: Yesterday was a lesson in humility, and as I preach on "Today in Sports Betting," everyone needs to be constantly learning and evolving. Late Saturday night, when I was doing my handicapping, I got the news that TV and Internet had been shut down by Comcast, inexplicably, in my home in Michigan, to which I'm returning today (Monday). I spent a good deal of time on the phone with the fiance, and then with Comcast, trying to figure out how to remedy the situation, interrupting "the routine." Lesson learned. Everyone has a style of handicapping that works, and if something throws a wrench into your ability to process numbers, logic, trends, etc., it's best to just take a knee. A bad day resulted, and I apologize to those that trust me enough to play my selections. That being said, it's just one day, and the Top Play was just a 1*, so we can make that up, and then some, today, on...
Today: SUMMER SIZZLER MONDAY! That's all you need to know. $12 if you're impatient and don't want to wait for Marco's video to get that coupon, or $6 if you wait for the coupon. If EACH AND EVERY one of you doesn't at least CONSIDER a $6 investment, well, that makes the Bebe blog feel sad.
Extra Note: Flying from LA to Michigan (with 2 stops - it was a free flight, so I got stuck with some sh*tbag layovers), so I'll be away from the computer from about 1pm ET to close to 1am ET. Just wanted you guys to know I'm not running for the hills, I'm flying 7 miles above them.
Sports Wagering: MLB
Cubs @ D'backs (-130) with a total of 9.5; T. Gorzelanny vs. I. Kennedy;
Stephen Drew is 5-for-12 off Gorzelanny;
Justin Upton is 4-for-8 with a HR off Gorzelanny.
I'm not sure how you even consider the Cubs in this one. I mean, the D'backs stink something fierce, and sport one of the worst bullpens I can remember since I started betting baseball (picking up another "L" yesterday), but the Cubs are, perhaps, the biggest disappointment in the League, getting absolutely creamed in 2 of 3, at home, against the Reds. I suppose the bounceback game is the one thing working in their favor, but Gorzelanny in a hitter's park in Phoenix is a little bit of a scary thought. He pitched alright against the D'backs in Wrigley earlier this year, and Kennedy had that crazy wind-game with Ted Lilly, so it's tough to go on that data.
Giants @ Brewers (-135) with a total of 8.5; J. Sanchez vs. D. Bush;
Pat Burrell is 5-for-13 with 3 HR and 5 RBI off Bush since '05;
Edgar Renteria is 6-for-12 off Bush since' 05;
Freddy Sanchez is 11-for-30 with 6 RBI off Bush since '05;
Ryan Braun is 3-for-8 off Sanchez;
Prince Fielder is 4-for-11 with 2 RBI off Sanchez;
Corey Hart is 3-for-8 off Sanchez.
The Giants are really fighting it, these days. We could get into all the minutia, about Sanchez on the road, and the Brewers bats heating up, and so on and so forth, but really, the Giants struggles mean they're not a smart play.
Braves @ Phillies (-167) with a total of 8; D. Lowe vs. R. Halladay;
There's really only one guy on the Phillies that hits Lowe hard, consistently, and he's on the DL. Without Chase Utley, who is going to get the Phils on the board against the sinkerballer? Lowe had 2 poor starts against the Phils early this season, but bounced back with a strong one in early June, and I wonder if he doesn't continue to build on that. Halladay has been nothing short of spectacular against the Braves, 2-0 with an 0.46 ERA against them in his career. I'd love to take the Under, but I don't believe there's a ton of value left in that one. Still, it's really the only play that makes much sense to me, here.
Reds @ Mets (-140) with a total of 8.5; A. Harang vs. M. Pelfrey;
Brandon Phillips is 5-for-12 with a HR and 4 RBI off Pelfrey;
Jason Bay is batting .410 in 39 AB off Harang since '05 with 5 HR and 9 RBI;
David Wright is 8-for-12 with a HR and 5 RBI off Harang.
That is some serious ownage from Bay and Wright against Harang. Pelfrey, though, has been experiencing what appears to be some slight arm fatigue. He pitched very poorly in Puerto Rico in his last start, though the Mets got lucky in that one and escaped with a gift win. I do like how strong he's been at home, though, where the adrenaline seems to kick in a little harder. Pelfrey is 3-1 against the Reds with a 4.73 ERA - not great, but decent compared to Harang's 2-3, 6.11 mark against the Mets.
Marlins @ Dodgers (-171) with a total of 8.5; N. Robertson vs. J. Ely;
Casey Blake is 6-for-19 with 5 HR and 5 RBI off Robertson since '05.
That's a ton of homers for Blake off Robertson, who has actually done a decent job, this year, of forcing teams to string together hits to score runs off him. Of course, teams have been able to do that, too, which leads to an ERA near 5. Robertson is 1-0 against the Dodgers lifetime, but it's tough to put a real ribbon on any relevance, there. This side is too expensive to back Ely, especially against a team that has some definite offensive talent, but I wouldn't expect Robertson to succeed against a good home team in LA.
Orioles @ Tigers (-180) with a total of 9.5; K. Millwood vs. A. Oliver;
Miguel Cabrera is 5-for-14 with 3 RBI off Millwood since '05;
Magglio Ordonez is 9-for-24 off Millwood since '05.
This price is all kinds of too-high for Andrew Oliver. I know the Tigers are a solid home team, but the Orioles are starting to score just a little bit, and there's no doubt in my mind that at this price, the Orioles are the value play. I'm not a tremendous volume guy, but I wouldn't bet the Tigers, is all I'm trying to convey.
Angels @ White Sox (-150) with a total of 9.5; S. Kazmir vs. G. Floyd;
Bobby Abreu is 5-for-16 with 6 RBI off Floyd since '05;
Juan Rivera (if healthy) is 5-for-12 with a HR and 3 RBI off Floyd since '05;
Paul Konerko is 9-for-20 with 2 HR and 5 RBI off Kazmir since '05;
Alexei Ramirez is 4-for-11 with an RBI off Kazmir.
Well, this is a little expensive for the Sox, though I'd say there's a decent chance they win the game. Kazmir, after a brief stretch of marginal starts, has regressed back to stinking, and I fail to see how on earth he has 7 wins this year, and Gavin Floyd has just 3. In any case, Kazmir's career numbers have meant very little this season as he fights his way through 2010, so no reason to put a ton of stock in his 3-3, 4.66 mark against the White Sox, for good or bad. Floyd continues his fine run since early June, though is just 1-3 with a 4.14 ERA against the Angels. His strikeouts were down in KC, but he got grounder after grounder, and despite one rough inning, tossed another quality outing into the mix.
Leans: White Sox-2
Red Sox @ Rays (-145) with a total of 9; D. Matsuzaka vs. M. Garza;
REMATCH ALERT! We'll forgo player numbers, since Garza is making his 4th start of the season against the Sox, and anything we need to know about his work against Boston, we can get from this year's data. He pitched well against the Red Sox twice, both times at Fenway, and stunk against them at home. Which Garza will we get? His last 2 starts have been a bit better, and the Red Sox are without some key offensive weapons, so I wonder if he doesn't have himself a nice outing at home. Matsuzaka is also pitching well lately, though he did lose to Garza when these teams met last, the Boston pen giving up 6 runs late to let the Rays blow that one open. If you think Boston gets some revenge, you've got a nice value. If you think Garza continues a resurgence, of sorts, then 145 might not look that expensive. Here's what I think.
Indians @ Rangers (-175) with a total of 10.5; A. Laffey vs. O. Beltre;
Ian Kinsler is 4-for-6 off Laffey.
I could list a few other Rangers that hit Laffey hard in very limited action, but maybe it's more notable to post Laffey's numbers against Texas - 1-1 with an 8.64 ERA. Yikes. Omar Beltre makes his 2nd start of his young career, coming off a rather poor debut against the Halos. The strikeouts were there, which means that good things might be coming, if he can cut down on the walks. At this price, there are better plays out there, and that total is pretty inflated.
Yankees (-157) @ Athletics with a total of 8.5; J. Vazquez vs. B. Sheets;
Ben Sheets has been one of the easiest pitchers to handicap over the last 2 months. He's going to go 6 innings and give up 3 or 4 runs. Done. I mean, look at his game log. He's gone between 6 and 7 innings in 11 straight starts, and he's allowed 3-4 earned runs in 8 of those 11 starts. So, will Vazquez and the Yankees pen do better than that? I'm inclined to think they will, but so does the World, and that's why this line is where it is. Vazquez has been serviceable lately, better than Sheets by just a hair. He didn't pitch that well against Oakland earlier this season, but seems to have a better grip on his stuff now than he did then. Oakland's been winning, we should give them credit, but the Yankees can definitely make a stink in Oakland.
Royals @ Mariners (-200) with a total of 7; B. Bannister vs. F. Hernandez;
King Felix has officially arrived. He and Cliff Lee are making up one of the most menacing 1-2 tandems in baseball, but on this team with no offense, is it too late? Seems like it, as Cliff Lee is absolutely the talk of the Hot Stove. With Eric Bedard coming back, that could have been a pretty damn good starting rotation, with Vargas and a healthy Fister. Oh well, best laid plans. Hernandez has thrown 4 straight games of 9 innings, and went 8.2 in the start before that. He is just dominating. Brian Bannister isn't. And while the Royals are playing decent ball, aside from yesterday's blowout loss in Anaheim, the Mariners should win this one handily. You guys know how I feel about home run lines, and with the Mariners offense, that's a very dicey proposition, but I happen to think this line should actually be closer to -220. Is that enough?