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MLB News and Notes June 22

MLB News and Notes June 22

Sunday's Afternoon Tip Sheet
By Josh Jacobs

Sunday ends weekend interleague action but the fun is just getting started. Before we, here at, begin to lay out a new week of ball, let’s see what the end of the weekend will bring in terms of profiting. The following preview will focus on three hot daytime contests.

Cincinnati (Cueto) at N.Y. Yankees (Pettitte) – 1:05 p.m. EDT

New York starter Andy Pettitte (7-5, 4.29 ERA) will be looking for his eighth win of the season when the Reds conclude their three-game trip into Yankee Stadium. Since third baseman Alex Rodriguez returned to the starting lineup from a strained quadriceps injury on May 20 the Bronx Bombers have shelled opponents for an eye opening 20-10 record. Rodriguez is once again posting impressive numbers despite his injury timed served. The 14-year vet is batting .335 with 41 RBIs and has 14 long balls logged in.

Since the A-Rod “effect” (the 30 games since he’s been back), New York has averaged 5.6 runs per game. Despite losing ace Chien-Ming Wang for what some say might be the rest of the regular season, the rotation and pen has been responsible for keeping the team in the game by holding down teams to 3.1 runs per game in the 20 wins.

The Reds have been slumping over the wheel for a 3-7 performance in the last 10. Cinci has struggled to produce from the plate with a .199 BA. Starting pitchers have added insult to injury with a 5.43 ERA in the last 10.

With the Reds crossing home plate for 2.5 runs per game in the last 10 and the Yanks reproducing that same exact number (2.5 runs per game) in runs allowed, the ‘under’ could be worth researching. New York is 44-27-2 on the ‘under’ this season, while Cincinnati has gone 6-3-1 on the ‘under’ in its last 10 games.

The ‘under’ is 6-2 in the Reds last eight interleague contests.

Houston (Backe) at Tampa Bay (Kazmir) – 1:40 p.m. EDT

The Rays continue to push to the top of the AL despite a lack of consistency at the plate. June has seen Tampa dip the BA to .259, but run production is surprisingly high with 4.6 runs per game scored during the summer month. What could prove to be the most damaging in the long run is a pitching staff dealing out a 3.81 ERA during the season, but has since slipped up with a 4.32 ERA during June.

If you’re looking for any inside edge trends or stats then take comfort in knowing that the Rays have been on fire with a 24-6 record in their last 30 games played on field turf. Also take note of Tampa Bay’s seven wins and only two losses in its last nine interleague games played at home.

The Astros have been a great example of how poorly teams have been playing on the road this year. A 2-10 record in its last 12 games when designated as the visiting team has culminated into a 17-24 overall record on the road.

While the following numbers can be a bit deceiving, their value can’t be overlooked. Houston is swinging the wood for a .284 BA with 153 RBIs, 42 stolen bases and 41 jacks in 33 games at home this season. A dramatic drop in production on the road has translated into the Astros whiffing through pitches for a .244 BA. While it might not seem far off from the home numbers, 157 RBIs with 35 long balls have been produced in 41 games.

Starter Brandon Backe (4-8, 4.99) will enter the game for Houston on Sunday, looking for his first win since May 23. Since then Backe has surrendered 7.5 hits per game with 4.3 runs per game in his last four outings (making up an 0-3 record).

The Astros are 7-19 in their last 26.

Arizona (Webb) at Minnesota (Hernandez) – 2:10 p.m. EDT

Rounding out another marquee matchup, Arizona’s ace Brandon Webb (11-3, 3.37) will be responsible for helping his club improve upon a degrading 15-20 road record. Webb himself has been responsible for dropping two of his three defeats on the road this season.

The proof is in the pudding yet again as the Diamondbacks have placed some sharp contrasting numbers on the board. As is the theme all over the league, Arizona is batting an impressive .277 with 204 runs at home, while road woes have witnessed the team sliding down the totem pole for an embarrassing .219 BA with 314 strikeouts in 35 road games.

Maybe the most surprising angle is Arizona’s 3.47 road ERA versus a 4.32 ERA at home. For a team that can’t generate much offense on the road, the pitching staff seems to feel more comfortable in hostile environments. But total wagering hasn’t shown a connection with low scoring games and effective road pitching as a 17-16-1 ‘over’ record proves.

The Twins have only played four games at home versus Arizona since 2003, with a 2-2 record demonstrating no method to the madness. Minnesota will be looking to build on a four-game winning streak and a 6-1 run in the last seven. In their last three games, the Twins bullpen has been responsible for a rock bottom 0.47 ERA and a 0.67 WHIP in 19.1 innings of work.

Minnesota veteran starter Livan Hernandez (7-4, 5.51) is coming off a solid win against the Nationals. Hernandez yielded only five hits and one run in seven innings (77 pitches).

It’s tough not to look at the frequency of ‘over’ games that both clubs have been involved in. Minnesota is 7-3 on the ‘over’ in its last 10 and 14-5-1 on the ‘over’ in its last 20 at home. Bettors have witnessed the D-Backs accumulate a 7-2-1 record on the ‘over’ in the last 10. In their last nine meetings together ‘over’ players have cashed in with a 7-1-1 success rate.

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Sunday Night Baseball

When you think of Interleague rivalries, none is more intense than the match up we have featured on ESPN Sunday evening. Bragging rights in the Windy City are up for grabs when the White Sox travel to the North side to face the Cubs.

The Cubbies have definitely owned the Sox as of late. After their come from behind win on Friday night, the North Siders have now won 7 of the last 8 meetings dating back to July of 2006. The Cubs torrid stretch look like it was slowing a bit when they traveled to Tampa Bay this week. They had won 16 of 20 before getting swept in Tampa. They were staring their fourth straight loss in the face on Friday when they rallied from a 3-1 seventh inning deficit to capture a 4-3 win. That gave the Cubs a remarkable 13th straight win at home and pushed their Wrigley Field record to a stellar 30-8 on the season which is the best in the Majors. Every other team in baseball has at least 11 home losses with the exception of the Red Sox.

These are two of the top money making teams in baseball this season. In fact, the Cubs are the number one cash cow at +$1,298 on the year. They are also the number one money maker at home at +$1,751. The White Sox slide in at number nine in overall profit at +$810 this season.

The pale hose try to get into the winning column by sending Javier Vazquez to the hill. Vazquez had been lights out this year until the month of June hit. After giving up just 15 earned runs in his previous seven starts, Vazquez has now allowed 14 earned runs in his last three outings for a June ERA of 7.27. In those three starts he has pitched 17.1 innings and allowed 31 base runners. Vazquez has actually won picked up wins in two of those three games due to some terrific run support. The South siders have scored a whopping 27 runs in his last three trips to the hill. Add the unusual run support to his poor showings in June and you can see why the average runs per game his last three starts is over 14. He has made three career starts vs. his cross town rival and owns a 4.95 ERA in those appearances.

Chicago Cubs starter Ryan Dempster is extremely happy to be pitching in Wrigley Field for this one. That’s because he is a perfect 8-0 at home this year with a paltry ERA of 2.93. However, he has yet to win a game on the road this year. It doesn’t matter if he’s facing right handed or left handed line ups as he has been extremely effective against both. Right handers are hitting just .198 vs. Dempster while lefties are struggling even more at .186. Dempster, who is starting this year for the first time since 2003, has not made a career start against the White Sox.

Both teams have been “under” plays so far this season. The Cubs have a 36-33 record favoring the under while the Sox are 40-32. Mike Estabrook is scheduled to be behind home plate and he is definitely a pitcher’s umpire. Of the eight games he has been behind the dish, six of them have gone under the total. His average RPG is just 7.25 this season. His strikeout to walk ratio is nearly 2 to 1 and almost 63% of the pitches he calls have been strikes. Of course the wind at Wrigley Field and wreak havoc on either the pitchers or hitters depending on which way it is blowing so keep a close eye on that.

Will the Cubs continue to dominate at home or can the White Sox break the streak? Either way, it’s definitely “must-see” TV when these two windy city rivals face off on ESPN Sunday night.

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L.A. Angels (45-30) at Philadelphia (42-34)

The Angels look to complete a three-game sweep at Citizens Bank Park when they send Jered Weaver (6-7, 4.73 ERA) to the mound to face Phillies ace Cole Hamels (7-4, 3.23) in this series finale between first-place clubs.

Los Angeles pounded out an 7-1 win on Friday, then broke open a 2-2 tie late on Saturday en route to a 6-2 victory. The Angels are 4-2 in their last six overall, and they’re on additional streaks of 22-9 in interleague action, 6-1 in interleague road games, 14-3 against left-handed starters and 8-2 against winning teams.

Philadelphia has dropped four straight overall and six of its last seven. Also, Charlie Manuel’s club is 1-6 in interleague play, 6-20 in its last 26 against winning A.L. teams and 9-24 against A.L. right-handers.

This is the first series between these two since 2003, and the Angels have now  taken the last four in a row against the Phils.

Weaver gave up six runs on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings of a 9-6 home loss to the Mets on Monday. He’s allowed four or more runs in three of his last four outings. Also, the right-hander, who has never faced the Phillies, is 3-3 with a 5.98 ERA in seven road starts in 2008.

Hamels has been on a roll lately, going 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA in his last three starts and he’s 5-3 with a 2.73 ERA in front of the home fans. That includes Monday’s 8-2 rout of the Red Sox, as he held the defending champs to two runs on seven hits over seven innings as the Phillies won for the 10th time in Hamels’ 15 outings this season.

The Angels are 5-2 in Weaver’s last seven starts, but Philadelphia dominates when Hamels pitches, going 36-17 in his last 53 overall, 20-7 in his last 27 at home, 5-1 in his last six on Sundays and 8-0 in Hamels’ last eight when pitching in the third game of a series.

The over is 6-1 in Weaver’s last seven starts as an underdog, but the under is 7-3-1 in his last 11 Sunday outings. With Hamels pitching, the over streaks are 5-2 at home, 4-0 in interleague starts and 5-2 when he faces a team with a winning record.

The first two games of this series have stayed under the total, and the Angels are now on under runs of 39-16-5 overall, 42-20-5 against southpaws, 11-4-2 as a road underdog, 16-5-2 on the road overall, 7-1-1 on the road against lefties and 10-3-1 against teams with a winning record. Additionally, the Phillies are on under streaks of 14-4 overall, 8-0 against the A.L. West, 7-2 at home, 11-4 as a favorite and 9-4 against right-handed starters. However, the over is 11-4 in Philly’s last 15 interleague games and 6-2 in its last eight versus A.L. right-handers.


Chicago White Sox (41-33) at Chicago Cubs (47-28)

The Cubs look to finish off a three-game sweep of their crosstrown rivals and make it six in a row over the White Sox when they send Ryan Dempster (8-2, 2,76 ERA) to the mound to face Javier Vazquez (7-5, 4.12) at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs scored an 11-7 victory on Saturday thanks to a nine-run fourth inning, a day after getting a 4-3 walk-off win. The Cubs have won the last five series clashes and seven of the last eight dating back to last season.

Wrigley Field has been good to the Cubs, who are 40-13 in their last 53 in front of the faithful (31-8 this season). Lou Piniella’s club is also on runs of 18-7 overall, 7-2 in interleague home games, 8-1 against the A.L. Central and 41-19 at Wrigley against right-handed pitching. Meanwhile the White Sox are 11-7 in their last 18 overall and 7-4 in their last 11 in interleague play, but they have lost eight straight games on the highway.

Vazquez is 2-1 in his last three outings but his ERA is a whopping 7.27 as he’s given up 14 earned runs over his last 17 1/3 innings. In eight outings on the highway this year, the right-hander is 2-4 with a 4.11 ERA, and the last time he pitched on the road he gave up five runs on 10 hits in six innings of a 5-1 loss in Detroit.

Vazquez is 3-3 with a 4.84 ERA in 14 career starts against the Cubs. He faced them twice last season, giving up a combined six runs on 10 hits in 14 innings but the White Sox lost both, 11-6 at Wrigley and 2-1 at home.

The Cubs have won 11 of Dempster’s 15 starts this season and he’s an amazing 8-0 at Wrigley with a 2.93 ERA. He threw a complete game against the Braves in his last home outing, giving up two runs on four hits and striking out 11 in a 7-2 win.

With Dempster on the hill, the Cubs are on streaks of 10-1 at home, 9-0 when he’s a home favorite and 4-0 when he pitches at home against a team with a winning record. Meanwhile, the White Sox are 6-2 in Vazquez’s last eight starts and 14-5 in his last 19 when going on four days’ of rest, but they are just 2-10 when he pitches on Sunday, 1-4 in interleague starts and 0-4 as a road ‘dog.

With Vazquez on the hill for the White Sox, the over is on streaks of 14-5 overall, 6-2 in interleague starts, 5-1-1 on Sundays and 6-1 against the N.L. Central, but the under is 13-6 in his last 19 when he pitches as an underdog. For Dempster, the under is on runs of 4-0 at home, 6-1 overall and 5-0 as a favorite.

For the White Sox, the under trends include 41-18 as an underdog, 20-8 as a road ‘dog, 21-9 on the road, 11-3 against teams with a winning record and 16-6 on the road against right-handed pitching, but the over is 7-2 in their last nine as an interleague ‘dog. The “under” runs for the Cubs include 10-5-1 in interleague games, 5-2 at Wrigley, 7-2 against right-handed starters and 4-1 against the A.L. Central.

Finally, the over is 6-1 in the last seven head-to-head matchups at Wrigley, but the teams had stayed under the total in four straight meetings overall before Saturday’s game flew over posted price.


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Sunday MLB Gameday

Diamondbacks ace Brandon Webb will be looking for his 12th win of the season when he takes on the Twins on Sunday afternoon. Here's a look in your MLB Gameday . . .

Los Angeles Angels at Philadelphia Phillies

Weaver didn't fare very well against an NL East opponent in his last start - he was knocked around for six earned runs on eight hits over 6 1-3 innings against the Mets. That defeat snapped the righthander's modest two-game winning streak, and it put his record back below the .500 mark on the season. Weaver is 4-2 over his last six outings.

Hamels was pounded back-to-back by the Astros and Marlins on May 25 and May 31, but since then he's turned in three strong outings in a row. The lefthander is coming off an interleague win over the Red Sox on June 16 in which he surrendered just two earned runs on seven hits over seven innings of work, walking two and striking out five.

Houston Astros at Tampa Bay Rays

Backe hasn't won since May 23, when he came out on top versus the Phillies. Since that outing the righthander has gone 0-3 with a no-decision, and he's seen his ERA creep up to 4.99. Backe took that no-decision last time out, allowing three earned runs on eight hits over 5 2-3 innings versus the Orioles, walking two and striking out just one.

Kazmir was yanked from his last outing versus the Cubs after just 4 2-3 innings because of a high pitch count, but he'd allowed just one earned run on three hits (while collecting seven strikeouts). The lefthander has allowed three or fewer earned runs in each of his nine starts so far this season, and his ERA is now comfortably below 2.00.

Arizona Diamondbacks at Minnesota Twins

Webb might have 11 wins on the season, but he's 0-1 with a no-decision over his past two starts. The righthander will be looking to forget his last outing when he takes to the mound on Sunday - he was knocked around for seven earned runs on nine hits over just 3 1-3 innings in a loss to the Athletics. Webb walked five and fanned three that day.

Hernandez is coming off a solid outing - he held the Nationals to just one earned run on five hits over seven innings in his start on June 17 (a victory). However, the righthander had been pretty terrible prior to that outing, as he'd allowed five or more runs in each of his previous five starts. Hernandez is now 1-3 with three no-decisions in the past month.

Chicago White Sox at Chicago Cubs

Vazquez has seen his ERA climb over 4.00 with three bad outings in a row. The righthander has allowed 14 earned runs on 24 hits over his last 17 1-3 innings pitched, although he did manage to go 2-1 over that span thanks to good run support. Against the Pirates last time out Vazquez allowed five earned runs on five hits over six innings.

Dempster continues to show he belongs in the rotation instead of the bullpen, as he's allowed three or fewer earned runs in each of his past five outings. The righthander hasn't lost since May 20 (versus the Astros). Dempster gave up just one earned run on six hits over five innings against the Rays last time out, walking two and striking out six.

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Sunday's streaking starting pitchers


Andy Pettitte, New York Yankees (4.29, 7-5)

At a time when the Yankees pitching staff badly needs a hero, Andy Pettitte has stepped up to the task. With a little bit of help from his teammates, Pettitte has won five of his last six starts but his last two outings were the best of the bunch. On June 12 in Oakland, the veteran left-hander worked eight innings and held the A?s to just five hits and one run and then on June 17, in his last start, he held the Padres off the board for seven innings in a 4-0 win.

Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants (2.21, 8-1)

San Fran?s little big man is brilliant anywhere he plays, but on the road he?s been unbeatable this season. In seven road starts, Lincecum is 6-0 and has an ERA of 1.42. His last start away from San Francisco was in Colorado on June 11. Lincecum pitched seven innings in that game, didn?t give up a single run and struck out nine batters in a 1-0 loss ? the only time the Giants haven?t won when Lincecum made a road start.


Tim Hudson, Atlanta Braves (3.17, 7-5)

The Braves haven?t won with Hudson on the mound since May 22 ? that?s five straight losses.  To be fair, Hudson can?t be blamed for all of them. In fact, the right-hander pitched very well in all but his latest start, in which it all seemed to fall apart and he gave up six earned runs to the Texas Rangers in just over four innings of work

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Sunday's best MLB bets

Florida vs. Oakland -165, 8

The Marlins come to the end of a tough nine-game interleague road trip today before they get a day off and head home.

They are 4-4 heading into today's game against the A's but they aren't exactly facing a guy they'd like to see when they're running out of gas. Justin Duchscherer climbs the mound for Oakland, who has allowed just six runs over his last five games.

The righty is 3-0 over his last three starts and the A's supplied him with a pile of run support in those outings.

Pick: Oakland

Cleveland vs. L.A. Dodgers -165, 8½

Reliever Scott Proctor climbed the mound in the 11th inning Saturday night in hopes of helping the Dodgers pull out a win with the score 1-1 after nine innings.

Five batters, four earned runs and no outs later and Proctor got the cane.

"There is nothing (wrong), and I'm tired of people making excuses and saying I'm hurt. My job is to get outs, and I'm (expletive) pathetic. It's embarrassing to know this team battled like that all day and I pitched like that. It's (expletive) stupid," Proctor told the Los Angeles Daily News.

"I'm embarrassed for myself in front of my teammates."

Proctor shouldn't feel so bad - the rest of the Dodgers bullpen hasn't sparkled lately either. L.A.'s pen has a 5.20 ERA over its last 10 games. The Dodgers have been forced to call on all seven of their relievers for a total of 11 innings against the Indians, so they're not only struggling, but they're also getting tired.

Cleveland's bullpen isn't any better with a 6.00 ERA over its last 10 games. That might make the over worth a look for today's game.

Pick: over

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