MLB News and Notes August 10

MLB News and Notes August 10

Sunday's MLB Tip Sheet
By Josh Jacobs

Sunday rounds out a long weekend of baseball action. Based on recent performances, Tampa Bay, the L.A. Angels and Chicago Cubs remain the teams to beat. Combine the close race in the NL East and the makings of a dramatic rush to October are quite apparent.

With the first week of preseason football all but in the books (Monday's matchup between Cincinnati and Green Bay is still yet to commence) bettors can divert their full attention to 14-day games followed by an evening capper between St. Louis and the Chicago Cubs.

Boston (Buchholz) at White Sox (Floyd) – 2:05 p.m. EDT

Things haven’t been pretty for the Red Sox on the road when starting pitcher Clay Buchholz (2-7, 5.94 ERA) takes the mound. In-fact wins have been far a few between with Boston going 1-8 in Buchholz’s last nine starts on the road.

But if we’re going to focus on a specific angle lets delve into the totals department. In Chicago’s last 22 games, the ‘over’ has been a bread winner going 16-5-1. The ‘over’ is 7-1 in the last eight head-to-head pairings between these two clubs and the White Sox have been responsible for witnessing the ‘over’ going 18-7-1 in the last 26 overall games.

And then there’s an ‘over’ record of 6-3-1 in Gavin Floyd’s (11-6, 3.66) last 10 starts (four straight ‘over’ plays in his last four starts).

One trend to note is the Red Sox 20-13 record in a Game 3 pairing, while the White Sox are a blazing hot 21-12 during the same Game 3 scenario this season. Boston is 7-1 in its last eight against Chicago.

Most books have opened the total at 9½-runs.

N.Y. Yankees (Pettitte) at L.A. Angels (Saunders) – 3:35 p.m. EDT

Some would say that the Yankees’ time is running out, given the cut throat effort put forth by Tampa Bay and Boston. With the rising concern of injuries, a lack of sustainable momentum and an unbalanced production of offense and defense at any given game, New York is in real trouble.

With the Angels +2199 units on the season it’s hard to argue that starter Andy Pettitte (12-9, 4.34) and the Yankees are a sharp underdog play at +115 (bet $100 to win $115). L.A. is 40-19 in its last 59 games played on grass and is 17-5 in its last 22.

The biggest element staring the Bombers in the face is 14-game winner Joe Saunders (14-5, 3.03). The Halo slinger is ranked 8th in the AL with a 1.16 WHIP, has surrendered just 1.7 runs per game in his last 10 outings and is registering a skimp .239 BAA.

But once again a total play might be worth investing some time into. Here are some trends concerning totals: The ‘over’ is 11-3 in the Yankees last 14, the ‘over’ is a perfect 8-0 in the last eight head-to-head games in L.A. and the ‘over’ is 13-7 in the last 20 head-to-head meetings.

L.A.’s Saunders last start versus Baltimore yielded a no-decision after throwing six masterful innings of work, giving up a grand total of one run on six hits. In his three-year career, Saunders is 1-1 with an over the top 10.80 ERA versus the Yankees in only two starts. New York’s offense has come together to tag the Halos’ lefty for a .361 BA, while scoring an average of 5.5 runs per game. Be aware that all of New York’s production came with Saunders on the hill for only eight innings.

St. Louis (Carpenter) at Cubs (Dempster) – 8:05 p.m. EDT on ESPN

Making his third start since being activated from the 60-day DL will be St. Louis starting specialist Chris Carpenter (0-0, 1.00). Carpenter has spent the past year recovering from ligament replacement surgery but two solid performances since returning to the rotation have given the Cardinals a fighting chance in the AL Central.

Most books have already opened the Cubs as a $1.43 home favorite as an 8-2 record in their last 10 coupled with right-handed starter Ryan Dempster (12-5, 2.93) towing the slab in this ESPN televised tilt two top reasons for the chalky price tag.

Dempster is 4-3 in his last 10 starts, but a five inning outing against Houston was hardly reason to be alarmed. Sure Chicago was pushed aside in that contest, losing 2-0, but the 10-year veteran surrendered just two runs on five hits. This was an uncharacteristic loss for a Cubs club who’s been responsible for supporting Dempster with a high 5.7 runs of support per start.

St. Louis has struggled against Chicago in the last 20 head-to-head meetings, squeezing out a lonely 6-14 record. A 12-6-2 record on the ‘under’ lends itself for more research.

Some more intriguing numbers favoring the Cubbies and their starter Dempster is his 10-2 performance with a .201 BAA and 80 strikeouts inside Wrigley Field this season. In Chi-town’s last three outings, the rotation and pen have combined for a debilitating 2.59 ERA with an effective 0.90 WHIP. Adding to this organizations resume is a 4-16 record at home thanks in large part to the arms tossing a seasonal 3.62 ERA and the bats making contact for a .302 BA at Wrigley.

Look for a possible play on the run line as the Cubs have made major cash with a 64-54 record pulling in +14.94 units in ’08.

For St. Louis an ‘over’ record of 8-1-1 in its last 10 road games and an ‘over’ frequency of 9-3-1 in its last 13 overall games could serve total players well.

vegasinsider.com.

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Re: MLB News and Notes August 10

Sunday's streaking and slumping pitchers
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Streaking

Gil Meche, Kansas City Royals (10-9, 4.17)


Meche, who started the campaign with eight setbacks in his first 14 starts, is 3-0 in his last three outings with a solid 1.80 ERA.

Meche is fresh off a home victory over the Boston Red Sox in which he lasted six innings, striking out nine. He is undefeated in his last eight at home and has relinquished just 15 ERs and five HRs in that stretch.

Meche also has a 4.66 career-ERA versus the Minnesota Twins.

The Royals are 5-0 in Meche’s last five home starts and are 6-0 in his last six overall.


Brandon Webb, Arizona Diamondbacks (16-4, 3.04)

The D-backs, despite a mediocre record, are leading the NL West and Webb is the fundamental reason for their success. Webb is 3-0 with a solid 1.88 ERA in his last three starts and is undefeated in his last seven overall.

In his last six starts, Webb has relinquished just eight earned runs in 45 IP. He is 4-4 at home and has a 1.90 career-ERA against the Atlanta Braves.

The Diamondbacks are 14-3 in Webb’s last 17 starts against a club with a losing record and are 25-10 in Webb’s last 35 home starts.


Slumping

Andy Pettitte, New York Yankees (12-9, 4.13)


Pettitte has lost two straight, conceding 13 earned runs and three HRs in the process. He is also 1-2 in his last three road starts.

Pettitte is 1-2 in his last three overall with an 8.27 ERA. In his last start, an 8-6 road setback to the lowly Texas Rangers, Pettite surrendered five ERs in a mere six IP. He is also 0-1 with a 15.9 ERA in one game against the Los Angeles Angels.

The Yankees are 1-4 in Pettitte’s last five on four days of rest and are 3-9 in their last 12 meetings against the Angels in L.A.

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Re: MLB News and Notes August 10

Sunday's best MLB bets
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Houston at Cincinnati (-120, 9½)

The Houston Astros have been one of the NL's hottest teams lately, while the Cincinnati Reds have been the league's worst. Recent developments on the injury front, however, could close that gap considerably.

After losing Carlos Lee to a broken left pinkie finger, the Astros hope to overcome the hot-hitting outfielder's absence Sunday when they close a four-game road series against the Reds, who will welcome ace Aaron Harang back from the disabled list.

Since falling into last place in the NL Central on July 23, Houston (57-59) has won 11 of 15 games to pull into the outskirts of contention in the NL wild-card race. The Astros are in sixth place, trailing first-place Milwaukee by 8 1-2 games.

Lee has been a major factor in Houston's surge, leading the majors with a .390 batting average since June 20 and batting .500 (15-for-30) with four homers and 13 RBIs in nine August games.

Lee, however, won't get a chance to continue his hot streak anytime soon. He left Saturday night's 3-1 win over Cincinnati with a broken left pinkie after getting hit by a pitch from Reds starter Bronson Arroyo in the third inning, and is expected to miss 6-to-8 weeks.

"It's tough to lose him," Astros manager Cecil Cooper said of Lee, the NL leader with 100 RBIs. "It didn't look good. He carried us the last month-and-a-half. It's a big hole to fill, but we're capable of filling it. I'm just now starting to suck it up."

Making matters worse for the Astros is the news that Harang (3-11, 4.76 ERA) will start Sunday's finale for the Reds (52-66). The right-hander has won at least 10 games in each of the last four seasons, including back-to-back 16-win campaigns in 2006 and 2007. He's struggled this year, but told the Reds' official Web site that he's eager to return after almost a month on the disabled list with a strained right forearm.

"Everybody says it's fine for a while to get a couple of days off," Harang said. "But once you've got to come to the field every day, being around the guys and not being able to go out there and help, it eventually gets to you."

Pick: Houston


Minnesota at Kansas City (-105, 8½)

The Minnesota Twins' high-scoring offense helped them move back into first place in the AL Central for the second time in a week.

To keep their lead, though, they'll have to cool off Gil Meche, who takes the mound for Kansas City on Sunday, trying to help the Royals avoid a three-game sweep.

The Twins (64-51) beat the Royals (53-64) 7-3 on Saturday for their third straight win overall and ninth in 11 games this season against Kansas City. Delmon Young homered and rookie Denard Span had a two-run single during a five-run sixth inning.

Jason Kubel tripled to lead off the sixth before Young was hit by a pitch from Zack Greinke. While Twins manager Ron Gardenhire thought it was intentional, the left fielder wasn't sure.

"When it's so close to your head you don't know what's going on," Young said. "If (it was intentional), I was hoping for the ribs or lower. We scored five runs after that. Whatever it did was a good thing for us."

The win, combined with Chicago's loss to Boston, moved the Twins a half-game ahead of the White Sox into first place in the AL Central. It's the second time this week they've been in first place. Last Sunday, Minnesota took the lead in the division, but lost its next two games to fall back into second.

The Twins have averaged 6.2 runs in their last six games, led by Span, who is hitting 10-for-26 (.385) with seven RBIs, and Kubel, who is batting .368 (7-for-19) with two homers and six runs scored in his last five games.

Since the All-Star break, Minnesota has the fifth-highest scoring offense in the AL at 5.4 runs per game.

Continuing that prolific offense won't be easy Sunday against Meche (10-9, 4.17), who has won his last four starts and seven of his last eight decisions. He has a 2.80 ERA during that stretch.

Pick: Over

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Re: MLB News and Notes August 10

Baseball Today

SCOREBOARD

Sunday, Aug. 10

Atlanta at Arizona (4:10 p.m. EDT). Mike Hampton, who hadn't won since 2005 before beating the Giants on Tuesday, goes for his second straight win against Brandon Webb (16-4, 2.93 ERA), who is trying to become the first pitcher in the majors to reach 17 wins.

STARS


- Troy Glaus, Cardinals, went 3-for-5 with two homers and five RBIs, ending an 0-for-30 streak against Cubs pitchers in a 12-3 rout of Chicago.

- Ben Sheets, Brewers, threw a five-hitter in Milwaukee's 6-0 win over Washington, extending the Nationals' scoreless streak to 22 innings.

- Carlos Beltran, Mets, went 3-for-3 with his 16th home run and three RBIs in New York's 8-6 win over Florida.

- Miguel Cabrera, Tigers, homered twice and drove in four runs to lift Detroit to a 10-2 win over Oakland.

- Dioner Navarro, Rays, hit a sacrifice fly to score Ben Zobrist in the 11th inning to give Tampa bay an 8-7 win over Seattle.

SPECIAL GUEST

Barry Bonds made an appearance during a pregame ceremony celebrating the Giants' 50th anniversary in San Francisco. After Willie Mays spoke to the crowd, Bonds walked to a podium behind the pitcher's mound and told the crowd "I'm not retired.'' He then watched two innings of the game from a front-row seat next to Giants owner Peter Magowan.

SPECIAL WIN

Tampa Bay beat Seattle 8-7 in 11 innings for their 70th win of the season, matching the most wins in franchise history. The Rays won 70 in 2004 under manager Lou Piniella.

BREAKING OUT

Troy Glaus, hitless in his first 30 at-bats against the Cubs this season, had two of the Cardinals' four homers off Carlos Zambrano and finished with five RBIs to help St. Louis beat Chicago 12-3. Glaus' second homer of the day and 21st of the season was a three-run shot in the fifth that finished Zambrano, who suffered his first loss of the season at Wrigley Field, where he'd been 6-0.

JAW SESSION

Brett Myers didn't want to leave with a runner on second and two outs in the eighth against the Pirates. When Phillies manager Charlie Manuel came out to the mound to get him, Myers muttered a few expletives. Manuel went after Myers in the dugout and the two briefly exchanged words nose-to-nose. Myers said he just wanted to stay in the game, and said they had patched things up. Manuel said he prefers a pitcher who doesn't want to exit a game. "It was two strong-willed people kind of disagreeing,'' Manuel said. "Everything is all right. He wanted to stay in. I like that. In fact, if he doesn't want to stay in, I'd be mad.''

SWING

Paul Byrd pitched a six-hitter to win his fourth consecutive start, Cleveland's 4-2 victory Toronto. Byrd had dropped five straight decisions between June 11 and July 4.

MILESTONES


Oakland's Frank Thomas hit his 521st career home run, tying him for 17th all-time with Willie McCovey and Ted Williams. ... Gary Sheffield hit his 490th home run in the Tigers' 10-2 win over the Athletics. ... Jeff Kent homered in the 10th inning of the Dodgers' 3-2 loss to San Francisco. The home run was the 376th of his career, tying him with Carlton Fisk for 62nd on the career list.

FIGURING THEM OUT

Baltimore's Daniel Cabrera stymied the struggling Texas Rangers for six innings of a 9-0 win. Cabrera allowed four hits in an unusually effective performance against the Rangers. The right-hander was 1-6 with a 6.33 ERA in eight previous appearances against Texas, including 0-3 at home.

BACK TO FORM

Francisco Liriano had his second straight strong start since being recalled from the minors, giving up three runs and six hits in 5 2-3 innings of the Twins 7-3 victory over Kansas City. Liriano is 2-0 with a 2.31 ERA in two starts, allowing three earned runs and nine hits in 11 2-3 innings since returning to the Twins from Triple-A Rochester, where he had won his final 10 decisions.

INJURED

White Sox pitcher Jose Contreras ruptured his left Achilles' tendon in the second inning of the game against the Red Sox. Contreras was activated before the game. He had been on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow tendinitis and hadn't started since July 13 at Texas. ... Royals second baseman Mark Grudzielanek may be out for the season after a MRI revealed a torn deltoid ligament in his right ankle. Grudzielanek went on the disabled list on Aug. 2, one day after colliding with first baseman Ross Gload while catching a fly ball to shallow right off the bat of Juan Uribe of the Chicago White Sox.

DEAL

The Royals traded pitcher Horacio Ramirez to the Chicago White Sox for minor league outfielder Paulo Orlando. The deal was completed after the Kansas City Royals' 7-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins. The left-hander was 1-1 with a 2.59 earned run average in 15 relief appearances with the Royals, who signed him as a minor league free agent on May 21 after he was released in spring training by Seattle.

STAT

The Yankees' Jason Giambi hit his 23rd homer of the year. Of his 81 hits this season, 37 have been for extra bases.

OUCH!

Houston slugger Carlos Lee, the NL leader in RBIs, broke his pinkie when he was hit by a pitch thrown by Bronson Arroyo and is expected to miss 6-to-8 weeks. ... All-Star third baseman Ryan Braun was pulled from the Brewers' 6-0 victory over Washington because of tightness in his lower back. Braun struck out in the first inning, spiking his helmet into the ground as Ray Durham was thrown out at second attempting to steal for a double play. Braun said he felt the tightness on a 2-1 pitch during the at-bat. He was listed as day-to-day, and said muscles on both sides of his ribcage tightened. ... Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman Orlando Hudson left the game against the Atlanta Braves because of an apparent wrist injury. Hudson was attempting to field an errant throw from reliever Juan Cruz when Atlanta catcher Brian McCann collided with Hudson's left wrist. Hudson immediately fell to the infield dirt and rolled in pain before leaving the game.

SEASON-ENDING INJURIES

White Sox pitcher Jose Contreras is out for at least nine months after rupturing his left Achilles' tendon in a 6-2 loss to the Red Sox. Contreras left the game after crumpling to the ground attempting to cover first on a grounder in the second inning. The 36-year-old Contreras limped past first base before clutching his leg and pounding his fist on the ground. He needed help to get off the field. Contreras, 7-6 with a 4.50 ERA, was activated before the game from a 15-day stint on the disabled list with tendinitis in his elbow. ... Royals second baseman Mark Grudzielanek may be out for the season after a MRI revealed a torn deltoid ligament in his right ankle. Grudzielanek went on the disabled list on Aug. 2, one day after colliding with first baseman Ross Gload while catching a fly ball to shallow right off the bat of Juan Uribe of the Chicago White Sox.

SPEAKING

"This a pennant race. I want men on the field. I keep telling (general manager Kenny Williams) we got what we need, but some people make me look bad, some people make me look disappointed, some people make me think about what we have. Some players should look themselves in the mirror and be embarrassed, and they should be better, that's all I can say.'' - White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen after reliever Boone Logan allowed four runs without recording and out in a 6-2 loss to Boston. Logan was sent to the minors after the game.

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