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MLB News and Notes August 20

MLB News and Notes August 20

Wednesday's Tip Sheet
By Josh Jacobs

We’re nearing the end of August and the playing field in both leagues continues to produce a complex look into October. Then there’s the economical side of things as clubs like Tampa Bay (76-48, +2336), the L.A. Angels (76-47, +2090) and Minnesota (70-54, +2076) have been betting dreams.

With the standings at stake for a handful of clubs and backers looking to capitalize on the final days of the regular season hardball is generating some heavy buzz. So, here’s what a packed Wednesday card will bring to the table.
   
Oakland (Braden) at Minnesota (Liriano) – 1:10 p.m. EDT

It was only on Monday that the A’s defied the odds, literally, taking a close 3-2 win road win over a Twins team battling Chicago for first place in the AL Central. Bettors laying their money on Oakland and starting pitcher Justin Duchscherer (10-8, 2.54 ERA) were rewarded at the window for a $132 return on every $100 wagered.

With that Monday upset in the books, is it too far of a stretch for the Athletics to close out this three-game series with another win? The numbers are definitely against Oakland. Not only do the A’s hold the third worst road record in the AL at 23-34, but a 6-23 performance since emerging from the All-Star break is reason in itself to stay far away from wagering heavy on this underdog.

Then again, Oakland has seen success against the Twins with a 3-1 record in only four meetings together this season. The key to scoring another ‘W’ inside the Metrodome will be starting slinger Dallas Braden (3-2, 4.50). The A’s starter is coming off two solid back-to-back starts which witnessed Braden giving up a total of five runs on 12 hits in 14 innings. The southpaw has made right-handed batters pay with a .252 BAA but fellow lefties have scorched Braden with a .317 BA. With at least six lefty bats listed on Minnesota’s starting squad, bettors beware of a high flying act at the plate.

While it was worth taking a peak at, the surface seems to indicate that the Twins are in the midst of making a run to the top. Mix in Francisco Loriano (3-3, 4.97) into the equation and Minnesota will be on attack mode.

The ‘under’ is 7-1 in the last eight head-to-head meetings in Minnesota and is 11-4 in the last 15 matchups.

Atlanta (Jurrjens) at N.Y. Mets (Pelfrey) – 7:10 p.m. EDT

While the Braves are on a 1-7 slump in their last eight, the Mets are hoping that a 7-3 record in their last 10 can continue the defensive tactics of holding off Philadelphia in a battle for the division.

But before New York can continue looking towards the light at the end of the tunnel, the team must face Atlanta starter Jair Jurrjens (11-8, 3.15). The second year hurler is coming off a solid effort against San Francisco, giving up only two runs on eight hits, but the Braves were still unable to grab the win, getting outscored 5-1. Jurrjens is 6-4 with a 3.04 ERA on the road this year but has struggled somewhat in the month of August with a 1-2 record and a 3.79 ERA in three starts.

This season has been especially damaging to the Mets in head-to-head confrontations with the Braves. New York has gone 2-7 in 2008 versus ATL. Most books have listed the Mets as favorites only four times in those nine games against the Braves.

Look out for a New York bullpen whose tossed meatballs for a 6.11 ERA in the last 10. The team has been bailed out by the starting rotation whose gone on to log an outstanding 2.57 ERA in the same 10-game stretch.

And for a Mets club swinging a decent .267 BA on the year, the club has had major problems laying the bat on the ball against the Braves for a .227 BA, while crossing the plate for a low 3.1 runs per game.

The ‘under’ is a sizzling 42-20-1 in Atlanta’s last 63 road games and is 6-2 in the last eight head-to-heads.

Florida (Olsen) at San Francisco (Cain) – 10:15 p.m. EDT

It might not appear to be the most action filled contest on the board, but a San Francisco team whose out 11 games from first in the NL West will look to shut the door on Florida in Game 2 of a three-game series.

The reason why backers of the Giants should be interested here lies in the left-hand of Marlins starter Scott Olsen (6-8, 4.03). The three-year slinger has been on a downward spiral, racking up an 0-4 (two road and two home losses) record in his last five starts. About the only good news coming generated from Olsen’s arm is a .177 BAA from lefty hitters.

It’s been over a year since the ‘Fish traveled to San Francisco and with a 4-10 record in their last 14 overall, the Marlins are hoping to turn things around on the West Coast.

For the Giants, a 7.67 ERA with a WHIP of 1.93 is a testament to what ’08 has been like for the club. Eleven-game winner Matt Cain (8-9, 3.57) will take the hill for San Fran and a 3-1 performance in his last five starts should be an indication that Florida might have problems inside the batters’ box. Cain is a lifetime 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in three starts versus the Marlins. In his last outing on May 25 against Florida, Cain went six innings, giving up five hits and two runs in a 5-4 loss. The 2002 first round pick received a no decision in that contest.

The ‘over’ is 30-11-5 in the Marlins last 46 road games and most books have gone on to open the contest at a low 7½ runs. The Giants have been listed as an underdog eight times in the last 10 games by Bodog.com and latest lines indicate that the team might be a slight home favorite at -115.

vegasinsider.com.

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Re: MLB News and Notes August 20

Money Arms: Week of Aug. 18
By DAVID CHAN

This column has produced a 25-11 record over the past eight weeks, proving that a little homework can go a long way when it comes to building baseball bankrolls.

It’s the start of another busy week on the diamond and here are four starters that could earn you some extra loot over the next four days.

Gil Meche, Kansas City Royals, Wednesday at Cleveland

I’m not sure what Meche has to do to earn the respect of oddsmakers, but obviously winning games isn’t enough. The Royals have won each of his last eight starts, and he’s suffered just one defeat since June 15th. Walks have been an issue lately, but he’s made up for it by striking out 31 batters over his last four starts. The Indians got the better of him in both starts in Kansas City this season, but in his only start in Cleveland, Meche tossed seven shutout innings back in early May.

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Re: MLB News and Notes August 20

Wednesday’s MLB streaking and slumping starters
By JUSTIN BANKS

Streaking

Francisco Liriano, Minnesota Twins (3-3, 4.97)


Liriano is 3-0 with a 1.55 ERA in his last three starts and has not relinquished more than three earned runs in each of those contests.

Liriano, who missed all of last season with Tommy John surgery, has conceded 11 hits and one HR in his last three outings. He also has 15 strikeouts against seven walks in that period.

The Twins are 7-2 in Liriano’s last nine at home against a team with a losing record and are also 4-1 in their last five home games against the Oakland Athletics.


Todd Wellemeyer, St. Louis Cardinals (10-4, 3.79)

Wellemeyer has just two losses in his last 10 starts and is 2-0 with a solid 1.80 ERA in his last three overall.

Wellemeyer, who has not lost at home since July 6, is fresh off a shutout against the Florida Marlins in which he relinquished just three hits against four walks in seven IP. He is also 2-0 in his last three starts against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Cards are 8-2 in Wellemeyer’s last 10 at home against a team with a losing record and are 93-44 in the last 137 contests against the Pirates.


Slumping

Kevin Millwood, Texas Rangers (6-7, 5.58)


Millwood is winless in his last four and has conceded 18 earned runs in that span. He also has a shaky 9.24 ERA in his last three overall.

Millwood is 0-2 in his last two home starts and has a 5.74 season-ERA in Texas. He has also relinquished five HRs in his last two outings.

The Rangers are 0-4 in Millwood’s last four home starts and are 0-6 in their last six meetings with the Detroit Tigers.

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Re: MLB News and Notes August 20

Baseball Today

San Diego at Arizona (9:40 p.m. EDT). Jake Peavy (9-8, 2.61 ERA) goes up against Dan Haren (13-6, 2.96) in a matchup of two pitchers whose ERAs are among the 10 lowest in baseball.

STARS

- Rich Harden, Cubs, allowed two hits in seven innings, struck out 10 and bunted in the go-ahead run for his first career RBI, leading Chicago over Cincinnati 5-0.

- Willy Aybar, Rays, broke an eighth-inning tie with a two-run double, and Tampa Bay rallied past the Angels 4-2.

- Grady Sizemore, Indians, hit a three-run homer, 28th of the year, in a 9-4 victory over Kansas City.

- Ricky Nolasco, Marlins, pitched a two-hitter for his first career shutout and drove in two runs with his first double, leading Florida in a 6-0 win against San Francisco.

- Brian Buscher, Twins, matched his career best with five RBIs in a 13-2 victory over Oakland.

- Matt Joyce, Tigers, homered twice, including a three-run shot, in an 11-3 victory over Texas.

- Carlos Delgado, Mets, hit a go-ahead double in the eighth inning to rally New York for a 7-3 win over Atlanta.

- Ian Stewart, Rockies, homered and drove in a career-high five runs in an 8-3 win over the Dodgers.

TRIPLE BYPASS FOR YAZ

Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski, the last player to hit for the Triple Crown, was resting comfortably after having triple bypass heart surgery. Yastrzemski, who turns 69 on Friday, had the operation at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he underwent tests after experiencing chest pains in the morning, said his spokesman, Dick Gordon. The popular Yaz was an 18-time All-Star and spent his entire career with the Boston Red Sox, taking over left field for Ted Williams in 1961. He won the Triple Crown in 1967, hitting .326 with 44 home runs and 121 RBIs. Behind the AL MVP, the Red Sox won their first pennant since 1946, but lost the World Series in Game 7.

MADDUX REDUX

The Dodgers reacquired Greg Maddux from the San Diego Padres, getting the future Hall of Famer and cash for two minor leaguers to be named or cash. The 42-year-old right-hander first joined the Dodgers on July 31, 2006. Manager Joe Torre said Maddux will start Friday night in Philadelphia. Maddux, ninth in baseball history with 353 victories, is 6-9 with a 3.99 ERA in 26 starts this season.

RECORD WIN

Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka got his 30th career win, most ever by a Japanese-born pitcher in his first two major league seasons. Hideo Nomo had 29 in 1995-96.

STOPPER SHUT DOWN

Orioles All-Star closer George Sherrill was placed on the 15-day disabled list with left shoulder inflammation. Sherrill had an MRI on Tuesday, 24 hours after complaining of stiffness in his pitching arm. Sherrill, who has 31 saves, has pitched 50 1-3 innings this season; his previous career high was 45 2-3 innings with Seattle last year. ... Billy Wagner has more pain and swelling in his pitching elbow, and the New York Mets' All-Star closer is out indefinitely. Wagner had an MRI that revealed additional inflammation in his left elbow - an alarming sign after he spent most of the past two weeks resting his ailing arm. The 37-year-old lefty is 0-1 with a 2.30 ERA and 27 saves in 34 chances.

SEASON OVER?

Cardinals reliever Jason Isringhausen, twice demoted from the closer role this season, is likely out for the rest of the season with an elbow injury.The 35-year-old Isringhausen had an MRI and left Busch Stadium after consulting with team medical personnel. He'll be placed on the disabled list for the second time on Wednesday. Isringhausen is 12-for-19 in save chances and 1-5 with a 5.70 ERA. He has 293 career saves but only one since May 5.

OOPS

Johnny Damon allowed two balls to glance off his glove, including an eighth-inning drive by Marco Scutaro that became the go-ahead double in Toronto's 2-1 victory over the Yankees. With the score tied 1-all Scutaro hit a deep drive to center. Damon, the center fielder, settled under the ball on the warning track, but it ticked off the top of his glove and off the wall, allowing Joe Inglett to score. Disgusted, Damon took off his glove and tossed it to the ground after throwing the ball to the infield.

HOMER TIME

Adam Dunn homered in his Arizona home debut, powering the Diamondbacks to a 7-6 victory over San Diego. Dunn, acquired by Arizona from the Cincinnati Reds on Aug. 11, made it 6-2 with a towering two-run homer in the fourth. Dunn tied Philadelphia's Ryan Howard for the NL lead with 33 and moved within two homers of Carlos Quentin of the Chicago White Sox for the major league lead.

I'M SORRY

B.J. Upton apologized for a ``mental lapse'' on the bases, saying he didn't want to become a distraction for the first-place Tampa Bay Rays. Benched three times in the past two weeks for not hustling, Upton looked shocked Monday night when he was thrown out at second base on what should have been a routine double.

SLUMP

Brewers starter Ben Sheets lost for the fourth time in his last five starts. The right-hander gave up five runs on five hits inn six innings. He struck out seven and walked one in a 5-2 loss to the Astros.

THE K CORNER

Kevin Slowey had a career-high 12 strikeouts in the Twins' 13-2 win over the Athletics after striking out just three hitters in his previous two starts combined.

REHAB

Indians catcher Victor Martinez, sidelined two months because of right elbow inflammation, drove in two runs Tuesday night in his first Triple-A rehab appearance. Martinez was 1-of-2 in four plate appearances for Buffalo.

LOSERS

With a 5-4 loss to the Phillies, the Nationals have lost 11 straight. It's their longest skid since they moving to Washington before the 2005 season, and the franchise's worst since the Montreal Expos dropped 11 games straight from June 23-July 4, 1991.

STATS

Opponents are 0-for-14 against Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka this season with the bases loaded. He retired two in that situation in the Red Sox's 7-2 win over the Orioles. ... The Mets were 3-for-42 with the bases loaded before Carlos Delgado's double in the eighth inning of a 7-3 win over Atlanta.

SPEAKING

``It's nice to be on the other end of one of those games. Someone else's bullpen gave it up and ours didn't. It's amazing how that works sometimes,'' Mets reliever Scott Schoeneweis on New York's eighth inning outburst against the Braves' bullpen in a 7-3 win. Mets relievers have faltered several times since closer Billy Wagner went on the disabled list.

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TheSpread.com MLB Picks For August 20

It’s getting down to crunch time in Major League Baseball. Our team of writers and handicappers gathered three of their top picks for Wednesday’s MLB action.

Boston Red Sox (73-53) at Baltimore Orioles (60-65)

The shining moment of Clay Buchholz's career came against the Baltimore Orioles, but since that day, it's been mostly a struggle for the Red Sox rookie at the major league level.

Buchholz will hope to snap out of a lengthy funk on Wednesday as he tries to pitch Boston to a three-game sweep at Camden Yards, where the Orioles haven't been swept all season.

The Red Sox (73-53) likely expected more great things from Buchholz after the right-hander pitched a no-hitter against the Orioles in his second major league start, a 10-0 win at Fenway Park on Sept. 1.

Baltimore will send Chris Waters (1-0, 4.32) to the mound for his fourth major league start on Wednesday.

After allowing one hit in eight shutout innings in his debut at the Los Angeles Angels on Aug. 5, the left-hander has failed to get through five innings in either of his last two starts, allowing 15 hits and eight runs in 8 2-3 innings.

Pick: Boston


Colorado Rockies (58-59) at Los Angeles Dodgers (64-61)

The Los Angeles Dodgers have added two future Hall of Famers in the past three weeks to bolster their roster for a playoff push.

After falling out of first place in the NL West their last time out, the Dodgers continue their pursuit of a division title as they resume their three-game series against the Colorado Rockies Wednesday.

Los Angeles (64-61) was part of one of the biggest trades in years when it acquired 13-time All-Star Manny Ramirez from Boston at the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31. With Ramirez to add pop to the offense, the Dodgers strengthened their starting rotation with the acquisition of Greg Maddux from San Diego before Tuesday's series-opening 8-3 loss to Colorado (58-69).

The Rockies have won four straight after dropping six of eight, and have not won five in a row since July 22-27.

Colorado has also won five of its last six over the Dodgers after losing six of their first seven meetings.

Pick: Colorado


Florida Marlins (65-61) at San Francisco Giants (53-72)

After a frustrating homestand continued the Florida Marlins' struggles this month, the opening series of their current road trip might help them regain some momentum.

The Marlins look to win back-to-back games for the first time in August when they continue a three-game series against the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday.

After winning five of its final seven games in July, Florida (65-61) has gone 7-10 this month, including a 2-5 mark on the homestand it concluded prior to this series. The Marlins have failed on their previous six attempts to win consecutive games in August, but will get another opportunity after beating the Giants (53-72) 6-0 in Tuesday's series opener.

Scott Olsen (6-8, 4.03 ERA) takes the mound for the Marlins on Wednesday, trying to snap a personal four-decision losing streak and continue Nolasco's momentum from Tuesday. Olsen is 0-4 with a 4.85 ERA over his last five starts. The left-hander scattered 10 hits over seven innings Thursday, but also allowed all the game's runs in a 3-0 loss to St. Louis.

Olsen is 1-2 with a 4.15 ERA in three career starts against the Giants - none of which have come at AT&T Park. He got roughed up versus San Francisco in an 8-2 loss May 23, allowing seven runs - five earned - and eight hits over a season-low 3 1-3 innings.

Pick: San Francisco

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Wednesday's MLB Research
By Indiancowboy

Oakland vs. Minny

Keep in mind I write all of these games before the Tuesday results, so a team coming off a loss would only strengthen my original lean on them, as per this game, the slated pitchers tomorrow are Braden who comes off a 3.86 performance at home against the Whitesox and pitched well, he has had back to back quality starts, he has yet to face Minny this year, on the road he is 2-1 with a 4.11 era, Liriano has been on fire at home, he is 3-0 over his last 3 starts, he has pitched 2 shutouts over those 3 starts, he has given up 3 runs in the last 19 innings overall, he has massive revenge on Oakland as he faced them earlier this year and didn't get out of the first inning as he had an 81 era in that start, of course, the line sits at -245, the lean here would be on the run-line, this is especially true if the Twins lose today as they lost game 1 of this series as well.

Seattle vs. Whitesox

Dickey is on a bounce-back after pitching 2 quality starts, I am on Seattle for Tuesday so it should be interesting to see how they do behind Hernandez today, if they lose yesterday then Seattle's value goes up slightly, he had a 14 era in his last start, he pitches better on the road than he does at home, the White Sox have yet to face him, Floyd is on a bounce-back himself today after a 12.3 era against Seattle in his last start, he pitched great with a 1.59 era in his last start at Oakland but still lost 4-6 to Braden, he is 8-2 with a 3.27 era at home and he is 12-6 with a 3.75 era overall, if anything a lean on the under here.

Boston vs. Baltimore

Bucc is 0-6 with an 8.19 era on the road, Baltimore lost yesterday as well 2-7, so they are looking to bounce-back today, of course, this could be their chance with Bucc on the mound but one has to think that Bucc will have a decent start at some point, after all, the Red Sox are very close to giving him the hook back down to Triple AAA one would assume given that the Sox, who are in a competitive race for the division as usual are just 1-6 over Bucc's last 7 starts, Waters has looked good thus far this year and he did struggle once in a road start earlier this year, if anything a lean on the Orioles here, but just not sure if I want to pull the trigger on the newbie as I did that with the A's newbie and got burned.

KC vs. Cleveland

Meche is 4-0 over his last 7 starts and the Royals have won his last 7 starts which is testament to his 5-5 with a 3.54 era on the road this year, he comes off a 4-3 win over the Yankees in which he had a 1.5 ear on the road in his last start defeating Pettitte, he is 1-2 against the Indians this year, but does bounce-back well against them after a loss, Zach Johnson had a 5.4 era in his last start at home against Baltimore, Johnson gave up 8 hits in 5 inns and given that the Royals got pounded 4-9 yesterday, Meche will look to right the ship today. Lean on the royals today.

New York vs. Toronto

Toronto won 2-1 yesterday and the Yanks look to bounce-back today, Burnett once again gets it done against the Yankees at home as he is now 5-0 against the Yanks the last 2 years, Pettitte is 0-2 over his last 4 starts and the Yankees have lost his last 4 starts, he is a 20 game winner once again this year and he has been better on the road at 12-6 with a 3.73 era, he lost to Toronto on the road this year as well 1-4, Purcey comes off a 2 hit shutout on the road against Detroit, but the young man has failed to put back to back quality starts together in a while, but he is excited to be facing the Yankees of course, of course, the juice is ridiculous here, but a lean on the Yanks RL to avoid losing 3 in a row here to the Bjays.

Angels vs. Tampa Bay

Weaver is interesting in that his stat sheet looks like the following: First column is the decision he got, second column is how the team did.

Home against Toronto: W/W
Road against Texas: ND/L
Home against Cleveland: ND/W
Road against Boston: W/W
Road against the Yankees: L/L
Home against the Yankees: W/W
Road against Cleveland: ND/L

You notice a trend? He does not have a game in which the team loses back to back games overall, having said that, he comes off a loss here today, he did beat TB earlier this season 6-1 at home holding them to just 1 run over 8 innings, TB defeated the Angels yet again yesterday so the Angels look to bounce-back here and avoid a bit of a sweep here today, Garza comes off a 0era performance, of course the previous times he has done that he has struggled, as his eras break down as the following:

12.60 era against Cleveland on the road.
0 rea against Toronto at home.
7.20 era on the road against Kansas City.
0 era against Toronto on the road.
7.20 era at home against Cleveland.
7.95 era against Seattle on the road.
0 era against Texas on the road.

Having said that and the fact the Angels are going to avoid getting beat again for the 3rd time in a row, lean on the Angels as they sit at +108 today with the dog price.

Detroit vs. Texas


Detroit faces off against Texas and usually I would lean towards the over immediately between these 2 teams, the total sits at 11.5 of course, Robertson had a 6.75 era in his last start as Detroit lost 2-11, and he is 6-9 on the road with a 7.10 era, Millwood has struggled of late as he is 0-3 over his last 4 starts in which the Rangers have lost all 4 of them, he has struggled against Detroit overall last year going 0-2 against them, I think Millwood could show up here finally at home, but having said that, lean on the Rangers here, but he has had his troubles against the Tigers and given up 33 hits in his past 4 starts, that alone wants to me awa from that game.

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