MLB News and Notes June 16

MLB News and Notes June 16

Monday's MLB Tip Sheet
By Judd Hall

Monday is a travel day for many baseball teams following up father’s day, but we won’t be without action on the diamond. There are five tilts on the board for us to peruse to start the work week, all but one falling under the interleague classification.

Boston Red Sox at Philadelphia Phillies – 7:05 p.m. EDT

--The best matchup on Monday night also happens to be the first one we’re going to see.

--Cole Hamels has pitched well in his last two starts, racking up strikeout to walk ratio of 17:4 with just two earned runs allowed in 17 innings of work. Not bad considering the Phils went 1-1 in that spot with the ‘under’ cashing in on both starts.

--This will be his first appearance against the Red Sox for his career, but it’s going to be a long outing for the southpaw if his career numbers are a precursor. Hamels is 0-3 with a 8.29 earned run average in three appearances against clubs from the American League East.

--Boston will be sending living weeble Bartolo Colon to the mound. The 2005 Cy Young winner has posted a nice 4-1 record with 3.41 ERA. Yet Colon is only getting in 5.2 innings per start right now, meaning he’s putting the Red Sox bullpen into heavy work. However, considering that Josh Beckett is an inning eater that will be starting the day before, it won’t be much of an issue.

--Another note that will make bettors leery of backing Philadelphia is that the BoSox are 10-2 in their last head-to-head meetings.

Atlanta Braves at Colorado Rockies – 8:05 p.m. EDT

--We can chalk this contest up as the battle of underachievers.

--Atlanta was supposed to contend for the National League East crown again this season, but injuries have killed a lot of those hopes. It also doesn’t help when you have the worst road record in all baseball at 9-24. However, the Braves have put together two straight wins against the Angels in Anaheim to bring themselves closer to respectability.

--The Rockies look nothing like the team that won the NL pennant last season. Their pitching staff was in the Top 15 for ERA and WHIP in 2007. This year, Colorado is 28th in ERA (4.76) and 24th in WHIP (1.46).

--The Braves are sending Jair Jurrjens out to toe the rubber in this battle. He’s 6-3 with a 3.77 ERA Jurrjens has been in some high scoring affairs recently, cashing the ‘over’ in his last four starts. Meanwhile the run line has gone 3-1 in that stretch.

--Colorado swept the last home series they had against the Braves at the start of the 2008 campaign.

New York Mets at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – 10:05 p.m. EDT

--The Mets are hoping that Mike Pelfrey can help turn the tides for their season. And if his last three starts are any indication, he’ll be able to do it as New York is 2-1 with a 1.71 ERA in that time.

-- Jered Weaver is not a slouch either, going 4-1 with a 3.76 ERA and strikeout to walk ratio of 23:7. And the Halos have went 3-2 on the run line in that time as well.

--This series historically has been an odd one with the home team going 1-2 SU in past match ups. Meanwhile the ‘over’ is 2-1-3 in those last six meetings.

--New York is also 6-6 SU with the ‘over’ going 6-5-1 in the last 12 games where it traveled West right after playing at home.

Detroit Tigers at San Francisco Giants – 10:05 p.m. EDT

--Don’t look now, but the Tigers are starting to play like the team everyone expected to see at the start of the season. Winners of seven of their last eight contests as the ‘under’ went 4-3-1.

--Justin Verlander heads to the mound winning just three of his last 10 starts. Although his complete game four-hitter against the White Sox for Detroit’s 5-1 is an encouraging sign that he is back to his old form. He’s seen the ‘under’ go on a 8-2 run in his last 10 starts.

--San Francisco is sending its best pitcher to the slab on Monday with Tim Lincecum and his 8-1 record with 1.99 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. Bettors haven’t had much luck with him in terms of totals, seeing the ‘over’ go 7-6 in 2008.

--Even though Detroit swept the last series it played with the Giants, a first game of a West Coast swing isn’t paradise. The Tigers are just 1-4 SU with an ‘under’ of 4-2 in the first match they have on the road against any Western Division opponent.

Florida Marlins at Seattle Mariners – 10:10 p.m. EDT

--The Marlins just averted a sweep in Tampa, 9-3, on Sunday. Now they’ll be trying to keep the good luck rolling across the country against the Mariners.

--Florida will be sending Andrew Miller out to start. Is that a good thing though? He’s lost three of his last four starts, allowing 11 runs in 20 innings. The ‘over’ has hit in two of his last three appearances for the Fish.

--The Fish have gone 6-9 SU when playing after the major trip from the East Coast to the West. Bettors can take heart in the ‘under’ as it is 12-2-1 during that situation.

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Monday's streaking and slumping starters
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Streaking

Bartolo Colon (Boston):
  Bartolo Colon is making the most of his shot with the Red Sox. He has put together four solid outings in five starts and hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs yet this year.

Colon didn’t give Baltimore much to hit in his last outing, allowing just one run over six innings while striking out seven.

After waiting around for the phone to ring in the offseason, the key to Colon’s recent success is all about poise on the mound and more movement on his pitches.

"He's got a pretty good two-seamer going on,” Orioles catcher Ramon Hernandez told the Boston Globe. “He's around 93, 94 [miles per hour], and if he wants to go higher, he's still got it. He's not easy to face. He pitches more; before, he was a power guy trying to blow everyone away. Now he's the guy that pitches around the plate and makes you swing early in the count. He has way more movement than he did before."

Four of Colon’s five starts with Boston have played under the posted total.


Slumping

Carlos Silva (Seattle):
Carlos Silva just can’t catch a break.

He hasn’t won since April 17 and he has allowed 27 earned runs over his last five outings and is struggling near the bottom of the MLB starter money list.

That said he was better in tough-luck loss to the Jays in his last outing. He allowed three runs on nine hits over seven innings, the major stain on his stat sheet being two homers he served up.

Although Silva will never be mistaken for an overpowering strike out pitcher, he just hasn’t been assertive on the mound at all, recording only seven total punch-outs in his last five starts.

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Baseball Today

Boston at Philadelphia (7:05 p.m. EDT). Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez and Phillies slugger Ryan Howard face off as these two first-place teams meet in interleague play.

STARS

- Coco Crisp, Red Sox, went 2-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs in Boston's 9-0 win over Cincinnati. It was his third homer of the year, and second in two days.

- Alex Rodriguez, Yankees, went 2-for-4 with his 12th homer of the year and three RBIs in New York's 13-0 rout of Houston.

- David DeJesus, Royals, had three hits, including his first career grand slam, and five RBIs in Kansas City's 8-3 win over Arizona. DeJesus has seven home runs on the season.

- C.C. Sabathia, Indians, struck out 10 and allowed three runs and six hits over eight innings in a 7-3 win over San Diego. His 14th game of double-digit strikeouts helped him past Charles Nagy for fifth place in Indians history with 1,239.

- Ricky Nolasco, Marlins, allowed three runs and six hits in 8 2-3 innings to win for the sixth time in his past seven decisions and Florida beat Tampa Bay 9-3. The right-hander struck out a career-high 12 and walked one.

INJURED

Chien-Ming Wang left the Yankees' clubhouse on crutches after spraining his right foot running the bases in New York's 13-0 win over the Houston Astros. The Yankees' ace will have an MRI exam in New York on Monday and not even Wang could gauge the severity of the injury yet. He was wearing a soft cast after the game. ``I feel sore,'' Wang said through a Yankees spokesman. ``Of course I'm disappointed. On Tuesday, when I know more, I will talk then.'' ... White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko could be headed to the disabled list after straining a muscle near his rib cage before Chicago's 5-3 loss to Colorado.

OUCH

St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina was taken off the field on a stretcher with a brace around his neck after getting run over on a tag play in the ninth inning against the Phillies. Molina was taken to a hospital for evaluation of neck and back pain and sustained a mild concussion, although he did not lose consciousness after the collision with Phillies pinch runner Eric Bruntlett, team spokesman Brian Bartow said. All test results were negative, the team said in a release, although Molina was to be held overnight as a precaution. ``How he held onto the ball,'' Cardinals reliever Ryan Franklin said, ``I don't know.''

WHAT, ME WORRY?

With two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, Joe Crede popped up to left. The Rockies' Matt Holliday called for the ball, but so did shortstop Omar Quintanilla. Holliday tried to make the catch while avoiding a collision, and the ball popped out of his glove. Then he stuck out his bare hand and snared the ball, cradled it against his chest and Colorado escaped with a 5-3 win over the White Sox. A tense moment? ``Not really. Just kind of in the middle of it,'' Holliday said rather nonchalantly.

4-IN-1 Ks

Minnesota starter Scott Baker struck out four batters in the third inning of a 4-2 loss to the Brewers, becoming the first Twins pitcher to accomplish the feat. Baker started the inning by striking out Ryan Braun swinging, then got Prince Fielder to strike out, but the ball bounced far away from catcher Mike Redmond. That allowed Fielder to easily reach first on the wild pitch. Baker then struck out Russell Branyan and Mike Cameron looking on three pitches apiece to end the inning.

REHABBING

Texas infielder Hank Blalock will start a rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Oklahoma on Monday as he returns from carpal tunnel syndrome surgery on his right wrist. Blalock had surgery on May 30 after a cortisone shot in the wrist did not help reduce the swelling. The former All-Star third baseman, who will shift to first base, was originally on the 15-day disabled list since April 29 with a torn left hamstring. He recovered from that injury, then experienced wrist soreness.

I DON'T LIKE SUNDAYS

Adam LaRoche singled in the tiebreaking run off George Sherrill in the 10th inning, and the Pirates beat the Orioles 5-4 to prolong the Orioles' inexplicable futility on Sundays. Baltimore, which lost its 10th straight on Sunday. After winning its first Sunday game of the season, Baltimore has since been outscored 55-26 on that day.

CANCELED

Mets pinch-hitter Robinson Cancel got his first major league hit in nearly nine years, a two-run single to help the Mets beat the Rangers 4-2 in the second game of a doubleheader. Fans booed mercilessly when Cancel came in to hit for Pedro Martinez, but Cancel quickly turned the crowd around by calmly grounding an 0-2 pitch up the middle for the decisive hit. The hit was Cancel's first since Sept 21, 1999, for Milwaukee against Philadelphia, his only previous stint in the big leagues.

STREAKING

Cleveland's Grady Sizemore hit a home run in the Indians' 7-3 win over the Padres, his ninth homer in 16 games. ... The Tigers won their sixth straight, beating the Dodgers who have lost five in a row and 16 of 22.

SPEAKING

``We wanted to make the trip a little more pleasant. ``I'm glad I'm going. ... Maybe I'm speaking a little too soon.'' - Mets manager Willie Randolph after the Mets beat the Rangers 4-2 in the second game of a doubleheader. Randolph's job security has been the source of recent speculation and the team is heading out to the West Coast for a road trip starting Monday.

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Boston at Philadelphia -160  9

Two Red Sox need your attention today as the club visits Philadelphia: Bartolo Colon and Jacoby Ellsbury.

Colon, today’s starter, is resurrecting his career after Boston gave him a shot in Spring Training. Following a stint on the DL, the big right-hander has won four of five starts, relying mainly on some nasty movement on his pitches that he didn’t have before. Insiders say the ball is dancing more now that he isn’t trying to throw it through his catcher’s chest protector.

Jacoby Ellsbury is making the absence of David Ortiz much more tolerable for the Red Sox by tearing up the basepaths. He stole his 33rd base on Sunday in just 72 games, smashing the team’s previous record for most steals in a season by a rookie. Boston has scored at least six runs in five of its last six.

Pick: Red Sox


Atlanta at Colorado -115  9½


The Braves need a spark to snap a 2-7 slide, but today may not be their day in Colorado.

Jair Jurrjens gets the ball today after missing his last start when he sprained his ankle on the dugout steps at Wrigley Field. He’s 1-0 in his last three, but he also owns an 8.40 ERA as opponents are hitting .406 against him over that stretch.

The beat-up Braves need him to be better and to get some help for Chipper Jones at the dish. Jones heads into the game hitting .402, but Atlanta has been held to three or fewer runs six times over the current slump.

Pick: Rockies

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INTERLEAGUE

Boston (44-28) at Philadelphia (41-30)


The Red Sox continue their interleague road trip when they invade Citizens Bank Park to battle the Phillies in the opener of a three-game series. Bartolo Colon (4-1, 3.41 ERA) is scheduled to start for Boston opposite Philadelphia ace Cole Hamels (6-4, 3.27).

After losing Friday’s series opener in Cincinnati, the Red Sox came back to win the next two, including Sunday’s 9-0 rout of the Reds. Boston is on a 12-4 run, going 5-2 on the highway during this stretch. Also, Terry Francona’s club continues to feast on National League foes, going 46-10 in the last 56 interleague contests, including 21-6 in its last 27 on the road and 24-4 in its last 28 against the N.L. East.

Philadelphia returns home after a nine-game road trip that ended with a pair of losses in St. Louis. The Phillies have followed a four-game winning streak by losing four of their last six, but Charlie Manuel’s squad is21-13 at home this year, including 8-2 in the last 10. On the downside, Philly is 5-12 in its last 17 against the A.L. East.

These teams did not meet last year, but from 2004-2006, Boston went 10-2 against the Phillies, including 5-1 at Citizens Bank.

Colon was solid in Wednesday’s 6-3 home win over the Orioles, allowing just a single run on five hits with seven strikeouts in six innings. The veteran right-hander, who missed the first two months of the season recovering from injury, is 2-0 with a 3.46 ERA in two road starts.

Colon’s four career starts against the Phillies came in 2002 when he was with the Montreal Expos, and he went 1-1 with a 4.00 ERA and two no-decisions.

Hamels followed up a complete-game three-hit 5-0 home win over Cincinnati with an outstanding start Wednesday at Florida, holding the Marlins to two runs (both solo home runs) on three hits while striking out 13 in eight innings. However, he ended up with a no-decision as Philadelphia lost 6-2. Since winning six straight Hamels starts from late April to mid May, the Phillies are 1-2 in the southpaw’s last three outings.

Hamels is just 4-3 at home despite a 2.75 ERA, and this marks his first career start against the Red Sox.

The under is 6-1 in Colon’s last seven starts dating to last season and 4-2 in Hamels’ past six outings.

Although the Phillies easily topped the total in yesterday’s 7-6 loss at St. Louis, the under is still 11-2 in their last 13 overall, including 4-0 in the last four at Citizens Bank Park. Meanwhile, the over-under had alternated in eight straight games for Boston before Sunday’s contest at Cincinnati pushed on the number. Finally, the over is 9-4 the last 13 series meetings between these teams.

ATS ADVANTAGE: NONE


N.Y. Mets (33-35) at L.A. Angels (42-28)


The disappointing Mets head across the country for a three-game series against the first-place Angels, with New York’s Mike Pelfrey (2-6, 4.24) set to oppose Jered Weaver (6-6, 4.45).

New York split a doubleheader with the Rangers on Sunday, losing the opener 8-7 and taking the nightcap 4-2. The Mets are just 3-7 in their last 10 overall, and they’ve alternated wins and losses in their last six contests. Additionally, the team has lost 11 of its last 14 on the highway, including getting swept in San Diego in its most recent road series last week, and the Mets are 13-28 in their last 41 interleague games as an underdog and 12-26 in their last 38 interleague road battles.

Los Angeles avoided getting swept at home by the Braves, posting a 2-0 victory on Sunday night. The Angels have followed up a seven-game winning streak by going just 3-4 in their last seven, including 3-3 on this current homestand. Still, Mike Scioscia’s squad is on positive streaks of 19-7 overall in interleague play and 13-4 when hosting N.L. teams.

These teams last met in 2005, with the Angels taking two of three at Shea Stadium in New York. In fact, the visitor is 4-2 in the last six clashes going back to 2003.

Weaver bounced back from two shaky starts against the Blue Jays and Mariners (10 total earned runs allowed in 10 innings) with a gem on Tuesday, yielding just a single run on four hits in eight innings en route to a 6-1 home victory over Tampa Bay. The Angels are 5-1 in the right-hander’s last six trips to the bump, including 3-1 at Angel Stadium.

Despite dominating the Rays six days ago, Weaver is just 3-3 at home with a 3.05 ERA in seven starts. He’s also 3-6 with a 4.93 ERA in 11 night games, as opposed to 3-0 with a 2.79 ERA during the day. Finally, he has yet to face New York in his young career.

Pelfrey is coming off the best three-start stretch of his brief career, though he has nothing to show for it, having allowed a total of four runs in 21 innings (1.71 ERA) but getting no-decisions against the Dodgers, Padres and Diamondbacks. New York did win two of those three contests after losing each of Pelfrey’s previous seven starts.

The Mets are winless in Pelfrey’s four road outings this year, with the right-hander going 0-2 with a 7.20 ERA. However, his most recent start as a visitor was his best of the season, as he limited San Diego to a run on eight hits in six innings, getting a no-decision in his team’s 2-1 loss. Like Weaver against the Mets, Pelfrey has never pitched against the Angels.

With Weaver on the hill, the under is on runs of 17-6-1 as a favorite, 10-4 at home and 15-6-2 against losing teams. Also, the under is 7-3-1 in Pelfrey’s last 11 outings overall.

For the Mets, the over is on streaks of 9-4 in interleague play, 16-5 in interleague road games, 5-2-1 as an underdog and 6-2 on Mondays. On the flip side, the Angels sport a bevy of under trends, including 37-15-3 overall, 22-8-1 at home, 16-5-1 against losing teams and 16-6 against right-handed starters

ATS ADVANTAGE: L.A. ANGELS

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Monday MLB Gameday

It's a slow day for baseball on Monday, but that doesn't mean there still aren't a few good matchups on the schedule. Here's a look at four contests in your MLB Gameday:

Boston Red Sox at Philadelphia Phillies

The decision to add Colon to their roster is starting to look like a pretty good one for the Red Sox. The veteran righthander is now 4-1 on the season with a  solid 3.41 ERA, and he's walked just seven batters in 29 innings of work. Colon picked up a win against the Orioles last time out, allowing one earned run on five hits over six innings in the contest.

Hamels is coming off a dominant outing - in which he failed to pick up the victory. The lefthander allowed two earned runs on just three hits over eight innings against the Marlins last time out, and struck out 13 batters in the no-decision. Hamels now has a 3.27 ERA on the season, and he's managed to fan 86 hitters in his 99 innings of work.

New York Mets at Los Angeles Angels


Pelfrey has had to settle for a no-decision in each of his last three starts, but he allowed just four earned runs on 20 hits over 21 innings pitched in those contests. Last time out against the Diamondbacks the righthander struck out a career-high eight batters in eight innings of work, surrendering just a single earned run on five hits and two free passes.

Weaver has pushed his record back up to the .500 mark with four victories over his last five starts. The righthander is coming off a solid outing against the Rays in which he surrendered just one earned run on four hits over eight innings of work, striking out five batters. Weaver has walked 23 hitters while striking out 60 through 85 innings this year.

Florida Marlins at Seattle Mariners

Miller hasn't picked up a victory since May 22, when he blanked the Diamondbacks over seven innings of work; since then the lefthander has gone 0-2 with two no-decisions. However, Miller pitched well enough to earn a win last time out against the Phillies, as he allowed just one earned run on four hits over seven innings, and struck out seven.

Silva has been tagged with the loss in each of his past five starts, dropping his record to 3-7 on the season. Over the first four outings of that losing streak Silva surrendered at least five earned runs every time out. Last time out versus the Blue Jays, however, the righthander gave up just three earned runs on nine hits over his seven innings of work.

Detroit Tigers at San Francisco Giants

It's been a nightmare campaign so far for Verlander, but at least he's coming off a gem of an outing. The young righthander dominated the White Sox last time out, allowing just one earned run on four hits in a complete-game victory. Verlander had been 0-2 with a no-decision over his previous three outings, and his ERA is still high at 4.65 on the year.

Lincecum's ERA, on the other hand, has dropped below 2.00 over his last three outings. The righthander has surrendered just two earned runs on 15 hits over his last 21 innings of work, picking up 17 strikeouts over that span. Last time out, against the Rockies, Lincecum allowed no earned runs over seven innings and fanned nine in a no-decision.

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