Thursday, June 03, 2010

Dirty Sanchez and the Dickey

Just about weekend time, and it's been an enjoyable run this week leading up to it!

Yesterday was another sweet day for a number of reasons.

First, we nailed our Afternoon Free Underdog play on the Oakland Athletics for a nice little +112 hit on the bases, and improved to 6-2 in the MLB this week.

Then, after about 4 hours to rest our sports-loving brains, the Lakers dominated the Boston Celtics, easily covering the 5.5-point spread for a Top Play winner, and looked like the clear superior club in the process. I hate to say it, but that's as bad as anyone has made Boston look in any game in the Playoffs so far. Maybe the most disconcerting note for Boston fans is that Kevin Garnett looked 100% exhausted, and if guarding Gasol all night is going to tire him out, the Boston defense is going to suffer. Of course, we'll get to all that on Sunday.

The handicapping methods in the NBA have never faltered, but the recent run of success in the MLB has been the best feeling of all, and we'll keep riding the new Built-In Leantracker and some great mid-season Player Match-up numbers to a few more victories!

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Reds @ Nationals (-127) with a total of 9; A. Harang vs. L. Hernandez;
Orlando Cabrera is 4-for-10 off Hernandez with 2 RBI since '05;
Jonny Gomes is 3-for-5 with a HR and 2 RBI off Hernandez;
Nyjer Morgan is 5-for-10 off Harang;
Josh Willingham is 4-for-11 with a HR off Harang.
Despite the fact that Livan's been around for what seems like eons, the current Reds haven't seen a ton of him. Orlando Cabrera, thanks to his many uniforms over the years, has had a few chances, but that's about it. In his career, Livan is 1-6 against the Reds with a 6.01 ERA, so in general, it's not a team he's enjoyed pitching against. Harang is sort of the opposite, as he's pitched just fine against Washington. Not great, but not horrid, and he's coming off a very nice start against the Astros. Livan is also trending down, slowly, giving up more and more hits on average throughout the year.
Leans: Reds-3

Padres @ Phillies (-185) with a total of 7.5; M. Latos vs. R. Halladay;
Just about zero information to use in this one, but it's safe to say that we SHOULD get a pitchers' duel. Latos is coming off 6 consecutive quality starts, and the Phils are cold as ice offensively, and we all know what the Doc is coming off (perfection, for those under a rock). This line is about right, based on Halladay's impact on a game, and how deep he can pitch, but the Padres are actually one of the best road teams in baseball, so I wouldn't discount them in games where they don't have to contend with a top-3 pitcher in the world. The Under is tempting, but they could have easily brought this one out at 7, and they didn't, so I'm going to tread very lightly.
Leans: Padres-1, Under-1

Giants (-130) @ Pirates with a total of 8; J. Sanchez vs. Z. Duke;
Juan Uribe is 3-for-8 with 2 RBI off Duke.
Interestingly, Jonathan Sanchez is 1-1 with a 7.16 ERA against the Pirates in his career, but the current Pirates roster hasn't done a thing against him. Bobby Crosby is the only Pirate with more than 6 AB against Sanchez, and he's 1-for-10. Sanchez is having a solid year, 3-4 with a 2.90 ERA, so we can probably expect another decent outing, but Duke is the real question mark. Duke can be excellent, and he can also be just unbelievably bad. On the season, he's had 5 great starts, 4 very bad starts, and 2 decent ones. He's coming off one of his terrible starts, and as we see with a lot of control guys, sometimes one bad start follows another. Believe it or not, I actually would have less issue backing the punchless Giants even at a road price, though, to be fair, I don't think there's much value anywhere in this one.
Leans: Giants-1

Marlins (-121) @ Mets with a total of 8.5; A. Sanchez vs. R. Dickey;
Hanley Ramirez and Jorge Cantu are each 2-for-2 off Dickey.
Anibal Sanchez is 3-3 with a 3.92 ERA against the Mets in his career, but somehow, there's been a heck of a lot of turnover. Sanchez, for what it's worth, is pitching extremely well this season, posting a 2.89 ERA against the League, and went 7 innings of 2-run ball. However, that came in Florida, and we all know how the Mets stink on the road. This is going to be different, back in New York. As far as Dickey goes, he's pitched well since moving into the starting role, though he's 1-1 with an 8.22 ERA against Florida in limited action. I'm not sure this one is worth taking a chance on, though the Mets strong play at home certainly makes them appealing. I'm just not sure I can fade Sanchez right now.
Leans: Mets-2

Cubs (-120) @ Astros with a total of 8.5; C. Silva vs. F. Paulino;
This line seems eerily low. Carlos Silva, 7-0 with a 3.12 ERA facing Felipe Paulino, 0-7 with a 4.40 ERA on the year, and also pitched poorly against the Cubs back in April? Something just isn't adding up for me. To Paulino's credit, he's coming off 3 straight quality starts, and 8 shutout innings his last time on the hill against the Reds, so he's trending up, and that could play a role. Silva, though, is coming off an equally impressive outing, going 7 shutout but striking out 11 batters in a win over the Cards. At this cheap price, I can't help but at least peek at Silva and the Cubbies, but if you're a man that believes in "trap" lines, I fear, looking at this one, that maybe Silva had an awful bullpen session, and we need to dig further into things.
Leans: None

Brewers @ Cardinals (-205) with a total of 8; R. Wolf vs. A. Wainwright;
Craig Counsell is 6-for-20 off Wainwright;
Matt Holliday was 3-for-10 off Wolf with 2 RBI before this year;
Felipe Lopez was 7-for-18 off Wolf coming into 2010.
Randy Wolf already faced the Cards once this season, and allowed 4 runs (only 2 earned) over 6 innings of a game the Brewers would eventually lose. Wainwright hasn't seen the Brewers yet in 2010, but he's had no problem dispatching of Milwaukee throughout his career. Wainwright is 5-3 with a 2.25 ERA against the Brewers, and he's just about spot on that number against the League this year at 7-3, 2.28. Wainwright is simply too good to fade, even if there might be some value. The Brewers are good for a win every 2-3 games, but this isn't the right time.
Leans: None

Rockies @ Diamondbacks (-117) with a total of 10; A. Cook vs. I. Kennedy;
Stephen Drew is batting .371 off Cook with 3 RBI before 2010;
Adam LaRoche was 4-for-10 off Cook with a HR and 3 RBI before this season;
Chris Snyder was 13-for-22 with a HR and 4 RBI off Cook coming into 2010.
Cook hasn't faced Arizona yet this year, but it's not a team that he would have minded missing for a few more starts. Cook is 5-4 against Arizona, but we all know that record belies his career 5.46 ERA against Arizona. If the D'backs were a half-decent team, Cook might be 3-6 against them, so that's why going on the other numbers is certainly more important. Kennedy got the start in Colorado, and gave up 3 runs in 5 innings, which really isn't awful for a guy that never starts at Coors. Kennedy has been very consistent all year long, and I just wonder if Arizona's bats wake up now that they're back home. This team is in one of the most prolific offensive scoring droughts in history, so it's kinda tough to lay chalk with that going on. Still, given Cook's inability to keep guys from putting the ball in play, and pitching in this hitter-haven, Arizona needs a look.
Leans: Arizona-3

Braves @ Dodgers (-165) with a total of 8; K. Kawakami vs C. Kershaw;
Another game without any real data, so we'll go on recent trends. Starting with the visiting Braves, Kawakami remains winless in 2010. He's 0-7 on a red hot ballclub, yet his ERA is just 4.66. Something doesn't add up. Looking at his starts, he's been pretty consistently "room temperature" in terms of performance, giving up between 2-5 runs every time out, never dominating, and never completely imploding. The Braves should have, seemingly, been able to get him a "W" by now, but they haven't. The Dodgers haven't seen Kawakami, and he's trending up, so he's a buy low candidate right now. Kershaw is a stud. He's 5-3 with a 2.95 ERA on the year, and he's lights-out at home. He's coming off a short start, but it came at Coors, and otherwise, he's just been destroying poor, defenseless batters. This line might be high by about 10 cents, but not nearly enough to warrant a play.
Leans: None

American League

Red Sox (-200) @ Orioles with a total of 9; C. Buchholz vs. C. Tillman;
Adam Jones is 2-for-4 with a HR and 4 RBI off Buchholz.
The BoSox haven't seen hide nor hair of Tillman, but he's a solid youngster with a sky-high limit on his potential. Of course, he's also a kid facing the hot-hitting Red Sox. Yikes. Buchholz is 7-3 with a 2.73 ERA on the season, and 4-2 in his short career against the Orioles. This line is inflated by quite a bit thanks to how much Baltimore sucks, but as I said early this week, Baltimore has officially reached that point of radioactivity. Do not touch, no matter how juicy it looks. The line is inflated, yes, but it's also this high because books desperately need someone to bet on Baltimore. Don't be that sucker until they start to play a little better.
Leans: None

Yankees (-130) @ Blue Jays with a total of 9; A. Burnett vs. B. Cecil;
Robinson Cano is 4-for-5 off Cecil with a HR;
Derek Jeter is 3-for-5 off Cecil;
Jorge Posada is 3-for-5 off Cecil with 2 RBI;
Vernon Wells is 3-for-9 off Burnett with a HR.
Contrary to what you might think, Burnett has pitched just fine against the Jays. He's 2-1 with a 3.34 ERA against his old buddies, so he's definitely not an automatic fade. This line is somewhat on the low side for a Yankees game, especially when a no-name like Brett Cecil is the opposing starter. Let's try to figure out why. Well, Cecil's career ERA of 11.25 against the Yankees isn't getting us anywhere. Burnett's lower 2010 season ERA isn't helping our cause. The Yankees coming off absolutely squashing the Orioles doesn't seem to add up, either. How about Toronto? Surely, they've been hot enough to warrant this low line. Nope. Toronto has been developing the friendly habit of blowing leads to the Rays on a nightly basis. This line is going to draw superhuman amounts of cash on the Yankees. We need more work on this one.
Leans: A Big Fat "WTF" on the Line

Rays @ Rangers (-120) with a total of 9.5; W. Davis vs. C. Wilson;
Not much in the way of data to go off of, here, but for the record, Wilson is 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA against the Rays, and Tampa went 1-5 in Texas last season. This place has been a house of horrors for the Rays for some odd reason (or group of reasons), and why one team, or location, is just a bad luck charm, it's tough to truly know. Here, Wade Davis comes in on a bit of a downward trend. He's given up 16 runs over his last, roughly, 27 innings, which isn't dismal, but it seems like teams find a way to score off him every time out. His strikeout numbers aren't that great, and he's allowing too many homers. Of course, he's backed by the best road team in baseball, so he's 5-4 on the year. Wilson is a tough nut to crack. He started the year with a flurry, but has slowed markedly. Still, he pitched well in his last start before being lifted with runners on base, and then had to watch his bullpen completely blow the game to pieces. I want to try to find a way to back Texas at some point in this series, but I'm not sure whether or not this is the perfect time.
Leans: Rangers-3

Indians @ White Sox (-245) with a total of 8.5; J. Masterson vs. J. Danks;
Russell Branyan was 4-for-5 off Danks before 2010;
Shin-Soo Choo was 6-for-13 with a HR and 3 RBI off Danks before 2010;
Alex Rios was 3-for-9 with a HR off Masterson before this year.
REMATCH ALERT! Not necessarily one I want to get involved in, but these guys faced off about 10 days back, and neither pitched all that well. Danks only went 5 innings, but allowed just 2 runs, while Masterson couldn't even make it to 5. He gave up 5 runs in 4 innings on 9 hits. He is, however, coming off a better start his last time out, giving up just 3 runs in 6.2 frames to the Yanks. I wouldn't recommend laying 245 on a guy that appears to be trending way down with Danks. This is Indians or nothing.
Leans: Cleveland-2

Tigers (-150) @ Royals with a total of 9.5; M. Scherzer vs. B. Chen;
Miguel Cabrera is 4-for-5 with 2 HR and 3 RBI off Chen;
Johnny Damon is 9-for-16 with 2 HR and 2 RBI off Chen;
Mitch Maier is 3-for-3 off Scherzer.
Max Scherzer broke back into the Bigs with a loud pop, striking out 14 batters over 5.2 innings. Yes, you did that math correctly - he got 17 outs, and 14 of them were right there at the dish. Scherzer is 1-1 with a 2.12 ERA against the Royals in his brief work against them, those starts coming to begin 2010, and we've seen how good this kid can be when he's pitching with confidence, hitting his spots, and keeping those hits from leaving the yard. Bruce Chen is 0-2 with a 6.97 ERA career against Detroit, but he's been better than I think those numbers would indicate. He hasn't pitched much in 2010, going 4 innings of 1-run ball against the Red Sox, but I do think the Royals bats are good enough that they can continue to give the Tigers a tough enough time that laying -150 on the road with an erratic fireballer is not a prudent choice.
Leans: None

Twins @ Athletics (-110) with a total of 7.5; S. Baker vs. D. Braden;
Joe Mauer is 4-for-10 with an RBI off Braden;
Nick Punto is 3-for-8 off Braden;
Rajai Davis is 3-for-5 off Baker.
Since Braden's perfect game, the A's have lost all 4 of his starts. He hasn't been horrible in them, but he also hasn't been too good. Braden gave up 4 runs to the Angels, none in just 4 innings to Baltimore, and then 5 runs to the Tigers, who hit lefties very well. Backing Braden is not going to be easy here, as Oakland returns home off a wild slugfest in Boston, and though they did have a winning road trip, the long flight home can't possibly mean anything good. Minnesota flies down from Seattle, so they're already on Pacific time, and Baker is a career 4-0 against the A's. Despite his somewhat mediocre work, the Twins have the edge in not being jet-lagged, a better offense, and a better bullpen.
Leans: Minnesota-3

Angels (-120) @ Mariners with a total of 8.5; J. Saunders vs. I. Snell;
REMATCH ALERT! This one, I think, has more value than the other one above. Joe Saunders and Ian Snell both absolutely stunk when they faced off a week ago. Snell gave up 3 runs in just 4 innings of work, walking 4, and now posts a wonderful 0-2, 7.04 career mark against the Angels. Saunders allowed 7 runs in just 4.1 innings after really pitching pretty well his previous 4 starts. The Mariners went on to win that game 9-7, sailing way over the posted total of 9 by 7 full runs. So, what do oddsmakers do? Adjust the number down a half-run, of course. Now, the venue definitely plays a role, with Safeco being a flyball graveyard, and Anaheim, well, not so much, but can we really explain away the 16 runs scored in the previous showdown as a byproduct of the location?
Leans: Under-4

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