MLB News and Notes July 25

MLB News and Notes July 25

Friday's MLB Tip Sheet
By Brad Young

**Rockies (Cook) at Reds (Volquez)**

-Caesars Palace installed Cincinnati as a $1.45 home ‘chalk’ over Colorado, with the total set at 8½ ‘under’ (minus $1.20). This National League matchup is slated to start at 7:10 p.m. ET.

-Colorado right-hander Aaron Cook (12-6, 3.58 ERA) heads to the hill for the first time since Sunday’s victory over Pittsburgh as a $1.90 home favorite, 11-3. The 29-year-old went seven innings, allowing three runs on five hits with a walk and two strikeouts.

-The combined 14 runs toppled the 10-run closing total. The ‘over/under’ has alternated his last four starts.

-Cook beat the Reds last year as a $1.30 road underdog, 9-7, tossing 5 1/3 innings while being reached for five runs on 10 hits (one home run) with three walks and four strikeouts. The combined 16 runs soared ‘over’ the 8½-run closing total.

-Cincinnati’s Edinson Volquez (12-2, 2.53 ERA) is off Sunday’s no-decision against New York after surrendering four runs on eight hits (one home run) with three walks and three strikeouts over five innings.

-The Reds ended up dropping that affair as a $1.35 home favorite, 7-5, while the combined 12 runs eclipsed the nine-run closing total. The ‘over’ has cashed his last four starts.

-Volquez, a four-year veteran, has never started against the Rockies.

**Diamondbacks (Haren) at Giants (Sanchez)**

-Caesars Palace opened Arizona as a $1.35 road favorite over San Francisco, with the total listed at seven ‘under’ (minus $1.20). This NL West contest is scheduled to start at 10:15 p.m. ET.

-Arizona pitcher Danny Haren (9-5, 2.58 ERA) beat Los Angeles Saturday as a $1.30 home ‘chalk,’ 3-2, tossing seven scoreless innings on four hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.

-The combined five runs failed to topple the 7½-run closing total, helping the ‘under’ improve to 4-1 his last five games.

-The Pepperdine product fell to the Giants May 27 as a $1.60 home favorite, 6-3, going six innings while being tagged for five runs on nine hits (two home runs) with a walk and seven strikeouts. The combined nine runs eclipsed the eight-run closing total.

-San Francisco southpaw Jonathan Sanchez (8-5, 4.10 ERA) finagled a no-decision against Milwaukee Saturday despite tossing a lackluster 5 1/3 innings. The 25-year-old surrendered four runs on seven hits with two walks and eight strikeouts.

-The Giants eventually dropped that affair as a $1.28 home underdog, 8-5, while the combined 13 runs eclipsed the 7 1/2-run closing total. The ‘over’ is now 3-1 his last four starts.

-Sanchez is 1-0 against the D’backs this season in two starts, going a combined 11 innings while allowing six runs (five earned) on 12 hits (one home run) with five walks and nine strikeouts. The Giants prevailed as a $1.20 home underdog, 5-4, and as a $1.50 road ‘dog, 11-3. The ‘over’ cashed in both contests.

**Yankees (Chamberlain) at Red Sox (Beckett)**

-Caesars Palace lists Boston as a $1.25 home ‘chalk’ over New York, with the total set at eight ‘over’ (minus $1.20). This American League East affair is slated to start at 7:05 p.m. ET.

-New York’s Joba Chamberlain (1-1, 2.64 ERA) is searching for his first victory in a month after going 0-1 his last four outings. The former Nebraska Cornhuskers hurler picked up a no-decision against Oakland Saturday, tossing six solid innings while yielding one run on six hits with a walk and eight strikeouts.

-The Yankees eventually prevailed as a $2.00 hoe favorite, 4-3, while the combined seven runs went ‘under’ the 8½-run closing total. The ‘under’ is 5-2 his last seven starts.

-Chamberlain notched a no-decision against the Red Sox July 6, pitching six innings while allowing three runs on four hits with four walks and five strikeouts. The Yankees eventually won that contest as a $1.70 home ‘chalk,’ 5-4. The combined nine runs slithered ‘over’ the 8 ½-run closing total.

-Boston hurler Josh Beckett (9-6, 3.98 ERA) had his personal two-game winning streak halted with Saturday’s setback to Los Angeles as a $1.20 road favorite, 4-2. The 6-foot-5 hurler went eight innings, yielding four runs on nine hits (one home run) with a walk and six strikeouts.

-The combined six runs went below the eight-run closing total, ending back-to-back ‘over’ outings for the right-hander.

-The 28-year-old is 3-0 against the Yankees this season in three starts, going a combined 20 2/3 innings while surrendering nine runs on 15 hits with four walks and 14 strikeouts. The Red Sox triumphed as a $1.65 home favorite, 4-3, as a $1.30 road ‘chalk,’ 7-5, and as a $1.27 road favorite, 6-4. The ‘over’ went 2-1 during those three games.

**Rangers (Padilla) at Athletics (Gallagher)**

-Caesars Palace opened Oakland as a $1.25 home favorite over Texas, with the total listed at 8½ ‘under’ (minus $1.20). First pitch for this AL West affair is scheduled for 10:05 p.m. ET.

-Texas hurler Vicente Padilla (11-5, 4.41 ERA) had dropped consecutive contests before upending Minnesota Sunday as a $1.30 road underdog, 1-0. The veteran right-hander tossed seven scoreless innings on three hits with two walks and no strikeouts.

-The lone run never seriously threatened the nine-run closing total. The ‘over’ had cashed his previous two outings.

-The Nicaragua native beat the Athletics May 2 as a $1.35 road underdog, 4-3, going 5 2/3 innings while allowing three runs (one earned) on five hits (one home run) with four walks and six strikeouts. The combined seven runs went ‘under’ the 8½-run closing total.

-Oakland righty Sean Gallagher (4-4, 4.19 ERA) has been a solid home pitcher this season, going 4-0 in five starts with a 3.30 ERA. The two-year veteran is off Saturday’s no-decision against New York, tossing five innings while yielding two runs on seven hits with four walks and seven strikeouts.

-The Athletics eventually dropped that contest as a $1.80 road underdog, 4-3, while the combined seven runs went ‘under’ the 8 ½-run closing total. The ‘over’ had cashed his previous four outings.

-Gallagher has never started against the Rangers in his brief major league career.

vegasinsider.com.

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Re: MLB News and Notes July 25

Cards, Twins falling fast
By Joe Nelson

It has been a tough start to the week for a pair of teams that have remarkably stayed in playoff contention thus far in the MLB season. It is not the end of the road for the Minnesota Twins and the St. Louis Cardinals, but both teams received tough doses of reality as they were passed in the standings by teams that are more likely to hold up over the long haul. Both teams should remain competitive teams and there could actually be some wagering value gained by having these squads fall out of serious playoff contention.
   
Minnesota was projected to be a losing team this season after giving up two star players in trading Johan Santana and losing Torii Hunter to free agency. The Twins have actually been a much better team than last season however and the starting rotation that has been completely turned over from the start of last season has performed well. Minnesota has been a very sound hitting team despite limited power numbers as the Twins have one of the top team averages in the AL and have been fantastic with runners in scoring position. Minnesota’s defense and bullpen have not been up to normal standards for the organization however and the young pitching could wear down late in the season.

Minnesota has not been a strong road team and in the recent series in New York the Twins were at their absolute worse. Uncharacteristic mistakes and a complete lack of offense led to a miserable series sweep, outscored 25-7. Minnesota’s young starters were not the main problem in the series but the team was clearly intimidated by the veteran Yankees team and the poor history for Minnesota in this ballpark in recent years. It is too soon to count out the Twins but the Tigers are gaining momentum and the White Sox appear to be a more solid team in the AL Central. The Twins were once in solid Wild Card position but that spot appears destined to go to an East team again as the Rays, Red Sox, and now Yankees will be tough to keep pace with.

There is some hope for the Twins with Francisco Liriano posting brilliant minor league numbers but the rotation has not been a weakness for Minnesota this season. Scott Baker, Glen Perkins, Nick Blackburn, and Kevin Slowey have all pitched well enough to keep their spots in the rotation and although Livan Hernandez has had some struggles he owns ten wins and is the lone veteran presence of the group. Liriano would make for a valuable weapon in the bullpen but that is not an option for the Twins after steadily building his workload to come back effectively from his surgery. Liriano will get his chance but the Twins may have played themselves out of contention by that point.

The Twins will also endure an awful scheduling stretch in the coming weeks as the Republican National Convention will be taking place in Minneapolis and the Metrodome will be unavailable. Minnesota plays 24 of 30 games on the road from August 21st to September 21st as the Twins will travel to both coasts for lengthy excursions. If there is any hope in the Twins schedule it is that 19 of the remaining 28 division games are at home and the road games are against the less threatening teams in Cleveland and Kansas City as Minnesota has already completed the road games in Detroit and Chicago.

In St. Louis the Cardinals were also a great surprise to stay right with the Cubs early in the season and remain in Wild Card position for most of the season until recently being passed by the Brewers. St. Louis does not look like a playoff threat on paper with a mostly unproven lineup and big holes in the pitching staff due to injuries. The St. Louis bullpen has also had big setbacks with initial closer Jason Isringhausen completely breaking down. The Cardinals had a great sweep of San Diego to start the second half wiped out by home losses to Milwaukee and St. Louis may never get back in the race. St. Louis is still just a few games back of the Wild Card and the division lead but things are not looking promising at this point.

St. Louis has held ground in the standings based on performing well on the road as the Cardinals are one of the few teams in baseball with a winning away record. The Cardinals face quality teams in the next several series so this will be a critical time for St. Louis. The Cardinals have had some of the worst bullpen numbers in baseball with 23 blown save opportunities leading all of baseball but St. Louis has had better than expected starting pitching. There is some potential with top starters Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter poised for returns from injury soon. Given that the Cardinals received little from its top two starters in the first half or anything from potential starters Mark Mulder, Anthony Reyes, or Matt Clement it is amazing that St. Louis has hung around. Kyle Lohse has been the savior for St. Louis and Braden Looper and Todd Wellemeyer have at least been able to make consistent starts and pick up a few wins.

Like the Twins, the Cardinals have been successful with solid hitting as St. Louis owns a .275 team average. St. Louis also owns one of the top on-base-percentages in baseball as only a few teams have walked more than the Cardinals. St. Louis has above average power numbers with Albert Pujols, Rick Ankiel, and Ryan Ludwick leading the way and with Tony LaRussa managing the Cardinals have found ways to stay competitive. St. Louis plays the Cubs nine times yet this season so the Cardinals will have the opportunity to control their own destiny but there are some tough road trips ahead and the starting rotation will need to get some of the injured arms back to have a chance.

Although Minnesota and St. Louis do not appear to have the staying power to make the playoffs and we will not likely see a repeat of the great 1987 World Series, both teams could remain profitable for the rest of the season. Minnesota is currently the second most profitable team in baseball and the Cardinals are currently 6th with steady profits as well. The reason is simple as neither team has dominant big name starting pitching so even at home these teams are never steep favorites. Against good teams or big name starters the Twins and Cardinals can regularly be found as underdogs despite posting two of the better records in baseball. The Cardinals have been a great road team to back and the Twins have been a great team to back at home. Those trends could continue to hold up so even if the Twins and Cardinals fall out of the pennant race keep them on your radar for possible play-on situations as both teams feature a great deal of young players and good coaching so it is unlikely there will be any sort of mentality of giving up on the season.

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Re: MLB News and Notes July 25

MLB Weekend Preview

Games involving both the Red Sox and the White Sox highlight the baseball schedule this weekend, as the playoff races in both leagues continue to get tighter.

The Red Sox renew acquaintances with the rival Yankees at Fenway Park starting on Friday night. Boston is still trying to shove aside Tampa Bay at the top of the AL East, while the Yankees have slowly but surely climbed back into that division race as well. The Rays are in action against the Royals this weekend, and could get a few easy wins if things go their way.

The White Sox are in tough in Detroit this weekend, where they'll face the Tigers. Chicago is 5.5 games ahead of Detroit in the Central, but the Tigers continue to make up ground while putting a ton of runs on the board. Also in the race in the Central are the Twins, who enter the weekend only 2.5 games behind Chicago. The Twins will also battle a Central opponent this weekend; they face Cleveland.

The other AL division, the West, appears to be practically decided as the Angels have extended their lead over Oakland to 10 games. The Angels can pad their MLB-best record this weekend against Baltimore.

In the NL all three divisions remain up for grabs, with three teams vying for first place in both the East and Central. Those divisions collide this weekend when the Mets face the Cardinals and the Marlins take on the Cubs. The Mets, Marlins, and Phillies are all within a couple games of each other in the highly competitive East. Philadelphia's opponents this weekend will be the Atlanta Braves. In the Central the Cubs are trying to hold off both the Brewers and the Cardinals. The Brewers get the Astros at home this weekend.

Finally, the NL West is a two-team race for first between the Dodgers and the Diamondbacks. Arizona enters the weekend with a slim one-game lead over Los Angeles, and they could easily increase that advantage versus the lowly Giants. It may not be that easy, though, as the Dodgers have also been dealt what looks to be a cakewalk series against the Nationals.

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Re: MLB News and Notes July 25

Baseball Today

New York Yankees at Boston (7:05 p.m. EDT). Hard-throwing Joba Chamberlain and the surging Yankees head to Fenway Park to face Josh Beckett and the rival Red Sox in the opener of a three-game set.

STARS

- Ryan Braun, Brewers, had four hits for the second consecutive game, including a two-run homer in the ninth inning that rallied Milwaukee past St. Louis 4-3 for its eighth straight win.

- Carlos Delgado, Mets, hit a tiebreaking, two-run double in the eighth inning of a 3-1 victory over Philadelphia that gave New York sole possession of first place in the NL East for the first time since April 19.

- Matt Cain, Giants, pitched a four-hitter for his second career shutout as San Francisco edged Washington 1-0.

- Roy Halladay, Blue Jays, pitched seven strong innings in a 7-1 win over Baltimore to improve to 18-4 lifetime against the Orioles.

- Gil Meche, Royals, pitched seven scoreless innings and Kansas City held off Tampa Bay 4-2 to extend the AL East leaders' road losing streak to seven games.

SIDELINED AGAIN

The Cubs placed closer Kerry Wood on the disabled list for the 12th time in his 10-year career because of a blister on his pitching hand. Wood, who has 24 saves in 29 chances and was selected to the NL All-Star team, has a blister on his right index finger that has kept him out since July 11. Chicago general manager Jim Hendry hopes Wood can return Tuesday at Milwaukee when he is eligible to be activated. He was put on the DL retroactive to July 14.

LATE ARRIVAL

Jimmy Rollins was yanked from Philadelphia's lineup after showing up late to Shea Stadium, making the reigning NL MVP a spectator for much of the Phillies' 3-1 loss in a key division matchup with the Mets. Rollins pinch hit in the ninth and bounced into a fielder's choice for the final out, ending his 10-game hitting streak. ``That's one of our rules: Hustle and be on time,'' manager Charlie Manuel said. ``That's all I want to say about Jimmy. We've got other things here.'' Rollins, who was pulled from the Phillies' 5-0 win over Cincinnati on June 5 for failing to run hard on a popup that was dropped, said he got caught in traffic. ``I agreed with him on the last one but we're not going to agree on this one,'' said Rollins, who met with Manuel before the game.

SWEEPS

Milwaukee came back from a two-run deficit to beat the Cardinals 4-3 and finish a four-game. It was the Brewers' first series sweep in St. Louis since September 1999. ... The Giants held off Washington 1-0 for their first three-game sweep at home this season.

ON THE BOARD

Yoslan Herrera pitched six shutout innings for his first major league win, leading Pittsburgh to a 9-1 victory over slumping San Diego. Making his third start since being called up from Double-A on July 12, Herrera (1-1) allowed six singles and one walk while striking out four. After the game, he received a water-bottle shower from his teammates and the souvenir baseball. ``It's a gift I'm going to keep for the rest of my life,'' Herrera said through his translator, Pirates bullpen coach Luis Dorante.

SNAPPED

Carlos Zambrano pitched seven solid innings and the Chicago Cubs snapped a 10-game losing streak to Florida with a 6-3 victory. After a 2-4 road trip, the Cubs got home runs from Henry Blanco and Ronny Cedeno and a two-run double from Aramis Ramirez to improve to 38-12 at Wrigley Field. Chicago beat the Marlins for the first time since April 25, 2006.

WHITEWASH

Matt Cain beat Washington 1-0, becoming the first San Francisco pitcher to throw a shutout since Noah Lowry on Aug. 21, 2006, against Arizona. It was the 13th time the Nationals have been blanked, a major league high.

ROLE REVERSAL

The New York Mets are 9-4 against the Phillies this year after going 6-12 against them last season and losing the final eight meetings. Billy Wagner closed out New York's 3-1 victory over Philadelphia on Thursday for his second save in two days. The Mets blew a three-run lead in the ninth inning of an 8-6 loss in the series opener Tuesday, when Wagner was unavailable because of a sore pitching shoulder.

SPEAKING

``We have to pick it up. I don't know if it's hungry enough. I haven't put my finger on it, but we have to get after it more. We don't now have that extra kick, the kick we used to have.'' - Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel after his team lost 3-1 to the New York Mets for its fourth loss in five games.

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Re: MLB News and Notes July 25

Lawrence's MLB Weekend Cheat Sheet
By MARC LAWRENCE

Don’t look now but here come the Yankees. And just like that there is a three-way race for the American League East division pennant chase.

New York’s visit to Boston this weekend highlights a card filled with exciting playoff possibilities. Let’s take a look at some of the more intriguing matchups on the card in this edition of the MLB Weekend Cheat Sheet. Remember, all results are those from within each series. Enjoy the games!

AMERICAN LEAGUE

New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox


Most Recent Series Result: Yankees 10-6 last 16 games

Most Recent Series Result at the Site: Yankees 12-7 last 19 here

Key Day/Month Stat: Red Sox 8-0 home Sundays

Best Arm in the Series: Beckett 4-0, 3.25 ERA last four games

Worst Arm in the Series: Wakefield 0-5, 9.00 ERA last five games; Mussina 1-5, 6.48 ERA last six games

Chicago White Sox at Detroit Tigers

Most Recent Series Result: Tigers 3-0 last three games

Most Recent Series Result at the Site: Tigers 11-6 last 17 here

Key Day/Month Stat: Tigers 8-0 Sundays; White Sox 0-3 away Sundays

Best Arm in the Series: Floyd 5-1, 2.43 ERA career

Worst Arm in the Series: Contreras 1-4, 8.81 ERA last five games

NATIONAL LEAGUE

St. Louis Cardinals at New York Mets


Most Recent Series Result: Mets 7-4 last 11 games

Most Recent Series Result at the Site: Mets 7-4 last 11 here

Key Day/Month Stat: Cardinals 15-4 on Saturdays

Best Arm in the Series: Lohse 3-0, 3.43 ERA last three games

Worst Arm in the Series: Martinez 0-2, 5.25 ERA last two games

Florida Marlins at Chicago Cubs

Most Recent Series Result: Marlins 10-0 last 10 games

Most Recent Series Result at the Site: Marlins 6-4 last 10 here

Key Day/Month Stat: Marlins 2-8 Fridays

Best Arm in the Series: Zambrano 5-0, 2.50 ERA last five games

Worst Arm in the Series: Lilly 0-4, 6.24 ERA last 4 games

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Re: MLB News and Notes July 25

Friday’s streaking and slumping pitchers
COVERS.com

Streaking

Ryan Dempster, Chicago Cubs (11-4, 3.05)


The Cubs are leading their division and Dempster is partially responsible for their success. The right-hander is 2-1 with a solid 2.08 ERA in his last three starts and is 10-1 and has a 2.81 ERA at Wrigley Field.

In his last three starts, Dempster has pitched 21.2 innings, striking out 18 and relinquishing just five earned runs. He also hasn’t conceded a HR in that span and is 1-1 in two career starts against the Florida Marlins.

The Cubs are 4-1 in their last five against the NL East and 10-2 in their last 12 home games against a team with a winning record.


Slumping

Zach Duke, Pittsburgh Pirates (4-7, 7.92)


Duke is winless in his last seven starts, conceding 27 earned runs in that span. He is coming off an embarrassing loss to the Colorado Rockies in which he surrendered nine earned runs on 10 hits in just five IP.

The left-hander is 0-2 with a lofty 12.82 ERA and 2.40 WHIP in his last three outings and has relinquished two homers in each of his last three starts.

The Padres are 0-4 in their last four against the NL West and are 3-13 in their last 16 against the San Diego Padres.


Brian Bannister, Kansas City Royals (7-8, 5.49)

Bannister has just three wins in his last 10 starts and has relinquished 23 earned runs and nine walks in his last four starts.

Bannister is 0-1 in his last three starts, posting a 9.82 ERA and 1.70 WHIP. In his last two home starts, the right-hander has relinquished 12 earned runs in 10 IP and is also 0-1 and has a 10.80 ERA in one start this season against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

The Royals are 0-4 in their last four in KC and are 36-84 in their last 120 against the AL East. They are also 6-15 in their last 21 against Tampa Bay.

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Re: MLB News and Notes July 25

Friday's best MLB bets
Covers.com

Florida vs. Chicago Cubs (-175, 9½)

The wind is blowing straight out to center field at about 7 mph today at Wrigley Field. Thats not much at most parks, but in Chicago its enough to give pitchers an ulcer.

Ryan Dempster puts his ridiculous 10-1 home record on the line against a Marlins club that sits just two games back in the NL East. That could keep the total low and give some nice value to the over when the line comes out.

Pick: Over


Seattle vs. Toronto (-160, 9)

We could go into a lot of detail about this game, but sometimes its better to let the numbers do the talking.

Seattles Miguel Batista has a 17.55 ERA over his last three starts and the Mariners are 5-11 in his outings this year. Batista has been bouncing between the bullpen and the starting staff and now that the Ms are on a five-game losing streak, he?ll get another shot at a start.

The Jays bats have recently come alive, so his prospects for staying out of the pen arent looking good.

Pick: Blue Jays


Arizona vs. San Francisco (+125, 7)

There havent been many seven-run totals in the majors this season and on Friday this is one of two. The other one is in the Nationals-Dodgers game.

This total has more to do with Danny Harens 1.23 ERA over his past three starts than anything. Hes only seeing a line of -135 though, because the Giants are coming off a three-game winning streak.

San Francisco also swept the last series between these two clubs back in May so youd have to think the D-backs would like to return the favor against the divisional basement dweller.

Pick: Arizona   

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