: Dan Haren got a boo-boo. Paid Play clunker. Moving on.
Sports Wagering: MLB
Phillies (-115) @ Cubs with a total of N/A; C. Hamels vs. R. Wells;
Ryan Theriot is 5-for-14 with a HR off Hamels.
Cole Hamels is 3-1 with a 2.61 ERA against the Cubs in his career. Randy Wells has never faced the Phillies. Both starters had been on a nice run, heading into the All Star Break, and though both lost 2 of their last 3 starts overall, it wasn't for lack of solid work on the mound. I have to give the oddsmakers some credit - they've nailed the first 2 games of this series, so if that's an indicator, the Phils should win this one, though I'm not so sure. The Cubs are very streaky, and if they're actually enjoying being on the field, they might very well win another.
Leans: None (yet)
Dodgers @ Cardinals (-175) with a total of 8; H. Kuroda vs. A. Wainwright;
Ronnie Belliard was 4-for-10 off Wainwright with a HR and 2 RBI before 2010;
Rafael Furcal was 7-for-16 off Wainwright with 3 RBI before '10;
Russ Martin was 7-for-14 off Wainwright before 2010;
Matt Holliday was 7-for-14 with a HR and 6 RBI off Kuroda before 2010.
Adam Wainwright is an incredible pitcher, but he has had some mild issues with the Dodgers. This season, he allowed 8 hits and 5 walks to LA in one of his worst starts of the season, those 13 baserunners far and away eclipsing any other start he's made this season. Kuroda went 7 shutout innings in his start against the Cards this year. The value here is definitely with the Dodgers, but as discussed, betting on LA in this ballpark is not a pretty sight.
Astros @ Pirates (-110) with a total of 8.5; B. Norris vs. R. Ohlendorf;
Lance Berkman is 6-for-13 with a HR and 5 RBI off Ohlendorf before 2010.
Poor Ohlendorf must feel like he just got off the mound against the Astros. Back-to-back starts against Houston for the righty, split up by an All Star Break. Ohlendorf is 0-6 with a 6.55 ERA lifetime against Houston, but his last outing was not at all part of that mess, going 7 innings and allowing just 2 runs in a losing effort. Bud Norris is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA against the punchless Pirates, but that 5.97 season ERA means that Norris is rarely perfect. I kind of like Ohlendorf on the second try.
Rockies @ Reds (-125) with a total of 9; J. De La Rosa vs. E. Volquez;
Jonny Gomes is a perfect 3-for-3 with a HR off De La Rosa.
This game has "RUST" stamped all over it in indelible ink. Jorge De La Rosa is making just his second start since coming off the DL, and his first was rather ugly. He's 1-2 with an 8.36 ERA lifetime against Cincinnati. Edinson Volquez is making his first start of the year after a battle with...um...stuff. He's 0-1 with a 7.20 ERA against the Rockies. I usually try to fade a pitcher coming off injury, but a pitcher coming off complete absence from the game? The total looks strangely low, given the way the starters could perform.
Leans: Over-2, Rockies-1
Brewers @ Braves (-205) with a total of 8.5; C. Narveson vs. T. Hudson;
Ryan Braun was 5-for-11 off Hudson with an RBI before 2010;
Jim Edmonds is 6-for-16 with a HR and 4 RBI off Hudson between '05 and '09;
Corey Hart was 6-for-17 with an RBI off Hudson before 2010.
Yes, a few Brewers have hit Hudson hard in the past, but Hudson is still 3-2 with a 2.98 ERA against Milwaukee, and went 6 innings of 1-run ball against them earlier this season. Chris Narveson has had 1 good game this year, of course the day we faded him, and otherwise has been totally mediocre. This line is where it should be, the Braves will probably win, and we shouldn't bet it.
Nationals @ Marlins (-240) with a total of 7; L. Hernandez vs. J. Johnson;
Jorge Cantu is 3-for-10 with a HR and 4 RBI off Livan between '05 and '09;
Hanley Ramirez was 6-for-16 with 2 HR and 4 RBI off Livan between '05 and '09.
Livan actually went 7 innings of 1-run baseball against the Marlins earlier this very season, and though he's regressed a tad after that incredible start to the year, Livan is still pretty reliable, overall. That being said, he's probably not going to outpitch Josh Johnson, and even though that price means there's a tiny bit of value on the Nats side, unless you've got the bankroll of a prince, this one's a pass.
D'backs @ Padres (-170) with a total of 7; R. Lopez vs. C. Richard;
As a player matchup guy first and foremost, there just isn't enough for me to go on, here, to really get a strong feeling. Not only that, the line is rather sizable, a clear indicator that the Padres really are getting some love, and that no one knows who Rodrigo Lopez is, even though he's been okay this year, all things considered. Clayton Richard has, like many in the Padres pitching staff, been regressing, so the D'backs certainly have a shot, and at this price, that means something, but I'm not venturing down this path. If Lopez has to leave the game before 6 innings, the Padres might add 4-5 runs to their total against that pen.
Mets @ Giants (-145) with a total of 7; M. Pelfrey vs. M. Cain;
Jason Bay is 4-for-5 off Cain with an RBI;
Carlos Beltran is 4-for-10 off Cain with 4 RBI;
Jose Reyes is 8-for-14 with a HR and 5 RBI off Cain;
David Wright is 8-for-18 with 3 RBI off Cain.
Just based on player numbers alone, Mike Pelfrey looks like a tremendous value. He's 1-1 with a 2.28 ERA against the Giants, while Cain is 3-3 with a 4.26 ERA against the Mets, and as you can see above, there are 4 Mets with strong numbers against him. Unfortunately, both of these pitchers tumbled their way into the All Star Break, both pitched terribly in early July, and it's tough to know if either, or both, is going to get his act together. The leans say it all.
Leans: Over-3, Mets-1
Tigers (-150) @ Indians with a total of 8.5; J. Verlander vs. F. Carmona;
You guys know I rarely make any plays on double-headers, but I'll quickly give my thoughts on both halves of this one. Here in the afternoon tilt, Justin Verlander, who has pitched in two Tigers' wins over the Indians, still really hasn't pitched well against Cleveland in either start. On the other side, Carmona pitched extremely well against Detroit, but took the loss. How does that shape up for this one? Well, one might suspect that the lackluster-on-the-road Tigers drop another one, but despite last night's loss, Detroit actually does handle Cleveland alright. I'd still lean to the big home dog, but probably not enough to make it a play, even if this wasn't a double-header. Time will tell.
Tigers (-125) @ Indians with a total of 9; R. Porcello vs. M. Talbot;
The Tigers, in my opinion, have a better chance of taking this one than the afternoon affair. Porcello, through all his struggles this year, is still 4-0 with a 2.55 lifetime ERA against the Indians, and if not for some shoddy defense, might have picked up another win in early June. So, he got demoted, and now the hope is that, like Scherzer, he comes back to the Bigs renewed and crushes a team that he's feasted on so far. Talbot, on the other side, has been extremely reliable this year, except against Detroit, as the Tigers have taken Talbot to task for 8 runs in just 10 innings of work.
Rays @ Yankees (-130) with a total of 9.5; J. Niemann vs. A. Burnett;
Derek Jeter is 4-for-5 off Niemann;
Carl Crawford is batting .333 in 36 AB off Burnett since '05;
Evan Longoria was 8-for-25 with a HR coming into 2010 off Burnett.
Jeff Niemann has been extremely solid, and while he might not be the Rays starter that gets all the headlines (see: Price, David), his ERA is equally impressive, he's 7-2 on the season, and the Yankees haven't seen him since 2009. A.J. Burnett, meanwhile, has seemingly turned things around in July with the return of his pitching coach. Still, he got whacked around by these very Rays back in mid-May, and while I do like backing a hot pitcher, and Burnett is just that, and the Rays don't exactly have a powerhouse history in New York, there's just something about Niemann that makes me think he keeps this one close right to the end.
Blue Jays (-137) @ Orioles with a total of 9; B. Morrow vs. J. Guthrie;
Jose Bautista is 4-for-10 with a HR off Guthrie before 2010;
Vernon Wells was batting .304 with 2 HR and 6 RBI off Guthrie before 2010.
This game is all about trends for the two pitchers, but that dastardly All Star Break throws a bit of a wrench into those plans. Morrow and Guthrie both stumbled into the Break, Morrow after a strong June, and Guthrie in the midst of yet another wasted season in Baltimore. They each have decent numbers against the other club, lifetime, but neither has pitched well against the other this season. If the Jays hit for power like they have been, this would seem to be a total that's rather reachable, but who knows if those arms get reinvigorated by the Break.
White Sox @ Twins (-155) with a total of 8.5; M. Buerhle vs. C. Pavano;
A.J. Pierzynski was 4-for-9 off Pavano with an RBI before 2010;
Denard Span was 10-for-20 with 2 HR and 5 RBI off Buerhle before 2010;
Delmon Young was batting .364 with 2 HR off Buerhle before 2010.
This line is awfully high for a struggling team that just finally picked up an important win last night. I know Pavano has redefined "horse" for Minnesota, a team that has desperately needed its starters to go deeper in games, but man alive. Buerhle has a pretty average history with the Twins, and went 8 innings of 4-run ball way back at the start of the season. Pavano pitched well against the Sox earlier this year, too. This one is almost too close to call, especially with the line where it is.
Athletics (-119) @ Royals with a total of 8.5; T. Cahill vs. B. Chen;
Scott Podsednik is 3-for-7 off Cahill with 2 RBI.
Trevor Cahill is having a masterful season, flat out. He's 9-3 with a 2.94 ERA for a poor Oakland club, and he's 2-0 with a 4.09 ERA against the powerless Royals in his short Big League career. Up and down the KC lineup, no one has shown any power against the sinkerballer, and when you have to string together a ton of hits against a good pitcher, your run total probably isn't going to be too high. Bruce Chen has been solid, too, though I always feel like it's just a matter of time with this cat. He's 1-2 with a 3.68 ERA against the A's, and no one on Oakland has hit him particularly hard, but he's a scary man to back when you know his track record as a starter basically says he won't last long before teams figure him out.
Rangers (-135) @ Red Sox with a total of 9; C. Lee vs. J. Lackey;
Chris Davis is 5-for-12 off Lackey with a HR and 3 RBI;
Josh Hamilton is 7-for-18 off Lackey with 3 HR and 5 RBI;
Ian Kinsler is 8-for-20 off Lackey with 2 HR and 6 RBI;
David Murphy is 5-for-13 off Lackey;
Michael Young is batting .358 in 53 AB off Lackey, with 8 RBI;
Marco Scutaro is 5-for-16 off Lee.
Yikes, could the Rangers really win the first 3 in Fenway? This matchup suggests that yes, yes they can. Cliff Lee is going to be ready to make an impact in this one, and this is precisely the type of game where you want a guy like Lee on the mound. A game where your opponent, Boston, is going to pull no punches to salvage a game before Sunday rolls around. I'll tell you, though, I don't like John Lackey as a person, and this year, he stinks as an overpaid player. Cliff Lee might give up hits, but you know what you're going to get, and that's a solid performance. I can't believe I'm doing this, but...
Mariners @ Angels (-185) with a total of 9; R. Rowland-Smith vs. J. Saunders;
I was going to delve into the player numbers, but with Saunders making his 4th start of 2010 against the Mariners, I figured it's not really worth it. Smith is making his 2nd start against the Halos this year, and his first was probably one of his better outings, going 5 innings and giving up just 1 run. Still, this is not going to be an easy game for the Mariners to win. The Angels are going into stretch run mode, grabbing the first 2 games in this series, and now trying to put a nice stamp on a series win. Saunders, too, is 8-1 with a 3.58 ERA against the Mariners, so he finds ways to get his team in a position to win against Seattle, maybe more than any other team. He did stink it up when he faced them here, at home, earlier, but pitched well twice in Seattle, so make of that what you will.