Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sizzle Time, Just a Little Longer

Recap: I admit, we're getting a little more exploratory with our plays, but really, for those who followed my MLB work in 2009 here at Pregame (as a forum poster), you know I usually made 3 plays per day. As a Pro, it has taken some time to really figure out how to piece things together, because, no matter what someone says, it's definitely a different bird. I think things are finally coming together.

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Cubs @ Nationals (-155) with a total of 8.5; C. Coleman vs. L. Hernandez;
I honestly just can't see any reason to back the Chicago Cubs. Yes, Sweet Lou retired after yesterday's ugly loss, but if his announcement of retiring didn't get his guys to play one last solid game, then I don't see how his actual departure is going to have any impact. I'd say to keep an eye on who takes over, but what is this replacement really going to say? The guys clearly aren't playing for pride, since they're just getting manhandled by every other team in the League. I could actually see them playing better on the road, since there are zero expectations away from home. Still, the Cubs are radioactive to me, at this point.

Astros @ Phillies (-156) with a total of 9; B. Myers vs. J. Blanton;
In terms of the starters, this line is a value on the Astros. In terms of the Astros inability to score on the road, I'm not sure I can back them. Houston squeaked out one win in the series in Florida, but what we've seen is perfectly predictable. A young team with a ton of guys playing for a spot on next year's roster, are playing good baseball at HOME. The kids go out on the road, everything is uncomfortable, the pressure picks up, and suddenly they can't score. So, the question is, can Brett Myers hold the Phils to 2-3 runs? Probably, but can the bullpen go 2-3 scoreless? I doubt it. The Phillies are playing good baseball, of late, and they certainly know about Myers despite never facing them.

Cardinals (-141) @ Pirates with a total of 8.5; K. Lohse vs. R. Ohlendorf;
This is a dangerous spot to back the Cardinals. Lohse gave up 7 runs in 3 innings in his return from the DL, and just has not been, at all, his usual self this year. If he gets into a rhythm, there's still plenty of hope, and his career numbers against the Pirates are solid. Pittsburgh stinks, we all know that, but Ohlendorf is actually 1-2 with a 2.77 ERA against the Cardinals, so he'll probably keep the Pirates in it for 4-6 innings. After that, it's a big question mark, but I can't advocate laying a buck-40 on the road with a guy that hasn't thrown a good game all year.

Braves (-140) @ Rockies with a total of 8; T. Hudson vs. J. Hammel;
If I bet anything in this game, it would have to be the Over. I know the humidor has done some damage on Coors, and the Rockies are coming off another road struggle-fest, but these pitchers have great season numbers, and lesser player matchup numbers. Hudson is 3-2 against the Rockies, but sports a 4.65 ERA, and Helton, Giambi and Tulo have all given him some minor issues. Hammel is 0-2 with a 12.66 ERA against the Braves, so there's no way I'm getting behind that troublemaker. And the road price is a little hefty, if just barely within reason.

Reds @ Giants (-156) with a total of 7.5; E. Volquez vs. M. Cain;
I happen to believe this line is about right, since Volquez still doesn't appear to be quite right. He was starting to appear more confident, then had the wheels come off in a bad inning in Arizona. The Reds have the better travel schedule, though, flying north from LA, rather than home from a bad road trip through Philadelphia and St. Louis, which happens to be the case for the Giants. That first game back home is never an easy one, even if you need it as badly as the Giants do. The Reds, to me, seem like a live dog, and the Under is in play, since the bats don't usually wake up for the traveling team until the late innings.

American League

Royals @ Tigers (-150) with a total of 9.5; B. Chen vs. J. Bonderman;
The Royals, let's remember before anything else, play very well at Comerica Park. They're not a home run hitting team, so the large dimensions play to their line drive bats quite well, and the pitchers seem, for whatever reason, quite comfortable on that Detroit mound. The issue in this one is that Bruce Chen is 1-2 with a 6.50 ERA against the Tigers, and backing a bad team with a bad starter is a recipe for a bald head. Bonderman isn't too good, either, but he'll get some outs at home, and the Tigers have 13 pitchers on their roster right now, so if time permits, and Leyland sees fit, maybe he'll just run out an arm for every out in the last 4 innings.

Yankees @ Blue Jays (-111) with a total of 9.5; I. Nova vs. B. Morrow;
I will admit, between now and when plays get locked in, I'll dig up some stuff on Ivan Nova. In the meantime, from his baseball reference page, we can see he was 12-3 with an ERA in the high 2's with the Yanks Triple-A team in Scranton-WB. It seems like he figured something out in 2009, and there has been a nice steady upward progression, since. Is he ready for the Bigs? Maybe, but you can bet the lack of video and lack of experience against him should buy the Yankees about 4 solid innings before we really see what he's made of. Morrow, meanwhile, had that incredible start against Tampa, regressed against the A's, and has been a home/road split pitcher against the Yankees, this year. I might take a peek at the Under before betting a side in this one.

Mariners @ Red Sox (-181) with a total of 9; D. Fister vs. J. Lackey;
Boston is trying to make a little push. If you guys want to talk about the total, feel free to ask, but the side is right out.

Twins @ Rangers with a total of N/A; F. Liriano vs. R. Harden;
No line on this game yet, but I'll have some thoughts on it tomorrow.

Rays (-145) @ Angels with a total of 9; J. Shields vs. S. Kazmir;
Kazmir faces his old team for just the second time, and this game, like the National League contest in San Francisco, faces a home team that's going to be dealing with an uglier travel schedule than the road team. Does that mean we should fade the Angels? Not at all. They've shown that they can score a little on low rest, and this is the time of year when Scioscia is going to press his guys for whatever's left in the tank. The Rangers have been scuffling, and to some small degree, have let the Angels sniff a tiny bit of life. I expect a well-played game from both clubs, and that makes for a tough handicap.


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