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MLB News and Notes September 12

MLB News and Notes September 12

Friday's streaking and slumping starting pitchers


Cliff Lee, Cleveland Indians (21-2, 2.28)

Lee is 3-0 and has a solid 1.13 ERA in his last three starts and has relinquished more than two earned runs in a start just once in his last 10 overall.

Lee is undefeated in his last 10 and is 9-0 with a 2.14 ERA at home. He is 4-0 and has a 2.15 ERA in four starts this season against the Kansas City Royals.

The Indians are 22-6 in Lee’s last 28 starts and are 4-0 in Lee’s last four starts against the Royals.

Jason Marquis, Chicago Cubs (10-8, 4.36)

Marquis is 2-1 and has a 1.77 ERA in his last three starts, including two road wins in which he relinquished just two total earned runs in 14.2 IP.

Marquis, who is in his second season with the Cubs, is 3-1 in his last four road starts and has a 3.05 ERA overall on the outside Chi-Town. He is also 9-6 all-time against the lowly Houston Astros.

The Cubs are 6-2 in Marquis' last eight road starts and are 15-4 in their last 19 road contests.


Daniel Cabrera, Baltimore Orioles (8-9, 5.26)

Cabrera has landed on the slumping list often this season but it’s not without good cause. He has just two wins in his last 10 starts and is 0-2 with a 12.27 ERA in his last three overall.

Cabrera is winless in his last three at home, including a loss to the Oakland Athletics in which he conceded two earned runs and one homerin three innings. He is 0-1 and has a lofty 9.00 ERA in one start this season against the Minnesota Twins.

The Orioles are 1-4 in Cabrera’s last five home starts and are 5-16 in their last 21 against the Twins.

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Re: MLB News and Notes September 12

Baseball Today


Friday, Sept. 12

Cincinnati at Arizona (9:40 p.m. EDT). Brandon Webb (19-7, 3.41 ERA) will try again to win his 20th game of the season. Webb has lost his last three starts, getting roughed up for at least six runs in each game. He'll face Aaron Harang (4-15, 5.18).



- Ryan Howard, Phillies, hit his major league-leading 43rd homer, and fourth in six games, leading Philadelphia to a 6-3 win over Milwaukee.

- Roy Oswalt, Astros, threw his second straight complete-game shutout and set a Houston record for consecutive scoreless innings, helping Houston beat Pittsburgh 6-0.

- Adrian Gonzalez, Padres, homered twice and drove in four runs to set career highs with 31 homers and 103 RBIs, leading San Diego to an 11-3 victory over San Francisco.

- David DeJesus, Royals, hit the winning single in the 10th inning, giving Kansas City a 3-2 victory over Minnesota.


Francisco Rodriguez got the final three outs for his 57th save to tie Bobby Thigpen's major league record, and the Angels beat Seattle 7-4. Thigpen set the record in 1990 with the Chicago White Sox. The save was the 203rd of the 26-year-old Rodriguez's career. He made his debut in September 2002 and became a sensation with his postseason performance.


Albert Pujols drove in his 100th run with a sixth-inning double in the Cardinals' 3-2 loss to the Cubs, becoming only the third player in major league history to reach the milestone in his first eight seasons. Al Simmons did it his first 11 seasons, and Ted Williams also did it his first eight. Pujols also extended his major league-record streak of reaching 30 homers and 100 RBIs in his first eight seasons, two more than any player in history.


Roy Oswalt threw his second straight complete-game shutout and set a Houston record for consecutive scoreless innings, helping the streaking Astros beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-0. Oswalt (15-9) hasn't allowed a run in 32 1-3 innings, passing the previous record of 31 set by J.R. Richard in 1980. He needed only 90 pitches to finish his sixth career shutout and 15th complete game.


The first two games of this weekend's series between the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros have been postponed because of the potential impact of Hurricane Ike. Baseball officials also were anticipating that Sunday's series finale also might be postponed. One of the scenarios under consideration was to play a doubleheader Monday, and make up the third game on Sept. 29 if it's needed to decide a playoff berth.


The Rockies won 20 of 28 games last September to make the playoffs. This September, they have lost five straight, including an 8-4 loss to Atlanta. They are 8 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West.


The Toronto beat the Chicago White Sox 6-4 for their 11th win in 12 games, moving 6 1/2 games back of the Red Sox in the AL wild-card race. - Houston won for the 14th time in 15 games, beating Pittsburgh 6-0 to remain three games behind Milwaukee for the NL wild card.


All-Star reliever George Sherrill was activated from the 15-day disabled list by the Baltimore Orioles. Sherrill was placed on the disabled list on Aug. 19 with inflammation of the left shoulder. He is 3-5 with a 4.47 ERA with 31 saves in 53 appearances.


Houston beat Pittsburgh 6-0 for its 14th win in 15 games. The Astros were 66-66 and 11 games back of Milwaukee, the NL wild-card leader, before the surge began Aug. 27. The latest win closed the Astros within three games of the Brewers, who lost 6-3 at Philadelphia.


Prince Fielder hit his first homer since Aug. 13, but slumping Milwaukee lost for the eighth time in 11 games, 6-3 to the Phillies.


Athletics second baseman Mark Ellis will miss the rest of the season and could be headed for surgery to fix a shoulder injury that has taken longer to heal than initially expected. A's team orthopedist Dr. John Frazier has recommended an operation on Ellis' right shoulder to repair a couple of chips in his cartilage. He also has a torn labrum in the shoulder that has been there for close to five years. Ellis will seek a second opinion from Angels orthopedist Dr. Lewis Yocum before deciding whether to go ahead with surgery.


Oakland's Jack Cust struck out in his first two at-bats and again in the eighth for his 176th strikeout this year to break Jose Canseco's franchise record of 175 Ks set in 1986.


- He's been consistent all year. Goes to show you the old man can still pitch. - Phillies manager Charlie Manuel on 45-year-old Jamie Moyer, the oldest player in the majors. Moyer pitched 5 2-3 solid innings on three days rest to help Philadelphia beat Milwaukee 6-3.

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Re: MLB News and Notes September 12

Astros in Wild Card Hunt
By Joe Nelson

As improbable as it seemed a month ago, the Houston Astros are going to be serious contenders in the National League Wild Card race. Houston has moved to 79-67 and sits just four games behind Milwaukee for the Wild Card lead. Given the way that the Brewers have been slumping and the schedule ahead for Houston, the Astros could find themselves in the postseason.

The Chicago Cubs will still control the fate of the division with a substantial lead but Houston opens up a three game home series with Chicago this weekend. Houston then plays six less than intimidating games for the final road trip, playing at Florida and at Pittsburgh. The final week of the season could provide the Astros the opportunity they need with six home games against Cincinnati and Atlanta.

It is unlikely that the Cubs could fall behind the Astros given the current eight and half game lead but Chicago is playing poorly and faces the toughest schedule ahead of any of the contenders. The Cubs go to Houston and then host Milwaukee and St. Louis for six games before closing on the road with four games against the Mets and three more with the Brewers.

The Brewers will have a tough week ahead with the next ten games on the road. Milwaukee is in Philadelphia for four games then plays at Wrigley Field for three before three in Cincinnati. The final six are at home for Milwaukee with the Pirates and the Cubs. St. Louis also remains in the mix and the Cardinals have a manageable schedule although the Cubs and Diamondbacks are mixed in between a heavy dose of the Reds and Pirates.

New York and Philadelphia will be fighting for the NL East title but the Wild Card will be within reach for the team that does not win the division. The Phillies have a huge series with Milwaukee this weekend and then close with non-playoff contenders, playing Atlanta for six games and Florida and Washington for three each. The Mets play the Braves six times in the next ten games and also have a four-game series at Washington. The final seven games features the four-game set with the Cubs and three games with the Marlins.

The Cubs have by far the toughest remaining schedule though they have the biggest cushion to work with. Milwaukee also has a difficult road ahead and the opportunity will be there for the Astros, particularly if the games between the Cubs and Brewers end up one-sided with one team pulling away.

Houston is playing as well as any team in baseball, winning at a 74 percent clip with a 32-11 record since late July. The Astros could cause problems for the Cubs this weekend with a 9-6 record on the season and facing Cincinnati down the stretch could also be a positive as Houston is 10-2 against the Reds this year.

Offense has been the key with Houston scoring 5.3 runs per game. The team does not own an overwhelmingly batting average but they are among the NL leaders in stolen bases and the Astros also have committed the fewest errors in baseball. Houston’s pitching has been fairly average this season but the rotation has improved considerably with Roy Oswalt returning to form and the addition of Randy Wolf has been positive. The amazing thing is that the Astros have made much of this late season push with Carlos Lee on the DL. Despite the incredible stretch of winning there are some concerns as Houston must also now play with Ty Wiggington on the shelf for about a week and Wandy Rodriguez missing his next start.

As the Colorado Rockies proved last season, momentum can be a dangerous thing and Houston as a very good chance to find a way into the playoffs given the schedule ahead. If you are a Cubs or Brewers fan, expect a tense couple of weeks ahead. Both teams appeared to be playoff locks a few weeks ago but Chicago is 2-8 in the last ten games and Milwaukee is just 3-7 in the last ten. Both teams will face tougher schedules ahead and they will play each other six times, meaning the Astros will gain ground on either or both of them if they stay hot. Get ready for some drama as both Milwaukee and Chicago have a history of miserably painful endings to seasons and Houston will be the team most likely to benefit if one of those teams collapses.

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Re: MLB News and Notes September 12

MLB Trendspotting
by Josh Nagel

It's the time of year when certain series among division rivals, such as the Mets vs. Phillies last weekend and the Rays and Red Sox this week, can determine the postseason fates of contending teams. It's a good time to pay close attention to these games to see which pitchers and hitters can come through under pressure, not to mention which teams seem to be able to close out games under duress while others crumble.

Once you've spotted a few reliable players and teams, you can ride them for the rest of the season then give them serious consideration once the playoffs roll around.

Here is a look at some Major League Baseball betting trends through Sept. 10:

American League East

Tampa Bay Rays - With their gritty extra-inning 4-2 win over Boston on Wednesday, the Rays assured themselves of at least a split in this important four-game series with the Red Sox. The nearly +200 return didn't hurt, either. But this was an important win because it showed Tampa intends to hang around even as several pundits are starting to write them off. It comes on the heels of a four-game losing streak in which Tampa scored eight total runs. If there's one drawback to this team, that's it; the offense can disappear at times. The Rays have dropped to 16th in MLB at 4.64 runs per game.

New York Yankees - As if it wasn't clear before, New York's postseason hopes are officially over. It's worth noting that the Yankees have slid into fourth place behind the Toronto Blue Jays after dropping five of their last seven and not looking at all like a playoff-worthy team in a couple of lopsided losses to the Angels. The under has been a consistent winner for New York this season at 61-80-4.

American League Central

Chicago White Sox - Chicago got a needed win Wednesday after dropping three straight and showing some leaks in its starting pitching of late. The White Sox have been around the top five in team ERA all season but recently have dropped to 10th at 4.00. Although White Sox bettors are still richer to the sum of 1,143 units, it's difficult to trust a playoff-bound team with questionable starting pitching.

Kansas City Royals - The Royals are on a bit of a run with wins in five of their last eight, but a promising early start faded fast as it quickly became apparent that they did not have enough offensive punch to complement a talented but inexperienced starting staff. Ultimately, reality set in and Kansas City's most successful pitcher is 11-game winner Gil Meche, a free-agent bust who is earning about $1 million per win. That's a lot more than bettors have made with this team, which shows a -1,301-unit deficit for the season.

American League West

Los Angeles Angels - The best team in baseball record-wise at 88-57, it's amazing still how little fanfare this team seems to generate. What's worth noting is that the Angels have just the 15th-ranked offense in the league at 4.65 runs per game. Their seventh-best team ERA of 3.91 is the equivalent of the Phoenix Suns learning how to play defense. In other words, it's a good sign. As such, the under has hit a surprising record of 78-59-8 for Los Angeles.

National League East

New York Mets - although the Mets dropped two of three at home to the Phillies in a pivotal series and showed their vulnerable pitching along the way, they caught a break as Florida has handed Philadelphia two straight defeats and allowed the Mets to keep a tenuous grip on first place. Having the Nationals in town doesn't hurt, either, but don't be surprised if New York and Philadelphia have swapped places in the standings a week from now. The shaky bullpen, and arguably misuse of it by manager Jerry Manuel, makes this team a danger for your dollar.

Florida Marlins - Although Florida's once-monstrous season profit has dwindled as its auspicious early-season start has faded to mediocrity, the Marlins remain this division's biggest cash cow by far with 1,368 units in bettors' pockets. That's because they remain a surprisingly competitive club and consistently draw good prices against the league's better teams. Their back-to-back wins against the Phillies netted backers a swift 275 units.

National League Central

Chicago Cubs - The Cubs seem to do just enough to keep every other team in the division alive, and they have done themselves no favors with losses in eight of their last 10. Although the injury to ace Carlos Zambrano is a concern, there's no reason why the Cubs should be getting swept at home by the Astros and losing three of four on the road to the Reds. This team often appears to be as volatile as its hot-blooded manager Lou Pinella, which is a good reason to proceed with caution.

St. Louis Cardinals - Injuries have inevitably caught up with the Cardinals, who overachieved for much of the season but finally show signs of wear and tear. With about half of its pitching staff on the disabled list, injuries to Troy Glaus, Rick Ankiel and concerns about Albert Pujols, this looks like a team prepared to limp into the offseason licking its wounds.

National League West

Los Angeles Dodgers - This unsightly division has been up for grabs all year, and the Dodgers finally look like the team most likely to back into the winner's circle. The fact that they have won nine of 10 is a good sign, but how they have done it is even more encouraging. This hitting-challenged club has scored at least five runs in each of the wins, scoring a total of 58 in the nine-win span. As downright ugly as this team often can look, it still says here that they will be a tough team to eliminate in a seven-game series come playoff time.

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