SATURDAY SERVICE PLAYS
Re: SATURDAY SERVICE PLAYS
2.5-Unit. Take ‘Over’ 10.0 Cincinnati at New York Yankees
2-Unit Play. Take Boston (-1.5, -120) over St. Louis
3-Unit. Take ‘Over’ 9.5 St. Louis at Boston
2-Unit Play. Take Philadelphia (-120) over Los Angeles Angels
1-Unit Play. Take Philadelphia (-1.5, +165) over Los Angeles Angels
2-Unit Play. Take 'Over' 9.5 Los Angeles Angels at Philadelphia
1.5-Unit Play. Take Atlanta (-165) over Seattle
1-Unit Play. Take Atlanta (-1.5, +120) over Seattle
2-Unit Play. Take Milwaukee (-130) over Baltimore
1.5-Unit Play. Take Colorado (-120) over New York Mets
1-Unit. Take ‘Over’ 10.0 New York Mets at Colorado
1.5-Unit Play. Take Minnesota (-120) over Arizona
Re: SATURDAY SERVICE PLAYS
Larry Ness' 15* TV Game of the Week (38-28 with Game of the Week plays TY)
My 15* play is on the Chi Cubs at 1:05 ET. The Cubs got swept at Tropicana Field earlier this week by the Rays, the first time all season the Cubs had lost three straight games. However, a return to the "friendly confines" on Friday, was just what the doctor ordered. The Cubs made it 12 straight home wins Friday afternoon, beating the cross-town White Sox 4-3, on a walk-off HR in the ninth. The win makes the Cubs a ML-best 30-8 at Wrigley Field this season. Chicago owns MLB's second-highest team BA at .282 and is also its second-highest scoring team at 5.41 RPG. Breaking those numbers down further, reveal that while the Cubs are averaging 4.4 RPG and hitting just .254 on the road as a team (16-20), they are averaging 6.4 RPG while hitting more than 50 points higher here in Wrigley (.310). The White Sox lead the AL Central by 3 1/2 games with a 41-32 mark (quite an improvement by a team which lost 90 games in '07) but like the Cubs, are much better at home (24-11), than they are on the road (17-21). The White Sox entered yesterday's game off a three-game home sweep of the Pirates, in which they had scored 16, eight and 13 runs but against the Cubbies, the White Sox cooled off in a hurry (0-10 with RISP and eight men LOB), which has become a recent problem. The road loss was the team's SEVENTH straight, in which the White Sox have batted just .237 and scored a grand total of only 13 runs. This afternoon's pitching matchup is Contreras vs Marquis. Contreras was a star for the World Series team of 2005 (15-7) and followed that season by going 13-9 in '06. However, the bottom fell out last year, as he went 10-17 with a 5.57 ERA, as the White Sox went 11-19 in his starts. He opened the '08 season with the team going 3-3 in his first six starts (4.08 ERA) but then from May 9 through June 5 he posted a 1.50 ERA with the White Sox going 5-1. That hot stretch seems to be over though, as he's been 'banged around' for 20 hits and nine ERs in his last two starts (12.2 IP) for a 6.40 ERA. The Cubs counter with Jason Marquis who opened '08 going 3-0 (3.86 ERA) but then hit a bad patch, posting a 5.50 ERA as the team went 1-5. However, unlike Contreras, he's surging as of late, with a 3-0 mark and a 2.66 ERA over his last four starts (Cubs are 4-0). Marquis was just 12-9 with a 4.60 ERA last year for the Cubs but they were 13-4 in his 17 starts here in Wrigley. He's pitching well, the Cubs have won 12 straight at home plus the White Sox have lost seven straight on the road (averaging a meager 1.9 RPG) and will start a pitcher (Contreras) who hasn't fooled anyone in his last two outings. That's a recipe for another Cubs win. TV Game of the Week 15* Chi Cubs.
Larry Ness' Superstar Triple Play-MLB (three-in-one report!)
My three STPs are on the Mil Brewers (7:05 ET), the Min Twins (7:10 ET) and the Oak A's (9:05 ET).
What a difference a year makes. The Orioles struggled through a 66-93 season last year but enter this game 38-34, after last night's 8-5 win in Milwaukee. That gives Baltimore four straight wins (six of seven) and an 8-2 interleague mark. Pretty impressive for a team which was 6-12 vs NL teams last year and entered this season a rather pathetic 79-114 since the beginning of interleague play in 1997. One of the main reasons the Orioles have done so much better this year is the major improvement of their bullpen. The Orioles' pen had a 5.75 ERA last year (second-worst in all of MLB) but enters this game with a 3.13 ERA, ranking them fifth-best. Baltimore may need that bullpen tonight, as Daniel Cabrera has "fallen off" from his fast start. Cabrera was coming off a dismal 2007 season in which he went 9-18 (5.55 ERA) and the Orioles were 13-21 in his 34 starts. So it came as a huge surprise when he posted a solid 3.54 ERA over his first nine starts this year, going 5-1 (team was 8-1). However, things have "gone south" quickly, as Cabrera has allowed 36 hits and 22 ERs over his last five starts (29.2 innings) for a 6.67 ERA (he's 0-1 and the team is 1-4). The Brewers have been getting excellent starting pitching lately but got a poor start last night from Jeff Suppan, who entered the game with a 1.67 home ERA in six starts this year. Seth McClung will start tonight for Milwaukee and he's made quite a turnaround this year, so expect a good effort. His first three seasons were spent with Tampa Bay and he went 17-24 with a 6.27 ERA in 85 appearances (37 starts). He started last year with Tampa but came to Milwaukee and did little in 14 relief appearances. He began this year in long relief but has now made five straight starts. In FOUR of those five starts, he's allowed two ERs or less, posting a 2.74 ERA. Milwaukee is still 23-13 at home this year despite last night's loss and don't forget, the Brewers have gone 99-63 (plus-$1,950) the last two seasons ('06 and '07) at home. STP on the Mil Brewers.
The D'backs finished April with a ML-best mark of 20-8 but last night's 7-2 loss makes them just 19-27 since (39-35 overall), including a rather sad 6-15 on the road. The D'backs won the NL West last year despite an NL-low BA of .250 but opened this year much better at the plate. However, entering this game, the team's BA is down to .249, ranking 26th of 30 MLB teams. Micah Owings opened the '08 season 4-0 with a 2,42 ERA but like his team, has fallen off after that quick start. He's gone just 2-5 with a 6.67 ERA over his last 10 games (team is 3-7) and that includes 0-3 (team is 1-3) over his last four outings, while allowing 21 ERs in 19 innings (9.95 ERA). Those numbers hardly bode well for Arizona tonight in Minnesota, which enters on a four-game winning streak. The Twins have won seven of nine since losing six straight games (June 5-10) and have outscored opponents 50-18 over their last seven games. In the team's four-game winning streak, Minnesota starters are 4-0 with a 2.00 ERA. Why not expect "more of the same" tonight from Nick Blackburn? He's allowed three ERs or less in 10 of his 14 starts this year and owns a 2.37 home ERA in six starts. He's allowed two ERs or less in FIVE of his last six starts (anywhere) and the Twins are once again playing well at home in the Metrodome (23-16 in '08). STP on the Min Twins.
The Marlins lead the majors with 110 HRs and hit four last night but that wasn't enough for them to beat the A's in Oakland, as the Marlins lost 7-6 (11 innings). If getting 15 hits (including four HRs) isn't good enough to win, what do the Marlins have to do tonight? They'll hope for another solid start from Ricky Nolasco, who is 6-1 with a 3.26 ERA in his last eight starts (team is 6-2.). One area of concern may be that he threw 132 pitches in his last start (most by any starter in MLB this season!), although Nolasco and the team say it's no "big deal," as he'll be pitching on five days rest. I'm not convinced. Plus, I love the way Oakland's Dan Eveland has performed this year. He was part of the Dan Haren trade and after doing very little in his first three seasons (first two with Milwaukee and last year with Arizona), he's been a mainstay of the Oakland rotation this year. He's 5-5 with a 3.57 ERA in 14 starts (team is 8-6) on the year. Except for a terrible outing May 29 vs Toronto (allowed 11 hits and seven ERs in 4.1 innings), he's been extremely good in his last eight outings. In those other seven starts, Eveland has allowed just 12 ERs over 44.2 innings for a 2.42 ERA. Oakland pitchers own MLB's second-best team ERA 3.43 and despite allowing four HRs last night, have allowed a league-low 51 HRs on the year. Eveland has certainly done his part, allowing only three HRs in 83.1 innings this year. STP on the Oak A's.
Larry Ness' Oddsmaker's Error-MLB (93 percent go-against trend!)
My Oddsmaker's Error is on the Pit Pirates at 7:05 ET. The Blue Jays fired manager John Gibbons and replaced him with Cito Gaston, who led the team to back-to-back World Series titles in 1992 and 1993. However, not much changed last night, as Toronto lost 1-0 in 12 innings at Pittsburgh (on an error no less!), the team's sixth straight loss and its 14th loss in its last 18 games. The Blue Jays are one of a handful of team scoring less that four runs per game (3.96 to be exact) and during the team's current six-game slide, the Jays are averaging a pathetic 2.83 RPG (have been shut out twice!). Jesse Litsch will take the mound tonight in Pittsburgh for Toronto. Litsch was nearly unhittable from April 27 through May 19, going 5-0 with a 1.67 ERA in six starts (team was 5-1). In the final two starts of that stretch he pitched a complete game shutout over the Royals and then went seven innings in a 12-0 win over the A's. However, all of a sudden, he's begun to struggle. He's allowed 28 hits and 11 ERs over his last three starts (17.2 innings) for a 5.60 ERA. With Toronto struggling so badly to score runs, those numbers do not bode well nor does his 7.43 ERA in three career interleague appearances. The Pirates are by no means a formidable foe but they have won five of their six home games and are a solid 22-15 at home this year. Lefty Paul Maholm may have a 6.15 road ERA this year (six starts) but his home ERA is 3.42 (eight starts) and he's 3-1 at PNC Park with the Pirates winning SIX of his eight starts. What's more, he comes in having pitched well in five straight starts (three home / two away), allowing just 14 ERs in 35.1 innings (3.57 ERA), going 2-0 while the Pirates are 4-1. The fact that Maholm is a lefty is also significant. After last night's 1-0 loss against lefty Zach Duke, the Blue Jays are a "mind-numbing" 1-13 vs left-handed starters in night games this year (that's a 93 percent go-against trend!), scoring a grand total of 31 runs (that's 2.21 per game!). So just why did the Blue Jays open as the favorite in this game? Oddsmaker's Error on the Pit Pirates.
Re: SATURDAY SERVICE PLAYS
Today I'm going with the Brewers -118 at sportsbetting.com. Seth McClung has been very solid in his last 3 starts for Milwaukee, allowing 2 runs or less each time out. The same can't be said for Baltimore's Daniel Cabrera, who has surrendered 16 runs and 21 hits in his last 17 innings.
Re: SATURDAY SERVICE PLAYS
Today's Pick: CLEVELAND INDIANS
LA Dodgers are 11-25 the past 3 years in inter-league play. Cliff Lee is 10-1 with a 2.55 ERA overall this year, 7-1 with a 2.92 ERA on the road this season and 2-0 his last 3 starts. We'll recommend a small play on Cleveland tonight!