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MLB weekend interleague cheat sheet
By Marc Lawrence
The interleague portion of the 2012 MLB schedule starts this weekend and we’re here to give you a quick review of what has happened along and what we can expect in the immediate future.
For openers, the American League looks to maintain its domination over the National League. The Junior Circuit holds an all-time 1937-1773 advantage over the Senior Circuit, while having won the overall head-to-head matchups each of the last eight years.
In this weekend’s edition of the Cheat Sheet we first focus on two rivalry series. In addition, we’ve updated the records of the best and worst performers in the history of interleague play. Keep in mind that all pitcher records are team start results and MRT (Most Recent Trends) unless noted otherwise.
Chicago White Sox at Chicago Cubs
Most recent series result: White Sox 14-6 last 20 games vs. Cubs.
Most recent series result at the site: Cubs 9-6 last 15 games home vs. White Sox.
Best arm in the series: Jake Peavy 8-3, 2.62 ERA career vs. Cubs.
Worst arm in the series: Matt Garza 1-6, 5.17 ERA career vs. White Sox.
Best May pitcher in the series: Peavy 6-1, 3.60 ERA.
Worst May pitcher in the series: Chris Volstad 0-5, 5.25 ERA.
Boston Red Sox at Philadelphia Phillies
Most recent series result: Red Sox 13-7 last 20 games vs. Phillies.
Most recent series result at the site: Red Sox 13-6 last 19 away vs. Phillies.
Best arm in the series: Jon Lester 3-0, 0.43 ERA vs. Phillies.
Worst arm in the series: Joe Blanton 1-6, 5.49 vs. Red Sox.
Best May pitcher in the series: Cole Hamels 15-2, 3.06 ERA.
Worst May pitcher in the series: Vance Worley 1-3, 7.20 ERA.
Diamond has yet to allow a run in his first two starts of the season. He kept the Blue Jays off the board through seven innings last weekend, striking out four without walking a batter. The Canadian lefty has a decent fastball and slider, but it’s his new curveball that is keeping hitters off balance now.
Jeff Samardzija, Chicago Cubs (4-1, 2.89 ERA)
Samardzija hasn’t allowed more than a single run in any of his last four starts and has struck out 45 batters in 43 2/3 innings this season. The Cubs are still trying to manage his pitch count and pulled him after he threw 91 pitches over five innings in an 8-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. The Cubs have kept him under 100 pitches in four of his seven starts.
Joe Saunders, Arizona Diamondbacks (2-3, 3.43 ERA)
Saunders has allowed six runs in each of his last two trips to the hill. He served up four home runs over that span and continues to struggle to batters away. The lefty has just three strikeouts over those two starts. He retired the first seven batters he faced in the 7-3 loss to the Giants before getting swatted around.
Jake Arrieta, Baltimore Orioles (2-4, 5.21 ERA)
After puzzling the Yankees over eight shutout innings, striking out nine batters along the way, everything has fallen apart for Arrieta. He has allowed 19 hits and 13 earned runs over his last 10 innings. Arrieta lasted just 3 2/3 innings in his last start, giving up seven earned runs while striking out seven and walking two.
Friday’s betting tips: Rockies roll in interleague home games
Weather to watch
Seattle Mariners at Colorado Rockies – 12 mph winds are expected to blow out to right-centerfield.
NBA: Celtics are 4-1 ATS in their last five road games.
NBA: Under is 13-6 in Thunder last 19 road games.
MLB: White Sox are 4-1 in their last five meetings with the Cubs.
MLB: The Rockies are 37-14 in their last 51 interleague home games.
NBA: 76ers are 2-7 ATS in their last nine home games.
NBA: Lakers are 5-13 ATS in their last 18 home games.
MLB: Athletics are 0-9 in the last nine meetings in San Francisco.
MLB: Astros are 7-20 in their last 27 interleague home games.
44 percent – The Philadelphia 76ers have yet to shoot 44 percent from the field in a game yet this postseason. The Sixers shot just 40.7 percent from the floor in Game 3’s loss, while Boston drained 51.9 percent of its shots.
Injury that shouldn’t be overlooked
Brandon Inge, Oakland Athletics – The A’s placed veteran third baseman Brandon Inge on the 15-day DL with a groin strain. Inge was on a major tear before hitting the shelf, swatting four homers and collecting 16 RBIs over a six-game stretch.
Game of the day
Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers (-2, 173.5)
“Oh my goodness, we’re better than Santa Claus. Gave them a gift. Man that was crazy. We’re better than Santa Claus, we like giving out gifts. We give out games, contracts and rings.” – Lakers center Andrew Bynum following Game 2’s 77-75 loss to Oklahoma City. The Lakers are pegged as 2.5-point favorites at home for Game 3.
Notes and tips
Los Angeles Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto relieved hitting coach Mickey Hatcher of his duties Tuesday, replacing him with Triple-A hitting coach Jim Eppard. Hatcher had been on Mike Scioscia's coaching staff since Scioscia became manager in 2000 and was the longest-tenured hitting coach in baseball. Dipoto said the club needed a “new voice” and it’s hard to argue with his assessment. The Angels were hitting .253 as a team with 34 home runs heading into Thursday’s action.
As London prepares for this summer’s Olympics, a number of online sportbooks already have odds posted for the total medal count. Sportsbook.ag opened with the United States set as a -140 favorite to win the medal count but that number has since dipped to -125. China sits second at +125 while Russia is third on the odds board at +800.
The St. Louis Cardinals are expected to be without Allen Craig for a few days after he left Wednesday’s game with a tight hamstring. The 27-year-old is hitting .373 with five homers and 19 RBI in only 13 games this year.
Even though Kevin Durant was the Oklahoma City Thunder player who finished second in the NBA MVP voting, it was Russell Westbrook who really crushed the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals. So the Lakers came back in Game 2 Wednesday night with a new plan against Westbrook: No more Kobe Bryant trying to stay in front of Westbrook and fight solo through the picks set by the Thunder for Westbrook to come free. The more aggressive plan headed by Ramon Sessions and Steve Blake worked beautifully, as Westbrook was held to 5-of-17 shooting from the field and just four assists, but the Lakers still lost 77-75 with a late-game meltdown as Durant and James Harden stepping up for the Thunder.
-- Lynn is 6-1, 1.81 in seven starts this season. Lilly is 5-0, 2.58 in six starts this season.
-- Samardzija is 2-0, 1.03 in his last four starts.
-- Hamels is 5-0, 1.93 in his last six starts.
-- Jackson is 0-0, 3.28 in his last four starts.
-- Niese is 0-0, 1.64 in his last couple starts.
-- Arroyo is 2-1, 3.09 in his last six starts.
-- Zambrano is 1-2, 1.50 in his last six starts.
-- Verlander is 2-0, 2.57 in his last three starts.
-- Hanson is 3-1, 3.25 in his last five starts.
-- Feliz is 2-0, 2.25 in his last couple starts. WRodriguez is 3-2, 1.88 in his last six starts.
-- Diamond hasn't allowed a run (14 IP) in his first two starts.
-- Mendoza is 2-0, 2.93 in his last three appearances.
-- Weaver is 4-1, 2.70 in his last six starts. Suppan is 2-1, 2.25 in his first three starts for San Diego.
-- Parker has a 2.10 RA in his first four starts for Oakland.
-- Humber is 0-2, 9.45 in four starts since his perfect game.
-- Bard is 1-2, 6.16 in his three road starts.
-- Arrieta is 1-4, 7.33 in his last five starts.
-- Romero is 1-1, 4.85 in his last four starts.
-- Pettitte lost his first '12 start, allowing four runs in 6.1 IP.
-- Masterson is 1-3, 6.69 in his last seven starts.
-- Morton is 1-2, 7.16 in his last three starts.
-- Shields has a 6.29 RA in his last four starts.
-- Estrada is 0-2, 5.68 in his last three starts.
-- Saunders is 0-2, 9.82 in his last three starts.
-- Millwood is 1-4, 5.28 in his last five starts. White is 0-2, 6.75 in his two starts this season.
-- Zito is 1-1, 4.60 in his last three starts.
-- Dodgers won nine of last 11 home games.
-- Red Sox won six of their last seven games. Phillies won last five.
-- Orioles won five of their last seven games. Washington is 13-7 in its first 20 home games.
-- Mets are 8-4 in their last dozen games. Toronto won six of its last nine at home.
-- Reds won first game in their last five road series.
-- Cleveland won its last four games, scoring 25 runs. Marlins won nine of last eleven road games.
-- Tampa Bay won four of its last five games. Braves won nine of their last eleven road games.
-- Astros won nine of their last twelve home games.
-- Twins are 4-3 in their last seven games.
-- Oakland won six of its last nine road games. Giants won four of their last six games.
-- Cardinals lost five of last seven games, but won five of six on road.
-- Cubs lost their last three games, allowing 24 runs. White Sox are 4-7 in last eleven road games (3-1 in last four).
-- Bronx Bombers lost four of their last five games.
-- Detroit lost five of its last seven games. Pirates are 1-6 in road series openers.
-- Rangers lost three of their last four games.
-- Brewers lost four of their last five games.
-- Royals are 4-15 at home this season. Arizona lost six of its last nine road games.
-- Colorado lost 10 of its last 13 games. Mariners lost six of their last seven games.
-- San Diego is 3-5 in its last eight home games. Angels lost 12 of their last 17 road games.
-- Six of last seven St Louis games went over the total.
-- Over is 4-0-1 in White Sox last five games.
-- Last four Boston games stayed under the total.
-- Last seven Washington home games went over total.
-- Mets' last eight road games went over the total.
-- Four of last five Cincinnati games went over the total.
-- Over is 4-1-1 in last six Cleveland home games.
-- Seven of last eight Pirate road games went over the total.
-- Five of last seven Atlanta games went over the total.
-- Last four Texas road games went over the total.
-- Under is 7-2-1 in Minnesota's last ten road games.
-- Five of last six Arizona road games stayed under total.
-- Under is 9-4-1 in last fourteen Seattle games.
-- Under is 11-4 in Angels' last fifteen road games.
-- Under is 3-0-1 in last four Oakland road games.