Saturday, June 12, 2010

Interleague Madness Returns, Day 3

Yesterday was a good news, bad news type of day.

The bad news, the Freebies were ALL 1-run losers. Very unfortunate, especially with unearned runs being the difference in at least one of them.

The good news, we CREAMED the MLB 3* Game of the Month on the Cleveland Indians and Fausto Carmona's electric stuff. Offensively, they continued to mash, scoring 7 more runs, and recent call-up (and former Dodgers farmhand, so of course I'm upset) Carlos Santana crushed a 2-run double and a big-time homer to centerfield. I just don't see this team slowing down, though Strasburg tonight is a potential stumbling block.

I said it last night, and I'll say it again, THANK YOU to those of you that got on board for the Game of the Month -- you guys know I only fired 2 NBA Games of the Month over 6 months, and this is the first MLB Game of the Month in the season's 3rd month, so those don't get tossed about, and the fact that you guys continue to respect that, and make the investment on the bigger plays means a TON to me. So, again, thank you, truly.

Sports Wagering: NBA

Lakers @ Celtics - Boston by 3 with a total of 187. The mighty game 5! This one is a toughie! We got a powerhouse performance from Kobe Bryant, especially from outside, but we got even more impressive work from the Boston bench in game 4 (Big Baby, Nate Robinson), that led the Celtics out to a 4th quarter lead that they would not relinquish. Of course, if you're a zig-zagger, you like the Lakers. If you're a pragmatist, you probably like the Celtics. This might be the toughest game to get a read on thus far in the Finals. The Celtics have a chance to go up 3-2 with a home win, and they know damn well that if they go down, they're basically done. The Lakers know Boston is dynamite on the road, and LA doesn't want to take the chance that Ray Allen pops off for another 8 threeballs in LA, and ruins a perfectly winnable game. Motivationally, I think the Celtics have a small edge, here. This is basically a must-win for them, since the Lakers already have "home court", and a loss here would give the Lakers double-match point going home. Of course, there's no chance that Kobe, or any of the Lakers top players takes this game lightly. Kobe talked all night about how the Celtics just had more hustle and more energy in game 4, and that's why they won the game. He's right too. The Lakers were matching Boston bucket for bucket all game long, and actually had a narrow lead most of the 2nd and 3rd quarters, but that Boston bench came in, went nuts, picked up technical fouls (that the Lakers couldn't make, anyway), and energy and heart carried them through. I find it difficult to really put a seal on either team having a huge edge in hustle points. Boston should be able to manufacture a slight hustle edge because of the home crowd, but the Lakers out-hustled them in game 3, so you never can quite tell. And match-up wise, nothing has really changed. The total was adjusted down pretty significantly, considering the final score of game 4 was just 5 points under the posted total. I have to believe game 5 is going to get played somewhat similarly to game 4, and I wonder if perhaps the line wasn't overadjusted just a tad. Of course, the rest of the world might feel similarly. My initial impression is that this total might finally be right on the mark, but let's keep an eye on line movement, and see if we can't continue digging on adjustments and schemes. This one is going to be a heck of a battle, that's for sure.

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Cardinals (-165) @ Diamondbacks with a total of 9; C. Carpenter vs. E. Jackson;
Matt Holliday is 3-for-6 with a HR and 2 RBI off Jackson before 2010;
Yadier Molina was 3-for-3 off Jackson before 2010, with a HR;
Kelly Johnson was 4-for-7 with a HR off Carpenter before 2010.
Chris Carpenter is 4-0 with a 2.09 ERA against the Diamondbacks, so he has absolutely no issue taking care of business against Arizona. Edwin Jackon is 0-2 with a 3.80 ERA against the Cards, and went 8 innings against them earlier this year, surrendering 4 runs. Jackson is definitely a workhorse, though I guess both guys are, but I don't think this is the right time to try to grab at the home dog.
Leans: None

Interleague Play

Astros @ Yankees (-325) with a total of 9; B. Moehler vs. P. Hughes;
Hah, I'm actually surprised this is only -325. You guys know the rule - a quarter unit on the underdog when the price is over 300. It'll probably lose here, but when you only need to win 25% of the time, a bad hop grounder could mean 3x your bet.
Leans: None, but you guys know the drill on lines this huge

Pirates @ Tigers (-200) with a total of 9; J. Karstens vs. A. Galarraga;
This line is, again, too high to mess with, especially considering the Tigers do win series at home, and the Pirates haven't won a road game since 1998. Since it's the weekend, let's just agree to save our strength for games with some true value.
Leans: None

Nationals (-205) @ Indians with a total of 8; S. Strasburg vs. D. Huff;
David Huff is very bad, but the hype around Strasburg is even greater in this one than his debut! Strasburg was a -200 home favorite facing the Pirates, and now he's a -200 road favorite facing the Indians, not only a better team than Pittsburgh, a hotter team, and in a different venue. This, to me, would be like seeing Strasburg as a -245 or -250 home favorite in his opener, so we can safely assume his price has gone up almost 50 cents. If Huff wasn't such a turd, I'd think the Indians were a decent value, but heck, let's let Strasburg win 2-3 more starts, then fade him when he clears -300.
Leans: None

Royals @ Reds (-120) with a total of 8.5; Z. Greinke vs. S. LeCure;
Orlando Cabrera is 8-for-24 with 3 RBI off Greinke;
Jonny Gomes is 3-for-5 with 2 HR and 4 RBI off Greinke.
Who would have thought that the one guy on the Royals, come mid-June, that simply could not buy a win would be Greinke? To his discredit, his ERA is up over 4, and that record of 1-8 might be better with some run support, but he's not dominating like he did last year. 3 of Greinke's 4 recent starts have been downright bad, so he's losing focus, and guys are taking advantage. I do believe he'll have a slight edge going against guys that haven't seen a ton of him, and at this price, I think you have to at least consider taking the established ace against a guy named after a Simpsons character...well, almost.
Leans: Royals-3

Mets (-150) @ Orioles with a total of 8; M. Pelfrey vs. K. Millwood;
I know a ton of people are going to be tempted to take the Orioles, and honestly, it's probably a pretty good value, but I still can't trust this team. Millwood is 7-5 with a 3.48 lifetime ERA against the Mets, but it's been a while, and Pelfrey has been awfully dominant this year. I could see the Orioles leaving 12 men on base and scoring 1 run, and that scares me.
Leans: None

Phillies @ Red Sox (-125) with a total of 9.5; C. Hamels vs. T. Wakefield;
This is an intriguing match-up, in that Hamels went 7 innings of 1-run ball against the Red Sox when these teams met in Philadelphia, and Wakefield went 8 shutout innings. That being said, the windy, humid weather was perfect for Wakefield in that start, and his knuckler was really moving all over the place. Since then, the Phils have started to hit a little better, and the Red Sox are still crushing the ball. I wonder about this high total, whether it's set on Wakefield's season numbers, or whether it's set based on the Sox recent hot hitting. I really want to try to find a way to back Hamels in his semi-resurgent year, though Wakefield is coming off a nice start against the Indians, too.
Leans: Phillies-2

Marlins @ Rays (-200) with a total of 8.5; C. Volstad vs. J. Niemann;
Not a ton of data to go on, here, and the large line makes me think this one is a stay-away. I don't really much care for Volstad. He rarely goes deep in games, and at 3-6 with a 4.48 ERA, I just don't think he's much more than a back of the rotation arm. Niemann is a stud, and Tampa has the best record in baseball.
Leans: None

Braves @ Twins (-145) with a total of 9; K. Medlen vs. K. Slowey;
Another game without a ton of statistical data, though just from checking the starters, I'm thinking this might be another pass. Here's why: Kris Medlen has been solid since moving into the starting role, but he's clearly starting to regress. His last start lasted just 5 innings, and the D'backs got to him for 4 runs, and we all know the Twins can rake. I think Medlen goes 5-6 again, and gets tagged for 3 runs. Slowey, despite not being a real horse, seems to be a nice charm for the Twins, as the team is 8-4 when he's on the hill. He's been pitching exceptionally well, of late, which means he's trending up. I don't like to fade a guy on a roll, like this, and I'm not sure I can bring myself to lay the -145 against the Braves, who aren't exactly pushovers.
Leans: Twins-1

Rangers @ Brewers (-145) with a total of 8.5; C. Lewis vs. Y. Gallardo;
Again, no real data, as I believe the current rosters have a combined 1 AB against the opposing starter. As far as trends go, both starters are coming off nice games, with Colby Lewis shutting down the Mariners for the third time this year, and Gallardo going 7 strong against the Cubbies. Yovani is probably the more consistent starter among the two, and with Lewis facing the Brewers, there would seem to be a lot of big uppercuts. If they connect, the Brewers can get a few runs at once; if not, could be a 0-0 ballgame. Tough call, here.
Leans: Under-2

Blue Jays @ Rockies (-180) with a total of 10; J. Litsch vs. J. Francis;
As we work our way through this Interleague Sunday, I'm reminded of how many mismatches the MLB can pile up on a given day. Another line way up over -150, and another time that we can either play the underdog or nothing. Francis is coming off a strong start against the Astros, and I get the feeling he's starting to settle back in. He had a great start, then slipped back, and now this, to me, looks like he's finally getting healthy. I wouldn't mess around with Litsch, and amazingly, I'd probably play a home RL before taking the dog, here. That doesn't mean take it, I'm just saying.
Leans: None

Athletics @ Giants (-205) with a total of 7.5; V. Mazzaro vs. M. Cain;
Good grief, another mismatch. Mazzaro, to his credit, is coming off a nice 5-inning effort against the Angels, where he only allowed 1 run, but Matt Cain is absolutely out of his mind, right now, and this price reflects that. Cain has gone 34 innings in his last 4 starts, and has allowed a grand total of 1 earned run, and 1 more unearned. That is downright nuts! He's just not a guy to fade until he has to face the Padres again, and we'll get all sorts of value, there. The Giants are hitting better, they're going to want this game against the cross-Bay rivals, and this is another one where I'd avoid the underdog. I don't like the home RL either. It lowers the price, sure, but we know how many 1-run games Matt Cain has gotten into over his career.
Leans: Giants-1

Mariners @ Padres (-135) with a total of 6.5; F. Hernandez vs. C. Richard;
Clayton Richard is making the Padres look very smart for disposing of Jake Peavy. He's coming off back-to-back outings where he allowed just 1 run to the Mets in each, and he's given up more than 3 earned runs just once all season long. He also went 7 frames of 1-run ball against the Mariners when these teams met up North. King Felix continues to be a bit of a enigma this year, as he went 8 innings in 2 straight brilliant starts, then gave up 7 runs to the Rangers his last time out. He allowed 2 runs to the Padres in a losing effort previously, and I guess the big question is, "Can any of us believe that the King is a +125 dog to Clayton Richard?" He still has the stuff to dominate, so there's definitely reason to peer in his direction, but Richard's 2-0 record and sub-1 ERA against the Mariners make it a tough trigger to pull.
Leans: Mariners-1

Angels @ Dodgers (-130) with a total of 8; J. Weaver vs. C. Monasterios;
James Loney is 5-for-14 off Weaver with an RBI;
Russ Martin is 7-for-17 with a HR off Weaver.
Let's get one thing out of the way - yes, Jered Weaver pitched a no-hitter against the Dodgers, and no, he didn't win the game. Weaver has always been solid against LA, going 3-2 with a 2.94 ERA against the Dodgers in his career, and this is about where I thought this line would come out. Still, as discussed on the podcast, and as witnessed in Friday night's beatdown, the Angels don't fear the Dodgers, and they have plenty of fans that travel the 30 miles to see their red-clad boys in LA-proper. This is a gift, in my opinion, if only the Angels hadn't won the first 2 games.
Leans: Angels-3

White Sox @ Cubs (-160) with a total of N/A; G. Floyd vs. T. Lilly;
Paul Konerko is 4-for-7 with 3 HR and 4 RBI off Lilly;
Mark Kotsay is 4-for-6 with a HR off Lilly since '05.
Gavin Floyd is 0-0 with a 1.29 ERA against the Cubs, so not much to go on, there, and he just continues to stink it up in 2010. I know all the stats about Floyd in June, and he did finally have a decent start against the Tigers (who he always dominates), but I'm not sure I'm ready to trust him, completely. Lilly is 5-2 against the White Sox, but that career 5.94 ERA tells you that they can hoist a few of his pitches out of the yard every so often. I certainly wouldn't pay -160 to back Lilly, since the Cubs seem to find ways to lose his starts, and I'm not sure Floyd is ready. Still, he's the value side, for sure.
Leans: White Sox-3

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