MLB News and Notes August 5

MLB News and Notes August 5

Tuesday's Tip Sheet
By Josh Jacobs

There will be no fancy introductions leading into Tuesday’s MLB card. The only thing that can be said is with 15 games waiting for launch, you can bet dollar to doughnuts that the opportunity to cash in at the window will be attainable.

Here’s what we have for another lineup in the Majors.

Oakland (Smith) at Toronto (Richmond) – 7:07 p.m. EDT

The obvious angle of note is that both clubs should probably be looking to next season for a fresh start. With the Blue Jays out 11½-games in the AL East and the Athletics behind the Angels by 15½-games, it’s safe to say things are toast in these respective cities.

But for gamblers, Oakland has been successful against Toronto this season.

Backers on the A’s watch when southpaw starter Greg Smith (5-10, 4.04 ERA) takes the mound. The Oakland slinger last squared off against the Jays on May 27, picking up the win in 6.2 innings pitched, while giving up six hits and no runs should be considered a gem of a game. Overall this season fellow lefty bats have struggled against Smith with a .209 BA, crossing the plate not once in ‘08.

Just be concerned about Smith’s higher numbers on the road. In 12 starts away from home, the LSU graduate has a less then impressive 3-6 record with an ERA of 4.61. Then again, players have only been able to get around on Smith’s ball for a .232 BA on the road. A big problem for the lone three wins comes at the cost of Oakland batters supplying their starter with only 3.5 runs of support per start.

The Jays have been solid producers when paired up against the Athletics, putting together a .273 BA with 28 runs scored in the last six meetings (4.7 runs per game). However, one hole in the game plan has been getting effective relief work from Brandon League and Jeremy Accardo (Accardo has been on the 15-day DL since May 10 and is now rehabbing). Both arms have been shelled for a combined seven runs in a total of 3.3 innings.

Oakland is 1-10 in its last 11 road games, while Toronto has stepped up its game with a 10-4 record in the last 14 at home.

Most books have installed the Blue Jays as $1.40 home favorites with a total sitting at 8½-runs.

Florida (Johnson) at Philadelphia (Moyer) – 7:05 p.m. EDT

The Marlins enter Game 1 of this three-game set with a money hungry +1679 units on the season and run line earnings of +1140 units. A good reason for the success; the ability to pull out 155 homeruns.

The ‘over’ has also been golden when wagering on Marlin game totals, with a record of 63-42-7 (on the ‘over’) indicative of the long ball. Scoring 4.8 runs per game on offense while giving up close to 4.6 runs per game is also a formula for success on nailing the ‘over’ this season.

Combine the Phillies bats driving in a league, fourth best five runs per game (even with the bats barely touching the ball with a 21st worst .257 BA) and a pitching staff giving up four runs per game and most books should be looking to set the total at a high reaching number. Mix in a park factor number of 1.037 inside Citizens Bank Park and a good chance of witnessing a high flying act should be in effect.

The evidence of an ‘over’ play is even more apparent when Marlins’ starter Josh Johnson (1-0, 4.18) and Phillies’ southpaw veteran Jamie Moyer (10-6, 3.79) start in Game 1. Johnson has fallen victim to a .308 BAA in ’08, with lefties teeing off for an explosive .327 BA.

Philadelphia’s Moyer has actually been able to smother opponents by allowing just two earned runs per game in his last 10 trips to the mound. And let’s not overlook that the ‘under’ has gone a solid 5-1 in the last six head-to-head meetings.

On a side play, be well aware of the Phillies spotless 10-0 record in Moyers last 10 starts versus the Marlins.

Sportsbetting.com has opened Florida as a $1.40 underdog with a total set at 9 ½.

Detroit (Robertson) at Chicago White Sox (Floyd) – 8:11 p.m. EDT

We’ll end today’s tip sheet with an AL Central battle. The Tigers looked as of they were turning the corner coming out of the All-Star break, going 5-2 in the first seven of the second-half of the season, but have since struggled with a 3-7 record in their last 10. Logging in a league high six blown saves in the last 16 games demonstrates the underlying problem in Motown, support pitching.

Now the White Sox aren’t necessarily tearing the doors off the hinges as is evident with a 2-6 fall in their last eight. Chicago’s post-All Star pitching has been rotten to say the least. Both starters and pen have combined for a 6.07 ERA. At least the Sox can be a little more secure that right-handed slinger Gavin Floyd (11-6, 3.43) is taking the mound. Out of the five resident starters for Chicago, Floyd has been able to post the most impressive numbers on the mound (post-All Star speaking) with a 1-1 record and a 2.29 ERA in a total of three starts.

With lefty starter Nate Robinson (6-8, 6.06) slated to toe the slab for the Tigers, bettors should be concerned about the team’s 16-36 record in his last 52 road starts. Compounding this trend is Detroit’s 2-7 record in Robertson’s last nine starts versus the White Sox.

When both teams meet inside U.S. Cellular Field the ‘under’ has been a cash cow with a 17-6 record. Take into consideration that the White Sox’ own home field is ranked ninth among batter friendly park based on a 1.135 park factor rating (remember that the park factor number is calculated by taking home runs scored + home runs allowed divided by home games divided by road runs scored plus road runs allowed divided by road games.

Most books have installed an early line of $1.40 in favor of the home town White Sox. A total of 10½-runs has been chalked up on the board.

vegasinsider.com.

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Tiger Charge in August
By Joe Nelson

The Detroit Tigers were heavy favorites to win the AL Central and considered a possible World Series team in spring training as a couple of big moves created a very dangerous lineup. An incredibly poor start to the season left Detroit with a big hole to climb out of and there is still a significant but not insurmountable gap between Detroit and serious contention with the Twins and White Sox on top of the division. August has the potential to be the month where Detroit finally hits its stride however as the schedule lines up favorably.

Miguel Cabrera was the centerpiece of the additions with expectations of an MVP-type season to lead Detroit. Cabrera has taken his share of criticism but it is hard to argue with his production at this point in the season (.298 AVG, 20 HRs, 82 RBIs) and if the Tigers make a push in the coming months he could well be raising the MVP trophy. With Magglio Ordonez and Curtis Granderson recovered from injuries and Carlos Guillen and Placido Polanco continuing to solidify the lineup this is still a team that can produce big numbers. Gary Sheffield and Edgar Renteria have been the most disappointing members of the lineup but if the veterans can come up with solid play in the final two months this can still be a team that makes a run.

The trade of Ivan Rodriguez comes a bit of a surprise and perhaps a signal of surrender but Brandon Inge might be able to find his swing with a more consistent spot in the lineup. In all this team is still capable of posting huge numbers on offense and although they have not lived up to the spring training hype, Detroit owns one of the top batting averages in baseball at .277 and they have been especially effective against left-handed pitching.

August started with an ugly three game series in Tampa where the Tigers were swept but this could be a great month for Detroit. The Tigers must now play three games against the White Sox in Chicago in an important division series but then the schedule becomes very favorable. From August 8th to early September the Tigers play 20 of 26 games at home and all of the home games until the final four are against teams that have losing records. The Tigers play a three-game set in Texas and a three-game set in Kansas City so the road games are not exactly daunting locations either and the Rangers will be the only winning team faced in the first 22 games of that stretch.

The Tigers should be able to pick up some ground in the division as both the White Sox and Twins will face more challenging scheduling. Chicago must play Boston six times in August and although Chicago is at home for much of the month they do face travel to both coasts mixed into the schedule. Chicago also must play three games against a very solid Tampa Bay team at home. The Twins just took over first place in the division but the August schedule could send Minnesota back to the middle of the pack as the Twins will play 24 of 30 games away from home starting in mid-August, featuring travel to both coasts and quality opponents.

Pitching has been the main issue for the Tigers as Jeremy Bonderman and Dontrelle Willis, two pitchers expected to anchor the rotation have produced three wins. Justin Verlander and Kenny Rogers have not enjoyed their best seasons and Nate Robertson has labored with a 6.06 ERA. There is some hope however as Zach Miner has pitched well since moving to the rotation and rookie Armando Galarraga has delivered great results for Detroit this season.

The bullpen has been a huge problem for the Tigers and if Detroit continues to deliver mediocre results relief pitching will be to blame. The Tigers have blown 18 save opportunities this season and own one of the highest bullpen ERAs in baseball. There appeared to be some hope for the bullpen with the return of Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney but an injury has derailed Zumaya again and Rodney has pitched horribly in recent weeks. Closer Todd Jones has also hit the DL with a shoulder issue although he has been part of the problem with a very high ERA. The bullpen was not effective so it is possible that the replacement pitchers could show improvement but Kyle Farnsworth and Rodney managed to blow a great outing by Galarraga last Sunday.

Although Detroit’s pitching makes them a flawed team, the AL Central is up for grabs as Minnesota and Chicago have not proven capable of running away with the division. If the bats get hot in the final two months the Tigers could come up with a great finish to the season and they are still within reach of catching either team and climbing into the division or even the Wild Card race. They may not have enough to make the playoffs but expect Detroit to be much closer by the end of August as the schedule sets up for a strong month despite the inauspicious start.

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Re: MLB News and Notes August 5

Wood ready to come off DL

CHICAGO (AP) -Chicago Cubs closer Kerry Wood will come off the 15-day disabled list in the next couple of days after a long stay because of a blister on his right index finger.
   
Wood threw 30 pitches to hitters from the Wrigley Field mound after warming up and getting some work done in the bullpen hours before Sunday's game against the Pirates. He said he also did some throwing Monday morning.

Sidelined since July 11, Wood couldn't get the blister to heal until recently.

``I tried just about everything. Then the last thing we tried seemed to work well. It turned around in about three or four days,'' Wood said Monday without explaining the procedure. ``It toughened it up and worked well.''

Manager Lou Piniella said Wood would be used in middle relief the first time he returns to the mound and then resume the closer's role when he's ready.

``He should have a nice fresh arm between now and the end of the year,'' Piniella said.

After making his 12th trip to the disabled list in 10 years, Wood is just ready to pitch. He could be activated as early as Tuesday.

``Hopefully we can get it done the next couple of days. Every thing is fine,'' he said.

``I've missed time before, but it's frustrating when it's something as small as this. You miss some games and not part of the action in a pennant race. It's no fun to just be watching.''

Wood is 4-2 with a 3.02 ERA and 24 saves in 29 chances.

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Baseball bettors facing L.A. inflation
By DAVID PAYNE

Think L.A. real-estate prices are high? Just wait until you see what betting on Hollywood’s baseball teams is going to cost you.

With the additions of Manny Ramirez and Mark Teixeira respectively, the Dodgers and Angels were clearly the biggest winners of baseball’s trade-fest.

Even before adding Teixeira, the Angels had already emerged as the American League’s top team. Now, with the switch-hitting first baseman bolstering their lineup, it’s going to be difficult to find reasons to go against the Angels no matter how high the price.

A free agent at the end of the season, Teixeira couldn’t have asked for a better stage or timing to show off his abilities.  He’s a notoriously strong finisher, with a career average well over .300 in August and September. After being acquired by the Braves at last year’s trade deadline, he hit .317 with 17 home runs in August and September.

If he stays hot through the playoffs, the Angels will be the overwhelming favorites in the A.L.

The Dodgers made a bigger splash than the Angels, but were not nearly as solid as their cross-town foes to begin with. So the price increase won’t be nearly as drastic compared to the Angels.

The host Dodgers were small favorites in the weekend series against division-leading Arizona.

Still, it’s nearly impossible to overestimate the impact Ramirez’s arrival will have on Joe Torre’s light-hitting, strong-pitching club.

Heading into Sunday’s action, the Dodgers owned the second best ERA in baseball. But giving up only 3.67 runs per nine innings isn’t nearly as effective when you’re puny lineup has hit only 74 home runs, the second fewest in the National League.

Enter Ramirez, a jolt of instant offense, capable of taking the Dodgers on a ride straight past Arizona and into the playoffs.

Say what you want about Ramirez’s antics, the bottom line is he’s going to win you more games than lose. Plus, he’s a career .310 hitter against the Diamondbacks and has had success against Randy Johnson and Dan Haren.

Teixeira/Ramirez key notes

Teixeira lights up: The Yankees. The former Ranger is 10 for 21 against Andy Pettitte and 8 for 15 against Sidney Ponson. The Angels get six more cracks at the Yankees.

Ramirez lights up: Philadelphia’s Jamie Moyer. In 53 at-bats against Moyer, Ramirez has hit 10 home runs. The Dodgers and Phillies meet eight times in August.

Rating the Impacts of Three Other Trades

Red Sox: Despite his hot start in Boston, Jason Bay will not replace Manny Ramirez’s production. Boston may have trouble scoring as many runs, which could lead to some under opportunities for bettors.

Impact: Significantly negative.

Yankees: The Yankees’ moves weren’t nearly as earth shattering as the Angels or Dodgers, but they did solidify their roster with the addition of surging catcher Ivan Rodriguez, outfielder Xavier Nady and lefty setup man Damaso Marte.

The Yankees also have to feel more confident facing a Manny-less Boston club down the stretch. Ramirez hit .450 against New York the past three seasons.

Impact: Solid

White Sox: Picking up aging centerfielder Ken Griffey Jr. is more noise than substance. In only his second game in Chicago, the oft-injured Griffey had to leave the field with leg cramps. As the season drags on, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Griffey visit the D.L. at least once more.

Of the A.L. division leaders, the White Sox appear to be the most vulnerable to late collapse.

Impact: Minimal.

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Top five major league teams to fade
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Every year after the trade deadline, the sports betting media pumps out articles and analysis about which teams are the big winners.

What about teams headed in the other direction? Here’s a look at the top five teams to fade for the final two months of the season:

1. Atlanta Braves (50-60, -19.33 units)

These aren’t your father’s Atlanta Braves. The Braves have lost seven of their last eight against the moneyline, and things will get worse with Mark Teixeira out of town.

With John Smoltz, Tim Hudson, and Tom Glavine all on the disabled list, Atlanta’s rotation doesn’t feature a starter you’d want higher than fifth on the depth chart.

Not that the lineup is anything to write home to dad about. Don’t expect the Braves to push Brian McCann too hard in his return from a concussion, and don’t expect Chipper Jones to see a pitch to hit without Teixeira to protect him.

2. San Francisco Giants (46-63, -8.71 units)

The Giants will spend the last two months of the season raiding the minors to see if anyone in the organization can hit. Veterans Aaron Rowand, Bengie Molina, and Randy Winn will be taking some time off.

The skinny on San Fran is they have enough good young starting pitching to be profitable. That’s true, but it’s likely Bruce Bochy will try to rest Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Jonathan Sanchez for next season. Why have them throw over 90 pitches when there’s nothing to play for?

3. Cleveland Indians (48-61, -25.03 units)

You’ve probably been fading the disappointing Tribe anyway, but that doesn’t mean their money-draining ways won’t continue.

Cleveland relied heavily on C.C. Sabathia and Casey Blake, who hit .400 with runners in scoring position with the Indians. With Victor Martinez and Travis Hafner on the DL, Blake was holding the middle of the order together.

It’s hard to see how they’re going to score enough runs to be competitive – and bankable for the final two months of the season.

4. Pittsburgh Pirates (51-59, +1.38 units)

The Bucs have a surprisingly good offense, ranking ninth with 4.88 runs per game. Change the have to had, and you get a sense of where Pittsburgh’s fortunes are headed.

Xavier Nady and Jason Bay are gone. Freddy Sanchez and Adam LaRoche are injured. Add to this that the Pirates are 29th in the league with a 5.21 ERA, and it’s easy to see how Pittsburgh is big-time fade bait down the stretch.

How about morale in the Steel City? The Pirates were on the cusp of their first .500 season since Bonds, Bonilla, and Van Slyke before dumping their two best hitters at the deadline. Makes you wonder if the Bucs will ever compete again.

5. Boston Red Sox (63-48, +4.62 units)

This is a warning more than an outright “fade the BoSox,” but their situation is worth watching following the Manny deal.

Listed at +350 to win the World Series, The Red Sox are still good enough to win it all because of the pitching staff and their depth in the lineup. That doesn’t mean that losing Ramirez (their best player) will affect their ability to cash winners.

Manny’s departure changes the complexion of the lineup. Instead of having a lethal left-right combo with David Ortiz-Ramirez, it’s now Big Papi and Friends – a completely different scenario.

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Tuesday’s streaking and slumping pitchers
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Streaking

Rich Harden, Chicago Cubs (1-1, 1.11)


It hasn’t taken Harden long to settle in with his new club. He is 1-1 with a 1.42 ERA since being traded from the Oakland Athletics to the Cubs.

Harden has relinquished just nine hits and three earned runs in his last 24.1 IP as a member of the Cubs. He has also struck out 39 batters in that period and ranks 12th in the majors with 131 Ks.

The Cubs are 40-12 in their last 52 home games and are 8-2 in their last 10 meetings with the Houston Astros at Wrigley Field.


Chad Billingsley, Los Angeles Dodgers (11-9, 3.05)

Billingsley has been lights out for the Dodgers lately. In fact, he has been one of their most consistent pitchers since cracking the rotation 2006.

Billingsley had 12 wins last season and is on pace to surpass that mark. He is 2-1 in his last three starts with a 2.05 ERA and is 4-5 on the road with a solid 2.84 ERA. Billingsley ranks second in the NL with 145 strikeouts.

The Dodgers are 7-2 in Billingsley’s last nine starts and are 6-1 in their last seven against the NL Central.


Slumping

Zach Duke, Pittsburgh Pirates (4-9, 5.27)

Duke is winless in his last three starts and has a lofty 11.25 ERA in that span. He has also relinquished 30 earned runs and eight HRs in his last 24.1 IP.

Duke is 0-3 on the road with a 6.24 ERA. In his last road start, an 11-3 setback to the Colorado Rockies, he surrendered nine earned runs in just five IP. He is 1-1 with a 5.29 career ERA against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Pirates are 7-26 in Duke’s last 33 road starts and are 1-5 in their last six visits to Chase Field.


Jonathan Sanchez, San Francisco Giants (8-7, 4.61)

Sanchez has just two triumphs in his last eight and is 0-2 in his past three with a 10.50 ERA in that period. He has also relinquished 14 earned runs in his past 11.2 IP.

Sanchez is 2-3 with a 4.16 ERA at home this season and is 0-1 with a soaring 10.13 career ERA against the Atlanta Braves. The left-hander has also relinquished 16 earned runs and three home runs in his last four at AT&T Park.

The Giants are 0-4 in Sanchez’ last four home starts and are 9-24 in their last 33 overall in San Fran.

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Tuesday's best MLB bets
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Milwaukee vs. Cincinnati (-125, 9)

Everything is rosy for a young team when it is winning. When it has lost seven of its last 10 and slipped to five games back in the divisional race, things get a little testy.

Just ask the Brewers. They had a little dugout dustup Sunday night in a 6-3 loss to Cincy when Prince Fielder gave starting pitcher Manny Parra a shove and went after him for no obvious reason in the seventh inning.

The Brew Crew won’t say what the issue was, but it likely has something to do with their recent hitting woes. After seeing the over cash in six straight games, under bettors have taken home the money over the last four games. The Brewers are also a miserable 10-for-104 over their past 13 games with runners in scoring position.

Pick: Under


New York vs. Texas (+145, 11)

Andy Pettitte doesn’t see too many totals rise as high as 11 runs when he’s scheduled to start. Then again, the Yankees don’t usually have to play in this kind of heat, either.

Lately, the temperatures have been soaring well above 100 degrees for Rangers games and it’s showing in the runs column. Texas is averaging nearly seven runs per game through eight games of its current home stand. The over is 5-2-1 during that stretch and oddsmakers have jacked up the total again today.

The high is expected to be around 100 degrees again for today’s game in Arlington. The Texas native, Pettitte, should be used to the heat but the Yankees have also seen the over profit in nine of their last 10 games.

Pick: Over

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Baseball Today

Pittsburgh at Arizona (9:40 p.m. EDT). Brandon Webb (15-4) tries to build on his major league-leading win total when the Diamondbacks take on Zach Duke (4-9) and the Pirates.

STARS

- Raul Ibanez, Mariners, drove in six runs - in one inning - on a grand slam and a two-run single to lift Seattle to an 11-6 win over Minnesota.

- Roy Halladay, Blue Jays, allowed a run and four hits in eight innings, striking out eight in Toronto's 6-1 win over Oakland.

- Cliff Lee, Indians, tied for the major league lead with his 15th win, giving up two runs in seven innings to help Cleveland beat Tampa Bay 5-2.

- Marlon Byrd, Rangers, hit a game-winning grand slam in the bottom of the ninth, leading Texas past the New York Yankees 9-5.

- Mark Reynolds, Diamondbacks, went 3-for-5 with his team-leading 23rd home run as Arizona beat Pittsburgh 13-7.

- Willie Harris, Nationals, homered and drove in three runs to lift Washington to its fourth straight win, 9-4 over Colorado.

ANGRY IN AUGUST

Two Brewers had a confrontation in the dugout during a 6-3 loss to Cincinnati, Milwaukee's seventh loss in nine games. After Manny Parra left for a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning, first baseman Prince Fielder went up to him in the dugout and exchanged words. Fielder then shoved Parra twice before teammates pulled him away. It was reminiscent of Aug. 2 last season, when manager Ned Yost got into a heated dispute with catcher Johnny Estrada in the dugout tunnel during a loss to the Mets and players intervened. That came during a run of 10 losses in 14 games, a fade that dropped Milwaukee out of first place.

STORMY WEATHER

A powerful storm halted Monday night's game between the Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs, and fans at Wrigley Field were advised to take cover on the concourse during the early stages of the delay. The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for downtown Chicago, and a siren went off in the neighborhood surrounding Wrigley Field at about 8:05. After the rain subsided and the field was made playable by the grounds crew, the game resumed after a delay of 2 hours, 45 minutes. But the teams played only 50 minutes before crashing thunder and lightning caused another halt in play. Houston led 2-0 in the bottom of the eighth and won by that score when the game was finally called after a 39-minute delay.

TEN SPOT

Raul Ibanez had a grand slam and six RBIs - all in a wild seventh inning - and the Seattle Mariners staged their biggest comeback of a lost season to stun the Minnesota Twins 11-6. Minnesota starter Glen Perkins cruised into the sixth with a 6-0 lead and was still comfortably up 6-1 with one out in the seventh. Seattle looked set to tie its season low of 28 games under .500, until Ibanez triggered a 10-run inning. Ibanez set Seattle's record for RBIs in one frame, one better than Ken Griffey Jr. had in the fifth inning on April 29, 1999, at the old Kingdome. It was the most runs the Mariners scored in an inning in nearly five years, since Aug. 30, 2003, against Baltimore.

AILING

Yankees starter Joba Chamberlain was removed from the Yankees' 9-5 loss to the Rangers in the fifth inning with what the club announced was a stiff right shoulder. After Chamberlain gave up a two-out single to Marlon Byrd, assistant trainer Steve Donohue and manager Joe Girardi ran onto the field to check on Chamberlain. He could not continue and was replaced by Edwar Ramirez. ... Athletics third baseman Eric Chavez will have surgery to repair fraying of the labrum in his right shoulder next week, ending his season after he played in just 23 games. ... The Braves placed reliever Rafael Soriano on the 15-day disabled list for the third time this season because of an inflamed right elbow.

A CLEAN SLATE

Jason Giambi arrived in the Yankees clubhouse without his famous mustache. Giambi, who began to swing well around the time he decided to grow a mustache back in May, has been slumping, hitting .234 with three homers in July and going 0-for-9 through three August games. He shaved after being taken out for defensive purposes Sunday against the Angels. Perhaps the mustache was weighing him down. In his first two mustache-free at-bats, he hit an RBI single in the first and an upper-deck home run in the fourth. He hadn't had a hit since Thursday.

UNLIKELY ACES

A trio of unlikely aces took the mound trying to tie Brandon Webb for the major league lead with their 15th wins. One made it, two did not. Cleveland's Cliff Lee held Tampa Bay to two runs in seven innings to improve to 15-2. But Joe Saunders of the Angels got a no-decision when closer Francisco Rodriguez blew a 5-1 lead in the ninth against Baltimore. Colorado's Aaron Cook failed in his attempt, giving up seven runs - four earned - in 5 2-3 innings of a 9-4 loss to Washington.

WALK-OFF WALK

Chone Figgins drew a bases-loaded walk from All-Star closer George Sherrill with two outs in the ninth inning, and the Los Angeles Angels regrouped to beat the Baltimore Orioles after Francisco Rodriguez blew a four-run lead. Sherrill, working his second inning of relief, gave up a leadoff double to Torii Hunter, who advanced on a groundout before Howie Kendrick was intentionally walked. Juan Rivera popped out, but Sherrill walked Jeff Mathis and went to 3-2 on Figgins before throwing his next pitch above the letters.

SLUMPING

The Blue Jays beat Oakland 6-1, handing the Athletics their season-high seventh straight loss. Oakland is a major league-worst 2-14 since the All-Star break, and 9-23 since June 28. The slumping Athletics have scored just 13 runs over their losing streak.

SPEAKING

``If you want to know what happened or what transpired - blow-by-blow or what words were said - I'm sorry, you're not going to know. It's private. It's between us, and it's not a big deal. And it's not the first time it ever happened, and it won't be the last.'' - Brewers manager Ned Yost after first baseman Prince Fielder shoved pitcher Manny Parra twice in the dugout during a 6-3 loss to the Reds.

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Diamond Preview
By Matt Fargo

Tuesday, August 5th
Florida Marlins at Philadelphia Phillies 7:05 PM ET


The best series to start the week begins on Tuesday as the Marlins and Phillies start a three-game set in Philadelphia. The Phillies begin the week with a 2.5-game lead over Florida in the National League East so first place is on the line. Philadelphia enters the series as the hotter of the two teams as it has won seven of its last eight games and it sends Jamie Moyer to the hill in this opener. Moyer has been outstanding as he has allowed three runs or fewer in 10 straight outings. He is 10-0 with a 3.03 ERA in 10 career starts against the Marlins so you know what the right side is here.

Wednesday, August 6th
Milwaukee Brewers at Cincinnati Reds 12:35 PM ET


We could see some fireworks during the day on Wednesday between Milwaukee and Cincinnati. Jeff Suppan is coming off one of his better starts of the season but it has been a season of inconsistencies as his ERA is at 4.75 including 5.19 in 12 road starts. He also has struggled before the sun sets as he has a 5.49 ERA in 10 daytime starts. For the Reds, it is Homer Bailey and he remains winless after seven starts. He is 0-5 with a 7.55 ERA and 2.10 WHIP and that includes a 0-3 record and 9.00 ERA and 2.59 WHIP in four home starts. The Reds are 0-7 in his starts and the over will be worth a strong look.

Thursday, August 7th
Houston Astros at Cincinnati Reds 7:10 PM ET


Cincinnati is back in the mix here and once again, not about very good things. The Reds start a series with the Astros on Thursday and right off the bat they face a huge nemesis. Roy Oswalt has owned this team throughout his career and his team always finds a way to win. Oswalt is 20-1 with a 2.61 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in 23 career starts against the Reds. He has struggled in his last two starts since coming off the disabled list but he looks to be on track to get back to his June form. The Reds counter with Josh Fogg who is struggling with a 7.57 ERA on the season. Oswalt should do it again.

Friday, August 8th
New York Yankees at Los Angeles Angels 10:05 PM ET


The Yankees were able to grab a split of this series last weekend by taking the final two games against the Angels. Now it is off to Anaheim where New York will look to take down the best record in baseball. The thing is that the Angels are not nearly as good at home as they are on the road. Darrell Rasner will be the likely starter and that is not a great way to start as he has struggled on the road with a 2-5 mark and a 6.25 ERA in seven roadies. Los Angeles got a horrendous start from Jered Weaver against the Yankees on Saturday so we could see a big slugfest in this series opener.

Saturday, August 9th
Cleveland Indians at Toronto Blue Jays 7:05 PM ET


The weekend is highlighted by a superb pitching matchup between Cleveland and Toronto. Cliff Lee is putting together a Cy Young type of season and he has been solid on the road with a 2.69 ERA on the year. He pitched nine inning of seven-hit shutout ball against Toronto in his lone start against the Blue Jays this season but did not get the win as the Blue Jays won 3-0 in 10 innings. He goes against Roy Halladay who is also having another spectacular season. He has a 2.85 ERA which is his lowest since 2005 and he is 5-1 with a 3.97 ERA in 10 starts against the Indians. Expect a low scoring battle here.

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Re: MLB News and Notes August 5

Tuesday's MLB Research
By Indiancowboy

Oakland vs. Toronto

Smith has given up 15 runs in his last 17 innings which has done wonders for his era and his overall record, he does have a 3 era and a 0 era against the Bluejays this year and has fared well against them, but as I've always mentioned it is tough for a pitcher to beat a team 3 times in a row and the Bluejays should do better today, after all, they only got 6 hits from him last time and 0 runs, but that was at home, so I expect Smith to struggle a bit on the road today as he has done of late, Richmond in his first start had a 5.07 era last time at home and he looks to bounce-back today. I'm not overly excited about this game after all, why would someone take up a -130 on a newbie pitcher, but of course, Toronto looks not to get beat 3 times in a row to Smith, so in that regard, a small lean on Toronto, but just don't trust Richmond enough to pull the trigger.

Cleveland vs. Tampa Bay


Fausto came back with a strong start at home against Detroit, but now has to try to repeat that on the road, keep in mind that Fausto has to take more of a leadership role in this rotation given that Sabathia will not be around, he has yet to face Tampa Bay this year and Edwin Jackson has come through with back to back solid performances, and has given up just 4 runs in the last 10 innings on the road, he has done worse at home by .4 runs oddly, and I just don't want to tack on the juice here, no thanks.

Yankees vs. Rangers

Pettitte had a 15+ era in his last start at home against the Angels, giving up 11 hits and 9 runs in just over 5 innings, he hasn't faced Texas this year, the Yankees lost to a walk-off grandslam against the Rangers who looked to have their closer blow it for them only to come back and win by 4 runs, I like Pettitte on the bounce-back today similar to Lee, we're able to get good value considering that Pettitte is on the road and the Yankees are on a bounce-back here as well, note that Harrison to is on a bounce-back and another Ranger game at home went over, having said that, this might be the first under in quite a long time in a Texas home game, lean on the under here as the juice on Pettitte on the road is ridiculous. I also think the Harrison kid shows up to pitch against the Yankees at home as he is in desperate need of a bounce-back as well.

Boston vs. Kansas City

Beckett is on a bounce-back after an 11 ERA at home against the wrecking crew known as the Los Angeles Angels who look to be the team to beat right now in the AL, in fact, I am tempted to take this team to win the World Series at the odds that are currently presented as from pitching to hitting to defense, I think they have the complete package, not to mention bullpen and coaching and a fan base that is great for having to be divied up between so many california teams, as per this game, Beckett is on a bounce-back, he defeated KC with a 1.8 era last year, I was on KC myself last night so Boston is on a bounce-back here overall similar to the Yankees with the better pitcher on the road today, Bannister has pitched back to back quality starts and has revenge from a 11+ era against Boston last time out, as he gave up 12 hits in just over 5 inns, if anything a lean on the under here.

Detroit vs. White Sox

Robertson had a 24 era in his last start, miraculously his team still won 14-12 in the road game vs. Cliff Lee, he is 3-5 with a 7.62 era on the road, he has faced the Whitesox 3 times this year with eras of 9, 4.27 and 4.50 as his team lost 2 of 3 of those ballgames, it's been 4 strats since Robertson actually had a decent start, Floyd comes off a great start on the road against the Twins and he has helped his team win 5-3, 7-0, and 6-5, so he is likely to have yet another quality start here today as well, but at -139 and at 65% public backing and Floyd looking to beat the Tigers 4 times in a row, no thanks.

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