Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Introducing the BUILT-IN Leantracker

The Birthday is in the rear view, and it didn't go exactly as planned. The Cardinals battled back to lead 8-7 in the 7th inning, but couldn't hold the lead and lost a high-scoring heartbreaker, 9-8. The bats were alive, as we hoped, but the pitching staff didn't hold its end of the bargain.

The Free Play is still in progress.

In any event, plenty to do today - lots of catching up, thanks to the aforementioned Birthday, but also some nice changes I'm implementing. Enjoy the blog below, now with leans clearly posted at the end of each game, and listed on a 1-to-5 scale of strength based on opening line and player match-ups. Please bear in mind that these leans are subject to change based on line movement, but this is where we begin each day!

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Phillies @ Braves (-140) with a total of 9.5; K. Kendrick vs. D. Lowe;
Chase Utley was batting .391 with 2 HR and 3 RBI off Lowe prior to 2010;
Chipper Jones is 6-for-13 with 2 HR and 6 RBI off Kendrick;
Nate McLouth is 3-for-8 with 2 HR and 3 RBI off Kendrick;
Brian McCann is 5-for-16 with a HR off Kendrick.
Somehow, Kyle Kendrick is 4-1 with a 2.72 ERA against the Braves, and while Lowe has been very good against the Phils (prior to stinking a bit in his start against them this year), and the Phils bats have been mostly dormant, player match-ups just don't dictate that this one should make the cut.
Leans: None

Diamondbacks @ Dodgers (-155) with a total of 8.5; E. Jackson vs. C. Monasterios;
Garrett Anderson is 3-for-9 off Jackson;
Casey Blake is 4-for-10 off Jackson.
The Dodgers clubbed Jackson to the tune of 6 runs in 6.2 innings when they saw him in Arizona, and to Jackson's credit, he is definitely an innings-eater, but at the same time, I still don't really feel like we've seen enough from the rest of the D'backs to truly believe they can beat anyone. Monasterios is a tough cookie to trust, especially at this price, and I have to say that, despite his decent work this season, I don't know about this chalk.
Leans: Dodgers-1

Mets (-119) @ Padres with a total of 6.5; J. Santana vs. C. Richard;
Chase Headley is 2-for-5 with a HR and 2 RBI off Santana.
Johan has a career 2.41 ERA against the Padres, and despite being 2-2 against them, it's tough to really find fault with either Santana's numbers against the Padres or Santana's numbers in 2010, especially his recent starts. He's been darn near unhittable. Richard, on the other hand, is actually coming off his worst start of the year, against the Nats, and I can't help but think that he's due for a couple clunkers. Richard is good, but he's not sub-3.00 ERA good, and while I wish he was pitching against a team that had a better road track record, I think we're getting a darn good price on Santana here, and I don't think it's any sort of trap.
Leans: Mets-3

Cubs (-145) @ Pirates with a total of 8.5; C. Zambrano vs. Z. Duke;
Jeff Baker is 7-for-12 with 2 HR and 4 RBI off Duke;
Aramis Ramirez is 13-for-39 with a HR and 6 RBI off Duke;
Alfonso Soriano is 14-for-36 with 2 HR and 3 RBI off Duke;
Geovany Soto is 7-for-22 with 2 RBI off Duke;
Ryan Theriot is 14-for-39 with a HR and 4 RBI off Duke;
Ryan Doumit is 7-for-16 with 3 RBI off Zambrano;
Andrew McCutchen is 3-for-5 with 2 RBI off Zambrano.
There are a strikingly large number of Cubs with decent numbers against Duke, but yet, somehow, Duke's career ERA against Chicago is just 3.67. He's only 4-8 against them, but anyone that has watched this season series knows how the Pirates just keep beating up on Chicago. However, Duke is coming off getting pasted in his last start, and we know how streaky guys like Duke can be. I don't like Zambrano because of the price, and I don't like Duke because of his bad effort last time out, and trending down is a big no-no.
Leans: None

Brewers @ Marlins (-110) with a total of 8.5; Y. Gallardo vs. C. Volstad;
This is an intriguing match-up, as Gallardo pitched well in very limited action against the Marlins, and Volstad has never started against the Brewers. We might have thought we'd have some nice player data to build on, here, but alas, we don't. I do like the trends working for the Brewers, though, amazingly. Gallardo is coming off a complete game shutout against the Mets, and really, the only start that didn't go all that well came against the red hot Twins. Gallardo is dealing, and his 2.78 ERA exhibits that. Volstad just seems to give up 3 runs every time out. That might not be enough with the Brewers horrific bullpen and ability to find ways to lose, but I believe that if Gallardo can go deep in the game, Milwaukee should be firmly in the driver's seat when this one gets late.
Leans: Brewers-4

Nationals @ Astros (-110) with a total of 8.5; J. Lannan vs. W. Rodriguez;
Adam Dunn is 7-for-18 with 2 HR and 4 RBI off Rodriguez;
Ryan Zimmerman is 3-for-9 with a HR and 3 RBI off Rodriguez;
Lance Berkman is 5-for-9 with 2 RBI off Lannan;
Pedro Feliz is 7-for-17 with a HR and 5 RBI off Lannan;
Jeff Keppinger is 4-for-11 with 2 RBI off Lannan;
Carlos Lee is 6-for-12 off Lannan with a HR and 2 RBI;
Hunter Pence is 4-for-10 off Lannan.
Somehow, despite Berkman, Feliz, Keppinger, Lee and Pence all hitting Lannan hard, he's 3-1 against the Astros. His 4.91 ERA seems to tell the story that he's gotten nice run support in those games. Wandy continues to struggle, so he's not really a good bet, though he, too, is 3-1 with a hefty ERA against Washington. As far as who is trending up and down, Lannan is definitely the pitcher of the two that's on the rise, but something just feels uncertain and shaky about this game.
Leans: Nationals-2

Reds @ Cardinals (-230) with a total of 8; S. LeCure vs. C. Carpenter;
No sense getting into player numbers, since we've seen Carpenter against the Reds twice already this year. He pitched alright against them by Carpenter-standards the first time (6 innings, 2 runs), then came back the 2nd time with a dominant 7 shutout innings. The Cardinals are really starting to hit, so if I'm Sam LeCure, I'm a little concerned going into this one, and while the Cards are probably going to roll, this one is way too expensive to play, and you guys know my feelings about home run lines.
Leans: None

Rockies @ Giants (-136) with a total of 7; J. Francis vs. M. Cain;
Ryan Spilborghs is 5-for-12 with 2 HR and 4 RBI off Cain;
Ian Stewart is 5-for-16 with a HR and 2 RBI off Cain;
Aaron Rowand is 6-for-11 with an RBI off Francis.
Jeff Francis is just 7-5 with a 4.74 ERA against the Giants, but Rockies numbers are always a tad skewed because of Coors Field, and with Francis it's just tough to know what we're going to get. He had 2 very strong starts since coming off the DL, then got beat up by the Dodgers in his last start. Is it bounceback time, or is it time for the adrenaline to wear off and for us to see some rust in the lefty. Cain is coming off a complete game shutout against the D'backs, and that was on the heels of 8 innings of 1 unearned run pitching against the A's, and it seems like Cain has been reinvigorated now that he's not facing the Padres. He also threw 8 shutout innings against these Rockies earlier this year. Tough to fade Cain, here.
Leans: Giants-3

American League

Orioles @ Yankees (-335) with a total of 9.5; B. Bergesen vs. P. Hughes;
Nick Markakis is 6-for-14 with 3 RBI off Hughes;
Adam Jones is 4-for-8 with a HR and 3 RBI off Hughes;
Luke Scott is 4-for-7 with an RBI off Hughes.
Bergesen is 0-1 with a 5.68 ERA against the Yanks. Looks bad, right? Yes, and it is pretty bad. But at the same time, Hughes is 2-2 with a 5.97 ERA against Baltimore. If only this was that same Baltimore from last year. This year's version can't hit a lick with runners on base, and the bullpen is just miserable. Of course, based on the number, I think we have to put a 1/4 unit on the O's, just because we're getting just about +300 odds, and there's no reason not to, but in terms of a premium play, no way.
Leans: None

Indians @ Tigers (-131) with a total of 9; F. Carmona vs. A. Galarraga;
Shin-Soo Choo is 7-for-19 with a HR and 3 RBI off Galarraga;
Luis Valbuena is 3-for-6 off Galarraga;
Miguel Cabrera is 7-for-22 with 2 HR and 5 RBI off Carmona.
Galarraga is garbage. The Tigers jettisoned one piece of deadweight with Dontrelle getting the ax, and in my humble opinion, Galarraga should be next. He is what he is, I'm afraid. A guy that finds the strike zone every so often, but generally gets hit hard, and the Indians are no exception. He's 3-3 with a lifetime 5.51 ERA against Cleveland, and after a good first start this year, Galarraga got hit hard by the Dodgers. I wouldn't lay chalk with him against just about anyone. Carmona is coming off 2 less-than-stellar starts, and is 6-3 career against Detroit. The Tigers are struggling to hit right now, and they've somewhat quietly lost 4 of 5 games to the A's and Indians. I think Carmona has a nice chance to continue that trend.
Leans: Indians-4

Rays @ Blue Jays (-115) with a total of 8; D. Price vs. S. Marcum;
Price tossed a complete game shutout against the Jays when he faced them earlier this year. He's 3-0 with a 2.92 ERA against Toronto, so he doesn't fear the Jay. Marcum did not face Tampa yet this season, but he's 2-0 with an 0.75 ERA against the Rays, and he's 5-1 with a 2.59 ERA against the League in 2010. The Rays are scary on the road, but Price has seemed to regress a tad in his last 2 starts, and as far as betting on which direction a particular pitcher is headed, you absolutely have to prefer Marcum in this showdown. I'm not sure there's a ton of value either way, though, given the Rays' road prowess. I think the only reason there might be value on Toronto is that Tampa has seemed to struggle lately, and might have lost last night if not for another Kevin Gregg 9th inning meltdown.
Leans: Jays-3

Athletics @ Red Sox (-155) with a total of 9.5; B. Sheets vs. D. Matsuzaka;
Jack Cust is 4-for-9 with a HR and 2 RBI off Matsuzaka;
Mark Ellis is 4-for-13 with a HR and 2 RBI off Matsuzaka;
J.D. Drew is 2-for-3 with 2 HR and 3 RBI off Sheets.
Sheets has been pitching better, of late, but something tells me that pitching to the red-hot Sox at Fenway might be a recipe for a much shorter, less productive outing. Daisuke seems to alternate good and bad starts lately, which is, I guess, better than his horrible work last year. You actually have to wonder if maybe it's the workload, and that his very short starts leave his arm more energized for the next time out? In any case, I'm not laying -155 with Dice-K.
Leans: None

Angels @ Royals (-115) with a total of 10; S. Kazmir vs. K. Davies;
Bobby Abreu is 3-for-9 with 2 HR and 3 RBI off Davies;
Torii Hunter is 5-for-15 with a HR and 4 RBI off Davies;
David DeJesus is 6-for-18 with 2 RBI off Kazmir.
Scott Kazmir has almost completely neutralized the current Royals, but it almost doesn't matter. This isn't the same Kazmir. I don't know precisely what's wrong, but his 6.34 ERA on the season isn't really showing any signs of coming down. He has allowed at least 3 runs in every start he's made since May 1, including starts of 7 runs and 5 runs. He's a mess. Kyle Davies is coming off a rough start of his own, this one in Fenway, though the Sox are a much more dangerous offensive team than the Halos, especially in Boston. Davies is 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA lifetime against the Angels, though Hunter and Abreu, guys that weren't on the Angels a few years back, are two names that give him some trouble. Still, I can't help but think the Royals take 2 of 3 in this series.
Leans: Royals-3

Rangers @ White Sox (-121) with a total of 9; S. Feldman vs. G. Floyd;
I'm seeing Floyd and Garcia as the listed starter for the White Sox at different sites, so I'm not entirely sure what to look for. If indeed it's Floyd, then we have a REMATCH ALERT. Feldman pitched well enough, but his defense let him down, and despite allowing just 1 earned run in 6 innings, 2 unearned runs scored, as well, and Floyd beat him, giving up 1 earned in 7 innings (though he, too, allowed 2 unearned runs). I really think that fading Scott Feldman is one of the best bets going right now, but I'm scared of Texas, here. The Rangers broke free for a bunch of runs yesterday, and that snapped a 5-game losing streak, and we all know how teams rebound in sports. We might have to ride the rematch angle, despite how much I'd love to fade Feldman every time out. He's not bad against the White Sox, and he wasn't bad against them again this year.
Leans: Rangers-3

Twins @ Mariners (-141) with a total of 7; K. Slowey vs. C. Lee;
Joe Mauer is 8-for-24 off Lee with 2 RBI;
Denard Span is 6-for-13 with 2 RBI off Lee;
Milton Bradley is 4-for-6 with 2 RBI off Slowey;
Jose Lopez is 4-for-6 with 2 HR and 3 RBI off Slowey.
I'd love to try to find a way to fade Cliff Lee and get a ton of underdog value, but I don't believe this is the spot, at all. Slowey is 1-1 with a 7.59 ERA against the Mariners in his career, while Lee is 8-3 with a 3.57 mark against the Twins. No real lean here, as Lee hasn't truly impressed me yet this year with the type of dominance I'd want before laying -140 against the best team in the AL Central, but the Mariners should probably win this one.
Leans: None

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