Thursday's Tip Sheet

Thursday's Tip Sheet

Thursday's Tip Sheet
By Josh Jacobs

A total of six afternoon games will take place on Thursday, paving the way for summer ball to arrive sooner then later.

One specific ballgame will pit the L.A. Angels (12-9, +46) and Red Sox (15-7, +832) in a battle for American League bragging rights. Boston has now knocked out six wins in a row, is 9-1 in its last 10 and has worked to exceed the ‘over’ 12 times in a total of 22 games played.

The Red Sox will enter this 1:35 p.m. EDT showdown with a 6-3 record during day games. Boston’s starting pitcher Jon Lester (1-2, 5.06 ERA) will get the nod for his sixth start of the season. Since his rookie season in 2006, Lester has gone 2-0 with 5.27 ERA in six games played while the sun was up. Giving up 35 hits, 16 earned runs and four homers has translated into a .318 batting average against.

Angels’ southpaw starter Joe Saunders (3-0, 2.15) will take the mound for his club. While the last three years of pitching hasn’t netted the most satisfying results during the day, a 2-0 record with a 1.35 ERA on the road in ’08 has supplied L.A. with plenty of defense.

Saunders is tossing the ball against righties with blistering effectiveness. Going up against 81 at bats, the fourth-year slinger has held down right-handed hitters to a low .210 BA. His 17 hits allowed have translated into just six RBIs sacrificed.

The Red Sox are garnering a league leading .303 BA with the help of Manny Ramirez’s 20 RBIs, Kevin Youkilis’ .354 BA (14 RBIs) and Dustin Pedroia’s .523 slugging percentage.

Houston (9-12, -279) at Cincinnati (9-12, -195) – 12:35 p.m. EDT

While the Astros have been slumping in almost every conceivable category (with the exception of committing only seven errors), Miguel Tejada has refused to let up. Houston’s shortstop has gone on to record a splintering .370 BA with 18 RBIs and four long balls to boot.

But that’s why baseball is a team game. With the exception of Tejada’s production plus Lance Berkman’s (.301 BA, 16 RBIs) continued success, the rest of the team has averaged a .218 BA (eight players who have seen at least 15 at bats).

Beginning the season with a 9-12 record, Cincinnati ownership announced the firing of general manager Wayne Krivsky on Wednesday.

The Reds have put together inadequate run support for their pitchers, with ace Aaron Harang (1-2, 2.83) serving as a prime example. In five starts this season, Harang has witnessed his two defeats coming by scores of 9-5 (versus the Cubs) and 4-2 (versus Arizona), with the latter loss bearing more significance to the lack of offense.

Cincinnati rookie hurler Johnny Cueto (1-1, 3.42) will receive the start. His last loss came in a 9-1 shellacking in Pittsburgh, in which Cueto allowed five runs on five hits.

The Reds are 3-8 in their last 11, while the Astros have flourished in Houston with a 9-1 record in their last 10 meetings there.

Texas (7-14, -521) at Detroit (8-13, -889) – 1:05 p.m. EDT

Starting pitcher Jason Jennings (0-3, 7.08) will continue to search for his first win of the season when he toes the slab for his Rangers team in Detroit. Beginning the season with a winless record is nothing new to Jennings. The seventh-year veteran is a combined 10-14 in his first four starts of the season dating back to 2002. What should begin to ring a bell is that Jennings registered an 0-4 record in his first four starts during the 2007 season.

The Tigers are in hot water of their own. Winning two games in a row could indicate a possible shift in momentum but ranked 29th worst in the league with a 5.28 ERA and first in the league with 100 base on balls, it’s not a secret that Detroit hasn’t started on the right foot.

One positive emerging in the stats department in the Tigers’ .282 BA with 38 runs in the last seven days of play. During the same seven-day stretch, Edgar Renteria has wrangled in a .464 BA with 10 RBIs, as Miguel Cabrera seems to be getting into a groove with 10 RBIs of his own.

Philadelphia (11-10, -124) at Milwaukee (12-8, +535) – 1:05 p.m. EDT

The Brewers have been a prime example of pitching fatigue. In a hard fought win over St. Louis on Tuesday (9-8), the Brewers burnt through seven relievers. Closer Eric Gagne (8.31 ERA) blew his third save of the season on an errant throw by second baseman Rickie Weeks.

In the Brewers last three games the bullpen has put together a 6.66 ERA with a WHIP of 1.87.

Milwaukee will send Jeff Suppan (1-0, 4.13) to the hill in hopes of plowing through a Phillies team ranked seventh in the league with 102 runs.

Philadelphia is averaging 6.3 runs per game in its last six. Pat Burrell and Chase Utley have been unconscious this season, combining for 42 RBIs and a .347 BA through the season.

Phillies’ veteran starter Jamie Moyer (1-1, 4.79) will get the ball to begin the game. The lefty has surrendered a total of six runs on 16 hits in his last two starts.

For more information on teams who are hot hitting off lefties click here.

Most books have opened the Brewers as $1.29 home favorites with a total set at 9½-runs.

Minnesota (10-10, +80) at Oakland (12-9, +535) - 3:35 p.m. EDT

What was a 3-0 memory when he took the starting job for Minnesota in 2006, left handed slinger Francisco Liriano (0-2, 6.52) is still searching for his first win of this season.

Slated to pitch in Oakland on Thursday, Liriano hasn’t had run support fall in his favor (a total of one run in two starts) but 10 hits and seven runs in 9.2 innings of work doesn’t speak volumes of his own performance.

While Oakland doesn’t hold the title as most esteemed offense in the league, a 12-9 record, (6-2 on the road) has already surpassed some expectations that this club entered with to begin the season.

The A’s currently hold the third best ERA in the league at 3.39 and a .240 BAA has held teams on the ropes.

Offensively, Oakland’s Bobby Crosby and Emil Brown have both been run producers. Crosby has raked in 15 RBIs to Brown’s 16.

Bodog.com has opened the A’s as $1.17 favorites, with a total hovering around 8½ runs.

Chicago Cubs (14-6, +586) at Colorado (9-11, -163) - 3:35 p.m. EDT

The Cubs are +784 on the run line (12-8) this year and a 2.45 ERA awarded to the bullpen in the last three games has been instrumental in building up an 8-1 record in the last nine.

Jason Marquis (1-0, 3.86) will make his fourth start for Chicago. In his one and only win on the season, Marquis pitched a six inning gem versus Pittsburgh on Apr. 19. The 13-1 win witnessed the right-hander giving up six hits and one earned run in six innings.

Over a three-year period, Marquis is 3-2 with a 3.43 ERA in six starts versus Colorado.

The Rockies enter Thursday with an underachieving 1-5 record during the day.

Colorado has now dropped four games in a row, is tossing an inflated 4.45 ERA and is faltering at the plate with a .252 BA (87 runs rank this team 22nd in the league).

If you’re looking for an angle on totals, jot down that the Cubbies have gone ‘under’ 10 runs (the opening total) six times in 10 games.

Most books have installed the Rockies as $1.30 home favorites.

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Re: Thursday's Tip Sheet

Late-night Tip Sheet
By Brad Young

There is plenty of action on Thursday’s baseball card, so I’m going to focus on action mostly on the Left Coast involving western teams. The lone exception is the ‘pick’em’ contest between the New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox.

**Giants (Lincecum) at Padres (Young)**

-Caesars Palace installed San Diego as a $1.40 home ‘chalk’ over San Francisco, with the total set at seven ‘under’ (minus $1.20). This National League West matchup is scheduled to start at 10:05 p.m. ET.

-San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum (2-0, 1.42 ERA) blanked St. Louis Saturday as a $1.10 road underdog, 3-0. The second-year player tossed seven scoreless innings on six hits with three walks and five strikeouts.

-The three runs never seriously threatened the eight-run closing total, helping the ‘under’ improve to 2-1 his three starts.

-The right-hander picked up a no-decision against the Padres April 8, yielding one run on seven hits with a walk and seven strikeouts over six innings. The Giants ended up winning that affair as a $1.20 home favorite, 3-2, while the combined five runs went ‘under’ the 7½-run closing total.

-San Diego counters with Chris Young (1-1, 4.57 ERA) who is coming off Saturday’s no-decision against Arizona. The 6-foot-10 right-hander went six innings, allowing two runs on three hits with three walks and four strikeouts.

-The Padres ended up losing that game as an ‘even’ money selection, 10-3, while the combined 13 runs went ‘over’ the 9½-run closing total. The ‘over’ has cashed the last two starts for Young.

-The Princeton product went 1-1 versus San Francisco last season in four starts, going a combined 24 2/3 innings while being reached for 13 runs on 24 hits (one home run) with 10 walks and 17 strikeouts. San Diego won as a $1.00 road underdog, 5-3, as a $1.25 home ‘chalk,’ 1-0, and as a $1.60 home favorite, 5-4, while losing as a $1.37 road ‘chalk,’ 9-4. The ‘over’ went 3-1 during those four games.

**Diamondbacks (Gonzalez) at Dodgers (Billingsley)**

-Caesars Palace lists Los Angeles as a $1.40 home favorite over Arizona, with the total set at 8½ ‘over’ (minus $1.15). This NL West tilt is slated to start at 10:10 p.m. ET.

-Arizona pitcher Edgar Gonzalez (0-1, 4.50 ERA) picked up a no-decision in Saturday’s effort against San Diego as a $1.10 home ‘chalk.’ The righty went six innings, surrendering three runs on four hits (two home runs) with four walks and three strikeouts.

-The Diamondbacks eventually won that contest, 10-3, helping the ‘over’ cash in Gonzalez’s last two starts.

-The Mexico native went 1-2 against Los Angeles last season in four starts, tossing a combined 18 2/3 innings while allowing 14 runs on 29 hits (four home runs) with five walks and nine walks. Arizona won as a $1.20 road underdog, 6-1, while losing as a $1.10 home ‘dog, 5-1, a home ‘pick,’ 6-5, and as a home ‘pick,’ 7-1. The ‘under’ went 3-1 during those four games.

-Los Angeles right-hander Chad Billingsley (0-3, 6.57 ERA) is still searching for his first victory on the young season after losing to Atlanta Saturday as a $1.10 road ‘chalk,’ 4-1. The 23-year-old went five innings, surrendering four runs on six hits with five walks and nine strikeouts.

-The combined five runs failed to topple the nine-run closing total, helping the ‘under’ cash his second consecutive start.

-The three-year veteran fell to Arizona April 8 as a road ‘pick,’ 10-5, lasting just 2 1/3 innings while being reached for five runs (four earned) on five hits (one home run) with three walks and a strikeout. The combined 15 runs eclipsed the nine-run closing total.

**Yankees (Hughes) at White Sox (Floyd)**

-Caesars Palace opened this American League contest as a ‘pick,’ with the total listed at 10½ ‘under’ (minus $1.20). First pitch is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. ET.

-New York hurler Philip Hughes (0-3, 8.82 ERA) toes the rubber for the first time since falling to Baltimore Friday as a $1.40 road favorite, 8-2. The California native was tagged for five runs on nine hits with two walks and a strikeout over 5 1/3 innings. The combined 10 runs landed directly on the closing total.

-Hughes, a two-year veteran, has never started against the White Sox in his brief major league career.

-The right-hander has lost his last three starts, all on the road. He picked up a no-decision in his lone Yankee Stadium effort this season.

-Chicago’s Gavin Floyd (2-0, 1.40 ERA) won his first two starts before picking up a no-decision last Thursday against Baltimore. The 6-foot-5 hurler surrendered two unearned runs on two hits (one home run) with two walks and four strikeouts.

-The White Sox eventually dropped that contest as an ‘even’ money selection on the road, 6-5, while the combined 11 runs went ‘over’ the nine-run closing total. The ‘under’ had cashed his first two starts of the season.

-Floyd, a five-year veteran, did not start against the Yankees last season.

**Orioles (Loewen) at Mariners (Washburn)**


-Caesars Palace installed Seattle as a $1.60 home favorite over Baltimore, with the total listed at nine. This game is scheduled to begin at 10:10 p.m. ET.

-Baltimore’s Adam Loewen (0-1, 6.32 ERA) hasn’t pitched since April 16 when he lost to Chicago as a $1.18 home ‘chalk,’ 3-1. The southpaw was reached for three runs on six hits (one home run) with five walks and three strikeouts over six innings.

-The combined four runs went ‘under’ the 9 ½-run closing total, helping the ‘under’ cash his second consecutive start.

-Loewen picked up a no-decision against the Mariners April 5 despite yielding four runs on four hits (two home runs) with three walks and four strikeouts over just 4 2/3 innings. The Orioles eventually prevailed as a home ‘pick,’ 6-4, while the combined 10 runs went ‘over’ the 9 ½-run closing total.

-Seattle southpaw Jarrod Washburn (1-3, 4.13 ERA) is currently mired in a personal two-game losing skid after Saturday’s setback to Los Angeles as a $1.35 road underdog, 4-1. The Wisconsin native allowed four runs on 10 hits with no walks and a strikeout over six innings.

-The combined five runs went ‘under’ the nine-run closing total, helping the ‘under’ cash his third start in a row.

-Washburn fell to the Orioles April 4 as a $1.30 road favorite, 7-4, surrendering three runs on six hits with a walk and four strikeouts over five innings. The combined 11 runs toppled the nine-run closing total.

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Re: Thursday's Tip Sheet

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Arizona (15-6) at L.A. Dodgers (9-12)


The National League West-leading Diamondbacks, who opened this two-game midweek series Wednesday night with an 8-3 loss, send right-hander Edgar Gonzalez (0-1, 4.50 ERA) to the Dodger Stadium hill against fellow righty Chad Billinsgley (0-3, 6.14).

Arizona had been on a 14-3 tear prior to last night’s defeat, scoring at least four runs in all 17 of those contests. Despite the setback, the DBacks still has a commanding six-game lead in the N.L. West, and is the only team in the division with a winning record.

Los Angeles is still just 5-10 in its last 15 games after last night’s victory, though it has won three straight at home. In a bit of an oddity, the Dodgers have scored eight runs or more in each of their last four wins and one run or fewer in five of their last six losses.

Dating to last season, the Diamondbacks are on a 9-4 run against the Dodgers (4-3 in L.A.).

Gonzalez will make his fourth start of the season, having gotten no-decisions in two outings, though Arizona won both those games. Last Saturday against San Diego, he allowed three runs on four hits in six innings, and the DBacks pulled away late for a 10-3 victory. Gonzalez has struggled against the Dodgers, with a 1-4 career mark and a troubling 8.48 ERA in seven appearances (six starts). However, he won his lone start at Dodger Stadium last season, allowing just one run on six hits in five innings.

Billingsley came on in relief in his first two outings of the season, allowing one run on three hits in 2 1/3 innings. But he’s been the loser in all three starts since then, including a 4-1 setback Saturday at Atlanta in which he allowed all four runs (all in the fifth inning) on six hits in five innings, although he did strike out nine. Billingsley is 4-2 with a 3.19 ERA against Arizona in six starts (eight appearances), though he got blasted at Arizona on April 8, giving up five runs on five hits in just 2 1/3 innings.

The Diamondbacks are on streaks of 4-1 against right-handed starters, 5-1 on the highway and 5-2 on Thursday, but they are 4-10 in their last 14 road games versus righties and 6-19 in their last 27 with Gonzalez an underdog.

The Dodgers are also 5-2 in their last seven on Thursday and are a solid 18-7 in their last 25 as a home chalk and 4-0 in Billingsley’s last four Thursday. On the flip side, L.A. is 4-7 in its last 11 against right-handers and 2-5 in its last seven against the N.L. West.

The over for Arizona is on a 9-2-1 overall streak, but the under is on run of 36-18-3 in DBacks road games against right-handed starters, 13-4 when Gonzalez works on the road and 12-4 when Gonzalez is a road underdog. For Los Angeles, the over is on a 6-1 run at Dodger Stadium and is 8-3-1 with the Dodgers favored. But the under is 11-4 in Billingsley’s last 15 starts overall and 5-2 in his last seven home outings. Finally, even though last night’s game flew over the total, the under is still 6-3 in the last nine series battles at Dodger Stadium.

ATS ADVANTAGE UNDER


AMERICAN LEAGUE

N.Y. Yankees (12-10) at Chicago White Sox (11-9)


The Yankees, who are looking to sweep this three-game road series at U.S. Cellular Field, will pit struggling young righty Phil Hughes (0-3, 8.82 ERA) against White Sox right-hander Gavin Floyd (2-0, 1.40).

New York opened the series with a 9-5 victory Tuesday night, then claimed a 6-4 victory Wednesday night for its third straight win. That streak comes on the heels of a three-game skid – which, oddly enough, was preceded by another three-game winning streak. Tonight, New York is looking to win four in a row for the first time in 2008.

Chicago has lost four of its last six following a 4-1 run, and they’ve dropped three of their last four at home. The Sox are just 4-5 at U.S. Cellular this season, though they have won 11 of their last 18 starts overall.

The Yankees have owned this series lately, winning seven of the last eight clashes, including five in a row at Chicago.

Hughes opened the season with a solid start, allowing two runs on four hits in six innings, getting a no-decision in a 3-2 New York victory over Toronto on April 3. However, he’s been tagged for 15 runs in 10 1/3 innings since then in three road starts, including five runs on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings last Friday in an 8-2 setback at Baltimore. Hughes, a 21-year-old who made 13 starts last season in his first year with the Yanks, is facing the White Sox for the first time.

Floyd, a veteran by comparison at 25 years old, got off to a 2-0 start by allowing just three runs in 13 1/3 innings, then got a no-decision last Thursday in Baltimore after yielding two runs (none earned) on two hits in six innings in his team’s 6-5 loss. In his lone appearance against New York, though, Floyd allowed five runs on six hits in three innings of relief in a 16-3 Yankees rout last July at the Stadium.

The Yankees are on 5-1 road tear against right-handed starters and are 5-2 in their last seven as a road favorite and an astounding 161-75 in their last 236 games against the A.L. Central. That said, New York is only 2-5 in Hughes’ last seven road starts and 1-4 with Hughes a road favorite.

Despite two straight home losses to the Yanks, the White Sox are still 4-1 in their last five as a home ‘dog and 8-3 in their last 11 overall as an underdog. On the downside, they are 3-7 in Floyd’s last 10 starts overall and 2-6 in their last eight Thursday contests.

The over has cashed the past two nights in this series and is 4-1 in the last five clashes overall. But beyond that, the “under” trends are heavy for both teams, including 10-3 for New York overall, 7-2 for New York on the road against winning teams, 8-2 with the Yanks a road chalk, 8-2 for Chicago overall and 8-1 for the Sox in Floyd’s last nine starts. Finally, the under is 10-5-2 the last 17 Yankees-Sox battles in Chicago.

ATS ADVANTAGE: CHICAGO and UNDER

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