News and Notes September 17

News and Notes September 17

Wednesday’s MLB streaking and slumping starters
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Streaking

Cliff Lee, Cleveland (22-2, 2.36)


Lee gave up four runs and two dingers his last time out, but the money train is still chugging strong. He has won his last eight starts to all but lock up the AL Cy Young award as the Indians play out the schedule.

As always, location is key for Lee. He hasn’t allowed more than two walks in a start since way back on May 24. The lefty is at home to the Twins on Tuesday.


Ricky Nolasco, Florida (14-7, 3.56)

Nolasco has led the Fish to five straight wins, striking out at least eight in all but one of those outings while walking only four batters combined.

It’s been a strong finish to a strange season for Nolasco. He kicked off the season as the Opening Day starter, but was sent to the minors midway through the year before being recalled to the bigs on July 20. He has lost only twice since then.


Slumping

Philip Hughes, New York Yankees (0-4, 9.00)


The Yankees were counting on guys like Hughes to pull a lot of weight for the starting rotation. When that didn’t happen, the Yanks were left on the outside looking in on the pennant race.

Hughes has pitched into the sixth inning only once in his last five tries, giving up at least five runs in three of those games – one of which he was chased after only two innings of work. Worse still for New York bettors is that Hughes was favored throughout his recent losing skid.

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Baseball Today

SCOREBOARD

Milwaukee at Chicago Cubs (8:05 p.m. EDT). Ben Sheets (13-8, 2.97 ERA) must come up big for the slumping Brewers, in a tight race for the NL wild card. Jason Marquis (10-8, 4.36) pitches for the Cubs, closing in on the NL Central title.

STARS

Tuesday

- Ryan Howard, Phillies, went 4-for-5 with a go-ahead homer, a triple and three RBIs to help Philadelphia take over first place in the NL East with an 8-7 win over Atlanta.

- Dioner Navarro, Rays, singled with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth to give Tampa Bay a 2-1 win over Boston that kept the Rays in first place in the AL East.

- Victor Martinez, Indians, hit the winning, three-run homer and finished 3-for-5 to help Cleveland beat Minnesota 12-9 in 11 innings.

- Casey Blake, Dodgers, went 3-for-5 with a home run and a triple as Los Angeles beat Pittsburgh 6-2 to stay 4 1/2 games ahead of second-place Arizona in the NL West.

- Dan Haren, Diamondbacks, struck out 12 in a four-hit, 2-0 win over San Francisco.

- Odalis Perez, Nationals, allowed four hits in 7 1-3 innings and Washington beat New York 1-0 to drop the Mets into second place, a half-game behind the Phillies in the NL East.

- Chris Waters, Orioles, threw a four-hitter for his first complete game in a 2-0 win over the Blue Jays.

- Chris Iannetta, Rockies, hit his first grand slam in Colorado's 10-3 win over San Diego.

CC CHANGE

The Chicago Cubs handed CC Sabathia his first National League loss while sending the Milwaukee Brewers to their fifth straight defeat, holding on 5-4. Sabathia (9-1), acquired by the Brewers on July 7, had won 12 straight decisions overall, dating to a June 5 loss to Texas when he was still pitching for Cleveland. He gave up four runs and nine hits in seven innings, including Alfonso Soriano's 29th homer in the seventh.

PHLIPPED

Philadelphia rallied back into first place with an 8-7 win in Atlanta sparked by Ryan Howard's go-ahead homer in the eighth. Brad Lidge escaped a bases-loaded jam in the ninth and Philadelphia moved a half-game in front of the fading New York Mets, who lost 1-0 at Washington.

RAY OF HOPE

Rays catcher Dioner Navarro singled with the bases loaded and one out in the ninth to drive in the winning run in a 2-1 victory over the Red Sox. It was the second time in a week Navarro has had a winning hit against the defending World Series champions, who have lost seven of eight at Tropicana Field this season. Tampa Bay moved a game ahead of Boston in the AL East.

ONE LAST RECORD

Derek Jeter passed Lou Gehrig for most career hits at the soon-to-close Yankee Stadium with his 1,270th, a sharp first-inning single past third baseman Juan Uribe, who was playing on the edge of the infield grass. The crowd of 52,558 gave Jeter a sustained standing ovation and he responded with a wave of his helmet while a bat boy retrieved the milestone ball.

HAREN TO THE RESCUE

The Diamondbacks haven't been hitting lately, so Dan Haren took matters into his own hands, hurling a four-hitter in a 2-0 win over the Giants. Haren struck out 12 and walked two in his first career shutout and Arizona remained 4 1/2 games behind Los Angeles in the NL West. The Diamondbacks haven't scored more than four runs in a game since Sept. 1, and haven't scored more than three since Sept. 9.

OUCH!

Mets outfielder Fernando Tatis is out for the season after separating his right shoulder in the fifth inning against the Nationals. Tatis was hurt when he attempted to make a diving catch on pitcher Odalis Perez's double. Tatis landed on his shoulder and stayed on the ground as the ball rolled past him for a double. He was replaced by Nick Evans. New York manager Jerry Manuel said Tatis would not return during the regular season or for a possible playoff run.

FIRST TIMER

Victor Martinez hit a winning three-run homer with one out in the 11th inning and Cleveland beat Minnesota 12-9. Martinez hit the home run off closer Joe Nathan, who had never allowed a homer to end a game in his first 427 career appearances.

SURGERY

Mariners pitcher Erik Bedard, out since July with a tight left shoulder, will undergo surgery Friday. The Mariners issued a statement saying exploratory arthroscopic surgery will be performed by Dr. Lewis Yocum, who is expected to remove any unhealthy tissue of foreign material from the labrum in the shoulder. Bedard was 6-5 this season with a 3.67 ERA. His major league career record is 46-38 with a 3.81 ERA in five seasons.

INKED

Impressed by his outings for Taiwan in the Olympics, the Cleveland Indians signed pitcher Chen-Chang Lee on Tuesday. The 21-year-old righty pitched nine innings in the Olympics, giving up six hits and two runs while striking out 11 in two games.

SPEAKING

"I think that's when this kid started to become a man. Every time we are bleeding this guy gives us a chance to win the game." -White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen on pitcher Gavin Floyd, who struck out Jason Giambi of the Yankees during a 12-pitch at-bat with the bases loaded in the fifth inning. Chicago eventually won 6-2.

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NATIONAL LEAGUE

Milwaukee (83-68) at Chicago Cubs (91-58)


The Cubs will try to make it six in a row over the Brewers when they send Jason Marquis (10-8, 4.36 ERA) to the mound to face Ben Sheets (13-8, 2.97) at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs scored a 5-4 win on Tuesday behind the pitching of Ryan Dempster, and they have won seven of the 11 meetings this season with the Brewers. Despite Chicago’s win last night, the road team has still won eight of the 11 contests this year.

Lou Pineilla’s squad is riding a five-game winning streak and is on additional hot runs of 30-14 overall, 51-21 at Wrigley, 10-2 on Wednesdays and 21-9 in Marquis’ last 30 home starts.

Milwaukee came up short in Dale Sveum’s debut as interim manager Tuesday, and the Brewers have now lost 12 of their last 15 overall, including eight of their last nine and five in a row. They trail the Mets by a half-game in the N.L. wild-card race and are basically out of the N.L. Central contest, trailing the Cubs by nine games.

Sheets is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA in his last three starts and 7-4 with a 3.00 ERA on the road in 2008. Milwaukee has struggled lately with Sheets on the hill, losing six of his last nine, even though he’s blanked the opposition in four of those contests. On Thursday, the veteran right-hander gave up five runs on nine hits in Philadelphia, losing 6-3.

Sheets is 10-8 with a 3.97 ERA in 25 career starts against the Cubs, but he got pounded back on July 29, allowing six runs on 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings of a 7-1 loss.

Marquis is 2-1 with a 1.77 ERA in his last three outings and held the Reds to two runs on five hits in 7 1/3 innings of a 14-9 win in Cincinnati in his most recent start back on Sept. 6. In 16 career appearances against Milwaukee, Marquis is 5-7 with a 4.27 ERA, and in his lone outing against the Brewers this season, he allowed five runs on 10 hits in five innings of a 10-7 loss back on April 29.

Milwaukee is just 1-4 in Sheets last five outings against teams with a winning record, but 6-2 in his last eight against the N.L. Central and 14-6 in his last 20 on the highway. Meanwhile, the Cubs are 17-8 in their last 25 with Marquis facing division foes.

The over is 5-0-3 in the Brewers last eight overall, 6-2-2 in their last 10 on the road and 18-8-1 when Sheets pitches against division rivals, but otherwise the under is on runs of 6-2 in Sheets’ last eight overall and 14-6-5 in the Brewers’ last 25 versus right-handed pitching. For Chicago, the under is on runs of 4-1 overall, 7-2 against right-handed pitching and 5-2 at Wrigley.

Finally, the over is 21-8-4 in the last 33 series meeting between these rivals and 5-2 in Sheets’ last seven outings against the Cubs.

ATS ADVANTAGE: OVER


AMERICAN LEAGUE

Boston (89-62) at Tampa Bay (89-60)


The Rays pulled back into sole possession of first place in the A.L. East with a 2-1 win over the Red Sox on Tuesday and in the rubber match of the series tonight, Boston sends knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (9-10, 3.92 ERA) to the mound opposite Tampa’s Matt Garza (11-9, 3.60) at Tropicana Field.

Boston prevailed 13-5 in Monday’s series opener to pull even in the division race but lost a thriller on Tuesday when the Rays’ Dioner Navarro singled with the bases loaded in the ninth inning to get the 2-1 win. Tampa Bay has won seven of eight home games against the Red Sox in 2008, and the home team is 15-3 in the 18 matchups between these two this season.

The Red Sox have won 15 of their last 22 dating back to Aug. 24, going 6-3 on the road during this stretch. Additionally, Terry Francona’s team is on runs of 11-5 in divisional games, 7-3 against right-handed starters and 10-4 on Wednesdays, but just 3-8 in Wakefield’s last 11 roadies and 3-13 in his last 16 when facing a team with a winning mark.

Tampa is just 4-7 in its last 11 overall, but the Rays are on runs of 50-15 at home, 21-10 against right-handed starters and 5-2 when Garza toes the rubber at home against teams with a winning record.

Wakefield is coming off his best start of the season, as he blanked the Blue Jays for eight innings on three hits in a 7-0 home win. However, the veteran right-hander is just 3-6 with a 4.67 ERA on the road and 1-2 with a 5.74 ERA in his last three overall. On the bright side, Wakefield has owned the Rays in his career, going 19-4 in 40 games with a 3.10 ERA. The Red Sox have lost both his starts against Tampa this season, but he’s allowed just six runs on 11 hits over 13 innings in the two outings.

Garza is 7-3 with a 2.74 ERA in front of the home fans, but the Rays have lost two of his last three at home and four of his last five overall. On Saturday, the right-hander gave up three runs on six hits in five innings of a 6-5 loss in New York. Garza is 3-1 with a 3.54 ERA in five career starts against Boston, and this year the Rays are 2-1 in his three outings versus the Red Sox (2-0 at home).

The over is 8-4 in Boston’s last 12 road games, but the under dominates all other aspects for the Red Sox, including runs of 10-3 against right-handed starters, 26-12-4 when Wakefield pitches on the road and 7-2 when he pitches on Wednesdays. Meanwhile the over is 12-5 in Tampa’s last 17 overall, 7-1 in its last eight at home, 10-3 in its last 13 against right-handed starters and 10-3 in the third game of a series.

Finally, in this rivalry, the under is on streaks of 6-1 when Wakefield faces the Rays and 5-0 when he pitches in Tampa.

ATS ADVANTAGE: BOSTON

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