Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Recap: Well, I've been hopelessly without internet while tending to some family matters that will take until roughly today (Thursday) at around 5 or 6pm PT to finish up, so I haven't been around to answer questions or watch games. That being said, I took a look-see at our box scores from yesterday, and it appears we took in a 1-1 spliteroo, winning the Afternoon Play on the Dodgers at a nice underdog price, and though we dropped a ridiculous game on the Marlins at +100 (who out-hit the Mets 17-10, but committed 4 errors and still only lost by a single run), it's still a net gain, amazingly. I don't like that it puts a 1-loss dent in my Paid Play run (which moves to 27-15), I do like that the cards are coming in crystal clear, and it's taking absurd anomalies to defeat us.

Today: This is day 2 of me mostly being, as the internet geekies say, "afk" (away from keyboard). Today, Thursday, I have some significant family obligations (which I believe I've revealed to some of you, but suffice it to say that it has a great deal to do with the 1-year anniversary of the deaths of my grandparents), and while I was gone until about 10pm PT yesterday, I should be back about 3-4 hours earlier today to watch some later games and do a full, normal blog. There will be a Top Play for sale, since we're winning like crazy and there's no way I'm going to miss a day of betting, but we'll see about a Freebie. Nothing forced!


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My Boys in Blue

Recap: Had to wait until pretty darn late to finish the recap, as the Dodgers and Giants just ran this one until almost 1:30am ET! But, it was worth it, as the Dodgers captured another win against the NL West, and that netted us a Paid Winner as a nice underdog (+125)! We dropped our other Paid Play, the Over in Kansas City, but still a profitable split on Paid Plays augmented by a Winner on our Freebie on Minnesota. Three plays, 2-0 on the sides, 0-1 on the total, and a definite winning day, overall. I like it.

I'm going to be out almost all day, so please feel free to use this blog as a discussion platform, but I will NOT be around to answer questions. Enjoy!

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Phillies (-160) @ Reds with a total of 8; R. Halladay vs. A. Harang;
Greg Dobbs is 4-for-9 off Harang with an RBI since '05;
Jimmy Rollins is 9-for-27 off Harang since '05;
Jonny Gomes is batting .292 off Halladay with a HR and 2 RBI since '05.
This is yet another example of "ace inflation." Of course, that doesn't mean he's going to lose, but already this year, despite Halladay being 9-6 with a 2.29 ERA on the season, if you backed him in every star to this one, you'd be down 4 units. How about that, eh? Harang is 2-2 with a 5.33 ERA lifetime against the Phils, is on a run of 2 straight quality starts against decidedly non-quality opponents, and now tries to get that ERA under 5 against a good club. I wouldn't back Halladay, but I wouldn't back Harang, either.
Leans: None

Astros @ Brewers (-165) with a total of 9; W. Rodriguez vs. D. Bush;
Lance Berkman is batting .324 with 4 RBI off Bush since '05;
Michael Bourn is 4-for-8 off Bush before 2010;
Hunter Pence was 7-for-14 with a HR and 2 RBI off Bush before 2010;
Ryan Braun is 6-for-16 off Wandy with 3 HR and 5 RBI;
Corey Hart is batting .407 off Wandy in 27 AB with 3 RBI;
Casey McGehee is 3-for-8 off Wandy;
Rickie Weeks is 5-for-16 off Wandy.
Believe it or not, Dave Bush has some of his best career numbers against any team when going head-to-head with the Houston Astros. Of course, every time I've ever backed Bush, he's laid an egg, and every time I've faded Bush he goes 6 shutout innings. I wouldn't touch this game. Wandy is coming off one of his better starts of 2010, but every time seems to be a flash in the pan, and his 4-10 record and 5.64 ERA look as ugly as ever. Bush isn't very good, but he doesn't know it against this opponent, and while the price is high, it's probably close to accurate.
Leans: None

D'backs @ Cardinals (-134) with a total of 9.5; B. Enright vs. J. Suppan;
Adam LaRoche is 8-for-24 with 2 HR and 5 RBI off Suppan since '05;
Chris Snyder is 4-for-9 off Suppan with a HR and 2 RBI;
Chris Young is 4-for-12 with a HR off Suppan.
This is extremely exciting for me, as I actually watched Barry Enright make his first start in professional baseball. He pitched briefly in relief in South Bend before finishing up the '07 season in Visalia, then worked the entire '08 season in the Central Valley, getting better with every start. He was widely praised for being one of the most "teachable" pitchers in the D'backs farm system, but I wonder how his stuff holds up at the big league level. Enright is extremely durable, but making the leap from double-A can be tough for some guys, and if you look at his work in the Minors, he is a "steady improver" that starts slow at each level, and gets better. Seems like he's just about figured out double-A, but the D'backs are so screwed up, they had to jump him to the Show. Your Sac Lawson-style scouting report - Enright throws (or threw, his arsenal might have changed in the last 2 years) two types of fastballs, two types of change-ups and a curve. He's a smart pitcher and a battler. Kudos to him on the call-up!
Leans: D'backs-1

Pirates @ Cubs (-210) with a total of N/A; B. Lincoln vs. T. Gorzelanny;
Tom Gorzelanny hasn't started in a month, and he's a -210 favorite? This is almost "let's just put a 1/4-unit on the dog" territory, but I'd rather not even have money on this game. I know that sometimes the best values on the board are in the ugliest games, but that is not the case, here.
Leans: None

Rockies @ Padres (-128) with a total of 6.5; J. Francis vs. C. Richard;
Jerry Hairston Jr. is 3-for-6 off Francis.
Right off the bay, I'm trying to pick a side, but then a little light bulb goes off - that total is damn low! Folks have gotten so used to nobody scoring in Petco, that the totals are set remarkably low, and they're going over a little more often than earlier this year. Jeff Francis has a poor history with San Diego, going 5-10 with a 5.15 ERA, though he hasn't faced the Padres in quite some time. Clayton Richard has given up 3 runs in both starts he's made against the Rockies this year, so even if the Padres pen tosses 3 shutout innings, we still only need 4 off Francis to get the job done. It's not a lock, but it's on the table.
Leans: Over-3

Dodgers @ Giants (-125) with a total of 8; V. Padilla vs. J. Sanchez;
Matt Kemp was 8-for-17 with 5 RBI off Sanchez;
Russ Martin is 6-for-15 with a HR and 6 RBI off Sanchez;
Manny Ramirez is 6-for-10 with 2 HR and 4 RBI off Sanchez;
Aubrey Huff is 8-for-12 with a HR and 7 RBI off Padilla;
Edgar Renteria is 5-for-10 with a HR and 2 RBI off Padilla since '05.
I wish I could have leaned Giants in even 1 game of this 3-game series, but the Dodgers just keep lining up properly with my methods. Padilla is pitching very well, had a nice start against the top-level Yankees offense, and as the weather heats up, Padilla generally gets better. He beat the Giants way back in April before getting hurt, and he's 5-3 with a 3.09 ERA in his career against SF. On the other side, Sanchez has a great ERA of 3.03, but he's 0-4 with a 5.95 lifetime mark against the Dodgers, LA's righthanders hit him very hard, and he's been struggling with control and longevity within the game.
Leans: Dodgers-3

Mets (-120) @ Marlins with a total of 9; M. Pelfrey vs. C. Volstad;
Jeff Francoeur is 5-for-9 with a HR and 3 RBI off Volstad;
Jorge Cantu is 7-for-20 with 2 RBI off Pelfrey;
Cody Ross is 6-for-17 with 5 RBI off Pelfrey;
Dan Uggla is 9-for-23 with 8 RBI off Pelfrey.
Mike Pelfrey has a pretty ugly history with the Marlins, though he hasn't taken aim at them yet, this season. That, to me, is the unknown. I would have loved to see a 6-inning, 3-run effort against the Marlins this year just to know that Florida can still hit him, even if not quite as hard as in years past. Instead, neither starter has faced the other team this season, and while Pelfrey is 1-6 with a 5.63 ERA lifetime against Florida, he's 10-2 with a 2.71 ERA this year, and just a different guy. Volstad is a predictably mediocre starter who will almost undoubtedly give up 2-3 runs in 5-6 innings, but that might be enough given the "fishy" line.
Leans: Marlins-3

Nationals @ Braves (-168) with a total of 9; J. Martin vs. J. Jurrjens;
Willie Harris is 6-for-12 with 2 RBI off Jurrjens;
Ryan Zimmerman is 6-for-19 off Jurrjens.
Jurrjens returns, but which Jurrjens will it be? The great one from last year, or the inconsistent one from this season before he went down? He's 2-1 with a 2.98 ERA against the Nats in his short Major League career, so I don't necessarily think this is a good fade spot, even if he's only out there for 5 innings, as J.D. Martin just can't get any luck going his way, and a good team like Atlanta isn't the spot to break through.
Leans: None

American League

Tigers @ Twins (-150) with a total of 9.5; A. Oliver vs. K. Slowey;
Johnny Damon is 4-for-10 off Slowey before 2010;
Carlos Guillen is 3-for-7 off Slowey.
Kevin Slowey is 4-0 against the Tigers, but his ERA against them is 5.93, so he's been decidedly lucky. He gave up 3 runs in 5.2 innings this season, and, not surprisingly, that was enough. So, what about tonight? Andrew Oliver is a solid young prospect for Detroit, but the scary lefthanded bats on the Twins roster can strike fear into anyone, righty or lefty. The fact that he's a southpaw does help a bit, but this line is probably where it should be, especially given the Tigers' misery away from home.
Leans: None

Athletics (-118) @ Orioles with a total of N/A; B. Sheets vs. K. Millwood;
Mark Ellis is hitting .379 off Millwood since '05;
Ryan Sweeney is 5-for-12 with a HR off Millwood before 2010.
This will be the second time each has faced the other team this year, and the results were fairly different. Sheets went 6 shutout innings in a 6-2 win back on April 15, at home, and Millwood pitched the following night and allowed 4 runs (3 earned) in 6 innings of a 4-2 loss. Millwood did strike out 9 in that game, so his stuff was decent, but as evidenced by his 2-8 record and 5.22 season ERA, he's not only not making the key pitches, he's not getting the breaks, either. Baltimore has won his last 2 starts, neither of which has been all that impressive, so it's tough to say he's trending up. More like his luck is improving a tad, but his pitches still kind of stink. Sheets has been pitching about the same way, giving up 3-4 runs every time out.
Leans: None

Mariners @ Yankees (-145) with a total of 8.5; F. Hernandez vs. J. Vazquez;
Franklin Gutierrez is 4-for-12 with a HR and 2 RBI off Vazquez;
Robinson Cano is 5-for-13 with a HR and 3 RBI off Hernandez;
Curtis Granderson is 9-for-25 with a HR off Hernandez;
Derek Jeter is 5-for-15 off Hernandez;
Mark Teixeira is batting .306 off Hernandez since '05 with 3 HR and 6 RBI.
I guess if we thought yesterday's line was fishy, then today's rewrites that manuscript. Consider Javier Vazquez has seemingly turned a corner and has been pitching at least relatively well throughout the month of June means that the Yankees are always going to get some inflated lines. Today, Felix Hernandez is bringing that number way, way down. He's been dominant this month, going 9 innings in each of his last 2 starts, and has his ERA back down to just 3.28. Neither guy has a strikingly good history against the other team, but at this eerily low number, you have to consider Seattle, don't you?
Leans: Mariners-1

Blue Jays (-120) @ Indians with a total of 9.5; J. Litsch vs. A. Laffey;
This could be ugly, but then again, who knows? Jesse Litsch has been terrible in 2 of his 3 starts, but was brilliant in the other. Aaron Laffey, a lefty sinkerballer, could potentially get lit up by this homer-happy opponent, but if he keeps that pitch down, who knows? It strikes me that there's almost no way this line isn't inflated, so while I would love to take an Over, it's just not that easy, and I'd probably just pass on this one. I know there's a good play wedged in there, but it's not jumping out at me, and there are plenty of other games on the board.
Leans: None

Rays @ Red Sox (-119) with a total of 9.5; M. Garza vs. D. Matsuzaka;
Evan Longoria is 4-for-5 with a HR and 3 RBI off Matsuzaka;
Carlos Pena is 6-for-18 with a HR and 4 RBI off Matsuzaka;
Adrian Beltre was 3-for-10 off Garza before this year, and that's only gotten better.
This game has a huge question mark hanging over it, and that is the performance of Garza. He has solid lifetime numbers against the Red Sox (6-3, 3.36 ERA), but has been both outstanding and bad against them this year. He threw 8 shutout innings here at Fenway back in April, but then struggled in a loss to them at home a month later. He's coming off a decent start against the Padres, but he really hasn't had that electric shut-down effort since April, and that scares me since it could very well surface, here. Daisuke has been getting stronger and stronger, and while he only went 5 innings in Coors, he's clearly getting his confidence back.
Leans: Red Sox-2

White Sox @ Royals (-120) with a total of 7.5; J. Peavy vs. Z. Greinke;
A.J. Pierzynski is 16-for-40 with 2 HR and 4 RBI off Greinke;
Alex Rios is batting .364 with a HR and 4 RBI off Greinke.
We'll obviously see how last night's game turns out shortly, but I'm struck by Peavy's success against the Royals, and similarly, that Greinke really hasn't been that effective against the White Sox. Interestingly, Greinke hasn't faced them this year, despite the teams having played quite a few games to this point. Peavy has seen plenty of KC this year, though, and that definitely gives some confidence that he can perform adequately, again. I know beating a team 3 times is sort of the "magic number," but a great deal of that depends on the situation.
Leans: White Sox-3

Rangers @ Angels (-120) with a total of 9.5; O. Beltre vs. S. Kazmir;
Vlad Guerrero was 4-for-11 off Kazmir wit 2 RBI since '05.
Scott Kazmir stunk his last time out, not able to go 4 innings against the Dodgers in a losing effort. He is, however, quite adept against the Rangers, one of the reasons the Angels keep running his sorry butt out there. He's 6-2 with a 2.37 lifetime mark against Texas, and pitched well enough to win in his one chance this year, giving up 4 runs in 7 innings. Not great, not terrible. This might be a sit-and-watch game, though, with Texas running a rookie out to the hill by the name of Omar Beltre. It's always tough to get a great grip on how a youngster is going to perform in his first start. He has nice numbers in AAA this year, striking out 44 in 38.1 innings, and allowing just a single home run. I'm a little scared to pick a side, I will admit.
Leans: Angels-1

Monday, June 28, 2010

2-Fer Tuesday Time

Recap: The Kansas City Royals pitched a dandy of a game, and despite some suspect defense, cashed yesterday's SUMMER SIZZLER Top Play at a slight underdog price of +116. That win improved the current Paid Run to 26-13, a mark that makes me very happy. The small Freebie is still in action.

Today: Two-for-Tuesday Time! The Paid Plays continue to rock right along, so why not have two of' 'em? They're both Top Plays off a superbly loaded betting card, and as is always the case, what should normally be 30 bucks (for two plays) is discounted to just $20. I'd love to see a few of you fellas on board, but either way, here's the blog!

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Mets (-125) @ Marlins with a total of 9.5; H. Takahashi vs. N. Robertson;
No lack of familiarity, here. Nate Robertson is set to make his 4th start against the Mets this season, already, and he's trending down, down, down against this club, in particular. Back on April 8, he allowed a run in 5 innings; on May 15, he allowed 3 runs (2 earned) in 5.2 innings; and on June 5, he allowed 5 runs in 4.2 frames. Which Robertson do we see in this one? Well, he's not very good, so any time he has success, it's usually a bit of a tight-rope act. He doesn't give up many homers, a lefthanded sinkerballer, but he puts a lot of guys on base, and doesn't go deep in games. Takahashi, on the other side, makes his 2nd start against the Fish, and they cleaned his clock, predominantly with the longball. The total is where I looked first, wanting to take an Over, but at 9.5, no real value, there. On the side, it's ugly all around - enjoy, Puerto Ricans, I won't be watching this one.
Leans: Over-1

Phillies @ Reds (-130) with a total of 9.5; J. Blanton vs. M. Leake;
Ramon Hernandez is 3-for-8 off Blanton with 2 RBI since '05.
When Mike Leake doesn't walk a ton of batters, he's very, very tough. This will be a test for him, though, given the Phils star power, and those power-hitting lefties. Leake is coming off a nice start against the A's, and really has been near perfect this year, aside from 3 poor starts, 2 of which came against the Dodgers. Blanton, who has some ugly numbers on the season, is indeed trending up a tad, though he's still giving up homers, and that doesn't bode well for a game with the Reds. Power lefty bats on both sides, in this one, with Joey Votto and Jay Bruce definite threats on the Cincinnati side. I wonder if the Under doesn't have some legs, if indeed Blanton is putting the pieces together.
Leans: Reds-2, Under-2

Nationals @ Braves (-185) with a total of 9; C. Stammen vs. D. Lowe;
Christian Guzman was 8-for-13 off Lowe with an RBI;
Nyjer Morgan is 7-for-13 off Lowe.
I'm basically disregarding those player numbers, since this is a total mis-match. Craig Stammen is below average, and the odds of him putting together a great start against a solid team like Atlanta seems somewhat slim. Lowe's been pitching well, including 7 shutout innings against the White Sox in a game Atlanta would eventually lose. Still, he's getting guys out, and he's doing it without a ton of damage behind him. That being said, he's too expensive for me.
Leans: None

Pirates @ Cubs (-245) with a total of N/A; J. Karstens vs. T. Lilly;
REMATCH ALERT! Another game we'll forgo the player matchups in favor of the data from this year. Ted Lilly makes his 4th start against the Pirates. He allowed 4 runs in 6 innings of a 4-2 loss in early May, 3 runs in 7 innings of a 4-3 win 2 weeks later, and finally 3 runs in 7.2 innings of a 3-2 loss on June 1st. So, Lilly has been decent, if unspectacular in all 3 of his starts, but those Cubbies just kept finding ways to lose. Unfortunately for us, the Cubs probably couldn't play any worse than they did in those series against Pittsburgh, and while Jeff Karstens beat Lilly in the 3-2 game in June, and has been relatively serviceable, considering the lines we see, the Pirates just can't win games.
Leans: None

Astros @ Brewers (-255) with a total of 7.5; B. Myers vs. Y. Gallardo;
Michael Bourn is 5-for-14 off Gallardo;
Hunter Pence is 5-for-16 off Gallardo.
This total of 7.5 might not be low enough, believe it or not. Brett Myers is 4-1 with a 1.94 ERA lifetime against the Brewers, including 6 innings of 2-run ball earlier this year. That game ended with 7 combined runs, and that was with Dave Bush pitching for the Brewers. Consider, then, that Gallardo is rolling, has struck out 31 in his last 3 starts, and walked just 5. He's 5-2 with a 2.30 ERA lifetime against the 'Stros, who come into this series as cold as ever. The concern, obviously, is that Milwaukee hits a homer with a few guys on base, but I'm confident that Myers can keep things within reason.
Leans: Under-3

D'backs @ Cardinals (-290) with a total of 8; D. Willis vs. A. Wainwright;
Albert Pujols is 4-for-10 with an RBI off Willis since '05.
I could go into more depth on the player numbers, but is anyone really going to take a side in this one? Too expensive for the Cards, even the run line, and Dontrelle is a total mess. He's walked, and this is almost unbelievable, 17 men in his last 3 starts, spanning 11.1 innings. I love the D-Train, but he can't be a starter. He can't. This total is intriguingly low, to the point where I almost feel like the D'backs get shut out, but I'm not willing to take any chances in a game with Dontrelle.
Leans: None

Rockies @ Padres (-120) with a total of 6.5; J. Hammel vs. W. LeBlanc;
David Eckstein was 3-for-8 off Hammel before 2010;
Tony Gwynn Jr was 3-for-8 off Hammel with an RBI before 2010;
Nick Hundley was 4-for-7 off Hammel with a HR before 2010.
For some reason, I really want to make a play on this game, but one isn't jumping out right away. Hammel gave up 4 runs to the Padres back at the start of the season, but he's a much hotter pitcher now than he was, then. He struggled with the Red Sox, but everyone's been doing their fair share of that, lately. How does Hammel bounce back? Does Wade LeBlanc find a way to bounce back, himself, off a start against the Rays where he allowed 11 hits? That total is scary-low, especially since both guys are coming off less-than-stellar starts.
Leans: Over-1

Dodgers @ Giants (-145) with a total of 7.5; J. Ely vs. M. Cain;
Blake Dewitt was 4-for-10 off Cain with a HR and 2 RBI before 2010;
Andre Ethier was batting .545 in 33 AB off Cain before 2010;
Rafael Furcal was 9-for-25 off Cain between '05 and '10.
Matt Cain is a career 0-7 pitcher against LA. He hasn't been awful, by any stretch, but just hasn't gotten it done on the right nights. He hasn't faced the Dodgers this season, but I can't imagine things are all that different. He's still putting up great stats, but still can't get any run support, and he's coming off his worst start of the year, in Houston. John Ely, on the other side is trending back up, as he pitched very, very well against the Angels in a narrow loss, but he looked like he was going to the change-up more often, and I wonder if he doesn't utilize it quite a bit in this one.
Leans: Dodgers-3

American League

Mariners @ Yankees (-160) with a total of 7.5; C. Lee vs. P. Hughes;
Derek Jeter is 4-for-11 with a HR and 3 RBI off Lee since '05;
Nick Swisher is 6-for-18 off Lee since '05;
Mark Teixeira is 6-for-19 with 3 RBI off Lee since '05.
This is one of the absolute cheapest prices you will ever see for the Yankees at home, when you're not looking at Vazquez on the hill. Phil Hughes is 10-1, people! This line, to me, qualifies as a tad fishy. I know Cliff Lee is among the best pitchers in baseball, but the Mariners' offense is an embarrassment (as evidenced by their work against Narveson in Milwaukee), and while Hughes has been more human lately, these are still the Yankees at home. What's going on here, I have to wonder.
Leans: Mariners-2

Athletics (-120) @ Orioles with a total of 8.5; D. Braden vs. B. Matusz;
This is sort of interesting -- Dallas Braden, somehow, is 5-1 with a 1.41 ERA in his career against the Orioles. You almost wouldn't think a guy this young would have 6 decisions against a team from another Division, but here we are. Braden went just 4 innings against Baltimore earlier this year, allowing just an unearned run in a game the A's would eventually lose, 5-1. Braden had a sore ankle in that contest, so he should be pretty excited to face this team that he's just dominated. Brian Matusz is 1-1 with a 7.15 ERA against Oakland, and this is his 3rd start against them this year. He allowed 3 runs in 6.1 frames of a win in mid-April, then gave up 6 runs in 5 innings of a loss in late May, at home. He's been pretty inconsistent, typical for a young guy, and I'd be jumping at the A's if they hadn't lost Braden's last 8 starts, and if the O's weren't suddenly "warm."
Leans: A's-2

Blue Jays (-120) @ Indians with a total of 8.5; B. Morrow vs. F. Carmona;
Aaron Hill is 4-for-10 with an RBI off Carmona.
REMATCH ALERT! This one is a surprising rematch, I'd say, given the two pitchers and the two teams. These two faced off on May 5th in a game where Fausto Carmona appeared to out-pitch Morrow, only to lose the game after he departed. Since then, though, Morrow has come on very strong. He's been red hot over his last 5 starts, including 8 shutout innings against the Cards in Toronto. Carmona has been solid against the Jays in his career, 2-0 with a 2.96 ERA, so I wonder if this total of 8.5 isn't a little high. I don't much care for the sides in this one, since it could really go either way on a solo homer.
Leans: Under-3

Rays @ Red Sox (-125) with a total of 9.5; J. Shields vs. J. Lackey;
Hank Blalock is batting .354 with 2 HR and 7 RBI off Lackey since '05;
Carlos Pena is 5-for-15 with 2 HR and 4 RBI off Lackey since '05;
J.D. Drew is batting .417 off Shields with 2 HR and 6 RBI;
David Ortiz is batting .391 off Shields with 2 HR and 7 RBI.
The player numbers look pretty even, but the historical data for the pitchers wouldn't seem to say so. James Shields is 4-8 against the Red Sox with a 5.02 ERA, and Lackey is 10-3 against the Rays with a 3.71 ERA. This is the 3rd start for each starter against the other team, and Shields has given up 6 runs in just about 15 innings (his team went 1-1 in those games), and Lackey has allowed 10 runs in 11 innings, though 8 of those came in the first start. The Red Sox are dealing with a wild slew of injuries, but they're winning. Tampa is mostly healthy, but they're losing.
Leans: Red Sox-3

White Sox (-135) @ Royals with a total of 9; G. Floyd vs. B. Bannister;
A.J. Pierzynski was batting .423 off Bannister with 2 HR and 4 RBI prior to 2010;
Carlos Quentin was 4-for-8 off Bannister with 2 HR and 4 RBI before this year;
Alex Rios was 3-for-6 off Bannister before 2010;
Yuny Betancourt was 5-for-10 with a HR and 6 RBI off Floyd before 2010;
Alberto Callaspo was 3-for-7 with a HR and 2 RBI off Floyd before this season.
This is a battle of futility, if you're going on historical numbers. Gavin Floyd is a career 1-7 with a 5.53 ERA against the Royals, including 2 dismal outings against KC this season, already. Of course, he's in his typical June bloom, so he seems primed to pitch a bit better in this one. Brian Bannister is coming off a superb start against Stephen Strasburg and the Nats, but he's 4-5 with a 7.91 ERA lifetime against the White Sox. After watching both teams flounder yesterday, trying to score (but luckily our Royals held on for the win), I've gotta think someone scores some runs.
Leans: White Sox-2, Over-2

Tigers @ Twins (-120) with a total of 10; A. Galarraga vs. N. Blackburn;
Miguel Cabrera was 6-for-15 with a HR and 6 RBI off Blackburn;
Magglio Ordonez is 4-for-10 off Blackburn;
Joe Mauer is 8-for-17 with 2 HR and 10 RBI off Galarraga;
Denard Span is 6-for-13 with 2 RBI off Galarraga.
I feel like I just want to keep fading Galarraga until he completely blows up, though I realize that's not necessarily the best way to go about hitting a winner. Still, this one feels a little more sound. Galarraga is 1-5 with a 5.48 lifetime ERA against the Twinkies, and Blackburn is 3-3 with a 3.78 ERA against Detroit. Blackburn is significantly better at home than on the road, as well, and his brutal season ERA is giving us a pretty workable line, here.
Leans: Twins-4

Rangers @ Angels (-120) with a total of 9.5; S. Feldman vs. J. Pineiro;
Michael Young is 6-for-18 with a HR and 5 RBI off Pineiro since '05;
Erick Aybar is 5-for-11 off Feldman;
Torii Hunter is 5-for-16 with 5 RBI off Feldman;
Mike Napoli is 10-for-18 with a HR and 5 RBI off Feldman.
Big series in Anaheim, that's for ding dang sure. I think the one true question we need to ask ourselves about this game is, "Can Texas score enough runs to make up for Feldman sucking?" Recent history would seem to indicate that, yes, they can. Feldman is still sporting an ERA over 5 runs, and he's coming off giving up 5 runs on 12 hits to the pathetic Pirates, but Texas is averaging almost 8 runs per game over the last week, Josh Hamilton is the hottest player in the World, and they're suddenly 17 games over .500. The Angels have been no slouches, offensively, either, so they would seem to be ready to tackle Feldman. That total is a tad inflated, though, so I can't advocate an "over" bet, even though I want to.
Leans: Angels-2, Over-1

Sunday, June 27, 2010

From Inter to Intra

Recap: I believe in golf I'd ask for a mulligan. The Seattle Mariners never woke up and got completely shut down by Chris Narveson. You really need to stink for that to happen, and we bet on 'em. The small Free Play lost, as well. I'd like to say there are a ton of lessons to be learned, but I think it best to just forget that one and move on. Just the second bad day in a long line of decent, good, and great ones, so it's not worth it to pull hair out trying to figure out where things went awry if it was just an anomaly.

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Mets (-120) @ Marlins with a total of 9; R. Dickey vs. R. Nolasco;
Jose Reyes was batting .406 in 32 AB off Nolasco since '05 with 3 HR and 5 RBI;
David Wright was batting .361 with 3 HR and 8 RBI off Nolasco since '05.
I've been staring at this one for 15 minutes just coming up with a paragraph for the blog, and it's a bit of a head-scratcher. R.A. Dickey has been brilliant for the Mets this year, a perfect 6-0 with a 2.33 ERA. And, TBS, if you're reading this, when R.A. pitches in the playoffs, feel free to refer to his main pitch as a "Turbo-Knuckler", because we all know how much the world loved that idiot Chip Caray trying to sound smart during the Fausto Carmona game a few years back. In any case, he has beaten the Marlins already this year, and Nolasco, on the other side, has been predictably marginal against the Mets.
Leans: Mets-2.5

Phillies @ Reds (-140) with a total of 9.5; K. Kendrick vs. J. Cueto;
Shane Victorino is 2-for-4 with a HR off Cueto;
Brandon Phillips is 4-for-8 off Kendrick.
This is a strikingly steep line for the Reds going against such a public team as Philadelphia. The Phils are, perhaps, the most public team in the National League, thanks to their work over the last few years, and to see Cueto laying this number really raises an eyebrow. Especially intriguing is that Kendrick is 3-0 with a 6.61 ERA lifetime against Cincinnati, and Cueto is 0-2 with a 15.26 ERA lifetime against Philadelphia. I know Kendrick isn't the type of guy that breeds confidence, but he's been surprisingly decent on the road over the last 6 weeks, or so.
Leans: Phillies-3

Nationals @ Braves (-130) with a total of 7; S. Strasburg vs. T. Hudson;
Adam Dunn is 6-for-16 with a HR and 3 RBI off Hudson.
Strasburg finally checks in as an underdog, going head-to-head with one of the better teams in the NL after breaking into the Bigs with 4 starts against weaker competition. The strikeouts just keep racking up for the young stud, but this is going to be a test. He's not going to go deeper than 6-7 innings, almost no matter how this one plays out, which means that the bullpen is going to need to carry its weight, and the Nationals pen has been a little jumpy of late. On the other side, Hudson just keeps rolling along, somehow only with 7 wins despite throwing well just about every time he takes the hill. He gave up 2 runs in 7 innings of a loss to the Nats earlier this year, but this line suggests the Braves get the upper hand.
Leans: Braves-4

Pirates @ Cubs (-215) with a total of N/A; P. Maholm vs. R. Wells;
No need for player numbers here, since this is the 3rd time each of these guys is facing the other team. Randy Wells got creamed the first time he saw Pittsburgh, pitched much better the 2nd time, but the Cubs lost both. Maholm gave up 2 runs in 6 innings in both of his efforts against the Cubbies, and the Pirates won both of those games, too. Will the Cubs struggles against Pittsburgh continue?
Leans: Pirates-1

Astros @ Brewers (-200) with a total of 9.5; B. Norris vs. M. Parra;
Lance Berkman is 5-for-14 off Parra with an RBI;
Pedro Feliz is 3-for-7 with a HR and 2 RBI off Parra;
Carlos Lee is 8-for-15 with a HR and 3 RBI off Parra.
If we were dramatically hunting for another team that Norris has pitched well against besides the Cardinals, I suppose the Brewers could fall into the mix. He's 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA against Milwaukee, though the Brewers, to their credit, are starting to play a bit better. Manny Parra is 4-3 lifetime with a 4.91 ERA against the Astros, so not too impressive, but he's been decent enough as a starter. I don't like this one.
Leans: None

D'backs @ Cardinals (-185) with a total of 7.5; D. Haren vs. C. Carpenter;
Kelly Johnson was 4-for-7 with a HR off Carpenter before 2010;
Matt Holliday was 5-for-11 with 2 HR and 3 RBI off Haren before 2010.
This line is fairly lopsided, though Carpenter, obviously, is a big-time money-winner even with his inflated lines this year. Haren just can't quite put it all together consistently, and I couldn't tell you exactly the problem. He did, however, go 8 innings of 2-run baseball against these Cards back in Arizona in a victory. Carpenter allowed 3 runs in 6 innings of another Cardinals loss to the D'backs, so you have to wonder if he'll come out with a different level of focus in this one. I'd love to back Arizona at the nice dog price, but I fear Carpenter might be looking to avenge that earlier loss.
Leans: None

Rockies (-160) @ Padres with a total of 6; U. Jimenez vs. K. Correia;
REMATCH ALERT! I don't know if Kevin Correia has been the luckiest pitcher in the League, but he has to be among them, in terms of not just the level of run support, but when he gets it. The Padres have a knack for scoring 5 runs when he gives up 4, 7 runs when he gives up 6, and 2-3 runs when Correia pitches well. It's uncanny that, on a team with very little offense, Correia has a 5.14 ERA and 5 wins to show for it. He allowed 3 runs in 6 innings to these Rockies earlier this season, while Ubaldo was busy fanning 11 Padres and giving up just a single run in 7 innings. That total of 6 is horrifically low, and the side is too expensive.
Leans: Over-2

Dodgers @ Giants (-130) with a total of 7.5; C. Billingsley vs. B. Zito;
Ronnie Belliard was 9-for-21 with a HR and 6 RBI off Zito before 2010;
Jamey Carroll was 8-for-21 off Zito since '05;
Rafael Furcal was 8-for-22 with a HR and 2 RBI off Zito before 2010;
Matt Kemp was hitting .469 off Zito in 32 AB;
Travis Ishikawa was 5-for-11 off Billingsley with 3 RBI;
Aaron Rowand was 7-for-20 with a HR and 4 RBI off Billingsley;
Juan Uribe was 5-for-10 off Billingsley with a HR.
A ton of player numbers, here, and we'll see what lineups the two teams field. I'd imagine there would be a bit of a letdown for the Dodgers off the series with the Yanks, though this is a very important series for LA, as well, trying to gain ground on their two NL West rivals. Zito pitched well against LA earlier this year, but lost a tough one, though he has generally fared better in LA against the Dodgers than here, at home. Billingsley is coming off a short stint on the DL, and I imagine he's truly healthy, since the Dodgers can't really afford to put him out there at less than full strength. LA generally plays well at AT&T Park, too.
Leans: Dodgers-2

Blue Jays (-160) @ Indians with a total of 8.5; R. Romero vs. J. Westbrook;
Aaron Hill was a perfect 3-for-3 off Westbrook prior to 2010.
REMATCH ALERT! These guys faced off in a poorly pitched game back in early May that the Jays won, 8-5. Romero gave up all 5 of those runs in 6 innings of work, and Westbrook allowed 4 runs (3 earned) in 3.2 innings, and got yanked before things got completely out of hand. Romero has a 7.15 ERA against the Indians, so this isn't a team he particularly enjoys facing, and Westbrook, the veteran, seems to consistently give up 3-4 runs every time out. Does it go over the total again by a handful? Doubt it, this one should be a little less ugly, and given Romero's problems against Cleveland, you have to at least consider the home dog.
Leans: Indians-2

White Sox (-135) @ Royals with a total of 9.5; M. Buerhle vs. A. Lerew;
Mike Aviles is 5-for-16 with an RBI off Buerhle before 2010;
Willie Bloomquist is 8-for-22 off Buerhle before 2010;
Billy Butler is 11-for-33 with 2 HR and 7 RBI off Buerhle before this year;
Jason Kendall was 7-for-18 off Buerhle since '05;
Mitch Maier was 7-for-16 off Buerhle before 2010.
That's just too many strong number against the southpaw to ignore. I know Buerhle is on a decent run, posting 3 strong starts in a row, but the White Sox loss yesterday to snap an 11-game win streak definitely shifts the momentum. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the Sox take the metaphorical "deep breath" off the long win streak, and the Royals, who smoked young Jaime Garcia yesterday, might be looking to beat someone senseless.
Leans: Royals-3

Tigers @ Twins (-160) with a total of 8; J. Bonderman vs. F. Liriano;
Magglio Ordonez is 8-for-21 with 2 HR and 8 RBI off Liriano since '05;
Joe Mauer is 8-for-23 with a HR and 2 RBI off Bonderman;
Jim Thome is 6-for-18 with 3 HR and 6 RBI off Bonderman since '05;
Delmon Young is 4-for-9 with 2 RBI off Bonderman.
If I'm the Tigers, I'm a little nervous. Going to Minnesota has always been a bit of a house of horrors for Detroit, and now Liriano takes aim at them, trying to follow up on his 8 shutout innings (with 10 strikeouts) from back in April. Liriano has been a little more average over the last 2 months after a very strong start to the year, and while Bonderman has been pretty consistent in strike-throwing and getting a solid 6 innings into most games, this is a bad matchup for a guy that doesn't strike out many, and has a rather poor 3-6, 5.32 lifetime mark against the Twins.
Leans: Twins-1

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Interleague Madness Ends

Recap: Not a spectacular day, not a bad one. We lost our Small Afternoon Freebie on the Brewers, but came back with a smooth Paid Winner on the White Sox, who won their 11th in a row, yet somehow remain undervalued. Both games were decided by a run, so I suppose things went as they should. Paid Plays move to 25-12 the last 37. Needless to say, it's been a very nice month, and I hope many of you have been along for it!

Today: To celebrate the end of Interleague baseball, we're going with a double-helping on the wager size. It's not a Game of the Week, but it is a TRUE 2* play! Let's end what has been a stellar Interleague 2010 with a beefy 2-star winner! A lot of good games to choose from, but many of them early in the day, so let's get business done nice and early!

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Padres @ Marlins (-110) with a total of 7.5; M. Latos vs. A. Sanchez;
Just based on what we know of the Padres, I think the first move is to try to find a way to back them. However, when we examine some of the player matchup numbers, that plan gets derailed. I know Latos has one of the best WHIPs in baseball, for a starter, but his career numbers against Florida, 0-2 and 16.50 ERA, are the worst of any team he's faced. He allowed 7 runs in 2.2 innings earlier this year, on 7 hits, and based on that ERA, you can tell his previous work wasn't all that much better. Sanchez is 0-1 against the Pads, but his 2.84 ERA against them is a little more confidence-inspiring. I can't back Latos against the Marlins.
Leans: Marlins-2

Interleague Play

Indians @ Reds (-185) with a total of 9.5; M. Talbot vs. B. Arroyo;
Travis Hafner is 6-for-10 with a HR and 2 RBI off Arroyo since '05;
Austin Kearns is 3-for-7 with 2 HR and 5 RBI off Arroyo since '05.
I don't think there's a good reason to look at the side in this one. You guys know how I feel about home run lines, and lately, Mitch Talbot, has been able to go 5 or 6 good innings, then mix one horrible one in there, as well. The Reds will score some runs, and Arroyo does actually have a decent history against the Indians. Not worth it.
Leans: None

Twins @ Mets (-110) with a total of 8.5; S. Baker vs. J. Niese;
The players haven't seen much of the opposing pitcher, which actually has worked out pretty well for us, since we've been able to rely on how that pitcher has been trending. Scott Baker, to our delight, has been struggling a bit in June, aside from one completely dominant start against the Rockies. His other 3 outings this month have featured 14 runs in a hair over 18 innings. Jon Niese, for the Mets, is healthy, and finally starting to fill some of his potential. That being said, he got creamed by the Tigers in his last start, and got lucky that his Mets supported him with even more runs. Can he bounce back? History would say that he might have another bad one, first, but it's also possible that that game with Detroit was an aberration, since Verlander got hit hard, too, and he's a stud.
Leans: Mets-3

Tigers @ Braves (-130) with a total of 8; J. Verlander vs. T. Hanson;
Surprisingly, both of these top-tier starters got blasted the last time they pitched. Verlander gave up 5 runs in 2 innings in New York, and Hanson allowed 9 to the surging Chicago White Sox. So, who bounces back? Well, Detroit continues to struggle on the road, and are looking to try to avoid getting swept here, as they managed to do in New York, against the Mets. Verlander can certainly make things happen, and he'll almost always go deep in the game, but I'm not sure that the Tigers offense is just overmatched away from home. This one is too close to call, though believe me, I'd love to find an angle.
Leans: None

Phillies (-131) @ Blue Jays with a total of 9.5; J. Moyer vs. B. Cecil;
Alex Gonzalez is 4-for-9 with a HR and 4 RBI off Moyer;
Aaron Hill is batting .435 with 3 HR and 5 RBI off Moyer;
John McDonald is 4-for-9 with a HR and 3 RBI off Moyer;
Jose Molina is 4-for-9 off Moyer since '05;
Lyle Overbay is 6-for-17 with a HR and 6 RBI off Moyer since '05;
Vernon Wells is 6-for-19 with 2 RBI off Moyer since '05.
Moyer is coming off 2 incredible starts, made even moreso by the fact that he got his first issue of AARP last week. Brett Cecil is on the other side of that slope, giving up handfuls of runs in each of his last two starts. That being said, Moyer has a career ERA of almost 6 against the Jays, and I would have loved for this series to actually get played in Toronto. In Philadelphia, Moyer has a little edge with the home crowd, but those career numbers and player numbers are pushing me the other way.
Leans: Blue Jays-3

Nationals @ Orioles (-120) with a total of 9.5; L. Atilano vs. J. Guthrie;
Do my eyes deceive me? The Orioles as the favorite? Jeremy Guthrie, having a better season this year than last, is 1-1 with a 1.91 ERA lifetime against the Nats. On the other hand, Guthrie has lost all 4 starts he's made in June, giving up 16 runs in roughly 26 innings...not an awful ERA, but not good, either. Atilano, for the Nats, has been pretty up-and-down. He broke into the Bigs with 2 or 3 decent starts in his first 4, then struggled for 4 or 5 starts, and in June he's pitched well in 2 of 4 outings. Which Atilano are we going to get? That's the one question that truly needs to be answered to make a play on this game. I honestly can't believe the O's are a favorite, but in a tip of the cap to the books, I think you have to at least peer in their direction.
Leans: Orioles-2

D'backs @ Rays (-200) with a total of 9.5; R. Lopez vs. W. Davis;
Hank Blalock is 3-for-8 off Rodrigo Lopez.
Minimal player data, so we can almost disregard it, though Carl Crawford has been decidedly average in his career against Lopez. The D'backs won the opener behind a no-hitter from Edwin Jackson, then came back yesterday and lost 5-3 in another game that turned out more competitive than I think most figured. So, what of today? This is a monster line for Wade Davis, who hasn't exactly been a model of consistency, this year. Lopez has been pretty consistent for Arizona, but will it be good enough?
Leans: D'backs-1

Cubs @ White Sox (-135) with a total of 8; R. Dempster vs. J. Danks;
Juan Pierre was 4-for-11 off Dempster before 2010;
A.J. Pierzynski was 6-for-17 with a HR and 6 RBI off Dempster before 2010;
Carlos Quentin was 4-for-9 off Dempster with 2 RBI;
Alexei Ramirez was 4-for-11 with a HR and 2 RBI off Dempster.
On paper, the White Sox have a pretty marked edge in this one. The Cubs are in disarray, Dempster is 1-4 with a 5.09 ERA lifetime against the Southside club, and John Danks is a perfect 2-0 with an 0.90 ERA against the Cubs. Danks is back on his game in June, and the Sox are doing more than enough to win, I don't know how you can go against all that.
Leans: White Sox-4

Mariners @ Brewers (-120) with a total of 9; J. Vargas vs. C. Narveson;
How the heck is Chris Narveson 6-4? That is just inexplicable, and that's why record rarely tells the entire story. His ERA of 5.76 is a little more revealing, and it just seems like whenever Narveson can go 5 innings and give up 2 runs, the Brewers give him 6 runs of support. When Narveson gives up 5 runs in 4 innings, well, that's why his ERA is where it is. Jason Vargas is, perhaps, the most underrated pitcher in the AL right now. That's not to say that he's the best pitcher out there, but he's 6-2 with a 2.66 ERA and still no one is talking about him. He's also having a strong month of June, and the Mariners got a nice road win last night that could certainly put the Brewers on a short losing skid.
Leans: Mariners-3

Cardinals (-165) @ Royals with a total of 8.5; J. Garcia vs. B. Chen;
Bruce Chen is still pitching well. I just wanted to lead with that, since it's the last nice thing I'll say about him. He's 0-3 with a 5.71 lifetime ERA against the Cardinals, and Jaime Garcia continues to rumble right along in what is well beyond a "breakout" rookie season. Just an amazing first 3 months, and I'll give credit where credit's due. I thought he'd regress, and he still should, but he's been rocking long enough where I don't think it's worth trying to predict when that happens.
Leans: Under-2

Rockies @ Angels (-140) with a total of 8.5; J. Chacin vs. E. Santana;
Some of the Rockies have seen more of Ervin Santana than I expected, though he's still without a decision against the actual Colorado team. We can thank the Rox for adding guys like Giambi and Mora to add to the historical data. As far as this match-up goes, Chacin is starting to hit a stride again just a bit, coming off 2 decent starts. Santana is coming off a start that looked horrid early, against the Dodgers, before he really rounded into shape and gave the Halos 7 strong innings. He's still walking too many guys, and I worry that the Angels can get that key hit.
Leans: None

Red Sox @ Giants (-130) with a total of 7; J. Lester vs. T. Lincecum;
This game, to me, looks like a proving ground type of game for Lincecum, who has cut a swath through the weaker National League. Now, facing the Red Sox and their hot bats, The Freak is definitely going to be amped. Lester is a tough customer, though, and I can't help but think this one could be a game dominated by pitching. I'm surprised, actually, that we didn't see a total of 6.5 in such a large, pitcher-friendly park. Both of these guys are throwing well, the only real difference is that Lincecum seems to be going deeper into games, and June has been much more vintage Lincecum. I think oddsmakers are correct with this line.
Leans: Giants-3

Pirates @ Athletics (-235) with a total of 9; R. Ohlendorf vs. G. Gonzalez;
I'm not sure I even care about this game. In fact, digging and digging for something to write, all I've got is that the Pirates are downright ridiculously bad on the road (and almost as bad at home), and the A's are good enough to beat 'em. Is this line reasonable? Probably not, but I'm not going to be that guy that says "be selective", then tells someone to take a longshot on this type of game. I'm intrigued by the total, just a little. Gonzalez is darn near unhittable at home, so if you think the A's get held to 5 or fewer runs, I think this one's got a nice shot to stay Under.
Leans: Under-3

Astros @ Rangers (-165) with a total of 9; R. Oswalt vs. T. Hunter;
Ian Kinsler was 6-for-13 with a HR and 2 RBI off Oswalt before 2010;
Michael Young is 9-for-24 with 6 RBI off Oswalt since '05.
Oswalt is certainly good enough to keep this one close, so I wonder if this game isn't a spot where the road team has a little value. Tommy Hunter's been pitching too well, though, to really make this a top lean. I guess the thought process is that every time out Oswalt can either raise or lower his value in a potential trade, so he's likely to give a decent effort.
Leans: Astros-1

Yankees @ Dodgers (-110) with a total of 7.5; A. Pettitte vs. C. Kershaw;
Garrett Anderson is 9-for-16 off Pettitte since '05;
Manny Ramirez is 7-for-18 with a HR and 2 RBI off Pettitte since '05.
Pettitte has done a number on just about every Dodger that didn't get listed above. Furcal is 1-for-10, Reed Johnson is 1-for-8, Jamey Carroll 2-for-15, and the list goes on. The Yanks haven't seen the youngster, Kershaw, and we know the kind of damage he can do, at home, but those walks scare the heck out of me. Few teams are more patient than the Yanks, and if Kershaw isn't hitting the zone, he's either going to get punished or check out of this one after 4-5 innings. Either way, that's not good. Pettitte is having an unreal season, and his June has been just about as good. He's gone 7 innings or more in every start this month, and has given up 2 earned runs in all 4 starts before this one.
Leans: Yankees-3

Friday, June 25, 2010

I Love the Padres Bullpen

Recap: We had just one play yesterday on 50%-off Friday, and it was a fairly painless Winner! The road warriors of the NL West, the San Diego Padres, took care of the Marlins, 3-0, with another handful of scoreless innings of relief, and some high wire work by the starter, Clayton Richard. An easy, early win means a nice early blog, as move our Paid Play run to 24-12. I like!

Today: Let's get the weekend started off right. I have my Saturday Player Matchup Special for sale over at my Pro Page, but maybe more importantly, Marco has dropped two sweet deals on me. I have a NEW long term package for sale that goes from NOW until the start of football for the BIGGEST savings on the website. Seriously. I know many of you get the Summer Sizzler deal for $6, but this package actually prices out to just $5.60 per day, LESS than the Sizzler deal. Oh, and if you enter BEBE10 as the coupon code for ANYTHING you buy, you can get 10 bucks off. That's not just for my stuff, that's for everyone's. Good stuff, right?

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Padres @ Marlins (-205) with a total of 7; J. Garland vs. J. Johnson;
Jorge Cantu is 5-for-10 off Garland with an RBI;
Mike Lamb is 3-for-8 off Garland with an RBI.
Josh Johnson, well, you guys already know the damage he's been doing to the League, though I must say, if any team can beat Johnson, it's the Padres. All they really have to do is "hang around" for a while, and when Johnson leaves the game, the bullpen is going to look even worse than usual, because they're not Johnson. But, as we're not really volume guys, this one sort of fritters off the table.
Leans: None

Interleague Play

Twins @ Mets (-135) with a total of 7.5; C. Pavano vs. J. Santana;
Delmon Young is 3-for-6 off Santana.
This line is eerily low, isn't it? The Mets have been one of the hottest teams in baseball, and the Twins haven't really been hitting that well on their current road trip. Still, Pavano has been a complete and total horse for the Twins, seemingly going 8 innings every time out (I did say "seemingly"), and over the last 3 starts, Pavano is actually putting up better numbers than Santana. I hate to say it, since I'd love to back the Mets, but due to the perception that Santana is somehow leagues ahead of Pavano, the Twins are a live dog.
Leans: Twins-3

Cardinals @ Royals with a total of N/A; TBA vs. K. Davies;
Come on Cardinals, pick a starter. It's weekend time, so I can't wait around. We'll handicap this one in the morning, but no blog entry. Sorry!
Leans: N/A

Astros @ Rangers (-280) with a total of 10; J. Banks vs. C. Wilson;
Hunter Pence is 4-for-5 off C.J. Wilson before 2010.
Wilson faced the Astros just a few days ago, and gave up 4 runs (only 2 earned) in 7 innings of work in a game the Rangers won, 5-4. The Rangers, somehow, have forgotten how to lose. Obviously, we'll see how Friday's game plays out (since I do write these early), but the rather heavy amplitude on this line makes it a no-play, without question. How about that total? Well, tough to say what Banks is going to do, but Texas has been hitting the heck out of the ball. I fear, though, that if the Rangers play strong defense, Wilson could give up just 2 runs in 7 innings this time around.
Leans: None

Phillies (-135) @ Blue Jays with a total of 9; C. Hamels vs. S. Marcum;
Placido Polanco is 3-for-6 off Marcum;
Ryan Howard hit a 2-run jack in his only AB off Marcum;
Adam Lind is 3-for-6 with a HR off Lind.
This is about as evenly matched a pitching pair as we've seen in a while. Hamels season ERA is 3.75; Marcum's is 3.24. Hamels has 6 wins, Marcum has 6 wins. Hamels is 0-1 with a 5.06 ERA against Toronto, and Marcum is 1-0 with a 5.14 ERA against the Phils. Hamels has been on a nice run of going pretty deep in games with solid strikeout numbers, though his team isn't necessarily winning those games; Marcum seems to be slipping just a tad, and I think that's the reason for this road fave. I know Toronto seems like an easy choice, but I don't think it's so simple.
Leans: Phillies-2

D'backs @ Rays (-205) with a total of 8.5; I. Kennedy vs. D. Price;
B.J. Upton is 3-for-8 with a HR and 3 RBI off Kennedy.
Ian Kennedy is 1-2 with a 6.64 ERA against the Rays, though looking at the numbers, the current Rays don't hit him all that hard. Kennedy has been the D'backs most consistent starter (yes, better than Haren), but that bullpen behind him makes any Kennedy start a potential disaster late. Price hasn't been as unhittable lately as he was early in the season, but where the D'backs fail, the Rays excel, and that's in the pen. I'd love to say the dog is the right play, here, but considering the Rays could score 4 runs in the 7-9th innings, I wouldn't take the chance that the D'backs will be up by 5 at that point.
Leans: None

Tigers @ Braves (-130) with a total of 9; M. Scherzer vs. K. Kawakami;
Yunel Escobar is 5-for-11 off Scherzer;
Chipper Jones is 4-for-8 off Scherzer with a HR and 5 RBI.
You wouldn't think Scherzer would have 3 decisions against Atlanta in his short time in the Bigs, but he's 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA against the Braves. And while Scherzer has pitched better since coming back from the Minors, and the Tigers are 3-2 in his starts, the 3 wins all came at home, and the 2 losses came on the road. Kawakami is 0-9, but the Braves did score enough to win his last start, and are actually 4-1 in the games where Kawakami doesn't receive a decision. I happen to think the strength of this line is indeed a tipped hand.
Leans: Braves-3

Mariners @ Brewers (-125) with a total of 8.5; D. Fister vs. R. Wolf;
Ichiro is 4-for-6 with an RBI off Wolf.
Randy Wolf is starting to heat up. I know that sounds insane, but his last 2 starts have both been extremely solid, going 14 combined innings and allowing 3 total runs. Doug Fister is making his first after missing almost 4 weeks of action. We'll do a little more digging to find out what sort of shape Fister is in, but any time a pitcher isn't quite at full strength and the adrenaline isn't going to be flowing too much more than usual, you have to look to fade that pitcher.
Leans: Brewers-3

Nationals (-125) @ Orioles with a total of 9.5; L. Hernandez vs. B. Bergesen;
Corey Patterson is 7-for-18 with 2 RBI off Hernandez;
Ty Wigginton is 3-for-6 off Hernandez since '05.
I think this line is actually a tad on the cheap side for the Nationals, and I just can't help but think that "home dog" money is what's keeping it so low. Those of you that have been reading this blog since the NBA season know that there are just times where it's extremely clear which side is square and which is sharp, and more than 50% of the time I lean to the sharp side, but to me, this just doesn't make sense. Bergesen had 2 good starts out of 10, and I just can't see Baltimore cracking Livan over his noggin.
Leans: Nationals-4

Indians @ Reds (-145) with a total of 9.5; J. Masterson vs. S. LeCure;
We don't have much to work with, here, as Masterson is 0-1 with a 4.05 ERA against the Reds, and remains one of the streakier pitchers in baseball. Sam LeCure hasn't been too impressive in his Big League work so far, and that's why this line is so low for the Reds, at home. I guess the issue is that the Indians have gone back to losing every night, once again. They were hitting a ton for about a week, but things have tailed off, and even if LeCure isn't that great, you have to think that the Reds lefthanded bats can do some damage off Masterson in this small ballpark.
Leans: None

Red Sox (-160) @ Giants with a total of 8.5; C. Buchholz vs. J. Martinez;
This line is high for a reason. Joe Martinez is not that good, and the Red Sox veterans are going to eat him alive. Clay Buccholz might be among the top-10 pitchers in all of baseball, and yet his name seems to slip through the cracks when all the aces are getting discussed. I don't get that. He's 10-4 with a 2.47 ERA, is coming off a brilliant performance against a Dodgers team that hits righties pretty darn well. An interesting stat: Buccholz has received a decision in all 14 of his starts. Odd.
Leans: None

Yankees @ Dodgers (-110) with a total of 9; A. Burnett vs. H. Kuroda;
Garrett Anderson is 5-for-14 with a HR and 3 RBI off Burnett since '05;
Rafael Furcal is 4-for-13 off Burnett.
This game has the makings of a fun one. A.J. Burnett, struggling of late, faces a team that he's somehow 3-2 against with a 2.45 ERA. A lot of that work came in strangely scheduled Interleague action a few years back, so you can see he hasn't seen much of the Dodgers young bats. Hiroki Kuroda has some absolutely filthy stuff right now, and I really think he can hold the Yanks to 2 runs in 6-7 innings.

Cubs @ White Sox (-115) with a total of 9; C. Silva vs. F. Garcia;
Aramis Ramirez is 5-for-12 with an RBI off Garcia since '05;
Paul Konerko is batting .321 with a HR and 6 RBI off Silva in 28 AB;
A.J. Pierzynski is batting .296 with 2 HR and 5 RBI in 27 AB off Silva since '05.
I honestly don't know how you back the Cubs, here. Silva continues to be decent enough, bordering on good, but his luck seems to be turning a tad, and luck plays a huge role in baseball, as we all know. He's 4-11 against the White Sox, and lost 2-1 to Mark Buerhle 2 weeks ago. I can't imagine he pitches that well again, and even if he does, Freddy Garcia is just rolling right along, consistent as ever.
Leans: White Sox-3

Pirates @ Athletics (-200) with a total of 8.5; D. McCutchen vs. T. Cahill;
Not much to work with, here, but this line is awfully high, and the Pirates stink. Those are the two factors that seem relevant to me. I'm not going to advocate backing the Pirates, especially on the road, until they show some signs of waking up, and it hasn't happened yet. Probably leave this one alone.
Leans: None

Rockies @ Angels (-125) with a total of 9.5; A. Cook vs. J. Saunders;
Melvin Mora is 8-for-18 with a HR and 3 RBI off Saunders;
Miguel Olivo is 3-for-6 with a HR off Saunders.
This game has some sneaky Under trends. First, Colorado is coming off some ridiculously high-scoring, zero-bullpen games at home against the Red Sox, so the line is slightly inflated. Second, Joe Saunders has been getting pummeled in his last 2 starts to raise his ERA up over 5 runs. Yet, Saunders is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA against the Rockies, and Aaron Cook, Colorado's starter today, is 2-0 with a 2.57 ERA against the Angels. They put the ball in play, and with Cook's sinker, he should be able to get a few groundballs at his defense. Sure, this one could be another 16-run fireworks show, but I believe the line is higher than it should be.
Leans: Angels-1, Under-3

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hung Out to Dry

Recap: Well, what can I say? We ran into a game where we wanted the win more than the team involved. Why? Well, how about Takahashi literally been thrown to the wolves despite never really having his "stuff." It is what it is. I really wanted that $1 Capper play to come through for all you good guys on board, but we got stuck on one of those games that just doesn't play out at all how you expect. A tip of the cap to the Tigers for taking advantage of a pitcher that must have slept funny, and a stern glare at Jerry Manuel for not going to his pen early.

Today: Those of you who came aboard the Happy Meal, THANK YOU! You guys should have a coupon to take today's package down about 50% (approximately, Marco decides on the final number), and heck, if there are folks out there that didn't get the BuckPlay that want the coupon, I'm sure you can find a way to get it from someone who did. We're all friends, here. I know your first inclination isn't going to be to jump right back on with me after a loser, but I assure you that we'll have a tremendous play today to get things back on track!

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Padres @ Marlins (-120) with a total of 8.5; C. Richard vs. C. Volstad;
Not a ton of historical data, but you guys know how I feel about Chris Volstad. I happen to believe he's one of the more overrated starters in the NL, and after one blazing hot stretch a while back, seems to actually draw some money. I can't completely explain it; it's almost like bettors hear that a tall righthander is starting for Florida, and they just bet it without making sure it's Josh Johnson. Volstad does not go deep in games, so with the Florida pen, he's always going to have trouble racking up wins, and he's 1-1 with a 7.27 ERA lifetime against the Padres. I would be all over San Diego if Clayton Richard wasn't coming off, perhaps, his worst start of 2010 - he did go 6 innings, but got lit up by a weak Baltimore club. Does he bounce back? If you like the Padres, you sure hope so.
Leans: Padres-3

Interleague Play

Cubs @ White Sox (-150) with a total of 9; C. Zambrano vs. J. Peavy;
Alfonso Soriano is 5-for-14 with 2 HR and 5 RBI off Peavy before 2010;
Alexei Ramirez is 3-for-7 with 2 HR and 4 RBI off Zambrano before 2010.
Jake Peavy is rolling, and so are the White Sox, winners of 9 in a row, now. Peavy went 7 innings against these Cubs about 10 days ago and allowed 2 runs in a game the Sox would win 10-5. Peavy tossed a complete game shutout against the Nats in his last start. So, this is a no-brainer to bet the Sox, right? Well, I wouldn't be so quick. This is a pricier mark for them, and Zambrano is actually coming off a strong start. If Big Z gets hot, this one could get closer to a coin-flip. I know the White Sox look like the easy choice, but the value isn't there in this one.
Leans: None

Phillies (-255) @ Blue Jays with a total of 9; R. Halladay vs. J. Litsch;
Raul Ibanez is 4-for-9 off Litsch;
Alex Gonzalez is 3-for-10 with 3 RBI off Halladay.
Not surprisingly, the Jays haven't seen a ton of Halladay from the batter's box, but this game poses an intriguing spot. You have to think that either the Jays get completely shellacked, since Litsch isn't too impressive, or they win. A lack of middle ground jumps out to me, considering the level of emotion that should surge through Halladay's veins as he returns to the site of so many of his dominant starts. I would think the fans should be pretty receptive, but I guess we don't know. Halladay was pretty loyal to Toronto while they piddled around the AL East cellar for so long.
Leans: None

Nationals (-115) @ Orioles with a total of 9; J. Martin vs. J. Arrieta;
Zero historical data in this one, and that's a shame, considering it's a nice short line to try to exploit. J.D. Martin, 0-3 but sporting a decent 3.55 ERA, has been a bit unlucky in a few of his starts. He really only had one bad outing in his 4 starts for Washington, so I think we can rightly expect he'll go 5-6 innings and give up 1-3 runs. Arrieta, probably something similar. You have to give the nod to the superior pen, which isn't a runaway, but Washington's back end has certainly been more reliable.
Leans: Nationals-2

D'backs @ Rays (-200) with a total of 9; E. Jackson vs. J. Niemann;
Hank Blalock is 4-for-12 with 2 RBI off Jackson.
Here's a little reunion of sorts, as Jackson heads back to pitch against the Rays, against whom he is 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA. Still, we got another glimpse at what that D'backs pen can do to a potential winner when they imploded again in the finale against the Yanks. I would love to back Arizona, believe me, and Niemann hasn't been quite as sure-handed as he was earlier this year, but this is a longshot for a reason.
Leans: None

Indians @ Reds (-180) with a total of 9.5; A. Laffey vs. A. Harang;
Jhonny Peralta is 6-for-20 with a HR and 2 RBI off Harang;
Orlando Cabrera is 6-for-17 off Laffey.
Aaron Laffey, somehow, is 0-3 with an 11.05 ERA against the Reds. You wouldn't even think he's had a chance to post numbers that awful, but here we are. Harang, conversely, is 3-2 with a 2.84 ERA against Cleveland, lifetime. This line is too high to back the Reds, there's no real edge here in the total, and Laffey could either get 3 double play grounders or give up 2 multi-run jacks. No thanks.
Leans: None

Twins @ Mets (-145) with a total of 8.5; K. Slowey vs. M. Pelfrey;
Orlando Hudson is 4-for-7 with 2 RBI off Pelfrey;
Jeff Francoeur and Jason Bay each have a HR in just 3 AB off Slowey.
Both of these pitchers are actually coming off subpar starts, though Slowey's was certainly uglier. The Twins righty went just 1.2 innings against the Phils, giving up 7 runs. Pelfrey allowed 5 runs to the Yankees, but went 7 innings, so it was more the quick-strike sort of runs for the Bombers. Pelfrey should bounce back, and the Twins are struggling right now, and I just wonder if this isn't still a deal even though the line is a little more expensive than we're used to. Pelfrey's numbers, especially at home, have been pretty ridiculous.
Leans: Mets-3

Tigers @ Braves (-165) with a total of 9; A. Oliver vs. K. Medlen;
There's a very good reason this line is as high as it is - the Tigers are sending a kid making his ML debut to the mound on the road. It's always nice to try to back rookies making their debut at home, since they have the crowd support and pitch above themselves, but the road is a different story, especially for a clunker of a road team. Medlen hasn't been that great lately, after a nice start, and this price is way too high for him. It's rookie going nuts on adrenaline, or nothing.
Leans: Tigers-1

Astros @ Rangers (-320) with a total of 9.5; B. Moehler vs. C. Lewis;
Nelson Cruz is 2-for-4 with 2 HR and 4 RBI off Moehler.
You know the rule, when it gets up over 300, put a quarter unit on the dog and hope for a miracle.
Leans: None

Mariners @ Brewers (-165) with a total of 9.5; R. Smith vs. D. Bush;
Um, what? Dave Bush as a -165 favorite against a team that just had a 6-game win streak snapped? This is the ultimate in "who am I hitting against" Interleague games, though Bush has seen the Mariners just a couple times. Still, I have to think that oddsmakers know what they're doing just a tad with this line, and that the expectation of Rowland-Smith getting hammered is going to play itself out. It is intriguing, though, to take anyone as that large a dog against Dave Bush.
Leans: Mariners-2

Cardinals @ Royals (-155) with a total of 9; J. Suppan vs. Z. Greinke;
Jose Guillen is 3-for-8 off Suppan;
Aaron Miles is 3-for-5 off Greinke.
Jeff Suppan is getting zero betting love, and that's unfortunate. I would have enjoyed fading him, given his poor arm strength (low pitch count) and the Royals ability to hit, but at this price? I doubt it. Greinke is 2-2 with a 5.24 ERA against the Cardinals in his career, so it's by no means guaranteed that he'll shut them down, and I'd think the Over is probably a better price than either side.
Leans: Over-1

Rockies @ Angels (-160) with a total of 8; J. Francis vs. J. Weaver;
Jason Giambi is 4-for-10 with an RBI off Weaver;
Melvin Mora is 5-for-11 with 3 RBI off Weaver.
This should actually be a fun one. The Rockies continue to play very well at home, but not quite as well on the road, and the Angels are hot as heck right now. Of course, they got a little lucky in one of the wins over the Dodgers, and we'll know more about their momentum after the late game ends from last night, but I'd say there's a decent shot that Weaver pitches a strong game. He leads the AL in strikeouts, I learned this week, so there's an interesting stat.
Leans: Angels-1

Pirates @ Athletics (-180) with a total of 8; B. Lincoln vs. B. Sheets;
Ryan Doumit is 4-for-11 with 2 HR off Sheets.
Ben Sheets has been a fairly reliable starter for Oakland, but this is just a silly line. The Pirates are fighting hard with Baltimore for "worst in the Bigs" honors, and they've now moved into radioactive-land with the O's. So, let's not worry too much about the side, here. The total of 8 is largely based on the Pirates pathetic offense, and largely on the dimensions of the ballpark, but both guys could easily give up 3 runs, and then we're hovering awfully close to that total.
Leans: None

Yankees (-185) @ Dodgers with a total of 8.5; C. Sabathia vs. V. Padilla;
Robinson Cano is 4-for-11 with a HR and 2 RBI off Padilla;
Derek Jeter is 4-for-10 off Padilla since '05;
Manny Ramirez is 6-for-10 with a HR and 4 RBI off Sabathia since '05.
Oh dear. The Dodgers, slumping about as deep as they can, host the Yankees in what's billed as an epic series from days of yore. Of course, the Dodgers had a series with Boston, and got swept, but they are indeed better at home than on the road. Still, Interleague is not kind to LA, and Padilla, at 1-2 with a 7.65 lifetime ERA against New York doesn't really feel like the guy to turn things around. C.C. has a career 1.29 ERA against LA, and he's been making a habit, lately, of winning "bigger" games.
Leans: None

Red Sox @ Giants (-125) with a total of 8.5; T. Wakefield vs. J. Sanchez;
Aubrey Huff is 5-for-16 with a HR and 2 RBI off Wakefield;
Aaron Rowand is 5-for-9 with 2 HR and 2 RBI off Wakefield;
Nate Schierholtz is 3-for-3 off Wakefield.
Tim Wakefield, and this surprised me, is 1-0 against the Giants with a ridiculous 10.24 ERA. What? Sanchez is 0-0 with a 9.00 ERA against Boston, so it's not a particularly pretty matchup. Of course, Sanchez has been quite good at home, and Wakefield has been much better on the road. I would have to think that the thick air and winds in San Francisco are going to make that knuckler do all kinds of insane things. Still, I think there's a pretty good reason the Giants are favored against one of the best teams in the Bigs.
Leans: Giants-3

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Christmas in June

Recap: Last night officially made up for one of our bad beats, because we absolutely stole one. I highly recommend checking out the Angels or Dodgers home pages and watching the video, but for those that prefer the written word, here's what happened: with runners on 1st and 2nd and 2 outs in the top of the 9th, the Dodgers sent pinch hitter Jamey Carroll to the plate. Carroll pinged one off the end of his bat that fell in front of Angels' leftfielder Juan Rivera (who foolishly broke back on the ball). With the tying run headed home, the Angels threw behind Russ Martin, who took too wide a turn at 2nd base. Russ was tagged out (maybe) before pinch-runner Reed Johnson touched home, and the tying run failed to score. It was a cosmic blunder that has really defined the Dodgers' losing streak, and I say we take that unit and run like hell.

Today (and this is an important one): I AM THE $1 CAPPER! Truly, if there's ever a day where I am more than willing to throw myself at you all with zero regard for my dignity, this is that day. I would never tell anyone to get a Paid Play if they can't afford it, and that's part of the reason that I put this blog out every day, but I think we ALL can think of a way to come up with a BUCK. Don't buy that 20 oz. Coke Zero; drive 65mph on the highway instead of 75mph for 10 minutes; get your coffee at the office instead of Starbucks...whatever! Just get the One Dollar Play, and let's all win this one together! I'll even make life easy for you by making this paragraph a link to my Pro Page.

Shorter card, but plenty of nice, tight lines - let's exploit a good one!

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Giants (-155) @ Astros with a total of 7; M. Cain vs. W. Rodriguez;
My goodness, how bad is Wandy Rodriguez this year? Maybe one of the hugest disappointments of the season, and only fails to get mocked because he's pitching for a team that's just as disappointing as he is. Wandy is 3-10 with a 6.09 ERA this year, and 0-2 with an 8.38 ERA lifetime against the Giants. Matt Cain finally gave up more than 1 run in his last start up in Toronto, but the Jays have that longball power that can create runs even when they're not getting many on base. Dare we explore the road run line on this afternoon tilt?
Leans: Giants RL-2

Interleague Play

Padres @ Rays (-185) with a total of 8.5; W. LeBlanc vs. M. Garza;
This is awfully pricey, considering how poorly Garza's been throwing. The Rays, for all intents and purposes, are slumping pretty hard. Garza and Shields have been doing their part on the mound to ensure that those struggles continue. Matt hasn't had a legitimately strong start since May 21, and has seen his ERA rise up over 4 runs for the first time all season. LeBlanc, quietly, is still posting an ERA in the 2's, and has rebounded extremely well off his own little mini-slump that started with a road outing in Seattle a month back. San Diego plus 1.5 runs almost seems too easy, here, and that's truly the one thing keeping me off Padres - how on Earth this line could come out this high.
Leans: Padres RL-2

Indians @ Phillies (-155) with a total of 9.5; F. Carmona vs. J. Blanton;
Jhonny Peralta is 9-for-23 with 2 HR and 2 RBI off Blanton;
Mike Redmond is 3-for-6 off Blanton since '05.
This line is where it is because the Phillies are a huge public team; that's it. Joe Blanton's numbers this year are unbelievably bad, though, to his credit, he's coming off 6 innings of 3-run ball against the Twins. Is he turning a corner? Maybe, but he still hasn't allowed fewer than 3 runs in any start this year. Carmona, on the other hand, has been extremely consistent. I heard on some local LA radio two show-hosts that were talking about the Dodgers' interest in Carmona, and they didn't seem to care. That, to me, shows they're not paying attention. Carmona has movement on his pitches that won't go away over the next couple years, and he could dominate the NL. He'll have a chance today, though the Phils are really starting to hit, so this one is far from a lock.
Leans: Indians-2

Braves @ White Sox (-110) with a total of 9; D. Lowe vs. G. Floyd;
Melky Cabrera is 3-for-7 with a HR and 2 RBI off Floyd.
Derek Lowe is just 1-2 against the White Sox in his career, but has an ERA of 3.75. Not bad. Floyd is 1-1 against Atlanta, but posted an ERA of 9.95. Yikes. Yet, this line opens at basically a Pick. Floyd has been destroying in June, as has been his nature, giving up just 1 earned run in each of his last 3 starts, spanning 22 innings. Somehow, the White Sox only won 1 of those 3 games, even more odd considering they've been hot, as a team. Lowe's been pitching well lately, too, and the Braves tend to give him decent run support. So, we have some competing forces, here. Hot offensive clubs against solid, veteran pitchers. This line is just fishy enough to make me back the Sox, maybe...
Leans: Under-3, White Sox-1

Twins @ Brewers (-180) with a total of 8.5; N. Blackburn vs. Y. Gallardo;
Interestingly, this isn't the first time these pitchers have seen this opponent from the other League. First time around, Blackburn went 7.1 innings and gave up 3 runs in a furious 15-3 Twins winner against Dave Bush. For Gallardo, he gave up 4 runs in 6 innings, though the damage was largely done early before he settled in. The Twins ended up giving up a huge lead in that game before winning in extras, but this time around I don't think they'll be so lucky. This line is high for a reason, and that reason is Blackburn's road issues. In his last 3 road starts, Blackburn has given up 18 runs in just 8 innings. You guys know I don't touch home run lines, but...
Leans: Brewers-1

Cubs @ Mariners (-150) with a total of 6.5; T. Lilly vs. F. Hernandez;
Ted Lilly is just 2-6, and that is a damn travesty. I hope the Cubs unload Ted to a team with a shot to compete, because he is just pitching his butt off and has almost nothing to show for it. The 3.42 ERA is definitely reflective of how good he's been, but this line is accurate since Chicago just can't score reliably. Lilly is, however, coming off a rough start against the Angels, who always hit those 88mph fastballs hard. The Mariners can't score, either, but as long as they just keep throwing shutouts, it's going to be tough for someone to beat them. King Felix has looked like his old self in his last 2 starts, and I can't believe -150 is a value, but I lean Mariners.
Leans: Mariners-3

Marlins (-120) @ Orioles with a total of 9.5; N. Robertson vs. K. Millwood;
Jorge Cantu is 3-for-6 with 2 HR and 4 RBI off Millwood since '05;
Mike Lamb is 4-for-11 off Millwood since '05;
Julio Lugo is 5-for-11 with a HR off Robertson since '05;
Miguel Tejada is 8-for-19 with 2 HR and 3 RBI off Robertson since '05;
Luke Scott is 3-for-3 off Robertson.
I'm tempted to just write "See: every other O's game." Baltimore has shown signs that they might win 1 game every week or so, and do we want to bother trying to predict when that happens? Robertson never goes deep in games, so that means Florida is going to need to score 4-5 runs to win this one (that pen isn't going to pitch a shutout), and Millwood did finally get a win in his last start. Floodgates time? I wouldn't back Florida here, but few things are more nauseating than an Orioles bet.
Leans: Orioles-2

Cardinals (-135) @ Blue Jays with a total of 7.5; A. Wainwright vs. B. Morrow;
Jose Bautista is 5-for-16 off Wainwright;
Fred Lewis is 4-for-8 off Wainwright.
Brandon Morrow has really turned his season around. He's still not going 7 or 8 innings, which brings that shaky Toronto pen into the picture, but getting 6 innings of 1-run baseball will generally put you in position to win on a nightly basis. We could potentially get a pretty nice home dog sale price on the Jays in this one, but do we really want to fade Adam Wainwright? The Cards big righthander is 10-4 on the season with a 2.23 ERA, but isn't making a ton of noise because people just expect him to dominate. There isn't really any value on Wainwright's side, and the total is probably accurate, so it's Jays or nothing for me.
Leans: Blue Jays-3

Tigers @ Mets (-120) with a total of 8; A. Galarraga vs. H. Takahashi;
I'm honestly a little surprised this line is as cheap as it is. I know the Tigers are teetering on "public team" status, thanks in large part to their strong home play, but the Mets are one of the hottest teams in baseball, and Takahashi is still sporting a nice 3.13 ERA. Galarraga's season numbers are still decent, but he's coming off an ugly start against the D'backs, and that "wall" is right around the corner. Fact of the matter is that Galarraga is just not a guy that should have come close to throwing a perfect game. It shows just how lucky pitchers have to get in baseball to really succeed. He has a nice slider that works well on righthanders, but look at his career numbers, and you'll see why this lean is the way it is.
Leans: Mets-4

Pirates @ Rangers (-250) with a total of 10.5; J. Karstens vs. S. Feldman;
Woah, -250 on Scott Feldman? I know our rule is generally to only put a 1/4-unit on the dog when it's over -300, but Scott Feldman probably shouldn't be a -250 guy against any team in the Majors. He probably shouldn't be -250 over most of Triple-A. I know the Pirates might be the worst team in the Majors (again), and Karstens' ugly mug isn't inspiring confidence, but Feldman gives up 3 runs, invariably, in about 90% of his starts, so that means that every opponent has a shot. Of course, Texas has been hitting the daylights out of that baseball, so they'll probably win 7-4, knowing the hotness of that team right now.
Leans: None

Red Sox @ Rockies (-115) with a total of 9; D. Matsuzaka vs. J. Hammel;
Mike Lowell is 3-for-7 off Hammel with an RBI;
David Ortiz is 5-for-8 with a HR and 3 RBI off Hammel.
Remember, Boston has seen Hammel before. I know he's been lights out (Hammel hasn't allowed a run in any of his last 3 starts, spanning almost 23 scoreless innings), but if anyone can find a way to throw a man off his game, it's Boston. Daisuke is coming off 8 shutout innings of his own, though there does seem to be some slight stamina issues that Matsuzaka needs to sort through. He hasn't put together 3 straight strong outings all year, and it's tough to see him finally performing that feat in Coors Field. In fact, any time he's gone 7 innings this year, he's come back with a dud the next time out.
Leans: Rockies-3

Dodgers @ Angels (-150) with a total of 9.5; C. Haeger vs. S. Kazmir;
A contrarian would certainly say that the Dodgers are going to win this one, but not sure that the numbers really bear that out. Kazmir has a 5.08 ERA on the season, but he's on a run of 4 straight solid outings, the Angels have won all 4 of those, and maybe the most important note of all, Manny Ramirez is batting under .200 lifetime against Kazmir. We don't know a ton about how the Angels are going to handle a knuckleballer, but Haeger was not good at all earlier this year, and I just don't know how you can make a legitimate argument that he's going to pitch well against a hot-hitting team like the Angels. Plus, the Dodgers are the ultimate Interleague victim, just getting trounced by everyone not from Motown. If this line was a little cheaper, I'd be on board with reckless abandon, but at 150, it does require a little more thought.
Leans: Angels-2

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Rally-Cap Wednesday

Well, to no one's surprise, things are evening out just a tad, and that's bound to happen. We had an absurd hot streak that went for about a month straight, and the early parts of this week (Sun-Tues) have taken a little of the wind out of our sails.

So, in an effort to shake things up, it's rally cap Wednesday. I don't care where you work or the nature of your profession, grab some article of clothing and "rally it up" for this mid-week card.

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Giants (-130) @ Astros with a total of 7.5; B. Zito vs. B. Myers;
REMATCH ALERT! This one intrigues me, especially coming off a Tim Lincecum gem, yesterday. Zito has been pitching relatively well over his last 2 starts, but he's already been on the winning end of 2 games against the Astros, one of which came against this very opponent, Brett Myers. Also interesting is that the starters gave up all 7 runs in that meeting, with the Giants winning 4-3. Myers doesn't have a particularly strong history with the Giants, which makes taking him a little tougher here, though I don't know that I can get behind Zito, either.
Leans: None

Interleague Play

Reds (-119) @ Athletics with a total of 8.5; J. Cueto vs. V. Mazzaro;
To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure Mazzaro should be in the Bigs. Well, maybe, but certainly not a reliable starter, but yet, here we are. And you'd think this would be a wonderful time to jump on the Reds, but Johnny Cueto has been anything but reliable over the last month. He's coming off a decent start in Seattle, but even in that one didn't last very long, going just 5.2 innings. It's a troublesome game to try to pin a lean on, especially with the A's seemingly needing a win in this one. If I had to...
Leans: Reds-1

Royals @ Nationals (-260) with a total of 7.5; B. Bannister vs. S. Strasburg;
Adam Kennedy is 4-for-9 off Bannister;
Josh Willingham is 3-for-3 off Bannister.
Here we go again. Strasburg back up in the high 200's despite actually losing people money in his last outing, a no-decision against the White Sox that the Nats eventually dropped. The hype hasn't worn off, and why should it? Strasburg has fanned 32 in his first 3 starts - that's more than enough to get people out of their armchairs and out to the ballpark. You have to believe the home field edge is a little stronger than usual with him on the hill, too. I'd love to fade him for the value, but Bannister has just been unbelievably bad against National League teams on the road.
Leans: None

Marlins (-133) @ Orioles with a total of 9; R. Nolasco vs. B. Matusz;
Corey Patterson is 4-for-9 off Nolasco.
Do I even have to write this one? The Marlins need to score 5-7 runs to win, the Orioles stink; make the best of this situation, if you'd like. I can't play the Orioles, but this line just keeps looking fishier and fishier (pun intended) on the Marlins side. Nolasco, by the way, is 1-1 with a 1.93 ERA against the O's. So, we have a Marlins starter with good numbers, coming off a middle-of-the-road effort against the Rangers going against a team that doesn't know how to win but starting one of their top young arms. No thanks.
Leans: None

Indians @ Phillies (-180) with a total of 10; J. Westbrook vs. K. Kendrick;
Juan Castro is 5-for-10 with 2 RBI off Westbrook;
Raul Ibanez is 7-for-10 with a HR and 3 RBI off Westbrook since '05.
Almost all the numbers point to Philadelphia in this one, so the beefy line is no surprise, really. You guys know how I feel about home run lines, and since I don't trust Westbrook farther than I can throw him (to butcher a classic phrase), I'd leave this one alone.
Leans: None

Cardinals (-112) @ Blue Jays with a total of 7.5; C. Carpenter vs. R. Romero;
Lyle Overbay is 3-for-6 off Carpenter.
I've rather enjoyed not having to type up a bunch of player matchup numbers, courtesy of all these Interleague games. That just struck me, figured I'd type it. In any case, Carpenter, 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA lifetime against the Royals, faces Ricky Romero, who has a change-up that's the talk of the town. This has all the makings of a fun one. Carpenter is actually trending a little worse than Romero right now, believe it or not, coming off a 4-run effort against the A's. More importantly, the A's tagged him for 10 hits, so he just wasn't that sharp. Of course, with a veteran, though, Carp could bounce back with a gem just as easily as he could continue to surrender hits. Romero is coming off a solid 6 innings in San Diego, but everyone pitches well, there. I like the home team to squeak one out.
Leans: Blue Jays-2

Tigers @ Mets (-115) with a total of 8; J. Bonderman vs. R. Dickey;
Magglio Ordonez, Brandon Inge, Carlos Guillen and Miguel Cabrera each have a HR off Dickey;
This game scares me, because I really want to try to find ways to fade the Tigers on the road, but Detroit has actually seen a fair amount of the perfect 5-0 Dickey. He's 2-2 against the Tigers with a 4.69 ERA, and as noted above, 4 of the Tigers regulars have gone yard against him. On the other side, Bonderman is 1-1 with a 7.36 ERA against the Mets, but not these Mets. Rod Barajas and Alex Cora are the only Mets that have really seen much of Bonderman, and they're a combined 4-for-22. Bonderman, by the way, is trending up, too.
Leans: Tigers-2

Padres @ Rays (-180) with a total of 8.5; K. Correia vs. J. Shields;
We don't really have anything to go on, here, other than recent starts, and all we can peel from those starts is that both of these guys probably want a week off. Correia has been getting just full-on clobbered since coming back from bereavement, and Shields has been alternating giving up 3 runs in one start, than pushing double digits in the next. It's a scary thought for Tampa, but we know he could potentially iron things out in a heartbeat. If you're going to back Tampa, you best have a private line right to Shields, because something hasn't been right, and it's darn near impossible to back him until he snaps out of it.
Leans: Over-2

Pirates @ Rangers (-175) with a total of 10; P. Maholm vs. D. Nippert;
If ever there were a game where the Pirates had a shot on the road, you'd have to think it's this one, right? Nippert is just 2-3 with a 5.01 ERA on the season, and Maholm has been the one reliable Pirates starter. Still, this team doesn't have any clue how to win when their opponent bats in the bottom half of an inning, so it's a definite pass for me.
Leans: None

Twins (-145) @ Brewers with a total of 8.5; F. Liriano vs. M. Parra;
Michael Cuddyer is 2-for-2 with a HR and 3 RBI off Parra.
Well, Liriano is a perfect 3-0 with a 2.00 ERA against the Brewers, so you can see why he's such a heavy road favorite, and I imagine the competition, Parra, isn't exactly striking fear into anyone's heart. I'm not sure I'm willing to pay this price on the road for a team that's really only "decent" away from home. Parra has been serviceable, as evidenced by his 3.91 ERA, so it's not like a monster Twins win is a sure thing. Still, tough to back the Brewers at home, even at a nice dog price.
Leans: Twins-2

Braves (-125) @ White Sox with a total of 8.5; T. Hudson vs. M. Buerhle;
Melky Cabrera is 6-for-11 with a HR and 4 RBI off Buerhle;
Juan Pierre is 6-for-19 off Hudson since '05.
Tim Hudson has been an absolute marvel this year, and it's really something to see him at full strength, again. He's 7-2 with a 2.34 ERA, and I will go to the grave on the notion that, aside from perhaps Ubaldo Jimenez, Hudson has been the most consistent pitcher in all of baseball. Concerning for the Braves, though, is that Buerhle has made 2 strong starts in a row, and he can be quite streaky. Both teams are hitting the ball well, right now, so it's really going to be a battle to see which is superior, pitching or hitting. The White Sox are winners of 7 in a row, snapping the Braves 5-game win streak in the process, so you probably have to play the hot hand, if anything.
Leans: Undecided

Red Sox @ Rockies (-171) with a total of 8; J. Lackey vs. U. Jimenez;
We backed Ubaldo a couple times, we faded him a couple times, and the results were always the same - he won. Jimenez is 13-1 on the season with a 1.15 ERA, though this might be his toughest test, to date. The red hot Sox, in Coors. Makes a man shudder, though I suppose if you're a lefty, you're shaking a little more. Jimenez has mastered every batter in baseball to this point, so if he's not confident, no one on the planet is. On the other side, John Lackey has come on with a couple decent starts and has his ERA down to 4.53. Most of the current Rockies have done nothing against Lackey, and I can't help but wonder if this one isn't another low-scoring affair.
Leans: Under-2

Yankees (-200) @ D'backs with a total of 11; J. Vazquez vs. D. Willis;
I'm not sure I've seen a total this inflated in quite some time. You'd think there was a 25mph breeze blowing straight out to center! I know the D-train stinks, and I know that the D'backs pen is a mess, which means the Yanks could score 11 by themselves, but considering Vazquez has found a groove, I'd be surprised to see the D'backs score more than 4 in this one.
Leans: Under-3

Dodgers @ Angels (-115) with a total of 9; J. Ely vs. J. Pineiro;
We don't need player numbers on this one. Pineiro is back to rolling along, and he's a perfect 3-0 against the Dodgers in his career. John Ely is regressing hard, and he might be getting close to where he should be. Still, we know the Dodgers are horrid in Interleague play, and if you're going to get this cheap of a price on one of the hottest "contact" pitchers in baseball, you have to take it, don't you?
Leans: Angels-3

Cubs @ Mariners (-171) with a total of 6.5; R. Wells vs. C. Lee;
Marlon Byrd is 4-for-11 with 2 RBI off Lee;
Alfonso Soriano is 3-for-9 off Lee with a HR.
Randy Wells isn't really impressing me, lately. The reason I start with Wells is that I'm simply not paying 170 for a team like the M's, that literally needs to hold an opponent to 0 or 1 run to win a game. That margin for error is so slim. I'm also not going against them right now, because they're actually holding teams to 0 or 1 run, at least on the current hot stretch. Cliff Lee should probably be able to do that again.
Leans: None
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