: Some rain later, and the whole thing comes to pieces. I don't know what it is about rain that just causes havoc in the handicapping. You'd think when your opposition loses its starting pitcher, it'd be a good thing, but suddenly the game isn't at all what you handicapped, and the fact that the Angels hit Jake Peavy ultra hard doesn't matter. We can't fool ourselves into thinking luck plays no role in betting when that type of unfortunate situation rears its head. Oh well, some go our way, some don't; it's just one game.
However, I want to steal a Family Guy
bit by talking about something that "grinds my gears," and that's when folks take a tough loss in baseball and say something like, "Oh well, that's baseball. At least we can win it back in football." When a Pro does it, I happen to think it perpetuates the incorrect assumption that baseball can't be beat, and that all the Pros that bet baseball are working on a fruitless endeavor, which is simply not true. When a forum guy does it, that's defeatist. I think I'll save some more of this good stuff for the TiSB taping with VR and Hooky. Alright, venting done!
Today: I see a game that has the potential to be a 2* Game of the Week. I'm not going to pin it down late tonight, since I want to make sure the line doesn't do anything wacky, but if we get some confirmation, it'll be time to really crush a play, and double up. Stay tuned!
Braves @ Phillies (-120) with a total of 8.5; K. Medlen vs. J. Moyer;
No sense getting too involved in player numbers when there's a decent history from just this season. Moyer has faced the Braves twice, and he's been tremendous, if perhaps a little lucky in one of the two starts. Back in mid-April, Moyer allowed 2 unearned runs in 6 innings of work in an 8-3 Phillies win, and in early May he pitched a complete game shutout against Atlanta. Of course, that was, for the most part, before the Braves kicked things into high gear. Moyer is 5-5 with a 4.26 ERA lifetime against Atlanta, and 15 innings without an earned run this year has certainly brought that number down. He's also on a string of 4 straight starts of 2 runs or less and 6 or more innings. Medlen is an interesting bird. He made his first start of the year against the Phils, and allowed a run in 4.1 innings. However, he did allow 9 hits and escaped messes the whole way through. He has a 5.11 ERA against Philadelphia, and while he's on a run of 2 straight strong starts, his work against the Phillies makes me nervous.
Padres (-120) @ Nationals with a total of 8; J. Garland vs. J. Martin;
Josh Willingham is 3-for-6 off Garland.
Not a great deal of historical data here, in stark contrast to Moyer in the game above. Martin is 0-2 against the Padres with a 1.93 ERA, so he's been unlucky. Garland is 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA against the Nationals, so slightly better than average against this particular opponent. The current Nats roster doesn't seem to see Garland all that well, and he did go 7 innings of 2-run ball against them back in late May in a 3-2 Padres win. Martin gave up 4 runs, but only 1 of them was earned, in a 4-2 loss to San Diego in that same series. So Martin got unlucky, Garland got a narrow win in a different game, and Garland's been trending down, down, down, while Martin just isn't that great.
Reds @ Mets (-118) with a total of 8.5; B. Arroyo vs. J. Niese;
Jason Bay is 6-for-19 off Arroyo since '05.
This will be the 2nd start for each of these guys against the other team, and the results of start 1 were quite similar. Arroyo went 7 innings of 4-run ball in a 5-4 loss to the Mets back on May 4, and Jon Niese went 6 innings of 4-run ball in 5-4 loss the very next night. So, what do we know about these pitchers? Arroyo remains relatively consistent, but he happens to be the pitch-to-contact sort of guy that the Mets can get aggressive with, at home. He has nice career numbers against New York, at 6-2 with a 3.54 ERA, and Cincinnati can definitely hit, so the question is whether Niese has a brilliant start, or a marginal one. He's coming off 2 strong starts, and the Mets have won his last 6 straight outings. Tough to back Cincy here, but not all that easy to back the Mets, either.
Pirates @ Astros (-125) with a total of 9; D. McCutchen vs. B. Moehler;
Ronny Cedeno is 4-for-11 off Moehler;
Ryan Church is 5-for-15 off Moehler.
Not surprisingly, Brian Moehler is 5-7 with a 6.15 ERA against the Pirates, but he seems to have awful numbers against everyone. The question is what we'll get tonight, and if recent starts are any indicator, Moehler could pitch relatively well. Since his first start, a complete disaster in late May, Moehler has been fairly serviceable. He's not going deep in games, but the Pirates aren't exactly an offensive juggernaut. McCutchen flat-out stinks, and until I see him make a quality start, I'm not sure I can back him.
Giants (-130) @ Brewers with a total of 7.5; T. Lincecum vs. C. Narveson;
Ryan Braun is 6-for-13 with 2 HR and 7 RBI off Lincecum.
Tim Lincecum is 1-2 with a 5.67 ERA against the Brewers, and Ryan Braun appears to be the reason why. This is just not the foe he likes to face. He hasn't seen Milwaukee this year, but Timmy is on a streak of 2 straight subpar outings, and appears to be trending down. It's going to take some local beat-writer reading to get a good perspective on this game, since this is about as cheap as we'll ever see Lincecum in such a winnable game. His opponent, Chris Narveson, is not very good. Somehow, we managed to fade Narveson in the game where he turned into Cy Young, but besides that one sparkling effort against the Mariners, he's been pretty bad, and I wouldn't be surprised to see the Giants get to him for a few runs. The square side might actually be better in this one, despite Timmy's struggles.
Cardinals (-120) @ Rockies with a total of 9; J. Garcia vs. A. Cook;
I honestly have no clue how Aaron Cook's lifetime mark against the Cards is 1-4 with a 5.07 ERA. Up and down that Cardinals lineup, no one hits Cook hard. Felipe Lopez is 1-for-11, Holliday is 1-for-6, Schumaker is 1-for-10, and Randy Winn is batting .172 off Cook since '05, yet somehow, he's struggled against them. Cook is, however on a little run of 3 straight quality starts, while Garcia is on a run of getting hit on the road, and not at home, at least over the last month or so. This is also Garcia's first trip to Coors, which can be a bit unnerving. I'm surprised at this opening line, since I think this is a good deal on a Rockies team that finds a way to win at home.
Cubs (-120) @ D'backs with a total of 9; R. Dempster vs. E. Jackson;
Stephen Drew was 3-for-7 off Dempster before 2010.
If Drew is even still a D'back tomorrow, I suppose. Dempster is 1-5 with a 6.37 ERA lifetime against Arizona, so not a team that he enjoys facing, though the current lineup doesn't seem to hit him all that hard. Edwin Jackson had himself an ugly outing against Chicago when he was going through a bit of a pitching slump in early May, but I have to believe he's rebounded from that, and will likely pitch better in this one. I'm a little torn, here, since history would suggest that Dempster just won't perform that well in Arizona, but at the same time, I have nothing that really tells me Jackson is going to pitch much better.
Leans: D'backs-2, Over-1
Marlins (-130) @ Dodgers with a total of 7; J. Johnson vs. H. Kuroda;
Jorge Cantu was 3-for-8 with a HR off Kuroda before 2010;
Cody Ross was 3-for-9 with a HR and 3 RBI off Kuroda before '10;
Andre Ethier was 5-for-10 with 3 RBI off Johnson before this year.
Interestingly, Josh Johnson is 2-1 against LA, but sports a 6.23 ERA. He doesn't really like facing the Dodgers. In fact, LA scored 3 runs in 5 innings of Johnson earlier this year, but the Marlins squeaked that one out. Kuroda is coming off one of his worst starts as a Major Leaguer, just unable to get anything where he wanted it in Arizona, but brings a 1-0, 2.60 ERA mark against Florida into this one, including 8 innings of 1-unearned run baseball back in April. This looks like a pretty sweet deal on a good home team, but Johnson is on one of the sickest pitching rolls we've seen in a while.
Orioles @ Tigers (-260) with a total of 9.5; B. Bergesen vs. M. Scherzer;
Magglio Ordonez is 3-for-4 off Bergesen.
You can make all the arguments you want for a home run line here, but I ain't buyin' them. Bergesen actually pitched well against the Tigers last year, and Scherzer hasn't seen the Orioles. Scherzer is rolling along these days, and we know the Tigers simply win at home, but this one, to me, could end up closer than people expect.
Twins @ Blue Jays (-115) with a total of 9.5; K. Slowey vs. M. Rzepczynski;
Aaron Hill is 4-for-8 off Slowey;
Adam Lind is 5-for-8 off Slowey;
Lyle Overbay is 4-for-8 off Slowey with a HR and 4 RBI;
Vernon Wells is 3-for-8 off Slowey with a HR and 4 RBI.
Good thing we don't have any historical data on the Toronto side, since I was done typing this kid's name after just one try up above. Marc, with a "c", is a solid lefthanded sinkerballer that had a decent first stint in the Bigs last year, going 2-4 with a respectable 3.67 ERA in the AL East. He had nice strikeout numbers, could have improved on the walks, but that hard lefty delivery could be a bad sign for the Twins lineup. Slowey is 1-2 with a 6.08 ERA against Toronto, too. Uh oh.
Leans: Blue Jays-3
Red Sox @ Rays (-180) with a total of 8.5; T. Wakefield vs. D. Price;
Kevin Youkilis is 4-for-6 off Price;
Evan Longoria is 5-for-9 off Wakefield.
I have no idea how this happened, but neither of these pitchers has faced the other team this year, despite the clubs playing quite a few games with one another, already. It's a scheduling head-scratcher, to be sure. Wakefield is a career 19-5 against the Rays with a 3.51 ERA, though a lot of that damage was done before Tampa got good, and since Tampa started hitting, Wakefield hasn't done quite as well. Price is just rumbling right along, and despite his 1-1, 4.76 mark against Boston, I believe he pitches well. This line is probably where it should be.
Indians @ Rangers (-250) with a total of 9.5; M. Talbot vs. C. Lewis;
Not a chance in hell I make a play on this one. Talbot can be brilliant for 5 innings and completely implode for 1 frame, or he might just get yanked after 5 with the lead. It's tough to say. He's never seen the Rangers. Colby Lewis hasn't pitched against the Indians since April, and went 5.1 innings in that one. There's just no reason to back this large of a favorite, and the Indians aren't giving me enough motivation to take a shot on a dog.
Angels @ White Sox (-110) with a total of 9.5; J. Saunders vs. F. Garcia;
Torii Hunter is 7-for-12 with 3 HR and 3 RBI off Garcia since '05;
Paul Konerko is 4-for-13 with a HR and 2 RBI off Saunders.
With the way these guys have been pitching, I'm stuck wondering if this line is a gift or if I might be missing something. Joe Saunders, 6-8 with a 4.59 ERA is roughly in a dead heat with the piping hot White Sox and one of their most consistent performers all year? Garcia is pretty easy to handicap this year - he's going to go 6-7 innings and allow 2-3 runs. Saunders is a little tougher. He's made 2 straight strong starts, but every time you think he's got it figured out, he craps the bed. He did pitch well against the White Sox earlier this year in a 3-2 win over John Danks, but the White Sox now are a heck of a lot tougher than the floundering Pale Hose of early May.
Leans: White Sox-4
Yankees (-120) @ Athletics with a total of 8.5; A. Burnett vs. G. Gonzalez;
Daric Barton is 3-for-7 with a HR and 3 RBI off Burnett;
Kurt Suzuki is 4-for-12 with 2 RBI off Burnett;
Ryan Sweeney is 3-for-10 with a HR and 2 RBI off Burnett.
Yep, all those good numbers against Burnett, and yet, I somehow still lean to the Yankees. I think Burnett's value has completely maxed out thanks to a miserable June, and a game where he actually pitched well against Toronto that his team found a way to lose. This line is not low because of some sort of trap; this line is low because no one has any faith in A.J. Burnett, and I happen to think it's time for him to start turning things around. Gio Gonzalez also happens to be on a bit of a roll, and we all know how tough he can be at home. This total might be too high, as well.
Leans: Yankees-1, Under-2
Royals @ Mariners (-145) with a total of 7.5; K. Davies vs. D. Fister;
Yuny Betancourt is 2-for-2 with a HR off Fister;
Russell Branyan is 3-for-7 with 3 RBI off Davies;
Franklin Gutierrez is 8-for-13 with 4 RBI off Davies.
Doug Fister still doesn't seem like he quite trusts his stuff since coming off the DL, posting 2 bad starts in Milwaukee and Detroit. Davies just stinks, but he does have a nice history against the Mariners, and is coming off a strong start in Anaheim, somehow. Davies is 3-1 with a 3.82 ERA against Kansas City, including 6 shutout innings against them back in April. The Mariners are not a good-hitting ballclub, so they can't really overcome any pitching mistakes, and I believe the Royals, who do a very nice job of going the other way and getting guys on base, have the formula to win in Safeco.