Wednesday, July 21, 2010

More Extra Innings, Really?

Recap: I was going to try to wait until the late game had gone final, but it's officially headed into the 11th inning, and I can barely watch, what with the way the weekend went. That being said, both of the Free Plays (Marlins, Nationals) were Winners, so no matter the result, the losing skid was stopped, and a full body shake (like a dog getting out of the pool) has jostled those bad feelings loose from the dermis.

Today: The card today is a tad chalky, overall, but despite some of the heavier lines, there's still plenty of value, both on favorite and on dog sides. I've got the 2* Top Play in the crosshairs, and that package is posted the night before, as always, and you can check out some numbers, podcasts, plays, and whatnot by clicking anywhere in this paragraph.

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Rockies @ Marlins (-215) with a total of 7.5; J. De La Rosa vs. J. Johnson;
I spoke at great length with Sac Lawson about Jorge De La Rosa on the Weekend Edition TiSB podcast right before the All Star Break, and while the two of us have been mistaken on a few matters, his struggles fell right in line with what we discussed. De La Rosa was garage on a rehab assignment, and it seemed like the Rockies rushed him back to the Bigs just to get him a start before the Break. He stunk. He stunk again in his first start out of the Break, and he's 3-4 with a 6.57 lifetime ERA against the Fish. Josh Johnson might very well be the best pitcher in baseball, this year. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'd take the Marlins at a colossal price long before I'd consider backing this dog.

Nationals @ Reds (-200) with a total of 8.5; L. Hernandez vs. E. Volquez;
I will admit, I'm struggling a tad with this one, as the line is so wildly inflated on the Volquez side, that I find myself wondering if it's because Livan is going to get his butt kicked, or simply because of standard inflation for anyone playing against the Nats. I don't see nearly enough, in terms of data, to support playing on the Reds at this price. Volquez looked solid enough in his only start of 2010, but we've seen how guys that are coming off a long layoff break back into the Bigs with an adrenaline-fueled start, or two, then tail off a tad. Volquez is going to have a few rough starts, but it's a matter of figuring out when. Livan is 1-6 lifetime against the Reds, so I'd prefer to just let this sleeping dog lie.

Padres @ Braves (-165) with a total of 7.5; C. Richard vs. T. Hudson;
Much like with NBA, with two good teams, you definitely want to start with the dog and work your way to the favorite. Here, Clayton Richard gets the nod, and he's having just an horrible July. He's given up 5 runs or more in all 3 of his starts this month, and on top of that, he's 0-2 with a 10.57 ERA against the Braves in his career. Things can't get a whole lot uglier, so the value is terrible going against him right now. Hudson is coming off a poor start against the Brewers, though I feel like he'll probably bounce back against a fairly weak-hitting Padres team. I've talked my way off the dog, but not so much onto the favorite. That total looks a tiny bit low, but again, with day games, you absolutely need to check the lineup cards to make sure the big boppers aren't getting time off.

Phillies @ Cardinals (-175) with a total of 7; C. Hamels vs. A. Wainwright;
REMATCH! These pitchers have a decent history against the other club, as Hamels is 2-2 with a 3.60 ERA against the Cards, and Wainwright, not surprisingly, sports a solid 2.68 ERA against Philadelphia. Earlier this very season, both pitchers went 8 innings of 1-run ball in a 2-1 win that Philadelphia nabbed after the starters left. Of course, that was when the Cards weren't hitting, at all, and now, the Phils are the ones dealing with offensive issues. This line is too high to back Wainwright, but I don't really believe the Phillies have a better than average shot to win the game. Another pass, I'm afraid, though that total is scary-low. If LaRussa weren't known for putting scrubs in one day games, I'd look at the Over.

Brewers (-160) @ Pirates with a total of 8; Y. Gallardo vs. R. Ohlendorf;
I imagine Ohlendorf is probably just pleased to be facing anyone besides the Astros, the only team he's seen since July 2. He has not faced the Brewers this year, but is 2-1 with a 3.50 ERA against Milwaukee previously. Gallardo got roughed up a bit in his final start before the Break, though some shoddy defense definitely played a role in that one. He has faced the Pirates twice this year, and in 11 innings (so the starts were relatively short), he gave up just 8 hits and 2 unearned runs. No earned runs, I repeat. He's 5-2 with a 2.38 ERA against Pittsburgh, a team that is hitting a tiny bit better over the last week, but Gallardo should have a ton in the tank, and the Brewers should win this one.

Giants (-140) @ D'backs with a total of 9; M. Cain vs. R. Lopez;
I wouldn't be surprised to see this line come down, but at first glance, this is one of those games where if the line drops enough, I'd actually start to look back at the Giants. Matt Cain is 5-4 with a 3.49 ERA against the D'backs, including a complete game shutout in San Francisco earlier this season. Rodrigo Lopez is 0-1 with an 8.16 ERA against the Giants, including a 5-inning, 6-run clunker this season. I think the reason we'll see this line come down is that the D'backs actually are playing okay at home since the Break, and their pitching has been a tiny bit better, as well, though largely because the starters did the bulk of the work. If Lopez gets in trouble, this game could get ugly. If Lopez pitches well, the D'backs are a great, great value. Therein lies the question. The Giants, by the way, will be coming to town off a rivalry series with the Dodgers, so there's that letdown potential, too.

Mets @ Dodgers (-175) with a total of 8; H. Takahashi vs. H. Kuroda;
The Dodgers are just sucking it up, lately. And I honestly see almost no way that laying 175 on a slumping team is a good decision, especially since Kuroda is 0-3 with a 7.71 ERA against the Mets in his Major League career. He did pitch marginally well against them this year, going 6 innings and allowing just 2 runs, but lost 4-0 to a Johan Santana beauty. Takahashi is 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA against the Dodgers, but he's been bad for almost a month. If the Dodgers could hit, I'd look at the Over, but as it stands, there are competing angles on basically every play. The Dodgers offense makes the Under look attractive, but Takahashi and the Dodgers pen make the Over look better. The slumping Dodgers make the Mets side look nice, but the Mets road woes make playing on them feel dirty. Yeesh.

American League

Blue Jays @ Tigers (-140) with a total of 7.5; R. Romero vs. J. Verlander;
Justin Verlander does not like Toronto. He's 0-2 with an 11.40 ERA against the Jays in his career, and of the current Jays roster, only Jose Bautista is batting under .250 against Verlander since 2005. That includes awfully strong numbers from Vernon Wells, DeWayne Wise, and Adam Lind. Ricky Romero seems to have gotten a little gusto back from the All Star Break, as he crushed the lowly O's after sputtering in early July. The Tigers have very good power from the right side of the plate, so that's a slight concern, and it's not as though he's stomped on Detroit in his short career, but there's a reason this price is so low.

Royals @ Yankees (-325) with a total of 9; B. Chen vs. C. Sabathia;
Tell me the truth, when you saw the Royals were going into the Bronx, did you have the same first thought as me, which was, "These lines are going to make me laugh?" This one did, indeed, make me chuckle. It falls into our system play of putting a quarter unit on the dog, and moving on to the next game. No team truly has this high a percentage chance to win a game, just not with all the insane things that can happen in a baseball game.

Twins (-180) @ Orioles with a total of 9; C. Pavano vs. K. Millwood;
The Twins would love a little Morneau for this one, but it's not as though the rest of that lineup can't do some damage to Millwood. Kevin is a career 0-8, 5.71 ERA pitcher against Minnesota. Yep, in all those years, he has never beaten them. He lost to them this year, though he pitched well enough to give his team a chance (7 innings, 3 runs) - just got out-pitched. Of course, that makes me think that was his one bullet against Minnesota for 2010. Pavano pitched even better than Millwood (8 innings, 2 runs), but he, too, got outpitched. So, both guys want to beat the other team, but frankly, the Twins are just better. This line could very well come down, since the O's are hitting better lately, but I can't advocate backing Millwood.

Angels @ Rangers (-165) with a total of 7.5; J. Weaver vs. C. Lee;
I kept looking for ways to back the home favorite, here, believe it or not, and I've come up with a couple, but not sure they're quite strong enough to warrant a play. For once, Weaver is significantly poorer against the Rangers in Texas than he is in Anaheim. He's 5-3 with a 3.62 lifetime ERA against the Rangers, but roughly a full run higher in Arlington, and roughly a full run less than that in California. He got roughed up in Texas once this year, already, then bounced back by dominating the Rangers at the Big A. The very low total doesn't tell us much, since both pitchers have powerful names, and Cliff Lee is probably going to go at least 7 innings, maybe more. He's 6-3 with a 3.18 ERA against the Angels, by the way, striking out 10 in a solid outing against them this year, while still with Seattle. It's a little pricey, though, considering these are going to be rivalry games, and both teams are going to be on high alert.

Red Sox (-175) @ Mariners with a total of 9; J. Lackey vs. R. Rowland-Smith;
Somehow, Ryan Rowland-Smith, the man who took his wife's name, has a 2.70 ERA against the Red Sox in his career. Sadly, though, his 2010 season is just a mess - he's 1-9 with a 6.18 ERA against the League, and borders on awful every time out. He is basically unbackable, despite the huge value, or apparently value, in this line. John Lackey has seen plenty of Seattle over the years, 12-9 with an ERA a little under 4 against them, and they're just not a team that hits the ball with any authority. Again, though, these lines today are just out-of-control-high, and this one is no exception. -175 on the road for Lackey is ridiculous, even against a bad team like the Mariners. But then, can we trust Rowland-Smith to even keep Seattle in the game? Another ugly one, for sure.

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