Wednesday, May 19, 2010


IMPORTANT CHANGE: Some of you saw me talk about this in a few posts yesterday, and that's the inclusion of LINKS in my blog when we talk about something outside the cozy confines of the blog page. A few of you guys even did a nice job yesterday of starting the process!

Moving forward, let's keep it up! If you start a thread in the Pregame forums, LINK to it so we can all see your plays and your write-ups! If you see a sweet article at ESPN or Yahoo or CBS or whatever sites you visit, LINK to it! And, if you feel so inclined, link back to the blog in your own thread, if it makes sense; if not, don't bother. The end result should be a one-stop-shop, the blog, where we can all just start our day, see what everyone else is doing, check out some cool articles, youtube videos, contests, and whatever else piques our interest!

There's no sugar-coating it - it has been a bad week, and I'm never going to be a handicapper that tries to come in here and tell you that things are somehow better than they are.

BUT, and this is the important part, over the course of a season, WE HAVE AN EDGE, and one bad week, or even a bad month, if indeed May turns out to be as such (though we still have 11 days left to surge back!), is not going to keep us from our ultimate goal of hitting that 55% mark. We have almost 20 weeks left of the MLB season to pump up the volume, and it begins NOW!

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Cubs @ Phillies (-110) with a total of 9; R. Dempster vs. J. Blanton;
Alfonso Soriano is 5-for-14 with 2 RBI off Blanton since '05;
Chase Utley is 6-for-9 with 2 RBI off Dempster since '05;
Shane Victorino is 3-for-8 with 1 RBI off Dempster.
This is a pretty darn cheap price to get the Phils at, and it's largely because no one trusts Joe Blanton yet. But, as our good buddy Sac Lawson pointed out last week, Blanton has been nearly untouchable for 5 innings, then seems to get lit up in the 6th. And it's simple, the guy didn't have spring training, so he just can't seem to cool down and warm up 6 times in a game...yet. I would imagine he's getting a tiny bit stronger every time out, and the Phils' offense remains a scary proposition. Dempster has a 5.08 ERA against Philadelphia in his career, and while he's working a 3.49 this season, I would offer a very small lean to Philly in this day game.

Reds @ Braves (-170) with a total of 7.5; M. Leake vs. T. Hanson;
We're working on almost no historical data with this one, which, as you guys know, is not a game I usually like to bet on, but based on momentum alone, you have to at least think the Reds have a shot. They're coming up with clutch hits, they're winning games, and they're playing better fundamental baseball than their opponent here, the Braves. I know Hanson is one of the best young arms in the game, and his 2.88 ERA shows that, but this one could easily hit the 7th inning tied at 1 or 2 runs apiece, and suddenly, you can get a +160 dog in a 3-inning battle of the bullpens? If you're a volume guy, you have to look at the Reds. For us, because we're really trying to isolate a few affordable winners, this one is a bit of a longshot.

Marlins @ Cardinals (-230) with a total of 7.5; N. Robertson vs. A. Wainwright;
Jorge Cantu is 3-for-10 off Wainwright with 1 RBI;
Ronny Paulino is 5-for-16 off Wainwright;
Cody Ross is 3-for-10 off Wainwright;
Albert Pujols is a perfect 4-for-4 off Robertson.
This line is probably close to where it should be. The Marlins are a team in mild turmoil, so that's not really a clubhouse I want to back any time all that soon, since things could blow up at a moment's notice. Robertson can't get Pujols out, and that's a scary thought. On top of that, Wainwright is a career 2.61 ERA hurler against the Fish, so no reason to fade that number, either. Pass!

Brewers (-125) @ Pirates with a total of 9; C. Narveson vs. P. Maholm;
Ryan Braun is batting .381 off Maholm with a HR and 8 RBI;
Craig Counsell was 3-for-7 off Maholm before this season;
Corey Hart is 11-for-34 off Maholm with a HR and 3 RBI.
Narveson gave up 3 runs in 5 innings to the Pirates in a game the Brewers eventually lost 6-5. And the opposing starter was, indeed, Paul Maholm. Maholm pitched alright in that game, giving up 4 runs in 7 innings, and managing to wiggle out of bigger trouble a few times, as well. The Brewers are a mess, and Narveson is coming off a start where he threw, I believe, over 120 pitches (we'll check this stat later), so he's in a bad spot, the Brewers are a frustrated ball about to burst, and the Pirates just keep cashing underdog tickets. My one concern, though, is that Milwaukee does seem to score against Pittsburgh - maybe the Over is a better idea?

Mets @ Nationals (-122) with a total of 9.5; J. Maine vs. L. Atilano;
No sense going into all the player data here, as the numbers aren't impressive for anyone, and we can probably learn more from the start these two guys made a couple weeks back. This is a rematch game of a contest the Nats won in New York, 3-2. Maine allowed just 2 runs in 6 innings, and at that point, it was his 4th solid start in a row. Then, his most recent outing, Maine got bopped in Florida. In that first meeting, Atilano went 5.1 shutout frames, so he has had some success against the Mets, but the fact that both guys threw the ball well, and the fact that this is a rematch game makes me very hesitant to get back on the Nats. The Mets aren't very good on the road, either, so just not enough good reasons to back either team.

Rockies (-170) @ Astros with a total of 6.5; U. Jimenez vs. R. Oswalt;
Lance Berkman is 4-for-11 off Jimenez;
Geoff Blum is 6-for-15 with 2 RBI off Jimenez;
Michael Bourn is 3-for-10 off Jimenez;
Pedro Feliz is 3-for-4 with a HR and 3 RBI off Jimenez;
Hunter Pence is 3-for-10 off Jimenez.
See, this is interesting. Jimenez, 7-1 on the season with an ERA of 1.12, gets to tackle a team he's 2-0 against in his career, but a team that seemingly has a few guys that can hit off him, as seen above. Oswalt is 7-1 in his career against the Rockies with a 1.78 ERA. That is supreme ownage, and with runs potentially at a huge premium, you have to look at the big dog. I like Houston a little bit, here.

Giants (-180) @ D'backs with a total of 7.5; T. Lincecum vs R. Lopez;
Aaron Rowand is 3-for-9 with 1 RBI off Lopez;
Pablo Sandoval is 2-for-2 with a HR and 4 RBI off Lopez;
Juan Uribe is 3-for-8 with a HR and 5 RBI off Lopez since '05;
Conor Jackson is 7-for-21 off Lincecum;
Justin Upton is 6-for-20 off Lincecum with 2 RBI.
Lincecum is 5-1 with a 1.76 ERA against the D'backs, and that's pretty good. Lopez is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA against San Francisco. The Giants aren't hitting right now, but I'm still not in the market to fade Lincecum against one of the teams he owns more than most others. Pass.

Padres @ Dodgers (-165) with a total of 7; K. Correia vs. C. Kershaw;
This is another rematch game, so we'll forgo the player numbers since we already have a decent clue as to who does what against who. Most recently, all we really need to know is that Clayton Kershaw dominated, and I mean crushed the Padres. 7 innings, 1 early run, struck out 7 in a Dodgers 4-1 victory over Correia. I'm interested to see how Correia comes back, one start removed from the death of his brother. He didn't seem fully focused, and the Dodgers touched him up for more than what Kershaw needed. This line seems a little cheap for Clayton, but the Dodgers just keep strokin' it. Tough to find fault with a team that's not losing.

American League

Royals @ Indians (-140) with a total of 9; L. Hochevar vs. M. Talbot;
Shin-Soo Choo is 5-for-9 with 2 HR and 4 RBI off Hochevar.
Hochevar seems to have made some strides this season, but those strides are just getting him to 3-2 with a 5.86 ERA. Mitch Talbot has been a pillar of consistency for the Indians, and I strongly believe this line is accurate. Neither pitcher is trending up or down, and that's always a nice time to fade or back a guy, so at this price, while I think the Indians win the game, it's not worth the cost of admission.

Tigers (-135) @ Athletics with a total of 8.5; J. Bonderman vs. T. Ross;
Eric Chavez is 5-for-7 with 2 RBI off Bonderman since '05.
Tyson Ross? Yeah, you heard right. We'll need to do some more digging before first pitch tomorrow, but you have to love backing these youngsters that appear out of nowhere to make a start. The adrenaline tends to help get the job done, and while the current A's haven't seen much of Bonderman, so runs might be tough to come by, I still think the home team is the value. Tiny lean to A's.

Blue Jays (-125) @ Mariners with a total of 7; R. Romero vs. J. Vargas;
Franklin Gutierrez is 3-for-6 with a HR and 3 RBI off Romero;
Rob Johnson is a perfect 3-for-3 off Romero with 1 RBI;
Ichiro is 5-for-7 off Romero.
The Jays haven't seen any Vargas in the past, which gives him a slight leg up, but the issue with Seattle is always run support. The Mariners clanked their way to a 3-2 loss last night, pretty typical of late, despite a nice effort from Doug Fister. Can they give Vargas any help? He very well could hold the Jays to 2-3 runs like Fister before him, but the Jays are far superior offensively, and Ricky Romero is no slouch. He's 4-1 with a 2.88 ERA, and 1-0 against Seattle lifetime, though he hasn't really dominated the Mariners like you might expect. I think this could be low scoring, so I'm not too huge a fan of laying road chalk, but we shall see. Romero is coming off a complete game shutout where he struck out 12, so he's definitely on his game.

Rays @ Yankees (-155) with a total of 9; J. Shields vs. A. Pettitte;
Jason Bartlett is 7-for-18 with a HR and 5 RBI off Pettitte;
Carlos Pena is 8-for-25 with 4 HR and 6 RBI off Pettitte since '05;
Ben Zobrist is 4-for-12 with a HR off Pettitte;
Robinson Cano is 11-for-23 with 2 HR and 6 RBI off Shields;
Derek Jeter is 12-for-30 with a HR and 5 RBI off Shields.
The Yankees have just beat the hell out of James Shields, leading the big righthander to a lifetime 1-7, 5.76 mark against New York. I hate to say that we sort of learned a lesson yesterday, but did we, really? Andy Pettitte is having one of his best seasons since who knows when, he's 15-4 lifetime against Tampa, and he's 5-0 this season against the League. The man is on his game, and the Yanks should give him some run support. I hate to lean Yankees again, but damnit, the numbers look awfully tempting for them.

Twins @ Red Sox (-135) with a total of 8.5; F. Liriano vs. J. Lester;
Brendan Harris is 8-for-18 with 4 RBI off Lester;
Justin Morneau is 4-for-9 off Lester with a HR and 4 RBI before 2010;
Victor Martinez is 5-for-12 off Liriano;
Dustin Pedroia was 4-for-5 off Liriano prior to 2010.
These pitchers have faced this opponent once already this year, and Liriano was masterful, going 7 shutout innings. Lester was less impressive, giving up 4 runs in 5 innings. The problem? Lester has been trending up, and Liriano down. Francisco has allowed 11 runs in his last 3 starts, after allowing only 3 total runs in his first 4 starts. And though Lester did give up 4 runs to the heavily righthanded Tigers, he struck out 10, and his season ERA is down in the 3's after starting off slowly. I know Lester's career mark against the Twins makes this a tough one, and though I do lean a tiny bit to the Sox, I think my stronger feelings are towards a pass.

Orioles @ Rangers (-135) with a total of 9.5; B. Matusz vs. S. Feldman;
Miguel Tejada is 3-for-7 with a HR off Feldman;
Ty Wigginton is 4-for-7 with 3 RBI off Feldman;
David Murphy is 2-for-3 off Matusz with a HR and 2 RBI.
We saw what Matusz can do against a weak offense when he blanked the Indians in 7 innings his last time out. Unfortunately, Texas is a better offense than Cleveland, but not quite as dominant as some of the AL East teams Matusz seems to face every other time out. He's a decent value, here. Opposite Matusz is Scott Feldman, having a predictably bad follow-up to a very good 2009. He's 1-4 with a 5.89 ERA, and coming off 3 straight outings where he's allowed at least 4 runs. He was good against the O's in the past, and that makes this one a little dicey, but he's not the same pitcher this year, and if you're playing this game, you have to think about the road dog.

Angels @ White Sox (-133) with a total of 9; E. Santana vs. M. Buerhle;
Bobby Abreu is 4-for-6 with 2 RBI off Buerhle;
Erick Aybar is 3-for-9 with 2 RBI off Buerhle;
Mark Kotsay is 9-for-23 with 3 RBI off Santana since '05;
Alex Rios is 4-for-11 off Santana.
There's some marginal offensive success on both sides of this one, so the best move is to look at recent starts to get an idea of how the first 5 innings will go, then we'll move from there. Buerhle's Sox have lost each of his last 6 starts, and he's now 2-5 on the season. Ouch. He gave up 5 runs to the Royals without a strikeout in his last apperance, so Buerhle is sinking quick. Santana has actually been decent this season, and to see him at this type of dog price against a bad team is a little surprising. We'll need to check into the line a bit, but this looks like a deal on the Angels, who are simply playing better baseball than the White Sox right now.

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