Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, April 26

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, April 26

MLB Predictions

New York Yankees -125

The Yankees took the first game of this series last night 5-3 with 3 long balls, including Robinson Cano's 3 run shot that probably would of been a fly ball out at most stadiums. The Yankees are now 3-1 in these teams 4 meetings so far this season, and they are 12-9 on the season (6-4 at home). The Blue Jays are 9-14 on the season (4-6 on the road) and are 3-7 over their last 10 games. Being a Blue Jays fan it has been extremely hard to watch them this season, as they average just 3.7 runs per game and rarely ever score more than 4 runs in a game. They are 29th in the MLB in team batting average at .224 and 27th in OBP at just .291. The Yankees on the other hand are 7th and 13th respectively in those categories and are averaging 4.7 runs per game. Tonight's starter for Toronto is Aaron Laffey who pitched for them last year and will make the spot start for Josh Johnson. In 4 appearances this year he is 0-0 with a 7.20 ERA. Last season as a starter with the Jays he was 4-6 with a 4.81 ERA. Ivan Nova will start against the Blue Jays for the second time this season. Last time out he went 5 innings allowing 7 hits and 4 earned runs at the Rogers Centre, with two of those earned runs coming in the 6th inning. The Blue Jays are just 1-4 in Laffey's last 5 starts vs a team with a winning record, while the Yankees are 14-6 in Nova's last 20 starts as a home favorite. Toronto has had a tough time at Yankee Stadium going 7-20 in their last 27 meetings there. With the way the Blue Jays have really struggled at the plate it is always worth a look at betting against them right now and with this pitching match up in New York I think we've got value on the Yanks.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, April 26

John Ryan

Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees
Prediction: Toronto Blue Jays

The simulator shows a high probability that Toronto will win this game. NY is in a poor spot, noting they are just 6-14 (-13.2 Units) against the money line with an on base percentage of .285 or worse over their last 5 games over the last 2 seasons. 5-12 (-10.9 Units) against the money line after scoring and allowing 5 runs or less last 4 games over the last 3 seasons. Both starters have not had their best to start the season, but Josh Johnson is getting it together and had far better command in his last start. Moreover, he is far more likely to pitch through the 6th than Yankee starter Nova. In addition, Toronto has a significantly better bullpen than the Yankees. Blue Jays sport a 2.21 ERA with a 1.336 WHIP in 10 road games spanning 36 ⅔ innings of work. Note, that Yankee skipper Girardi is just 11-17 (-10.9 Units) against the money line after scoring and allowing 5 runs or less last 4 games as the manager of the Yankees.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, April 26

Jimmy Boyd

San Diego Padres +105

Tim Lincecum has had some control issues this season posting 14 walks in 22.7 innings pitched. He is averaging just 5.7 innings per start and has a 5.09 ERA in his last three games. In his two games on the road this season Lincecum has gone only 5 innings per start and has a 1.700 WHIP. It seems as though the once dominate right-hander has lost some of his game and the Padres are in a perfect position to hand Lincecum his first loss of the season.

The Giants are batting .250 and averaging 3.3 runs per game in their last 7 games. Andrew Cashner will get the start for the Padres and that complete lack of offense from the Giants is just what the young pitcher needs to make a deep run in this game. He has thrown in 6 games this season and has a 1.203 WHIP. He started against San Francisco on April 20th and gave up just two earned runs and had five strikeouts in four innings pitched. San Diego struggled to get Cashner the run support he needed in that game but I expect a different result today.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, April 26

Steve Merril

Cleveland vs. Kansas City
Play: Over 8½

Kansas City returns home after a 4-3 road trip thru Atlanta, Boston, and Detroit. Now they host the Cleveland Indians who have won three of their last four games after losing their previous five games. Ervin Santana is 2-1 with a 2.48 ERA in four starts for Kansas City. He has had his problems with the Indians going 2-8 with a 4.71 ERA in 14 career starts against them. Cleveland is 6-5 on the road hitting .270 while putting up 5.4 runs per game. Their offense has scored 29 runs in the last four games with 19 of those runs coming in one game.

Scott Kazmir's debut in Houston after two years off was a rough one; he allowed 6 runs and seven hits in just over three innings. Kazmir gave up 5 runs to the Royals in 2011 in just over one inning of work. Miguel Tejada has seen the lefty the most and has 11 hits in 28 total at-bats against him. The Royals have scored 4 runs or more in four straight games and they are hitting .274 at home where they've only played six games so far this season. These two teams have played 13 Overs in their last 17 games in Kansas City and that trend will continue on Friday night.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, April 26

Jack Jones

Chicago White Sox -141

The Chicago White Sox are worth the price Friday as a medium-sized home favorite over the Tampa Bay Rays. With the edge they have on the mound in this one, I have no problem pulling the trigger on the Sox tonight.

Jake Peavy has picked up right where he left off last season. The former Cy Young winner is 2-1 with a 3.20 ERA and 1.145 WHIP through four starts this year. He has allowed just two earned runs over 14 innings in his last two starts.

Roberto Hernandez, formerly known as Fausto Carmona, is clearly washed up. He is 1-3 with a 4.74 ERA through four starts this season, including 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA in two road starts. Hernandez has posted a 5.60 ERA in 16 career starts against Chicago.

This play falls into a system that is 86-28 (75.4%) over the last 5 seasons. It tells us to bet against road underdogs with a money line of +100 to +150 (TAMPA BAY) - with an average bullpen whose ERA is 3.75 to 4.50 on the season against opponent with a starting pitcher whose ERA is 3.20 or better on the season (AL). Bet the White Sox Friday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, April 26

Jeff Alexander

Houston Astros +240

Red Sox are way overvalued here. They have lost 3 of Dempster's 4 starts, and he has a terrible track record versus Houston. He's 6-11 with an ERA of 4.69 in 25 starts against the Astros, and his teams have lost 18 of those, including 12 of the last 16. We'll make a value play on the Stros.

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Dave Price

New York Yankees -135

With yesterday's loss, the Blue Jays fell to 17-35 in their last 52 road games and 4-15 in their last 19 at Yankee Stadium. They are a soft 14-41 in their last 55 road games versus a team with a winning home record, and I expect this trend to continue. The Yankees are 43-18 in their last 61 home games versus a team with a losing road record, and they are in good hands with Ivan Nova. New York is 27-12 in his last 39 starts as a favorite and 14-6 in his last 20 starts as a home favorite. He is also 2-0 (3-0 on the money line) in 3 career home starts versus Toronto, carrying a solid 3.50 ERA in those contests. Take the Yankees.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, April 26

Larry Ness

San Francisco Giants at San Diego Padres
Pick: San Francisco Giants

Tim Lincecum and Andrew Cashner square off Friday for the second time in less than a week when the visiting Giants open a three-game series against the Padres in San Diego tonight.. Lincecum came out ahead last Saturday in San Francisco, when he tossed 6.2 scoreless innings in a 2-0 victory. The Giants swept the three-game series at AT&T Park and they’re off to a 9-3 start against National League West opponents. That’s nothing new, as the Giants were 45-27 against division foes last season, on their way to a second World Series title in the last three years.

The Giants enter tonight’s game 13-9, while the Padres are struggling at 6-15, including just 2-7 at home. Tim Lincecum has shown signs of returning to his former self in 2013, opening 2-0 with a 3.97 ERA in four starts (Giants are 4-0 in those starts). Lincecum’s always pitched well against the Padres, posting an 11-5 career mark (2.33 ERA) in 23 starts (Giants are 16-7). San Diego’s Andrew Cashner is making his seventh appearance of 2013 tonight but his only previous start came last Saturday in that 2-0 loss to Lincecum (he threw four innings while allowing two ERs). He’s 0-1 with a 4.05 ERA to open 2013. Cashner (mostly a reliever in his short career with just seven starts in 99 appearances) was limited to 65 pitches in his first start of 2013 last Saturday but his pitch limit will be increased to about 80 on Friday. Is that good or bad news?

Linceum is 5-1 with a 2.58 ERA in his last eight starts in this series and will face a San Diego offense that has been to say the least, struggling. The Padres have totaled just eight runs and batted .198 while losing FIVE of their six. They rank near the bottom of the majors with 12 HRs, 69 runs (3.29 per) and a .349 slugging percentage. San Francisco has won 26 of the last 35 in this series and I say make that 27 of the last 36 right here.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, April 26

Joe Gavazzi

Chicago White Sox -140

Until the Rays get it on track on the road where they are 2-8 with a .193 BA, I must continue to fade them. The answer certainly does not appear to be the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona. Even a name change has not altered the mediocre at best performance of Hernandez. For the season, Hernandez is 1-3 with a 4.74 ERA. In 12 starts vs. the Pale Hose, it is an even worse 4.85 ERA. I have been waiting for the CWS turnaround. Following a 3-10 slide, CWS has now won 2 straight. They send Peavey to the hill with an outstanding 1.14 WHIP, a 33/5 KBB off a recent start which he allowed 1 run on 9 Ks in 7 IP. In a pair of starts from this mound this season, Peavey has hurled to the tune of a 1.38 ERA. With a bullpen index advantage, a 164-113, we comfortably line up with the White Sox today.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, April 26

Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAYS

Lakers/ Spurs Under 187: The Under is 9-2 the last 11 in LA and 20-7 the last 27 overall. Where will the Lakers get their points in this one. Nash and Meeks are doubtful. No Kobe and no Blake. Nash ran a pretty smooth offense that is a bit moere uptempo with him in there. Missing Kobe has really hurt their scoring  and Meeks put in 7.9 ppg on the year, while Blake is their 2nd best 3pt shooter (behind Nash). This team will really be hard pressed to score allot in this one. Even with Nash and Blake in there the Lakers could only muster 85 ppg in the first two games of the series. The Lakers will really need t slow the pace in this one if they want any shot at taking this game. The Spurs do average 101.4 ppg on the road and they do play the uptempo game, but the Lakers have played pretty good defense at home, allowing 97.4 ppg, including allowing just 87 ppg in their 2 home games vs the Spurs this year. Very little offense from the Lakers in what should be a very slow paced game should equal a game that will put up no more than 180 points, especially since the two games here between these teams this year have put up just 177 and 166 points. 


Denver/ Golden State Over 211: Neither team played much defense in game 2 and I expect more of the same in this one. Denver's offense has been one of the best all year as they have averaged 106.2 ppg, while in their last 5 games they have put up 112.4 ppg, hitting the 112 point mark in 4 of those games. Golden State comes in hot offensively as well as they have scored 111.4 pg in their last 5 games. They only score 101.6 ppg at home, but Denver does allow 104.3 ppg on the road. The Warriors have struggled defensively of late, allowing 107 ppg in their last 6 games.  Both teams will play uptempo in this one and with two high powered offenses vs two bad defensive teams we should get at least 220 points scored in this one.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, April 26

Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAYS

ARIZONA -133 over Colorado: Arizona took last night's game after losing 2 of 3 in Colorado last week. These two pitchers did face off in that last series and Juan Nicasio got the better of it in a 5-4 win. I expect McCarthy to bounce back and get a little revenge in this one. Brandon has really struggled in the early going, with an 0-2 mark and a 7.06 ERA in his 4 starts, but this is still a quality starter, who had a 17-15 mark and a 3.30 ERA the last 2 years for Oakland. I really don't expect him to continue to carry a 7+ era on the year. He will be taking on a good Colorado offense, but the Rockies do score fewer runs on the road than at home and they come in struggling a bit, having scored just 3.4 rpg in their last 5 games. Juan Nicasio comes in with a 2-0 record, but he has a 5.31 ERA. The Rockies are 1-2 in his last 3 starts and he has a 6.28 ERA over that stretch. The D-Back offense is good at home scoring 4.7 rpg and they have the better bullpen, with a 2.19 ERA at home, while the Rockies Pen has a 5.29 ERA on the road. I look for Brandon to get a little revenge here with his best start of the year so far.


San Francisco -115 over SAN DIEGO:  Backing Tim Lincecum on the road has been a risky proposition of late, but this is a good spot to do so. Tim is 2-0 on the year with a 3.97 ERA and in his last starts he pitched 6.2 innings of shutout ball vs these Padres, giving up just 4 hits and 2 walks in the game. He does have a 5.09 ERA in his last 3 starts, but with a very nice 1.17 WHIP and the Giants are 3-0 in those starts. He is pitching much better than last year and he will face a San Diego team that has averaged just 1.2 rpg and have hit a mere .201 in their last 5 games. The Giant offense has give Tim 6.5 rpg worth of support this year and they score 4.4 rpg on the road, so I expect them to have a good showing vs Andrew Cashner, who is 0-2 with a 4.40 ERA in 7 career starts. Look for Tim to continue to bounce back, while the Padres continue to lose. They scored just 2 total runs vs the Giants in their 3 game set last week and should have similar problems scoring in this series as well.   


St Louis/ Pittsburgh Over 8.5:  Going to look for a lot of runs in this one. Now I know that Sanchez will NOT continue to carry an 11.12 ERA, or maybe he will. He did have an 8.08 ERA in 15 starts last year and he hasn't corrected things as this season starts. Making matters worse for him (and better for us) is the fact that he will be facing a Cardinals team that averages 5.33 rpg at home. Lets also note that Sanchez has 5 career starts vs the Redbirds and he is 2-0 in those starts, despite a 4.62 ERA. His 5 starts vs the Cardinals have averaged 13 rpg. On the Other side we have Jamie Lynn, who has pitched well, with a 3.68 ERA, but he has struggled with his ERA vs the Pirates, posting a 5.14 ERA in 5 career starts vs them. He is 3-1 in those starts and his games vs Pittsburgh have averaged 11 rpg. Pittsbugh started off the year really pathetic on offense, but they have really picked it up of late, scoring 4.3 rpg and hitting .267 in their last 10 games. Double the .133 they were hitting after the first 5 games of the year. Both offense are more than capable of 4+ runs off the pitching that is on the mound. Lynn may not give up a bunch, but we have the luxury of having one of the worst pens behind him. Look for at least 11 runs in this one. 


Oakland/ Baltimore Over 7.5: The A's offense has been good this year, averaging 5.48 rpg on the year, but for them it has been their pitching that has let them down. Tommy Milone comes in with a 4.91 ERA in his last 3 starts, while the A's staff as a whole has a 6.10 ERA in their last 5 games and a 5.10 ERA in their last 10 games. The Baltimore offense is also solid as they come in scoring 5.05 rpg overall and 6 rpg in their last 8 games and should be able to tag Milone for a few tonight. Wei-Yin Chen has pitched well for the O's as he has a 3.38 ERA on the year, plus in 2 starts last year he had an 0.71 ERA vs the A's, but this is a much better A's offense this year and they have hit .279 and have scored 6.31 rp/9 off of lefties this year. Both offenses are in fine form and they should both be able to tag these starts for at least a few runs each. Look for at least 9 runs in this

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, April 26

Big Kat Sports

San Francisco Giants vs. San Diego Padres
Play: San Francisco Giants

The San Francisco Giants will look to break a small two game losing streak when they travel to Petco Park to start a 3 game set with the San Diego Padres. Tim Lincecum, who the Giants hope has turned the corner after an awful season last year will be on the hill tonight for San Francisco. He is 2-0 on the season and his pitched well in his four starts this season. He has been excellent in his last 2, posting a 1-0 record and has struck up 12 while walking only 3 in 11.2 innings. Lincecum will be opposed by Andrew Cashner, who is scheduled to get the start tonight for the Padres. He started the season in the bullpen for the Padres and will be making just his second start this season. He went 4 innings in his first start, taking the loss to Lincecum and the Giants back on April 20. His 2:1 K:BB ratio is a bit shaky for a guy that came out of the pen to start the season and he has been hampered by the long ball a bit, allowing 2 homers in just 10 innings. We’ve had some success using the Giants in the past when they were listed as chalk in a game and they have posted a 10-4 record in their last 14 games as a favorite. They have also won all 4 games that Lincecum has started this season and have won 5 of their last 6 Game #1's in a series. The Padres, who were trying to avoid the slow start they had last season are right back in that position. They are just 6-15 and have struggled at Petco, winning just 2 of 9. Pair that with the fact that the Giants have won 6 of their last 8 games in San Diego and this price seems to be a bit short on San Francisco. We had them around -135 when we did our numbers so there is value here getting them at -115 or so.

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SPORTS WAGERS

GOLDEN STATE -1 over Denver

Game 3. The Warriors victory in Game 2 was no fluke. They should’ve won Game 1 and this series could be turning out to be one of those nightmare matchups in Golden State’s favor that the Nuggets can’t do a thing about. The Nuggets have a weak three-point defense and that is allowing for this Warrior team, with some of the best shooters in the game, to get very comfortable from beyond the arc. Now at home, it could get even worse for the Nuggets. Confidence and/or state of mind plays a big role in the outcome of these games and Denver has to be feeling a little anxious about being outplayed on their home floor in the first two games of this series. Stephen Curry, the best pure shooter in the game, is in the Nuggets head and so are a few others.

The Nuggets are banged up. Many players are not looking sharp and it could be due to some nagging injuries.  Kenneth Faried, the Nuggets' rugged rebounder went down with a nasty looking left ankle injury on April 14 and missed the final two games of the regular season. Faried is Denver's motor, a high-energy player who often occupies multiple defenders because of his ability to crash the offensive glass. Faried missed Game 1 and had just two boards and four points in Game 2. Without Faried at his best, the Nuggets are far more easily defended. Remember, the Nuggets won just 19 of 41 road games while Golden State went 28-13 at home. Now the Warriors come into Game 3 with home court advantage in this series and come in more confident and playing its best basketball of the season. With that, we’re going to play Golden State tonight laying a point and we’re alos going to play them in the series with a take-back of 239.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, April 26

SPORTS WAGERS

Chicago -109 over MIAMI

You may look over the box scores from last night and barely notice Chicago’s 4-3 victory over the Marlins. It may not seem like a big deal but it was, as the Cubbies rallied from an early 3-1 deficit for their second win in the past seven games. Truth is, the Cubbies were in a position to sweep the Reds in Cincinnati prior to this series. They fought to win the opener of this one and they continue to get outstanding pitching. The Cubbies will send Scott Feldman (4.50 ERA) and his 0-3 record to the mound, which may not seem too appealing. On the surface, Feldman looks like a throwaway sign by the Cubs. With experience as a long man and a starter for Texas, with mostly very poor results, he is an easy player to skip over. But a second look might reveal more than you expect. Pay little attention to Feldman’s 10 walks in 14 frames, as his history says that’s an aberration that will not continue. Feldman has a career groundball rate of 55% and he’s at 53% this season. Feldman struck out six batters in five innings in his last start against Milwaukee, a game the Cubbies would’ve won had it not been for the three unearned runs on one pitch that he surrendered.  Feldman is no ace but with an xERA of 3.49 and full skills to support it, he’s an under the radar pitcher that not many are going to notice. Against the Marlins and opposing Wade LeBlanc, this is a cheap price to pay

Leblanc went 2-5 with a 3.67 ERA in 69 IP for Miami last season. This might have looked like more of a growth year had he stayed in San Diego but skills are borderline and LeBlanc has never had a sub-4.00 xERA in the bigs. A marginal strikeout rate, high fly-ball rate and many poor starts walk a tightrope above disaster. LeBlanc has a WHIP of 1.88 this season to go along with a xERA of 4.95 and that’s with an unsustainable 89% strand rate. LeBlanc won't kill your bankroll but if you wager on him you may have to visit it in the ICU. Cubs are gaining momentum and remain very much underpriced.
Play:


Atlanta +123 over DETROIT

The Tigers are 10-10 and lost with Justin Verlander on the hill yesterday against K.C. because their pen couldn’t hold a lead. That’s not unusual, as no lead is safe with Detroit’s volatile bullpen. Anibal Sanchez has put up some very good numbers this year but there are red flags that stick out. A groundball/line-drive/fly-ball profile of 39%/24%/37% is among them. Sanchez also has a high strand rate that has kept his ERA down but once that normalizes, his ERA will rise. Sanchez allowed 11 hits in six innings in his last start against the Angels but somehow managed to wiggle out of many jams and give up just two runs. He may not be so lucky here.

The term "crafty left-hander" is an overused baseball axiom but it's accurate when the subject is Paul Maholm. Maholm doesn't blow hitters away; he locates pitches and changes speeds effectively and he's delivered very solid back-to-back seasons with ERAs under 3.70. Maholm seems to be improving with age. He heightened down his walk rate while striking out more hitters last season and that has carried over to this year where he has whiffed 25 batters in 26 frames while walking just eight. Maholm's groundball rate has remained right around 50% each year and is at 53% this year. What Maholm lacks in pure raw talent, he's making up for in guile and maturity. He keeps the ball in the park and usually on the ground, he can strike out a hitter when necessary and he walks few batters. Of course, it's still too easy to remember the days he spent toiling for mediocre Cubs and Pirates teams’ years earlier, which still affects perception and leaves him undervalued. Now pitching for a team that wins ballgames, Maholm has won three of his four starts this season and there’s no reason he can’t make it four of five.
Play:


Baltimore +111 over OAKLAND

You have to really like the way Baltimore came out swinging in the opener of this series last night. The Orioles belted out 15 hits in a 10-2 victory and it seemed like every ball was hit hard. The A’s managed just two unearned runs on six scattered hits. Oakland has put up some crooked offensive numbers this year but a close look reveals that many of those skewed numbers were against the weak pitching staffs of the Astros (six games) and Mariners (four games). Current A’s batters have 29 career AB’s against Wei-Yin Chen with just six hits for a BA of .207. Chen has gone six innings or more in three straight starts and has surrendered three earned runs or less in all four of his starts. Chen won’t dazzle but what he will do is continue to give the Orioles good innings with a chance to win. This wager however, isn’t about backing Chen, it’s about playing the Orioles against Tommy Milone.

Milone is 3-1 with a 4.26 ERA. At home, he’s 2-0 with a 2.63 ERA but we’re not buying any of it. A control artist in the minors, Tommy Milone's ability to maintain similar accuracy in his first full MLB season was integral to his success as a rookie last year. However, low walks doesn't always reap results (see: Blanton, Joe; Nolasco, Ricky) and it's hard to overlook a few glaring negatives in Milone’s skill set. Milone continues to allow far too many fly balls and line drives. Righties gave him trouble last season especially in 2H (.316 Opp BA) although a 36% hit % vs. RHP didn't do him any favors, either. That also has carried over to this year, where righties are hitting .308 against him and lefties are hitting .264. Milone has plenty of kinks to work out, most noticeably the line-drive rate, which could ultimately lead to some ugly hit %-induced stat lines if maintained. The Orioles offense is loaded with strong bats from both sides of the plate and Milone’s xERA of 4.55 reminds us just how overpriced he really is.
Play:


Milwaukee +129 over LOS ANGELES

The Dodgers have won just three of their last 10 games while the Brewers have won nine of their past 10 games. Over that stretch, L.A. has scored 33 runs while Milwaukee has scored 53. Josh Beckett struck out nine Diamondbacks in 8.1 innings in his April 14th start at Arizona. In his other three starts, Beckett struck out four batters or fewer in each one. Beckett will be remembered as one of the principals in the Red Sox September dump deal of 2012. While he did recover nicely after the trade, on the whole, 2012 was a decidedly down year. While his peripherals were better than his 4.65 ERA last season, Beckett will be hard-pressed to regain his former glory. One of Beckett’s characteristics in the past has been a consistent strikeout rate. That changed in 2012, as Beckett lost almost 2 MPH on his fastball, which averaged 91 mph last year and is averaging precisely that this year too. In the past two seasons, Beckett surrendered less grounders and more fly balls than the two previous ones and that negative trend has carried over to this season. Beckett is 33 and missed some time with shoulder inflammation. Perhaps that is partially the cause for the skills downturn. A strand rate correction, along with a pitcher-friendly home park should help his ERA some, but his age and all those innings might be catching up to him. Still likely a league-average hurler, Beckett’s upside has diminished. The Dodgers are 0-4 in Beckett’s four starts this season.

The Brewers have had great success against the Dodgers with four straight wins, six wins in seven meetings last season. Hiram Burgos made his major league debut last Saturday in place of the struggling Mike Fiers. Burgos has been in the Brewers system since 2009 but struggled to find consistent success, never moving behind High-A in his first three minor league seasons. However, he really turned the corner in 2012, when he had the third lowest ERA of any minor league pitcher, posting the following numbers across three levels: 10-4, 1.95 ERA and a .210 oppBA. Burgos does not have dominant stuff but he can throw five pitches, a fastball, slider, change-up, cutter, and curveball, with good control in any count. His fastball sits in the mid-80s and tops out at 91 mph. Over 477 IP the past four seasons, Burgos has consistently displayed excellent command. Burgos’ change-up and curveball are his strongest secondary offerings and he has good repeatable, simple mechanics. It will be interesting to see how well major league hitters adjust to his five-pitch arsenal lacking a dominant fastball, but if he fares well, he has a golden opportunity to stick in the rotation. A finesse pitcher with smarts, poise and outstanding control is a very good option at this park. With this price tag and the hotter team behind him, that option on Burgos and the Brewers is one we’ll gladly accept.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, April 26

Bryan Power

Colorado vs. Phoenix
Pick: Phoenix

Little is left to be decided in the waning days of the NHL regular season with the exception of seeding and the last two spots in the West.  Neither the Colorado Avalanche or the Phoenix Coyotes will be a part of those discussions as both are eliminated from contention.

Note that I have been really hot with my NHL picks of late, going 4-0 this week & 45-25 L70 + 42-20 L62 sides. Here's a free play.....

The big edge I see here is this being the Coyotes home finale.  Phoenix has had a far better season compared to Colorado as their 48 points kept them in the playoff hunt at least for awhile.  They just won here at home two days ago, beating a good San Jose team 2-1. They are now 14-8-1 at Jobing.com Arena for the season. You have to figure that even in a lost season, they'll want to give the fans a nice sendoff and the hope that things will be better next year.

Colorado has had an awful year.  They have the fewest points in the Western Conference (37) and have been just dreadful on the road with a 3-16-4 record.  They have also lost 11 of 13 games against teams with a losing record.  Phoenix has definitely had their number in two meetings this year, winning 3-2 in Denver and in a 4-0 shutout here in the desert earlier this month. They are 8-2 vs. the Avs going back, including 4-1 at home. Colorado is just 1-12 on the road seeking revenge for a loss that came by three goals or more.

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NHL Predictions

Minnesota Wild -1.5 +145

The Minnesota Wild find them selves in 8th place and tied with Columbus at 53 points. The Wild have two games remaining while Columbus has just one, but this will be Minnesota's final home gam. They should be treating it as a must win as they don't want to head into Colorado needing a victory tomorrow night. The Oilers are 13th in the West with 41 points and if they manage to lose both their final games they will be in the lottery for the #1 pick again this year. I know that the Oilers won't be trying to lose both of their final games, but they have shown they've lost motivation losing 9 of their last 10 games. During those 10 games they've scored more than 1 goal just twice with a brutal 1.30 goals per game. They've given up 3+ goals in 8 of those 10 games as well. Minnesota hasn't finished the season strong, but they are coming off a big 2-1 win at home vs the Kings. They've won 3 of their past 5 games. These two teams have met 3 times this year with the Wild winning all three, and they've even won by 2 in all three games. The Wild have had Edmonton's number winning 38 of their last 52 meetings overall and 22 of their last 26 in Minnesota. With a lot more to play for I think the Wild come away with a big victory here. I'll take them on the puck line as they should win by a few tonight.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, April 26

Hollywood Sports

Denver at Golden State
Prediction: Under

Golden State (48-36) blitzed the Nuggets in Game Two of this series by a resounding 131-117 score. The Warriors have played 4 of their last 5 games Under the Total after a double-digit victory. Additionally, Golden State has played 4 of their last 5 games Under the Total after scoring at least 125 points in their last game. Furthermore, the Warriors have played 11 of their last 14 games Under the Total against an opponent that allowed at least 100 points in their last contest. The Under is also 8-3-1 in Denver's last 12 games after allowing at least 100 points in their last game. Take the Under in this one.

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