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MLB Previews, Articles, Info, etc, Thursday 9/10/15

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    Five To Follow MLB Betting: Thursday, September 10, 2015 Opening Line Report
    by Alan Matthews

    I am definitely not a fan of Alex Rodriguez. The guy had the talent to go down as perhaps the best offensive player in baseball history. He was that amazing. Yet A-Rod had to use steroids not once but twice (that we know of) and lied about it both times. So Rodriguez will never get into the Hall of Fame in my lifetime. Nor should he. But I have to give it up to A-Rod this season. At age 40, he hit his 30th homer of the season on Tuesday night to join Hank Aaron as the only MLB players with 15 seasons of at least 30. Rodriguez hit his 684th career home run leading off the sixth inning Tuesday against Baltimore. It was the first time he has reached 30 since 2010. I don’t see how he can’t be the American League Comeback Player of the Year after being suspended all of 2014. But many voters won’t cast ballots for him because of his cheating history.

    Rangers at Mariners (-141, 7)

    Solid pitching matchup in this series finale with a 3:40 ET start, meaning a few regulars might get the day off with it being a getaway day game — although the Rangers can’t afford to give any games away. Seattle’s Nelson Cruz hasn’t played in a week due to a quad injury, and I can’t see him doing so here. The M’s go with Felix Hernandez (16-8, 3.65). He has won back-to-back starts and went eight innings in each — both were against Oakland. He’s 3-0 with a 2.18 ERA in three meetings against Texas this season. Elvis Andrus is a career .301 hitter off him with 13 RBIs in 83 at-bats. Prince Fielder is just 2-for-20 off Hernandez. Texas goes with lefty Derek Holland (3-1, 2.37). He has been terrific in his past two outings, both Rangers wins, allowing just one combined run and six hits over 17.0 innings. Holland beat Seattle in his only start against the M’s this year on Aug. 19, his return from four months on the DL. Robinson Cano is a career .387 hitter off him in 31 at-bats.

    Key trends: The Rangers are 5-1 in Holland’s past six vs. teams with a losing record. The Mariners are 1-6 in their past seven at home vs. a lefty. The “over/under” has gone under in Hernandez’s past four against Texas. The under is 3-0-2 in Holland’s past five against Seattle.

    Early lean: Mariners and under.

    Blue Jays at Yankees (TBA)

    Clearly the series of the weekend in MLB as first place in the AL East is on the line again. It’s Toronto’s final visit to the Bronx of the regular season. The Jays will host New York for three from Sept. 21-23. The last time Toronto visited Yankee Stadium, it swept three games form Aug. 7-9 and allowed just one run in the series. Lefty ace David Price goes here for the Jays. Price (14-5, 2.43) was great in his last start at New York, shutting out the Bombers on three hits over seven innings. He still has yet to allow more than three earned since joining the Jays. A-Rod hits .245 off him with 19 strikeouts in 53 at-bats. New York goes with good-looking rookie Luis Severino (3-2, 2.04). The Yankees have won his past three and he has allowed only two combined runs.

    Key trends: The Jays are 5-2 in the past seven meetings. The under is 7-0 in the past seven. New York is 4-1 in its past five series openers. The Jays are 4-1 in their past five on Thursday.

    Early lean: Blue Jays and under. TBA because starters haven’t officially announced yet, but it’s expected to be the two I listed. Expect Jays to be about -140 with a total of 7.5.

    Cubs at Phillies (+260, 8)

    Might be a bit of a letdown game for the Cubs if they happen to complete a three-game sweep in St. Louis on Wednesday. Chicago also took a five-game winning streak into that one. The Phillies swept three games in Chicago back in late July, including a Cole Hamels no-hitter. It’s a huge pitching mismatch here. The Cubs go with ace Jake Arrieta (18-6, 2.03). He’s 12-1 with 0.99 ERA over his past 15 starts, including a no-hitter, and hasn’t allowed an earned run in 29 innings over four starts. That loss came opposite Hamels’ no-hitter. Philadelphia goes with lefty Adam Morgan (5-5, 4.42). He allowed six runs over 6.1 innings in a loss in Boston last time out. Morgan has never faced the Cubs.

    Key trends: The Cubs are 7-1 in Arrieta’s past eight vs. the NL East. The Phillies are 1-8 in their past nine series openers. The under is 7-3-1 in Arrieta’s past 11. The over is 5-1-1 in Morgan’s past seven at home.

    Early lean: Cubs on runline (Arrieta will avoid any letdown) and under.

    Cardinals at Reds (+145, 7.5)

    St. Louis had been having a historically good season in terms of a team ERA, but the Cards have been battered around of late. They had lost five of six entering Wednesday’s finale vs. the Cubs and allowed at least seven runs in four of those five defeats. St. Louis still has the only team ERA under 3.00. The team’s best pitcher of late has been lefty Jaime Garcia, a huge surprise. Garcia (8-4, 1.89) hasn’t lost since July 28. That was against these Reds where Garcia allowed three runs in six innings. He has a 1.76 ERA over his past seven outings. Brandon Phillips is a career .302 hitter off him with two homers and eight RBIs in 43 at-bats. Cincinnati counters with rookie lefty John Lamb (0-3, 6.11). He was tagged for six runs over 5.2 innings in his last start vs. Milwaukee. Lamb has never faced the Cardinals.

    Key trends: The Cards are 4-1 in their past five against lefties. The Reds are 1-5 in their past six at home vs. southpaws. The under is 8-0 in the past eight meetings. The Cards are 6-2 in Garcia’s past eight vs. the NL Central.

    Early lean: Cardinals and under.

    Brewers at Pirates (-168, 8)

    Pittsburgh gets a potentially big boost Thursday night as it attempts to catch St. Louis for the NL Central title or hold off the Cubs for the NL’s top wild-card spot. All-Star A.J. Burnett (8-5, 3.06) returns to the rotation. Burnett, 38, was placed on the 15-day disabled list July 31 with a flexor strain in his right elbow and received a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection Aug. 3. His only outing vs. the Brewers this year was a good one, allowing one run over seven innings with six strikeouts. Ryan Braun is 7-for-20 with a double and seven strikeouts off Burnett. The Brew Crew start Wily Peralta (5-8, 4.21). His last start was cut short after just two innings because of a long rain delay. Peralta hasn’t faced the Pirates in 2015. Pedro Alvarez hits .364 off him with two homers and four RBIs.

    Key trends: The Brewers are 3-9 in Peralta’s past 12 vs. teams with a winning record. The Pirates are 3-7 in Burnett’s past 10 vs. the NL Central. The under is 9-2 in Peralta’s past 11 vs. the NL Central. The under is 6-0 in Burnett’s past six vs. Milwaukee.

    Early lean: Brewers (Burnett likely rusty) and yet another under.

    • This topic was modified 7 years, 8 months ago by admin.

    ‘Under’ has been oddly hot in Jays-Yankees meetings
    Andrew Avery

    For two major league clubs that boast such impressive bats, it’s certainly an anomaly that the Under is so hot when the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays tangle.

    The Under has cashed in the past seven meetings between the two AL East rivals and they’ll renew acquaintances Thursday evening in the Bronx.

    The clubs are averaging just 4.3 runs combined per meeting in those last seven games, which dates back to a 5-1 Jays win back on May 6.


    Favorites cash for bettors on the diamond
    Andrew Caley

    Favorites were the side to back in Major League Baseball action Wednesday night, going a solid 11-4 straight up, cashing at a rate of 73.33 percent.

    Baltimore, Boston, Minnesota and Seattle were the four dogs to pull off a win yesterday.


    Preview: Rangers (73-65) at Mariners (67-73)

    Game: 4
    Venue: Safeco Field
    Date: September 10, 2015 3:40 PM EDT

    It’s been two weeks since the Texas Rangers last dropped back-to-back games.

    To prevent that from happening again, they likely must find a way to get the best of Seattle’s Felix Hernandez and hope Derek Holland can continue his own success.

    While the Mariners ace looks to improve to 4-0 against the visiting Rangers this year, Holland tries to win a third consecutive start Thursday.

    “I have to go out there and be me,” Holland told MLB’s official website. “(Hernandez) is a great pitcher, but I have to do what I do. If they get me one run, I have to shut it down.”

    With Wednesday’s 6-0 defeat, Texas (73-65) fell for the eighth time in 26 games. The Rangers, who own a 1 1/2-game lead over Minnesota for the AL’s second wild-card spot and are two back of first-place Houston in the West, last dropped two in a row Aug. 25-26 to Toronto.

    After hitting four home runs in Tuesday’s 9-6 win over Seattle (67-73), the Rangers managed only a Prince Fielder single and struck out 13 times against Vidal Nuno and two relievers.

    Texas has totaled 13 hits and fanned 21 times this season against Hernandez (16-8, 3.65 ERA), who has a 2.18 ERA while winning all three meetings. He’s yielded three runs over 14 innings in the two at home.

    “He is as good as they come in baseball,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said.

    The right-hander has also looked good in posting a 2.81 ERA, striking out 16 and walking one while lasting eight innings each to win his last two starts that both came against Oakland. Perhaps the only negative is that Hernandez yielded three home runs over those contests.

    “I think sometimes when a guy is so good, we expect greatness every time out,” Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon. “In this game, it’s just not going to happen. The guys that step in the box make money and drive Mercedes Benz, too. Sometimes the bear get you, too. But Felix has been fine.”

    Adrian Beltre is 1 for 7 and Fielder 2 for 9 against Hernandez in 2015.

    Holland (3-1. 2.37) is 3-0 with a 2.15 ERA in four starts since missing four months with a shoulder strain. In his first game back Aug. 19, the left-hander allowed two runs and struck out six without a walk in 6 1-3 innings of a 7-2 win over Seattle.

    He’s been even better while yielding a run and six hits over 17 innings in his last two outings.

    “Everything feels good,’ said Holland, who is 4-0 with a 1.35 ERA in his last seven starts against the Mariners. “They asked me right after I came back off the DL if I was ready to go. And when you say you’re ready to go, it means you’re ready to go full steam.’

    Mark Trumbo homered off Holland last month, his fifth in 41 at-bats against him. He went 4 for 4 Wednesday and is batting .321 with seven home runs and 15 RBIs while hitting safely in 20 of his last 21 contests.

    Robinson Cano is hitting .387 with a homer against Holland.

    Teammate Nelson Cruz is second in the majors with 39 homers but could miss a seventh straight contest with a quad injury.

    ‘He’s close. You’ve got to be able to run,’ McClendon said.


    Preview: Rockies (57-82) at Padres (67-73)

    Game: 4
    Venue: PETCO Park
    Date: September 10, 2015 3:40 PM EDT

    The San Diego Padres haven’t performed up to expectations, but they haven’t had much trouble against the Colorado Rockies.

    Another big performance from their offense could help Tyson Ross beat the Rockies for the first time as the Padres conclude an 11-game homestand Thursday.

    San Diego (67-73) had a chance to reach .500 on Aug. 23, but it dropped 11 of its next 15 before winning the last two against Colorado (57-82). Jedd Gyorko hit a three-run homer and Matt Kemp added a solo shot in Wednesday’s 11-4 victory.

    Kemp extended his hitting streak to seven for the Padres, whose 18 hits marked their most since they tied their season high of 20 on May 24. Kemp has hit .356 as San Diego has outscored the Rockies 94-59 while winning 11 of 15 meetings this season.

    Ross (10-10, 3.21 ERA) is winless in eight starts against Colorado, though, including 0-1 with a 3.78 ERA in three this season. He’s been solid against other clubs lately, going 2-1 with a 2.13 ERA over his last four.

    The right-hander gave up one run in six innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday but took a 2-0 loss. Ross’ ERA hasn’t been this low since after his first start.

    ‘Ross wins the ballgame on a lot of other nights,’ interim manager Pat Murphy said.

    That would’ve been the case Wednesday, when Gyorko helped lead the offensive onslaught. He has four homers and nine RBIs over his last seven and has hit safely in 11 of 12.

    ‘I think he is starting to realize that type of ballplayer he is,’ Murphy said. ‘He’s capable of a lot of things. He has taken his game to another level and it is fun to see.’

    Gyorko appears to have a good chance to stay hot, as he’s 13 for 19 with a homer and five doubles off Jorge De La Rosa (9-6, 4.24). Kemp (20 for 46, four homers, six doubles) also has had plenty of success against De La Rosa, who enters this matchup riding a solid stretch.

    The left-hander improved to 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA over his last four starts after pitching seven solid innings of Friday’s 2-1 win over San Francisco. He didn’t walk a batter after issuing 15 over his previous five outings.

    “We have a lot of confidence in De La Rosa,” teammate Nolan Arenado said. “We know that he has the ability to shut the door down.”

    De La Rosa has a 3.22 ERA in 12 road starts and a 3.00 mark in nine at San Diego despite losing both there this season. The Rockies as a whole haven’t had success at Petco Park recently, dropping 17 of their last 21 visits.

    Arenado had two hits Wednesday and is batting .450 with seven homers over his last 10. Carlos Gonzalez went 1 for 4, though, and is batting .125 while playing all 15 matchups against the Padres this season.

    Rockies rookie catcher Dustin Garneau hit his first major league homer in his eighth start. He made his third straight in place of Nick Hundley, who will be out at least three more days after an MRI revealed a cervical strain.


    Preview: Cubs (80-58) at Phillies (54-86)

    Game: 1
    Venue: Citizens Bank Park
    Date: September 10, 2015 7:05 PM EDT

    To no surprise, Jake Arrieta is set up to start a NL wild-card game the Chicago Cubs appear to be headed toward.

    In the meantime, the right-hander will try to become the first Cub in 43 years to win an eighth consecutive start Thursday night against the host Philadelphia Phillies.

    For the first time publicly, manager Joe Maddon stated this week that Arrieta (18-6, 2.03 ERA) is in line to take the ball in the one-game wild-card matchup next month over seasoned playoff veteran Jon Lester.

    “He’s the best pitcher on this team right now; he’s probably the best pitcher in the league right now,” Lester told MLB’s official website.

    While Chicago (80-58) appears to have a firm grasp on the second wild-card spot, it’s three games behind Pittsburgh for the top position. The Cubs have won eight straight starts by Arrieta, the major league leader in wins who has yielded two earned runs, 23 hits, struck out 50 and walked 10 over 50 1-3 innings to win the last seven.

    ‘It’s as good as you’re going to get on a major league level,’ Maddon said. ‘The quality of pitches, the durability, the guy that absolutely takes care of himself.”

    In position to become the first Cub to win eight consecutive starts since Milt Pappas’ 11-game run in 1972, Arrieta followed up his no-hitter at Dodger Stadium by yielding four hits, fanning seven and not walking a batter in eight innings of Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Arizona.

    Stating his case for the NL Cy Young award, Arrieta has gone 29 innings without allowing an earned run.

    “It’s hard for me to fathom that somebody is better than Jake Arrieta,” teammate David Ross said. “I know numbers are numbers, and there are some guys in L.A. that are doing a really good job, but I’ll take that guy on the mound any day of the week.”

    Arrieta hasn’t lost since giving up a three-run homer to Ryan Howard over six innings in a 5-0 defeat to Philadelphia (54-86) on July 25 – the same day Cole Hamels no-hit the Cubs. Since being swept in that three-game by the Phillies, Chicago is 29-12.

    However, the Cubs must bounce back after their five-game winning streak ended Wednesday when they blew a two-run lead in a 4-3 loss at NL-leading St. Louis.

    “We have to take the positives from (winning) this three-game series,” Lester said. “We came in (there) and made a little bit of a statement.”

    Howard is 0 for 27 in his last seven games for the Phillies, who no longer have Hamels around and lost for the 12th time in 16 games, 8-1 to Atlanta on Wednesday.

    Adam Morgan (5-5, 4.42) looks to rebound after he allowed six runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 7-5 loss at Boston on Friday.

    “It’s all about having a short memory,’ the rookie left-hander said. ‘Just damage control – try not to let things get out of hand.’

    He could face Starlin Castro, who no longer is an everyday player but is 7 for 12 with four runs scored in his last four contests. He’s hit .355 with a homer and 12 RBIs in 16 career games at Philadelphia.


    Preview: Brewers (61-78) at Pirates (83-55)

    Game: 1
    Venue: PNC Park
    Date: September 10, 2015 7:05 PM EDT

    A.J. Burnett doesn’t have much time before his 17th and final season comes to end, even if the Pittsburgh Pirates advance deep into the playoffs.

    He wasn’t about to waste any more of it sitting out.

    The right-hander makes his first start in six weeks as the wild card-leading Pirates begin an eight-game homestand Thursday night against the Milwaukee Brewers, who have had Pittsburgh’s number over the last few months.

    Burnett (8-5, 3.06 ERA) had been on the disabled list with elbow inflammation since his last outing July 30, when a loss to Cincinnati increased his ERA to 10.13 during a three-start stretch.

    He was determined to get back on the hill as soon as possible and pushed his rehabilitation in order to do so. Burnett has said he will retire following the season.

    “Once I got ready on the mound, it was time to go,” Burnett told MLB’s official website. “I’ve responded well from throwing, and I’ve responded the days after. It’s time for the next step, and that’s to get back on the mound.”

    Burnett is 0-5 in his last six starts against the Brewers (61-78) despite a 3.10 ERA. He gave up one run in seven innings June 8, though the Pirates (83-55) suffered a 2-0 loss that began a 1-8 stretch against Milwaukee.

    Pittsburgh has won four of six since the Brewers completed their second straight three-game sweep of the Pirates last Thursday. Jung Ho Kang hit a grand slam Wednesday as Pittsburgh held on for a 5-4 win at Cincinnati.

    The Pirates extended their wild-card lead over Chicago to three games and remained 4 1/2 back of St. Louis in the Central.

    “We were kind of waiting for a big hit, and I feel like everyone was into that moment, (Kang’s) at-bat,” winning pitcher J.A. Happ said of Pittsburgh’s first grand slam of the season. “Off the bat, I think a lot of guys knew he put the right swing on it.”

    Milwaukee enters this series having dropped three of four after falling 5-2 at Miami on Wednesday while managing four hits.

    Nevin Ashley made his major league debut in place of injured catcher Jonathan Lucroy and had an RBI double that gave Milwaukee a two-run lead in the second inning.

    He could start again as Lucroy is expected to sit out with a mild concussion suffered on a foul ball to the mask Tuesday.

    ‘My phone’s blowing up right now, friends and family,’ Ashley said. ‘I’m just happy to be up here and contribute. I got a pitch to hit. Luckily, I didn’t miss it.’

    Wily Peralta (5-8, 4.21) gets the ball on plenty of rest. He threw 39 pitches in two scoreless innings against Cincinnati on Saturday before a long rain delay cut his outing short.

    The right-hander gave up one run in seven innings to beat the Reds in his last full start Aug. 30, and he had the same line in a 1-0 loss to the Pirates the last time he faced them Sept. 21.

    Pedro Alvarez is 4 for 11 with two homers against Peralta.


    Preview: Blue Jays (79-60) at Yankees (77-61)

    Game: 1
    Venue: Yankee Stadium
    Date: September 10, 2015 7:05 PM EDT

    Luis Severino was a name swirling around the New York Yankees’ rumored deals to land David Price at the trade deadline. The prized prospect, however, stayed put while the much sought after Price went to the division rival Toronto Blue Jays.

    Severino and Price will pitch opposite one another Thursday night as the Yankees and Blue Jays open a pivotal four-game series in the Bronx.

    The Blue Jays (79-60) lost two of three in Boston this week but retained their 1 1/2-game AL East lead over the Yankees (77-61), who dropped the final two games against Baltimore.

    Seven games remain between the teams – the other three in Toronto from Sept. 21-23 – each carrying increased importance.

    “I think you’d have to have your head in the sand to think that they’re not important games,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi told MLB’s official website. “Obviously it’s the team that we’re fighting for first place, and the importance of winning the division the way that the playoffs are set up, the games are extremely important.”

    The Yankees took two of three in Toronto from Aug. 14-16, but the Blue Jays won seven of the first nine games in the season series. Toronto has taken five of six in New York this season.

    “I expect it to be very intense. A crazy place like New York normally always is,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “I’m excited about it. I know our guys are excited about it. We haven’t been in one of these things in, well – nobody out here has experienced it with this team. So we’re looking forward to it.”

    Toronto’s two most recent losses were lopsided, an 11-4 defeat in Monday’s opener against the Red Sox and a 10-4 loss in Wednesday’s finale.

    Price (14-5, 2.43 ERA) will try to steady the division leaders versus a team he has pitched well against in a Toronto uniform. In two starts against the Yankees since getting traded from Detroit on July 30, Price is 1-0 with a 1.88 ERA.

    That is a stark contrast from his last two starts against the Yankees with Detroit. In his final start against them in 2014 and his first in 2015 combined, Price allowed 22 hits and 16 runs in 4 1-3 innings for a massive ERA of 33.23.

    Chase Headley (.500), Brian McCann (.435 with three homers) and Jacoby Ellsbury (.333) have each hit Price hard in their careers.

    The left-hander, though, hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any of his seven starts since joining the Blue Jays, going 5-1 with a 2.15 ERA.

    The Yankees had to wait a bit longer before seeing a return from Severino, but their patience has paid off.

    Severino (3-2, 2.04) has five quality starts in six outings since his promotion from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre on Aug. 5, and is 3-0 with a 0.98 ERA in his past three.

    The 21-year-old right-hander last lost at Toronto on Aug. 16, yielding three runs – two on Jose Bautista’s homer – and five hits over six innings in a 3-1 defeat. He walked three and struck out a career-high nine.

    Severino can struggle with his command at times, walking 13 over 24 1-3 innings in his last four outings.

    Yankees center fielder Brett Gardner missed the entire series against the Orioles due to a jammed left shoulder, but grounded out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning Wednesday.


    Preview: Mets (78-61) at Braves (56-84)

    Game: 1
    Venue: Turner Field
    Date: September 10, 2015 7:10 PM EDT

    While the NL East-leading New York Mets are constantly under pressure to explain their decision to limit Matt Harvey’s innings ahead of the postseason, Bartolo Colon is making a strong case for a spot in the playoff rotation.

    Colon looks to extend the longest shutout streak of his career as the Mets try to continue their hot stretch on the road against the Atlanta Braves on Thursday night.

    New York (78-61) has built a season-high seven-game lead on Washington in the division. That sizable advantage should help reduce the pressure on the club after it decided to limit Harvey to 180 to 185 innings during the regular season.

    There’s no such concern for Colon (13-11, 4.18 ERA), whose 170 innings rank second on the team to Harvey’s 171 2-3.

    Colon has also been outstanding of late, going 3-0 and tossing 25 consecutive scoreless innings over his last four games – three starts. He went 1-4 with a 6.08 ERA in his previous seven starts.

    The 42-year-old right-hander became the oldest Mets pitcher to throw a shutout Saturday, allowing nine hits in a 7-0 win at Miami.

    “I’ve been working hard in the bullpen with the pitching coach, mainly on my secondary pitches, and that’s made by fastball better,” said Colon through a translator.

    He could eventually land a spot in New York’s postseason rotation after he was seemingly headed for a role in the bullpen.

    Colon is 7-2 with a 2.53 ERA in nine career starts against the Braves (56-84), winning all four in Atlanta with a 1.29 ERA. He’s won all three matchups overall this year behind a 3.79 ERA.

    The Mets, though, are 1-5 at Turner Field this season after getting swept in a three-game series from June 19-21.

    They enter this four-game set as winners of 11 of 13 on the road after completing a huge three-game sweep of the Nationals with Wednesday’s 5-3 victory, their third consecutive comeback win in the series.

    Yoenis Cespedes continued his torrid stretch with a two-run homer. He’s hitting .432 with six homers and 13 RBIs in the last eight games, giving him a .312 average with 14 homers and 36 RBIs in 36 games since being acquired from Detroit at the July 31 trade deadline.

    ‘The whole team is clicking, ready to fight until the last out,’ Cespedes said through a translator. ‘We know we’re going to come back.’

    The Braves are trying to snap an eight-game home skid, their longest since losing the first nine of 1988 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.

    They open this 10-game homestand after taking two of three in Philadelphia, matching their win total from the previous 22 contests.

    Atlanta collected a season-high 18 hits in Wednesday’s 8-1 victory, and will now try to win consecutive games for the first time since a three-game streak from Aug. 6-8.

    Giving the ball to Shelby Miller (5-13, 2.81), however, poses a problem. The right-hander is 0-12 with a 3.46 ERA over his last 20 starts, a run of futility that is the longest by a Brave since the team moved to Atlanta in 1966.

    He’s also compiled a 5.18 ERA during a four-start losing streak, surrendering seven runs in 4 1-3 innings of Saturday’s 8-5 defeat at Washington.

    Miller is 0-1 with a 3.50 ERA in three starts against the Mets.


    Preview: Cardinals (88-51) at Reds (57-81)

    Game: 1
    Venue: Great American Ball Park
    Date: September 10, 2015 7:10 PM EDT

    The St. Louis Cardinals were pulling at their collars until a late rally turned what could have been an uncomfortable division lead into breathable again.

    The Cardinals can exhale a bit more as they start a long road trip with the bottom two teams in the NL Central, beginning with Thursday night’s series opener against the last-place Cincinnati Reds.

    St. Louis (88-51) was five outs from its fourth consecutive loss and a series sweep at the hands of Chicago on Wednesday, potentially tightening its division lead to 3 1/2 games over Pittsburgh and 5 1/2 over the Cubs.

    Instead, rookie Stephen Piscotty laced a two-run double in the eighth inning to help the Cardinals win 4-3, avoid their first sweep at home this season and remain 4 1/2 ahead of the Pirates.

    St. Louis now looks to separate itself during a seven-game stretch in Cincinnati and Milwaukee before closing a 10-game trip in Chicago.

    ‘It’s definitely good to get that one,’ Piscotty said. ‘You don’t want to get swept by the Cubs. We’re fine. There’s no panic. We did a good job of fighting back.’

    The road trip starts in good hands with Jaime Garcia (8-4, 1.89 ERA) on the mound. The Cardinals have won each of his last seven starts, with the left-hander going 5-0 with a 1.76 ERA while limiting hitters to a .212 average.

    The good news for Cincinnati (57-81) is that it was the last team to beat Garcia. A three-run homer by Joey Votto was all Garcia gave up in six innings July 28, but it was more than enough for a 4-0 Reds victory.

    The bad news for the Reds is that Garcia is 10-3 with a 3.26 ERA against them lifetime. Brandon Phillips has seen him the most of Cincinnati’s hitters with a .302 average, two home runs and four doubles in 43 at-bats. Jason Bourgeois (6 for 14, four doubles) and Votto (9 for 31) have also fared well, while Todd Frazier (1 for 17) has not.

    While Garcia can’t seem to lose lately, Cincinnati starter John Lamb hasn’t been able to pick up his first career win.

    In fact, the Reds haven’t won any of the rookie’s five starts since he was called up from Triple-A Louisville on Aug. 13.

    Lamb (0-3, 6.11) looked destined to end the slide Saturday against Milwaukee when he carried a 5-1 lead into the sixth. The Brewers, though, used five singles, a double and a Reds error to score five runs in the inning and boot the left-hander out of the game.

    Lamb’s night was finished after allowing six runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings.

    “It’s just part of the game. Disappointed with the result, obviously,” Lamb told MLB’s official website. “I felt good about that going out there in the sixth, then the wheels fell off. … Disappointing.”

    The Cardinals activated first baseman Matt Adams from the 60-day disabled list Wednesday. He hit .243 with four home runs and 20 RBIs in 144 at-bats before going down with a strained quad.

    St. Louis has won eight of 12 meetings this season, including four of six at Great American Ball Park.


    Preview: Tigers (64-75) at Indians (68-70)

    Game: 1
    Venue: Progressive Field
    Date: September 10, 2015 7:10 PM EDT

    It’s basically a foregone conclusion that Miguel Cabrera will win his fourth batting title. A few more games against the Cleveland Indians should only help his cause.

    Progressive Field has been an extremely friendly place to Cabrera and the Detroit Tigers lately, and they’ll try to keep it that way Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series.

    Batting titles have become commonplace for Cabrera, who won three straight from 2011-2013 before hitting .313 last season for his lowest average since 2008.

    The Detroit slugger is putting the competition to shame this season with a .351 mark, 33 points ahead of his closest pursuer – Cleveland’s Michael Brantley.

    A good portion of Cabrera’s success this year has come against the Indians. He’s batting .509 with five homers and 17 RBIs in 14 meetings, and is 15 for 22 (.682) with two home runs and seven RBIs at Cleveland.

    Cabrera has hit safely in 12 straight games at Progressive Field, batting .566 with five homers and 14 RBIs. He’s been a big part of Detroit’s 20-6 record there since the start of 2013, including five wins in six games in 2015.

    The Tigers (64-75) settled for a split of their six-game homestand with Wednesday’s 8-0 loss to Tampa Bay.

    It was the 14th defeat in 19 contests for last-place Detroit, which has seen its starting pitchers compile a 6.15 ERA during that span.

    The Tigers have used 14 pitchers the past two games, including all 12 relievers.

    ‘A lot of guys are getting a shot right now, and we’ll see which ones take it,’ catcher Alex Avila said. ‘They all have the talent to be here, but they have to hone it if they want to stay.’

    Alfredo Simon (12-9, 4.86 ERA) provided one of the few recent quality starts for Detroit, limiting the Indians to two hits over seven innings in a 6-0 victory Saturday.

    He is 4-0 with a 1.50 ERA in four matchups this season.

    “He’s done very well against us,” Indians manager Terry Francona told MLB’s official website. “And I’m sure confidence plays a part in it. … We certainly follow how guys are doing, but guys with that kind of stuff, if they’re commanding on that night, it doesn’t matter what he did last week.”

    This season has been quite a roller-coaster ride for Simon, who allowed 14 runs over 9 1-3 innings in his previous two starts before Saturday’s gem. He began this year 7-3 with a 2.58 ERA but went 3-4 with an 8.19 ERA in his next 10 outings and followed that ugly stretch with a one-hitter against Texas on Aug. 20.

    Brantley has hit Simon well, going 11 for 20 with five doubles lifetime.

    Cleveland (68-70) continued its push to reach .500 for the first time since the season’s first week, beating the Chicago White Sox 6-4 on Wednesday.

    Francisco Lindor finished a double shy of the cycle for the Indians, winners in nine of 10 at home.

    Danny Salazar (12-8, 3.54) hopes for a better performance as he pitches opposite Simon again. After posting a 2.03 ERA in his previous six starts, the right-hander was roughed up for six runs and eight hits over 3 2-3 innings in Saturday’s loss.

    That was the second consecutive poor start against the Tigers for Salazar, who is 0-2 with a 13.50 ERA in the last two meetings after going 1-1 with a 2.57 mark in the first two this season.

    Cabrera is 8 for 23 with two homers against him.


    Coach Fletcher’s Thursday Scouting Edge

    12:40 pm Colorado Rockies at San Diego Padres

    Ross Tries to Solidify Spot with Padres

    Despite allowing only 1 run on 5 hits in 6 innings in his last start, Padre starter Tyson Ross lost the game. Lack of run support has plagued Ross all year. He is 10-10 with a 3.21 era. Ross has a respectable era at home where he is 4-7 with a 3.56 era. In his last 3 starts Ross’s era is just .233 and he has gone 2-1. He certainly hasn’t fared well against the Rockies. Tyson is 0-4 despite not giving up more than 3 runs. Ross has a 3.43 era against the Rockies. He’ll be facing Jorge (Don’t call me Rubby) De La Rosa who is 8-5 against the Padres with a 4.94 era. He may add to Ross’s woes however as he has 3.22 era on the road and a 2.70 era in his last 3 starts. The Friars opened as -143 favorites.

    12:40 pm Texas Rangers at Seattle Mariners

    Rangers Try to Keep Pace With Astros – Face King Felix

    It’s been an odd year for King Felix Hernandez of the Rangers. He has 16 wins and 8 losses with a 3.65 era. But he’s also been pounded unmercifully on occasion. He allowed 3 runs to the A’s last Saturday in 8 innings of work. He’s looking forward to the Rangers. He is 3-0 this year against them with a 2.18 era. He’ll be facing Derek Holland who is making his 5th start since leaving the DL. He’s sparkled 2 straight outings. In his first he had a 3 hit, 11 strike out shutout of the Orioles. Then Holland came back to go 8 against the Angels giving up 1 run and 3 hits. He’s 3-1 with a 2.37 since returning. Seattle and Fleix opened at -141 but betting has gone the way of the Rangers.

    4:05 pm Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees

    Jays Travel to New York for Crucial Set

    Right now the Blue Jays hold a 1.5 game lead over the New York Yankees. With a 4 game series to be played. The Jays would be happy for a split. When the 2 teams met in August the NYY won 2 of 3 in Toronto. A week earlier the Blue Jays swept the Yanks in New York. It will be quite a battle as 2 top pitchers slug it out. The Jays are sending David Price. The Yanks are nothing new for Price. He’s started 28 games against them and is on the plus side of an 11-7 record. Price is 14-5 this season with a 2.52 era. He has a superb 2.20 road era. Price will face one of the game’s potentially great new hurlers. Luis Severino goes for the Yanks. He’s 3-2 with a 2.04 era. He’s 2-1 at home with a 1.56 era. In his last 3 starts he’s gone 3-0 with a magnificent 0.98 era. He’s 0-1 starting against the Jays with an era of 4.50. The Yankees Brian McCann may be one of the few Yankees happy to see Price. McCann is hitting .435 versus Price with 3 long balls and 7 RBI.

    4:10 pm Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Indians

    Simon Seeks to Mow Down Indians One More Time

    Alfredo Simon’s record is nothing to jump up and down about. He’s 12-9 this year with a 4.86 era. His road starts are even worse at 6-6 with a 6.13 era. In his last 3 he’s gone 1-2 with a behemoth era of 7.72. But try to tell that to the Cleveland Indians. In one of the game’s great oddities, Simon absolutely dominates the Tribe. Simon is 5-1 versus the Indians with a 2.75 era. How about this year, you say? Simon is 4-0 against the Indians this year. His era against them is 1.50. In his last 3 starts Simon allowed 1 run and 11 hits in 18 2/3 innings. Yep, that’s an era a little south of 0.50. Simon’s era against every other team sits at 5.48. Despite Simon’s history, the Indians opened at -207 but were quickly bet down into the -180’s.


    Coach Fletcher

    Thursday MLB Free Pick

    4:10 pm New York Mets at Atlanta Braves

    The Pick OVER 8 -115

    Ageless Colon on Quite a Streak

    Bartolo Conlon is pitching like a little kid – not a 42 year old man. He’s had the best streak of his career and he puts it on the line today. Colon has gone 25 straight scoreless innings over his last 4 appearances, 3 of them starts. Saturday he put a cherry on the top with a complete game shutout.

    Miller’s Middle Name Should Be Bad Luck

    I don’t think there is a pitcher who has experienced the pain of Shelby Miller this season. He has not won a game in his last 20 starts. Pretty amazing for a guy with a 2.81 era. Miller has allowed 2 earned runs or less in 20 of his 28 starts.

    The Pitchers

    Colon is 13-11 with a 4.21 era. He started off the season strong, took a big performance dip, and has come on strong. Colon has been far less effective on the road going 6-7 with a reasonably high era of 4.62. His era in his last 3 starts is, of course, zero. Colon likes to pitch against Atlanta. He’s 7-2 with a 2.53 era against the Braves. In 3 starts this year he has given up 8 runs and 19 hits in 19 innings while going 3-0. Colon is 3-1 with a 2.55 era in his last 7 games and 4-7 with a 3.97 era in his last 15. His August era was 2.81 and his September era is 0.00. I guess he found a second wind. Andrelton Simmons and Freddie Freeman both work over Colon pretty good – freeman at .444 and Simmons at .529. The Braves only have 2 HR against him.

    Miller is 5-13 with a 2.86 era. His era is even better at home at 2.21 but his record is a sorrowful 2-7. Miller has had issues in 2 of his last 3 starts raising his era in his last 3 games to 6. Michael Cuddyer, Curtis Granderson and David Wright have all punished Miller – all of them hitting .500 against him. The Mets have 2 home runs off Miller. He’s 0-5 in his last 7 games with a 3.95 era. He’s 0-11 in his last 15 games with a 3.53 era. He’s 3-12 at night with a 3.06 era. Right handers hit just .201 against him. He’s 0-1 versus the Mets with a 3.50 era.

    The Hitters

    The Mets average 4.2 runs per game and give up 3.8 They score 4.2 on the road and 4.3 vs right handed pitchers. They have bolted to 6.9 runs per game in their last 7. They score 4.1 at night and 4.9 in division. Their recent scoring binge has come against the Phillies, Marlins and Nats.

    Atlanta averages only 3.6 runs per game but gives up 4.8. They average 3.8 runs per game at home and 3.8 versus right handers. They’ve scored just 2.7 runs per game in their last 7 playing Philadelphia, Washington and the Marlins. They score only 3.5 runs at night and 3.7 in division.

    Odds and Ends

    The Mets are a tricky team. Despite their reputation as a pitcher heavy club, they are a dead over team.. They have gone over in 71 and under in 61. The Mets are 3-1 to the over as a road favorite. They are 37-28 to the over on the road. They are 5-2 over in September. They are 35-22 to the over against their division. They are 58-43 to the over against RHP. They are 63-43 to the over when playing teams with losing records. The only they place they are about 50-50 is playing at night.

    Atlanta is also a pretty dead over team. The Braves go over 72 and under 59 for the season. At home they are 34-25 to the over. In September they are 5-2 to the over. They are 35-21 to the over against division foes. They are 58-48 to the over against RHP. They are 43-36 to the over against teams with winning records.

    Coach’s Conclusion:

    The numbers are ridiculous in this game. The fact that the over is only 7.5 is a credit to Colon and Miller. Obviously the linesmakers are endorsing Colon’s 25 inning scoreless streak and forgetting about his 4.62 era on the road. Likewise, they are endorsing Miller’s 2.81 era for the season even though his era is 6.00 in his last 3 starts. They may well be right, but I’m going with the OVER 8.

    The Pick OVER 8 -115



    Screen Shot Thursday

    Cubs @ Phillies — Chicago’s Jake Arrieta has not allowed an earned run in each of his last four starts. Arrieta’s last loss came against the Phillies. Overall, Arrieta is 18-6 with a 2.03 ERA on the season. Philadelphia’s Adam Morgan is 5-5 with a 4.42 ERA. The southpaw has excellent control; he has not walked a batter in four straight starts. The Cubs are only hitting .235 in 30 games against left-handed starters. I lean Under 7.5 (-125) in this game.

    Brewers @ Pirates — A.J. Burnett comes off the disabled list to make his first start since July 30th. Overall, he is 2-3 with a 2.11 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in ten home starts. Burnett has been pretty bad since the All-Star break, allowing 19 runs and 32 hits over a 16 inning span. Burnett’s lone start this year against Milwaukee came at home back in June when he gave up 1 run and five hits in seven innings of work. The Pirates are too big of a favorite in this game, so taking the Brewers (+160 or more) provides some value.

    Mets @ Braves — Bartolo Colon has thrown 25 straight scoreless innings entering this game against Atlanta. The Braves’ offense is only hitting .252 while averaging 3.4 runs per game in their last seven games. Shelby Miller gets the start for Atlanta; he has a 2.21 ERA and 1.19 WHIP at home. Miller has allowed 2 earned runs or less in 20 of his 28 starts. I lean Under 7.5 (+100) in this game.

    Tigers @ Indians — Detroit has won 20 of their last 26 games in Cleveland, including 5 of 6 games this season. They are sending Alfredo Simon to the mound where he is a perfect 4-0 with a 1.50 ERA in four outings against the Indians. The righty just threw seven shutout innings against Cleveland last Saturday at home. For some perspective, Simon has a combined 5.48 ERA against the rest of the teams in the Majors. Detroit (+180) holds a lot of value.


    Braves Miller tries to win for first time in 21 starts
    Andrew Caley

    Talk about a hard luck season. The Atlanta Braves starter Shelby Miller hasn’t won a game in his last 20 starts, despite pitching to a very good 2.81 ERA this season.

    Miller will try to end the ridiculous drought when the New York Mets come to town Thursday night. The Braves are currently +137 dogs going up against the ageless Bartolo Colon.

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