Friday, June 04, 2010

A Nice Surprise

Another winning day on Friday is putting us within arm's length of a very, very strong week! And, in a rare turn of events, I actually walked away from last night's games when things were looking, well, a little bleak, and came back to a nice surprise!

We picked up a Paid Winner on the Diamondbacks, who broke out of their scoring slump in a big way, and while it did take 2 in the 9th to get the job done (and our expectations of Ian Kennedy were sorely off), the D'backs offense picked up the pitching, and with a little luck and a dash of elbow grease, we collected on that small favorite.

We also hit our late Free Totals play on the Mariners/Angels Under 8.5. They cut it awfully close, with the Angels prevailing 7-1, but hey, a winner's a winner, and it was a darn good thing that total climbed a half point to 8.5 overnight, or we might have been stuck with a push. Joe Saunders definitely bounced back with a more standard outing against the M's, and while Ian Snell stunk again, the Angels pen was surprisingly reliable in keeping the Mariners at bay while preserving the 8-run total.

The day wasn't all gravy, as we did pick up a loss on our early evening Reds Free Play. Aaron Harang left the game very early, and while the departure of Brett Anderson the day before didn't cost us, the loss of the starter in this one did, as the Reds pen gave up a pair of runs, and the offense found ways to strand runners on base.

Still, a 2-1 day moves our MLB run to 8-3, our all-sports run to 19-11, and aside from Tuesday (we lost 0.15 units), we are a winning Saturday away from posting days of +0.90 units or more every single day this week, and that's something I'm extremely proud of. Let's hope we've turned the corner!

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Marlins @ Mets (-125) with a total of 9.5; N. Robertson vs. J. Niese;
Jon Niese has not been good against the Marlins this year. He gave up 3 runs in 6 innings in his first start of the season, which I suppose is alright, but in his last start, he allowed 5 runs (2 earned) in 2 innings before suffering a hamstring injury. I'm not sure it made much of a difference. Niese was in the process of making his 3rd consecutive terrible start, and after a pretty decent run in late April, it seemed like Niese was going back to not living up to expectations, again. Robertson, interestingly, has pitched quite well against the Mets this year, giving up a run in 5 innings in New York in April, and then 3 runs (2 earned) about 3 weeks ago. He didn't go deep in the game either time, but as has been the Robertson way, he's been hovering right on the cusp of "quality", but not quite getting there. I don't like backing a pitcher coming off the DL, but I also don't much care for backing a pitcher who doesn't ever clear 6 innings. It's going to come down to whether the Marlins can rack up 3-4 runs off Niese.
Leans: Marlins-2

Brewers @ Cardinals (-155) with a total of 9.5; C. Narveson vs. A. Ottavino;
Albert Pujols is 2-for-4 with a HR off Narveson.
This game isn't worth exploring. Ottavino isn't good enough to deserve a -155 line, nearly regardless of the competition, but Narveson stinks, too, and the Brewers are a time bomb on a nightly basis. When you get an X-Files game like this one ("Trust No One" - yeah, I felt good when I came up with that moniker), it's best to just pass.
Leans: None

Cubs (-120) @ Astros with a total of 7; C. Silva vs. R. Oswalt;
Marlon Byrd is 4-for-13 with a HR and 2 RBI off Oswalt before 2010;
Geovany Soto was 4-for-12 off Oswalt before 2010;
Ryan Theriot is 6-for-17 with 2 RBI off Oswalt before 2010.
Roy Oswalt has not had any shortage of experience against the Cubs, going 14-12 in his career with a 3.67 ERA, including 7 shutout innings of a 4-3 win against Chicago earlier this season. Silva is a perfect 7-0 on the year, a perfect 2-0 against Houston lifetime, and that, too, includes a solid start this season, 7 innings, 2 unearned runs. So, does anyone have a true edge, here? Not really. Oswalt is coming off his worst start of the season, so a seasoned veteran like Roy is likely going to want to bounce back, especially since he wants to be the best trade bait possible, and Silva will be dealing with one of the weaker offenses in baseball. This all looks pretty right to me.
Leans: None

Reds (-130) @ Nationals with a total of 9; M. Leake vs. L. Atilano;
As a guy that bases a large amount of his data on player match-ups, this one is a bit of a head-scratcher. Going on recent trends doesn't help a whole lot. Leake has been pitching his butt off, but the Reds can't seem to win any of his recent starts - he's gotten a total of 1 run in his last 2 starts, so despite going 13.1 innings and allowing just a single run, he's got nothing to show for it. Troublesome. Atilano has been something of the opposite. He reliably gives up 2-4 runs every time to the hill, but he's 5-1 on the season thanks to some beefy run support. While I believe Leake is the better pitcher, the Reds the better team, and the Nats probably colder than Cincinnati, I don't like either side. I'm trying to find a way to back the favorite, here, but if Washington whacks out 10 hits off Leake and backs Atilano with big-time offensive numbers, well, I just don't want to take that chance.
Leans: Reds-1

Padres @ Phillies (-135) with a total of 9; J. Garland vs. J. Moyer;
Adrian Gonzalez is 5-for-15 with 3 HR and 6 RBI off Moyer since '05;
Yorvit Torrealba is 3-for-7 off Moyer;
Placido Polanco is batting .323 with a HR and 6 RBI off Garland since '05;
Carlos Ruiz is a perfect 3-for-3 off Garland with a HR and 2 RBI.
Jon Garland is a career 0-3 with an 8.02 ERA against the Phillies. I'd love to ride his strong arm THIS YEAR to a victory as an underdog, and we all know how good the Padres have been on the road, but something about this line is telling me to stay away. Garland is going to draw some action, there's no question, especially with his 6-2, 2.15 ERA this season. Moyer has some name recognition, but most bettors recognize it not because he's been outstanding, but because he's on Centrum Silver. Moyer has received zero run support in his last few starts, but he's been pitching well enough to win, and because of Garland's career issues with the Phils, it's just not the right time.
Leans: Phils-1, Over-1

Giants (-120) @ Pirates with a total of 8; T. Wellemeyer vs. P. Maholm;
Pat Burrell is 4-for-13 with a HR and 4 RBI off Maholm;
Pablo Sandoval is 3-for-6 off Maholm;
Ryan Doumit is 7-for-15 with a HR and 4 RBI off Wellemeyer.
Todd Wellemeyer is a total and complete mess on the road; sometimes handicapping can really be simplified, and I wonder if this isn't one of those times. Let me run a quick note by you - Wellemeyer's best road start is one in which he went 4 innings and gave up 2 runs in San Diego. Outside of that start, which equates to a 4.50 ERA, Wellemeyer gave up 7 runs in 4 innings to the Dodgers, 4 runs in 4.1 innings to the Dodgers, and 5 runs in 5 innings to the D'backs. The expectations for this one aren't incredibly high. Maholm is coming up 3 or 4 pretty good starts in a row, and he remains a fairly serviceable option. He's 1-1 with a 3.13 ERA against the Giants, and as you can see, Pat Burrell is basically the Giant with the best history against him.
Leans: Pirates-4

Rockies (-130) @ Diamondbacks with a total of 10; J. Chacin vs. D. Willis;
The D-Train is back, and he's ready to save the day for Arizona, or something. I'm honestly surprised Arizona hasn't decided to try to employ him as a setup man, or some position where Dontrelle's insane arm slot can be used for 1 inning of deception. In any case, he's not the answer. Chacin might very well be the answer. He's 3-3 with a 3.62 ERA, and that is not an easy number to maintain when you have to make half your starts at Coors. Most of Chacin's bad starts have come at home, for what that's worth. He went 6 innings and gave up 2 runs when he faced the D'backs, so I have to wonder if this is a team that he can simply solve, or if he caught Arizona at the perfect time. I don't trust that D'backs pitching staff, front to back on this one, but Colorado almost looks too easy. Let's wait and check out some line movement, and of course, let's wait and get some info on how the Friday night game goes, and we'll reapproach this one.
Leans: Rockies-1

Braves @ Dodgers (-110) with a total of 7.5; T. Hanson vs. C. Billingsley;
Yunel Escobar is 3-for-8 with 3 RBI off Billingsley.
Chad Billingsley is 1-2 with a 3.65 ERA against the Braves, and has quietly been one of the hottest pitchers in baseball over the past 6 weeks. I can only think that, given the way he's been throwing, Billingsley will give the Dodgers 6 innings of roughly 2-run baseball. Hanson is an interesting case. He had one complete blowup, but has responded to it well with back-to-back solid starts. He allowed 4 runs in 6 innings the one time he's seen the Dodgers, but a lot of that damage was done by an Andre Ethier homer. The Dodgers bats still don't appear to have completely woken back up, so this one might come down to the bullpens. I hesitate to back either club, since we know how tough the Dodgers are at home, and we also know how hot the Braves have been. I lean slightly to the Dodgers, since we know how well LA can hit righthanders when they get going, but it's not on the top of my list.
Leans: Dodgers-2

American League

Yankees (-125) @ Blue Jays with a total of 9; A. Pettitte vs. R. Romero;
Alex Rodriguez was 3-for-7 off Romero coming into this year;
Jose Bautista is 8-for-24 with a HR and 3 RBI off Pettitte;
John Buck is 4-for-10 with a HR and 2 RBI off Pettitte;
John McDonald is 6-for-19 with a HR and 3 RBI off Pettitte.
This one could seemingly go either way. Pettitte is having his best season in years, but is just 11-9 with a 4.97 career ERA against the Jays, and a few of the current Toronto position players have decent numbers against him. Romero, like Pettitte, is having a very strong year, but like Pettitte, carries a rather robust ERA against this opponent. Romero is 1-1 against the Yanks, but the 5.94 ERA is less than stellar. And, surprisingly, he seemed to pitch better against New York on the road than at home. I'm honestly a tad concerned about how Romero deals with the Bombers. I'm also a tad worried about how Pettitte handles the Jays.
Leans: Yankees-2

Angels @ Mariners with a total of N/A; E. Santana vs. R. Rowland-Smith;
Milton Bradley was 6-for-14 with a HR and 2 RBI off Santana before 2010;
Ichiro is batting .304 with a HR off Santana since '05.
Leans: None

Rays (-130) @ Rangers with a total of 10; J. Shields vs. T. Hunter;
Carlos Pena is 2-for-4 with 2 HR and 3 RBI off Hunter;
Julio Borbon is 3-for-4 off Shields;
Vlad Guerrero is 11-for-26 with 2 HR and 6 RBI off Shields;
Michael Young is 4-for-10 with 2 HR and 4 RBI off Shields.
I think before we pull the trigger on this one, we're going to need some confirmation on what we're getting from Tommy Hunter. This is a kid I saw pitch when he was with Bakersfield, and he's a big guy that, according to what I kept hearing, is like the new model Joe Blanton. He beat Tampa last year, and holds a 3.48 ERA against them, and as we covered yesterday, the Rays just don't seem to play well in Texas. Shields is 2-1 with a 4.82 ERA against the Rangers, so he's been decent enough, but doesn't really compare to his season numbers, which are generally in the 3's.
Leans: Rangers-3

Red Sox (-205) @ Orioles with a total of 8; J. Lester vs. J. Guthrie;
David Ortiz is batting .304 with 2 HR and 7 RBI off Guthrie before 2010;
Dustin Pedroia was batting .321 off Guthrie in 28 AB before 2010;
J.D. Drew is 6-for-20 with a HR off Guthrie before this season;
Miguel Tejada was 4-for-9 off Lester before this year;
Matt Wieters was 5-for-9 with 2 RBI off Lester before this year;
Ty Wigginton was 6-for-13 off Lester with a HR before 2010.
REMATCH ALERT! Yeah, this one has a few "buts" to keep it from being too tempting. Lester is a career 10-0 against the Baltimore Orioles. That is called total domination. The Red Sox are hitting the heck out of the ball right now, and they get to take aim at Jeremy Guthrie, who, to his credit, is pitching better this year (3-5, 3.85 ERA). That being said, he's 1-5 career against the Red Sox with a 4.72 ERA, and he lost to them once already this year.
Leans: Red Sox RL-3

Indians @ White Sox (-160) with a total of 9; M. Talbot vs. J. Peavy;
SEMI-REMATCH ALERT! This will be the third time these pitchers have faced the other club, so I think it's safe to say that player numbers need not be re-typed. Talbot beat Peavy a couple weeks ago, though they each had a start against the opposition that didn't come head-to-head. Talbot has been a beast against the White Sox so far this year. He's 2-0 against them with a 1.69 ERA, and it seems pretty clear that this is just a team he's comfortable against. I know there's the theory that a pitcher might have some issues the third time he faces a team, but I'm not sure I buy it. I am somewhat concerned by the magnitude of the line, though. Peavy has been pretty bad, and one of those awful starts did come against the Indians. The line almost feels too high. I'd like to try to find a way to back the Indians here, and I still might. Peavy was a -130 road favorite against Talbot in the last meeting, so I suppose the 30 cent swing to the home venue isn't all that weird.
Leans: Indians-3

Tigers (-150) @ Royals with a total of 8.5; J. Verlander vs. L. Hochevar;
Miguel Cabrera was 8-for-9 off Hochevar with 4 RBI before facing him twice this year;
Carlos Guillen is 4-for-10 with a HR and 3 RBI off Hochevar;
Billy Butler was batting .423 in 26 AB with 2 HR and 3 RBI off Verlander before 2010;
Alberto Callaspo was 3-for-7 off Verlander before this year.
Justin Verlander has some mild ownage of the Royals in his career, going 9-2 with a 2.58 ERA. Of course, the one time he faced them this year, at the very start of the season, he gave up 4 runs in 5 innings. Hochevar has faced the Tigers twice this year, going 7.2 dominant innings the first time, then giving up 4 runs in 5 innings the second go-round, though the Royals won both. That's really all you need to know, as Verlander has a tendency to give up a run or two in his starts, lately, and Hochevar has been going deeper and deeper in ballgames. Being that he semi-eliminates the Royals pen, that huge edge for the Tigers becomes diminished, and I'd be very cautious before backing Detroit.
Leans: None

Twins (-125) @ Athletics with a total of 7.5; F. Liriano vs. T. Cahill;
Mark Ellis is 4-for-7 off Liriano with 2 RBI;
Rajai Davis is 4-for-9 off Liriano.
Interestingly, Francisco Liriano's career numbers against the weak-hitting A's aren't that good. He's 1-2 with a 5.08 ERA against Oakland, and as we've noted before, Liriano is trending down just a tad. He's not pitching poorly, so don't misconstrue my remarks, but teams are starting to get some hits off him, and a run here and there. Cahill, for Oakland, has been amazing since coming back to the A's this year. He still walks too many batters, but all that movement on his pitches makes him very tough. He also has decent numbers against the Twins from last year. I wish the A's bullpen was a little more trustworthy, but it is what it is, and I like them, nonetheless.
Leans: Athletics-3

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