Tuesday, June 19
Minnesota Twins ML -130 (5 Units) ***PLAY OF THE DAY***
Well here is how it goes. I know a lot of you think fading Santana at this price is about as good as it gets against one of the top teams in the majors, seeing how Santana has been losing quite a few games as of late. Well let me tell you that this is the kind of game I love having money on Santana and not because he has lost two of his last three starts but because he is the kind of guy that loves to step up to a challenge and loves to prove critics wrong. The Twins come into this game playing some decent baseball in interleague play as they have won 5 of their last 10 games, have hit .260 in those games and have had some decent pitching. After losing the opener of this series 8-1 last night, they have the much more favorable matchup with Santan on the mound as they take on Jorge Sosa. I was on the Dodgers the last time we saw Sosa and my main reasoning was that his numbers this season, although really good, are completely bogus and that the Jorge Sosa of old was only a few innings away from coming back out. We are talking about a guy with a 4.52 career ERA and 1.45 career WHIP. From the looks of things, he hasn't faced enough decent lineups this season to provide us with accurate numbers as a starter. Minnesota has been one of the best road teams this season when it comes to facing right handed pitchers as they hit them for .276 on the year away from home. I think Sosa puts together back-to-back very poor starts and the lead the Twins take is going to be enough for Santana to hold on for the win. Even if they can't get to Sosa, Santana should keep them around long enough to get a share of the Mets bullpen who have an ERA of 5.96 in their last 10 games.
The New York Mets have been heavily criticized for their play as of late and although they did win 8-1 in the series opener last night, I cannot believe that more than 60% of the public is backing them against one of the top pitchers in baseball. Now right away I understand that the Mets have some guys who can crush left handed pitchers and I am well aware that the Mets are batting .304 at home versus lefties this season but this is not your typical kind of lefty. Even at that, the Mets are only 3-7 in their last 10 games and are hitting only .268 in those games and have had some terrible pitching performances from both the starters and the bullpen during that span of games. So with Santan on the mound tonight, they Mets are going to have to put in a sub-average performance, something they have not really been able to do more than once or twice the last two weeks. Johan has faced the Mets twice in his career, has won both games, allowing just nine hits, 2 ER's and striking out 17 batters in total while walking only one. Safe to say that Santana is not intimidated by this lineup and im pretty sure he knows that to avoid a sweep here, they need to win this game. When Santan starts, the Twins already have road wins over the White Sox, the Mariners and the Rangers...I think the Mets are next in line. It has been since May 22 that Santana has record a road win, tonight is the night he gets it.
Call me a blind sheep who is only taking the Twins because it's Santana on the mound but don't tell me I didn't make the right call when Santana pitches one of his more complete overall games of the year. He has had success against some of these hitters in the past and he is due for his first road win since May 22, which makes it almost an entire month without a road win. Minnesota is actually 5-1 in Johan Santana's last six starts versus teams from the NL East which means guys in the National League have a hard time beating him. The Twins are also an incredible 18-4 in Johan Santana's last 22 interleague starts which brings us back to the dominance he has over lineups in the National League. The fact that he gets an extra free out with the pitcher batting can only help him in this situation. The only concern here would be that the Mets have won 6 of their last 7 interleague games versus a left handed pitcher but that doesn't worry me at all because they have lost four straight home games against left handed pitchers which indicates that the only edge they have against lefties in interleague play is when on the road with an extra batter allowed. Not only that, the Mets have now lost seven straight games versus a left handed pitcher meaning they are starting to fade as a hitting unit and that should show tonight.
Chicago Cubs ML -120 (3 Units)
You know the Cubs are one of those teams that has cost me some cash this season, probably more so than other teams but at the same time, I think I have come to learn when to take them and when to fade them because they made me just as much cash on the fade side of things. Ever since the big Lou incident a couple of weeks back, it seems like this team is finally starting to come around and it seems like they are finally starting to gel as a unit. Even though they are coming off two shitty losses against the Padres, I think the bench clearing brawl on Saturday is going to bring some of these guys closer on this road trip. The Cubbies are 5-5 in their last 10 games but are hitting a decent .267 and their starting pitching has been pretty much outstanding over that same period of games. Derek Lee is appealing his suspension so we can expect him in the lineup tonight with his .500 career batting average in this ballpark. On the mound for the Texas Rangers today is Robinson Tejeda who has been horrendous lately. He is 1-2 in his last three starts with an ERA of 8.82 and a WHIP of 1.96 while allowing 23 hits in 16.1 innings of work. His numbers at home are equally bad so you can expect the Cubs to have a lot more breathing room at the plate than they did against one of the best pitching staffs in baseball...the San Diego Padres. This is a great chance for Alfonso Soriano to go on a tear on his old stomping grounds and like I said before, I really think the Cubs get their bats going in this game and possibly all series long.
The Texas Rangers are not playing good baseball as of late and that could be attributed to the fact that both Hank Blalock and Mark Texeira are both out with injuries. You and me both know the Cubbies are going to bring the bats tonight so you have to ask yourself how the Rangers are going to counter. They are 5-5 in their last 10 games and hitting .291 in those games so those two players have not really been missed all that bad but their pitching has put them in holes they have not been able to climb out of and I think tonight is going to be another one of those cases. On the mound for the Cubs tonight is left handed pitcher Sean Marshall who is now 3-2 on the year and has been great for the Cubs. Marshall is 3-0 in his last three starts beating the Mariners and Baves (twice) while allowing only 4 ER's in 20.2 innings pitched with an ERA of 1.74 and a WHIP of 0.97. In those games he also struck out 13 and walked only two batters. Marshall pitched really well in both his road starts this season and if my memory serves me right, he did pretty well against AL lineups last year holding them no more than 3-4 runs per game. The Rangers love hitting lefties, that we all know but I think Marshall is as solid as it gets and the offense has hooked him up with 7.3 runs of support per game in the last three games. As long as he doesn't get blown out, almost never happens to him, he should have enough on the other ends of things to get another road win.
I don't know that I am going to put money on the Cubs again anytime soon but like I said before, I think im starting to have a good feel for how and when this team shows up to play and something tells me that this spot is right. They are coming off two losses to one of the best pitching staffs in baseball so taking on a Rangers team that has an ERA of 5.90 in their last 10 games is pretty much taking a step down in class for this team. What I have noticed is that the Cubs have faced a lot of good pitchers lately and most of those games have been losses. However, they are 7-0 in their last seven games versus a starting pitcher that has a WHIP greater than 1.30 and let me tell you right now that Robinson Tejeda's WHIP is 1.62 this season which means you can expect the Cubs bats to have quite the party tonight. The Cubbies have also won four of their last five games as the road favorite so don't shy away from a sticky spot. The Texas Rangers on the other hand are 1-5 in their last six games that follow an off day so im not too sure what some of these guys do with their time off but it sure as hell isn't anything productive. The Rangers are an incredible 1-10 in Robinson Tejada's last 11 starts versus a team with a losing record and 0-6 in his last six starts at home versus a team with a losing record. All the signs point to the Cubs and a big win tonight and I am taking that and running to the bank.