SATURDAY PREMIUM SERVICE PLAYS
Re: SATURDAY PREMIUM SERVICE PLAYS
As I wrote last night in taking the Rays over the Twins, Tampa Bay had 'limped' home after a 2-5 road trip. The trip concluded with four straight losses at Cleveland, which had entered the series with the worst record in the league, leaving the Rays with an incredible 17-game losing streak at Jacobs Field. However, the Rays opened a six-game homestand last night with a 5-3 victory over the Twins (24-26). Evan Longoria led the way with a three-run HR, which helped snap the Rays' season-high five-game skid." The win was Tampa Bay's sixth in its last eight games at Tropicana Field, where last season the Rays went 57-24 and won more money than any team in MLB (plus-$2,701). The Rays are just 12-10 at home so far this year but the team's average of 5.91 RPG at home, bodes well. As for Minnesota, the Twins road woes continue. The Twins have now lost 10 of their 11 away from the Metrodome (lone win was that 20-1 game at the White Sox) and they are a major league-worst 5-15 on the road for the season. Francisco Liriano will get the start for the Twins this afternoon. He was 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA in his memorable rookie season of 2006 in 28 appearances (16 starts). However, he sat out all of 2007 with arm trouble and made just 14 starts last year, going 6-4 with a 3.91 ERA (team was 6-8). He'll look to avoid losing a third straight start in this one. He allowed seven ERs and seven hits in four innings of a 7-4 loss to the Chicago White? Sox on May 20 and gave up five ERs and a season-high 11 hits in four innings of plast Monday's 6-5 loss to Boston. He's 2-6 with a 6.42 ERA this season in 10 starts (team is 3-7). The Rays will counter with David Price. He was MLB's No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft and was 12-1 with a 2.30 ERA in the minors a year ago before being called up Sept 13. He posted a 1.93 ERA in five appearances and helped the Rays advance to the World Series. He then had a 1.59 ERA in five postseason relief outings. He began this year in the minors because the Rays didn't want to overwork him but he hasn't gotten off to as good of a start as most anticipated. He went just 1-4 with a 3.93 ERA in eight Triple-A starts and made his season-debut on Memorial Day at Cleveland, replacing Scott Kazmir who went on the 15-day DL a week ago with a strained right quadriceps (it was the game in which the Rays blew a 10-0 lead!). He didn't last four innings, allowing two runs on four hits in 3.2 innings. He threw 100 pitches, racking up high counts with five walks and six strikeouts. The good news here is that Price has "great stuff" and will face an Minnesota team in a road funk (lost 10 of 11 and own MLB's worst road record) and one which is particularly poor vs left-handers. The Twins went just 11-21 on the road vs lefties last year and this year are still winless in that situation, going 0-6 while averaging 2.7 RPG. Expect Price to get his first win of 2009, right here! Daytime Dominator 15* TB Rays.
Weekend Wipeout Winner
The Orioles have won the first two games of their four-game home series with the Tigers, giving them five straight wins and seven wins in their last eight. That's quite a turnaround from a team which had gone 10-23 from April 15 through May 21, before beginning its current hot streak. Speaking of turnarounds, while the Tigers have lost 5-1 and 7-2 the last two days, the team which stumbled to a 74-88 mark in 2009 (owned third-worst mone?yline mark of minus-$2,917), enters this game 26-21 and with a 3 1/2-game lead in the AL Central. Justin Verlander will get the call for the Tigers tonight and he's been a big part of Detroit's turnaround in 2009. He was a star in his first two seasons of MLB (2006 and 2007) but fell as hard as anyone in Detroit last season. He finished the 2008 season 11-17 with a 4.84 ERA in 33 starts, with the Tigers going 13-20 in those starts (his moneyline mark of minus-$1,351 ranked him dead-last among MLB's starting pitchers!). Verlander opened the 2009 season with a 9.00 ERA through four starts but the "old Verlander" has returned in his last six outings. Verlander allowed five hits while striking out eight in seven scoreless innings of a 13-1 rout of Kansas City on Memorial Day. He's now 5-0 with a 0.85 ERA in his last six starts (team is 5-1), striking out an amazing 60 batters in just 42.1 innings. Making matters worse for the Orioles, he's 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA in four career starts vs them (Tigers are 4-0). The Orioles will counter with Jeremy Guthrie, who's coming off one of his best starts of the season. He gave up just one ER and seven hits over seven innings of a 4-1 victory over the Blue Jays on Monday but let's remember, the Jays were in a tailspin which saw them go 0-9 on that road trip. Let me point out that in Guthrie's previous seven starts, he was 1-4 with a 6.26 ERA (team lost SIX of the seven). Guthrie doesn't have much of a history against the Tigers, going 1-0 with a 4.85 ERA in one start and three relief appearances against them. This one should be easy. Weekend Wipeout Winner 15* Det Tigers.
The Brewers managed just three hits but two were HRs, including Fielder's two-run shot in the first. The three runs were good enough, as the Reds scored just twice. Milwaukee has scored just 15 runs (2.14 per game) in a 2-5 stretch, batting only .195 as a team with just four HRs (two came last night!). It hasn't helped that leadoff hitter Rickie Weekes was lost for the season on May 17, after suffering a wrist injury. However, he's gone and the Brewers will adapt. Milwaukee was an excellent home team in 2006 and 2007 (99-63) but the team's road struggles (59-103) kept them out of the playoff picture. However, the Brewers went 41-40 away from Miller Park last year (49-32 at home) and made the postseason for the first time since 1982. No pitcher mirrored the team's home/away dichotomy better than Dave Bush. From 2006-08, the Brewers were 32-15 in Bush's home starts but just 14-32 in his road starts. Bush enters tonight's game 3-1 with a 3.92 ERA this season in nine starts. He allowed four ERs and five hits (two HRs) over 6.2 innings of a 6-3 loss at Minnesota last Sunday. However, he had been 3-0 with a 3.18 ERA in his previous six starts, which were all Milwaukee wins. When Bush is on the mound for the Brewers at Miller Park, the Brewers are always going to be 'live!' The Reds are dealing with a key injury of their own, as they could be without Joey Votto (he's batting .357), after he left in the second inning of last night's game. He has now left three consecutive games immediately after flights, due to complications from an inner ear infection. The Reds have been solid on the road this year (13-9) but will have no easy task tonight. Aaron Harang gets the start and after back-to-back 16-win seasons in 2006 and 2007 (the Reds were 24-10 in his starts in '07, making him MLB's biggest moneymaker at plus-$1,347), Harang was 6-17 with a 4.78 ERA last year (team was 12-17 and minus-$640). He enters this game 5-4 with a 3.36 ERA in 10 starts in 2009 (team is 5-5) but he's coming off a tough start in his last outing. Harang kept working during a rain delay of more than two hours on Memorial Day and was able to get the final out of the fifth inning of an 8-5 win over Houston. "I think I threw a complete game with all the work I did inside," Harang said. It's "my bet," that outing will have some effect here, plus I get to back a strong home team with a pitcher who thrives in his home starts, at a very favorable price. Situational Mismatch 15* Mil Brewers.
Re: SATURDAY PREMIUM SERVICE PLAYS
MLB 1st Half Total GOY, NBA Spotlight and NHL Cup game 1
(523) CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
(524) ORLANDO MAGIC
Take " (524) ORLANDO MAGIC "
Cleveland has been outplayed and outmatched up front in this series,
so it's no shock they are down 3-2. If it weren't for "The Shot" by
Lebron James, the series would already be over. Orlando has exploited
its frontcourt height and overall talent which is proving tough for
Cleveland to matchup with. They are now 6-2 ATS against the Cavs this season.
Orlando does not want to go back to Cleveland for Game 7. Game 4 they were a
home dog and won here, shooting 50%. Games 1 and 2 they were a +9 dog, won the
first game and should have won Game 2. The Cavs have been outplayed for most of
the five games by a bigger, better opponent. No sense going against a team that
is on a 5-2 SU, 6-1 ATS run. Play the Orlando Magic.
(1) PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
(2) DETROIT RED WINGS
Take " (1) PITTSBURGH PENGUINS "
A rematch of last year's Stanley Cup finals where the Red Wings beat the Penguins.
This year's edition hasn't even started game one yet and the Wings are upset. The
Wings have been bitten by the injury bug, but should have captain Nicklas Lidstrom
back today. Still, C Kris Draper is doubtful and C Pavel Datsyuk is questionable.
And, if adding insult to injury wasn't bad enough, the league in their divine wisdom
moved up the start of game one thus giving the Wings little time to rest their
injured. "We're not happy, I have to be honest," Wings GM Ken Holland told ESPN.com
from his office Thursday. "We're disappointed that we haven't had an extra day's rest.
It's a double-whammy, the quick turnaround and back-to-back games [to open the finals].
We're disappointed because we think when you win a series in five games or less, that
you have earned an opportunity to have a few more days of rest." The Penguins boast
arguably the best player in the league in Sidney Crosby. And Crosby hasn't disappointed
in the playoffs with a team leading 14 goals and 28 points. C Evgeni Malkin also has
excelled with 14 goals and 28 points. Meanwhile G Marc-Andre Fleury has been great
between the pipes, allowing just 2.62 Goals per game and having save percentage of .906.
It's payback time today as the Penguins look to avenge last year's loss in the Cup finals.
They catch the Wings hurt and not rested here and that means a lot in hockey. Plus, we get
the Penguins as a nice dog. The value is with the road dog here, take the Penguins.
(919) MINNESOTA TWINS
(920) TAMPA BAY RAYS
Take " over "
1st half Total of the Year: Over the total.
At first glance, you might think these are dominant pitchers on the mound. Francisco Liriano
has been an ace in his short career, before major arm surgery, while David Price is the hard
throwing kid the Rays brought up last October and he impressed as a reliever in the postseason.
Well, the kid made his starting debut five days ago and was awful, with 5 walks in 3.1 innings
while throwing 100 pitches. He has a long way to go and right now has major control problems.
So does Liriano, with 25 walks in 54 innings and a 6.42 ERA. He's regressing, with an 0-2 record
his last three starts, walking 9 in 14 innings with an 8.36 ERA. This game is indoors on
artificial turf, which helps the offense, plus it's an AL game with the DH. Look for a lot
of walks and runs. Play the Twins/Rays Over the total.