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MLB News and Notes July 27

MLB News and Notes July 27

Sunday's Pitching Profile
By Josh Jacobs

Let’s step away from the usual tip sheet for the time being and focus on slingers who have the greatest chance of netting big bucks on Sunday. A quick glance at the 15-game, afternoon dominated card reveals three starters that already look to have backers thinking green.

One of those hurlers is St. Louis ace Kyle Lohse (12-2, 3.35 ERA). It was on May 8 against the Rockies that Lohse recorded his last loss in a 9-3 pounding. We can mull over those defeatist numbers, but what good would that do given the almost three-month stretch since that “L” was recorded.

In nine away starts this season, Lohse has gone 6-1 with his Cardinals team earning backers a lump sum of +328 on the money line. In nine of those contests, books decided to install St. Louis as a favorite only three times. There’s no doubt that when this right-hander takes the mound on the road, backers have seen a pretty penny come their way.

Now all hasn’t been fun and games with Lohse marked as the visiting pitcher. The seven-year veteran has been susceptible to giving up a high .320 BAA versus both righties and lefties, but those opponents haven’t been able to cash in with men on base. Lohse has been responsible for giving up 2.5 earned runs per game in those nine road starts.

Supporting the Cards with Lohse on the mound is his lone, one win in seven innings pitched versus the Mets on Jun. 30. One run on five hits gave St. Louis all it needed to pull off the 7-1 win.

Although books have yet to post opening numbers on this contest, we can expect New York to be a slight home favorite with eight-game winner, Johan Santana (8-7, 3.05) slated to take starting duties. It’s just a difficult job to gauge Santana’s recent performances due to the fact that his numbers have been compared to a pendulum swing. From giving up five runs and two long balls in a win over Cincinnati on Jul. 17 to holding Philadelphia batters to just two runs on eight hits in his last start, inconsistency is the best word that comes to mind.

And let’s not forget that the Metropolitans are 31-19 at home this season, 22-12 since Jerry Manuel took over as manager and are sitting atop the NL East. New York’s offense has wreaked havoc on Philadelphia and St. Louis for 16 runs in the last three games, while its pitching game has suffocated batters for just six runs allowed.

Gametime is slated to begin at 1:10 p.m. EDT.

Ervin Santana (11-4, 3.37 ERA)

While we can expect the Angels to be listed as a respectable road favorite in their 1:35 p.m. EDT meeting in Baltimore, it’s still worth breaking down Ervin Santana’s explosive 8-1 record with a 3.44 ERA on the road this season.

Santana has been guilty for recording an outstanding 2.5 runs per game allowed in his last six road starts with batters on both sides of the plate struggling to make contact for a .239 BA in 12 starts away from home in 2008. Mix in 4.5 runs of support per start from L.A.’s offense and there’s great reason to back Santana on Sunday afternoon.

But with the good comes the bad and bettors should be concerned about Santana’s 1-1 record and the Halo’s 1-3 record during day games (when Santana takes the mound). Those numbers have been consistent when looking back at the last three years. The right-hander might be 12-9 during day games over this period but a 5.81 ERA coupled with a four runs saced per game lends itself to scrutiny.

Then again this is a Baltimore team who’s tallied up three wins and six losses since emerging from the All-Star break.

The Orioles are ranked at the bottom of the barrel in almost every defensive category (26th in ERA, 28th in WHIP, 27th in strikeouts and 27th in quality starts) and a 3-10 record in their last 13 meetings against the Angels isn’t a very convincing statistic in head-to-head matchups.

Sidney Ponson (6-1, 4.02 ERA)

Ten-year veteran starter, Sidney Ponson is a slinger who’s gone 28-41, while constructing an unattractive 6.74 ERA from 2004 to 2007. Call it an aberration, anomaly or any other word to indicate a change from status quo, but Ponson has been worth his weight for the Yankees.

Making his first start in a pinstripes uniform on Jun. 27, Ponson has gone 2-0 in four starts. Allowing seven runs against his former Texas team on Jul. 2 could have very well been an indication of a pitcher gone awry. However, in his two starts since then, the Aruba native has worked in a total of 11.2 innings, giving up 14 hits and four earned runs. Then again, the Yankees’ offense has supplied Ponson with eight runs per start of support.

No question Sunday will be Ponson’s defining moment as a Yankee. In four starts over a three-year period versus the Red Sox, Ponson has been shelled for a .366 BAA, giving up 4.8 runs per game with 8½-hits per game in a total of four starts. A total of 13 base on ball in those 20.1 innings raises red flags as well.

What looks to be more disturbing is Ponson’s deplorable numbers in the month of July. The right-hander is 0-6 with an 8.24 ERA and a BAA of .323 in the past three years of service.

A quick look into the Boston clubhouse indicates that the bats have maintained a solid pace in July. Led by Dustin Pedroia (.390, 10 RBIs) and Manny Ramirez (.382, 10 RBIs), Red Sox nation has combined for a team batting average of .277, while averaging 4.4 runs per game. Talking about Ramirez, reports indicate that the Boston brass has been at ends with the left-fielder. Reports remain sketchy at best about his latest condition, but Ramirez chose not to appear in the Friday lineup (Boston lost Game 1 to New York 1-0) from what he reports as soreness in his right knee. The saga continues with Man-Ram and the Red Sox organization.

The Yanks won't just have the consistent Sox offense to worry about. Boston starter Jon Lester (8-3, 3.20) will receive the ball in his 22 start of the season. Lester is coming off a skunking over the Mariners in which the southpaw protected a 4-0 victory by giving up eight hits in 7.1 innings.  The lefty slinger is 5-0 in his last nine starts.

ESPN will be providing full coverage of this contest slated to begin at 8:05 p.m. EDT.

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Re: MLB News and Notes July 27

Baseball Today

St. Louis at New York Mets (1:10 p.m. EDT). Johan Santana, who dominated the Phillies only to watch his bullpen blow a three-run lead in the ninth inning his last time out, tries again for his ninth win of the season against Kyle Lohse and the Cardinals.


- Albert Pujols, Cardinals, hit a two-run homer in the 14th inning for his fifth hit of the night, lifting St. Louis to a 10-8 win over the New York Mets.

- Torii Hunter, Angels, homered twice, had five RBIs and scored four runs to carry the Los Angeles Angels over Baltimore 11-6.

- Carl Crawford, Rays, hit a tiebreaking, two-run triple with two outs in the eighth inning to send the Tampa Bay Rays to a 5-3 victory over Kansas City.

- Derek Lowe, Dodgers, allowed one hit over eight innings and Los Angeles beat Washington 6-0.

- Carlos Quentin and Jermaine Dye, White Sox, hit back-to-back homers and drove in two runs apiece, leading Chicago to a 7-6 victory over Detroit.


Skip Schumaker become the first Cardinals player to have six hits in a game since Terry Moore on Sept. 5, 1935, against Boston. He went 6-for-7 to help St. Louis beat the Mets 10-8 in 14 innings.


Josh Hamilton hit a three-run homer to increase his major league-leading RBI total to 103 in the Texas Rangers' 9-4 win over Oakland on Saturday. The night before, Hamilton hit a two-run shot and reached 100 RBIs for the first time in his career - in his 99th game of the season, no less.


The AL Central-leading White Sox won their fourth straight game beating Detroit 7-6 to extend their advantage to 7 1/2 games over third-place Detroit. Minnesota beat Cleveland 11-4 to stay 3 1/2 back of Chicago.


Brandon Webb struck out eight to pass 1,000 for his career and become the second pitcher in the majors with 14 victories. The Arizona Ace allowed three runs and four hits in seven innings during the Diamondbacks' 5-3 win over San Francisco on Saturday night.


Milwaukee took a share of the NL Central lead with a 6-4 victory over the Houston Astros on Saturday night. Milwaukee has won nine of 10 to tie the Cubs, who lost 3-2 to the Florida Marlins in 12 innings.


The New York Yankees got within a a game of second-place Boston in the AL East and remained unbeaten since the All-Star break with a 10-3 win over the Red Sox on Saturday night. Tampa Bay beat Kansas City 5-3 to move two games ahead of the Red Sox.


Trevor Hoffman got one of the easiest and most unexpected of his record 544 saves, retiring the only batter he faced after Jose Bautista hit a solo homer with two outs in the ninth inning of San Diego's 9-6 win at Pittsburgh on Saturday night. It also gave Hoffman his 14th season with at least 20 saves, the most in major league history according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Lee Smith previously was the only other pitcher with at least 20 saves in 13 seasons.


Looking for an upgrade at third base as they make a push for the playoffs, the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Casey Blake from the Cleveland Indians on Saturday for two minor leaguers Saturday. The Indians, who also sent cash to the Dodgers as part of the trade, received catcher Carlos Santana and right-hander Jonathan Meloan. The versatile Blake was in Los Angeles' starting lineup Saturday night against Washington, playing third base and batting sixth. The Indians also acquired pitcher Anthony Reyes from the Cardinals for minor league pitcher Luis Perdomo. ... Xavier Nady scored a run and Damaso Marte struck out David Ortiz in a key situation after the New York Yankees finalized a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates.


``We're happy tonight. We haven't shaken hands in a week. It was a nice win for us.'' - Twins manager Ron Gardenhire after Minnesota broke a five-game losing streak with an 11-4 win over Cleveland on Saturday night.

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Re: MLB News and Notes July 27

Sunday's streaking and slumping starting pitchers


Randy Johnson, Arizona Diamondbacks (7-7, 4.89)

Don’t be fooled by Johnson’s average record, the Big Unit has been dominating opponents as of late. Johnson is 3-0 with a solid 2.33 ERA and 0.62 WHIP in his past three starts.

The left-hander has conceded just five earned runs in his last 19 IP and is fresh off a spectacular two-hit outing against the Chicago Cubs. He also has a 1.50 season ERA against the San Francisco Giants.

The Diamondbacks are 5-1 in the Big Units’ last six Sunday starts and the Giants are 1-4 in Barry Zito’s last five starts against the Diamondbacks.

Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox (8-3, 3.20)

Lester, who has been an excellent addition to Boston’s rotation, is 2-0 in his last three starts with a 2.00 ERA. He is also 4-1 with a 2.93 ERA at Fenway Park.

Lester is unbeaten in his last nine and has led the Red Sox to a solid 8-1 mark in that span. His sole setback came at the hands of Oakland Athletics on May 25.

The lefty is 1-0 this season against the New York Yankees and has a 3.77 career-ERA against the club. Boston is also 17-5 in Lester’s last 22 home starts and is 13-3 in Lester’s last 16 starts against the AL East.


Garrett Olson, Baltimore Orioles (6-5, 6.11)

Olson has just two wins in his last 10 starts and is 0-2 in his last three and has an 11.30 ERA in that period. He has also relinquished 18 earned runs in his past 18.4 IP.

Olson is 0-1 in his last five at home and is 4-2 with a 6.16 career-ERA at Oriole Park. He has also surrendered 20 earned runs and five home runs in his last five home starts.

Baltimore is 0-4 in Olson’s last four starts. The Orioles are also 3-10 in their last 13 against the Los Angeles Angels.

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Re: MLB News and Notes July 27

Sunday's best MLB bets

Atlanta at Philadelphia (-140, 9½)

Would somebody please tell me what Joe Blanton has ever done to earn this reputation. some reason he’s counted among the upper echelon of MLB starting pitchers. And he garners prices like this from the oddsmakers.

In this situation, I’d much rather put my money on Jorge Campillo and the Braves. Campillo has a better ERA, he’s been a moneymaker all season, and he’s been light’s out on the road all year.

The Braves also get the edge today because Philadelphia’s bullpen got a workout in last night’s razor-close 10-9 final with the Phillies as huge -270 favorites. Cole Hamels was chased early in the game and the Phillies had to call on six relievers to cover 5 1/3 innings.

Pick: Braves

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