Monday, June 14, 2010

Interleague Madness Returns, Day 5

I know we have to do a recap, but I just want to get right into the Finals!


Alright, a quick recap. We had just one play last night, and with it being a very short 4-game card, we recommended folks only play 1 unit and wait for some bigger value plays. The Summer Sizzler selection on the Brewers/Angels Over 10 looked great in the 3rd inning, looked scary in the 6th, and then was an easy winner in the 7th. Always enjoy a good rollercoaster. We got 11 runs from the Brewers, which was a tad surprising, and while we handicapped Randy Wolf struggling more than he did, I'm not going to start a trend of giving back winners, and while it was far from perfectly handicapped, a winner in the 7th inning is alright with me.

That Summer Sizzling Paid winner moves our PAID RUN to 17-8 (68%) over the last 25 days, not bad at all when you consider it's in multiple sports over almost a month, so those that are digging into their pockets and getting a week-long package are reaping the rewards, and those that got some Flex Access are getting even more bang for their buck.

Handicapping is fun when you're winning, so let's try to keep it going, as Interleague Play has been a huge cash cow for us this year. Last night's winner makes us 9-5 in Interleague Play, including a winner on the 3* Game of the Month on Saturday. I'm starting to wish these jerks would never go back to playing within their own Leagues!

Okay, enough mental masturbation.

Sports Wagering: NBA

Celtics @ Lakers - Los Angeles by 6.5 with a total of 188. My heavens! We made it to game 6, so all of you guys that took the advice discussed in the blog and put a unit on "series to go 6" and another on "series to go 7" are sitting pretty right now. It wasn't anything official, so I'm not trying to claim a win on the record, but I just wanted to see if anyone went ahead and made a move on that play we talked about. In any case, tonight, the Lakers' season is on the line, Andrew Bynum is clearly hurt, and the Lakers are going to need that home crowd to really fire up the role players if they have any prayer of not only winning this one, but covering. There isn't really much we can cover in this write-up that hasn't been beaten into the dirt in the previous 5 games, but I would like to take this time to remind folks not to put too much stock in what they saw the night before (or in this case, 2 nights before). It's very easy to bet based on what your eyeballs processed most recently, but I would beg of folks to go back and look at how the Lakers play, at home. I know the Celtics won game 2 with the Lakers sort of taking it easy early in the series (as has been their trademark), but this is a different story. The Lakers have closed out 2 series in a game 6 already, and here they need a home win in game 6 to avoid elimination and the end of the season. I happen to think that the world wants to see a game 7, and the Lakers are going to lay it all on the line, and that's going to mean at least 30 FT's in this one. I think Boston shoots more FT's, too, as the Lakers just didn't contest shots and gave up layup after layup in game 5. Fact of the matter is that Boston's starters can't play a whole lot better than they did in game 5, and the Lakers, outside of Kobe, can't play a great deal worse. Does that mean they'll play better? Not necessarily, but to bet this game based solely on the results of game 5 would be shortsighted. The defense is probably going to remain strong on both sides, though, and I only wonder if the series goes back to being largely free throw shooting, since the venue is back at Staples, again.

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Dodgers @ Reds (-110) with a total of 9; H. Kuroda vs. A. Harang;
Ronnie Belliard was 9-for-20 with a HR and 3 RBI off Harang before 2010;
Jamey Carroll was 4-for-12 off Harang before 2010;
Rafael Furcal was 5-for-10 with 2 RBI off Harang before 2010;
Russ Martin was 4-for-8 off Harang with 2 RBI before 2010.
REMATCH ALERT! Honestly, though, I'm not sure I'd treat this one any differently than the last. It is interesting to note that the line has moved about 25 cents towards the Reds in this meeting between Kuroda and Harang, as the Dodgers righty was a -135 favorite in the earlier meeting here in Cincy. Kuroda went 5.2 innings, gave up 3 earned run (6 total, some bad defense really did the trick), but Harang was even worse. That game ended with 20 total runs being scored in a Dodgers 14-6 winner. Harang's career ERA against LA is still in the mid-5's, he's 2-5 against LAD, and Kuroda, while a bit fortunate to get that big run support, is 2-0 with a 3.29 ERA against the Reds. He's coming off his first solid start in about 3 weeks, and Harang continues to bounce between good and mediocre.
Leans: Dodgers-3

Interleague Play

White Sox (-135) @ Pirates with a total of 9; F. Garcia vs. B. Lincoln;
This is basically a game without any data to work on, though I suppose Ronny Cedeno has seen Garcia a couple times from that short-lived stint in Philadelphia. Garcia continues to be just barely serviceable, and as a result, he's having a nice year, record-wise. He's 6-3 with a 4.82 ERA, and 2-0 lifetime against Pittsburgh. The Pirates are terrible, but we've seen them rattle off a few big underdog wins at home this year, and I wonder if this one isn't setting up to be another. Garcia's coming off 3 consecutive 7-inning starts, so he's in a nice groove, and Lincoln is making his home debut. The value in this game might actually be on the Under, and I'm honestly somewhat surprised that the line is this high, considering the Pirates are averaging 2.6 runs/game over the last week.
Leans: Under-3

Mets (-160) @ Indians with a total of 8; J. Santana vs. J. Masterson;
I know that Johan is 7-7 against the Indians with a 3.42 ERA, but DAMN has he crushed the current Indians. Travis Hafner is batting .182 against him over the past 5 years, Anderson Hernandez is 1-for-7, Austin Kearns is 2-for-12, Andy Marte is 0-for-4, and Jhonny Peralta is 3-for-22. Justin Masterson is working on a hell of a resurgence his last 3 starts, capped off by a complete game shutout against the Red Sox. Two pitchers in good spots, dare we look at the Under again? I wouldn't, actually, as the Indians have been swinging hot bats, and I think that if one team gets a couple runs, the other might do the same. There isn't a ton of value with the big favorite here, not with how the Indians have been playing, but at the same time, can we really fade Santana?
Leans: Under-1

Phillies @ Yankees (-125) with a total of 7.5; R. Halladay vs. C. Sabathia;
Ryan Howard is 3-for-7 off Sabathia;
Placido Polanco is batting .326 with a HR and 3 RBI off Sabathia since '05;
Shane Victorino is 3-for-7 off Sabathia;
Curtis Granderson is 5-for-12 with a HR off Halladay;
Alex Rodriguez is batting .306 with a HR and 7 RBI off Halladay since '05.
Roy's back against the Yankees, a team that he has not feared throughout his solid career. Halladay is a remarkable 18-6 against New York with a 2.84 ERA, just incredible numbers against such a prolific offensive team. C.C. is 1-1 with a 4.35 ERA against the Phils, and for all the hype, his ERA is actually over 4. C.C. has been able to pick on the Orioles, lately, but has been tagged a bit by the better offensive teams.
Leans: Phils-4

Nationals @ Tigers (-148) with a total of 9.5; J. Lannan vs. M. Scherzer;
Adam Dunn is 3-for-3 with 2 HR off Scherzer;
Johnny Damon is 2-for-4 with a HR off Lannan.
I find it tough to lay this number with Scherzer, though, to his credit, he has pitched better since returning from the Minors. The Nats are no pushovers, but they're also not very good on the road, and just lost 2 of 3 in Cleveland, winning only a Strasburg start. Lannan is 2-3 with a 5.00 ERA this year. That being said, Scherzer got slapped around by the Nats when he faced them while with the D'backs. I'd look at the Over before either side, but not really enough to get on my list of plays that might make a final look.
Leans: Over-1

Diamondbacks @ Red Sox (-185) with a total of 9.5; I. Kennedy vs. C. Buchholz;
This is really going to be a match-up folks probably thought they'd see with the Yankees, but Ian Kennedy is on the D'backs now, and it's time we all accepted that. Buchholz is coming into his own as one of the best young pitchers in baseball, and his 8-4, 2.52 mark this year highlights a wonderful first 2.5 months of the season. Kennedy is pitching his butt off, too, and with a marginal bullpen, would have a lot more to show for his 3.17 ERA on a bad team that plays in a hitter's park. There's probably some value on the D'backs here, since we know they can hit, and Fenway rarely has a shortage of runs, but Boston is just playing too well these days.
Leans: None

Rays (-135) @ Braves with a total of 8.5; D. Price vs. K. Kawakami;
Interleague games are fun for me, if only because I don't have to type a bunch of lines of player notes. So, we go on trends in those games. Price is coming off back-to-back strong starts against the Jays, and he's never faced the Braves. His 9-2 record and 2.23 ERA on the season means he'll probably have a slight leg up on guys that have never seen him. Kawakami is not very good. He's also pretty unlucky, as his team just seems to find ways to lose when he's on the hill. His ERA is just 4.48, which really wouldn't seem to lend itself to an 0-8 record. This one is tough for me, since the Braves have been hot, winning 2 of 3 in Minnesota over the weekend, but the Rays are the best road team in the Bigs.
Leans: Rays-2

Rangers @ Marlins (-151) with a total of 7; C. Wilson vs. J. Johnson;
I don't think I'm going that far out on a limb when I say that Josh Johnson has been the best pitcher in baseball over the past month, and if it weren't for Ubaldo Jimenez, he might be the best pitcher this year. He's 7-2 with a 1.91 ERA, and he's given up 2 earned runs since May 8. Just insane numbers. That's 2 runs in 42 innings over 6 starts. Batters are looking positively overmatched against him, and the Marlins have won 5 of those 6 starts. C.J. Wilson is coming off his first good start in his last 5. After scuffling a bit, Wilson got to pick on the weak-hitting Mariners, and I just wonder how he deals with the Marlins bats. This one could be low scoring, but if anyone is going to break through, you have to think it's going to be Florida. That bullpen scares me a little, and I know it's weird, but even at that price, I like the Marlins.
Leans: Marlins-3

Athletics @ Cubs (-130) with a total of N/A; T. Cahill vs. C. Zambrano;
Marlon Byrd is 4-for-10 off Cahill with an RBI.
I'm a little confused by this line. Have the Cubs been winning, or something? This is insane, to me. Cahill is 5-2 with a 2.91 ERA on an overachieving A's team that got swept in San Francisco. Zambrano is 2-4 with a 6.05 ERA on an underachieving Cubs team that lost 2 of 3 at home to the White Sox. I know the A's are garbage on the road, but wow. Cahill's been effective, if not solid, in every outing since his first, and Zambrano has yet to have even one legitimately good start in 2010.
Leans: Athletics-3

Rockies @ Twins (-140) with a total of 9; A. Cook vs. C. Pavano;
Somehow, despite having almost no experience against the current rosters, Cook is 0-1 with a 13.50 ERA against the Twins, and Pavano is 4-2 with a 4.50 ERA against the Rockies. Those numbers, to me, mean nothing. The Rockies are on a 3-game winning streak, all coming against the Jays at Coors Field. The Twins lost 2 of 3 to the Braves, at home. Tough to take the dog odds with Cook a guy that almost always is going to give up a couple runs. The Twins might be itching to take out some offensive aggression against a team that isn't playing as well as Atlanta was. I'd avoid this one.
Leans: None

Astros @ Royals (-125) with a total of 8.5; F. Paulino vs. K. Davies;
Paulino, amazingly, has an ERA of 3.82! I know, it's nuts. He's 1-7, but has that ERA that just keeps falling. He's gone 8 innings in 3 consecutive starts, and as far as underrated pitchers, he's about as notable as they come. Kyle Davies has an ERA of 5.48, and while the Royals can definitely hit the ball, I just wonder if this isn't a spot where Houston is going to be so excited to be anywhere but New York that they get Paulino his second win of the year. Davies has given up 15 runs in his last 3 starts, and before getting creamed by the Yankees, the Astros had actually been playing relatively well. Do we bank on the bounceback, or just dodge it?
Leans: Astros-3

Mariners @ Cardinals (-165) with a total of 9; R. Rowland-Smith vs. J. Suppan;
Jeff Suppan's back, baby. Okay, so that's not really big news, since he's made just 2 starts this year, and got pounded in each of them, and I honestly don't really see how this one should be any different. The most intriguing number here is the total of 9. Rowland-Smith has been on the ugly end of some nasty games, with the Mariners losing his last 3 starts by the final scores of 8-4, 11-2, and 12-3. He was only responsible for the ugliness in the first and third, but considering those games have all been well into the double digits, and considering Suppan has an ERA this season of almost 9, I would have expected 9.5 or maybe even 10 in this one. Now, our job is to determine if this line is where it is because of something we need to know, or because folks don't think the Cards can score.
Leans: Over-2

Brewers @ Angels (-161) with a total of 9.5; D. Bush vs. E. Santana;
The Brewers can hit on the road, and the Angels, seemingly, can hit anywhere. Santana was on a vicious roll before stumbling a tad in his last start against Oakland, and I just wonder if he has a mini-slump, or gets things turned around very quickly. Bush has been decidedly below average in almost every start this season, but did manage to pitch well enough that his team could come back and win the game in his last start. Honestly, Bush could get crushed in this one, and Santana could throw a 1-hitter, or it could be the other way around. For some reason, Dave Bush is one of the few pitchers that just always does the opposite of what his numbers suggest he should do.
Leans: None

Blue Jays @ Padres (-125) with a total of 6; B. Cecil vs. M. Latos;
This may catch you by surprise, but the Jays have actually won Brett Cecil's last 6 starts, and that includes wins over the Rays, Yankees and Angels, among others, and he is, arguably, among the hottest pitchers in the AL. Matt Latos, after a furious stretch in early May, has regressed a tad, still pitching well, but not going deep in games, and generally giving up 2 runs in either 5 or 6 innings. That might be bad for a lot of teams, but with the Padres bullpen back behind him, those numbers will generally net you a win. He's striking out quite a few batters, and that's running up the pitch count quickly. This one could definitely strike that total of 6, and our job is to figure out who prevails. The Padres bullpen is definitely the stronger of the two, but the Jays are the more electric offensive team. This one strikes me as a bit of a coin-flip, though given Cecil's run, you have to at least look at the hot hand.
Leans: Jays-1

Orioles @ Giants (-155) with a total of 8.5; J. Arrieta vs. Joe Martinez;
Jake Arrieta pitched pretty well in his only start thus far this year, allowing 3 runs in 6 innings of an eventual 4-3 win over the Yankees, of all teams. Joe Martinez came up for a cup of coffee in August of last year, and was awful. He made 5 starts, never went deeper than 5 innings in any of them, and allowed 20 earned runs in 24.1 innings. The Orioles remain radioactive to me, so I'm not about to come here and tell you they're the right side, but I certainly wouldn't play the Giants. Considering San Francisco has been finding a way to score 5-6 runs most games, I would, however, take a peek at another Over, if indeed Martinez stinks this year like he did in 2009.
Leans: Over-3

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