MLB News and Notes July 6

MLB News and Notes July 6

Red Sox at Yankees
By ASA

After a few weeks of Interleague rivalries, none stronger than last Sunday night’s Cubs – White Sox clash, we move back to the norm. It’s A.L. vs. A.L. and N.L. vs. N.L. Speaking of rivalries, we have the strongest in baseball and possibly all of sport when the Red Sox travel to the Bronx to face the Yankees in what is a “must-see” Sunday Night ESPN Game of the Week.
   
In what is normally a battle for supremacy in the A.L. East, these two teams are both looking up in the standings at the shocking Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Entering play on Saturday, the Sox have the third best record in the American League at 52-37, but sit three games behind the Rays who have the top record in Major League Baseball. The Yankees stand in third place just three games above .500 in the midst of a fairly disappointing season.

Strikeout machine, Joba Chamberlain, takes the hill for the Yankees. Chamberlain has whiffed 62 batters in just 52.2 innings this season. When a starter is clipping batters at a rate of almost 1.2 per inning, you’ve got yourself quite a strikeout pitcher. The problem with Chamberlain is, he has also walked 28 batters in just 52.2 innings which is more than one every other inning.

After spending the first two months coming out of the bullpen, Chamberlain has now made six starts with his first being back on June 3rd. He has allowed two earned runs or less in each of those six starts and has been favored by minus 155 or more in five of those six outings. The Yanks have won four of his six starts this season. His most recent start at home vs. Texas was probably his worst. He was a minus 225 chalk in that game and New York lost 3-2. He threw a whopping 91 pitches and allowed nine base runners in just four innings of work. He’s been lights out on the road with an ERA of just 1.11.

Tim Wakefield is just 2-3 in his last seven starts, despite owning a 1.98 ERA.     
Tim Wakefield is just 2-3 in his last seven starts, despite owning a 1.98 ERA.. (AP Images)     
Problem is, this one is being played in Yankee Stadium where is ERA this year is 3.18 which is obviously still very solid. Chamberlain’s career ERA, mainly out of the bullpen, is a stellar 1.64. He has never started against the Red Sox. After being called up last year to help out of the bullpen, the Yankees are now an incredible 36-9 in games in which Chamberlain pitches.

His counterpart on Sunday night will be the veteran knuckle baller Tim Wakefield. He has been absolutely lights out over his last seven starts with an ERA of just 1.98. Despite pitching as well as humanly possible during that seven game stretch, Wakefield has a record of just 2-3 in those starts. The BoSox have lost two of his last three starts but not due to any fault of the knuckle baller who has allowed just four earned runs over those outings.

That’s surprising as the Boston lineup generally provides a ton of run support. The Sox are hitting .280 as a team which is tops in the A.L. and they’ve scored the second most runs in the league only behind Texas. New York has worked Wakefield pretty well over his career. The righty is just 9-16 lifetime vs. the Bronx Bombers with an ERA of 5.03. He has faired well at Yankee Stadium, however where his ERA is just 3.66.

Despite being a big hitting club, the Red Sox have been an under play this season. They are 42-39-8 favoring the under. The Yankees have one of the best under the total marks in all of baseball at 52-32-2 (62% under). With two hot starters on the mound on Sunday, the under might be a consideration. Umpire Lazaro Diaz is scheduled to be behind the plate on Sunday night. That lends even more toward an under play as teams have averaged just nine total runs per game when he has been calling balls and strikes this season. Diaz strikeout to walk ratio is 2.61 and the home team is 9-9 when he is behind the dish.

The “Curse of the Bambino” definitely looks like it is starting to fade. While Boston has picked up a few World Series Titles as of late, including one in 2007, the Yanks have simply had their number. New York was 32-22 vs. Boston from 2005 through 2007. This year, however, Boston has already taken five of the seven games played after Friday’s series opening win. Can Boston continue their 2008 winning ways vs. the Yanks or does Chamberlain baffle them in his first ever start against the Sox. Either way, it’s worth tuning in on Sunday Night.

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Re: MLB News and Notes July 6

Every Game Every Day

Texas Rangers at Baltimore Orioles

We have said this time and time again but the Orioles are for real. Baltimore is at home and they are the better baseball team. That is why we can’t understand this line. All of a sudden you want us to trust Kevin Millwood? Well we aren’t buying.

This isn’t the Kevin Millwood of five years ago folks. Kevin is very hittable now a days. In fact he is top five in the league in hits allowed. In just 90 innings this season he has allowed 116 hits. On top of that Kevin still walks batters. Millwood has a WHIP (Walks+Hits/Innings Pitched) of 1.66. Any whip over 1.30 is bad; any whip over 1.50 is terrible.

The Orioles have beaten the Rangers before at home and will beat them again. Liz is 3-0 on the season and he finds a way to keep his team in ball games.

Baltimore Orioles (-)


Kansas City Royals at Tampa Bay Rays

There is just no stopping the Rays right now. I know many people find it hard to believe but Tampa is the toast of baseball. The Rays send one of their best pitchers to hill tonight. James Shields is just 6-5 on the season but you better believe he has pitched much better than that. The Rays have won eleven of James seventeen starts.

James has been pitching fantastic the last few weeks. In fact he is 2-0 in his last three starts with an ERA of just 2.75. That includes a victory against the Red Sox, a victory against the Marlins, and a quality start against the Cubs. It is not as if this guy has had it easy at all. He pitches against big time teams and big time line-ups and comes up big. Scott Kazmir is their ace but James Shields is one of the best number two pitchers in baseball. The Rays at home have been the best play of the 2008 baseball season. Things won’t change here tonight.

Tampa Bay Rays (-)


Oakland Athletics at Chicago White Sox

Great match-up here Chicago. Two of the games best young pitchers square off face to face. Rich Harden for the Oakland Athletics and John Danks for the Chicago White Sox. These guys have been dealing all season for their teams. Not only have they been dealing the entire season but they have been red hot as of late. When you see some of these numbers you may shake your head in dis-belief.

John Danks is 1-0 in his last starts with an ERA of .90 and a whip of .90. Would you believe Rich Harden has been just as good if not better in his last three starts? Two starts ago Rich faced the potent line-up of the Phillies in Oakland. All he did there was throw 8 innings of two hit ball with eleven strikeouts. How many runs you ask? Zero.

Rich Harden is baseballs best young pitcher. His only problem has been his health. He has not lost a start all season and won’t start that trend right now either. He has proved he can win on the road (2-0 with a 3.32 ERA).  Take the road team and the Athletics here today.

Oakland Athletics (+)


Cleveland Indians at Minnesota Twins

There isn’t a better team in baseball right now than the Minnesota Twins. Who would have thought that past the half way point the Twins would be eleven games over .500? Last night the Twins really came up big. They jumped out to a lead but then starter Kevin Slowey gave it right back. They were actually down 5-2 in the fourth inning when their bats came alive. The Twins just started to pound starter Aaron Laffey and reliever Tom Mastny.

All told the Indians pounded out eight hits and nine runs and won another game in their ball park. The Twins are now a staggering 31-18 in their ball park. This team has been on fire since June 11. Since that time the Twins have dropped just four ball games. Four ball games since June 11!

They are winning with good pitching, great bullpen and timely hitting. In fact their offense is now on a torrid streak. This is a team that scored nine runs last night, twelve the night before and seven the night before. If you feel that this team is a fluke, you better think again. This team delivers on and off the field.

Minnesota Twins (-)


Toronto Blue Jays at LA Angels

Have to like the Angels to bounce back here tonight at home. The Angels aren’t a great home team but they are still better than most. See the Angels are the best road team in all of baseball. That shows us how balanced they are and how well they play in close ball games. At home they are still 25-20. Still five games over .500.

Jon Garland is an under-rated arm. Jon is a starter that goes late in to games and normally comes out on top. Garland is 705 on the season. He has pitched 108 innings this season and has an ERA under the 4.00 mark. Jon has been throwing the ball very well the last two weeks. His last start he allowed just two runs, three runs the start before and just two starts last time against the Mets. Tonight the Angels will get Mr. Garland some run support and they will take care of business.

LA Angels (-)


Detroit Tigers at Seattle Mariners

This game has blowout written all over it. The Tigers bats have cooled down the last few nights, but you better believe they do not stay down for very long. With all the Tigers injuries and all of their bad play they are still a hot week away from first place in that division. This is still a team that has a top notch offense. As a team they hit .274 as that is fifth best in all of a baseball.

Dropping a game or two doesn’t mean they have cooled off folks. Just last week they were in the middle of a six game losing streak. They aren’t going to win every ball game. When they face weak pitching though they get the job done though. Ryan Rowland- Smith goes tonight for the Mariners. This is a reliever that is starting because of the rash of injuries to Mariners pitching. Ryan has made just one start all season and barely saw the fourth inning exiting after allowing four hits and three runs in 3 2/3. Look for the Tigers to knock out Smith early in this contest.


Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees

Big bounce back game last night from the Yankees. They got a well pitched game from Mike Mussina and were able to push across the two runs they needed. Tonight the Yankees send another quality pitcher to hill. In fact he is probably their best arm right now.

Joba is 2-2 on the season but the Yankees are 4-2 in his six starts. For the season Joba has an ERA of 2.22. You know the guy has electric stuff when he averages close to ten strikeouts per nine innings. In Joba’s last three starts he has struck out more than a batter in an inning.

Joba put together four great starts before a sub-par outing on Monday against the Texas Rangers. Joba struggled with his control against the best line-up in baseball, that won’t happen again tonight. The Red Sox have a solid line-up but they are still without their best hitter (David Ortiz). The Yankees have to get a split in this four game set, that is exactly what will happen here tonight.

New York Yankees (-)

National League    

Washington Nationals at Cincinnati Reds

This is a high line folks, but it is the correct line. We get arguably baseballs best pitcher at home, against the worst hitting team in the league. Edinson Volquez goes tonight for the Reds and he has been fantastic. His last two starts were sub-par, and that is even more of a reason to hop on the Reds this evening.

Edinson Volquez on the season is 10-3 with an era of just 2.24. At home he has been even better though. This is a guy that hasn’t lost a game at home all season. Yes folks he is 5-0. The most amazing stat may be his home-run total in his home park. We all know how many balls fly out of Cincinnati. Edinson has pitched 55 innings in his home ball-park. He has allowed just one home run! One home run in his 49 innings and his eight starts at home. That is remarkable.

The Reds will be able to knock around Balester as he is just an average rookie who still belongs in Double – A. Take the Reds on their home turf.

Cincinnati Reds (-)


Houston Astros at Atlanta Braves

Look for the Braves offense to get to work tonight. Wandy has begun to come back down to earth. His ERA is very good but he doesn’t work deep in ball games. Wandy has won just one road game. You would think that a pitcher with an ERA of just 3.08 would have a lot of victories under his belt, but that isn’t the case.

Wandy is 3-3 on the season, but the team is actually under .500 in his eleven starts on the season. On the road he has lasted just 21 innings. In those 21 innings he has allowed 32 batters and three long balls. The Astros do not have a strong bull-pen and when you turn the game over to them in the fifth, sixth, seventh inning you have a good chance of losing them.

Wandy’s last start was one of his worst. Five innings, six hits, four walks, one home run and a 7-6 loss against the Angeles. The Braves have a better offense than LA, look for them to knock Wandy out early.

Atlanta Braves (-)


New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies

The Mets are just a baseball team you can’t trust. You look at them on paper and you think they could win 95 games easily. They just don’t have the right chemistry and they don’t have the right make-up though. Another major problem for the Mets is their age. Do you realize that the New York Mets are the oldest team in all of baseball? Teams want to have a veteran presence but this is over-kill.

Tonight the Mets send their least reliable starter to the hill. We will tell you right here that we know Oliver Perez has good stuff, when he is locked and loaded he is tough to beat. The problem is you never know when Oliver Perez is going to show up. On the season he is 6-5 but the Mets are under .500 in his seventeen starts. He has walked over 40 batters already this season. He also gets hurt with the long ball.

Kendrick is coming off a big start his last time out. He won’t have to shut down the Mets, he has to keep the Phillies close and the Phils will come through.

Philadelphia Phillies (-)


Pittsburgh Pirates at Milwaukee Brewers

Love the Brewers here today. We know that Jeff Suppan has struggled in his last few starts. In fact he has been down-right dreadful, which is all about to change though. Don’t forget though during the final weeks of May and the later part of June Jeff was great. He had pitched to an ERA in the 2’s during those six starts.

Milwaukee started off the season very slowly. Their bats have really gotten it going. Their pitching has been there pretty much all season. They are in the top 12 in earned run average.

Remember they still have a very strong line-up. Weeks, Hardy, Braun and Fielder can burn you with the long ball. In fact this team is top five in the league in home runs. In just 87 games this team has left the ball park 113 times. Look for Milwaukee to pound the Pirates and their pitching. They will carry their walk off win in to this game.

Milwaukee Brewers (-)


Florida Marlins at Colorado Rockies

The Rockies will continue their winning ways here today as they play another home game against the Marlins. Aaron Cook has just been the man for the Rockies this season. This is a guy that has 11 wins already. 11 wins on a team that isn’t even sniffing the .500 mark is more than impressive.

Aaron was lights out his last start also in Coors. Aaron threw a complete game shutout and allowed just five hits and five base-runners. Aaron threw just 79 pitches in that game. Yes a 79 pitch complete game shutout!

Aaron understands the importance of working down in the zone, especially in Coors. He is 5-2 at home with a 2.77 ERA and just four home-runs allowed. Look for him to get another victory and look for him to be an All-Star.

Colorado Rockies (-)


Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals

Huge rally from the Cardinals last night. Outfielder Rick Ankiel roped a two-run, two-out single to right field in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Cardinals were down 4-2 heading in to that inning and needed multiple hits to over take the Cardinals. Ankiel ended up having three hits and three RBI’s. You better believe that carries over the next day.

Todd Wellemeyer has been more than a solid starter for the Cardinals this season. After all Todd has a 7-3 record on the season. He hasn’t been getting a ton of run support either. This is a pitcher that has an ERA of just 3.86 and has thrown 93 innings pitched. Don’t be scared off by Todd’s last bad start against the Mets. Just five days before that he threw five shut-out innings in Detroit against the Tigers.

The Cubs have a better record, but not by much. In just a few days we may see a new team leading this NL Central. The St. Louis Cardinals know how important every game is against the Cubs. This one has some extra life to it. Look for the Cardinals to beat the Cubs southpaw.

St. Louis Cardinals (-)


LA Dodgers at San Francisco Giants

Really like the way Matt Cain has been pitching as of late. Let’s all remember this is a pitcher that has immense talent. Before there was Tim Lincecum there was Matt Cain. He has finally begun to cut down on the walk total and in tern dominating teams.

Matt pitched his best game in his last start. That start wasn’t against some last place team either. Matt threw eight innings of just two hit ball. Even better than that he had ten strikeouts. Matt has not allowed a home run since June 4. That is a span of five starts and a span over a month.

The Giants will not have to score a lot of runs to win this ball game tonight, all they will have to do is just put a little rally together and then let Matt do the rest. Take the home team tonight by the Bay.

San Francisco Giants (-)


San Diego Padres at Arizona Diamondbacks

It is time for Randy Johnson to get back on track. Randy has had a few terrible starts recently. Those starts weren’t as bad as the numbers would indicate. In fact just two starts ago Randy pitched a huge ball game in Fenway park. Pitching on the road he threw six innings and allowed just two runs in Boston. Tonight he will be much better than that. He may not have to be great either.

Josh Banks has been getting hit hard recently. Josh still has a good ERA, but he is just 2-3 on the season and the Padres are just 2-4 in his six starts this season. Josh hasn’t won a game since May. He went the entire month of June and one start already in July without picking up a victory.

The Diamondbacks still lead that NL West division. They will take care of businesses at home and win this game.

Arizona Diamondbacks (-)

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Re: MLB News and Notes July 6

Sunday's streaking and slumping starters
By JUSTIN BANKS

Streaking

John Danks, Chicago White Sox (5-4, 2.50)


Don’t be fooled by Danks’ average record, the lefty has been puzzling opponents all season. Danks is 1-0 with a spectacular 0.90 ERA and 0.90 WHIP in his past three starts.

The second-year pitcher has conceded just two earned runs in his last 26 IP and is fresh off an eight-strikeout triumph versus the Cleveland Indians. He is 2-0 with a 0.66 ERA in two career starts against Oakland A’s.

The White Sox are 3-1 in Danks’ last four tilts at U.S. Cellular Field and are 7-0 in their last seven overall in the Windy City.


Cliff Lee, Cleveland Indians (11-1, 2.26)

Lee has been the lone bright spot for the Tribe. The lefty is 1-0 in his last three starts with a 1.16 ERA. He is 7-1 with a 2.53 ERA outside Progressive Field.

The lefty, unbeaten in his last eight starts, has led the Tribe to a solid 4-1 mark in its last five road outings. His sole road loss was a 6-4 setback to the Reds on May 18.

Lee is 6-2 all-time against Minnesota, including a two-hit triumph on April 18. The left-hander has a 3.77 career ERA against the Twins. The Tribe is also 10-4 in its last 14 tilts against the Twins.


Slumping

Randy Johnson, Arizona Diamondbacks (4-7, 5.46)


Johnson has lost his last six straight contests and is two setbacks from matching his longest streak of eight straight, while pitching in Seattle in 1992.

The Big Unit is 0-3 with an 8.15 ERA in his past three starts and is 0-2 in his last three tilts outside Zona.

Johnson is 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA against the Padres. He is also 3-3 with lofty 7.17 ERA and 1.66 WHIP this season at Chase Field. The Diamondbacks are 0-4 in their last four games versus the NL West.


Mark Hendrickson, Florida Marlins (7-7, 6.12)

Hendrickson is winless in his last seven starts dating back May 30. The left-hander is coming off a terrible performance last week against the Nats in which he surrendered 10 hits and six earned runs in a mere six IP.

The lefty is 0-2 with a soaring 7.94 ERA in his last three tilts and is 2-3 outside Dolphin Stadium. Hendrickson is also 2-1 in three career starts against the Rockies.

Florida is 7-12 in its last 19 road contests and is 1-5 in Hendrickson’s last six tilts outside the Sunshine State.

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Re: MLB News and Notes July 6

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Chicago Cubs (52-36) at St. Louis (50-39)


The Cubs send young lefty Sean Marshall (0-2, 4.87 ERA) to the mound at Busch Stadium in St. Louis to take on the Cardinals’ Todd Wellemeyer (7-3, 3.86) in the rubber match of this three-game weekend set between the top two teams in the N.L. Central.

St. Louis closed to within 2½ games of the Cubs with Saturday’s come-from-behind 5-4 win when Rick Ankiel delivered a two-RBI single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth. Even with the loss, Chicago is still 12-6 in the last 18 series matchups versus the Redbirds and 9-5 in the last 14 at Busch Stadium. On the negative side, the Cubs are on slides of 3-9 on the road, 0-8 as a road ‘dog, 2-7 on the highway against right-handed starters and 2-5 against teams from the N.L. Central.

The Cardinals are just 3-6 in their last nine at Busch Stadium and 2-4  in their last as a favorie, but they are on mini-runs of 5-2 against teams with a winning record and 5-2 against N.L. Central Division foes.

Chicago has lost seven of Marshall’s last nine starts dating to last season, including his two starts this year, during which he’s given up seven runs on 12 hits in 11 2/3 innings this season in losses to the Orioles and White Sox. He’s made six career appearances against the Cardinals, including four starts, going 1-1 with a 4.66 ERA in 19 1/3 innings.

Wellemeyer is 0-2 with a 9.45 ERA in his last three starts, and the Cardinals have lost four of his last six including each of the last three. On Tuesday, he gave up six runs on 12 hits in five innings of a 7-4 home loss to the Mets. He started against the Cubs for the first time on May 4 and gave up two runs on three hits in five innings of a 5-3 victory.

St. Louis is 4-1 when Wellemeyer starts as a favorite and 6-2 when he pitches the third game of a series. Chicago is 1-4 in Marshall’s last five on the road, 1-6 when he faces a team with a winning record and 3-7 when he pitches the third game of a series.

The under is 7-1 in Marshall’s last eight starts overall and 5-0 in his last five on the highway. With Wellemeyer on the hill, the under is on runs of 7-3-1 overall and 4-0 on Sundays. Also, the under is 5-2-1 in the last eight head-to-head meetings between these rivals at Busch Stadium.

ATS ADVANTAGE: ST. LOUIS and UNDER


AMERICAN LEAGUE

Oakland (47-40) at Chicago White Sox (50-37)


The A’s send unbeaten Rich Harden (5-0, 2.25 ERA) to the mound in the series finale of this four-game set with the White Sox, who will trot out southpaw John Danks (5-4, 2.50) at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago.

After Oakland took the first two games of this series by scores of 3-2 and 7-1, Chicago rebounded with Saturday’s 6-1 victory. The A’s have still won seven of the last nine series matchups, including four of the last six in the Windy City. And over the last few years the A’s are on a 44-19 roll versus the Pale Hose.

Chicago had won seven straight before Oakland got to town but the White Sox are just 9-20 in their last 29 against the A.L. West. But on the plus side, they are on streaks of 21-8 against right-handed starters and 38-16 at home. Meanwhile, the A’s are on runs of  9-4 against southpaws and 5-1 against the A.L. Central.

Oakland is 9-3 in Harden’s 12 starts this season and he’s 2-0 with a 3.32 ERA on the road. He hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in nine straight starts, and on Tuesday he gave up two runs over five innings at the Angels, getting a no-decision in his team’s 5-3 loss. In his career, Harden is 3-2 with a 2.92 ERA in six starts against Chicago.

Danks has pitched well of late, going 1-0 in his last three with a 0.90 ERA, including Tuesday’s eight-inning effort against Cleveland when he gave up one run on four hits in a 3-2 victory. He beat the A’s back on April 15 when he blanked them for 7 2/3 innings, yielding five hits in a 4-1 win. Danks is 2-0 with a 0.66 ERA in two career starts against Oakland.

The White Sox are just 1-5 in Danks’ last six starts against A.L. West opponents and 4-10 when he faces a team with a winning record, but they are 6-2 in his last eight as a ‘dog and 5-2 in his last seven overall. Meanwhile, the A’s are 40-15 in Harden’s last 55 trips to the hill, 42-13 with him as a favorite, 8-2 when he goes on the road and 6-0 when he pitches on Sundays.

The over is 8-2 in Harden’s last 10 road starts and 4-0 when he pitches on Sunday. Meanwhile the under is 6-2 in Danks’ last eight in front of the home crowd and 8-0 in his last eight against teams with a winning record.

As a team, the White Sox are on “under” streaks of 45-19 as a ‘dog, 40-17-3 against the A.L. West and 16-5 against teams with a winning record. The A’s are on “under” runs of 9-3 overall, 20-9-2 against lefties and 7-1 on the road against southpaws. Finally, the under is 5-0 in the five series clashes this season, 6-0 in the last six battles in Chicago and 4-1-1 in Harden’s six outings against the Sox.

ATS ADVANTAGE: OAKLAND and UNDER


Boston (52-38) at N.Y. Yankees (46-42)

The Yankees will try to salvage a split in this four-game series against their archrivals when they send young right-hander Joba Chamberlain (2-2, 2.22 ERA) to the mound to face Boston’s veteran knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (5-6, 3.72) at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

New York survived a ninth-inning rally by the Red Sox on Saturday to score a 2-1 victory when Boston loaded the bases with nobody out and failed to push across the tying run against Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. Still, the Red Sox have won five of the last seven meetings between these two and three of four in New York.

Boston is just 2-6 in its last eight on the highway, 4-11 as a road ‘dog and 5-14 on the road against a team with a winning record. As for New York, it has lost four of six on this current homestand and five of seven overall. Also, the Yankees are just 2-5 in their last seven games as chalk, but they’re 20-6 in their last 26 Sunday outings.

Wakefield has gone exactly seven innings in each of his last six starts and hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in any of those outings, including Tuesday in Tampa Bay when he gave up two runs (one earned) in seven innings but lost 3-1 to the Rays. The Red Sox are just 3-7 when Wakefield starts on the road this year, and he’s 1-4 with a 4.02 ERA on the highway. Also, he’s appeared in 45 games against the Yankees in his career and gone 9-16 with a 5.03 ERA and the Red Sox have lost his last four starts against New York.

Chamberlain is 1-0 with a 1.65 ERA in his last three starts and the Yankees have won four of his last five outings. Tuesday he gave up two runs on five hits in four innings of a 3-2 home loss to the Rangers. For his career, Chamberlain is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in three appearances – all in just 4 1/3 innings of relief – against Boston.

Boston is 0-7 in Wakefield’s last seven against the A.L. East, 1-9 in his last 10 against a team with a winning record and 7-19 in his past 26 as an underdog, but they are 5-2 when he starts on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Yankees are 4-1 when Chamberlain starts as a favorite.

The under is 14-3-2 with Wakefield as a road ‘dog, 45-20-6 in his last 71 on the road overall and 40-18-6 when he squares off against A.L. East foes. As a team, the under is on runs for Boston of 36-16-5 in the fourth game of a series and 8-4-1 overall. For the Yankees, the under is 7-2 in their last nine overall, 14-5 in their last 19 against A.L. East rivals, 8-3 in their last 11 at home and 8-3 in their last against right-handed starters.

Finally, in this rivalry, the under is 11-4-2 in Wakefield’s last 17 starts against the Yanks and 6-0-2 in his last eight trips to the Stadium.

ATS ADVANTAGE: N.Y. YANKEES and UNDER

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Re: MLB News and Notes July 6

Sunday MLB Gameday

Phillies starting pitcher Kyle Kendrick will be looking for his third straight victory on Sunday afternoon when he takes on the Mets. Here's a look in your MLB Gameday . . .

New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies, 1:35pm ET

Perez got back into the win column last time out by throwing seven strong innings against the Yankees. The lefthander surrendered just one earned run on three hits in that outing, fanning eight batters. Perez had been knocked around by the Mariners in his previous outing, and overall he's only earned two victories over his past eight starts.

Kendrick held the Braves to three earned runs on seven hits over six innings in a victory earlier in the week, and in his outing prior to that he tossed eight scoreless innings to beat the Athletics. The righthander has now gone 6-1 with three no-decisions over his past 10 outings, and the Phillies are 8-2 in that span. Kendrick's ERA is still high at 4.58.


Oakland Athletics at Chicago White Sox, 2:05pm ET

Harden has given up three or more earned runs in just one of his past nine starts, and he's coming off a win over the Angels in which he gave up only two earned runs on five hits over five innings. The righthander walked one in that outing, and fanned five. On the season Harden's ERA remains at a low 2.25, and he's fanned 88 while walking just 27.

Danks has allowed just two earned runs over his past 26 innings pitched, and he's 2-0 with five no-decisions over his past seven outings. The lefthander had to settle for a no-decision against the Indians in his most recent outing despite surrendering just one earned run on four hits in eight strong innings of work. Danks fanned eight in that game.


San Diego Padres at Arizona Diamondbacks, 4:10pm ET

Banks has given up just 10 earned runs over his past three starts, but he's still 0-3 over that span. Against the Rockies on Tuesday the righthander allowed four earned runs on six hits over five innings, walking three and striking out four. Banks hasn't picked up a win since May 31, when he beat the Giants by allowing just one run over nine innings.

Johnson is a miserable 0-6 over his last six starts, and the Diamondbacks are 0-8 in the last eight games that he has started for them. The lefthander has surrendered seven earned runs in three of his last four starts, which has bumped his ERA up to 5.46 on the season. Against the Brewers on Tuesday Johnson gave up seven in just 3 2-3 innings.


Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees, 8:05pm ET

Wakefield was a hard-luck loser against the Rays on Tuesday night, surrendering just one earned run on five hits over seven innings of work. The righthander also pitched well in his previous outing, holding the Diamondbacks scoreless on two hits over seven innings in a victory. Wakefield is just 2-5 with three no-decisions over his past 10 starts.

Chamberlain lasted just four innings against the Rangers last time out, allowing two earned runs on five hits while striking out six in that contest. The righthander is 1-0 with four no-decisions in his five starts as a Yankee this season, but he hasn't given up more than two earned runs in any of those outings. Chamberlain has fanned 62 in 52 innings.

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Re: MLB News and Notes July 6

Baseball Today

SCOREBOARD


Kansas City at Tampa Bay (12:40 p.m. EDT). The Royals attempt to slow down the streaking Rays, who send Matt Garza (7-4) to the mound.


STARS

-Mike Mussina, Yankees, allowed four hits and a walk in six shutout innings, before Mariano Rivera wrapped up a 2-1 win over the Red Sox.

-Rick Ankiel, Cardinals, homered and slapped a two-run, two-out single to right in the ninth inning to cap a three-run rally for a 5-4 win over the Cubs.

-Matt Holliday, Rockies, homered and drove in four runs one night after hitting a grand slam and a solo shot, leading his club to a 12-6 win over the Marlins.

-Gavin Floyd, White Sox, scattered three hits and three walks pitching into the eighth inning, striking out six in a 6-1 win over the Athletics.

-Andy Sonnanstine, Rays, baffled the Royals over seven innings, striking out a pair while allowing just five hits and a walk in a 3-0 win.

-Scott Hairston, Padres, went 3-for-4 with a pair of homers, driving in three runs in a 4-2 win over the Diamondbacks.

-Ian Kinsler, Rangers, doubled and homered in three trips to the plate, driving in two runs in a 5-3 win over the Orioles.


HAPPY HOLLIDAY

Matt Holliday homered and drove in four runs, one night after hitting a grand slam and a solo shot, and the Rockies pounded out another win over the Marlins, 12-6. The Rockies also got homers from Joe Koshansky, Chris Ianetta and Brad Hawpe - but a relative power outage, if you consider they hit six homers in their epic 18-17 win over Florida the previous night.


RAYS STILL SHINING

Andy Sonnanstine pitched seven strong innings, Ben Zobrist homered again and the Rays beat the Kansas City Royals 3-0 for their sixth straight win. Sonnanstine (10-4) is just the third Tampa Bay pitcher - joining Rolando Arrojo (1998) and Scott Kazmir (2006) - to have 10 wins before the All-Star break. The Rays increased their AL East lead to a season-high four games over second-place Boston. Tampa Bay has won 10 of 11.


A HARDY SACRIFICE

Brewers hitting machine J.J. Hardy willingly gave up his 16-game hitting streak when he put down a sacrifice bunt with one out in the ninth inning against Pittsburgh. That moved Rickie Weeks into scoring position and Prince Fielder brought him in with a base hit for a 2-1 win.


GUILLEN BEING GUILLEN

Volatile Kansas City outfielder Jose Guillen got into a heated clubhouse exchange with pitching coach Bob McClure, knocking over chairs before several Royals separated them prior to a 3-0 loss to Tampa Bay. Guillen and McClure argued face-to-face, but no punches were thrown. Guillen, who unleashed a profanity-filled tirade against his teammates in May, went 0-for-4.


...AND MARIANO BEING MARIANO

Yankees closer Mariano Rivera gave up a run in the ninth inning, but escaped a bases-loaded, no-out jam by striking out Coco Crisp, getting Jason Varitek on a popup and then fanning Julio Lugo for his 23rd save. Rivera got into trouble by hitting two batters in a game for the first time in his career. The run he allowed was the first in a save situation this season.


CAN I GET SOME HELP?

Washington starter Tim Redding lasted six innings, giving up just one run and eight hits in his ninth consecutive no-decision. He tied Shawn Chacon for the season's longest string, and hasn't had an outcome since Washington's 4-0 win over Philadelphia on May 19. The last pitchers to have 10 consecutive no-decision starts: San Diego's John D'Aquisto and Philadelphia's Randy Lerch, both in 1977.


SPEAKING

"Absolutely pathetic. We didn't even get five hitters into our lineup and we're down 4-0. And then all of a sudden everybody's going, 'Oh no, here we go again.' And then guys start to press. ... If we keep playing one good game every five, it's going to be a long summer.'' - Braves slugger Chipper Jones, who went 0-for-4 in a 6-1 loss to the Astros.

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Re: MLB News and Notes July 6

Sunday's best MLB bets
Covers.com

Pittsburgh at Milwaukee (-150, 9½ )

Jeff Suppan (5-6, 4.30 ERA) looks for his second straight win Sunday after getting plenty of run support his last time out. He allowed five runs and nine hits in five innings of an 8-6 win at Arizona on Tuesday.

"He got through five innings with the lead, and I'll take that," Yost told the Brewers' official Web site. "He didn't let it get away."

The right-hander, who is 1-2 with an 8.53 ERA during his last three games, makes his first 2008 start against Pittsburgh, where he pitched for part of the 2003 season. He is 10-3 with a 3.95 ERA in 18 career starts versus Pittsburgh and has won his last three decisions against the Pirates.

Jose Bautista drove in the lone run Saturday for Pittsburgh, which has struggled at the plate in this series after scoring 15 runs in winning the final two games of its series at Cincinnati this week.

Bautista has four RBIs over his last four games and is 5-for-15 with a double and three RBIs against Suppan during his career.

Zach Duke (4-5, 3.88) tries for the ninth time to record his first road win of 2008 on Sunday. He allowed a run and six hits in five innings of a 6-5, 11-inning win at Cincinnati on Tuesday, leaving him 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in eight starts away from home this season. His last road win came May 27, 2007 against the Reds.

The left-hander is 3-3 with a 4.36 ERA in nine starts against the Brewers and 0-3 in five of those at Miller Park.

Pick: Pirates


Chicago at St. Louis (-130, 8½ )

The Cubs have gone 3-6 on this trip, and the only winning one they've had since April was a 4-3 swing through San Diego and Los Angeles from June 2-8. They have lost nine of their last 12 road games and are 19-26 overall on the road.

Chicago follows this series with a six-game homestand, and will start it just 1 1/2 games ahead of second-place St. Louis if it loses Sunday. That would be the closest any division foe has been to the Cubs since they led the Cardinals by 1 1/2 games on May 30.

Ankiel has helped St. Louis stay close with eight homers and 15 RBIs in his last 16 games.

Todd Wellemeyer (7-3, 3.86 ERA) takes the mound Sunday for St. Louis having thrown more innings this year (93 1/3) than any other season in his career.

Wellemeyer was the NL pitcher of the month in May, but is 0-2 with a 9.45 ERA in his last three starts and missed two turns in the rotation last month due to elbow problems.

"I can go back out there," Wellemeyer said. "I don't want to say it, but I could probably use a couple more bullpen sessions and get to where I need to be."

The right-hander won his only career start against the Cubs, giving up two runs and three hits in five innings of a 5-3 victory on May 4. He spent his first three major league seasons pitching out of Chicago's bullpen before being traded to Florida in 2006.

Sean Marshall (0-2, 4.87) could be headed back to the Cubs bullpen after this start due to Carlos Zambrano's recent return from the disabled list. In fact, the only reason Marshall may be getting this turn in the rotation is because he's a left-hander.

Pick: Chicago

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Sunday MLB Research (Only American League to focus on moving trends)
By Indiancowboy

Texas vs. Baltimore

Keep in mind that I am writing this research on saturday afternoon. Millwood pitches here and for the most part he has been consistent as a 4.9 ERA pitcher on the road or at home as he does come off a solid performance in his last start against the Yankees on the road with a 1.8 ERA, Liz has had back to back decent starts but he is still young and is getting very fortunate with some help from Baltimore as it relates to runs as he is 3-0 with a 5.46 ERA this season. Lean on Texas here especially if they come off a loss the day before as I think Millwood is a bit more consistent than Liz given his experience.

Kansas City vs. Tampa Bay

Hochevar comes off a rough start in his last start against Baltimore on the road so I do expect him to bounce-back here while Shields has pitched back to back quality starts and has been solid at home with a 4-1 record anda 2.08 ERA. Typically I don't like the 8.5 spread, but I'm willing to go with it here if need be with Shields and Hochevar.

Oakland vs. Whitesox

Harden has pitched 6 of 7 quality starts of late and is 2-0 with a 2.32 ERA on the road and Danks has pitched 6 of 7 quality starts of late and if you're looking for a pitcher's duel, this is your game right here. Not surprisngly, the total sits at 7.5 with Oakland getting a slight favorite - keep in mind that Danks has pitched to 13-4 to the under this year.

Cleveland vs. Minny

Lee is 11-1 with a 2.26 ERA and on the road is 7-1 with a 2.53 and I believe he should be the Cy Yong Winner this year after all, even with a sorry Cleveland Indians team, Lee has 11 wins, that is unbelievable, simply unbelievable. Lee picked up a ND in his last start and the Indians only put up 2 runs for him and they eventually went on to lose the game 2-3, Perkins of the Twins had a quality start in his last start, but he is not the type of pitcher that puts together back to back quality starts here, I like the Indians win or lose on saturday.

Toronto vs. Angels

Litsch has pitched back to back quality starts and Garland has pitched 3 straight quality starts of late and helped beat Toronto twice this year, Garland did give up a lot of hits against Oakland in his last start however, either way, lean on the Angels here as I never trust Toronto for anything.

Detroit vs. Seattle

Robertson has given up 22 hits in his last 2 starts. ouch. He did beat Seattle in his last start but had over a 6 ERA but still go the job done, I don't know who the Seattle starter is yet but either way, Robertson is on a bounce-back but of course, I don't trust him so he can give up 11 hits and 0 runs as he did against St. Louis at home or 11 hits and 6 runs as he did against Minnesotta (my pod the other day) - lean on Seattle either way but probably just going to stay away.

Boston vs. Yankees

Wakefield has put together 7 straight quality starts while Chamberlain only lasted 4 innings and did have 6 strikeouts but 4 walks, I think there is great quality in the red sox here given that this is a toss up game, in essence, when you have a 50% of winning a ballgame but have a big dog price, why not?

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