Saturday's MLB Tip Sheet

Saturday's MLB Tip Sheet

Weekend Series
April 25, 2008

Weekend Series Forecasts: Final weekend of April 2008

There are 13 series going this weekend in the bases that run from Friday thru Sunday and, of course, all of these are three-game series. The other two series (the Orioles/White Sox plus the Yankees/Indians) run from Friday through Monday and are four-game series. We will write a very quick piece on each one as being concise here is the key in covering all the weekend series in one fell swoop! However, note the betting angle here; if we see any particular value we will point it out as something to consider. Now, “Let’s Play Ball”:

New York Yankees @ Cleveland – After a 13-2 home loss to Detroit last Wednesday, Indians manager Eric Wedge called for a closed door meeting. Since then the Indians are 5-2 and they’ve averaged over 8 runs per game in the 5 wins! The Yankees offense is also heating up as they’ve scored 63 runs in their last 10 games However, they’ve also allowed 57 runs over that same stretch. However, their bullpen still holds an edge over that of the Indians and this series would not surprise if it ended up being a 2-2 split. Look for plenty of offense though in this one, at least until the weather turns ugly Monday (according to forecasts).

Los Angeles Angels @ Detroit – Another match-up of two solid offenses. The Tigers have finally got their offense going and it’s been in a big way! Detroit, after back to back shutouts on the 12th and 13th, has scored an average of nearly 8 runs per game in their last 11 games! Not surprisingly, their 8-3 during this red hot offensive run! As for the Angels, they’re also on an 8-3 run. Los Angeles has done more of their damage with the pitching but there’s nothing wrong with averaging 5.5 runs per game which is exactly what their offense has done during this stretch. Their bullpen also seems to have settled down finally too. A slight lean toward the Angels taking two of three in this series but, the way the Tigers are hitting, a look at the Overs throughout this series may be the better way to go.

Boston @ Tampa Bay – Even though the Red Sox have lost two straight, this is another red hot offense. Boston had gone 10-1 before losing two straight. In their last 13 games they’ve averaged 6.5 runs per game but they could be surprised by the pitching down in Tampa Bay. Believe it or not, the Rays bullpen has a 2.49 ERA this season which is good enough for the top spot in all of baseball. Tampa Bay comes into this series 4-1 their last 5 and has allowed an average of just 3.3 runs per game in these five games. The Red Sox could have their hands full this weekend.

Minnesota @ Texas – This one could turn into a battle of attrition. The Twins have lost 7 of their last 11 and have scored just 3.3 runs per game as their anemic offense continues to disappoint. Things are no better for the Rangers as Texas has lost seven straight and averaged just 3.4 runs per game. We are not likely to be too involved with this “ugly” series.

Toronto @ Kansas City – After being an early season surprise and sitting at 9-6 on the season, it take long for the Royals to return to their losing ways! Kansas City has now lost seven straight and their bullpen, earlier ranked #1 among the 30 teams, has quickly fallen off and now ranks in the lower third of MLB! The Royals have allowed an average of over 8 runs per game in their 7 game losing streak! Can Toronto take advantage? It’s actually unlikely. They’ve lost 7 of their last 9 games as the whole Frank Thomas incident certainly didn’t help the clubhouse! The Jays have averaged just 3.3 runs per game in their last 9 games and this one, just like the Twins and Rangers, could be another “ugly” series.

Baltimore @ Chicago White Sox – The Orioles, unlike the Royals, have managed to maintain consistency after their strong start to the season. They’ve won six of their last ten and their bullpen ranks 5th among the 14 AL teams in terms of their relievers ERA so far this season. However, the Orioles have been held to five runs or less in 13 of their last 18 games! They will be facing a White Sox team that has been “clutch” this season as the ChiSox have hit .326 (tops in all of baseball) with runners in scoring position so far this year! Look for the White Sox to take 3 of 4 in this series as, home field edge and clutch hitting will be the key advantages. The pitching of these two teams is roughly equal.

Oakland @ Seattle – Like the White Sox, the Athletics hitting has been “clutch” this season as they are 2nd among all 30 teams in terms of batting average with runners in scoring position. The A’s are red hot on offense right now and that, coupled with the winning, breeds a lot of confidence a the plate. It would not surprise if the A’s take two of three in Seattle. Oakland is 13-06 after starting the season just 1-3. Once they recovered from opening the season in Japan, the A’s have been a pleasant surprise this season. Their offense was expected to be a significant weakness but they’ve now averaged over 5 runs per game in their last 19 games. The Mariners are 5-6 their last 11 and they’ve been held to five runs or less in eight of those games. However, they did sweep a two game set in Oakland earlier this week and that means it’s “revenge time” for the A’s up in Seattle this weekend. As noted previously, it would not surprise if the A’s take two of three here. They are playing very well right now!

Philadelphia @ Pittsburgh – The Phillies have won four of their last five and how hot will they be when Rollins and Victorino are back? Plus, what about when Howard starts hitting? The fact is this team is simply loaded offensively and not many teams would be surviving as well with two speedy starters out of the lineup plus a slumping slugger. The Phils have averaged nearly six runs per game in their last eight games and their bullpen is the tops in the National League! The Pirates bullpen ranks as 2nd to last in the NL and this series should see the Phillies easily take two of three. Pittsburgh has lost 7 of their last 9 and they’re averaging just 3.1 runs per game during this poor stretch. Phillies will take advantage! Friday’s game is a little tough to call but Phils should take this series and might possibly get the sweep.

Atlanta @ New York Mets – Key NL East battle but the Mets are slumping. New York has lost four of their last five and they’ve averaged just 3.6 runs per game during the slide. The Braves have won six of their last eight and could take two of three in this series but we’ll probably remain in the dugout on this one as this one is a little tough to call based on the projected pitching match-ups.

Chicago Cubs @ Washington – The Nationals have now won two of their last three but they previously had lost 15 of their last 17. In other words, we have very little faith in Washington at this point! The Cubs have won 14 of their last 18 and, on the surface, this looks like the mismatch of the weekend. The key here is that there will be some line value with Chicago because they’re on the road. However, tread carefully here, Odalis Perez and John Lannan are both capable of giving strong outings for the Nationals and, at home, the Nats could possibly have upset potential in this series.

Florida @ Milwaukee – Good luck to the Brewers pitchers in this one. Florida is second only to Philadelphia in terms of home runs this season. They also are second only to Arizona in terms of slugging percentage so far this season. As you can see, the Marlins have established themselves as one of the most powerful offenses in the league so far this season. A surprise? Yes! Something we should brush off as a fluke? Absolutely not. Even without Miguel Cabrera, there are some solid young hitters in this lineup! However, the Marlins could have their hands full with the Brewers this weekend. Milwaukee is 6-4 at home and they’ve also been getting the job done in recent games as they’ve won five of their last eight overall.

Houston @ St Louis – You may look at their lineup and scratch your head but, the fact is, the Astros offense is suddenly one of the hottest in all of baseball! Houston has won five straight and averaged over 8 runs per game. However, they are now running into a St Louis team whose team ERA ranks them at 4th among all 30 MLB teams. The Cardinals though have suddenly run into some pitching difficulties as they’ve allowed 7 or more runs in three of their last five games. That makes this a tough series to call because it’s difficult to go against the Cardinals at home but the Astros offense is too hot to fade. Looks like a “stay away” for us.

Arizona @ San Diego – These teams just met in Arizona and not a single game was close. The Diamondbacks took two out of three and the winning team scored at least nine runs in every game. However, things tend to be much different in pitcher friendly San Diego. The Padres generally can rely upon their pitching to win them games at home. However, this season their bullpen has been rocked and San Diego just doesn’t have the offense to overcome that. Looks like the better offensive team (the Dbacks) should take two out of three here. Webb versus Peavy on Sunday should be a great pitchers’ duel!

Cincinnati @ San Francisco – Another ugly series match-up here like a couple of others we’ve noted above. The Reds have lost 10 of 13 and the Giants have won two straight but previously had lost five of their last seven. Even though San Francisco is now 4-5 their last 9, they’ve averaged LESS than 3 runs per game during this stretch. We will be hard pressed to get involved at any point in this series. It’s just too tough to trust either team!

Colorado @ Los Angeles Dodgers – The Rockies are coming off of a win Thursday but they had previously lost four straight games. The Dodgers have won two straight just once this season since winning their first two games of the year. While there is not a lot of consistency with the Dodgers, the Rockies have been very streaky. The key this weekend could be the pitching match-ups which seem to favor the Dodgers. Even though Los Angeles isn’t known for its run production, before yesterday’s loss the Dodgers had scored 8 runs or more in 5 of their last 11 games. The Rockies pitching staff should fare better in Los Angeles but it’s hard to ignore the fact that, before yesterday’s win, Colorado had allowed 7.5 runs per game in losing four straight games here. The Dodgers should win two of three in this series!

Good luck this weekend as, in addition to enjoying the second weekend of the NBA Playoffs (plus Round Two of the NHL Playoffs), we will also have much to enjoy at the diamonds with these series match-ups! Best of luck always – Scott Rickenbach

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MLB weekend cheat sheet

The 2008 MLB season closes out its first month of play this weekend and with it comes a few intriguing matchups worth noting.

In the National League, the Braves travel to the Big Apple to battle the Mets while the heavy-hitting Diamondbacks duel with the pitching-strong Padres in San Diego. On the American League front, the Yankees and Indians meet in Cleveland in a rematch of last year’s playoffs while the Oakland A’s take on the Mariners in Seattle in a West Division battle.

Here’s our take on these series (all pitcher records are team starts unless noted otherwise):


Atlanta at NY Mets

Most Recent Series Result: Mets 5-3 last eight games

Most Recent Series Result at the Site: Mets 6-4 last 10 here

Key Day/Month Stat: Braves 5-1 last six on Fridays

Best Arm in the Series: Perez 4-1 last five at home

Worst Arm in the Series: James 0-3 10.19 ERA here

Arizona at San Diego

Most Recent Series Result: Diamondbacks 4-1 last five games

Most Recent Series Result at the Site: Padres 4-1 last five here

Key Day/Month Stat: Diamondbacks 14-2 last 16 Saturdays

Best Arm in the Series: Peavy 7-1 3.50 last eight here

Worst Arm in the Series: Young 0-5 6.32 ERA last five


NY Yankees at Cleveland

Most Recent Series Result: Yankees 9-3 last 12 games

Most Recent Series Result at the Site: Yankees 5-2 last seven here

Key Day/Month Stat: Yankees 2-17 last 19 Fridays in April

Best Arm in the Series: Mussina 6-2 last eight starts

Worst Arm in the Series: Sabathia 2-7 6.94 ERA career

Oakland at Seattle

Most Recent Series Result: Mariners 6-0 last six games

Most Recent Series Result at the Site: Athletics 12-7 last 19 here

Key Day/Month Stat: Athletics 0-7 away on Sundays

Best Arm in the Series: Harden 5-0 0.58 ERA here

Worst Arm in the Series: Bedard 0-4 4.74 home

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Re: Saturday's MLB Tip Sheet

Saturday's MLB Tip Sheet
By Brad Young

**Phillies (Kendrick) at Pirates (Morris)**

-Caesars Palace lists Philadelphia as a $1.25 road ‘chalk’ over Pittsburgh, with the total set at 10 ‘over’ (minus $1.20). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.

-Philadelphia pitcher Kyle Kendrick (1-2, 5.59 ERA) heads to the hill searching for his first victory since April 4 after going 0-2 his last three outings. The 23-year-old escaped with a no-decision against Colorado Monday after allowing five runs on eight hits (two home runs) with two walks and two strikeouts over five innings.

-The Phillies eventually won that game as a $1.10 road underdog, 9-5, while the combined 14 runs toppled the 10½-run closing total. The ‘over’ is 3-1 his four starts this season.

-Kendrick beat the Pirates last year as a $1.35 home favorite, 5-1, while the combined six runs went ‘under’ the 10-run closing total. The right-hander was reached for the lone run on six hits (one home run) with a walk and four strikeouts over seven innings.

-Pittsburgh’s Matt Morris (0-3, 9.15 ERA) continues to struggle after falling to Florida Monday as a $1.03 home ‘chalk,’ 10-4. The right-hander lasted just four innings, surrendering eight runs on nine hits (two home runs) with a walk and two strikeouts.

-The combined 14 runs eclipsed the 10-run closing total, helping the ‘over’ cash his third consecutive start.

-Morris went 2-0 against the Phillies last year in two starts, going a combined 13 innings while yielding two runs on nine hits with six walks and four strikeouts. The Pirates prevailed as a $1.02 home favorite, 6-2, and as a $1.30 road underdog, 13-0.

**Rockies (Redman) at Dodgers (Penny)**

-Caesars Palace opened Los Angeles as a $1.80 home favorite over Colorado, with the total set at eight ‘over’ (minus $1.20). This National League West matchup is scheduled to start at 10:10 p.m. ET.

-Colorado’s Mark Redman (2-1, 5.23 ERA) picked up a no-decision against Philadelphia Monday despite allowing four runs on six hits (three home runs) with no walks and five strikeouts over five innings.

-The Rockies eventually dropped that contest as a $1.13 home ‘chalk,’ 9-5, while the combined 14 runs toppled the 10½-run closing total. The ‘over’ has cashed his last three starts.

-The southpaw received a no-decision in his lone start against the Dodgers last season, tossing five innings while yielding four runs on seven hits (one home run) with a walk and a strikeout. The Rockies eventually prevailed as a $1.17 home favorite, 9-8, while the combined 17 runs went ‘over’ the 11-run closing total.

-Los Angeles counters with right-hander Brad Penny (3-2, 2.67 ERA) who enters this contest riding a personal two-game winning streak. The nine-year veteran upended Cincinnati Monday as a $1.35 road ‘chalk,’ 9-3, allowing one run on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts over six innings.

-The combined 12 runs eclipsed the nine-run closing total, enabling the ‘over’ to cash his last three starts.

-The 29-year-old went 2-0 against Colorado last year in five starts, tossing a combined 28 1/3 innings while surrendering 12 runs on 24 hits (three home runs) with 16 walks and 13 strikeouts. The Dodgers prevailed as a $1.50 home favorite, 3-0, a $1.40 road ‘chalk,’ 5-4, and as a $1.38 home favorite, 4-3, while losing as a $1.38 road ‘chalk,’ 6-5, and as a $1.35 home favorite, 9-7.

**Red Sox (Buchholz) at Rays (Jackson)**

-Caesars Palace installed Boston as a $1.30 road ‘chalk’ over Tampa Bay, with the total listed at 10 ‘under’ (minus $1.15). This American League East contest is slated to start at 7:05 p.m. ET.

-Boston pitcher Clay Buchholz (1-1, 4.79 ERA) beat Texas Monday as a $1.53 home favorite, 8-3, for his first victory of the year. The 6-foot-3 hurler tossed six scoreless innings on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts.

-The combined 11 runs toppled the 10-run closing total, enabling the ‘over’ to improve to 3-1 his four starts.

-Buchholz, a two-year veteran, has never started against the Rays during his brief major league tenure.

-Tampa Bay pitcher Edwin Jackson (2-2, 4.63 ERA) has dropped his last two starts after falling to Chicago Sunday as a $1.20 home ‘chalk,’ 6-0. The 6-foot-3 right-hander lasted just 4 1/3 innings while surrendering six runs on seven hits (one home run) with three walks and four strikeouts.

-The six runs failed to topple the 9½-run closing total, helping the ‘under’ improve to 4-0 when he’s pitching.

-Jackson went 2-1 against Boston last season in four starts, going a combined 22 1/3 innings while being tagged for 14 runs on 27 hits (two home runs) with 12 walks and 19 strikeouts. The Rays triumphed as a $1.70 home underdog, 2-1, and as a $1.55 home ‘dog, 5-4, while losing as a $2.00 road ‘dog, 7-5, and as a $1.90 road ‘dog, 5-4.

**Twins (Baker) at Rangers (Feldman)**

-Caesars Palace lists Minnesota as a $1.10 road favorite over Texas, with the total set at 10 ‘under’ (minus $1.20). This matchup is scheduled to begin at 8:05 p.m. ET.

-Minnesota pitcher Scott Baker (2-0, 3.51 ERA) is off back-to-back no decisions after Sunday’s affair with Cleveland. The Oklahoma State product went seven innings, allowing one run on five hits with a walk and eight strikeouts.

-The Twins eventually won that contest as a home ‘pick,’ 2-1, while the combined three runs never seriously threatened the nine-run closing total. The ‘over’ had cashed his previous two starts.

-Baker, a four-year veteran, did not start against the Rangers last season.

-Texas right-hander Scott Feldman (0-0, 4.50 ERA) picked up a no-decision in his lone start April 13 against Toronto. The 6-foot-5 hurler was reached for three runs on eight hits with two walks and three strikeouts over six innings.

-The Rangers eventually dropped that affair as a $1.35 home underdog, 5-4, while the combined nine runs slithered ‘under’ the 9½-run closing total.

-Feldman, a four-year veteran, did not start against the Twins the past few seasons.

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Arizona (17-6) at San Diego (9-15)

Micah Owings (4-0, 2.42 ERA) goes for his fifth straight win to start the season when he leads the red-hot DBacks against Justin Germano (0-2, 5.01) and the slumping Padres in the middle game of a weekend series at Petco Park.

Arizona, which owns baseball’s best record, took Friday’s series-opener 5-1, improving to 16-4 in its last 20. The DBacks have now scored at least four runs in 19 of their last 20 games, and they’re also 8-4 on the road this year.

San Diego is in the midst of an ugly slump, having lost five in a row and nine of its last 10. That includes five straight home losses during which the Padres have scored a total of six runs. In fact, Bud Black’s squad has produced those six runs over their last 66 innings at Petco, and they’ve scored three runs or fewer in 16 of their 23 contests overall.

These teams met last weekend in the desert, with Arizona taking two of three. Dating to last year, the Diamondbacks are on a 5-1 run against the Friars. However, San Diego is still 4-2 in the past six meetings at Petco.

Owings, who was just 8-8 with a 4.30 ERA in 29 games (27 starts) in his rookie season last year, is off to a fantastic start to 2008, allowing a total of seven runs in 26 innings, lasting at least six innings in every start. He’s also 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA in two road starts.

Owings faced San Diego three times last year. He got rocked in the one outing at home (five runs allowed in three innings of a 10-2 loss), but was brilliant in two starts at Petco Park, giving up one run in each contest on a total of seven hits over 13 innings, winning 9-5 and getting a no-decision in a 3-1 Arizona loss.

Germano was outstanding in his first three starts, giving up just three earned runs in 20 innings (1.35 ERA). But his last time out in Houston, the right-hander got destroyed, yielding 10 runs on 10 hits in just 3 1/3 innings, falling 10-3. San Diego is 0-6 in Germano’s last six starts dating to last September, including 0-3 at home. Going back further, the Pads are mired in the following slumps with Germano on the hill: 5-17 overall, 2-9 at home and 3-13 against the N.L. West.

In Germano’s two home outings this year, he’s posted a 2.08 ERA, but San Diego lost 7-1 to the Dodgers and 10-2 to Colorado. Also, he went 2-1 with a 3.63 ERA in four games (three starts) against Arizona in his rookie season last year.

The over is 6-3 in Germano’s last nine starts overall and 9-3 in his last 12 starts at home, but the under is 5-2 in Owings’ last seven.

The over is 10-3-1 in Arizona’s last 14 overall, and 6-1-1 in the last eight series meetings between these teams. However, the under is now 10-3 at Petco Park this season, including 7-1 in the last eight.



N.Y. Yankees (12-12) at Cleveland (11-12)

A pair of young pitchers face off at Progressive Field late this afternoon, as struggling Yankees right-hander Ian Kennedy (0-2, 9.64) opposes Cleveland’s Jeremy Sowers (1-6, 6.42 ERA in 2007), who is set to make his season debut.

New York dropped Friday’s series opener 6-4, falling to 3-4 on its current road trip. That 3-4 mark continues a season marked by inconsistent play, as Joe Girardi’s club has not won or lost more than three straight games all season. Also, the Yanks are now 5-4 at home and 7-8 on the road.

The Indians have rebounded from a 3-10 slump to win six of their last eight, including the last four in a row. However, since opening the season with two home wins, the Indians have lost six of nine at Progressive Field.

New York had an eight-game regular-season winning streak against Cleveland snapped in Friday’s defeat. It was also the Yankees’ first regular-season loss in Cleveland in their past six outings. However, Cleveland won the games that mattered most in last year’s postseason, knocking out the Yanks in four games in a best-of-5 Divisional round series.

Kennedy has just one quality outing in three starts this season, and he lasted just 2 2/3 innings in his most recent outing a week ago today in Baltimore. In that contest, he gave up four runs on five hits and five walks, taking a 6-0 loss. He’s 0-1 with a 6.94 ERA in two road starts. Finally, this is Kennedy’s first career start against the Indians.

The Indians went just 4-9 in Sowers’ 13 starts last year, including 1-3 at home. The southpaw was 0-2 with a 5.87 ERA in those four home outings.

Sowers lasted just 2 2/3 innings in his one start against New York last year, giving up six runs on nine hits in a 9-2 defeat at Yankee Stadium. However, in 2006 at home, he held the Yanks to two runs on six hits in seven innings, winning 5-2.

The over is 8-3 in Sowers’ last 11 starts (3-0 at home) and 2-1 in Kennedy’s three outings this season. The over is also 10-3-1 in the last 14 meetings between these squads and 4-0 in the Yankees’ last four overall. Finally, the Indians have topped the total in three of their last four.



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Re: Saturday's MLB Tip Sheet

Saturday's best MLB bets

New York Yankees at Cleveland -105, 10½

In spite of Eric Wedge’s assertion that Jeremy Sowers is “not the same guy from ‘07”, bettors might want to be wary of the 24-year-old making his debut in the Cleveland rotation this season. He’s a former No. 1 draft pick, but he didn’t look like it last year when his location got lost somewhere on Route 66 and he was bounced from the rotation before the playoffs. Now he’s got to try to prove himself in front of a national television audience against the New York Yankees’ bats.

New York will put Ian Kennedy on the mound. He’s in a similar position as Sowers was last year: a sophomore big leaguer learning that it’s a lot tougher to deal with professional hitters after they’ve had a season to get to know your stuff. His 0-2 record and 9.64 ERA are testament to that.

Pick: Over

Oakland at Seattle -145, 8½

So far, the Mariners haven’t gotten their money’s worth from Erik Bedard. The M’s signed the left-hander to a one-year, $7 million contract, but so far he’s pitched only 11 innings this season. He will make his third start of 2008 after a stint on the DL due to inflammation in his hip. As good as Bedard is, these injury problems have prevented him from getting in a rhythm and at a price like this, it’s worth a bet that he won’t be in top form in his first start since April 9.

The A’s are on a bit of a hot streak, winning six of their last seven games. Their bullpen has been outstanding and the addition of Frank Thomas, who was picked by Oakland up after being released by Toronto, should inject some much-needed power into the lineup.

Pick: Oakland

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