Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, May 11

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, May 11

Dave PriceFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Cincinnati Reds -1½FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Brewers have lost 7 of 8 and will have a tough time snapping out of their funk against Mat Latos. The right-hander is 3-0 with a 2.23 ERA in 7 starts with the Reds winning 5 of those. He's 3-0 with a 1.50 ERA over his last 3 starts. The Reds are 25-8 in Latos' last 33 starts, 10-1 in his last 11 starts on 5 days' rest and 8-0 in his last 8 starts as a home favorite of -151 to -200. Latos gave up just 1 run in each of his 3 starts versus Milwaukee last season. Cincy is 8-2 in its last 10 and 21-7 in its last 28 at home versus the Brewers. Milwaukee has lost each of Hiram Burgos' last 2 starts by 2 runs. Bet the Reds on the run line.

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Jeff AlexanderFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Texas Rangers -1½FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Darvish has faced the Astros twice and has destroyed them both times. He's 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA in those starts, giving up just 2 runs in 16 2-3 innings while striking out 25 and walking just 2. The Rangers are 4-0 in his last 4 starts with 3 of these wins coming by 4 runs or more. Houston's Bedard is 0-2 with a 9.98 ERA in 5 starts. The Astros are 0-4 in his last 4 starts, losing them by 3.75 runs on average. Rangers run line.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, May 11

Jesse SchuleFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Marlins / Dodgers Under 6½FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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There are only two teams in Major League Baseball that have scored fewer runs than the offensively inept Dodgers. L.A. will host one of those teams tonight, taking on the Marlins in Game 2 of this series, with the Fish coming off a win in Game 1.
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Miami sends Kevin Slowey to the mound, and he's having himself a fantastic season so far. Slowey (1-2, 1.81 ERA) allowed just a pair of hits while shutting out the Phillies over seven innings in a 14-2 win his last time out. Prior to that he went eight innings, allowing one run on four hits in a 2-1 win over the Mets. He has held opponents to one run or fewer in five of his seven starts this season.
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The Dodgers hand the ball to Hyun-Jin Ryu, he's looking to bounce back from a loss to San Francsico his last time out. Lucky for Ryu, these Marlins aren't quite as dangerous with the bats as the Giants are.
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Ryu is 2-1 with a 2.41 ERA at home this season, while he's 1-1 with a 4.68 ERA on the road.
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I don't expect to see a lot of scoring between these two clubs, especially with a couple of above average pitchers on the mound.

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Chase DiamondFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Los Angeles Angels vs. Chicago White SoxSERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: Los Angeles AngelsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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This game features the 13-22 Angels at the 14-19 White Sox. When will the Angels wake up? I think the Angels start to turn it around today as Jerome Willams takes the mound with his 1-1 record and 3.16 ERA he has been a bright spot early on. Jose Quintana struggled last time out as the Sox dropped one to the Royals. Betting public is backing the White Sox but despite that the line appears to be moving in reverse. So we are taking the sharp approach here and taking the Angels to start their turnaround today.

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Andrew LangeFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Oakland at SeattleFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: OverFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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I thought for sure that the Oakland A's would place Jarrod Parker on the DL, especially after hearing quotes like this...
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"It's been something that's been bothering me a little bit," Parker said. "I got some pitches that were up in the zone. If I was 100 percent, I don't think they would be at that location."
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He hasn't had the velocity he had last year," Melvin said. "The neck strain could have something to do with that."
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Parker is apparently dealing with a neck strain that has likely contributed to his significant decline (7.34 ERA, 34. 1IP, 50 hits, 18 BBs, 25 Ks). And he doesn't have the element of surprise having faced the Mariners four times already, including earlier this season (5 IP, 4 ERs, 3 BBs, 1 K).
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Seattle's Brandon Maurer has done just enough to stay at the MLB level but the overall product is nothing to get excited about. In 29.2 IP, Maurer has allowed 35 hits, 5 homers, and owns a so-so 18-to-8 K/BB ratio. The A's saw him earlier this season and pounded him around for six runs.
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Always tricky trying to get a game up an over 7.5 in Safeco but considering the two starting pitchers, we should be able to get there.

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Jeff Scott SportsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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4 UNIT PLAYFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Detroit/ Cleveland Over 7.5: Both of these offenses come in extremely hot as the Tribe has scored 6.4 rpg in their last 11 games, while Detroit has put up 6.45 rpg in their last 11 games. At home this year the Tigers have averaged 6.25 rpg, while Cleveland has put up 5.7 rpg on the road. Granted it will be hard for Cleveland to get to their averages vs Verlander, but he has not been prefect vs them in his career with a 4.55 ERA in 30 starts, so to expect 3 or 4 runs from them is realistic. Now the Tigers do have a shot to hit their recent averages as they will be facing a struggling Ubaldo Jimenez, who comes in with a 6.37 ERA on the year. He does have a 2.50 ERA in 3 road starts this year, but that won't last as he has a 4.36 ERA on the road in his career and this park has been a house of horrors for him, as he has gone 1-6 with a 7.45 ERA in 7 career starts here. Hell Detroit might get the Over on their own in this one. It may happen, but I do at least expect 5 runs from them, while Cleveland will put up at least 3 or 4 of their own. Look or at the very least 9 runs in this one.
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Philadelphia/ Arizona Under 8: Neither offense has scored much in this series as 8 total runs have been put up in the first 2 games. well I expect that to continue tonight, as e have a solid pitching matchup on the mound. Cliff Lee comes in with a solid 3.26 ERA so far, but the Phils are 3-4 in his starts and that because they give him just 3.1 rpg worth of support when he pitches. The Phils gave him little run support last year and it has carried over to this year. The Under is 12-1 when Lee had a quality start in his last game and 7-1 in his last 8 road starts, including 3-1 in this years road starts, with those games averaging just 5.5 rpg. Trevor Cahill has also been a victim of low run support this year. In 7 starts this year Trevor has a 2.80 ERA, but he is just 2-3 in those starts thanks to his mates giving him just 3 rpg worth of support.At home its even worse as he is 1-2 in 5 starts, but with a 2.61 ERA. At home his team has given him just 1.8 rpg worth of support and those games have averaged a mere 4.8 rpg. Neither offense is playing all that well right and they have not played well hen these starters have been on the mound. The first two in this series has been all about the pitching and this one will as well.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, May 11

Harry Bondi

Oklahoma City +5

One thing is sure when these two get together and that is that the game will be tight. The first two games in Oklahoma City came down to the games final minutes and that will be the case as the series moves to Memphis. The underdog is 6-1 ATS the last seven meetings between Memphis and OKC and the Thunder have been solid on the road going 7-1 ATS in their last eight road games. It's another tight one today. Take Kevin Durant and the Thunder plus the points.

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Joe GavazziFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Baltimore -115FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Baltimore is proving to be one of the most resilient teams in MLB. After being the MLB leader in 1 run wins last season, the Orioles are proving their mettle again this year with a record of 11-3/loss. This resilience also shows up in games like last night where the never-say-die attitude resulted in a 9-6 extra inning victory after trailing 6-0. It means Baltimore is now on a 15-7 and 5-1 uptick and has the most road wins in MLB at 13-8. It also increases their record at this site to 7-2. Today they send Johnson to the mound who, after battling for the 5th spot in the Spring, was forced to rehab in the Minor Leagues following a right lat injury. In 12 appearances last season including 4 starts, Johnson posted a 2.11 ERA. Anything close to that will be better than what Minnesota gets from the underachieving Worley. Worley enters this game winless in his last 12 starts with a record fading to last year of 0-7 with a 6.87 ERA in that time frame. That includes 0-4 this year with a 6.95 ERA and a 1.90 WHIP. Edges across the board to Baltimore.

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Wunderdog

Miami at Los Angeles Dodgers
Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers -1.5

Last year was supposed to be a breakout season for the Marlins. They opened a new stadium with a roster chock full of high-quality free agents, but the season never got off the ground, and was a total bust. Now the free agents are gone, and the roster is full of rookies, and inexperienced players, and the 11-25 record shows it. They have won multiple games in a row just twice all season, and nine against a winning team. You can bet the Dodgers will come out steaming after suffering the loss to the lowly Marlins last night at home. The Marlins have scored 5 runs or more just eight times all season, and in their first seven have been outscored in their next game by a 36-16 count, or by 3 runs per game. Take the Dodgers on the runline.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, May 11

Sam Martin

Knicks at  Pacers
Play: Over

Both games played in New York went over the total and we expect a faster pace tonight as this series shifts to Indiana knotted up at 1-1. Indiana plays much better offensively here at home than they do on the road and will be looking to bounce back after a horrible second half in New York's blowout win. The Knicks are coming off their highest-scoring game of the playoffs in that Game Two victory, scoring 105 points. That should give New York some much-need confidence offensively after struggling against Boston as well as the series opener against the Pacers. Indiana is 15-7 Over playing with same-season revenge, and with a faster-tempo and both teams playing for a series lead we look for offenses to rule tonight.

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Freddy Wills

Atlanta Braves vs. San Francisco Giants
Play: Atlanta Braves     

Today our cold starter of the day is the pitcher we are taking for our free pick of the day. Paul Maholm is listed as a cold pitcher with an ERA over 6 in his last 3 starts combined, but that is all perception. He struggled in his start against a red hot Detroit team on the road who is 6th in OPS vs. LHP. Take that start out and he has a 1.71 ERA in his 4 road starts and today he'll be facing a Giants team that is ranked 28th in OPS vs. LHP. We are getting great value on this line because of perception that Maholm has been struggling when he just had a bad start. Maholm rebounded nicely after that start and I'm really interested to see how he does facing a bottom tier offense when we talk about the ability to hit left handed pitching. Over the last 10 games the Giants have just a .220 average and a 3.63 runs per 9 vs. LHP. The Braves on the other hand also have to face a lefty and they are scoring 10.71 runs per 9 with a .333 average vs. LHP over their L 10 games.

Madison Bumgarner makes the start and he is one of today's streaking ptichers, but he has a 7.00 ERA in 2 home starts vs. the Braves with a 1.89 WHIP and is 1-4 in 5 career starts. Bumgarner has also feasted on bottom tier offensive teams and his XFIP reveals that his ERA should be closer to 3.3 than his 2.3 ERA. He's been a bit lucky with a .240 BABIP and 83.8 LOB% and he's also getting hitters to swing at a lot of things outside the zone. He's ranked 10th in outside the zone swing % at 34%. I look for the Braves to pick there spots on Saturday and get to Bumgarner early.

Notable Cold Starters:
Mark Buehrle (1-2, 18 IP, 1.56 WHIP, 8.50 ERA)
Jonathan Niese (0-3, 13 IP, 2.00 WHIP, 6.23 ERA)
Erik Bedard (0-3, 11 IP, 2.36 WHIP, 9.00 ERA)
Edwin Jackson (1-2, 15.2 IP, 1.98 WHIP, 8.62 ERA)
Vance Worley (1-2, 14.2 IP, 1.91 WHIP, 6.75 ERA)
Andy Pettitte (0-3, 15.1 IP, 1.76 WHIP, 7.04 ERA)
Jarrod Parker (1-2, 16.1 IP, 1.78 WHIP, 7.16 ERA)
Jeremy Hellickson (0-3, 16 IP, 1.81 WHIP, 6.75 ERA)

Hot Pitcher Of The Day
This time we are reversing our selections and we are just referencing one of the 7 pitchers with an ERA under 3 with the best chance to win on Saturday and for me that's Justin Verlander. Okay, I'm not really going out on a limb since he is -230 favorite, but I think the run line will have some value here. Verlander has been facing the Indians on the road for quite some time now and his last 2 home starts he's given up just 1 ER over 17 innings and that goes back to 2010. The Indians bats have been hot, but they have not faced any aces throughout their recent success. They are over due to cool down and the Tigers bats are just as hot. Tigers will face Ubaldo Jiminez who has given up 25 ER in his last 5 road starts vs. the Tigers covering just 27.2 innings pitched.

Notable Hot Starters:
Clay Buchols (3-0, 20.2 IP, 1.06 WHIP, 2.61 ERA)
Madison Bumgarner (1-2, 20.1 IP, 0.98 WHIP, 2.66 ERA)
Mat Latos (3-0, 18 IP, 1.22 WHIP, 1.50 ERA)
Trevor Cahill (2-1, 20 IP, 1.15 WHIP, 1.80 ERA)
James Shields (2-1, 23 IP, 0.78 whip, 1.96 ERA)
Kevin Slowey (2-1, 21 IP, 0.62 WHIP, 1.71 ERA)

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SPORTS WAGERS

BOSTON -1½ +111 over Toronto

Boston’s 5-0 victory was a flattering score last night for the Blue Jays. The Red Sox threatened to score in every inning. They had 10 hits, drew five walks and also got a couple of other base-runners via two Blue Jays errors. The Blue Jays had one hit. In a four-game losing streak last week, the Blue Jays were outscored 25-3. They are on another losing streak of three games in which they’ve been outscored 20-8. The Blue Jays are fade material. Brett Lawrie had a Twitter meltdown last week and the word around the league is that the inmates are running the asylum. The Jays pitching is awful, their pen is average, their hitting ranks second worst in the AL, ahead of only the White Sox and Toronto’s .351 winning percentage is ahead of only the Marlins and Astros. John Gibbons will be the first manager fired and it could come as early as Monday because the Blue Jays will not win a game this weekend. Toronto must rely on Mark Buehrle here.

Buehrle surrendered nine hits (two home runs) and seven earned runs while walking two and striking out five in six innings in a no-decision against the Tampa Bay Rays this past Monday. Buehrle entered the game having given up the most homers per nine innings in the American League with 2.1 and true to form, he allowed two more. Buehrle has one win in seven starts. He has a disturbing 1.56 WHIP, a low strikeout rate, a fly-ball bias profile, an incredibly disturbing 19% HR/F rate and he’s not loved in Toronto like he was in Chicago. Buerhle’s chances of success here are as remote as it can get.

Clay Buchholz has come close to throwing two no-hitters this season. He has a 1.60 ERA and 1.03 WHIP after his first seven starts. His base skills have been elite with 56 K’s in 51 innings and a 48% groundball rate. You might look at his 92 mph fastball and think he lacks the raw stuff to be an elite starter but a closer look reveals that his change-up draws the most horizontal movement in the game and his fastball has the most vertical movement. After posting nearly league-average surface stats in 2012, Buchholz's skills and stuff support his dominating start. He’ll now face a team that can’t win, can’t hit and whose collective heads are up their asses. Can this one go any other way? We think not.


San Diego +131 over TAMPA BAY

The Padres are one of the hottest teams in baseball with 11 wins over their past 15 games and that includes a three-game sweep over the Giants and a series win over the Diamondbacks. They lost the opener here last night but had a three-run lead against Alex Cobb, a pitcher that was throwing pure smoke last night and that struck out an incredible 13 batters in just 4.2 innings before being yanked. The Padres get a much easier assignment here against Jeremy Hellickson. Helllickson is a former top prospect who continually outpitched his xERA in his first two full seasons in the majors but it’s finally caught up to him this season. Hellickson is no longer flipping average skills into a stellar final product, as his 4.79 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and one win in seven starts will attest to. Hellickson has a 40%/40% groundball/fly-ball profile and but that pedestrian split has been trending the wrong way to 34%/46% over Hellickson’s last five starts. Behind Hellickson is the majors’ third worst pen with an ERA of 4.79.

The Rays are just 8-14 against right-handers this season and will face a new one here in Burch Smith. Drafted in the 14th round back in 2011, Smith has taken huge steps forward with his velocity while seeing his control and command continue to climb to an elite level. Smith shows three pitches: a plus fastball that sits easily in the 92-96 range, getting up to triple-digits in the past, an average changeup, and an average slurve. Due to his lack of secondary offerings, some see him profiling as a late-inning reliever but if he can continue to repeat his deceptive delivery and show plus control and command, he should fare well in the Padres rotation. With a short history in the minors (162 IP), it is hard to say how his transition will be but Smiths’ control, strikeout rate and ERA have all trended in the right direction since his first full season in Single-A Lake Elsinore. Smith has recorded a 1.15 ERA with a 37/6 K/BB over 31 IP, and a 55%/38% groundball/fly-ball split for Double-A San Antonio. It’s a big step up but if he gets through the first couple of innings, he has a chance to really make an impact.

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SPORTS WAGERS

MEMPHIS -5 over Oklahoma City

Memphis returns to the FedEx Forum, where they have played great basketball over the past three months. In front of their home fans, the Grizzlies have been simply unbeatable winning 16 of their past 17 games. That streak includes three straight double-digit victories over a tough Los Angeles Clippers squad in the first-round. The Grizzlies have averaged around 99 points so far in these playoffs, but their home point-per-game average jumps up to a staggering 105 points through the first three home contests. The Grizzlies have become a serious contender in large part due to the emergence of Mike Conley as one of the league’s premier point guards. Conley has been a steadying force, pacing the Grizzlies with roughly 18 points and eight assists per playoff contest. Conley has importantly risen to the challenge of being the Grizzlies main clutch-time contributor. Although Memphis let game one get away from them late, they responded well under similar pressure in game two. The Grizzlies rode Conley in the final five minutes of the game, as he scored 6 points, grabbed 5 rebounds, and dished out an assist, all in the final 5 minutes of the game, en route to the six-point road victory.

Now as the series shifts to Memphis, the Grizzlies certainly have the Thunder’s number moving forward. In addition to Conley, The Thunder have absolutely no answer for the dominating front-court pairing of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol down low. Although Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka have reputations for being good defensive players, the Grizzlies big men are just getting whatever they want with their vaunted high-low post game. The Grizz big-men tandem made Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan look, dare we say soft, in the first round and that theme is being repeated in this round with Ibaka and the artist formerly known as Kendrick Perkins.

It has become obvious that Kevin Durant is the Thunder’s only playmaker in this series now that Westbrook is sidelined. In Memphis, this lack of a second shot-creator and distributor will really hurt the flow and efficiency of the Thunder’s offensive attack. Durant will have to be otherworldly to upset the favored Grizzlies. Can Durant catch fire, and lead the Thunder single-handedly to victory? He would be as good a bet as any, but the Grizzlies are built to stop just about any offensive threat, including Durant. They can throw an array of different defenders at Durant, ranging from the agitating Quincy Pondexter to the long and lanky Tayshaun Prince and finally they can put the best perimeter defender in the game in Tony Allen on Durant. Durant will be hard-pressed to replicate the performances that he displayed in Oklahoma City, as the Grizzlies hone in on him defensively. All these signs point toward another Grizzlies victory by more than the margin being offered.

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Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAY

INDIANA -4.5 over New York:  I know that Stoudamire is back for the Knicks but this team may be better without him and he will only play 10 to 15 minutes anyway. Indiana really played at home vs the Hawks in the playoffs, winning each game by at least 15 points and they are 2-0 on this floor vs the Knicks this year, winning the two games by 5 and 34 points. the Knicks controlled the pace in game two and it got Indiana out of their game plan. The Pacers don't let teams dictate the pace on this floor and I feel they will get back to a grind it out, pound the ball inside kinda game and behind their defense that allows just 89.9 ppg at home they should walk away with a win of at least 7 points.

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Jeff Scott Sports

4 UNIT PLAY

Detroit/ Cleveland Over 7.5: Both of these offenses come in extremely hot as the Tribe has scored 6.4 rpg in their last 11 games, while Detroit has put up 6.45 rpg in their last 11 games. At home this year the Tigers have averaged 6.25 rpg, while Cleveland has put up 5.7 rpg on the road. Granted it will be hard for Cleveland to get to their averages vs Verlander, but he has not been prefect vs them in his career with a 4.55 ERA in 30 starts, so to expect 3 or 4 runs from them is realistic. Now the Tigers do have a shot to hit their recent averages as they will be facing a struggling Ubaldo Jimenez, who comes in with a 6.37 ERA on the year. He does have a 2.50 ERA in 3 road starts this year, but that won't last as he has a 4.36 ERA on the road in his career and this park has been a house of horrors for him, as he has gone 1-6 with a 7.45 ERA in 7 career starts here. Hell Detroit might get the Over on their own in this one. It may happen, but I do at least expect 5 runs from them, while Cleveland will put up at least 3 or 4 of their own. Look or at the very least 9 runs in this one.

3 UNIT PLAYS

Philadelphia/ Arizona Under 8: Neither offense has scored much in this series as 8 total runs have been put up in the first 2 games. well I expect that to continue tonight, as e have a solid pitching matchup on the mound. Cliff Lee comes in with a solid 3.26 ERA so far, but the Phils are 3-4 in his starts and that because they give him just 3.1 rpg worth of support when he pitches. The Phils gave him little run support last year and it has carried over to this year. The Under is 12-1 when Lee had a quality start in his last game and 7-1 in his last 8 road starts, including 3-1 in this years road starts, with those games averaging just 5.5 rpg. Trevor Cahill has also been a victim of low run support this year. In 7 starts this year Trevor has a 2.80 ERA, but he is just 2-3 in those starts thanks to his mates giving him just 3 rpg worth of support.At home its even worse as he is 1-2 in 5 starts, but with a 2.61 ERA. At home his team has given him just 1.8 rpg worth of support and those games have averaged a mere 4.8 rpg. Neither offense is playing all that well right and they have not played well hen these starters have been on the mound. The first two in this series has been all about the pitching and this one will as well.


Oakland/ Seattle Over 8: The Over is 28-9 in A's games overall, including 15-5 on the road and 6-1 in Parker's starts on the year. This team is an over machine and I expect it to continue tonight. Jarrod Parker has looking nothing like he did last year as he comes in with a 1-5 mark and a 7.34 ERA on the year. Jarrod does have just a 4.30 ERA on the road, but those games have averaged 8.33 rpg and he also has a 5.94 ERA in 3 career starts vs the Mariners. Seattle has upgraded their offense some and they playing better at the plate, having scored 4.1 rpg in their last 10 games, while putting up 3.72 rpg at home. Not great but should be good enough for at least 4 runs off of Parker. Brandon Maurer has pitched a little better of late, but still he has a 6.07 ERA on the year, including a 6.35 ERA at home and a 6.11 ERA at night, plus in his lone meeting vs the A's (This year) he allowed 6 ER's in 6 innings. Maurer's starts have averaged 10.3 rpg overall, while his home starts have put up 11.75 rpg. The last 4 between these teams this year have put up 8 or more runs and I expect the same from this one.   


Texas -1.5 (-150) over HOUSTON: The Rangers were in a tough one last night, but I expect them to have an easier time tonight. Yu Darvish has been solid out the gate this year, with a 5-1 mark and a 2.56 ERA. His team has outscored their opponents by 4.1 rpg overall and 4.3 rpg on the road. Yu has faced Houston twice in his career and is 2-0 with a 1.08 EA in those starts, with the Rangers winning both by at least 4 runs. Erik Bedard has pitched well at home, but overall he still has a 7.36 ERA and his team is 1-4 in his starts. Houston is just 6-14 at home and have been outscored by 2.95 rpg in those games, while they are 1-7 in their last 8 meetings vs Texas, with all 7 losses coming by 2 or more runs. Texas rolls in this one.

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