Friday, July 30, 2010

I Got It

Recap: Well, we're still waiting on the small Freebie, but it's a positive day, regardless, as the Two-Star (2*) Top Play on the Tampa Bay Rays was a winner! I definitely think a day off helped clear the mind, and let's just try to put one more Top Play in the "W" column moving forward. I will note, though, that Phil Hughes pitched better than expected, so the handicapping was only about 80% correct, and let's try to get that up to 90% as we plow ahead.

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Braves @ Reds (-125) with a total of 8.5; J. Jurrjens vs. B. Arroyo;
I'm having trouble figuring out how Jurrjens has a lifetime ERA of 6.75 against the Reds, since Brandon Phillips is the closest thing the Reds have to a guy that hits him hard, and Phillips is just 3-for-7 with a homer. Somehow, though, the Reds have been able to squeeze plenty of runs out of Jurrjens, so be careful there. On the other side, Arroyo has been extremely consistent this year, hasn't faced the Braves yet, but certainly has some history with them. He's 5-3 with a 5.90 ERA, and the Braves regulars named Glaus, Chipper, McCann, and Hinske have all homered off Arroyo in the past. I might look at the Over, but both pitchers could put on a show, too, so, pretty tough call, here.

Dodgers @ Giants (-125) with a total of 7.5; C. Billingsley vs. B. Zito;
How unlucky can Barry Zito be, this year? The answer, so far, is pretty damn unlucky when facing the Dodgers. He's gone against them three times, three times he's pitched extremely well, and the Giants have lost all 3. The most recent loss came about 10 days ago, when his opponent today, Billingsley, threw a complete game shutout the day after the Mattingly/Broxton silliness. The Dodgers tend to play pretty well in San Francisco, and I'm sure they'd love a 4th win against Zito, but right now, the Dodgers aren't really backable unless you're pretty positive they're going to hold the opponent to 0-2 runs. And for what it's worth, they might. Billingsley's got his season ERA down to 4, so he's one shutout inning away from ducking under that mark, and he has a solid career mark against the Giants of 5-2, 3.22.

Brewers @ Astros (-120) with a total of 8.5; D. Bush vs. W. Rodriguez;
Dave Bush has been surprisingly solid against the Astros, and honestly, he remains one of the biggest enigmas in baseball, to me. Every time I expect him to pitch well, he gets murdered, and vice versa. So, I expect him to pitch well today, which means, what? Not a great deal. On the other side, Wandy is finally getting his act together, as opponent's hits are way down, and he, too, pitched well against this opponent already this year. I can't help but think that the Astros recent run of pitching success could carry over. The concern, of course, is whether Houston has any shot of scoring enough. They've been playing alright, but Bush's history with them makes me think they'll have to fight for this one.

Phillies (-135) @ Nationals with a total of 9; J. Blanton vs. R. Detwiler;
This line doesn't make a lick of sense, to me. I mean, we're talking about Ross freaking Detwiler, here. I know Blanton's 5.85 ERA makes him look like a terrible choice to those that bet based entirely on ERA, but he's coming off, arguably, his best start of the season, so that's no time to be fading a guy, right? Detwiler is 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA against the Phillies, and Blanton 2-3 with a 6.51 ERA against the Nationals, and I can't help but wonder if the teams are going to score some runs. If Blanton wasn't trending up, I'd be all over Washington and the Over, but as it is, this line is so weird that I can't touch the Phils, and Detwiler is so poor (and short of arm strength to go deep in the game) that I can't touch the Nats, either.

D'backs @ Mets (-135) with a total of 8.5; B. Enright vs. H. Takahashi;
Enright pitched an absolute gem against the Mets in his first effort, but seeing a pitcher for a second time, and doing so in their home ballpark, I can't help but think that Enright's low ERA and strong start to his Big League career are actually creating some small amount of value on the unpredictable Takahashi. The D'backs on the road are just unbelievably bad, and Takahashi is actually coming off a decent start in LA back on the 22nd. I can't believe I'm saying this, since Takahashi was a guy I was looking to fade earlier this year, but I believe the Mets, despite probably being the public side, are going to take care of business, even against a solid young hurler on the other side.

Pirates @ Cardinals (-200) with a total of 9.5; D. McCutchen vs. J. Suppan;
Out of price, out of mind, though I suppose the Over is a possibility.

Cubs @ Rockies (-145) with a total of 9; T. Gorzelanny vs. J. Hammel;
This game could be ugly, and there are angles supporting just about every play imaginable. Thus, I'll just start off by saying this is a total and complete pass, for me. Gorzelanny has a career 10.80 ERA against the Rockies, but Colorado has struggled with lefties this year. Hammel is on a poor stretch, but pitches much better at home. The Cubs aren't hitting right now, but this is Coors Field. The Rockies weren't hitting, but then woke up a couple days back. Will it stick? Get me away from this game, it's making me feel queasy.

Marlins @ Padres (-125) with a total of 7; R. Nolasco vs. K. Correia;
This game is interesting because of the short line, but also because you have to think Nolasco is going to have a nice fan base. He's 2-2 with a 3.94 ERA against the Padres, but he's done a decent job of keeping them in the yard over the years. Correia is 2-2 with a 6.94 ERA against the Marlins, including 5 innings of 4-run ball this year in a game the Padres won 6-4. Again, though, when a pitcher picks up a win like that, you have to think that those types of starts will even out, and I can't help but think that if Nolasco can go 6-7 innings, and limit the impact of the Marlins pen, they pose a threat to San Diego's weakest starter.

American League

Indians @ Blue Jays (-200) with a total of 8.5; J. Westbrook vs. B. Cecil;
Out of price, out of mind. Inflated number, no thanks, especially with Toronto mashing again.

Tigers @ Red Sox (-175) with a total of 9; M. Scherzer vs. D. Matsuzaka;
Out of price, out of mind, again. Tigers are punchless, and even 6+ no-hit innings wouldn't do the trick, right now.

Mariners @ Twins (-110) with a total of 7.5; F. Hernandez vs. K. Slowey;
I wish the Mariners could hit, even a little. Felix Hernandez is one of the best pitchers in baseball, maybe the best in the AL over the last 2 months, and he just has nothing to show for it. He's 4-3 with a 2.56 ERA against the Twins, lifetime, though Joe Mauer and Jim Thome have actually hit him pretty hard. Slowey stinks, much like the other Minnesota starters, but the Seattle offense can make a lot of guys look good, and I can't believe I'm saying this, but this Mariners offense is pure fade material, right now. Not sure I can pull the trigger on Slowey, though, as Jose Lopez is 4-for-6 off him with 2 homers, and Russell Branyan is 5-for-12 with 2 dingers of his own.

Athletics @ White Sox (-155) with a total of 7.5; D. Braden vs. J. Danks;
John Danks is 4-0 with a 1.62 ERA against the Athletics in his career. That's considered ownage in my book. It's funny, too, since there are 3 or 4 A's that are batting around .350 off him, but they just can't get anyone across the plate. Danks didn't face the A's in the recent series in Oakland, though Braden did face the White Sox, and picked up a win with a decent, if unspectacular performance. Braden has picked up a couple wins, now, after a long losing spell, and I will admit, that's about the only factor that works for Oakland in this one. Danks is extremely reliable, especially against a team mostly without power, and I have to believe the Sox will scratch across at least a couple off Braden, who is largely a finesse guy.

Orioles @ Royals (-245) with a total of 8.5; B. Bergesen vs. Z. Greinke;
Out of price, out of mind. Hell, maybe just throw a tenth of a unit on the O's.

Yankees @ Rays (-110) with a total of 8.5; J. Vazquez vs. M. Garza;
The solid weekend series continues with this one, Vazquez trying to atone for his early season debacle against the Rays, and Garza trying to follow up his no-no against the Tigers with a good outing against a team with, to be polite, a "slightly" better offense. Garza has been good in his efforts against the Yanks, though his record might not show it. He's 1-3 with a 3.26 ERA against the Bombers, but somehow hasn't faced them this year due to scheduling. I really like Tampa in this series, and as I said in yesterday's blog, they would seem to want this series more than New York, and with the Yanks' pen in a slight state of turmoil, it's not a bad time to try to capitalize.

Rangers @ Angels with a total of N/A; TBD vs. D. Haren;
I had heard rumors that Scott Feldman would go in this one, but with Texas's day off earlier this week, they have the opportunity to skip Feldman, and given his poor effort against LA a week ago, and his general "suckiness" this year, I wouldn't be all that surprised. We'll get a line on this one soon enough, but unless Texas jumps to a hugely public starter, there isn't going to be a ton of value on the Angels side. Haren gets public money regardless of his season numbers, but in the same vein, Texas has been getting a ton of media attention, so they have a couple of guys that could start this game that would balance the action. Also, is Haren completely healthy after getting nailed with a line drive? Dangerous time to grab the traded man.


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