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MLB Previews, Articles, Info, etc, Tuesday Service Plays 9/8/15

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    Preview: Dodgers (79-58) at Angels (69-68)

    Game: 2
    Venue: Angel Stadium of Anaheim
    Date: September 08, 2015 10:05 PM EDT

    With his early-season struggles well behind him, red-hot Clayton Kershaw is playing a major role in helping the Los Angeles Dodgers pull away in the NL West.

    As the ace tries to win his eighth straight decision, the Dodgers seek a 13th victory in 15 games Tuesday night when their series resumes against the Los Angeles Angels.

    Since dropping three straight starts in June, Kershaw is 7-0 with a MLB-best 0.93 ERA over his last 11 outings. He leads the big leagues with 251 strikeouts after fanning 111 over 87 innings in that span.

    The three-time NL Cy Young winner tossed a six-hitter and matched a career high with 15 strikeouts in Wednesday’s 2-1 home win over San Francisco. Now he’ll try to help the Dodgers (79-58) add to their 8 1/2-game division lead following Monday’s 7-5 win.

    With 29 strikeouts in his last two outings, Kershaw (12-6, 2.18 ERA) needs 13 to pass Sandy Koufax (1959) for the franchise’s most in a three-start span since 1914. After fanning 39 over his past three, he’ll pass Hideo Nomo’s four-game mark (’95) with 12.

    “When he puts up numbers like this, striking out 14, 15, it’s what you expect him to do,” catcher Yasmani Grandal told MLB’s official website.

    Kershaw has struck out seven in both his starts against the Angels since 2011. In his only meeting this season, he gave up two hits in eight scoreless of a 3-1 home win Aug. 1.

    Albert Pujols has had success versus Kershaw with a .435 average in 23 career at-bats. Pujols went 3 for 5 with an RBI on Monday, while Kole Calhoun and C.J. Cron homered.

    The Angels, though, have hit .193 and totaled 17 runs while dropping seven straight in the Freeway Series. Mike Trout his 3 for 25 with nine strikeouts in his last six meetings.

    The Angels are 5 1/2 behind AL West-leading Houston and 3 1/2 out of a playoff spot.

    They’ll try to push some runs across for Andrew Heaney, who has worked his way into the AL Rookie of the Year discussion by allowing two runs or less in 10 of his 13 starts.

    After giving up a career-high eight runs over 3 1-3 innings in a 15-3 home loss to Toronto on Aug. 22, Heaney (6-2, 3.18) has gone 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in his last two.

    “I went ahead and looked at some of the stats of the other (Rookie of the Year candidates),” he said. “I don’t put up amazing numbers, I don’t punch out a lot of people, so I don’t know.”

    The left-hander was traded from Miami to the Dodgers in December before getting dealt to the Angels (69-68) for Howie Kendrick just five hours later. In his only other start in the rivalry, he yielded two runs over 5 1-3 innings while opposing Kershaw last month.

    Kendrick has been out the past month with a hamstring injury. Grandal is likely to be sidelined a few games with a sore left shoulder, while Jimmy Rollins is out because of a jammed finger.

    Scott Van Slyke stepped up Monday with a career-high four hits and drove in four runs, while Joc Pederson matched a season high with three hits. Van Slyke had been hitting .167 over his previous 14 games and Pederson .111 in his prior 31.


    Preview: Rockies (57-80) at Padres (65-73)

    Game: 2
    Venue: PETCO Park
    Date: September 08, 2015 10:10 PM EDT

    Tracking down the San Diego Padres for fourth place in the NL West is unlikely for the Colorado Rockies, but they probably won’t have to continue trying without a key slugger after an injury scare.

    Nolan Arenado was removed from the series opener with a chest contusion, though the third baseman is confident he’ll be back in the lineup for Tuesday night’s follow-up at Petco Park.

    After Colorado’s 3-2 win Monday, the teams have six games remaining and San Diego (65-73) holds a 7 1/2-game advantage with nine wins in 13 meetings this season. It was the Rockies’ second win in 10 tries at Petco, and it nearly came at a cost.

    Arenado, who is tied with teammate Carlos Gonzalez with an NL-leading 36 home runs, was removed in the eighth inning after landing in the crowd when trying to make a play on a foul ball.

    “I will be OK,” he said. “I got an X-ray and everything looked good. I expect to be in the lineup tomorrow.”

    Gonzalez and Arenado are each one home run shy of matching Jeromy Burnitz’s 2004 total for the highest since the Coors Field humidor was installed in 2002. Prior to that, at least one Colorado player hit 40 or more home runs in six of the club’s first nine seasons.

    In addition to climbing a game closer to San Diego, Colorado (57-80) can get a step closer to its first series win against a division opponent since taking two of three at home from Arizona from June 23-25. The Rockies haven’t won a road series in the West since sweeping San Francisco in three April 13-15.

    Jon Gray is six starts into his career and still seeking his first decision. Gray (0-0, 6.15 ERA) was impressive through his first three with a 2.40 ERA, but he’s since posted an 11.12 mark with a .472 opponent batting average while lasting 11 1-3 innings.

    He gave up four runs and a season-high 10 hits in 5 1-3 innings of Wednesday’s 9-4 home win over Arizona, though he’s still taking positives.

    “It’s been three weeks of straight battling,” Gray told MLB’s official website. “I think it’s easier every time to deal with that, so I think mental toughness is really what you’re getting out of those type of games.”

    The right-hander will at least get a break from Coors Field, where he’s posted a 7.88 ERA and .391 OBA in four starts as opposed to 3.48 and .211 marks in two on the road. His one respectable home start came in a 7-5 loss to San Diego on Aug. 15 while allowing a run and four hits in five innings.

    Similar numbers against fellow rookie Colin Rea (2-2, 5.47) could finally get him in the win column. Rea won his first two starts and is 0-2 in three since, but his numbers have stayed more level than Gray’s.

    The right-hander is yet to make it through six innings, but he was removed after giving up two runs in five of Thursday’s 10-7 home win over Los Angeles because he took a liner off his pitching shoulder.

    “I thought he was very poised for a start against the Dodgers,” interim manager Pat Murphy said. “I think he showed me something. In all his outings this was his best one in my opinion.”

    Getting Rea another win could require a return to that level of offense. Since that game, the Padres have lost four straight with nine runs and a .190 average.

    Matt Kemp has driven in four of those runs and has 31 RBIs in his last 22 games.


    Preview: Rangers (72-64) at Mariners (66-72)

    Game: 2
    Venue: Safeco Field
    Date: September 08, 2015 10:10 PM EDT

    Cole Hamels’ 13 postseason starts and 2008 World Series MVP are proof that he has big-game experience, and the Texas Rangers have benefited from it during their playoff push.

    The club’s current rotation would cause Hamels to miss crucial series against contenders down the stretch, but as far as manager Jeff Banister is concerned, no game is more important than any other at this stage.

    Hamels looks to stay hot when the visiting Rangers face the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night.

    Texas (72-64) has gone 25-12 since July 29, two days before it acquired Hamels (2-1, 3.89 ERA) from Philadelphia. The surge has put the Rangers 1 1/2 games ahead of Minnesota for the AL’s second wild card and helped trim their deficit behind Houston in the West from eight to two.

    Hamels has gone 2-0 with a 2.89 ERA over his last four starts after he struck out eight in seven innings of Texas’ 4-3, 10-inning win at San Diego on Wednesday. His only loss in six starts with Texas came Aug. 7 against Seattle, when he surrendered homers to Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano and Mark Trumbo in a 4-3 loss.

    The left-hander began his unbeaten stretch 10 days later by going seven innings in the Rangers’ 4-3 win over the Mariners. As it currently stands, Hamels wouldn’t pitch in a four-game home series against the Astros that begins Monday, nor would he be slated to start at Houston from Sept. 25-27.

    Banister said he doesn’t have plans to alter the rotation in order to get Hamels a start in either of those series.

    “Obviously, we have looked at some options, but right now, we’re looking at the rotation that gives us the best options with the games right in front of us,” Banister told MLB’s official website. “We have to win the games in front of us.”

    The Rangers have done that more often that not lately and beat the Mariners 3-0 in Monday’s opener of this four-game set. Adrian Beltre had a two-run single in the sixth before Rougned Odor scored on a wild pitch in the seventh.

    Seattle (66-72) had a season-high five-game winning streak snapped while getting shut out for the first time since July 4 at Oakland. Cano had two hits and is batting .417 during a nine-game hitting streak at home.

    The Mariners struggled for the first time without Cruz, who missed his fifth straight game with a strained right quad. They scored 30 runs in the previous four and averaged 7.4 during their winning streak.

    There’s a chance Cruz returns to the lineup as the designated hitter in this contest.

    Taijuan Walker (10-7, 4.51) has gone 3-0 with a 3.26 ERA over his last seven starts, a stretch that began with a one-hitter against Minnesota on July 31. He pitched 6 2/3 innings of Wednesday’s 8-3 win over Houston and didn’t appear to have any issues after leaving his previous outing Aug. 28 in the seventh inning with a cramp in his right hip.

    The right-hander gave up an unearned run in seven innings of a 3-1 win over Texas on April 27, but allowed three runs in Seattle’s loss Aug. 17 when he opposed Hamels.

    Walker likely won’t have to face Delino DeShields, who suffered a mild left knee sprain Monday and is expected to sit out at least this contest.


    Game of the Day: Mets at Nationals

    New York Mets at Washington Nationals (-113, 7)

    Matt Harvey caused a stir when he put pen to paper to announce in The Players’ Tribune that he intends to pitch in the postseason, despite having doctors recommend that he be shut down after 180 innings. The 26-year-old resides just 13 2/3 shy of that total in his first season since Tommy John surgery as the New York Mets play the second contest of their three-game series versus the host Washington Nationals on Tuesday.

    “Let me get into detail after we’ve sort of worked it out among the parties,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said. “I don’t want to get ahead of the situation and create another disconnect.” New York slugged its way to an 8-5 series-opening victory to move five games ahead of second-place Washington in the National League East. Ryan Zimmermann had a pair of singles on Monday to extend his hitting streak to 11 games, but is just 4-for-17 (.235) in his career versus Harvey. The right-hander has flustered Bryce Harper by retiring the Nationals star in all 17 career at-bats, including seven via strikeout.

    TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, SNY (New York), MASN2 (Washington)

    LINE HISTORY: Books opened the Nats -108 with a total of 7.

    INJURY REPORT: Mets – 1B Lucas Duda (Probable, back), SP Matt Harvey (Probable, fatigue), LF Michael Cuddyer (Questionable, wrist). Nationals – CF Denard Span (Season, hip).

    WEATHER: Temperatures in the low-80s under clear skies. Wind will blow out to center field at around 8 miles per hour.

    WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “Think everything is perfect in Queens these days? Think again. Agent Scott Boras and the Mets are at odds over Matt Harvey’s innings with the team saying they’ll skip a few starts, but use him in the playoffs, while Boras contends that the doctors want him shut down. Stay tuned. The Nats did their best to keep pace with the Mets, beating up on their favorite punching bag (Atlanta) over four games. Now is their chance to finally make a move, with three home games this week against the Division Leaders (their last games against NYM until the final weekend).” Big Al McMordie.

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Mets RH Matt Harvey (12-7, 2.60 ERA) vs. Nationals RH Jordan Zimmermann (12-8, 3.38)

    Harvey improved to 4-0 in his last seven starts on Wednesday after allowing four runs on nine hits in 6 1/3 innings of a 9-4 triumph over Philadelphia. The seventh overall pick of the 2010 draft, Harvey’s run total versus the Phillies matched his complete tally of his previous six games (41 2/3 frames). Harvey has handcuffed the Nationals (3-2, 0.99 ERA and 0.88 WHIP) in his career, permitting three earned runs and 18 hits in 27 2/3 innings to post a 2-1 mark in four meetings this season.

    Zimmermann recorded his fourth straight victory in as many outings after allowing one run on two hits in six innings of a 15-1 rout of Atlanta on Thursday. The 29-year-old has benefited from a power surge by his own team, which has amassed 44 runs in his last four starts. Zimmermann dominated the Mets in his season-opening debut, yielded three runs in seven innings in the next meeting before getting taken deep three times and surrendering five runs total in a 5-2 setback on Aug. 2.


    * Nationals are 7-1 in Zimmermann’s last eight starts vs. Mets.

    * Home team is 6-1 in umpire Dana DeMuth’s last seven games behind home plate.

    * Mets are 9-2 in their last 11 road games.

    * Over is 5-1 in Harvey’s last six starts as an underdog.

    CONSENSUS: Fifty-three percent are backing the Nationals.


    See spot. See spot bet: This week’s best spot bet opportunities
    By Ben Burns

    Spot bets are classic handicapping practices that have proven profitable no matter what sport you’re betting. Whether it’s a team looking past this week’s opponent, one coming off a hard-fought victory, or a rough patch of schedule, bettors can find value picking their spots. Ben Burns points out his favorites:

    Lookahead spot

    The Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees are giving baseball fans a race to remember in the American League East, with Toronto holding a half game lead over the Pinstripes as of Tuesday. The Blue Jays are in Fenway taking on the Red Sox, who have relished the role of spoiler since their season went down the tubes. Boston won the series opener 11-4 Monday.

    The Blue Jays could get caught looking ahead to a crucial series in the Bronx starting Thursday when they wrap up a three-game set with the BoSox Wednesday night. Toronto goes with Drew Hutchison for Wednesday’s game, saving the top starters for the Yankees. Hutchinson has been horrific on the road with a 9.00 ERA in 11 starts away from the Rogers Centre this season.


    Carrasco at his very best in starts away from home
    Andrew Avery

    Cleveland Indians starter Carlos Carrasco has been at his best away from home this season and the Tribe look to win for the eighth time in his last nine outings on the road as they visit the Chicago White Sox Tuesday evening.

    Carrasco is 8-3 with a 2.41 ERA and 0.87 WHIP in 13 starts away from Progressive Field this season. The Indians have gone 10-3 in those 13 ball games.

    The Venezuelan and the Indians are currently offered in the -133 vicinity while the White Sox, who are expected to counter with Carlos Rodon, are presently +123.


    Harvey not the best bet as an underdog
    Andrew Caley

    New York Mets starter Matt Harvey has been so good in his return from Tommy John surgery he has rarely been an underdog, but when he has been he hasn’t had his best stuff.

    In Harvey’s last four starts as an underdog this season the Mets are 0-4 with Harvey pitching at a 4.70 ERA with just 20 strikeouts to 13 walks.

    Harvey and the Mets will be slight +104 dogs for the second game of their pivotal series with the Washington Nationals Tuesday. The Nats will counter with Jordan Zimmermann.


    Tigers getting mowed down by right-handers
    Andrew Caley

    The Detroit Tigers are struggling mightily against right-handed starters, going just 2-11 in their last 13 games against them.

    The Tigers have been outscored a whopping 97-40 in those 13 games, meaning they are allowing 7.46 runs per game, while scoring 3.07 during that stretch.

    Detroit faces another right-hander Monday, when the Tampa Bay Rays send Erasmo Ramirez (3.84 ERA, 9-11 O/U) to the mound. Detroit counters with Matt Boyd (8.36 ERA, 3-5 O/U).

    The Tigers are currently +110 home dogs, with a total that is sitting at 9.0 runs.


    Pirates really struggling versus NL Central
    Andrew Avery

    The Pittsburgh Pirates own one of the best records in baseball, but have struggled all season against teams from within their own division.

    The Buccos are just 23-34 versus the National League Central and are 2-5 in their last seven games – all against division rivals – heading into Tuesday’s meeting with the Cincinnati Reds.

    Pittsburgh lost 3-1 in the series opener Monday and is presently -123 for Tuesday’s meeting.


    Small chance of thunderstorms in Detroit
    Andrew Avery

    According to weather forecasts, there is around a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms in Detroit when the Tigers host the Tampa Bay Rays Tuesday evening.

    There is a 53 percent chance of storms before the game but that drops to around 40 percent during game time.



    1. NSA(The Legend) MLB – Phillies -145

    2. Ray “The Playmaker” Bowden MLB – Rockies +135

    3. VegasSI MLB – Pirates -125

    4. SportsAction365 MLB – Marlins +105

    5. Gameday Network MLB – Dodgers -1.5

    6. Vegas Line Crushers MLB – Diamondbacks under 8.5

    7. Gerry “Big Cat” Andino MLB – Rockies +135

    8. Lou Panelli MLB – White Sox +125

    9. Steve “Scoop” Kendall MLB – Pirates -125

    10. BettingOnlineUSA MLB – Pirates over 7.5

    11. William E. Stockton MLB – Phillies -145

    12. Vincent Pioli MLB – Tigers under 9

    13. International Sports Syndicate MLB – Phillies -145

    14. SCORE MLB – Yankees under 8.5

    15. East Coast Line Movers MLB – Dodgers -1.5

    16. Tony Campone MLB – Tigers +110

    17. Chicago Sports Group MLB – Athletics -110

    18. Hollywood Sportsline MLB – Tigers +110

    19. VIP Action MLB – Athletics -110

    20. South Beach Sports MLB – Dodgers -1.5

    21. Z Code System MLB – Royals over 8

    22. Sports Cash System MLB – Mariners under 7

    23. Winning Sports Report MLB – Yankees -160

    24. Sports Betting Professor MLB – Dodgers -1.5

    25. 100 Percent Winners MLB – White Sox +125

    26. NY Players Club MLB – Giants +105

    27. Las Vegas Private CEO Club MLB – Diamondbacks -115

    28. Michigan Sports MLB – Nationals over 7

    29. Charlie’s Sports MLB – Diamondbacks -115

    30. Fred Callahan MLB – Yankees under 8.5

    31. PointSpreadReport MLB – Red Sox +135

    32. FreeSportsPicksParlays MLB – Phillies -145

    33. Las Vegas Sports Commission MLB – Cardinals -150


    Stephen Nover

    Sep 08 ’15, 7:05 PM
    MLB | New York Mets vs Washington Nationals
    Play on: Washington Nationals -112

    Game Analysis
    Mets starter Matt Harvey is a stud. But Jordan Zimmerman is no slouch either. The Nationals are playing for their playoff lives here five games behind the Mets and are 44-15 in Zimmerman’s last 59 starts at Nationals Park, a winning percentage of 74 percent.

    The Mets have lost six of Harvey’s last eight road starts. Harvey’s focus comes into question today after the controversy the past few days about the team’s plan to limit his innings and how much he might pitch in the playoffs.

    The controversy hasn’t died down. So Harvey’s concentration may be off after he met with Mets general manager Sandy Alderson on Monday to discuss the issue.

    Harvey has been pitching well, but so has Zimmerman, who has won his last four starts. He’s allowed just two runs in his last two starts spanning 13 innings. Zimmerman has been much better at home this season with a 7-3 record and 2.52 ERA.



    Screen Shot Tuesday

    Mets @ Nationals — New York will start Matt Harvey, but questions abound. There has been a lot of talk this week about an innings limit for Harvey and his availability for the playoffs. The righty has already thrown 166.1 innings on the season. Overall, Harvey is 12-7 with a 2.76 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. He lost his last start against Washington back on July 20th after giving up 5 runs and five hits in seven innings of work. Harvey is 3-2 with a 1.32 ERA and 0.90 WHIP in eight career starts against the Nationals. The Mets look like a solid play in this game, but with the uncertainty of Harvey, I decided to back off.

    Rockies @ Padres — Colorado’s Jon Gray has pitched well in his two road starts this season, but he is still looking for his first win. But Gray doesn’t go deep in games, and that means a horrible Rockies bullpen will throw extra innings in this game. San Diego’s Colin Rea is 2-2 with a 5.47 ERA in five starts this season. He has also struggled to go deep in games, averaging less than five innings per start. I lean Over 7.5 (+100) in this game.

    Rays @ Tigers — Tampa Bay’s Erasmo Ramirez has shown some cracks after an incredible start to the season. The righty has allowed 4 runs or more in two of his last three starts, and in five of his last eight starts overall. Detroit’s Matt Boyd is 1-5 with an 8.27 ERA and 1.84 WHIP in eight starts this season. Tampa Bay is 24-14 versus left-handed starters this season. I like Over 9 (-105) and the the Rays (-120) in this game.

    Rangers @ Mariners — Cole Hamels gets his third look at the Mariners this season. Hamels is 0-1 in those two games, giving up 7 runs and 15 hits over 13 innings of work. He has a 4.44 ERA in four career starts against Seattle. Taijuan Walker gets his third look at the Rangers; this will be his first outing at home against Texas. Walker has held the Rangers to 4 runs and 16 hits over 13 innings of work. The value is on the Mariners (+115) in this game.



    MLB Tuesday

    Mets-Nationals: How often can you get Matt Harvey at -110 – that’s the question. You guys know I rarely back Zimmerman. The Nationals have got to be mentally close to done, losing to the Mets Monday and being a full five games back. Desperate times for a team people had penciled into the World Series in June. We said Sunday night we thought the Mets were the value side against Max and we were right about that.

    Miami-Brewers: We said last night we liked Davies because the Fish just shouldn’t be that heavy a favorite to anyone, and now there’ a .50 difference in this line, mainly because of Jungmann, who we do like. Tough to now take the Brewers as road favorites, but even they aren’t good enough to keep beating Miami. Like the under here.

    Pirates-Reds: Hard to fathom that Liriano is only -130 (which came down from the opener) to the Reds – but Iglesias has proven to be the real deal. One would have to like the under here, I would think.

    Chicago-St. Louis: I am a little surprised Hammel is +140 or so – that’s a bit steep, even for Wacha, who did give up four runs to the Giants at home last outing. The Cardinal bullpen has been under performing of late as well, and so has the Cubs, so any runs may come late – F5 under. Hammel did lose badly in St. Louis earlier this season and hasn’t pitched well lately – but I doubt I could take St. Louis at that price. That’s just me.

    Colorado-San Diego: Rea hasn’t done much to warrant being a -130 favorite, IMO. Gray hasn’t done much to warrant being bet ON – but clearly Colorado has the better bats – but with Rea no pitching very deep I have to think this might go over.

    Rays-Tigers: I guess the Tigers are probably on auto-fade, although they beat Smyly and the Rays on Monday afternoon. Ramirez hasn’t not been the same pitcher on the road (4.14 ERA) but he’s been winning, so getting run support and perhaps this one goes over as well. Tigers’ bullpen is what it is – and they Rays have a tremendous W/L record against LHP – let alone Boyd’s sick (in a bad way) numbers.

    Baltimore-New York: At first glance Gausman at +150 (or the RL) might appear to be the value side. We do know that although the Orioles are dead in the water, they ARE capable of putting up runs. Tanaka beat the Orioles back in JUly at Yankee Stadium, but did give up three home runs, so I wouldn’t be too hasty to lay that -165 or whatever.

    Toronto-Boston: I’d love to fade Dickey at Boston, but I bet on Boston when Owens went out last week, lasting about an inning. I suppose he could revert back to “normal” but my money isn’t betting on it, and the over looks entirely too easy, but it’s over 10 now, or probably never.

    Cleveland-Chicago: Carassco has been on fire, only giving up more than two earned runs once since July 6th. But, that “once” was against these White Sox, so it’s either motivation for Carassco or confidence for Chicago. Since we typically fae the Indians against left handed pitching and take the White Sox against right handed pitching – Chicago or nothing pending confirmation.

    Twins-Royals: It’s just tough for me to take the Twins on the road against a right handed pitcher, although Volquez has been getting lit up, so perhaps if the RL is doable it’s an option.

    Oakland-Houston: On of the best pitchers in baseball (Gray) with a team going nowhere against a team going somewhere and a pitcher (Kazmir) who was with the A’s not long ago. I am very tempted to take Oakland here, at least the F5 because we don’t trust their bullpen, and since the Astros score via the home run more often than not – and they’re in perhaps the least hitter-friendly park in baseball.


    Coach Fletcher’s Tuesday Scouting Edge

    4:05 pm Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies

    Ryan Weber Makes Brave Debut

    Ryan Weber will make his major league debut today for the Atlanta Braves. Oddly enough, Weber was primarily used as a relief pitcher in the minor leagues. His last 3 appearances Weber was a starter. Weber is 6’0” tall and weighs in at 180. He was drafted bu the Phillies in the 12th round of the 2008 draft and then by the Braves in the 2009 draft. He attended St. Petersburg College in Florida. He spent 2015 in Double-A and Triple-A ball. In Double-A at Mississippi he made 11 appearances, 3 as a starter. He was 0-2 with a 2.73 era. Moving up to Triple-A, At Gwinnett he went 6-3 with a 2.21 era. He made 27 appearances with 6 starts. Weber has excellent control and struck out 6.6 batters per game in the minors. The Phils opened at -152 but have been bet down to the -135 range.

    4:05 pm Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees

    Yankees Now Just ½ Game Out, Send Tanaka Today

    The Bronx Bombers find themselves just ½ game behind the Blue Jays and send out Mashiro Tanaka today to try and cut the lead again. Tanaka has won 2 of his last 3 starts and has pitched at least 6 innings in every start since June 27. He is 1-1 with a 3.74 earned run average in three career starts against the Birds. The Yanks appear solid favorites today at about -160 against the O’s who are starting Kevin Gausman. Gausman is only 2-6 with a 4.59 era. However, Gausman has been very effective against the NYY. In 10 appearances, 4 of which were starts, Gausman is 3-2 with a 2.94 era. He has gone 6 straight starts without winning.

    4:05 pm New York Mets at Washington Nationals

    Matt Harvey Goes Today, But How Long?

    There is a great deal of uncertainty regard Met ace Matt Harvey. The Mets have said repeatedly that he has an innings limit but they are saying what that limit is. And Harvey came out the other day and said he is definitely pitching in the playoffs. The Mets win yesterday gave them a reasonably comfortable 5 game lead over the inconsistent and underachieving Nationals. Harvey is 12-7 with a 2.60 era this year. He’s tossed 27 2/3 innings against the Nats and allowed only 3 runs. In his last start against the Phils, Harvey gave up 9 hits and 4 runs in 6 ½. It was reported that he had dehydration symptoms but he is fine for today’s start. The question is how long will the Mets leave him in? What if they get behind early? What if they are comfortably ahead early? We will have to wait and see. Obviously the oddsmakers are concerned as well opening Washington at -105 with the public betting the Nats up to -120.

    4:08 pm Tampa Bay Rays at Detroit Tigers

    Rays Still Have Playoff Hopes – Detroit Does Them a Favor

    Even though the Rays are 11 games out, they are holding on to the slimmest of hopes for a playoff spot. With a record under .500, that doesn’t seem at all likely. The Tigers, however, appear to be doing the Rays a favor by starter southpaw Matt Boyd. Boyd is 1-5 with an 8.36 era. Boyd can’t seem to put batters away. Opponents are batting a robust .417 against him when he’s ahead in the count. Boyd only made it through 1 inning in his last start against the Royals giving up 6 runs on 7 hits and walking 2. In his previous start at Toronto he went 6 innings and gave up 5 runs on 7 hits. Even though his road era is a humungous 1-0.00, Boyd has gone 1-1 at home with just a 2.77 era. He’s 1-2 at night with a 7.20 era. His September era is a laughable 54.00. Tampa opened at -122 with the total rising from 8.5 to 9.

    7:05 pm Los Angeles Dodgers at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

    Dodgers vs. Angels – Kershaw vs Heaney

    One of today’s premier pitchers goes today against a rookie who may someday occupy a similar position as one of baseball’s best left handed pitchers. Clayton Kershaw is at the top of his game now. He is 12-6 with a 2.18 era and has already fanned 251 this season. Kershaw hasn’t quite been himself against the rival Angels, going 3-2 with a 3.14 era. The only 2 Angels hitting over .300 against Kershaw are Pujols and Trout (.333). Since the beginning of July Kershaw is 7-0 with a 0.93 era and has allowed one run or less in 10 of his last 11 starts. He fanned 15 Giants in his last start. Heaney got off to a great start winning 4 of his first 5 starts. His 1.79 era has suffered along with the floundering Angels. In his last 7 starts Heaney’s era is 4.62. Heaney was actually a Dodger for a few minutes. The Dodgers acquired him in a trade with Miami then dealt him to the Angels for Howie Kendrick. Heaney is 6-2 on the year with a 3.18 era. He’s 0-1 versus the Dodgers with a 3.14 era. The Dodgers opened at -186 but have been bet down into the mid -160’s.

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