Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Rally-Cap Wednesday

Well, to no one's surprise, things are evening out just a tad, and that's bound to happen. We had an absurd hot streak that went for about a month straight, and the early parts of this week (Sun-Tues) have taken a little of the wind out of our sails.

So, in an effort to shake things up, it's rally cap Wednesday. I don't care where you work or the nature of your profession, grab some article of clothing and "rally it up" for this mid-week card.

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Giants (-130) @ Astros with a total of 7.5; B. Zito vs. B. Myers;
REMATCH ALERT! This one intrigues me, especially coming off a Tim Lincecum gem, yesterday. Zito has been pitching relatively well over his last 2 starts, but he's already been on the winning end of 2 games against the Astros, one of which came against this very opponent, Brett Myers. Also interesting is that the starters gave up all 7 runs in that meeting, with the Giants winning 4-3. Myers doesn't have a particularly strong history with the Giants, which makes taking him a little tougher here, though I don't know that I can get behind Zito, either.
Leans: None

Interleague Play

Reds (-119) @ Athletics with a total of 8.5; J. Cueto vs. V. Mazzaro;
To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure Mazzaro should be in the Bigs. Well, maybe, but certainly not a reliable starter, but yet, here we are. And you'd think this would be a wonderful time to jump on the Reds, but Johnny Cueto has been anything but reliable over the last month. He's coming off a decent start in Seattle, but even in that one didn't last very long, going just 5.2 innings. It's a troublesome game to try to pin a lean on, especially with the A's seemingly needing a win in this one. If I had to...
Leans: Reds-1

Royals @ Nationals (-260) with a total of 7.5; B. Bannister vs. S. Strasburg;
Adam Kennedy is 4-for-9 off Bannister;
Josh Willingham is 3-for-3 off Bannister.
Here we go again. Strasburg back up in the high 200's despite actually losing people money in his last outing, a no-decision against the White Sox that the Nats eventually dropped. The hype hasn't worn off, and why should it? Strasburg has fanned 32 in his first 3 starts - that's more than enough to get people out of their armchairs and out to the ballpark. You have to believe the home field edge is a little stronger than usual with him on the hill, too. I'd love to fade him for the value, but Bannister has just been unbelievably bad against National League teams on the road.
Leans: None

Marlins (-133) @ Orioles with a total of 9; R. Nolasco vs. B. Matusz;
Corey Patterson is 4-for-9 off Nolasco.
Do I even have to write this one? The Marlins need to score 5-7 runs to win, the Orioles stink; make the best of this situation, if you'd like. I can't play the Orioles, but this line just keeps looking fishier and fishier (pun intended) on the Marlins side. Nolasco, by the way, is 1-1 with a 1.93 ERA against the O's. So, we have a Marlins starter with good numbers, coming off a middle-of-the-road effort against the Rangers going against a team that doesn't know how to win but starting one of their top young arms. No thanks.
Leans: None

Indians @ Phillies (-180) with a total of 10; J. Westbrook vs. K. Kendrick;
Juan Castro is 5-for-10 with 2 RBI off Westbrook;
Raul Ibanez is 7-for-10 with a HR and 3 RBI off Westbrook since '05.
Almost all the numbers point to Philadelphia in this one, so the beefy line is no surprise, really. You guys know how I feel about home run lines, and since I don't trust Westbrook farther than I can throw him (to butcher a classic phrase), I'd leave this one alone.
Leans: None

Cardinals (-112) @ Blue Jays with a total of 7.5; C. Carpenter vs. R. Romero;
Lyle Overbay is 3-for-6 off Carpenter.
I've rather enjoyed not having to type up a bunch of player matchup numbers, courtesy of all these Interleague games. That just struck me, figured I'd type it. In any case, Carpenter, 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA lifetime against the Royals, faces Ricky Romero, who has a change-up that's the talk of the town. This has all the makings of a fun one. Carpenter is actually trending a little worse than Romero right now, believe it or not, coming off a 4-run effort against the A's. More importantly, the A's tagged him for 10 hits, so he just wasn't that sharp. Of course, with a veteran, though, Carp could bounce back with a gem just as easily as he could continue to surrender hits. Romero is coming off a solid 6 innings in San Diego, but everyone pitches well, there. I like the home team to squeak one out.
Leans: Blue Jays-2

Tigers @ Mets (-115) with a total of 8; J. Bonderman vs. R. Dickey;
Magglio Ordonez, Brandon Inge, Carlos Guillen and Miguel Cabrera each have a HR off Dickey;
This game scares me, because I really want to try to find ways to fade the Tigers on the road, but Detroit has actually seen a fair amount of the perfect 5-0 Dickey. He's 2-2 against the Tigers with a 4.69 ERA, and as noted above, 4 of the Tigers regulars have gone yard against him. On the other side, Bonderman is 1-1 with a 7.36 ERA against the Mets, but not these Mets. Rod Barajas and Alex Cora are the only Mets that have really seen much of Bonderman, and they're a combined 4-for-22. Bonderman, by the way, is trending up, too.
Leans: Tigers-2

Padres @ Rays (-180) with a total of 8.5; K. Correia vs. J. Shields;
We don't really have anything to go on, here, other than recent starts, and all we can peel from those starts is that both of these guys probably want a week off. Correia has been getting just full-on clobbered since coming back from bereavement, and Shields has been alternating giving up 3 runs in one start, than pushing double digits in the next. It's a scary thought for Tampa, but we know he could potentially iron things out in a heartbeat. If you're going to back Tampa, you best have a private line right to Shields, because something hasn't been right, and it's darn near impossible to back him until he snaps out of it.
Leans: Over-2

Pirates @ Rangers (-175) with a total of 10; P. Maholm vs. D. Nippert;
If ever there were a game where the Pirates had a shot on the road, you'd have to think it's this one, right? Nippert is just 2-3 with a 5.01 ERA on the season, and Maholm has been the one reliable Pirates starter. Still, this team doesn't have any clue how to win when their opponent bats in the bottom half of an inning, so it's a definite pass for me.
Leans: None

Twins (-145) @ Brewers with a total of 8.5; F. Liriano vs. M. Parra;
Michael Cuddyer is 2-for-2 with a HR and 3 RBI off Parra.
Well, Liriano is a perfect 3-0 with a 2.00 ERA against the Brewers, so you can see why he's such a heavy road favorite, and I imagine the competition, Parra, isn't exactly striking fear into anyone's heart. I'm not sure I'm willing to pay this price on the road for a team that's really only "decent" away from home. Parra has been serviceable, as evidenced by his 3.91 ERA, so it's not like a monster Twins win is a sure thing. Still, tough to back the Brewers at home, even at a nice dog price.
Leans: Twins-2

Braves (-125) @ White Sox with a total of 8.5; T. Hudson vs. M. Buerhle;
Melky Cabrera is 6-for-11 with a HR and 4 RBI off Buerhle;
Juan Pierre is 6-for-19 off Hudson since '05.
Tim Hudson has been an absolute marvel this year, and it's really something to see him at full strength, again. He's 7-2 with a 2.34 ERA, and I will go to the grave on the notion that, aside from perhaps Ubaldo Jimenez, Hudson has been the most consistent pitcher in all of baseball. Concerning for the Braves, though, is that Buerhle has made 2 strong starts in a row, and he can be quite streaky. Both teams are hitting the ball well, right now, so it's really going to be a battle to see which is superior, pitching or hitting. The White Sox are winners of 7 in a row, snapping the Braves 5-game win streak in the process, so you probably have to play the hot hand, if anything.
Leans: Undecided

Red Sox @ Rockies (-171) with a total of 8; J. Lackey vs. U. Jimenez;
We backed Ubaldo a couple times, we faded him a couple times, and the results were always the same - he won. Jimenez is 13-1 on the season with a 1.15 ERA, though this might be his toughest test, to date. The red hot Sox, in Coors. Makes a man shudder, though I suppose if you're a lefty, you're shaking a little more. Jimenez has mastered every batter in baseball to this point, so if he's not confident, no one on the planet is. On the other side, John Lackey has come on with a couple decent starts and has his ERA down to 4.53. Most of the current Rockies have done nothing against Lackey, and I can't help but wonder if this one isn't another low-scoring affair.
Leans: Under-2

Yankees (-200) @ D'backs with a total of 11; J. Vazquez vs. D. Willis;
I'm not sure I've seen a total this inflated in quite some time. You'd think there was a 25mph breeze blowing straight out to center! I know the D-train stinks, and I know that the D'backs pen is a mess, which means the Yanks could score 11 by themselves, but considering Vazquez has found a groove, I'd be surprised to see the D'backs score more than 4 in this one.
Leans: Under-3

Dodgers @ Angels (-115) with a total of 9; J. Ely vs. J. Pineiro;
We don't need player numbers on this one. Pineiro is back to rolling along, and he's a perfect 3-0 against the Dodgers in his career. John Ely is regressing hard, and he might be getting close to where he should be. Still, we know the Dodgers are horrid in Interleague play, and if you're going to get this cheap of a price on one of the hottest "contact" pitchers in baseball, you have to take it, don't you?
Leans: Angels-3

Cubs @ Mariners (-171) with a total of 6.5; R. Wells vs. C. Lee;
Marlon Byrd is 4-for-11 with 2 RBI off Lee;
Alfonso Soriano is 3-for-9 off Lee with a HR.
Randy Wells isn't really impressing me, lately. The reason I start with Wells is that I'm simply not paying 170 for a team like the M's, that literally needs to hold an opponent to 0 or 1 run to win a game. That margin for error is so slim. I'm also not going against them right now, because they're actually holding teams to 0 or 1 run, at least on the current hot stretch. Cliff Lee should probably be able to do that again.
Leans: None


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