MLB News and Notes April 11

MLB News and Notes April 11

Sunday MLB Gameday

Carlos Zambrano will try to pitch his Chicago Cubs past Randy Johnson and the Arizona Diamondbacks when they meet on Sunday. Here is your MLB Gameday . . .

Toronto Blue Jays at Cleveland Indians, 1:05pm ET
A.J. Burnett (3-3, 5.19 ERA) vs. Fausto Carmona (3-1, 2.95 ERA)


Burnett managed to strike out a season-high 10 batters versus the Rays last time out, but he still surrendered five earned runs on nine hits over six innings to get tagged with his third loss of the season. The righthander had turned in his best outing of the season in his previous start, holding the Red Sox scoreless over 7 2-3 innings in his third victory.

Opposing teams haven't been able to score a lot of runs off Carmona this season (as evidenced by his 2.95 ERA), but the righthander has been giving them plenty of opportunities with all the walks he's issued. Carmona has now walked 31 batters (and fanned 15) over 39 2-3 innings, but he's 2-0 with two no-decisions in his last four starts.

Los Angeles Angels at Tampa Bay Rays, 1:40pm ET
Ervin Santana (6-0, 2.02 ERA) vs. Andy Sonnanstine (5-1, 4.63 ERA)


Is Sunday the day Santana finally gets tagged with his first loss of the season? The bounce-back hurler has picked up a victory in each of his last five outings, and he didn't allow a single earned run in either of his last two starts. The righthander tossed a complete-game shutout against the Royals Monday, allowing four hits and fanning nine.

Sonnanstine is on a streak of his own - he's earned the victory in each of his last four outings to run his record to 5-1 on the season. The righthander's best outing came on April 19, when he tossed a complete-game shutout against the White Sox. On Tuesday against the Blue Jays Sonnanstine gave up four earned runs on 10 hits over six innings.

Arizona Diamondbacks at Chicago Cubs, 2:20pm ET
Randy Johnson (2-1, 5.06 ERA) vs. Carlos Zambrano (5-1, 1.80 ERA)


The Big Unit has allowed 10 earned runs on 15 hits over his last two starts (in a total of 10 innings), but he also managed to avoid being tagged with a loss in both of those games. In his start against the Phillies on Tuesday the veteran lefthander earned a win after surrendering four earned runs on six hits over six innings, and fanning six batters.

Zambrano has been lights-out over the past month - since April 16 the Cubs' ace has given up just four earned runs over five starts to improve his record to 5-1 on the season (and drop his ERA to a miniscule 1.80). The righthander held the Reds scoreless over eight innings on Tuesday, giving up just three hits and striking out three.

Boston Red Sox at Minnesota Twins, 8:05pm ET
Tim Wakefield (3-1, 3.33 ERA) vs. Nick Blackburn (2-2, 3.65 ERA)


Wakefield has been a dependable option for the Red Sox this season, with a 3-1 record and a solid 3.33 ERA. The knuckleballer earned the win against the Tigers on Tuesday night, holding them scoreless over eight innings and allowing just two hits. Wakefield has allowed three or fewer earned runs in six of his seven outings so far on the season.

Blackburn allowed just three earned runs on six hits over six innings versus the White Sox on Tuesday, but was tagged with a loss after Gavin Floyd nearly tossed a no-hitter for the opposition. That was Blackburn's first defeat since April 2 (when he was also a hard-luck loser). The righthander has given up three or fewer runs in five of seven starts.

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Re: MLB News and Notes April 11

Sunday's MLB Tip Sheet
By Josh Jacobs

With the influx of afternoon games on tap, seven of 15 teams playing own a losing record at home. What’s important about these home field problems is a combined money line deficit of -4884. Teams like San Diego and Seattle have melded to produce a 14-21 record inside its own ballparks. The end result has been a money line loss of -2653 units and a run line free fall of -1659 units (just between these two clubs – the Padres and Mariners).

How do we approach these games where a losing home record forces books to adjust price tags across the board? Below are some of these home game scenarios that bettors should prepare themselves for.

Toronto (A. Burnett) at Cleveland (F. Carmona) – 1:05 p.m. EDT

The Indians are 9-11 at their stadium informally referred to as the ‘Jake’ this season (Progressive Field). Only Cleveland’s catcher, Victor Martinez is batting over the .300 mark at home (a minimum of 50 at bats). A combined 137 strikeouts places the Indians as the second worst team in the league at swinging through pitches.

Mix in a 4.05 home ERA and a .265 batting average against, and it should be no surprise why Cleveland has limped into its own ballpark, burning plenty of money with it.

Good news for backers is right handed starter, Fausto Carmona’s planned eighth start of the season. Carmona has pitched some effective innings at Progressive Field this year. A 2.28 ERA, allowing 21 hits in 23.3 innings and a 2-1 record are all solid indications that Carmona is hitting a stride early on this season.

But even with Carmona’s skills, gamblers have to be concerned that relievers Jorge Julio, Rafael Perez and Rafael Betancourt have put together a 4.25 ERA. All three pen players have combined to yield seven home runs and batters on opposing teams have enjoyed 46 hits in 43.4 innings of work.

The Blue Jays are 26th worst in run production (65 runs) when playing as the visiting team but producing a fourth best 3.40 ERA may nullify some of the club’s offensive problems.

Toronto’s second in command slinger (with Roy Holliday as the No. 1 pitcher,) A.J. Burnett has demonstrated an improved game plan on the road versus playing at home. Two of Burnetts’ three wins have come from playing as the away team and a 3.04 road ERA is light years ahead of an embarrassing 8.64 ERA at home.

-- The Jays’ are 3-13 in their last 16 meetings in Cleveland.

-- The Jays’ are 6-18 in their last 24.

-- Cleveland is 12-2 on the ‘under’ in its 14.

Sportsbetting.com has listed the Indians as $1.17 favorites, with a total of eight runs listed.

N.Y. Yankees (A. Pettitte) at Detroit (N. Robertson) – 1:05 p.m. EDT

The Tigers continue to search for leverage in a season otherwise characterized by inconsistent play on all fronts. A 2-3 record in their last five has given way to a total 8-11 performance at home, and a 2-6 slump in the last eight has the temperature rising in Detroit.

The Tigers’ offense hasn’t been the problem, even though May has bared witness to only four runs scored per game. Defense, primarily the pitching, has uncovered a serious flaw. While Detroit has been racking in 100 runs with a .274 BA at home, the starting pitching and relief crews have gone onto to allow 56 runs (6.2 runs per game) in just the month of May (nine games thus far).

Southpaw starter Nate Robinson will make his eighth appearance on the hill this season and a 1-3 record with a 6.64 ERA provides more insight on the problems in the Motor City. Once again, slinging in home games has been a thorn in the team’s side. Robinson is winless at home with an 0-2 record and a .290 BAA has paved the way for 17 earned runs with four long balls sacrificed. Right-handed hitters have also been a big part to Robinson’s downfall, accounting for a .279 BA with 15 RBIs produced in 122 at bat appearances against the six-year vet.

The Yankees have one win this year versus the Tigers, with most books installing Detroit as an underdog in three of the four contests already played.

It was on May 30 that Sunday’s starter, Andy Pettitte, was tagged for seven hits and five earned runs against the Tigers. But as an upside, Pettitte is 3-1 with a 2.81 ERA on the road this season.

New York’s offense has been catching slingers sleeping in the last seven days. The Yanks are hitting a team .313 BA with 28 RBIs (4.7 RBIs per game) in the last six games. One player trying to parlay his success on the resent offensive burst is Robinson Cano, who’s left the batters box with a .318 BA and four RBIs. Despite his increased production, Cano is still swinging the lumber for a .182 seasonal BA with only 11 RBIs.

-- The Tigers are 4-10 in Robertson’s last 14 starts on grass.

-- The Tigers are 1-4 in Robertson’s last five starts at home.

-- The Yankees are 9-2 in Pettitte’s last 11 road starts.

-- The ‘under’ is 12-2-1 in the Yankees’ last 15 versus a team with a losing record.

Most books have installed Detroit as a slight $1.07 home favorite, with a total of 10 runs set.

Chicago White Sox (G. Floyd) at Seattle (M. Batista) – 4:10

The Mariners are 8-11 at home mainly due to the fact that a 4.33 ERA (ranked 18th in the league) and 3.9 runs per game on offense have reared there ugly heads on more then one occasion. The problem with stats and figures is that Seattle is almost identically performing the same whether at home or on the road. For example, the M’s are tossing a 4.37 ERA at home in comparison to its 4.28 ERA on the road. The same holds true inside the batters box where 3.9 runs per game at home has been complimented by 3.4 runs when traveling. The tell tale stat of them all is Seattle’s 8-11 home record and its 6-12 road record.

The White Sox are just looking to rebound from a six-game losing streak that was halted on May 6 in a 7-1 win over Minnesota. Chicago plans on calling three-game winner Gavin Floyd to the hill. Floyd has improved his play since the beginning of the season, lowering his ERA from a high 4.50 down to a current 2.50. His last outing versus the Twins resulted in a one hit ballgame, in which a no-hitter was intact until the 9th inning with one out. Floyd has now thrown two games this season with one hitters attached to them.

Bodog.com has opened Chicago as a $1.15 visiting favorite, with a total set at 8 ½-runs.

Colorado (G. Reynolds) at San Diego (C. Young) – 4:05 p.m. EDT

The Padres enter Game 3 of this series as a $1.55 home favorite. Unfortunately for San Diego, 12 wins on the season with only six coming from home have been much to be desired. The Pads are 13-23 on the run line, equating to -12.40 units and an offense producing (or lack there of) 3.3 runs per game with a .230 BA ranks this club last in the majors. Add a 2-8 record (five straight ‘Ls’) in the last 10 with four straight ‘under’ plays cashing in and this offensive problem becomes a big problem.

The Rockies are a far cry from last season, especially with a pitching staff logging in a 28th worst 4.69 ERA. A 1.49 WHIP, 213 strikeouts with only 12 quality starts adds insult to injury for Colorado, which is ranked among the worst in the league in the defensive department. A 4.47 ERA doesn’t help this situation out, but four wins in the last five has given backers reason to pause the fading technique for the time being.

Nightcap

Boston (T. Wakefield) at Minnesota (N. Blackburn) – 8:05 p.m. EDT


Veering away from the home field topic, the Red Sox will attempt to grab a win in Game 3 against the Twins on Sunday. ESPN will be providing coverage beginning at 8:05 p.m. EDT, with most books installing Boston as a $1.35 visiting favorite. A total of nine runs have been set for this contest.

The Red Sox have emerged from their early season slump in the batters’ box after finishing this week with a league leading .290 BA and an OPS of .807. Between David Ortiz’s seven homeruns, Kevin Youkilis’ .316 BA with 28 RBIs and Manny Ramirez’s 24 runs it should be no surprise why the Sox are succeeding with the lumber. With knuckleball pitcher Tim Wakefield toeing the slab, receiving five runs of support per game has been just enough for the veteran slinger to nab a 3-1 record with a 1.26 WHIP. Over a three-year period, Wakefield is 3-2 with a 4.02 ERA, a .254 BAA and has surrendered five homers.

A 7-3 record in the last 10 has been a step in the right direction for the Twins. Minnesota’s bullpen has patched together a solid 2.31 ERA this season, accompanied by an offensive core hitting for an effective .287 BA versus right-handed pitchers at home. At night when playing on turf, the Twins have compiled a 7-4 record versus six wins in 11 games played at night on natural grass. Minnesota is not only improving its play but has begun to heal money and run line totals (+3.45 units on the money line and -0.09 units on the run line).

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Re: MLB News and Notes April 11

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Arizona (23-14) at Chicago Cubs (21-15)


The Diamondbacks trot out veteran left-hander Randy Johnson (2-1, 5.06 ERA) to cap a three-game series at Wrigley Field against the Cubs, who will counter with ace right-hander Carlos Zambrano (5-1, 1.80).

Chicago opened the series with a 3-1 victory Friday night, then came back Saturday and scored a 7-2 win thanks to a six-run seventh inning. The Cubs, who got out to a 16-9 start, are just 5-6 in their last 11 games, and the Diamondbacks – who were 19-7 - have also dropped seven of their last 11 games.

This is the first series this season between these two teams, but Arizona dominated last year, taking seven of nine games, after taking four of six in 2006. The Diamondbacks are 5-2 in the last seven meetings and are a perfect 10-0 in Johnson’s last 10 starts against the Cubs.

Johnson, who will make his sixth start of the year, matched his longest outing of the season in Arizona’s 6-4 win over Philadelphia on Tuesday. He allowed all four runs on six hits in six innings, following his shortest outing of the year – when he allowed six runs on nine hits in four innings as the DBacks lost to Houston 8-7 on April 30.

Johnson, who is 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA in two road starts this season, is an eye-popping 12-0 lifetime with a 1.98 ERA in 13 starts against the Cubs, though he hasn’t faced them since 2004 after spending two years with the Yankees and battling injuries in making just 10 starts in 2007.

Zambrano, who hasn’t lost in a month, hurled eight solid innings in Chicago’s 3-0 win at Cincinnati on Tuesday, allowing three hits and three walks with three strikeouts. In his last five starts, Zambrano is 4-0 and had one no-decision – when he allowed just one run on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings, but the Cubs’ bullpen couldn’t back his effort in a 4-3 home loss to Milwaukee on May 1.

Zambrano is 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA in five starts at Wrigley this season, but he’s 1-2 with a 4.88 ERA in four career starts against Arizona, though he hasn’t faced the DBacks since 2005.

The Diamondbacks are 14-7 in their last 21 against right-handed starters, 4-1 in Johnson’s last five road starts, 8-3 in Johnson’s last 11 outings overall and 31-13 with Johnson against the National League Central. On the flip side, Arizona is 2-6 in its last eight Sunday games and 1-6 on the road against winning teams.

The Cubs are on an 12-3 tear in their last 15 home games and are 7-0 at home against left-handed starters, 4-1 with Zambrano going on four days’ rest and 7-2 with Zambrano starting on Sunday. But the Cubs are 4-9 in their last 13 against the N.L. West and 1-8 in Zambrano’s last nine home starts against winning teams.

In this N.L. rivalry, the under has cashed four of the last five meetings in Chicago and is on an 8-2 run in the last 10 clashes overall. In addition, for Arizona, the under is 10-1 in Johnson’s last 11 road starts, 4-2 against the N.L. Central, 4-2 on the road against winning teams, 11-3-1 with Johnson on four days’ rest and 21-8-2 in Johnson’s last 31 starts overall. However, the over is 11-2-2 in Johnson’s last 15 road starts against winning teams.

For Chicago, the under is on a 4-1-1 run and is 13-5 against the N.L. West, 6-1 in Zambrano’s last seven starts at Wrigley, 4-0 in Zambrano’s last four Sunday outings and 23-7-1 in Zambrano’s last 31 starts overall. But the over is 11-3 with Zambrano at home against winning teams and 5-1 at home against lefties.

ATS ADVANTAGE: CHICAGO and UNDER


AMERICAN LEAGUE

Boston (24-15) at Minnesota (18-17)


The Red Sox send right-handed knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (3-1, 3.33 ERA) to the hill at the Metrodome in the finale of a three-game set against the Twins and right-hander Nick Blackburn (2-2, 3.65).

Minnesota squeaked out a 7-6 victory Friday night to open the series, and on Saturday, Boston got the 5-2 victory to even the three-game set. The Twins, who have alternated wins and losses in their last six games, are 7-4 in their last 11 outings. The Red Sox, 8-3 in their last 11 games, have split their last four games following a five-game winning streak.

The Twins are 9-4 in their last 13 home games against the Red Sox, but Boston won last year’s season series 4-3, taking two of three at the Metrodome. The Red Sox are 4-1 in Wakefield’s last five starts against the Twins, including a 2-0 road victory last May in which Wakefield yielded three hits and three walks in seven innings.

Wakefield had his best outing of the season in his last start, shutting out Detroit while allowing two hits in eight innings Tuesday as Boston posted a 5-0 victory. He had no walks and six strikeouts against the Tigers. Wakefield, who is 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA in four road starts this year, is 13-4 with a 4.00 ERA in 21 career starts (24 appearances) against Minnesota.

Blackburn has three no-decisions among his seven starts this season, with Minnesota losing all three of those contests, and he took the loss Wednesday on the road against the Chicago White Sox, allowing four runs on six hits in six innings as the Twins fell 7-1. However, Blackburn is 2-1 with a sterling 1.66 ERA in the dome this season.

The 26-year-old Blackburn, in just his second year in the majors, was dealt a loss in his only appearance against Boston last season, getting battered for four runs on four hits in one inning of relief in a 6-4 September road loss.

The Red Sox are 6-1 in Wakefield’s last seven starts against the American League Central, 5-1 with Wakefield going on four days’ rest, 5-1 with Wakefield on Sunday, 6-2 overall on Sunday and 24-9 in their last 33 against the A.L. Central. But Boston carries negative trends of 0-5 with Wakefield facing a winning team, 0-4 with Wakefield on the road against a winning team, 2-5 in Wakefield’s last seven road starts, 2-5 against winning teams, 2-5 against righties and a lengthy 22-43 on field turf.

The Twins are on an 8-1 tear at the Metrodome and are 6-1 at home against right-handers, 4-2 overall against righties, 7-3 in their last 10 games and 8-4 against the A.L. East. On a negative note, though, Minnesota is just 2-5 in Blackburn’s last seven outings.

The under for Boston is 6-0-1 with Wakefield pitching on field turf, 8-1-1 with Wakefield on the highway against a winning team, 4-1 in Wakefield’s last five starts and 43-17-5 in Wakefield’s last 65 roadies. But the over is 4-1 for Boston on Sunday, 5-1-1 against righties, 6-2-1 overall and 5-2-1 in Wakefield’s last eight against the A.L. Central. For Minnesota, the under is 6-1 at home against right-handers, 5-1 overall against righties and 55-26-4 in the Twins’ last 85 Sunday games, but the over is 4-2 against the A.L. East.

Finally, in this rivalry, the under is 8-2 in the last 10 clashes and 17-5-1 in the last 23 games in Minnesota.s

ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER

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