that he's been much been at home than he has been on the road. At home, he's gone 7-3 with a 2.87 ERA. On the road, he's 2-6 with a 4.67 ERA.
Romero's lone career home start vs. the Tigers resulted in a 6-2 Toronto victory. Romero tossed six solid innings, en route to earning the "W." The Jays are 11-7 their last 18 home games vs. the Tigers and 13-7 their last 20 home games overall. I expect them to improve on those stats here. *10
|08-25-10||Tampa Bay Rays v. Los Angeles Angels -108||Top||3-12||Win||100||5 h 18 m||Show|
I'm playing on the LA ANGELS. As most know, the Rays have been very strong on the road this season. They've also already won the first two games of this series. The Angels have never been swept by the Rays here though. I feel that they'll have the advantage and I expect them to bounce back and earn a much needed victory.
Haren checks in off a poor start and with a losing record overall. He's been solid at home though. In 15 home starts, he's averaged nearly seven innings per outing and has a 3.97 ERA and 1.245 WHIP. Haren has allowed four earned runs or less in 12 straight home starts, dating back to his days at Arizona. That includes allowing three or less in nine of his last 10 home starts. With 101 K's and only 18 walks in 102 home innings, he's also a guy who is capable of dominating.
The Rays know what Haren is capable of. Haren has faced Tampa seven times. He's allowed four earned runs or less in all seven of those games and he allowed three or less in six of them. He also went a minimum of six complete innings in all seven of those games, averaging greater than seven. Haren's teams were 5-1 the last six of those games. In three career home starts vs. the Rays (all with Oakland) he allowed a mere four earned runs in 23 1/3 innings. That translates to a 1.54 ERA. Not surprisingly, Haren's team was 3-0 in those games, winning by a combined score of 27-8. Overall, Haren has a stellar 2.74 ERA and an outstanding 0.811 WHIP vs. Tampa.
Haren figures to be highly motivated for a strong performance and I like how he's holding himself accountable. He knows his team badly needs a victory and he admitted to being "embarrassed by his last outing. He was quoted as saying: "I feel bad. I'm embarrassed. The way I've thrown the ball, it's just unacceptable. I feel bad for the guys. I'm supposed to be better than this. I am better than this..." Naturally, he'll be looking to back up his words.
Niemann is also very capable. That said, he's got a poor 5.51 ERA and 1.711 WHIP vs. the Angels. Additionally, he's making his first start in roughly three weeks, having been on the disabled list with a shoulder strain.
The Rays, who are playing the final leg of seven games on the road, have already enjoyed a great trip. The Angels, however, are desperate for a victory. I expect Haren to bounce back with a far better effort and for the Angels to improve on their highly profitable 89-43 (+47.1!) record in afternoon games, the past few seasons. *10
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