Friday, July 02, 2010

Game of the Week(end)

Recap: Due to some time issues, I can't hang around to recap the Paid Play, but let's just hope it turns out as well as it looked like it should in my handicapping notes. We did, however, get a Winner on the Free Play of the Detroit Tigers, so at least we're heading into the late evening 1-0.

Today: GAME OF THE WEEK time! Let's get this first one in July and really get the month charging into the positive. It's a true 2* selection, and I hope at least some of you will join me in what I feel is the best value of any play I've seen since last Tuesday (June 22). I like to toss that out there just to remind folks that the frequency of those plays isn't going to increase, feast or famine. I only go up to 2* when the situation absolutely dictates it, and this is going to be a bodacious Saturday!

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Reds (-115) @ Cubs with a total of N/A; J. Cueto vs. R. Wells;
Brandon Phillips is 4-for-10 with an RBI off Wells;
Derrek Lee is 9-for-25 with 3 RBI off Cueto;
Alfonso Soriano is 8-for-18 with 3 HR and 3 RBI off Cueto;
Geovany Soto is 6-for-16 with a HR and 2 RBI off Cueto;
Ryan Theriot is batting .391 off Cueto in 23 AB.
Johnny Cueto has been very, very good this year, at 8-2 with a 3.74 ERA, including a strong month of May and a solid end to June, but he's just 2-5 with a 4.59 ERA against the Cubbies in his career. The Reds beat the piss out of Chicago yesterday, 12-0, and that's going to create some line value, one would think, especially with Randy Wells posting a nice 2-0, 2.66 mark against the Reds lifetime.
Leans: Cubs-3

Marlins @ Braves (-165) with a total of 8.5; A. Sanchez vs. T. Hanson;
Brian McCann is 5-for-16 with a HR and 5 RBI off Sanchez.
Anibal Sanchez hasn't been too impressive in his career against the Braves, and even though Hanson is trending way, way down and I'd love to tell you to throw your money at the Marlins, the entire equation isn't quite there. If Sanchez was a decent pitcher with better numbers against the Braves, I might get into this one, but as it stands, I think that might be forcing things. I will note, however, that both of these pitchers threw relatively well against the other team this season, though each would tell you they walked too many.
Leans: Marlins-1

Mets @ Nationals (-180) with a total of 7; R. Dickey vs. S. Strasburg;
This line is intriguingly high, considering Strasburg has actually suffered a couple losses of late. I know his stuff is still disgustingly nasty, and I know his ERA is still at just 2.27, but considering the Nationals have been slipping quite a bit, and R.A. Dickey has been one of the most consistent starters on the Mets, this is a hefty price tag on the youngster. I'm personally not a fan of this game, since I'm not going to back Strasburg at the inflated price, but I want to see how Dickey responds off a poor start in Puerto Rico against the Marlins. Is he regressing? Potentially.
Leans: None

Brewers @ Cardinals (-200) with a total of 8; M. Parra vs. C. Carpenter;
Prince Fielder was 4-for-11 with a HR and 2 RBI off Carpenter before this season;
Ryan Ludwick was 6-for-19 with 2 HR and 4 RBI off Parra before 2010;
Aaron Miles is 3-for-8 off Parra;
Nick Stavinoha is 4-for-10 with 3 RBI off Parra.
Manny Parra actually beat St. Louis on ESPN Sunday Night baseball, and Carpenter got waxed by the Brewers way back at the beginning of the year, and that might be what's keeping this line at just -200. Seriously. It could be a lot worse. I do think the value still lies in the Brewers side of things, as the Cards just haven't looked that impressive to me, really, all season, and even though Carpenter is 9-1 with a 2.70 ERA, he hasn't been completely unhittable, just his typical very good self. It's too big of a longshot for a man with a conservative style of betting, but...
Leans: Brewers-1

Phillies (-125) @ Pirates with a total of 8.5; K. Kendrick vs. P. Maholm;
Jayson Werth is 5-for-15 with a HR and 4 RBI off Maholm;
Ryan Church is 5-for-9 off Kendrick with a HR.
Kendrick faced the Pirates once this year and tossed a gem - 8 innings, 2 runs in a 12-2 win over Charlie Morton. He's 3-0 with a 2.45 lifetime ERA against the Pirates, so that start should have come as no surprise. Paul Maholm is still the Pirates best starter, and is 3-1 with a 3.29 ERA against the hard-hitting Phils. This line is eerily low for a Phillies/Pirates game, and I know I'm not one to bet solely on a line, but you simply can't back the Phils at that absurd price. You can potentially take the Under, though.
Leans: Pirates-2, Under-3

Giants @ Rockies (-200) with a total of 7.5; B. Zito vs. U. Jimenez;
Pablo Sandoval was 6-for-18 with a HR off Jimenez before 2010.
If there's one thing we almost know, definitively, it's that Barry Zito is going to pitch well in this one. He's 5-2 with a 1.95 lifetime ERA against the Rockies, and the success has continued in 2010. Zito's gone 15 innings and allowed just 3 runs against the Rockies so far this year, though both of those starts came at AT&T Park. Jimenez is 1-0 against the Giants this year with a complete game shutout in his belt. He's been regressing a tad, and his ERA has climbed all the way to 1.83 (hah), but the initial line move here has been towards the Rockies, and with the Giants offensive struggles, I don't have confidence in them.
Leans: Under-3

Astros @ Padres (-175) with a total of 7.5; B. Norris vs. K. Correia;
Geoff Blum is 3-for-9 with a HR and 5 RBI off Correia since '05;
Carlos Lee is 5-for-8 with 2 RBI off Correia since '05.
This is a ridiculously low total for these two guys, but the initial move has been down, so someone seems to know something that we don't. Bud Norris is 2-5 with a 6.84 ERA. Kevin Correia is 5-6 with a 5.49 ERA, and between the two guys, Norris has given up 14 runs in his last 3 starts, and Correia has given up 13. Is this total the biggest gift on the planet? I hardly think such a thing exists.
Leans: Over-2

Dodgers (-160) @ D'backs with a total of 9.5; C. Kershaw vs. R. Lopez;
This is Lopez's 4th start this year against the Dodgers, so there's no lack of familiarity, there, and he's actually gotten better with each start. That being said, he beat them in the first start (thanks to a bad outing from Chad Billingsley), and lost the last 2, so it hasn't mattered that he's improved. Kershaw has only faced Arizona once this season, just due to scheduling, but he's just 1-1 with a 4.12 ERA against them in his short career. Of course, he's pitching better now, arguably, than at any point previously. His ERA is a little higher, but he's working on the free passes (which are still bad, but not as awful as before). It's too expensive to back him in this road game, though.
Leans: None

American League

Blue Jays @ Yankees (-165) with a total of 8.5; R. Romero vs. A. Pettitte;
Jose Bautista is 8-for-24 with a HR and 3 RBI off Pettitte between '05 and '09;
John Buck is 4-for-10 with a HR and 2 RBI off Pettitte before 2010;
Nick Green is 4-for-7 off Pettite.
REMATCH ALERT! Ricky Romero is 1-1 with a 4.74 ERA against the Yankees, and went 8 innings of 2-run ball against Pettitte earlier this year in a 3-2 Toronto win. Of course, that wasn't Andy's fault. He went 7.2 innings of 2-run ball, so it was an old-fashioned pitchers' duel before that final run made the difference. Pettitte struck out 10 in that one! So, they lock horns again, the cagey veteran and the young buck, two southpaws going head-to-head, and I don't believe I'd touch this one with a 10 foot pole.
Leans: None

Rays @ Twins (-148) with a total of 8.5; W. Davis vs. F. Liriano;
Kelly Shoppach is 4-for-12 off Liriano;
B.J. Upton is 4-for-8 off Liriano.
When you look at the player numbers, and Kelly Shoppach is tied for the team lead in hits against a particular pitcher, that probably doesn't bode well. And, not surprisingly, Liriano is 2-1 with a 2.39 ERA against the Rays lifetime. Wade Davis has never faced the Twinkies. Looking at recent starts, Wade Davis is coming off his best work since early May. Was it an aberration, or a trend? Liriano is coming off a pretty ugly start against the Tigers, and he appears to be trending down a tad, but often good starters use a rough start like the one he had as a turning point.
Leans: None

Athletics @ Indians with a total of N/A; D. Braden vs. J. Westbrook;
Coco Crisp is 8-for-12 off Westbrook;
Jhonny Peralta is 3-for-5 off Braden;
Mike Redmond is 4-for-5 with 2 RBI off Braden.
Dallas Braden, somehow, is 0-2 with an 11.42 career ERA against the Indians. Westbrook is a very average 5-6, 4.08 guy against the A's. I'm waiting on this line to come out, because I have a weird feeling it's going to be a pretty short one. Braden is coming off a fairly unimpressive start against the Reds, somehow giving up just 4 runs (3 earned), despite allowing 10 hits in 6 innings. Westbrook is actually coming off a strong 6-inning effort against the Jays.
Leans: Indians-3

Mariners @ Tigers (-175) with a total of 7.5; J. Vargas vs. J. Verlander;
Milton Bradley was 3-for-6 off Verlander before 2010;
Ichiro was batting .367 with a HR and 5 RBI off Verlander before '10.
Jason Vargas is without a decision against Detroit, but did give up 2 runs in 5 innings of a start the Mariners would eventually win earlier this season. Verlander, and this is the interesting part, has lost to the Mariners twice already this year. He gave up 3 runs in 7 innings of a 4-2 loss in April, and gave up 5 runs in 7.1 innings of a 5-3 loss in late May. Third time's the charm? Maybe. The Tigers are damn tough to beat at home, so I'd say there's a decent shot he goes 7 innings again, gives up 2-3 runs, again, and this time probably wins. But that price is a little high considering the quality of the opposing starter.
Leans: Tigers-1

Orioles @ Red Sox (-290) with a total of 8.5; J. Guthrie vs. J. Lester;
DOUBLE REMATCH ALERT! Somehow, Guthrie has faced Boston twice, and he's faced Jon Lester both times...and both times, he's lost, but not for lack of effort. Guthrie gave up 3 runs in 6 innings in a 4-3 loss to Boston the first time, then gave up 2 runs in 7.1 frames of an eventual 8-2 loss. So, a tip of the cap to the Baltimore bullpen on that meltdown. Still, in terms of guys that can beat a team (or an opposing starter) 3 times, Lester is probably in that category. He's 11-0 against Baltimore in his career, with a 2.06 ERA, including those 2 starts this year, and he's let to allow a run this season to the O's. It might be worth a quarter unit, just on principle, but it sure as heck isn't worth a full play.
Leans: Orioles-1

White Sox @ Rangers (-130) with a total of 9.5; J. Danks vs. T. Hunter;
Elvis Andrus is a perfect 3-for-3 off Danks with an RBI;
Nelson Crus is 3-for-8 off Danks.
I'm hesitant to say it, but I actually like the kid, here. This price is relatively low for some reason (the only things I can think of are that the White Sox are getting residual money from the winning streak, and the Rangers lost 2 of 3 in Anaheim). Still, these Rangers are like bolts of lightning at home, scoring in outrageous bunches. Danks is 1-2 lifetime against Texas with a marginal 4.38 ERA. Hunter has never faced the White Sox, so there's a slight edge to the big youngster. There's certainly the possibility that the Rangers tail off a tad after such a hot streak, but with all these home games, it doesn't seem hugely likely just yet, and with Danks coming off a poor start against the Cubbies, we've got that downward trend that makes us salivate.
Leans: Rangers-3

Royals @ Angels (-172) with a total of 9; B. Chen vs. E. Santana;
Willie Bloomquist was 3-for-8 off Santana before 2010, since '05;
David DeJesus was batting .429 off Santana before 2010;
Bobby Abreu is 5-for-7 with 3 RBI off Chen.
The rest of the Angels lineup hasn't seen a great deal of Chen, and the Angels missed him in the rotation on their trip to KC back in late May. The Royals probably wish they missed Santana, who gave up just a single run in 7 innings of work. Bruce Chen, to me, is the story here, as Santana is going to give at least a decent effort. Chen's been serviceable this year, but his walks are simply too high for the success to last. He might very well get lit up, here, and the line reflects that. No thanks.
Leans: Angels-1

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