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MLB News and Notes July 23

MLB News and Notes July 23

Wednesday's MLB Tip Sheet
By Brad Young

Pennant races are starting to heat up as the trading deadline quickly approaches. There have already been a couple of key deals to help bolster some teams for the last two months, and expect a couple more around the league before the beginning of August. There are a couple of key contests on Wednesday’s card, so let’s take a closer look at two games from the National League and two from the American.

**Braves (Hudson) at Marlins (Nolasco)**

-Caesars Palace opened Atlanta as a $1.20 road ‘chalk’ over Florida, with the total set at 8½ ‘under’ (minus $1.20). This National League East affair is slated to start at 7:10 p.m. ET.

-Atlanta’s Tim Hudson (10-7, 3.33 ERA) has alternated wins and losses his last six starts after Friday’s victory over Washington as a decided $2.10 home favorite, 7-6. The Auburn product went 6 2/3 innings, allowing five runs on nine hits with a walk and two strikeouts.

-The combined 13 runs went ‘over’ the 8 ½-run closing total, snapping back-to-back ‘under’ outings for the right-hander.

-Hudson fell to the Marlins April 16 as a $1.45 road ‘chalk,’ 6-5, lasting just three innings while surrendering four runs on six hits (one home run) with a walk and a strikeout. The combined 11 runs eclipsed the nine-run closing total.

-Florida right-hander Ricky Nolasco (10-5, 3.97 ERA) is off Friday’s setback to Philadelphia as a $1.07 home favorite, 4-2. The three-year veteran went seven innings, yielding four runs on seven hits (two home runs) with a walk and five strikeouts.

-The combined six runs failed to topple the nine-run closing total, helping the ‘under’ improve to 4-1 his last five starts.

-Nolasco is 0-2 against the Braves this season in two starts, going a combined 10 1/3 innings while being reached for 13 runs on 21 hits (seven home runs) with three walks and six strikeouts. The Marlins lost as a $1.40 home underdog, 8-0, and as a $1.50 road ‘dog, 7-5.

**Cubs (Lilly) at Diamondbacks (Davis)**

-Caesars Palace installed Chicago as a $1.10 road favorite over Arizona, with the total listed at nine ‘over’ (minus $1.20). First pitch is scheduled for 9:40 p.m. ET.

-Chicago southpaw Ted Lilly (9-6, 4.49 ERA) is searching for his first victory in almost a month after going 0-1 his last three outings. The 32-year-old is off Friday’s no-decision against Houston, going seven innings while surrendering one run on six hits (one home run) with two walks and six strikeouts.

-The Cubs eventually dropped that affair as a $1.08 road favorite, 2-1, while the combined three runs went ‘under’ the 9½-run closing total. The ‘over’ had cashed in Lilly’s previous four outings.

-The California native beat the D’backs May 9 as a $1.10 home favorite, 3-1, going seven innings while being reached for the lone run on three hits (one home run) with two walks and 10 strikeouts. The combined four runs went ‘under’ the eight-run closing total.

-Arizona hurler Doug Davis (3-4, 4.14 ERA) is off back-to-back no decisions after Friday’s effort against Los Angeles. The veteran left-hander lasted just three innings, surrendering five runs (four earned) on five hits (one home run) with three walks and three strikeouts.

-The D’backs ended up dropping that affair as a $1.03 home underdog, 8-7. The combined 15 runs soared ‘over’ the 8½-run closing total, helping the ‘over’ cash his second straight start.

-Davis beat the Cubs last season as a $1.03 home underdog, 3-1, yielding the lone run on six hits with a walk and eight strikeouts over seven innings. The combined four runs went ‘under’ the nine-run closing total.

**Red Sox (Buchholz) at Mariners (Hernandez)**

-Caesars Palace lists Seattle as a $1.35 home ‘chalk’ over Boston, with the total set at eight. This American League tilt is slated to start at 4:40 p.m. ET.

-Boston’s Clay Buchholz (2-5, 5.88 ERA) is still searching for his first road victory of the season after Friday’s setback to Los Angeles as a $1.35 road underdog, 11-3. The 23-year-old, currently mired in a personal three-game losing streak, went 4 2/3 innings while yielding eight runs (four earned) on eight hits (one home run) with two walks and two strikeouts.

-The combined 14 runs soared past the 7½-run closing total, helping the ‘over’ improve to 6-1-1 his last eight outings.

-Buchholz, a two-year veteran, has never started against the Mariners in his brief major league career.

-Seattle counters with right-hander Felix Hernandez (7-6, 2.95 ERA), hoping he can replicate his victory over Cleveland Friday as a $1.35 home ‘chalk,’ 8-2. The Venezuela native went six innings, allowing both runs on four hits (one home run) with two walks and eight strikeouts.

-The combined 10 runs toppled the 7½-run closing total.

-Hernandez is 1-1 against the Red Sox this season in two starts, going a combined 13 2/3 innings while allowing five runs on 13 hits (one home run) with eight walks and 10 strikeouts. The Mariners won as a $1.33 road underdog, 8-0, while losing as a $1.03 home selection, 5-3.

**Blue Jays (Burnett) at Orioles (Guthrie)**

-Caesars Palace installed Baltimore as a $1.15 home favorite over Toronto, with the total set at eight ‘over’ (minus $1.20). This AL East contest is scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m. ET.

-Toronto’s A.J. Burnett (10-8, 4.74 ERA) had a personal two-game winning streak snapped by Tampa Bay Friday as a $1.48 road underdog, 2-1. The 6-foot-5 hurler was reached for both runs on five hits (one home run) with three walks and six strikeouts over seven innings.

-The combined three runs never seriously threatened the eight-run closing total, helping the ‘under’ cash his second straight start.

-Burnett is 1-1 against the Orioles this season in two starts, pitching a combined 9 2/3 innings while surrendering 15 runs on 17 hits (one home run) with seven walks and 12 strikeouts. The Blue Jays prevailed as a $1.52 home favorite, 9-8, while losing as a $1.50 home ‘chalk,’ 9-5. The ‘over’ occurred in both games.

-Baltimore right-hander Jeremy Guthrie (6-7, 3.60 ERA) heads to the hill for the first time since Friday’s victory over Detroit as a $1.25 home favorite, 7-4. The Stanford product tossed six innings while getting tagged for four runs on 12 hits (one home run) with two walks and five strikeouts.

-The combined 11 runs eclipsed the 9 ½-run closing total, helping the ‘over’ cash his third straight start.

-Guthrie is 1-0 against the Blue Jays this season in two starts, going a combined 14 innings while allowing three runs (two earned) on 10 hits with a walk and nine strikeouts. The Orioles prevailed as a $1.40 road underdog, 9-5, while losing as a $1.10 road ‘dog, 6-5. The ‘over’ cashed in both games.

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Re: MLB News and Notes July 23

Wednesday's MLB streaking starting pitchers


Clayton Richard, Chicago White Sox (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

OK, so he’s streaking, but it’s not exactly in the big leagues. The White Sox’ 24-year-old lefty has won all six of his starts with the Class AAA Birmingham Knights with a 2.37 ERA and is now being hastily called up to fill in for the ChiSox.

Manager Ozzie Guillen doesn’t want to rush his top prospect, but he doesn’t have much of a choice after Jose Contreras was just put on the 15-day DL with elbow tendinitis. Mark Buehrle was also bumped up a day to start on Tuesday so he could attend his grandfather's funeral on Wednesday.

Unfortunately for Richard, this means he won’t be joining the U.S. Olympic team in Beijing, but he will get a shot to show what he can do in the majors.

James Shields, Tampa Bay Rays (8-6, 3.69 ERA)

Shields’ numbers aren’t exactly staggering overall. Take a closer look though, and you’ll see they’re outstanding for Wednesday’s situation.

Shields is 6-1 with a 2.05 ERA at home and he’s 3-1 with a lowly 2.25 ERA when he starts in day games. It just so happens that he’s starting at 12:40 p.m. at home against the West Coast A’s this time around.

He allowed five earned runs in seven innings in his only other start against Oakland this season, but that was on the road. That should bring him some decent value on Wednesday.


Clay Buchholz, Boston Red Sox (2-5, 5.88 ERA)

It’s not very often you hear of a Red Sox starter struggling. This guy can’t seem to get past the fifth inning lately, though.

Boston has lost Buchholz’s last four starts and the righty has picked up the loss in the last three thanks to a sour 9.34 ERA over that span. Buchholz is giving up a pile of walks and his WHIP has soared past 2.00 in his last three outings.

In fairness, this right-hander was only backed up by three runs in each of his last three starts, but he’s still managed to help over bettors cash in. He goes up against Seattle’s ace, Felix Hernandez next.

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Re: MLB News and Notes July 23

Fun to be trendy, but be cautious

I occasionally look through the forums here, just to get an idea of what people are thinking.  Recently, I have noticed the increasing popularity of people pointing to trends to explain why they’re on a particular side.

These trends are easy to locate just by going to the matchups page, and picking the game you want to analyze. There are an overwhelming number of trends for every team, mostly focusing on various metrics of recent performance.  For Tuesday’s Blue Jays-Orioles game, for example, there were 19 trends for Toronto’s side, and 14 for Baltimore.

In terms of an application to wagering, there are multiple problems with relying on this information. The first is that people tend to instinctually look at a line and pick a side —Toronto +104, for instance — and then look into the trends to try to support their side.

The problem with this is obvious. With a total of 33 trends for this game (and that’s not including the total or umpire), you’re not going to have a problem finding some information that backs up your initial lean.

Which brings me to the second issue: How can there be so many different trends for a single game?

The answer is simple: It’s a small sample size. Of the 33 trends in the aforementioned game, exactly three have happened over more than 20 games. Those include:

Blue Jays are 5-16 in their last 21 road games

Orioles are 19-8 in their last 27 games as a home favorite

Orioles are 21-10 in their last 31 games as a favorite

None of these should come as much of a surprise. The Blue Jays are three games under .500 so it makes sense they haven’t played very well on the road, especially in an arbitrary sample. And the two Baltimore trends not only overlap, but should be expected. Teams tend to win more often when they’re favored.

So the three trends that used the most data and were potentially the most meaningful, aren’t telling us much. Which leaves us with things like, “Blue Jays are 1-5 in their last six games on grass” and the “Orioles are 1-6 in Olson’s last seven starts during Game 2 of a series”.

If you think anecdotes like this have any effect on the outcome of the game, well, I don’t know what to tell you.

Trends are occasionally interesting, and are a good thing for the announcers to drop into some dead time during the game. But when it comes to handicapping, they’re almost always either biased, based on a small sample, or were meaningless to begin with. You should be cautious with them when using them to support your wagers.

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Re: MLB News and Notes July 23

Keep riding the MLB money trains

These teams made you money in the first half of the season and are good bets to continue down the stretch.

Texas Rangers Offense

Totals in Rangers game have been rising like gas prices, but even that may not be fast enough.

In the first three weeks of July, Rangers totals averaged just over 10, up .8 runs since May. Despite the inflation, over players are still making a profit on the Rangers. Texas games have produced close to 13 (12.93) runs in July.

This isn’t a case of a team coming out of the break hot. It’s been like this all season.

The Ranger offense, featuring three All-Stars, including baseball’s premier home run hitter in Josh Hamilton, is the most potent in the game — and it’s not even close.

Texas entered the week leading baseball with 540 runs, 31 more than the second-place Cubs.

Ron Washington’s hard-hitting, but suspect-pitching club is one of only two American League teams to have produced more overs than unders.

Games involving the Rangers have averaged 11.3 runs. Yet, oddsmakers have set a total of more than 11 on a contest involving Texas only once all season.

With American League games averaging just over nine runs, it’s going to be difficult for oddsmakers to consistently set totals of more than 11.5, without risking getting pounded on the under.

Under-valued Marlins

If you’re not a believer in the Marlins yet, it’s not too late.

Year after year, Florida rebuilds its roster with young, eager players that just don’t have the name recognition to induce the public’s belief.  Even the rare South Florida baseball fan isn’t fully convinced the Marlins are going to remain in the race for the long haul.

“I don't think [our fans] think we are going to be around, but everyone in here knows it,” pitcher Josh Johnson told the Miami Herald.

One group who does believe in the Marlins is the Phillies, who saw their division lead trimmed to a ½ game after losing two of three in Florida over the weekend.

That series put the Marlins up 1515 units (per $100 play) for the season.

It’s not too late to jump on the Marlins cash car. Despite the success, Florida has been an underdog in 10 of first 16 games in July, cashing seven times as a dog. And the scary thing about the Marlins: their rotation just got better.

In his only his second start since having Tommy John surgery, Johnson beat Philadelphia ace Cole Hamels 3-2 Sunday. Johnson pitched into the seventh, allowing two runs on seven hits.

''He's going to get better and better as the year goes on, the more starts he gets under his belt,” manager Freddi Gonzalez told the Miami Herald. “He got us deep into the ball game, six and two-thirds innings. You can't ask for anything more on his second start after Tommy John surgery.''

Over players also have been benefiting in the Marlins success.

They’ve surpassed the total 57 times (57-34-7), the most in baseball. That’s an incredible stat when you consider that only five teams have produced more over than unders this season. But be wary leaning on the overs too much in Marlins game. As mentioned, the starting pitching staff is improving rapidly and the offense has benefited from a league-leading 11 walk-off hits.

Over-valued Braves

Frustration is building, injuries are mounting, and the once-mighty Braves clearly appear headed for second-half swoon that very well could include selling off Mark Teixeira.

Yet, the public’s perception of the Braves seems to be bolstered by the team’s run of 13 consecutive division titles, which ended just last season. Those days are long gone at Turner Field.

While the public struggles to grasp what’s going on in Atlanta, oddsmakers have continued to make the Braves big favorites.

They’ve been favorites of 150 and up six times in their last 25 games, losing three of those. This has led to deficit of 1476 units for $100 players.

While the Braves’ young pitchers—Jair Jurrjens, Jorge Campillo, Jo-Jo Reyes and Charlie Morton—gives Atlanta hope for the future, going against this declining squad should continue to be beneficial in the coming months, especially on the road where Bobby Cox’s boys are just 15-32.

Odds & Ends

--The weekend’s Texas-Minnesota series is proof just how unpredictable baseball can be and should have re-enforced the importance of discipline for bettors. Only two American League teams have delivered more overs than unders this season — the Twins and the Rangers.

On Friday, Minnesota became the first team to shutout Texas this season. It was the first time the Rangers failed to score a run in an amazing 135 games. Texas retaliated Sunday with a 1-0 victory by Vincente Padilla.

--As of Sunday, only three National League teams have produced more overs than unders this season. Pittsburgh, Florida and San Francisco have each surpassed game totals more than 50 times.

The Braves and Yankees have each stayed under the total 61 times, the most in baseball.

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Re: MLB News and Notes July 23

Baseball Today

Milwaukee at St. Louis (8:15 p.m. EDT). CC Sabathia (3-0, 1.88 ERA) makes his fourth start for the Brewers since coming over in a trade from Cleveland on July 7. He will be opposed by the Cardinals' Braden Looper (9-7, 4.60), who is 0-2 with a 6.52 ERA in his last four outings.


- Jimmy Rollins and So Taguchi, Phillies, hit two-run doubles in a six-run ninth to help Philadelphia beat the New York Mets 8-6.

- Rick VandenHurk, Marlins, threw five hitless innings and combined with three relievers for a one-hit, 1-0 win over Atlanta.

- Ryan Doumit, Pirates, hit a three-run homer in Pittsburgh's 8-2 win over Houston.

- Bobby Abreu and Robinson Cano, Yankees. Abreu hit a go-ahead homer and drove in three runs, and Cano had two RBI singles in an 8-2 victory over Minnesota.

- Alexei Ramirez and Nick Swisher, White Sox. Ramirez hit his first career grand slam and Swisher added a three-run shot in a 10-2 victory over Texas.

- Bengie Molina, Giants, hit a two-run homer and a solo shot in San Francisco's 6-3 win over Washington.

- Jack Hannahan, Athletics, hit a three-run homer and added an RBI single in an 8-1 victory over Tampa Bay.


Philadelphia feasted on New York's makeshift bullpen for six runs with closer Billy Wagner unavailable because of an injury, and Jimmy Rollins hit a go-ahead two-run double to help the Phillies to an 8-6 victory Tuesday night to take back sole possession of first place in the NL East.


The Braves were one-hit for the second time in 15 days, losing 4-0 to Florida on Tuesday night. It also happened July 7 against Hiroki Kuroda of the Los Angeles Dodgers.


Pittsburgh has scored 17 runs in two games against Houston, beating the Astros 8-2 Tuesday night after a 9-3 win the night before.


The Angels' Francisco Rodriguez recorded his 41st save Tuesday night, surpassing last season's total with 62 games remaining and securing a 3-2 victory for the Los Angeles Angels over the Cleveland Indians.


Chicago's three, four and five hitters - Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and Jim Edmonds - were a combined 0-for-10 in the Cubs' 9-2 loss at Arizona on Tuesday night.


Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez signed another big league contract, joining the William Morris Agency in an attempt to extend his brand beyond the baseball diamond. A-Rod joined up with the powerhouse talent agency in Beverly Hills, Calif., and became part of a client list that includes some of the biggest names in sports, entertainment and business.


Injured Mariners starter Erik Bedard got an MRI on his left shoulder Tuesday, but team physicians found no new causes for the nagging tightness and soreness the lefty is experiencing. Dr. Edward Khalfayan said the MRI confirmed the initial diagnosis of tightness in the shoulder and recommended that Bedard remain on his current rehabilitation program. Bedard has not started since July 4 and went on the disabled list July 10, retroactive to July 5.


Royals pitcher Jimmy Gobble, who allowed 10 runs in one inning Monday against Detroit, was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a stiff lower back. Gobble established a Kansas City franchise record for runs allowed by a reliever in a game. Gobble was 0-2 with an 11.31 earned run average in 31 relief appearances. ...


Daisuke Matsuzaka missed out on a chance at the second complete game of his career, faltering in the eighth inning against Seattle and yielding to the bullpen to finish Boston's 4-2 win Tuesday night.


``I guess we could put the whole notion of not getting timely hitting away for a day,'' Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel, after the Phillies scored six runs in the ninth inning to beat the New York Mets 8-6 Tuesday night.

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Re: MLB News and Notes July 23

Wednesday's best MLB bets

Toronto at Baltimore (-120, 8)

Even though this is a divisional rivalry, there's not a whole lot on the line for these two clubs - other than last place. Last night's game was a sloppy affair which neither team seemed particularly intent on winning, but the Jays eventually came out on top. That result could have a significant impact on today's result.

The Orioles have been a terrible bet in the third game of a series, going 8-20 in that situation this season. That record is even worst after a loss, at 2-13. The Blue Jays, on the other hand, are 10-4 in Game 3's after a win. With A.J. Burnett coming off a couple of impressive starts, Toronto should have no trouble continuing that trend.

Pick: Blue Jays

Cleveland at Los Angeles Angels (-175, 8)

Something about this price just doesn't seem right. Of course, these two teams aren't even close when you look at their win/loss records, but aside from that, this matchup looks a more even than the oddsmakers seem to think.

First of all, Aaron Laffey has been the Tribe's best starter this year and the only reason he doesn't have a winning record is because of poor hitting from his teammates. But lately, the Tribe have gotten the bats working. Over their last 10 games, they?re hitting .291 as a team and as a result, they've gone 7-3.

It will also help that the Angels' bullpen got a workout last night when starter Jered Weaver had to leave the game after three innings and Darren Oliver, Jose Arredondo, Scot Shields and Francisco Rodriguez were forced to work the remaining six innings. Los Angeles will also have to make due without center fielder Torii Hunter, who left the club to be with his ailing grandmother.

Pick: Indians

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