MLB News and Notes Monday 5/11

MLB News and Notes Monday 5/11

Monday's streaking and slumping starting pitchers
By Covers.com

Streaking

Johan Santana, New York Mets


The Mets' $137 million ace has the NL's best ERA but he's never beaten the Atlanta Braves, a drought he'll hope to end Monday night when New York looks for its eighth straight victory in the opener of a three-game series at Citi Field.

Santana (4-1, 0.91 ERA) signed a six-year, $137.5 million contract extension on Feb. 2, 2008, the final step toward a blockbuster deal that sent him from Minnesota to New York armed with, at the time, the richest deal ever for a pitcher.

Santana has looked to be worth the investment so far for the Mets (17-13). He went 16-7 with a major league-best 2.53 ERA in his first season in New York and has looked even more dominant in 2009, allowing just four earned runs in 39 2-3 innings.

Opponents are batting a minuscule .168 against Santana after he limited Philadelphia to two hits over seven innings on Wednesday, and the left-hander struck out 10 in New York's 1-0 victory.

"He's really, really special," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. "This is the most impressive I've seen him."

New York hasn't scored much when Santana's been on the hill, totaling 12 runs in six starts. Then again, he hasn't needed much help - Wednesday's win was the two-time Cy Young Award winner's second 1-0 victory.

"With Johan, one run gives you a real good shot at winning," third baseman David Wright told the team's official Web site. "He's been just dominant. You run out of good things to say."

Santana would certainly prefer a few more runs of support as he tries to earn his first career victory against the Braves (15-16), the only team in baseball he's yet to beat. He hasn't pitched poorly versus Atlanta - posting a 2.76 ERA in five starts - but Santana is 0-3.

Jon Garland, Arizona Diamondbacks

Arizona counters with Jon Garland (3-1, 4.03), who allowed three hits in seven shutout innings of a 3-1 win over San Diego on Wednesday.

Since yielding seven runs in a loss to St. Louis on April 15, the right-hander is 2-0 with a 2.30 ERA in his last four outings.

In his only career start against the Reds on June 18, 2006, Garland yielded one run and four hits in eight innings of an 8-1 victory for the Chicago White Sox.

Slumping

Gavin Floyd, Chicago White Sox


Chicago will look to Gavin Floyd (2-2, 6.29) to help snap a four-game slide away from home. Floyd, who hasn't earned a victory since April 19, won both of his starts last season against the Indians.

While going 0-1 in his last three starts, the right-hander has given up 14 earned runs in 15 1-3 innings.

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Re: MLB News and Notes Monday 5/11

Monday's Tip Sheet
By Brad Young

**Braves (Lowe) at Mets (Santana)**

-Las Vegas Sports Consultants opened New York as a $1.65 home ‘chalk’ over Atlanta, with the total set at 7 ½ ‘under’ (minus $1.30). This National League East matchup is scheduled to start at 7:10 p.m. ET.
   
-Atlanta’s Derek Lowe (4-1, 3.98 ERA) heads to the hill riding a personal three-game winning streak after knocking off Florida Wednesday as a $1.50 road favorite, 8-6. The veteran right-hander prevailed despite allowing six runs on seven hits (one home run) with three walks and five strikeouts over five innings.

-The combined 14 runs toppled the nine-run closing total, helping the ‘over’ improve to 5-1 his last six starts.

-Lowe, a 13-year veteran, has not started against the Mets the last few seasons.

-New York ace Johan Santana (4-1, 0.91 ERA) continued his winning ways by blanking Philadelphia Wednesday as a decided $2.40 home ‘chalk,’ 1-0. The crafty left-hander tossed seven innings of scoreless ball on just two hits with three walks and 10 strikeouts.

-The lone run never seriously threatened the 8 ½-run closing total, enabling the ‘under’ to cash in all six of his starts.

-Santana went 0-2 against the Braves last year in three starts, pitching a combined 21 innings while yielding seven runs (six earned) on 28 hits with two walks and eight strikeouts. The Mets fell as a $1.40 road favorite, 3-1, as a $1.25 road ‘chalk,’ 4-2, and as a $3.00 home favorite, 3-2. The ‘under’ prevailed in all three matchups.

**Reds (Arroyo) at Diamondbacks (Garland)**

-LVSC installed Arizona as a $1.25 home favorite over Cincinnati, with the total set at 9 ½ ‘over’ (minus $1.20). This game is slated to start at 9:40 p.m. ET.

-Cincinnati pitcher Bronson Arroyo (4-2, 7.15 ERA) is coming off of his worst effort of the year that resulted in Wednesday’s setback to Milwaukee as a $1.13 home ‘chalk,’ 15-3. The 32-year-old lasted just one inning, but was tagged for nine runs on seven hits (two home runs) with three walks and no strikeouts.

-The combined 18 runs soared ‘over’ the nine-run closing total, helping the ‘over’ improve to 2-1 his last three outings.

-Arroyo picked up a no-decision against the Diamondbacks last year, tossing five innings while surrendering four runs (two earned) on four hits (one home run) with three walks and five strikeouts. The Red eventually prevailed as a $1.10 home favorite, 6-5, while the combined 11 runs went ‘over’ the 8 ½-run closing total.

-Arizona right-hander Jon Garland (3-1, 4.03 ERA) toes the rubber after beating San Diego Wednesday as a $1.60 road underdog, 3-1. The 6-foot-6 hurler tossed seven scoreless innings on three hits with three walks and two strikeouts.

-The combined four runs failed to topple the seven-run closing total, enabling the ‘under’ to improve to 3-0-1 his last four outings.

-Garland, a member of the Los Angeles Angels last year, has not started against the Reds the previous few seasons.

**Nationals (Cabrera) at Giants (Johnson)**

-LVSC lists San Francisco as a $1.50 home ‘chalk’ over Washington, with the total set at 8 ½ ‘over’ (minus $1.25). This game is scheduled to start at 10:15 p.m. ET.

-Washington hurler Daniel Cabrera (0-3, 4.85 ERA) is still searching for his first victory after Wednesday’s setback to Los Angeles as a $1.80 road underdog, 10-3. The righty was reached for five runs (four earned) on six hits with five walks and a strikeout over 5 1/3 innings.

-The combined 13 runs eclipse the 9 ½-run closing total, helping the ‘over’ improve to 5-0-1 his six starts.

-Cabrera, who pitched for Baltimore last season, has not started against the Giants the previous few years.

-San Francisco counters with veteran Randy Johnson, hoping he can improve on his 2-3 record and 5.68 ERA in six starts.

-The lanky left-hander was roughed up by Colorado Wednesday as a $1.42 road underdog, 11-1. The hurler went 5 2/3 innings while allowing seven runs on eight hits (two home runs) with three walks and no strikeouts.

-The combined 12 runs toppled the 9 ½-run closing total, ending a string of three straight ‘under’ outings for the Cy Young recipient.

-Johnson has not started against the Nationals the previous few seasons.

**White Sox (Floyd) at Indians (Pavano)**

-LVSC opened Cleveland as a $1.35 home ‘chalk’ over Chicago, with the total listed at 10 ½ ‘under’ (minus $1.25). This American League Central contest is scheduled to start at 7:05 p.m. ET.

-Chicago’s Gavin Floyd (2-2, 6.29 ERA) recorded his second consecutive no decision after Tuesday’s effort against Kansas City. The six-year veteran was reached for six runs on six hits (two home runs) with two walks and two strikeouts over five innings.

-The White Sox eventually dropped that affair as a $1.15 road underdog, 8-7, while the combined 15 runs eclipsed the 9 ½-run closing total. The ‘over’ has cashed his last five starts.

-Floyd went 2-0 against the Indians last year in two starts, tossing a combined 12 innings while yielding nine runs (seven earned) on 15 hits (two home runs) with two walks and 17 strikeouts. The White Sox triumphed as a $1.23 road underdog, 6-5, and as a $1.47 home ‘chalk,’ 9-7. The ‘over’ occurred in both contests.

-Cleveland right-hander Carl Pavano (2-3, 6.61 ERA) notched his second consecutive victory after upending Boston Wednesday as a $1.60 road underdog, 9-2. The 33-year-old went six innings, surrendering both runs on six hits with three walks and four strikeouts.

-The combined 11 runs slithered ‘over’ the 10 ½-run closing total, enabling the ‘over’ to cash his second straight start.

-Pavano, a 12-year veteran, has not started against the White Sox the past few years.

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Re: MLB News and Notes Monday 5/11

Baseball Today

SCOREBOARD


Monday, May 11

Atlanta at N.Y. Mets (7:10 p.m. EDT). Derek Lowe of the Braves takes on Johan Santana of the Mets, who have won seven straight, in a marquee pitching matchup.

STARS

Sunday

-Ken Griffey Jr., Mariners, hit a tying, two-run homer in the eighth inning of Seattle's 5-3 victory over Minnesota.

-Alfonso Soriano, Cubs, hit a towering two-run homer in a four-run third inning to help Chicago beat Milwaukee 4-2.

-Johnny Damon, Yankees, hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning and New York beat Baltimore 5-3.

-Hank Blalock, Rangers, homered twice to lead Texas to a 7-1 win over the Chicago White Sox.

-Casey Kotchman, Braves, had three hits and three RBIs in Atlanta's 4-2 win over Philadelphia.

-Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies, hit a solo homer to lead Colorado to a 3-2 victory over Florida.

-Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham, Nationals, both homered twice in Washington's 10-8 loss to Arizona.

-Miguel Tejada and Carlos Lee, Astros, each drove in four runs to help Houston beat San Diego 12-5.

-Randy Winn, Giants, hit a tiebreaking, two-run single with the bases loaded in the 13th inning and finished with four hits in San Francisco's 7-5 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

-Brett Cecil, Blue Jays, yielded five hits over eight impressive innings to earn his first major league victory in Toronto's 5-0 win against Oakland.

BIG NIGHT IN BEANTOWN

Jonathan Papelbon closed out a victorious night for Boston sports by fanning three of Tampa Bay's best hitters with the tying run at third, giving the Red Sox a 4-3 victory over the Rays. The victory capped a big night in Beantown after the Celtics tied their NBA playoff series against Orlando at two games apiece and the Bruins staved off elimination in their NHL playoff series with a win over Carolina in Game 5. The Red Sox also ended a six-series losing streak against the Rays, including last season's ALCS.

BACK IN THE SADDLE

The New York Mets welcomed manager Jerry Manuel back from his one-game suspension with their seventh straight victory. Carlos Beltran, Luis Castillo and Omir Santos each drove in a pair of runs for the Mets, who beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-4 and haven't lost since May 2 at Philadelphia. Manuel was back in the New York dugout after serving a suspension for making contact with an umpire Thursday.

A REAL WILD ONE

Colby Rasmus doubled home a run in the 10th inning Sunday, and the St. Louis Cardinals overcame five Cincinnati homers - including two solo shots in the ninth - to beat the Reds 8-7 and salvage the final game of their series. Jerry Hairston Jr. and Micah Owings, the Reds' fifth starter and one of their top pinch hitters, homered in the bottom of the ninth off Ryan Franklin to tie it at 7.

NICE GRAB

Torii Hunter made a leaping, homer-stealing catch in the ninth inning to help the Los Angeles Angels hold off the Kansas City Royals 4-3 on Sunday. Brian Fuentes got his ninth save, with a huge assist to Hunter. The Gold Glove center fielder timed his running jump perfectly, reaching about a foot over the wall in left-center to grab a drive by Miguel Olivo and preserve the one-run lead.

WELCOME TO THE BIGS

Chris Snyder and Eric Byrnes each drove in three runs and the Diamondbacks gave manager A.J. Hinch his first victory. Ryan Roberts had three of the Diamondbacks' season-high 17 hits as Arizona snapped a three-game slide, the last two under Hinch after Bob Melvin was fired.

BAD NEWS

The Kansas City Royals placed All-Star closer Joakim Soria on the 15-day disabled list with a shoulder injury and recalled right-hander Luke Hochevar from Triple-A Omaha. Soria was second in the AL last year with 42 saves. He has seven saves in seven chances this season and is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA. The Royals said he was diagnosed with a strained right rotator cuff and they were uncertain when he might return.

NOTEWORTHY

Ryan Zimmerman pushed his hitting streak to 28 games with a double and two singles in the Washington Nationals' 10-8 loss at the Arizona Diamondbacks. ... Roy Oswalt pitched six innings to earn his first win of the season in the Houston Astros' 12-5 victory over the San Diego Padres.

UGH

The Cleveland Indians, losers of seven of nine, have the worst record in baseball at 11-21. They lost 5-3 to the Detroit Tigers, who completed a three-game sweep. ... Oakland lost 5-0 to the Toronto Blue Jays and has dropped six of its last eight games. At 11-18 with the AL's worst offense in several categories, the A's have matched their second-worst start since moving to Oakland in 1968. ... Pittsburgh has dropped eight in a row and 12 of 13 after an 11-7 start to the season.

SPEAKING

"I felt like a wide receiver did a slant up the middle and I was the free safety and I took him out. It was a lot of fun. It felt good.'' - Los Angeles Angels center fielder Torii Hunter after making a wall-climbing, homer-stealing catch in the ninth inning of a 4-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals.

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Re: MLB News and Notes Monday 5/11

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Atlanta (15-16) at N.Y. Mets (17-13)


The Mets put a season-high seven-game winning streak on the line when they send ace Johan Santana (4-1, 0.91 ERA) to the Citi Field mound in the opener of a three-game series against the Braves. New York is coming off a three-game weekend sweep of the Pirates, outscoring Pittsburgh 25-8.

Atlanta, which hands the ball to Derek Lowe (4-1, 3.98) for this contest, has won four of five on its current road trip, including taking the final two games in Philadelphia on Saturday and Sunday by scores of 6-2 and 4-2, respectively. The Braves have won seven of their last nine on the highway.

New York’s current winning streak began with a pair of wins in Atlanta last week, the first meetings of the season between these N.L. East rivals. The Mets have won seven of the last 11 against the Braves overall and six of the last eight clashes in New York. Also, despite the Mets’ two road wins a week ago, the host is still on a 12-5 run in this rivalry.

Atlanta has lost 10 of its last 11 games on Monday, but it is 5-2 in Lowe’s first seven starts this season. New York is on streaks of 5-0 as a favorite, 6-0 against right-handed starters, 4-0 in divisional play, 17-5 with Santana on the mound and 5-1 with Santana pitching at home.

Lowe is coming off his worst performance of the season, allowing six runs in five innings at Florida on Wednesday, but he still earned an 8-6 victory. With that effort, the veteran right-hander who is in his first season with Atlanta is now 3-1 with a 3.81 ERA in four road starts. However, he’s 1-2 with a bloated 8.78 ERA in eight lifetime appearances (two starts) against the Mets.

Santana continued his brilliance in Wednesday’s 1-0 home win over the Phillies, scattering two hits and three walks while striking out 10 in seven innings. The veteran lefty has given up just six runs (four earned) in 39 2/3 innings with 12 walks and 54 strikeouts. He’s 3-0 with a 1.00 ERA in four starts at new Citi Field, but he’s 0-3 with a 2.76 ERA in five career efforts against the Braves, including 0-2 with a 2.57 ERA in three starts last year, his first season with the Mets.

The under is 5-0 in Santana’s five career outings against Atlanta, 7-0 in his last seven starts overall, 5-0 in his last five starts at home and 5-0 in his last five against the N.L. East. Conversely, with Lowe on the mound, the over is on stretches of 5-1 overall and 3-0 against New York.

The over is 6-2 in the Mets’ last eight games overall, 11-4-3 in their last 18 on Monday and 4-0 in the Braves’ last four against lefty starters. However, the under is on streaks of 6-1 for Atlanta on Monday, 8-3 for Atlanta against N.L. East rivals and 11-5-2 for New York against divisional foes.

ATS ADVANTAGE: N.Y. METS

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