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Morrow has some nasty stuff going on right now. He has won four straight starts and owns a 0.95 ERA over that span. He threw 23 2/3 innings of scoreless ball at one point over that stretch and struck out a season-high 10 batters in his win over the Athletics last week.
Jason Vargas, Seattle Mariners (4-2, 2.79 ERA)
Vargas is staking claim to the No.2 spot in the rotation behind King Felix. In eight starts, he has struck out 38 batters and boasts a 0.97 WHIP. He held the Tigers to one run on six hits in his last outing and didn’t walk a batter in a 2-1 victory. He threw 90 pitches and wanted to come out to finish off the game, but manager Eric Wedge decided to give the ball to closer Brandon League.
Tyson Ross, Oakland Athletics (1-3, 7.71 ERA)
After allowing 16 runs over 7 1/3 innings in consecutive starts, Ross settled down a bit in his last trip to the hill, but still picked up another loss. He gave up three runs over 5 2/3 innings, walking three and striking out three in a 5-2 defeat to the Blue Jays. Ross is still on a tight leash as there was talk they he’d be demoted recently.
Homer Bailey, Cincinnati Reds (1-3, 4.93 ERA)
Bailey was spanked for six hits and six earned runs in just 3 2/3 innings last week against Milwaukee. His velocity was fine (hitting the mid-90s consistently) but he struggled with location and ended up walking three batters. In his start before that, he served up three homers in a loss to the Cubs, which was the second time he’s allowed three dingers in a game this season.
Rounding the bases: This week's best MLB bets
By BILL MCBRIDE
Every week, we update you on who's hot, who's not and situational betting spots in Major League Baseball (All records and statistics through Saturday):
HOT TEAM: Oakland Athletics
THIS SEASON: 18-16
LAST WEEK: 4-2
THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE: At the Angels for two, at the Rangers for two, at the Giants for three.
THE SKINNY: It was good news, bad news for the Athletics on Saturday. Oakland outlasted Detroit, 3-1, backed by a strong outing from starter Brandon McCarthy. It was their seventh win in last 10 tries. But the Athletics also lost cleanup hitter Yoenis Cespedes to the disabled list. Cespedes has a strained muscle in his left hand, and will be missed.
The A’s have been underdogs in each of their last 10 games, so this hot streak is really padding the wallets of Oakland backers. You’d be up 6.32 units if you bet the Athletics in each of their last 10 contests.
COLD TEAM: Tampa Bay Rays
THIS SEASON: 20-14
LAST WEEK: 1-5
THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE: At the Blue Jays for two, home to the Red Sox for two, home to the Braves for three.
THE SKINNY: The AL East is shaping up to be one unique race this season. Teams are flip-flopped. Injuries to key players have taken a toll. And overall, there's just a new feeling that everyone's in it. The Rays play into that.
Tampa Bay committed five errors in a 5-3 loss to the Orioles on Saturday, and on Friday, the club allowed three home runs en route to a 4-3 defeat to Baltimore. Not good. The offense has been light, too. First baseman Carlos Pena was given the day off Saturday to figure things out. He entered later as pinch hitter, went 0-for-1, and began Mother's Day 3-for-36 with 13 strikeouts in the month.
OVER TEAM: Milwaukee Brewers
O/U THIS SEASON: 20-12-1
O/U LAST WEEK: 4-2
THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE: At the Mets for two, at the Astros for two, home to the Twins for three.
THE SKINNY: Saturday was a microcosm of Milwaukee's new-look lineup. With fewer big boppers in there, the Brewers need a little bit from a lot of people. And so far, they've been getting it. In an 8-2 win over the Cubs, Milwaukee pounded out 13 hits from nine different players, including starting pitcher Shaun Marcum.
It's that kind of balance that is a perfect recipe for overs, and Milwaukee appears like it will be one of the stronger over teams the rest of the way. The Brewers entered Sunday's game versus Chicago with three overs in the last four games, and they had five players -- Ryan Braun (21), Aramis Ramirez (19), Corey Hart (16), Jonathan Lucroy (16), and Alex Gonzalez (15) -- with at least 15 RBIs.
And after an offseason of discontent, Braun has been Braun again, sporting a .382 on-base percentage, a .644 slugging percentage, and a 1.026 OPS. You can do much worse than riding the Brewers’ over train these days.
UNDER TEAM: Chicago Cubs
O/U THIS SEASON: 14-18-1
O/U LAST WEEK: 2-4
THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE: At the Cardinals for two, home to the Phillies for two, home to the White Sox for three.
THE SKINNY: The Cubs walked into Sunday’s series finale against Milwaukee with seven unders already cashed in May, and it’s been a collaborative effort. When the Cubs are stifled by strong pitching, their staff often cooperates right along.
Last week, when they took two of three from Atlanta, for instance, was a perfect example. All three contests went under, and the finale was a 1-0 victory. That’s the sign of a good under team. It also helps when you have a lineup that if you take out Bryan LaHair and his eight home runs, there are only three other players -- Ian Stewart (3), Geovany Soto (3), and Joe Mather (2) -- with more than one longball.
That’s not a lot of pop there, so take advantage of this team while you can. Consider the 29-year-old LaHair -- a good player with plenty of upside, but perhaps too inexperienced to carry an entire club -- has only 10 RBIs, folks. And he’s the team leader.
Monday's betting tips: Matt Kemp strains hamstring again
NBA: Celtics are 11-5-1 ATS in their last 17 home games.
NBA: Over is 5-0 in Thunder last five games as a favorite.
NHL: Rangers are 41-20 in their last 61 games as a favorite.
MLB: Marlins are 10-2 in their last 12 overall.
NBA: The under is 2-8 in the 76ers' last 10 road games.
NBA: The Lakers are 2-5 ATS in their last seven games in Oklahoma City.
NHL: Devils are 2-5 in the last seven meetings in New York.
MLB: Cubs are 2-12 in Ryan Dempster's last 14 starts.
15 – The New Jersey Devils’ balanced scoring helped them cruise into the Eastern Conference Finals. The Devils have had 15 different goal scorers in their 12 playoff games and have been resting since ousting the Philadelphia Flyers on May 8.
Injury that shouldn’t be overlooked
Erik Bedard, Pittsburgh Pirates – Bedard will miss Monday’s scheduled start with back spasms after leaving last week’s start against Washington after just one inning. Bedard will be replaced by Brad Lincoln, who makes his first start of the season against the Marlins.
Game of the day
Los Angeles Lakers at Oklahoma City Thunder (-7.5, 171.5)
"This is a difficult matchup for us -- probably in some ways more so (than Chicago) because they have more athleticism. The athleticism is what's bothered us in the past. They have speed and athleticism and youth. That has been just as deadly for us." – Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers said of their matchup with the 76ers.
Notes and tips
Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp left Sunday’s game with tightness in his left hamstring, the same injury that had him bow out of a contest last week as well. His status for Monday’s game against Arizona is uncertain. Kemp has played in 399 consecutive games, but the hamstring continues to give him problems. After setting the Dodgers franchise record for home runs in April, Kemp is yet to hit one in May. Kemp is hitting .359 with 12 homers and 28 RBIs.
Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin has named left-hander Brian Fuentes as his closer on Saturday. "We're closing with Fuentes for now," Melvin said after Saturday's game. "I didn't announce that, but that's the position that we're in right now. We're giving (Grant Balfour) a little bit of a break, and we're going to close with Fuentes for the foreseeable future." Balfour was named the closer entering the season. He has converted seven of his nine save chances, but has a 4.41 ERA in 16 1/3 innings. Fuentes, who saved Saturday's 3-1 victory over Detroit, has two saves in 14 innings this season with a 3.86 ERA. Fuentes, who has previously been the closer for Colorado and the Los Angeles Angles, earned this 200th career save on May 2.
The Los Angeles Lakers’ 96-87 victory Saturday night over the Denver Nuggets in Game 7 of their first-round series allowed the Lakers to advance. But the Lakers face a quick turnaround before Game 1 against Oklahoma City at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Monday night. "We've got one day to rest," Lakers center Andrew Bynum said. "We're going to get it done and be ready to play those guys." The Lakers went 1-2 against Oklahoma City in the regular season, the victory coming April 22 in a controversial game. Lakers forward Metta World Peace was suspended seven games by the NBA for elbowing Oklahoma City's James Harden in that game, and World Peace just came off suspension Saturday night in Game 7 vs. Denver.
The White Sox look to take advantage of a Detroit team that is 0-6 in its last 6 games against a left-handed starter. Chicago is the pick (+105) according to Dunkel, which has the White Sox favored by 1. Dunkel Pick: Chicago White Sox (+105). Here are all of today's picks.
Game 951-952: San Diego at Washington (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Diego (Stauffer) 13.479; Washington (Detwiler) 15.513
Dunkel Line: Washington by 2; 6
Vegas Line: Washington (-150); 7
Dunkel Pick: Washington (-150); Under
Game 953-954: Houston at Philadelphia (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Houston (Harell) 13.618; Philadelphia (Blanton) 15.096
Dunkel Line: Philadelphia by 1 1/2; 9 1/2
Vegas Line: Philadelphia (-170); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Philadelphia (-170); Over
Game 955-956: Milwaukee at NY Mets (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Milwaukee (Gallardo) 15.483; NY Mets (Batista) 14.852
Dunkel Line: Milwaukee by 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Milwaukee (-140); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Milwaukee (-140); Over
Game 957-958: Pittsburgh at Miami (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Pittsburgh (Lincoln) 16.309; Miami (Sanchez) 14.741
Dunkel Line: Pittsburgh by 1 1/2; 6 1/2
Vegas Line: Miami (-180); 7
Dunkel Pick: Pittsburgh (+160); Under
Game 959-960: Cincinnati at Atlanta (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cincinnati (Bailey) 16.739; Atlanta (Delgado) 16.038
Dunkel Line: Cincinnati by 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Atlanta (-140); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Cincinnati (+120); Over
Game 961-962: Chicago Cubs at St. Louis (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cubs (Dempster) 15.295; St. Louis (Westbrook) 16.258
Dunkel Line: St. Louis by 1; 6
Vegas Line: St. Louis (-165); 7
Dunkel Pick: St. Louis (-165); Under
Game 963-964: Arizona at LA Dodgers (10:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Arizona (Kennedy) 13.256; LA Dodgers (Kershaw) 16.156
Dunkel Line: LA Dodgers by 3; 5
Vegas Line: LA Dodgers (-180); 6
Dunkel Pick: LA Dodgers (-180); Under
Game 965-966: Colorado at San Francisco (10:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Colorado (Friedrich) 14.887; San Francisco (Vogelsong) 13.544
Dunkel Line: Colorado by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: San Francisco (-140); 7
Dunkel Pick: Colorado (+120); Over
Game 967-968: Tampa Bay at Toronto (7:07 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay (Niemann) 15.616; Toronto (Morrow) 16.461
Dunkel Line: Toronto by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Toronto (-135); 8
Dunkel Pick: Toronto (-135); Over
Game 969-970: NY Yankees at Baltimore (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Yankees (Nova) 15.256; Baltimore (Hammel) 15.745
Dunkel Line: Baltimore by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: NY Yankees (-115); 9
Dunkel Pick: Baltimore (-105); Under
Game 971-972: Seattle at Boston (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Seattle (Vargas) 15.270; Boston (Lester) 16.064
Dunkel Line: Boston by 1; 8
Vegas Line: Boston (-170); 9
Dunkel Pick: Boston (-170); Under
Game 973-974: Kansas City at Texas (8:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Kansas City (Chen) 16.546; Texas (Feldman) 16.282
Dunkel Line: Kansas City by 1/2; 11
Vegas Line: Texas (-200); 10
Dunkel Pick: Kansas City (+170); Over
Game 975-976: Cleveland at Minnesota (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cleveland (Gomez) 14.826; Minnesota (Pavano) 13.311
Dunkel Line: Cleveland by 1 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Cleveland (-135); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Cleveland (-135); Over
Game 977-978: Detroit at Chicago White Sox (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit (Smyly) 14.697; White Sox (Danks) 15.631
Dunkel Line: Chicago White Sox by 1; 7
Vegas Line: Detroit (-125); 8
Dunkel Pick: Chicago White Sox (+105); Under
Game 979-980: Oakland at LA Angels (10:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Oakland (Ross) 15.657; LA Angels (Haren) 16.441
Dunkel Line: LA Angels by 1; 7
Vegas Line: LA Angels (-185); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: LA Angels (-185); Under