Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hypothermic

Recap: This recap requires two parts.

Part one details a weekend recap in the life of Dan Bebe. As most of you know, I drove to Chicago this weekend to see some of my closest cousins, folks that I grew up with back in Los Angeles. Chicago is an incredible city. Not much more to say on that front -- we got great food, enjoyed the White Sox/Tigers game on Saturday night, somehow braved the outrageous heat for 48 hours of walking the city, and I am just thrilled to have finally been outside the airport in one of the coolest downtowns in the US.

Part two of the recap is where things turn sour. There are literally no words that I can find (and I went through the Thesaurus) to describe the sensation I'm feeling in my lower intestines right now, with regards to our plays. This last week featured an almost unbelievable 1-11 record on all plays, including an 0-9 run through the weekend. And maybe the most amazing part is that, somehow, on those 9 losses, none of our teams scored more than 2 runs. The 9 teams we played scored 10 totals runs. Sometimes bad breaks happen, and unquestionably a few of those losses were on errors, balks, wild pitches, and the like; sometimes plays are just turds, and there were some of those mixed in, as well. Bottom line, this is the worst week I've had since turning Pro, and easily among the worst weeks I've ever had as a handicapper and bettor.


Also, a poster named "Battery" asked why my plays are ranked as 2* and 3* selections these days. He turned out to be another hater with an agenda, but I figured I'd still do as he asked and post a reminder about the new unit ranking system. I know most of you remember when I changed over from the 1/2-scale to the 2/3-scale, but for those that had the same question as "Battery" (and aren't just trying to attack me) it was an administrative move decided upon in early July with the Pregame team. By offering the same general ranking scale as most of the other Pregame Pros, it helped to standardize rankings across the board. I hope that clears up some of the confusion.

Sports Wagering: MLB

Marlins (-134) @ Pirates with a total of 9; C. Volstad vs. J. McDonald;
I don't know why it feels like James McDonald just pitched, but for some reason, that's what my mind is telling me. Clearly, that's not right. Fact is, though, McDonald has shown some signs of being a decent Big-Leaguer, just never any consistency. He's been good in 1 of 3 starts for Pittsburgh since being acquired from the Dodgers, and will be facing a Florida team that was completely shut down by Homer Bailey yesterday. The Pirates are still awful, and this line is about where I expected, given Volstad is not very good, but the Marlins are going to get more respect than the Pirates, almost regardless of the starting pitcher match-up.

Dodgers @ Braves (-155) with a total of 7; C. Billingsley vs. T. Hanson;
Somehow, we managed to fade the Dodgers in a game where they scored 2 runs, and it was enough to win. Because, really, those are the only wins LA is going to get. They're not scoring at all, aside from some weird games in Philadelphia, and the Braves have taken 2 of the first 3 in this series. I will admit, I like how LA's starters are going out there and giving it their all, but it hasn't been nearly enough. Billingsley is 1-3 with a respectable 3.82 lifetime ERA against the Braves, so there's a tiny bit of value there. Hanson is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA against the Dodgers, but the LA he's going to see is a dejected club, and I'd be willing to stake my reputation (or what's left of it) that about 10-15% of the Dodgers have given up on the year. Tough to take even a valuable dog that doesn't really care.

Mets @ Astros (-110) with a total of 7.5; J. Niese vs. W. Rodriguez;
This is a fun little showdown of lefties, each of whom has been pitching pretty well. We backed Niese in his last start, and he went 7 innings of 1-run baseball. Of course, the bullpen gave up 5 runs in the 8th inning, but Niese's fine work can't be ignored. The Mets complete inability to hit is also tough to ignore. The Astros, after a nice little run, have been playing close to .500 baseball over the last couple weeks, and Wandy has been an important part of their recent success. He's been lowering his ERA seemingly every start since the Break, and is very good at home, and lifetime 2-2 with a 3.68 ERA against the Mets. Niese is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA against the Astros, but extremely limited action, so it's tough to know if he truly owns them, or if he had a strong day.

Padres (-111) @ Cubs with a total of N/A; K. Correia vs. T. Gorzelanny;
When I look at this match-up, I feel like the best way to break it down is to say that Correia hasn't been good, he's been good enough. Gorzelanny hasn't been bad, he's been bad enough. As a result, Correia's Padres have won his last 2 starts, and Gorzelanny's Cubs have lost his last 3. The Cubs are coming off a strong series in St. Louis, and you have to think that coming home to host an NL West team could be something of a letdown. The Padres continue to find ways to win games, finishing off a series with the Giants with a win yesterday. This is a pretty quick turnaround for San Diego, though, and that's a reason for concern, as is Correia's lifetime 7.50 ERA against the Cubs.

American League

Tigers @ Yankees (-184) with a total of 9; M. Scherzer vs. J. Vazquez;
Amazingly, the Tigers got a 2-run opposite field shot from backup catcher Alex Avila on Saturday, and rode that momentum to another road win in Chicago on Sunday. Can they take some of that gusto to the Bronx? Scherzer has definitely been a bright spot for this offensively weak club from Detroit, so I wouldn't be at all surprised to see him go 6 decent innings. Yes, he's been better at home, but if he can show some control, he can get a team of guys that hasn't seen much of him, at all. Vazquez, meanwhile, has shown the ability to get outs against the weaker teams in the AL, and I'm afraid Detroit falls into that category. He hasn't been good lately, but can Detroit really keep up the offense for 3 straight games?

Mariners @ Orioles (-134) with a total of 8.5; D. Fister vs. B. Bergesen;
Can you imagine how overjoyed Orioles fans would have been 2 months ago if they heard Baltimore came home off a 3-3 road trip through Cleveland and Tampa? Well, they did just that, and it almost could have been better. Brad Bergesen, one of my least favorite starters in the League for the bulk of the year, has suddenly turned it up a few notches, and he's made 3 straight tremendous starts. Unfortunately, this line would seem to indicate that the world is catching on. Doug Fister is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA against the Orioles, and he, too, is coming off a good start, though he hasn't been able to last deep in games since coming off the DL. This might be too expensive to back the O's, but at the same time, they sure have been playing better.

Rangers (-119) @ Rays with a total of 7; C. Lee vs. D. Price;
Some funny stats about this game, but let's be honest, this is the game of the night, and nothing else comes close. Cliff Lee, maybe the best lefty in baseball, and David Price, the flamethrowing youngster that just set the Rays single season wins mark with 15. Lee has actually lost to the Rays twice this year, but he was still working his way back to full strength after his injury to start the year. In his career, Lee is 6-4 with a 2.51 ERA against Tampa. An interesting note, though, in that Price is 0-2 with a 9.45 ERA against the Rangers. I worry that those career numbers are playing a part in inflating this number for the road team. The Rays always get drilled when they go to Texas, but this series in Tampa should be much more evenly matched. Tough to pick a side; tough to pick a total play, but damn if I don't want to watch the hell out of it.

Blue Jays @ Athletics (-139) with a total of 7; S. Marcum vs. B. Anderson;
Considering the A's just got worked in Minnesota, this seems like quite a price to pay for Oakland. I know Brett Anderson is the future ace of this team (if his shoulder can handle it), but I would have thought Marcum had earned more respect than this. Maybe not? Either way, Oakland comes back from the Midwest, and Toronto heads north from Anaheim, so the rest factor actually favors Toronto. Marcum beat Oakland earlier this year with 6 strong innings, but his work in August has definitely left something to be desired. Anderson, since returning from the DL (again), has been lights out. There are definitely some competing factors going into this one, and maybe the Under is the best bet, unless you think the Jays hit a few out.

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