Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, September 10

Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, September 10

DUNKEL INDEX

MLB

Pittsburgh at Texas
The Pirates look to build on their 8-0 record in their last 8 interleague games as an underdog of +110 to +150. Pittsburgh is the pick (+110) according to Dunkel, which has the Pirates favored by 1. Dunkel Pick: Pittsburgh (+110)

Game 901-902: San Diego at Philadelphia (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Diego (Cashner) 15.019; Philadelphia (Cloyd) 14.402
Dunkel Line: San Diego by 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: Philadelphia (-110); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: San Diego (-110); Under

Game 903-904: Chicago Cubs at Cincinnati (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cubs (Jackson) 15.015; Cincinnati (Cingrani) 16.484
Dunkel Line: Cincinnati by 1 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Cincinnati (-225); 8
Dunkel Pick: Cincinnati (-225); Over

Game 905-906: Washington at NY Mets (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Washington (Zimmermann) 14.593; NY Mets (Gee) 15.403
Dunkel Line: NY Mets by 1; 6
Vegas Line: Washington (-135); 7
Dunkel Pick: NY Mets (+115); Under

Game 907-908: Atlanta at Miami (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Atlanta (Teheran) 15.667; Miami (Koehler) 14.061
Dunkel Line: Atlanta by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Atlanta (-165); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (-165); Over

Game 909-910: Milwaukee at St. Louis (8:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Milwaukee (Peralta) 15.058; St. Louis (Miller) 16.623
Dunkel Line: St. Louis by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: St. Louis (-185); 8
Dunkel Pick: St. Louis (-185); Under

Game 911-912: Arizona at LA Dodgers (10:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Arizona (Cahill) 15.186; LA Dodgers (Volquez) 14.071
Dunkel Line: Arizona by 1; 9
Vegas Line: LA Dodgers (-125); 8
Dunkel Pick: Arizona (+105); Over

Game 913-914: Colorado at San Francisco (10:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Colorado (De La Rosa) 14.257; San Francisco (Vogelsong) 13.309
Dunkel Line: Colorado by 1; 8
Vegas Line: San Francisco (-125); 7
Dunkel Pick: Colorado (+105); Over

Game 915-916: LA Angels at Toronto (10:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Angels (Williams) 15.337; Toronto (Buehrle) 16.890
Dunkel Line: Toronto by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Toronto (-145); 9
Dunkel Pick: Toronto (-145); Under

Game 917-918: Kansas City at Cleveland (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Kansas City (Guthrie) 15.621; Cleveland (McAllister) 16.964
Dunkel Line: Cleveland by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Cleveland (-130); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Cleveland (-130); Under

Game 919-920: NY Yankees at Baltimore (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Yankees (Nova) 16.522; Baltimore (Gonzalez) 15.581
Dunkel Line: NY Yankees by 1; 10
Vegas Line: Baltimore (-120); 9
Dunkel Pick: NY Yankees (+100); Over

Game 921-922: Boston at Tampa Bay (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Boston (Buchholz) 17.053; Tampa Bay (Price) 14.866
Dunkel Line: Boston by 2; 6
Vegas Line: Tampa Bay (-135); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Boston (+115); Under

Game 923-924: Detroit at Chicago White Sox (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit (Porcello) 15.814; White Sox (Johnson) 14.449
Dunkel Line: Detroit by 1 1/2; 10
Vegas Line: Detroit (-150); 9
Dunkel Pick: Detroit (-150); Over

Game 925-926: Oakland at Minnesota (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Oakland (Parker) 14.890; Minnesota (Hendriks) 15.949
Dunkel Line: Minnesota by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Oakland (-170); 8
Dunkel Pick: Minnesota (+150); Over

Game 927-928: Houston at Seattle (10:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Houston (Lyles) 14.308; Seattle (Saunders) 15.833
Dunkel Line: Seattle by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: Seattle (-160); 8
Dunkel Pick: Seattle (-160); Under

Game 929-930: Pittsburgh at Texas (8:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Pittsburgh (Liriano) 15.732; Texas (Perez) 14.766
Dunkel Line: Pittsburgh by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Texas (-130); 8
Dunkel Pick: Pittsburgh (+110); Over

WNBA

Phoenix at New York
The Liberty look to build on their 4-0 ATS record in their last 4 games against Phoenix. New York is the pick (+4 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Mercury favored by only 2 1/2. Dunkel Pick: New York (+4 1/2)

Game 651-652: Phoenix at New York (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Phoenix 110.982; New York 108.278
Dunkel Line & Total: Phoenix by 2 1/2; 159
Vegas Line & Total: Phoenix by 4 1/2; 153
Dunkel Pick: New York (+4 1/2); Over

Game 653-654: Washington at Indiana (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Washington 107.664; Indiana 116.346
Dunkel Line & Total: Indiana by 8 1/2; 138
Vegas Line & Total: Indiana by 6; 142 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Indiana (-6); Under

Game 655-656: Minnesota at Seattle (10:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota 113.807; Seattle 115.798
Dunkel Line & Total: Seattle by 2; 152
Vegas Line & Total: Minnesota by 8 1/2; 147 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Seattle (+8 1/2); Over

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Jimmy Boyd

Los Angeles Dodgers -122

The Dodgers should be favored by more than they are in this game, but we will happily take advantage of this oddsmakers oversight. Arizona has a .222 batting average over their past seven games and they are scoring a mere 2.4 runs per game during that time. The Diamondbacks have struggled against division opponents all season, posting a .250 batting average and scoring just 3.8 runs per game.

The Dodgers on the other hand have a .277 batting average against the division and have hit .269 over their past seven games. They have scored an average of 4.4 runs per game during that time. They should have no problem exceeding those averages against Trevor Cahill tonight. On the road Cahill has a 4.98 ERA and the Diamondbacks are 4-7 in those 11 starts.

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Leonard Stratton

New York Mets +123

Jordan Zimmerman of the Nats will be going for his 17th win against the Mets. Zimmerman is 2-1 with a 2.82 ERA over his last 3 starts. Dillon Gee will be going for the Mets and he is 2-1 with a 3.05 ERA over his last three starts. After Gio Gonzalez flat out embarrassed the Mets in their own house with a ONE HITTER on Monday night expect the Mets to rebound and take out the Nationals. The Mets are 10-0 since May 27, 2006 with a total of at least seven after a game against an NL team where they had two or less hits.

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Jim Feist

San Diego Padres -110

Philly is a strong offensive park and they have a red-hot starter going in Andrew Cashner (3.45 ERA), who has a 0.86 ERA his last three starts. The Padres are 6-1 in their last 7 vs. a team with a losing record and on a nice roll. Philadelphia has a struggling offense, 28th in baseball in runs scored, 26th in on base percentage. Starter Tyler Cloyd has walked 21 in 45 innings, a terrible ratio and the Phillies are 1-4 in Cloyd's last 5 starts.

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Lee Williams

Toronto Blue Jays -135

Toronto has been getting really solid starts out of Mark Buehrle and Angels have struggled against Left Handed pitchers,hitting just .245 Toronto also on 12-4 overall run and Angels just 1-7 last 8 Tuesday games.Take Toronto

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Sam Martin

Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Dodgers
Prediction: Arizona Diamondbacks

Dodgers had no problems getting past Arizona last night in an easy 8-1 blowout win, but we're going to back the Diamondbacks with a decent underdog payout tonight to come back on win tonight. Trevor Cahill gets the ball for Arizona, and while he hasn't exactly had a great season in 2013, he will take the mound with confidence knowing he's a perfect 5-0 (7-1 TSR) with a 2.10 ERA in his career against the Dodgers. That includes two starts this year where he's held LA to a combined two earned runs over 14 1/3 IP - both games won by Arizona by a combined 8 runs. LA's Edinson Volquez has a season ERA north of six and is unworthy of this high price. Dodgers have a double-digit lead in the standings and won't be playing with a sense of urgency down the stretch as a result.

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Rob Vinciletti

Detroit Tigers -148

Detroit qualifies in a solid league Wide system we use that has won 22 of 28 times and plays on certain road favorites off a road favored loss if they scored 2 or less runs and had 4 or less hits, vs an opponent off a home dog win and scored 5+ runs with 1 or less errors. Detroit has been solid this year vs losing teams and they will look to bounce back here against a Chicago team that has lost 7 of 9 this month. C. Porcello makes the start for Detroit and he has won all 3 starts vs Chicago this season allowing just 4 runs in 20 innings. He will oppose E. Joihnson making his 2nd start for Chicago and he may have a tough time with the vaunted Detroit lineup. Look for Detroit to even things up here tonight.

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Nick Parsons

San Francisco Giants -125

The Rockies' starting pitcher tonight is making a case for the NL Cy Young Award, but he has struggled mightily in this position in the past.

The home sides' starter is coming off a stinker, but has dominated the visitors throughout his career.

When the smoke clears at the end of the night, I believe Ryan Vogelsong and the Giants will find a way to get the job done.

Jorge De La Rosa (16-6, 3.31 ERA)

De La Rosa gave up two earned runs off six hits with one walk while striking out four over six innings and Colorado would go on to beat the Dodgers 7-5 on Wednesday.

De La Rosa has won six straight now. If he's had one slight weakness this season though, I guess you'd have to target his road record, 6-5 with a 3.86 ERA. Obviously still very respectable, but compared to his 10-1, 2.76 ERA home mark, it does seem pretty pedestrian.

Ryan Vogelsong (3-5, 5.62 ERA)

Vogelsong isn't coming off his best outing, giving up four earned runs off eight hits and three walks while striking out three over just 4 2/3's innings in his team's eventual 4-2 setback to the Diamondbacks on Thursday.

Vogelsong has now traded good performances with bad in four straight outings.

The Bottom Line

Despite his recent dominance, note the De La Rosa is just 1-1 with a 4.76 ERA in three matchups vs. the Giants this year. He's also 0-3 with a ballooned 6.32 ERA over his last three at AT&T.

And note, despite his recent poor outing, Vogelsong is 1-1 with a 3.57 ERA in his six starts since returning to the rotation and a near perfect 5-1 with a tiny 2.40 ERA in seven career starts vs. Colorado.

In fact the Giants' right-hander is 3-0 with a minuscule 0.64 ERA in four career home starts vs. the Rockies.

Colorado has been brutal overall of late falling to 0-4 on its nine game road trip in yesterday's 3-2 loss. The Rockies have totaled just eight runs while batting a meagre .195 during the slide.

When you add it all up, I definitely feel that the numbers all point to the home side as being the prudent wager in this particular matchup. Consider a second look at the Giants tonight.

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Doug Upstone

Detroit Tigers -148

Rick Porcello is 3-0 with a 2.36 ERA in four starts since July 10th vs the White Sox. He had a poor outing last time out against the Red Sox and will look to bounce back here tonight in what is now all of a sudden a very important game for them in the AL Central. They only lead the Indians by 4.5 games now after leading by 8.5 games just a week ago. Play the Tigers Tuesday night in Chicago.

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Bruce Marshall

Milwaukee Brewers AT St. Louis Cardinals
Pick: St. Louis Cardinals

After surging over the weekend to wrest the top spot in the NL Central from the Pirates, don't expect the Cards to suffer a letdown at home against the lowly Brewers. The pitching matchup is favorable for the Redbirds tonight, as Brewers starter Wily Peralta has been lit up in the past by St. Louis, with an 0-2 mark, 11.57 ERA, 2.68 WHIP and .444 OBA. Not good. Much prefer Cards starter Shelby Miller, very tough at Busch Stadium where he has posted a 7-3 mark and 1.92 ERA this season. He's also 2-0 with a 1.47 ERA in three starts vs. the Brew Crew.

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Bryan Power

Chicago vs. Cincinnati
Pick: Cincinnati

It's very rare, almost unheard of, that I would offer even a minor recommendation on a money line favorite this large.  But in this case, I do feel it's justified.  The Reds have gone an incredible 21-3 this season at home off a loss and I have no doubt they should be able to handle the Cubs this evening.....

In many ways, the Reds were due for a letdown Monday as they were coming off the Sunday Night game where they completed a weekend sweep of the Dodgers. Before that, they had taken three of four from St. Louis. Even with yesterday's loss, they still have a dominant record against the Cubs in 2013, going 13-4 overall.  Going back three seasons, they have won 36 of 51 against their division rival.

Tuesday's pitching matchup is heavily slanted in favor of the home team as lefty Tony Cingrani goes for the Reds against Edwin Jackson for the Cubs. Cingrani, a lefty, is 7-3 in 17 starts w/ a 2.63 ERA and 1.014 WHIP. The Cubs are averaging just 3.5 runs per game vs. southpaws this year.  Jackson has been pretty awful all season, particularly on the road where his ERA is 5.28 in 15 starts.  The Cubs have lost the last six times he has started.

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Will Rogers

Pittsburgh vs. Texas
Pick: Under

The Pirates took yesterday's series opener with the Rangers by 1-0 final. The teams combined for only 10 hits & it was Pittsburgh's 16th shutout win of the year. It was also their 82nd win, clinching their 1st winning season since '92. More troubling though is that the offense has scored just three runs in the last 3 games. I like the Under Tuesday

Here are my keys to the game:

1. Pirates Hitting - Like I said, it has been a tough stretch at the plate for the Pirates with just three runs scored total in the last three games. They have scored just 25 runs in the last eight games.  For the season, they rank in the bottom 10 in all of MLB in runs scored, averaging less than four per game. They didn't get a runner past second base last night against Yu Darvish until the seventh inning, which is when they scored their only run.

2. Pitching Matchup - It should be a good one tonight with Francisco Liriano opposing Martin Perez. Liriano has made only two bad starts all season & one did come the last time he took the mound.  But he still has a 2.98 ERA in 22 starts this year and has allowed 0 or 1 earned runs in 14 of those 22 starts. The Under is 9-1 on the road when he starts and the total is either 8 or 8.5 runs. For the Rangers, Perez has been red hot.  He's a perfect 6-0 with a 2.76 ERA his last six starts. He allowed just one run in seven innings in his last start.

3. X-Factor - Quietly, the Rangers have become a very profitable team for Under bettors.  That includes a 43-18 Under mark as a home favorite this season.

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Jeffrey Brandes

Texas Rangers -127

Liriano will try to repeat his bounce-back success after a third poor outing. He followed the first two with a complete game and another start of eight shutout innings. His control has never wavered; two walks or fewer in 14 of 22 starts.

Perez is 6-0 with a 2.54 ERA in his last starts. His nine wins ties the Rangers rookie record for most wins by a left-hander. He is 2-1 with a 2.20 ERA in five games at home this season. He is 2-1 with a 2.37 ERA in three Interleague starts.

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Steve Janus

Red Sox vs. Rays    
Play: Over 7

With Clay Buchholz returning from a 3 month absence and the Rays starting their ace David Price you might be inclined to bet the UNDER in this game. However, I think the value is on the OVER.

There's no question Buchholz was pitching lights out earlier this season, but you have to expect some rust in his first start since early June. He's on a limited pitch count, which tells you the arm strength just isn't quite where it needs to be. Price on the other hand comes in not throwing the ball well. He's got a 4.95 ERA over his last three starts. Hard to see him overpowering a sizzling Red Sox lineup that is averaging 8.4 runs/game over their last 7. Boston has also hit left-handed pitching very well this year. They have a .273 team average in 50 starts vs south paws and are averaging 5.1 runs/game.

4 of the last 6 meetings in Tampa Bay have gone OVER the total between these two teams this season and 7 of the last 9 overall. The OVER is also a perfect 4-0 in Price's last 4 home starts vs the Red Sox and 4-1 in Buchholz's last 5 road starts vs a team with a winning record.

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Wunderdog

Boston at Tampa Bay
Pick: Boston +127

Boston will be happy to get the services of Clay Buchholz back, as he opened the season at 9-0. He will square off against another heavyweight in David Price. The difference is not found on the mound in this matchup, it is found in the offense. Boston has the bats on fire right now, as they have scored 73 runs in their last nine games, or over 8 per contest. Tampa Bay has really gone ice cold on offense, where they have topped the 4-run mark just two times in their last 16 games, and have plated 3 or less in 10 of their last 15. Boston has been delivering against left-handed pitching where they are a perfect 8-0 in their last eight against them. The BoSox own a 29-11 record behind Buchholz when he starts game 1 of a series, and the Rays' dormant bats have led them to five straight losses vs. a winning team. Play on Boston.

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Larry Ness

Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Dodgers
Prediction: Arizona Diamondbacks

Juan Uribe had a career-high three HRs and Los Angeles totaled six in all, beating the Dbacks 8-1 Monday night, ending a four-game slide (considered an eternity with LA's play the last few months). However, the Dodgers will be hard-pressed to win back-to-back games tonight, considering the pitching matchup. Trevor Cahill will take the mound for Arizona, while LA will give Edinson Volquez a second straight start.

Some may remember Edinson Volquez from the Reds (he was the key player in Cincy trading Josh Hamilton to Texas). Volquez was an All-Star in 2008 with Cincinnati, going 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA. He's hasn't pitched like one, since. He was San Diego's opening day starter in each of the last two seasons but was released Aug 27, after going 9-10 with a 6.01 ERA in 27 starts for the Padres (team was 12-15). The Dodgers signed him to a one-year deal on August 30 and LA has decided to give him a few spot starts, in order to give their rotation a rest. I argued that last Wednesday it was a bad idea to send him out vs Colorado and was rewarded, as Volquez allowed four ERs in four innings of a 7-5 Colorado win.

Volquez has a 3.03 ERA in five starts vs Arizona since the start of last season ( a MUCH better track record than against the Rockies) but in Trevor Cahill, he faces an opponent who has owned the dodgers in his short career. Cahill has regularly frustrated the Dodgers, going 5-0 with a 2.10 ERA in eight career starts against LA (teams are 7-1) and is also 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA in four starts at Chavez Ravine (team is 4-0). Take the price with Arizona.

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Dave Price

Tampa Bay Rays -135

Boston's Clay Buchholz is scheduled to make his first start in the majors since early June. He was terrific before missing three months with a strained neck, but I don't expect him to pick up where he left off. Plus, he'll be limited to 75-80 pitches, which means a great deal will be asked of the bullpen. David Price hasn't been Cy Young material this season, but he's had no trouble beating Boston. He's 2-0 in his last two starts against the Red Sox, giving up only two earned runs in 16 1-3 innings. The Rays are 5-2 in Price's last 7 starts versus the Red Sox while the Red Sox are 1-5 in Buchholz's last 6 starts versus the Rays. Take Tampa Bay.

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Jack Jones

Diamondbacks/Dodgers OVER 7.5

I look for a slug fest tonight between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers. These are two of the better offenses in the National League and they'll be up against two suspect starting pitchers tonight.

Trevor Cahill has gone 6-10 with a 4.35 ERA and 1.427 WHIP in 21 starts and one relief appearance this season. Cahill has been at his worst on the road, going 4-6 with a 4.98 ERA and 1.554 WHIP in 11 starts away from home.

Edinson Volquez has been even worse this season. The right-hander has gone 9-11 with a 6.05 ERA and 1.656 WHIP In 28 starts and one relief appearance this year. Volquez is 1-1 with a 10.24 ERA and 2.275 WHIP in his last three starts as well.

Volquez is 8-1 OVER (+7.2 Units) vs. NL teams scoring 4.3 or less runs/game on the season this season. The OVER is 4-0 in the last 4 meetings in Los Angeles. The OVER is 7-2 in Adrian Johnson's last 9 games behind home plate in Los Angeles games. Bet the OVER in this game Tuesday.

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Jeff Alexander

Arizona Diamondbacks +113

The D-backs are a nice value play here considering how well they have performance against the Dodgers, not to mention how well scheduled starter Trevor Cahill has handled L.A. Arizona owns a 7-6 advantage in the season series and has won 11 of the last 15 meetings in L.A. Cahill is 5-0 (7-1 on the moneyline) with a 2.10 ERA in 8 starts versus the Dodgers, and the Snakes are 6-0 in his last 6 starts against them. Volquez has been lit up by NL West foes, going 1-7 (2-9 on the moneyline) with an 8.55 ERA against them this season.

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SPORTS WAGERS

CLEVELAND -109 over Kansas City

We played the Royals last night and ripped our ticket in disgust when, in the ninth inning, down 4-3, K.C. got the first two batters on to put runners on first and second with none out. Manager Ned Yost then calls upon pinch-hitter, David Lough to lay down a bunt and Lough did so to perfection to put runners on second and third with one out and Jarrod Dyson due up. Incidentally, Dyson was 2-3 on the night and is batting .260 on the year. With needing only to make contact to score the run, Yost calls upon Carlos Pena (.207) to pinch hit. Keep in mind that Pena has been sitting in the dugout all night, he’s not seen one pitch the entire game and he’s a .207 hitter. It’s not like the Royals needed a jack to tie it. They needed CONTACT. Pena does not take the bat off his shoulder the entire AB and in six pitches and gets called out on a third strike taken. Next guy, also a pinch hitter, pops up to end the inning. Game, set, match. Thanks for coming out. Now, you may be thinking that this has nothing to do with this game tonight but it has everything to do with it because it shows the panic of Ned Yost in the heat of a pennant race. That had to be about the worst managerial decisions we’ve seen in a long time that had no sensibility attached to it. Meanwhile, Terry Francona has been in pennant races his entire career and has no such panic in him. No manager can do anything about a four or five run deficit but in a close game, Francona will out-manage Yost to an Indians victory. With momentum in the first game of a huge series and having to lay less than a dime, we’ll gladly step in on Francona over Yost and Zach McAllister over Jeremy Guthrie.

First off, the Indians have won 14 of 21 games at home against lefties and Guthrie is not of the quality variety. Guthrie is 13-10 with a 4.19 ERA but he’s displaying the worst skills of his mediocre career. His K’s are way down (17 K’s in his last 39 innings), his line-drive rate is up to 26% over his last six starts and over that same six-game span, Guthrie’s xERA was 6.14. Current Indians have also seen plenty of Guthrie with a combined 208 career AB’s and 58 hits off him (.289). Of those 58 hits, 11 went yard. Guthrie has been on the extreme side of lucky hit and strand percentages, but it’s been normalizing recently, suggesting there is more ERA regression forthcoming.

The Indians have won six of Zach McAllister’s last nine starts since he returned from the DL on July 23. Cleveland’s three losses over that span came against Detroit twice and Baltimore once. In every other start, McAllister allowed three runs or fewer. McAllister comes in with a skills supported 3.81 ERA and a rock-solid .232 BAA in 10 home starts. Give a big edge to the Tribe on the hill and a huge edge in the dugout. Cheap price on a game that has a much better shot of winning than the 53% chance the books are giving it.


L.A. Angels +126 over TORONTO

Mark Buehrle was brought in to be the Jays fourth or fifth starter this season and to provide the Blue Jays with quality innings and his usual double-digit win total. One can only imagine how much worse this season would’ve been for Toronto without Buehrle because he’s been the best and most reliable starter on the squad. Buehele is 11-7 with a 3.88 ERA. At home, he’s 8-2 with a 2.72 ERA and that’s where our focus begins. Buehrle is your typical crafty lefty. He’s smart, he changes speeds, he works the corners and he knows the hitters well. However, this park is a hitter’s haven and Mark Buehrle has an unsustainable 88% strand rate at home. He’s wiggled his way out of numerous jams at the Rogers Center and no pitcher with the kind of stuff that Buehrle has can maintain an ERA under 3 over an extended period of time at this venue. Buehrle’s upside is still limited once regression hits and there’s a good chance that takes place tonight. For whatever reason, the Angels’ bats come to life against Toronto. The Angels have defeated the Blue Jays in four of the five games played this year by scores of 10-6, 8-2, 7-5 and 7-3.

Jerome Williams has been shuffling between the pen and the starter’s role for years. In the more comfortable starting role, Williams has very respectable skills with mediocre results. His groundball % is solid and his command uptick is intriguing. After going 13 straight starts without recording a win, Williams received some justice in his last start by defeating the Rays and picking up that illusive “W”. He’s now gone five straight starts allowing three runs or fewer and over that span, covering 32 innings, Williams has been taken yard just one time. With a long history of mediocre results, Williams is not going to grab much attention today. However, he has over 730 career innings with very respectable numbers and is one of the least appreciated journeyman pitchers in the game. He has the skills and pedigree to continue to perform at a high level. Against a very hittable Mark Buehrle that is outpitching his xERA by a wide margin at home, the Halos offer up the value in this one.


Houston +139 over SEATTLE

The Mariners are coming off back-to-back series against two teams, Tampa Bay and K.C., fighting for a playoff spot. After this series with Houston, the Mariners have the Angels coming in, an AL West rival they always get up for, followed by two more series against two more contenders in Cincinnati and Cleveland. This series against Houston is nothing more than an inconvenience for the M’s and the fact that Joe Saunders is this big a favorite is bordering on preposterous. Saunders is MLB’s worst pitcher against righties and it’s not close. He has a staggering .899 OPS against right-handers and the Astros are loaded with right-handed bats. Of the nine batters in Houston’s line-up tonight, eight or all nine will bat right. Saunders’ not only can’t get righties out but he’s now having difficulty throwing strikes. Over his last 25 frames, Saunders has walked 13, struck out 7 and posted a 2.05 ERA. That’s almost like pitching with the bases loaded every inning. At the trade deadline, the M’s were desperately trying to unload Saunders for nothing and even pick up 90% of his salary but nobody wanted him. Even against the Astros, Joe Saunders might be the worst -151 favorite in the history of baseball.

On the surface, Jordan Lyles is a young starting pitcher in stagnation but there's something good here. Jordan’s second half command + decent groundball rate was hidden by his hr/f spike and strand % dip. However, he gained 2 mph on fastball, his groundball rate has shot up to 48% on the season and his line-drive rate over his past five starts is near elite at just 17%. Lyles’ remains a young pitcher who owns some enticing skill flashes and he’s a far better option taking back a decent tag than Joe Saunders will ever be spotting a price this big.

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