Wednesday, June 20
Milwaukee Brewers ML -131 (5 Units) ***PLAY OF THE DAY***
Well it seems like a really steep price to pay considering the Giants are sending their ace to the mound in this afternoon affaire. However, if you have been following the San Francisco Giants as of late and have seen the way they are playing, you would have no problem fading them at this price no matter who the hell is on the mound for them. I mean the Giants come into this game with a 2-8 record in their last 10 games and it seems as though unless they are playing at home against a left-handed pitcher, these guys are not going to score many runs. The Giants are hitting a horrendous .213 (please consider this before taking them in this game) in their last 10 games and their starting pitching has been just as bad. On the mound for Milwaukee today is Claudio Vargas who has been lights out this season and right now is a better pitcher than Barry Zito. In his last three starts the Brewers are 3-0, his ERA is 3.63, his WHIP is 1.38 and he has allowed only 18 hits in 17.1 innings of work. Vargas has had not had that much success against the Giants in the past but he hasn't faced them as a member of the Brewers and the Brewers are a lot better than some of the teams he played for. San Francisco is batting only .255 on the road versus right handed pitchers and I don't see them improving anytime soon. Milwaukee's starting pitching has been very good at home and their bullpen has held the fort down enough to lead them big wins lately. I don't think San Francisco can bust out of their slump here.
The Milwaukee Brewers screwed me the last time I bet on them to sweep an opponent (last week against the Twins) but I think this situation is a lot different because they clearly remember not being able to sweep the Twins and this is another chance to grab a three game broomer. Also, the Brewers are at home now where they are 24-12 this season and have made some of their backers a ton of cash. The Brewers are 7-3 in their last 10 games and they have batted .299 in those games while their pitching staff has done a good job holding off opponents. Their biggest challenge of the series comes today against Barry Zito but how concerned are you guys? Im definitely not. In his last three starts Zito is 1-2 with an ERA of 5.28 and a WHIP of 1.89 so I don't know what makes anyone think he is the guy to break the Giants out of their slump. The big difference between Zito and Vargas here is that Zito has only 3.3 runs of offensive support per game in his last three starts while Vargas has a whopping 7.3 runs of offensive support per game in his last three starts. The Brewers have a lineup that is very comfortable hitting left handed pitchers like Zito as they hit .309 versus lefties at home this season and .324 in their last 10 games. You could not really ask for a much better situation for the Brewers to pull off the sweep. Zito has not been good in daytime games this season and if the Brewers are going to get at him, they need to do it early and make sure they have a lead when the Giants pen takes over. Milwaukee has been one of the hottest teams in baseball as of late and like I said before, the price seems right to back them to finally sweep someone.
So now that some of you are over the thought of betting against Barry Zito as an underdog, you also have to consider that until they head back home, the Giants are not going to bust out the bats, their pitching won't get any better and teams like Milwaukee are going to continue taking advantage of these guys and their 14-23 road record. San Francisco is now 0-6 in their last six games versus a right handed starter and they are also 0-7 in their last seven games as a road underdog. This is clearly not the spot you want to have money on them seeing how they have failed to win their last who knows how many games as an underdog of this price range. The Brewers on the other hand have been red hot against left handed starters going 5-0 in their last five games versus them and they are also one of those teams I talked about yesterday that takes advantage of pitchers with bad tendencies to allow walks and hits. The Brewers are now 5-1 in their last six games versus a pitcher with a WHIP greater than 1.30 (Barry Zito's is 1.42). The Brewers are also 5-0 in their last five home games where Claudio Vargas starts against a team with an overall losing record, 6-0 in Vargas' last six home starts, 7-0 in Vargas' last seven starts where he has had four days of rest. I think you get the point that the team Vargas' team is 12-2 in his last 14 starts and that he has not had problems winning games as a favorite of long or short odds. This is clearly the spot to take the Brew Crew at an amazing price. I also have to mention that Darryl Cousins is behind home plate this afternoon and for some reason the Giants are 2-8 in their last 10 games when he is calling balls and strikes. Wow!
Boston Red Sox ML -127 (3 Units)
Okay so let's try this again. I love a five unit wager on the Red Sox in the opener of this series but I guess I completely missed the memo that Curt Schilling is a pansy and that he is now apparently injured and about to hit the DL for a few weeks. It was a bad loss but that's okay, now it's time to bounce back and get these Red Sox going again. The Sox got back on track with Josh Beckett last night winning 4-0 and tying this series up. The rubber match goes tonight and I think the Sox really want this game tonight before having to go to San Diego to face a very tough Padres pitching staff. The Red Sox are now 6-4 in their last 10 games and hitting only .257 in those games but their pitching has been good enough to keep them in games (except that Schilling bullshit on Monday) and I think the same can happen tonight. On the mound for the Braves tonight is Buddy Carlyle, who although has pitched quite well, is pretty much bound to get rocked by someone. Since getting rocked in his first start of the year, Carlyle has been pretty damn good beating the Indians, Cubs and Marlins. However, he has not had much run support in his starts and if the powerful Sox lineup can get something going tonight, they should be able to get to him and win this thing. This could be another low-scoring affaire seeing how both bullpens have been outstanding but like I was talking about earlier, if Buddy Carlyle is going to get rocked its gonna happen at home and not on the road where he has pitched much better. Carlyle got hit hard in two of his three home starts this season. It's tough to get a good read on Carlyle but something has to give and I think it gives tonight against a Red Sox lineup that has been somewhat dormant.
The Atlanta Braves can strike and they can strike fast, as most of us learned the hard way on Monday Night, however they have not been able to coordinate things with their pitching staff and they have lacked a ton of consistency. The price seems pretty damn juicy as the Braves are once again home underdogs but I refuse to bite on the team that has screwed me more than once this season because at some point you have to ask yourself if they are really worth backing unless something is wrong with the opposing starter which in this case it is not. The Braves are still only 4-6 in their last 10 games but they are hitting well and they are quite the threat. On the mound for the Red Sox tonight is Julian Tavarez, who used to be one of my favorite guys to fade, but who is 1-0 in his last three starts with an ERA of 3.86 and a WHIP of 1.39 in those starts. Tavarez is not the best or most ideal pitcher to have on your team but he does provide some consistency and he rearely gets blown out of the water. Having said that, he has shown that he can win against powerful lineups on the road as the Red Sox have wins over the Yankees (twice), Rangers and Diamondbacks when Tavarez is on the mound away from home. You have to also consider that the Braves have been hitting only .248 at home versus right handed pitchers and that the Red Sox bullpen should they be needed (I think they will) has an ERA of 2.79 in their last 10 games. Edgar Renteria has been the hottest hitter anywhere the last week or so and he left yesterday's game with a back injury but should be back tonight. Still, it really helps to know he is somewhat injured and not fully capable of swinging the way he does. I think the Braves are a good fade tonight as they revert back to their ways of old and not that many people are on the Red Sox.
Rubber matches are not always as good as they are hyped up to be but they do define team character for most teams and I am happy to announce that the Boston Red Sox are 15-6 in games 3 and 4 of a series combined while the Atlanta Braves are only 11-13 this season in games 3 and 4 of a series combined. So when the series is on the line and you're wondering which teams wants it more, it's pretty damn clear to me that the Red Sox have been cash money in this situation all season and that won't change tonight. Apart from their Game 1 loss, the Red Sox are still 23-4 in their last 27 games versus the National League East (pure domination at its best) and they are still one of the best teams in MLB to back against right handed pitchers from the NL. The Red Sox are a whopping 41-10 in their last 51 interleague games versus a right handed pitcher so losing two of them in this series is unlikely. Julian Tavarez has been particularly good in the Game 3 spot this season as the Red Sox are 5-0 when he starts a Game 3 and they have now won 5 of his last 6 starts this season. The Braves on the other hand have not been good in Game 3's of a series this year (as talked about above) and they have stunningly been bad against opposing starters who have bad tendencies like Tavarez. Atlanta is 1-5 in their last six games versus an opposing pitcher with a WHIP greater than 1.30 (Tavarez has a WHIP of 1.42 on the year) and 1-7 in their last 8 interleague home versus a team with a winning record. Nuff said...the Red Sox are the play here.
Chicago Cubs ML -122 (3 Units)
I was so impressed by the Cubs performance last night (how the fuck did Ryan Dempster manage to pitch flawlessly for the save in the 9th?) that I have decided to back them again with this valuable price. I know I said I wasn't going to take the Cubs again for quite some time regardless of what they did last night but looking at the games this morning, this is one of the prices that caught my eye as having a lot of value for many different reasons. As I talked about in my writeup yesterday, the Cubs have been part of several on-field incidents in recent weeks but the latest one (the brawl with the Padres) was the kind of incident that really brings a team together because guys all came out and stuck up for each other even using belts to fight and help their teammates. That really tends to bring a team together and like I said yesterday, team bonding on this road trip is going to be better than it has been all year. The Cubbies are now 5-5 in their last 10 games and hitting only .257 in those games but their pitching has been outstanding and has kept them in games. Derek Lee is most definitely playing in tonight's game until his suspension appeal is done with. On the mound for the Texas Rangers tonigt is Kameron Loe. Now I don't know if that is a step up in class or step down in class but from Robinson Tejada but either way, the big edge is with the Cubs because they are still coming off that series against the super San Diego pitching staff. Loe is coming off a rare great performance so don't expect it to happen again. He is 1-4 in seven home starts this season with an ERA of 7.07 and a WHIP of 1.55 which is just what the Cubs need. They are hitting .275 against righties on the road this season and look for the consistency to continue tonight against a very average starter who is due for a beating after a good start.
The Texas Rangers are having big time problems right now and I don't know that there is an end in sight. The Rangers are still without Hank Blalock and Mark Texeira (their top two power hitters) and although they have not really been hurt batting by their absences, its more the matter of having them in the lineup as experienced guys that makes the difference. Texas is now 5-5 in their last 10 games, they are hitting .280 in those games but their pitching has completely knocked them out of games and their pitching staff is nowhere near where the Cubs staff has been the last few weeks. On the mound for the Cubbies tonight is none other than Jason Marquis who is coming off some very solid performances and who has not been hit hard since the month of May. In his last three starts, Marquis is 0-1 but the team is 2-1 and he has an ERA of 4.38 with a WHIP of 1.70. Not your ideal kind of numbers coming into a game versus a high powered offense (minus two stars) but I think Marquis can be consistent enough to let the offense run its course. Keep in mind that the Rangers were built to crush left handed pitchers and it has shown this year as they are hitting .257 versus right handed pitchers at home this season and a whopping .305 versus lefties so they are once again out of luck tonight. Even if Marquis gives up a few runs here and there, the Cubs bullpen has been outstanding as of late with an ERA of 3.54 in their last 10 games. Marquis should be fine though and the Rangers are going to continue to struggle against righties.
So will this be the last time I bet on the Cubs in a long time? It could very well be but something tells me its not with the way things are going for them. I am not a fan of road teams taking 2-0 leads in American League ballparks because it rarely happens but the Rangers are without two stars on offense and their starting pitching couldn't keep them in games even if they tried. You have to find the right groove and the right time to back certain teams and now is the time to bank on the Cubs making some kind of run. As I mentioned in yesterday's writeup, the Cubs have been victims of very good opposing starting pitching but that's about to change in this series. The Cubs are now 8-0 in their last eight games versus an opposing starting pitcher who has a WHIP greater than 1.30 (Kameron Loe has a WHIP of 1.60) like Robinson Tejada had last night. That just goes to show that this powerful Cubs lineup is taylor made to tee off on bad pitchers like they have done all year. Marquis has been a great pitcher to bet on as the favorite as the team is 5-1 in his last six starts as the favorite and he usually has no problems beating teams with losing records. Texas on the other hand is 3-12 in their last 15 games versus a right handed starting pitcher and 1-6 in their last seven home games versus a righty. They are also 1-6 in Kameron Loe's last seven starts and 1-11 in his last 12 starts as a home underdog. He is clearly a very good fade and the Cubs are going to prove that tonight in a big way. Let the good times roll for these Cubbies baby!