FRIDAY SERVICE PLAYS
Re: FRIDAY SERVICE PLAYS
Houston Astros at Tampa Bay Rays
The surging Tampa Bay Rays have won five of their last six games and have been played outstanding at home, winning 25 of their last 29. Contrary, Houston has dropped their last eight and 17 of their last 20.
Houston's Roy Oswalt (5-7, 5.04) has lost four of his last five decisions and is 1-2 with a 3.38 ERA in his last three starts. The right-hander is 1-4 with a 4.58 ERA in nine interleague starts since 2006. He has never faced Tampa Bay.
Tampa Bay's Matt Garza (5-3, 4.06 ERA), is 1-2 with a 4.96 ERA in his last three starts, but is 4-0 with a 2.19 ERA in his last six at home. He has never faced Houston.
Take the Tampa Bay Rays to grab a win against the struggling Astros tonight at Tropicana Field. Houston has been dreadful away from home, dropping ten of their last 11 and has lost eight of Roy Oswalt last 10 road starts.
Tampa Bay Rays -145
Re: FRIDAY SERVICE PLAYS
Larry Ness' 15* IL Game of the Week (38-27 with GOW plays since Opening Day)
My 15* play is on the Atl Braves at 7:35 ET. The Mariners have fired both GM Bill Bavasi and manager John McLaren over the last few days. Now comes the hard part. What does the club do regarding the players who have 'earned' MLB's worst record (25-47), as well as its worst moneyline mark (minus-$2,508)? Pretty much the same team was 88-74 last year, posting the second-best moneyline mark in the majors (plus-$1,924). In fact, Settle increased its payroll for the '08 season, with the biggest acquisition being former Baltimore pitcher Erik Bedard. However, Bedard has been hampered by some nagging injuries and is winless since May 28. His overall mark is 4-4 with a 4.14 ERA in 12 starts (team is 5-7). He's been awful on the road, lasting just 24.1 innings in five starts (that's less than five innings per start!), while allowing 26 hits and 20 ERs for a 7.40 ERA (team is 1-4). He's hardly been the dominating presence the Mariners expected and after his last start, now former manager McLaren was quoted as saying (regarding Bedard's inability to pitch deep into games), "we know Erik is a 100-pitch pitcher, and no use dwelling on it. It is what it is." Well, McLaren's out and Bedard will take the mound tonight vs the Braves, who return to Atlanta off a 4-6 road trip. Actually, the Braves can't be unhappy with their play on the just completed trip, as they opened the road trip with just a 7-21 mark away from Turner Field. However, winning at home has not been a problem for Atlanta, as the Braves will take MLB's fourth-best home mark (25-11) into tonight's game. Getting the start is Jorge Campillo. Campillo spent his first three seasons with the Mariners, making only eight appearances (one start) with no record and a 7.13 ERA over 17.2 innings. However, he's pitched well for the Braves in '08, first in relief (14 appearances) and now in six starts. Campillo pitched a CG on Sunday against the Angels but ended up on the short-end of a 2-0 decision. He allowed seven hits and two ERs while striking out seven in eight innings. It was his first loss in his six starts and the Braves are 4-2 in his starts, with Campillo posting a 2.78 ERA plus a 28-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio. IL Game of the Week 15* Atl Braves.
Larry Ness' Friday Night Delight-MLB
My Friday Night Delight is on the SD Padres at 10:05 ET. The Tigers are trying to get back in the AL Central race and have won 10 of their last 12 games but they still trail the White Sox by seven games (Detroit can forget about any wild card hopes this year). As for the Padres, while they have been "in the thick of things" the last three seasons in the NL West (two division titles and a loss LY in a wild card playoff game with the Rockies), they enter this series at 31-43 which puts them last in the division and just two games better than the Nationals, who own the NL's worst overall record. So am I taking the Tigers tonight? No I am not. Greg Maddux is winless in his seven starts since winning his 350th career game on May 10 but he continues to pitch well each and every time he takes the mound. His ERA is 2.95 during his winless drought and in the four home games during this current stretch, owns a 1.93 ERA with the Padres winning three of the four games. San Diego may have just gone 1-5 on its recent road trip but prior to that, the Padres had won seven of eight games (all here at Petco), with their pitching staff allowing one run or less in SIX of the seven wins. The Tigers have struggled against right-handed pitchers all season (21-33) and that includes a 7-20 mark on the road, where they've averaged a measly 3.0 RPG. Here in a stadium known as a pitcher's park and Greg Maddux on the mound, expect more offensive struggles by the Tigers. Now I realize the Padres are no offensive juggernaut but they do get a shot at Detroit's Eddie Bonine, making just his second career start. His MLB debut came last Saturday at home vs the Dodgers. Here's what his manager said about his performance. "I was impressed with Bonine," Jim Leyland said. "He did a great job, threw the ball over the plate. I liked him. He had a good ballgame." Well I don't know what Leyland saw but the boxscore says he allowed nine hits and six ERs in 5.1 innings! He got the win because the Tigers scored 12 runs. Tonight, the best Bonine can hope for is to "learn something" by watching Maddux work. Friday Night Delight on the SD Padres.
Larry Ness' Las Vegas Insider-MLB (14-7 since May 26 with MLB Insiders)
My Las Vegas Insider is on the Mil Brewers at 8:05 ET. Dave Bush took a no-hitter (as well as an 8-0 lead) into the eighth inning of Thursday's game with the Blue Jays. He lost his no-hitter in the eighth and then three Milwaukee relievers almost blew the win for him, allowing a six-run ninth. However, the Brewers held on to win their fourth straight (all at home) and their 16th game in their last 22, overall. Milwaukee is now 23-12 (plus-$763) at home and 16-21 (minus-$386) on the road, which is nothing new since Milwaukee's two-year mark from the '06 and '07 seasons had them 99-63 (plus-$1,950) at home but a pathetic 59-103 (minus-$3,818) on the road. The Orioles come in having just completed a homestand 5-1, upping their overall mark to 37-34. However, let's note that Baltimore just hosted the Astros, losers of eight straight and 17 of 20, and the Pirates, who are a pathetic 13-24 on the road. Speaking of the road, Baltimore is just 15-22 on the road in '08, which fits right in with the team's 64-98 road mark in the '07 and '06 seasons, combined. Getting the call for Baltimore is rookie Radhames Liz. He made just nine appearances (four starts) last year, going 0-2 with a 6.93 ERA. However, Baltimore needed a fifth starter, so he was called up from the minors in early June, making his first start on June 3. He's done a decent job (16.2 IP / 12 hits / 8 ERs / 4.32 ERA) but winning in Milwaukee against a good home team like the Brewers will be no easy task. Milwaukee counters with Jeff Suppan and the veteran went just 12-12 with a 4.62 ERA in his first year with the Brewers last season, while opening this year 4-4 with a 3.68 ERA. However, it should come as no surprise that Suppan has been very solid at home, while struggling on the road (a trait that seems to follow most of Milwaukee's staff). The Brewers were 12-5 in his home starts last season (3.87 ERA) while going just 6-11 in his road starts (5.38). Second verse, same as the first this year, as he's posted a 1.67 home ERA (team is 4-2), while posting a 5.70 road ERA (team is 4-4). Milwaukee starters have been very good in the team's current 16-6 run, as they have allowed three or less runs 18 times. Expect Suppan to "keep up the good work," which will be too much for Liz to match. Las Vegas Insider Mil Brewers.