Wednesday's MLB Tip Sheet

Wednesday's MLB Tip Sheet

Wednesday's Tip Sheet
By Brad Young

Even though the baseball regular season is just a week and a half old, the biggest surprise so far is the Detroit Tigers. This club remains winless after seven games with Tuesday’s 5-0 loss to Boston.
Detroit remains the 2/3 favorite to win the American League Central ahead of Cleveland (5/4) and Chicago (9/1). The Tigers also had the fourth highest ‘over/under’ win total heading into the 2008 campaign at 93 wins, just behind Boston (94.5), the New York Mets (94) and the New York Yankees (93.5).

There are still 155 games to be played this year and every team goes through peaks and valleys during the marathon baseball season, but starting the campaign on an eight-game losing skid is not a good sign. After dropping three home games against a weak Kansas City squad, things are not getting easier for the Tigers with road games against Boston and Chicago.

Another interesting early season trend involves the high-powered New York Yankees.  The 'under' is 7-1 for the Bronx Bombers after they fell to Kansas City Tuesday, 5-2.  Losing shortstop Derek Jeter will hurt the offense, but the Yankees captain played in their first seven games.  The 'under' has cashed the past four performances for New York.

Now let’s take a look at four key games on Wednesday’s baseball schedule.

**Cardinals (Looper) at Astros (Sampson)**

-Caesars Palace installed Houston as a $1.10 home ‘chalk’ over St. Louis, with the total set at 9½. This National League Central contest is slated to start at 8:05 p.m. ET.

-St. Louis pitcher Braden Looper (1-0, 1.50 ERA) beat Washington Friday as a $1.40 home favorite, 5-4. The right-hander was reached for one run on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts over six innings. The combined nine runs landed directly on the closing total.

-The Wichita State product went 2-1 against Houston last year in four starts, going a combined 24 2/3 innings while yielding nine runs on 26 hits with six walks and nine strikeouts. The Cardinals won as a $1.37 home ‘chalk,’ 3-1, as a $1.25 road underdog, 8-6, and as a $1.10 road favorite, 7-0, while losing as a $1.30 home ‘chalk,’ 18-1.

-Houston counters with righty Chris Sampson (0-0, 2.70 ERA), who picked up a no-decision Friday against Chicago. The Astros eventually prevailed as a $1.70 road underdog, 4-3.

-The three-year veteran tossed 6 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on six hits with a strikeout. The combined seven runs went ‘under’ the 8 ½-run closing total.

-Sampson went 1-1 against the Cardinals last year in two starts, surrendering a combined six runs on 11 hits (one home run) with two walks and a strikeout over 12 2/3 innings. Houston prevailed as a $1.35 home favorite, 8-3, while losing as a $1.27 road ‘dog, 3-1.

**Braves (James) at Rockies (Redman)**

-Caesars Palace opened Atlanta as a $1.25 road favorite over Colorado, with the total listed at 10½ ‘under’ (minus $1.20). This contest is scheduled to begin at 8:35 p.m. ET.

-Atlanta southpaw Chuck James is making his first appearance of the season in this spot. He hasn’t started a game or come out of the bullpen the first week and a half of the season.

-The 26-year-old went 1-0 against the Rockies last year in two starts, going a combined 10 1/3 innings while being reached for eight runs on 12 hits (three home runs) with four walks and six strikeouts. The Braves triumphed as a road ‘pick,’ 9-7, and as a $1.30 home ‘chalk,’ 6-5. The ‘over’ cashed both times.

-Colorado’s Mark Redman (0-1, 6.35 ERA) fell to Arizona Friday as a $1.15 home favorite, 8-1. The 6-foot-5 hurler allowed five runs (four earned) on nine hits (one home run) with three walks and four strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings. The combined nine runs went ‘under’ the 10-run closing total.

-Redman, a nine-year veteran, did not start against Atlanta last season.

**Tigers (Bonderman) at Red Sox (Lester)**

-Caesars Palace lists Boston as a $1.25 home ‘chalk’ over Detroit, with the total set at 10 ‘under’ (minus $1.20). This American League tilt is slated to start at 7:05 p.m. ET.

-Detroit hurler Jeremy Bonderman (0-1, 5.68 ERA) heads to the hill for the first time since Thursday’s setback to Kansas City as a $1.80 home favorite, 4-1. The five-year veteran surrendered four runs on eight hits (two home runs) with two walks and a strikeout over 6 1/3 innings.

-The combined five runs went ‘under’ the 8 ½-run closing total.

-Bonderman picked up a no-decision in his only effort against Boston last year. The right-hander was reached for two runs on seven hits (one home run) with three walks and nine strikeouts over eight innings. The Tigers eventually won that affair as a $1.58 home ‘chalk,’ 3-2, while the combined five runs went ‘under’ the 10-run closing total.

-Boston’s Jon Lester (1-1, 3.38 ERA) is off last Wednesday’s victory over Oakland as a $1.30 road underdog, 5-0. The five runs went ‘under’ the 8 ½-run closing total, helping the ‘under’ improve to 2-0.

-The 6-foot-2 hurler tossed 6 2/3 innings of scoreless ball on three hits with three walks and three strikeouts.

-Lester, a three-year veteran, did not start last year against the Tigers.

**Orioles (Trachsel) at Rangers (Gabbard)**

-Caesars Palace opened Texas as a $1.55 home favorite over Baltimore, with the total set at 10. This game is scheduled to begin 8:05 p.m. ET.

-Baltimore pitcher Steve Trachsel (1-0, 3.18 ERA) beat Seattle Friday as a $1.20 home underdog, 7-4. The combined 11 runs went ‘over’ the nine-run closing total.

-The veteran right-hander was reached for two runs on four hits (one home run) with two walks and a strikeout over 5 2/3 innings.

-Trachsel pitched for the Chicago Cubs last season, and did not start against Texas.

-Texas pitcher Kason Gabbard (1-0, 0.00 ERA) upended the Los Angeles Angels Friday as a $1.38 road underdog, 11-6. The combined 17 runs soared ‘over’ the nine-run closing total.

-The left-hander tossed seven scoreless innings while scattering seven hits with two walks and four strikeouts.

-Gabbard got the victory in that infamous 30-3 game last year against Baltimore, tossing six innings while yielding three runs on seven hits with a walk and three strikeouts. Needless to say, the combined 33 runs toppled the nine-run closing total.

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Philadelphia (4-4) at N.Y. Mets (2-4)

The Phillies send second-year starter Kyle Kendrick (1-0, 7.20 ERA) to the mound at Shea Stadium to face another young right-hander in the Mets’ Mike Pelfrey (3-8, 5.57 in 2007), who is making his first start of the season.

Philadelphia was a key contributor to New York’s late-season swoon last year, taking eight straight games from the Mets, including a key three-game series at Shea in mid-September. On Tuesday, the Phillies picked up where they left off last year, rallying from a 2-0 deficit to win 5-2 for their ninth straight win in the series.  They’re 13-6 in the last 19 meetings overall and 8-2 in their last 10 games at Shea.

New York has lost three straight overall and 10 of its last 11 at home. Meanwhile, Philly is 7-2 in its last nine as an underdog.

Kendrick, who went a solid 10-4 with a 3.87 ERA in 20 starts last season, gave up four runs on five hits in five innings of work in his season debut Friday, an 8-4 victory at Cincinnati. In his only start against the Mets as a rookie, he gave up just two runs on six hits in 6 2/3 innings en route to a 5-3 home victory last July.

Pelfrey was the losing pitcher against Kendrick last July in his only start against the Mets, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits in five innings. He was a wreck at home, too, going 1-5 with a 6.35 ERA in 10 games (eight starts).

The under is 7-3-1 in the last 11 head-to-head meetings overall and 7-2 in the last nine clashes in New York. The under is also 9-4 in the Phillies’ last 13 games against right-handed starters. On the flip side, the over is on streaks of 8-1 when Kendrick starts (1-0 this year), 6-2-1 for the Mets at Shea, 16-6 for the Mets overall, 17-6-1 for the Mets against division rivals and 4-0 for Pelfrey at home.



Detroit (0-7) at Boston (4-4)

The Tigers, who remain the only winless team in baseball, look to finally get in the win column when they send righty Jeremy Bonderman (0-1, 5.68) to the mound against left-hander Jon Lester (1-1, 3.38) in the second game of a three-game set at Fenway Park.

Detroit dropped all six games of its season-opening homestand, then went to Fenway yesterday afternoon and got blanked 5-0, managing just five hits in the defeat. The Tigers, who have the second-highest payroll in baseball, have been shutout twice already this season, and their potent offense has produced just 15 runs in seven games.

The Red Sox, who returned home yesterday after a brutal four-city, three-country road trip that took them from Tokyo to Los Angeles to Oakland to Toronto, snapped a three-game slide with Tuesday’s victory. Including postseason games, Boston is 58-31 at home since the start of last season.

The Tigers are now 5-18 in their last 23 games at Fenway Park, including going 1-3 in a four-game set last May before sweeping the Red Sox in a three-game July series at home.

Bonderman, who went 11-9 with a 5.01 ERA last season, allowed four runs on eight hits – including two homers – in 6 1/3 innings in a 4-1 home loss to Kansas City on Thursday. Against the Red Sox, he is 3-4 with a 4.58 ERA in nine career starts, with all three wins coming in the last three outings, all in Detroit. However, he’s 0-3 with a 5.73 ERA in four career starts at Fenway Park.

Bonderman was 6-3 with a 4.70 ERA in 14 road starts last year, far better than his home numbers (5-6, 5.32 ERA). The Tigers have won eight of his last 11 on the highway.

Lester, who was 4-0 with a 4.57 ERA in 11 starts last year, bounced back from a 5-1 loss to the A’s in Japan two weeks ago to lead a 5-0 win at Oakland on April 2. Lester allowed just three hits in 6 2/3 innings in the victory.

Not including the postseason, Lester is 5-1 with a 4.60 ERA in 14 career games (13 starts) at Fenway Park. Tonight marks his first ever start against the Tigers.

For Detroit, the under is on runs of 16-7 on the highway, 5-1 against lefty starters and 4-1 with Bonderman on the mound. Also, the under is 4-2-1 in Boston’s last seven, 7-1 in Lester’s last eight starts (2-0 this year) and 7-2-1 in the last 10 head-to-head meetings.


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