MLB News and Notes April 13

MLB News and Notes April 13

Tuesday's MLB Tip Sheet
By Brad Young

**Dodgers (Penny) at Brewers (Villanueva)**

-Caesars Palace lists Los Angeles as a $1.15 road ‘chalk’ over Milwaukee, with the total set at 8½ ‘over’ (minus $1.20). This National League contest is scheduled to start at 8:05 p.m. ET.

-Los Angeles pitcher Brad Penny (5-3, 4.79 ERA) was enjoying a personal four-game winning streak before falling to New York Wednesday as a $1.15 home favorite, 12-1. The veteran right-hander was blasted for 10 runs on 10 hits with three walks and two strikeouts over just 4 2/3 innings.

-The combined 13 runs eclipse the 8 ½-run closing total, enabling the ‘over’ to cash his sixth straight start.

-The 29-year-old beat the Brewers last year as a $1.32 home ‘chalk,’ 5-1, tossing seven scoreless innings on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts. The combined six runs went ‘under’ the 7½-run closing total.

-Milwaukee’s Carlos Villanueva (1-4, 6.46 ERA) dropped to 0-3 his last five starts after Thursday’s setback to Florida as a road ‘pick,’ 7-2. The three-year veteran went five innings, allowing seven runs on 10 hits (two home runs) with two walks and six strikeouts.

-The combined nine runs slithered below the 9½-run closing total, helping the ‘under’ improve to 3-1 his last four starts.

-Villanueva has not started against the Dodgers the past few seasons.

**Astros (Backe) at Giants (Cain)**


-Caesars Palace opened San Francisco as a $1.25 home favorite over Houston, with the total listed at eight ‘under’ (minus $1.15). First pitch is scheduled for 10:15 p.m. ET.

-Houston hurler Brandon Backe (2-4, 4.64 ERA) heads to the hill for the first time since falling to Washington Thursday as a $1.25 home ‘chalk,’ 8-3. The Texas native went six innings, surrendering four runs on six hits (one home run) with three walks and nine strikeouts.

-The combined 11 runs went ‘over’ the 9½-run closing total, ending back-to-back ‘under’ outings for the right-hander.

-Backe, a seven-year veteran, has not started against the Giants the last few years.

-San Francisco right-hander Matt Cain (1-3, 4.50 ERA) is off Thursday’s setback to Pittsburgh as a $1.10 road underdog, 5-4. The 6-foot-3 hurler lasted 6 1/3 innings, yielding five runs on nine hits with a walk and five strikeouts.

-The combined nine runs eclipsed the 7½-run closing total, ending a string of three straight ‘under’ outings. Incidentally, the Giants won all three of those low-scoring affairs.

-Cain, in the league since 2005, has not started against the Astros the past few seasons.

**Blue Jays (Litsch) at Twins (Slowey)**

-Caesars Palace installed Minnesota as a $1.20 home ‘chalk’ over Toronto, with the total set at nine. This American League contest is scheduled to begin at 8:10 p.m. ET.

-Toronto hurler Jesse Litsch (4-1, 4.24 ERA) picked up a no-decision in Thursday’s matchup with Tampa Bay. The 23-year-old was reached for three runs on five hits (two home runs) with no walks and two strikeouts over seven innings.

-The Blue Jays eventually dropped that contest as a $1.20 home favorite, 8-3, while the combined 11 runs went ‘over’ the 9½-run closing total. The ‘over’ is 5-2 this season when Litsch is pitching.

-The right-hander went 1-0 versus the Twins last year in two starts, going a combined 11 1/3 innings while surrendering four runs on 13 hits (one home run) with two walks and four strikeouts. The Blue Jays prevailed as a $1.15 home ‘chalk,’ 13-1, while losing as a $1.33 road underdog, 4-3.

-Minnesota’s Kevin Slowey (0-2, 6.48 ERA) is still searching for his first victory of the year after Thursday’s loss to Chicago as a $1.30 road underdog, 6-2. The Winthrop product went five innings, allowing three runs on four hits (two home runs) with no walks and four strikeouts.

-The combined eight runs failed to topple the nine-run closing total, helping the ‘under’ cash in both of his starts this season.

-The right-hander received a no-decision against the Blue Jays last year despite tossing a subpar five innings. Slowey was reached for five runs (four earned) on six hits (two home runs) with no walks and five strikeouts. The Twins ended up dropping that contest as a $1.35 home underdog, 8-5, while the combined 13 runs eclipsed the 8 ½-run closing total.

**White Sox (Danks) at Angels (Weaver)**


-Caesars Palace opened Los Angeles as a $1.30 home favorite over Chicago, with the total listed at 8½ ‘over’ (minus $1.20). This matchup is slated to start at 10:05 p.m. ET.

-Chicago southpaw John Danks (3-3, 3.18 ERA) snapped out of a personal two-game losing skid by beating Minnesota Thursday as a $1.40 home ‘chalk,’ 6-2. The two-year veteran surrendered two runs on six hits with two walks and five strikeouts over five innings.

-The combined eight runs went ‘under’ the nine-run closing total, helping the ‘under’ improve to 6-1 his seven starts.

-Danks has never started against the Angels in his brief major league career.

-Los Angeles counters with Jered Weaver, hoping the right-hander can improve on his 2-5 record and 5.59 ERA in eight outings. The Long Beach State product has dropped his last two starts after Wednesday’s setback to Kansas City as a $1.15 road underdog, 9-4.

-The right-hander was reached for eight runs on 10 hits (two home runs) with a walk and a strikeout over just 3 1/3 innings. The combined 13 runs eclipsed the eight-run closing total, ending back-to-back ‘under’ outings for the 25-year-old.

-Weaver went 2-0 against the White Sox last year in two starts, going a combined 11 2/3 innings while yielding just one run on 10 hits with a walk and 13 strikeouts. The Angels triumphed as a $1.10 road underdog, 3-0, and as a $1.33 road ‘chalk,’ 2-1. The ‘under’ occurred in both meetings.

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Re: MLB News and Notes April 13

Weekly Diamond Preview
By Matt Fargo

Detroit Tigers at Kansas City Royals

With the rainout on Sunday, the Tigers will have had two days off prior to this series and the time off might be good. Detroit has lost seven of its last nine games including four of six at home during its recent homestand. Facing Kansas City might seem like a remedy to get out of the slump but it was the Royals who started the season with a sweep in Detroit . The Tigers now face one of this season’s best success stories as Zack Greinke takes the hill. He is 6-7 in quality starts and has allowed three runs or fewer each time out.

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Re: MLB News and Notes April 13

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Atlanta (19-18) at Philadelphia (21-18)

The Braves and Phillies hook up for the first time this season, with a pair of young pitchers set to take the mound as Philadelphia’s Kyle Kendrick (2-2, 4.93 ERA) opposes Jo-Jo Reyes (1-0, 2.25).

The Phillies return home from a seven-game road trip that saw them go 3-4, concluding the journey with losses at San Francisco on Saturday (8-2) and Sunday (4-3). Charlie Manuel’s club has been lacking consistency the last few weeks, splitting its last 14 games, but it is 5-2 in its last seven home contests, 16-5 in its last 21 on Tuesdays and 5-1 in its last six as a favorite.

Atlanta arrives in Philadelphia after splitting Monday’s double-header at Pittsburgh, losing the first game 5-0 and taking the nightcap 8-1. The Braves are on a 7-2 run overall, but they’re still just 5-13 on the road this season. Also, they’re on further negative runs of 0-5 as a road underdog, 0-4 against the N.L. East, 1-4 on Tuesdays and 1-4 in Reyes’ last five road starts.

These rivals split their 18-game season series last year, though the Phillies did win nine of the last 14.

Reyes lasted just 2 2/3 innings on Thursday against San Diego, giving up two runs (one earned) on five hits, failing to get a decision in a 5-4 Braves win. Atlanta is 5-0 in Reyes’ last five starts going back to last September, but only one of those wins came on the road.

In his young career, Reyes is 1-1 with an 8.46 ERA on the road in five starts, compared with 2-1 and a 3.96 ERA in seven home contests. Also, tonight marks the southpaw’s first career start against Philadelphia.

With Kendrick on the mound, the Phillies are on streaks of 4-0 overall, 4-0 on Tuesdays, 14-5 as a favorite and 10-4 at home. In his most recent effort on Wednesday, Kendrick gave up 10 hits and three runs in six innings in Arizona, but the Phillies rallied for a 5-4 win to get Kendrick off the hook. The right-hander is 0-1 with a 3.46 ERA in two home starts.

Kendrick faced the Braves twice last year, giving up a combined five runs and 12 hits in 11 innings, with Philadelphia winning 6-4 at home and losing 9-8 on the road.

The over is 12-3 in Kendrick’s last 15 starts overall, 6-1 in his last seven at home and 2-0 in his two career games against Atlanta. However, the under is 4-1-1 in Reyes’ last six overall.

For Atlanta, the under is on streaks of 36-16-2 overall, 18-5-1 on the road, 16-5 as an underdog, 17-4-1 on the road against right-handed starters and 5-0 on Tuesdays. Conversely, the over is 5-2-1 in Philly’s last eight overall, 7-3 in its last 10 as a favorite and 8-0 in its last eight series-openers.

ATS ADVANTAGE: PHILADELPHIA


AMERICAN LEAGUE

N.Y. Yankees (19-20) at Tampa Bay (22-16)


The red-hot and record-setting Rays look put their five-game overall and franchise-record 10-game winning streaks on the line tonight when they hand the ball to Edwin Jackson (2-3, 4.04), while New York is set to go with ace Chien-Ming Wang (6-1, 3.12).

Tampa Bay pounded out a 7-1 victory in Monday’s series opener and has now won 14 of its last 19 to climb six games over .500 for the first time in team history. The Rays have outscored their opponents 27-8 during their five-game winning streak, and they’re now 14-7 at home. Additionally, Tampa is 5-0 in its last five as an underdog, but only 12-27 in Jackson’s last 39 starts overall and 7-15 in his last 22 starts as an underdog.

The Yanks have followed a three-game winning steak by going 2-4 in their last six to fall back below .500. On the bright side, they’re 20-6 in Wang’s last 26 road starts and 41-15 in Wang’s last 56 outings overall.

New York had won four straight against the Rays – all in Tampa – before last night’s defeat. The Yankees still lead the season series 4-3, going 4-1 at Tropicana Field.

Wang suffered his first defeat of the season in Wednesday’s 3-0 home loss to the Indians, giving up all three runs on five hits in seven innings. Including that outing, seven of Wang’s eight starts this year have qualified as quality outings (at least six innings pitched and three earned runs or fewer allowed).

Wang is 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA in three road starts, yielding just four runs and 16 hits in 22 innings. Also, for his career, Wang is 7-4 with a 3.53 ERA in 12 starts against Tampa Bay, including a 2-0 home win on April 6 when he gave up four hits in six scoreless innings. In fact, the Yankees are 6-1 in Wang’s last seven starts against the Rays and 5-1 in his last six outings in Tampa Bay.

Jackson was brilliant on Thursday at Toronto, giving up just six hits and one walk in eight scoreless innings. He left with a 3-0 lead, but the Rays’ bullpen blew the advantage in the ninth inning, though Tampa Bay eventually prevailing 8-3 in extra innings. Jackson is 1-2 with a 4.44 ERA in four home starts.

Jackson faced New York twice in a 10-day span in April. He gave up a run on five hits in six innings of a 6-3 win in the Bronx, but got rocked in a 5-3 home loss, allowing all five runs on four hits in five innings. For his career, the right-hander is 2-2 with a 5.40 ERA in nine career games (five starts) against the Yankees.

The under is 6-2 in Wang’s eight starts this season (3-0 in the last three), 5-1-2 in his last eight starts versus Tampa Bay, 7-2 in Jackson’s last nine starts overall and 2-0 in Jackson’s two efforts versus New York this season. The under is also 5-1 in the last six series meetings between these rivals overall, but the over is 9-3-2 in the past 14 clashes at Tampa Bay.

For the Rays, the under is 7-2 in their last nine home games, while the over is 5-2 in their last seven against A.L. East foes. For the Yankees, the under is on runs of 27-10-1 overall, 7-0 against right-handed starters, 6-1 on the road and 13-5 against A.L. East rivals.

ATS ADVANTAGE: TAMPA BAY and UNDER

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Alex Rodriguez out another week
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -Alex Rodriguez's strained right quadriceps will keep him from playing this week, causing the AL MVP to miss this weekend's series against the crosstown rival New York Mets.

''It's still not where it needs to be. I don't see him playing this week,'' New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi said before Monday night's series opener against the Tampa Bay Rays. ''You can't afford to have him come back for two days and lose him again for six weeks.''

Rodriguez hasn't played since April 28 and is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list Thursday.

He had an MRI exam Monday, then worked out at the Yankees' minor league complex in Tampa for an hour. A-Rod took batting practice, fielded grounders and ran for about eight minutes in the outfield.

''Taking it one day at a time,'' said Rodriguez, who later showed up at Tropicana Field and sat with teammates in the dugout during the game.

Rodriguez took 87 swings and homered to all fields, including a few long opposite-field shots and one to dead center. He played catch and took groundballs at third base, but didn't run the bases during the workout.

Asked if he was pleased with the progress of his rehab, he said: ''So far, yes.''

While Girardi ruled out his return for the Mets' series at Yankee Stadium, the manager said there's still a possibility A-Rod could participate in extended spring training games by the end of the week.

Rodriguez initially injured his quad running out a grounder at Baltimore on April 20. He sat out three games before returning to the lineup on April 25. He appeared in four games before leaving during the eighth inning of a victory at Cleveland.

Two days later, he began his first stint on the DL since July 2000, when he missed 15 games with a right knee strain.

There was more encouraging news on the rehab front with catcher Jorge Posada, who threw for the first time since being placed on the DL with right rotator cuff tendinitis. He made 25 throws from 60 feet following a 15-throw warmup session.

Meanwhile, right-handed pitcher Ian Kennedy appeared to be headed back to the starting rotation. He was pulled after one inning of Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre's game against Indianapolis and could rejoin the Yankees for Thursday's series finale against Tampa Bay.

Girardi said before Monday night's game that he was still undecided about Thursday's starter, and that Darrell Rasner will face the Mets on Friday.

Left-hander Kei Igawa, hit hard at Detroit in his return to the majors, was moved into the bullpen. Girardi said it hadn't been determined whether Igawa would remain a reliever long-term.

''However we need him, we'll use him,'' Girardi said. ''Obviously, we want him to be productive and win games. ... We need to see him continue to improve. Right now, he's going to have a chance to show us in the bullpen.''

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Baseball Today

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.

STARS

-Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians, turned the 14th unassisted triple play in major league history in Cleveland's 3-0, 10-inning loss to the Toronto Blue Jays in the second game of a doubleheader.

-Manny Ramirez, Red Sox, hit career homer No. 498 in a 7-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins.

-Ryan Braun, Brewers, homered twice for the second straight day, leading Milwaukee to an 8-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

-Lance Berkman, Astros, went 3-for-4 with his 13th home run to help Houston beat the San Francisco Giants 7-3.

-Josh Hamilton, Rangers, homered and drove in four runs in a wild 13-12 win over the Seattle Mariners.

-Vladimir Guerrero, Angels, homered and drove in four runs in a 10-7 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

-Matt Garza, Rays, pitched seven scoreless innings to help Tampa Bay beat the New York Yankees 7-1 for its fifth consecutive victory.

-Tim Hudson, Braves, allowed an unearned run and two hits over seven innings in an 8-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the second game of a doubleheader.

-Jeff Keppinger, Reds, hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in an 8-7 win over the Florida Marlins.

-Carlos Zambrano, Cubs, allowed three runs in seven innings and went 2-for-4 in a 12-3 victory over the San Diego Padres.

DOUBLE YOUR FUN

Ryan Braun hit two home runs for the second game in a row, leading the Milwaukee Brewers to an 8-3 victory over St. Louis. Braun followed up Sunday's two-homer performance by hitting two more off stingy Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright (3-2), who had given up four runs or less in each of his first seven starts and had a 2.25 ERA going into the game. Braun has nine homers on the year.

TRIPLE YOUR FUN

Cleveland's Asdrubal Cabrera turned the 14th unassisted triple play in major league history, accomplishing the feat in the second game of a doubleheader against Toronto. Cabrera made a diving catch on a line drive by Lyle Overbay, touched second base and then tagged out Marco Scutaro to quickly end the fifth inning of the Indians' 3-0 loss in 10 innings.

GETTING CLOSER


Manny Ramirez hit a two-run drive in the first inning of Boston's 7-3 loss at Minnesota for career homer No. 498. The two-run shot was his second in 20 games and gave him 1,630 RBIs, moving him past Harold Baines for 26th place on the career list.

IT'S OVER

Tim Hudson limited Pittsburgh to two hits and an unearned run over seven innings and Atlanta halted its seven-game road losing streak and the Pirates' six-game winning streak with an 8-1 victory in the second game of a doubleheader. The Braves still own the majors' worst road record, 5-14, but finally ended a road losing streak that extended over their last two road trips. They also stopped Pittsburgh's seven-game home winning streak.

THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT

Matt Garza pitched seven scoreless innings and surging Tampa Bay beat the Yankees 7-1 for its fifth consecutive victory. Jason Bartlett and Dioner Navarro each drove in two runs for the Rays (22-16), who climbed six games over .500 for the first time in franchise history and also extended their home winning streak to a club-record 10 games.

SNAPPED


Jeff Keppinger and Brandon Phillips hit two-run homers in the seventh inning and the Cincinnati Reds beat Florida 8-7 to end the Marlins' seven-game winning streak. ... Odalis Perez had three hits and two RBIs and pitched into the seventh inning to lead the Nationals over the New York Mets 10-4. Washington ended a three-game slide. ... Vladimir Guerrero homered and drove in four runs and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Chicago White Sox 10-7 to snap a four-game losing streak.

GET LOW

Cliff Lee worked nine scoreless innings in Cleveland's 3-0 10-inning loss to the Toronto Blue Jays in the second game of a doubleheader. The Indians left-hander failed to become the AL's first seven-game winner but lowered his major league-leading ERA to 0.67. He gave up seven hits, walked two and struck out five.

SPEAKING

``They were cheering in the dugout like a bunch of softball girls. I am a professional, I take great offense to that. ... They won tonight, but in the long run, look who they are, a last-place team.'' - Mets starter Nelson Figueroa after he walked five, hit two batters and committed a throwing error in a 10-4 loss to Washington.

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