Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dan Bebe Goes to Chicago

Recap: It has been a nearly unmitigated disaster of a week. What started with 3 straight bullpen meltdowns ended with complete offensive anemia. No sugar-coating, no whining; we got stomped.

Today: I'M HEADED OUT OF TOWN! I wanted to make sure that was as clear as humanly possible. No, not to escape what has been a murderous week. This is for something of a de facto, miniature family reunion. Thus, my proximity to a computer is going to be limited for large stretches of time over the weekend. THIS THREAD will be up and running all weekend, and I'll post all my updates here and in my auto-updating thread.

The Weekend Edition podcast is already up and running, so I'll get that embedded in this thread, as well.

I made some minor tweaks to the way we're assessing value in baseball, and I'm excited to put those into action. Let's start making up some ground we lost this week!

Sports Wagering: MLB

D'backs @ Nationals (-110) with a total of 9; J. Saunders vs. J. Lannan;
I'm not really sure how he's done it, but John Lannan is 2-1 with an 0.47 ERA against the D'backs, and Mark Reynolds, Chris Young, Adam LaRoche, Augie Ojeda, and Justin Upton are a combined 2-for-31 off Lannan. Ryan Church and Kelly Johnson have hit him hard, but 2 guys on base and everyone striking out does not an offense make. Joe Saunders got whipped by the Padres in his last start after 2 good ones with his new team. He certainly looks more comfortable against the weaker offenses of the NL, but he's also shown a track record of being quite streaky, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Saunders get popped again.

Marlins (-135) @ Reds with a total of 7.5; J. Johnson vs. E. Volquez;
This is an awfully cheap number on Johnson, but I guess it's not that insane, since he is still pitching for the Marlins. Volquez appears to be getting stronger with every start, and that's not surprising, either, since it does take time to get comfortable off such a huge surgery. Both pitchers have tremendous career numbers against the other team, as Johnson is 2-0 with a 1.65 ERA against the Reds (including 6 innings of 1-run ball this year), and Volquez is 3-0 with an 1.80 ERA against the Marlins. It seems like, looking at the player numbers, Johnson might be due to give up 2-3 runs instead of just 1. Still, if Volquez continues to pitch well, and the starters can go 7 innings, this one could still sneak under.

Phillies (-129) @ Mets with a total of 7; C. Hamels vs. R. Dickey;
This game has me stroking my metaphorical beard. Cole Hamels pitched 7 dynamic innings against the Mets, but lost 1-0 to Johan Santana, and dropped to 2-6 in his career against New York despite a 3.71 ERA. That just doesn't make sense for a guy playing for a pretty good team. Dickey was amazing against the Phillies a few months back, but got rocked by them a week ago. You have to think that he's looking to bounce back, and we know how much better the Mets pitch at home. It seems like both guys are sort of "due" to get a little break, either with Dickey pitching better, or Hamels getting 2 runs of support instead of zero. I'm tempted to pass, but a second look is certainly in order.

Dodgers @ Braves (-154) with a total of 7; H. Kuroda vs. T. Hudson;
This is another one that comes down to which team gets the big hit, and I suppose that in such a situation, you have to at least give the underdog a cursory glance. Neither of these pitchers looked all that great against the other team when they pitched in LA in early June, but based on the Braves strong home numbers, and actually winning a few games on the road this week, they would seem to be a tough opponent for the Dodgers, who only hit in one game a week, it seems. I admit, I'm looking for a way to back Kuroda, but this line is inflated for a reason, and that is because LA is just unreliable.

Pirates @ Astros (-169) with a total of 7.5; R. Ohlendorf vs. B. Myers;
I know the inclination is to try to find a way to back the underdog when the line is this high on a bad team, but there's just no way you can convince me to get behind the Pirates. Ohlendorf is 0-6 with a 7.32 ERA against Houston, and while the current crop of Astros hasn't seen a ton of him (they're quite young), they did lay into Ohlendorf in one of 2 starts this year. Ohlendorf pitched pretty well the last time he was in Houston, but took the 2-0 loss, and simply cannot beat this team. It's tough to get bopped 3 times in the same year, supposedly, but I'm not sure I can subscribe to that school of thought when you pitch for the Pirates.

Cubs @ Cardinals (-230) with a total of 9; T. Diamond vs. J. Westbrook;
This one is well out of our price range. Leave it alone.

Brewers (-119) @ Rockies with a total of 9; Y. Gallardo vs. J. De La Rosa;
Considering Yovani Gallardo is 0-3 with a 6.04 ERA against the Rockies, he really hasn't been that awful against them, this year. He went 7 innings of 3-run ball in a 5-3 loss to the Rockies back in April at home, and then tossed 6 innings of 1-run ball in Coors in an 8-7 loss in mid-June. It's hard to see how his numbers against the Rockies are so terrible, really. De La Rosa is 1-2 with a 9.19 ERA against Milwaukee, and while I like how he pitches at home, for the most part, Ryan Braun's absurd success against De La Rosa makes me nervous. The Rockies are coming home off another difficult road trip, too, so you have to wonder if game 1 in the altitude plays any role on the bats. Yet another interesting line, and yet another tough game to cap.

Padres @ Giants (-129) with a total of 7.5; C. Richard vs. J. Sanchez;
This has not been a season series that's been kind to the Giants. The Padres just wiped the floor with San Francisco during the many meetings in the season's first half. Sanchez was on the mound for the rare Giants win, but it's tough to really get behind the Giants, even with their recent success. Sanchez is 2-4 with a 2.70 ERA against the Padres, and Richard is 2-1 with a 3.70 ERA against the Giants, and between the two, they've been very, very good in 5 of 6 starts this year against the other team. If you take numbers from this year, it's tough to go against the Padres, though, at the same time, San Diego has not looked quite as strong lately as they did early in the year. The Giants are a good home team, and Sanchez can usually shut down San Diego.

American League

Mariners @ Indians (-145) with a total of 8.5; D. Pauley vs. F. Carmona;
This is another match-up of two teams that underachieved wildly in the season's first half, but are each playing better lately. The Mariners, obviously, had a short spurt of energy under a new Manager, but that won't last. The Indians, more interestingly, have gone through stretches of very impressive hitting, and with their best starter on the hill, they certainly have a shot to get a couple wins in this series. To Pauley's credit, he hasn't been that bad, but when you've made 4 of 5 starts in the deadzone known as Safeco, you should have an ERA in the 3's. He'll get touched up for a few, and the handicapping of this game comes down to what success you believe Carmona will have.

Orioles @ Rays (-210) with a total of 8.5; J. Guthrie vs. J. Shields;
This is clearly Orioles or nothing, at this price. They probably won't win more than 1 game this series, but at this price, you'd actually make a couple pennies betting Orioles flat in every game.

Red Sox @ Rangers (-135) with a total of 9.5; J. Beckett vs. T. Hunter;
The first thing I notice about this game is the extremely high total. I mean, nine-point-five? I know both teams are solid offensive ballclubs, but wouldn't you think with names like Beckett and Hunter on the hill you'd see no higher than 9? Beckett got rocked by the Red Sox back before his DL stint, but aside from getting drilled by the Yankees, he's been better lately. Hunter has a poor lifetime mark against the Red Sox, but he tossed a quality start against them this year. That total is very, very fishy. As far as the side goes, this is probably pretty accurate, given the above info and the Rangers desire to bounce back from that tough loss to the Yanks.

Tigers @ White Sox (-160) with a total of 9; J. Bonderman vs. M. Buerhle;
At this point, I'm not sure the Tigers can be undervalued on the road. Seriously, it's sickening, with this team. Lately, thanks to a slew of injuries and some generally bad vibes, the Tigers haven't even been able to win at home. The road continues to be a hideous beast, as the Tigers' last road trip included getting swept in 4 in Tampa, and blowing leads in Boston. I honestly don't quite know how Buerhle's numbers against Detroit are as strong as they are, since he's given up plenty of hits to the Tigers, but Detroit just can't get those bodies home. To Bonderman's credit, he just beat the Sox in the nightcap of a doubleheader, so we know he's got a few bullets left, but damn if this club just cannot get anything done away from home.

Yankees (-175) @ Royals with a total of 10; D. Moseley vs. K. Davies;
Dustin Moseley, believe it or not, has been one of the more consistent Yankees starters. I know that a line this low is screaming "trap," but I really just think it's a low line. I wouldn't bet this game, at least not the side.

Athletics @ Twins (-154) with a total of 8; G. Gonzalez vs. C. Pavano;
Gonzalez remains a pretty strong home/road split, and his career work against the Twins is especially ugly despite a strong home start against them this year. In his career, Gonzalez is 1-1 with a 14.21 ERA. Pavano, the horse, has been fine against the A's in very limited work. It would not be at all surprising to see Pavano go pretty deep in this one, though it is something of a letdown game for the Twins, coming home off a tough series in Chicago. The line is fairly accurate, given how Gonzalez has sputtered outside of Oakland, but at the same time, there are some reasons to be careful before backing the Twinkies.

Blue Jays @ Angels (-138) with a total of 9; M. Rzepcynski vs. S. Kazmir;
Scott Kazmir made his return from a DL stint with 5 decent innings his last time out, but too many times we've seen a guy come back with some adrenaline, only to tail off after his first start. Kazmir, to me, doesn't strike me as a 1-start wonder. When he's good, he's going to give you 5 or 6 innings of inefficient baseball, striking out and walking a ton. Marc Rzepcynski, his opposition, made 2 starts in July, stunk, and hasn't pitched in the Bigs, since. We've also seen, this year, guys that come up for a cup of coffee, then get sent back down, only to return with a new sense of purpose.

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