Friday Tip Sheet

Friday Tip Sheet

Friday Tip Sheet
By Josh Jacobs

Fifteen games will fill up Friday’s MLB schedule. Although it’s a tough time to gauge factors such as pitching matchups, lineup strength and overall team strategy, we can still make assumptions to where the best value lies at this early on.

Here are a few handpicked games that should interest bettors looking to pick up the first few bucks of the season.

Chicago White Sox at Detroit

Tigers starting southpaw Nate Robinson will prepare facing a White Sox team who is expected to send out at a minimum of four batters hitting from the left side. In three years of play, Robinson has been effective against lefties, hurling for a BAA of .240 and giving up an OBP of .286 in 539 at bats opportunities. His .278 BAA versus rightys in three years has been a bit high (he’s also an underachieving 2-6 in his last eight starts on grass). Chicago was ranked at the bottom of the barrel in the AL last season in BA (.246), 13th in RBIs (667) and last in OBP (.318). With two homers and four RBIs thus far this season, Jim Thome and the rest of the Sox are banking on an improved offensive year. In ’07 the Sox actually came on top of the series with a 11-7 record.

Tampa Bay at New York Yankees

Tampa’s starter Edwin Jackson has yet to produce an ERA under five since becoming a starter in the majors (in only 22 innings pitched in ’03 Jackson did produce a 2.46 ERA). Jackson’s last three starts versus the Yanks have yielded a 1-1 record with a 5.66 ERA, but allowing a skimp .229 BA in Yankee Stadium stands out. The Yanks have had their troubles against the Rays, documenting a 10-8 credential against their division rival. Young New York hurler, Ian Kennedy will make only his fourth start in the majors. Kennedy faced Tampa in September of ’07, giving up five hits and three runs in a 9-6 win. The Yanks batted for a .313 BA with 129 RBIs versus the Rays last season. Twelve of the 18 head-to-head contests went ‘over’ the run total.

Boston at Toronto

Boston will enter Friday’s matchup racking up an 8-3 record in Tim Wakefield’s lass 11 starts against Toronto. The Red Sox Mike Lowell has gone on to record a .333 BA with 17 RBIs, while David Ortiz added a .300 BA with 14 RBIs versus the Blue Jays last year. Toronto was able to get away with 4.4 runs per game in their 18 contests with Boston last season and 4.2 strikeouts per game coupled with a mortal .263 BA didn’t prove that detrimental. In-fact a 9-9 split in the record books against the Red Sox proved rather surprising. Taking the mound for the Jays will be third-year starter Shaun Marcum (12-6, 4.13 ERA in ’07), a righty whose stuff was electric on the road (7-2, 2.72) but sour at home (5-4, 5.66).

New York Mets at Atlanta

Atlanta’s starting hurler Tim Hudson began the new season on Sunday tossing seven innings, giving up only three hits for two runs in a loss against the Nationals by the score of 3-2 (Hudson was credited with a no decision). Hudson’s four starts against the Mets in 2007 netted a 2-2 record with a 3.33 ERA, but on the season a .218 BAA with 67 strikeouts when facing batters with a 1-2 count was lights out. New York will send John Maine to the hill, a righty who excelled last April with four wins in five starts and held opponents to a .159 BAA. The Mets lumber production before last year’s All-Star break included a .268 BA with 370 RBI’s while post All-Star witnessed the club registering a .284 BA with 391 RBIs (16-point increase in the BA department).

Cleveland at Oakland

Registering one of his best years as a major league pitcher, Indian’s starter Paul Byrd finished ’07 off with an effective 15-8 record and a 4.59 ERA. But it was his postseason heroics versus the Yanks that solidified a $7.5 million contract extension. For the A’s a 4-6 performance in 10 meetings with the Indians typified a season that witnessed the club registering an 11th worst (in the AL) 741 runs and a .256 BA far from being desired (13th worst in the AL). With a reconstructing period in progress, first year Oakland starter (was part of the bullpen from ‘03-’07) Justin Duchscherer will attempt to get the job done. When Duchscherer faced off against rightys last season, a .176 BAA on top of seven RBIs sacrificed in 34 at bat duels may have led the managerial staff to consider bumping the reliever up to the rotation. Then again, starter Chad Gaudin continues to recover from foot surgery (leaving open a spot for a replacement starter).

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NATIONAL LEAGUE

N.Y. Mets (2-1) at Atlanta (1-3)


Tim Hudson (0-0, 2.57 ERA) makes his second start of the season as the Braves kick off a weekend series against the Mets and John Maine (15-10, 3.91 in 2007) in a battle of N.L. East rivals.

The Mets kicked off the season by taking two of three from the Marlins in Florida, finishing up with Wednesday’s 13-0 whitewash. Meanwhile, the Braves have lost three of their first four games, with each loss coming by a single run and two in extra innings, including Thursday’s 4-3, 10-inning setback to the Pirates at home.

The Braves are still 7-3 in their last 10 home games dating to last year, while the Mets are 5-1 in their last six on the road (all against Florida).

These teams split their 18 meetings last year, but New York won five of the final six, including a three-game sweep in Atlanta to start September.

Hudson went seven innings on Sunday at Washington, giving up just two runs on three hits with no walks and seven strikeouts, failing to get a decision in Atlanta’s 3-2 loss. Going back to last season, the Braves are 2-6 in Hudson’s last eight outings, including 0-3 in the last three.

Hudson was 8-6 with a 3.58 ERA in 17 home starts last year, with the Braves winning six of its final nine at Turner Field. He also faced the Mets four times, going 2-2 with a 3.33 ERA. The righthander has held the Mets to three earned runs or ewer in four of his last five starts against them, and he’s 7-4 with a 3.62 ERA in 12 career games against New York.

Maine enjoyed a breakout season last year, but he struggled after the All-Star break, going 5-6 with a 5.53 ERA in 15 starts, compared with a 10-4 mark and a 2.71 ERA before the break. On the highway last year, the righthander was 9-4 with a 4.39 ERA.

Maine faced the Braves three times last year. The first was a disaster – he gave up six runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings in a 7-6 loss – but he was outstanding in the next two, giving up just one run on three hits in each contest, pitching a total of 13 innings as New York won both games.

The under is 5-0 in Hudson’s last five trips to the mound overall and 2-0 in his last two outings against the Mets after the over was 5-0 in his previous five starts against New York. Also, the under is 9-3 in the last 12 series meetings (5-1 in the last six) and 7-0 in the last seven battles at Turner Field. However, the over is 16-5-1 in the Mets’ last 22 overall and 21-8-2 in their last 31 as a visitor.

ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER


AMERICAN LEAGUE

Boston (3-1) at Toronto (1-2)


The Red Sox visit their third country in a week when they open a weekend series in Toronto against the Blue Jays. Tim Wakefield (17-12, 4.76 in 2007) begins his 16th major-league season as he takes the ball for Boston, opposing Toronto youngster Shaun Marcum (12-6, 4.13 in 2007).

Boston opened the 2008 season in Tokyo last week, splitting two games against the A’s. The teams then resumed their series in Oakland this week, with the Red Sox winning both contests by a combined tally of 7-1.

The Blue Jays return home after losing two of three to the Yankees in New York, including Thursday’s 3-2 setback. Toronto gave up just eight runs in the series.

Toronto held its own against the world champs last year, winning half of the 18 meetings, including going 4-0 in the last four. The home team won five of the last six battles after the visitor went 9-3 in the first 12.

Wakefield had a bloated 5.25 ERA after the All-Star break last year, but still managed to go 8-4 in 14 starts. The knuckleballer had a much better record at home (10-4) than on the road (7-8), but his ERA was a run better on the highway (4.26) than at Fenway Park (5.27). Finally, Boston went 12-5 in Wakefield’s last 17 outings.

Wakefield is 15-10 with a 3.86 ERA in 45 career appearances (35 starts) against Toronto, going 6-4 with a 4.32 ERA in the Rogers Centre. Last year, he faced the Jays five times, going 3-2 with a 3.38 ERA (2-1 with a 2.25 ERA in Toronto). The Sox are 8-3 in his last 11 outings versus Toronto.

Like Wakefield, Marcum was very hittable in the second half of last season (4.68 ERA), but like Wakefield, it didn’t much matter as the young righthander went 8-3 in 14 starts. However, Marcum really had trouble at home last year, going 5-4 with a 5.66 ERA in 20 appearances (13 starts) as opposed to 7-2 with a 2.72 ERA on the highway.

Marcum appeared in five games against Boston last year (two starts), going 1-1 with a 4.20 ERA. In his brief career, he’s 1-3 with a 6.39 ERA versus the BoSox in 10 games (eight starts).

The under was 7-2 in the nine head-to-head meetings in Canada last season. Also, the under is 8-1-1 in Wakefield’s last 10 starts against the Jays overall, 7-0 in his last seven in Toronto and 40-17-4 in his last 61 starts on the highway. Finally, the under is 3-0 for Toronto this year and 3-0 in Boston’s last three. However, each of Marcum’s final seven starts last year hurdled the total, and the over was 2-1 in his three starts against Boston.

ATS ADVANTAGE: BOSTON and UNDER

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MLB

Terms "hot/cold pitchers" is relative, since for the next week or so, it refers to last year, Please keep that in mind. We'll get to hot/cold teams by end of the week.

Hot Pitchers
-- Villanueva had 2.06 RA in six starts LY.
-- Cubs won eight of Hill's last ten starts.
-- Arizona won three of last four Owings starts., but loss came against Colorado. Rockies were 3-0 in Redman starts last year (1-0, 4.40) scoring 26 runs.
-- Fogg was on winning start in six of his last eight starts. Phils won six of last nine Kendrick starts.
-- Odalis Perez was on winning side in his last three starts.
-- Mets won six of last nine Maine starts.

-- White Sox are 5-1 in last seven Contreras starts. Robertson has 3.00 RA in his last three starts.
-- Washburn was 1-0, 1.38 in his last two '07 starts. Trachsel had 2.70 RA in his last three starts last season.
-- Kennedy was 1-0, 2.84 in three starts last season.
-- Moseley had 1.86 RA in his last four '07 starts. Gabbard was on winning side in eight of his last eleven starts.
-- Indians are 8-3 in Byrd's last eleven starts.

Cold Pitchers
-- Sanchez was 0-3, 7.16 in four starts last season.
-- Sampson is 1-3, 7.16 in his last five starts.
-- Olson was 1-5, 12.48 in his last seven starts LY. Morris was
2-3, 8.17 in his last five starts in 2007.
-- Braves are 3-5 in last eight Hudson starts.
-- Cardinals lost last four Looper starts (0-2, 8.57).
-- Germano is 0-3, 7.71 in his last three starts. Kuroda makes first big league start for Dodgers at Petco.

-- Tampa Bay was 4-8 on road with Sonnanstine LY.
-- Wakefield is 1-3, 9.20 in his last six starts. Marcum was 0-1, 8.76 in his last three 2007 starts.
-- Bale is making first big league start for Royals.
-- Duchscherer is making first major league start.

Pitchers vs Teams
-- Hill was 1-0, 3.32 in three '07 starts vs Houston. Sampson shut Cubs out for five innings in 4-2 Houston win last April.
-- Owings allowed six runs in 3.2 IP vs Rockies in his last start.
-- Olson was 1-0, 5.84 in two '07 starts against Pittaburgh.
-- Kendrick beat Reds 11-4 last June, allowing four runs in 6 IP.
-- Hudson was 2-1, 3.79 in six '07 starts against Mets. Maine is 1-1, 3.93 in his last three starts against the Braves.
-- Perez was 1-1, 9.00 against Cardinals last season.
-- Germano was 0-3, 6.11 against Dodgers last season.

-- Contreras was 0-1, 9.50 in three starts vs Detroit LY.
-- Trachsel allowed two runs in 5.2 IP in non-decision against the Mariners last August. Washburn was 1-1, 8.18 in a pair of starts vs Baltimore last season.
-- Kennedy beat Tampa 9-6 in first big league start, allowing thyree runs in seven IP. Sonnanstine was 1-1, 3.77 against the Bronx Bombers LY, winning his start in Bronx 9-1 in August.
-- Wakefield was 3-2, 3.66 vs Toronto LY. Red Sox were 0-2 vs Marcum last season, losing 6-4/6-5.
-- Baker was 3-0, 1.59 against the Royals last season.
-- Moseley shut Texas out for four innings in abbreviated start last September. Gabbard allowed five runs in six IP against the Angels, in a no-decision last September.
-- Byrd was 1-1, 7.15 vs Oakland last season.

Totals
-- Total of 13 runs were scored in first three Giant games.
-- Three of first four Houston games stayed under the total.
-- Over is 8-4 in last dozen Owings starts.
-- First three Florida games all went over the total.
-- Over is 7-1 in last eight Kendrick starts.
-- Mets scored 24 runs in their first three games, all overs.
-- Over is 14-6 in last twenty Looper starts.
-- First three Dodger games stayed under the total.

-- Over is 14-7-1 in last 22 Contreras starts.
-- Under is 5-2-1 in last eight Trachsel starts.
-- Nine of last 11 Sonnanstine starts went over the total.
-- Under is 3-1 in first four Boston games, 3-0 in Toronto tilts.
-- Under is 7-3 in Baker's last ten home starts.
-- Three of last four Gabbard starts went over the total.
-- Under is 3-1 in Oakland games; they scored one run in their last two games.

Hot Teams
-- Nationals won three of their first four games.
-- Padres won three of their first four games.

-- Red Sox won three of their first four games.
-- Royals are off to 3-0 start, sweeping Tigers in Detroit.
-- Angels won last three games, allowing total of five runs.

Cold Teams
-- Braves lost three of their first four games.
-- Astros lost three of their first four games.

-- Tigers lost first three games, scoring total of five runs.
-- Minnesota lost its last three games, scoring five runs.
-- A's lost three of last four games, scoring one run in last two.

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