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Thursday Service Plays
Re: Thursday Service Plays
BOSTON RED SOX -vs- Texas Rangers
4* BOSTON RED SOX Run Line -1.5
After giving up 27 runs in 16 Boston offensive innings so far in this series, it would seemingly be the case that the Ranger pitching staff has hit rock bottom. But that may not be true, as things go from awful to worse for Ron Washington tonight. Now with Vicente Padilla not ready to go he is forced to send 22-year old Tommy Hunter to the mound, the last thing he wants in the current feeding frenzy of the Red Sox bats. So once again we step in with the Run Line as a tool for an easy blowout. We are not sure that Hunter should be in the Major League?s at all. He began this season at Class A, and after stints there and at AA he worked only five games at AAA before getting an emergency call-up. It has meant a lot of travel and a lot of adjustments, and also a lot of innings - he is at 153 right now, with 150 being the level that Texas originally wanted to shut him down for the season. Instead he will be sent out for his third start, after the first two were total disasters in which he allowed 11 runs on 16 hits over just 9.2 innings. He does not have the savvy to deal with this lineup in this setting, and that once again means an early appearance for a struggling bullpen. Boston has no such issues on the mound. Daisuke Matsuzaka is on a 5-1/2.17 roll over his last eight starts, with opponents batting .198 in that span. Only once in that stretch did an opponent score more than two runs (the sizzling Angels), and in five of the outings he allowed one run or less. Now his task is made much easier by the likely absence of Josh Hamilton, and with Terry Francona able to get through last night?s win with the bottom of his bullpen, the right arms are in the right place for late-inning insurance here.
CHICAGO CUBS -vs- Atlanta Braves
6* Chicago Cubs Run Line -1.5
The first Ted Lilly/Tom Glavine encounter this season is one that we will remember fondly - it was a 6* Cub Run Line ticket in the +140 range that provided one of the biggest single-game payouts of the season in a 10-5 rout at Wrigley Field. This game has a chance to be more of the same, as we take advantage of a pitching mismatch that is wider than the market perceptions, and also by the major bias issues that each of these teams have vs. left-handed pitching (positive for the Cubs, negative for the Braves). Lilly got off to a slow start for Chicago this season, and as such his full-season numbers carry the burden of those early performances and do not fully reflect how good he has been. It has been an 11-3/3.55 since that 0-3 opening, and since the All Star break ian even better 2-0/2.76. We can confidently call for him to continue that form against a lineup lacking in right-handed punch, and with Kerry Wood now back in action, plus yesterday's pair of blowouts not taxing the bullpen, the latter innings are in good hands as well. With Chipper Jones not 100 percent, and with Brian McCann schedule for a night off after playing both games yesterday, there is not much to fear from a team that scored only two runs yesterday, despite facing right-handed starters. Meanwhile Glavine is nothing more than a finesse pitcher at this stage of his career, and that means a lot of precision is required for him to be successful. And success has not been easy to find of late, with a 2-5/6.33 over his last 20 starts. Not having started in over two months, and with only nine innings of two rehab appearances, there is little reason to fear anything special from him here in terms of that precision, and he admits it as much himself when addressing those rehab outings - "Physically, I felt pretty good when I pitched. One game I felt good mechanically and the second game I didn't feel so good. Kind of like spring training in that regard you don't know what you're going to feel like." This is anything but the right team at the right time for Glavine's return. the Cub right-handed trio of Alfonso Soriano, Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez has tagged him to a .369 lifetime tune, with seven home runs in 103 at-bats, and with Glavine unlikely to work deeply into this game there are bullpen issues galore - Buddy Carlyle (1.2 innings and 26 pitches), Vladimir Nunez (two and 53), Francisley Bueno (2.1 and 52), and Jeff bennett (two and 29) all came out of yesterday's twin-bill loss carrying major fatigue ratings. Once again we get an underdog return in a matchup that can break wide open, and that means that we can elevate our play to take full advantage.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS -vs- Philadelphia Phillies
4* UNDER 8.5
Last night's 7-6 Dodger win in this series has set us up with a rather unique value line for tonight - despite the fact that both starting pitchers are a step up in class from the Wednesday hook-ups, the Total has actually been set higher. That means excellent value for our purposes. Brett Myers may not appear to be a step up with the 5-9/5.09 that the pitching forms show, but that Minor League stint did exactly what it was supposed to do - he regained his rhythm, and it has been a rock-solid 2-0/2.10 in his return, with only 16 hits allowed in 25.2 innings. He has pitched at an excellent efficiency level, with three straight starts of 12.6 Pitches-Per-Inning or less, and he did not have more fly-ball outs than ground-ball outs in any of those games. We can call for that form to continue against a Los Angeles lineup that continues to show a negative bias against right-handers, and the ability of Myers to churn innings helps to alleviate some of those Phillie bullpen issues. Meanwhile we lost a tough ticket in backing Hideki Kuroda in his last outing, a 3-2 Dodger defeat in extra innings at San Francisco, but the right-hander gave us exactly what we were looking for. The only run that the Giants scored in his eight innings came in bizarre fashion, with a batter reaching base on a strikeout being a key to that inning. Now having worked 15.1 innings over back-to-back strong starts (only 189 pitches needed, with just two walks), his rhythm is also where we want it. On the first look for a Phillie offense that has also had a negative bias against right-handers we can expect him to be a step ahead of the hitters all night.
Re: Thursday Service Plays
Jeff Scott Sports
3 UNIT PLAY
Pittsburgh -1 over BUFFALO
The Steelers QB rotation of Big Ben and Byron Leftwich is alot more attractive than any rotation the Billl will put on the field. The Bills are also dealing with some offensive injuries and you don't want that when facing this Steelers D. The Steeler D did very well vs Philly in holding them to 10 points, including a shutout in the 2nd half by their backups. I know it was against Philly's 2nd and 3rd string offenses, but they are still better than the Bills 2nd and 3rd stringers. I just don't see Buffalo putting enough points on the board to steal this one from Pittsburgh.
2 UNIT PLAY
PHILADELPHIA -3.5 over Carolina
The Carolian Panthers are in trouble right now as they are dealing with a ton of injuries, to go along with the fighting they've had in camp. Now they have to face an Eagles squad that will be playing their starters the entire first half. The Eagles have more talent than the Panthers, even before the injuries and it will show as Philly will jump out to a solid first half lead and never look back
1 UNIT PLAY
Pittsburgh/ Buffalo Under 33
Re: Thursday Service Plays
Jeff Scott Sports
3 UNIT PLAYS
Milwaukee +100 over SAN DIEGO: The Brewers are 20-6 in their last 26 after allowing 2 runs or less in their previous game and Brewers are 16-5 in their last 21 games vs. a right-handed starter, while the Padres are 2-10 in their last 12 home games vs. a right-handed starter and 1-7 in Peavys last 8 starts following a team loss in their previous game. The Brewers roll continues as they have now won 8 in a row and the pitching has really stepped up of last as they have allowed just 1.5 rpg in their 8 game streak. Today Ben Sheets gets the ball and he has been good for tyhe Brew Crew, going 11-5 with a 2.95 ERA overall , including 6-2 with a 2.83 ERA on the road. Solid numbers, especially when going up against this sorry Padres offense.San Diego is scoring 5.3 rpg in their last 7 games overall, but 5 of those games were part of a 6 game road trip where they averaged 6.5 rpg. The Padres are now home where they have scored just 3 total runs in the first 2 games of this series and where they have averaged just 2.5 rpg in their last 12 games. San Diego has not been good at home this year, going just 25-36 overall and 4-18 in theirn last 22 at home. The Padres score just 3.4 rpg overall at home and just 2.8 rpg in Jake's home starts this year. Jake Peavey has been solid at home with a 1.43 ERA, but his 4-4 home record shows how little of run support he gets at Petco. As good as jake has been at home, he will have ta tough time contending with thios hot Brewers offense. During the 8 game win streak the Brewers offense has put up 6.1 rpg and they have not scored less than 5 runs in any of those games. Milwakee also does well in day games, averaging 5.4 rpg. This game may not bee the runaway it has been for the Brewers of late, but they are very hot right now and will find a way to win in the end. (Loss -3 Units)
Boston/ Texas Over 10.5
The Over is 9-2 in Rangers last 11 vs. a team with a winning record and 19-7 in their last 26 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600, while the Over is 5-1 in Red Sox last 6 games vs. a right-handed starter and 7-1-1 in Matsuzakas last 9 home starts vs. a team with a winning record. These teams have been involved in som high scoring games this year as the 6 games between them have averaged 15.3 rpg, with all but one of those games scoring 11 or more runs. The Boston offense has been hot of late, as they are averaging 7.8 rpg over their last 8 games, while hitt .300 over that span. The Sox overall score a solid 5.9 rpg at home and 5.2 rpg vs righty starters. Tommy Hunter will be making his 3rd start for the Rangers and if his 1st 2 starts are any indication of how he pitches then the Sox my get 11 runs on their own in this one. Tommy has pitched just 9.1 innings in the two starts, allowing 11 ER on 16 hits and 2 walks in the two starts. The Rangers offense has been good all year as they are are 1st in the league in scoring a t 5.7 rpg, while they score 5.3 rpg on the road and 6 rpg vs righty starters. The Rangers have also averaged 6 rpg in Tommy's 2 starts this year. Dice-K has been solid for the Sox this year and his games haven't been that high scoring, but the Rangers offense is still top notch and they really thrive vs righties so I see no reason why they can't get 4 or 5 runs in this one. Boston, on the ther hand, should have another field day vs this Texas staff on their way to putting 7 or more runs on the board in this one. It should be another fun one in the Northeast.
2 UNIT PLAYS
HOUSTON -145 over San Francisco: The Giants are 2-9 in Correias last 11 starts as an underdog and 2-10 in their last 12 vs. a team with a winning record, while the Astros are 12-1 in their last 13 games with the total set at 9.0-10.5 and 5-1 in Moehlers last 6 starts. The Astros are on fire right now as they come in having won 14 of their last 17 games overall and 7 of their last 8 at home. Briam Moehler gets the nod for them today and he has been super of late. Overall Brian is 8-4 with a 3.83 ERA, including a 4-2 mark with a 3.99 ERA at home, but in his last 3 starts he is 3-0 with a stellar 1.31 ERA. Brian will be facing a Giants squad that is having real problems scoring right now as they have scored just 2.8 rpg in their last 12 games and just 1.6 rpg in their last 8 road games. The Giants score just 3.9 rpg on the road overall and just 3.8 rpg vs righty starters. The Astros offense has been hot of late as they come in averaging 7.1 rpg in their last 9 games, including 7.6 rpg in their current 7 game win streak. Houston has outscored opponents by 4.6 rpg in the 7 game win streak. Kevin Correia has not had a great year as he is 2-6 with a 5.21 ERA overall, while the Giants have gone just 4-14 in his starts. Kevin is also 1-4 with a 5.82 ERA on the road and 0-4 with a 7.57 ERA in day games. The Giants are 1-6 in his road starts and 0-5 in his day starts. Houston is just too hot right now to think that the Giants will be able to steal one here. (Winner +2 Units)
NY Mets -148 over WASHINGTON
The Mets are 13-3 in their last 16 games with the total set at 7.0-8.5 and 6-0 in Perezs last 6 starts when their opponent allows 5 runs or more in their previous game, while the Nationals are 1-11 in their last 12 home games vs. a left-handed starter and 5-21 in their last 26 after scoring 2 runs or less in their previous game. The Mets have really owned this series in Washington as they have gone 22-5 in their last 27 games played there, including a 3-1 mark in games played there this year. The Mets offense has been solid of late as they are hitting .289 and scoring 5.6 rpg in their last 7 games.The Mets also score 5 rpg on the road and 4.9 rpg at night. The Nationals have made a habit of following a bad offensive night with another as they are just 2-15 the day after being shutout, scoring just 2.5 rpg in the process. The Washington offense has been pathetic all year long as they are averaging just 3.7 rpg overall, including 3.5 rpg at home and they have put up just 1.3 rpg in their last 6 games overall. Oliver Perez has been pitching very well for the Mets of late as he is 3-2 with a 1.71 ERA in his last 8 starts. He is 8-7 with a solid 3.90 ERA overall, including 1-1 with a 2.52 ERA in his last 4 road starts. Colin Balester is just 2-4 with a 4.66 ERA overall, including a 1-2 mark with a 3.94 ERA at home. The Mets are hot on the Heels of the Phils and they know that they have to win the easy ones if they hope to keep pace. This game certainly falls under the heading of easy one as the Mets get the sweep here.
1 UNIT PLAYS
Tampa Bay/ Oakland Under 7.5 (Loss -1.1 Units)
Chicago -142 over ATLANTA
Re: Thursday Service Plays
Pittsburgh Steelers (PK) vs Buffalo Bills
4 Units: Pittsburgh Steelers
The NFL heads North tonight as the Buffalo Bills play host to the Pittsburgh Steelers at the old SkyDome in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. While most pre-season games seem meaningless to us fans, and are usually meaningless to many teams, many individual players take games that don't count very serious. One guy that will take this game very seriously tonight is the Steelers latest last-minute aquisition at quarterback, Byron Leftwich. Leftwich lost his job in Jacksonville two seasons ago and didn't do much for the two months he played in Atlanta before being sidelined with an injury. When Charlie Batch went down last Friday night, Leftwich was presented with an opportunity. Not wanting to be used as a 4-6 week crutch and then released again, Byron insisted on a 1 year committment from the Steelers brass. Now he has something to prove. With Leftwich not playing in a game in nearly a year, many would suggest this plays out well for the Bills. I see it the exact opposite. Big Ben will play the majority if not all of the first quarter. Leftwich will take over and likely play the second and third quarters. The Steelers first team offense lead by Ben is far superior to the Bills first team defense and should be able to take an early lead. This will give Leftwich a cushion and allow him to play his game. Look for the Steelers to win, rather convincingly in the Rogers Center tonight. I'm going with a 4 Unit play on the black 'n gold!
3 Units - Steelers/Bills Over 33
3 Units - Panthers/Eagles Over 36