Monday's MLB Tip Sheet

Monday's MLB Tip Sheet

Monday's Tip Sheet
By Josh Jacobs

After the long weekend of a jammed pack schedule, Monday will usher in seven total games on tap.

For the National public, ESPN will continue coverage of Monday Night Baseball with the final contest of a four-game set between the Yankees and Indians.

As just a side bar, since Monday favorites have been firing from the hip with a 45-25 record (64%). If you’re interested in the ratio of total plays that have cashed, the ‘over’ finished up the week with a small 43-39-3 edge (since Monday). It was on Friday and Saturday that ‘under’ plays edged the ‘over’ with a 4-10 and 7-8-1 record respectively.

Baltimore (D. Cabrera) at White Sox (J. Vazquez) – 2:05 p.m. EDT

Concluding a long, four-game series that has carried itself into the new week, Baltimore will place responsibility in the hands of young, right handed starter, Daniel Cabrera (2-0, 4.40).

Both clubs have been solid plays for backers on the money and run line so far this season.

The Orioles are +637 on the money line and have added a bonus of +267 on the run line. Even more advantageous for gamblers has been playing the total in Baltimore games, with the ‘under’ now standing at 16-8. Baltimore is been able to keep the ‘under’ play hot by going 7-3 in the last 10.

The White Sox can attribute a mortal 5-5 record in the last 10 to working for a bottom feeding .237 BA (.214 versus lefties) on offense and a 4.03 ERA from the entire pitching staff. The bullpen itself has been hampered with a 4.15 ERA in the last 10.

If both clubs can keep the score close, look for the Orioles to turn up the heat with their bullpen, which has now gone on to record a 2.67 ERA in the last 10 games.

Chicago will look to counter the pitching game with righty slinger Javier Vazquez (3-2, 4.40) scheduled to make his sixth start. Vazquez was tagged in his worst outing of the year in his last loss against the Mets on Apr. 23. The 10-year vet survived only 5.1 innings, before getting yanked for giving up 10 hits and six runs.

However, the White Sox are 8-2 in Vazquez’s last 10 starts.

Pittsburgh (I. Snell) at N.Y. Mets (J. Santana) – 7:10 p.m. EDT

Attention on Mets’ ace Johan Santana (3-2, 3.12) will once again have the New York media, fans and bettors keying in on this evening event.

Santana has been known to start the season off slowly. Since his rookie season in 2000, the lefty specialist has manufactured an 11-9 record in 28 starts in April and an 11-9 docket in May (for a combined 22-18). A combined 4.08 ERA in both months is a good litmus test for the ace’s performance during the beginning of the season.

The big change begins in June and runs all the way through September. Santana has averaged 18 wins with seven losses in the four months (over his eight-year career) where his performance spikes drastically.

There’s no hiding from the fact that the Pirates are once again involved in another building year (as is the case with there 9-15 record). Pittsburgh starter Ian Snell (2-1, 4.45) will look to produce his third win of the season, while attempting to lower a BAA of .298.

Even though Snell’s numbers aren’t close to representing an ace hurler, the Pirates are 4-1 during his starts. One strong suite is the rightys effectiveness versus southpaw batters, where he’s worked for a .194 BAA.

The ‘under’ is 9-3 in the Mets last 12, while a plethora of ‘over’ trends are in Pittsburgh’s favor (including an ‘over’ record of 5-1 in Pitts last six versus left-handed starters and a 4-1 record on the ‘over’ in the last five during Game 1 of a series).

Houston (C. Sampson) at Arizona (D. Haren) – 9:40 p.m. EDT

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Arizona’s pitching game is once again a dominant force in Major League Baseball (ranked No. 1 with a 3.16 ERA and No. 1 with a .220 BAA). It’s the offensive turnaround that has this club up +871 on the money line and a lottery winning +1125 on the run line.

The Diamondbacks are No. 1 in the league with 140 RBIs, 146 runs and are at the top three with 32 long balls. And it’s been a complete team effort, with seven batters logging in at least 10 RBIs. Mark Reynolds and Conor Jackson have been the hottest at the plate, with 42 RBIs produced between the two infielders.

Arizona is 4-0 in its last four versus Houston, outscoring its opponent 35-12.

The Astros are having problems scoring on Arizona in recent times, but dating back to the 2005 season, Houston’s offensive core has gone on to record a .291 BA with an average of 34.7 RBIs in a total of 22 meetings.

The problem has been the Astros’ pitching staff. In ’07, Houston was rocked for a 5.95 ERA and a 1.64 WHIP versus the D-Backs in seven contests.

Once again, all eyes will focus on Arizona’s ace Dan Haren (3-1, 3.03) who has blown through lineups with the exception of his last start against the Dodgers. Haren was tagged for six runs on nine hits in only 4.2 innings.

When coming off a loss in the ’07 season, Haren was an unimpressive 5-8 in his next start.

Oakland (C. Gaudin) at L.A. Angels (J. Garland) – 10:05 p.m. EDT

L.A. slinger, Jon Garland is hoping that two wins in a row (at Boston and vs. Kansas City) can provide the spark that witnessed the right hander taking back-to-back seasons of 18 wins (’05 and ’06).

Night games at home have yielded the Angels a 4-2 record versus righty pitches, but a 2-5 record on the ‘under’ at home under the lights bares witness to lack of offensive dominance.

When on the road, L.A. is ranked No. 1 in the league with 147, 71 RBIs and has made contact for a .292 BA (not to mention a fifth best 18 home runs). A different story takes shape when at home, where the Angels are 21st worst with 46 RBIs, ranked 17th with only nine dingers and is 16th in the league with 103 hit; a stark contrast from home to away games.

For Oakland, home or road games is nullified by the clubs overall numbers. The A’s are batting only .251 this season, are ranked 10th with 11 RBIs and ranked 12th with a .338 on base percentage.

Oakland is 7-3 on the road this season and is 6-0 in its last six road games versus a team with a winning record.

The A’s will send out Chad Gaudin (2-1, 3.38) to the mound. The New Orleans born hurler has excelled so far this season with a 1.08 WHIP.

N.Y. Yankees (M. Mussina) at Cleveland (A. Laffey) – 7:05 p.m. EDT on ESPN

The last time these two teams met in a four-game regular season series was in 2006. The result was a 2-2 split, with the ‘over’ going 3-1.

It’s a new season and with starter Jake Westbrook (1-2, 2.73) sidelined for at least a month with a muscle strain in his lower back, 23-year old slinger Aaron Laffey (4-2, 4.56 in ’07) will fill the spot for his first start in the Majors this year. Scouting reports rave about Laffey’s fastball that has the ability to drop off the table. He’s primarily a ground ball pitcher and is well suited as an inning eating No. 3 or 4 starter.

The Yankees looked to have found a remedy to their slow start at the plate, but scoring just 13 runs in three straight losses has many questioning where’s all that pop that the Steinbrenner family has shelled out for.

In the last seven days, New York is batting .260 and is averaging 5.2 strikeouts per game (in the last six). The Yanks are scoring a little more then five runs per game through the same week period, but registering a 4.53 ERA in the last six games makes runs allowed versus runs scored too close a call.

With Cleveland’s Laffey a natural born southpaw, its tough to find a trend in New York’s favor, granted that this club has faced lefties only three times this season. The Bombers are 1-2 versus southpaws.

Mike Mussina (2-3, 4.94) will get the start for the Yanks. His last win in Chicago was the best outing this season for the 17-year veteran. Mussina regulated the Sox to just two runs in seven innings of work for a 6-4 win.

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N.Y. Yankees (13-13) at Cleveland (12-13)

The Yankees send veteran Mike Mussina (2-3, 4.94 ERA) to the hill at Progressive Field in Cleveland to wrap up this four-game set with the Indians, who are scheduled to hand the ball to lefty Aaron Laffey (0-0, 0.00).

New York snapped a three-game losing streak with Sunday’s 1-0 victory but is still just 4-5 on its current 10-game road trip that ends tonight. The Yankees are on runs of 7-3 against left-handed starters and 36-17 on Mondays, but just 7-21 in their last 28 on the road against southpaws.

Cleveland had a five-game winning streak halted in Sunday’s shutout loss, but is still on positive streaks of 25-11 at home, 8-2 on Mondays and 15-8 at home against right-handed starters.

Despite Sunday’s win, New York is still just 2-5 in the last seven meetings with the Indians dating back to last year’s A.L. Divisional Playoffs. The Yankees had been on an 8-0 run against Cleveland prior to last October, when they got bounced 3-1 in the best-of-5 playoffs.

Mussina is 1-1 on the road with a 4.26 ERA in two road starts this season and delivered a gem his last time out in Chicago, holding the White Sox to two runs on four hits in seven innings of a 6-4 victory. In his last two trips to Cleveland he has held the Indians to five runs on 13 hits in 13 2/3 innings (3.29 ERA) and the Yankees won both by scores of 11-2 and 11-3. Furthermore, New York is 6-3 in Mussina’s last nine starts against the Tribe, and he’s held them to three runs or less in seven of those nine.

Laffey is making his first start of the season – and his first career start against the Yankees – after a successful two-month stint last August and September in the Indians’ rotation. He finished 4-2 with a 4.56 ERA in his nine starts, seven of which Cleveland won. In five of those nine outings, Laffey held the opposition to three runs or less, including allowing just a single earned run in three of his last four outings.

The under is 13-5 in New York’s last 18 road games, 18-8 in its last 26 overall and 8-3-1 in Mussina’s last 12 starts on Monday. However the over is on streaks of 11-4 in Mussina starts overall, 5-2 when Mussina starts on the road and 4-0-1 when he starts in Cleveland.

The under is 7-2 in the Indians’ last nine overall, 4-0 in Laffey’s last four starts and 5-1 in their last six when hosting the Bronx Bombers (2-1 in this weekend’s series).

ATS ADVANTAGE:               UNDER

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Monday's best MLB bets

N.Y. Yankees at Cleveland -115, 10½

Aaron Laffey makes his first big league start of the season today after putting together a 3-1 record and a 2.77 ERA in Triple-A Buffalo. The lefty doesn’t have overpowering stuff – his fastball tops out in the upper 90s – but he has a decent slider to go along with a sinker, his best pitch. He was 4-2 with a 4.56 ERA in nine starts with the Indians last year.

While Laffey looks to turn some heads in the bigs, Mike Mussina rebounded nicely in his last start to go seven innings for a win over the White Sox after giving up five runs to the BoSox in just three innings before that.

This line is likely to move in New York’s direction, so jump on the Yanks early if you’re leaning that way.

Pick: Yankees

Oakland at L.A. Angels -135, 9

Huge matchup between the American League’s two best clubs, both sporting 16-10 records.

L.A. just returned home after taking four of six games on the road against Boston and Detroit, while Oakland has been hot too, winning four of its last five. The A’s also send the red-hot Chad Gaudin, who has allowed just one earned run over his last 14 innings, to the mound today.

The Angels answer with Jon Garland.

Pick: Athletics

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