: Well, we already know nice and early that the Angels can't hit a lick. Tough loss on the Small Freebie. Plenty of time to make that back in the evening. We had confidence, and the Toronto/Minnesota Over hit to get us back in the positive for the day. Another Paid winner, now 31-19 Paid Run, with a 4-1 on all Big Plays, so not only are the Paids 12 games over 500 in that stretch, but we've made 7 units on just the Big Ones. Of course, trying to get things done nice and early tonight, as I spent about 90 minutes on a bit of a date with a Comcast Technician, running new cable from my 3rd story window down the side of the building and back to the complex's main box. Crazy times!
Today: Friday's are always fun, but remember, it's almost All Star time, so tread lightly, and give a little extra love for the home team. In terms of available packages, you know darn well I've got something up my sleeve, and I'm strongly considering dropping a 2-for-1 deal on you good folk. Let's let the card shake itself out before we decide on any plays.
Equation of the Day
: L'Hôpital's rule
- diving into some Discrete Math for this one. Enjoy!
Sports Wagering: MLB
Reds @ Phillies (-110) with a total of 9.5; M. Leake vs. J. Blanton;
Ramon Hernandez was 3-for-8 off Blanton with 2 RBI before 2010.
REMATCH ALERT! Blanton actually beat Leake over in Cincinnati just about 10 days ago, though he did not receive a decision in that eventual 9-6 win. Blanton pitched well, though, giving up just 3 runs over 7.2 innings. Leake had a little more trouble, surrendering 6 runs in 6 innings before coming back with a "quality" start his last time out, against the Cubs. Truth be told, I'm not hugely confident in either pitcher, though Leake has seemed to isolate the teams he's going to stink against, which currently include the Dodgers, Giants, and maybe the Phils? Blanton is 2-0 with a 3.92 ERA against the Reds in his career, but damn if Cincinnati isn't doing a nice job heading into the break.
Giants @ Nationals (-145) with a total of 6.5; M. Cain vs. S. Strasburg;
Someone woke the sleeping Giants...get it? Har de har har. San Francisco had been getting blasted before heading into Milwaukee, and I guess some quality American lagers got them back on track? In any case, this is a freakishly low home price on Strasburg, and there's probably a reason for that. Still, the Giants aren't a good hitting team, and the Milwaukee pitching staff is showing that a bad enough pitcher can make even a team like SF look competent at the plate. If Strasburg is even marginally economical with his pitches, and his defense stops kicking the ball around, this one could actually stay under the total. It's nuts, I know.
Leans: Giants-1, Under-1
Braves @ Mets (-110) with a total of 7.5; T. Hanson vs. R. Dickey;
I must admit, I'm torn on this one. Is this line decidedly pro-Dickey because he's going to pitch his butt off, or because the Mets are just getting a ton of betting love, and Hanson is actually undervalued right now, courtesy of a few bad starts in mid/late June. At first glance, I actually like the Braves, as the Mets haven't been hitting all that well on the current homestand, and Hanson has yet to allow an earned run to New York in the couple of times he's faced them (still losing a 1-0 heartbreaker thanks to an unearned run). Dickey is coming off another solid outing that his team lost, but this opening number caught me off guard just a bit.
Cardinals (-200) @ Astros with a total of 7.5; A. Wainwright vs. B. Norris;
Magical Bud Norris is back, baby! 4-0 with a 0.35 career ERA against the Cardinals is just insanity, considering his record this season against the entire League is 2-5 with a 5.98 ERA. Adam Wainwright has been his typically brilliant self, 12-5 with a 2.24 ERA and lifetime 8-1, 1.72 against the 'Stros. I don't know if I trust Norris enough to think he'll go 9 strong innings, but Wainwright absolutely could, which makes taking the shot on the big dog a little scary. Still, given Norris's work against the Cards, how can you not?
Leans: Astros-3, Under-3
Pirates @ Brewers (-145) with a total of 9.5; P. Maholm vs. D. Davis;
Andy LaRoche is 3-for-5 with a HR and 2 RBI off Davis;
Ryan Braun was batting .381 with a HR and 8 RBI off Maholm before this year;
Corey Hart was batting .324 with a HR and 3 RBI off Maholm before 2010.
I wouldn't put a ton of stock in the career numbers for Maholm, if only because he's been, literally, as consistent as humanly possible against Milwaukee the two times he's faced them this season. 7 innings, 4 runs, both starts. Doug Davis is 8-6 with a 4.82 lifetime ERA against the Pirates, but the mere fact that he's a -145 favorite is utter silliness. He was one of the worst starters in baseball this year before missing a bunch of time, and I don't know that he can regain his below average form that teams seem to be willing to pay for.
Padres @ Rockies (-163) with a total of 9.5; K. Correia vs. J. De La Rosa;
Scott Hairston is 4-for-7 with 2 HR and 6 RBI off De La Rosa before 2010;
Brad Hawpe is 3-for-7 with 2 RBI off Correia;
Chris Iannetta was 3-for-6 with a HR and 2 RBI off Correia before 2010.
Correia has made 2 starts against the Rockies, and he has yet to be truly good. He's allowed 9 runs in roughly 11 innings of work, with one of the starts barely qualifying as a quality start. De La Rosa has been shelved since late April, so under normal circumstances, he'd probably dominate this game, but there's bound to be some rust, and I wonder if the Over isn't the best move, especially with the Padres' bullpen seemingly looking ahead to the Break.
Marlins @ D'backs (-130) with a total of 9; R. Nolasco vs. D. Haren;
Stephen Drew is 8-for-16 with 3 HR and 4 RBI off Nolasco;
Adam LaRoche is a career .313 hitter off Nolasco, with 3 RBI.
I was really hoping one more D'back position player would have any kind of numbers against Nolasco, but just those two makes this game another head-scratcher. Nolasco is 4-1 with a 3.53 lifetime mark against Arizona, and Haren is 1-2 with a 2.86 ERA against Florida, so there's a slight historical edge to Haren, and a slight "stuff" edge to Haren. Both bullpens are a little on the poor side, so almost anything could happen after the starters are out, and let's be honest, the D'backs look like they're about ready to start the offseason.
Cubs @ Dodgers (-140) with a total of 7.5; T. Lilly vs. C. Billingsley;
Ryan Theriot is 4-for-8 off Billingsley before this year;
Jamey Carroll was 4-for-13 with a HR and 3 RBI off Lilly;
Matt Kemp is 3-for-7 with 2 HR and 2 RBI off Lilly.
Ted Lilly always pitches well against the Dodgers, the team that drafted him. He went 7 shutout innings in a 1-0 win over LA when these teams faced off in Chicago, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him pitch well, again. Billingsley is 2-3 with a 3.51 lifetime ERA against the Cubs, but struggled a bit through 5 innings earlier this season. The Dodgers won that game, but Chad was uninspiring. He's been good since coming off the DL, though.
Twins @ Tigers (-125) with a total of 7.5; F. Liriano vs. J. Verlander;
Jason Kubel was batting .360 off Verlander with 7 RBI before 2010;
Joe Mauer was batting .378 with 3 HR and 9 RBI off Verlander before 2010;
Denard Span was 9-for-20 off Verlander before 2010;
Magglio Ordonez was batting .381 with 2 HR and 8 RBI off Liriano before 2010.
REMATCH ALERT! This game is going to be a fun one, but from a handicapping perspective, it's a little goofy. Liriano has faced the Tigers twice this year, was brilliant in his start here in Detroit, and was awful at home. He's 4-2 with a 4.41 lifetime mark against the Tigers. Verlander is 5-7 lifetime against the Twins, though he did pitch relatively well in a narrow loss to Liriano back in April.
Red Sox (-140) @ Blue Jays with a total of 7.5; J. Lester vs. R. Romero;
Jose Molina is 5-for-11 off Lester before 2010;
J.D. Drew was 5-for-10 off Romero before 2010;
David Ortiz was 6-for-12 with a HR and 5 RBI off Romero before 2010;
Kevin Youkilis was 4-for-9 with 2 HR and 3 RBI off Romero before 2010.
Jon Lester is a beast. Flat out. He's 10-3 with a 2.76 ERA this year, 5-3 with a 2.71 lifetime ERA against the Blue Jays, and that includes 7 innings of 1-hit baseball back in April against the Jays (with 11 K's). Romero is 1-3 with a 7.66 ERA against the Red Sox, and while Boston is a little banged up right now, Romero is coming off a bad start, and I wonder if the youngster isn't getting a little tired.
Indians @ Rays (-205) with a total of 8.5; F. Carmona vs. J. Shields;
Jhonny Peralta is 6-for-13 with 3 HR and 8 RBI off Shields.
Some of the lifetime numbers don't really make sense to me. Carmona is 2-1 with a 6.29 ERA against the Rays, but not one member of the current Rays squad has strong numbers against him. Carmona pitched well against the Rays once this year, already, giving up just 2 runs in 6.2 innings. Shields is 0-3 against the Indians, despite a 3.73 ERA, but he continues to struggle, and at this price, the Indians aren't a bad deal.
Orioles @ Rangers (-230) with a total of 10; B. Matusz vs. S. Feldman;
I still believe Scott Feldman is a tremendous fade, but not sure today is the right time. Matusz is coming off a win, though, and that was his first since mid-April. Does that mean he's going to get a taste of victory and come back strong? Lord knows he couldn't pitch much worse against the Rangers, as his 10.61 ERA isn't so good. Feldman gave up 4 runs in 6 innings against the O's, but really escaped that one, as Baltimore had 12 hits in those 6 innings, but just couldn't get the big hit. Feldman, I believe, should never be this high of a price, even against the O's.
Royals @ White Sox (-165) with a total of 9; B. Chen vs. M. Buerhle;
Not going to type up all the historical data with Buerhle and the Royals. Just know that he's faced them twice this year, and hasn't really pitched well in either of them. He allowed 6 runs (5 earned) in 6 innings of a loss to Gil Meche back in May, then somehow gave up only 3 runs in 6.1 innings of a loss 2 weeks ago, despite giving up 10 hits and 5 walks. Bruce Chen has been surprisingly solid as a starter for the Royals, but the White Sox just can't be stopped right now. I'm not going to step in front of this freight train, any more.
Angels (-120) @ Athletics with a total of 8; J. Pineiro vs. V. Mazzaro;
Coco Crisp is 4-for-10 off Pineiro;
Mark Ellis is 9-for-19 with 3 RBI off Pineiro since '05.
I don't want to spend a ton of time on the player matchup numbers, mostly because the Angels can't hit a lick these days. They were made to look foolish in Chicago during a 4-game sweep out of town. The A's have looked pretty pedestrian, too, getting walloped by the Yankees. Mazzaro has, to his credit, pitched well this year, including 5 strong innings against the Angels a month ago. I'd love to back Pineiro, who has been on a sick roll, but if his offense can't get a run home, then surely our attention gets turned to...
Yankees @ Mariners (-110) with a total of 7; P. Hughes vs. C. Lee;
REMATCH ALERT! Cliff Lee won the last squareoff just 10 days ago, 7-4, in yet another complete game. He's putting up those absurd numbers that the Mariners expected, but Seattle is generally at a loss for scoring runs. So, Phil Hughes, struggling as we approach the All Star Break, goes against Lee, again. The Yankees are playing excellent baseball right now off a little bit of a short slump, but I just don't know if Hughes is in good form. Considering Lee was +150 dog when he faced Hughes in New York, this is a pretty big swing of 60 cents in the venue change. Strong line for the Mariners, I believe, and Lee should be able to give the M's 7-8 more strong innings.