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MLB News and Notes August 18

MLB News and Notes August 18

Monday's streaking and slumping starters


CC Sabathia, Milwaukee Brewers (7-0, 1.55)

Sabathia is undefeated since joining the Brew Crew last month and is 3-0 with a remarkable 1.11 ERA in his last three starts.

Sabathia, who leads the majors with 184 strikeouts, has relinquished just three earned runs and no HRs in his last four starts. He also has 26 Ks against four walks in that span.

The Brewers are 4-0 in their last four home contests and are 9-2 in their last 11 overall.

Andy Sonnanstine, Tampa Bay Devil Rays (12-6, 4.35)

Sonnanstine is 2-0 with a solid 2.33 ERA in his last three starts and has not relinquished more than two earned runs in each of those starts.

He has just three losses in his last 10 and is 3-1 in his last four home starts. He has relinquished just five HRs and walked just 11 in his last 10 overall.

The Devil Rays are 5-1 in Sonnanstine’s last six home starts and are 5-1 in their last six at home against the Los Angeles Angels.


Kenny Rogers, Detroit Tigers (8-10, 5.01)

In his last three starts, Rogers has surrendered 14 earned runs in 16.2 IP. He is 0-3 in that period with a shaky a 7.56 ERA.

In a recent road loss to the Devil Rays, Rogers relinquished seven ERs in 3.1 IP. He has also conceded four HRs in his last five outside Comerica Park.

The Tigers are 0-4 in Rogers’ last four overall and are 0-4 in his last four starts against the AL West.

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Re: MLB News and Notes August 18

Brewers look dangerous
By Joe Nelson

The Brewers have rebounded from the ugly four-game series in Milwaukee against the Cubs to deliver five straight wins heading into Monday’s series finale with Washington. Although the Cubs are still heavy favorites in the National League and still hold the lead in the NL Central, the Brewers may have a team that is better suited for a World Series run, as odd as that sounds.

Much is made of the disappointing history for the Cubs, without a World Series title in 100 years, but the Brewers have delivered arguably more frustrating results in their short history. Since the Brewers last made the postseason in 1982, the Cubs have made the playoffs five times.
Although it has been a long while, the Cubs do have two World Series titles to their name. Until last season the Brewers had not had a winning record since 1992 and the history of poor management and players that went to have great success after leaving Milwaukee is considerable.

This year feels much different for the Brewers. Although the team faded in September last year, the pennant-chase experience should pay dividends this season. The schedule also sets up well for Milwaukee to finish in playoff position. Only 15 of the remaining 44 games are against winning teams and half of the remaining games will be played at Miller Park. 16 of the final 26 games in September will be at home and the Brewers have a more favorable finish than the Cubs.

Chicago must play 16 of the final 22 on the road and they must play quality teams in the final two weeks with the Brewers, Cardinals, Mets, and a second series with the Brewers lined up for the final 13 games. The Brewers are in good shape currently holding the Wild Card lead by three games and still within reach for the division title so they will control their fate for making a historic playoff appearance.

The Cardinals, Mets, and Marlins will all be aiming at the Brewers so nothing is assured but should Milwaukee make the playoffs they have to be considered serious threats with high quality starting pitching. Taking a chance adding C.C. Sabathia has proved to be one of the great mid-season deals as the lefthander has produced incredible results. Sabathia is 6-0 with a 1.58 ERA and he has four complete games and two shutouts. Should Brandon Webb or some of the other Cy Young candidates falter we could see serious arguments for Sabathia for the award should continue at this clip, as absurd as that sounds given his limited time in the league.

Ben Sheets no longer has to face the pressure of being the #1 starter and he has pitched remarkably well and stayed healthy this season giving Milwaukee arguably the best 1-2 combination in baseball. Manny Parra has dropped off a bit in the last few weeks but he still provides a very solid #3 option and gives the Brewers two lefties in the rotation. Jeff Suppan came up big for the Cardinals in the postseason and although he has been inconsistent he could prove to be a great veteran to have in big games.

Chicago and Arizona would also both have quality starting pitching options in a playoff series among NL contenders but the 1-2 for the Brewers looks much stronger and the Brewers may have the edge in rotation depth as well. Milwaukee’s bullpen has endured some trouble spots this season but no team that will be in the NL playoffs can feel perfectly comfortable with relief pitching. Philadelphia has the best overall numbers but Brad Lidge has had a few recent shaky outings. The Mets, Dodgers, and Cubs all have primary closers on the DL, and Arizona and St. Louis have had bullpen problems just as bad as Milwaukee has dealt with. Expect Milwaukee’s bullpen numbers to improve in the next few weeks with the extra rest that adding Sabathia has brought the relievers.

There is little argument that the Cubs have the superior lineup with a .280 team average but the numbers are not good away from Wrigley Field. The Cubs are hitting just .259 on the road and no regular has a batting average above .300 on the road while several key hitters have terrible road numbers including Aramis Ramirez hitting .217 and Kosuke Fukodome hitting .229. Milwaukee does not experience such dramatic drops in batting average on the road and several key players including Corey Hart and J.J. Hardy have posted better numbers away from home giving Milwaukee better balance.

Only four teams in baseball have winning road records on the season and the Brewers are one of those teams. Milwaukee has also completed four more road games than Chicago and the Cubs will face a road heavy finish down the stretch as the pressure and national attention build. Based on the four game series in Milwaukee that Chicago swept, the Cubs remain the team to beat in the NL but Chicago was a post-season flop last season being swept in three games. Chicago will likely be the favorites heading into the playoffs but should Milwaukee make the postseason they could be the more dangerous team.

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Re: MLB News and Notes August 18

Monday's MLB Tip Sheet
By Brad Young

**Astros (Wolf) at Brewers (Sabathia)**

-Caesars Palace installed Milwaukee as a decided $2.70 home ‘chalk’ over Houston, with the total set at 7½ ‘under’ (minus $1.20). This National League Central contest is slated to start at 8:05 p.m. ET.
-Houston’s Randy Wolf (8-10, 4.56 ERA) is off Wednesday’s victory over San Francisco as a $1.63 home favorite, 6-2. The veteran left-hander was reached for both runs on six hits with two walks and three strikeouts over seven innings.

-The combined eight runs failed to topple the nine-run closing total. The Astros have won Wolf’s last four starts.

-The Pepperdine product received a no-decision against the Brewers July 27, going 4 1/3 innings while allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits (one home run) with three walks and three strikeouts. The Astros eventually prevailed as a $1.48 road underdog, 11-6, while the combined 17 runs eclipsed the 9½-run closing total.

-Milwaukee southpaw C.C. Sabathia (13-8, 3.04 ERA) improved to 4-0 his last five starts after Wednesday’s victory over San Diego as a $2.05 road ‘chalk,’ 7-1. The mid-season acquisition tossed seven innings, surrendering the lone run on nine hits with a walk and eight strikeouts.

-The combined eight runs toppled the seven-run closing total, ending back-to-back ‘under’ outings for the 28-year-old.

-Sabathia has not started against the Astros the last couple of years.

**Angels (Garland) at Rays (Sonnanstine)**

-Caesars Palace opened Tampa Bay as a $1.30 home favorite over Los Angeles, with the total listed at 9½ ‘under’ (minus $1.20). This American League matchup is scheduled to begin at 7:10 p.m. ET.

-Los Angeles pitcher Jon Garland (11-7, 4.26 ERA) heads to the hill for the first time since Tuesday’s triumph over Seattle as a $2.00 home ‘chalk,’ 7-3. The 6-foot-6 hurler went seven innings, yielding three runs on nine hits with a walk and four strikeouts.

-The combined 10 runs slithered past the 9½-run closing total, enabling the ‘over’ to improve to 3-1 his last four starts.

-Garland picked up a no-decision against the Rays May 9 despite tossing eight scoreless innings on four hits with three walks and two strikeouts. The Angels eventually dropped that affair as a $1.48 road underdog, 2-0, while the two runs never seriously threatened the 8 ½-run closing total.

-Tampa Bay’s Andy Sonnanstine (12-6, 4.35 ERA) upended Oakland Wednesday as a $1.25 road underdog, 3-2. The second-year starter went six innings, allowing both runs on six hits with a walk and six strikeouts.

-The combined five runs failed to topple the 7½-run closing total, helping the ‘under’ improve to 5-2-1 his last eight outings.

-Sonnanstine finagled a no-decision against the Angels May 11 after being tagged for five runs on eight hits with two walks and three strikeouts over five innings. The Rays ended up dropping that contest as a $1.00 home selection, 8-5, while the combined 13 runs eclipsed the eight-run closing total.

**Athletics (Duchscherer) at Twins (Blackburn)**

-Caesars Palace lists Minnesota as a $1.30 home ‘chalk’ over Oakland, with the total set at eight. First pitch is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. ET.

-Oakland righty Justin Duchscherer (10-8, 2.59 ERA) dropped to 0-3 his last five starts with Wednesday’s setback to Tampa Bay as a $1.35 home favorite, 3-2. The 30-year-old tossed 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on six hits (two home runs) with a walk and eight strikeouts.

-The combined five runs failed to topple the 7½-run closing total, helping the ‘under’ improve to 7-2 his last nine outings.

-Duchscherer, in the major leagues since 2001, has not started against the Twins the previous few seasons.

-Minnesota hurler Nick Blackburn (9-6, 3.73 ERA) received a no-decision against New York Tuesday despite getting lit up over 4 2/3 innings. The 6-foot-4 hurler surrendered four runs on six hits (one home run) with three walks and five strikeouts.

-The Twins eventually dropped that game as a $1.30 road favorite, 9-6, while the combined 15 runs eclipsed the 8 ½-run closing total. That marked his second straight start that the ‘over’ cashed.

-The second-year player has never started against the Athletics.

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Re: MLB News and Notes August 18

Baseball Today

New York at Toronto (7:05 p.m. EDT). Darrell Rasner (5-9, 5.18 ERA) needs to step it up if the Yankees want to contend in the AL wild card race. He'll face A.J. Burnett (15-9, 4.67), who has won five straight starts for the Blue Jays.


- Melvin Mora, Orioles, had two homers and two doubles among his five hits and drove in a career-high six runs to pace a 22-hit attack in a 16-8 win over Detroit.

- Alex Rios, Blue Jays, went 5-for-6 and matched a club record with four doubles and Toronto knocked Boston ace Josh Beckett out after 2 1-3 innings in a 15-4 victory over the Red Sox.

- Alex Rodriguez, Yankees, went 3-for-3 with a three-run homer and five RBIs in a 15-6 drubbing of Kansas City.

- Johan Santana, Mets, pitched a three-hitter for his fifth career shutout and streaking New York beat Pittsburgh 4-0.

- Roy Oswalt, Astros, gave up one single in eight shutout innings, striking out 10 to help Houston beat Arizona 3-0.

- Andre Ethier, Dodgers, hit his second homer of the game in the ninth inning and Los Angeles recovered to beat Milwaukee 7-5 moments after blowing a four-run lead.


Three AL East teams scored at least 15 runs. Melvin Mora and Luke Scott hit two home runs apiece to pace a 22-hit attack as the Orioles routed the Tigers 16-8. It was the most hits in a game for Baltimore since they had 22 on July 22, 2006, at Tampa Bay. Their 16 runs and 12 extra-base hits were season highs. ... Jason Giambi hit a grand slam, Alex Rodriguez sent a three-run homer bouncing into Monument Park and the Yankees battered the Royals 15-6. ... Alex Rios went 5-for-6 and matched a club record with four doubles and the Blue Jays beat up on Boston ace Josh Beckett in a 15-4 win over the Red Sox. Toronto scored in all but two innings and equaled its season high with 22 hits, the most Boston pitchers have given up this year.


A little rest was all that Edinson Volquez needed. A revived Volquez pitched seven shutout innings, leading the Reds to a 7-3 victory that ended the Cardinals' four-game winning streak. The 25-year-old pitcher looked run-down after he made his first All-Star appearance in July. In his next four starts, he gave up nearly a run per inning. Manager Dusty Baker gave him two extra days of rest before his last start, and it fixed the problem. Volquez was back in form last Tuesday at Pittsburgh, giving up only one run. He threw 96 mph fastballs and was nearly unhittable at the outset Sunday, allowing only one ball out of the infield in the first four innings.


Ryan Braun returned to the starting lineup for Milwaukee and hit a tying home run with two outs in the top of the ninth off the Dodgers' Chan Ho Park, who slammed his glove to the ground when the ball cleared the fence. Braun, who leads the Brewers with a .301 average, 31 homers and 86 RBIs, was 2-for-4 in his return to the starting lineup. He missed six games because of tightness in his lower back, then entered Saturday night's game as a pinch hitter and doubled in two at-bats as the Brewers won 4-3 in 10 innings.


Red Sox right fielder J.D. Drew left the game against the Blue Jays after three innings due to tightness in his lower back. Drew, who walked in his only at-bat and was doubled off second on Alex Cora's line drive to center field, has been slumping. He entered the game with just six hits in his last 31 at-bats. ... The Tigers placed reliever Todd Jones on the 15-day disabled list with a sore right shoulder, two days after he came off the DL and gave up five unearned runs. ... Pirates left fielder Brandon Moss left the game against the Mets after spraining his left ankle while batting against Johan Santana. Tests on the ankle were negative, and Pittsburgh manager John Russell said Moss will be further evaluated Monday. ... Mets closer Billy Wagner was examined by a team doctor in New York. He has stiffness in his pitching elbow and will be re-evaluated Tuesday after a day of rest.


Mariners knuckleballer R.A. Dickey tied a major league record by throwing four wild pitches in an inning against the Twins. Mariners catcher Kenji Johjima also was charged with a passed ball on another errant pitch in the fifth. The Twins scored on two of Dickey's wild pitches. In and out of the rotation this season, Dickey has thrown 11 wild pitches in 97 innings. Dickey became the fifth major league pitcher to throw four wild pitches in an inning. Philadelphia's Ryan Madson was the last to do it, in 2006.


After a 10-game road trip, the Tampa Bay Rays may be heading home to a hurricane. Tropical Storm Fay, which could gain momentum Monday and reach hurricane force after passing over Cuba, is expected to make landfall on Florida's Gulf Coast Tuesday. The Rays wrapped up their road trip Sunday night against the Texas Rangers with a 7-4 win, and are scheduled to begin a three-game homestand on Monday night, all against the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels flew to the Tampa Bay area after Sunday's game in Cleveland. ``We're in communication with the Angels,'' Rays president Matt Silverman said. ``We hope to get at least two games in this week.'' The Rays have made contingency plans with officials of St. Petersburg, where Tampa Bay plays at the Tropicana Dome.


Minnesota's Joe Nathan earned his 33rd save with four pressure-filled outs against the free-swinging Seattle Mariners in an 11-8 victory. Nathan faced bases-loaded jams in the eighth and the ninth, and the Twins survived. He got Ichiro Suzuki to ground out to end the game. In the eighth, the right-hander struck out Adrian Beltre to end that threat.


After the Nationals lost their 10th straight game, manager Manny Acta had a few things to say to his team. Enjoy a barbeque, spend time with your family. These were some of his suggestions on getting the Nationals back to a winning mind-set after Washington's 7-2 loss to the Rockies. At a postgame meeting, Acta reacted to the freefall reaching double digits not by chewing out his struggling players, but by imploring them to focus on family, barbecues and relaxation, anything but baseball, on Monday's scheduled off day. It's the longest skid for the Nationals since they moved to Washington before the 2005 season, and the franchise's worst since the Montreal Expos dropped 11 games in a row from June 23-July 4, 1991.


The Mets found help for their struggling bullpen, acquiring durable right-hander Luis Ayala from the Nationals for a player to be named. A reliable reliever for the first four years of his career, Ayala has dipped to 1-8 with a 5.77 ERA this season. He's appeared in 62 games, which ranks among the major league leaders. In return, New York is expected to send minor leaguer Anderson Hernandez to Washington once he clears waivers. A smooth-fielding middle infielder, Hernandez has a .138 career average in 87 big league at-bats.


The Astros retired Craig Biggio's No. 7 before their game against Arizona, and the seven-time All-Star waved to fans and touched his heart during a lively ceremony. Dressed in a blue suit, Biggio hopped out of the dugout and walked across a red carpet toward a podium set up at home plate. He was flanked on both sides by about two dozen family members and friends, including ex-teammates Jeff Bagwell, Brad Ausmus, Bill Doran and the widow of Ken Caminiti, Biggio's teammate from 1989-94 and 1999-2000.


``Wow! I grew a beard there in that game.'' Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire after closer Joe Nathan got out of bases-loaded situations in the eighth and ninth to help the Twins beat the Mariners 11-8 for a three-game sweep.

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Re: MLB News and Notes August 18

MLB Daily Research
By Indiancowboy

Boston vs. Baltimore

Lester is 5-1 over his last 7 starts, and he is 1-0 over his last 3 starts against the Orioles and he was 2-0against the Orioles in his last 2 starts last year, on the road he is 4-3 with a 3.64 era, Guthrie has been rock solid of late and he is becoming more and more of a reliable ace for this team and something for this team to look forward to in the future, by the way, the Orioles won 16-8 yesterday, Guthrie is 4-0 in his last 4 starts and he had a 1.42, 1.00 era, 1.29 and 1.29 era, he has given up just 4 total runs in his last roughly 30 innings, he has picked up ND's in his last 3 starts against Boston, of course, the Orioles ended up losing all 3 of those games. Frankly, Guthrie has been rock solid and there is a reason why the Orioles are small dogs today, Lester has given up roughly a hit per inning against the Orioles this year, small lean on the Orioles here.

Angels vs. Tampa Bay

Garland has been a solid 7-2 on the road this year with a 4.57 era, and he comes off a home win at Seattle which was much needed for him given he lost the start before against Baltimore, he has been pitching solid of late and lost to Tampa Bay earlier this year 0-2 despite not yielding an earned run in 8 innings and giving up just 4 hits overall, Andy has pitched 3 straight quality starts, but he did beat the Angels earlier this year 8-5, but note that in 5 innings he gave 8 hits nad 5 earned runs, so it wasn't a fabulous start by any means, frankly, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Angels get a road win here, they come off a 3-4 loss yesterday and note that despite pitching splendid Garland got the loss last time so he is likely to pick up the win this time or will try to while Sonnanstine got fortunate last time, note that over 60% are riding the Angels here. Still lean on the Angels.

Detroit vs. Texas

Kenny Rogers has always been one of my favorite pitchers, but he is struggling of late and is 0-4 his last 4 starts, he is undoubtedly a Hall of Famer in my book, but the question is if he should hang it up now given his lack of pitching of late, of course, we were saying that about Ponson, but at the same time, Ponson, Maddux and all of those pitchers who we thought might be losing it, have come back relatively well, Rogers did pitch against Mendoza and Texas earlier and despite a 16.22 era against them, the Tigers did win 19-6, Feldman had a 20+ era in his last start, so I do expect him to pitch significantly better today, Texas comes off a 4-7 loss yesterday, and this is a game that the Rangers should win at home despite it being high scoring, in short, Feldman should be better than Rogers today as this is likely a 9-4 type of ballgame imo.

Oakland vs. Minnesotta

Oakland got pounded yesterday, as I should know, I was on them, but that's what I expect for riding a newbie at home, Oakland is 0-6 in Duch's last 6 starts and he is 0-3 as a record in those starts, he is just 3-5 with a 2.82 era on the road which is not all that bad, Blackburn is on a bounce-back so he should pitch well as he had a 7 + era last time, bug given that more than 72% are riding Minny, I will just stay away here.

Seattle vs. Whitesox

Whitesox come off a big 13-1 win yesterday, they are back at home hosting Seattle, they are the heavy favorites at 74% from the public and the line is around -218 here, so for any value, one needs to look at the RL, which I don't favor usually by principle alone, heck, this is interesting considering Buehrle is 10-10 this year but he is 7-3 with a 2.72 era at home, he has given up just 1 run in the last 14 innings, but here is something odd, whenever he has 2 great starts, he struggles in the following start, in short, he struggles having 3 solid starts in a row. Washburn had a 12+ era in his last start against the White Sox and he will pitch better today and his team simply cannot scrounge up enough offense, I'm certainly not advocating going against the Sox, but Buehrle has struggled putting 3 good ones in a row, not to mention Washburn is on a bounce-back himself and the Whitesox are the biggest public favorites today, no thanks.

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