MLB News and Notes July 8

MLB News and Notes July 8

Diamond Preview
By Matt Fargo

Tuesday, July 8th

Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees 7:05 PM ET

This really could be the do-or-die series for the Yankees. New York heads into this two-game set trailing Tampa Bay by nine games so anything short of a sweep will be considered disappointing. The Yankees have owned Tampa Bay in the past but the season series is knotted at five games each. The Rays send Scott Kazmir to the hill and he has been struggling of late with his command. He shut the Yankees out through six innings in his first start against them this season and he has a solid 2.68 ERA in nine career starts.

Wednesday, July 9th

San Francisco Giants at New York Mets 7:10 PM ET

   
The best pitching matchup of the week takes place on Wednesday as Tim Lincecum takes on Johan Santana. Lincecum is 10-1 with a 2.49 ERA through 17 starts. That ERA is 2nd best in the National League and it actually goes down to 1.87 in his nine road starts where Lincecum is a perfect 7-0. Santana has a 2.96 ERA on the season but his record is at only 7-7 which is in part due to no run support. The Mets have scored two runs or fewer in his last four starts and they have dropped his last six outings.

Thursday, July 10th

Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigers 1:05 PM ET


The first game of this four-game series starts on Thursday afternoon. While the Twins are the hottest team in baseball, the Tigers are not far behind. Detroit has gone 20-8 over its last 28 games to move to .500 on the season. Minnesota is just a game back of the White Sox in the American League Central while Detroit sits seven games back. This is a huge series for both team but a series loss for the Tigers could mean the season being done much quicker than originally anticipated.

Friday, July 11th

Los Angeles Angels at Oakland A’s 10:15 PM ET


The Angels took two of three against the A’s in their series last week and now it will be up to Oakland to return the favor and remain in the divisional race. The A’s are six games back heading into this week and will be taking on the team with the best road record in baseball as the Angels are 27-15 in their 42 roadies. Rich Harden has a 1.79 ERA at home this season and looks for some revenge following a 5-3 loss against Los Angeles to start the month. Jon Garland is 4-10 lifetime against the A’s with a 4.70 ERA.


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Tuesday's Tip Sheet
By Josh Jacobs

Tuesday will once again bring an onslaught of matchups worthy of investigation. Minus a lengthy introduction, let’s jump right into the fray with our eyes fixated on which contests could yield large benefits.

Minnesota (Blackburn) at Boston (Lester) – 7:05 p.m. EDT

Boston is like many other clubs trying to break free of home dominance (31-10) separated by woeful performances on the road (21-29). With Tampa Bay adding more space between themselves and the rest of the AL East (five games up as of Monday), the Red Sox are pressed to earn ‘Ws’ on a consistent basis.

A good reason for Boston’s 3-7 record in the last 10 can be attributed to a bloated 6.29 bullpen ERA. Closer Jonathan Papelbon (2.39, 25 saves) has been responsible for two blown saves in his last 10 appearances on the hill, coupled with allowing two earned runs in the last two trips to the slab.

While the Red Sox batting average has been above adequate at .274 in their last 10, the Twins have been tearing through teams with a .321 BA in their last 10. All-star catcher Joe Mauer (.325 BA, 37 RBIs) has helped set the pace at the plate, finishing up June with a .341 BA with 13 RBIs.

Minnesota is 19-7 in its last 26 overall and is 9-4 on the ‘over’ in its last 13 road games.

The ‘under’ is 18-8-2 in the last 28 head-to-head meetings.

The Twins are coming off a nine-game road stand which witnessed the club going 7-2.

Tampa Bay (Kazmir) at N.Y. Yankees (Pettitte) – 7:05 p.m. EDT

The Rays continue to dictate what direction the AL East is traveling in. On a seven-game victory march (which ended on Monday in a 7-4 loss against Kansas City), 17-5 in its last 22 and picking up the offense with a .287 BA in the last 10, Tampa Bay will now look to swipe a win from division foe, New York in the Bronx.

Scott Kazmir (2.63, 7-3) finished off June with a 2-2 record, giving up 2.6 runs per game (2.4 of them earned). The Rays’ ace has received 4.8 runs of support per start this season and the team is now 6-1 at home during his trips to the mound. More impressive is the club’s 8-0 record at night when Kazmir gets the start.

The Yankees must be concerned about inadequate run production. With outfielder Johnny Damon out of the lineup with a sprained shoulder and left fielder Hideki Masui taking a seat on the bench with a swollen knee, New York finds itself swinging the lumber for an ineffective .225 BA in its last 10. Scoring 32 runs on 54 hits in the last seven games doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story, but a .319 on base percentage with a .673 OPS are two figures which help explain this club’s offensive problems.

The Rays are 38-16 in their last 54, while the Yankees are 49-20 in their last 69 meetings versus Tampa in New York.

The Yankees have been a money pit at home with -1103 units in the red.

Colorado (Redman) at Milwaukee (Sabathia) – 8:05 p.m. EDT

Keeping C.C. Sabathia on his five-day schedule, the Brewers will inject the newly acquired starter right into the action. Sabathia is coming off a shaky performance in his last outing with Cleveland, falling victim to five runs on seven hits in a no decision against the White Sox. In his last 10, the southpaw has given up 2.1 runs per game in an average of 7.7 innings per start. Lefties are hitting a low .211 BA against Sabathia this season, while righties have seen more success with a .269 BA.

As for the Brewers as a team, 6.8 runs scored in their last five wins tells a tale of an improving offense as the season progresses. This is coming from a team that ranks 14th overall with 4.6 runs scored per game this season.

Colorado looked to be turning the corner from an eight-game losing streak, taking Florida to the woodshed over the weekend. However, a five-game winning streak was halted on Sunday with the Marlins taking a 10-5 victory. While the Rockies have improved their numbers at the plate with a .289 BA in the last 10, both the pen and starting rotation have combined for a crippling 7.05 ERA during this same 10-game stint. The main reason for the inflated ERA was giving up an average of 9.5 runs per game in the four-game series versus Florida.

The Rockies are an unspeakable 1-8 versus Milwaukee on the road. The ‘over’ is 6-2 in the Brewers last eight at home.

Atlanta (Jurrjens) at L.A. Dodgers (Billingsley) – 10:10 p.m. EDT


The Dodgers have taken July by the horns with a 5-1 record. It’s still very early in the month but L.A. has outscored Houston and San Francisco 31-19 (6.2 versus 3.8 runs per game) in its last five victories.

Right-hander Chad Billingsley (8-7, 3.12) is slated to start on Tuesday, and coming off four straight wins (two home and two road wins) should have backers focused on the pitching matchup in this contest.

For Atlanta, starting slinger Jair Jurrjens (8-4, 3.09) will have the chance to rectify his last performance on Jul. 3, which witnessed the righty racking up a loss. This was Jurrjens worst outing since giving up five earned runs on 11 hits in a surprise win over Florida, 7-5. In the 4-1 loss against Philly last week, Jurrjens was tagged for eights his and four runs in seven innings of play.

A total play might be worth investigating as the ‘under’ is 11-3 in L.A.’s last 14, is 20-6 in the last 26 when L.A. has been the favorite and is 37-15-1 in Atlanta’s last 53 road games.

Early lines have gone on to list the Braves as $1.15 to $1.20 road underdogs, while a total of only 7 ½-runs has been installed.

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Chan's money arms: Week of July 7th
By DAVID CHAN

Justin Duchscherer, Oakland Athletics, Tuesday vs. Seattle

To say that Duchscherer has made the most of his opportunity to pitch in the A’s starting rotation would be an understatement. He’ll be gunning for his 10th win of the season on Wednesday, and I’m confident that he’ll get it done. What’s not to like about this guy? He has given up two earned runs or fewer in eight straight starts and has worked into the seventh inning in seven of those appearances. Opponents have yet to figure him out in this park, where he is 5-1 with a 1.46 ERA in six starts. In those outings, opposing batters are hitting just .152 and he has recorded a ridiculous 0.77 WHIP.

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Tuesday's streaking and slumping MLB starters

Streakers

Justin Verlander, Detroit (5-9, 4.34)


Justin Verlander may finally be turning his season around.

The Detroit fireballer helped the Tigers to just two wins through his first 13 starts and he allowed at least four runs in eight of those outings, but he has been solid lately even though his number are still lagging behind.

He has given up four runs just once over his last eight outings and struck out 10 Padres in a 5-3 win, his most recent start. Still, Detroit isn’t giving him much support to work with and he’s throwing 110 pitches per outing routinely, so keep that in mind.


Joe Saunders, L.A. Angels (12-4, 3.04)

Joe Saunders will take part in his first MLB All-Star game next week and he has the numbers to back up the honor.

The lefty is tied with Brandon Webb for the league lead in wins and the Angels have lost just four of Saunders’ 17 starts all year. Plus, he has won three of his last four starts, allowing just six runs over the streak.

That said, he wasn’t thrilled with his last outing that saw him give up all four runs in a 7-4 win over Oakland.

I didn't have much today, but I got some ground balls," Saunders told reporters. "I think I found my curveball in the sixth inning. It was a battle today." 


Slumping

Kyle Davies, Kansas City (3-1, 4.71)


Davies started strong with Kansas City, but the tables have turned. The Royals have managed to win two of Davies’ last three starts, no thanks to him.

He has allowed 16 earned runs over that time, seven of which came in a nasty appearance that lasted only four innings. Two starts before that he allowed five runs and didn’t make it out of the second inning only to see his Royals come back to book an 11-10 win over San Francisco from the clubhouse.

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Baseball Today

Colorado at Milwaukee (8:05 p.m. EDT). CC Sabathia makes his first start for the Brewers since they acquired the Cy Young winner in a trade with Cleveland.

STARS

- Torii Hunter, Angels, homered twice in Los Angeles' 9-6 victory over Texas.

- David Wright, Mets, homered and drove in four runs and New York held on for a 10-9 win over Philadelphia.

- John Buck and Mike Aviles, Royals. Each homered in the 10th inning to lift Kansas City to a 7-4 win over Tampa Bay.

- Hiroki Kuroda, Dodgers, retired the first 21 batters he faced before giving up a double to lead off the eighth inning. He settled for a one-hitter in Los Angeles' 3-0 win over Atlanta.

- Ricky Nolasco, Marlins, allowed five hits in eight innings as Florida beat San Diego 3-1.

SIZE MOVE

The Milwaukee Brewers obtained AL Cy Young Award winner CC Sabathia in a trade with the Cleveland Indians on Monday, giving up four prospects in an bit to transform themselves from scrappy underdogs to a big, bad pitching powerhouse intent on chasing down the Chicago Cubs and making the playoffs for the first time since 1982.

TENS, ANYONE?

Pittsburgh had 10 players get a hit in a 10-7 rout of Houston on Monday night. Nate McLouth and Ryan Doumit homered, Adam LaRoche reached base four times and Jason Bay went 2-for-3 in the offensive outburst.

SEE CC


Colorado's 4-3 win dampened what had been a festive atmosphere in Milwaukee after the arrival of reigning Cy Young Award winner CC Sabathia. The big lefty smiled and waved after teammates let him know he was being shown on the scoreboard video monitor during the game, and received a 30-second standing ovation.

SPLENDID SINGLE

Manny Ramirez hit a run-scoring single in the eighth to lift Boston to a 1-0 win over Minnesota on Monday night.

STUCK ON 350

Greg Maddux failed to win his 351st game for the 11th straight start with San Diego's 3-1 loss to Florida. Maddux became the ninth big league pitcher to reach 350 victories on May 10. Since then, he's 0-4 with seven no-decisions, even though he's allowed two or fewer earned runs eight times in that streak. San Diego is 6-5 in Mad Dog's last 11 starts.

COUNT ON IT

Wes Bankston hit his first career homer to lift Oakland to a 4-3 win over Seattle. Bankston hit a two-run home run off Seattle starter Jarrod Washburn in the fifth inning as Oakland rallied for the win. Bankston also doubled and scored in the second, raising his average to .391 since being promoted to the majors. He was called up from Triple-A Sacramento on Wednesday when the A's placed shortstop Bobby Crosby on the disabled list.

SAFETY DANCE

Jimmy Rollins stole his 36th consecutive base without getting caught in the fifth, dating to Aug. 31, 2007. He's 22-for-22 this season.

STREAKING

Ian Kinsler of the Rangers went 4-for-5 to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 19 games in Texas' 9-6 loss to the Los Angeles Angels. ... Dustin Pedroia extended his career-high hitting streak to 15 games in Boston's 1-0 win over Minnesota on Monday night.

SPEAKING

``I'd say we're going for it,'' Brewers general manager Doug Melvin after trading four prospects to Cleveland for Cy Young winner CC Sabathia.

---

``I guess I'd go no periods,'' new Brewers ace CC - not C.C. - Sabathia on Monday, explaining how he wants his name to be written from now on.

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Tuesday's best MLB bets
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San Francisco at N.Y. Mets (-115, 7½)

Hey, today's your weekly chance to bet the Giants - otherwise known as Tim Lincecum's turn in the rotation. He has earned more than seven units for bettors on a terrible team that is 13 games below .500 and rarely gets much runs support from his offense.

So it wasn't surprising that the Giants tweaked the rotation around Monday's off day so that Lincecum could go twice before the All-Star break - today and then again in Chicago on Sunday. That means he probably won't get much more than a sniff at the Midsummer Classic.

Mike Pelfry gets the nod for New York today and has been pitching a lot better lately and comes into tonight's game having won straight. That said, he's still just as likely to give up six or seven as he is to pitching a shutout and it wasn't so long ago that he was nearly dropped from the rotation, either.

Pick: Giants


Atlanta at L.A. Dodgers (-140, 7½)

Wins come in bunches for Chad Billingsley, who starts today for the Dodgers. After coming out of the bullpen following two relief appearances to begin the season, he took four straight losses as a starter before notching his first win of the year. After that he reeled off four wins in five tries, but then the Dodgers lost in each of his next four trips to the hill.

Now Billingsley is on another one of his hot streaks. He has won four straight (allowing just four earned) heading into today's assignment against one of Atlanta's young arms, Jair Jurrjens.

The Braves are having a tough time with all their injuries, while the Dodgers seem to be pulling together under Joe Torre.

Pick: Dodgers

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Tuesday MLB Research (Only AL)
By IndianCowboy

Tampa Bay vs. New York

Kaz has pitched back to back non-quality starts, did beat Kennedy at home pitching 6 innings of 0 run ball, Kaz is 3-2 with a 3.52 ERA on the road and has 4 of 5 quality starts against New York over the last 2 years showing that he shows up against the Yanks, Ponson is horrible, the Drays drilled him earlier this year for a 9 ERA start, he could bounce-back here, but I dare not go against the Drays in fact, I actually lean on the Drays having the edge in offense and pitching - yes, the Drays have the edge over the Yankees as they are the team to beat currently in the AL with a record of 55-33.

Cleveland vs. Detroit

Sowers is on a bounce-back, he had over an 11 ERA last time out against the White Sox on the road while Verlander has pitched 6 straight quality starts but the Indians have beat him both times this year despite him pitching well against them in his las start with a 3.86 ERA, interested in seeing the line pop-up here, in fact, a lean on the tigers run-line but I typically don't like playing the rl.

Minny vs. Boston

Blackburn splits are eye-raising as he has over a 5 ERA on the road while a 3.78 ERA overall this season meaning his home ERA is under 3 overall, he comes off a great start against Detroit at home, Lester is 4-1 with a 2.54 ERA at home, a lean on the red sox run-line as I think the Red Sox want a little revenge from losing 8-9 to this kid earlier this year.

Baltimore vs. Toronto

I just don't trust Cabrera to have back to back quality starts here as he hasn't done that in quite some time in over 6 ballgames, at the same time, I like Baltimore's offense more and McGowan has been giving up a lot of hits despite limiting the runs, in short, I like the Toronto pitcher a bit more, but don't completely trust him and like Baltimore's offense more, no thanks.

Angels vs. Rangers

These 2 teams have consistently played the over for quite some time over the past few years when they meet, especially in Texas, Saunders has been rock solid of late having pitched 5 of 6 quality starts, but he has also given up 19 hits in 10 innings to the Rangers last year and Hurley has pitched extremely well in his last 3 starts, I think Texas can pull the upset here as the Angels have not faced Hurley yet.

Whitesox vs. Royals

This is a game the Royals can win, Contreras has given up 23 hits in his last 2 road starts while Davies comes off a brutal start on the road as he returns home on the bounce-back, I think the Royals hit Contreras hard here and I think the small dog price is there for a reason and I would not be surprised to see the Royals get it done here at home against the pale hose.

Seattle vs. Oakland

Silva is on a bounce-back but did beat Oakland earlier this year by limiting them to just 1 run in 7 innings, Duch is headed to the all-start game as he is 6-1 with a 1.46 ERA and a 1.96 ERA overall this year, and he does have revenge from a 3-5 loss to Seattle on the road against Bedard earlier this year, I like Oakland here on the RL but typically shy away from the RL based on principle.

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