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MLB News and Notes July 21

MLB News and Notes July 21

Monday's MLB Tip Sheet
By Brad Young

As the month of July starts to wind down, the pennant races are beginning to heat up. Teams are approaching 100 games right now, meaning there are just over 60 matchups to go until the postseason. Monday’s schedule features six National League games and seven in the American League, so let’s break down a couple key contests.
**Brewers (McClung) at Cardinals (Pineiro)**

-Caesars Palace installed St. Louis as a $1.20 home ‘chalk’ over Milwaukee, with the total set at nine ‘over’ (minus $1.20). ESPN will provide coverage of this National League Central contest beginning at 7:05 p.m. ET.

-Milwaukee right-hander Seth McClung (4-4, 4.39 ERA) has dropped back-to-back outings after a July 12 setback to Cincinnati as a $1.03 home underdog, 8-2. The 6-foot-6 hurler went 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on three hits (one home run) with three walks and seven strikeouts.

-The combined 10 runs toppled the 8½-run closing total, ending a string that saw the ‘under’ cash in eight of his previous nine starts.

-McClung, in the league since 2003, has not started against the Cardinals the previous few seasons.

-St. Louis pitcher Joel Pineiro (3-4, 4.52 ERA) is off a July 13 no-decision against Pittsburgh. The Puerto Rico native went 5 2/3 innings, surrendering six runs on 10 hits with three walks and two strikeouts.

-The Cardinals eventually prevailed as a $1.10 road ‘chalk,’ 11-6, while the combined 17 runs eclipsed the 9½-point closing total. The ‘over’ has gone 3-1 his last four starts.

-The 29-year-old received a no-decision against the Brewers May 10 as a $1.60 road underdog. The right-hander was reached for two runs on four hits with three walks and four strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings.

-The Cardinals eventually prevailed, 5-3, while the combined eight runs slithered ‘under’ the 8 ½-run closing total.

**Cubs (Harden) at Diamondbacks (Johnson)**

-Caesars Palace opened Chicago as a $1.30 road favorite over Arizona, with the total listed at eight. This game is slated to start at 9:40 p.m. ET.

-Chicago’s Rich Harden gets his second start with the club after being traded from Oakland. The 26-year-old right-hander earned a no-decision against San Francisco July 12, tossing 5 1/3 innings of scoreless ball on five hits with three walks and 10 strikeouts.

-The Cubs eventually prevailed in extra innings, 8-7, while the combined 15 runs eclipsed the 9½-run closing total. The ‘over’ is 2-0-1 his last three starts.

-Harden has not started against the Diamondbacks the past few years.

-Arizona southpaw Randy Johnson (6-7, 5.23 ERA) has recorded consecutive victories after upending Philadelphia July 12 as a $1.10 road underdog, 10-4. The veteran hurler went six innings, yielding four runs on five hits (two home runs) with a walk and three strikeouts.

-The combined 14 runs toppled the 9½ -run closing total, helping the ‘over’ improve to 4-2 his last six starts.

-Johnson, in the league since 1988, has not started against the Cubs the last few seasons.

**Twins (Blackburn) at Yankees (Ponson)**

-Caesars Palace lists New York as a $1.25 home ‘chalk’ over Minnesota, with the total set at 9½. This American League tilt is scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m. ET.

-Minnesota pitcher Nick Blackburn (7-5, 3.65 ERA) toes the rubber for the first time since July 13 when he lost to Detroit as a $1.32 road underdog, 4-2. The two-year veteran tossed seven innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits (one home run) with two walks and four strikeouts.

-The combined six runs failed to eclipse the nine-run closing total. The ‘over/under’ has alternated his last six starts.

-Blackburn notched a no-decision against the Yankees June 1, yielding one run on five hits (one home run) with three walks and three strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings. The Twins eventually won that contest as a $1.10 home underdog, 5-1. The combined six runs went ‘under’ the nine-run closing total.

-New York’s Sidney Ponson (5-1, 3.96 ERA) is off back-to-back no decisions after his July 9 matchup with Tampa Bay. The Aruba native went six innings, surrendering one run on five hits (one home run) with two walks and four strikeouts.

-The Yankees eventually prevailed as a $1.20 home favorite, 2-1, while the combined three runs never seriously threatened the 10 ½-run closing total. The ‘under’ has cashed in two of his last three starts.

-Ponson is 1-0 against the Twins this season in two starts, going a combined 14 1/3 innings while being reached for six runs (two earned) on 13 hits with two walks and nine strikeouts. The Yankees prevailed as a $1.40 road underdog, 10-1, while falling as a $1.08 home selection, 12-6. The ‘over’ cashed in both contests.

**Red Sox (Lester) at Mariners (Washburn)**

-Caesars Palace opened Boston as a $1.30 road favorite over Seattle, with the total listed at nine ‘under’ (minus $1.20). First pitch is slated for 10:10 p.m. ET.

-Boston left-hander Jon Lester (7-3, 3.38 ERA) picked up a no-decision in a July 8 matchup with Minnesota. The 6-foot-2 hurler was tagged for five runs on nine hits with three walks and six strikeouts over 7 1/3 innings.

-The Red Sox eventually prevailed as a $1.70 home ‘chalk,’ 6-5, while the combined 11 runs toppled the 9½-run closing total. Boston has won seven of Lester’s last eight starts.

-The three-year veteran received a no-decision against the Mariners last year after pitching five innings and yielding four runs on eight hits (one home run) with two walks and four strikeouts. The Red Sox eventually dropped that contest as a $1.10 road favorite, 7-4. The combined 11 runs went ‘over’ the 9½-run closing total.

-Seattle southpaw Jarrod Washburn (4-8, 4.88 ERA) is off a July 12 no-decision against Kansas City. The 33-year-old was reached for three runs (one earned) on seven hits with a walk and a strikeout over six innings.

-The Mariners eventually dropped that contest as a $1.20 road underdog, 5-4, while the combined nine runs slithered ‘over’ the 8½-run closing total. The ‘under’ had gone 6-0-1 his previous seven starts.

-Washburn picked up a no-decision against the Red Sox last season after tossing 6 1/3 innings while surrendering four runs on eight hits with two walks and four strikeouts. The Mariners eventually lost that game as a $1.30 home underdog, 4-3, while the combined seven runs went ‘under’ the 8 ½-run closing total.

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Re: MLB News and Notes July 21

Betting totals in the big leagues

One important aspect of betting totals in baseball is knowing the various stadiums. Certainly starting pitchers, offensive and defensive stats come into play when oddsmakers are making totals on games.

The wind direction, too, is a factor and you may have noticed that some Cubs’ games in Wrigley Field aren’t posted until the day of the game. It’s not called the Windy City for nothing, and bookies don’t want to get caught posting an overnight total of 7½ for a Wrigley Field game with Carlos Zambrano pitching, then finding out the next morning that the wind is blowing out 20 miles an hour to center.

The configurations of each park is also important to look at, especially with so many parks having been built over the last decade. San Diego’s relatively new Petco park is a pitcher’s paradise. The correlation is striking in two areas: San Diego is the worst offensive team in baseball, plus they started 23-14 under the total at home. That’s a solid winning percentage just wagering blindly on the under. Not that I would recommend ever blindly wagering on anything!

You may recall a few years ago when San Diego slugger Ryan Klesko became frustrated, as he couldn’t hit home runs at home anymore because the Padres new park was so big. In short, it’s a great pitcher’s park and a very difficult home run park. Two years the Padres were 40-35 under the total at home averaging 3.7 runs. When they went on the road, however, the offense averaged 5.1 runs. Not surprisingly, during the past few seasons, they’ve been a solid 'under the total team' at home.

Shea Stadium in New York, the home of the Mets, is another pitcher-friendly park, along with Dodger stadium, (although not quite as much as it once was) Oakland and Washington. Notice that this season the Nationals average 3.4 runs at home, but 3.8 runs on the road. Certainly the park plays a key role in this disparity, leading to a 28-21-1 start under the total at home. In they're most recent game here, the Nationals failed to score a single run. Conversely, in their most recent road game, they put up a five-spot.

Due to playing in a pitcher friendly park, it’s essential that the Dodgers have some kind of speed in the lineup, particularly atop the order. That’s why the loss of Rafael Furcal in the first half of the season was such a huge blow. He’s an outstanding leadoff hitter atop the order, one who can get on base and jumpstart an offense by helping to manufacture runs. The Dodgers were 18-14 in games started by Furcal, then went 12-24 in games after he got hurt.

Parks don't always remain the same either. A few years back, Dodger Stadium underwent some renovations which saw new seats added into areas which had previously been on the field and part of foul ball terrritory. This did have an effect but not quite as much as some may have expected. At the time Dodger catcher David Ross was quoted as saying that he expected the effect to be relatively minimal. "It may be five or six balls in foul ground," he said. "I don’t think there’s that many outs made in that area. The pitchers’ park is more because of the heavy air at night in L.A. During the day, a ball flies. At night, it doesn’t come close to going out."

How about Coors Field? Several years ago, it was common to see over/under lines of 13, 14 or 15 in games played in the high altitude of Colorado. Those numbers have gradually come down though and today we now routinely see over/under numbers of 9, 9 1/2 or 10. Despite the lines being adjusted, 24 of 45 games (excluding one push) managed to stay below the total there.

Other offensive parks, besides Coors, include Philadelphia, Boston, Cincinnati, Texas, Houston, Milwaukee, Minnesota and Toronto. Indoor parks like the Metrodome can be tough on pitchers. Not only does the artificial turf cause the ball to scoot faster making it tougher on infielders, but the lack of wind can make indoor places easier home run parks. We may have to include Arizona into this mix, another indoor facility. This season the Diamondbacks are averaging roughly four runs per game on the road, but more than five per game at home. They're hitting a healthy .277 at home but a dismal .220 on the road.

The Oakland A’s visited last month in an Interleague game and scored 15 runs, most off of ace Brandon Webb. The next night Arizona returned the favor by scoring 11 runs. The previous two days the weak hitting Royals came to Arizona and scored 12 and eight runs in consecutive games. Anyway, the point is that to be a successful total handicapper, one needs to know the parks and their various dimensions.

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Re: MLB News and Notes July 21

Monday's streaking and slumping starters


Ervin Santana, Los Angeles Angels (11-3, 3.34)

Santana is putting together the best season of his young MLB career and he has the numbers to prove it. The fourth-year starter is 3-0 with a 3.43 ERA in his past five starts and is coming off a 10-strikeout shutout triumph over the Oakland Athletics.

Santana ranks third in the AL with 122 strikeouts and has at least six in each of his last seven starts. In his last home start, the righty surrendered just two earned runs and retired seven in a 5-3 triumph against the A’s.

LA is 4-1 in Santana’s last five starts against AL Central opponents and is 35-16 in his last 51 starts at Angels Stadium.


Luke Hochevar, Kansas City (6-7, 5.10)

Hochevar has struggled in his second MLB season. The right-hander is 1-2 in his last three starts with a 7.41 ERA in 17 IP. Hochevar has conceded 14 ERs and one HR in that period.

Hochevar is 4-3 with a 3.21 ERA in seven-career starts in KC and has just three triumphs in his last 10 overall outings.

Kansas City is 1-5 in its last six home games against a right-handed starter and is 1-4 in Hochevar’s last five starts after a Quality Start.

Runelvys Hernandez, Houston Astros (0-3, 10.29)

Hernandez has been throwing trash since he stepped of the plane in Houston. The longtime Royals pitcher is winless in his first three starts, including a recent loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates in which he surrendered 13 hits, 10 earned runs and two homers in four IP.

Hernandez’ last played in the big leagues in 2006 and finished the season with a 6-10 record and a lofty 6.48 ERA. The right-hander is also 0-1 with a 22.50 ERA in one career start against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Houston is 6-13 in its last 19 against the NL Central and is 1-4 in its last five against the Pirates.

Homer Bailey, Cincinnati Reds (0-3, 7.0)

Bailey isn’t exactly turning heads in his second MLB season. In four starts, the right-hander is 0-3 with a lofty 7.00 ERA and 1.72 WHIP.

Bailey is 0-2 at home with an astronomical 15.00 ERA and 3.00 WHIP. In his last two home starts he has surrendered 10 earned runs in a mere 5.3 IP.

The Reds are 0-4 in Bailey’s last four starts and are 1-4 in their last five matches against the San Diego Padres.

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Baseball Today

Chicago Cubs at Arizona (9:40 p.m. EDT). Rich Harden makes his second start for the Cubs when the NL Central leaders take on Randy Johnson (6-7) and the Diamondbacks.


-Willie Harris, Nationals, had five RBIs and reached base five times as Washington set a season high for runs in a 15-6 rout of Atlanta.

-Jose Reyes, Mets, had four hits and scored three runs in New York's 7-5, 10-inning win over Cincinnati.

-Justin Verlander, Tigers, came within an out of completing a three-hitter in Detroit's 5-1 win over Baltimore.

-Alex Rios, Blue Jays, homered and hit two doubles to help Toronto beat Tampa Bay 9-4.

-Matt Holliday, Rockies, hit his 16th home run and had three hits in Colorado's 11-3 win over Pittsburgh.

-Ryan Braun, Brewers, drove in a career-high five runs in Milwaukee's 7-4 victory over San Francisco.


Francisco Rodriguez became the fastest pitcher to 40 saves in big league history when he closed out the Los Angeles Angels' 5-3 victory over Boston. Rodriguez, who struck out the side in the ninth inning, reached 40 saves in 98 games - 10 faster than John Smoltz did five years ago.


Chicago White Sox slugger Jermaine Dye left the game early against the Kansas City Royals after getting hit in the right knee by a pitch. Royals reliever Horacio Ramirez hit Dye with a pitch in the fourth inning. Dye fell to the ground in obvious pain. He was helped off the field by two trainers. The team said Dye has a bruised right knee. X-rays were negative and he is day-to-day. ... Seattle's Carlos Silva left his start with lower back tightness after allowing four runs in three-plus innings to Cleveland. ... Philadelphia right fielder Geoff Jenkins bruised his shoulder when he was hit by the barrel of his broken bat. Jenkins came out of a game at Florida but is expected to be ready for the start of the Phillies' series Tuesday against the New York Mets.


Ray Durham wore a Giants uniform for the last time, then packed up his locker and went to join the Milwaukee Brewers on the other side of the ballpark before leaving town with his new team. San Francisco traded the veteran second baseman to the Brewers for two minor leaguers, with both clubs waiting until after the teams played Sunday to announce the swap. That, in fact, was per Durham's request as he didn't want to suit up for his first game for Milwaukee against the Giants. ``Personally it was out of respect for the guys in this locker room,'' Durham said, saying his goodbyes in the Giants' clubhouse. ``It really was a stipulation I asked for.''


Baltimore lost 5-1 to Justin Verlander and Detroit, the Orioles' 15th consecutive Sunday loss. Baltimore's 15-game skid on Sundays is the longest on any given day since Arizona dropped 15 in a row on Saturdays in 2004, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Baltimore has been outscored 81-41 in Sunday games since winning its first one of the season, at home against Seattle.


Ryan Dempster struck out seven in eight shutout innings to earn his first road victory in two years and the Cubs snapped a three-game losing streak with a 9-0 win over Houston. Dempster (11-4) allowed six hits, all singles, and got his first road win since June 2, 2006, at St. Louis. He's 10-1 in 12 starts at Wrigley Field this season, but was 0-3 with a 4.03 ERA in eight starts away from home before Sunday. ``Such a relief,'' Dempster said with a smile. ``All the questions can stop now.''


Aaron Miles' grand slam in the ninth inning, the first game-ending hit of his career, helped St. Louis beat San Diego 9-5. The 5-foot-8, 175-pound Miles has only seven homers in three seasons with the Cardinals. ``That's a feeling I wasn't sure I was going to get to experience, that walk-off homer,'' Miles said. ``I've never done it before, not in the minor leagues or on any field. That's a great feeling.''


Casey Kotchman hit a two-run double to cap a three-run rally in the eighth inning, and the Los Angeles Angels beat Boston 5-3 for their fifth straight victory. The Angels also completed their first three-game sweep of the Red Sox in seven years. Vladimir Guerrero and Torii Hunter homered on consecutive pitches for the Angels, who became the first team to 60 wins. They improved to 5-1 against the defending World Series champions, clinching their first season series against Boston since 2001.


Jason Isringhausen of St. Louis blew another save in a 9-5 win over San Diego. After Troy Glaus' three-run homer off Heath Bell in the eighth gave the Cardinals a two-run lead, the Padres rallied against Isringhausen, who blew his eighth save in 19 chances. He was booed by a sellout crowd after allowing three straight one-out hits, including an RBI double by Edgar Gonzalez. Isringhausen got the shot at his first save since May 5 because replacement closer Ryan Franklin, who is 14-for-18, needed a day off after a two-inning save on Saturday. ``No matter how much a veteran he is, he's trying to do more,'' manager Tony La Russa said. ``And today, it was less.''


Cleveland's Cliff Lee gave up 11 hits in a complete game and the Indians beat the Mariners 6-2. He became the first Indians pitcher to yield at least 11 hits in a complete-game win since Charles Nagy, who gave up 13 against Baltimore on June 17, 1992, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.


``I don't like the way they were hitting my players. They hit six guys this week and all of a sudden the umpires give a warning. I was kind of upset about it.'' - White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen about being warned after a Chicago pitcher threw inside to Billy Butler of Kansas City. Jermaine Dye was hit by a pitch for the second straight game and left the game earlier.

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Re: MLB News and Notes July 21

Monday's MLB Research

Toronto vs. Baltimore

Litsh faces Liz here as Toronto hits the road off of a big win at Tampa Bay. Litsch lasted less than 3 innings against the Yankees in his last start, and before that, he gave up 6 runs in just over 5 innings, he is 1-5-2 over his last 8 starts and has struggled, do keep in mind though that the Bluejays struggle in scoring runs overall, Liz has had horrendous starts himself against Texas at home where he gave up 4 runs in less than 4 innings and at Boston where he gave up 8 runs in just over 2 innings. Liz has pitched in 7 straight overs and 9 of 10 overs, suprisingly though the public favors the under a bit more, despite Liz and Litsch both giving up their fair share of runs lately, one could expect them to bounce-back here, but I just don't see it - lean on the over here.

Minny vs. New York

I tell you what, I love watching the Twins play. They have the knack of coming back and winning ballgames which the old braves used to have and it is fun watching this team with their pitching, defense and timely hitting. Blackburn has pitched 3 straight quality starts, I don't beleive he's ever put together 4 straight quality starts, but he did pitch great at Detroit and at Boston, he also beat the Yankees earlier this year by holding them to just 1 run in a 5-1 victory, also cashing in as a +104 dog, Ponson, known as the proverbial ******* because of his crappy attitude towards others in the clubhouse, is 5-1 this year and has an ERA just under 4 remarkably. The public is backing the Yankees at a 2:1 clip here, Ponson has helped his team win their last 7 of 10 starts, and the Yankees to win their last 3, but he rarely puts together back to back wins, I actually lean on the kid here and the Twins as I just trust Blackburn more, even though the Yankees have a bit of revenge against him.

Oakland vs. Tampa Bay

I am tempted to take Oakland just on the pure dog price alone here hovering around +180 right now, granted, Tampa Bay does come off a beat down at home so they will likely be fired up in facing Eveland, keep in mind that Eveland pitched a complete game 3 hitter and gave up just 1 run when he faced TB at home last time so the Rays have revenge in that aspect as well, Eveland does come off a loss though and he has not put together back to back losses at least in his last 10 starts, and in fact, his team has not lost back to back ballgames when he has pitched all year:

7/12/2008 LAA S L 1-4 L 103
7/7/2008 SEA W 4-3 W -138
7/2/2008 @ LAA S ND 4-7 L 126
6/27/2008 SF W 4-1 W -166
6/21/2008 FLA ND 4-6 L -142
6/15/2008 @ SF W 5-3 W -118
6/10/2008 NYY L 1-3 L 112
6/3/2008 DET ND 5-4 W -115
5/29/2008 TOR L 0-12 L -123
5/21/2008 TB W 9-1 W -119

You should see a trend here, of a win, loss, win, loss, etc... That doesn't mean it carries today, it just means typically he shows up afte his team lost from his previous start. Kaz has lost back to back starts and he is looking to bounce-back after a tough loss at Cleveland and before that he lost to the Yankees despite pitching well. I actually lean on the A's here despite the Drays having revenge on young Eveland from that complete game he pitched against them back on may, a bit tempted at the A's +1.5 here as well.

Detroit vs. Kansas City

Miner makes his first start in quite some time for the Tigers tomorrow and it's on the road at KC, the public doesn't seem to mind though as they back him at 58%, he was 7-6 last year, Hochevar pitched great against Seatlte in his last start at home, but who doesn't, plus, he has a tendency to give up far too many hits despite being able to pick up some wins, this game could go either way, wouldn't be surprised to see an over as Hochevar comes off a great start, frankly a tossup game.

Texas vs. White Sox

Texas comes into this game with 51 wins, heck, just 3 less than the White Sox, Hurley has some great stats in that he gives up about a hit an inning, but overall has pitched very well for the Rangers this year, he beat Philly at home as a +113 underdog as the rangers won 5-1, he gave up 2 runs at Houston and 2 runs to Atlanta at home. Vasquez comes off a terrible start at KC, so he is on a bounce-back here, but there is no reason why he should be favored by this much, after all the Ranger offense is just as good, and the Hurley kid has pitched far better than Vasquez thus far, heck, the White sox have not faced Hurley this year as well so advanage Hurley, don't get me wrong, Vasquez is on a bounce-back here so one will be playing with fire a bit, and he has not lost back to back ballgames in over 10 games, if anything a lean on the rangers for pure value despite vasquez being on the bounce-back and a small lean on the under as well.

Cleveland vs. Angels

The Indians had a good home stand of late, but now have to hit the road where they are 17-32 on the year, Byrd is 3-10 on the year and the juice on Santana shows how bad the year has been for the Indians and Byrd, Byrd hasn't picked up a win since June 6th, the Indians have lost 9 of the last 10 games he has started, he has been giving up a ton of hits and has not put together back to back quality starts in quite some time and his last start can be considered quality for his standards this year, Santana is 11-3 this year and comes off a dominating performance at Oakland where he gave up 0 runs in 7 innings in what was a bounce-back game for him, he has at times though been having trouble putting together back to back starts, but one has to lean on the indians run-line here, i'm not a fan of the run-line but it has value here. This is likely to be a high scoring game as an 8.5 line with Byrd is fairly small. The question is, can the Indians score as the Angels should be able to get to Byrd.

Bostonvs. Seattle

Nearly 70% favor Boston here on the road off a loss, of course, I'm glad they lost considering I was on the Angels for my POD, Lester comes off a fortunate 6-5 win at home against Minny in his last start, but he is on for a bounce-back here, Wash had a great start against KC and picked up a no-decision besides pitching exceptionally well as the bullpen blew it for him late, he has pitched 7 of 9 quality starts of late and hasn't pitched a back to back over ballgame since May 25th. Heck, the guy had pitched in 7 straight unders before the last over at KC and that game truly shouldn't have gone over. I actually lean on the under here, as this should be a competitive pitching contest.

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Chan's MLB money arms: Week of July 21

This column has produced a 16-5 record over the past five weeks, proving that a little homework can go a long way when it comes to building baseball bankrolls.

It’s the start of another busy week on the diamond and here are four starters that could earn you some extra loot over the next several days.

Scott Kazmir, Tampa Bay Rays, Monday vs. Oakland

The price is going to be rather steep, but you have to like Kazmir’s chances against the light-hitting A’s on Monday. After being forced into duty for an inning in last week’s All-Star Game, Kazmir returns to the mound for his first start since July 13th.

The break couldn’t have come at a better time, as the Rays ace had been struggling. He hasn’t lasted beyond the sixth inning in any of his last six starts and has seen his ERA climb back above three. To me, this looks like the perfect spot to get back on track.

Kazmir owns a 5-1 career record against the A’s, recording a 2.96 ERA along the way. He is 4-1 with a 1.96 ERA at Tropicana Field this year. His recent problems may have a lot to do with the fact that five of his last eight starts have come on the road.

Ubaldo Jimenez, Colorado Rockies, Tuesday vs. Los Angeles

Jimenez’s overall numbers will steer most bettors away on Tuesday, but I’m expecting a strong outing from the 24-year old right-hander.

As bad as the Rockies have been this season, they’ve been playing well behind Jimenez. They’ve been victorious in six of his last nine starts and now that he’s starting to regain his command, that record should only improve.

Over his last 20 innings pitched, Jimenez has given up only 15 hits and six earned runs. He’s also struck out 19 batters over that time. He owns a fine 4-2 record with a 2.80 ERA at Coors Field this season. Also helping his cause on Tuesday is his opponent, the Los Angeles Dodgers. He is undefeated in four career starts against them.

Ricky Nolasco, Florida Marlins, Wednesday vs. Atlanta

I really like what I’ve seen from Nolasco in recent weeks. The Marlins have won seven of his last eight starts and he has been working deep into ball games.

Nolasco has gone at least seven innings in six of his last seven starts. His command has been impressive with a 50:5 strikeout-to-walk ratio over that stretch. He is quietly becoming the ace of this Marlins staff.

The betting markets still haven’t caught up to Nolasco and they likely won’t do so prior to Wednesday when he faces a public team in the Atlanta Braves. While he was rocked in his last start against the Braves, I’m confident we’ll see a much different story unfold on Wednesday night.

Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners, Wednesday vs. Boston

You can be sure that we’ll see value with Hernandez on Wednesday, as the Red Sox continue to be an overvalued commodity on the road. Hernandez has been one of the few positives in an otherwise down year for the Mariners.

Even with all of their problems, they’ve won six of his last seven starts. King Felix has been effective against the Red Sox throughout his career with 3-1 record and a 3.06 ERA in five starts. In his last start against them, he threw six innings of shutout ball in an 8-0 Mariners win at Fenway Park.

Ben Sheets, Milwaukee Brewers, Thursday at St. Louis

Given the fact he’s up against the surging Cardinals, we should get considerable value backing Sheets on Thursday.

He looked shaky in his first start following the All-Star break, giving up nine hits and four runs over five innings in San Francisco, but he’s a veteran and should have little trouble bouncing back.

His road numbers remain rock solid at 6-1 with a 2.84 ERA. The Brew Crew are 8-3 the last 11 times he’s taken the ball. The Cardinals have been beating up on some weaker opponents heading into this series, most recently the Pirates and Padres. They should get a bit of a wake-up call in this series, but I’ll likely be staying away until Thursday.

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