Sunday's Tip Sheet

Sunday's Tip Sheet

Sunday's Tip Sheet
By Josh Jacobs

In Sunday’s installment of the MLB tip sheet, we’re going to take a focus on pitchers who have been dominant to start the season off. With the exception of an 8:05 p.m. EDT ESPN covered contest between the L.A. Angels and Detroit, 14 games will be taking place throughout the afternoon.

Without wasting any more time, let’s drop in on the latest marquee matchups taking place on this baseball Sunday.

N.Y. Yankees (12-12, -390) at Cleveland (11-12, -489) – 1:05 p.m. EDT

The topic of discussion in this matchup is the different paths that both New York’s starter Chien-Ming Wang and Cleveland’s ace C.C. Sabathia have taken to begin the 2008 season (both will be going head-to-head on Sunday).

For the Yankees, Wang (4-0, 3.94 ERA) has used his patented sinker ball to perfection. With the exception of getting tattooed by Boston on Apr. 16 (giving up eight runs on nine hits in four innings), the Taiwanese born slinger has held surrendered only 5.5 hits per game with 1.5 runs per game over the coarse of his four wins.

And Wang’s stats against lefties will be important to mull over as Cleveland has Victor Martinez, Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner taking swings from the other side of the plate (all have combined for a .286 BA with 32 RBIs).

Wang has seen 57 at bats appearances from lefties, a scenario which the Yankee starter has been effective against with a .246 BAA, while giving up only five RBIs with eight strikeouts.

Indian ace Sabathia (1-3, 10.13) has had a terrible time trying to carry over his successful campaign from ’07 to the new ’08 season. A Cy Young winner just a year ago, Sabathia has been shelled by hitter for a .350 BAA and a WHIP topping out at 2.17.

Sabathia’s last start in Kansas City was easily his best performance of the year. The southpaw star tossed a shutout in six innings of work, giving up just four hits. Eleven strikeouts with just two base-on-balls added to the impressive outing.

Over his seven-year career, Sabathia is a deplorable 1-7 with a 7.13 ERA against the Bronx Bombers.

Although Cleveland disassembled New York last October, the Yanks are 9-3 in their last 12 head-to-head meetings.

Atlanta (12-11, -221) at N.Y. Mets (11-11, -297) -  1:10 p.m. EDT

Atlanta ace John Smoltz (3-1, 0.78) continues to defy the odds of aging. Losing his first game of the season to Washington (6-0) on Apr. 22, Smoltz own performance of seven innings pitched, giving up five hits and one run was more then enough effort to win the game.

Smoltz has now sacrificed a grand total of two runs this season (both earned runs) and has given the opposition only 15 hits to work with in all four starts. In the last three years, the 19-year veteran is now 44-24 with a controlled 3.22 ERA. Career versus the Mets has Smoltz logging in an 18-14 record with an ERA of 3.37.

The Mets are 10-7 in their own division this year versus a deplorable 1-4 record when playing teams outside of the NL East. Ranked 21st in runs scored (103) and 20th in BA (.252), there’s no side stepping New York’s lack of production inside the batter’s box.

There’s been no method to the Mets’ madness as a 10-12 record on the run line has resulted in losses of -236 units and a 12-10 record on the ‘under’ underlines the unpredictability when wagering at the window.

New York will call upon the duties of Brooklyn born starter, Nelson Figueroa (1-1, 4.05). Figueroa’s last start resulted in an 8-1 loss against the Cubs, where the righty threw 92 pitches in only five innings, giving up seven hits, three runs and five walks. At home, the 33-year old slinger is 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA. His .114 BAA in 13 innings of work inside Shea Stadium is supporting evidence of home field advantage in Figueroa’s favor.

Boston (15-10, +492) at Tampa Bay (12-11, +190) – 1:40 p.m. EDT

The Red Sox starting staff (4.51 ERA, 1.43 WHIP) and bullpen (5.27 ERA, 1.59 WHIP) have been slow to progress. Boston’s ace Josh Beckett (2-1, 5.12) is slated to make his first start since Apr. 17 after being scratched from the rotation on Wednesday with a stiff neck.

Throwing eight innings of work against the Yankees in his last start, Beckett received the ‘W’ after giving up three runs on six hits. His 105 pitch counted supplied Boston’s offense with enough time to pile on seven runs versus New York’s five.

Beckett has been touched by opposing bats during the day, registering a 1-1 record accompanied by a 6.35 ERA. But the hard throwing right hander has flourished against lefties this season, giving up a rock bottom .189 BAA with only three RBIs on the stat sheet.

Taking the mound for the Rays will be second-year vet, James Shields (2-1, 3.30). The California native has been tagged for a total of 34 hits in 30 innings of effort (1.1 hits per inning). While Shields has been a great slinger versus righties with a .226 BAA, southpaw batters have jumped on his pitches for a .328 BAA. However, Shields’ 21 strikeouts on the season rank him tops among the team’s pitching staff.

Boston will enter Sunday on a three-game losing streak. All three defeats have resulted in scoring margins no higher then two runs. For bettors, a 10-15 run line record resulting in a deficit of 5.25 units should be taken seriously.

And if you’ve been backing the Rays on the run line, a 14-9 record has equated to a +566 statement.

The ‘under’ is 13-5-1 in Boston’s last 19 games on turf.

Minnesota (10-13, -220) at Texas (8-16, -621) – 2:05 p.m. EDT

The Twins’ starting pitcher Livan Hernandez began the season by winning three straight games (21 hits and six hits sacrificed in those three), but has since recorded two no decisions.

In two starts versus Tampa Bay and Oakland (on Apr. 16 and 22 respectively), Hernandez seemed to have lost some swagger by giving up a total of 15 hits and nine runs in 12 innings. While his pitch counted averaged 85.7 in the three straight wins, the last two games have ushered in an average of 106 pitches (20.3 pitch difference).

Southpaw swingers have seen success off the Hernandez, posting a .292 BA with five RBIs and two bombs over the fence. When the count has been locked at 2-1 this season, the 12-year veteran has been hammered for a .545 BAA and has yielded five RBIs with two long balls.

Falling on hard times for yet another season, Texas has continues to find itself in a pickle.

Brining in Milton Bradley seems to be paying off with the lofty right fielder hitting .329 with seven RBIs and an on base percentage of .422. But a 3-6 home record coupled with a losing price tag of 6.21 units and -960 on the run line has reflected the club’s lack of depth at the plate and on the mound.

Having faced each other in the last 10 games, Minnesota has been tagged as the favorite a total of seven times. The Rangers have split five wins in the last 10 games at home versus the Twins.

When trailing in the eighth inning, Minnesota is a winless 0-6.

L.A. Angels (15-9, +364) at Detroit (10-14, -795) - 8:05 p.m. EDT on ESPN

The Angels will enter Sunday’s contest with a solid 7-3 record versus the AL Central, a 9-4 record on the road and an offense rocking the ball for a team .291 BA.

Toeing the slab for L.A. will be right-handed start Jered Weaver (1-3, 4.50). Weaver finished ’07 as a 13-game winner with a 3.91ERA. However, a slow start to this season has seen the 25-year old product from California rack up a .289 BAA, while giving up 35 hits in a total of 30 innings pitched.

The Tigers will counter with flame throwing specialist, Justin Verlander (1-3, 5.93). But all hasn’t been well on the Eastern Front with Verlander getting caught 20 runs in all three losses (6.7 runs per game in defeats). A solid outing against Texas on Apr. 22 (six innings, six hits and one run) was much needed.

Offensively, Detroit has been pounding the ball for a .275 BA, 49 RBIs and 12 home runs in the last seven days. In their last four wins, Detroit has walked over its opponents by scoring 42 runs, with 19 coming in a blowout win over Texas on Wednesday.

Even with the Tigers’ offensive explosion, a 10-14 record on the run line (-494) and -795 on the money line has investors skeptical at this point.

The ‘over’ is 8-1 in the last nine head-to-head meetings between both teams. The Angels are 9-3 in their last 12 overall.

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Re: Sunday's Tip Sheet

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Arizona (17-7) at San Diego (10-15)


Two of the best pitchers in the game square off this afternoon at Petco Park, with DBacks ace Brandon Webb (5-0, 2.31 ERA) battling reigning N.L. Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy (3-0, 2.00) and the Padres.

San Diego halted a five-game overall and a five-game home losing skid – and snapped out of a serious offensive funk – by outlasting Arizona 8-7 in 13 innings yesterday. The Padres scored two more runs on Saturday than they had in their previous 66 innings at Petco. Still, San Diego remains just 2-9 in its last 11 and has produced three runs or fewer in 16 of their 25 games overal

Arizona continues to own baseball’s best record and is still 16-5 in its last 21. The DBacks have now scored at least four runs in 20 of their last 21 games, and they’re also 8-5 on the road this year.

Dating to last year, the Diamondbacks are on a 5-2 run against the Friars. However, San Diego is now 5-2 in the past seven meetings at Petco.

Webb, who won the 2006 Cy Young Award, has been outstanding so far, allowing two earned runs or fewer in four of his five outings. His most recent performance on Wednesday against San Francisco was his worst to date, as he surrendered three runs on nine hits in six innings, but still won 5-4.

Webb is 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA on the road this year after going 10-5 with a 2.88 ERA on the highway in 2007. The right-hander is just 4-7 despite a 3.78 ERA in 19 career starts against the Padres, including 2-3 with a 3.61 ERA in eight outings at Petco Park. Last year, he faced the Padres five times, going 1-2 with a 3.18 ERA.

Peavy is coming off his worst outing the season, giving up four runs on seven hits over six innings at Houston on Wednesday, getting a no-decision in San Diego’s 11-7 loss. The right-hander has been brilliant at Petco this year, posting a 2-0 record and a 0.38 ERA in three starts (one run and nine hits allowed in 24 innings). San Diego is 13-6 in Peavy’s last 19 trips to the hill, including 5-2 in his last seven at home.

Peavy battled Arizona five times last season, going 3-1 with a 3.86 ERA. He was awesome in three of the outings, giving up a combined one run and eight hits with 37 strikeouts in 24 innings, but terrible in the other two (13 runs allowed in 11 innings). For his career, he’s 10-9 with a 5.11 ERA against the DBacks, but the Padres are 8-1 in his last nine home starts versus the Snakes.

The under is 20-7-2 in Peavy’s last 29 starts in Petco Park. 6-2-1 in his last nine efforts on Sunday, 14-6-1 in Webb’s last 21 starts overall and 5-2 in his last seven on Sunday.

The over is 11-3-1 in Arizona’s last 15 overall, and 7-1-1 in the last nine series meetings between these teams. However, even though Saturday’s game easily hurdled the total, the under is still 10-4 at Petco Park this season, including 7-2 in the last nine, and the under is 8-3 in Arizona’s last 11 on Sunday.

ATS ADVANTAGE: ARIZONA and UNDER


AMERICAN LEAGUE

L.A. Angels (15-9) at Detroit (10-14)


Tigers ace Justin Verlander (1-3, 5.93) tries for his second win of the season when he goes up against Jered Weaver (1-3, 4.50) and the Angels in this nationally televised rubber match of a three-game weekend series at Comerica Park.

Detroit had a season-best four-game winning streak halted in Friday’s 4-3 loss to Los Angeles, but bounced back Saturday and prevailed 6-4. Since tallying 15 runs in losing their first six home games, the Tigers have rebounded to go 6-1 in their last seven at Comerica, scoring 63 runs.

Despite Saturday’s setback, Los Angeles is 9-4 in its last 13 games, including 6-2 on the road. For the season, Mike Scioscia’s club is 9-5 on the highway.

The Angels have flat owned Detroit over the years, winning 38 of the last 52 meetings, including nine of the last 13. They’re also 16-8 in their last 24 games at Comerica.

After four ugly starts to begin the season, Verlander settled down in Wednesday’s outing against Texas, giving up just a run on six hits in six innings, cruising to a 10-2 home win. That snapped Detroit’s five-game losing skid in games started by Verlander. Meanwhile, the right-hander is now 1-1 with a 4.58 ERA in three home starts, and Detroit is 23-9 in Verlander’s last 32 at home.

Verlander has faced the Angels twice – both in 2006 – and Detroit lost both games by scores of 7-2 at home, even though the righthander gave up just three earned runs in 13 innings (2.08 ERA).

Weaver got rocked at Boston on Wednesday, yielding five runs on 10 hits in five innings of a 7-6 loss, dropping to 0-2 with a 6.88 ERA in three road starts. The Halos are 1-6 in Weaver’s last seven starts dating to last season, including 0-4 on the road.

Weaver’s only two career starts against Detroit came last year at home, and the results weren’t pretty as he gave up a combined 13 runs (11 earned) on 18 hits in just seven total innings (14.14 ERA), but Los Angels managed to split the two games, losing 9-5 and winning 11-6.

The over is 2-0 in Weaver’s two starts against Detroit and 1-0-1 in Verlander’s two outings against Los Angeles.

The under has been the play the past two days after the over was 8-0 in last year’s eight meetings. The over is still 12-6-2 in the last 20 head-to-head clashes in Motown. However, as for recent totals trends, the under is 7-2-1 in L.A.’s last 10 overall and 5-2-1 in Detroit’s last eight overall.

ATS ADVANTAGE: L.A. ANGELS

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