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Wednesday's streaking and slumping starting pitchers
Gio Gonzalez, Washington Nationals
Gonzalez has won four of his last five starts and has allowed just five runs in his last six trips to the mound. He limited the Reds to a pair of runs over five innings and struck out a season-high nine batters last week. One caution flag is he’s having a bit of trouble with his control, issuing 10 walks over his last three outings.
Chris Capuano, Los Angeles Dodgers (5-0, 2.06 ERA)
Thanks to a new grip on his breaking ball, veteran lefty Chris Capuano has reinvented himself. The Dodgers hoped he would be able to help the back end of the rotation, but he’s tied for the team lead in wins with Ted Lilly and has allowed only one run over his last three starts. He also has 19 strikeouts over that span.
Mike Leake, Cincinnati Reds (0-5, 7.11 ERA)
By all indications, Leake will be on the hill for his scheduled start Wednesday. But if he doesn’t pull himself together, it may be his last start in the rotation. He lasted a career-low three innings last week in a loss to the Nationals and gave up six runs before hitting the showers. Leake has allowed at least five runs in four of his six starts.
Clayton Richard, San Diego Padres (1-5, 5.32 ERA)
Richard dropped his fifth consecutive decision last week at Philadelphia, yielding five runs and a pair of homers in a 7-3 loss. He has allowed at least eight hits in four of his last five starts. The only good news for Padres bettors is that with the wide open spaces of Petco Park, he has been significantly better at home this year.
Wednesday's betting tips: Perkins a GTD for Thunder
Weather to watch
Detroit Tigers at Chicago White Sox – 21 mph winds are expected to blow out to left-centerfield.
Cleveland Indians at Minnesota Twins – 19 mph winds are expected to blow out to right-centerfield.
NBA: Celtics are 9-3-1 ATS in their last 13 road games.
NBA: The over is 4-1 in the Thunder's last five overall.
NHL: The under is 8-1-7 in the Rangers' last 16 overall.
MLB: Dodgers are 20-6 in the last 26 meetings with San Diego.
NBA: 76ers are 2-6 ATS in their last eight home games.
NBA: Lakers are 1-5 ATS in their last six road games.
NHL: Devils are 1-4 in the last five games at Madison Square Garden.
MLB: The Cardinals are 1-5 in Jaime Garcia's last six road starts.
4 – New York Rangers goaltender Hernrik Lundqvist has faced 23 or fewer shots in each of the team’s last four games. New York is 3-1 in those games, including the 21-save shutout Lundqvist pitched in Monday’s 3-0 win over New Jersey.
Injury that shouldn’t be overlooked
Carlos Beltran, St. Louis Cardinals – Beltran sat out his second straight game Tuesday with some soreness in his surgically-repaired right knee. The outfielder is off to a great start this season with 13 homers, 32 RBI and a .295 batting average.
Game of the day
Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers (-2, 172.5)
“Another thing I've always said about K.G. is that he exerts so much energy in how he plays that sometimes when he got to the fourth quarter he would be tired. It's like a car. You've got so much gas, and if you're going to drive a thousand miles and you drive at a higher speed early, you're not going to have as much gas at the end. And I think Doc (Rivers) and their staff have done a phenomenal job as far as monitoring his time. And by doing that I think he's been able to have more left in the tank at the end of games." – Former Timberwolves coach and current Boston Celtics consultant Flip Saunders on Kevin Garnett. K.G. is averaging 19.5 points and 10.8 rebounds per game in the playoffs.
Notes and tips
Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins is set as a game-time decision for Game 2 against the Los Angeles Lakers. He was battling an ongoing hip issue and aggravated the injury in Game 1’s win, exiting the contest early in the third quarter. Perkins, Oklahoma’s main man to guard Andrew Bynum, had four points, one rebound and two blocks before leaving the opening game of the series. Bynum posted 20 points, 14 rebounds and a block for the Lakers.
Minnesota Twins DH Justin Morneau is expected to rejoin the lineup Wednesday after a stint on the DL with a sore wrist. He had four homers and nine RBIs to go along with a .230 batting average when he hit the shelf on May 7.
Maurice Jones-Drew wasn't in attendance as Jaguars organized team activities began Tuesday. The Jacksonville Jaguars were not expecting the NFL leading rusher in 2011 to attend the voluntary portion of the offseason program, but first-year coach Mike Mularkey indicated a direct message was being sent to the organization. "It's all voluntary," Mularkey said. "I wish he was here. He knows we wish he was here. He's talked about trying to get an extension for his contract."
Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie was ejected from Tuesday's loss to Tampa Bay for throwing his helmet at umpire Bill Miller's feet after a couple of questionable calls. Lawrie then had to be restrained by manager John Farrell before leaving the field and could be getting a call from MLB's front office. He's hitting .288 with three homers and 17 RBI.
MLB Betting Notes
May 14, 2012
By Micah Roberts
Hamilton chasing History
We’ve been wowed a few times this season by certain individual play such as Matt Kemp’s red-hot start, Jared Weaver’s no-hitter, Joey Votto’s three home run day ending with a walk-off grand slam, and even to some extent, Bryce Harper’s splash into the game. But the tear that Josh Hamilton is on right now is absolutely insane.
His last week of play was so eye opening that only two other players in history have bettered the six-game stretch Hamilton had last week where he hit nine home runs with 15 RBIs. One of those games was a Roy Hobbs moment on Tuesday where he blasted four bombs with 8 RBIs at Baltimore.
Hamilton is now leading all of baseball, not just the American League, in the “Triple Crown” categories with a .402 average, 18 home runs and 44 RBIs. Those numbers make it hard to believe we still have half the month of May to go, let alone four more months of the season. It‘s still way too early to be talking about the “Triple Crown,” but the fact that only 13 players in baseball history have done it, and none since 1967, make it all the more exciting to discuss.
At the beginning of the season the LVH Super Book posted a bunch of player props for the 2012 season with the OVER-UNDER total on most home runs hit being 42.5 and the most RBI’s at 128.5. Hamilton’s individual home run number was posted at 25.5, which could go OVER by the end of the month at his current pace.
The reason for the low total was due to Hamilton being injury prone the last three seasons. Since playing in 156 games in 2008, he’s played a partial schedule over the next three years with 89, 133 and 121 games respectively.
Interleague Play Begins Friday
It’s that time of year again where NL and AL parks get fresh new visitors from the other league which is always a big attendance boost. This week we have a couple of territorial battles with the White Sox at Wrigley Field, Rangers at Houston and the first-place Orioles at second-place Nationals.
We also get a couple of World Series rematches from yesteryear with the Pirates playing at Detroit (1909), the Reds at Yankees (1975-76) and the Marlins at Cleveland (1997).
And perhaps the best on-going series of all-time in baseball, the Cardinals and Dodgers, are the two teams left out of interleague play this week due to the imbalanced teams in the NL. The two clubs have played 1,897 games against each other in their history with the Cardinals holding a slim 958-926 edge. The great Vin Scully called more than half of those games and since the games are in Los Angeles this weekend, it will be a treat to hear Scully reflect on the terrific history of the two franchises. Baltimore was able to hang on for another week in first-place, quieting some critics and helped their own cause by taking two of three from the Rays. Before playing the Nats this weekend, they’ll have to prove themselves again for two games against the Yankees and hope there’s no let down for a two-game set at Kansas City.
The Red Sox played well over the weekend taking three straight from the first-place Indians and have to be one of the streakiest teams in the league. It’s almost like you can bet the Red Sox based on what they did the day prior. They‘ve had losing streaks of three and five games twice each and win streaks of three games twice along with a five-game streak.
The best news for Boston is that they have finally found Kevin Youkilis’ bat and it’s being used by rookie Will Middlebrooks who has been posting Youkilis-type numbers (4 HR, 13 RBI, .356) since being called up two weeks ago.
The Red Sox were one of the favorites to win the World Series in the beginning of the year at 8/1, but are now 20/1. One the same note, the Orioles were 100/1 and have been dropped only to 60/1. The Yankees were 6/1 and now sit at 7/1.
The Angels are taking their time to show improvements, but they are slowly coming along and when Pujols hits consistently -- which should be very soon -- the Angels will be the contenders most of us expected. They still have to get to .500, but the signs are there.
You know things are getting better when a major streak begins or stops, such as Ervin Santana who had been shutout in five straight games before the Angels finally hit for him Wednesday and won. The Angels were like the Red Sox at 8/1 to begin the season, but are now holding steady at 14/1 for the last two weeks.
One of the most impressive, but overlooked, teams in baseball has been the Atlanta Braves. They don’t have the superstars we all want to see, but they just get the job done nightly with great pitching and surprising good, timely hitting. They took first place away from the Nationals on Sunday, thanks to Joey Votto, but through six weeks of the season they look like one of the best teams and the updated odds reflect it with them dropping from 15/1 down to 10/1.
Part of the reason for the odds dropping on the Braves is because of the Phillies falling fast. When the Phillies lose four straight Roy Halladay starts, it’s time to start panicking. Once a preseason favorite to win the World Series at 5/1, now they’re 12/1. You know the pitching is going to be there, but it’s got to be disheartening for a starting pitcher to give all he’s got and lose 2-1 on a consistent basis.
The Phillies shouldn’t be waiting around until July to make a move to get some offensive firepower and they can begin with first-base. Ty Wigginton is a fine role player, but not as the everyday anchor to the lineup. The Angels could be sold on a trade for Mark Trumbo for some relief pitching help and he would definitely help the offense until Ryan Howard and Chase Utley come back, whenever that is.
Hot and Not
May 14, 2012
By Mike Rose
Warmer weather is right around the corner as the 2012 MLB regular season heads into the third week of May which marks the beginning of Interleague play. Here’s a look at what some of the hottest and coldest teams did on the diamond this past week.
Kansas City Royals (4-2, $312): Slowly but surely, the Royals are starting to win some games and play like the up and coming team many expected them to be at the outset of the 2012 season. Though Eric Hosmer and his mates dropped each series opener against both the Red and White Sox last week, they went on to win each of the next two games to head into the upcoming week 2-0-1 in their last three series played. Unfortunately, manager Ned Yost must deal with injuries within his starting rotation with lefty Jonathan Sanchez having already been placed on the 15-day DL and Danny Duffy most likely to join him after getting an MRI on his throwing elbow on Monday.
On The Docket: The schedule starts off very unkind with a pair of mini-series set to go in Arlington against the red-hot Texas Rangers before returning home to host the AL East leading Baltimore Orioles. They might get a reprieve through the weekend at home in interleague action against the struggling Diamondbacks.
Los Angeles Dodgers (5-1, $299): The Dodgers took advantage of the Rockies putrid pitching and the Giants pathetic excuse for an offense this past week winning five of the team’s six divisional match-ups. Manager Don Mattingly’s outfit is now the lone team within the NL West that sports a record above .500 they’re currently six-games ahead of the Giants atop the standings. Not all is good in La La Land however with potential NL MVP Matt Kemp’s hamstring giving him problems. He’s scheduled for an MRI on Monday, and considering he’s done most of the offensive damage for LA on the young season, his departure from the starting line-up could be crippling.
On The Docket: The Dodgers continue with divisional play to start the week with two games scheduled against both Arizona and San Diego before welcoming in St. Louis for three in the only non-interleague match-up of the weekend.
Atlanta Braves (4-2, $278): The Braves started off last week by dropping two of three against a resurgent Cubs outfit at Wrigley, but manager Fredi Gonzalez’s squad bounced back in a big way by handing the St. Louis Cardinals three straight home defeats as nice sized underdogs. In doing so, Atlanta became the fourth best bet in baseball with a seasonal return just under $690! The offense is starting to take on the persona of a “Murderers Row” with Michael Bourn (.399 OBP) and Martin Prado (.363 OBP) setting the table routinely for Freddie Freeman and the rest of the Braves sluggers to knock them in. If only the starting staff would shape up!
On The Docket: The Braves will play two with both the Cincinnati Reds and division rival Miami Marlins before heading to Tropicana Field to battle the Tampa Bay Rays in Interleague play. Atlanta’s 8-2 its L/10 versus AL East opposition.
Cleveland Indians (3-5, -$208): It was a brutal week for the Tribe who started it off by sweeping a double-header from the division rival White Sox on Monday before dropping the next two to fall to 8-10 (-$230) as a host on the year. After taking the opener at Fenway, they proceeded to lose each of the next three against a Red Sox outfit that was scuffling mightily themselves entering the series. Though they’re the current leaders atop the AL Central and the only team in that division that’s turned a profit on the year, the pitching staff (4.39 ERA) needs to establish itself so as to take some pressure off the offense.
On The Docket: If ever the pitching was going to turn it around it would be this week with four-games set to go against the weak hitting Twins and Mariners before hosting Miami in Interleague play.
Colorado Rockies (2-4, -$273): You know it’s bad when you can’t even win a series against a Padres squad that possessed just one series win heading into the team’s first showdown at Petco Park last Monday night. After dropping two of three there, the Rockies were swept in Chavez Ravine and got outscored by the aggregate score of 20-9. Manager Jim Tracy has gotten just 12 quality starts from his staff, and the unit’s 5.10 ERA is the worst mark in the NL and would be the worst mark in the league if not for the Minnesota Twins. When you seemingly can’t prohibit the opposition from getting on base, you don’t stand a chance in this league!
On The Docket: Luckily for the Rox pitching staff, it’ll run up against the offensively challenged Giants to start the week and follow that two-game mini-series up with a pair at home against the D’Backs before hosting Seattle in Interleague play.
Arizona Diamondbacks (1-5, -$430): Speaking of Arizona, what the heck is going down in the desert? Manager Kirk Gibson’s club looks to be a shell of its former self. Justin Upton’s batting .225 and has only gone yard three times? Ian Kennedy’s allowed more hits than innings pitched? With this slow start, last season looks to have been an enormous overachievement for this franchise. Injuries have played a major role, so look to continue fading this club until the likes of Chris Young, Stephen Drew and Daniel Hudson return to the everyday roster.
On The Docket: It only gets worse for the Snakes this week with all seven games against the Dodgers, Rockies and Royals coming on the road. That said; the team has managed a profit splitting its 16 games as a visitor to date ($170), so a departure from the desert just might be what the doctor ordered.
The Red Sox look to build on their 9-2 record in Clay Buchholz' last 11 starts as a road underdog. Boston is the pick (+125) according to Dunkel, which has the Red Sox favored by 1. Dunkel Pick: Boston (+125). Here are all of today's picks.
Game 951-952: LA Dodgers at San Diego (6:35 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Dodgers (Capuano) 14.223; San Diego (Richard) 15.220
Dunkel Line: San Diego by 1; 7
Vegas Line: LA Dodgers (-125); 6 1/2
Dunkel Pick: San Diego (+105); Over
Game 953-954: Pittsburgh at Washington (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Pittsburgh (Bedard) 14.143; Washington (Gonzalez) 15.771
Dunkel Line: Washington by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: Washington (-145); 6 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Washington (-145); Over
Game 955-956: Miami at Atlanta (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Miami (Buehrle) 16.907; Atlanta (Minor) 15.869
Dunkel Line: Miami by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Atlanta (-115); 8
Dunkel Pick: Miami (-105); Over
Game 957-958: Cincinnati at NY Mets (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cincinnati (Leake) 14.909; NY Mets (Santana) 16.066
Dunkel Line: NY Mets by 1; 7
Vegas Line: NY Mets (-135); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: NY Mets (-135); Under
Game 959-960: Philadelphia at Chicago Cubs (8:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Philadelphia (Worley) 15.731; Cubs (Garza) 14.316
Dunkel Line: Philadelphia by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: Chicago Cubs (-135); No Run Total
Dunkel Pick: Philadelphia (+105); N/A
Game 961-962: Milwaukee at Houston (8:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Milwaukee (Wolf) 14.269; Houston (Norris) 14.983
Dunkel Line: Houston by 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: Houston (-115); 8
Dunkel Pick: Houston -115); Under
Game 963-964: Arizona at Colorado (8:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Arizona (Corbin) 14.189; Colorado (Moyer) 15.140
Dunkel Line: Colorado by 1; 11
Vegas Line: Colorado (-120); 10 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Colorado (-120); Over
Game 965-966: St. Louis at San Francisco (10:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: St. Louis (Garcia) 14.236; San Francisco (Bumgarner) 15.290
Dunkel Line: San Francisco by 1; 6
Vegas Line: St. Louis (-115); 7
Dunkel Pick: San Francisco (-105); Under
Game 967-968: Seattle at Cleveland (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Seattle (Hernandez) 15.215; Cleveland (Jimenez) 13.628
Dunkel Line: Seattle by 1 1/2; 6
Vegas Line: Seattle (-115); 7
Dunkel Pick: Seattle (-115); Under
Game 969-970: NY Yankees at Toronto (7:07 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Yankees (Kuroda) 14.348; Toronto (Drabek) 15.946
Dunkel Line: Toronto by 1 1/2; 10
Vegas Line: NY Yankees (-135); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Toronto (+115); Over
Game 971-972: Minnesota at Detroit (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota (Blackburn) 13.509; Detroit (Porcello) 15.483
Dunkel Line: Detroit by 2; 9
Vegas Line: Detroit (-185); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Detroit (-185); Under
Game 973-974: Boston at Tampa Bay (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Boston (Buchholz) 17.119; Tampa Bay (Hellickson) 16.131
Dunkel Line: Boston by 1; 8
Vegas Line: Tampa Bay (-145); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Boston (+125); Under
Game 975-976: Oakland at Texas (8:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Oakland (Milone) 15.511; Texas (Darvish) 16.077
Dunkel Line: Texas by 1/2; 10
Vegas Line: Texas (-240); 9
Dunkel Pick: Texas (-240); Over
Game 977-978: Baltimore at Kansas City (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Baltimore (Hunter) 16.653; Kansas City (Paulino) 15.751
Dunkel Line: Baltimore by 1; 10
Vegas Line: Kansas City (-130); 9
Dunkel Pick: Baltimore (+110); Over
Game 979-980: Chicago White Sox at LA Angels (10:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: White Sox (Floyd) 15.845; LA Angels (Williams) 14.587
Dunkel Line: Chicago White Sox by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: LA Angels (-130); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Chicago White Sox (+110); Under