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Sunday's MLB Tip Sheet

Sunday's MLB Tip Sheet

Sunday's Tip Sheet
By Brian Edwards

Another chapter in baseball’s most bitter rivalry is being written this weekend with the Yankees and Red Sox squaring off at Fenway Park.

Chien-Meng Wang was sensational in the series opener Friday night, going the distance and allowing just two hits in a 4-1 victory for the Bronx Bombers. Wang improved to 3-0 with a miniscule 1.23 ERA.

Jason Giambi belted a solo homer and Jose Molina had an RBI double to provide the offense. Hideki Matsui and Alex Rodrguez added a pair of hits apiece.

New York (6-5, -194) will give the ball to Phil Hughes (0-1, 5.00 ERA) Sunday night. The right-hander was wild and ineffective in his last outing, a 5-2 loss at Kansas City.

Hughes walked four batters and gave up three earned runs in just three innings of work. Despite getting just nine outs, he still threw 87 pitches. Hughes will be facing the Red Sox for the first time in his career.

Boston (5-6, -110) will counter with Daisuke Matsuzaka (2-0, 1.47), who has been outstanding in his first three assignments. The second-year righty went 2-1 with a 6.12 ERA in four starts against the Yankees in 2007.

"Dice K has been absolutely lights out so far this season," handicapper Bill Marzano said. "The Red Sox have won in all three of his starts. He did a good job of keeping the core of the Yankees lineup off stride last year."

Giambi, Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon are the only Yankees who had success against Dice-K last year. Damon went 5-for-13 (.385), while Posada was 5-for-9 (.556) with three doubles and Giambi was 3-for-6 (.500). Jeter, who is 4-for-12 (.333) with a pair of homers against the Japanese product, is “out” for this series with a quad injury.

A-Rod has just one single in eight at-bats against Dice-K. Meanwhile, Bobby Abreu (0-for-10) and Melky Cabrera (0-for-7) are hitless, while Robinson Cano is 1-for-12 (.083) and Matsui is 1-for-7 (.143).

The ‘under’ continues to cash tickets at a furious pace for the Yankees, hitting at a 10-1 clip to date.

Las Vegas Sports Consultants opened the Red Sox as minus 160 favorites with a total of 9½ ‘over’ (minus 125). As of Saturday evening, most spots had Boston at minus 155 with a total of 10 ‘under’ (-115).

ESPN will provide television coverage at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

--Gamblers who are fading the Tigers regularly are immersed in profit. Detroit fell to 2-9 with Saturday’s 7-0 loss at Chicago. Jim Leyland’s team has now taken three bagels in 12 games and the ‘under’ is on a 7-3 run.

--Atlanta slugger Chipper Jones left Saturday’s game in the fifth inning with the Braves enjoying a comfortable lead. They went on to beat the Nationals for the second straight day with a 10-2 win thanks to a pair of homers and seven RBIs from Jeff Francoeur. Jones, who is hitting .386 out of the gate, is dealing with a strained quad, so don’t be surprised if Bobby Cox gives him a day off on Sunday.

--Seattle LHP Erik Bedard is 1-3 with a 6.18 ERA in five career starts against the Angels.

--Florida RHP Burke Badenhop will make his major-league debut Sunday at Houston. Badenhop played at the single A level of the minors last season, posting a 10-6 record and 3.13 ERA in 23 starts.

--After losing a 5-3 decision at home to the Brewers on Saturday, Mets LHP Johan Santana is out to a disappointing 1-2 start.

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Sunday MLB Gameday

The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees conclude their first series of the season on Sunday night. Here's a look at that matchup and three others in your MLB Gameday . . .

Milwaukee Brewers at New York Mets
Jeff Suppan (1-0, 2.03 ERA) vs. Oliver Perez (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

Suppan has pitched well in both of his outings so far this season, but he only has one win to show for his efforts. In his first start of the season the righthander held the Cubs to two earned runs on six hits over 6 1-3 innings of work in a victory. Last time out, against the Reds, he surrendered one earned run over seven innings in a no-decision.

Perez has taken to the mound twice this season, and he has get to give up an earned run. The lefthander began the year by blanking the Marlins on five hits over six innings to pick up a win, and he struck out eight batters in that game. Against the Phillies in his last outing Perez was stuck with a no-decision despite tossing 5 2-3 scoreless innings.

Los Angeles Angels at Seattle Mariners
Joe Saunders (1-0, 0.56 ERA) vs. Erik Bedard (1-0, 3.27 ERA)

Saunders has been effective for the Angels so far this season, which has helped them cope with the absence of both John Lackey and Kelvim Escobar. The lefthander went eight strong innings against the Twins in his first outing, allowing no earned runs and four hits. Saunders then gave up just one earned run in eight innings against the Tribe.

Bedard wasn't as good in his second outing as he was in his first, but he still managed to pick up his first win. The lefthander opened his season by surrendering just one earned run on three hits over five innings against Texas in a no-decision, but he grabbed the win against the Rays this week when he gave up three runs in six innings.

San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Dodgers
Greg Maddux (1-0, 2.77 ERA) vs. Chad Billingsley (0-1, 9.64 ERA)

Maddux picked up his first win of the season on Monday against the Giants, holding the opposition to one earned run on three hits over seven innings of work. The veteran righthander also struck out five batters in that contest. In his first start of the season Maddux allowed three earned runs over six innings in a no-decision against Houston.

Billingsley was used as a reliever in his first two outings of the season (due to weather-related delays), and he didn't perform well in his first start of the year on Tuesday. The righthander was knocked around for four earned runs on five hits over just 2 1-3 innings against the Diamondbacks in that contest, walking three batters and fanning only one.

New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox

Phil Hughes (0-1, 5.00 ERA) vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka (2-0, 1.47 ERA)

Hughes is still looking for his first win of the season, and he'll also be looking to bounce back from a bad outing when he pitches Sunday; the righthander gave up three earned runs on six hits over three innings in a loss to the Royals on Tuesday. In his first outing, against the Blue Jays, Hughes allowed two earned runs in six innings in a no-decision.

Matsuzaka has pitched well in each of his three outings so far this year, and he's managed to strike out 22 batters over his 18 1-3 innings of work. Dice-K is coming off a strong outing against the Tigers in which he tossed 6 2-3 scoreless innings, and gave up just four hits. The righthander has two wins and a no-decision in his three '08 starts.

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Chicago Cubs (6-5) at Philadelphia (6-6)

The Phillies try for a three-game sweep over the Cubs when they send veteran southpaw Jamie Moyer (1-0, 4.66 ERA) to the mound against Chicago’s Jason Marquis (0-0, 6.75) at Citizens Bank Park.

Philadelphia dominated Chicago 7-1 on Saturday after taking the series opener 5-3 on Friday. The Cubs, who arrived in Philly riding a five-game winning streak, have dropped consecutive games for the first time since opening the season 0-2. Meanwhile, the Phillies are in the midst of an odd pattern to start the season, as they’ve followed up a two-game losing streak with a two-game winning streak three times.

Moyer got knocked around in his first start of the season, allowing six runs (three earned) on nine hits in just 3 2/3 innings, though the Phillies bailed him out in an 8-7 home victory over the Nationals. He rebounded with a solid outing at Shea Stadium on Tuesday, holding the Mets to two runs on four hits in six innings of a 5-2 Phillies’ win.

Moyer only saw the Cubs once last season and gave up four runs on nine hits in five innings of a 5-4 loss, but did beat them twice in 2006, allowing a combined four runs on 12 hits in 13 innings. Philadelphia is 4-1 in Moyer’s last five home starts, 6-2 when he’s a favorite and 6-1 when he’s started on Sunday.

Marquis was shaky in his first start this season eight days ago, giving up five runs (four earned) on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings at home, with Chicago rallying for a 9-7 win over the Astros. He faced the Phillies once last year and held them to three runs on eight hits in six innings of a 7-3 win at Wrigley Field. The Cubs are just 3-7 in Marquis’ last 10 road starts and 1-5 in his last six when he faces an N.L. Central Division foe.

The Phillies are now 13-5 since 2006 against the Cubs, including 6-1 in the last seven in Philly. Also, they’re 38-17 in their last 55 Sunday games and 7-1 in their last nine at home against a right-handed starter. Meanwhile Chicago is 13-7 in its last 20 as an underdog, but just 21-44 in its last 65 against N.L. East squads.

The under is 10-4 in the last 14 series clashes in Philadelphia, 5-1-1 in the last seven meetings overall, 11-5 in the Phillies’ last 16 against right-handed starters and 15-4 in the Cubs’ last 19 against southpaw starter.



N.Y. Yankees (6-6) at Boston (6-6)

The Red Sox send Daisuke Matsuzaka (2-0, 1.47 ERA) to the mound at Fenway Park to face the Yankees and Philip Hughes (0-1, 5.00) in the deciding game of these rivals’ initial three-game series of 2008.

Boston has alternated wins and losses in its last six games after holding off the Yankees 4-3 in Saturday’s rain-delayed contest. Meanwhile, although that victory snapped New York’s modest two-game winning streak, it remains 7-2 in the last nine meetings with Boston and 4-2 in the last six battles at Fenway.

Boston is 3-0 in Matsuzaka’s first three starts this season, with wins over the A’s in both Japan and Oakland, as well as a home victory over Detroit. Dice-K has given up three runs on eight hits in 18 1/3 innings of work.

Going back to last season, the Red Sox are 5-0 in Matsuzaka’s last five overall and 4-0 in his last four outings at home. However, they’re just 2-7 in Matsuzaka’s last nine against American League East teams.

Matsuzaka faced the Yankees four times in his rookie season in 2007 – twice at home, twice on the road – going 2-1 with a 6.12 ERA.

Hughes got knocked around in Tuesday’s start in Kansas City, giving up three runs on six hits in just three innings of a 5-2 loss. He threw 87 pitches and walked four against the Royals. On the bright side, the Yankees are 6-1 in Hughes’ last seven starts overall and 5-0 in Hughes’ last five starts against the American League East, though the young right-hander has yet to face the BoSox in his brief career.

The over is 21-7 in the last 28 series clashes in Boston, but both meetings this weekend have stayed under the number. Also, the under is 11-1 in the Yankees’ last 12 overall (7-0 in the last seven), 5-0 in the Yankees’ last five against division foes and 6-0 in their last six on the road. The under is also on streaks for Boston of 5-1 at home, 6-2-1 when facing a righthander and 5-1 at Fenway. 



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Matsuzaka's starts less dicey this year

Boston pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka has not necessary ripped through the major leagues in his 35 career starts, posting a 17-12 overall record and 4.16 earned-run average.

But this season, Matsuzaka has gotten off to an impressive start. Heading into tonight's game against the New York Yankees, he's 2-0 with a 1.47 ERA and has recorded 22 strikeouts with nine walks.

Matsuzaka's arm is the biggest reason why the Red Sox are heavy favorites to defeat the Yankees in the final game of a three-game series.

On the moneyline, Boston is listed at -151 with the New York at +143. So that means a player needs to wager $151 to win $100 on the Red Sox. A $100 bet on the Yankees would pay $143.

Matsuzaka is 2-1 in four career starts against New York. But he has allowed three home runs, which explains his 6.12 ERA against the Yankees.

Fortunately for Matsuzaka, his biggest pain on the Yankees, shortstop Derek Jeter, will not play tonight because of injury. Jeter has four hits in 12 at-bats with two home runs against "Dice K."

A pitcher with a bit more big league experience, San Diego veteran Greg Maddux, will face the Dodgers for the 35th time in his career today at Dodger Stadium.

Maddux, who will turn 42 on Monday, is 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA this season. He will be seeking to improve on a 15-8 career record against the Dodgers, which features 144 strikeouts and a 2.94 ERA.

The Dodgers have been pegged as the favorites today at -125 with the Padres at +115.

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