Saturday, May 29, 2010

Lakers-Celtics, Round 12

From a pure NBA enjoyment perspective, I'm not sure we could have hoped for a more thrilling Finals. The NBA's 2 biggest franchises meeting in the Finals yet again, the Lakers looking for some sort of redemption after getting pushed around just a few short years ago. It's going to be a bloodbath, and I can't help but think that the Lakers are in for a rude awakening playing a team that really gives max effort on defense, and I also think the Celtics are in for a bit of a surprise playing a team that literally can't be stopped, only slowed.

From a gambling perspective, yesterday was a full-on disaster, so let's just put it in the rear view, break down some MLB action, play conservatively, and end the week right!

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Astros @ Reds (-175) with a total of 8.5; F. Paulino vs. M. Leake;
Jay Bruce is 3-for-8 with 2 HR and 4 RBI off Paulino;
Laynce Nix is 5-for-9 with a HR and 4 RBI off Paulino.
Those stats, of course, are from meetings prior to 2010. This year, Paulino went 5 innings against the Reds and allowed 6 runs, though only 2 of them were earned. Leake went 7 innings of 1-run ball against the 'Stros. I will say, though, that this line seems somewhat low considering Paulino's 1-4, 5.51 ERA lifetime against Cincy, and considering Leake is a perfect 4-0 this year with a 2.70 ERA. I think, based on numbers alone, you have to think the Reds win, but I'm not touching this one.

Phillies @ Marlins (-125) with a total of 9.5; J. Moyer vs. A. Sanchez;
Ryan Howard is 5-for-14 with 2 HR and 3 RBI off Sanchez;
Carlos Ruiz was 4-for-10 off Sanchez with 1 RBI;
Chase Utley was 7-for-18 with 3 RBI off Sanchez prior to 2010;
Chris Coghlan is 5-for-10 off Moyer;
Wes Helms is 7-for-19 with 2 HR and 6 RBI off Moyer;
Ronny Paulino was 8-for-18 off Moyer before 2010;
Hanley Ramirez was batting .348 with 4 HR and 7 RBI.
There was a long stretch of time where Jamie Moyer owned the Marlins, but those days are gone. We'll give Moyer credit, he's been decent this year, fairly consistent, even. But he did allow 5 runs in 6 innings to Florida, and got knocked around a bit when he faced them towards the end of 2009. Sanchez has struggled with Philadelphia, as he, too, allowed 5 runs in 6 innings, so I'm not sure there's a huge edge here. I'd love to fade Moyer against the Marlins again, but Sanchez is about the last guy I'd want on the other side.

Pirates @ Braves (-175) with a total of 9; P. Maholm vs. K. Kawakami;
Troy Glaus is 4-for-11 with a HR and 3 RBI off Maholm;
David Ross is 6-for-20 with 2 HR and 5 RBI off Maholm.
The Pirates haven't seen much of Kawakami, though I suppose you could argue Kenshin is coming off his two most effective starts of the season. Still, at 0-7, the ERA almost doesn't matter, since it's evident that Kawakami's poor luck and inability to make the big pitch have set him squarely behind the 8-ball. Maholm has been solid, and has a 1.33 ERA against the Braves in his career, and there's certainly some value here with the underdog Pirates. Not sure if it's powerful enough to be a top play, but certainly on the list of longshots.

Mets @ Brewers (-135) with a total of 9; R. Dickey vs. R. Wolf;
Jason Bay is 3-for-6 with a HR and 2 RBI off Wolf;
Angel Pagan is 4-for-6 off Wolf;
Jose Reyes is batting .435 with 2 HR and 3 RBI off Wolf;
David Wright is 8-for-26 with 2 RBI off Wolf;
Joe Inglett is 3-for-5 with 2 RBI off Dickey.
R.A. Dickey has made a nice impression in his 2 starts for the Mets, but of course, the issue with the knuckler is that it can come and go pretty quickly, and it rather largely dependent on humidity, wind, fingernails, and a host of other odd factors that can't always be predicted. Wolf is 12-5 with a 3.29 ERA lifetime against the Mets, though as noted above, there are a few Mets bats that have hit him hard. Tough call on this one, as Wolf is coming off his best start, and Dickey seems ripe for a bad one, but will it be today?

Cardinals (-115) @ Cubs with a total of N/A; A. Wainwright vs. R. Dempster;
Matt Holliday is 3-for-8 off Dempster;
Ryan Ludwick is 8-for-19 with a HR and 3 RBI;
Yadier Molina is batting .318 off Dempster in 22 AB;
Skip Schumaker is batting .419 off Dempster with 3 RBI in 31 AB;
Mike Fontenot is 6-for-17 with 3 RBI off Wainwright;
Xavier Nady is 6-for-16 with 2 RBI off Wainwright;
Aramis Ramirez is 12-for-32 with 1 HR and 4 RBI off Wainwright.
This is another spot where two big-time aces face off against offenses that have had a little more success than you might expect. You can see from the notes above that there are a few batters that have collected some hits, and Wainwright, despite a 2.38 ERA against the League, hsa a 4.38 ERA against the Cubbies, and Dempser, a 3.31 ERA this year, posts a 4.19 ERA against St. Louis. We have to wait on the wind, but there might be some value in an Over, here, if either team could put the bat on the ball.

Dodgers @ Rockies (-110) with a total of 9; C. Kershaw vs. J. Chacin;
Dexter Fowler was 3-for-8 off Kershaw before this year;
Brad Hawpe was 4-for-11 with 2 HR and 4 RBI off Kershaw before 2010;
Todd Helton was 4-for-12 off Kershaw before 2010.
This isn't a rematch, but based on the numbers these guys posted in their earlier start against the other guys this one could be scoreless into the 11th inning. Kershaw tossed 8 shutout frames in beating Ubaldo Jimenez in LA, and Chacin tossed 7.1 scoreless frames to beat the Dodgers' Haeger earlier in that same series. Now, back in Coors, oddsmakers are giving Chacin a lot of credit. Since a very bad start against the Brewers, Kershaw has allowed just 2 earned runs in his last 4 outings, so he's hot, right now, and Chacin isn't struggling, but he's giving up a couple runs in most outings as teams learn his stuff and start to force adjustments. I know the line is eerily lo, but I lean slightly to the Dodgers to take this finale.

D'backs @ Giants (-115) with a total of 8.5; I. Kennedy vs. T. Wellemeyer;
Stephen Drew was 6-for-9 with a HR and 3 RBI off Wellemeyer before 2010;
Conor Jackson was 3-for-7 off Wellemeyer before 2010.
REMATCH ALERT! These two guys faced off in Arizona a little under 2 weeks ago, and Kennedy got the best of Wellemeyer, throwing an absolute gem (8 innings, 1 run). Wellemeyer didn't counter all that well, giving up 5 runs in 5 innings. However, that was then, and this is now, and Arizona is in a deep, deep offensive slump, and while the Giants still aren't hitting, they might be able to win this one with 2-3 runs. Kennedy has pitched very well for Arizona, so it's not at all a sure thing, and if the D'backs aren't scoring, they're in big trouble with that godawful bullpen. Lean to Giants.

Nationals @ Padres (-140) with a total of 6.5; L. Hernandez vs. J. Garland;
Josh Willingham is 3-for-6 off Garland;
For whatever reason, I'm having issues pulling up It-Shall-Be Livan's numbers against the Padres, but it almost doesn't matter, as Hernandez has discovered the fountain of youth this year. He did, however, have his worst start his last time out, in San Francisco, and you just have to wonder how long Livan can continue this resurgence before he hits a little wall. It might be happening now. That being said, Petco can make pitchers look good, and the 6.5 total certainly supports that notion. I think the Padres find a way to win this game, but I don't think I'd bet it.

American League

Indians @ Yankees (-290) with a total of 10; J. Masterson vs. A. Burnett;
Robinson Cano is 4-for-7 off Masterson;
Derek Jeter is 3-for-8 with an RBI off Masterson.
These lines are really starting to get out of hand, over -300 yesterday, and this one opening at -290 despite Burnett scuffling a bit, of late. It's just a shame that Masterson is such a huge turd that he can't really be counted on to keep his team in it. Masterson does have half-decent numbers against the Yankees, likely from his time with Boston, and Burnett's 1-4 career record against Cleveland is intriguing, as well. Might as well toss a 1/4-unit on Cleveland, and if they get 1 of the 3 games in New York, we make a nice little chunk.

Athletics @ Tigers with a total of N/A; D. Braden vs. A. Galarraga;
Jack Cust is 4-for-9 with a HR and 3 RBI off Galarraga;
Jake Fox is 3-for-3 with a HR and 3 RBI off Galarraga;
Ryan Sweeney is 6-for-12 off Galarraga with a HR and 2 RBI;
Gerald Laird is 5-for-12 with 2 RBI off Braden;
Magglio Ordonez is 4-for-13 with 2 HR and 5 RBI off Braden;
Ryan Raburn is 6-for-12 with a HR and 4 RBI off Braden.
Dallas Braden faced the Tigers 2 starts back and allowed just 2 runs in 6 innings in a pretty solid effort, though it wasn't enough, as Verlander outpitched him. Tonight, Braden's got himself a little bit weaker competition. That being said, Braden has never been lights out against Detroit. He's 2-3 against the Tigers with a 6.63 ERA, and Detroit is downright dangerous at home. Galarraga has made 2 starts this year, one good and one bad, and I hesitate to back someone that is just not good and has almost no upside. Hm...

Orioles @ Blue Jays (-200) with a total of 8; J. Guthrie vs. R. Romero;
Adam Jones is 3-for-10 with a HR off Romero;
Nick Markakis is 4-for-13 with a HR and 4 RBI off Romero;
Ty Wigginton is 3-for-8 off Romero;
Jose Bautista is 4-for-10 with a HR and 2 RBI off Guthrie;
Edwin Encarnacion is 3-for-5 with a HR off Guthrie.
Ricky Romero is 0-2 with a 5.47 ERA against Baltimore, but at the same time, Baltimore stinks. I've made the huge mistake of continually thinking this team could come up with one gosh darn key hit, and they just never do. Guthrie is 2-4 with a 3.56 ERA against Toronto, so on paper, this looks like a huge value play on Baltimore, but I'm not touching the Orioles until they get on any kind of hot streak.

Royals @ Red Sox (-300) with a total of 9; B. Chen vs. J. Lester;
Yuny Betancourt is 4-for-8 with a HR and 3 RBI off Lester;
Adrian Beltre is 6-for-15 with a HR and 3 RBI off Chen;
Jason Varitek is 5-for-14 with 2 HR and 4 RBI off Chen;
Kevin Youkilis is 5-for-11 with 3 RBI off Chen.
As you may or may not recall, Bruce Chen actually pitched alright last year, but look at this line. Just silly. Quarter-unit auto-play on Kansas City? Mabye. Lester's been red hot, he's 3-1 with a 1.20 ERA against the Royals, and while Chen's numbers against Boston aren't horrific, this doesn't look good for KC. But, we're tracking those underdogs on games where the fave is over 300, so let's keep an eye on it.

White Sox @ Rays with a total of N/A; J. Peavy vs. J. Shields;
Alexei Ramirez is 3-for-6 with a HR off Shields;
REMATCH ALERT! Peavy gave up 7 runs in his start against Shields in Chicago, and Shields allowed just 2 runs over 7 innings. There are times I think the loser of the first game has a nice shot, but Peavy's been horrible over his last couple starts, and there's no good reason to back a pitcher trending down. Shields just quietly gives up 2 runs every time out and goes deep in games. Pass.

Mariners @ Angels (-165) with a total of 9; I. Snell vs. J. Saunders;
We talked about Snell yesterday before Seattle rearranged the starting pitchers and got King Felix in there. So, you're all aware of Snell's 0-2 and 7.15 mark against the Angels. Going against Saunders has brought the price down a tiny bit from the -200 we saw with Weaver on the hill. Saunders, though, might be an even better bet than Weaver was. Joe is 7-1 with a 3.06 ERA against the Mariners in his career, and has really turned his year around with a better May. The concern remains the "walk" - Saunders walked 5 Mariners in a little over 5 innings of work. He wiggled out of some jams, but if he stops putting guys on base for free, he could be dominating teams. I can't trust Snell, and I can't trust Seattle's offense, but not sure I can lay -165 on a guy that might walk a batter an inning.

Rangers @ Twins (-140) with a total of 8.5; D. Holland vs. S. Baker;
Nelson Cruz is 3-for-6 with 2 HR off Baker.
Derek Holland beat the Twins last year, somehow, despite allowing quite a few base knocks. But the reason he survived that start is the opposite of why he hasn't been perfect this season - the longball. Holland has allowed 4 homers in his 3 starts, and again, with Target Field playing large, this should be a great venue for Holland to continue throwing that heat and hope to keep it in the park. Scott Baker is a nice pitcher, if just because you almost always know what you're getting - he's going to throw strikes, and his opponent will probably score a couple. There's some value with Holland here, but again, if the ball is jumping, the roof (which, coincidentally, is now a metaphor and not a real roof) could cave in quick.

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