MLB News and Notes Friday 5/15
MLB News and Notes Friday 5/15
Friday MLB Preview
By Josh Jacobs
Just before the weekend brings us plenty of action to wager on, Major League Baseball will reset its schedule by introducing a fresh set of matchups. Two series to keep an eye have the Rangers looking to defend their home turf against the incoming Angels and the Mets traveling to the West Coast to take on the Giants.
Pending Thursday’s results, the ‘over’ is 20-14 this week. Despite a fall out on Tuesday (10-5 on the ‘under’), total players enjoyed a perfect 4-0 ‘over’ record on Monday followed by an 11-4 tab on the ‘over’ on Wednesday. Where the money will end up cashing is our mission in today’s MLB preview.
L.A. Angels at Texas – 8:05 p.m. EST
May has been a good month for the Rangers (19-14, +6.96). Nine wins in the last 12 games doesn’t become reality for no reason. This is a lineup bringing in 5.4 runs per game off a .301 BA and an .840 OPS. And despite Texas recording 5.8 runs in April, a .269 BA helped explain the club’s 10-12 record. But there’s no overlooking the pitching game which holds the key to the rest of this story. In-fact, while April had both starters and bullpen logging in an inflated, 5.65 ERA with a 1.60 WHIP, the current month of May has the staff combining for a much improved, 3.06 ERA accompanied by an untouchable, 1.01 WHIP. Talk about contrasting numbers.
The Rangers will attempt to abort the Angels’ 8-3 record in their last 11 head-to-head meetings by placing ace, Kevin Millwood (3-3, 2.92) on the hill. In 11 career appearances versus the Halos, Millwood is 3-4 with a 3.82 ERA.
The number of the day favoring Texas is a 14-2 record this season when the bats have produced six or more runs in a given contest. Already hitting knocking in 6.6 runs per game in the last three wins, can we expect the offensive numbers to continue over the weekend?
Starting the season by going 6-12 in its first 18 games, Los Angeles (17-15, +3.71) has decided to change its direction in the standings. Since taking an 8-4 win over the Yankees on May 2, the Angles are 8-2 in their last 10. During this month’s run, L.A. has received mix reviews from the pitching staff. Relievers Scott Shields and Brian Fuentes have made 11 combined appearances, tossing up a 5.57 ERA while walking four total batters in 7.3 innings of work. Despite these lukewarm numbers, Fuentes has still logged in four saves, blowing his last attempt on May 1. The team held its breath again in a 4-2 win over Kansas City on Sunday when Torii Hunter made a leaping catch at the fence which would have cost Fuentes big time. But the loss was adverted in the end.
Smoking lefty slinger, Joe Saunders (5-1, 2.66 ERA) will get an opportunity to wrangle in his sixth win of the season on Friday. Righty batters have made contact for a .236 BA this season against Saunders. But the Angels’ starter will be making his eighth start of the season versus a Rangers’ team whose clobbered lefties for a .292 BA.
L.A. will enter this contest with a 22-7 record in Saunders last 29 road starts. Sportsbook.com has listed Texas as a $1.16 home favoite with a total of 10 runs attached.
N.Y. Mets at San Francisco – 10:15 p.m. EST
The headline in this late night matchup revolves around San Francisco’s (18-15, +2.97) 12-5 record at home versus its 6-10 lackluster performance on the road. But a recent 5-2 climb in their last seven games could be something to pick up on. A 9-3 run in its last 12 home stands stems from a pitching staff that’s ranked No. 2 in the league with a home ERA at 3.14 followed by a K/9 ratio of 8.36. The problem remains in the batting order where a .266 BA on the season isn’t effective by the lowest of standards.
The Giants are coming off a seven-game road trip for which the club was installed as a favorite just once (in a 6-2 win over the Cubs with Tim Lincecum making the start). During this stretch San Francisco went 4-3, scoring 3.9 runs per game which resulted in the ‘over’ going an unpredictable 4-3. Lincecum (3-1, 3.25) will get the nod once again on Friday.
As for the Mets (18-15, -1.78), a seven-game win streak came to an abrupt end against Atlanta on Monday, losing 8-3. What became the usual suspect in that defeat versus the Braves was starter Johan Santana making another solid start for New York only to turn around and find that the offense was once again missing in action. On the season, Santana has received just 2.9 runs of support per start. So when he squares off against San Fran on Saturday, expect some uneasiness from the ace, especially coming from an offense that’s scored just 66 runs on the road (23rd worst in the league).
For Friday, New York is planning on sending out Livan Hernandez (3-1, 5.08 ERA) to the rubber. Hernandez is coming off a win against Pittsburgh, tossing 104 pitches and giving up seven hits and two runs. However, right-handers have tattooed the Mets’ starting pitcher for a .333 BA.
New York is 8-3 in its last 11 games when installed as an underdog versus San Francisco going 7-2 in Lincecum’s last nine starts.
Most books have installed the Giants as 'chalky' $1.65 home favorites with Lincecum on the mound. A run total of eight has been placed on the board.
Cincinnati at San Diego – 10:05 p.m. EST
The Reds (20-14, +8.65) have been sizzling on the run line this season, now at +12.40 units on the season. Six of its last wins have come by a run margin of 4.2 runs per game despite swinging the lumber for a seasonal .263 BA while driving in 4.6 runs per game (19th ranked in the Majors). But if we narrow our research to just the month of May a whole different picture comes to light. Now we’re looking at an offense that’s put together a serious hitting rally, jacking 18 long balls out of various stadiums and bringing in a second best 73 RBIs (one RBI below Washington for the Major League lead).
Despite being installed as the ‘dog in two of its last three games, Cincinnati has been able to defy the odds. In these three contests, the Reds have brought in a total of 26 runs (albeit against a down and out Arizona club).
And so Cinci will pen in No. 1 starter, Aaron Harang to Friday’s matchup. His seven starts this season have been inconsistent, and run support has either been there in bunches or not at all. A 3.7 K/BB ratio continues to rise and 7.24 strikeouts per nine is in the neighborhood of his career average.
As for the Padres (13-21, -6.05), right-hander, Kevin Correia (0-2, 5.34) is slated to start. Still in search of his first win this season, Correia began to settle down in his last start in Houston, throwing in six innings, giving up two earned runs off four hits. His problem has been base on balls as Correia is averaging 3.2 walks per game. But sources say that this could be Corria’s last start for now as San Diego will be inserting Cha Seung (arm) into the rotation.
Dropping five in a row and 18 of its last 22, San Diego has been a money pit. We’re talking about a club that been an underdog 16 times in the last 18 games! And a 5-15 record at home has been downright embarrassing. At least the ‘under’ has gone 6-2 in the last eight games.
The ‘under’ is 11-4 in the Reds last 15 road games. Books have decided to open San Diego as a $1.10 home underdog. A total of eight runs has also been set.
Re: MLB News and Notes Friday 5/15
Streaking and Slumping Pitchers
Zack Greinke (Kansas City Royals)
Though he suffered his first loss of the season his last time out, Zack Greinke was just as dominant as he's been all year.
Mired in a season-high six-game slide, the Kansas City Royals turn to their ace Friday night when they continue a four-game series with the Baltimore Orioles.
On Saturday, Greinke (6-1, 0.51 ERA) had his nine-game winning streak snapped as he lost for the first time since Sept. 7. The majors' ERA leader gave up one run and four hits over eight innings of 1-0 loss against the Los Angeles Angels.
"(My stuff) was all right - I can't complain but not good enough," said Greinke, who had three-ball counts on six of the first seven batters. "It was a tough game. A loss is a loss. It might be a little tougher, but the end result is the same thing."
Greinke has given up only three earned runs over 53 innings this season. Despite the defeat, he still pitched his fourth complete game, struck out five and didn't walk a batter for the second straight contest. The only run came on a sacrifice fly.
"From a pitching coach's standpoint, I thought that was his best game because he didn't have that electric stuff and he just pitched a heckuva game," pitching coach Bob McClure told Major League Baseball's official Web site.
Greinke looks to remain undefeated at home and enjoy some unprecedented success against Baltimore (15-20). The right-hander is 4-0 with a 0.60 ERA in four starts at Kauffman Stadium, but 0-2 with a 10.13 ERA in three starts and two relief appearances against the Orioles.
Yovani Gallardo (Milwaukee Brewers)
The Milwaukee Brewers are one of the hottest teams in baseball, and they hope to keep it that way by sending their ace out to begin a nine-game road trip.
Yovani Gallardo looks win a fourth consecutive decision Friday night, when the Brewers face the St. Louis Cardinals in the opener of a three-game series between NL Central co-leaders.
Gallardo (4-1, 3.09 ERA) has put together his own streak. He's won three consecutive decisions while posting a 1.80 ERA with 38 strikeouts in 35 innings over five starts as Milwaukee has gone 4-1. He won a career-best four consecutive games from Aug. 31-Sept. 17, 2007.
The right-hander, however, labored through five innings on Saturday, allowing two runs and five hits with eight strikeouts and four walks in a 12-6 win over the Chicago Cubs.
"It was a long game, I'll tell you that, but we came out on top, so it was worth it," said Gallardo, who leads the team in wins and has the lowest ERA of any member of the rotation.
Gallardo is 0-1 with a 9.28 ERA in two career starts against the Cardinals (21-14), but he hasn't faced them since losing on Aug. 15, 2007.
Kyle Lohse (St. Louis Cardinals)
St. Louis will turn to Kyle Lohse (3-2, 4.25) in the hopes he can avoid a third consecutive loss and rediscover his early-season form.
The right-hander is 0-2 with an 11.32 ERA and has served up three homers in his last two games. That came after going 3-0 with a 1.97 ERA and one homer allowed in five April starts.
Lohse was solid on Saturday, allowing two runs and three hits in five innings before getting tagged for five runs and six hits in the sixth en route to an 8-3 loss at Cincinnati.
"It just kind of got away there," Lohse said. "I thought I was rolling there for a while, and they put together quite an inning."
Lohse is 3-3 with a 5.22 ERA in 11 games - 10 starts - against the Brewers. He had no record and a 4.26 ERA in three starts against Milwaukee last year, all St. Louis losses
Philip Hughes (New York Yankees)
Woeful pitching has been a big factor in that poor play at the new Yankee Stadium, where New York has a 6.59 ERA and has allowed 24 home runs. The hitter-friendly park has yielded 47 homers overall.
That could be a problem for struggling Yankees right-hander Phil Hughes (1-2, 8.49 ERA), who lasted just 1 2-3 innings and surrendered eight runs in his most recent outing, a 12-5 loss at Baltimore on Saturday. His third start of the season was the shortest of his career.
This will be Hughes' first appearance against Minnesota.
Re: MLB News and Notes Friday 5/15
Game of the Day: Brewers at Cardinals
By David Chan
Milwaukee Brewers at St. Louis Cardinals (-101, 8.5)
The Brewers and Cardinals met 15 times last season. The Brewers won 10 of those games, including six in St. Louis. This will be the first matchup between these NL Central foes in 2009.
Milwaukee will be hitting the road following a successful six-game home stand while the Cards return to Busch Stadium after a tough trip through Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.
St. Louis is 12-5 as the host this season, while the Brew Crew are 9-7 on the road.
The edge on the mound has to go to the Brewers as they hand the ball to Yovani Gallardo against Cardinals right hander Kyle Lohse.
Gallardo is undefeated in his last four starts and 4-1 with a 3.09 ERA on the season. At 47-to-16 his strikeout-to-walk ratio jumps off the page. It's not easy to find any flaw in his game right now.
The same can't be said for Lohse. After signing a big contract in the offseason, he has been a disappointment so far.
His 3-2 record looks solid enough, but he did start the season with three consecutive wins.
Since earning that third victory, the Cards have lost his last three starts and he has been shaky at best in his last two trips to the mound, allowing 21 men to reach base and 13 to cross home plate in only 10 1/3 innings.
The Cardinals hitters haven't been seeing the ball well lately, hitting a collective .223 BA over their last 10 games entering Thursday's tilt in Pittsburgh.
Having Albert Pujols mired in a 3-for-21 (.143) slump certainly hasn't helped matters.
Perhaps a return home will be the cure, as they hit .294 BA as a team at new Busch Stadium.
St. Louis has been ravaged by injuries in the first two months of the season.
They were already without Troy Glaus and Brendan Ryan, but now Rick Ankiel and Ryan Ludwick have been added to the list.
Albert Pujols' trouble at the plate likely stems from the lack of protection around him. All four of the aforementioned players currently reside on the 15-day DL and won't be back for this weekend's 3-game set.
Tony La Russa doesn't think it's time for his team to get down on itself.
"This is the lineup we've got," La Russa told reporters. "And we can win with this lineup. What you do is take care of your own business. You can't stop and think that our chance to compete has been lessened. We've got some key guys who aren't in there, but we can still compete."
When talking about the best bullpens around the league, the Brewers are rarely mentioned.
Milwaukee is 15-2 when leading after seven innings this season and since the return of closer Trevor Hoffman on April 26, its bullpen has posted an excellent 3.08 ERA.
Former starters Seth McClung and Carlos Villanueva are pitching better than they have at any other point during their careers, while Hoffman hasn't allowed a single run in his first eight appearances since coming off the DL.
It's hard to say how long this group will hold up, but the days of watching Eric Gagne and Derrick Turnbow implode are thankfully over.
Re: MLB News and Notes Friday 5/15
Friday, May 15
Los Angeles Angels at Texas (8:05 p.m. EDT). Joe Saunders gets the ball for the Angels as they visit AL West-leading Texas. Saunders (5-1, 2.66 ERA) beat Zack Greinke and the Kansas City Royals 1-0 on Saturday night for his first career shutout. Kevin Millwood (3-3, 2.92) is scheduled to start for the Rangers.
-Chris Davis, Rangers, hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift Texas to a 3-2 win over Seattle.
-Joe Crede, Twins, capped another Minnesota comeback with a two-out, two-run single in a six-run seventh inning that ruined Justin Verlander's strong start and helped Minnesota finish a three-game sweep with a 6-5 victory over Detroit.
-Victor Martinez, Indians, had four hits and drove in four runs, raising his batting average to .400 and helping Cleveland beat Tampa Bay 11-7.
-David Wright, Mets, had three hits, drove in two runs and had four of New York's team-record seven stolen bases in a 7-4 victory at San Francisco.
-Bobby Scales, Cubs, drove in four runs with two doubles in Chicago's 11-3 win over San Diego. The 31-year-old rookie, who made his big league debut last week after 11 years in the minors, has at least one hit in each of his six games and is batting .444.
Major League Baseball has overturned a scoring decision from last Friday's game between the Angels and Royals, ruling Los Angeles' Howie Kendrick reached on an error instead of an inside-the-park homer. Kendrick was initially given the homer after Kansas City right fielder Jose Guillen misplayed a ball down the line. The Royals appealed the decision by official scorer Mel Franks, and a five-person appeals board voted unanimously to changed the ruling, taking away Kendrick's homer and giving Guillen a four-base error. Franks then approved the change.
Umpire Paul Schrieber promptly issued an apology for placing his hand on Detroit slugger Magglio Ordonez's back and steering him toward the dugout during a heated confrontation the previous night. It took even less time for Ordonez and Tigers manager Jim Leyland to accept it.
Boston slugger David Ortiz went 0 for 7 and stranded 12 runners in the Red Sox's 5-4 loss to Los Angeles in 12 innings. He struck out three times, once with the bases loaded in the fourth, and left the bases loaded again in the 12th with a dribbler in front of the plate as his average plummeted to .208.
Houston speedster Michael Bourne became the latest major leaguer to steal home in the Astros' 5-3 win over Colorado. He joined Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury and Philadelphia's Jayson Werth as players who have stolen home this season - although those two pulled off straight steals. Bourne swiped home on a double steal.
Adrian Gonzalez homered for the fourth consecutive game but couldn't prevent San Diego from losing its 11th straight on the road, its longest skid in 38 years. Since starting the season 10-6, the Padres are 3-16.
HOME AWAY FROM HOME
Baltimore has won 15 of 18 against Kansas City and is 43-15 against the Royals since 2001, including 24-7 at Kauffman Stadium.
The New York Mets set a franchise record with seven steals in their 7-4 win over the San Francisco Giants. David Wright matched the team record with four steals. New York became the fourth team to record as many steals against the Giants since they moved to San Francisco in 1958.
"All the guys have been telling me about our new home. For me it's like opening day all over again.'' - Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who will get to play at the new Yankee Stadium for the first time on Friday. He had been on the disabled list until last Friday when the Yankees started their current road trip.
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