cnotes Posts:24417 Followers:32
On 05/16/2012 11:42 AM in MLB

Cnotes Wednesday's MLB Best Bets !

Southpaws Dominate Hump Day MLB Betting Slate

Who ordered the left-handers? A baker's dozen are strewn about Wednesday's major league pitching matchups, including four all-lefty clashes in the National League, three of which we'll be taking a look at on our daily tour around the big leagues.

Another lefty-righty battle in the Senior Circuit is also on our list, and that game could produce the best starting pitching numbers on the evening once it's all said and done. With half of the NL slate to cover, time's a'wasting.

NL West Squads Host Trio Of All-Southpaw Contests
Wednesday's first double-lefty matchup is also the first game on the MLB betting card as the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres clash in an afternoon affair at Petco Park (6:35 p.m. ET). Chris Capuano is scheduled for LA opposite San Diego's Clayton Richard, with the Dodgers opening at -135 with a 6½-run total.

The Dodgers ranked second vs. the MLB odds with 11.0 units of profit heading into Tuesday's finale vs. Arizona. About half of that has come against the Padres with LA 6-1 so far this season (+5.15 units). One of the wins came with Capuano on the hill, though he failed to make it through the fifth in his worst start of the campaign. Capuano rebounded nicely from the outing, and the Dodgers have won five of his six starts since while he's posted a 1.38 ERA in that span.

San Diego's lone win vs. LA came in Richard's season debut (7 IP, 0 ER), but the Pads have since dropped all six of his assignments with the former Michigan star's ERA at 5.31. Richard has allowed at least four earned runs in four of those six starts.

Shifting the scene from San Diego to Denver for our next all-southpaw duel, more than three years after Jamie Moyer made his major league debut, Patrick Corbin was born. They'll meet Tuesday when the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies begin their 2-game series at Coors Field (8:40 p.m. ET).

Colorado opened at -125 with a nice fat 10½-run total that leaned slightly to the 'under.'

Arizona and Colorado have both been drains on anyone following them at the MLB betting window. The D-Backs (15-21) were off 6.8 units and the Rocks -9.1 units heading into their Tuesday contests that were still pending at press.

Corbin will be making his fourth big league start and is coming off a dandy vs. the Giants last Friday. The 22-year-old tossed seven innings of 3-hit, 1-run ball in Arizona's 5-1 win as a +110 underdog.

Moyer will be appearing in the 694th game of his career and making his 636th start when he takes the mound Wednesday. The 49-year-old has found the going rough in his last three outings (15 IP, 14 ER, 4 HR), all Colorado losses with the Rockies 1-6 in his 2012 assignments.

Colorado took two of three from Arizona in Denver back in mid-April, the first time the Rockies had won a home series from their division rivals since a sweep in Sept. 2010.

Finally, we head back to California for the series opener between the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants. Jaime Garcia is scheduled for the visiting Redbirds in the 10:15 p.m. (ET) start, and Madison Bumgarner is slated for the Giants. This game opened as a pick 'em with the 7-run total priced -120 to the 'under.'

St. Louis might be happy to get away from home after dropping the first four games on a homestand that concluded Tuesday against the Cubs. Then again, the Cards have lost their last three series at AT&T Park, all 3-game sets, and are just 5-10 in their last 15 games in San Fran. Couple that with the fact Garcia has fared much worse on the road than at home, and Mike Matheny's bunch definitely has their work cut out for them.

Bumgarner will be trying to bounce back from a rough outing in Arizona last Friday, a 5-1 setback as $1.20 chalk that snapped a 5-game winning streak for the young hurler. He's a perfect 3-0 at home (1.74 ERA) this season, however, and has won both of his previous matchups against the Cardinals with a 2.57 ERA.

Brew Crew & 'Stros Start Series In H-Town
Ok, this might not look like a great mound matchup on the surface as the Milwaukee Brewers and Houston Astros start their second series of the year (8:05 p.m. ET). Randy Wolf and Bud Norris don't exactly take your breath away in anticipation of seeing them pitch when other bigger-named arms are also on the hill.

Wolf and Norris both come into the game off their best performances of the season, and in Norris' case, two straight solid outings. This game may be as easy as deciding who you like better when Norris faces Milwaukee's Aramis Ramirez. Oddsmakers like Norris and the Astros as $1.15 favorites, and the total started at eight with a lean to the 'over.'

Houston's offense has cooled dramatically since the hitters launched the Astros off the pad with a better than expected start to the 2012 campaign. The Astros were a great 'over' pick earlier, but had succumbed to 7-straight 'unders' entering Tuesday's series finale in Philadelphia. Wolf has always enjoyed pitching at Minute Maid Park, dating back to the short time he spent in the Astros rotation in 2008. He also beat the Astros in Milwaukee on April 24, laying priced at -160, and is coming off a no-decision last Friday in which he tossed six shutout innings.

Norris hasn't allowed an earned run in his last two starts, one against the potent Cardinals who he always controls and the other last Friday in Pittsburgh where he tossed the first six innings of a 1-0 shutout. He was beaten up by the Brewers on the road for his only loss of the season, but the Astros are 6-1 overall in his outings and 3-0 behind Norris at home.

Aramis Ramirez is off to a rather fetid start of things with the Brewers, but he's always hit the Astros well, especially in the Bayou City. Forty of A-Ram's 317 career homers are off Houston pitching, 22 of those in H-Town, and he's hit nearly .370 in this park the past three seasons.

The Brewers won two of three from the 'Stros in Milwaukee about three weeks ago, all three games going 'over' the total. Ron Roenicke's club dominated the series last year (12-3) and won the final six games played in Houston

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24417 Followers:32
05/16/2012 11:45 AM

Preview: Cardinals (21-15) at Giants (18-17)

Game: 1
Venue: AT&T Park
Date: May 16, 2012 10:15 PM EDT

Already among elite company, Madison Bumgarner has a chance to become just the fourth pitcher in team history to win nine consecutive home starts since the Giants moved to San Francisco.

Not having to face former teammate Carlos Beltran would likely help his chances.

In a matchup of the two most recent World Series champions, the Giants open a two-game set against a St. Louis Cardinals club hoping to have Beltran back in the lineup Wednesday night in his return to San Francisco.

Bumgarner (5-2, 2.80 ERA) has been lights-out at AT&T Park dating to August, winning his last eight starts while compiling a 1.00 ERA and striking out 53 in 54 innings. While the left-hander's current run is tied with Bob Knepper and Juan Marichal for the fourth-longest since the club relocated in 1958, he can join Jack Sanford (10), Ron Bryant (10) and Billy Pierce (13) as the only players to win at least nine consecutive home outings with a victory Wednesday.

It's unclear if Bumgarner will have to worry about facing Beltran, who was held out of the Cardinals' starting lineup for the second consecutive day Tuesday. Beltran, who spent the second half last year with the Giants (18-18) before signing with St. Louis in the offseason, was batting .360 with six homers in his last six starts before sitting out.

After dropping a season-worst four in a row, reigning World Series champion St. Louis (21-15) got back on track and salvaged a two-game split with the Chicago Cubs with a 7-6, walk-off victory Tuesday. Matt Carpenter and Matt Holliday both went deep, and Yadier Molina came through with the game-winning RBI single with two outs in the ninth.

"There's going to be some loud music playing in the clubhouse, and there's going to be some crazy stuff on the plane, too," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, who spent his last two seasons as a player with the Giants in 2005-06. "I can't tell you how proud I am about just the fight in this team. That's going to pay off."

The Cardinals have won four straight on the road but could have trouble making it five against Bumgarner, who aside from going 0-2 with a 7.20 ERA at Arizona is 5-0 with a 1.54 ERA.

He's started against the Cardinals twice - both at Busch Stadium - and won both while posting a 2.57 ERA.

Bumgarner saw his five-start winning streak come to an end with Friday's 5-1 loss to the Diamondbacks. He allowed five runs and scattered seven hits.

After going 2-1 with a 2.78 ERA in April, Jaime Garcia (2-2, 4.09) has had a rough go this month. The left-hander saw his ERA balloon to 7.71 over two starts in May after yielding five runs and nine hits over 5 2-3 innings of Friday's 9-7, 12-inning loss to Atlanta.

"I'm just frustrated, because I want to do better than just battling and staying focused," Garcia told MLB.com. "I want to go and give my team a chance to win."

A matchup against San Francisco could be just what Garcia needs to get back on track. The Tamaulipas native is 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA over three career starts against the Giants, limiting them to a .194 average.

In his only appearance against them last season, Garcia struck out a career high-tying nine over six innings of one-run ball during a 3-2, walk-off loss at AT&T Park.

San Francisco's three-game winning streak was snapped Tuesday with a 5-4 loss to Colorado. The Giants had only two hits in their season-high 17 chances with runners in scoring position.

San Francisco took five of seven from St. Louis last season, including two of three at home.




Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24417 Followers:32
05/16/2012 11:45 AM

Preview: Cardinals (21-15) at Giants (18-17)

Game: 1
Venue: AT&T Park
Date: May 16, 2012 10:15 PM EDT

Already among elite company, Madison Bumgarner has a chance to become just the fourth pitcher in team history to win nine consecutive home starts since the Giants moved to San Francisco.

Not having to face former teammate Carlos Beltran would likely help his chances.

In a matchup of the two most recent World Series champions, the Giants open a two-game set against a St. Louis Cardinals club hoping to have Beltran back in the lineup Wednesday night in his return to San Francisco.

Bumgarner (5-2, 2.80 ERA) has been lights-out at AT&T Park dating to August, winning his last eight starts while compiling a 1.00 ERA and striking out 53 in 54 innings. While the left-hander's current run is tied with Bob Knepper and Juan Marichal for the fourth-longest since the club relocated in 1958, he can join Jack Sanford (10), Ron Bryant (10) and Billy Pierce (13) as the only players to win at least nine consecutive home outings with a victory Wednesday.

It's unclear if Bumgarner will have to worry about facing Beltran, who was held out of the Cardinals' starting lineup for the second consecutive day Tuesday. Beltran, who spent the second half last year with the Giants (18-18) before signing with St. Louis in the offseason, was batting .360 with six homers in his last six starts before sitting out.

After dropping a season-worst four in a row, reigning World Series champion St. Louis (21-15) got back on track and salvaged a two-game split with the Chicago Cubs with a 7-6, walk-off victory Tuesday. Matt Carpenter and Matt Holliday both went deep, and Yadier Molina came through with the game-winning RBI single with two outs in the ninth.

"There's going to be some loud music playing in the clubhouse, and there's going to be some crazy stuff on the plane, too," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, who spent his last two seasons as a player with the Giants in 2005-06. "I can't tell you how proud I am about just the fight in this team. That's going to pay off."

The Cardinals have won four straight on the road but could have trouble making it five against Bumgarner, who aside from going 0-2 with a 7.20 ERA at Arizona is 5-0 with a 1.54 ERA.

He's started against the Cardinals twice - both at Busch Stadium - and won both while posting a 2.57 ERA.

Bumgarner saw his five-start winning streak come to an end with Friday's 5-1 loss to the Diamondbacks. He allowed five runs and scattered seven hits.

After going 2-1 with a 2.78 ERA in April, Jaime Garcia (2-2, 4.09) has had a rough go this month. The left-hander saw his ERA balloon to 7.71 over two starts in May after yielding five runs and nine hits over 5 2-3 innings of Friday's 9-7, 12-inning loss to Atlanta.

"I'm just frustrated, because I want to do better than just battling and staying focused," Garcia told MLB.com. "I want to go and give my team a chance to win."

A matchup against San Francisco could be just what Garcia needs to get back on track. The Tamaulipas native is 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA over three career starts against the Giants, limiting them to a .194 average.

In his only appearance against them last season, Garcia struck out a career high-tying nine over six innings of one-run ball during a 3-2, walk-off loss at AT&T Park.

San Francisco's three-game winning streak was snapped Tuesday with a 5-4 loss to Colorado. The Giants had only two hits in their season-high 17 chances with runners in scoring position.

San Francisco took five of seven from St. Louis last season, including two of three at home.




Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24417 Followers:32
05/16/2012 11:47 AM

Preview: Dodgers (24-11) at Padres (13-24)

Game: 1
Venue: PETCO Park
Date: May 16, 2012 6:35 PM EDT

The Los Angeles Dodgers tend to have little trouble with the San Diego Padres and giving the ball to Chris Capuano is likely to keep it that way for now.

Capuano goes for his best start to a season in his eight-year career Wednesday night when the Dodgers visit the Padres for the opener of this two-game set.

Los Angeles (24-12) has won 16 of the last 19 meetings with San Diego (13-24), including a 7-3 record at Petco Park.

That dominance has continued in 2012 with the Dodgers winning six of seven meetings. They took three of four in their season-opening series at San Diego.

Starting Capuano (5-0, 2.06) would seem to be a good way to continue that success.

The left-hander is off to his best start since winning his first five decisions over seven starts with Milwaukee in 2007. However, he went 0-10 with a 5.20 ERA in his final 18 starts that season and finished 5-12 - two of the losses coming in relief.

"That's a long time ago. It's hard to remember back that far," Capuano said.

It's been even longer since he put together a longer streak of winning decisions, going 7-0 over nine starts from June 19-July 31, 2005.

Capuano's current run has been even more impressive recently. He's won four straight starts behind a 0.65 ERA while striking out 24 in 27 2-3 innings and holding opponents to a .167 average.

"We expected that we were going to get a guy with a lot of different looks and a veteran guy who was going to give you innings and keep you in the game," manager Don Mattingly said. "He's a tough guy to scout. He's got so many different pitches, he's really hard to prepare for because you never quite know what you're going to get.

"He's been great. He's 5-0 and has given up hardly any runs. I can't say I expected that, but I always knew he had great stuff."

Capuano's stuff was on display again Friday, when he yielded one run and four hits in seven innings of a 7-3 win over Colorado. However, he may have a tougher time in Petco, where he's 0-2 with a 7.53 ERA in three starts.

He struggled there again April 7, allowing four runs and five walks in 4 2-3 innings of a 6-5 win in 11.

Capuano and the Dodgers are not afforded the luxury of having Matt Kemp in the lineup this time, leaving them without their top offensive threat.

Kemp went on the disabled list with a hamstring injury Monday, and Los Angeles appeared to miss him in Tuesday's 5-1 loss to Arizona which snapped a five-game winning streak.

Andre Ethier is a likely candidate to pick up the slack in Kemp's absence. He's hitting .448 with two homers and five RBIs in eight games, and that may continue against the Padres.

Ethier has a .357 average with six home runs and 26 RBIs in the last 24 matchups, but he's just 3 for 21 against Clayton Richard, Wednesday's scheduled starter.

Richard (1-5, 5.32) is 5-1 with a 2.63 ERA in nine career starts against the Dodgers, winning all three decisions at home with a 1.78 ERA in five starts. That includes allowing two unearned runs in seven innings of an 8-4 win April 8.

He's 0-5 with a 6.32 ERA in six starts since - all ending in San Diego defeats.

The Padres finished a five-game road trip with a 6-1 victory at Washington on Tuesday, scoring four runs in four innings against Stephen Strasburg.


Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24417 Followers:32
05/16/2012 11:49 AM

Preview: Yankees (20-15) at Blue Jays (19-17)

Game: 1
Venue: Rogers Centre
Date: May 16, 2012 7:07 PM EDT

The New York Yankees' Hiroki Kuroda has settled in nicely following a rocky start to the season.

After impressing in the early going, the Toronto Blue Jays' Kyle Drabek has, in contrast, had a hard time hitting his spots of late.

With Kuroda looking to build on another strong outing and Drabek hoping to avoid losing a fifth consecutive start, these AL East rivals open their season series in the first of two Wednesday night at Rogers Centre.

Signed to a one-year, $10 million deal in the offseason, Kuroda (3-4, 3.56 ERA) understandably may have needed some time to adjust after spending the previous four years with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The right-hander, however, appears to be on track and improved to 2-2 with a 2.52 ERA over his last four starts with seven innings of two-run ball during Friday's 6-2 win over Seattle.

"It's what I've been doing all my life," Kuroda, who's never faced Toronto, told MLB.com. "I really hope that I can be real consistent, and it looks like it's beginning to be like that, so I'm happy about that."

While Kuroda has compiled a 4.32 ERA in losing all three of his road starts, he could catch a break with Brett Lawrie's status uncertain.

Lawrie was ejected from Tuesday's 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay after arguing home plate umpire Bill Miller's strike three call in the ninth inning. Lawrie slammed his batting helmet to the ground during his tirade and it bounced up and hit Miller in the hip, resulting in what could be a possible suspension from the league.

"That was not my intention at all," Lawrie said. "I've never, ever done anything to go at an umpire before in my life, and I didn't mean to tonight. I apologize for that."

Losers of three straight and seven of 10, the Blue Jays (19-18) could find it difficult to get back on track behind Drabek (2-4, 3.66). Since going 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA over his first three outings, Drabek has compiled a 5.06 mark during a career-worst four-start losing streak.

Six days after yielding a season-high five runs in as many innings during a 6-2 road loss to the Angels, Drabek allowed three, four hits and four walks over 4 1-3 frames of Friday's 7-6 defeat at Minnesota.

"I'm trying to figure it out right now - really it was my two-seamer today that was just down the whole time. I had to rely on my offspeed tonight," Drabek said. "The two-seamer's always been there for me. Just tonight it wasn't ... I couldn't seem to get it up."

Drabek dropped to 0-2 and saw his ERA balloon to 7.90 over three career starts against the Yankees (20-16) after surrendering five runs, seven hits and four walks in 2 1-3 innings of a 5-4 road loss April 30, 2011.

New York is coming off a two-game split with Baltimore, falling 5-2 on Tuesday. Curtis Granderson's two-run shot - his second homer in as many days - proved to be the club's only offense.

The usually-potent Yankees, who went 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position Tuesday, have gone 2 for 25 (.080) in such situations over their last three games.

Already without Mariano Rivera (torn ACL), New York placed fill-in closer David Robertson on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a strained muscle in his left ribcage.

"We lost Mariano first. The bullpen will do whatever we have to do," said Rafael Soriano, who is expected to take over for Robertson. "Now with two guys down, it's not easy for us."

The Yankees have dropped 12 of 19 at Toronto.


Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24417 Followers:32
05/16/2012 11:51 AM

Preview: Twins (10-26) at Tigers (18-18)

Game: 1
Venue: Comerica Park
Date: May 16, 2012 7:05 PM EDT

Wins have been hard to come by for the Minnesota Twins this season, and especially difficult to earn against the Detroit Tigers in recent years.

They're hoping their former MVP can provide a boost.

Justin Morneau is set to come off the disabled list when Minnesota looks to avoid a 15th loss in 18 contests at Comerica Park in the opener of a two-game set Wednesday night.

The Twins (10-26) possess the majors' worst record and finished a 3-6 homestand with a 5-0 loss to Cleveland on Tuesday. They haven't won consecutive games since April 11-12, and their .235 batting average is among the worst in the AL.

Minnesota hopes Morneau can provide some help. The 2006 AL MVP hasn't played since leaving with a sore left wrist in a loss to Los Angeles on April 30.

Morneau is hitting .347 with five homers in his last 24 games versus Detroit, which has won 18 of the last 22 meetings overall while outscoring the Twins by 49 runs.

Minnesota's starting pitching staff also hasn't performed up to standards, posting a 6.38 ERA that is by far the worst in baseball.

"We have to get it done. Sure, we're not getting a lot of breaks and stuff like that, but if you start playing better baseball, breaks start going your way," manager Ron Gardenhire told the team's official website. "Right now we're not getting it done as a group. Pitching, hitting, the whole package. We're missing too many opportunities."

Nick Blackburn (1-4, 7.18 ERA) will be on the hill Wednesday hoping to help turn things around.

Blackburn finally picked up a victory in Friday's 7-6 win over Toronto, but he allowed five runs and gave up three homers in five innings in another rough outing. He had gone 0-8 with a 5.88 ERA in 13 starts since his last victory July 8 over the Chicago White Sox.

"In no way do I deserve that one," Blackburn said. "It's kinda the funny thing about starting pitcher's records."

The right-hander is 0-3 with a 10.34 ERA in his last four appearances - three starts - against the Tigers, and he hasn't fared well in his matchups with Miguel Cabrera.

The Detroit slugger is 13 for 29 (.448) with three homers off Blackburn, and he also homered in Tuesday's 10-8 win over the White Sox.

Austin Jackson and Ryan Raburn hit three-run homers in an eight-run sixth for the Tigers (18-18), who will be seeking consecutive victories for the first time since winning four straight April 15-18.

"It doesn't matter when, where or how it looks. A win's a win," Raburn said. "It's great to come back from six down and pull it out."

Rick Porcello (3-3, 5.18) will take the mound for Detroit after allowing four runs while walking three in five innings of an 11-4 loss to Oakland on Friday. He had won his previous two starts with a 2.51 ERA.

The right-hander is 5-1 with a 2.61 ERA in his last six starts against Minnesota.

Tigers closer Jose Valverde allowed two runs in the ninth Tuesday and left with lower-back tightness. Manager Jim Leyland said Valverde's status will be determined after he's examined further.




Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24417 Followers:32
05/16/2012 11:53 AM

Preview: Mariners (16-21) at Indians (20-16)

Game: 1
Venue: Progressive Field
Date: May 16, 2012 7:05 PM EDT

The Seattle Mariners' offense has been stagnant recently, much like the last time Felix Hernandez took the mound against the Cleveland Indians.

Hernandez looks to bounce back from a rough outing when Seattle seeks its fifth victory in the last six road meetings with Cleveland in the opener of a two-game set Wednesday night.

Seattle has scored two runs or fewer in five of its last six games after falling 5-0 to Boston on Tuesday. The Mariners (16-22), whose .233 batting average is among the worst in the AL, have lost four of those contests.

Seattle has gone 6 for 72 (.083) with runners in scoring position while dropping 10 of its last 11 road games.

Ichiro Suzuki went 2 for 4 on Tuesday to raise his average to .296, but he's only hitting .206 with runners in scoring position.

"He's the one veteran guy we have in the lineup and we need him to help pick up these young kids," manager Eric Wedge told the team's official website.

Hernandez (3-2, 2.29 ERA) struck out a season-high 12 in eight scoreless innings April 19 against Cleveland, but he didn't earn a decision in a 2-1 loss. He's 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA in his last three starts against the Indians.

The right-hander, though, allowed four runs and a season-high 11 hits in a 6-2 loss to New York on Friday after he had given up four runs in his previous five starts combined.

Hernandez will look to rebound against an Indians team that took two of three at Seattle from April 17-19.

Cleveland (20-16) finds itself atop the AL Central early in the season for the second straight year, and it's coming off a two-game sweep of Minnesota after a 5-0 victory Tuesday.

Asdrubal Cabrera homered and Shin-Soo Choo added a homer and a double for the Indians, who went 3-3 on their road trip.

After a slow start, Choo is batting .302 in his last 13 games.

"He's one of our key guys in our lineup," manager Manny Acta told the team's official website. "In order for us to go anywhere, he needs to produce. That's how important he is to our lineup."

Acta's also looking for better control from scheduled starter Ubaldo Jimenez (3-3, 5.18).

Jimenez is coming off his worst outing of the season, giving up seven runs and walking five in 4 1-3 innings of a 7-5 loss to Boston on Friday. He has walked 30 - most in the majors - compared to 24 strikeouts.

"We're just working on his mechanics so he can repeat his delivery and be more consistent in the strike zone," Acta said. "He still has pretty good stuff and he can get people out."

The right-hander pitched a complete game in a 6-4 victory June 12, 2009, while with Colorado in his only career starts versus Seattle.

Johnny Damon went 0 for 3 with a walk Tuesday and is hitting .149 in 12 games since joining the Indians. The veteran, though, is 11 for 22 with a homer and four doubles off Hernandez.




Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24417 Followers:32
05/16/2012 11:55 AM

Preview: Pirates (17-18) at Nationals (22-14)

Game: 1
Venue: Nationals Park
Date: May 16, 2012 7:05 PM EDT

The Washington Nationals still haven't lost back-to-back home games, and sending Gio Gonzalez to the mound should give them a great chance to make sure that holds true Wednesday night.

Gonzalez has given up just one run over three outings at Nationals Park, a start he'll look to continue as the Nationals and Pirates get together for the second time in a week.

Stephen Strasburg gets the most attention in the Nationals' major league-best rotation (2.55 ERA), but it's Gonzalez (4-1, 1.94) who has the staff's lowest ERA after Strasburg struggled in Tuesday's 6-1 loss to San Diego.

Gonzalez wasn't at his best Friday in Cincinnati, laboring through five innings while allowing five hits and four walks. But he held the Reds to two runs in the 7-3 win and struck out a season-high nine, including one that eventually allowed him to escape a bases-loaded jam in the fifth.

"It shows a lot from the manager that he believed in me 100 percent, and gave me an opportunity to go out there and showcase what I can do. He didn't pull me out in that situation," Gonzalez told the Nationals' official website. "He believed in me, and that shows me a lot. I want to go out there and win every game for him."

Washington has won every time Gonzalez has started in the nation's capital, and only a Brad Lidge blown save has kept him from being 3-0. Gonzalez has gone seven innings in each home outing, surrendering a run for the first time in a 7-1 victory over Philadelphia on May 5.

Opponents are hitting .114 at home against Gonzalez, who leads the majors with 10.8 strikeouts per nine innings and will be looking to run the Nats' record in D.C. to 5-0 after a loss.

Gonzalez didn't face Pittsburgh (17-19) last week at PNC Park as the Pirates took two of three. He allowed a solo homer and three other hits over six innings in his lone start against Pittsburgh while with Oakland on June 27, 2010.

Erik Bedard (2-4, 2.57) faced the Nationals (22-14) last Wednesday, but he didn't last long. The left-hander exited after one inning with back spasms, and had his scheduled Monday start pushed back two days.

He's fared well against Washington in the past, posting a 1.35 ERA and striking out 30 in 20 innings.

"Getting him back is a sigh of relief for me," pitching coach Ray Searage told the Pirates' official website.

The Nationals went with a righty-heavy approach against Bedard last week - Bryce Harper and Adam LaRoche were the only left-handed hitters in Davey Johnson's lineup - and might want to follow a similar pattern Wednesday. Right-handers are hitting .299 off Bedard, while lefties are 2 for 25 with nine strikeouts.

Washington is hitting .208 against left-handers - the second-worst mark in the NL.

The Pirates are batting .182 (16 for 88) versus lefties since May 3, but they're struggling to score regardless of which side a pitcher is coming from. Pittsburgh was held to six hits - its 11th straight game with eight or fewer - in Tuesday's 6-2 loss at Miami.

The Pirates have scored two runs or fewer in exactly half of their games.

Andrew McCutchen continues to be Pittsburgh's biggest and often only offensive threat, something the Nationals know quite well. The center fielder was 6 of 9 with two homers and three walks - half his team's total - in last week's series, while the rest of the club went 12 for 84 (.143).

McCutchen is hitting .500 (24 for 48) with four homers and a 1.516 OPS during a 13-game hitting streak versus Washington.

LaRoche is 7 for 20 with three homers in his last six games against his former team.


Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24417 Followers:32
05/16/2012 11:57 AM

Preview: Marlins (18-17) at Braves (22-14)

Game: 1
Venue: Turner Field
Date: May 16, 2012 7:10 PM EDT

The Atlanta Braves have climbed to the top of the NL East behind an impressive display at the plate.

While their results last month left much to be desired, the Miami Marlins appear to have found their groove in May.

With both teams surging, the Braves look to resume their recent success against the visiting Marlins as these division rivals meet for the first time this season in the opener of a two-game set Wednesday night.

The Braves (23-14) moved a half game ahead of second-place Washington with Tuesday's 6-2 victory over Cincinnati, their eighth in 11 games. Second in the NL with 196 runs scored, Atlanta is hitting .288 during its run after batting .261 in its first 26 games.

"We're a good offense," said Brian McCann, who went 2 for 3 with his team best-tying sixth homer. "Everybody battles every at-bat. Tonight was no different."

The Braves' success shouldn't come as much of a surprise to Miami (19-17), which has been outscored 81-50 in dropping 15 of 21 in this series dating to September 2010.

The Marlins, though, also enter this game on a bit of a roll. Since losing 14 of 22 in April, Miami has gone 11-3 thanks in large part to its starting rotation. Marlins starters are 6-2 with a 2.55 ERA so far this month.

"Every one of us can go out there and throw a complete game. It's fun to watch, and fun to be a part of," said Josh Johnson, who earned his first win of the season with seven strong innings in Tuesday's 6-2 victory over Pittsburgh.

It's safe to say Mark Buehrle (2-4, 2.81 ERA) has been a welcome addition to Miami's rotation, recording quality starts in all but one of his seven outings.

Six days after going the distance in a 4-1 win at San Diego, the left-hander gave up two runs and eight hits in 6 2-3 innings of Friday's 6-5, walk-off win over the New York Mets.

"Buehrle threw the ball very well," manager Ozzie Guillen told MLB.com.

Buehrle won both his career starts against the Braves while with the Chicago White Sox. He most recently surrendered a pair of runs and nine hits over six innings of a 4-2 victory June 23, 2010.

He'll be opposed by Mike Minor (2-2, 6.59), who since going 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA over a three-start stretch April 14-24 has been shelled in each of his last three outings. The left-hander has surrendered 21 runs - all earned - and seven homers over his last 16 innings, during which opponents are batting .377 against him.

Minor yielded six runs, eight hits and was taken deep a career worst-tying three times in Friday's 9-7, 12-inning victory at St. Louis.

Minor has compiled an ugly 6.46 ERA over three starts against the Marlins thanks in part to allowing four homers - two of which have come off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton.

Leading Atlanta with 28 RBIs, first baseman Freddie Freeman is expected to return to the lineup after sitting out Tuesday with a scratch on his right eye. Freeman is 2 for 28 (.071) in his last eight games against Miami.

Braves second baseman Dan Uggla, who spent the first five years of his career with the Marlins, hit four homers and drove in 10 runs in nine home games against his former team last season.


Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24417 Followers:32
05/16/2012 11:59 AM

Preview: Reds (18-16) at Mets (20-15)

Game: 1
Venue: Citi Field
Date: May 16, 2012 7:10 PM EDT

A lack of support from the rest of the New York Mets shouldn't be new to Johan Santana.

He usually hasn't needed very much against the Cincinnati Reds.

The Mets will try to get their offense going again as Santana looks to re-establish his dominance of the Reds in the opener of this two-game set at Citi Field on Wednesday night.

Santana (1-2, 2.92 ERA) has been backed by 10 runs in seven starts this season, all of which have come in the past three while the ace has gone 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA.

The left-hander, who missed all of last year recovering from shoulder surgery, may be accustomed to a lack of production from New York. Since 2009, the two-time Cy Young Award winner has been backed by an average of 3.4 runs, the fewest of any qualifying pitcher.

He's 25-20 in that stretch despite a 3.04 ERA that's among the lowest in the NL.

New York mustered six hits in an 8-0 loss to Milwaukee on Tuesday, splitting a two-game set. The other time the Mets (20-16) were blanked this season came with Santana on the mound in a 4-0 defeat to Washington on April 11.

A rare early blip cost Santana on Friday in Miami. After giving up one first-inning run in his first six starts, Santana served up three to the Marlins before allowing nothing over the next five frames. He left without a decision in the 6-5 loss.

"We are certainly not used to somebody jumping on Johan like that," manager Terry Collins said.

Santana may not need a whole lot of production against the Reds (18-17) since he's 4-0 with a 3.16 ERA in six career starts against them. He won each of his three matchups with Cincinnati in 2009 and '10, yielding one run and 11 hits with 17 strikeouts in 21 2-3 innings.

If Santana's looking for some help at the plate Wednesday, David Wright and Daniel Murphy might be his best options.

Wright leads the majors with a .408 average and is 17 for 35 with six doubles, one homer and seven RBIs during a nine-game hitting streak. That strong stretch may continue since he's hitting .369 with three homers and 11 RBIs in his last 15 meetings with Cincinnati.

Murphy is batting .419 with five doubles while driving in nine runs in 10 career games versus the Reds. The second baseman enters this one riding a career-best 11-game hitting streak during which he's batting .455.

The Reds have hit .186 with runners in scoring position while dropping four of seven, and they've been held to three runs or fewer in six of those.

They went 1 for 8 with men on second and third in Tuesday's 6-2 loss at Atlanta.

Joey Votto didn't get a chance in that situation - he went 1 for 4 - but is hitting .407 with runners in scoring position. Votto is batting .366 overall with 10 homers in his last 19 games against the Mets, but he's just 2 for 18 in his last five visits to Flushing.

Mike Leake (0-5, 7.11) will get the ball for the Reds looking to rebound from his latest rough outing. The right-hander was pulled after surrendering six runs and seven hits - two homers - in three innings of Friday's 7-3 loss to Washington.

Leake is 0-1 with a 2.19 ERA in two starts against the Mets.

Following two games at Citi Field, Cincinnati heads to the Bronx on Friday for three with the Yankees.




Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs: