MLB News and Notes Saturday 5/16

MLB News and Notes Saturday 5/16

Saturday's Afternoon Notes
By Kevin Rogers

Three nationally televised games (Fox, 4:15 p.m. EDT) highlight the late afternoon action in Major League Baseball, with the premiere matchup pitting a pair of former Cy Young Award winners in San Francisco when the Giants battle the Mets. Tampa Bay looks to creep closer to .500 hosting Cleveland, while the Angels get their ace back on the hill in Arlington against the Rangers.

N.Y. Mets at San Francisco

The NL East-leading Mets have quietly been on fire by winning nine of 11, while scoring runs in bunches, scoring at least seven runs six times in this span. The Giants are playing their best baseball on their home turf, going 12-6 through the first six weeks at AT&T Park.
   
The Mets will try to help one of baseball’s best pitchers in a department he sorely lacks in – run support. Johan Santana has compiled a ridiculous ERA of 0.78 in seven starts, but the Mets are 4-3 when their world-class southpaw takes the hill due to the 2.14 runs/game the New York bats produce for Santana. Obviously with Santana’s numbers and the lack of Mets hitting during his starts, the ‘under’ has hit in six of his seven outings, with the lone ‘over’ cashing in Santana’s last start, an 8-3 home loss to Atlanta. Randy Johnson has been on the top of his game when he hits the AT&T Park mound, winning three of four starts at home. The Big Unit has produced just two quality starts to his record this season, but has a stellar 32:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio at home, while striking out 18 and walking none in his last two starts by the Bay. Johnson’s teams (Giants, Diamondbacks, and Yankees) are 8-2 since 2006 when he starts at home during the day.

Sportsbook.com has the Mets installed as a healthy $1.65 favorite, with the total set at 7 1/2 runs.

L.A. Angels at Texas

Despite a rough start to the season, the Angels have bounced back nicely, with nine victories in their last 11 games while getting their ace back this afternoon. John Lackey will make his first start of the season after missing the first month and a half with a right elbow strain. The Abilene, Texas native will be the second Angels hurler to make his season debut this week, after Ervin Santana received a no-decision in L.A.’s 5-4 twelve-inning triumph over the Red Sox on Thursday. Lackey ended last season on a down note, as the Angels lost six of his final seven starts, including two at home against the Rangers. The ‘over’ has hit in four of Lackey’s last six starts against Texas, with at least 13 runs scored on four occasions.

The Angels’ bats have been heating up during this hot stretch, with today’s matchup against Vicente Padilla being the tenth straight game the Halos are facing a right-handed starting pitcher. Padilla has actually pitched better away from the friendly confines of Rangers Park in Arlington, holding the Mariners and White Sox to a combined two hits and two runs his last two outings, both victories. Padilla’s home ERA has ballooned to 8.10 in four outings, including three ‘over’ tickets.

Most books have this game listed at a “pick-em,” with the total at 10, but if you want to the Angels and Rangers to eclipse the total, you will have to lay $1.20.

Cleveland at Tampa Bay

What was a strong home-field advantage last season is now a memory, as the Rays enter Friday’s action against the Indians just 6-8 at Tropicana Field. Matt Garza looks to stop the bleeding for Tampa Bay, going for his third win in his last four starts. Despite a tough 4-3 setback at Boston his last time out, Garza has put together a nice string of starts, compiling an ERA of less than 2 to go along with a WHIP of 0.75 his last three outings. The Rays haven’t responded well after Garza tosses a quality start, winning just three of Garza’s last 14 in this spot.

Carl Pavano had a rough start to the season, but the former Yankees hurler has picked up three wins his last three trips to the mound, including road victories at Boston and Detroit. Pavano has been an ‘over’ machine on the road, with a combined 12.8 runs/game scored in his five road starts. The Indians have scored runs at a rapid pace away from Northern Ohio, finishing ‘over’ the total in 13 of 18 road contests.

If you’re confident enough to lay the wood, Bodog has the Rays listed as a $1.70 favorite, with the total listed at 9 ½ runs.

VegasInsider.com

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Re: MLB News and Notes Saturday 5/16

Game of the day: Red Sox at Mariners
By Matt Fargo

Boston Red Sox at Seattle Mariners (+140, 9)

East vs. West


The Red Sox continue their West Coast road trip in Seattle and hope to inch their way back to the .500 mark away from home.

Boston was 8-10 on the road entering last night's series opener. The Sox did have some success at Safeco Field last season, taking four of six matchups from the Mariners.

Since losing eight games in a row here from 2005 to 2007, they've managed to steal six of their last eight as a visitor in Seattle.

Mound matchup

Boston turns to its ace on Saturday, although we use that term loosely given Josh Beckett's early season performance.

Beckett does own a 3-2 record, but his ERA has ballooned to 6.42. He's been getting crushed on the road, allowing 28 hits and 14 earned runs in 16 2/3 innings of work.

We will give Beckett some credit. He's been more effective in his last two starts, allowing three earned runs each time out. The Red Sox won both of those games.

Beckett hasn't lost a start against the Mariners since he was a member of the Marlins back in 2005.

Garrett Olson gets his first start as a Mariner after coming over from the Orioles in the offseason. He has appeared in three games out of the bullpen, allowing 10 hits and two earned runs in seven innings pitched.

Olson will nibble at the corners all night long and that could cost him against a patient Red Sox lineup. He has just five strikeouts compared to three walks in limited action this season.

As an Oriole, Olson was winless in six career starts vs. Boston.

Down on their luck

Since getting off to a surprisingly hot start, the Mariners have cooled off considerably.

They won seven of their first nine games, but have dropped 17 of their last 26 since. Their most recent road trip took a serious toll, as they won only once in eight tries.

During the 1-9 slide they carried into this series, Seattle averaged only 2.8 runs per game.

Ken Griffey Jr. isn't all that concerned about his team's current form.

"The test is all year, not six games," said the Mariners DH after the team snapped a six-game losing skid.

Get it over with

The Red Sox aren't complaining about this early season trip across the country.

Following this left coast jaunt, they won't travel further west than Texas the rest of the season.

Sox OF J.D. Drew believes that traveling now will pay off later in the Summer.

“It’s a long ways to go and it seems like we’ve been stuck out there a bunch the last few years,” Drew told reporters. “That is the one benefit of leaving to go out (west) early. Go out. Get it done. Then just work on things being at home.”

Injury notes

Terry Francona is expected to give David Ortiz the night off Friday, meaning he'll be back in the lineup on Saturday.

Kevin Youkilis remains on the DL with a strained oblique. He'll be eligible to return on May 20.

The Mariners are at full strength as far as position players go. On the mound - not so much.

Cesar Jimenez and Roy Corcoran are two key bullpen arms that remain stalled on the DL.

Erik Bedard was the scheduled starter for Saturday's game, but had to be scratched due to tightness in his hamstring. He is currently third in the AL with a 2.53 ERA.

The good news is they did get closer Brandon Morrow back earlier this week. He had a rocky return, blowing a 2-0 ninth inning lead in Texas Thursday.

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Re: MLB News and Notes Saturday 5/16

Baseball Today

SCOREBOARD

Saturday, May 16

New York Mets at San Francisco (4:10 p.m. EDT). Randy Johnson(notes) will try for his 299th career victory. Mets ace Johan Santana(notes) (4-2, 0.78 ERA) has suffered from a lack of run support this season. Despite his minuscule ERA, the Mets have lost three of his starts.

STARS

Friday

— Ichiro(notes) Suzuki, Mariners, homered twice, including a go-ahead, two-run shot in the sixth inning, to help Seattle rally for a 5-4 win over Boston.

— Zack Greinke(notes), Royals, pitched seven innings to earn his seventh win in Kansas City’s 8-1 win over Baltimore.

— David Wright(notes), Mets, had three hits and four RBIs, three on a tying double in the seventh inning of New York’s 8-6 win at San Francisco.

— Brad Hawpe(notes), Rockies, hit a two-run homer in Colorado’s three-run ninth inning for a 3-1 victory at Pittsburgh.

— Ian Kinsler(notes), Rangers, homered twice to help Texas beat the the Los Angeles Angels 10-8.

— Juan Pierre(notes), Dodgers, hit a tiebreaking, two-run single in the seventh inning of a 6-4 win at Florida.

SAYING HE’S SORRY

Manny Ramirez(notes) apologized to his teammates at the team hotel when the Dodgers arrived in Miami to play the Marlins. It was his first time with the Dodgers since being suspended for 50 games for using a banned substance. Then Los Angeles went out and upped the best record in the majors to 25-12 by beating the Marlins 6-4. The Dodgers improved to 4-4 without Ramirez.

BIG PAPI SITS

Boston finally benched slumping slugger David Ortiz(notes) on Friday night. Manager Terry Francona left the five-time All-Star out of the lineup for the series opener at Seattle, a day after he went 0-for-7 and stranded 12 base runners— tying a team record—in an extra-inning loss at the Los Angeles Angels. Ortiz is batting .208. He is without a home run in 144 at-bats.

OH, CANADA

The White Sox lost for the seventh straight time in Toronto, falling 8-3 Friday night. Chicago was limited to 11 runs and a .146 batting average during six consecutive defeats in Canada over the past two seasons, and was shut out twice in four games there in 2008.

SWINGING FRIAR

San Diego’s Adrian Gonzalez(notes) homered in his fifth straight game to move within one game of tying Graig Nettles’ club record set in 1984. Gonzalez’s 15th homer of the season—best in the majors—helped the Padres beat Cincinnati 5-3 Friday night.

EMPTY ‘PENS

J.A. Happ(notes)—scheduled to start Saturday night—came on for the 11th to throw two scoreless innings, and Raul Ibanez(notes) delivered a two-run single after Kip Wells(notes), Washington’s eighth pitcher, walked the bases loaded in the 12th to break a tie and sent the Phillies to a 10-6 victory Friday night. Philadelphia will bring up Andrew Carpenter(notes) from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to start the second game of a day-night doubleheader.

SEVEN OUT

Cleveland’s pitching and defense helped Tampa Bay come back from a 7-0 deficit to win 8-7 over the Indians on Friday night when B.J. Upton(notes) led off the ninth with a home run. Evan Longoria(notes), Carlos Pena(notes) and Willy Aybar(notes) drove in runs in the comeback against Indians starter Anthony Reyes(notes) and relievers Tony Sipp(notes), Jensen Lewis(notes) and Rafael Betancourt(notes), who escaped a bases-loaded jam in the seventh only to give up Zobrist’s tying homer in the eighth.

SO FAR, SO GOOD

Brett Gardner(notes) was visiting with a young girl at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital on Friday, when she gave him a bracelet. “She told me that if I kept it, I would hit a home run,” he said. “She said I’ll hit a home run tonight. She said as long as I have it, I’ll hit a home run every at-bat, which we all know is not going to happen.” Gardner hit an inside-the-park homer in New York’s 5-4 win over Minnesota on Friday night, helping stop the Yankees’ five-game home losing streak. It was the Yankees’ first inside-the-park homer since Ricky Ledee(notes) against Seattle’s Paul Abbott on Aug. 29, 1999.

SLAM-TASTIC

Detroit got grand slams from Ryan Raburn(notes) and Brandon Inge(notes)—the first time the Tigers had two in a game since Jim Northrup did it by himself on June 24, 1968—in a 14-1 win over Oakland on Friday night.

NO RELIEF

Atlanta’s Yunel Escobar(notes) hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the bottom of ninth, giving the Braves a 4-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks after blowing a lead in the top of the inning Friday night. Closer Mike Gonzalez(notes) (2-0) gave up a tying homer to Stephen Drew(notes) to lead off the ninth.

SPEAKING

“When you score seven runs, you should be up at home plate tension-free. Our guys are up there and they’re not tension-free for the fact they feel like they’ve got to score more runs, and that’s ridiculous.”—Indians manager Eric Wedge, after Cleveland blew a 7-0 lead and lost 8-7 to Tampa Bay on Friday night.

“It was probably more likely for me to hit an inside-the-parker than it was to hit once over the fence, so I’m glad I could do that for her.” The Yankees’ Brett Gardner, who was given a bracelet by a girl in a hospital on Friday. She told him if he kept it, he’d hit a home run.

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Re: MLB News and Notes Saturday 5/16

Saturday's Afternoon Notes
By Kevin Rogers

Three nationally televised games (Fox, 4:15 p.m. EDT) highlight the late afternoon action in Major League Baseball, with the premiere matchup pitting a pair of former Cy Young Award winners in San Francisco when the Giants battle the Mets. Tampa Bay looks to creep closer to .500 hosting Cleveland, while the Angels get their ace back on the hill in Arlington against the Rangers.

N.Y. Mets at San Francisco

The NL East-leading Mets have quietly been on fire by winning nine of 11, while scoring runs in bunches, scoring at least seven runs six times in this span. The Giants are playing their best baseball on their home turf, going 12-6 through the first six weeks at AT&T Park.
   
The Mets will try to help one of baseball’s best pitchers in a department he sorely lacks in – run support. Johan Santana has compiled a ridiculous ERA of 0.78 in seven starts, but the Mets are 4-3 when their world-class southpaw takes the hill due to the 2.14 runs/game the New York bats produce for Santana. Obviously with Santana’s numbers and the lack of Mets hitting during his starts, the ‘under’ has hit in six of his seven outings, with the lone ‘over’ cashing in Santana’s last start, an 8-3 home loss to Atlanta. Randy Johnson has been on the top of his game when he hits the AT&T Park mound, winning three of four starts at home. The Big Unit has produced just two quality starts to his record this season, but has a stellar 32:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio at home, while striking out 18 and walking none in his last two starts by the Bay. Johnson’s teams (Giants, Diamondbacks, and Yankees) are 8-2 since 2006 when he starts at home during the day.

Sportsbook.com has the Mets installed as a healthy $1.65 favorite, with the total set at 7 1/2 runs.

L.A. Angels at Texas

Despite a rough start to the season, the Angels have bounced back nicely, with nine victories in their last 11 games while getting their ace back this afternoon. John Lackey will make his first start of the season after missing the first month and a half with a right elbow strain. The Abilene, Texas native will be the second Angels hurler to make his season debut this week, after Ervin Santana received a no-decision in L.A.’s 5-4 twelve-inning triumph over the Red Sox on Thursday. Lackey ended last season on a down note, as the Angels lost six of his final seven starts, including two at home against the Rangers. The ‘over’ has hit in four of Lackey’s last six starts against Texas, with at least 13 runs scored on four occasions.

The Angels’ bats have been heating up during this hot stretch, with today’s matchup against Vicente Padilla being the tenth straight game the Halos are facing a right-handed starting pitcher. Padilla has actually pitched better away from the friendly confines of Rangers Park in Arlington, holding the Mariners and White Sox to a combined two hits and two runs his last two outings, both victories. Padilla’s home ERA has ballooned to 8.10 in four outings, including three ‘over’ tickets.

Most books have this game listed at a “pick-em,” with the total at 10, but if you want to the Angels and Rangers to eclipse the total, you will have to lay $1.20.

Cleveland at Tampa Bay

What was a strong home-field advantage last season is now a memory, as the Rays enter Friday’s action against the Indians just 6-8 at Tropicana Field. Matt Garza looks to stop the bleeding for Tampa Bay, going for his third win in his last four starts. Despite a tough 4-3 setback at Boston his last time out, Garza has put together a nice string of starts, compiling an ERA of less than 2 to go along with a WHIP of 0.75 his last three outings. The Rays haven’t responded well after Garza tosses a quality start, winning just three of Garza’s last 14 in this spot.

Carl Pavano had a rough start to the season, but the former Yankees hurler has picked up three wins his last three trips to the mound, including road victories at Boston and Detroit. Pavano has been an ‘over’ machine on the road, with a combined 12.8 runs/game scored in his five road starts. The Indians have scored runs at a rapid pace away from Northern Ohio, finishing ‘over’ the total in 13 of 18 road contests.

If you’re confident enough to lay the wood, Bodog has the Rays listed as a $1.70 favorite, with the total listed at 9 ½ runs.

VegasInsider.com

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Re: MLB News and Notes Saturday 5/16

Early Saturday Baseball
By Sportspic

The Preakness odds will take centre stage of the sporting world on Saturday afternoon but earlier on before the big race, there will be a couple of big baseball games for American League East teams. There are no NBA odds or hockey games for Saturday so it’s really down to horse racing and baseball betting on Saturday.

The Toronto Blue Jays trying to stay hot as the owners of the best record in the American League will host the Chicago White Sox while the Minnesota Twins will make their first Saturday visit to new Yankee Stadium.

Minnesota Twins @ New York Yankees

Two pitchers that have struggled so far in May will take the mound on Saturday as Nick Blackburn and Joba Chamberlain square off.

Blackburn was 2-1 with a 4.02 ERA in May but that number has ballooned as Blackburn has an ERA of 5.32 so far this month. Blackburn has been up-and-down all season long as he has four starts where he’s allowed four or more runs and he has allowed a total of three earned runs in his other three starts.

He’ll square off with Joba Chamberlain, who has given up seven earned runs in 11.2 innings pitched this month after allowing just eight earned runs in 23 innings pitched in April.

The Yankees are at home where hitting has proven to be more important than pitching. Look for the Yankees to rough up their first-time visitors this Saturday.

Sports Betting Online Edge: Yankees

Chicago White Sox @ Toronto Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays have been an unstoppable freight train so far this season as they currently hold the best record in the American League. No pitcher has been able to slow down their bats as they are the best hitting team in baseball.

The Jays are an impressive 12-6 while the White Sox are just 7-10 on the road.

More importantly, the White Sox will be sending Bartolo Colon out to the mound, which could be like sending a lamb to the slaughterhouse.

Given the way the Jays have been hitting, they should feast on Colon, who has given up five earned runs in three of his six starts this season. He’s also allowed three home runs in his last 9.2 innings pitched, which is an ominous sign as he heads to the Rogers Centre.

Look for the Jays to knock him around on Saturday en route to the win.

Sports Betting Online Edge: Blue Jays

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Re: MLB News and Notes Saturday 5/16

Streaking and Slumping Pitchers
By Covers.com

Streaking

Johan Santana (New York Mets)


Santana's record isn't all that impressive but he has received minimal run support from his teammates. The Mets have scored only 11 total runs in their ace's seven starts for an average of 2.15 runs per game - the third-lowest total of any qualifying starter in the majors.

The left-hander was a victim of the same problem last season, as the Mets averaged 2.2 runs in his 12 starts that resulted in losses for the club. Santana has not allowed an earned run in his two losses this season.

"It's crazy that it happened twice already," Santana said. "There's not many things I can do."

The two-time Cy Young winner was outstanding again Monday, yielding two unearned runs and seven hits while striking out six over 6 1-3 innings of an 8-3 loss to Atlanta.

Vicente Padilla (Texas Rangers)

The Rangers hope Vicente Padilla (2-2, 4.97) can carry some momentum from his last two starts back home.

The right-hander was outstanding Sunday, yielding one run and one hit in seven innings of a 7-1 road win over the Chicago White Sox. That came five days after he limited Seattle to one run and one hit through eight innings in Texas' 7-2, 10-inning victory.

"I think about three starts ago there were questions about his velocity," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "The thing about Padilla, you don't know if that's by design. He can pitch, he can manipulate the baseball. He can do some good things. It just took him a little while to get going.

"Now he's going and I certainly hope he stays healthy and continues to make starts for us."

Padilla, however, hasn't come close to that type of production in four home outings, going 1-2 with an 8.10 ERA. He's also hit three batters in that span, and his five hit batsmen this season rank him third in the AL.

Padilla is 2-3 with a 5.79 ERA in his last six starts against the Angels.

Slumping

Scott Olsen (Washington Nationals)


Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard has hit .481 (13 for 27) with three doubles and two homers against Scott Olsen (1-3, 7.00 ERA), who starts the opener for Washington.

On Sunday, the left-hander took a batted ball off his ankle and exited after giving up five runs, 10 hits and a season high-tying three walks over 4 1-3 innings of a 10-8 loss to Arizona.

"My outing was awful," he told the Nationals' official Web site. "There was nothing positive."

Olsen has given up 10 earned runs in his past two starts, allowing 16 hits in just over nine innings pitched.

Olsen did beat the Phillies 4-1 on April 29 and is 4-1 with a 4.50 ERA in his last six starts against them.

Andrew Miller (Florida Marlins)

Andrew Miller (0-1, 6.94 ERA) is expected to return from the disabled list and start for Florida on Saturday. The left-hander went on the DL with a strained right oblique April 21 after giving up four runs over 4 2-3 innings in each of his previous two starts.

"I think the injury is a done issue," Miller told the Marlins' official Web site after his second rehab start with Double-A Jacksonville on Monday. "The strain is no longer an issue, and I think that's what we wanted to make sure was cleared up."

Being completely healthy could be particularly important for Miller against the Dodgers. He's posted a 25.07 ERA in two starts against Los Angeles, failing to last more than three innings in either.

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