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MLB News and Notes April 12

MLB News and Notes April 12

Monday's Tip Sheet
By Josh Jacobs

Yet another week has come and gone. Almost a quarter of the way through the baseball season, bettors are beginning to uncover which teams are contenders and which are pretenders. Of course it’s not that clear cut. Clubs like Detroit, the New York Yankees and Milwaukee possess ingredients for a successful run but have thus far left the starting gate at a snails pace.

On what is usually a slow day in the majors, Monday brings with it an 11-game card. It’s a fresh week, so whether you’ve been racking in the cash or have started out slowly in the earnings department let’s hop on this money train with plenty of time to spare.

Note: With the cancellation of two games listed in this preview, stay tuned for updated starting pitchers.

Atlanta (T. Hudson) at Pittsburgh (P. Dumatrait) – 12:35 p.m. EDT - Game 2

This will be the first four-game series that Atlanta will complete this season (a planned four-game series against Colorado in April was cut short due to inclement weather). The Braves where rolling through the schedule on a six-game winning streak until the Pirates derailed that run on May 9, losing 3-2. The ‘under’ has cashed in eight times in the last 10 games mainly due to a pitching staff ranked second in the league with a 3.54 ERA and fourth in the majors with a 1.25 WHIP.

The Pirates are on a five-game winning streak after digging their way out of a 3-7 slump. Defense is the name of the game, with Pittsburgh holding San Francisco (not that hard as the Giants are one of the worst offensive teams in the league) and current opponent, Atlanta to an average of three runs per game during this victory stretch. Pitts’ lefty Phil Dumatrait (1-1, 3.86 ERA) will appear in only his third start of the season after being moved from the pen to the rotation. Dumatrait has been hammered by right-handed hitters for a .304 BAA with .852 OPS.

-- The Braved are 5-17 in their last 22 road games.

-- The ‘under’ is 21-10 in the last 31 meetings between these two clubs.

-- The Pirates are 7-3 in their last 10 home games versus a right-handed starter.

Florida (B. Badenhop) at Cincinnati (A. Harang) – 7:10 p.m. EDT

Who would have thought that the Marlins would be 22-14 and in first place in the NL East? A 12-9 record at home and 10-5 on the road, Florida is rolling along its schedule with six wins in a row. A good reason for this team’s success; starters Mark Hendrickson (5-1, 3.56) and Scott Olsen (4-1, 2.22 ERA) and relievers Renyel Pinto (0.73 ERA), Justin Miller (2.60) and Logan Kensing (2.70). This is a pitching staff that’s surprising in every way possible. The bats have been hot in the last six. The Marlins’ roster has been making contact for a .294 BA with 34 RBIs and seven long balls (Dan Uggla has three homers and Jorge Cantu added another two jacks over this six-day period).

The month of May has been unfriendly to the Reds. A 3-5 record in May coupled with a pitching staff giving up eight runs per game in those defeats is enough reason for the team to be sitting in last place in the NL Central. Cinci is 7-13 in its own division and are a weak 1-9 when trailing a contest heading into the seventh inning. Reds’ ace Aaron

Harang (1-5, 3.09) has been tossing efficient ball this season but receiving only 2.8 runs per game of support is a direct result to the 1-5 record. A .257 BA with 308 total hits isn’t the worst ranking stats in the league, but a .325 OBP doesn’t leave a lot of opportunities for placing runners in scoring position.

Most books have set the Marlins as $1.57 visiting underdogs, with a total sitting at nine.

-- At home, the Reds are batting a positive .331 versus lefties but are at rock bottom versus righties with a .216 BA.

-- The starting rotation for Cincinnati at home has been gassed, giving up a 5.23 ERA, while the pen has been shelled for a 6.46 ERA.

-- The Reds are 7-1 in Harangs’ last eight starts versus NL East teams.

-- The Marlins are a hot 13-3 in their last 16 during Game 1 of a series.

-- The ‘over’ is 6-1 in the last seven meetings between these two teams and the ‘over’ is 4-1 in the last five head-to-head meetings in Cincinnati.

Boston (C. Buchholz) at Minnesota (L. Hernandez) – 7:05 p.m. on ESPN

The Red Sox are +862 on the money line but bettors have suffered with a -295 loss on the run line. Monday games have seen Boston go 3-0 this year and a 2-0 record in Game 4’s. Right-handed starter Clay Buchholz (2-2, 4.50) is coming off his worst outing of the season. Buchholz was plastered for five earned runs on 10 hits in only four innings versus Detroit on May 7. Right-handed hitters are tattooing Buchholz for a .359 BA.

The Twins are defending a 12-7 home record which has helped this squad climb to the top of the AL Central for the time being (tied with the White Sox). A 7-3 run in the last 10 has been attributed to an effective .278 BA with 52 RBIs to boot. And there’s no leaving out the pitching staff, who’s responsible for holding opponents to just 2.7 runs per game in the last seven wins.

In the last 11 head-to-head meetings in Minnesota, the Twins have gone 7-4, pulling in 5.5 runs per game. The ‘under’ has seen love with a 3-8 record in the same 11-game stretch. has installed the Red Sox as $1.25 favorites, with a total set at 9½-runs.

-- Minnesota is 8-1 in its last nine home games.

-- Minnesota is 6-1 in its last seven home games versus a right-handed starter.

-- Minnesota is 4-0 in Livan Hernandez’s (5-1, 3.83) last four starts following a quality start in his last appearance. Hernandez went nine innings, giving up nine hits and one run in his last start (the Twins went on to bury the Chicago White Sox, 13-1)

-- Boston is 2-5 in its last 7 road games versus a right-handed starter.

-- Boston is 1-8 in its last nine games played on artificial turf.

St. Louis (A. Wainwright) at Milwaukee (D. Bush) – 8:05 p.m. EDT

The Brewers are 4-11 in their last 15 and have struggled to score 3.3 runs per game over this period. With only 14 quality starts and seven blown saves (closer Eric Gagne has blown five saves this season, resulting in an ineffective 6.89 ERA), Milwaukee is struggling to find chemistry on the mound. At least starting pitcher Ben Sheets (4-0, 2.53) has contributed as expected.

The Cardinals have been shaky in their last five games, producing only one win. Pitching has been the main weapon of this squad, with starters and relievers working for a league seventh best 3.71 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. St. Louis has been listed as an underdog in the last five, ranging from $1.20 all the way up to $1.63. Right-handed starter Adam Wainwright (3-1, 2.25) will get the start on Monday. Wainwright is ranked first in the NL with a 0.96 WHIP and fifth with a 2.25 ERA. In nine games versus Milwaukee over a three-year period, Wainwright has put together a 2.14 ERA with a BAA of .182.

The Cardinals have finally opened the books as a $1.20 favorite (first time as a favorite in the last six games). A total of 8½-runs has been set for this contest.

Joshua Jacobs can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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St. Louis (23-16) at Milwaukee (18-19)

Having taken two of the first three in this series against the Cardinals, the Brewers now send David Bush (0-4, 6.98 ERA) to the mound opposite St. Louis right-hander Adam Wainwright (3-1, 2.25) in the finale at Miller Park.

Ryan Braun hit two homers to lead the Brewers to a 5-3 victory Sunday as Milwaukee has now won two of three on the heels of a six-game losing streak. These teams have already faced each other eight times this season with the series tied 4-4, but the Cardinals are still 11-6 in the last 17 series clashes going back to last season.

The Brewers are 36-17 in their last 53 home games against teams with a winning road mark but just 1-5 in their last six against right-handed starters, 2-4 in their last six against N.L. Central squads and 8-24 in Bush’s last 32 outings versus N.L. Central teams.

St. Louis is on streaks of 5-0 in Wainwright’s last five outings against N.L. Central foes, 19-7 against right-handed starters and 8-4 on the road against teams with a winning home record, but the Cards are just 2-6 in their last eight Monday contests.

Wainwright blanked the Rockies in Colorado on Wednesday, allowing just four hits in seven innings but got a no-decision as the Cardinals fell 4-3. St. Louis has won five of Wainwright’s seven outings this season, and he’s allowed more than three runs in a game just once.

In two outings against Milwaukee this season, Wainwright has allowed four runs (three earned) in 14 2/3 innings as the Cardinals have scored 5-4 and 4-3 victories. Overall, he’s got a 2.36 ERA in four starts against Milwaukee, with St. Louis going 3-1 in those contests.

The Brewers have lost four of Bush’s last five starts including Wednesday’s horrible outing in Florida when he gave up six runs on five hits in six innings of a 6-2 loss to the Marlins. When he saw St. Louis on April 15, Bush gave up three runs on six hits in six innings of a 6-1 loss on the highway, continuing his struggles against the Redbirds. For his career, he’s 1-4 with a beefy 6.98 ERA in five starts against St. Louis.

For St. Louis, the under is on runs of 11-4-1 overall, 9-2-2 against Central Division teams and 4-1-1 in Wainwright’s last six starts. For the Brewers, the under is on streaks of 6-0-1 at home, 4-1 on Mondays and 13-6-1 against right-handed starters, but the over is 18-8 in Bush’s past 36 games against a team with a winning record.



N.Y. Yankees (19-19) at Tampa Bay (21-16)

The Rays look to notch a franchise-record 10th straight home victory, in addition to extending a four-game overall winning streak, when they hand the ball to Matt Garza (1-1, 4.91 ERA) in the opener of a three-game series against the Yankees at Tropicana Field. New York is set to go with Andy Pettitte (3-3, 3.77).

Tampa Bay swept the Angels over the weekend, concluding with Sunday’s 8-5 victory. The Rays, who have won 13 of their last 18 to climb five games over .500 for the first time in team history, have allowed just eight runs during the four-game winning streak, including consecutive 2-0 shutouts of the Angels on Friday and Saturday. On the downside, the Rays are still just 3-7 in their last 10 on Mondays and 23-51 in their last 54 series openers.

New York split two games in Detroit before getting rained out on Sunday. The Yanks have followed a three-game winning steak by going 2-3 in their last five. But they’re on streaks of 17-8 when Pettitte starts, 44-19 when he opens a series for them, 14-3 on Mondays and 43-18 against A.L. East rivals. Overall, New York is on runs of 4-1 against right-handed starters and 37-17 on Mondays, but just 1-4 in a series opener.

So far this season, the Yankees are 4-2 against Tampa Bay, with all four wins coming in the last four contests. New York has won four straight in Florida, and that includes a brief two-game series sweep at Tropicana Field on April 14 and 15.

In that April 15 game, Pettitte allowed just three runs on nine hits in seven innings as the Yankees scored the 5-3 win. However, when he faced the Rays at home on April 5, Pettitte got lit up for five runs (three earned) on eight hits in five innings of a 6-3 loss. For his career, Pettitte is 14-3 with a 3.62 ERA against the Rays.

In his last start, the veteran southpaw allowed just two runs on five hits in 6 1/3 innings, but the Yankees’ bullpen imploded in an eventual 5-3 home loss to the Indians. Pettitte is 3-1 with a 2.81 ERA on the road this year.

Garza was brilliant on Wednesday at Toronto when he surrendered one run on six hits in 6 2/3 innings, but it wasn’t good enough as Tampa suffered a 6-2 road loss. The right-hander has allowed more than three earned runs just once in his five starts this season.

Garza’s only career start against New York came in 2006 as a member of the Twins when he allowed five runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings of a 10-1 loss.

The over is 9-2-2 in the last 13 series clashes in Tampa Bay, but the two teams have stayed under in four of their last five this year. For the Rays, the under is 7-1 in their last eight home games and 6-0 in their last against southpaw starters, while the over is 5-1 in their last six against A.L. East foes and 10-2 in their last 12 series openers. For the Yankees, the under is on runs of 26-10-1 overall, 6-0 against right-handed starters, 5-1 on the road and 12-5 against A.L. East rivals.


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Baseball Today

Toronto at Cleveland (7:05 p.m.) Indians left-hander Cliff Lee (6-0, 0.81 ERA) tries to win his seventh straight start to open the season. He struck out seven over seven innings in a 3-0 win over the New York Yankees on Wednesday. Shaun Marcum (4-2, 2.59 ERA) is scheduled to get the ball for Toronto.

Tuesday, May 13

New York Yankees at Tampa Bay (8:05 p.m.) Yankees ace Chien-Ming Wang (6-1, 3.12 ERA) looks to rebound from his first loss of the season when he takes on the surprising Rays. Edwin Jackson (2-3, 4.04) is scheduled to take the mound for Tampa Bay.


- Brian Bannister, Royals, allowed two singles in eight innings to help Kansas City beat Baltimore 4-0 and end its 12-game skid against the Orioles.

- Craig Monroe, Twins, homered twice as Minnesota held on to beat Boston 9-8.

- Dan Uggla, Marlins, hit two home runs, including a go-ahead solo shot in the eighth inning of Florida's 5-4 win over Washington.

- Daryle Ward, Cubs, delivered a pinch-hit, two-run double in the eighth inning to lift Chicago Cubs over Arizona 6-4.

- Ryan Braun, Brewers, homered twice to help Milwaukee beat St. Louis 5-3.

- Steve Holm, Giants, hit a go-ahead, two-run drive in the seventh inning for his first major league home run, and San Francisco held on for a 4-3 victory over the Phillies.


Oakland's Frank Thomas drove in two runs in the Athletics' 12-6 win over the Rangers to give him 1,695 RBIs, tying him with Cal Ripken for 21st on the career list.


The Reds batted out of order in the ninth inning of their 8-3 loss to the New York Mets. Backup catcher David Ross came to the plate to lead off the inning and lined out. But the batter in the No. 8 spot should have been outfielder Corey Patterson, with Ross hitting ninth after an earlier double switch. Patterson was charged with the out, which officially counts as a putout by the catcher, and Ross came up again. This time, he singled.


Postponed by rain, the Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians are now scheduled to play the first traditional doubleheader at Progressive Field in more than 10 years on Monday. The Indians have played only four traditional doubleheaders at home since their ballpark opened in 1994 and none since Aug. 13, 1997, against Detroit. ... The Braves and Pirates were postponed by rain and will play two Monday. Jair Jurrjens will start the first game for Atlanta against Zach Duke, and Pittsburgh's John Van Benschoten will face Tim Hudson in the nightcap.


The Mets hit back-to-back home runs for the second straight day. On Saturday, Carlos Delgado and Brian Schneider hit New York's first consecutive drives of the season. Carlos Beltran and Ryan Church went deep in the fifth inning of the Mets' 8-3 win over the Reds on Sunday.


Derek Jeter was set to bat cleanup for just the second time in his career, but the Yankees and Tigers were rained out. In 1,990 regular season and playoff games, the only time Jeter hit fourth was in a loss on the road against the New York Mets on July 10, 1999, when he went 0-for-4 with an intentional walk.


The Brewers yanked Eric Gagne from the closer's role after the reliever called his latest performance - a loss Saturday - embarrassing. Gagne (1-2, 6.89 ERA) has nine saves, but is tied with Cardinals reliever Jason Isringhausen for the major league lead with five blown opportunities. He flopped in his last two appearances.


The Padres beat Colorado 6-1 for their season high-tying second straight win and the series win. San Diego had lost eight consecutive series before taking two of three from the defending NL champion Rockies. The Padres hadn't won a series since winning two of three on the road against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 11-13.


Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before the Astros broke through for seven hits and six runs in the eighth inning and pulled out an 8-5 victory. Kuroda was bidding to become the second Japanese-born pitcher to throw a no-hitter in the majors. Hideo Nomo had one for Los Angeles on Sept. 17, 1996, beating the Colorado Rockies 9-0 at Coors Field.


The Marlins have won all six of their games at Nationals Park, which opened this season, and their seven-game win streak overall is their best run since winning nine straight in August 2006.


Brian Bannister allowed two singles in eight innings and the Royals beat Baltimore 4-0 to end a 12-game skid against the Orioles. It was Kansas City's first victory over Baltimore since July 25, 2006. ... Raul Ibanez hit a two-run homer to help Seattle end its five-game skid with a 6-3 win over the Chicago White Sox.


The surging Tampa Bay Rays beat the Angels 5-3 for a three-game series sweep and climbed five games over .500 for the first time in the club's 11 seasons. It's the latest they've ever been in second place in the AL East.


``I didn't have any command of any pitch today. It's one of those days where you know you don't have anything, you just try to mix your pitches and they hit the ball on the ground. But they didn't do that at all today. It was a souvenir. He did what he's supposed to do.'' - Rangers starter Sidney Ponson, who allowed six runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings of Texas' 12-6 loss to Oakland.

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Brewers pull Eric Gagne from closer's role

MILWAUKEE (AP) -The Brewers yanked Eric Gagne from the closer's role on Sunday after the reliever called his latest performance embarrassing and said he didn't feel he deserved to pitch the ninth anymore.

Manager Ned Yost said he read Gagne's comments and will use a closer by committee approach while Gagne takes what Yost called a ''mental break.''

''He's really pushing himself really, really hard and taking it really, really hard,'' Yost said. ''We'll probably just mix and match, I'm not going to do anything crazy.''

Gagne, who signed a $10 million, one-year contract with the Brewers days before the Mitchell Report on performance-enhancing drugs included his name, said after Milwaukee's 5-3 loss on Saturday that he wanted to keep pushing through, but he didn't deserve to close.

''It's mental, I think it's negative thinking that creeps back in your mind,'' Gagne said Saturday. ''It's a matter of going out there and executing your pitches, not thinking results and I'm thinking results. I'm going out there thinking three outs before I can even get one.''

Gagne was gone from the clubhouse immediately after Milwaukee's 5-3 win over St. Louis on Sunday, but Yost said he hopes his reliever works his way back into the role.

It's been a tough series for closers.

Gagne (1-2, 6.89 ERA) has nine saves, but is tied with Cardinals reliever Jason Isringhausen for the major league lead with five blown opportunities. Isringhausen asked out of the closer's role after he blew a save on Friday night and Ryan Franklin earned his third career save after Gagne gave up two runs in the ninth on Saturday.

Yost said anyone in his bullpen may be called on to close, and that he might take it batter-by-batter depending on matchup. Guillermo Mota has pitched well in the eighth inning, going 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA in 14 appearances, but asked what he did wrong when reporters approached him before the game Sunday. He said he's not planning to become the closer.

''I don't expect that, but if there's a chance, if they put me there, then I'll try to do the best I can,'' said Mota, who has seven career saves. ''I'm used to setting up. That's my role for many years. I'm comfortable there, but I used to be in the ninth, too.''

Relievers David Riske (21 career saves) and Salomon Torres (30 saves) also have closing experience. Torres got the first two outs of the ninth on Sunday, but left-hander Brian Shouse recorded his fifth career save after allowing an RBI single to Yadier Molina.

Yost said the coaching staff thinks they know why Gagne has struggled recently, but declined to reveal what they've found in Gagne's approach.

''His stuff is not a problem. He's throwing the ball really, really well,'' Yost said. ''He just, right now, has been beat down a little bit and needs to take a step back and regain his confidence and make an adjustment or two. He'll pitch in the seventh and the eighth and if we mix and match, he'll pitch some in the ninth, too, just like everybody will.''

General manager Doug Melvin said Gagne's performance will be part of Monday's organization meeting that he's been calling a ''monthly review.''

''I would still give him the ball in situations,'' Melvin said. ''His stuff is good, but it's tough at that part of the game.''

Last season, Gagne, the 2003 NL Cy Young Award winner derailed by injuries, was having a nice year in Texas (16 saves, 2.16 ERA) when he was dealt to Boston near the trade deadline. He was unreliable with the Red Sox, finishing with a 2-2 record and a 6.75 ERA.

His start in Milwaukee hasn't been any better even though he maintains he's healthy. He has a 21.60 ERA in his blown saves and losses, but hasn't allowed a run in 11 other appearances.

''Every time we get a little momentum, I come out there and kill that rally,'' Gagne said.

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Brewers starter Gallardo to have surgery Tuesday

MILWAUKEE (AP) -Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo will have surgery on Tuesday to repair a torn ligament in his right knee and will likely miss the rest of the season.

Gallardo said there was no chance he could avoid having surgery on his anterior cruciate ligament and he will complete his rehabilitation in Milwaukee. He hopes to return in September or October, but players typically need four to six months to recover.

''I wish I was talking about my performances,'' Gallardo said Sunday in the clubhouse with his knee still wrapped.

The 22-year-old right-hander was expected to play a prominent role as the No. 2 starter behind Ben Sheets after he went 9-5 with a 3.67 ERA following his midseason callup last year.

But Gallardo, who had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee just before spring training, made three starts before being injured while trying to hurdle a baserunner against the Chicago Cubs on May 1.

Gallardo was on the ground for a few minutes, but managed to walk it off and keep pitching, completing the fifth inning and another. In his three starts, he didn't have a decision with a 1.80 ERA in 20 innings.

Since the injury, the Brewers have been in a tailspin, losing seven of eight.

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Monday’s best MLB bets

Houston at San Francisco +115, 7½

Barry Zito’s last start, after a short demotion to the bullpen, was something he could build upon at least. He still lost to fall to 0-7 on the year, but he struck out five and allowed just two runs over five innings. That’s a lot better than the 13 runs he gave up over two starts that lead to him getting bounced from the rotation.

Still, it doesn’t get any easier for Zito today as he squares off against a hot Houston club with ace Roy Oswalt taking the hill. You can still find some 7 ½-run totals on the board if you look around, which seems low for this matchup.

Pick: over

Seattle at Texas -105, 9

Everybody expected big things from Erik Bedard when he jumped ship from Baltimore to join the Mariners after two solid seasons with the Orioles. He hasn’t disappointed, posting a 1.99 ERA through five starts, though he could use some run support. Seattle managed just a single run to help his cause over his last two outings.

Meanwhile, Vincente Padilla is absolutely scorching for the Rangers. He’s working on a 0.42 ERA over three games since he was pounded for seven earned runs over three innings against Detroit last month.

Pick: under

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