MLB News and Notes April 18

MLB News and Notes April 18

Sunday's MLB Tip Sheet
By Brad Young

The brief three-game interleague series wraps up Sunday with a full slate of interesting matchups. This weekend has been a breath of fresh air in the lengthy 162-game regular season, but interleague play won’t start up again until mid-June.

Now let’s break down a couple of Sunday’s key contests.

**Twins (Slowey) at Rockies (Francis)**

-Caesars Palace installed Colorado as a $1.60 home ‘chalk’ over Minnesota, with the total set at 10 ‘under’ (minus $1.20). This contest is slated to start at 3:05 p.m. ET.

-Minnesota pitcher Kevin Slowey (0-3, 5.79 ERA) is off Tuesday’s setback to Toronto as a $1.20 home favorite, 5-3. The Winthrop product went 5 2/3 innings while allowing three runs on five hits with two walks and five strikeouts.

-The combined eight runs failed to topple the 8½-run closing total, enabling the ‘under’ to improve to 3-0. The Twins are 0-3 when Slowey is pitching.

-Colorado’s Jeff Francis (0-4, 6.27 ERA) is still searching for his first victory after Tuesday’s loss to Arizona as a $1.15 road underdog, 8-4. The British Columbia native lasted just 4 2/3 innings, yielding eight runs on 13 hits with no walks and three strikeouts.

-The combined 12 runs eclipsed the nine-run closing total, helping the ‘over’ improve to 3-1 his last four outings.

**White Sox (Danks) at Giants (Cain)**

-Caesars Palace opened San Francisco as a $1.10 home favorite over Chicago, with the total listed at eight. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. ET.

-Chicago’s John Danks (3-3, 2.74 ERA) is off Tuesday’s no-decision to Los Angeles as a $1.15 road underdog, 2-0. The left-hander tossed 6 1/3 innings of scoreless ball on seven hits with two walks and five strikeouts.

-The two runs never seriously threatened the 8½-run closing total. The ‘under’ has gone 7-1 this season in his eight starts.

-San Francisco right-hander Matt Cain (2-3, 4.17 ERA) upended Houston Tuesday as a $1.25 home ‘chalk,’ 4-2. The four-year veteran was reached for both runs on seven hits with four walks and five strikeouts over eight innings.

-The combined six runs failed to topple the eight-run closing total, ending a string of three consecutive ‘over’ outings.

**Tigers (Robertson) at Diamondbacks (Johnson)**

-Caesars Palace lists Arizona as a $1.50 home ‘chalk’ over Detroit, with the total set at 10. This matchup is slated to start at 4:10 p.m. ET.

-Detroit pitcher Nate Robertson (1-4, 6.04 ERA) received a no-decision against Kansas City Tuesday despite tossing a solid seven innings. The Wichita State product surrendered two runs on 10 hits with no walks and two strikeouts.

-The Tigers eventually dropped that contest as a $1.10 road underdog, 3-2, while the combined five runs went ‘under’ the 8½-run closing total. The ‘under’ is 4-1 his last five starts.

-Arizona counters with veteran Randy Johnson (3-1, 5.40 ERA) who is riding a personal two-game winning streak after knocking off Colorado Tuesday as a $1.30 home favorite, 8-4. The lanky left-hander went five innings, yielding four runs on nine hits with no walks and four strikeouts.

-The combined 12 runs toppled the nine-run closing total, helping the ‘over’ improve to 4-1 in his six starts.

**Mets (Perez) at Yankees (Wang)**

-Caesars Palace opened the Yankees as a $1.55 home favorite over the Mets, with the total set at 8½. ESPN will provide coverage of this contest beginning at 8:05 p.m. ET.

-The Mets send left-hander Oliver Perez (3-3, 4.61 ERA) had dropped three games in a row before upending Cincinnati last Sunday as a $1.30 home ‘chalk,’ 8-3. The Mexico native was tagged for three runs on three hits with four walks and eight strikeouts over six innings.

-The combined 11 runs toppled the 8½-run closing total, helping the ‘over’ improve to 3-1 his last four starts.

-Perez went 2-0 against the Yankees last year in two starts, tossing a combined 15 innings while surrendering just two runs on 10 hits (one home run) with five walks and 11 strikeouts. The Mets prevailed as a home ‘pick,’ 3-2, and as a $1.60 road underdog, 2-0. The ‘under’ cashed in both contests.

-The Yankees counter with Chien-Ming Wang (6-1, 2.90 ERA) who is off Tuesday’s no-decision against Tampa Bay. The Taiwan native went seven innings, surrendering one run on seven hits with three walks and two strikeouts.

-New York dropped that contest as a $1.40 road favorite, 2-1, while the combined three runs never seriously threatened the 8 ½-run closing total.

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Re: MLB News and Notes April 18

Sunday Night Baseball Preview
By ASA

The opening weekend of interleague play concludes with the biggest of the rivalry series. In the 2000 World Series, the Yankees and Mets met in what was tabbed, “The Subway Series.” The Yankees easily dispatched of the Mets in five games in that series but since then, with the exception of the 2003 season, this has been a very evenly matched series.

The Yankees are 35-25 lifetime in interleague series with the Mets, which has played a big role in them owning baseball’s best interleague record at 113-79. Since the 2000 Fall Classic, though, the Yankees and Mets have split five of the last seven years – and three straight years – with each team winning three games. The home team has taken two out of three games each of the last two years.

Both teams were expected to be sitting at or near the top of the standings in their respective divisions. That has not been the case, though. Coming into the series, the Yankees were in last place in the AL East, the farthest into the season they have been in the cellar since the 1980s. The Mets’ standing (third) in the NL East is a little better but their record is only three games better than the Yankees’.

The biggest issue for both teams has been surprisingly mediocre offenses. The Yankee lineup is littered with All-Stars from top to bottom but that has not resulted in many runs. They are 23rd in baseball with just 4.1 runs per game and are fresh off a 4-game series with Tampa Bay in which they scored a total of six runs. Injuries to Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada have made an already struggling Yankee offense even worse.

The Mets are scoring at a little better clip with 4.8 runs per game, good for 10th in the league. But they’re hitting just .256 as a team and stars David Wright, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado have yet to get on track.

The lack of offense in both dugouts could make the third game of this series a low-scoring one, especially with Chien-Ming Wang and John Maine toeing the rubber. The Yankees won the first seven games Wang started this year before dropping the last two. Neither was necessarily Wang’s fault. He ranks first in the AL with six wins, fifth with 59 innings pitched and ninth with a 2.90 ERA. He owns a solid 2:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and has allowed just one home run on the year.

Johan Santana may get all of the pitching headlines for the Mets but Maine has pitched as well as any other Met hurler. Maine hasn’t allowed more than two runs since his first start of the year, posting a 2.81 ERA while holding batters to a .213 average. He got shelled in his only start against the Yankees last year, though, allowing five runs in five innings.

While the pitchers and lack of hitting on each side point to a low-scoring game, this is a series that has a history of high-scoring games. The over is 8-2 in the last 10 games in Yankee Stadium and 11-5 in the last 16 meetings overall. Over those 16 games, the Yankees and Mets have combined for 10.4 runs per game.

Each New York team has failed to make expectations at this point. When the Yankees and Mets meet, though, you can throw records out of the window. City pride is on the line and both teams will bring their “A” games. ESPN couldn’t have asked for a better Sunday night baseball game.

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INTERLEAGUE

L.A. Dodgers (22-20) at L.A. Angels (25-20)


Derek Lowe (2-3, 4.62 ERA) tries to notch his first quality start in more than a month when he leads the Dodgers against the Angels’ Jered Weaver (2-5, 4.86) in the rubber match of this three-game Freeway Series at Angel Stadium.

The Angels won Friday’s series-opener 4-2, but the Dodgers came back on Saturday and posted a 6-3 upset victory, snapping a six-game losing streak to their regional rivals. The Dodgers are stil just 3-6 in their last nine, which comes on the heels of a 10-1 hot streak. Additionally, they’re mired in slumps of 1-4 on Sundays, 2-5 against right-handed starters and 2-5 against winning teams.

The Angels are just 3-7 in their last 10 contests, but they’re 5-3 in their last eight at home and 15-7 in Weaver’s last 22 home starts.

Despite Saturday’s defeat, the Halos are still 8-2 in the last 10 meetings against the Dodgers, with all eight being multi-run victories. Also, Mike Scioscia’s club has won 18 of the last 24 battles in Anaheim, including the last six of the last seven. Finally, when it comes to interleague play, the Angels have shined, going 21-9 in their last 30 overall and 11-2 in their last 13 versus the N.L. at home, while the Dodgers have floundered against the A.L., posting negative Interleague runs of 18-35 overall and 5-24 on the road. Joe Torre’s club is also just 11-25 in its last 36 against the A.L. West.

Lowe gave up four runs on six hits in six innings on Wednesday in Milwaukee, but his team rallied in the ninth inning for a 6-4 victory, getting the veteran right-hander off the hook. Still, Lowe is 0-2 with an 8.27 ERA over his last three starts, and he’s gone six straight outings without a quality start (at least six innings pitched and three earned runs allowed or less).

Lowe is 0-2 with a 5.47 ERA in five road starts, with the Dodgers averaging just 3.8 runs per game in those contests. Against the Angels in his career, he’s 6-5 with a 2.86 ERA in 27 appearances (11 starts), and he’s allowed three earned runs or fewer while pitching at least seven innings in each of the last six against the Halos.

Weaver bounced back from his worst start of the season – a 9-4 loss in Kansas City in which he gave up eight runs in 3 1/3 innings – and dominated the White Sox on Tuesday, allowing just a single hit and two walks in seven scoreless innings, winning 2-0. With that effort, Weaver improved to 1-2 with a 2.00 ERA in four home starts. However, the Angels are just 3-6 in the right-hander’s nine trips to the hill in 2008.

Weaver’s only two starts against the Dodgers came last year, and he was brilliant in both, giving up a combined two runs on nine hits in 12 innings, winning 6-2 at home and 3-0 on the road.

The under is 7-0-1 in Lowe’s last eight starts against the Angels (3-0 in Anaheim), 5-0-1 in his last six against the A.L. West and 4-0 in his last four interleague outings. Meanwhile, the under is 6-3 in Weaver’s nine starts this season, including 4-0 at home.

The under is 5-1 in the last six head-to-head meetings between these rivals overall (2-0 this weekend), 9-2-1 in the last 12 clashes at Angel Stadium, 5-0 in the Angels’ last five overall, 5-0 in the Angels’ last five at home 11-2 in the Dodgers’ last 13 on Sundays and 37-17-3 in the Dodgers’ last 56 interleague road contests.

ATS ADVANTAGE: L.A. ANGELS and UNDER


N.Y. Mets (20-19) at N.Y. Yankees (20-22)

The Yankees hand the ball to ace Chien-Ming Wang (6-1, 2.90) as they conclude this truncated Subway Series against the Mets, who are set to go with lefty Oliver Perez (3-3, 4.61) in a nationally televised contest.

After Friday’s game was rained out, the Mets came out Saturday and outslugged the Yankees 7-4, snapping a two-game losing skid. The Mets are still mired in slumps of 11-26 in interleague road games, 2-5 as a road ‘dog and 2-5 against A.L. teams with losing records.

The Yanks have now dropped seven of their last 10, including losing four of their last five. Joe Giradi’s club is on further slides of 2-9 as a favorite, 1-6 vs. lefties, 1-6 in interleague games and 2-6 as a home favorite. On the flip side, they’re on positive runs of 23-6 against N.L. southpaws, 47-15 in interleague home games, 14-7 at home against teams with a losing record and 20-6 on Sundays.

These two teams split their two series in 2007, with each winning three games and each taking one contest on the road. In fact, over the last three years, the Mets hold a slim 10-9 edge, with the home team going 10-9 during this stretch. However, the Yankees are still 18-8 in the last 26 head-to-head clashes in the Bronx.

Wang has been spectacular for the Yankees this year, recording a quality start – at least six innings pitched and three earned runs or fewer allowed – in eight of his nine outings. However, after going 7-0 in Wang’s first seven starts, the Yankees have lost his last two to the Indians at home (3-0) and the Rays on the road (2-1).

Wang is 3-1 with a 4.20 ERA in five home starts, but if you take away his one poor outing this year (eight runs in four innings at home against Boston), his home ERA shrinks to 1.93. Also, in his only career start against the Mets last year, he went 8 2/3 innings, yielding two runs on six hits with one walk and 10 strikeouts in an 8-2 home win.

Perez snapped a three-game losing skid in his most recent outing a week ago today at home against the Reds, giving up three runs on three hits in six innings en route to an 8-3 victory. He’s 2-2 with a 3.86 ERA in four road starts, and the Mets are 8-3 in his last 11 on the highway.

Perez dominated the Yankees twice last year, giving up two runs and 10 hits in 15 total innings, winning 3-2 at Yankee Stadium and 2-0 at home. He walked five and whiffed 11 in those two contests.

The under is 7-2 in Wang’s nine starts this year, including 4-0 in the last four and 4-1 at home. Conversely, the over is 3-1 in Perez’s last four starts overall and 4-0 in his last four Sunday outings.

In this Subway Series, the over is on streaks of 12-5 overall and 9-2 at Yankee Stadium. Also, the “over” trends run heavy for the Mets, including 7-3 overall, 5-1 in interleague road games, 9-3 against losing teams and 19-6 on the highway against losing teams. The under, though, is 11-5-1 in the Mets’ last 17 interleague games against losing teams. For the Yankees, the under is on streaks of 40-11-1 overall, 5-1 in the Bronx, 8-3 in interleague play against winning teams and 13-6 against winning teams.

ATS ADVANTAGE: N.Y. YANKEES

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Re: MLB News and Notes April 18

Sunday Night Baseball: Subway series
By LEE KOSTROSKI

New York Mets (Maine) at New York Yankees (Wang)

The opening weekend of interleague play concludes with the biggest of the rivalry series. In the 2000 World Series, the Yankees and Mets met in what was tabbed, “The Subway Series.” The Yankees easily dispatched of the Mets in five games in that series but since then, with the exception of the 2003 season, this has been a very evenly matched series.

The Yankees are 35-25 lifetime in interleague series with the Mets, which has played a big role in them owning baseball’s best interleague record at 113-79. Since the 2000 Fall Classic, though, the Yankees and Mets have split five of the last seven years – and three straight years – with each team winning three games. The home team has taken two out of three games each of the last two years.

Both teams were expected to be sitting at or near the top of the standings in their respective divisions. That has not been the case, though. Coming into the series, the Yankees were in last place in the AL East, the farthest into the season they have been in the cellar since the 1980s. The Mets’ standing (3rd) in the NL East is a little better but their record is only three games better than the Yankees’.

The biggest issue for both teams has been surprisingly mediocre offenses. The Yankee lineup is littered with All-Stars from top to bottom but that has not resulted in many runs. They are 23rd in baseball with just 4.1 runs per game and are fresh off a 4-game series with Tampa Bay in which they scored a total of six runs. Injuries to Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada have made an already struggling Yankee offense even worse.

The Mets are scoring at a little better clip with 4.8 runs per game, good for 10th in the league. But they’re hitting just .256 as a team and stars David Wright, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado have yet to get on track.

The lack of offense in both dugouts could make the third game of this series a low-scoring one, especially with Chien-Ming Wang and John Maine toeing the rubber. The Yankees won the first seven games Wang started this year before dropping the last two. Neither was necessarily Wang’s fault. He ranks first in the AL with six wins, fifth with 59 innings pitched and ninth with a 2.90 ERA. He owns a solid 2:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and has allowed just one home run on the year.

Johan Santana may get all of the pitching headlines for the Mets but Maine has pitched as well as any other Met hurler. Maine hasn’t allowed more than two runs since his first start of the year, posting a 2.81 ERA while holding batters to a .213 average. He got shelled in his only start against the Yankees last year, though, allowing five runs in five innings.

While the pitchers and lack of hitting on each side point to a low-scoring game, this is a series that has a history of high-scoring games. The over is 8-2 in the last 10 games in Yankee Stadium and 11-5 in the last 16 meetings overall. Over those 16 games, the Yankees and Mets have combined for 10.4 runs per game.

Each New York team has failed to make expectations at this point. When the Yankees and Mets meet, though, you can throw records out of the window. City pride is on the line and both teams will bring their “A” games. ESPN couldn’t have asked for a better Sunday night baseball game.

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Re: MLB News and Notes April 18

Sunday MLB Gameday

Chien-Ming Wang and the New York Yankees will be looking to knock off the rival New York Mets when they meet on Sunday night. Here's a preview in your MLB Gameday …

Cleveland Indians at Cincinnati Reds

Everyone keeps waiting for Lee to stumble, but the Tribe's surprise stud just keeps putting zeroes on the scoreboard. The lefthander was actually denied a win in his last outing versus the Blue Jays, but he still tossed nine innings of shutout baseball in that outing. Overall Lee is 6-0 on the season, and his ERA is down to a ridiculously-low 0.67.

Volquez is basically Lee's National League counterpart - no one expected him to be this good this season. The righthander has yet to give up more than a single earned run in an outing in 2008, and his only loss came on May 2 when he allowed two runs (just one earned) versus the Braves. Volquez dominated the Marlins in his most recent start.

Los Angeles Dodgers at Los Angeles Angels

Lowe will be pitching on just three days' rest in this contest, as scheduled starter Brad Penny was scratched with a sore arm. Lowe has given up four or more earned runs in each of his past three outings, which has boosted his ERA up to 4.62 on the season. The righthander last won on April 23, when he shut down the D-Backs over five innings.

Weaver has been up-and-down this season. The young righthander surrendered eight earned runs over just 3 1-3 innings in his start versus the Royals on May 7, but he then held the White Sox scoreless on one hit over seven innings in his most recent outing. Weaver hasn't earned a victory since he got past the struggling Tigers back on April 27.

Detroit Tigers at Arizona Diamondbacks

Robertson is coming off his best performance of the season, as he held the Royals to two earned runs over seven innings on May 13. However, the lefthander failed to pick up a victory in that contest; his only win of the season so far came back on May 1 versus the Yankees when he surrendered four earned runs over 5 2-3 innings pitched.

Johnson has given up eight earned runs over just 11 innings in his past two starts, but the Diamondbacks' offense helped him earn victories in each of those outings. The veteran lefthander has allowed at least four earned runs in four of his six starts so far in 2008, but he's managed to strike out 32 batters while walking 11 over his 31 2-3 innings.

New York Mets at New York Yankees

Perez got back into the win column last time out, holding the Reds to three earned runs on just three hits over six innings of work. The lefthander had struggled in his previous three outings (all losses), with his worst start happening against the Pirates on April 30 when he surrendered seven runs (two earned) and was yanked after just 1 2-3 innings.

Wang was finally tagged with his first loss of the season on May 7 versus the Indians (three earned runs over seven innings), and he took a no-decision against the Rays in his most recent outing. The righthander, though, gave up just one earned run on seven hits over seven innings versus Tampa, which dropped his ERA down to 2.90 this year.

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