Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, April 19

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, April 19

Steve MerrilFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Cleveland Indians vs. Houston AstrosFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: Houston Astros +1.5FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Houston returns home after a 3-6 road trip thru the AL West. They return home to host Cleveland who lost their last four games at home to the Red Sox and White Sox. Brett Myers goes for the Tribe and he's 0-2 with an 8.82 ERA in three games this season. Myers has not faced Houston as a starter since 2008 when he lost on the road 4-3. Rick Ankiel has had good success against the righty picking up three hits in seven tries. Houston is hitting .265 against right-handed pitching putting up almost 5 runs per game in those contests. Lucas Harrell is making his fourth start for the Astros. He has yet to win although his last start was solid allowing 1 run to the Angels striking out five while walking only one. Harrell gave up 1 run and two hits in seven innings last year against the Tribe striking out nine while walking three. Cleveland hitters are a combined 4-for-27 against the Astros pitcher with three of those hits coming from Drew Stubbs. Cleveland is hitting .217 in six games against right-handed starters and they will not have their leadoff hitter Michael Bourn who is on the DL. This is not a potent Cleveland team at all this season, especially with their injuries so we’ll back Houston in this game on Friday night.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, April 19

Will RogersFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Dallas vs. St. LouisFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: St. LouisFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Both of these teams won last night.  St. Louis did so 2-1 in a shootout, at home over Phoenix while Dallas shocked many people (including me!) by walloping Vancouver at home 5-1.  But now the Stars have to hit the road without rest and I think they're at a significant disadvantage.  I feel this situation calls for a big win for the Blues.
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Here are my keys to the game:FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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1.  Situation:  Dallas has won just four times in the last 22 tries when playing in the second night of back to backs.  Meanwhile, St. Louis is 17-5 at home following a win that required overtime or a shootout.  They just won in this situation last night as they also needed a shootout to get by Vancover on Tuesday. 
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2. Home Ice Advantage - St. Louis has only lost at home once this month and it was to Chicago, the best team in the league.
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3. X-Factor - Dallas has been winning with offense lately, but tonight they run into a hot goaltender in St. Louis' Brian Elliott, who has stopped 144 of the last 148 shots he has faced.  Incredibly, the Blues have allowed just eight goals over their last seven games including three Elliot shutouts.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, April 19

Steve JanusFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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St Louis Cardinals -107FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The St Louis Cardinals took the opening game of this series with a 4-3 win on Thursday and have now won 6 of their last 8 overall. The Phillies on the other hand have lost 4 straight and 5 of 6 and are clearly not playing with a a lot of confidence right now.
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I'll take my chances on the Cardinals Jamie Garcia against the Phillies Roy Halladay in Game 2. Garcia has been outstanding in his three starts this season, going 1-0 with a 1.86 ERA. He shouldn't have much trouble shutting down a Philadelphia lineup that hasn't scored more than 3 runs in seven straight games.
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Halladay is still a pretty big name, but he's simply not the same pitcher from year's past. A lot of people are going to look at Halladay's most recent start against Miami as a sign of things to come, but it doesn't take a whole lot to shutdown the worst offense in the league. Prior to that start against the Marlins Halladay was awful in his first two starts, allowing 12 earned runs on 12 hits and six walks. Hard to believe he will shut down a very strong St. Louis offense that is averaging 6.1 runs/game against right handed starters!

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, April 19

Jeff Scott SportsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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CINCINNATI -1.5 (-110) over Miami: Not always a great team for Mat Latos to face as he is 0-3 with a 7.50 ERA in his last 5 starts vs Miami, but in his other matchups vs them he faced a team with some semblance of an offense and not the AA offense he will face tonight. This Miami offense is pathetic as they have averaged just 2.06 rpg and hit .204, plus they have scored just 1 total run in Kevin Slowey's 3 starts this year.  Now they have to face a Reds team that has put up 22 runs in their last 2 games. At home this Reds offense has been very good, hitting .271 and scoring 6.5 rpg and they should be able to get to Slowey, who has just a 2.04 ERA on the year, but let's face it, that can't last as he has a career 4.58 ERA as a starter. I did indicate that Latos has struggled with Miami, but overall this year he has pitched really well with a 3.26 ERA, despite an 0-0 record. Bottom line is that Miami just won't come up with enough runs to keep it close as the Reds win by at least 4. 
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LA Angels/ Detroit Over 8.5: The Detroit pitching staff has looked really good of late, but this LA Offense is desperate right now and they are starting to wake up some. Even though they have scored just 3.9 rpg in their last 10 games, they have hit .280 over that stretch and they do hit .278 at home. They have left a ton of men on base so far, but I expect them to get that clutch hit or 2 that will drive in some runs. Detroit has had no such problems on offense as they are 6th in scoring (5.07 rpg) and 2nd in hitting (.285) and they get to take the worst starter on the worst staff in the league. Statistically Tommy Hanson is the worst starter on this staff as he is 1-1 with a 6.55 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP. The Tigers should be able to tee off on him for a few and then once he is out of there they will take aim at tyhe worst pen in the league. We should get some early and late runs bur Detroit, while this improving LA Offense will put up plenty themselves. 10 runs easy here.
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Philadelphia/ St Louis Over 7.5: This game may get rained out, but I'll play it anyway. Besides calling for thunderstorms tonight the wind will be a huge factor as it is blowing out to left at 20 MPH. Now we put this powerful St Louis lineup in there vs a struggling Roy Hallady. The Cards may get 8 runs on their own in this one. Ok Maybe not, but they will get a big chunk of it. The Card offense is putting up 5.53 rpg and Hallady has a 7.63 ERA n the year so far and an 8.239 ERA in his last 7 starts dating back to last year. He did have a good showing in his last start, but that shouldn't count as it was vs Miami's pop gun attack. Jamie Garcia has looked really good in the early, but this Philly offense has been solid at home, averaging 5.1 rpg, while hitting .269 and with the win blowing out you can expect them to hit a dinger or 2. Provided this game gets played we could get around 10 runs scored in this one. 
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Cleveland -116 over HOUSTON: Great spot here for Cleveland to get back on track after a tough homestand that saw them lose their last 4 and 6 of their last 8. Sometimes i fee that it's good for struggling teams to leave home and get out on the road to sorta clear their heads from the pressures of home. Now what better way to do that vs one of the worst teams in the league.Houston is just 4-11 on the year and we get the added bonus here of them coming off a long road trip and the first game back for teams in this spot hasn't always been the most profitable. The Astros had showed some life offensively early on but that is breaking down of late, while their pitching has remained horrid. The Astros have averaged just 3.6 rpg in their last 3 games, while they have a 6.64 ERA over that stretch and a 5.00 ERA overall. At home Houston is hitting a buck 99, with a 5.00 ERA and they have been outscored by 3.17 rpg in their own park. Cleveland is 3-3 on the road this year and they have scored 4.67 rpg, while also posting a 3.40 ERA away from home. Myers has struggled this year, vs Houston and in this park through his career, but Lucas Harrell has also struggled to start the year and Cleveland has a bit more offense that Houston does. The Tribe is the better team and will get a much needed win tonight vs a floundering Houston squad.

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