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MLB News and Notes June 14

MLB News and Notes June 14


Philadelphia (41-28) at St. Louis (40-29)

One night after scoring 20 runs in a rout of the Cardinals, the Phillies will try to keep their hot bats going when they face St. Louis right-hander Kyle Lohse (7-2, 3.92), who is set to pitch opposite Adam Eaton (2-3, 4.62 ERA) at Busch Stadium.

Philadelphia scored a 20-2 victory in St. Louis on Friday and has won 10 of the last 13 meetings with the Cardinals overall and 10 of the last 12 in Busch Stadium. The Phillies are 5-2 on their current road trip and they’ve won eight of their last 11 overall. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have won six of their last 10, but dropped two in a row.

Eaton is 2-0 with a 2.41 ERA in his last three starts but on the highway he is 0-2 with a 5.26 ERA. Eaton has held the opposition to three earned runs or less in seven of his last nine outings (including four in a row) and gave up three runs in six innings of a 6-3 win in Atlanta on Sunday.

For his career, Eaton is 1-4 with a 6.82 ERA in seven career starts against the Cardinals. Last season Eaton was destroyed by St. Louis in two starts, giving up a combined 12 runs in 9 1/3 innings in a pair of losses. The Phillies are 2-5 in Eaton’s last seven on the road and 0-5 in his last five on Saturdays, but 7-3 in his last 10 on the road against winning teams and 4-0 in his past four as a favorite.

Lohse is 3-0 with a 2.65 ERA in his last three outings and he’s 3-1 with a 3.24 ERA in Busch Stadium. The Cardinals have won his last five starts, including Sunday’s 5-4 victory at Houston where the right-hander allowed three runs in six innings.

With Cincinnati last season, Lohse beat the Phillies 2-1 when he gave up one unearned run in seven innings but got a no-decision. For his career, he’s 0-1 with a 1.40 ERA in three starts against Philadelphia. The Cardinals are 4-0 when Lohse faces a winning team.

With Eaton on the hill, the under is on streaks of 13-3-1 overall, 5-0 as a favorite, 5-1-1 on the road and 4-1 against an N.L. Central foe. Meanwhile, the under is 5-2-1 in Lohse’s last seven at home.

Although Friday’s game soared over the total, the over for the Phillies is on runs of 10-2 overall, 6-1 on the road, 7-1 as a favorite and 5-2 on the road against right-handed pitching. For St. Louis, the under is 13-6-4 at home against teams with a winning road record, 6-3-1 against teams with a winning record and 8-3-1 as a ‘dog.

Conversely, the over is 6-1 in the last seven meetings overall between these teams.



Florida (36-31) at Tampa Bay (39-28)

The Rays try to make it two in a row over the Marlins when they send Matt Garza (4-3, 4.38) to the mound at Tropicana Field to take on Florida southpaw Mark Hendrickson (7-4, 5.76).

Tampa Bay continued its dominating home season with a 7-3 victory over the Marlins on Friday night, improving to 22-5 in its last 27 in front of the home fans. The Rays have now won three in a row in this rivalry, taking the final two last season after dropping the first four. However, even with Friday’s loss, the Marlins are 7-4 in the last 11 series clashes in Tampa Bay and 13-7 in their last 20 matchups overall.

Florida has won just once in their last six road games and just once in their last six interleague games, but the Marlins are 4-0 on Saturdays, 7-3 in interleague road games and 6-2 in the second game of a series. Meanwhile the Rays are on runs of 21-7 as a favorite, 14-3 at home against teams with a winning record, 16-7 as an interleague favorite and 4-1 on Saturdays.

Hendrickson has been crushed in his last three starts, going 0-2 with a 14.25 ERA and he is just 2-2 on the road with a 6.06 ERA. He has not gone past six innings in any of his last nine starts and lasted just 2 1/3 on Monday when he gave up six runs (five earned) on five hits in a 9-4 home loss to the Reds.

As a member of the Blue Jays, Hendrickson faced the Rays five times in 2002 and 2003 and for his career he’s 2-2 with a 4.02 ERA against Tampa Bay. So far this season, the Marlins are 9-4 in his 13 starts.

Garza is 3-0 with a 2.40 ERA at Tropicana Field and the Rays have gone 4-0 in Garza’s last four home starts. On Sunday in Texas, he allowed three runs on six hits in four innings of a 6-3 loss to the Rangers, but last time out at home he held the Rangers to two runs on four hits in eight innings of a 5-3 win.

Garza has never faced the Marlins, but in his lone interleague start this season he got shelled in St. Louis, giving up seven runs (six earned) on 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings of a 9-8 loss.

The over is 4-0 in Hendrickson’s last four starts overall and 5-2 when he pitches following a Marlins’ loss. As for Garza, the under is 7-2 in his last nine and 4-0 when he throws at home.

For the Marlins, the over is 12-1-4 in their last 17 road games, 22-7-4 in their last 33 overall, 10-3-3 in their last 16 as an underdog and 7-0-3 in their last 10 interleague games. For the Rays, the under is 20-7-1 in their last 28 at home, 15-5-1 in interleague home games, 28-11-1 at home against winning teams and 13-4-2 in interleague play overall.

Finally, when playing in Tampa Bay, the under is on a 7-1-1 run between these in-state rivals.



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Re: MLB News and Notes June 14

Diamond Preview
By Matt Fargo

Saturday, June 14th

Florida Marlins at Tampa Bay Devil Rays 6:10 PM ET

This game between the two Florida teams used to be for pride only but now there is a lot more on the line as both came into this week well above expectations. Both teams were in second place in their divisions at the start of the week and this is a big series for each side as these out of division games are huge since they are each involved in very tough divisions. The edge goes to the home team with Edwin Jackson on the hill along with a record of 24-10 at Tropicana Field. The Marlins are a game under .500 on the road.

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Re: MLB News and Notes June 14

Lawrence's MLB Weekend Cheat Sheet

Big Brown was a big bust when he failed to deliver the Triple Crown at Belmont last Saturday. As a result, we’ll now have to wait at least another year before a new horse breaks the 30-plus year stranglehold on the trio of big races.

We had to wait only three weeks for another dose of interleague play on the major league basepaths. This weekend we focus on the battle of Florida between the hot Marlins and Rays.

Two Midwestern teams looking to make a move up the standings lock horns when Minnesota invades Milwaukee, while a battle of the Bay takes place in Oakland when the Athletics host San Francisco.

Toss a regularly scheduled National League series between Philadelphia and St. Louis and we’ve got a full plate of baseball action on tap this weekend.

With that, here’s our take of each of these series. All pitcher records are team starts unless noted otherwise; best and worst arm records are versus this weekend’s opponent.


Philadelphia Phillies at St. Louis Cardinals

Most Recent Series Result: Phillies 9-3 last 12 games

Most Recent Series Result at the Site: Phillies 9-2 last 11 here

Key Day/Month Stat: Phillies 8-1 away on Fridays

Best Arm in the Series: Myers 4-0 record, 4.91 ERA here career

Worst Arm in the Series: Eaton 2-5, 6.81 career


Florida Marlins at Tampa Bay Rays

Most Recent Series Result: Marlins 13-6 last 19 games

Most Recent Series Result at the Site: Marlins 7-3 last 10 here

Key Day/Month Stat: Rays 9-1 home Sundays; Marlins 5-14 away Sundays

Best Arm in the Series: Kazmir 1-0, 0.00 ERA career

Worst Arm in the Series: Jackson 0-2, 11.13 ERA career

Minnesota Twins at Milwaukee Brewers

Most Recent Series Result: Twins 6-3 last nine games

Most Recent Series Result at the Site: Twins 5-2 last seven here

Key Day/Month Stat: Brewers 10-2 home Saturdays; Twins 0-5 Saturdays

Best Arm in the Series: Sheets 2-0, 0.64 ERA home career

Worst Arm in the Series: Suppan 1-6, 5.80 ERA career; Hernandez 1-5, 5.01 ERA last six starts here

Oakland Athletics at San Francisco Giants

Most Recent Series Result: Athletics 14-6 last 20 games

Most Recent Series Result at the Site: Athletics 4-0 last four here

Key Day/Month Stat: Athletics 7-1 Sundays

Best Arm in the Series: Harden 3-0, 1.17 ERA career

Worst Arm in the Series: Zito 0-2, 11.25 career


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Weekend series forecast: Interleague predictions

All the major league 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 involve 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 between league rivals and as such, it could get a little extra wagering attention from us. The Cardinals are now without Albert Pujols and although they won their first game without him 10-0, there could be tougher times ahead as they 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 seven runs per game. They could offer some spots of value in this weekend series. We like to 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 have at home. The Blue Jays are a respectable .500 team and could offer 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 10 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 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. 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

I hate to keep harping on the home/road dichotomy angle in so many of these matchups but, when it’s such a strong factor 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 because they are fortunate enough to have a three game series with Tampa Bay and yet not have to face 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. 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.

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 Cincinnati has slated for this series, for them to take two of three 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 of 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 with the Bronx Bombers coming to town, it shouldn’t hurt that reputation. The Yankees’ batting average on the road is ranked fifth in the AL and their slugging percentage on the road is ranked fourth.

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 see 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

This is an ugly matchup based on the way these two teams have been playing. Arizona just finished taking two of three from the Mets, but they are 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 its 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 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. Los Angeles could be prohibitive favorites, however, throughout this series 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 10. 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 go in this series. This is especially true with, in our opinion, some decent arms going into this series. They may not be big names but there are some hurlers getting the ball that have some good stuff in their repertoire of pitches. Helping them along will be some weak, struggling lineups.

Oakland Athletics at San Francisco Giants

This is another matchup 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 matchups in this series are conducive to 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 nine of its last 14 games. Looks like we should see some tight, low-scoring battles in the Bay Area.

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Re: MLB News and Notes June 14

Assessing the impact of baseball injuries

Injuries in baseball need to be examined with a careful eye. Playing every day over the course of 162 games, injuries are inevitable. The question is: How much impact do they have?

Some teams are capable of replacing a player with a decent guy off the bench, maybe not as good, but someone who can step in and perform reasonably well.

Other times, a player’s talents are unique and they aren’t easily replaced. And if it’s a key spot in the lineup, it can have consequences.

The Dodgers have told shortstop Rafael Furcal to cease all baseball activities, raising the possibility his recovery from a back injury could extend well into July. He has a bulging disk in his back.

He’s a unique contributor to the offense, a rare offensive catalyst atop the lineup, someone who gets on base and can steal at any time. Sometimes just the threat of a steal can even affect the opposing pitcher, throwing him off balance as he pays too much attention to the speedy leadoff hitter on first.

The Dodgers have missed Furcal’s presence atop the lineup, on a 6-14 run. Furcal, 30, is eligible for free agency this fall. He is batting .366 and has scored 34 runs in 32 games. The Dodgers first tried to replace Furcal with rookie Chin-lung Hu, who hit .159 before they sent him to Triple-A Las Vegas.

The latest replacement, Angel Berroa, is hitting .167, with four strikeouts in 12 at-bats. Sports bettor need to note that the Dodgers have also been an “under” machine, on a 15-7 run under the total.

The Dodgers have targeted June 25 for Nomar Garciaparra to take over at shortstop. Garciaparra is on a minor league rehabilitation assignment, recovering from a calf injury, and cannot be activated from the disabled list before June 25.

Another team devastated by injuries is the Atlanta Braves. John Smoltz is done, while Tom Glavine is getting an MRI on his sore pitching elbow. He said the elbow was hurting for about a month and worsened his past two starts. Veteran lefty Mike Hampton has been on the DL all season and hasn't pitched in a major league game in 34 months.

Rafael Soriano has lingering elbow soreness that has hampered the Braves’ bullpen for too long now. Soriano was sidelined most of spring training with the elbow problem and has missed 45 games while on the disabled list for most of April and May with what was diagnosed as elbow tendonitis.

The Braves hope to have left-hander Mike Gonzalez back soon from the DL, where he's finishing his recovery from Tommy John surgery. With Smoltz out for the season after shoulder surgery, the Braves have no other experienced closers in their organization.

And that’s just the pitching staff. Chipper Jones is ailing with a strained groin, even though he is leading majors with a .420 batting average. The Braves are 0-5 this season without Jones in the lineup. The Braves have been good at home, but a disaster away, with a miserable 7-21 road record, the worst in baseball.

Injuries have been a problem for the stumbling Mets. Moises Alou sounds like somebody who is headed back to the disabled list after an MRI exam revealed an aggravation to his left calf muscle.

With Ryan Church (post-concussion syndrome) already on the DL, manager Willie Randolph was asked if he had the feeling the Mets wouldn't get all their pieces together this season. The manager said: “I've had that feeling since I've been here. It's been very rare that we've had our whole lineup.”

Bettors beware: They’ve lost 7 of 10 games, despite being favored in every one.

The Red Sox have some potential power problems on offense. David Ortiz has been out since June 1 and Manny Ramirez has a sore right hamstring. Ramirez hasn’t started in left field since belting his 500th career home run in Baltimore on May 31 and made nine consecutive starts at designated hitter.

Boston is on a 9-5-1 run under the total, winning more with pitching and defense.

Interleague play is going now, with no DH in the National League park, a situation worth watching for Ramirez and Boston.

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Re: MLB News and Notes June 14

MLB Saturday Gameday

Interleague play returns to Major League Baseball this weekend, but the series to watch may actually be in the National League where the NL East-leading Phillies take on the NL Wild Card-leading Cardinals.

Chicago Cubs at Toronto Blue Jays ? 1:07 pm ET

Marquis improved to 3-0 in his last five starts after tossing a gem against the Dodgers in his last outing. Marquis went six 1-3 innings against Los Angeles, allowing one unearned run on three hits in the win.

Halladay won his fourth straight start last week despite a mediocre outing by his standards, in which he gave up four runs on eight hits while striking out seven in seven 2-3 innings. The Jays are undefeated in Halladay?s last six starts.

Boston Red Sox at Cincinnati Reds ? 3:55 pm ET

Wakefield had his knuckleball dancing in his last start when he held Seattle to two runs on five hits in seven innings. That was Wakefield?s first win since May 6, but it was also his third straight quality start.

Volquez recorded another win in his last start against Florida after holding the Marlins to three runs on three hits in six innings. However, Volquez didn?t have his best stuff in the win as he walked five. In his last eight starts Volquez is 5-1 and the Reds are 7-1 in those eight games.

Philadelphia Phillies at St. Louis Cardinals ? 3:55 pm ET

After going without a win for nearly the first two months of the season, Eaton is finally figuring things out after going 2-0 in his last three starts. Last time out Eaton picked up a no-decision after allowing three runs on eight hits in six innings.

Lohse is 4-0 in his last four starts and has quickly turned things around again after a few rough outings in May. In his last start Lohse earned the win after allowing three runs on five hits over six innings versus Houston.

Oakland Athletics at San Francisco Giants ? 9:05 pm ET

Harden turned in another quality in his last outing, but he had to settle for another no-decision after allowing three runs on six hits with nine strikeouts over six innings against the Angels. That was Harden?s fifth straight quality start.

Cain recorded his first win since May 13 in his last start after pitching six 1-3 innings against Washington and allowing one run on eight hits while striking out six. The Giants were 0-4 in Cain's previous four starts before he finally recorded a win against the Nationals.

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