TUESDAY SERVICE PLAYS
Re: TUESDAY SERVICE PLAYS
Larry Ness' 15* Team Mismatch of the Week (36-25 w/GOW plays since Opening Day)
My 15* play is on the Bal Orioles at 7:05 ET. The Astros opened the year at 6-12 but then won 24 of their next 35 games to get back in the NL Central hunt by late May. However, beginning on May 28, Houston has lost 14 of its last 17 and will enter this three-game series in Baltimore on a five-game losing streak, not to mention being 12 games behind the Cubs in the division. The team's World Series appearance of 2005 is nothing but a distant memory. The Orioles come in at 34-34 and have won three of their last four series (lost two of three at Fenway, which is hardly a black mark). The Orioles have played well in Camden Yards this year and will take a 19-12 record into tonight's game against a team not playing well anywhere these days (Astros are 1-7 on the road and 2-7 at home during their last 17 games). Brandon Backe starts for Houston and while he's healthy this year (his 14 starts are one more than he made in the '06 and '07 seasons combined), one thing remains a constant. Backe pitches well at home and poorly on the road. He's got a 3.86 ERA in his six home starts (team is 4-2) and a 5.95 ERA in his eight road starts (team is 1-7). Since coming to Houston in '04, the Astros are 25-7 in his home starts but just 12-22 in his road starts. That's unlikely to change here, as the Orioles are 11-4 vs right-handers in night games this year. Lefty Garrett Olson gets the start for Baltimore and by in large, he's done a decent job in 2008 (still considered a rookie with only 32.1 innings last year), going 5-2 with 4.53 ERA. Like so many pitchers (young and old), he's struggled on the road with a 6.24 ERA but is 3-0 with a 2.66 ERA in four home starts (team is 3-1). With the Astros struggling and Backe rarely pitching well away from home, almost all the edges are with the home team in this one. Team Mismatch of the Week 15* Bal Orioles.
Larry Ness' Oddsmaker's Error-MLB
My Oddsmaker's Error is on the Tex Rangers at 8:05 ET. The Braves took two of three in Anaheim over the weekend and then won a make-up game yesterday in Colorado (7-1), giving them three wins in their last four road games. However, the Braves still own the worst road record in the majors at 10-25 and average just 3.83 RPG away from Turner Field. Tim Hudson has "felt that pain," as despite a 2.22 ERA over his last four starts (three of which have come on the road), he's winless (0-1) and the team is 0-4. For the season, despite an excellent 2.76 ERA, the Braves have won just seven of his 15 starts. That includes a 2-6 record on the road, where his ERA is 2.96. He'll be facing a Texas team which is MLB's highest scoring team on the season (5.55 RPG) and those numbers go up here in Arlington, where the Rangers are averaging 6.12 RPG in their 33 home games (only 17-16 though). However, let's also note that Texas is 21-11 in night games vs right-handers (home and away) in '08, averaging 6.5 RPG. That alone makes one wonder why Atlanta opened the favorite in this game. Throw in the team's outstanding success with Vincente Padilla on the mound and "the mystery grows." Padilla is having a terrific season, going 8-3 with a 3.89 ERA in 14 starts, with the Rangers going 11-3 (plus-$1,106) in those starts, making him MLB's second-biggest "money-maker" among starting pitchers. While the team is 8-1 in his road starts and a more modest 3-2 in his home starts, let me note that Padilla's home ERA (3.27) is a full run lower than his road ERA (4.27). Jump all over the Rangers in this spot. Oddsmaker's Error on the Tex Rangers.
Larry Ness' Weekly Wipeout Winner-MLB
My Weekly Wipeout Winner is on the Mil Brewers at 8:05 ET. The Blue Jays won 14 of 18 games from May 12-30 but have lost 10 of 14 since, as they enter this three-game set with the Brewers. Milwaukee won nine of 10 from May 26-June 4 (8-1 on a nine-game homestand) but after losing two of three at home to the Twins over the weekend, has lost five of its last nine. However, as well all know, the Brewers have been an excellent home team these last two seasons (99-63) and take a solid 20-12 home mark into tonight's game. When you add in the home/away dichotomy of tonight's two starters, all things point to a solid Milwaukee win. Dustin McGowan of Toronto is coming off a complete game win in his last outing but look at what his season totals reveal. He's got a 1.73 ERA in six home starts but a 6.02 ERA in eight road starts. You'll see a similar stat sheet with Milwaukee's Manny Parra. His road ERA is 7.25 in six starts but his ERA here in Miller Park is 2.90 in seven starts. Now let's add in some team factors. The Blue Jays have been just terrible against left-handed starters (like Parra) in night games in '08, going 2-11 while averaging only 2.4 RPG. Breaking it down home and away, the Blue Jays are 1-6 at home and 1-5 on the road, where they've averaged a measly 1.3 RPG (wow!). As for the Brewers, they are a solid 12-6 in home night games this year in Miller park. Weekly Wipeout Winner on the Mil Brewers.