MLB News and Notes June 13

MLB News and Notes June 13

Losing Road Records
By Josh Jacobs

Whether it’s professional basketball basking in the saga of ex-referee Tim Donaghy’s explosive allegations of fixing playoff games or baseball’s crackdown on greenies – you know, that pharmaceutical classified as amphetamines – and steroids, there’s one thing for sure, numbers don’t lie.

This article will attempt to analyze an anomaly taking place in the big leagues. It’s losing records on the road and the pace at which this is taking place has the MLB on course to experience something it’s never seen. How does this affect our gambling techniques and can this trend help or hinder our ability to rake in the cash?

Let’s take the Atlanta Braves (32-34, -852) for example. The obvious piece of information is A-Town’s dominating 25-11 record at home, but on the road the Braves can’t buy a win with only seven victories in a total of 30 games played (that’s a 44% gap between wins at home versus wins on the road).

Cashing in on +1013 units at home on Atlanta has helped gamblers increase their payroll, but backers on the road are facing a gigantic -1889 unit deficit. That’s the cold, hard financial numbers, but why such a huge discrepancy in home to away games?

Atlanta has churned out a .298 BA in 36 games played inside Turner Field. Mix in 186 RBIs (5.2 RBIs per game) coming out of the batter’s box and a 3.46 ERA with a 1.30 WHIP on the mound, and there’s no wonder why the Braves have prospered at home.

On the other side of the fence, the Braves are struggling for a .243 BA with 106 RBIs on the road. Pitchers have struggled with an inflated 4.23 ERA, with the biggest numerical difference coming on 33 holds at home versus only seven on the road.

These numbers could indicate something larger then just poor performance, but a clear cut answer isn’t available. Bettors are just left with the option of fading Atlanta on the road. If these events continue, the Braves are on pace to set a Major League record for the largest home to road record disparity.

Building on this argument is evidence coming out of first place Boston (41-27, +995). The club’s 27-7 home record has supplied backers with a solid +1664 bankroll (even if books have installed the Sox as favorites a full 33 times in 34 games).

But then we revert back to road woes.

A 14-20 road record has equated to Boston putting up similar numbers to Atlanta’s production. The Red Sox are swinging away at hitter friendly Fenway Park for a .295 BA, have taken 149 base on balls, and are registering 185 RBIs and an .849 OPS. However, when leaving its home cooking behind, Boston has made contact with the ball for a .269 BA with 140 RBIs, and the most dramatic drop, a .759 OPS (that’s a difference of .90 OPS).

And while it might be just a microcosm of a bigger factor, Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon (19 saves, 1.84 ERA) has logged 11 of his 19 saves at home (16 of his 28 appearances have been home stands – 57% home games played in).

Tampa Bay (38-28, +1051) is another group who’s been overwhelmingly strong in the AL East but hasn’t been exempt from losing on the road. Only 14 wins away from home coupled with a 5.00 ERA (versus a blistering 2.81 ERA at home), the Rays are just another example of a year marred by losing road records.

Tampa follows the same rule with the rest of league. The team has lost bettors a not so terrible -122 units on the road, but once again the same theme holds true on offense and defense. The batting lineup is hitting .270 at home but is whiffing past pitches for a .253 BA on the road. Compounding the problem is only one player is hitting .300 or above overall and your guess probably won’t be catcher Dioner Navarro. The four-year commander behind the plate is making contact for a .338 BA on the season with 25 RBIs.

The Rays’ James Shields (4-5, 3.91) and Matt Garza (4-3, 4.38) are two starters who have contributed for a combined 2-7 record with a sky high 6.62 ERA away from Tropicana Park.

Take into account that Tampa possesses the ninth best overall ERA in the league at 3.87, while a 1.30 WHIP is sixth best.

In the end there are too many factors to help explain why the entire league has graced the standings with a 401-511 record (winning percentage of 40%). We can all surmise that the long ball has dropped dramatically from prior years, therefore brining a direct decrease in offensive production. But the fact remains that gamblers are stuck between a rock and hard place for placing wagers on visiting underdogs.

This week hasn’t followed the vicious pace mentioned in this article as visiting teams have gone an almost average 18-20 (as of Thursday mourning). Stay tuned as this trend and other begin to truly manifest themselves with the maturation of the 2008 season.

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INTERLEAGUE

Chicago Cubs (43-24) at Toronto (34-34)


The Cubs head north of the border for a three-game interleague series at the Rogers Centre, trotting out young right-hander Sean Gallagher (3-2, 4.42 ERA) to face the Blue Jays’ A.J. Burnett (5-6, 4.98).

Chicago squeaked out a 3-2, 11-inning victory against Atlanta on Thursday to complete a three-game home sweep of the Braves. Following a 1-3 hiccup, the Cubbies have won four in a row and are now an eye-popping 14-3 in their last 17 overall.

Toronto took Thursday off after dropping two of three games at home to Seattle, including a 2-1 loss Wednesday. The Blue Jays, who have alternated wins and losses in their last four starts, are mired in a 3-8 slide (2-4 at home), and they’ve lost four straight series.

Gallagher, a 22-year-old rookie gearing up for his ninth start of the year, got no-decisions in his first three starts and is 3-2 since then, with Chicago posting a 4-2 mark in his last six outings. Last Friday at Dodger Stadium, he allowed two runs on three hits in five innings, but his teammates provided no offense support in a 3-0 loss to Los Angeles.

Gallagher is 0-2 with two no-decisions and a 5.93 ERA in four road starts this year, and tonight marks his first career start against Toronto.

Toronto has dropped its last three games behind the 31-year-old Burnett, who is 0-2 with a no-decision in those contests. Burnett got blasted Saturday against Baltimore, allowing eight runs (all earned) on 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings in a 9-5 home setback. However, that followed an eight-inning effort in which he yielded just two runs on three hits but got a no-decision in his team’s 4-3 road loss against the Los Angeles Angels.

Burnett is 2-3 with a whopping 9.00 ERA in six appearances (five starts) at home this year, but the right-hander is 2-0 with a 4.35 ERA in three career starts against Chicago.

The Cubs are a sparkling 10-1 in their last 11 series-openers and are on further positive runs of 24-9 overall, 4-1 on Friday, 16-5 against right-handed starters and 6-2 in interleague play. On the negative side, Chicago is 3-7 in its last 10 as an underdog and 0-4 in its past four against the American League East.

The Blue Jays are in slumps of 2-6 overall, 1-5 after a day off, 5-13 in series-openers, 2-5 as a favorite and 3-7 against the N.L. Central. In addition, with Burnett taking the ball, Toronto is on a 2-5 skid overall and 0-4 in series-openers. However, in interleague play, the Jays are on runs of 5-1 overall, 9-2 at home and 12-3 as a chalk.

The under is on a 4-0 run in Gallagher’s last four starts and is 5-1 in Burnett’s last six outings, 4-0 with Burnett facing a winning team and 4-1 in interleague play for Burnett.

Chicago sports under streaks of 35-16-4 overall, 9-4 vs. the A.L. East, 7-1 in interleague road games, 6-1 as an underdog and 12-4-2 on Fridays. For Toronto, the under is on runs of 5-1-1 against the N.L. Central, 19-8 as a favorite and 16-7 at home. However, the over is 7-2 in the Blue Jay’s last nine interleague contests.

Finally, the under is 5-1 in the last six clashes between these squads.

ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER


Florida (36-30) at Tampa Bay (38-28)


An in-state battle between two surprisingly successful teams is set for Tropicana Field, where the Marlins send out untested right-hander Ryan Tucker (1-0, 1.80 ERA) against Andy Sonnanstine (6-3, 4.88) and the Rays in the opener of a three-game set.

Florida took the first two games of its critical series against Philadelphia but failed to complete the sweep Thursday, as it suffered a 3-0 shutout loss. The Marlins are 4-2 in their last six games, shaking off a 1-5 slide. Meanwhile, Tampa had Thursday off after losing two of three on the road against the Angels, including Wednesday’s 4-2 setback. The Rays are on a 3-6 skid in their last nine overall, but they’re 24-10 on their home turf this season.

Florida won this annual battle last year, taking four of six meetings, including sweeping the three-game set in Tampa Bay. In fact, the Marlins are 7-3 in their last 10 at Tropicana Field.

The 21-year-old Tucker will be making just his second career appearance, having earned a 9-2 win in his major-league debut Sunday against Cincinnati. He gave up just one run on two hits in a solid five innings, striking out six Reds, though he did yield five walks.

Sonnanstine has helped the Rays to an 8-2 record in his last 10 starts, even though the 25-year-old is 0-2 with two no-decisions in his last four appearances. On Saturday at Texas, the righty allowed two runs on six hits in five innings before leaving with the game tied, and Tampa went on to a 4-3 victory. Sonnanstine has pitched at least five innings in 12 of his 13 starts, including the last 10 in a row, and he’s gone at least six innings eight times.

Sonnanstine is 2-2 with a 5.36 ERA in seven home starts this year, and he’s 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA in one career start against Florida – a 9-4 road victory last June in which he surrendered two runs on seven hits in seven innings.

The Marlins are 7-3 in their last 10 interleague road starts and 17-9 in their last 26 against winning teams, but they’re in funks of 1-4 in interleague play, 1-4 on the highway, 1-6 against right-handers and 0-4 on Friday.

The Rays, meanwhile, are on tears of 21-5 at home, 5-0 on Fridays, 9-2 in series-openers and 4-1 with Sonnanstine working at the Trop. On the downside, Tampa is 8-18 in its last 26 interleague games against winning teams and 3-7 in its last 10 at home against the National League.

The “over” trends are heavy for Florida, including 22-6-3 overall, 7-0-2 in interleague play, 12-1-3 on the highway and 5-1 in series-openers. Conversely, the under is 13-6-1 in the Marlins’ last 20 interleague road games. For Tampa, the over is on streaks of 13-4-1 in interleague play, 6-1 after an off day, 10-3-1 against right-handers and 4-1 in series-openers. However, the under is 4-1 in the Rays’ last five overall, 8-2 in their last 10 against winning teams, 20-7 in their last 27 overall at home and 15-5 in their last 20 interleague home contests.

Finally, when playing in Tampa Bay, the under is 7-1 in the last eight head-to-head battles between these in-state rivals.

ATS ADVANTAGE: TAMPA BAY


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Diamond Preview
By Matt Fargo

Friday, June 13th

Oakland A’s at San Francisco Giants 10:15 PM ET


The second installment of Interleague games starts on Friday and the big Bay Area rivalry highlights the weekend between Oakland and San Francisco. The storyline in this first game is Barry Zito going against his former team. He faced the A’s twice last season in his first year in San Francisco and the results were not good. He went 0-2 with an 11.25 ERA and 2.88 WHIP which covered just eight innings. He is having a horrendous year in 2008, going 2-9 with a 5.83 ERA and he is winless at home.

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Ace report: Malinsky sizes up Roy Oswalt
By DAVID MALINSKY

The Ace Report: Roy Oswalt

Being an “ace” is all about quality and consistency and Roy Oswalt has certainly been the epitome of that for the Astros – he entered this season with a career record of 112-54, having never had less than 10 wins in any campaign and never posting an ERA higher than 3.49.

But when he takes the mound against the Yankees this weekend the pitching forms will show a 5-6 record and a 5.06 ERA. So what are we to believe is that true reality – all of those years of steady performances, or the current weak numbers?

We believe his last outing versus Milwaukee may have offered us the best clue.

Oswalt did a lot of thinking in the past offseason, which players at his level often do after the 30th birthday. In order to set the stage to prolong his career, he wanted to begin working in more off-speed pitches, hoping to induce more contact outs and to take less of a toll on his arm.

But in a classic case of “If it Ain’t Broke Don’t Fix it”, the strategy backfired. After a loss at Pittsburgh last week he left the mound with a 4-6 record and a 5.38 ERA with only 59 strikeouts in 82 innings, far off his career ratio.

And then it was time for more thinking.

The right-hander went to an unusual source. Instead of working with the pitching coach, he had Lance Berkman stand in the batter’s box and take a look at this stuff. And why not? Berkman has been at a tremendous .374/19/56 level so far this season and there have been few hitters in baseball seeing pitches better.

Berkman did not like what he saw from Oswalt, so that session led to some immediate adjustments and the difference was immediately noticeable.

In Oswalt’s last outing, he allowed only one run on five hits over seven dominating innings versus the Brewers, not walking a batter while striking out 10. It was the kind of stuff we have grown accustomed to seeing from that right arm.

“Pitching coach” Berkman isn’t taking much credit for the improvement.

“After standing in there I just said: 'Look, your stuff is awesome, don't reinvent the wheel,” Berkman told reporters. “You don't have to come up with some new breaking pitch, just go with what you've won over 100 games with.’ It looked like he was a little more of his aggressive self tonight and threw the ball with confidence.”

It does not take long for an ace to turn his game around and when one does, he can often make up for lost time.

We will certainly have Oswalt under the microscope in his next start as a pitcher that may be ready to do just that.

The pitching forms will not show anything special when he takes the mound that day, but those numbers maybe of little relevance in terms of what to expect next.

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Three-Game Sets
Scott Rickenbach

All the action this weekend involves three-game series. The Cardinals are hosting the Phillies in National League action and then all 14 of the other series are in Interleague action.

I'll examine all 15 of these weekend sets in a quick rundown and point out any particular value to consider.

Philadelphia Phillies at St Louis Cardinals
This is the lone series this weekend that is not in Interleague action and, as such, it could get a little extra wagering attention from us. The Cardinals are now without Albert Pujols, the injured slugger, and although they won their first game without him 10-0 there could be tougher times up ahead as they now face a stronger team like the Phillies rather than a mediocre Reds team. The Phillies lost the first two games of their series at Florida but they previously had gone 12-2 in their last 14 games and averaged 7 runs per game. They absolutely could offer some spots of value in this weekend series. We like to take a look at good teams on the road (because it usually equates to line value) and the Phillies were 18-13 on the road before losing those first two games of the series at Florida. The Phillies also have had one of the top performing bullpens in the league so far this season.

Chicago Cubs at Toronto Blue Jays
The Cubs are a popular team right now because they have the top record in all of baseball. However, be careful here! The Cubs are only 14-16 on the road and have not been hitting near as well on the road as they do at home. The Blue Jays are a respectable .500 team and could offers some “value spots” in this series.

San Diego Padres at Cleveland Indians
The Padres are a miserable 10-20 on the road this season and their offense simply can’t be trusted. The Indians took a respectable 17-17 home record into Thursday night’s action and Cleveland’s offense perked up during a road trip to Texas. They had scored 63 runs in their last ten games through Wednesday. The Indians could indeed offer some value this weekend as the stronger offense prevails at Progressive Field.

Los Angeles Dodgers at Detroit Tigers
The Dodgers are just 13-20 on the road this season and they got drilled again, 9-0, on the Thursday. This team simply struggles to produce runs. Los Angeles has now been held to three runs or less in 13 of their last 20 games! Can their offense come alive at Comerica Park? We wouldn’t bank on it! Detroit’s overall record doesn’t impress but they’ve been much stronger at home recently. With Thursday’s win over the White Sox, the Tigers are now 11-6 in their last 17 home games and they’ve averaged six runs per game in those games. The Dodgers will be hard pressed to keep up as the absence of Rafael Furcal’s bat at the top of the order has really hurt this club!

Pittsburgh Pirates at Baltimore Orioles

Hate to keep harping on the home/road dichotomy angle in so many of these match-ups but, where it’s present in such a strong way it should not be ignored! The Pirates are just 12-19 on the road this season while the Orioles are a rock solid 17-11 at home. Also, heading into Thursday’s action Baltimore had averaged 5.5 runs per game so far this month. The Pirates have the worst road ERA (5.99) of any team in the majors!

Florida Marlins at Tampa Bay Rays
Florida is a decent road club at just a game below .500 but the Rays are an amazing 24-10 at home this season! However, the Marlins are worth a look in this series. There will be line value with them on the road and Florida is fortunate enough to have a three game series with Tampa Bay and yet not have to fade either James Shields or Scott Kazmir! Florida had averaged about 5.5 runs per game in their last 18 games heading into Thursday’s action. This could be a key this weekend as the Rays have scored four runs or less in 10 of their last 13 games!

Texas Rangers at New York Mets
There could be some nice opportunities for some overs in this series. The Mets have gotten their offense back on track as they’ve averaged five runs per game in their last four games. As for the Rangers, their last dozen games have averaged over 15 runs per game and Texas has the worst bullpen in all of baseball. Oliver Perez and Pedro Martinez have both been inconsistent so the over could be worth a look particularly in the first two games of this three game set.

Boston Red Sox at Cincinnati Reds
Once again, home/road dichotomy gets a strong look here! Heading into Thursday’s action, these teams would be separated by 9.5 games in the standings if they were in the same division. Boston would be in front of Cincinnati by that margin. However, the Red Sox are a woeful 14-20 on the road while the Reds are an impressive 19-12 at home through Wednesday’s action. With the pitchers that Cincinnati has slated for this series, for them to take 2 of 3 would not surprise us and there certainly could be some line value with Cincy here.

Minnesota Twins at Milwaukee Brewers
The Twins are slumping badly right now while the Brewers are a solid 19-10 at home so far this season. As you long as the price isn’t too high you could find some good spots for a play on the Brewers in this series.

New York Yankees at Houston Astros
There could be a lot offense in this one. The Astros are one of the best hitting teams at home in the majors. Minute Maid Park has a reputation for offense and the Bronx Bombers coming to town shouldn’t hurt that reputation. The Yankees batting average on the road is ranked 5th in the AL and their slugging percentage on the road is ranked 4th in the AL. The Yankees will be happy to be out of a tough pitcher’s park (McAfee Coliseum). Note that the Yanks had just recently completed a stretch of scoring 100 runs in 16 games through Sunday. While the new week started out slow for the Yankees hitters they are likely to have a huge weekend at the plate in Houston! The Astros have scored 32 runs in the first six games of this homestand and we don’t foresee them slowing down against the trio of Yankees starting pitchers they are expected to see in this series.

Colorado Rockies at Chicago White Sox
Colorado is just 10-24 on the road this season and the White Sox are a solid 20-9 at home so far. However, the White Sox have now lost three straight while the Rockies offense is picking up the pace again with Brad Hawpe and Matt Holliday back in the lineup. We’ll look to fade the masses here and possibly take a shot or two with the Rockies. Tread lightly with their poor road record but this team could be primed to start turning that around with their improving health!

Kansas City Royals at Arizona Diamondbacks
Ugly match-up based on the way these two teams have been playing. Arizona did just finish taking two of three from the Mets but this team is just 8-15 their last 23 games. Of course they’ll be hosting a Royals team that, as usual, has also fallen on hard times. Kansas City is a ridiculous 5-19 their last 24 games. With the Royals bullpen in a funk, we may find some value with the over in a spot or two in this series but be careful because there are a couple of decent starting pitchers going in this series.

Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Angels
We sound like a broken record I know but how do you not mention the Braves road record here? Atlanta is a ridiculous 7-24 on the road this season while the Angels have one of the best overall records in baseball this season. The Angels could be prohibitive favorites throughout this series though because they have some big starting pitching edges the way the rotations fell for this one.

Washington Nationals at Seattle Mariners
The Nationals are just 2-8 their last ten while the Mariners are just 3-7 their last ten. Washington is one of the worst offenses in the National League while Seattle is one of the weakest offenses in the American League. Looks like the under could be the way to look in this series. This is especially true with, in our opinion, some decent arms going in this series. They may not be big names but there are some hurlers getting the ball in this series that have some good stuff in their repertoire of pitches. Helping them along will be facing some weak, struggling lineups!

Oakland Athletics at San Francisco Giants

This is another match-up of weak offenses. In terms of team batting average the Giants are near the bottom of the National League while the Athletics weak slugging percentage sinks them near the bottom of the American League in that category! We also feel the pitching match-ups in this series are conducive toward an under. Even though the Giants offense has been improving in recent weeks, they still are likely to struggle this weekend as they face three solid A’s starting pitchers. One has an ERA around 2.75 while the other two are both around a 3.75 ERA. The A’s offense, heading into Thursday’s action had scored four runs or less in 9 of their last 14 games. Looks like we should see some tight, low-scoring battles in this Bay Area Battle!

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Friday's streaking starting pitchers
COVERS.com

A look at a few of Friday’s pitchers who are either on hot streaks or cold slumps. 

Streaking

Jon Garland, L.A. Angels (6-3, 3.87 ERA)

Garland has been the definition of steady for the Angels this season. Only three times in his 13 starts has he allowed more than three runs and he has yet to go fewer than five innings in a start, usually lasting six or seven.

He hasn’t lost in his last seven starts and he only gave up 12 earned runs combined during that impressive stretch. Under bettors are cleaning up with an 8-1-1 under to over ratio over in his last 10.

Garland should be happy to see a Braves squad coming to town that is a horrendous 7-23 on the road this season

Slumping

Shawn Chacon, Houston Astros (2-2, 4.96 ERA)


Chacon is coming off a couple of rough outings. He allowed seven earned runs in five innings in his most recent start and four earned runs in just one inning in his start before that. Both were losses that ended up costing the Astros a little underdog cash.

The losses were especially disappointing for Chacon, who was coming off a pair of wins following nine straight no-decisions to open the season. He has been spotty this year with few strikeouts and a recent tendency to give up the long ball. He’s surrendered a painful 12 home runs in his last eight games and the only game during that span he didn’t allow a home run, was the one in which he only lasted one inning.

The one positive note is for over bettors who have profited in seven of his last eight starts.

Brian Burres, Baltimore Orioles (4-5, 4.96 ERA)

You know you’re not pitching very well when your WHIP is higher than your opponent’s ERA over the past three games. Burres has a dreadful WHIP of 2.98 over his last three compared to counterpart Phil Dumatrait’s 1.93 ERA over his last three starts.

Burres is still learning how to manage the game in just his second season as a big league starter. He hasn’t seen the fifth inning in any of his last three starts and doesn’t generally last late into games. He’s still also learning how to get strikeouts and only has a season high of six on the season.

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Baseball Today

New York Yankees at Houston (8:05 p.m. EDT). Joba Chamberlain (1-2, 2.67 ERA) gets another start in his transition from the bullpen, not to mention a chance to hit, when another round of interleague play begins.

STARS

- Bronson Arroyo, Reds, went 2-for-2 with a solo homer and was just effective on the mound, giving up two hits in six shutout innings. He got a no-decision in a 6-2 win over St. Louis.

- Jamie Moyer, Phillies, allowed just two hits in eight innings of a 3-0 win over the Marlins.

- Andy Pettitte, Yankees, gave up one run on five hits in eight innings, helping New York to a 5-1 win over Oakland and a three-game sweep.

- Jake Peavy, Padres, came off the disabled list and allowed three hits in six innings, combining with three relievers on a 9-0 shutout of the Dodgers.

- Ryan Doumit, Pirates, homered and drove in three runs in a 7-5 win over the Nationals.

- J.D. Drew, Red Sox, keeps filling in well for injured David Ortiz, this timing hitting a homer and driving in two runs in a 9-2 rout of the Orioles.

-Alex Gordon, Royals, homered, doubled and drove in a pair of runs to help Kansas City rally for a 6-5 victory over the Rangers.

-Fred Lewis, Giants, homered and drove in three runs in a 10-7 win over the Rockies.

MARLINS SAY, 'NO MOYER!'

Phillies starter Jamie Moyer took a no-hitter into the eighth inning of a 3-0 win over Florida, improving to 9-0 against the Marlins. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last pitcher to win his first nine or more starts against one team was Pedro Martinez, who won his first 12 starts against Seattle from 1998-2004. The only other active pitcher with a 9-0 record or better against one team is Randy Johnson, who is 12-0 against the Cubs.

HOME SWEET HOME

Boston beat Baltimore 9-2 and improved to a major league best 28-7 at home and 18-3 in its last 21 games at Fenway Park. ... The Cubs won their 11th straight at Wrigley Field and upped their home record to 29-8 with a 3-2, 11-inning win over Atlanta.

ROAD WOES

The Braves fell to 7-24 on the road this season with a 3-2, 11-inning loss to the Cubs. Atlanta has lost its last 21 one-run games on the road since August, matching the longest such streak in major league history. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Kansas City lost 21 straight one-run games on the road from 2000-01.

PETTITTE ON TRACK

Andy Pettitte bounced back from giving up a career high-tying 10 runs last Saturday against Kansas City to shut down the Athletics in a 4-1 win, and tie Ron Guidry with his 170th victory with New York. Pettitte allowed one run and five hits in a season-high eight innings.

WHO NEEDS PAPI?


J.D. Drew has filled in admirably for injured Red Sox slugger David Ortiz. Drew hit a two-run homer and a double in a 9-2 win over Baltimore, and is 18-for-36 with six homers and 15 RBIs since the designatted hitter has been sidelined with a wrist injury. Drew raised his average from .282 to .324, and has five doubles, a triple and 15 runs scored in that span.

AILING INDIANS

Despite five key players from last year's AL Central champion team on the disabled list, the Indians belted out 18 hits including homers by Shin-Soo Choo and Grady Sizemore in a 12-2 rout of the Twins. Cleveland placed All-Star catcher Victor Martinez and second baseman Josh Barfield on the 15-day DL before the game. Already out are right-handers Jake Westbrook and Fausto Carmona and designated hitter Travis Hafner.

WELCOME BACK

San Diego's Jake Peavy, pitching for the first time in nearly a month since injuring his elbow, threw six solid innings and combined with three relievers on a five-hitter to lift the Padres to a 9-0 win over the Dodgers. Peavy had been sidelined with a strained right elbow since he lost his last outing on May 14, an 8-5 decision at the Chicago Cubs.

DURHAM HITS 2K

Ray Durham got his 2,000th hit in the Giants' 10-7 win over the Rockies. Durham is already planning on giving his mom the ball from hit, a two-run single up the middle in the fourth. He still can recall his first big league hit, a bunt single on April 26, 1995.

SPEAKING

``That's a lot of hits - he's old.'' -Giants first baseman Rich Aurilia, after second baseman Ray Durham recorded his 2,000th hit in a 10-7 win over the Rockies.

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