Saturday, July 24, 2010

Introducing the non-GOW 3*

Recap: This will be added in the responses section, as the games are still going, and I won't be around late tonight to post this blog, then.

Today: There are definitely some weird games on the Sunday card, but also a few that are undeniably interesting. I've got my eye on a potential BIGGER play, but thanks to the rather limited ranking system, I can't make it a 2.5* in the system. Hence, we're staring down the barrel of a non-GOW 3* -- whatever we call it (and I know I have to be careful there, since it's a point of contention at Pregame, and in my mind), the winner's-a-comin', and I can't wait to get you guys on board for this one.

Once again, a slightly abridged blog to honor the true meaning of the word "weekend." We'll take a crack in the blog at some of the more exciting or interesting match-ups, in my eyes.

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Rockies @ Phillies (-130) with a total of 9.5; J. Francis vs. J. Happ;
This game caught my attention because of the return of Jay Happ to the Phils rotation. And yes, let's be clear, he said he doesn't want to be J.A. anymore, and we always have to honor how players get all screwy with their names. In any case, the Rockies true "road" colors are beginning to show through, losing 4 in a row heading into this one, and the Phillies offense woke up just in time to lay waste to the Rockies. So, why the cheap line? Well, I'd offer that part of it is that Happ is coming back after not pitching since early April, more than 3 months off, so he's not likely to go very deep in the game even if he's on the money. He is an untouched 1-0 against the Rox in his short career, but not sure how much that matters, here. Francis is 1-1 with a 7.59 ERA against Philadelphia, but he's coming off a beautiful game in Florida, so the confidence should be decent, and I wonder if he doesn't pitch better than folks expect. Jayson Werth and Jimmy Rollins have given Francis trouble in the past, but that's about it. Why is this game interesting? It's a true test of what is more potent today - historical data, which favors the Phils, or the weird blend of adrenaline and rust that should take its toll on Happ.

Reds (-120) @ Astros with a total of 8.5; M. Leake vs. W. Rodriguez;
Why did this one grab at me, you ask? Well, probably because Wandy Rodriguez gave up 8 runs to the Reds in just over 3 innings earlier this year, and not surprisingly, took the loss. Conversely, Leake has given up just a single run in 13 innings against the Astros this year, picking up a win and a no-decision. So, given those numbers, and given that Leake is 7-1 for a good team, and Wandy is 7-11 for a bad one, why can Leake be had for such a cheap price? Well, as much as I hate to cite this little mostly-unfounded note, it is indeed tough for a pitcher to stymie the same lineup 3 times in the same season, especially the level that Leake has been able to, so far. I wouldn't be surprised to see Leake still turn in a quality start - 6 innings, 2-3 runs, something along those lines, but more than that, I strongly believe Wandy turns in a nice game. The bounceback is a mighty tool for pitchers, and on top of that, the Reds have been somewhat inconsistent at the plate since the Break. This line is showing signs of moving down to a total of 8, and the side is holding fairly steady at first glance, but I offer the opinion that this one is going to be closer than people think.

Giants (-150) @ D'backs with a total of 8.5; T. Lincecum vs. B. Enright;
I admit, this one only intrigues me as a game to watch, not so much to bet, so for those that have a short attention span, feel free to jump to the next one. I'm just hugely excited about the career beginnings of one of the nicest ballplayers I had the pleasure of meeting during my time calling Minor League games. As far as handicapping goes, the reason I didn't just make this a footnote is because this total seems oddly high for a game involving The Freak. Lincecum is 5-1 with a 2.36 ERA against the Giants, and 10-4 this year. Enright is rolling along with a 2.66 ERA in his first few starts. So, why is this total just a shade under the key number of 9? This is actually the highest total of any game involving Lincecum all season long. Three times his games have featured a posted mark of 8, and all 3 went Over. Hell, even a battle with Chris Narveson was just an 8. Fishy? Yep.

Cardinals (-125) @ Cubs with a total of N/A; C. Carpenter vs. R. Dempster;
If the Cardinals bats weren't taking a little snooze of late (though they did score a few in a losing effort yesterday), this one would be a no-brainer. Carpenter is 10-3 with a 2.73 lifetime ERA against the Cubs, shut them down once already this year, and is coming off back-to-back 8-inning, 1-run performances. Tough to find fault with that. Dempster got shellacked by the Cards when he faced them this season, and hasn't gone 7 innings in a start since June. That being said, he's been the beneficiary of some chunky run support this month, and even though he hasn't pitched that well, he's gone 2-1 on the month, with the Cubs scoring 0, 8, 12, and 14 runs in his 4 starts. Needless to say, I'm confused by the short line. The Cards haven't been good, at all, on the road lately, but they've certainly got a good shot here in another one of those games that I think ends up a little closer than folks expect

American League

Rays (-155) @ Indians with a total of 9; W. Davis vs. J. Masterson;
Just thought I'd throw this game in the mix because of how well the Indians are playing, and how lopsided the stats are supporting the Rays. Don't play on Tampa. Just don't do it. I know Davis is 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA against the Indians, but regardless of how Saturday's game turns out (it's in the 1st inning while I type this), the Rays claiming they're comfortable in Cleveland is just a flat-out lie. Masterson is 1-3 with a 6.49 ERA against the Rays, so he looks like the worst choice on the planet, but I'm damn close to just going for it with Cleveland, again, because that's how it needs to be.

Twins (-125) @ Orioles with a total of 9; K. Slowey vs. J. Arrieta;
This game made my short list of interesting contests because of Slowey's dismal work against the Orioles. He's 0-2 against Baltimore lifetime with an ERA of a cool 7.00. He's having a rather poor month of July, which has basically been the case for the entire Twins starting rotation. They're hoping Baltimore helps get things back on track, and moving Duensing into the rotation is another move they hope helps the rotation stop hemorrhaging runs. Arrieta has been hugely up-and-down, though the Orioles have had a nice trend of winning more of his starts than most of his teammates, and he's only been with the team a few weeks. Somwhere, Kevin Millwood lost his last 4 hairs. Still, the O's are a good value right now - they're scoring runs and fighting from start to finish. I wouldn't touch the Twins with a 10-foot pole.

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