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MLB: The over is 8-1 in Cleveland pitcher Justin Masterson’s last nine starts.
MLB: The Phillies are 19-3 in Halladay’s last 22 starts on five days’ rest.
MLB: The White Sox are 8-3 in John Danks’ last 11 home starts.
MLB: The Rockies are 5-11 in their last 16 home games.
MLB: The Royals are 0-6 in their last six series openers.
MLB: The under is 5-12 in the Braves’ last 17 games.
12 – That’s how many regular-season series the Texas Rangers have won in a row heading into their weekend set against visiting Tampa Bay. Six of those have come this season. Texas has not lost a three-game series at the Ballpark in Arlington since July 1-3 against the Marlins last year.
Injury that shouldn’t be overlooked
Orlando Magic center Glen Davis (ankle) is questionable for Saturday’s playoff opener at Indiana. X-rays were negative on Davis' ankle, but there’s been no word on the severity of the injury. With Dwight Howard ruled out following back surgery, the Magic desperately need Davis.
Games of the day
Tampa Bay Rays at Texas Rangers (-140, 9)
Washington Nationals at Los Angeles Dodgers (-175, 6)
"They punish mistakes. It's not singles. It's usually extra-base hits and home runs.” – Yankees manager Joe Girardi on the Rangers, who lead MLB with 107 runs scored.
Tips and notes
Thunder swingman James Harden, the best sixth man in the NBA, will practice Friday after recovering from the concussion he sustained when Metta World Peace elbowed him hard in the hard. Harden does not have a minutes restriction heading into the playoffs. "I'm thankful that James is healthy. That's the bottom line," OKC coach Scott Brooks said.
Nashville defenseman Hal Gill (lower body injury) is practicing with a regular line and should play in the second-round series against Phoenix. "He’s moving pretty good," Preds coach Barry Trotz said. "He’s practiced and he’s had a little more of the grind and the battles that he needed to have to see where he is. Right now he’s on track and I expect him to play in the series."
Indians RF Shin-Soo Choo missed his second straight game Thursday with a sore left hamstring. Aaron Cunningham replaced Choo, who has five doubles, nine RBIs and 10 walks in 15 games played.
Kansas City starter Danny Duffy (3.63 ERA) won’t be on the mound as scheduled Friday due to elbow tightness. The 23-year-old lefty isn’t believed to be seriously hurt, but the Royals aren’t taking any chances. Everett Teaford is expected to start against the Twins.
The 33-year-old lefty has allowed one run in his last two starts covering 14 innings. Batters are hitting .208 against Rodriguez, who has a WHIP of 1.03. He should have a better record, but the Astros scored a total of six runs in his first three starts. Rodriguez gets the Reds on Friday.
Matt Harrison, Texas Rangers
3-0, 1.66 ERA
The Rays don’t like facing Harrison, who has a 2.33 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 19 1/3 career innings against Tampa Bay. The 26-year-old lefty has a WHIP of 0.97 this season, and has held opposing batters to a .215 average. He’s averaging just over seven innings per start.
Justin Masterson, Cleveland Indians
0-2, 6.65 ERA
The 27-year-old righty dominated on Opening Day, but has been terrible in three starts since. He’s allowed 15 earned runs in that span of 13 2/3 innings. He’s walked 12 batters, contributing to an unsightly WHIP of 1.62. However, Masterson has a 2.43 ERA in 37 career innings vs. the Angels.
Mike Leake, Cincinnati Reds
0-2, 6.50 ERA
After allowing five extra-base hits in his last outing, Leake has yielded 10 earned runs over his past two starts covering 12 innings. The league is batting .310 against him. Alarmingly, he has struck out just eight batters all season. Friday against Houston, Leake might be pitching to stay in the rotation.
-- Halladay is 3-1, 1.50 in four starts this season.
-- Saunders has a 1.71 RA in three starts this season. Zambrano has a 1.38 RA in his last couple starts.
-- Rodriguez allowed one run in 14 IP in his last two starts.
-- Burnett threw seven shutout innings in his first '12 start, vs St Louis. Hanson is 2-1, 4.26 in his last three starts.
-- Gallardo is 1-0, 1.71 in his last three starts. Westbrook is 2-1, 2.18.
-- Kershaw is 1-0, 2.02 in four starts this season. Detwiler is 2-0, 2.81 in three starts.
-- Verlander is 2-1, 2.01 in four starts this season. Bronx scored 23 runs in winning all three Nova starts (3-0, 3.79).
-- Romero is 3-0, 2.42 in his last three starts. Beavan has a 3.26 RA in three starts, but Seattle scored total of only five runs in the three games.
-- Weaver is 3-0, 2.42 in four starts this season.
-- Shields is 3-0, 1.11 in his last three starts. Harrison is 3-0, 1.66 in his three starts this season.
-- Maholm is 1-2, 8.36 in three start this season.
-- Leake is 0-2, 6.50 in three starts this season.
-- Pomeranz is 0-1, 6.75 in two starts this season. Schwinden was 0-2, 4.71 in four big league starts LY; he is 2-2, 2.05 in four minor league starts this season.
-- Hacker is 4-0, 2.19 in AAA this year; he's allowed three runs in 8.1 IP in five big league relief appearances in previous years.
-- Masterson is 0-2, 11.19 in his last three starts.
-- McCarthy is 0-3, 5.04 in his last four starts. Arrieta is 0-1, 6.75 in his last three starts.
-- Bard is 0-1, 4.63 in two starts this season; he pitched an inning out of the bullpen Monday, getting the win. Danks has a 5.30 RA in his last three starts.
-- Pavano is 1-2, 5.06 in four starts this season.
-- Phillies won their last two games, scoring 15 runs.
-- Reds won five of their last seven games.
-- Braves won seven of their last nine games. Pittsburgh won three of its last four road games.
-- Cardinals won four of their last five home games.
-- Mets won their last three games, allowing four runs. Colorado won four of its last six home games.
-- Nationals won four of their last five games.
-- Giants won four of their six home games.
-- Bronx won four of last five series openers.
-- Indians won eight of their last twelve games, but lost last two.
-- Mariners won last three games, scoring 21 runs.
-- Orioles won their last four games, allowing five runs. A's won three of their last four games.
-- Texas won 11 of its last 13 games. Rays won their last five games, allowing eight runs.
-- Red Sox won their last four games, scoring 34 runs.
-- Cubs lost their last five road games, outscored 34-10.
-- Marlins lost their last five games, scoring seven runs. Arizona lost seven of its last nine games.
-- Astros lost six of their last eight road games.
-- Brewers lost last four road games, allowing 27 runs.
-- Dodgers lost three of their last four games.
-- Padres lost five of their six road games.
-- Royals lost their 12 of last 14 games, but won last two.
-- Detroit lost six of its last seven games.
-- Toronto lost its last three games, scoring three runs.
-- Angels lost seven of their last eight road games.
-- White Sox lost five of their last six home games.
-- Minnesota lost its last five games, allowing 34 runs.
-- Over is 4-1-1 in Cubs' road games this season.
-- Six of last seven Arizona games went over the total.
-- Six of last eight Cincinnati games went over the total.
-- Six of last nine Atlanta games went over the total.
-- Four of last five Milwaukee games went over the total.
-- Under is 7-3 in Colorado's last ten games.
-- Six of last eight Dodger games stayed under the total.
-- Under is 4-1-1 in San Francisco's home games.
-- Under is 10-4-2 in last sixteen Detroit games.
-- Over is 3-0-1 in Seattle's last four games.
-- Seven of last eight Cleveland games stayed under the total.
-- Six of last seven Baltimore home games stayed under total.
-- Six of last seven Tampa Bay road games went over total.
-- Five of last six Boston road games went over the total.
-- Under is 7-2-1 in last ten Kansas City games.