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MLB News and Notes June 1

MLB News and Notes June 1

Sunday's Tip Sheet
By Brian Edwards

As the calendar hits June on Sunday, we’ve got hot division races across the board. Even Arizona, which took a five-game losing streak into Saturday’s home game against Washington, has seen its once-comfortable lead in the NL West dwindle.

Let’s take a look at several key games, including the nightcap matchup between the Mets and Dodgers at Shea Stadium.

**Tigers at Mariners**

-- Las Vegas Sports Consultants opened Detroit (23-32, -1,443) as a minus 125 road favorite with a total of nine flat (-110 either way). The Tigers are plus 120 on the run line (risk $100 to win $120).

--Jim Leyland will give the starting nod to veteran left-hander Kenny Rogers, who is 4-4 with a 5.88 ERA. Rogers has an 11-12 record and 4.58 lifetime ERA against the Mariners. The 43-year-old is 2-3 with a 5.77 ERA in seven road assignments this year.

--Miguel Batista (3-6, 5.98) has been mostly horrible through 12 starts this year. The right-hander has been especially ineffective at home, compiling a 2-3 record and 8.00 ERA in six starts and one relief appearance. Batista is 1-4 with a 5.12 career ERA against Detroit.

--Seattle (21-35, -1,598) has a 14-15 home record after capturing a 5-0 win Saturday over Detroit..

--Seattle has been atrocious against lefties, compiling an abysmal 4-11 record.

--The ‘over’ is 28-27 overall for the M’s, but the ‘under’ is 15-13 in their home games.

--The ‘over’ is 29-28 overall for the Tigers, but the ‘under’ has cashed at an 18-13 clip in their road outings.

**Dodgers at Mets**

--LVSC opened New York (27-27, -617) as a minus 165 favorite with a total of 7½ ‘over’ (minus 120). Gamblers can dodge the ‘chalky’ straight price and get the Mets on the run line (minus 1½ runs) for a plus 140 return.

--Johan Santana (6-3, 3.41) will take the ball from Willie Randolph in this spot. Santana is 2-1 with a 4.26 ERA in four home starts since coming over to the NL from Minnesota.

--Only a few players in the Dodgers lineup have ever faced Santana. They have combined to go just 1-for-11 against the hard-throwing lefty.

--Los Angeles (27-28, -459) went into Saturday’s action in second place in the NL West. Thanks to Arizona’s recent struggles the Dodgers are just 2 1/2 games off the pace.

--Hiroki Kuroda (2-4, 3.29) has only faced the Mets once, struggling mightily in a May 6 home start. The right-hander didn’t get out of the fourth inning, giving up eight hits and walking three batters.

--Joe Torre’s team has feasted on southpaws this season, posting a 10-4 record.

--The ‘over’ is 28-27 overall for the Dodgers, 13-14 in their road contests.

--The Mets have watched the ‘over’ go 33-23 overall, 17-12 in their home games.

--ESPN will have the first pitch at 8:05 p.m. Eastern.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

--The ‘under’ is an MLB-best 35-22 in Atlanta games.

--The ‘over’ is an MLB-best 37-18 for the Pirates. They have watched the ‘over’ hit at a 21-8 clip in their road games. In other words, I think all bettors should back Pittsburgh 'overs' on a daily basis until the system starts to fail (no signs of that at all recently.)

--Cincy slugger Ken Griffey Jr. cracked his 599th career homer Saturday.

--Kansas City took a 12-game losing streak into Saturday’s home game vs. Cleveland.

More nuggets to follow at the conclusion of Saturday’s games.

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L.A. Dodgers (27-28) at N.Y. Mets (27-27)

Two teams trying to claw their way above .500 and back into division races wrap up a four-game weekend set at Shea Stadium, with the Dodgers sending right-hander Hiroki Kuroda (2-4, 3.29 ERA) to the mound against Mets ace Johan Santana (6-3, 3.41).

New York scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-0 victory Saturday. It was the fourth win in the last five games for Willie Randolph’s team, a surge that follows a 1-7 slump.

Los Angeles, which snapped a four-game losing streak with Friday’s 9-5 win over the Mets, is now 2-7 in its last nine games, including 1-5 on a current road trip that ends tonight. The Dodgers have scored two runs or less in six of their last nine games.

The season series is now tied 3-3, with New York going 6-2 in the last eight meetings at Shea Stadium. Tonight’s battle is the final regular-season battle between the two clubs.

Kuroda has strung together seven quality starts – three earned runs or fewer allowed in at least six innings pitched – in his last nine trips to the mound, but has little to show for it, as he’s just 1-3 with five no-decisions during this stretch. Over Kuroda’s last four starts, the right-hander has a 2.30 ERA, but L.A. is 1-3, including a 3-1 loss at Chicago in his most recent start on Tuesday.

Kuroda has already seen the Mets once this season, getting tagged for four runs on eight hits in just 3 1/3 innings at home on May 6, but he got a no-decision as L.A. rallied for a 5-4 victory. Despite a 2.82 ERA, Kuroda is 1-4 in six starts on the highway this year, with the Dodgers averaging a paltry 3.2 runs per game in those six contests.

The Mets are on a 7-1 tear when Santana takes the ball, and the lefty is 3-1 with a  4.23 ERA in his last four starts. On Tuesday against Florida, he yielded three runs on eight hits in seven innings as New York won 5-3 at home. With that effort, Santana improved to 2-1 with a 4.26 ERA at Shea this year. Also, in his lone career start against the Dodgers back in 2006 when he was with the Twins, Santana pitched seven shutout innings, allowing two hits and three walks while striking out nine in a 6-3 victory.

The Dodgers are on an 8-1 spree against left-handed starters and are 6-3 in their last nine against the National League East, but they are 1-6 in their last seven roadies and 2-5 in their last seven Sunday contests. Meanwhile, the Mets are 4-1 in their last five Sunday starts, but they are in a 2-6 funk against right-handers.

The under is 3-0 in Kurdoa’s last three starts overall and 5-0 in his last five on the highway. However, the over is 6-2-1 in Santana’s last nine trips to the bump, including 3-0-1 at Shea.

For Los Angeles, the under is on a 9-2 streak – with the first two games of this series accounting for the two “overs” -- and the under is 12-3 in the Dodgers’ last 15 on Sunday. However, the over streaks for L.A. include 4-1 against the N.L. East, 5-1 on the road against lefty starters and 13-5 overall against southpaws. For New York, the over is on runs of 7-2-1 overall (4-1-1 at home) and 12-4-1 at Shea. Finally, the over is 4-1 in the last five battles this season between these clubs.



Toronto (31-27) at L.A. Angels (33-24)

Right-hander A.J. Burnett (5-5, 4.57 ERA) is set to toe the slab for the Blue Jays when they take on Jon Garland (5-3, 3.89) and the Angels in the finale of a three-game weekend series at Angel Stadium.

After getting crushed 10-4 in Friday’s series opener, the Angels bounced back on Saturday and pounded out 16 hits, yet needed 10 innings to pull out a 3-2 victory, snapping their modest two-game losing skid while halting Toronto’s three-game winning streak. L.A. is 9-5 in its last 14 games (5-3 at home), while the Jays are 8-2 in their last 10 overall and 9-3 in the past 12 on the highway.

The Angels now hold a slim 3-2 lead in the season series. These two teams have been very evenly matched the past two years, with Toronto holding a slight 11-10 edge.

Burnett is coming off a 3-1 loss at Oakland on Tuesday, as he allowed all three runs (two earned) on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings, with just two walks and a season-tying high of 10 strikeouts. He has given up three runs or less in four straight starts and five of his last six, but the Blue Jays are only 3-3 in those six contests.

Burnett is 3-3 with a 3.11 ERA in seven road starts this season, and he’s 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA in two career starts against L.A. The one victory came in a 4-3 home triumph 10 days ago in which he allowed three runs on six hits in six innings.

Garland pitched a gem at home against Detroit on Monday, scattering four hits and three walks in 7 1/3 shutout innings, failing to get a decision in the Angels’ 1-0, 12-inning victory. Garland has yielded three runs or less in five straight games – posting a 2.15 ERA during this run – but he’s got just two wins and three no-decisions in that span. The right-hander has also pitched at least six innings in eight consecutive outings.

Garland is 2-2 with a 4.66 ERA in six home starts this year, and he’s 10-2 with a 4.17 ERA in 16 career appearances (14 starts) against Toronto. That includes a 4-3 win in Toronto on May 21, when Garland allowed three runs on eight hits in six innings.

The Blue Jays are on a bevy of positive runs, including 7-1 against right-handed starters, 7-0 in Sunday games, 5-0 in the third game of a series, 10-3 on the road against winning teams and 4-2 against the American League West. In addition, with Burnett on the hill, Toronto is on streaks of 4-1 on Sunday and 7-2 against winning teams.

The Angels are 36-17 in their last 53 home games against winning teams and 18-8 in their last 25 at Angel Stadium versus teams with a winning road mark, but they are 3-5 in their past eight against the A.L. East and 1-6 in their last seven Game 3 matchups.

With Burnett on the hill, the under is on streaks of 21-8-1 overall, 4-0 on the highway, 7-1 against winning teams, 12-2 in Game 3 of a series and 14-3-1 with Burnett going on four days’ rest. With Garland starting for L.A., the under is on tears of 5-0 overall, 4-0 against the A.L. East, 4-1 at home and 4-1 against winning teams.

For Toronto, the under is on streaks of 28-12-1 overall, 44-21-3 on the road, 23-7 on Sundays, 7-2 against the A.L. West and 11-3 in Game 3 contests. For Los Angeles, the under trends include 21-6 overall, 9-2 at home and 4-1 in Game 3 contests. Finally, in this rivalry, the under is 38-14-5 in the last 57 head-to-head meetings overall, including 17-5-2 in the last 24 clashes at Angel Stadium.


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Colorado Rockies are down to the rock bottom

They have been a disappointment after going to the World Series last season.

Many baseball gamblers expected big things from the Colorado Rockies this season based on how they finished last year.

The Rockies won 13 of their last 14 regular-season games and a one-game playoff over San Diego before sweeping Philadelphia and Arizona in the playoffs.

But Colorado, which lost to Boston in last year's World Series, has been anything but a sure bet this season.

The Rockies are in last place in the National League West with a 20-36 record and have lost six games in a row, including a 5-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.

Colorado's biggest problem? Poor starting pitching.

Two months into the season, the Rockies have only one starter getting it done on a regular basis and that's ace Aaron Cook, who has a 7-3 record and 3.36 earned-run average.

Today, Colorado will turn to shaky right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez to close a three-game series against the Cubs, who lead the NL Central with a 35-21 record.

Jimenez, who had a 4-4 record last season, has struggled this year with a 1-5 record and a 5.37 ERA, and in his last nine starts, the Rockies are 0-9. Colorado is listed as a +145 underdog for today's game.

Chicago is listed as a -155 favorite for today's game behind rookie right-hander Sean Gallagher, who has pitched well after starting the season in the minor leagues.

Gallagher, who defeated the Dodgers last week and will be making his fifth career start, has a 2-1 record and a 4.50 ERA this season.

MLB adds: The Rockies are 2-13 in their last 15 road games against right-handed starters and 1-11 in the last 12 starts made by Jimenez. Also, the Cubs are 12-1 in their last 13 games against teams from the NL West.

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When MLB statistics lie to bettors

Baseball is a funny thing.

It’s crazy to think a game dominated by statistics and numbers can produce such frequent anomalies. Like the Arizona Diamondbacks, who finished 18 games above .500 last season despite scoring fewer runs than they allowed.

Go figure.

Hitting and pitching make up the bulk of the game. A ball club that hits and pitches well should be a bettor’s golden egg.

Contrary to what math geeks believe, the numbers actually do lie - sometimes. Oddly enough, there are only four clubs in the majors among the top 10 in batting and pitching and only two of those place among’s top 10 money teams.

The Dodgers, Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals and the Atlanta Braves are the four teams in the top 10 in pitching and hitting yet only the Cardinals and Cubs are big money winners. And the Cubs only recently entered the exclusive company after a series sweep of the Dodgers.

Los Angeles might be the team suffering from the most frustration among this group.The Dodgers are tied for the sixth-best batting average (.268) in the majors but are averaging just 4.5 runs per game. They have a 27-27 record heading into the weekend looks down-right pedestrian.

So what gives?

The Dodgers, like the other three franchises with top 10 hitting and pitching, play in a major market. The popularity of this group means a daily flood of public money, which in turn means deflated value.

“I believe the Cubs, Braves and Dodgers generally face inflated prices due to their large following,” Covers Expert Steve Merril says, “but I think there will be value with these teams over the next couple months. Oddsmakers are usually forced to adjust lines when a team is losing money.”

While Merril says it’s difficult to pinpoint why these teams aren’t making more cash for their supporters, he says one issue sticks out.

“The biggest thing that jumps out to me is the home/road dichotomy of the Braves. They have been a strong offensive team at home, but much weaker on the road. This has translated to a 22-7 home record and just 8-18 on the road.

Of the four teams, the Cards are causing the books the most headaches.

“Before the season started, I had them finishing just ahead of Pittsburgh in the NL Central,” oddsmaker Randy Scott of says of the 32-23 Red Birds. “It’s not very often sportsbooks come across a situation like this where a big market team only has a couple of star players and yet the club exceeds expectations.”

This weekend the Cubs host the Colorado Rockies while division rival St. Louis entertains the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Braves are in Cincinnati and the Dodgers are on the East Coast for a three-game series against the New York Mets.

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