MLB News and Notes September 18
MLB News and Notes September 18
Thursday's streaking and slumping starters
By JASON LOGAN
Rich Harden, Chicago Cubs (10-2, 2.04 ERA)
Harden hasn’t dropped a decision since July 21 and is 5-0 in his last eight starts. During that time the Cubs’ right-hander has an ERA of 1.88 and put in his most impressive performance of the streak, a seven-inning, one-hit showing with nine strikeouts against Milwaukee on July 31.
Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants (17-3, 2.43)
Lincecum is 6-1 since the All-Star break with a 2.19 ERA and 102 strikeouts. A good chunk of those K’s came in his last start when the righty whiffed a dozen batters in a complete-game shutout versus the Padres last weekend.
The second-year hurler has a stellar 10-1 road mark this year and an ERA of 2.13 when taking the mound in opposing parks. Lincecum is 2-0 in his three starts against the Diamondbacks. However, with the Giants out of the playoff picture the team will be careful with their prize pitcher’s work load in his final starts of the season.
Kyle Lohse, St. Louis Cardinals (13-6, 3.80 ERA)
It’s Lohse vs. Volquez Round 2 when the pitchers meet for the first time since their August 17 altercation in which they traded heat-seekers at each other's heads. Lohse was eventually suspended for the incident and returns to the mound against his former club.
Call it karma, but since that game Lohse hasn’t recorded a win in four starts. He isn’t pitching poorly with a 2.84 ERA over four no decisions, but now comes off an eight-day hiatus which doesn’t sit well with the right hander. He has only one win in his last 10 appearances and the Reds have followed suit with a 2-8 record in those games.
Jo-Jo Reyes, Atlanta Braves (3-11, 5.50 ERA)
Reyes summed up his season in two quick innings versus the Mets last weekend. The south paw was lit up for four earned runs, two dingers, in a 5-0 loss. Reyes’ last win was recorded in the middle of June and he has seven losses in his 11 starts since.
The last time Reyes faced the Phillies was in a relief appearance where he got cracked for five earned runs, two home runs and walked four batters in just over two innings of work. As a starter, he is 0-2 with a 5.79 ERA when facing Philly this season.
Re: MLB News and Notes September 18
MLB Tip Sheet - Thursday
By Josh Jacobs
Six teams in the majors continue to battle for life after September. It’s been 54 days that Tampa Bay has remained in first place. Taking a 2-1 win over Boston on Tuesday night puts the Rays front and center. Is it time to start taking this club seriously and where else can we find competition comparable to what’s taking place in the AL East?
Milwaukee at Cubs – 2:20 p.m. EDT
Talk about a complete implosion. The Brewers have decided to exit the plane without a parachute. If taking only two games in the last 10 isn’t enough reason to run away from the window with your wallet then swinging through pitches for a .186 BA, while the pitching staff has mustered up a damaging 4.27 ERA (in those same 10) should put the icing on the cake.
The opposite bench housing Chicago has not only been a cash cow with a money line profit of +14.89 units but a run line performance witnessing backers receiving a season sum of +17.50 units has been instrumental in building the bank higher.
Punctuated by a no-hitter thrown by show stopper, Carlos Zambrano (14-5, 3.41) on Sunday, the Cubs have actually struggled on the mound. The bullpen has been slaughtered for an 8.58 ERA in the last 10. The club has relied on its starters to compensate with a 2.62 ERA but relievers like Bob Howry and Michael Wuetz haven’t been trust worthy with the game on the line.
But, with a nine-game lead in the NL Central, a magic number of four and trailing just behind the Angels for the best record in baseball, Chicago looks to be heading into October with the division in hand.
The total has been a golden opportunity to make money with the ‘over’ nabbing a 21-8-3 record in the last 32 meetings between these two clubs.
Milwaukee starter Dave Bush (9-10, 4.24) will get the nod on Thursday. A meltdown against the Mets to begin September included surrendering six runs in only five innings. Follow this up with the Brewers 4-12 slide in Bush’s last 16 road starts and there’s no doubt that bettors will be looking at a fade play.
Minnesota at Tampa Bay – 7:10 p.m. EDT
The Rays have had some questionable outings this month. A 5-9 record (3-6 in a nine-game road stint) in September had gamblers wondering if this was a club worth investing in down the stretch.
Tampa’s .259 BA while averaging 3.8 runs per game in September has been indicative of the not so hot performance in the standings. But we’re still looking at a club that’s in first place in the division.
Bettors prepare as a four-game series against Minnesota will ensue on Thursday. The Rays have only faced off with the Twins twice this season, splitting the brief encounter at one-game apiece.
Tampa starting pitcher James Shield (13-8, 3.50 ERA) will look to close on the team’s magic number of 12 (the combination of wins by the leading team and losses by the second place team that would clinch the division). Shield’s hasn’t been that effective versus Minnesota in his career. The right-hander is 1-1 with a 5.94 ERA and a .347 BAA in a short three career games against the Twins.
Minnesota is 31-11 in the last 42 head-to-head meetings, while an 11-5 record in the last 16 clashes in Tampa Bay. The ‘over’ has been highly successful for the Rays with a 7-1 record in the teams last eight home games coming through and a 7-2 frequency in the last nine during game one of a series.
N.Y. Mets at Washington – 7:10 p.m. EDT
It’s been a rough ride for the Mets and backers alike. As of Wednesday afternoon, New York remains a slight half-game behind Philadelphia. A three-game losing streak, 1-4 in their last five and approaching the tail end of a seven-game road trip has Mets’ fans on the edge of their seat.
The fourth and final contest with Washington this season will witness New York slinger Johan Santana (13-7, 2.70) taking the mound. It’s been almost three full months since Santana last took a loss in the books. Since then the southpaw star has gone 6-0 in his last 14 starts.
And while the Metropolitans are 10-6 this season versus the Nationals a 5.13 bullpen ERA in their last 10 games puts this team very thin ice. Add Washington’s 10-1 record in its last 11 home games and this contest isn’t expected to be a walk in the park for New York.
The Mets are 12-5 in their last 17 road games and 7-1 ion Santana’s last eight starts.
With the Phillies’ harnessing the momentum from a five-game winning streak, a 7-3 run in their last 10 and an offense running on high octane for a .270 BA with 5.8 runs scored per game in September, a magic number of 12 could be a lot closer then you think.
While New York is in the red with -2.40 units on the money line, a profit of +11.18 units on the run line has been a lot more attractive.
Re: MLB News and Notes September 18
Thursday, Sept. 18
Minnesota at Tampa Bay (7:10 p.m. EDT). In the opener of a four-game series between playoff contenders, the Twins send Glen Perkins (12-4, 4.40 ERA) to the mound against James Shields (13-8, 3.50).
— Prince Fielder, Brewers, hit a three-run double as Milwaukee beat the Chicago Cubs 6-2 to end a five-game losing streak.
— Carlos Beltran, Mets, homered from both sides of the plate to help New York beat Washington 9-7.
— Jose Guillen, Royals, hit a key two-run single after being sick the night before, helping the Royals to their sixth straight win with a 5-2 victory over Seattle.
— J.A. Happ, Phillies, tossed six shutout innings to lead NL East-leading Philadelphia to a 6-1 victory over Atlanta.
— Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks, tossed seven solid innings and hit a key two-run double to lead Arizona to a 7-6 win over the San Francisco Giants.
— Freddy Garcia, Tigers, pitched five innings to win in his first game since June 2007, and Detroit scored nine runs in the fifth to beat Texas 17-4 and snap a six-game losing streak.
— Adam LaRoche, Pirates, hit two home runs, including a grand slam, in Pittsburgh’s 15-8 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
— Hanley Ramirez, Marlins, homered twice before departing with an injured shoulder, helping Florida beat Houston 14-2.
— Aaron Harang, Reds, tossed a six-hitter as Cincinnati beat St. Louis 3-0 for its fourth straight win.
— Miguel Cabrera, Tigers, was 4-for-5 and hit a three-run homer—his 34th— to help Detroit beat Texas 17-4.
Alex Rodriguez became the first player to hit 35 homers and drive in 100 runs in 12 seasons, surpassing Babe Ruth’s record by one. Rodriguez hit his 553rd homer in the eighth inning of the Yankees’ 5-1 victory over Chicago. A-Rod also became the first player to have at least 35 in 11 consecutive seasons (1998-2008), snapping a tie with Sammy Sosa (1995-2004).
Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki matched Willie Keeler’s major league record of eight straight 200-hit seasons, beating out an infield single in the eighth inning for his third hit against Kansas City. The Japanese star came into the game three hits short of the record set by Keeler from 1894-1901. Suzuki matched Keeler in the eighth when he hit a grounder up the middle and beat shortstop Mike Aviles’ throw by a half-step.
White Sox left fielder Carlos Quentin had the soft cast removed from his broken right wrist, an encouraging sign the MVP candidate could return for the postseason. Quentin, out since Sept. 2, had his surgically repaired wrist examined in Chicago while the team was in New York to play the Yankees. The club said the broken bones have lined up but it’s still not fully healed.
GETTING IT DONE
Brandon Webb pitched seven solid innings and added a key two-run double, helping Arizona beat San Francisco 7-6 and gain ground in the NL West. The Diamondbacks trimmed the Dodgers’ division lead to 3 1/2 games. Webb (21-7) allowed three runs—two earned—and eight hits. His double in Arizona’s five-run second tied it at 3.
Carlos Beltran homered from both sides of the plate and Jose Reyes and Carlos Delgado also went deep in the Mets’ 9-7 win at Washington. Reyes led off the game by homering off Shairon Martis (0-3), and Delgado also hit a solo shot in the first. Beltran hit a two-run drive in the third, and a solo homer in the eighth. … Andy Phillips, Jay Bruce and Paul Janish homered in the fourth inning of Cincinnati’s 3-0 victory over St. Louis. Phillips and Bruce opened the fourth with consecutive home runs and Janish added the first of his career later in the frame.
STUCK ON 22
Cleveland starter Cliff Lee failed in his first chance to become the second pitcher in 108 years to start the season 23-2. He took a 4-2 lead into the seventh before the Twins tied the game, leaving Lee with a no-decision. The Indians went on to win 6-4.
The Rays (90-60) became the sixth team in major league history to win 90 games immediately following a stretch of at least 10 consecutive losing seasons. The others are the 1912 Washington Senators, 1914 Boston Braves, 1956 Cincinnati Reds, 1979 Montreal Expos and 2006 Detroit Tigers. … Oakland’s Jack Cust struck out three times, leaving him one shy of the American League single-season record of 186 Ks set by Rob Deer of Milwaukee in 1987. … Oakland’s Joey Devine hasn’t allowed an earned run in 20 outings (19 2-3 innings) since coming off the DL on Aug. 2. … Detroit’s Curtis Granderson was 0-for-5 in the 17-4 win over Texas and is 1-for-22 the past five games.
HOME SWEET HOME
Tampa Bay beat Boston 10-3 to improve to a major league-best 55-22 at home and needs two more wins to finish with the most home victories by a team since the Yankees went 65-16 in 1998.
Right-hander Ben Sheets left the Brewers’ 6-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs after only two innings with pain in his right elbow. … Hanley Ramirez homered twice before departing Florida’s 14-2 victory over Houston with a strained left shoulder. A team spokesman said he was day to day, and Ramirez was hopeful about playing Thursday.
“The way this team is put together, it isn’t put together like the Yankees. It isn’t a hoard of superstars that are expected to do well. This team is built on solid pitching and unity. Nobody sticks out. To see us win a game, everybody comes in and does something. We don’t have the personalities that stand in the way of that.”—Tampa Bay rookie Fernando Perez, who homered in the AL East-leading Rays’ 10-3 victory over Boston.
Re: MLB News and Notes September 18
Milwaukee (84-68) at Chicago Cubs (91-59)
The Brewers, desperately trying to win the N.L. wild-card after having fired manager Ned Yost on Monday, send Dave Bush (9-10, 4.24 ERA) to the hill at Wrigley Field against the first-place Cubs and red-hot Rich Harden (10-2, 2.04 ERA) to close out a three-game set.
Milwaukee snapped a five-game losing skid with Wednesday’s 6-2 win at Wrigley Field, prevailing despite losing No. 2 pitcher Ben Sheets to an injury after two innings. The Brewers, who trail the Mets by one-half game in the wild-card race, still remain in a major freefall, losing 12 of their last 16 contests overall, and they’re also 1-8 in their last nine against winning teams and 4-12 in Bush’s last 16 road starts.
Despite having their five-game winning streak halted last night, the Cubs remain eight games up on the Brewers in the N.L. Central race. Chicago is 51-22 in its last 73 home games and has won five of six against Milwaukee.
The Brewers have lost three straight games started by Bush, after winning five in a row behind the right-hander. On Sunday at Philadelphia, Bush allowed three runs on five hits in six innings of a 7-3 loss.
Bush is 3-6 with a 5.25 ERA in 13 appearances (12 starts) on the road this year, and he’s 1-7 with a 5.16 ERA in 10 career starts against Chicago, including 0-2 with an 8.53 ERA in two outings against the Cubs this year.
Harden has been money for weeks, winning five straight decisions while the Cubs are 7-0 in his last seven starts, with the right-hander yielding two earned runs or less in six of those outings. On Thursday at St. Louis, he allowed two runs on five hits in six innings of a 3-2 victory.
Harden, acquired in a trade with Oakland earlier this year, is 5-0 with a 1.79 ERA in 14 combined home starts this year (2-0, 1.80 ERA in six outings at Wrigley Field). Also, in his lone career start against Milwaukee back in July, he allowed just a run on six hits with nine strikeouts in seven innings in an 11-4 road win.
The over is 21-8-4 run in the last 33 clashes between these rivals In addition, the over is on runs of 5-0-4 for Milwaukee overall and 6-2-3 for the Brewers on the road. On the flip side, for Chicago, the under is on streaks of 4-1-1 overall and 5-2-1 at Wrigley.
ATS ADVANTAGE: CHICAGO CUBS
Chicago White Sox (84-67) at N.Y. Yankees (81-71)
The White Sox, looking to pad their lead in the A.L. Central, hand the ball to Javier Vazquez (12-13, 4.13 ERA) to wrap up a four-game road series against the Yankees, who will counter with fellow right-hander Mike Mussina (17-9, 3.63).
The teams have alternated wins and losses in the first three games of this series, with New York rallying late for a 5-1 victory on Wednesday. The Yankees sport several positive streaks, including 5-1 against the A.L. Central, 18-8 at home versus winning teams, 8-1 with Mussina facing a club above .500 and 7-1 with Mussina going against A.L. Central squads.
Chicago has been treading water lately with a 4-6 record in its last 10 games. The White Sox also carry a bevy of negative streaks, including 1-8 against right-handers on the road, 6-16 on the highway against winning teams and 3-8 against the A.L. East. In addition, with Vazquez throwing, Chicago is 0-6 in its last six against winning teams and 0-7 in the last seven against the A.L. East.
The Yankees are on a 9-3 tear in the last 12 meetings with the White Sox, 7-2 in the last nine clashes in the Bronx and of 5-0 in Mussina’s last five home starts versus the Pale Hose.
Chicago has won two of Vazquez’s last three starts, including Sunday’s 4-2 home victory over Detroit. In that outing, the 32-year-old threw 7 2/3 innings of three-hit shutout ball, and he’s given up a combined four earned runs over 19 2/3 innings in his last three starts (1.83 ERA).
New York had won seven straight behind Mussina before losing his last two outings. On Saturday against Tampa, he allowed five runs on eight hits in five innings of a 7-1 home defeat, his shortest outing since July 28.
Vazquez is 5-7 with a 4.47 ERA in 15 road starts this year, and he’s 1-4 with an inflated 6.14 ERA in five career starts against New York. Mussina is 10-7 with a 3.70 ERA in 19 starts at the Stadium in 2008, but he’s a mediocre 17-16 with a 4.57 ERA in 38 career starts against the Sox.
The under for Chicago is on runs of 7-1-1 on the highway and 21-6-2 against the A.L. East, and each of Vazquez’s last five starts have stayed low and the under is also 6-2-1 in Vazquez’s last nine road efforts. Meanwhile, for New York, the under has cashed in nine of Mussina’s last 12 home starts and is 8-3 in Moose’s last 11 outings against winning teams.
ATS ADVANTAGE: N.Y. YANKEES and UNDER