MLB News and Notes August 7
MLB News and Notes August 7
By Brad Young
There is less than two months remaining in the marathon baseball regular season, but this is a perfect time to check out the numbers to help cash tickets until early October. There are surprises every summer, and this season has been no exception.
Most of the focus this year has been on the two Florida teams with good reason, but a team playing in a major market has quietly flown under the radar despite having the best record in baseball.
The Los Angeles Angels have stormed out to a 70-43 record, giving them the biggest cushion of any division leader. If you backed the Angels every game this season, you would be +1902 on your wagers. Los Angeles has gone a solid 32-22 at home, but has really cashed tickets on the road by going 38-21.
Road teams are usually underdogs or very small favorites, meaning the Angels’ road record has been a cash cow this season. Los Angeles recently completed a tough 10-game East Coast road trip against Baltimore, Boston and New York. The Angels took two of three from the Orioles, swept the Red Sox and split a four-game set with the Yankees. Los Angeles won games on that road trip as +155, +165 and +160 underdogs, going 7-1 the first eight outings before dropping the last two games against New York.
Speaking of money teams, Tampa Bay has been the biggest surprise this season. The Rays had the worst record in baseball this time last year with a 42-69 ledger. Tampa Bay improved its record this season to 69-45 compliments of Wednesday’s victory over Cleveland as a $2.20 home ‘chalk,’ 10-7.
With that victory, the Rays are now a +1871 this season with an incredible home ledger of 46-17 that is the best in baseball. However, backing Tampa Bay on the road has been a losing proposition with the team going a dismal 23-28. The Rays current hold on the American League East’s top spot will get a serious test with their upcoming 10-game West Coast road trip against Seattle, Oakland and Texas.
Two other American League teams have been consistent money makers this season, and both squads currently reside in second place in their respective divisions. Texas (+1825) and Minnesota (+1499) have been doing very well at home while struggling on the road. The Rangers are 31-24 at home and just 29-30 on the road, while the Twins are 39-21 in Minnesota and 23-30 away from home.
Teams like this are interesting to examine because of their poor road records. When Texas wins a road game, it is usually as an underdog. The best illustration of how wagering on these teams on the road isn’t necessarily detrimental to your bank roll is from the Rangers’ mid-July road trip.
Texas went 4-5 during a nine-game road trip against Minnesota, Chicago and Oakland. The Rangers were an underdog in eight of those matchups, and a ‘pick’ in the other contest. Despite having a losing record, Texas was actually a +55 during that stretch after winning games as a $1.40 underdog twice and once as a $1.70 ‘dog.
There are also three National League teams that are over +1000 units, including Florida (+1701), St. Louis (+1041) and Chicago (+1037). Two of the teams (Florida and St. Louis) are solid wagers because they usually play as an underdog, while Chicago has the second best record in baseball. The Cubs are now 70-46 after upending Houston Wednesday, 11-4, including a stellar 44-16 record at Wrigley Field.
For all the teams that have been solid selections, there are always teams to fade. San Diego (43-70) has a better record than Washington (42-71), but the Padres are -3172 concerning wagers while the Nationals are -1794. San Diego entered the season with higher expectations, and was favored more than Washington. Atlanta (-1796) has also failed to live up to expectations and is on this list despite being just 10 games under .500.
‘Chalk’ teams like the New York Yankees are hard to back even though they are nine games over .500 and chasing a playoff slot. New York is currently at a -1022 units, dropping games the last week as $1.70, $1.80, $1.60 and $1.65 favorites.
The worst American League teams to back thus far include Seattle (-2558) and Cleveland (-2310). The Mariners (44-69) are 25 games under .500 and have struggled all season, while the Indians (49-64) entered the year with high expectations.
Cleveland almost knocked out Boston from last year’s postseason, and was the trendy pick in spring training to win the AL pennant. However, the Indians reside in last place in the AL Central behind Kansas City by going just 29-26 at home and 20-38 on the road.
Re: MLB News and Notes August 7
Thursday’s streaking and slumping pitchers
A.J. Burnett, Toronto Blue Jays (13-9, 4.57)
Don’t let the mediocre ERA fool you; Burnett has been a major moneymaker for Jays backers. He’s coming off a three-game winning streak during which he’s allowed just five earned runs and struck out 21. That’s what you call serious power. Overall, Burnett has racked up mucho dinero for bettors as he’s led the Blue Jays to wins in seven of his last 10 starts. He’s always been at his best in August, so the hot streak isn’t likely to come to an end against Oakland today.
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers (1-3, 4.02)
It’s hard to call it a streak – Kershaw has only started four games this season. Nonetheless, it’s still worth noting that his last two starts were shutout performances for the rookie left-hander. He held the hapless Nationals scoreless for six innings on July 27, which is one thing, but he followed that up with six shutout innings against a much more respectable Arizona Diamondbacks lineup. After that performance, Arizona’s manager Bob Melvin had nothing but praise for the 20-year-old.
"He's got great stuff. I mean, you can see why they're pretty excited about him," Melvin said of Kershaw. "I think he was throwing a little harder than the gun would suggest. He had a real good curveball and it seemed like he could throw it all counts. He's definitely something to be excited about."
Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies (9-7, 3.37)
For most pitchers this sort of performance wouldn’t qualify as a slump, but it’s well below what bettors have come to expect (and pay for) from Hamels. He’s allowed four earned runs in each of his last two starts and hasn’t shown the same kind of overpowering stuff that Phillies fans are used to seeing in his starts. Rumors are swirling that the oft-injured Hamels is attempting to pitch through an elbow problem as the Phillies make a run for the playoffs and that’s the reason for his lack of effectiveness. Whether or not these rumors are true is up for debate, but bettors can’t dispute that a 5-5 record over his last 10 starts isn’t enough for a guy that regularly sees prices upwards of -160.
Re: MLB News and Notes August 7
Florida at Philadelphia (1:05 p.m. EDT). The Phillies try to hold onto their lead over the Marlins and Mets in the NL East, sending Cole Hamels (9-7, 3.37 ERA) to the mound against Chris Volstad (2-2, 3.25).
- Aaron Rowand, Giants, went 2-for-2 with a home run, driving in all of San Francisco's runs in a 3-2 win over the Braves.
- Jeff Karstens, Pirates, set down the first 23 batters he faced in a complete-game, 2-0 victory over the Diamondbacks.
- Vladimir Guerrero, Angels, homered and drove in four runs in a 9-4 win over Baltimore.
- Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox, went 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs, scoring twice in an 8-2 rout of the Royals.
- Ryan Ludwick, Cardinals, followed a grand slam by Albert Pujols with a home run, the fifth straight game in which he's gone deep, in a 9-6 win over the Dodgers.
- Mark DeRosa, Cubs, hit a grand slam during an eight-run third inning and finished with five RBIs in an 11-4 victory over the Astros.
- Jhonny Peralta, Indians, went 5-for-5 with a homer, a pair of doubles and two RBIs in a 10-7 loss to the Rays.
- Rickie Weeks, Brewers, went 4-for-5 with a pair of RBIs in a 6-3 win over the Reds.
- Shaun Marcum, Blue Jays, gave up three hits over seven innings in a 5-1 win over the A's.
Jeff Karstens is making Pittsburgh fans forget all about Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte. The right-hander set down his first 23 batters before Chris Young's two-out double in the eighth inning and finished with a two-hitter in a 2-0 victory over Arizona. Karstens (2-0) has tossed 15 scoreless innings since coming over in the six-player trade that sent Nady and Marte to the New York Yankees.
JUST LIKE ALBERT
Albert Pujols isn't the only slugger in the Cardinals lineup, even if he did hit a grand slam in their 9-6 win over the Dodgers. Ryan Ludwick also went deep, tying a franchise record by doing so in his fifth straight game. Ludwick is the fifth Cardinals player to homer in five straight games and the first since Pujols from Aug. 17-22, 2007. He has totaled six homers during the streak, including a game-winning two-run shot on Tuesday.
Alfonso Soriano made sure everybody knew he was fine after coming off the disabled list, launching a three-run homer after Mark DeRosa's grand slam during an eight-run third inning in an 11-4 win over Houston. The Cubs have won nine of 11 and improved to an NL-best 69-46.
LEADING THE WAY
The Rays sure don't seem to be going anywhere. Carlos Pena's three-run homer capped a six-run ninth inning, helping Tampa Bay rally to a 10-7 victory over Cleveland. The Rays, whose 45 home wins are the most in the majors, now embark on their final trip West this season.
JOBA JOINS DL
Joba Chamberlain was placed on the 15-day disabled list by the Yankees with rotator cuff tendinitis in his pitching shoulder. The club said Chamberlain will rest for about a week before beginning a throwing program. Ian Kennedy is expected to be called up from the minors to start.
``That's something that we definitely think about it and envision. We actually see it in reality at the same time. It's very important for us that we also put it in perspective. We know it's great, we're enjoying it, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. We never lose focus in the fact, 'Hey, let's play the game today.' It's most important for us.''' - Carlos Pena, whose home run helped the Rays to a 10-7 win over Cleveland and kept them in first place as they chase their first division title.
Re: MLB News and Notes August 7
Thursday's MLB Research
Toronto vs. Oakland
Oakland is on the road at Toronto here, note that Duch has not won since 7/13, and although he had a 1.5 era at Boston in his last start he still lost, he has yet to face the Bluejays this year, he is still 3-5 with a 2.43 era, he was still an all-start, the league is beginning to figure him out though as his honeymoon grace period is coming to an end it seems, however, it could just be that he gets no offensive help as he has pitched 6 of 7 quality starts of late, Burnett has won 5 of his last 6, he is on a bounce-back after having a 6 era but still winning, he has yet to beat the A's this year though, if anything a lean on the under, but 7 is too rich for my blood.
Yankees vs. Texas
Yanks won nicely yesterday, the game went under finally in Texas, Moose is 8-15 to the under while Feldman is 4-13 to the under this year as they are both strong under pitchers, Mussina has pitched 6 of 7 quality starts, he had a 3 era against Texas last time, but lost to Feldman 1-2 as Feldman cashed as a +170 dog on the road winning at Yankee stadium, Mussina remembers that loss of course and Feldman is coming off back to back starts and the Yankees would like their revenge, the Yanks are not a bad play at all at this spot, except for the fact the juice is extremely high around -150 and the fact that Texas is on a bounce-back, no thanks.
Detroit vs. Whitesox
The Whitesox took care of business at home yesterday winning 5-1, Miner is on a bounce-back today after 5 era start in his last go around on the road at TB, I expect him to pitch better today, remember the Tigers come off a loss as well, Miner did beat the Sox earlier this year 6-4 as he defeated Vasquez, Vasquez hates to face the Tigers who have shelled him for 21 hits and 11 runs in the last 13 innings, having said that Vasquez does have revenge here, but the Tigers are of quality value coming off a loss and a pitcher that is on a bounce-back today. Besides, I just don't think that Vasquez has back to back quality games in him, he has been struggling to put together quality back to back starts.
Tampa Bay vs. Seattle
Tampa Bay had a great come back win from behind yesterday scoring a multitude of runs in the 9th ended by Pena belting a 3 run shot to win the game, they go to Seattle on the road today - right now the only game that I am inclined to play is the Tigers based on value, but note Sonn had a 6 era against the Mariner sin his last start, Felix has yet to face TBay this year and has pitched 6 of 7 quality starts, sure, Tbay has solid value today, but Felix hasn't lost back to back games in quite some time as he typically bounces back after his team fails to win his previous start, no thanks.