MLB News and Notes August 24

MLB News and Notes August 24

Sunday's Tip Sheet
By Josh Jacobs

And so we continue the stroll through this weekend in baseball. Some questions that role right off the pages of top headlines include; can Tampa Bay sustain the momentum in Chicago, will the Dodgers make a dramatic push ahead of Arizona and is Milwaukee worrying about the Cubs, Cardinals or both?

Florida (Nolasco) at Arizona (Davis) – 4:10 p.m. EDT

Can Marlins starting pitcher, Ricky Nolasco (12-7, 3.67 ERA) repeat the gem of a game he tossed against San Francisco on Sunday? That’s the million dollar question and Florida is sure banking that its third-year slinger is up to the challenge.
   
It was on the 19th of this month that Nolasco left the Bay Area giving up two hits and no runs in what was logged into the box score as a complete game. It hasn’t been all roses for the right-hander, as a 3-3 record in nine outings (before the win in San Francisco) indicates.

From a performance standpoint the numbers don’t seem to add up all that much. Nolasco’s 2.7 runs allowed per game in those nine followed by the bats supplying 4.6 runs of support per start throughout the season clashes with conventional wisdom. Then again, in all three defeats in those last 10 starts the Corona, California starter was tagged for an uncharacteristic, four runs per game in only 6.1 innings averaged per start.

As mentioned in an article or two ago, Arizona currently owns the NL’s third best starting ERA at 3.86. The only problem is that erratic left-handed hurler, Doug Davis (5-7, 4.68) will be sent to the hill. In his last four outings alone, Davis has been responsible for giving up 18 total runs (4.5 per game), walking 10 batters and has been tattooed by fellow southpaw bats for a .313 BAA over the coarse of the season.

If you want an angle to begin studying for in this contest then the ‘over’ has been an unconscious 23-7-1 in the last 31 head-to-head meetings between these two clubs. Books have been extremely consistent in setting an averaged total of nine runs in the last 20 meetings.

Most books have opened the Marlins as $1.10 visiting ‘underdogs with a total listed at nine.

L.A. Dodgers (Kuroda) at Philadelphia (Blanton) – 8:00 p.m. EDT on ESPN

Blasting the Dodgers out of Game 1 by the final score of 8-1, Philadelphia is as inconsistent as a club can get in terms of hitting. A 5-2 role in their last seven has helped the Phillies in the quest to overtake the Mets in the division, but a batting average of .214 in the last 10 just doesn’t do this club justice.

It was only last week that L.A. completed a four-game sweep over Philly, outscoring its opponent 22-16. With the Dodgers sending out starter Hiroki Kuroda (7-9, 3.97) to the slab in this ESPN televised contest, a repeat win from Aug. 14 is on the minds of backers everywhere. The Japanese born slinger emerged from seven innings pitched against this same Philadelphia team with his seventh win of the season. In that outing, Kuroda received the ‘W’ after giving up just one run on two hits – once again evidence of Phillies unpredictable offensive nature.

Gamblers need to be informed of Kuroda’s inabilities. His performance on the road consists of a 2-7 record with a 4.75 ERA and a .290 BAA. The .290 BAA is in comparison to a .216 BAA at home, so it doesn’t take a lot of digging to uncover serious flaws in this starter’s abilities.

Handicapping this game from stats alone is a difficult task. Although L.A.’s Kuroda has been a dump on the road (and here comes that inconsistency), the Phillies are making contact for a lonely .216 BA in the month of August (this is just criminal). Crossing the plate for 3.5 runs per game in the last 20 isn’t signs of a playoff bound club and a .303 on base percentage (over the same 20 games) adds insult to injury.

And since you know how important pitching is in the handicapping process then we can’t overlook Philadelphia starter Joe Blanton (6-12, 4.87), acquired from Oakland at the end of July. The six-foot-three righty’s last two starts have yielded a total of eight runs allowed on 17 hits, with three long balls adding more insecurity in backing this slinger.

In the end, it might not be a bad idea to look at an opening total of nine runs installed in this contest. While both starters have had problems earning ‘Ws’, both are also getting a combined 7.9 runs of support per start (which isn’t a high number by the way due to L.A.’s Kuroda getting 3.7 runs of support).

Bodog.com has installed the Phillies as a $1.25 home favorite.

Extra Innings

-- Tampa Bay has opened as a $1.55 visiting ‘dog in a 2:05 p.m. EDT in the third and final game of this weekend’s series against Chicago.

-- The Rays have designated starter Andy Sonnanstine (13-6, 4.37) for active duty, while the White Sox will counter with southpaw Mark Buehrle (11-10, 3.91).

-- Despite losing Game 1 in this series 9-4, the White Sox are on an incredible 40-14 run in its last 54 home games.

-- Tampa enters the contest with a solid 19-7 record in its last 26 overall, helping to push this season’s profits to +24.89 units. A run line bank of +953 has also been a solid earner.

-- The ‘under’ has been a beast to play, racking up a 15-5 record in the last 20 head-to-head meetings. Minus the ‘over’ cashing in on Friday, the ‘under’ was on a six-game run.

-- When the total has been set at 9 ½ (which most books have opened the contest at), the ‘under’ is 4-1 since the 2006 season.

-- The ‘under’ is 19-7 in Tampa Bay’s last 26 road games and is 16-7 on the ‘under’ in the last 23 games played on grass.

vegasinsider.com.

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Re: MLB News and Notes August 24

Sunday's streaking and slumping starters
By JUSTIN BANKS

Streaking

Daisuke Matsuzaka, Boston Red Sox (15-2, 2.77)


Matsuzaka is 3-0 and has a solid 1.35 ERA in his last three starts and has not relinquished more than two earned runs in nine of his last 10 overall.

Dice-K has just one setback in his last 10 and is 3-1 in his last four at Fenway Park. He has also relinquished just three homers in his last 10 overall.

The Red Sox are 4-1 in their last five road games and are 7-3 in their last 10 overall.


Mark Buehrle, Chicago White Sox (11-10, 3.91)

Buehrle, who had just two triumphs in his first 10 starts, is 3-0 and has a 2.75 ERA in his last three overall and is 5-0 in his last five starts at U.S. Cellular Field.

Buehrle is coming of a recent home victory over the Boston Red Sox in which he relinquished one earned run and struck out eight in seven IP.

The White Sox are 40-14 in their last 54 home games and are 8-3 in their last 11 at home against the
Tampa Bay Rays.


Slumping

Vicente Padilla, Texas Rangers (12-7, 4.96)


Padilla has just two wins in his last eight and is 0-2 in his last three starts. He has also relinquished 15 earned runs and six homers in his last 16 IP.

Padilla, who is 0-2 in his last four at home, is 3-4 overall at Rangers Ballpark and has relinquished 19 earned runs and seven homers in that period.

Padilla also has a lofty 7.27 career-ERA against the Cleveland Indians.

The Rangers are 3-12 in their last 15 overall and are 3-8 in their last 11 home games against the Tribe.


Luke Hochevar, Kansas City Royals (6-12, 5.51)

Hochevar has relinquished 23 earned runs in five straight defeats and has a lofty 6.11 ERA in his last three overall.

Hochevar is 1-3 in his last five home starts and is just 4-5 overall at home. He has relinquished 34 hits in his last 28.2 IP at Kauffman Stadium. Hochevar has a 5.02 career-ERA against the Detroit Tigers.

The Royals are 3-13 in their last 16 and are 0-4 in their last four against the Tigers.

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Re: MLB News and Notes August 24

Sunday Night Baseball
By ASA

This weekend’s game of the week on ESPN features two second-place teams in their respective divisions. The LA Dodgers are two games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks in the West and the Philadelphia Phillies are 1.5 games behind the East leading Mets. So it goes without saying that this is a huge series for both teams as it nears the end of August and every win is more important than ever.

Neither of the two teams will be sending their strongest pitcher to the mound on Sunday night as both starters have records under .500. The Dodgers are sending right-hander Hiroki Kuroda (7-9 3.97 ERA) to the mound to face fellow right-hander Joe Blanton (6-12 4.87 ERA) of the Phillies.

Kuroda has faced the Phillies once this season and shut down their powerful offense going seven innings, allowing two hits and gave up an earned run while striking out seven on the way to a win. But overall Kuroda has struggled on the road this season where he is 2-7 with a 4.75 ERA, and teams are batting a scorching .290 against him.
   
Joe Blanton was acquired by the Phillies in the middle of June to add some depth to their pitching rotation, and he’s done a solid job as the Phillies have gone 4-2 in games that Blanton has started; however, he only has one decision in those six games (1-0). Blanton faced the Dodgers on August 13th and had little success. He lasted just five innings allowing four earned runs off of nine hits and walking three. Opposing right-handed batters are hitting .311 against Blanton and it just so happens that the Dodgers are a right-hand dominated team, occasionally batting 7-8 right-handers in their starting line-up.

The Phillies will be looking for revenge against the Dodgers as LA took a four-game sweep from the Phillies last week. All four wins were by a combined six runs. LA is 2-6 in their last eight road games this season.

Total bettors should note that the Phillies have averaged 4.2 runs per game last 10 overall. L.A. has fared a little worse by scoring just 3.7 runs per game in that same span. In the last series between these two teams they combined for 32 total runs or eight per game. Two stayed ‘under’ and two went ‘over’ the total.

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Re: MLB News and Notes August 24

TheSpread.com Sunday MLB Picks and Predictions 8/24

Minnesota Twins (74-55) at Los Angeles Angels (78-50)

The Los Angeles Angels used a rare offensive outburst to cool off the surging Minnesota Twins in their most recent game.

The Angels look for a second straight victory over the Twins to salvage a split in the four-game set between division leaders Sunday afternoon at Angel Stadium.

After being outscored 11-1 in the first two games of this potential AL playoff series preview, Los Angeles (78-50) scored six runs in the first four innings and held on for a 7-5 win Saturday night.

It was just the third win in 10 games for the Angels, who must guard against complacency with a very comfortable 16-game lead in the AL West.

The right-hander matched up with Minnesota's Kevin Slowey (10-8, 3.78) in that contest. Slowey allowed three runs in 3 1-3 innings and is 1-1 with a 7.56 ERA in two career starts versus the Angels.

Slowey, though, has been much better since dropping his first four starts off the season. The right-hander will try for a fourth consecutive victory after allowing one earned run and five

Pick: Los Angeles


Cleveland Indians (61-67) at Texas Rangers (63-67)

Last season, a hot streak in the second half of August began the key stretch that earned the Cleveland Indians the AL Central title. This year, all it's doing is giving the Indians some pride - and perhaps some optimism for 2009.

Cleveland will look to extend its longest winning streak of the season to seven on Sunday night, also hoping to complete its first three-game sweep at Texas in more than 35 years.

While battling for a playoff spot in 2007, the Indians won eight straight games from Aug. 25-Sept. 1, part of a torrid 31-12 run to finish the season.

The Rangers have pitched poorly for much of August, losing 13 of their last 16. Their beleaguered staff, which easily ranks last in the majors with a 5.42 ERA, has been especially bad during the club's current funk, with a 6.60 ERA and .317 opponent batting average over that span.

Pick: Cleveland


Oakland Athletics (59-70) at Seattle Mariners (47-82)

It's been more than a month since the Oakland Athletics won a series. On Sunday, they'll close out a four-game set against the Seattle Mariners trying for their first series victory since the last time the teams met.

The Athletics (59-70) have won two of the first three games between the teams, including 5-1 on Saturday. A victory Sunday would give Oakland its first series win since it took three of four against the Mariners (47-82) at home July 7-10, and its first road series win since sweeping San Francisco in June.

On Saturday, Bobby Crosby had three hits and drove in two runs while Daric Barton hit a two-run homer for Oakland, which is 8-28 since July 12, when it began the day four games out of first place in the AL West. Since then, the Athletics have fallen 19 1/2 games behind the division-leading Los Angeles Angels.

Dan Meyer (0-1, 5.52) makes his second start of the season for Oakland after he was called up from the minors on Thursday, just three days after was sent to Triple-A Sacramento.

In his only start, Meyer allowed three runs and six hits over five innings in a 10-2 loss to Detroit on Aug. 9.

Meyer's only time facing Seattle was Sept. 19. He pitched 4 2-3 innings, allowing five runs and six hits in a 9-5 loss.

Pick: Seattle

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Baseball Today

Arizona at San Diego, 10:05 p.m. EDT. In a marquee matchup Arizona's Dan Haren (14-6) faces San Diego's Jake Peavy (9-9).

STARS

-Vernon Wells, Blue Jays, hit two home runs and went 4-for-5 in Toronto's 11-0 rout of the Red Sox.

-Aramis Ramirez, Cubs, hit a pair of three-run homers, leading Chicago to a victory over the Nationals.

-Carlos Pena, Rays, hit a two-run, tiebreaking single to cap a four-run eighth inning, and surging Tampa Bay rallied for a 5-3 victory over the White Sox.

-Pat Burrell, Phillies, homered and matched his career high with five RBIs, helping Philadelphia beat the Dodgers.

-Matt Holliday, Rockies, hit a three-run double that highlighted a seventh-inning rally, sending Colorado over the Reds 7-6.

-Greg Norton, Braves, delivered a tiebreaking, pinch-hit single with two outs in the eighth inning, and Atlanta beat St. Louis 8-4 to snap a six-game losing streak.

-Mark Teixeira, Angels, went 3-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs to lead Los Angeles over Minnesota 7-5.

WELCOME BACK

Pitching in the major leagues for the first time since April 2007, Carl Pavano allowed three runs and seven hits in five innings to earn the win for the Yankees, 5-3 over Baltimore. The right-hander walked one, hit two batters and struck out five in his 91-pitch effort. It was Pavano's 20th start with the Yankees since signing a four-year, $39.95 million contract before the 2005 season. Only three of those appearances have come since June 2005; his latest injury resulted in elbow ligament replacement surgery last June and a 14-month rehabilitation.

NUMB

Red Sox right-hander Josh Beckett won't face the New York Yankees on Tuesday after skipping a bullpen session Saturday because of continued numbness and tingling in his pitching arm. Manager Terry Francona said Beckett has ``inflammation'' in his elbow and likely won't start again until next Friday, when the Red Sox return home to open a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox.

THE RIGHT ROLE


The Cubs' Ryan Dempster matched a career high with his 15th win. The right-hander scattered eight hits, struck out four and walked one in Chicago's 9-2 win over Washington. He also won 15 games for Florida in 2001. Converted to a starter this season after being Chicago's closer last year, Dempster improved to 12-2 in 16 home starts. ... Detroit's Zach Miner pitched three-hit ball for seven innings to improve to 4-1 since moving to the rotation after making 32 relief appearances this season.

STRONG IN DEFEAT

Chicago's Jermaine Dye hit two solo homers and Javier Vazquez retired his first 17 batters in the White Sox's 5-3 loss to Tampa Bay.

WINNING FEELING

Toronto's Jesse Litsch pitched six sharp innings in the Blue Jays' 11-0 to win for the first time since June 26. He allowed three hits, walked three and struck out four. The right-hander was demoted to Triple-A on July 24 and made three minor league starts before returning Aug. 14 and pitching seven shutout innings at Detroit.

WINNING MONTH

Barry Zito (8-15) allowed four hits in eight innings for his second straight victory and only his third at home in 13 decisions. He gave up three runs, walked three and struck out five in San Francisco's 4-3 win over the Padres. Zito's 27 wins in August are his most in any month, and his 2.81 ERA is tops, too.

RAIN RUNS

Rain delayed the Braves' 8-4 win over St. Louis for 49 minutes in the top of the ninth inning. When play resumed, Atlanta scored three times.

UNLUCKY SEVEN

The Royals' 4-0 loss to Detroit gave them their third losing streak of at least seven games this season. Kansas City has been outscored 78-29 in losing 10 of 11 and falling a season worst 19-games below .500.

OOPS

Florida second baseman Dan Uggla was charged with two errors on one play in the eight inning of a 7-1 loss to Arizona for bobbling a grounder by Stephen Drew and making a poor throw that allowed Jeff Salazar to reach third.

STATS

The Yankees' Hideki Matsui had a solo shot for his 500th career RBI in a 5-3 win over Baltimore. ... The Mets' Brian Schneider has hit four homers in his last six starts.

SPEAKING

``It's amazing. This is what I get paid to do, this is what I live for. This is all I really want, to go out there every fifth day and do my job.'' - Yankees pitcher Carl Pavano, who made just his 20th start for New York since signing a four-year, $39.95 million contract before the 2005 season. He allowed three runs and seven hits in five innings to earn his first win of the year, 5-3 over the Orioles.

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Re: MLB News and Notes August 24

Sunday's MLB Research
By Indiancowboy

Boston vs. Toronto

Toronto pounded Boston 11-0 yesterday so obviously Boston will look to bounce-back here today, Dice-K rolls up on the mound for Boston here, he is 6-1 over his last 7 starts, and although he picked up a no-decision against Toronto, he did help his team win 2-1 last time around, give Dice-K a lot of credit, he is 7-0 with a 2.17 era on the road, Burnett went nearly 8 inns and didn't give up a run against the Red Sox, he has simply been on fire of late, as he shows up big time against the Yankees and Red Sox, he is now a 16 game winner (possible trading block material next year) and 6-0 over his last 6 starts. I would lean on the Bluejays and Burnett here because of the Dog price, of course, do note, the Sox got pummeled by double-digits yesterday.

Yankees vs. Baltimore

Yankees won 5-3 on the road yesterday, Rasner pitched brilliantly at Toronto in his last start with a 1.35 era, he still picked up a no-decision as the Yankees eventually lost, he has not won a game since 7/12, he is 1-2 in quality starts against Baltimore here, the O's are on a bounce-back from yesterday, Cabrera has beat the Yankees all 3 times this year, props, he is on a bounce-back from a 12.47 era start from his last time out, lean on the O's here with the dog price, do note that the Yankees will try to avoid losing 4 in a row to Cabrera and Rasner is desperate for a win and he does come off a non-quality start (NQ) against the O's last time around.

Tampa Bay vs. Whitesox

TB beat the Wsox 5-3 yesterday, Sonnanstine has won back to back starts, he beat the Whitesox both times out this year and is 1-0 in 2 starts against them, Buehrle did win his last start despite having nearly an 8 era as his team won 13-5, he has won his last 3 starts overall, the Devil Rays have beat him both times out thsi year, those were both road starts though, Buehrle is 8-3 at home though where he is rock solid, usually after a 5+ era, Sonnanstine comes back with a bounce-back, having said that Buehrle will look to do better than his last start, not to mention his 2 questionable road starts against TB, if anything a lean on the under here.

Detroit vs. Kansas City

Rogers has a 5.34 era on the road, he finally picked up a much needed win in his last start, and his last start against KC was quality after 2 non-quality starts, Duckworth hasn't started this year, but do note that Duckworth looks to come back into this rotation and Rogers has not had many back to back wins this year, not to mention the Royals were blanked yesterday, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Royals cash as big dogs today.

Minny vs. Angels

Lots of -165 favorites today, note that several of these dogs will cash today, including possibly KC above, Slowey has won his last 3 starts with all eras of below 2, he had a 8.11 era against the Angels earlier this year, Santana is a 13 game winner this year with a mid 3 era, he has picked up a no decision in his last 2 starts and he had a 3 era in his last start and did win 5-4 in his last start, really no reason for the Twins to be dogs by this margin given that they did lost 5-7 yesterday and on a bounce-back.

Oakland vs. Seattle

Meyer rolls for Oakland today, note that Oakland won 5-1 at Seattle yesterday, he had a 5.4 era in his last start on the road at Detroit so he looks to get a bit of a bounce-back here today, that was his first and only start of the year, Felix had a 9 era in his last start so he looks to bounce-back today, not to mention that he had a 5+ era in his last start against Oakland as well, he has a 3.26 era at home this year, if anything, (remember seattle on the bounce-back) a lean on the under and the mariners rl - unknown question is what does this kid Meyer have in him on a bounce-back.

Cleveland vs. Texas

These 2 teams did get the game off yesterday, it was 8-7 and the Indians ended up winning on the road, Reyes has been solid in the early going, of course he is on the honeymoon period as most teams are seeing him for the first time, nevertheless, he has put together 3 quality starts in his first 3 starts, he has yet to face Texas this year, advantage Reyes, of course, give Texas the 2nd time through the lineup and they should have success, Padilla needs a good start after 2 terrible starts, he has a way of bouncing-back at home, having said that, advantage Texas with the dog price here and the Reyes kid should hold the fort pretty well today.

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