MLB News and Notes August 9

MLB News and Notes August 9

Weekend MLB Tip Sheet
By Josh Jacobs

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

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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Saturday’s streaking and slumping pitchers
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Streaking

Roy Halladay, Toronto Blue Jays (13-8, 2.77)


Halliday is 2-1 with a spectacular 1.96 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP in his last three starts and has just three defeats in his last 10 overall.

Halliday, who ranks fifth in the majors with 157 strikeouts, has 28 Ks and has surrendered just 10 earned runs in his last four starts. He is 2-1 in his last two home starts and is 5-1 with a solid 3.97 career-ERA against the Cleveland Indians.

The Blue Jays are 44-13 in Halladay’s last 57 home starts and are 5-1 in his last six at  home against the Tribe.


Carlos Zambrano, Chicago Cubs (12-4, 2.76)

Don’t be confused by Zambrano’s last start, the right-hander has overwhelmed hitters all season. In fact, he is 2-1 with a 1.35 ERA in his past three starts.

Zambrano, who leads the Cubs with a 2.76 ERA and 1.21 WHIP, has relinquished just three earned runs and two HRs in his last 17 IP. He is also 6-0 at home with a 2.25 ERA and is 9-4 with a solid 2.26 career-ERA against the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Cubs are 5-0 in Zambrano’s last five home starts and are 10-1 in Zambrano’s last 11 starts against the Cardinals.


Slumping

Daniel Cabrera, Baltimore Orioles (7-7, 4.97)


Cabrera has just two victories in his last 10 starts and is 1-2 in his last three with an 8.00 ERA. He has also relinquished 16 earned runs and two HRs in his last 18 IP.

Cabrera is 1-1 in his last three at home and is 0-2 in his last three against the lowly Texas Rangers. He has also tossed more than 100 pitches in seven of his last 10 outings.

Baltimore is 4-10 in Cabrera’s last 14 and is 0-5 in his last five against the Rangers.

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Re: MLB News and Notes August 9

Baseball Today

SCOREBOARD

Saturday, Aug. 9

Boston at Chicago White Sox (7:05 p.m. EDT). Daisuke Matsuzaka (12-2, 3.04 ERA) and the Red Sox try to keep pace in the AL East against one of the best teams in the Central. Jose Contreras (7-6, 4.60) takes the mound for the White Sox.

STARS

- Kevin Millar, Orioles, hit two homers for his third multihomer game of the year and Baltimore routed Texas 9-1.

- CC Sabathia, Brewers, pitched a five-hitter for his fourth shutout of the season, striking out nine in Milwaukee's 5-0 win over Washington.

- Oliver Perez, Mets, gave up two hits and struck out eight in seven innings to help New York shut out Florida 3-0.

- Carlos Lee, Astros, went 4-for-5 with three RBIs and Houston beat Cincinnati 9-5 in 10 innings.

- Torii Hunter, Angels, went 4-for-5 and drove in four runs to help Los Angeles beat New York 10-5.

WELCOME BACK, CHIPPER

Chipper Jones returned from the disabled list with a pair of hits, including a home run estimated at 434 feet, powering the Atlanta Braves to an 11-6 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Jones was activated from the 15-day disabled list before the game. He had missed the previous 14 games with a strained left hamstring. Jones has missed a total of 26 games this season, during which the Braves are 9-17. Jones came into the game leading the majors with a .369 batting average and .466 on-base percentage.

REYES OF HOPE

Anthony Reyes won his Cleveland debut, helping the Indians beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-2. Acquired from St. Louis in a July 26 trade that sent right-hander Luis Perdomo to the Cardinals, the right-hander allowed one run and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings. Reyes won Game 1 of the 2006 World Series for St. Louis but struggled the following season, finishing 2-14 with a 6.04 ERA. He moved to the bullpen this season, going 2-1 with a 4.91 ERA and one save in 10 relief appearances before being traded last month. Reyes didn't mind that he wasn't dealt to a pennant contender as the trade deadline approached. "I was excited just to start somewhere fresh,'' he said. "I think with St. Louis, that was probably it for me. I was excited for the opportunity and just excited to be coming here, having a chance to come up here and compete.''

DOWN WITH OP

Oliver Perez pitched two-hit ball for seven innings, and the New York Mets took the first game of a key series against their division rival Florida Marlins 3-0. Perez improved to 3-0 against the Mets' low-budget rival this season, and the Mets improved to 6-2 in his starts since beating the Yankees on June 29.

WALK SLOW-EY

Minnesota's Kevin Slowey didn't walk a batter in six innings in the Twins' 4-1 win over the Royals. It was the 16th time in 29 career starts Slowey didn't walk a batter. He is averaging 1.3 walks per nine innings this season. "I don't think I have the stuff to get away with walking a lot of guys,'' Slowey said. "That's the way it's been my whole life.''

OUCH!

Twins outfielder Michael Cuddyer broke a bone in his left foot when he was hit by a line drive off the bat of Garrett Jones during a rehab assignment at Triple-A Rochester and plans to return to Minneapolis on Sunday and will be examined by team doctors. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Cuddyer's foot will be placed in a boot. "We'll know more of a time scale when he sees our doctors, but it's not a good situation,'' Gardenhire said.

AILING

Phillies reliever Tom Gordon will see Dr. Lewis Yocum on Monday for a second opinion on his injured right elbow, and could be facing Tommy John surgery. Gordon is trying to recover from elbow inflammation that placed him on the disabled list July 6. He pulled himself from a rehabilitation assignment at Class-A Clearwater on Wednesday, when he experienced discomfort after pitching to just two batters. Gordon is 5-4 with a 5.16 ERA in 34 games for the Phillies this season. The team hoped he would be able to contribute out of the bullpen down the stretch, serving as manager Charlie Manuel's primary set-up man when healthy.

BOSTON, PUBLIC

A possible trade to send Brian Giles from San Diego to Boston fell through, and the Padres outfielder said he was upset that details of the talks became public. "I didn't know everybody was supposed to know, especially when it wasn't a done deal and it wouldn't go down,'' Giles said before the Padres opened a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies. Giles was claimed off waivers by the Red Sox on Wednesday, and the teams had 48 hours to complete a deal. Giles had to consent to be traded, and the Red Sox were one of eight teams on his no-trade list. He wouldn't say who killed the deal - several reports said he refused to give his consent.

CATCHING MORE Z'S

Relief pitcher Brad Ziegler tied the Athletics' mark for consecutive scoreless innings, pitching the eighth and ninth innings of Oakland's 4-2 win over Detroit for his first career save. He extended his scoreless streak to 37 consecutive innings to tie Mike Torrez's club record, set in 1976. Manager Bob Geren said that he won't hesitate to use Ziegler as a closer, considering regular closer Huston Street's recent struggles.

SPEAKING

"I'm like his mini-me. When he's out there, I just get excited. Since he's come over here, he's been awesome. You get a pitcher like that, you want to give him everything you've got, so you can make sure he gets the win. He's doing his part.'' - 270-pound first baseman Prince Fielder after 290-pound pitcher CC Sabathia pitched a five-hitter in Milwaukee's 5-0 win over Washington.

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Saturday's best MLB bets
Covers.com

Minnesota at Kansas City (+120, 8)

The Twins' pitching was scary enough before Francisco Lirano came off the DL. Now they have another live, young arm in the arsenal and if you don't believe Liriano's ready to dominate the majors again, you're kidding yourself. Sure, he's got the stigma of Tommy John surgery to get past but a 10-2 record and 3.28 ERA in the minors should indicate that his elbow is just fine. He also pitched six shutout innings in his major league return last week which should prove his readiness at the major league level.

As for the rest of the team, they're hitting around .280 on the season and they're 7-2 against Kansas City this season. Bets don't get any easier than this.

Pick: Twins


Boston at Chicago White Sox (-135, 9)

This is the best price you're ever likely to get on a Dice-K start. Normally, you'll see the Sox at around -180 when Dice-K is the starter, largely because he's 12-2 as a starter and has a 3.04 ERA.

Chicago just activated Jose Contreras after the right-hander spent a month on the DL with tendinitis in his elbow. Contreras was shaky before the injury and it's a good bet that he'll be having trouble with his location today.

Pick: Red Sox

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MLB DAILY RESEARCH
By Indiancowboy

Cleveland vs. Toronto

Byrd faces off against Halladay today and keep in mind Byrd is coming off 3 great starts, he had a 1.69 on the road at the Angels, a shutout against Detroit at home, 1.29 era against Minny on the road, and has given up 2 runs in 20 inns, he has not faced Toronto this year, Halladay typically struggles against the same teams and dominates the rest, the Indians gave him a 6 era at Cleveland last time, to be honest, the Indians +1.5 or the under are not bad plays here imo. Heck, even the Indians ML despite Halladay having revenge against this team is not a bad idea.

Yankees vs. Angels

Giese went 3 inns and gave up 1 hit against the Angels last season, he has not faced the Angels this season, he is 0-2 with a 5+ era this season, Lackey is on a bounce-back after a 6 era on the road against the Yankees in his last start, I understand Lackey is on a bounce-back here but he has been struggling of late and the Angels have yet to face Giese, probably just staying away.

Oakland vs. Detroit

Dan Meyer the lefty goes for Oakland today on the road, sure he's a newbie and the Tigers haven't faced him which is an advantage for him, but Oakland knows young pitchers, they always have, they are the best at it in fact, with the likes of Haren, Hudson, Mulder, Street etc...coming up and now this kid. Galaraga had a 9 era to Oakland earlier this season, to be honest Oakland has decent value here as they have defeated Galaraga before. In essence, both the Indians and Oakland have value here given the big dog value that they present.

Texas vs. Baltimore

Padilla is 9-2 on the road, Texas comes off a tough loss yesterday, Padilla is on a bounce-back of sorts today, he had a 24 ERA against Baltimore his last time out, but the Orioles send Cabrera who is also on a bounce-back today, he has yet to face Texas this year, if anything a lean on the over, but this game should back and forth the whole day.

Boston vs. Whitesox

Dice-K bounced back well and won at home against Oakland in his last start, Contreras got drilled in his last start with a 15+ era on the road at Texas, his team lost 11-12 in that ballgame, he has given up 20 hits and 12 runs in his last 2 starts, but he has helped his team win at home of late with 4.5 eras, don't be surprised to see a Whitesox win here at home. Contreras is likely to show up this game.

Minny vs. KC

Liriano in his first game back lost to the Royals, looks like he is back on track as he comes off a shout out performance in his last start against Cleveland at home, Greinke has won back to back ballgames and is awfully tough at home as he is 4-1 with a 2.93 era at home, he lost to the Twins last time, so a bit of revenge here for him as well, lean on the under but 8 is a tough number here to take.

Tampa Bay vs. Seattle

Garza on the road on a bounce-back is good value here, he had a 7+ era in his last start and he has consistently come back with a bounce-back after a bad performance, of course, he has to considering his team is in the hunt and leads the division, besides, the Yanks and Red Sox both lost yesterday, he lost to Seattle earlier this year, he faces Rowland-Smith, but I hate the juice here on TB, a lean on the RL slightly, but Rowland-Smith likely shows up here, nevertheless, it is still worth it to take the RL here imo given the dog price.

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