MLB News and Notes July 11

MLB News and Notes July 11

Friday's Tip Sheet
By Josh Jacobs

There will be plenty of meaningful games bleeding right into the weekend and that means financial opportunity galore. Another installment of the MLB Tip Sheet should help get your homework started on the right foot. Here’s what Friday will bring to the table.

Minnesota (Perkins) at Detroit (Galarraga) – 7:05 p.m. EDT

The Twins are in a precarious position after being swept by the Red Sox in a three-game series this week. Minnesota was hustled out of the city of Boston, getting outscored 25-10. Over the course of the slump, Twins’ pitching has been responsible for an 8.56 ERA and a 1.68 WHIP.

Now this isn’t the first time that Minnesota has experienced a free fall this season. Minus this week’s slaughter fest, the Twins were been swept by the Angels on Apr. 1-3, Detroit from Apr. 14-15, Toronto from May 13-15 and by the Chicago White Sox from June 6-9. The worst of these losses came in Chicago when the Sox outmuscled Minnesota 40-15 on the scoreboard in a four-game set.

The trend that has become apparent for the Twins is their 3-1 record when stepping away from the four-sweep situations aforementioned in Game 1 of the next series (although Friday’s contest represents Game 2). Stats more worthy to follow is the team’s 2-2 record in Game 2 and a 5-6 record overall in the following series after the three prior sweeps have occurred.

Minnesota lefty starter Glen Perkins (5-2, 4.27 ERA) will square off against Detroit’s seven-game winner, Armando Galarraga (7-2, 3.27).

The Tigers’ Galarraga was slapped around by St. Louis on Jun. 25 for five runs on eight hits but rebounded in his last start against Seattle by giving up one run and five hits in a no decision. Even with the no decisions this season, Detroit has been able to work for an 11-3 record in Galarraga’s 14 starts in 2008.

The Twins walked away with a win the last time these two met in head-to-head action, winning the contest 7-0 on Jul. 2. Minnesota was a $1.28 home favorite.

N.Y. Yankees (Chamberlain) at Toronto (Halladay) – 7:07 p.m. EDT

While the Yankees have now improved to 5-2 in their last seven, contact hitting sure hasn’t been the catalyst for this team’s winning ways. New York is batting .264 in the last six games, but 5.7 runs per game generated isn’t anything to sneeze at it. So who should receive most of the credit?

New York’s pitching game has been impeccable with a 2.89 ERA, while holding opponents to scoring just three runs per game in the same six-game stretch. Starters Andy Pettitte, Mike Mussina and Sidney Ponson have all combined for a 1.70 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. Closer Mariano Rivera has also been a model of success with 23 saves and four wins in a total of 38 appearances this season.

Rivera has been credited for losing three games this year, but he’s yet to be responsible for blowing a save. The 13-year Panamanian native has 466 career saves on his resume and is averaging 4.5 blown saves per year. It’s not important when speaking about wagering, but Rivera is just 12 saves away from tying all time great Lee Smith (478 saves) and 74 away from Trevor Hoffman’s record of 540.

The Pinstripes are 7-2 in their last nine road games, 6-3 in their last nine versus the Blue Jays and have seen the ‘under’ cash nine times in the last 12 games.

A 9-6 performance in the last 15 has been a significant improvement for a Toronto team that had recently dropped seven ballgames in a row on top of a 4-15 record dating back from May 31 to Jun. 21.

With a money line deficit of -1056 units and a run line crash of -1616 units, bettors have been smart to either take the fade approach or not even deal with the happenings going on north of the boarder.

With Jays’ ace Roy Halladay (10-6, 2.88) toeing the slab on Friday, most books have already gone on to open Toronto as a $1.20 home favorite. New York’s setup man turned starter, Joba Chamberlain (2-2, 2.45) will look to earn his third win of the season. The data on Chamberlain might be insufficient to gauge a proper result but the ‘under’ is 5-3-2 when he’s strolled to the mound in the last 10.

Toronto is 8-2 in Halladay’s last 10 starts versus the Yankees, but the Jays’ offense has been nowhere to be found in regards to supplying their starter with adequate support. Toronto’s bats have fell silent for a low average of 3.7 runs of support per start for Halladay this season.

L.A. Angels (Garland) at Oakland (Gallagher) – 10:05 p.m. EDT

A 5-3 mark in July isn’t the best of starts for a new month in baseball, but the Angels are banking that their continued success on the road (28-17) will keep division foes at bay.

Facing one of those foes this weekend should help clarify where L.A. stands as the All-Star break is right around the corner. The Angels will place starting pitcher John Garland (8-5, 3.76) on the hill and a 2-1 record in his last three outings should give the club some breathing room. Garland has been responsible for allowing 2.4 earned runs in the last 10, but a .275 BAA versus lefties and a .283 BAA versus lefties is evidence of opponents keying on his pitches. An 11-5-2 ‘under’ record in Garland’s 18 starts should be noted.

The Angels are +1000 on the money line and a cash cow on the run line with a +1214 profit.

The ‘under’ is 23-8-2 in L.A.’s last 33 road games.

Oakland enters Friday with a 4-6 record at home in the last 10 versus the Angels. Supporting the total play, the Athletics have hit the ‘under’ six times in the last seven. Most books have been consistent by setting the total in the last 10 to an average of 7.9 runs per game.

Oakland is 19-12 overall in Game 1 of a series this season, but has suffered from inadequate offense in its last 10 by averaging a weak .244 BA.

The ‘under’ is 20-7 in the A’s last 27 games when installed as the underdog.

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Lawrence: MLB weekend cheat sheet
By MARC LAWRENCE

As the MLB All-Star game approaches, teams in the heat of pennant races will be scurrying for position this weekend. They’ll also be searching for new talent before the trading deadline date at the end of the month.

With that, let’s take a look at four key series on the card this weekend. Remember, all pitcher records are team starts unless noted otherwise. Best and worst arm records are versus this weekend’s opponent. Enjoy the games.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox


Most Recent Series Result: Red Sox 10-5 last 15 games

Most Recent Series Result at the Site: Red Sox 15-5 last 20 here

Key Day/Month Stat: Orioles 0-13 on Sundays

Best Arm in the Series: Lester 5-1 3.26 ERA career (3-0 home)

Worst Arm in the Series: Olson 0-5 9.17 ERA career

LA Angels at Oakland Athletics

Most Recent Series Result: Angles 11-6 last 17 games

Most Recent Series Result at the Site: Angels 11-7 last 18 here

Key Day/Month Stat: Angels 4-0 Saturdays; A’s 1-5 Saturdays

Best Arm in the Series: Lackey 8-1 1.87 ERA last 9 starts

Worst Arm in the Series: Eveland 0-2 7.36 ERA career

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Arizona Diamondbacks at Philadelphia Phillies


Most Recent Series Result: Diamondbacks 7-3 last 10 games

Most Recent Series Result at the Site: Diamondbacks 3-0 last 3 here

Key Day/Month Stat: Phillies 4-12 Saturdays (0-6 home)

Best Arm in the Series: Eaton 6-0 2.88 ERA home career

Worst Arm in the Series: Haren 0-2 5.25 ERA career

Florida Marlins at LA Dodgers

Most Recent Series Result: Cubs 11-5 last 16 games (4-0 L4)

Most Recent Series Result at the Site: Marlins 3-1 last 4 here

Key Day/Month Stat: Marlins 1-7 Fridays (0-4 away)

Best Arm in the Series: Billingsley 3-1 1.80 ERA career

Worst Arm in the Series: Olsen 0-3 7.32 ERA last 3 starts

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Friday's streaking and slumping starting pitchers
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Streaking

James Shields, Tampa Bay Rays (7-5, 3.64)


Shields puts his three-game winning streak on the line Friday when his league-leading Rays visit the Tribe. Tampa Bay need not worry; its right-hander has been pitching the lights out in his last three starts, posting a 2.21 ERA.

In his last road tilt, Shields conceded one earned run in seven innings pitched. He also has a 0-1-career record at Progressive Field with a respectable 2.84 ERA.

The Rays are 7-3 in their last 10 and are 5-1 in Shields' last six starts against the AL Central.


Manny Parra, Milwaukee Brewers (8-2, 3.65)

Ben Sheets isn’t the only starter putting up career numbers in Milwaukee. Parra has been puzzling hitters all season and he has the statistics to back it up.

Parra has been solid since cracking Milwaukee’s rotation. The lefty is 2-0 with a spectacular 1.50 ERA in his past three starts and has surrendered just one earned run in his last four contests. Parra is also 5-0 at Miller Park with a 2.70 ERA and 1.39 WHIP.

Milwaukee is 6-1 in Parras’ last seven starts. The Brewers are also 13-3 in their last 16 against the NL Central.


Slumping

Jason Marquis, Chicago Cubs (6-5, 4.78)


Home field hasn’t been very kind to Marquis. The veteran is 3-3 with a 6.59 ERA at Wrigley Field. In his last home start, an 11-4 setback to the Baltimore Orioles, the right-hander conceded seven hits and surrendered seven earned runs in seven innings pitched.

Marquis is just 1-2 in his past three starts with a 7.00 ERA and has relinquished 15 earned runs in his last seven outings.

The righty is 0-1 with a 2.57 ERA this season against the Giants.


Jo-Jo Reyes, Atlanta Braves (3-7, 4.40)

Reyes hasn’t had much career success against the lowly Padres. In two tilts against San Diego, the left-hander is a dismal 0-2 with a lofty 10.50 ERA.

Reyes is 0-2 in his last three overall, posting a 5.93 ERA and 1.83 WHIP. He is also 1-3 on the road with 2.52 ERA and 1.12 WHIP.

The Braves are 3-7 in Reyes’ last 10 starts outside Turner Field.

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Baseball Today

Arizona at Philadelphia (7:05 p.m. EDT). Two of the top teams in their divisions meet up when the Diamondbacks take on the Phillies.

STARS

- Justin Morneau, Twins, matched a career high with five hits, one of them a game-winning homer in the 11th inning of a 7-6 win over the Tigers.

- Paul Maholm, Pirates, allowed two runs in eight innings in a 4-2 victory over the Yankees.

- Fernando Tatis, Mets, went 3-for-5 with 4 RBIs as the Mets swept a three-game series from the Giants with a 7-3 victory.

- Ryan Howard, Phillies, homered twice and drove in three runs in a 4-1 win over St. Louis.

- Dave Bush, Brewers, had a career-high 13 strikeouts in an 11-1 win over Colorado.

- Adam Lind, Blue Jays, had a game-winning RBI single in the ninth inning in a 6-5 win over Baltimore to complete a three-game sweep.

DO-OVER

Paul Maholm made the most of a second chance. He allowed two runs over eight innings as Pittsburgh rallied to beat the Yankees 4-2 in a makeup of a June 26 rainout. Back then, Maholm gave up extra-base hits to the first four batters as the Yankees took a 3-0 against the left-hander, only to watch the statistics get wiped out by the heavy downpour.

TRIBAL TROUBLE

The Rays can't seem to figure out Cleveland, where they lost 13-2 in the series opener. It was the 10th straight loss in Cleveland, their last win there coming on Sept. 29, 2005, when Lou Piniella was manager. The Rays' 26-56 record overall against Cleveland is their worst against any opponent.

LATE-SCORING BURST

More runs were scored in the last 2 1/2 innings (10) of the Diamondbacks-Nationals series than in the rest of the three-game series combined (nine).

ALL-STAR PARTY

Corey Hart celebrated making the NL All-Star team with his 15th homer in Milwaukee's 11-1 win over Colorado. Hart said it was difficult concentrating on playing during the vote. ``It was a frustrating experience, but it paid off with all the campaigning,'' he said. ``Now, it's worth it.''

PHILL-ER UP

Phillies slugger Ryan Howard is hitting .353 (18-for-51) with eight homers and 18 RBIs over a 13-game hitting streak. He leads the National League with 27 homers, two better than teammate Chase Utley, and 83 RBIs.

NEWEST MR. MET


Fernando Tatis homered, doubled twice and drove in four runs as the Mets beat San Francisco 7-3 for their sixth straight victory.

GIANT STRUGGLES

The Giants ended their scoreless streak at 21 innings, but still lost their fourth in a row. They were held to three hits in each of the three losses to the Mets.

RED MENACE

David Ross hit two of Cincinnati's seven homers, a long-ball barrage that included Ken Griffey Jr.'s 605th, and the Reds avoided a sweep with a 12-7 victory over the Cubs. It was only Chicago's 11th home loss this season.

LET GO

Slugger Richie Sexson was finally released by the Mariners after a slump that lasted for most of two seasons and made him a target of constant booing from frustrated Seattle fans. The Mariners would have loved to have been able to trade Sexson, but his $14 million salary this season made that nearly impossible. So now Seattle is eating the rest of that money - $6,120,219 Sexson is owed from Friday through the end of the season - in what may be the first of multiple moves to rid the last-place team of underperforming veteran players.

SPEAKING

``It feels pretty good - a lot better than what we had been doing. That stunk.'' - Indians first baseman Casey Blake, who had three RBIs to help end a 10-game losing streak.

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Friday's best MLB bets
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New York  vs. Toronto (-120, 7½)

This total is low for a reason. Jays ace Roy Halladay takes the mound against the Yankees’ Joba Chamberlain, who holds a team-low 2.45 ERA. 

Pitching isn’t the only reason this number is low, however. The Blue Jays just learned their cleanup hitter, Vernon Wells, will be out for a month with a strained hamstring muscle. Wells is hitting .287 with nine home runs and 42 RBIs. Unfortunately for Toronto, those are pretty good numbers on that club this year.

The Jays have been hitting better lately with a sudden surge of production in a sweep over the Orioles last series, but New York can appreciate their season-long hitting woes. New York’s bats have gotten suddenly quiet and the over/under is 2-7-1 in their last 10 games.

The under has profited in four of the six meetings between these clubs this year.

Pick: under 7½


San Francisco vs. Chicago (-145, N/A)

As per usual, oddsmakers will take their time in setting a total for today’s afternoon gig at Wrigley Field. But it is worth noting that the wind was blowing out to left center at 12 mph as of Friday morning, a wind that normally favors hitters.

Yesterday, the wind was blowing out to right center at 13 mph in the morning and oddsmakers ultimately settled on a total of 11 runs. The Reds and Cubs combined for 19 runs in a 12-7 Cincy win and the two clubs knocked out a whopping eight home runs.

Pick: over

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The ace report: Joba Chamberlain
By DAVID MALINSKY

Joba Chamberlain - New York Yankees

Although Joba has been a starter for only a short while, he is being priced as a legitimate ace and who can blame the marketplace for that, with his 2.57 ERA in the role. But there are still some questions about just how highly he should be regarded – and some of those questions will come into play in Friday’s showdown with Roy Halladay at Toronto.

Usually when we see a 2.57 there are not going to be many weak links in the chain, but that is not the case for Chamberlain. His WHIP is a mediocre 1.49, buoyed by 21 walks in 35 innings and his control has been an issue from his very first start (which was, incidentally, against the same Blue Jays that he will face on Friday.

His first 35 innings as a starter have seen him average 18.1 pitches per frame – that is an exhausting pace that will be difficult to keep up, especially as the summer temperatures climb.

Why does Toronto bring such intrigue? Because the Blue Jays not only take a lot of pitches in general, but they have been head-to-head enough with Chamberlain to know that is the preferred tactic to take against him.

Toronto is No. 3 in the AL in drawing walks, behind only Boston and Texas, and note just how much of a statement that makes about the plate discipline of this lineup. The Red Sox and Rangers are not only leading the league in walks, but also in batting average, while rating No. 2 and No. 3 in home runs. They draw some walks because they are patient, but many more because they have a lot of punch, and pitchers must be careful against them.

Contrast this with the Blue Jays, batting only .260 (10th in the AL) and headed into Thursday tied with Minnesota for last at 62 home runs. In other words, they are drawing many of their walks through patience, and not because the batters strike fear into the hearts of opposing pitchers.

What happens when a patient lineup faces Chamberlain? Pitches happen. He made his first start at home against Toronto on June 3 and while he only allowed one earned run in 2.1 innings, he was stretched out to 62 pitches.

Not only does that same tactical matchup present itself, but the Blue Jays also become the first team to get a second look at him as a starter. That means perhaps an even more patient approach than usual in an effort to wear him down, and it gives us a chance early in the game to see if Chamberlain has matured through those first seven starts.

The key issue is one of pacing. As a reliever, he knew that he would only be facing a limited number of batters, and could use his outstanding stuff to go after a lot of strikeouts. Now he must learn to get ahead in counts and create some contact outs if he is going to have any chance to work deep into games.

Chamberlain knows full well when he takes the mound on Friday what Toronto will be trying to do, so he needs to open the game by immediately attacking the strike zone. It will be an interesting case study, the results of which we may be able to put into play in future starts.

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MLB Weekend Preview

East meets West in two important series in the National League this weekend that could shake up the standings in both divisions. On tap is a three-game series between the Diamondbacks and Phillies in Philadelphia, while the Marlins and Dodgers continue the four-game set that started on Thursday.

Heading into the weekend the NL East is a logjam at the top with the division-leading Phillies sitting just a bit ahead of both the Marlins and the surging Mets. New York is also battling a West opponent this weekend, but they might have an easier time in their series against Colorado.

The NL West could be the laughing stock of baseball again this season as the Dodgers and Diamondbacks are at the top of the division despite not even having records over .500.

The Diamondbacks and Phillies have met four times this season with each team wining two games in a four-game set back in May. Getting the series started on Friday will be Doug Davis (3-4, 3.74) for Arizona and Kyle Kendrick (8-3, 4.39) for Philadelphia. Davis was still on the DL when Arizona and Philly clashed back in May, but Kendrick did get a start and picked up a no-decision after allowing three runs on 10 hits in six innings.

The rest of the pitching matchups in this series this weekend include Arizona's Randy Johnson (5-7, 5.18) vs. Philadelphia's Adam Eaton (3-7, 5.20) on Saturday and a battle of aces on Sunday between D-Backs No. 1 Brandon Webb (13-4, 3.27) and Philly lefty Cole Hamels (9-6, 3.18).

Before Thursday night's series opener the Marlins and Dodgers last met in late-April, early-May when Los Angeles swept a three-game series. In Game 2 of this weekend's series on Friday night rookie Chris Volstad (1-0, 0.00) makes his first career big league start for Florida, and Eric Stults (2-1, 2.22) gets the ball for Los Angeles. Volstad earned his first win in his first Major League appearance last week after tossing two shutout innings in relief of Mark Hendrickson, who he will be replacing in the Florida rotation. Friday's game will only be Stults' fifth start of the season, and he's coming off his shakiest outing after lasting only four innings against the Giants.

The remaining pitching matchups in this series include L.A.'s Hiroki Kuroda (5-6, 3.39) vs. Florida's Ricky Nolasco (10-4, 3.74) on Saturday, and the Dodgers' Chad Billingsley (8-8, 3.37) vs. the Marlins' Andrew Miller (5-8, 5.09) on Sunday.

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Friday MLB Research
By IndianCowboy

Tampa Bay vs. Cleveland

This is an interesting game for a couple of reasons, for one, the Indians finally ended their miserable losing streak by drilling the Devil Rays yesterday, however, the Drays are still tops in the majors in several categories and are one of the best teams this year as they look to bounce-back, heck, look at the disparity this year as it is the Drays with 55 wins while the Indians sit with 38. Shields is 3-0 over his last 4 starts, having yielded just 5 runs in over 20 innings of late, he hasn't faced Cleveland this year, he is 2-4 with a 6.09 ERA on the road, however, it is a bit misleading b/c he faced the Red Sox and Angels in 2 of those games on the road which makes it tougher on any pitcher, Lee actually lost in his last start which is a far cry from his 11-2 record on the season as he has a 4-0 record with a 1.84 ERA at home. I lean heavily on the Indians here with Lee but the DRays will be furious from yesterday's beat down, have to respect the drays offense here in a close ballgame, likely staying away.

Baltimore vs. Boston

Burres gave up 9 hits in less than 6 innings in his last start, and he has been averaging around a 4.6 ERA of late, and his only quality start over his last 6 was a 1.8 ERA performance at home against the Royals, remember, Burres did face Boston earlier this year at home where he gave up 12 hits in 4 innings and 7 runs for nearly a 16 ERA in that start back on June 1st. But oddly enough, Burres does worse on the road than he does at home. Bucc has given up 18 hits and 12 runs in his last 2 starts but of course that was back on May 12th as he makes his return today, Bucc to his credit is 2-0 with a 1.04 ERA at home. I hate laying the run-line but Bucc is clearly the better pitcher here at home as his troubles have been strictly on the road this year, Plus, Baltimore was outscored 5-15 in the last 2 games against the Red Sox in Baltimore.

Minny vs. Detroit

Minny beat Detroit in a big come back by winning 7-6 yesterday, Perkins has pitched back to back quality starts, he struggled against the Padres on the road for over a 5 ERA in his last start, but he did come back to pitch well at home against Cleveland and Detroit, he has faced Detroit twice this year with solid starts both times, but does give up his fair share of hits though, Outside of the 1 horrible start on the road against St. Louis, Gallaraga has pitched well for the Tigers this year, he pitched a gem at Seattle to which he got a no-decision for, but he has consistently struggled against Minnesota this year who continues to have a beat on his pitches. Detroit should also be irritated from yesterday's loss as well so I expect them to play well, but then again, the Tigers have a way of losing ballgames while the Twins have a way of winning ballgames.

New York vs. Toronto

Chamberlain has struggled a bit against Texas and Boston in his last 2 starts as he is facing tougher competition, he has only made about 4 inns of relief appearances against Toronto this year but has yet to start against them, all those relief appearances were at home by the way, none on the road, Halladay has pitched 3 of 4 quality starts and has roughly a 3.5 ERA against the Yankees this year in 2 starts, both were on the road. Both these teams are familiar with the other, I wouldn't be surprised to see an over here.

White Sox vs. Texas

Floyd pitched a gem of nearly 8 innings against Oakland and beat Greg Smith 6-1 which is a tough feat to do considering the A's are one of the better contact hitting teams in the league and can beat any pitcher on any given night, he has not faced Texas this year, has as 3-3, 4.39 ERA on the road, which is about a full run higher on the road and overall he has struggled on the highway as he has yet to put together quality back to back starts on the road, Mendoza, gave up 8 runs on 9 hits in his last start and only recorded 4 outs for a 54 ERA and all of his starts this year have gone over. Having said that, this game could go either which way, and I want nothing to do with it although I would lean over if anything else given that Floyd is on the road and Mendoza has consistently been shaky this year, but of course, he could want to remain in the majors and put up a quality start here.

Seattle vs. Kansas City

Felix is pitching strong of late as he has given up a total of 4 runs in his last 5 starts, he is 4-0 over his last 5 starts, is 3-2 with a 1.9 ERA on the road and pitched very well against KC last year, Hochevar has been hit for 13 runs in 10 innings in his last 2 starts, but those were both road starts as he pitches much better at home, I wouldn't be surprised to see Hochevar show up in a big way today as this is likely to be a pitcher's duel.

Angels vs. Oakland

I actually called on the under on this game yesterday as I went 1-1 in mlb and I called it miserably given that 21 runs were scored in a game that was totaled for 9.5. Garland is 5-1 with a 3.06 ERA on the road and has pitched 4 straight quality starts, and after losing to Oakland at home he came back with 2 straight quality starts, Gallagahar has made 5 straight home road starts and I'm sure he is thrilled to finally pitch at home today where he is 3-0 with a 3.52 ERA. The Angels have yet to face him this year. Despite 60% favoring the Angels in this game, I think Oakland wins this year as Garland has given up plenty of hits to the A's this year.

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