MLB News and Notes June 24

MLB News and Notes June 24

Tuesday's Tip Sheet
By Brian Edwards

**Rays at Marlins**


--Tampa Bay (44-31, +1,147) took two out of three from its in-state rival in the first round of the Citrus Series two weekends ago. The Rays go into this spot in second place in the American League East, trailing division-leading Boston by only one game.

--Florida (40-35, +1,247) brings a 22-15 home record into this spot. Fredi Gonzalez’s squad is just one back of the NL East leaders, the Phillies.

--Florida LHP Scott Olsen (4-4, 3.51 ERA) owns a 3-3 record and 2.89 ERA in nine home starts. The southpaw is 1-1 with a 0.77 ERA in two lifetime starts against the Rays. Olsen did not throw in the previous series in St. Petersburg.

--Tampa Bay will give the starting nod to Andy Sonnanstine, who is 8-3 with a 4.92 ERA this year. The right-hander is 2-0 with a 3.65 ERA in a pair of career starts against the Marlins. Sonnanstine is 4-1 with a 4.38 ERA in six road assignments this season.

--Tampa Bay has a 12-9 record against left-handed pitching.

--The ‘over’ is an MLB-best 49-27 when the Marlins take the field. They have watched the ‘over’ go 24-15 in their home games.

--The ‘under’ is 44-35 overall for the Rays, but the ‘over’ is 20-15 in their road games.

--As of early this morning, most books had the side as a pick ‘em with a few spots slightly favoring Florida at a minus 115 price. The total is nine. Bettors can expect to get an ultra-generous return if they want to back the Fish on the run line (minus 1 ½ runs).

**Phillies at A’s**

--Las Vegas Sports Consultants opened Oakland (41-34, +802) as a minus 115 ‘chalk’ with a total of nine ‘under’ (minus 120). Gamblers can back the A’s for at least a plus 170 payout (risk $100 to win $170).

--Philadelphia (42-35, -20) appeared poised to take control of the NL East a couple of weeks ago, but Charlie Manuel’s club has now lost five consecutive games and seven of its last eight. Nevertheless, the Phillies maintain a one-game lead over the Marlins in the NL East.

--The A’s took two out of three from the Marlins over the weekend, including Sunday’s 7-1 win as minus 160 favorites.

--Oakland is 24-18 at home, while Philadelphia is 20-17 on the road.

--Joe Blanton (3-10, 4.81) will get the starting nod for the A’s. The right-hander hasn’t received much run support this year, posting a 1-7 record with a 3.98 ERA in 11 home assignments.

--Philadelphia will counter with Jamie Moyer, who is 7-4 with a 4.09 ERA this season. The veteran southpaw has been especially effective on the road, compiling a 4-1 record and 2.76 ERA in seven starts.

--Oakland slugger Eric Chavez has a .323 average and six career homers in 65 career at-bats against Moyer.

--The A’s are 14-13 versus lefties.

--The ‘under’ is on a 15-4 run in the Phillies’ last 19 games. For the season, the ‘under’ is 41-40 overall, 19-18 in their road games.

--Oakland has seen the ‘under’ go 38-31 overall, 20-18 in its home outings.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

--There seems to be a lot of debate over the last few days as to whether or not Curt Schilling is a Hall of Famer. I say yes, although I’m ok if it doesn’t happen in first-ballot fashion. Although his 216 career wins and 3.46 ERA are seemingly a tad shy of HOF status, there’s no way you can ignore his big-game moments. Schilling posted an 11-2 record and 2.23 ERA in 19 post-season starts, walking just 25 batters and fanning 120 in 133 1/3 innings of work. When Arizona won the World Series in 2001, the right-hander went 4-0 with a 1.12 ERA. Schilling has three World Series rings (one with the D-backs, two with the Red Sox) and if his career is over, it says here that his work is deserving of a HOF induction in Cooperstown.

--Toronto RHP A.J. Burnett will get the ball Tuesday against the Reds. The right-hander has been awful lately, going 1-2 with an 11.30 ERA in his last three starts. Burnett is 1-3 with a 6.89 ERA in six career starts against Cincinnati.

--Cincy sluggers Adam Dunn (2-for-11) and Ken Griffey Jr. (3-for-12) are both homerless against Burnett.

--The 'under' is an MLB-best 48-30 for the Braves, who saw another 'under' Monday in their 4-1 home loss to Milwaukee. Brewers ace Ben Sheets improved his record to 9-1.

--Atlanta slugger Chipper Jones missed his third straight start Monday and could miss the entire Milwaukee series. Since re-injuring his quad muscle, Jones' average has dipped from .420 to .393. On the bright side for Bobby Cox's club, Yunel Escobar returned to the lineup Monday.

--Along with the Marlins, Pittsburgh also boasts an MLB-best 49-27 record for the ‘over.’ The Pirates host the Yankees on Tuesday in the Bronx Bombers’ first trip to the Steel City since 1960.

--With Monday's 5-2 home loss to Seattle, another defeat in a Johan Santana home start, the Mets fell to four games behind the Phillies. The Braves dropped to 4 1/2 games back with their loss, as Philly was idol.

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Diamond Preview
By Matt Fargo

Tuesday, June 24th

St. Louis Cardinals at Detroit Tigers 7:05 PM ET


Interleague play continues including this matchup of teams trying to keep pace in their respective divisions. The Cardinals are coming off a big series win at Boston to remain 4.5 games back of Chicago while Detroit is playing its best baseball of the season with wins in 12 of its last 15 games. The Tigers are just five games back. The pitching duel should be great with the Cardinals going with Braden Looper and the Tigers countering with Kenny Rogers. Both pitchers have identical 1.23 ERA’s over their last three starts.

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Chan's MLB money arms: Week of June 23rd
By DAVID CHAN

Mark Buehrle, Chicago White Sox, Tuesday at Los Angeles

It took some time, but it looks like Mark Buehrle is finally settling in here in 2008. He has lasted eight innings in each of his last three starts, giving up a grand total of 18 hits and four earned runs. The Dodgers have hit lefties well this season, but in my opinion, this is an offense that can never be trusted, especially against crafty veterans such as Buehrle. The White Sox have been having a tough time finding the win column on the road, but that only serves to give us additional value on Tuesday.

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This week's streaking and slumping MLB teams
By ASHTON GREWAL

Summer officially began over the weekend which means you can depend on a few season traditions: Unoriginal Hollywood-sequel garbage and the boys of summer dominating the sports pages.

Covers catches you up on all the latest betting up and downs in the world of big league ball.

Stats current through Sunday June 22.

Cold

Toronto Blue Jays


Don’t worry Blue Jay backers you’re not hallucinating. That really is Cito Gaston monitoring the field in the Toronto dugout. Yes, the same Gaston who was canned by the Canadian club in 1997 and hasn’t managed since.

Gaston replaces John Gibbons who simply could not find an answer to the Jays' offensive problems. Toronto’s 1-0 loss on Friday dropped the team’s record to 10-19 in one-run games.

Before Sunday’s 8-5 win, the Jays had lost seven straight. Overall Toronto has won just five of 19 in the month of June.

Arizona Diamondbacks

The D-backs still lead the National League West but things aren’t going so smooth for the World Series contenders. Despite a red-hot start to the campaign, Arizona is now just two games above .500.

Many expected the Diamondbacks would not maintain their earlier productivity (28-16 on May 19) but few could have predicted this type of swoon. Arizona hasn’t won more than two games in a row since mid May.

Quiet bats are the chief culprits for the slump. June hasn’t been a kind month for talented players like Justin Upton (.109) and Chris Young (.231). The All-Star break can’t come soon enough for the D-backs. Look for them to be recharged after the layoff.

Hot

Detroit Tigers


Maybe there’s still some rock left in the city of Detroit after all. Two weeks ago the Tigers appeared to be an unmotivated group of underachievers. But after winning 11 of their last 14 some suggest the ballclub is hitting its stride.

Marcus Thames power surge has been a pleasant surprise for Detroit supporters. The left fielder has nine big flies in the last 15 days adding to a lineup already loaded with pop.

Perhaps the most promising sign was a strong start for staff ace Justin Verlander. The big right hander struck out 10 in five and 1/3 innings Sunday against the San Diego Padres en route to only his fourth win of the season.

Total trend

I was all set to write about how the Atlanta Braves’ offense is muck. I had a beautiful paragraph ripping the preseason faves to win the NL East for an overdependence on 36-year-old Chipper Jones.

No sooner did have these wonderful pros lined up did I realize Mark Teixeira lit up the Seattle Mariners for three hits (all round trippers) and four RBI. Well one thrashing of the worst team in the majors isn’t going to get the Braves off the hook.

Atlanta has played under the number in 11 of its last 16 contests thanks in large part to large total numbers. Oddsmakers have placed the total for Atlanta games lower than 9½ just six of the club’s last 18 contests.   

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INTERLEAGUE

Tampa Bay (44-31) at Florida (40-35)


Two in-state rivals on the cusp of taking over first place in their respective divisions open a three-game interleague series at Dolphin Stadium, with the Marlins and southpaw Scott Olsen (4-4, 3.51 ERA) set to host the Rays and Andy Sonnanstine (8-3, 4.92).

Both teams were idle Monday after suffering rare series losses, with Tampa Bay dropping two of three at home to the Astros and Florida losing two of three in Oakland. The Rays enter this contest as the hotter of the two teams, having won six of nine, while the Marlins are in a 4-6 funk, including two losses in a three-game series at Tampa Bay last week.

Going back to last June, the Rays are on a 4-1 run against Florida, but prior to this stretch, the Marlins had won 11 of 15 in this rivalry. Finally, the Marlins are 7-3 in the last 10 clashes at Dolphin Stadium, but the visitor is 6-3 in the last nine dating to last season.

Florida is on a 14-6 roll at home, but is just 1-4 in its last five interleague home contests. Meanwhile, the Rays have dominated at home this season (30-13), but they’re under .500 on the highway (14-18).

Tampa Bay is 11-4 when Sonnanstine takes the ball this year, including 4-0 in the last four overall and 5-1 in his six road outings. However, even though the right-hander has allowed three earned runs or fewer in five straight starts, he has only lasted between 5 and 5 2/3 innings in each contest. As a visitor, Sonnanstine is 4-1 with a 4.38 ERA.

Sonnanstine beat the Marlins 7-3 on June 13, allowing three runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings. He also faced Florida last year at Dolphin Stadium and gave up just two runs on seven hits in seven innings en route to a 9-4 victory. In his 12 1/3 innings against the Fish, Sonnanstine has 15 strikeouts against zero walks.

After three straight quality starts in which he posted a 1.89 ERA, Olsen imploded in his most recent outing at Seattle, yielding five runs (four earned) on 11 hits in 4 1/3 innings, losing 5-4. Florida has lost five of Olsen’s last six starts. On the bright side, the Marlins are 7-3 in the lefty’s last 10 at home, where he is 3-3 with a 2.89 ERA this season.

Olsen faced Tampa Bay once in both 2005 and 2006, giving up a combined four runs (one earned) on eight hits over 11 2/3 innings. The Marlins split the two contests, winning 6-2 on the road in 2005 and losing 3-1 at home the following season.

The over is 6-1 in Olsen’s last seven starts (3-1 at home), but the under is 2-0 in his two career efforts against Tampa. With Sonnanstine on the hill, the over is on a 5-3-1 roll.

The over is 4-1-1 in the last five series meetings (1-1-1 last week). Also, for the Marlins, the over is on streaks of 20-6-4 overall and 13-3-4 in interleague play. Conversely, the under is 16-6-1 in the Rays’ last 23 overall and 16-5 in its last 21 versus southpaw starters, but the over is 22-5-1 in the team’s last 28 interleague road games.

ATS ADVANTAGE: OVER


Philadelphia (42-35) at Oakland (41-34)

After getting swept at home by the Angels over the weekend, the Phillies head across the country hoping to have better luck against another A.L. West opponent when they open a three-game series against the A’s. Philadelphia will send veteran Jamie Moyer (7-4, 4.09) to the mound opposite Oakland’s Joe Blanton (3-10, 4.81).

The Phillies opened a six-game interleague homestand with an impressive 8-2 win over Boston, then proceeded to lose the next five games to the Red Sox and Angels by a combined tally of 26-9. In fact, Philadelphia’s potent lineup was held to two runs or fewer in four of the five defeats. Charlie Manuel’s club has followed up a 14-4 hot streak by losing seven of eight, and the team is 4-13 in its last 17 interleague contests on the highway. Two positives: At 20-17, the Phillies are one of just five teams in baseball with a winning road record, and they’ve also won four straight games as an underdog (all on the road).

Oakland took two of three against Florida over the weekend, but the A’s are just 2-3 in their last five games after going 10-4 in their previous 14. They’ve also alternated wins and losses in their last eight home contests. Oakland is on positive streaks of 20-8 as a favorite, 92-40 against lefty starters at home and 61-23 when hosting N.L. teams at McAfee Coliseum.

These teams last met in 2005 in Oakland, with the A’s taking two of three. The host is 4-1 in the last five head-to-head battles.

The 45-year-old Moyer has defied Father Time of late, allowing two earned runs or fewer in three straight starts and four of the last six. However, despite holding the Red Sox to just two runs on four hits and five walks in five innings in his most recent outing a week ago tonight, Moyer was dealt a 3-0 home loss. That ended Philly’s six-game winning streak with Moyer on the bump.

The Phillies are 10-5 in Moyer’s 15 starts this year, including 6-1 on the road where the lefty is 4-1 with a 2.76 ERA. Also, Moyer has a long history against the A’s, going 17-15 with a 4.46 ERA in 47 career games (43 starts), though he hasn’t faced them since June 2006.

Blanton is coming off his worst outing of the season, allowing eight runs on seven hits over three innings in Wednesday’s 11-1 loss at Arizona. The burly right-hander is 0-4 with a 7.94 ERA in his last four starts, and the A’s are just 4-12 when Blanton pitches this year, including 2-9 at home and 1-11 in night games.

Blanton has actually pitched decently at McAfee Coliseum this year (3.98 ERA), but he has just a 1-7 record to show for it. Also, his one career start against the Phillies came at home in 2005, and he allowed two runs over 7 2/3 innings, winning 5-2.

The under is 3-0 in Moyer’s last three starts overall, 8-3 in his last 11 road outings and 8-2 in his last 10 as an underdog. Also, the under is 36-17-2 in Blanton’s last 55 home starts (2-0 last two) and 9-3 in his last 12 against the National League.

Philadelphia enters this series on a bunch of under streaks, including 4-1 overall, 13-3 against the A.L. West, 5-1 on Tuesdays, 7-2 on the road, 10-4 against righty starters and 4-0 in interleague road games. Meanwhile, the under is 11-4-2 in Oakland’s last 17 against southpaw starters, but the over is 4-1-1 in its last six overall and 6-0-2 in its last eight as a home chalk.

ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER

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Tuesday's streaking and slumping MLB starters
COVERS.COM

Streaking

Kenny Rogers, Detroit Tigers (5-4, 4.47 ERA)


When Kenny Rogers went under the knife last year for major surgery on his pitching shoulder to fix a circulation problem, many figured the veteran lefty was nearing the end of his MLB career. But it doesn’t look like Rogers is ready to pack it in quite yet.

He has lasted at least seven innings in each of his last five starts, allowing just five earned runs over that span - though thanks to the inconsistent Tigers, he was credited with only a single win to go along with four no-decisions.

This doesn’t seem to be just a hot streak for Rogers either. He has allowed more than four runs only three times in 14 starts this season despite walking as many batters as he’s struck out (36 apiece).


Slumping

A.J. Burnett, Toronto Blue Jays (6-7, 5.43)


For a guy who is supposed to be the Blue Jays’ No. 2 arm, Burnett is a major disappointment this season.

Toronto has lost four of the big righty’s last five starts wiith his last three outings being the most worrisome. Burnett hasn’t made it past the fifth inning in any of those starts, giving up a combined 18 runs. He walked four batters in each of those outings and gave up two dingers in his most recent performance, an 8-7 loss to the Brewers.

Oddly, Burnett prefers to pitch on the road so he won’t be overly excited to face the Reds at Rogers Center on Tuesday. The righty has an 8.16 ERA in seven home games.

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Baseball Today

St. Louis at Detroit (7:05 p.m. EDT). The Cardinals' Braden Looper (8-5, 4.10 ERA) matches up with veteran Kenny Rogers (5-4, 4.36) of the Tigers. In his last road start, Looper picked up his first career complete game and shutout, a three-hitter at Cincinnati on June 11. Looper has walked just three batters in 40 innings away from home this season.

STARS

-Felix Hernandez, Mariners, hit a grand slam and gave up one run in 4 2-3 innings before leaving with a sprained ankle in a 5-2 win over the Mets.

-Ben Sheets, Brewers, gave up one run on four hits in a 4-1 complete-game victory over the Braves. Sheets struck out seven without issuing a walk in improving to 9-1 on the season.

-Dan Haren, Diamondbacks, outpitched Josh Beckett by giving up just two hits and a walk in seven innings of a 2-1 win over the Red Sox.

-John Lackey, Angels, gave up six hits and one earned run over eight innings, striking out six in a 3-2 win over the Nationals.

-Jose Guillen, Royals, homered, doubled and drove in two runs to help Kansas City improve to 10-3 against the National League with an 8-4 win over the Rockies.

HERNANDEZ HURTS METS, THEN HIMSELF

Felix Hernandez hit the first grand slam by an American League pitcher in 37 years, then departed with a sprained ankle before he could qualify for a win in the Mariners' 5-2 victory over the Mets. The shot to right-center off Johan Santana was the first home run by a pitcher in Mariners history, and the first slam by an AL hurler since Cleveland's Steve Dunning went deep against Oakland's Diego Segui on May 11, 1971, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

SHEETS A ROAD WARRIOR

Brewers ace Ben Sheets gave up only four hits in a 4-1 win over the Braves, retiring the final 15 batters for his NL-leading third complete game. Sheets (9-1) won his fifth straight decision and is 6-0 in 10 road starts.

RULING THE NL

The Royals sure seem to have solved their counterparts in the National League. Brian Bannister picked up his third straight victory, Mark Teahen hit a three-run homer and Kansas City beat the Rockies 8-4 for its eighth win in nine games - all against teams from the NL. The Royals' 10-3 record is the best in interleague play.

BACK ON TRACK

Dan Haren outpitched Josh Beckett with seven dominant innings, helping the Diamondbacks to a 2-1 win over the Red Sox that may have gotten the NL West leaders back on track. Arizona was swept by Minnesota over the weekend and has won just seven of its past 21 road games.

COMEDY OF ERRORS

The Nationals had more to do with their 3-2 loss than the Angels. Third baseman Pete Orr, a defensive substitute, collided with reliever Saul Rivera in the eighth inning on a bunt by Chone Figgins, allowing him to reach base. When Figgins stole second, catcher Jesus Flores' errant throw sent him to third. Felipe Lopez's error on a grounder by Erick Aybar allowed Figgins to tie it, and Garret Anderson drove in Aybar with the go-ahead run.

SPEAKING

``He's got the best curveball in baseball. If you're gonna beat Sheets, your pitcher's got to pitch a heck of a game.'' -Braves manager Bobby Cox, after watching Brewers ace Ben Sheets give up four hits in a complete-game 4-1 victory.

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Tuesday MLB Gameday

Jake Peavy and the San Diego Padres will be looking to snag an interleague victory at home when they play the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night. Here's your MLB Gameday:

Arizona Diamondbacks at Boston Red Sox, 7:05pm ET

Davis will be looking to pick up his first victory since May 23 when he takes to the mound at Fenway Park on Tuesday night. The lefthander has gone 0-2 with three no-decisions over his past five outings, although he's pitched well in each of his last two starts (one earned run on nine hits in 13 innings). Davis' ERA is down to 3.65 this year.

Masterson is 4-1 with a no-decision in his six starts for the Red Sox this season, and he's allowed three or fewer earned runs in five of those six outings. The righthander is coming off a win over the Phillies on June 18 in which he gave up two earned runs on four hits over five innings of work. Masterson has walked 17 and fanned 28 this season.


Tampa Bay Rays at Florida Marlins, 7:10pm ET

Sonnanstine has allowed three or fewer earned runs in each of his past five outings, and he's coming off a solid win over the Cubs (three earned runs on seven hits over five innings of work). The righthander has already faced the Marlins once this season, holding them to three earned runs on six hits over 5 1-3 innings in a victory on June 13.

Olsen hasn't been able to earn a victory since May 6, when he blanked the Brewers over 8 2-3 innings of work. Since that outing the lefthander is 0-3 with five no-decisions, although he did manage to hold the opposition to three or fewer earned runs in four of those games. Olsen lost to the M's last time out, allowing five runs over 4 1-3 innings.


Minnesota Twins at San Diego Padres, 10:05pm ET

Slowey was pounded by the White Sox on June 8 (eight earned runs on 10 hits over three innings), but he bounced back with strong outings in his next two starts. The righthander held the Brewers to two earned runs over eight innings in a win on June 13, and he gave just one earned run over six innings in a win against the Nats on June 18.

Peavy's ERA is only 2.88 on the season, but he's managed to post just a 5-4 record. The ace righthander has lost three of his past four starts, beating the Dodgers but falling to the Rockies, Cubs, and Yankees. Last time out, at Yankee Stadium, Peavy surrendered four runs (three earned) on six hits over just four innings, striking out four.


Chicago White Sox at Los Angeles Dodgers, 10:10pm ET

Buehrle has gone eight innings in each of his past three starts, giving up just four earned runs on 18 hits over that span (with four walks and 13 strikeouts). The lefthander is 3-1 with three no-decisions over his past seven starts, allowing more than three earned runs in just one of those games. Buehrle beat the Pirates in his most recent start.

Lowe snapped a lengthy losing streak with a win over the Rockies on June 2, and he's gone 3-1 over his last four outings. The righthander has dropped his ERA under 4.00 on the season by allowing three or fewer earned runs in each of his last six outings. Last time out, versus the Reds, Lowe allowed one earned run on three hits over 5 1-3 innings.

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Tuesday's best MLB bets
Covers.com

Chicago White Sox at Los Angeles Dodgers -119, 8

Before the White Sox went into this round of their interleague schedule they were looking like a playoff shoo-in. Now, after badly losing two of their three series against the National League, a lot of South Siders are starting to wonder. But it would be wrong to make too much of the sweep at Wrigley and the struggles against Colorado - this is still one of the best clubs in the majors and, as an underdog against a depleted Dodgers lineup, there's big-time value.

The Dodgers haven't been the same offensively since leadoff man Rafael Furcal went on the DL with a stiff back. Andruw Jones is also on the DL and the bullpen has been sapped of some strength because Chan Ho Park and Eric Stults have had to move into the starting rotation to fill in for the growing list of banged-up starters. With a long list of key players on the DL, it's not all that surprising the Dodgers are 10-18 over the last four weeks.

Pick: White Sox

Philadelphia at Oakland -109, 9

If you looked at their ERAs, you wouldn't think there's much difference between Jamie Moyer and Joe Blanton. But then you look at the win/loss records of their respective clubs when they are on the mound, and you start to get the picture.

Moyer has been the Phillies' good luck charm this season because even when he's not been sharp (which hasn?t been all that often) the Phillies have managed to pull out wins (10-5). Blanton, on the other hand, has gotten the A's wins in only four of his 16 starts. It also helps that Moyer is very familiar with the A's and McAfee Coliseum from his days with the Seattle Mariners, while Blanton has only seen the Phillies once in his career.

Pick: Phillies

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Tuesday MLB Research
By Indiancowboy

Milwaukee vs. Atlanta

It is well known that Atlanta is playing great baseball at home, note that Bush gave a 1.13 ERA start in his last outing, he did defeat the Braves earlier this year or helped his team win 3-2 and Morton has had a 4.5 and 5.4 ERA in his last 2 starts, rather than a side here I think the Braves pick up runs by returning the favor and I believe Morton continues to give up his 3 to 4 runs in 5 innings as he is still part of the young blood of the Braves rotation and learning.

Yankees vs. Pittsburgh

Rasner finally pitched a quality start against San Diego but prior to that he had lost 4 straight and was giving up countless hits, Pitt goes with Gorzo today and keep in mind that he comes off a non-quality start as well and has pitched in 6 of 8 overs - I wouldn't be surprised to see both pitchers get roughed up in a high scoring game in pitt today like many others in Pitt have been in competitive ballgames for the Pirates.

Arizona vs. Boston

How about Old man Doug Davis, giving back to back quality starts against Oakland and the Royals, coming back from cancer rehab, and now faces the Red Sox,Justin Materson is 3-0 with less than a 3 ERA but this is quality value given that it is with the Dbacks having said that, I'm not going against the young kid in Boston, but do be wary that over 70% is backing Boston today so likely no play for me, if you have an extra pair of gonads, the Dbacks are of great value today.

St. Louis vs. Detroit

This is a high total considering that Looper has pitched 3 straight quality starts and Rogers has pitched 5 straight, for those who know, I am a big fan of Kenny Rogers (the gambler) and although I like Looper, this is a rematch from a recent world series and I think Detroit has plenty of revenge here and Rogers is pitching well and I lean towards him more than Looper who went through a rough patch prior to his 3 straight quality starts - nevertheless, the only play here that makes your money worthwhile without loading up on the juice is the run-line and by principle I typically try to avoid run-lines.

San Fran vs. Cleveland

Sanchez has pitched 2 straight non-quality starts while Laffey is on a bounce-back today, Laffey typically does not have back to back non-quality starts so I expect Cleveland to do well today and have a solid chance of hitting the run-line.

Cincy vs. Toronto

Arroyo was drilled by the Dodgers in his last start and Burnett was drilled in his last start as well on the road so I expect both pitchers to come back strong today, but with a 8.5 run total it is tough to take the under as well as the Bluejays given the juice so high on Burnett at home, but in some ways this is similar to St. Louis vs. Detroit - both teams have reasons to play well but once again the edge goes to the AL team with the better more consistent pitcher on the mound, like I say, the run-line would be good here but by principle, I typically do not play it.

Tampa Bay vs. Florida

If you're looking for a straight up pick-em game, here is your opportunity, you have a Tampa Bay team that is playing great baseball this season tacked on by the fact that Sonnanstine already defeated this team earlier this year when he faced Tucker by a score of 7-3. However, keep in mind that Olsen is on a bounce-back today and he is likely to pitch well, lean on the drays but likely staying away.

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