Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, May 29

Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, May 29

DUNKEL INDEX

MLB

Detroit at Pittsburgh
The Pirates look to follow up yesterday's 1-0 win and build on their 12-1 record in their last 13 games after scoring 2 runs or less in their previous game. Pittsburgh is the pick (+100) according to Dunkel, which has the Pirates favored by 1. Dunkel Pick: Pittsburgh (+100)

Game 901-902: Chicago White Sox at Chicago Cubs (2:20 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: White Sox (Danks) 15.623; Cubs (Feldman) 14.616
Dunkel Line: Chicago White Sox by 1; 8
Vegas Line: Chicago Cubs (-130); No Run Total
Dunkel Pick: Chicago White Sox (+110); N/A

Game 903-904: Detroit at Pittsburgh (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit (Sanchez) 15.773; Pittsburgh (Burnett) 16.690
Dunkel Line: Pittsburgh by 1; 8
Vegas Line: Detroit (-120); 7
Dunkel Pick: Pittsburgh (+100); Over

Game 905-906: Boston at Philadelphia (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Boston (Lackey) 15.666; Philadelphia (Kendrick) 14.741
Dunkel Line: Boston by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Philadelphia (-110); 8
Dunkel Pick: Boston (-110); Over

Game 907-908: NY Mets at NY Yankees (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Mets (Hefner) 14.863; NY Yankees (Phelps) 16.210
Dunkel Line: NY Yankees by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: NY Yankees (-160); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: NY Yankees (-160); Under

Game 909-910: Washington at Baltimore (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Washington (Zimmermann) 15.750; Baltimore (Tillman) 16.565
Dunkel Line: Baltimore by 1; 7
Vegas Line: Baltimore (-110); 8
Dunkel Pick: Baltimore (-110); Under

Game 911-912: Cincinnati at Cleveland (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cincinnati (Arroyo) 15.712; Cleveland (Masterson) 13.547
Dunkel Line: Cincinnati by 2; 9
Vegas Line: Cleveland (-135); 8
Dunkel Pick: Cincinnati (+115); Over

Game 913-914: Toronto at Atlanta (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Toronto (Rogers) 15.897; Atlanta (Medlen) 17.449
Dunkel Line: Atlanta by 1 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Atlanta (-185); 8
Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (-185); Over

Game 915-916: Tampa Bay at Miami (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay (Hernandez) 15.818; Miami (Koehler) 13.434
Dunkel Line: Tampa Bay by 2 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: Tampa Bay (-145); 8
Dunkel Pick: Tampa Bay (-145); Under

Game 917-918: Arizona at Texas (8:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Arizona (McCarthy) 15.470; Texas (Grimm) 15.149
Dunkel Line: Arizona by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Texas (-140); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Arizona (+120); Under

Game 919-920: Milwaukee at Minnesota (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Milwaukee (Estrada) 13.249; Minnesota (Deduno) 14.110
Dunkel Line: Minnesota by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Milwaukee (-115); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Minnesota (+105); Over

Game 921-922: Kansas City at St. Louis (8:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Kansas City (Mendoza) 13.687; St. Louis (Lynn) 16.240
Dunkel Line: St. Louis by 2 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: St. Louis (-200); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: St. Louis (-200); Under

Game 923-924: Houston at Colorado (8:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Houston (Bedard) 14.793; Colorado (Chatwood) 13.913
Dunkel Line: Houston by 1; 11
Vegas Line: Colorado (-200); 10
Dunkel Pick: Houston (+170); Over

Game 925-926: LA Dodgers at LA Angels (10:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Dodgers (Capuano) 16.848; LA Angels (Weaver) 15.806
Dunkel Line: LA Dodgers by 1; 9
Vegas Line: LA Angels (-185); 8
Dunkel Pick: LA Dodgers (+165); Over

Game 927-928: Seattle at San Diego (10:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Seattle (Saunders) 14.046; San Diego (Stults) 15.651
Dunkel Line: San Diego by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: San Diego (-145); 8
Dunkel Pick: San Diego (-145); Under

Game 929-930: Oakland at San Francisco (10:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Oakland (Milone) 16.450; San Francisco (Lincecum) 14.997
Dunkel Line: Oakland by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: San Francisco (-130); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Oakland (+110); Over

NHL

Detroit at Chicago
The Blackhawks look to close out the series and take advantage of a Detroit team that is 1-5 in its last 6 games in Chicago. Chicago is the pick (-220) according to Dunkel, which has the Blackhawks favored by 1 1/2. Dunkel Pick: Chicago (-220)

Game 71-72: Detroit at Chicago (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit 11.767; Chicago 13.152
Dunkel Line & Total: Chicago by 1 1/2; 4
Vegas Line & Total: Chicago (-220); 5
Dunkel Pick: Chicago (-220); Under

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Jesse Schule

Toronto vs. Atlanta
Pick: Atlanta

The Braves earned a split in Toronto, winning yesterday afternoon in extra-innings after getting blown out on Monday by a score of 9-3.

They will host the Jays at Turner Field tonight, and Toronto will be forced to pluck Esmil Rogers out of the bullpen to make his first start of the season. There is bound to be some tired arms, after the Jays used six different pitchers, with the bullpen logging eight of 10 innings yesterday.

Rogers might have nightmares about Atlanta, he's allowed 12 runs on 11 hits in just three innings against the Braves in his career. It would seem more than likely that he will not log a lot of innings here tonight, and that's not good news for a Jays team that doesn't have a lot of fresh arms.

The Braves will hand the ball to Kris Medlen, and he's without a win in his last eight starts. Medlen (1-5, 3.16 ERA) has pitched much better than his record indicates. He's been particularly sharp in Atlanta, posting an ERA of 2.08 in four starts.

He allowed one run on two hits over seven innings in a 3-1 win over the Dodgers in his last start at home.

The Jays will likely be in big trouble today in Atlanta, where they have lost eight of their last nine visits.

Take the Braves.

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Bryan Power

Kansas City vs. St. Louis
Pick: St. Louis

Here's a pair of teams at opposite ends of the MLB spectrum. The Cardinals, having just swept two games from the Royals in Kansas City, have the best record in baseball at 34-17.  KC has lost seven in a row, which is tied for the longest active losing streak in either league.  The I-70 series continues Wednesday, but this time in St. Louis and that's a big edge for the home team....

One of the reasons I don't mind laying the juice with the Cards here is that they will be sending Lance Lynn to the mound.  Lynn is 7-1 in his 10 starts with a 2.95 ERA & 1.098 WHIP, and comes off another strong outing, one where he allowed no runs and only two hits in 6 IP. That was on the road against the Dodgers. At home, he's 4-0 in five starts.  Overall, the Cardinals have won six of seven.

St. Louis is 28-11 vs. righties this year, averaging 5.2 runs per game, so they should be happy to see Luis Mendoza, who has just one win in seven starts.  Overall, the Royals have lost 11 of 12 and they simply are not scoring.  Yesterday, they scored just 1 run. They have now scored three runs or less in nine of their last 11 losses.

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Marc Lawrence

Detroit vs. Pittsburgh
Pick: Pittsburgh

The Pirates send A. J. Burnett to the hill against Anibal Sanchez in Pittsburgh in the opener of this two-game flip-flop series at PNC Park Wednesday night.  Burnett enters the contest with team start wins in seven of his last eight games against the Tigers, including 4-0 at home. Meanwhile, Sanchez is 0-4 his last four-road team starts during May.  With that look for the Pirates to improve to 7-2 as a host in this series here tonight.  We recommend a 1-unit play on Pittsburgh.

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Will Rogers

Detroit vs. Pittsburgh
Pick: Pittsburgh

The Pirates have to be thrilled to have escaped the Motor City with a 1-1 split as the series now moves to their park for a pair of games. I cashed the Tigers in the 1st game of the series, noting Pittsburgh was much stronger at home. I'll restate that here as I go with the home team, this time the Bucs, Wednesday. Pittsburgh is 15-9 as an underdog of +150 or less this year.

Here are my keys to the game:

1.  A.J. Burnett - He's pitched well in 11 starts and deserves better than his actual record. His ERA is 2.57 and his WHIP is 1.057. Here at PNC Park, those numbers are slightly better. Though he's allowed just a total of seven runs (only six earned) his last three starts, the team has found a way to lose all three games.  That shouldn't be the case here as Detroit is just 2-8 on the road when the money line is -125 to +125 this season.

2.  Homefield Advantage - The Pirates are 18-9 this season at PNC Park, including 14-4 in night games. The Tigers are only a .500 team on the road.  Though Anibal Sanchez is coming off a near no-hitter in his last start, he was hammered last time on the road, giving up seven runs and not making out of the third inning.

3. X-Factor - Sanchez owns a 2-12 TSR after allowing 1 earned run or less his last outing.

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Bruce Marshall

Kansas City vs. St. Louis
Pick: St. Louis

As long as the prices look fair, why not keep riding the very-pronounced streaks involved between St. Louis and Kansas City? Certainly, the Show-Me State Showdown continues to be all Cards, whose wins the last two nights at Kauffman Stadium have lifted them to an 18-7 mark their last 25 vs. the Royals, including seven wins in a row vs. their cross-state foe.  The Redbirds are also 20-6 their last 26 overall.  Meanwhile, KC's most-recent losing streak has now stretched to seven games (outscored 35-13 in that stretch), and the Royals are 4-18 their last 22.  Note that Cards starter Lance Lynn, after a couple of bumpy outings, pitched six scoreless innings with nine strikeouts in last Friday's win over the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine. Small risk laying the extra run at Busch Stadium tonight.

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Art Aronson

Oakland vs. San Francisco
Pick: Over

Tommy Milone (4-5, 3.80 ERA) gets the call for the visitors; Milone gave up five runs off eight his with no walks while striking out five over seven frames vs. the Astros on Friday, fortunate to earn a no-decision after his team scored three runs in the ninth to win 6-5. It was the second time in three games that the southpaw has given up five earned runs. Milone will be opposed by Tim Lincecum (3-4, 4.75 ERA) who gave up four runs off seven hits over seven frames vs. the Rockies on Friday. The beleaguered right-hander has now given up a ghastly 10 runs over his last 12 innings of work. Has either of these starters impressed you this year? Neither has shown consistency and each has struggled with both control and velocity. "Recent performance" plays an important part in my handicapping repertoire; I believe these two struggling "gas cans" get chased early and this total soars above the number as the game comes down the stretch.

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Jimmy Boyd

Texas Rangers -129

Justin Grimm will start for the Rangers today and he brings with him a 2.79 ERA when playing at home. Grimm has been solid in all games this season with his team going 5-3 when he is on the mound. Arizona’s Brandon McCarthy has not seen those same results as the Diamondbacks are 5-5 in his 10 starts and he has allowed 76 hits in a total of 64 innings pitched.

The Rangers will have no problem scoring runs today. They have a .280 team batting average at home and they are scoring 5 runs per game. Texas is coming off a pair of road losses to the Diamondbacks and I expect them to respond with a big win today. The Rangers are 19-3 over the last 3 seasons when they have lost 2 or more consecutive games and they are playing at home.

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Jim Feist

New York Mets vs. New York Yankees    
Play: New York Mets

The Mets are 8-2 in their last 10 vs. the AL East. Mets starter Jeremy Hefner is winless but doesn't have bad stuff, with a decent strikeout to walk ratio (37-20) and fewer hits allowed than innings pitched. The Mets are 10-3 in their last 13 interleague games and 7-2 in their last 9 against the AL East. They face the rival Yankees for the battle for the pride of the Big Apple. The Bronx Bombers continue to battle injuries and are just 5-5 the last 10 games, so grab the live dog in this city rivalry tilt. Play the NY Mets.

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Ray Monohan

Milwaukee -109

Both of these teams are in last place in their respective divisions. That is no surprise for the Twins but the Brewers are supposed to be better..by a lot.

Huge advantage on the mound for the Brew Crew in this one with Marco Estrada - who also had his best outing of the season the last time out, lowering his ERA by half a run (he might be coming around).

His opposite Samuel Deduno...exactly who? Deduno was rocked in his only start this season and last year barely struck out more batters than he walked.

The Twins are using a lot of young players and this guy is not even really a prospect.

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Jeff Alexander

Washington Nationals +103

The Nationals get the call as Wednesday's free pick given the edge they have on the mound with Zimmerman. The right-hander is 8-2 with an ERA of 1.71, which is far better than the 4-2 record and 3.68 ERA Tillman has posted for Baltimore. The Nationals are 20-6 in Zimmermann's last 26 starts, 8-0 in his last 8 Wednesday starts and 4-0 in his last 4 starts as an underdog.

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Jeffrey Brandes

MILWAUKEE BREWERS at MINNESOTA TWINS

Pitchers:
MILWAUKEE BREWERS: MARCO ESTRADA (R) ERA: 4.94 W/L: 4-2
MINNESOTA TWINS: SAMUEL DEDUNO (R) ERA: 10.13 W/L: 0-1

The Brewer's MARCO ESTRADA is 2-0 in his last 3 starts with a 2.75 ERA in that span. He worked seven strong innings against the Pirates on Friday in his last start. He has a 3.09 ERA in five starts on the road.

For the Twins, MARCO ESTRADA is making his second start since being called up from triple A. In his debut, he gave up 6 runs on 9 hits with 3 walks in 5 1/3 innings.

RECOMMENDATION: MILWAUKEE BREWERS on the money line (-105)

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Freddy Wills

Cincinnati Reds vs. Cleveland Indians    
Play: Cleveland Indians

The Indians look to Justin Masterson to continue his great pitching as he's posted a 0.86 WHIP and 2.05 ERA over his last three starts, but he has also had success against the Reds. Over the last three years he posts a 2.86 ERA over three starts vs. the Reds while his competition for Wednesday has a 9.30 ERA in 4 starts vs. the Indians in Bronson Arroyo. Masterson has also been dominant at home this year posting a 4-1 record and a 2.47 ERA which is nothing new when you look at his split statistics over his career. I love how Masterson pitched a complete game shutout at home against the Reds last year so his confidence should be sky high and the Indians team has been great at home all year long and have won 7 straight in Cleveland over the in state rivals. The Reds meanwhile have gone just 16-35 in their last 51 inter league games on the road vs. a winning team.

The Reds will still travel and play the game anyway but I think Bronson Arroyo on the mound will mean a victory for the Indians. Indians hitters have hit him hard of late and their bats continue to stay hot. Collectively they have 7 HR and a .860 OPS vs. Arroyo over 96 AB. Cleveland is 10th in OPS vs. RHP while the Reds are 15th. Arroyo also posts a 4.74 ERA during night games while Cleveland's offense has played great during night games ranking 6th in OPS. Here are a look at the other probable hot starters

Notable Hot Starters:
Bronson Arroyo (3-0, 20.1 IP, 1.03 WHIP, 1.33 ERA)
A.J. Burnett (2-1, 22 ip, 0.86 whip, 2.05 ERA)
David Phelps (2-1, 21.1 IP, 1.12 WHIP, 2.53 ERA)
John Lackey (2-1, 17.1 IP, 0.92 WHIP, 2.60 ERA)
Jordan Zimmerman (2-1, 22.2 IP, 0.97 WHIP, 1.99 ERA)
Kris Medlen (2-1, 18.1 IP, 1.42 WHIP, 2.95 ERA)
Marco Estrada (3-0, 19.2 IP, 0.97 WHIP, 2.75 ERA)
Brandon McCarthy (2-1, 24 IP, 0.79 WHIP, 0.38 ERA)
Tyler Chatwood (3-0, 17.2 IP, 1.19 WHIP, 0.51 ERA)

Notable Cold Starters:
Roberto Hernandez (2-1, 12 IP, 2.00 WHIP, 9.00 ERA)

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Rob Vinciletti

New York Mets vs. New York Yankees    
Play: New York Yankees

Game 3 has a venue change as these two travel the short trip to the Bronx. Last nights game in Queens was filled with late dramatics as the Mets came back in the 9th to get righty Phenom Matt Harvey off the hook. They beat the legendary Mariano Rivera. Poor Matt Harvey goes 7 innings with 2 or less runs just about every time out and looks like he hit the lottery on the post game conference after a no decision. That loss for Mariano Rivera was the First time in his career he registered a loss with out getting a single out. Now the Mets win puts them in a negative system that plays against certain road dogs off a 1 run home favored win while scoring 2 or less wins on 5+ hits vs an opponent off a loss. These teams have not won the last 7 years. The Yankees have Dominated the Mets here winning 7 of the last 8. When Coming back home off a road game the Yankees have won 18 of 21. Tonight they will face J. Hefner, which will be like looking at beach balls coming at them after seeing Matt Harvey last night. The Mets have lost all 9 times Hefner has started and his 6.00 road era makes this almost non competitive when Considering the Yanks have won 7 of 8 with Phelps on the hill. The Mets have lost 16 of 24 vs winning teams and have a mediocre road bullpen era at 5.17. The Mets have also struggled at the plate of late. Look for the Yankees to win this one.

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Dave Cokin

Arizona Diamondbacks at Texas Rangers
Pick: Arizona Diamondbacks

Brandon McCarthy got off to a terrible start this season. But as I kept pointing out in analyzing what was taking place, McCarthy was more a victim than a punching bag in those early starts. BABIP can be a very useful stat in determining whether a pitcher is really getting whacked or might just be getting very unlucky. In the case of McCarthy, it was more the latter and it was just a matter of time until there would be a correction. That's pretty much what has taken place lately, and now the veteran righty heads into Texas on a nice roll.

The Diamondbacks as a team are flying high these days. I did not think this team would be a serious contender in the NL West, ans there's still a long way to go before they can start printing playoff tickets. But the Snakes are playing good ball, and if the unexpected bright lights on this team continue to shine, they're a good bet to stay in the race.

The Rangers are always tough and they figure to be seething after dropping a pair on Monday to this opponent. This team was not pleased about the decision of the Diamondbacks to play the scheduled doubleheader on the holiday, so there's a revenge factor of sorts in play tonight.

Justin Grimm has done reasonably good work for the Rangers pitching at the back end of their rotation. His ERA is respectable and Grimm's analytical numbers are showing him to be a legit big league starter at this point.

I sure can't knock anyone who wants to back the Rangers tonight. They're still the better team and Texas can be very inhospitable hosts. But McCarthy is scorching right now for Arizona. McCarthy has surrendered just one run in his last three starts, and I'm definitely a fan of backing red hot hurlers at plus money. I'll side with McCarthy and the Diamondbacks to pick up another win tonight.

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Bryan LeonardFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Pittsburgh Pirates +100FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Anibal Sanchez returns to the mound after throwing a complete game one hitter against the Minnesota Twins. He'll be opposed by AJ Burnett as the interleague series between the Tigers and Pirates shifts to PNC Park in Pittsburgh. Sanchez is coming off a near miss, losing his no hitter in the ninth inning on a Joe Mauer single. Sanchez threw 130 pitches in his last outing and did not have an extra day of rest. Coming off that kind of workload and the emotional almost no hitter, we think fading Sanchez will be profitable on Wednesday night.
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The Pirates send their ace to the mound in AJ Burnett. Burnett has been terrific at PNC Park this season with a 2.51 ERA and opposing batters are hitting just .193. This after posting a 3.10 ERA in PNC Park last season. The Pirates are 18-9 at home this season and have one of the game's strongest bullpens if this is a tight game in the late innings.

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Greg ShakerFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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St Louis -1.5 +105FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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3rd time in a row playing the Cardinals and this time the runline. You can refer back to the thoughts on the previous 2. Cards just swatting righthanded pitching and KC Offense a non-factor right now. Lynn should not make that trend easy to snap. I'm going to play 1% here.

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CRAIG DAVIS

Free play of the day on the Pittsburgh Pirates over the Detroit Tigers.

Though Anibal Sanchez vs. A.J. Burnett doesn't sound too exciting on paper, I'm guessing this will be one of the better games in this series.

Sanchez (5-4, 2.38 ERA), though he's having a good season, allowed six runs on nine hits over just 2 2/3 innings in a 7-2 loss at Texas two outings ago, but hasn't been consistent at all as his last outing saw him nearly no-hit the Twins.

Sanchez is just 1-2 at Pittsburgh but does own an impressive 2.35 ERA against them.

Burnett (3-5, 2.57) has also been all over the place in some of his most recent outings, but one thing you can't ignore is how successful he's been vs. the Tigers, for the most part.

Burnett also needs to home to get some help from his offense as he's 0-4 with a 2.57 ERA in his last four starts. He's pitching well enough to win, but the offense seems to fail him when he needs them the most.

I'm taking Pittsburgh as your free play of the day.

2* PITTSBURGH

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JEFF BENTON

Tonight's freebie is the Under in the Mets-Yankees game.

The venue may have changed for tonight's game, but I do not think the amount of runs will change, as each of the last two night's have seen the Mets edge the Yankees by 2-1 margins.

That puts the Under at 7-3 the last 10 series meetings, and it also puts the Under for the Mets at 4 in a row, and 3-1 for the Yankees their last 4 times on the field.

Jeremy Hefner is winless at 0-5 for the season, but he did work 6 innings of 2 run ball in a rain-suspended start versus the Braves his last time out. With the Yankees bats silent of late, look for Hefner to build off of that positive start and limit the New York bats tonight in the Bronx.

By the same token, David Phleps has turned in a some solid efforts for the Yankees, going 27-plus innings his last 4 trips to the mound while allowing just 8 earned runs to score.

I see a third straight Mets-Yankees Under tonight at Yankee Stadium.

3* N.Y. METS-N.Y. YANKEES UNDER

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Andrew LangeFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Toronto at AtlantaFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The fact that Esmil Rogers is the 10th Blue Jays pitcher to start this year indicates the team certainly prefers him in the role of reliever. But even out of the bullpen, Rogers has had his struggles with 30 hits allowed and a 14-8 K-to-BB ratio in 25.2 innings of work. He has decent stuff and his career numbers are skewed due to Coors Field but given Toronto's track record with starting pitchers, if he was good enough, he would have already been given an opportunity to start. I expect 5 inning max out of Rogers which puts half the game in the hands of a bullpen that threw eight innings last night. Atlanta's Kris Medlen boasts an ERA of 3.16 but the rest of his numbers suggest he's once again been on the fortunate side. His strikeouts are down, walks are up, fly balls are up, and his FIP/xFIP are well below league average. After a slow start to the month, Toronto has put together a 12-9 run while averaging over six runs per game with a team OPS of .850. Even without the services of a DH, they should be able to plate some runs against Medlen. Looks for the same from Atlanta against Rogers and the Jays' bullpen.

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