: Everything was pretty good until out number 27. Cliff Lee might have been left in there one batter too long, and it burned us. His pitch count wasn't too high, but Youkilis had hit the ball hard most of the night, and I'm honestly a bit surprised that Neftali Feliz wasn't brought in. But, so it goes. It costs us a Game of the Week, and took a little bite out of my rapidly inflating bubble.
Today: No horsepuck 27th-out loss is going to take me off my game, and it shouldn't take you off yours, either! TWO-FOR-ONE Sunday -- GET TWO 2* TOP PLAYS for the PRICE OF ONE!
Important Note: Also, due to confusion over what the numbers mean (among a laundry list of reasons), the blogs will no longer contain my leans on every game. I think folks believed those to be my plays, and that was simply not the case. Additionally, starting tomorrow, the blog will appear in a standard forum thread. I think there is a sect of Pregame lurkers that are intimidated by the blog format, and it's time they joined the insanity!
Equation of the Day
: The Quadratic Equation
, because who doesn't want to use polynomials to determine projectile motion in baseball?
Sports Wagering: MLB
Rockies @ Reds (-140) with a total of 8.5; A. Cook vs. T. Wood;
Orlando Cabrera is 5-for-9 off Aaron Cook;
Jonny Gomes is 4-for-6 with 2 HR and 4 RBI off Cook;
Brandon Phillips is 6-for-14 with a HR off Cook;
Joey Votto is 4-for-9 off Cook with a HR and 2 RBI.
How Aaron Cook is 2-0 against the Reds lifetime is a bit of a mystery. His ERA against them is 5.12, and as you can see from the player numbers, there are more than a handful of Reds that have hit him hard. He always gives up hits, and the Reds have the sock to make him pay. Wood is coming off 9 shutout innings of a 1-0 loss to the Phils. A young guy like Travis Wood might struggle to come back off such a supreme outing that ended in a loss, or he might get on a roll. Tough to say, but Cook is in trouble, that's one thing that seems fairly likely.
Nationals @ Marlins (-145) with a total of 9; C. Stammen vs. A. Sanabia;
Chris Coghlan is 3-for-5 with an RBI off Stammen before 2010;
Hanley Ramirez was 4-for-5 with a HR and 3 RBI off Stammen before 2010.
Alex Sanabia is a -145 favorite? Pretty telling, I'd say, in how much oddsmakers and the public thinks of Craig Stammen and the Nats on the road. Sanabia's pitch count is still pretty darn low, as he only went 3.1 innings in his first start against the D'backs. Stammen, though, pitched very poorly here in Florida earlier this year, and while he fared better at home the very next start, the simple fact remains: Stammen's not very good.
Astros (-155) @ Pirates with a total of 7; R. Oswalt vs. P. Maholm;
REMATCH ALERT! These two met way the heck back in late April, and Oswalt won that meeting 4-3. Oswalt also creamed the Pirates in his last start before the Break, throwing a 1-hit shutout, and beating Ohlendorf. Maholm has been, as his season and career numbers can back-up, decent against the Astros. He's just decent all over. But Oswalt's 15-7 career mark against the Pirates just makes it too darn tough to fade him. Maholm should pitch alright, but if Houston scores 2-3 runs, that might be enough.
Brewers @ Braves (-180) with a total of 9; M. Parra vs. D. Lowe;
Craig Counsell is 10-for-25 with 4 RBI off Lowe since '05;
Corey Hart was 6-for-16 with a HR and 3 RBI off Lowe coming into '10;
Chipper Jones is 5-for-6 with 2 HR and 5 RBI off Parra.
The Braves are officially getting big, fat, public lines. This one is all the evidence you need of that. Derek Lowe at nearly a -200 line when his ERA is only a third of a run lower than his opponent. So, for what it's worth, Parra is 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA against the Braves lifetime, so this is probably not a great spot to back the dog, and Lowe, who went 6 innings of 2-run ball against the Brewers earlier this season, is 4-1 with a 3.22 mark against them overall. This is a stay-away, for me.
Dodgers (-135) @ Cardinals with a total of 9; V. Padilla vs. J. Suppan;
Rafael Furcal is 5-for-11 with an RBI off Suppan since '05;
Russ Martin is 4-for-10 off Suppan;
Felipe Lopez is 4-for-8 with 3 RBI off Padilla;
Randy Winn is 3-for-8 with a HR off Padilla.
Aside from a rusty first start off the DL, Padilla has been the Dodgers best starter over the last 3-4 weeks. He dominated the Yankees, Marlins, Giants and Cubs, and the Dodgers have won his last 3 starts in a row. He's 2-1 with a 3.68 ERA against the Cards, and most of the St. Louis regulars haven't seen Padilla before, or haven't seen him since before '05, at the very least. Suppan is 0-5 with a 6.55 ERA on the season, and though his career numbers against the Dodgers are alright, he's been a total flop this year, and I can't help but think LA needs this one more than StL.
D'backs @ Padres (-140) with a total of 7.5; E. Jackson vs. K. Correia;
Adam LaRoche is 5-for-10 with an RBI off Correia;
Gerardo Parra is 5-for-12 with 2 RBI off Correia.
This is start number three for each cat against the other club, so you can basically disregard the player numbers from years past. Jackson is 0-2 with a 5.31 lifetime ERA against the Padres, though he did throw 6 shutout innings against them in San Diego after getting clunked in Arizona. Correia had a similar experience, allowing 4 runs to the D'backs in Arizona, but going 5.2 scoreless frames at Petco. The D'backs looked like they didn't want to be playing baseball in the opener of this series, and we'll take a peek at how Saturday's night game shakes out, but Correia posting a 3.60 ERA against the D'backs makes me think this one could be closer and lower-scoring than folks expect, and that bodes poorly for Arizona.
Mets (-120) @ Giants with a total of 7; J. Santana vs. J. Sanchez;
Once again, I'm going to disregard player numbers in favor of checking out recent trends, and how the pitchers performed against this team this year. Johan Santana rolled, and I mean ROLLED into the All Star Break. He hasn't allowed a run in his last 2 starts (spanning 16 innings), both games the Mets won 3-0. He's 2-0 with a 3.89 ERA against the Giants lifetime, and gave up 4 runs in 7.2 innings this year. Sanchez allowed 4 runs in 7 innings, but gave up 3 homers at CitiField, which is not easy. He's 2-1 with a 4.18 ERA against the Mets in his career, but he's been pretty darn inconsistent over the last month and change. Based on matchup stuff alone, the Giants look like the play, but based on recent pitching trends, Johan looks like a beast.
Phillies (-170) @ Cubs with a total of N/A; R. Halladay vs. T. Gorzelanny;
Marlon Byrd is 5-for-13 with 2 RBI off Halladay.
Roy Halladay has been a master on the mound in July so far. He's gone 9 innings in both starts, and he's allowed just 1 run this month. So, why should that change? Gorzelanny has actually been on a nice little roll, himself, so if the wind allows, this one could potentially be a low scoring affair. I just have such issue trusting Gorzelanny, even when it seems like he's throwing the ball well. I'd love to try to find a way to back the home dog because of the inflated line, but I just can't. If the wind is blowing in, Halladay could very well go the distance, again. I'm waiting on the total.
Tigers @ Indians with a total of N/A; A. Oliver vs. D. Huff;
It seems like the projected starters in this one are still a bit up in the air, thanks to the doubleheader yesterday. I have David Huff on the slate for Cleveland, but that name's been in flux all day. If indeed Huff is getting the nod, he's going to have to do better than the 9 runs (6 earned) he's allowed in 9 innings of work against the Tigers so far this season. Andrew Oliver's shaky MLB run is probably nearing its conclusion, unless he gets things turned around soon. This one might come down to motivation, and the Tigers seemingly need this one more.
Rays @ Yankees (-140) with a total of 8.5; D. Price vs. A. Pettitte;
Jason Bartlett was 7-for-18 with a HR and 5 RBI off Pettitte before 2010;
Carlos Pena was 8-for-25 with 4 HR and 6 RBI off Pettitte before 2010;
Ben Zobrist is 4-for-12 with a HR off Pettite;
Alex Rodriguez is 3-for-9 with a HR and 2 RBI off Price.
David Price is 2-0 with a 2.56 ERA against the Yankees, and folks, it is not easy to put up numbers like that against New York. Pettitte is having an incredible year, but his worst start of 2010 came against these very Tampa Bay Rays, by 2 full runs. He gave up 6 runs to Tampa, and hasn't allowed more than 4 in any other start all season long. For Price, his stuff is so wicked that he can make mistakes and still succeed, and that's why you have to give him a nod at this price. I suppose my concern is that the line is high for a reason, but Pettitte is going to draw plenty of money, so let's not overthink it.
Rangers @ Red Sox (-150) with a total of 8.5; C. Wilson vs. J. Lester;
Vlad Guerrero was 4-for-10 off Lester before 2010;
Michael Young was 8-for-17 with a HR and 2 RBI off Lester before 2010;
Adrian Beltre was 4-for-10 off Wilson with a HR and 2 RBI before 2010.
I was waiting for this game, because I had this notion that Boston would come to play in the finale, but looking at the line, I worry that this one is inflated on the Boston side. C.J. Wilson is 1-1 with a 1.56 ERA lifetime against the Red Sox, though he hasn't looked that good in July. Lester just keeps rolling along, keeping that ERA comfortably in the 2's. He's 2-0 against the Rangers with a 3.55 ERA, and I happen to believe he pitches fairly well, here. I'm not sure we can lay this chalk, but it's one of the cheaper Lester prices we'll see the rest of the year.
Blue Jays (-140) @ Orioles with a total of 9; S. Marcum vs. B. Matusz;
Adam Jones is 3-for-10 with a HR off Marcum;
Nick Markakis was 9-for-18 with 5 HR and 6 RBI off Marcum before 2010.
I typed those same player numbers way back in April and May, and Marcum proceeded to dominate the Orioles both times. We might have even unsuccessfully taken a shot on the big dog. Since then, Marcum has evened out a tad, though he still has the changeup to get through most low-to-medium lineups, and only seems to run into trouble with the Rays. Matusz has an ERA near 17 against the Jays, so this is a dangerous spot to back the dog, but not sure I can go on Marcum to pitch well a 3rd time against the O's...
White Sox (-115) @ Twins with a total of 9.5; F. Garcia vs. N. Blackburn;
A.J. Pierzynski was batting .423 in 26 AB with 3 RBI off Blackburn before 2010;
Carlos Quentin is 5-for-16 with a HR off Blackburn;
Alexei Ramirez was batting .421 off Blackburn before 2010;
Joe Mauer was 6-for-18 off Garcia before 2010.
This is one of those Opening lines that's probably going to dance a bit before it settles, and let's be clear - there isn't a ton of "value" on the White Sox side, but that doesn't mean they lose the game. Does that make sense? What I'm trying to get at is that Blackburn has been so horrid that you're now paying a premium to back Freddy Garcia on the road. Blackburn allowed 5 runs in 7.2 innings against the Sox back in April, but his ERA has been on the explosive rise. Garcia has been a beacon of consistency, and has pitched quite well against the Twins twice this season, already. This would be a better lean if Blackburn's numbers weren't driving this line towards Chicago.
Athletics (-120) @ Royals with a total of 9; V. Mazzaro vs. B. Bannister;
Gabe Gross is 5-for-10 off Bannister;
Kurt Suzuki is 5-for-14 off Bannister.
This is one of those road fave situations where you'd normally start with the dog and work towards the favorite, but I'm not sure it's going to take long. Mazzaro's been hot, posting 4 straight quality starts, 2 at home and 2 on the road. That's a nice note, since you can't pin his success to any particular mound or venue. Bannister's ERA is up over 5.50, and he's just 1-4 against Oakland in his career. I hate to say it, but I actually would take the short road favorite in a decidedly square move over Bannister and the home dog. Oakland's pitching keeps them in every game, and Mazzaro's been limiting baserunners and throwing well.
Mariners @ Angels (-145) with a total of 8; J. Vargas vs. E. Santana;
This is a matchup of two inconsistent pitchers, and that means it's almost for sure a no-play. Vargas was great in one of his starts against the Angels, and marginal in the other. Santana was great in one of his outings against the M's, and pretty crummy in the other. Vargas seems to fluctuate between tremendous and awful every couple of starts, and Santana can throw a complete game shutout just as easily as he can give up 6 runs in 6 innings. The Angels will probably end up winning the game just based on sheer willpower, but the starting pitching edge I will bestow to Seattle.