Monday, August 23, 2010

Game of the Month, August Edition

Recap: One more winner in the bank. We only had the one Top Play on the short Monday card, and despite letting the Angels creep back into the game, the Rays bullpen locked it down and got us a nice 2* winner behind a strikeout-heavy performance from James Shields. Could have been easier, but we took the lead throughout the game, and no complaints, here!


Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Cubs @ Nationals (-124) with a total of 8.5; C. Zambrano vs. J. Lannan;
Fading the Cubs is pretty much the way to go, these days. I will admit, though, that the one Cubbie that has at least looked like he has something to play for is Zambrano. Probably respect, I would guess. I can't back the Cubs, but Zambrano feels like a guy that is going to keep this one close for a while, and I won't play a different crappy team just because they're the lesser of two evils. Probably a pass.

Cardinals (-266) @ Pirates with a total of 7; A. Wainwright vs. P. Maholm;
You know our little ditty - out of price, out of mind.

Astros @ Phillies (-240) with a total of 8; B. Norris vs. C. Hamels;
Yep, no thanks.

Marlins (-126) @ Mets with a total of 6.5; J. Johnson vs. R. Dickey;
This line feels a little on the low side, but then, I suppose the Mets are still a little bit of a public play just because of the city from which they hail. I know R.A. Dickey's been tremendous this year, but at the same time, most of his issues have come against the Marlins. I can't imagine this line is seriously the gift that it looks like. Still, can I really lean to the Mets? I guess they're playing a tiny bit better over the last 2 weeks than they did in the previous few, but damn. Also, the Over is a possibility, just because of the number.

Dodgers (-141) with a total of 8.5; T. Lilly vs. D. Bush;
Ted Lilly has been one of the few Dodgers that finds himself on the winning side of things, and he's really been a breath of fresh air for a team spiraling in the NL West. Something tells me this game is where things get dangerous. First, the line is inflated pretty wildly, considering the Dodgers don't ever win on the road. Second, Dave Bush, my arch nemesis of the baseball world, is going opposite Lilly, and I'm sure the moment I say he's going to pitch well, he's going to get knocked around (or vice versa), so I'm saying nothing, there. He is 1-1 with a 3.55 ERA against the Dodgers, but Belliard and Manny have done some damage against him in the past. Lilly has been able to shut down Rickie Weeks, but Braun and Fielder have hit him hard, and the value in this one is squarely on the home dog.

Braves @ Rockies (-111) with a total of 9; D. Lowe vs. J. De La Rosa;
I made a deal with myself a few years ago (long before my Pregame time) that I would never back Derek Lowe at Coors Field, and I have yet to renege on that self-contract. Fact is, the guy is a bit of a head case, and he's already psyched himself out before he ever steps on that mound. Sure, he's seen plenty of Colorado, and has a good game plan, but when he sets foot on the field and the first thing he thinks is, "My sinker isn't going to sink," that can screw with you. I also remember the Dodgers rearranging the rotation a few years back to skip Lowe in Colorado. Maybe he's grown up, and the Braves have helped him remove the Huggies, but this game is Colorado, the Over, or nothing. De La Rosa, by the way, is 0-1 with a 12.15 ERA against the Braves. Yikes.

D'backs @ Padres (-200) with a total of 7; R. Lopez vs. C. Richard;
Rematch time! We know the Padres stink in Arizona, but things are a tad different at home. These two pitchers, meanwhile, have faced off twice already this year, both have stunk something fierce in both games, and the Padres have prevailed in both. So, we have a double-revenge spot for Lopez, but at the same time, does it matter? Fact is, he's just not good. He serves up homers at a ridiculous clip, and if he can go 6 innings of 4-run ball, it's probably a success. Richard, by the way, allowed 5 runs in both starts against the D'backs, and I know it looks like a gift given the last 2 games, but the Over is definitely in play, and I'd play the dog long before I'd touch the favorite.

Reds @ Giants (-111) with a total of 7; T. Wood vs. J. Sanchez;
Despite being 2-1 with a 2.41 ERA against the Reds, Sanchez was wobbly, at best, against them earlier this year. He is much, much better at home than on the road, though, so we definitely need to take that into account, as well as the Giants' need for wins. Travis Wood has been a quality start machine since he got the call to take a rotation spot for Dusty Baker's Reds. I hate to say it, and obviously with the blog coming out early, I can't do much else, but my feelings on this game are pretty heavily dependent on how the Giants look in their first game home on Monday. If they are jetlagged, I think they bounce back. If the win the opener, we'll reassess.

American League

Yankees (-126) @ Blue Jays with a total of 10; D. Moseley vs. M. Rzepczynski;
Okay, we made it through Toronto's starter's name, now on to the line. The total is very high, that's the first thing I notice, but I imagine the lack of name recognition for the two starters is playing a large role in that. I imagine the fact that Moseley is basically just squeaking his way through 5 innings, and that Marc has been awful in 3 of his 4 starts in the Bigs are combining to help that total increase, as well. As far as the line goes, this one is a coin flip, to me. Both guys could blow, one might and the other could be decent, and there remains the off chance both starters pitch well. This is likely a pass.

Royals @ Tigers (-151) with a total of 9.5; K. Davies vs. R. Porcello;
Detroit's been hitting a little better on his homestand, picking on some bad teams, but I always like to start these notes with the reminder than the Royals tend to play pretty well in Motown. Davies, despite being 2-6 with a 5.40 ERA against the Tigers actually beat Porcello way back in April. Porcello is coming off an ugly effort against the Yankees, and he remains a bit of a question mark. The Tigers probably win this game, but the side is too high for me to back a poor starter, and the total is hinting at us that runs are going to be scored.

Athletics (-121) @ Indians with a total of 7.5; G. Gonzalez vs. F. Carmona;
Gio Gonzalez remains very, very good at home, and pretty good on the road, and because of the A's recent slightly-above-average play combined with the Indians pitching fall-off, this line is about where it should be, in my opinion. Gonzalez, too, is a perfect 3-0 with a 1.16 ERA against the Indians, so he loves dominating these kids. Carmona, on the other side, has faced the A's twice this year, and pitched very well in Oakland, and decently at home. He's just 3-4 with a 5.56 ERA lifetime against the A's, but that's probably a tad misleading considering his better work in 2010. I'm not sure how you go against a guy that has completely owned his opponent, but Carmona gives us a good reason to be careful, that's for sure.

Mariners @ Red Sox (-216) with a total of 9; D. Pauley vs. J. Beckett;
Inflated line, but we don't have the bankrolls to go dog-hunting at these prices.

Twins @ Rangers (-131) with a total of 9; C. Pavano vs. C. Lewis;
I happen to think Pavano's 1-2, 9.00 lifetime mark against the Rangers is pretty misleading. It's a very small sample size, and this year he shut them down in a 7-inning, 2-run effort a few months back. Colby Lewis, meanwhile, is a somewhat unimpressive 0-2 with a 4.40 ERA against the Twins, so this one is sort of picking between a rotten egg and some moldy cabbage. To Lewis's credit, he did pitch well enough to win in Minnesota this year, but the Rangers just couldn't score. And lately, they haven't been hitting much. Texas is struggling, so it's awfully tough to back a favorite that isn't playing well, especially when the rather unlucky Lewis is on the hill. The Rangers have lost his last 6 straight starts, even though he's pitched pretty well in them. So, he doesn't win. Why back him?

Orioles @ White Sox (-186) with a total of 8; J. Guthrie vs. G. Floyd;
The price is too high, and the dog won't be a top play. I'm looking at the Under, if anything, but probably a full-on pass.

Rays @ Angels (-111) with a total of 8.5; W. Davis vs. E. Santana;
Wade Davis hasn't started since August 5, as he's been dealing with some shoulder inflammation. How badly do we want to back a guy that might be fully healthy? The answer is not that badly. Davis might feel great, but when he gets on that mound, and then has to sit between innings for 10 minutes, things might tighten up a tad, and cortisone shots tend to run out after a few innings. I guess a lot of that is speculation, but I rarely like to back a pitcher that is coming back from a throwing arm issue. Santana, meanwhile, has been one of the few Angels getting it done. His career numbers aren't too great against the Rays (4-4, 5.17), but he's been pretty hot, as pitchers go, and if he can keep Carl Crawford off the bases, the Angels will have a shot, even with their spotty offense and shaky pen.

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