MLB News and Notes April 10

MLB News and Notes April 10

Weekend Forecast
By Scott Rickenbach

There are 10 series' going this weekend in the bases that run from Friday through Sunday - all three-game series'. There are  five others – the Orioles/Royals, the Red Sox/Twins, the Blue Jays/Indians, the Braves/Pirates and the Cardinals/Brewers - that  are four-gamers. The Orioles/Royals runs from Thursday to Sunday with the other four four-gamers running from Friday through Monday.

I'll examine them all in a quick run-down and point out any particular value to consider.

New York Yankees at Detroit – These teams met just over a week ago in New York and the Tigers swept the Yankees and outscored them by 10 runs in the process! It was the Tigers first three-game sweep of the Yanks since 1966. Will it be revenge time for the Yanks in Detroit this weekend? The injuries to Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada are not helping the Yanks. Also, the Yankees start off the series by throwing Kei Igawa and Darrell Rasner who have combined to make just one start for the Yankees this season. A lot of uncertainty surrounds this series as the Tigers sticks have been inconsistent and the Yankees do have a big bullpen edge.

Toronto at Cleveland –
Toronto is only 7-10 on the road this season but Cleveland is just 8-11 at home. As a matter of fact, the American League is full of mediocrity so far this season. Only three teams are more than two games above .500 as it’s been a strange season thus far. Starting pitching will be on display throughout this four game series as both teams are starting hurlers who have been pitching very well of late. The Under could be a big winner throughout this series.

Los Angeles Angels  at Tampa Bay – The Angels are one of the three AL clubs that is more than just two games above .500 alluded to above. Los Angeles is also a stellar 12-6 on the road! However, Tampa Bay is 10-7 at home but the Angels could take two of three here as neither Kazmir nor Sonnanstine is likely to shut down Angels lineup. Also, Friday’s match-up would not surprise us if Garland comes up with another strong outing for the Halos. He’s a much better pitcher than his full season numbers show.

Oakland at Texas – The A’s have won four straight and, to most everyone’s surprise, they are currently tied with the Angels for first place in the AL West! They have a huge bullpen edge in this match-up as their relievers rank as the top bullpen in the AL based on ERA while the Rangers pen ranks as dead last! Also note that Oakland is 10-5 on the road while the Rangers are just 6-8 at home this season. Texas took two of three at Oakland last weekend so this appears to be an ideal revenge setting for the A’s with Smith, Eveland, and Harden slated to get the starts!

Baltimore at Kansas City – The 'under' might be worth a look throughout this series as, other than that, this match-up certainly does not excite. Both of these teams have been struggling to score runs and the Orioles have struggled on the road while the Royals have struggled at home. Ugly match-up!

Boston at Minnesota – Boston has the best record in the American League heading into this weekend but note they are just 9-9 on the road. This is noteworthy because even though the Twins are only playing .500 ball, Minnesota is a rock solid 11-6 at home! The Twins also have a big bullpen edge in this match-up. However, the starting pitching has to be a concern for Twins backers this weekend. Bonser has struggled at home, Perkins is making his first ever start, Blackburn is in his first year as a starter, and only Hernandez has come up with quality starts on a consistent basis.

Chicago White Sox at Seattle – A lack of offense should be the story here so keep the Under in mind throughout this series. The White Sox have scored three runs or less in eight of their last ten games. The Mariners continue to provide lessons in offensive futility as they have scored a total of just 17 runs in their last nine games! Ugly stuff here unless you’re cashing in Under tickets all weekend long!

Arizona at Chicago Cubs – Arizona has faltered some recently as a tough schedule has really tested them. A weekend trip to Wrigley Field is going to test them once again as the Cubs are 11-6 at home this season! However, Chicago is just 3-7 in their last ten games overall. Just like last year’s NLDS the Diamondbacks pitching is likely to be the difference this weekend and they should win this series just like when they knocked the Cubbies out of the postseason last fall.

Atlanta at Pittsburgh – The Braves are suddenly hot but don’t overlook Pittsburgh here. Even though the Braves have won six straight games they are an ugly 4-11 on the road this season. The Pirates are a respectable 9-7 at home and the Bucs just got done sweeping the Giants. Granted, San Francisco is a weak team but it’s series sweeps like that which can give a team like the Pirates a big boost in confidence. Look for some value spots with the Pirates this weekend. Pittsburgh’s starting pitching is not near as poor as their ERA numbers would lead you to believe. Good young arms are on this Pirates staff!

Cincinnati at New York Mets –
Tough match-up for the Reds here as they trudge into New York with a 6-12 road record while the Mets are a solid 9-5 at home. The concern for Mets fans though is that Pelfrey has been very inconsistent and he gets the start Friday while Sunday’s match-up features the Reds Cueto who has already come up with some big starts for Cincinnati this season. Also, before Wednesday’s big win at Los Angeles, the Mets offense had been struggling.

Florida at Washington – You would have never expected this or, if you did, consider yourself gifted: The Marlins enter this weekend as the top team in the NL East AND the Nationals have been hot as they’ve gone 9-4 in their last 13 games! As bad as they’ve been on the road, the Nats certainly haven’t let it impact them at home where they’re a respectable 10-8 so far this season. Tim Redding continues to surprise for the Nationals while O’Connor is much better as a starter than his 3-8 record from last season would indicate. Additionally, having Hill back in the rotation is a big boost for the Nats and they should take two of three in this weekend set!

St Louis at Milwaukee – The Brewers are in a miserable slump while the Cardinals have been a surprise this season. The Cards sat at 22-12 before dropping their last two games and they should bounce right back at Milwaukee. The Brewers offense just is not producing right now as they’ve scored four runs or less in 10 of their last 13 games. This is why, even though the Brewers have some decent starting pitching going this weekend, they will be a tough team to invest in. One would have to look at the Cardinals in this match-up until the Brewers show signs of turning their anemic offense around.

Colorado at San Diego – The Padres are easily the worst team in baseball right now but, getting this series at home and taking the Rockies out of their hitter-friendly surrounding at Coors Field, makes this a very tough series to call. The Padres are still quite capable of winning tight, low-scoring ballgames and with Peavy, Maddux, and Young slated to get the starts you should be careful about fading San Diego this weekend!

Philadelphia at San Francisco – These teams played tight games last weekend in Philly and the Phillies took two of those three match-ups. While tight games could again be on tap in pitcher friendly San Francisco you’ll be hard pressed to find our money on the Giants this weekend. San Fran has lost four straight games and they’ve scored four runs or less in 16 of their last 21 games! The Phillies have the much stronger offense and their bullpen ERA ranks their relief corps as the top in all of baseball!

Houston at Los Angeles Dodgers – Home/road dichotomy is at the forefront of this match-up. The Dodgers are a rock solid 11-6 at home while the Astros are just 7-11 on the road! Also, before getting crushed by the Mets 12-1 on Wednesday, Los Angeles had been featuring one of the hottest lineups in all of baseball. Facing a Houston starting pitching staff featuring Moehler, Sampson, and Chacon is highly unlikely to slow down this Dodgers offense. The key here is that Houston’s offense has also been productive and, although Dodger Stadium is a pitcher’s park, the offense of each of these teams could be what ends up grabbing some headlines this weekend. LA and the Over looks like the way to go for much of this series if the price is right!

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Re: MLB News and Notes April 10

Saturday's MLB Tip Sheet
By Brad Young

There is another busy sports weekend on tap, including a full slate of baseball games Saturday and Sunday. Today’s Tip Sheet is going to tackle a couple key contests in both the American and National Leagues, and there will be an upcoming article on the best home and away teams to wager on.

**Braves (James) at Pirates (Gorzelanny)**

-Caesars Palace opened Atlanta as a $1.10 road ‘chalk’ over Pittsburgh, with the total set at 9½ ‘under’ (minus $1.20). This National League matchup is scheduled to start at 7:05 p.m. ET.

-Atlanta’s Chuck James (2-1, 7.62 ERA) has won his last two starts after upending Florida April 24 as a $1.50 home favorite, 7-4. The southpaw surrendered four runs on five hits (one home run) with five walks and three strikeouts over five innings.

-The 26-year-old has been a spot starter for the Braves when not making periodical trips down to Triple-A.

-James went 1-0 against the Pirates last year in two starts, going a combined 13 innings while not allowing a run on three hits with six walks and seven strikeouts. The Braves prevailed as a $1.37 road ‘chalk,’ 9-2, and as a $1.40 home favorite, 5-4. The ‘over’ cashed in both meetings.

-Pittsburgh southpaw Tom Gorzelanny (2-3, 6.91 ERA) hasn’t pitched since April 30 when he beat New York as a $1.55 road underdog, 13-1. The four-year veteran tossed five innings of scoreless ball on one hit with five walks and four strikeouts.

-The combined 14 runs toppled the nine-run closing total, helping the ‘over’ go 5-1 his six starts.

-Gorzelanny fell to the Braves April 2 as a $1.18 road underdog, 10-2, tossing six innings while yielding three runs on six hits (one home run) with three walks and three strikeouts. The combined 12 runs eclipsed the nine-run closing total.

**Rockies (Jimenez) at Padres (Maddux)**

-Caesars Palace installed San Diego as a $1.25 home favorite over Colorado, with the total listed at 8½ ‘under’ (minus $1.20). This NL West matchup is slated to start at 10:05 p.m. ET.

-Colorado pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez (1-2, 5.82 ERA) has received four consecutive no decisions after Monday’s outing against St. Louis. The Dominican Republic native went five innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits with three walks and four strikeouts.

-The Rockies eventually dropped that affair as a $1.33 home favorite, 6-5, while the combined 11 runs toppled the 10-run closing total. The ‘over’ has gone 3-1 his last four starts.

-The 24-year-old right-hander fell to the Padres April 15 as a $1.13 road underdog, 6-0, while the six runs went ‘under’ the 7½-run closing total. Jimenez was reached for six runs (two earned) on six hits with three walks and five strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings.

-San Diego’s Greg Maddux (2-3, 4.09 ERA) dropped to 0-3 his last four starts after Sunday’s setback to Florida as a road ‘pick,’ 10-3. The veteran right-hander tossed 5 2/3 innings while surrendering five runs (four earned) on 11 hits (one home run) with a walk and four strikeouts.

-The combined 13 runs eclipsed the 9 ½-run closing total, helping the ‘over’ cash his second straight start. The Padres have lost Maddux’s last four outings.

-The Cy Young recipient went 2-2 versus the Rockies last year in five starts, going a combined 28 1/3 innings while being tagged for 12 runs on 31 hits with three walks and 14 strikeouts. The Padres prevailed as a $1.10 home ‘chalk,’ 8-0, and as a $1.20 road underdog, 3-1, while losing as a road ‘pick,’ 4-2, a $1.27 road ‘dog, 7-5, and as a $1.30 home favorite, 7-3.

**Blue Jays (McGowan) at Indians (Laffey)**

-Caesars Palace lists Cleveland as a $1.30 home ‘chalk’ over Toronto, with the total set at 8½ ‘under’ (minus $1.20). This American League tilt is scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m. ET.

-Toronto pitcher Dustin McGowan (2-2, 2.95 ERA) heads to the hill for the first time since beating Chicago Monday as a $1.15 home favorite, 1-0. The 6-foot-3 hurler tossed 7 1/3 innings of scoreless ball on four hits with no walks and six strikeouts.

-The lone run never seriously threatened the 7 ½-run closing total, helping the ‘under’ improve to 6-0-1 his seven starts. The Blue Jays have lost all four of McGowan’s road starts this season.

-The right-hander received a no-decision against the Indians last year despite being reached for five runs on six hits with five walks and four strikeouts over five innings. The Blue Jays ended up dropping that contest as a $1.45 road underdog, 6-5, while the combined 11 runs toppled the 10-run closing total.

-Cleveland lefty Aaron Laffey (0-2, 2.84 ERA) fell to Kansas City Sunday as a $1.65 home ‘chalk,’ 2-0. The two-year veteran tossed a solid seven innings, allowing one unearned run on four hits with two walks and five strikeouts.

-The two runs never seriously threatened the 8 1/2-run closing total, helping the ‘under’ improve to 2-0 when he’s starting.

-Laffey has never started against the Blue Jays in his brief major league career.

**White Sox (Vazquez) at Mariners (Washburn)**

-Caesars Palace opened Chicago as a $1.25 road favorite over Seattle, with the total listed at eight. First pitch is scheduled for 10:10 p.m. ET.

-Chicago pitcher Javier Vazquez (3-3, 3.30 ERA) fell to 0-2 his last three starts after Monday’s setback to Toronto as a $1.10 road underdog, 1-0. The Puerto Rico native was reached for one run on eight hits (one home run) with a walk and nine strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings.

-The White Sox have lost his last three starts, while the ‘under’ has cashed his previous two outings.

-The veteran right-hander went 1-1 versus the Mariners last year in two starts, going a combined 14 1/3 innings while surrendering seven runs on 15 hits (three home runs) with two walks and eight strikeouts. The White Sox prevailed as a $1.25 home favorite, 5-3, while losing as a $1.10 road ‘dog, 5-2. The ‘under’ cashed both times.

-Seattle counters with Jarrod Washburn, hoping the left-hander can improve his 2-4 record and 4.81 ERA in seven starts. The Wisconsin native is off Monday’s victory over Texas as a $1.27 home ‘chalk,’ 7-3, lasting six innings while yielding three runs on four hits with no walks and three strikeouts.

-The combined 10 runs toppled the 8½-run closing total, enabling the ‘over’ to cash his third consecutive contest.

-The 33-year-old went 1-1 against the White Sox last season in two starts, going a combined 13 2/3 innings while allowing seven runs on 11 hits (five home runs) with three walks and 10 strikeouts. The Mariners triumphed as a $1.15 home ‘chalk,’ 5-2, while losing as a $1.15 road underdog, 5-3. The ‘under’ prevailed in both matchups.

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Re: MLB News and Notes April 10

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Arizona (23-13) at Chicago Cubs (20-15)


The Cubs snapped a five-game losing streak to the Diamondbacks on Friday and now look to make it two in a row when they send Ryan Dempster (4-1, 2.72 ERA) to the hill at Wrigley Field opposite Arizona rookie Max Scherzer (0-1, 2.16).

Chicago prevailed in a low-scoring affair Friday, winning 3-1, but Lou Piniella’s squad is still just 4-7 in its last 11 overall. On the bright side, the Cubs have won 10 of their last 13 at Wrigley.

Arizona has the league’s best record but is just 5-6 in its last 11 overall, including 3-3 on the highway following an eight-game road winning streak. The DBacks, who have alternated wins and losses in their last five outings, are 19-7 in their last 26 on Saturdays.

The DBacks swept Chicago out of last year’s best-of-5 National League Divisional Series, and despite yesterday’s defeat, they’re 7-2 in the last nine meetings overall and 7-3 in their last 10 visits to Wrigley Field.

Dempster is 4-0 with a 4.30 ERA in four home starts, and the Cubs are 5-2 overall in his seven starts. In his most recent start on Monday, the right-hander allowed five runs (all unearned) in six innings as the Cubs fell in Cincinnati 5-3. For his career against the DBacks, Dempster’s is 1-4 with a 6.04 ERA in 13 games (nine starts), with his team losing seven of the nine starts.

Scherzer is making his second career start after giving up five runs (two earned) on seven hits in four innings of an 11-4 loss to the Phillies on Monday. His big-league debut came April 29 when he pitched 4 1/3 perfect innings in relief, allowing no runs and no hits and striking out seven. The hard-throwing right-hander has 12 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings.

The under is 8-1 in the last nine series clashes, 14-5-3 in the last 22 between these two in Chicago, 4-2 in Dempster’s last six starts overall, 10-4 in Chicago’s last 14 Saturday games and 12-4 in the Cubs’ last 16 against the National League West. The under is also 8-3 in the DBacks’ last 11 against the N.L., but the over is 5-0 in their last five on Saturday.

ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER


AMERICAN LEAGUE

L.A. Angels (22-15) at Tampa Bay (19-16)


The middle game of this weekend series features a battle of southpaws as the Angels send unbeaten Joe Saunders (6-0, 2.61 ERA) to the mound at Tropicana Field to battle the Rays’ Scott Kazmir (0-1, 6.75).

Tampa Bay got a one-out, two-run, walk-off home run from rookie Evan Longoria to steal a 2-0 victory on Friday, improving to 3-1 in its last four. The Rays have now won seven consecutive home games and are 5-1 in their last six as a home favorite.

Los Angeles has followed up a four-game winning streak with consecutive losses in Kansas City and Tampa Bay. Still, Mike Scioscia’s ball club is 12-7 on the highway this year, including 9-4 in the last 13. The Halos are also on positive runs of 6-2 as an underdog and 4-1 against the A.L. East.

The Angels had a five-game winning streak against Tampa Bay snapped last night, but they’re still 13-5 over the last two seasons and 46-17 in the past 63 series clashes. However, the teams have split their last nine battles in Florida.

Saunders is 3-0 with a 2.33 ERA in three road starts for the Angels, allowing just five runs in 19 1/3 innings. He got knocked around a bit in his last start at home on Sunday, giving up four runs on 12 hits in five innings of a 6-5 victory over the Orioles.

Kazmir is making his second start of the season and first at home after giving up four runs (three earned) on six hits in four innings of Sunday’s 7-3 loss in Boston. In his lone start against the Angels last season, Kazmir allowed on run on three hits in seven innings of a 7-2 victory.

Los Angeles is 10-3 in Saunders’ last 13 road starts and 21-7 in his last 28 overall. Meanwhile the Rays are 7-1 in Kazmir’s last eight starts against American League West competition but just 1-4 in his last five home outings.

With last night’s game staying way low, the under is now 5-1 in the last six series clashes. The under is also on runs for the Angels of 6-0 against southpaws, 7-1-1 on Saturdays, 5-1-1 on the highway and 14-6-2 overall. For the Rays, the under is on streaks of 6-0 at home, 5-1 on Saturdays, 5-1 against the A.L. West and 6-2 against left-handed starters.

ATS ADVANTAGE: L.A. ANGELS and UNDER

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Re: MLB News and Notes April 10

Baseball Today

Cincinnati at New York Mets (1:10 and 7:30 p.m.) Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey will start for the Mets against Matt Belisle and Bronson Arroyo for the struggling Reds.

Sunday, May 11

Los Angeles Angels at Tampa Bay (1:40 p.m.) Angels right-hander Ervin Santana (6-0, 2.02 ERA) is coming off a four-hitter in a 4-0 win at Kansas City on Monday. Andy Sonnanstine (5-1, 4.63 ERA) is scheduled to go for the surprising Rays.

STARS

-James Shields, Rays, pitched a one-hitter and posted his second shutout in his past three starts in a 2-0 win over the Angels.

-Jimmy Rollins, Phillies, with 3-for-5 with three RBIs and a home run in a 7-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants.

-Mike Lamb, Twins, hit a two-run single in the bottom of the ninth against Jonathan Papelbon to lift Minnesota past Boston 7-6.

-Rickie Weeks, Brewers, hit a bases-loaded, two-run single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to give Milwaukee a 4-3 victory over St. Louis.

-Freddy Sanchez, Pirates, singled home Brian Bixler with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to end Atlanta's six-game winning streak with a 3-2 win.

-Jose Contreras, White Sox, allowed one run and six hits over seven innings in a 4-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners.

-Lance Berkman, Astros, went 3-for-4 with a home run in a 7-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

-Aaron Cook, Rockies, won his sixth straight start, allowing one run over seven innings in a 4-2 victory over Jake Peavy and San Diego.

HERE COMES THE TYING RUN ... AND HERE COMES THE WINNING RUN

Jonathan Papelbon blew his second straight save opportunity on Friday night when Mike Lamb singled in two runs in the bottom of the ninth to give Minnesota a 7-6 win over the Boston Red Sox. ... In Milwaukee, the Cardinals' Jason Isringhausen got two outs on two pitches, then imploded, allowing two singles and a walk before Rickie Weeks' two-run single gave Milwaukee a 4-3 victory.

PUTTING UP ZEROS

Scott Feldman and three relievers combined for Texas' third consecutive shutout in a 4-0 win over Oakland. The last time a major league team had three consecutive shutouts was Florida in August 2005. Minnesota was the last American League team to accomplish that feat, in July 2004.

WOEFUL DEBUT

Making his first start of the season, Yankees left-hander Kei Igawa allowed six runs and 11 hits in three-plus innings in New York's 6-5 loss to Detroit.

PICK OF THE LITTER

Tigers left-hander Kenny Rogers picked off his major league record 92nd runner in Detroit's 6-5 win over the Yankees. He picked Wilson Betemit off first base in the second inning.

HIGH MARKS

Tampa Bay's 2-0 win over the Angels was its 11th win in 16 games and lifted the Rays, who have won four of their past five series, three games over .500 (19-16) this deep into a season for the first time in franchise history. ... Florida is seven games over .500 for the first time since September 2005.

STRONG START

Brandon Boggs of the Rangers is hitting .385 (15-for-39) with two homers and eight RBIs through his first 11 major league games.

MILESTONE

Florida's Luis Gonzalez passed the 1,400 career RBIs mark with a bases-loaded double in a 7-3 win over Washington. ... Tom Glavine moved past Bob Feller and Warren Spahn and into 24th place on the career strikeout list with 2,584.

A RED-HOT RED SOX

Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell is 10-for-24 with three doubles, two homers and seven RBIs in the past five games.

MO STARTS

Brian Moehler made a spot start for Houston, giving up five hits in five innings without allowing a run, and the Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 Friday night. The 36-year-old Moehler has spent the majority of his big league career as a starter, though has been used exclusively in relief since rejoining the Astros in January 2007.

STREAKS

Texas has won four straight games and 10 of 14 to escape last place in the AL West. ... The Rays have won 11 of 16 and are three games over .500. ... The Orioles' 7-4 win over Kansas City was their 11th straight victory over the Royals. ... The Mariners have lost nine of 10 and are already further out of first place than any other team in the AL. ... Atlanta is 1-10 in one-run games after a 3-2 loss to Pittsburgh. ... The Padres have lost 18 of 22 and have the worst record in the majors.

SPEAKING

``I think it was just a sinker that he left up. I was more pumped for (James) Shields because I hate to see a guy pitch like that and get a loss.'' - Tampa Bay third baseman Evan Longoria, on his game-winning two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth that gave the Rays a 2-0 win over the Angels.

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