MLB News and Notes August 2

MLB News and Notes August 2

Saturday's Tip Sheet
By Josh Jacobs

Cutting right to the chase, three 3:55 p.m. EDT contests are slated to air on FOX come Saturday. With another full weekend preparing to get underway, which pitching matchups might complement a win in the record books as well as a return to your wallet?

Here’s what we can expect from some of these marquee matchups just waiting in the arms of the MLB schedule.

L.A. Angels (Weaver) at N.Y. Yankees (Mussina) – 3:55 p.m. EDT on FOX


Since leaving the gate from the All-Star break, L.A. has had Angels on its side by going 11-2 in the last 12, sweeping Boston not once but twice in the month of July and now flexing its muscles against the Yankees.

While the pitching game has maintained the momentum that carried this team to the top of the division in the first half of the season, batting has now taken a front seat to the show. In the 13 games played since the break, the Angels are making contact for a .317 BA while driving in an average of 7.1 runs per game.

The positive results being produced have had a ripple effect on the entire team. Even starter Jeff Weaver (9-8, 4.11 ERA), who began the season with a 2-5 record in his first eight starts, has stepped up his game. Weaver, who will take the mound on Saturday, has held down opposing batters to scoring only 1.8 runs per game in his last six starts. But all isn’t picturesque in Weaver’s world as the starter has only averaged 5.2 innings of work in the same seven-game stretch.

The Pinstripes will be looking to protect a 34-25 home record. Still down -7.51 units on the money line and a debilitating loss of -1528 units on the run line continues to keep serious backers away from the Bronx.

The good news for bettors looking to support the Yankees is the club’s 11-3 record in their last 14 home games and a perfect 7-0 record in Mike Mussina’s (13-7, 3.56) last seven starts during Game 3 of a series.

On that note, New York has been unconscious in '08 with a 23-6 record in Game 3’s, while the Halo’s aren’t far off with a 20-13 record in the same situation.

The Yankees will look to fine tune a bullpen tossing meatballs for a 5.34 ERA in the last 10 games.

Total players listen up; the Angels are 6-4 on the ‘over’ in the last 10. New York has complimented that number by going 7-2-1 on the ‘over’ in its last 10. In their last 20 head-to-head meeting together the ‘over’ is 12-8, with the score going ‘over’ the set amount in the last five meetings.

Oakland (Eveland) at Boston (Lester) – 7:05 p.m. EDT

Talk about a team that’s lost in the shuffle of big news, outstanding performances and within the standings. Oakland has been on a sky dive freefall since the second-half of the ’08 season began. The A’s have taken in just two wins since Jul. 18, scoring a degrading 3.3 runs per game.

While the offense has been lackluster all season long (ranked 24th with 4.2 runs scored per game, 28th with a .247 BA and 29th worst with a .691 OPS), Oakland’s mainstay in the pitching department has seen unfavorable results in the rotation. Starting slingers are tossing a bloated 5.77 ERA in the last 10.

Road backers looking for the Athletics to take a rare win away from Boston must also focus on starting pitcher Dana Eveland (7-7, 3.88). The Oakland lefty is on a two-game slump entailing a profile of surrendering a total of 11 runs in only 14.1 innings of work (last three starts). On a brighter side, Eveland has seen the ‘under’ go 3-1 in his last four starts.

Look for Boston to be a heavy home favorite, especially with southpaw starter Jon Lester (9-3, 3.17) slated to toe the slab. Lester’s last lost came all the way back on May 25, with the second-year stud taking six straight wins in a total of 10 starts since then. He’s hovered around seven innings of work per start, but taking 5.3 runs of support per start from the team’s hot bats has worked wonders.

Oakland is 7-17 in the last 24 games played in Boston and is only 1-7 in its last eight road games. Boston on the other hand is a hot 22-5 in Lester’s last 27 starts on grass.

Ex-outfielder Manny Ramirez’s .299 BA with 68 RBIs and 20 homers will be hard to replace. Taking in Jason Bay from Pittsburgh should help fill the large shoes Ramirez left behind. Bay is swinging the bat for a seasonal .282 BA with 64 RBIs and 22 fence clearing shots.

Arizona (Petit) at L.A. Dodgers (Kuroda) – 10:10 p.m. EDT

If you’re looking for a road team that’s got a fighting chance of leaving with a win look into the Diamondbacks on Saturday night.

For starters, the Dodgers will send out right-hander Hiroki Kuroda (5-8, 4.40) to the mound and his stuff has been less then adequate. Kuroda is coming off a nine-hit, seven run pounding in only 3.2 innings. Another good reason for the Arizona play lies in the fact that Japanese slinger was wounded by the D-Backs in only two innings of work. Kuroda was handed a no-decision in this contest but Arizona’s bats tagged him for eight hits and six runs on only 60 pitches.

Then there’s the Diamondbacks .276 BA with 5.5 runs scored per game since the mid-summer classic rounded into the second-half. Arizona’s Mark Reynolds, Chris Snyder and Conor Jackson have been big names at the plate, combining for a grand total of 31 RBIs in the last 13 games.

The D-Backs have certainly turned up the heat in recent games, going 8-2 in their last 10 (outscoring their opponents by a huge 45-13 gap). Total players have also collected paper at the window with Arizona going 9-2 on the ‘over’ in its last 11 road games.

The Diamondbacks are 9-4 in their last 14 head-to-head meetings against the Dodgers. In 2007, Arizona went 7-4 against L.A., collecting profits on the ‘under’ that year with a 7-4 record.

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Re: MLB News and Notes August 2

Yankees are a hot topic, but are they a hot bet?
By GREG GAMBLE   

Even following news Jorge Posada was finito, the vibe around New York still had the Bombers gradually overtaking the Rays to join Boston in the postseason. 

When they opened nicely out of the break and snagged a quality hitter, and added a big-name backstop, it only fueled all the chatter, which means Vegas is now ready to let the public overvalue the Pinstripes once again.

As for my Yanks investment outlook, I look at two things: team trends and player predictions

Team Trends

• With the Yankees only a game over .500 on the road and still usually the heavy favorite, there’s no value taking on the extra juice, especially considering the starting staff has overachieved thru the first half.

• Regardless of the venue, New York is just two games over .500 under the lights while winning 62 percent of their games during the day. Just like my Grandpa, they get tired after 4:00 supper.

• The AARP Yanks are sporting a sub-.500 record away from the NBA’s favorite smoking flavor: grass.  Scratch those few games off the yellow pad boys.

PLAYER TRENDS

LF Johnny Damon

J.D. hasn’t hit over .285 in New York and with an arm that couldn’t throw out Kirstie Alley, he’s been a major liability in the field. But after consistently hitting near .310 all year and having more opportunities to DH, I expect his play to continue, but doubt it justifies an ATS play.

SS  Derek Jeter

The Yanks captain might be showing some age as he struggles to keep his average above .280 (hasn’t hit below .291 since 1996) and remains on pace for single-digit home runs for the first time in his career.  While I do believe he still has the balls in the clutch (and with the young hotties) without the firepower around him, he’s a slightly stronger David Eckstein.

RF  Bobby Abreu

Opening the game with three 34-year olds hasn’t been as dangerous since the Mitchell Report broke. While his .280 average isn’t cumbersome, sitting in the 3-hole with an OBP 50 points below his career average and a 17 home run pace isn’t waking up The Babe.

3B  Alex Rodriguez

A-Rod just can’t get away from the scrutiny surrounding his alleged relationship with Madonna. Even with numbers as dangerous as they come, eventually I expect the weight of the world to fall on the man everyone can’t wait to hate. While his power numbers may stay consistent, I expect the average to dip as the race tightens.

DH  Hideki Matsui / Xavier Nady

I doubt a rushed-back Matsui can handle the stick to hit .300 and another leg/foot injury won’t aid his power numbers. Obviously Nady would play left field, which would enable another 30-something to DH, but he needs to continue his fringe corner-OF All-Star numbers if the Yanks hope to cover more than 55 percent.

1B  Jason Giambi / Richie Sexson

I believe Giambi has spent after a decent softball slugging start. While the lefty/righty platoon sounds nice, Jeremy’s brother is out of gas and Sexton’s simply awful.

2B  Robinson Cano

After a dreadful start, Cano is hitting liners everywhere and probably needs a stronger place in the lineup to utilize his abilities. That said, I expect him to be the hottest hitter in the final months and to combine with Pudge to make the back-end of the lineup dangerous again.

C  Pudge Rodriguez

This acquisition enables a proven hitter to back up Cano. Pudge really has the same veteran worth as Posada, minus the power numbers. It's a solid move, but I expect the dollar expectations to rise as the Big Apple-balls swell, making it a wash in my eyes.

CF  Melky Cabrera

While still only 23 and in his third full season, the hype already seems to have faded for a starting CF rarely on base (.300 OBP) and lacking much else. Even if he gets hot, he’s still just a rich man’s Skip Shumaker.

SP Joba Chamberlain

While he is spectacular, I can’t see how Joba won’t tire from the midseason change in repertoire and an emotional playoff race the second time around.

SP Mike Mussina

As impressive as the 39 year-old’s ERA and ace-like winning percentage is, the fact is he’s accomplished it while right-handers are hitting .330 off him. After last season’s disaster, it’s tough to see how he continues to strand runners as the year wears on.

SP Andy Pettitte

Extremely close to his career averages, my guess is he doesn’t have to worry about calls from the Rocket about another comeback to keep him consistent.

SP Chien-Ming Wang / Darrell Rasner

Wang already had an ERA above 4.00 before a DL stint that included a foot-cast. As for Rasner, an ERA around 5.00 might be the best he can hope for.

Mariano & Co.

Obviously it's blasphemy to predict Mariano's demise, so I'll simply discuss how a bunch of nobody's have carried middle-relief (Edwar Ramirez, Jose Veras) and Farnsworth avoided his classic meltdowns before being shipped to Detroit.  As for the addition of southpaw Damaso Marte, while he regained his moxy in Pittsburgh after struggling in Chicago, I'm guessing his control problems reappear with the pressure of pitching in the Bronx.  Overall, with the starting staff overextended, my guess is the overachieving bullpen doesn't have the depth to handle the final push.

Read it and weep boys – unless I find Pettite pitching at home or a day game, I can’t see how the overpriced Yankees can serve you much more than juice down the stretch.

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Re: MLB News and Notes August 2

Saturday's streaking starting pitchers
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Streaking

CC Sabathia, Milwaukee Brewers (4-1, 1.36)


Milwaukee backers are singing Sabathia’s praises. He has been sensational in leading the club to a 4-1 mark in his first five starts as a Brewer.

Sabathia, who leads the majors with 157 strikeouts, has 34 Ks and has relinquished eight earned runs in his last five starts. The left-hander is 2-0 in his last two overall and is 2-0 and has a solid 0.50 ERA in his last two starts outside Miller Park.

The Brewers are 7-0 in their last seven road games and are 5-2 in their last seven against the NL East.


A.J. Burnett, Toronto Blue Jays (8-9, 3.95)

Burnett is 2-1 with a 1.42 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP in his last three starts and has not relinquished more than two earned runs in four straight outings.

Burnett, who has struggled on the road, is fresh off a solid road triumph over the Baltimore Orioles in which he surrendered one earned run and struck out seven in eight innings.

Toronto is 4-1 in its last five road games and is 6-2 in its last eight against the Texas Rangers.


Slumping

Joe Blanton, Philadelphia Phillies (5-12, 5.13)


Blanton is amidst the worst season of his career. In fact, he has been so terrible that Oakland shipped him to the Philadelphia Phillies for next to nothing. In two starts as a member of the Phillies, Blanton is winless and has a lofty 7.88 ERA in eight IP. He has also relinquished seven earned runs and two HRs in that period.

The right-hander, who is 3-3 with a 5.98 ERA on the road, relinquished five ERs and two HRs in a recent setback to the New York Mets.

Philadelphia is 3-10 in its last 13 Saturday games and is 1-4 in its last five contests against a team with a winning record. The Cardinals, conversely, are 10-2 in their last 12 home games against a club with a winning road record.


Hiroki Kuroda, Los Angeles Dodgers (5-8, 5.40)

Kuroda hasn’t impressed many Dodgers fans lately. In his last four, the right-hander is 0-2 with a 13.11 ERA and 2.40 WHIP.

Kuroda is 1-1 with a 4.89 ERA in his last three at Dodger Stadium. In his last home outing, a setback to the lowly San Francisco Giants, he surrendered seven earned runs in a mere 3.2 IP. He is also 0-1 and has an 8.22 ERA in one start against the Diamondbacks.

L.A. is 1-5 in its last six home games against a team with a winning record and is 4-9 in its last 13 against the Diamondbacks.

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Re: MLB News and Notes August 2

Lawrence's MLB weekend cheat sheet
By MARC LAWRENCE

Manny’s a Dodger and Junior’s wearing White Sox. With the Yankees in hot pursuit, the Red Sox refused to be held at Bay while the Pale Hose refuse to raise the white flag. Now that the MLB trading deadline has come and gone it’s time for the contenders to separate themselves from the pretenders.

With that, let’s check out four key matchups on this weekend’s card in this edition of the MLB Weekend Cheat Sheet. Remember, pitcher records are ‘team start’ results and team matchup records are those from within each series. Play ball!

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Los Angeles Angels at New York Yankees


Most Recent Series Result: Angels 13-7 last 20 games

Most Recent Series Result at the Site: Angels 4-2 last 6 here

Key Day/Month Stat: Angels 7-0 Saturdays

Best Arm in the Series: Weaver 2-0, 3.27 ERA career

Worst Arm in the Series: Mussina 0-4 4.45 ERA last 4 home

Detroit Tigers at Tampa Bay Rays


Most Recent Series Result: Rays 5-3 last 8 games

Most Recent Series Result at the Site: Tigers 9-6 last 15 here

Key Day/Month Stat: Rays 9-0 home Saturdays; Tigers 9-0 Sundays

Best Arm in the Series: Verlander 3-0, 4.77 ERA career; Shields 2-0, 2.25 ERA career

Worst Arm in the Series: Rogers 0-3, 6.85 ERA last 3 here


NATIONAL LEAGUE

Philadelphia Phillies at St. Louis Cardinals


Most Recent Series Result: Phillies 12-6 last 18 games

Most Recent Series Result at the Site: Phillies 10-4 last 14 here

Key Day/Month Stat: Cardinals 16-4 on Saturdays; Phillies 3-10 Saturdays

Best Arm in the Series: Hamels 3-0, 4.29 ERA away career

Worst Arm in the Series: Eaton 2-6, 6.36 ERA career

Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Dodgers

Most Recent Series Result: Diamondbacks 11-6 last 17 games

Most Recent Series Result at the Site: Dodgers 11-7 last 18 here

Key Day/Month Stat: Dodgers 4-0 on Sundays

Best Arm in the Series: Webb 7-1, 1.20 ERA last 8 games

Worst Arm in the Series: Billingsley 0-2 3.97 ERA home career

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Re: MLB News and Notes August 2

Baseball Today

Detroit at Tampa Bay (6:10 p.m. EDT). The Tigers and veteran Kenny Rogers (8-7) take on the Rays and Andy Sonnanstine (10-6) in a matchup of American League playoff contenders.

STARS

- Mark Loretta, Astros, had a tiebreaking, pinch-hit grand slam off Aaron Heilman in the eighth inning of a 7-3 victory over the New York Mets.

- Jason Bay, Red Sox, tripled and scored the winning run in the 12th inning of his Boston debut in a 2-1 victory over Oakland.

- Torii Hunter, Angels, hit an RBI single in the ninth inning against Mariano Rivera to lead Los Angeles to a 1-0 victory at Yankee Stadium.

- Mike Cameron and Prince Fielder, Brewers, hit home runs in the third inning in a 9-0 victory at Atlanta.

- Ryan Ludwick and Joe Mather, Cardinals. Ludwick homered twice and had four hits, and Mather added a three-run shot in a 6-3 victory over Philadelphia.

- David Murphy, Rangers, hit a two-run single to cap a three-run rally in the bottom of the ninth to lead Texas to a 9-8 victory over Toronto.

- Eugenio Velez, Giants, had a pinch-hit double off the wall against Trevor Hoffman in the 10th inning to drive in the go-ahead run in 3-2 victory at San Diego.

- Jay Payton, Orioles, hit a three-run triple in an eight-run fifth inning of a 10-5 victory at Seattle.

STRONG STARTS

Ubaldo Jimenez allowed two hits in seven shutout innings to win his fourth straight start as Colorado beat Florida 5-2 on Friday night. Jimenez struck out 10 and kept the Marlins hitless until Dan Uggla's leadoff single in the fifth. The right-hander extended his shutout streak to 13 innings. ... Odalis Perez pitched into the eighth inning to earn his first home win as Washington beat Cincinnati 5-2 to end a nine-game losing streak. ... Ervin Stantana gave up five hits and struck out eight in eight innings of the Los Angeles Angels' 1-0 victory over the Yankees. Sidney Ponson allowed four hits in seven scoreless innings for New York.

ROAD WARRIORS

Jeff Suppan pitched seven scoreless innings, and Mike Cameron and Prince Fielder hit third-inning home runs as Milwaukee snapped a five-game losing streak with a 9-0 win at Atlanta on Friday night. The Brewers opened a six-game trip with their eighth straight road victory.

YOU'RE FIRED

The Texas Rangers fired pitching coach Mark Connor and bullpen coach Dom Chiti after Friday night's 9-8 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. Connor was in his second season as pitching coach after spending three seasons as the team's bullpen coach. Chiti was in his second season as bullpen coach. The Rangers came into Friday's game with a 5.24 ERA, the worst in the American League. Andy Hawkins, who had been the pitching coach at Triple-A Oklahoma since 2006, will replace Connor. Jim Colborn, formerly the director of Pacific Rim operations, is the new bullpen coach.

WELCOME TO PITTSBURGH

Jeff Karstens threw six innings in his Pittsburgh debut, and the Pirates snapped Chicago's five-game winning streak with a 3-0 victory Friday night. Karstens, acquired from the New York Yankees last week for outfielder Xavier Nady and reliever Damaso Marte, was one of three newcomers who led the Pirates. Andy LaRoche, obtained from the Dodgers in the three-team deal that sent Manny Ramirez from Boston to Los Angeles, singled and scored a run. Right fielder Brandon Moss, who came from Boston while Jason Bay went to the Red Sox, started one of Pittsburgh's four double plays.

WITH AND WITHOUT MANNY

Randy Johnson spoiled Manny Ramirez's Dodgers debut, giving up an unearned run and five hits in six innings of Arizona's 2-1 victory at Los Angeles on Friday night. Johnson won his fifth straight start and climbed within seven wins of 300. ... Jason Bay made a smashing debut with Boston, tripling and scoring the winning run in the 12th inning Friday night as the Red Sox began the post-Ramirez era with a 2-1 win over Oakland. Bay was obtained from Pittsburgh on Thursday in the three-team deal that sent Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

ASCENDING THE LIST

Troy Percival worked the ninth to finish a four-hitter in Tampa Bay's 5-2 victory over Detroit, moving ahead of Randy Myers for sole possession of eighth place on the career saves list with 348.

GRIFFEY AND THE SOX

Ken Griffey Jr. drove in two runs in his White Sox debut to help Javier Vazquez win for the first time in seven starts as Chicago beat Kansas City 4-2. Griffey went 2-for-3 in his first AL game since leaving the Seattle Mariners after the 1999 season.

INJURED SLUGGER

Rangers center fielder Josh Hamilton left Friday night's game against the Toronto Blue Jays after the sixth inning with dizziness. The game time temperature was 100 degrees, and Hamilton - the DH the previous two games - was playing in the field for the first time since Tuesday. Hamilton's status is day to day. The All-Star slugger hit his 26th home run in the fourth inning and drove in two runs to increase his major league-leading RBI total to 106.

SIDELINED

San Diego shortstop Khalil Greene went on the 15-day disabled list Friday with a broken left hand two days after he punched a wall near the Padres' dugout. Greene was injured after he struck out in the eighth inning of Wednesday night's 7-3 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks and is expected to be out six to eight weeks - possibly sidelining him for the rest of the season. The Padres activated second baseman Tadahito Iguchi from the DL to take Greene's roster spot. Iguchi went on the DL on June 6 with a dislocated left shoulder.

MINNESOTA SHAKEUP

The Minnesota Twins waited until a day after the trade deadline to make their big move, promoting Francisco Liriano from Rochester on Friday and cutting ties with right-hander Livan Hernandez and outfielder Craig Monroe. Liriano missed all of last season with Tommy John surgery and was battered in his first stint up this season in April, going 0-3 with an 11.32 ERA before being sent down. The left-hander was 10-0 with a 2.67 ERA in his past 11 starts at Rochester.

SPEAKING

``I'm like a little kid now, I'm kind of nervous. I'm just going to be Manny and play the game.'' - Manny Ramirez, during his introductory news conference Friday at Dodger Stadium one day after Los Angeles acquired the veteran slugger from the Boston Red Sox.

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Re: MLB News and Notes August 2

Saturday's best MLB bets
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Toronto at Texas (+108, 10)

A.J. Burnett has been lights-out in his last four starts. He’s got a 1.42 ERA over that span, but the notoriously inconsistent righty is never a sure thing – especially against a hitting lineup like that of Texas.

The Rangers are hitting .318 over their last 10 games, but the Blue Jays might get lucky if superstar center fielder Josh Hamilton sits out today. The All-Star slugger leads the major leagues in RBIs but he left yesterday’s game with dizziness after playing in 100 degree weather. Hamilton is listed as day-to-day. Milton Bradley was also out of the lineup on Friday with a strained quadriceps and isn’t likely to play today. If those two sluggers are out, the Rangers won’t have enough offense to beat a pitcher like Burnett.

Pick: Blue Jays

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Re: MLB News and Notes August 2

Saturday's MLB Research
By IndianCowboy

Angels vs. Yankees

I talked to Brandon yesterday and he noted that he hates Santana with a passion and that if he saw him in a restaurant he would jack him. I mentioned to him that Santana is one of the best pitchers in the country in bouncing-back after a horrible start, and such was the case on the road at New York, of course, the jury is still out if he will have a let down start in his next game. However, the Angels have now won 5 in a row (3 at Boston) and 2 at New York and nearly all at great dog prices. Weaver won in his last start but had around a 4.77 era as his team defeated Boston on the road, Mussina had a brutal start at home where he had a 10+ ERA so I expect him to bounce-back today as he had 5 straight quality starts before that. However, it is tough to go against the Angels at this point, and I'm not touching a total here either. no thanks.

Whitesox vs. Royals

Buehrle hits the road to face the Royals as the whitesox won 4-2 yesterday as Vasquez gets it done, Buehrle is on a bounce-back after a 7 era start in Minny so I expect him to bounce-back today, he is 1-1 against KC this year, Davies had a 4.77 era when he faced the Whitesox last time and pitched a gem in his last game as he beat Sonnanstine 6-1. Not sure if Davies has back to back quality starts in him and Burhele is on a bounce-back here, just hate the fact that the juice is so high on the wsox at -135+. Plus, I typically dislike playing run-lines.

Detroit vs. Tampa Bay

Rogers is on a bounce-back after getting drilled at Cleveland in his last ballgame for nearly a 8 era in that start, Sonnanstine has lost 3 in a row but at home he typically pitches well as his last 2 road starts have been rough but at home and remember he is on a bounce-back today, at home he has a 0 era against KC and a 3.86 era against Oakland, if anything, a lean on both pitchers having a bounce-back and going under today. I wish it was 10.5, but 10 is not all that bad here with both pitchers seeking bounce-backs.

Oakland vs. Boston

Eveland has struggled of late giving up 9 runs and 15 hits in less than 10 inns but 4 of his last 5 starts have been non-quality which is a far cry for an Oakland young hurler as they are typically models of consistency, Lester has faced Oakland on the road in 3 ballgames and is 1-2, so in some ways he has revenge against Oakland for a 3-6 loss earlier this year, on top of that, he has pitched 3 straight quality starts of late and Boston does come off a 2-1 win yesterday, the reason why the juice is so high is that of course Boston is at home but also Because Lester has a bounce-back against the A's and he rarely loses to the same team twice. He is 5-1 with a 2.89 era at home, if anything a run-line lean here but once again I hate the run-line.

Cleveland vs. Minny

Minny in fact got it done on the run-line yesterday winning 4-1 as they took care of Sowers as he did pitch well, just not enough to get the w or cover the cleveland run-line as the Twins at home continue to play solid ball. I have tracked Minny extensively this year and glad that I have as I have noticed some trends as this is the advantage of sticking to one league such as the AL so that you trends become more apparent due to focusing, a good friend of mine who is a client is just doing cubs games this year and notes that he is 65% in choosing to play them as he knows his team, their tendencies, strengths and weaknesses- just goes to show that focus is everything. This is why I plan to focus on the Big East, Big10, Big 12 and the SEC in College Football and College Basketball this year. As in years' past I did research on all the conferences and that lack of focus hurt imo. In essence, researching 50 games and going 2-3 is not as good as researching 20 games and going 2-1. As per this game, Byrd has pitched back to back quality starts against the Angels on the road and Detroit at home, he has been downright horrendous against Minny this year though but I don't expect him to have 4 straight horrible starts against Minny, Slowey pitched a gem against the Whitesox in his last start after 3 straight horrible starts, he had a 7+ era start against Cleveland in a high scoring contest but did pick up the win. This game could go either way frankly, but I do like Cleveland with the value today as at some point Byrd has to show up against Minny with some heart and he has had 2 quality starts in a row, hell, he won at the Angels home and that is a team that went on the road to win 5 in a row against the Bsox and Yankees, it's not like the Indians have not had success against Slowey and plus, Cleveland loss yesterday as well. Lean on the Indians here as I think they are of good value.

Toronto vs. Texas

Texas once again gets it done at home winning 9-8, and guess what? Another game in Texas goes over, this time 17 runs, that is an upteen amount of overs in a row at home in Texas, heck, it seems once just had to blindly roll with the overs in Texas this season and they would have profited a nice chunk of change. Burnett has pitched back to back quality starts giving up just 1 run in the last 12 innings, and he had a 6.36 era and a 18 era vs. texas this season so in some ways, he is looking for some redemption here, Feldman had a 7.5 era in his home start last go around and here is what era's look of late:

2.57, 4.50, 1.59, 4.50, 19.67, 1.50 and 7.50.

You see a trend here? It should go quality, even, quality, even, non-quality, quality, and non-quality as 4.50 era is the cutoff point for me, so basically back and forth and he is in cycle for a quality start, but Burnett looks to pitch better as well today, having said that, the only thing that makes sense her is the under given the research, but who hell would take an under in Texas when they are consistently putting up 13, 14, 14, 16, 17, 18 runs per ballgame, no thanks.

Baltimore vs. Seattle

These 2 have actually have faced off twice: Once Seattle won 3-2 and the other, Guthrie lost in Seattle 2-4, Guthrie has pitched back to back quality starts, not sure if he has 3 in a row in him, but he did lose to the Orioles last time out but barely 2-4, so he has that going for him, of course Seattle lost yesterday so Hernandez has that going for him, plus, he has pitched well against Seattle in both starts this year with under a 3 era, the under looks sound here, but at 7.5, no thanks, likely just staying away, although I wouldn't be surprised to see a 4-3 type of ballgame, but it is not room for much error with a 7 line, some dog value here in Baltimore as well but Seattle got spanked yesterday, so no thanks.

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