MLB News and Notes July 29

MLB News and Notes July 29

Profitable Pitching
By Josh Jacobs

While most of the pitchers listed in this column have only logged in a maximum of three starts as of the post All-Star break, the positive trends noted could make for a good case on backing these improved hurlers down the stretch.

The first slinger we turn to is Milwaukee’s C.C. Sabathia (10-8, 3.33 ERA). Starting his first game in a Brewers’ uniform on Jul. 8, the powerful lefty has gone 4-0 and is registering a bat splintering 1.82 ERA. He’s averaging a very effective 7.8 innings of work per start in five appearances to the mound for Milwaukee, with three starts witnessing Sabathia going nine innings.

His pitch count has consistently swelled above the 100 mark (an average of 111.8 pitches in those five outings). With the Brew Crew’s offense supplying Sabathia with 3.8 runs of support per start, the jury is in that the 290-pound force on the slab has executed the fast ball and 10-to-4 slider with excellent results. Before the mid summer classic descended upon Yankee Stadium, Sabathia was struggling with 3.43 K/BB. Since the halfway mark, the lefty has raised that stat to 5.00 K/BB, closer to his outstanding 2007 Cy Young number of 5.65 B/KK.

Books have anticipated Sabathia’s improvement after moving over to Milwaukee, installing him as much as a $2.35 favorite in a win over Cincinnati on Jul. 13.

With all the positive talk, pay attention to how Sabathia rebounds from his last start on Monday. The seven-year vet was tagged by the hot hitting Chicago Cubs for nine hits and four runs in only 6.2 innings. Sabathia will make his next scheduled start on Saturday against Atlanta.

Colorado’s Ubaldo Jimenez (7-9, 3.80) is another example of turning up the heat in the second-half. The Dominican Republic native has been spot on in his last three starts, tossing 22 innings for three wins. A 0.86 WHIP in the post All-Star period has been lights out, but a team receiving 9.4 runs of support per nine innings for Jimenez adds a huge comfort factor. In his last three wins, the Rockies have outscored opponents 26-4.

Aside from turning bettors’ heads toward Jimenez and his recent accomplishments, the ‘under’ is 8-2 in his last 10 starts. The next outing for Colorado’s right-hander will be on Friday versus Florida.

On a four-game winning streak, Randy Johnson (8-7, 4.58) has given the Diamondbacks a good reason to celebrate. Johnson has been able to face adversity in the face by recovering from a six-game slump stretching from Jun 3. to Jul. 1. Since then the lanky lefty has gone on to surrender five runs in his last four starts. In his last two wins, Johnson has skunked the opposition by locking down batters for zero runs scored.
Lefties are hitting a .217 BA against Arizona starter Randy Johnson this season.     
Lefties are hitting .217 against Arizona starter Randy Johnson this season. (AP Images)     

Opposing teams have been unable to hit the “Big Unit” with consistency as 26 fly balls ranks third best in the post All-Star period. A .216 BAA, a .231 on base percentage allowed coupled with a .486 OPS are all evidence of Johnson getting the job done. In just the last four wins, Johnson has amassed a payout of +372 units.

Randy’s next start will be on Friday versus the L.A. Dodgers.

Andy Pettitte (12-7, 3.76) doesn’t necessarily fit the mold of improving pitchers after the mid-season break but we bettors and handicappers alike can’t overlook this Yankee starter. His 9-2 record in the last 13 starts equates to a backer's best friend. Whiffing out 5.3 batters per game indicates that Pettitte still has the finesse to get the job done and with the ‘under’ going 8-1 in the last nine games, there’s no question that opponents are having a difficult time keying on this lefties stuff.

While right-handed batters have clobbered Pettitte for a .313 BA so far this season, the post All-Star break has served justice. The pinstripe starter has held batters to a season low .184 BAA in his last two starts, giving up just nine hits, four runs (two of them earned) and one long ball to boot.

Even with Pettitte making his next start in Yankee Stadium against the AL West leading Angels, keep a keen eye on future road starts. In 11 games on the mound away from home, the 13-year old craft lefty has been dominant with seven wins and three losses. A .275 BAA isn’t the greatest number to look at but protecting the defensive end of the game by allowing 2.8 runs per game speaks volumes. With the ‘under’ going 9-2 in those 11 road starts, total players may want to do some homework in preparation for Pettitte’s next road start in Texas (sometime next week).

vegasinsider.com.

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Diamond Preview
By Matt Fargo

Wednesday, July 30th

St. Louis Cardinals at Atlanta Braves 7:10 PM ET


The Cardinals entered the week trailing the Cubs by four games in the National League Central and if a charge is going to be made, it may start tonight. Chris Carpenter will be making his season debut and his first start since opening day of last season. He will be limited to about 90 pitches but his presence alone can be a huge lift. Jair Jurrjens gets the opposing call for the Braves and he continues to shine. He is 10-5 with a 3.02 ERA on the season and he has allowed no runs in four of his last seven starts. Possible value in him here.

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MLB money arms: Week of July 28
By DAVID CHAN

This column has produced a 19-7 record over the past six weeks, proving that a little homework can go a long way when it comes to building baseball bankrolls.

Mike Pelfrey, New York Mets, Wednesday at Florida

Would it be wrong to say that Mike Pelfrey is the new John Maine? He’s stepped in and done an excellent job in the Mets rotation this season about a year ahead of schedule, like Maine last year.

The Mets are a perfect 9-0 in his last nine starts and he’s allowed a run or less in six of those outings. You have to like the way he bounced back after getting rocked two starts back in Cincinnati. He held a tough Cardinals lineup to one run over seven innings in a 7-2 Mets victory on Friday night. I don’t believe he’ll have any trouble taking his show on the road on Wednesday.


Dan Haren, Arizona Diamondbacks, Wednesday at San Diego

This looks like another favorable spot for the D-backs All-Star. He has been hampered by a lack of run support at times this year, but that shouldn’t be an issue this time around. We saw the Snakes’ bats come to life over the weekend in San Francisco and that should carry over into this series.

Haren has given up two runs or fewer in eight consecutive starts and has lasted at least seven innings in nine of his last 10 trips. In 30 career innings against the Padres, he owns a magnificent 1.50 ERA. We may have to deal with a little juice, but I’m confident Arizona will get it done behind Haren on Wednesday.

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Wednesday's MLB streaking starting pitchers
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Streaking

Livan Hernandez, Minnesota Twins (10-7, 5.31 ERA)


Livan Hernandez isn’t the first pitcher who comes to mind when you think of streaking hurlers. But when he’s under the blinding white tarp of the Metrodome, he carries some incredible value.

Hernandez is 8-1 at home this season with a 3.91 ERA. Overall, the Twins are 10-2 in the righty’s home outings and they’ve given him a pile of run support that has helped the over go 8-4 in those games.

Hernandez is 1-1 against the White Sox this season, but both starts were on the road.


Josh Johnson, Florida Marlins (0-0, 3.71 ERA)

Johnson only has three starts for the Fish this season, but they’ve won all of them. Even better for the bettor – the 24-year-old righty was an underdog in all three contests.

He tied a career high eight strikeouts in his most recent start, a 3-2 win over the Cubs over the weekend.

Johnson has returned to the Marlins after a year-long rehabilitation process following Tommy John surgery. Florida bettors should take note of this hurler before oddsmakers catch on and start raising his odds.


Slumping

Luis Mendoza, Texas Rangers (2-4, 7.16 ERA)


The line for this Mendoza is just going to keep growing if he continues to pitch like this. The Rangers have only won one of his four starts since earning his way out of the bullpen.

Overall, Texas is 3-7 in Mendoza’s starts this year and he hasn’t done much lately to suggest that record will be a winning one any time soon. The right-hander’s ERA has swollen to 11.91 over his past three starts, allowing over bettors to reap the rewards in two of those games.

Mendoza hopes he can turn things around against the lowly Seattle Mariners on Wednesday. 

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Baseball Today

St. Louis at Atlanta (7 p.m. EDT). Chris Carpenter makes his 2008 debut for the Cardinals. The 2005 NL Cy Young Award winner hasn't pitched in the majors since last year's season opener because of an elbow injury. He faces Jair Jurrjens, who is 10-5 with a 3.02 ERA in his first season with the Braves.

STARS

- John Lackey, Angels, came within two outs of a no-hitter to lead Los Angeles past Boston 6-2. He gave up Dustin Pedroia's ninth-inning single followed by Kevin Youkilis' homer before finishing with a two-hitter.

- Albert Pujols, Cardinals, hit a tying homer in the sixth and scored the go-ahead run in the eighth inning of St. Louis' 8-3 win over Atlanta.

- Carlos Zambrano, Cubs, pitched eight shutout innings with a season-high nine strikeouts to help Chicago beat Ben Sheets and the Milwaukee Brewers 7-1.

- Matt Garza, Rays, threw a five-hitter for his first major league shutout as Tampa Bay beat Roy Halladay for the third time in three games this season, 3-0.

- Carlos Lee, Astros, hit his 12th career grand slam in Houston's 6-2 win over Cincinnati.

HOLLYWOOD BLOCKBUSTER

The Los Angeles Angels have the best record in baseball. That didn't stop them from making a bold move two days before the trade deadline. With their sights set firmly on the World Series, the Angels pulled off a huge deal to acquire slugger Mark Teixeira from the fading Atlanta Braves. Los Angeles sent first baseman Casey Kotchman and minor league pitcher Steve Marek to the Braves, who raised the white flag on this season after a rash of key injuries. Teixeira can become a free agent after the season.

HIT MACHINE

Ichiro Suzuki reached 3,000 combined hits in the major leagues and the Japanese League with a first-inning single against the Texas Rangers. The Seattle Mariners leadoff man hit a soft liner to left-center on the game's first pitch from Luis Mendoza. Standing on first base, Suzuki received an ovation from the Texas crowd and tipped his helmet when his achievement was posted on the scoreboard. The 34-year-old outfielder has 1,722 hits in 1,224 games during eight seasons with the Mariners. He had 1,278 hits over 951 games in nine seasons with the Orix Blue Wave of Japan's Pacific League.

INSPIRING STARTERS

Diamondbacks lefty Doug Davis retired his first 20 batters before Brian Giles' two-out single in the seventh inning ended his bid for a perfect game. Davis, who underwent surgery for cancer this season, combined with two relievers on a two-hitter in Arizona's 3-0 victory at San Diego. ... Jason Johnson tossed six sharp innings in his first major league start in nearly two years, pitching the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 2-0 victory over San Francisco. Johnson, who spent most of the season in Triple-A, allowed five hits while walking none and striking out three. The 34-year-old right-hander, who has pitched for eight big league teams starting in 1997, earned his first win since May 28, 2006, with Cleveland.

BELTWAY GRIDLOCK

After falling 2-1 to Philadelphia, Washington has lost seven straight games - and the past 14 to be decided by one or two runs. The Nationals have scored a major league-low 389 runs, less than 3.7 per game, and have a total of three runs in their past five games.

AT HOME IN THE BRONX

Baltimore's Daniel Cabrera pitched effectively into the eighth inning before being ejected from a 7-6 victory over the New York Yankees for hitting Alex Rodriguez with a pitch. Cabrera improved to 3-0 with a 3.15 ERA in three starts against New York this year. He is 4-3 with a 3.63 ERA in eight games at Yankee Stadium, including 4-1 with a 2.86 ERA in his past five starts. ``It's always good to pitch here,'' said Cabrera, who came within two outs of a no-hitter at Yankee Stadium in 2006. ``This is one of the best ballparks ever.''

READY TO RALLY

Justin Morneau's three-run double capped a five-run fifth inning that helped Minnesota rally from a four-run deficit to beat the Chicago White Sox 6-5. The Twins pulled within a half-game of Chicago, which has been atop the AL Central since May 17. ... Pittsburgh came back to beat Colorado for the second consecutive game, rallying for a 6-4 victory. The Pirates, who fell behind 3-0 on Monday before winning 8-4, fought back from a 4-0 deficit in the third inning.

LUCKY 13

David Wright scored in his 13th consecutive game during the New York Mets' 4-1 win over Florida, breaking Carlos Beltran's team record set in 2006.

STREAKING

Kansas City's Gil Meche (9-9) pitched seven strong innings with eight strikeouts for a 5-2 victory at Oakland. He is 6-1 with a 2.66 ERA in his past 10 starts. ... Aubrey Huff hit his second homer in two days and 22nd of the season for Baltimore in a 7-6 victory over the New York Yankees. Huff tied a career high with four hits and is 17-for-34 in an eight-game hitting streak. He is batting .389 with 13 homers and 40 RBIs in his past 42 games.

ONE-SIDED

Armando Galarraga (9-4) allowed three runs in 5 1-3 innings to get the win for Detroit in an 8-5 victory at Cleveland. He is 3-0 this season against the Indians. ... Baltimore's Kevin Millar is batting .362 (17-for-47) with six homers and nine RBIs against the Yankees this year. He has a .302 career average against New York with 21 homers and 55 RBIs in 378 at-bats.

GOAT TO HERO

Ramon Vazquez made up for three errors with a two-run double off J.J. Putz in the ninth inning that gave Texas an 11-10 victory over Seattle. The Rangers, who wasted a seven-run lead after three innings, compensated for a season-high five errors with 18 hits.

SPEAKING

``I wish I was strong enough to do that when I played. I had to use a water cooler.'' - Cubs manager Lou Piniella, after pitcher Carlos Zambrano popped out on an attempted bunt and broke his bat by slamming it over his knee in frustration.

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Wednesday's best MLB bets
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Seattle vs. Texas (-180, 11½)

This is the highest total on the MLB board for good reason today. The Rangers have scored at least five runs in their last five games while the M’s have scored at least five in their last three.

The two pitchers climbing the mound tonight also have a combined ERA of higher than 17.00 over the past three games.

If you need more numbers, the Rangers have played over the total in their last seven outings.

Pick: Over


Kansas City vs. Oakland (-135, 8½)

The A’s have lost 11 of their last 13 games to plummet them into the losing money category on the season in Covers.com’s money standings.

The reason for Oakland’s struggles are obvious: hitting. The A’s are the worst hitting club since the All-Star break with a lowly .219 average. Most recently, the first two games of their series with Kansas City have fallen under the slight totals of 7½ , set for both games.

Oakland reached a moment of ugliness Tuesday night when it struck out 12 times. Rookie right-hander Sean Gallagher tries to turn it around for Oakland tonight. He’s been solid since getting traded from the Cubs in the Rich Harden deal with just five earned runs against in 17 1/3 innings.

Pick: Under 


Arizona vs. San Diego (+120, 6½)

Danny Haren has been about as rock-solid as a pitcher can get lately. Haren has allowed more than two runs only once in his last 10 starts (he gave up three in that game) and he pitched at least seven innings in all but one of those games. He has a 1.17 ERA and Arizona has three wins in his three starts.

The total of 6½ runs pretty much says it all about Haren’s performance. Petco Park is pitcher-friendly, sure, but this is one of the lowest totals of the season.

Arizona is 7-3 in its last 10 games and the best part for their bettors is the D-backs haven’t seen a line of higher than -139 in that time.

Pick: D-Backs

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Wednesday's MLB Research
By IndianCowboy

Tampa Bay vs. Toronto

Note that Tampa Bay won 3-0 over Halladay as a nice +140 dog and that shouldn't be all that surprising given that they beat Halladay twice at home and they beat him once again, similar to how Johan Santana cannot pitch against the Indians, it's the same way with Halladay, his luck is never good against the Devil Rays as they are a great fast ball hitting team. It seems they just have his number. Jackson and Richmond face each other in this afternoon contest. Jackso is actually 3-2 with a 3.71 era as the Rays have stuck with him and he looks to be having a better season consequently for that faith they have showed in him. He has pitched 3 of 4 quality starts, has revenge against Toronto as in May he pitched 8 innings of shutout ball against them but in July at home he was rocked for more than 12 era. Richmond makes his first start at home, the thing is although Jackson has revenge against Toronto, the Jays come off a loss with their ace and got shutout yesterday and Richmond is a newbie so the Rays will get to him the 2nd time through the lineup, a small lean on the over, but I can't take overs with the bluejays involved, no thanks.

Baltimore vs. Yankees

After winning handily in the first game of this series as Baltimore got it done big time on the road scoring double-digit runs against the Yanks, they did it again on the road as Cabrera bounced-back with a win as the Orioles won 7-6 yesterday. Hell, anything can happen and I'm tempted to take the Orioles here at +260, why the hell not, they have won back to back ballgames on the road cashing as huge dogs, but the question is, do the Yankees lose 3 in a row at home with one of their new young studs on the mound? Sarfate makes his first start of the year at Yankee stadium, I actually expect him to pitch well as in 4 inns of work in relief appearances against the Yankees this year, he has yet to yield a run. Chamberlain has yet to give up a run to the Orioles in 4 inns of relief work this year as well, the Orioles are bats are rolling right now though, he does come off back to back quality starts at Oakland where he had a 1.5 era, he comes off 7 inns of brilliance in Boston where he didn't yield a run and the Yanks won 1-0 as he gave up just 3 hits and defeated Beckett as he struckout 9. To be honest, I'm tempted to toss 1 unit at the Orioles to yield +2.6 units, after all, normally I would toss 3 units to yield +2.73 net units and tossing 1 unit on the Orioles is not a bad idea at all here as frankly, I have this game at a 40% chance for the O's winning, sure they can get blown out, but the risk is worth it imo - after all, the Yanks haven't scored against Sarfate this year either.

Kansas City vs. Oakland

KC and Oakland are tied at 0 as I write this in the 3rd currently. Bannister faces Gallagher here. Bannister had 4 straight terrible starts, but finally bounced-back with a quality start at home against TB only to lose, he is 2-5 with a 8.6 era on the road this year, he had a 9 era against Oakland last year on the road, this play is worth even more value if KC manages to win today as Oakland will be on the bounce-back against a non-quality pitcher, Gallagher has faced some tough lineups and has done well this year with a 2.57 era against the Angels at home, 3.6 era against the Yanks on the road, and a 1.69 era against Texas at home, but Texas had rocked him for 9 hits and he gave up 5 walks in that ballgame, and the A's went on to lose that game 4-16, although his earned run average was good for that game, overall, it was a ****ty game for him and consequently he should bounce-back today. To be brutally honest, the fact that it is only -130 makes me nervous with Oakland at home so that itself might be enough for me to lay off but Gallagher is on a bounce-back which brings me back to this play.

Angels vs. Boston

The Angels get it done behind Lackey as I was shocked to see how much Buccholz was being given credit despite being at home as he had pitched 5 of 6 nonquality starts, the Angels consequently got it done easily winning 6-2 with Lackey on the bounce-back yesterday. Do the Red Sox lose yet again at home? Saunders is 7-3 with a 2.41 era on the road, despite winning at Baltimore he pitched over a 4 era so he is technically on a bounce-back for his skills, he had a 4.5 and a 2.7 era last times out against Boston on the road and at home and the Angels won both games, Beckett gave up 9 hits in 7 inns and lost 0-1 last time out to Chamberlain and has actually lost back to back ballgames as before that it was too the Angels on the road, Beckett actually is only 9-7 this year, and he gave up 9 hits in 8 inns to the Angels on the road earlier this year and lost 2-4 to Saunders. I know Boston has lost back to back to the Angels and Beckett is on the mound, but the Angels have had success hitting him and Saunders is on a bounce-back of sorts today, heck, I can see the Angels getting it done on the road and great value here as well at +156.

Detroit vs. Cleveland

I nearly took Cleveland yesterday but I laid off and glad I did as Cleveland took it up the chin with the Detroit bounce-back which is what I feared as Detroit ended up winning 8-5. I didn't trust Ginter enough as he was only making his 3rd start so that is the reason why I laid off the play and it worked out, just goes to show when you've been doing this for the 5th year, you pick up a few things and that was a play that I would have played as early as 2 years ago, but am glad I laid off. Robertson is 3-5 with a 6.83 era on the road, he hasn't won a game since June 21st, the Tigers come off a nice win on the road yesterday, not sure if they can repeat it today with Lee on the mound for the Indians, Robertson has yet to face Cleveland this year, his team lost all 4 games that he pitched against cleveland last year as they were outscored 11-19, the run-line cashed in 3 of those 4 games. Lee is remarkable at home as he is 6-0 with a 1.71. He beat Detroit in his last start 8-2, tough to take run-line on any given day, but it is worth it here in my opinion with Lee given his strength at home.

Seattle vs. Texas

Note that the over in Texas is hitting at a remarkable pace as once again another over hits as I write this they are in the top of the 9th and 17 runs have been scored in this ballgame, remarkably, if the research serves me right, there were some bounce-back trends on this game too, it just seems Texas pitching doesn't hold up but Texas hitting can get to anyone. Texas was of course looking to bounce-back from a tough loss the other day as well and it looks like they are doing it as of now if their closer can hold on. Batista gave up 6 runs in less than 3 inns last time he faced the Rangers at home, he is 1-5 with a 5.03 era and 3-9 with a 6.96 era overall this year. Padilla did win his last start 14-6 but had a 7.5 era, he has won 5 of his last 7 and Texas has won all 3 of his starts against Seattle this year, albeit, 2 were by 1 run so the rl did not cash, Batista is on a bounce-back against Texas, but I can't bet on Seattle at the same token, I can't take an under at a Texas home game given the nutcase scoring they have put up this year, no thanks on this wild west showdown.

Whitesox vs. Minny

This was my POD and my only play yesterday with Minny at home facing the newbie and with Perkins on the bounce-back, granted, Perkins got hit around given that the White Sox were on a bounce-back after getting drilled the other day 7-0, but the Twins managed to put up a 5 spot during the 2nd time during the rotation as they got to the new kid eventually after seeing his stuff and consequently ended up winning the game. Floyd is technically on a bounce-back as he had a 4.5 era last time out on the road against Detroit, he has done well against Minny this year as he is 2-1 winning his last 2 starts with 0.00 era and a 2.57 era as he has given up just 2 runs in his last 15 inns to the Twins this year, Whitesox are on a bounce-back as is Floyd, but Twins look to avoid getting beat 3 times in a row by this guy, Floyd won 7-1 and 12-2 last 2 ballgames against the Twins, Hernandez is on a bounce-back and he got rocked against the Whitesox in his last start so he is 1-1 in quality starts against them this year, if anything a lean on the under, but there are better plays out there imo than that, no thanks.

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