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Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, July 8

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, July 8

Steve Janus

Baltimore Orioles -109

The Orioles were able to avoid a disastrous road trip with a 9th inning rally yesterday against the Yankees. I look for them to carry over that momentum at home tonight against the Rangers. Baltimore has won four straight and five of six at home and are a respectable 25-17 at home in 2013. They are also an impressive 19-9 at home with a money line of +125 to -125 this season.

I like their chances of cashing a winning ticket with a very underrated Scott Feldman taking the mound. Feldman came over from the Cubs and won his first start at the White Sox, allowing just two runs on six hits in six innings. He's already faced the Rangers once this season (with Cubs) and was brilliant, allowing just two hits in seven shutout innings of a 9-2 win.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, July 8

Sports Experts 17

Oakland Athletics at Pittsburgh Pirates
Pick: Pittsburgh Pirates

Bartolo Colon performance this season has been lucky, we just have to go back 2009, 2011 and 2012 and see his bad record, this season he won 8 in a row with a great backup team after he lose against Chicago Cubs that we gave as a WINNER, Tonight he will have all the pressure to go back in that winning track, but that would not happen, we will see Bartolo's reality (just a regular pitcher in the mount) against the most profitable team in the Majors with a great Jeff Locke and his amazing record 8-1. Be sure to follow this game and see the bad performance of Colon and a great performance of a playoff contender team.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, July 8

Brad Wilton

Your Monday comp play release is the Cubs in their makeup game against the White Sox.

The Cubs have won all 3 meetings this year with their in-city rival, and they hit the south side having won their last pair of games, and 5 of their last 8 overall.

The White Sox meanwhile continue to stink up the joint on a nightly basis, as the Pale Hose are on a 2-9 slide their last 11 games.

Matt Garza is rumored to be on the trading block, but he continues to go out there and fire away, as Garza is 3-0 his last 4 trips to the mound and his ERA is a scant 0.90 in that span.

Hector Santiago will go for the Sox, and he is just 1-2 with a 4.30 ERA at home for the season.

Will side with the Cubs to pull off another win, as they continue their uptick heading into the All Star break.

3* CUBS

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, July 8

Brett Atkins

My freebie for tonight is on the Tampa Bay Rays, who should have no trouble cruising to an easy win - their fifth straight overall - over the Minnesota Twins.

Look, I know right-hander Roberto Hernandez has not won a game since June 11, but there's more to this guy's 4-10 mark and 4.95 ERA. Like, the lack of offensive support he's received. Tampa Bay hitters have scored an average of 1.5 runs in his last four starts, but that could change today with the Twins coming to town.

While I know how well right-hander Samuel Deduno has performed for the Twins, he's not that good on the road. His 4.84 ERA far exceeds his 2.33 home ERA.

Look for the Rays to back their pitcher - though I'm not listing either - and the American League East contenders to keep their winning streak alive.

2♦ TAMPA BAY

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, July 8

Chris Jordan

My free winner for Monday night is from the National League West clash between the San Diego Padres and Colorado Rockies, and my money is on the home team laying a cheap price. Though I'd normally be wary of a West Coast team returning home from an East Coast road trip, I think the Friars are the play here with Colorado muddled in a three-game slide.

I know the Rockies are handing the ball to right-handed Tyler Chatwood, who has been very good for them for the most part this season, but he did struggle his last time out, against the Dodgers, and could be headed to a second-straight shellacking.

I know the Padres have lost 15 of 19 since the 17th - including nine in a row - but they've fallen 7-1/2 games back of the D-backs after a series sweep to the Nationals in Washington. And this is somewhat of a crucial series for San Diego, with must-win status all of it.

Colorado has won eight of the 10 meetings between the two teams this year, but this is a good time for San Diego to turn the corner and bring its skid to a halt.

2♦ SAN DIEGO

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, July 8

Rob Veno 

Atlanta at Miami
Play: Over 8

After opening the season with 10 quality starts in his first 13 outings, Atlanta’s Mike Minor is now in the midst of one of those rough patches that have plagued his young career. Minor’s recent four game stretch has totaled 24 innings, 37 hits, 58 total bases, 5.63 ERA and 1.54 WHIP. He’s had difficulty getting through innings as evidenced by the fact that he’s averaged facing 4.5 batters per inning in four of his last five starts after averaging only 3.84 in his 12 prior starts. Minor’s track record indicates he’s not a pitcher who quickly snaps out of funks which could bode well for Miami which has scored four or more runs in 10 of its last 15 games. Atlanta’s offense has supported Minor well all season scoring 5.35 runs per game while batting .282 and recording an .816 OPS. Those numbers indicate the Braves could have success against Miami’s Kevin Slowey who’s now taking the rotation spot vacated by the trade of Ricky Nolasco. Slowey threw two innings of relief vs. Atlanta just six days ago and was lit up for four runs. The righty has not had much success against the Braves and his contact style of pitching isn’t a good fit for their strikeout prone, LH dominant power hitting traits. Expect each of these teams to score plenty of runs tonight and get this game over the total.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, July 8

Dave Price

Atlanta Braves -154

The Braves will be out for some serious revenge in this series after losing two of three at home to Miami July 2-4. They have won 36 of the last 51 meetings, including 19 of the last 26 in Miami. The Marlins are hitting a dismal .220 and scoring only 2.6 runs per game off lefty starters this season so the odds are stacked against them tonight with southpaw Mike Minor set to take the mound for Atlanta. The Braves are 8-3 in Minor's last 11 starts, 5-1 in his last 6 starts as a road favorite and 4-1 in his last 5 starts as a favorite of -151 to -200. The Braves are 5-1 in their last 6 games as a road favorite of -151 to -200. Atlanta won't fret over facing Kevin Slowey, who has a 9.21 ERA over his last three starts. The Marlins are 1-5 in Slowey's last 6 starts overall and 2-6 in his last 8 home starts. Take Atlanta.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, July 8

Wunderdog

Oakland at Pittsburgh
Pick: Oakland -110

These are teams that are surprisingly leading their divisions as we approach the all-star break, and each will go with a pitcher that has made the all-star team. The Pirates are meeting some adversity now as they have lost their last two series, the last coming at the hands of the lowly Cubs. The A's have rolled to four straight series wins and continue to play solid baseball all the way around. There isn't much difference to measure on the mound here, and the one big difference is the A's, and the AL in general; their ability to win in inter-conference tilts. Oakland is 8-2 in their last 10 in inter-league play vs. a winning team, and 26-9 to a total of 7-8.5 in their last 35. Oakland has also gone 20-6 in Colon's last 26 starts. The Pirates are just 23-51 vs. an interleague club over .500, and are not playing well right now. Play on Oakland.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, July 8

Jeff Alexander

Chicago Cubs +110

The Cubs have won 5 of 6 versus the White Sox, including all 3 meetings this season. I expect them to notch another victory versus their cross-town rivals with Garza getting the ball. The right-hander has been lethal of late, going 3-0 with a 1.17 ERA over his last 3 starts. Also, the Cubs are 4-0 in Garza's last 4 interleague starts. The White Sox have lost 27 of 37 and are 0-7 in their last 7 games as a home favorite of -110 to -150. They are are 2-7 in Santiago's last 9 starts and 1-5 in his last 6 home starts. Cubs get the call.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, July 8

Nelly

Baltimore Orioles - over Texas Rangers

The Orioles should have some positive momentum after a comeback win yesterday against Mariano Rivera, avoiding a sweep and snapping a losing streak. Baltimore has not had the same success this season against left-handed pitching but the offense still has scored more than four runs per game against southpaws with a 14-12 record. Derek Holland is not getting a lot of national attention but he has turned into one of the top starters in the AL, although he has allowed four or more runs in five of his last 10 starts. Scott Feldman will make his second start for the Orioles after being traded from the Cubs, where he posted great season numbers in the NL. Feldman will be pitching against his former team so he should be fired up for this opportunity and he delivered a strong quality start in his debut with the Orioles. Texas has been struggling on offense with just a .237 team average over the last 10 games and just a .305 wOBA over the last month, ranking 20th in baseball despite maintaining a reputation as a formidable offensive team. Texas has featured great bullpen results on the season but the Rangers have allowed four or more runs in each of the last six games despite going against two of the weakest offensive teams in baseball, Seattle and Houston. The Orioles are 25-17 at home this season and perhaps undervalued in this matchup, though this will be the first meeting since Baltimore eliminated the Rangers from the playoffs last season.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, July 8

Joe Gavazzi

Chicago Cubs +110

This is a single makeup game to complete the season series following an earlier rain out. It is a matchup of 2 teams headed opposite directions with this underdog price making the Cubs our Dog of the Day! The White Sox were just swept at Tampa Bay dropping their recent record to 10-27 and 2-9. Though Santiago has pitched decently for the season, that has not been true from this mound where Santiago has a 4.30 ERA, 1.53 WHIP and .281 OBA. The Cubs enter with great confidence on a 7-4 run after defeating the best team in baseball in a pair of close games. Garza is pitching to get out of Chicago as his name continues to circulate prior to the trade deadline. In his last 4 starts, Garza is 3-0 with an 0.90 ERA while in 6 road starts, Garza has a 2.41 ERA. The better team and better pitcher along with current form make this our Dog of the Day!

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, July 8

Scott Delaney

Meet Matt Harvey.

They're calling him the best pitcher in baseball, and with the All-Star Game a little more than a week away in his ballpark - CitiField in Queens, N.Y., it may take this game right here to prove the critics right, and earn him the starting nod over the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw.

Personally, I think the young right-hander is up to task, and will get it done over  the Giants and Tim Lincecum. I don't think he's the best pitcher in baseball - I am convinced it's Kershaw. But I think for baseball's sake, he deserves to the be the starter on his own field, and tonight he'll show why.

Harvey, who is 7-2 with a 2.27 ERA on the year, will be looking to rebound from his worst outing of the year, last week against the D-backs, who tagged hhim for a season-high five earned runs while matching a season worst with three walks. His ERA climbed to 2.27. However, the NL Cy Young Award candidate still struck out nine.

Tonight he has to step up, and I want you listing only him in this game.

2♦ N.Y. METS

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