MLB News and Notes August 8

MLB News and Notes August 8

Weekend MLB Tip Sheet
By Josh Jacobs

With the exception of three games, the rest of the Major League schedule will begin fresh series for a weekend swing.

There’s about a month and a half left in the regular season and minus the Angels’ domination in the AL West, all other divisions are still involved in bloody wars for placement into the postseason.

Without further ado let’s head right into the deep end of the pool for a look into which contests could be cash creators for you baseball gamblers out there.

Friday

Boston (Lester) at White Sox (Buehrle) – 8:11 p.m. EDT


Red Sox starter Jon Lester (10-3, 3.14 ERA) has been a team leader and a money machine for backers, returning a profit of +538 units in 23 starts this season. While it’s been stated before, Lester has yet to witness a loss since Oakland took a 6-3 win over the Sox on May 25. The lefty slinger has been rolling, letting a rock bottom 1.8 runs to score in his last five outings.

Chicago is a solid 37-16 at home this season, but going 4-6 in its last 10 can be solely attributed to its arms tossing a 6.27 ERA and falling victim to opponents walking around the bases for 6.5 runs per game in the last six games.

However, the White Sox do have an edge in Game 1 of a series with a 22-15 record reflective of this trend.

Thinking about nailing a total play? The ‘over’ has gone 7-0 in the last seven head-to-head meetings. Most books have been consistent by installing the total in those seven contests at an average of 9½ runs.

Look for the Red Sox to continue balances play as the club is swinging for a .289 BA, while tossing a 3.33 ERA in the last 10.

Chicago southpaw starter Mark Buehrle (8-10, 4.07) has been shelled from both sides of the plate, getting tagged for a .287 BAA by lefties and .282 BAA by righties. The good news for Chi-town backers is Buehrle’s .233 BAA at home versus a sky high .323 BAA on the road.

Tampa Bay (Shields) at Seattle (Silva) – 10:10 p.m. EDT

Losing to Cleveland 5-2 to begin the week off was a minor bump in the road as Tampa Bay is now 7-1 in its last eight. The pitching staff has done enough to get the team past opponents by giving up 3.5 runs per game, while the offense has picked up the pace with 5.8 runs scored per game during this eight-game stretch.

Coming off a solid win over Detroit on Aug. 3, second-year slinger James Shields (9-7, 3.63) will take the ball for his 24th start of the season. Shields has faced Seattle three times in his short career, throwing a total of 23 innings, giving up only 14 hits and four runs. His 1.57 ERA versus the Mariners is solid work, but as is the case with a lack of run support, Shields is 0-1 in those three games of work.

Seattle helped seal on the deal on its underachieving season a while back. With the worst record at home in the Majors (23-35), a pitching staff getting rocked for a team 4.43 ERA and bats swatting at flies to produce 4.1 runs per game, there’s no scientific study needed to explain the troubles taking place in the great state of Washington.

Listed as a $1.50 home underdog, the M’s have improved their swing to a .336 BA in the last 10, but a starting staff throwing meatballs for a 6.13 ERA and a pen not looking much better, posting a 5.56 ERA should have backers eyeballing another ‘dog on the Friday card.

At one point in history (actually in 2007) Carlos Silva (4-12, 5.92) was a double-digit winning pitcher, but a 1-6 record in his last 10 starts runs congruent with what the rest of the Seattle club has demonstrated on the diamond in ’08.

The Rays will need to put a 3-9 record in the last 12 games when playing in Seattle behind them if a successful four-game series is in order.

Saturday

St. Louis (Wellemeyer) at Cubs (Zambrano) – 3:55 p.m. EDT


A divisional showdown between the Cardinals and Cubs will head into Game 2 on Saturday with FOX picking up the rights for televised viewing.

Speaking as of mid-day Thursday, both clubs have split their six meetings thus far this season. Todd Wellemeyer (8-4, 4.01) will get his 23rd start and his third opportunity to face Chicago this season. The right-handed starter is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in head-to-head action. In his last start against the Cubbies on Jul. 6, Wellemeyer reached a 76-pitch count in only five innings, therefore ending his day with an ‘L’ to boot.

For Chicago a fired up Carlos Zambrano (12-4, 2.76) will get a chance to earn his 13th win of the season and possibly his second win versus the Cards. While going 4-1 in his last six starts, Zambrano showed his true colors on against St. Louis on in early July, lobbing up 87 pitches in six innings. But surrendering no runs on only four hits was what made the win that much more special.

With a 46-13 home record, the Cubbies have a lot more to fall back on then just Zambrano’s heated stuff. The club is clobbering opposing pitchers with a .303 BA and are crossing home plate for an astounding 6.1 runs per game inside the friendly confines of old Wrigley Field.

And then there’s the dynamic ability of right fielder Alfonso Soriano. Since returning from the 15-day DL on Jul. 23, Soriano is batting .344 with 12 RBIs and five balls that have cleared the fence.

Florida (Olsen) at N.Y. Mets (N/A) – 7:10 p.m. EDT

Rounding out Saturday’s preview of hot matchups involve two clubs jockeying for primetime real estate in the NL East. With Philadelphia attempting to fend off both the Marlins and the Mets, then this weekend’s series between the latter teams mentioned should give us a better idea of what to expect come October.

Even after losing two out of three games last week in South Florida, New York owns a slight edge on its season series against the ‘Fish (5-4 record in nine games). What could prove to be a tricky game to handicap rests in the decision process that GM Omar Minaya and manager Jerry Manuel most make in terms of choosing a starting pitcher.

Latest reports from local New York sources indicate that right-hander Claudio Vargas, Brian Stokes and Nelson Figueroa are all considered runner-ups for the starting job but nothing has been confirmed as of Thursday.

While the Marlins continue to impress without letting their foot off the gas pedal, 93 errors on the season ranks the team 29th worst in the Major Leagues. And with the pitching staff made up of bright prospects like 11-game winner Ricky Nolasco and fully healed starter Josh Johnson, seasonal stats of a team 4.49 ERA (22nd worst) and a 1.43 WHIP aren’t indicative of a superstar defense.

Florida is 5-1 on the ‘under’ in its last six, while New York 7-3 on the ‘over’ in its last 10.

vegasinsider.com.

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Diamond Preview
By Matt Fargo

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.

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Re: MLB News and Notes August 8

Baseball Today

SCOREBOARD


Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco (10:15 p.m. EDT). Brad Penny (5-9, 5.88 ERA) makes his first start for the Dodgers since June 14, when he was sidelined by shoulder tendinitis and bursistis. He takes on Barry Zito (6-13, 5.40) and the Giants.


STARS

- David Wright, Mets, went 3-for-5 and hit the winning two-run homer in the ninth inning for a 5-3 victory over the Padres.

- Mike Mussina, Yankees, gave up eight hits and a walk over seven innings to tie Cliff Lee for the American League in wins (15) in a 3-0 victory over the Rangers.

- Chris Volstad, Marlins, scattered three hits and four walks over six innings to beat the Phillies 3-0 in a crucial NL East matchup.

- Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers, gave up three hits and a run over seven innings, striking out seven in a 4-1 victory over the Cardinals.

- Lastings Milledge, Nationals, went 5-for-9 with two homers and five RBIs to help Washington sweep a doubleheader against Colorado with a pair of 6-3 victories.

- Miguel Cabrera, Tigers, was 3-for-3 with a homer and three RBIs in an 8-3 rout of the White Sox.

- Charlie Morton, Braves, gave up five hits in seven shutout innings, helping Atlanta to a 6-4 victory over the Diamondbacks.


HE'S THE MANNY

Manny Ramirez homered for the fourth time in six games with the Dodgers, who beat St. Louis 4-1 to avoid a three-game sweep. Ramirez is 13-for-23 with nine RBIs since joining the Dodgers. His 514th career homer was a two-run shot that off Kyle Lohse that put Los Angeles up 3-0.


A's FOR EFFORT, F's FOR OUTCOME

Joe Inglett drove in the go-ahead run when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, giving the Blue Jays a 6-4 victory over the A's. Winless since July 27, Oakland has dropped 10 straight games and seven straight series, and is a major league-worst 2-17 since the All-Star break. The last time the A's had a losing streak this long was a 12-game skid that began with nine straight losses in September 1995 and continued with three more defeats in April 1996. The Athletics have been swept in three straight series of three games or more for the first time in Oakland history.


MORE ZEROS FOR Z

The A's may have lost their 10th straight with a 6-4 defeat to the Blue Jays, but rookie reliever Brad Ziegler wasn't at fault. He worked a scoreless eighth, extending his streak of shutout innings to 35 - the longest such run to begin a career in modern major league history.


DAVID WRIGHT ON

David Wright hit a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth inning after the Mets' bullpen blew another late lead for Johan Santana, lifting New York to a 5-3 win over San Diego. It was Wright's first game-ending homer in his big league career, and came after the New York bullpen blew a lead for Santana for the sixth time in 24 starts, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.


LASTING IMPRESSIONS

Lastings Milledge certainly had a doubleheader to remember. He went 3-for-4 and had his second career multihomer game in helping the Nationals take the opener against Colorado, 6-3. The outfielder then went 2-for-5 and drove in another run to finish off the sweep with another 6-3 victory. The doubleheader was due to a rainout Wednesday night.


ROY-AL REDS DOMINANCE

Roy Oswalt surely wishes he could pitch against Cincinnati every time out. He pitched six shutout innings before finally giving up a run in Houston's 7-4 victory, which improved Oswalt's record to 21-1 in his career against the Reds. He's won his last six starts against them.


SPEAKING

"I don't know if it was a release of emotion or it just was everybody's chance to get some free shots in on me. I think guys were taking advantage of giving me some rib shots and some jabs. I'm always celebrating everybody's else's at home plate, and to get to be the one that jumps into the pile is pretty fun.'' - David Wright, who was mobbed at the plate after his two-out, two-run homer in the ninth inning gave the Mets a 5-3 victory over the Padres.

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Friday’s streaking and slumping pitchers
COVERS.com

Streaking

Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox (10-3, 3.14)


Lester, a recent cancer survivor, has pitched with a purpose all season. In fact, he is leading the Red Sox with a 3.14 ERA and 1.31 WHIP.  He is also 3-0 in his past three starts with a 1.69 ERA and is 4-2 with a 3.28 ERA on the road.

Lester hasn’t lost in his last 10 and has led the Red Sox to a 9-1 mark in that period. He is also 1-0 with a 3.00 career-ERA against the Chicago White Sox.

The Red Sox are 5-1 in their last six road games and are 7-0 in their last seven meetings with the White Sox.


Paul Byrd, Cleveland Indians (6-10, 4.72)

Byrd has been intimidating opponents recently, despite pitching for the Tribe. He is 3-0 and has a 0.90 ERA in his last three starts.

In his last road start, a triumph against the second place Minnesota Twins, Byrd lasted seven innings, surrendering a single ER. He is also 2-0 in his last three road starts and has not relinquished a HR in his last four overall.

The Tribe is 8-3 in its last 11 against the AL East and is 20-7 in its last 27 meetings with the Toronto Blue Jays.


Slumping

Carlos Silva, Seattle Mariners (4-12, 5.92)


Silva has struggled all season and has just one victory in his last 10 starts. He is also winless with a lofty 10.50 ERA in his last three and has relinquished 14 earned runs in that period.

Silva is 2-6 with a 6.11 ERA at home and has surrendered 16 earned runs and four homers in his last four at Safeco Field. He has also surrendered one HR in each of his last three starts and is 1-1 and has a 2.10 career-ERA against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

The Mariners are 3-8 in their last 11 home games and are 2-7 in their last nine against the AL East.

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Pitchers to bet on away from home
By GREG GAMBLE

In my opinion, that’s a little misleading. Most hurlers feel more comfortable and pitch better in their own backyard, but the high prices on home teams can lead you down the Holyfield homeownership path.

That’s why I prefer to ride the road warriors whose home failures lead to favorable Vegas rates.

Jamie Moyer, Philadelphia Phillies (3.05 road, 4.70 home)

Moyer is trying a little reverse psychology as the home run house in Philadelphia has forced the soft-tossing lefty to change up his game. As a result, opponents have not left the yard as often, but are hitting almost 60 points higher (.298) when Moyer toes the rubber at Citizens Bank. 

On the road, Moyer acts like he’s back in Seattle, letting the fielders do their work and collecting an 8-4 record in that situation. Playing in a pennant race in front of the fans who booed Santa Claus, I expect the ageless wonder to continue to look forward to every road trip.

John Lannan, Washington Nationals (2.57 road, 5.29 home)

While it is common to chalk up a youngster’s struggles at home to pressure from fans, don’t forget we’re talking about the Nats here!  Maybe Lannan needs a date with Alyssa Milano or maybe it’s a political stance, but whatever the case, it’s not easy for anyone to pitch in a hitter’s park like Nationals Park. Sure Lannan has lost plenty of games on the road (even with the ridiculous ERA) but as Miss Cleo told me, watch the young Nats catch some teams napping while your catching +180.

Daisuke Matsuzaka, Boston Red Sox (2.20 road, 3.65 home)

It’s amazing that Dice-K has an ERA as high as 2.20 when opponents are hitting just .158 in their own ballpark, compared to .243 in Boston. Since he’s been dynamic just about everywhere, no reason to risk -220 or above when he’s pitching in front of the Green Monster.

Armando Galarraga, Detroit Tigers (2.72 road, 4.24 home)

Usually with a pitcher in a home run ballpark we see a large run differential between the home/road splits, while batting averages stay somewhat close in proximity. Not in my homeboy Armando’s case. Opponents are whiffing around like they attended Bob Uecker’s hitting school when Galarraga is on the road (.195), while treating him like an average hurler at home (.242).  Obviously the pen has killed some of his more impressive outings, but sporting a 7-2 record on the road for a team under .500 proves he’s holding up his end of the bargain.

Chien-Ming Wang, New York Yankees (2.12 road, 5.96 home)

Too bad we won’t be able to take advantage of this guy’s Cy Young-like road performances until late September when he returns from the DL because Wang is the classic example of a talented pitcher who crumbles under the pressure in the Big Apple. The proof can be seen in the free passes he gives out in Yankee Stadium (4.3 walk/9 at home vs. 2.3 walks/9 road).

Chris Sampson, Houston Astros (3.17 road, 6.34 home)

While Sampson has since moved to the bullpen, I have feeling once the Astros finally admit they are out of it, they will shut down their big guns and we’ll see this righty make same late August/September starts. The less-than-generous gaps in Minute Maid Park have been disastrous for the contact pitcher (not to mention his psyche) so keep your eyes peeled if he’s penciled in on the road because he’s a better pitcher than his overall numbers indicate.

Other Notables:  

Jorge Campillo, Braves  (1.48 road – 3.49 home)
Joe Saunders, Angels  (2.46 road – 3.80 home)
John Danks, White Sox  ( 2.63 road – 4.04 home)
Todd Wellemeyer, Cardinals  (3.28 road – 4.66 home)

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