Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, August, 7

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, August, 7

Craig Davis

Today's free play of the day is on the Chicago White Sox over the NY Yankees.

I'm not listing the pitchers because I don't think it matters.

The Yanks have scored a whopping three runs in the last two games since A-Fraud has re-entered the lineup, telling me the chemistry is highly important to a team's success.

Pittsburgh doesn't have as much talent as the Yankees on paper, but they play well together and figure out ways to win games.

The Yankees figure out ways to lose.

They don't have any heart right now. It's a team full of veterans who have multiple championships and the desire simply isn't there.

This offense is pathetic, failing to give their pitchers the basic run support they need to win games.

If it weren't for Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova, things could be a lot worse. Kuroda pitched another solid game last night (though it wasn't his best) and yet go absolutely no run support as the White Sox beat the Yankees 3-2.

Tonight, CC Sabathia takes the hill and has quickly become the Yankees worst pitcher. I could care less that he's 18-4 all time vs. the White Sox... what I care about is how horrible he's been this year... and more importantly, recently.

Sabathia has failed to finish the 6th inning in each of his last four starts, allowing five, seven, seven, and three earned runs in those outings. Pitiful.

The White Sox are hitting well enough to make him pay, and I just don't see how the Yankees compete in this game.

Take Chicago as your free play of the day.

1♦ WHITE SOX

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Will RogersFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Tampa Bay vs. ArizonaFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: Tampa BayFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Rays lost last night. Over the last month or so, that's something you haven't been able to say many times.  In fact, they haven't lost two straight games to the same team since dropping a pair of games at Yankees Stadium on June 21-22.  Therefore, I'll call for them to bounce back tonight in Arizona behind Chris Archer.
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Here are my keys to the game:
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1.  Chris Archer - After having a dominant July, Archer lost his first August start, giving up four runs in seven innings vs. San Francisco.  But for the season, his ERA is still 2.65 and his WHIP is 1.085 in 12 starts.  In five starts, he allowed just four runs in 37 innings all of last month.
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2.  Rolling Rays - Tampa Bay is 17-6 as a road favorite this season and has lost just nine times in the last 37 games overall.
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3.  X-Factor - While Tampa Bay hasn't lost back to back games to the same team since late June, Arizona hasn't won back to back games against anyone in almost two weeks.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, August, 7

Jeffrey Brandes

New York Yankees +100

Pitchers:
NEW YORK YANKEES: CC SABATHIA (L) ERA: 4.78 W/L: 9-10
CHICAGO WHITE SOX: HECTOR SANTIAGO (L) ERA: 3.15 W/L: 3-5

Key Trends:

Chi White Sox are 2-10 SU in their last 12 games
Chi White Sox are 3-6 SU in their last 9 games at home

The Yankees are 15-0 since May 30, 2007 after a loss in which
they allowed 1 or fewer walks and it is the last game of a
series for a net profit of $1585.

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Ray MonohanFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Toronto Blue Jays -110FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Don’t look now but the Blue Jays have won 3 in a row. No they are not getting back into the race just showing what the team can do when they get a reasonable start on the mound. Tonight in Seattle starter J.A. Happ returns. Happ has always shown promise and provided he is not rusty is easing in nicely by getting to face a struggling Mariners squad that is hardly fearsome at the plate. The Jays lineup was unaffected by PED suspensions and put up 7 runs last night against King Felix Hernandez. Today they get to tee off on Aaron Harang as they go for the sweep in Seattle.

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Doug UpstoneFOR  FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Philadelphia Phillies -172FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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For Geico Hump Day, PLAY ON favorites like Philadelphia with a money line of -125 to -175, with a starting pitcher (Cole Hamels) whose winning percentage is worse than 30 percent, versus a well rested starting pitcher (Travis Wood), who is working on five or six days rest. Dating back 16 years ago, this MLB system is 48-13, 78.7 percent.

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Boston Red Sox -166FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Red Sox get the call as my free play as they go up against a Houston club they have defeated 8 times in the last 9 meetings. The Red Sox are 5-1 in their last 6 games as a road favorite and 13-3 in their last 16 games as a favorite of -151 to -200. The Astros are a dismal 30-64 in their last 94 home games and 16-57 in their last 73 games as an underdog of +151 to +200. Jarred Cosart has pitched well for Houston, but he's yet to face a lineup like the one he'll see this evening. Ryan Dempster is more proven. The Red Sox are 4-0 in his last 4 starts overall and 5-0 in his last 5 starts as a favorite. Bet Boston.

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SPORTS WAGERSFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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CINCINNATI -1½ +181 over OaklandFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Come August the pretenders begin to fade and that’s precisely what we’re going to do against the A’s. Oakland somehow managed to post one of the best records in the league in the first four months of the season but it was a luck-driven run in that every bounce went its way. They won games with poor hitting and average starting pitching but the clock has struck midnight now. Oakland has lost five of its past six games. True to form, the A’s have scored 10 lousy runs over that six game stretch and they’ve scored one run over their past two games. The A’s are batting .199 over their past six and things don’t figure to get easier here against Homer Bailey. Bailey has blossomed into a legit ace in this year. After years of frustrating his manager and those that pay him due to his slow starts and hot finishes, Bailey has posted outstanding skills every month this season. Those skills have been driven by consistent dominance. Bailey even gained one mph on his fastball in July, which averaged 94.8 mph that month, and his swinging strike rate increased by 1.4% to a top-tier 12.9%. Bailey has whiffed 145 batters in 144 innings while issuing just 32 walks. Bailey is the straight goods while the A’s are loaded with .240 hitters and that’s when they’re going good. Right now they are not.
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Bartolo Colon has pitched at home in 11 of his past 13 starts. Over that span, Colon has a strand rate of 90%, which is the highest mark in the majors. Overall, Colon’s strand rate is 82%, which is also one of the highest rates in the business. Colon has 78 K’s in 148 innings. He has survived with pinpoint control and balls being hit right at people. This park is unforgiving to pitchers that throw fastballs 87% of the time and that pitch to contact. Over his last five starts, Colon has posted a 1.57 ERA but he has an xERA over that span of 5.02. Give Colon credit for a 14-3 record and 2.50 ERA but this guy has the skills of pitchers that have won five times in 22 starts and just like the team he pitches for, his luck cannot continue over an extended period of time. Expect the Reds to put up a crooked number here against this 41-year old, hamburger loving imposter. 
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PHILADELPHIA -1½ +130 over ChicagoFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Phillies went off for nine runs last night and that coincided with the return of Domonic Brown to the Phillies lineup. Brown batted cleanup and contributed with 2 RBI’s. One win does wonders to team morale and the Phillies could easily go off again here against Travis Wood. Wood remains a starter with a lot of downside potential from his 3.05 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. He has been helped by a 22% hit rate and 6% hr/f. Wood’s aggregate base skills do not support a sub-4.00 ERA. His xERA is 4.37 but over his past five starts that xERA is 6.22. Wood has walked 16 batters over his past 28 frames and over that span he has a 1.73 WHIP. He also has an ugly 33%/24%/43% groundball/line-drive/fly-ball rate this season. That fly-ball bias profile does not bode well at this park. Wood's command level continues to hover around pedestrian levels, which make him only marginally worthy. His fly ball rate is why he struggled with HRs last season and it’s likely to catch up to him again. Wood's skills suggests he has work to do before becoming a reliable starter and he's more likely to erode than explode.
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The Cubbies have dropped five in a row and eight of nine. They’ve also been shutout in two of their past three and they don’t figure to get right-sided here against Cole Hamels. Hamels has four wins in 23 starts, which is completely ludicrous when you consider 16 pure quality starts in 23 attempts and zero pure disaster starts last season. Cole Hamels is a true ace because of his outstanding command, high strikeout rate and low 18% line-drive rate. He has been without question, the unluckiest starter in the majors this season in terms of wins and losses but this is still one of the best skilled starters in the game and we get a great opportunity to take back a tag (laying runs) in a huge pitching mismatch in our favor. Cole Hamel’s metrics are not off.
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Texas/LA ANGELS Over 8FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Two former aces are anything but this season but their reputations have this total too low. These two clubs combined to score 11 runs last night with two solid pitchers on the hill in Yu Darvish and Garrett Richards. The two going today, Tommy Hanson and Alexi Ogando are nowhere near the skill levels of the pair that went yesterday. Ogando did everything Texas could ask in 2011 starting pitching conversion, but then ended up without a rotation chair for all of 2012 despite starters dropping like flies around him. Why? The Rangers knew he was a “one-year” wonder and they were right. Ogando has horrible skiils. He walks too many and strikes out few. Over his last three starts, covering just 14 frames, Ogando has seven walks and four K’s. He also has an alarming 34%/52% groundball/fly-ball split, not to mention a 1.68 WHIP over three starts since his return from the DL on July 23. Ogando is filling in right now until the Rangers get some bodies back but should this team make the playoffs, you will not see him starting and you’re not likely to see him relieving either because he really is that bad.
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Tommy Hanson isn’t much better. Hanson’s partially torn rotator cuff last season led to a new delivery, which led to his worst MLB results and nothing has changed this season. In 12 starts this year, Hanson’s quality start/disaster start split is 33%/67%. In just 63 innings, Hanson has walked 25 and struck out 49. Much like Ogando, he has a horrible 34%/43% groundball/fly-ball split and you can also throw in a disturbing 37% line-drive rate over his last five starts. Overall, Hanson has a 1.54 WHIP, to go along with a 5.29 ERA and both marks are supported by his awful skills. Combined, these two starters today have some of the worst skills in the game. This market has this total in the wrong range and we’re on it.
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Atlanta +111 over WASHINGTONFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Braves’ winning streak is up to 12 games after they defeated both Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez over the past two days. They take a step down in class here against Jordan Zimmermann, a pitcher who may be suffering from fatigue. In 2009, Zimmermann threw 91 innings and in 2010 he threw just 31. He followed that up with a 161 innings season in 2011 and 196 last year. This season, Zimmermann is up to 147 frames already but over his last five starts he has walked nine batters over 21 innings and has posted a 1.67 WHIP and 7.18 ERA. In his last start, he walked four batters in six innings and these are all warning signs that Zimmermann may be running on fumes. Facing the hottest team in the majors is not good timing for Zimmermann and is sure doesn’t help that his team continues to struggle.   
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The Nats are in this price range because Kris Medlen has been laboring. That provides us with a buy-low opportunity. Medlen reportedly was close to being ousted from the Atlanta rotation in July. It's a good thing that didn't happen, because a closer look reveals that a 41% hit rate was the primary driver of his 6.41 ERA and 1.84 WHIP that month. Medlen’s high 10.4% swinging strike rate suggests that his strikeout rate was lower than it should have been. Pinpoint control (35 BB in 131 IP), a healthy strikeout rate (102 K’s), tons of groundballs testify to Medlen’s stuff and it says that he’s a great bet to rebound in August. Wrong side favored.

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King CreoleFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Rangers / Angels Over 8FOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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We've been on numerous Texas Ranger 'UNDERS' this season, and they've rewarded us with multiple winners. But it's when Texas is at HOME when we play these. And tonight's Game Three of this Texas / Los Angeles series is (of course) on the ROAD. With last night's Game Two going OVER... we'll play for another high-scoring game as the series wraps up. In fact, this American League WEST DIVISION series has gone 16-6-1 O/U in the last 23 meetings dating back to last season... and 4-1 O/U in the last 5 played IN Los Angeles.
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Let's look first at tonight's 'Man in Blue'. Working behind the dish in LA tonight is TIM TIMMONS. He's one of only FOUR Major League Baseball full-time Umpires that's gone OVER the TOTAL in 67% or more of their games for the full season. Overall record: 14-7-1 O/U. His big-time 'OVER' results have done even better in American League games. Timmons has gone 6-2-1 O/U (75% OVERS) in the 'Junior Circuit' for the year... with an average of 9.8 combined runs-per-game. In 'Righty vs Righty' pitching matchups, he's gone 9-4-1 O/U.
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As far as tonight's starting pitchers, make no mistake. BOTH guys are 'bottom of the barrel'. For the visiting Rangers, credit is due to starter Alexi Ogando for his overall ERA of 3.26 in 13 starts. But his ROAD ERA numbers are almost a FULL run HIGHER when compared to his HOME starts. And he does come into tonight's start in his worst current form of the season (4.61 ERA last three starts).
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His counterpart (Tommy Hanson) has been an 'Over-MACHINE' on the season. In his 11 overall starts, TEN of 'em (91%) have gone OVER the TOTAL along with a YTD ERA of 5.29. And for a strange reason, he's been backed up by tremendous OFFENSIVE run support by his Angel teammates in his starts. The Angels have averaged 6.4 runs-per-game in Hanson's last ten games. At home, his overall ERA on the year is a full run HIGHER (5.66) compared to his road starts (4.57).

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Rocketman

Texas @ LA Angels
Play: Texas -110

The Texas Rangers travel to Los Angeles to take on the Angels on Wednesday night. The LA Angels are 18-32 this year against division opponents. LA Angels are 33-48 when playing at night this season. Angels are 23-37 this year after a loss. Texas has won 8 of their past 9 games overall. The Angels have lost 9 of their last 12 games overall. Texas is 32-14 against division opponents this year. Texas is allowing only two runs per game their past seven games overall where they are holding opponents to a combined .206 batting average. Alexi Ogando is 4-3 with a 3.26 ERA overall this year and has a 3.42 ERA on the road this season. Tommy Hanson has a 5.29 ERA overall this year, 5.66 ERA at home this season and a 5.87 ERA his last 3 starts. Texas is 9-2 overall vs the LA Angels this year. Ogando is 3-0 with a 2.28 ERA in his four starts against the Angels in his career. We'll recommend a small play on Texas tonight!

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Jack Jones

Baltimore Orioles -120

The Baltimore Orioles cannot afford to slip up against San Diego in this series. They trail the Red Sox by six games for first place in the AL East, and they are 4.5 games behind Tampa Bay.

Off a 4-1 victory in Game 1 last night, I look for the Orioles to be triumphant once again behind the underrated Miguel Gonzalez. The right-hander has gone 8-5 with a 3.88 ERA and 1.276 WHIP in 19 starts this season.

While Eric Stults is having a solid season overall at 8-10 with a 3.55 ERA, he has really struggled of late. In fact, Stults is 0-3 with a 4.58 ERA and 1.754 WHIP in his last three starts overall.

The Orioles are 6-1 in their last 7 interleague games vs. a left-handed starter. The Padres are 0-5 in Stults' last 5 starts vs. a team with a winning record. Bet Baltimore Wednesday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, August, 7

Steve Janus

Washington Nationals -120

The Washington Nationals have lost each of the first two games in this series by one-run each. There's no question they will be motivated to avoid getting swept at home and to put an end to the Braves 12-game winning streak.

Hard to not like their chances when you factor in how well Washington's Jordan Zimmerman has performed at home and in night games. Zimmerman is 9-2 with a 2.83 ERA and 1.035 WHIP in 13 starts at home (11-2 team record) and is 11-2 with a 2.61 ERA and 0.972 WHIP in 15 starts at night (13-2 team record). Not to mention Zimmerman has a 2.41 ERA in eight starts vs division opponents. In his only start vs the Braves this season, Zimmerman threw 8 shutout innings, allowing just 2 hits with 0 walks and 8 strike outs in a 2-0 Nationals victory at Atlanta.

The Braves will counter with Kris Medlen, who is just 8-10 with a 3.85 ERA and 1.374 WHIP in 22 starts this season. Medlen has not been very effective on the road, where his ERA jumps to 4.43. He's also not been throwing well of late, posting a 5.19 ERA over his last three starts.

Several trends favoring a Nationals win tonight. Atlanta is just 3-12 over their last 15 road games following 5 or more consecutive road games. Washington is 29-9 as a favorite of -110 or higher this season and 20-5 in Zimmerman's last 25 starts at home with a total of 7 to 8.5.

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Jeff Alexander

Washington Nationals -120

Look for the Nationals to bring Atlanta's 12-game win streak to an end behind a strong outing from Jordan Zimmerman, who's 9-2 with an ERA of 2.83 in 13 home starts this season. The Nationals are 37-17 in Zimmermann's last 54 starts, 22-6 in his last 28 starts as a home favorite, 7-1 in his last 8 home starts versus a team with a winning record and 12-4 in his last 16 divisional starts. Washington has won his last 2 starts against the Braves. It is also 3-1 all-time in his home starts versus Atlanta. Kris Medlen is just 4-5 with a 4.43 ERA in 11 road starts this season, and he lost his most recent start against the Nationals.

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Vegas Connection

Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Indians
Pick: Detroit Tigers

The Tribe made soome great strides this season to get into this spot however they are up gainst the AL Champs DET are 23-7 in their last 30 overall. DET are 10-1 in the last 11 meetings. DET are 7-1 in the last 8 meetings in Cleveland.

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NellyFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Twins / Royals UnderFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Samuel Deduno has been a stable presence since joining the Minnesota rotation, delivering a quality start in seven of his last nine outings and posting a strong 3.17 ERA despite not getting a great deal of strikeouts. Deduno has allowed just five runs in his last four starts and he pitched extremely well against Kansas City earlier this season, allowing just one run and five hits in a 3-1 win for the Twins. Minnesota, like Kansas City, has one of the best bullpens in baseball and the recent numbers are excellent for both teams. The Twins will face Danny Duffy for his first start of 2013 and an unfamiliar pitcher can be a great challenge as the Royals experienced firsthand last night with no runs against Andrew Albers in his MLB debut. Duffy made 20 starts in 2011 for the Royals with mixed results and made just six starts last season with very good numbers. He has strong strikeout numbers in his minor league starts this season and should have a good opportunity against a Twins lineup that has mostly struggled. These are two of the best 'under' teams in baseball with the 'under' 60-48 in Minnesota games and 62-43 in Royals games. Kauffman Stadium has featured less than eight runs per game with the 'under' going 29-21. The Royals are 12-2 in the last 14 games but the offense has been held to four or fewer runs in eight of those games as the pitching staff has been chiefly responsible for the recent rise in the standings. After back-to-back blowouts to start this series a tense lower scoring game between two promising pitchers should emerge.

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Bob Balfe

Philadelphia Phillies -160

Right off the bat you know this is a high line and as high as I ever go. I know there is not much value in this line, but we are going into every game with the mindset of nothing but winning the game. Hamels is a great pitcher that has not gotten much run support this year. Just look at his ERA compared to his record. Its mind boggling. The Cubs cannot hit left handed pitching and they are not a good baseball team. This is a must win for this whole Phillies team to toss one of their aces a bone. I think by the 5th inning this game should be well in the bag. Take the Phillies.

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