MLB News and Notes Thursaday 4/9

MLB News and Notes Thursaday 4/9

Baseball Today

SCOREBOARD

Thursday, April 9

Pittsburgh at St. Louis (1:40 p.m. EDT). The Cardinals send Chris Carpenter to the mound for the finale of their season-opening four-game series against the Pirates. The right-hander is hoping to put together a big year after injuries cost him most of the last two seasons.

STARS

Wednesday

— Brandon Inge, Tigers, became the first Detroit player in more than a half-century to homer in the first three games of the season with a solo shot during a 5-1 win at Toronto.

— Manny Ramirez, Dodgers, hit a tiebreaking two-run double in the seventh inning and finished with three RBIs in Los Angeles’ 5-2 win at San Diego.

— Kosuke Fukudome, Cubs, had four hits and scored a career-high four runs to lead Chicago to an 11-6 victory at Houston.

— Carlos Delgado, Mets, homered and drove in four runs in New York’s 9-7 win at Cincinnati.

— Miguel Cabrera, Tigers, homered twice in a 5-1 victory over Toronto. He is 7-for-10 with two walks this season.

— Brian McCann and Jordan Schafer, Braves, each hit a two-run homer in Atlanta’s 12-11 loss to Philadelphia.

— Carlos Pena, Rays, hit a two-run homer after striking out in his first five at-bats of the season, highlighting Tampa Bay’s 7-2 win at Boston.

— Elvis Andrus, Rangers, hit his first major league home run in an 8-5 victory over Cleveland. The 20-year-old rookie shortstop was in Double-A last year.

— Koji Uehara, Orioles, allowed one run over five innings in his major league debut, a 7-5 win over the New York Yankees. The 34-year-old right-hander played 10 seasons in Japan.

— Freddy Sanchez, Pirates, went 4-for-5 for his third straight multi-hit game to open the year and Pittsburgh won 7-4 at St. Louis.

— Chris Volstad, Marlins, allowed one earned run and two hits over five solid innings in Florida’s 6-4 victory over Washington.

— Franklin Morales, Rockies, gave up one run and four hits in six sharp innings, leading Colorado to a 9-2 win over Arizona.

A LITTLE DIFFERENT

Scott Kazmir’s strong start at Fenway Park held up this time. Kazmir pitched six innings and the bullpen preserved the lead in the Tampa Bay Rays’ 7-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox. In his final game at Fenway last year, Kazmir was on track to be the winning pitcher in Game 5 that would have clinched the AL championship series. He left after six innings leading 5-0, but the Rays lost 8-7 after Grant Balfour allowed four runs, Dan Wheeler gave up three and J.P. Howell allowed the winning run in the ninth.

WELCOME TO THE BIGS

Elvis Andrus reached the majors so soon because the Texas Rangers thought he could help shore up their infield defense. The rookie showed Wednesday night that he can hit a little, too. Andrus hit his first career homer to lead the Rangers past the Cleveland Indians 8-5. The 20-year-old Andrus, who is 3-for-8 to start the season, was in Double-A last season and he got the shortstop job before the season started. Five-time All-Star Michael Young moved to third base to accommodate Andrus.

GEE, THANKS

Franklin Morales was terrific in Colorado’s 9-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. His reward: a trip back to the minors. Morales allowed one run and four hits, struck out six and walked one. But as had been determined before the game, the 23-year-old right-hander was optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs to make room for right-hander Jason Hammel, acquired Sunday in a trade with Tampa Bay.

QUIRKY DAY

Albert Pujols set a franchise record for a Cardinals first baseman with seven assists—the most in the majors by a first baseman since the Pirates’ Bob Robertson had eight on June 21, 1971. St. Louis lost 7-4 to the Pittsburgh Pirates. … Four Phillies walked with the bases loaded during an eight-run seventh inning and Philadelphia rallied for a 12-11 victory over the Atlanta Braves. … Yovani Gallardo pitched neatly into the seventh inning and became the first pitcher to homer off Randy Johnson, leading the Milwaukee Brewers to a 4-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants.

AT LAST

Pittsburgh defeated St. Louis 7-4 behind Zach Duke, who allowed three runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings for his first victory over the Cardinals since a complete game on Aug. 11, 2006, at home. … The Chicago Cubs beat the Houston Astros 11-6 to win an opening series for the first time since they took two of three from the New York Mets to begin the 2003 season. … Dan Uggla hit a tiebreaking three-run double and the Florida Marlins beat the Washington Nationals 6-4 to improve to 3-0 for only the second time. The other was in 1997, when Florida won the first of two World Series titles. … Dexter Fowler, Yorvit Torrealba and Ian Stewart homered, and Colorado beat Arizona 9-2 to win a series against the Diamondbacks for the first time in two years.

SPEAKING

“What we did today means nothing tomorrow, and you’ve got to move on. What’s done is done.”—Manny Ramirez after driving in three runs in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 5-2 victory over the San Diego Padres.

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Re: MLB News and Notes Thursaday 4/9

Thursday's MLB Top Picks
By Josh Jacobs

Jumping right on Thursday’s money train, 11-games will populate a top heavy afternoon extravaganza. Nautrally, there’s already been some upsets on the board this year as Atlanta’s first two wins over Philly and Colorado’s 3-0 win on Tuesday as $1.47 ‘dogs comes to mind. But there will be plenty more where that came from over the course of this marathon season.

On top of several previews, let’s see if we can pick some winners as an added bonus.

Northern Exposure

A four-game series will come to an end on Thursday as Detroit attempts to hold off Toronto inside the comfortable confines of Rogers Centre. It’s already been a difficult go for the Tigers, losing both Games 1 and 2 by a combined, 17-9 score. Detroit’s pitching staff has prematurley dug itself a hole, surrendering 20 hits, 14 earned runs and seven base on balls in 16.2 innings. The Tigers’ 2007 top draft pick, pitcher Rick Porcello, will have a lot on his plate as he looks to make his first Major League start. Detroit is attempting to balance a starting rotation void of Dontrelle Willis and Jeremy Bonderman who are currently on the mend from health issues. The numbers we can attempt to take to the bank is Porcello’s 2.64 ERA after giving up just four earned runs in 13.2 innings during Spring Training (yeah, not to convincing).

The Blue Jays on the other hand have received offensive help from top to bottom in the batting order. Whether its left fielder Adam Lind’s six RBIs on four hits or second baseman Aaron Hills’ three run homer in Tuesday’s 5-4 win, Toronto has gotten off to a serious jump at the plate. It was the Jays that came out of 2008 harnessing a 5-3 record against the Tigers, giving up four runs per game. This ended up resulting in a +306 bankroll in favor of Toronto during the head-to-head matchups. Left-hander, Ricky Romero will also be making his Major League debut as the Blue Jays’ manager Cito Gaston is sold on mixing up righties and lefties in the rotation. Detroit was in the middle of the pack last season versus southpaws, hitting a high .284 BA but fouling that effort up by scoring just 209 runs. Grounding into double plays 53 times was also inning killers versus left-handed pitching.

Prediction: Two rookie pitchers, Detroit’s not so attractive scoring stats versus lefty pitchers from last season, a long, the end of a four-game series and Toronto’s pop in the batters box are too much to pass up for a pick in favor of the Blue Jays at home. Toronto is 12-8 in its last 20 versus Detroit and a convincing 53-26 in the last 79 head-to-head meetings. And if the Jays can sustain the magic created by the bullpen last season (2.94 ERA) then expect good things to come.

Odds: Toronto opens up as a $1.10 home favorite as a total of 9 ½-runs has been set.

AL Champion Rematch

It was Tampa Bay who ended Boston’s run for a shot at the World Series last year in a 3-1 victory during Game 7 of the AL Championship. But it’s time to reset the pieces on the board as a new season is here. The Red Sox will head into Game 3 of what should have been Game 4 of the series (Monday's contest postponed due to inclement weather), placing standout starter Daisuke Matsuzaka on the mound. In eight career starts against Tampa, Dice-K has scratched together 2-3 record accompanied by a 3.75 ERA while giving up a career high 23 base on balls (career high in regards to head-to-head games). But a 41-11 performace versus the Rays in the last 52 meetings at home gives us a huge nod in this contest supported by the following offensive statistics: 4.8 runs scored per game, 78 base on balls worked (highest BB by Boston versus another team last season) and 246 total bases earned (second team high in head-to-head games).
   
Nothing against Tampa Bay directly, but the enthusiasm should be curbed this year after coming off the bang-up job that defined the 2008 campaign. The major concern is getting the entire pitching staff to hit that same ’07 stride in a timely matter. To put this in perspective, 2007 witnessed the Rays giving up 944 runs allowed on the season compared to the dramatic improvement of 671 runs allowed in ’08 (and we’re talking about the same core of starters minus Edwin Jackson this season after being traded to Detroit). Remember that Tampa went 5-13 with a bloated 6.23 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP against the Red Sox in ’07. Naturally the Rays were a different ball club the following year but it’s still worth noting the comparisons within a two-year time frame. Just watch as surrendering 8.4 hits per game and 4.8 runs per game allowed in the 18 games versus Boston in ’08 weren’t the most effective of stats.

Tampa’s Matt Garza will take the ball for this one. His three-year career against the Sox includes a 3-1 record, 3.86 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP in six starts. A higher 4.50 ERA and 1.43 WHIP have been recorded in three starts at Fenway Park.

Prediction: This writer will go with the Red Sox in this contest based upon an expected slow start for the Rays, Boston’s continued success at home in 2007 (.292 BA/.468 SLG/.840 OPS) and what will be the center for success; Dice-K. And the Red Sox have been known to get off to a hot start during April as a .282 BA in ’08 is just a piece of that offensive pie.

Odds: Boston has opened the books as a ‘chalky’ $1.58 favorite.

Late Night Tip

Fielding a pitching staff that’s averaging 26 years of age, Oakland is sure to have growing pains. But if there’s one thing we can say for sure it's that the Athletics now how to farm raise arms. So on Thursday night, Brett Anderson will look to be the next new comer to get the job done. Several scouting reports indicate that Anderson throws the four main pitches, has excellent command of the plate and tends to gravitate towards getting the ground ball going. The A’s are 5-3 in their last seven meetings against the Angels. Pitching was also a strong point versus L.A. last season as the rotation and pen worked to produce a 3.36 ERA and a solid, 1.19 WHIP. The problem was six holds and only two saves in 19 head-to-head games was indication of an offense unable to seal the deal. In-fact Oakland scored 4.8 runs per game versus the Halos’ 3.8 runs per game in the 19 meetings last season.

What we can take away from Tuesday night’s 6-4 defeat against the A’s in that L.A.’s bullpen was defenseless from holding the opponent to cracking in three runs on seven hits after starting slinger, Dustin Moseley stepped down. And let’s not kid ourselves, the Angles are sorely missing John Lackey, Kelvim Escobar and Ervin Santana. Combine that with the fact that up-and-down hurler, Jered Weaver is toeing the rubber and L.A. could be in for a tough fight. Weaver is a notoriously slow starter as April numbers have the righty logging in a 3-4 record in eight starts. He’s penned in a monthly high, 4.57 ERA in April and a .277 BAA isn’t of positive performances. In seven career games against the A’s, Weaver has been at top form, tossing for a 2-2 record with a .188 BAA, 47 strikeouts and all while giving up just two runs per game (working for a 2.56 ERA).

Prediction: After batting in the .270 neighborhood for the last few seasons as a team and crossing the plate for 822 runs in 2007, the Angels went through an offensive recession in 2008 (ranked 15th with 765 runs). And after losing Mark Teixeira and Casey Kotchman I would expect some fallout from the plate. As these comments are for a long term outlook, this writer still has a strong liking for the A’s in this one. If Oakland can get Weaver to struggle throughout his start its chances to bite back into L.A.’s bullpen will be at a higher percentage.

Odds: Bodog.com has installed the Athletics as a slight, $1.09 underdog.

vegasinsider.com

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NY METS vs. CINCINNATI
NY Mets are 5-2 SU in its last 7 games when playing Cincinnati
NY Mets are 4-2 SU in its last 6 games
Cincinnati is 0-5 SU in its last 5 games
Cincinnati is 2-5 SU in its last 7 games when playing NY Mets

DETROIT vs. TORONTO
Detroit is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games
Detroit is 1-6 SU in its last 7 games on the road
Toronto is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games when playing at home against Detroit
Toronto is 5-2 SU in its last 7 games when playing Detroit

SEATTLE vs. MINNESOTA
Seattle is 1-6 SU in its last 7 games when playing on the road against Minnesota
Seattle is 3-7 SU in its last 10 games when playing Minnesota
Minnesota is 15-7 SU in its last 22 games at home
Minnesota is 7-3 SU in its last 10 games when playing Seattle

NY YANKEES vs. BALTIMORE
NY Yankees are 7-2 SU in their last 9 games when playing Baltimore
NY Yankees are 2-4 SU in their last 6 games on the road
Baltimore is 7-17 SU in its last 24 games at home
Baltimore is 3-11 SU in its last 14 games

TAMPA BAY vs. BOSTON
Tampa Bay is 12-6 SU in its last 18 games when playing Boston
Tampa Bay is 1-5 SU in its last 6 games on the road
Boston is 6-12 SU in its last 18 games when playing Tampa Bay
Boston is 16-7 SU in its last 23 games when playing at home against Tampa Bay

PITTSBURGH vs. ST. LOUIS
Pittsburgh is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games when playing on the road against St. Louis
Pittsburgh is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games on the road
St. Louis is 1-5 SU in its last 6 games when playing Pittsburgh
St. Louis is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games when playing at home against Pittsburgh

CLEVELAND vs. TEXAS
Cleveland is 10-5 SU in its last 15 games when playing on the road against Texas
Cleveland is 2-6 SU in its last 8 games
Texas is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games at home
Texas is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games

KANSAS CITY vs. CHI WHITE SOX
Kansas City is 1-4 SU in their last 5 games when playing on the road against Chi White Sox
Kansas City is 2-6 SU in their last 8 games when playing Chi White Sox
Chi White Sox are 2-4 SU in their last 6 games
Chi White Sox are 5-2 SU in their last 7 games at home

LA DODGERS vs. SAN DIEGO
LA Dodgers are 6-2 SU in their last 8 games when playing San Diego
LA Dodgers are 4-1 SU in their last 5 games when playing on the road against San Diego
San Diego is 2-6 SU in their last 8 games when playing LA Dodgers
San Diego is 1-4 SU in their last 5 games when playing at home against LA Dodgers

MILWAUKEE vs. SAN FRANCISCO
Milwaukee is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games
Milwaukee is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games when playing San Francisco
San Francisco is 1-7 SU in its last 8 games when playing Milwaukee
San Francisco is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Milwaukee

OAKLAND vs. LA ANGELS
Oakland is 5-2 SU in their last 7 games when playing LA Angels
Oakland is 2-6 SU in its last 8 games on the road
LA Angels are 1-4 SU in their last 5 games at home
LA Angels are 2-5 SU in their last 7 games

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Re: MLB News and Notes Thursaday 4/9

Hot Pitchers
-- Reds are 10-4 in Arroyo's last fourteen home starts. Mets are 7-1 in last eight Perez road outings.
-- Carpenter had a 3.14 RA in three starts last season.
-- Dodgers won last five Kershaw starts, scoring 34 runs.
-- Red Sox were 13-4 in Matsuzaka home starts LY. Garza is 2-0, 2.84 in his last three starts.
-- Burnett, whose wife is from Maryland and who Orioles thought they might sign as free agent, was 2-0, 2.25 in his last four starts in 2008.
-- Davies is 3-0, 1.29 in his last three starts. Danks is 4-1, 2.84 in his last five starts.
-- Weaver had a 2.07 RA in two starts against Oakland LY.

Cold Pitchers
-- Perez is 0-0, 7.01 in his last five starts.
-- Ohlendorf was 0-3, 7.15 in five starts LY.
-- Correia is 1-2, 7.09 in his last five starts.
-- Milwaukee lost Parra's last four road starts (0-3, 7.58).
-- Porcello was 8-6, 2.66 in 24 starts in A ball LY, his only pro season. Romero is also making his first major league start here.
-- Perkins is 1-1, 8.55 in his last six starts. Washburn is 0-5, 6.49 in his last six outings.
-- Simon allowed three runs in 7.2 IP in his only '08 start, against Rays.
-- Pavano is 2-2, 7.33 in his last five starts. McCarthy was 1-1, 4.50 in five starts for Texas last season.
-- Lefty Anderson is making major league debut for Oakland.

Hot Teams
-- Mets won their first two games, 2-1/9-7.
-- Pirates won two of first three games against St Louis.
-- Dodgers won two of their first three games.
-- Blue Jays won two of first three games against the Tigers.
-- Twins won two of first three games against Seattle.
-- Orioles won first two games, scoring 17 runs.
-- Rangers won first two games, scoring 17 runs.
-- A's won last two games, with bullpen winning both.

Cold Teams
-- Reds lost their first two games, 2-1/9-7.
-- Cardinals lost two of first three games against Pittsburgh.
-- Padres lost two of their first three games.
-- Detroit lost two of first three games against the Blue Jays.
-- Mariners lost two of first three games in Minnesota.
-- Bronx lost first two games; starting pitchers have no strikeouts in a total of eight IP.
-- Indians lost first two games, allowing 17 runs.
-- Angel bullpen got beat by Oakland the last two nights.

Totals
-- Under is 8-3-1 in last dozen Arroyo starts; over is 8-1-1 in last ten Perez starts.
-- First three Pirate-Cardinal games all went over the total.
-- Under is 2-0-1 in first three Dodger-Padre games.
-- Six of last seven Parra starts went over the total.
-- Two of first three Detroit-Toronto games stayed under the total.
-- Seven of last eight Perkins starts went over the total.
-- Six of last eight Garza road starts stayed under the total.
-- Under is 4-1-1 in last six Burnett starts.
-- Five of last seven Davies starts stayed under the total.
-- Four of last five Pavano starts went over the total.
-- Over is 6-4 in Weaver's last ten starts.

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Re: MLB News and Notes Thursaday 4/9

American League Research
By Indiancowboy

Detroit vs. Toronto

The Tigers got their first win of the year in their last game and send their young 20 year old stud in Porcello to the mound. The kid was the first round draft pick back in 2007 for the Tigers and within just 2 years from finishing high school, here is is, pitching against the Jays this afternoon on the road. Although Romero was a .500 pitcher in the Minors last year with a mid 4 ERA, he has the "honeymoon" factor going for him today and the Jays believe he has great stuff and have worked on his pitching motion which they believe will be effective. It's a relatively cheap price with the kid rather than Romero, so despite the Tigers on the road, I lean on them here as well as the Under as both teams see both pitchers for the first time.

Seattle vs. Minnesota

Although the first game went under, the last 2 have gone over for these 2 teams. Washburn was 5-14 last year, but had several decent outings but never got the wins as the Mariners offense struggled. He is quite capable of goign 6 inns and giving up 3 runs which is his usual average. I'm not sure if he has his stuff under control as he was 2-2 with over a 6 era in the minors this spring so the Twins could have some early luck with him here. Perkins is a good looking lefty but I just don't trust him with some of his pitches to be honest as he had several outings where he gave up 4 runs in about 6 inns or so. Perkins pitched 7 of 8 overs last year while Wash pitched 5 of 7 overs last year to close out the year as well. Lean on the veteran pitcher but more importantly a lean on the over.

Tampa Bay vs. Boston

The RedSox would love to get revenge on Garza from the fact he defeated them in Game 7 last year, he was 3-1 with a 3.86 lifetime against Boston and 2-1 with a 4.50 era againts the sox at Fenway. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Sox get at least a little revenge on Garza and put him for a few runs and the Rays continue with their solid offense, no lean on the side, but 8.5 is not bad at all to take the over here.

Royals vs. Whitesox

Although this is a heart attack waiting to happen, I lean on the Under here as Davies looked great this spring and cloed last year on a 4-1 run in September and Danks had 19 quality starts for the Sox last year - their best pitcher and most consistent pitcher on many accounts. Danks had a 3.32 era and is 1-0 with a similar era against the royals. A lean on the Under and the first few games have indicated that these two teams can play the under given their pitching.

Cleveland vs. Texas

Pavano has never faced the Rangers and the Indians are hoping he resurrects his career through them, of course, they are also looking for their first win this year. McCarthy starts his first full year for the Rangers, nothing against Carl, but I love my Rangers and they can put up runs in a hurry and I don't know if Pavano's fast ball is as solid as it used to be, I expect the Rangers to put up some runs the 2nd time through the lineup, a small lean on the Rangers, but more importantly, it would be great to see them get their 3rd win as that puts them in a solid position for the future that I have on them this year with over 73.5 wins.

Oakland vs. Angels

Weaver is on a bounce-back season in many terms, he has always pitched better at home with a 3.71 era as compared to 4.91 on the road, he was 2-1 with a 2.08 era against the royals last year and Anderson, touted as the #1 prospect in the A's organization hurls for them today. It's up to you, do you want to take the fabulous Rookie of 2006 who is on a bounce-back or do you want to take the likely fabulous rookie of 2009, but who makes his first start today.

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Re: MLB News and Notes Thursaday 4/9

National League

NY METS at CINCINNATI

PEREZ: 24-10 TSR Away off team win
ARROYO: 12-23 TSR 1st half of season

PITTSBURGH at ST LOUIS
OHLENDORF: Pit 21-8 Over in April
CARPENTER: 10-1 TSR, 2.24 ERA vs. Pittsburgh

LA DODGERS at SAN DIEGO
KERSHAW: Dodgers 35-14 off BB errorless games
CORREIA: SD 28-56 off an Under

MILWAUKEE at SAN FRANCISCO
PARRA: 7-0 Over vs. NL West
CAIN: 18-38 TSR when the total is 7 to 8.5


American League

DETROIT at TORONTO

PORCELLO: Detroit 25-33 in day games
ROMERO: Toronto 19-5 at home off loss by 4+ runs

SEATTLE at MINNESOTA

WASHBURN: Seattle 9-22 revenging one run loss
PERKINS: Minnesota 19-4 at home vs. lefties

TAMPA BAY at BOSTON
GARZA: TB 7-16 at Boston
MATSUZAKA: 23-5 TSR as favorite

NY YANKEES at BALTIMORE
BURNETT: Yankees 14-2 Under playing with double revenge
SIMON: Baltimore 1-11 after scoring 7+ runs BB Games

KANSAS CITY at CHICAGO WHITE SOX
DAVIES: KC 46-27 Under as a road underdog of +150 or less
DANKS: White Sox 30-9 at home vs. division

CLEVELAND at TEXAS
PAVANO: 14-1 Under if total is 10 or higher
MCCARTHY: Texas 9-2 Over vs. Cleveland

OAKLAND at LA ANGELS
ANDERSON: Oakland 53-33 as Underdog
WEAVER: Angels 18-4 off BB losses

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