cnotes Posts:23749 Followers:32
On 10/05/2012 12:53 AM in MLB

Cnotes Wild Card-NLDS-ALDS Best Bets !

Cardinals at Braves, 5:07 p.m. ET Friday. TV: TBS

Revenge?

The Atlanta Braves missed the 2011 playoffs after a historic collapse down the stretch. The team that took control of that wild-card spot was the St. Louis Cardinals. And they rode that spot to a World Series championship. This time around, the Braves had the best record in the National League among non-division winners, but there's an extra wild card. Naturally, it's the Cardinals. The two clubs will square off Friday in what amounts to a play-in game, as the winner will advance to face the Washington Nationals in the NLDS, starting Sunday.

Pitching matchup: Kyle Lohse (16-3, 2.86) for the visiting team and Kris Medlen (10-1, 1.57) gets the ball in his home stadium.

Medlen vs. Cardinals hitters

There isn't much history to go on here, but the small sample data suggests Medlen owns the Cardinals. Cardinals hitters are 4-for-25 career (.160) with no walks. Daniel Descalso has a triple in three at-bats, David Freese has a single in his only at-bat against Medlen and Skip Schumaker is 1-for-3. The only player who has faced Medlen more than four times is Carlos Beltran, and he's 0-for-6 with a strikeout.

Medlen is 4-1 with a 1.76 ERA and 0.94 WHIP at home this season in 76 2/3 innings pitched. He did not make a start against St. Louis this year, but made three relief appearances. In those appearances, he gave up six hits and three earned runs in just 5 2/3 innings (4.76 ERA).

Lohse vs. Braves hitters

Overall, current Braves hitters have a career triple slash line of .320/.371/.485 against Lohse. Chipper Jones owns him in 20 career plate appearances, hitting .462/.600/.846 with two doubles, a homer, five RBI and six walks. Martin Prado (.429 average in 14 at-bats) and Dan Uggla (.333, homer, 5 RBI in 15 at-bats) have also had good success. On the flip-side, Michael Bourn has struggled against Lohse in his career, hitting just .205/.229/.235 in 35 plate appearances.

Lohse is 8-2 and 3.41 and 1.12 WHIP in 103 innings pitched on the road this season. He faced the Braves once this season and allowed nine hits and five earned runs in five innings. In four career starts in Turner Field, Lohse is 2-0 with a 3.52 ERA and 1.61 WHIP.

Regular-season series

The Braves won five of the six meetings between these two clubs this season, but the margin of victory was only eight (40-32). Also, both three-game series took place in May, so it's hard to so these matchups being overly relevant.

The Cardinals will win if ...

... they are able to jump on Medlen early.

The Braves boast a stellar back-end of the bullpen in Jonny Venters (1.78 ERA in second half), Eric O'Flaherty (1.76 ERA this season) and Craig Kimbrel (1.02 ERA this season). Cory Gearrin and Peter Moylan have been good, too, albeit in lower-pressure situations. If Medlen throws the way he's been throwing and gets the ball to the bullpen in the late innings with a lead, the Cardinals could very well be buried. Thus, the Cardinals' key is to score early and often on young Medlen, who is making his first career postseason appearance. If they jump on Medlen early and face the lesser arms in the bullpen instead of dealing with the late-inning studs, the Cardinals will once again surge past the Braves to the NLDS.

The Braves will win if ...

... they take care of business on the mound and in the batter's box.

The Braves are the superior team here, but the Cardinals have a very potent offense and a reliable starting pitcher. The Braves' offense needs to provide four or five runs in support of their pitching staff and the pitchers just need to throw like they've been throwing the past two months. If that happens, it's a Braves victory (5-2?) and a bit of a revenge taste for the home team.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23749 Followers:32
10/05/2012 12:56 AM

Orioles at Rangers, 8:37 p.m. ET Friday night. TV: TBS

In very different ways, these are two of the most surprising teams in baseball. Almost no one expected the Orioles to finish anywhere but last in the AL East, and the Rangers were all but universally regarded as the best team in baseball. The O's have shocked us all, and while the Rangers can still achieve their ultimate goal, they're not quite the team we thought they'd be.

Those dynamics will be in play, as Baltimore and Texas meet in the AL wild-card game. The winner earns the right to face the Yankees in the ALDS.

Pitching matchup: The visiting Orioles haven't yet decided whether they'll pitch lefty Joe Saunders (4.02 ERA, 174 2/3 IP with Arizona and Baltimore this season) or right-hander Steve Johnson (2.11 ERA, 38 1/3 IP), but the Rangers have named Yu Darvish (3.90 ERA, 191 1/3 IP) as their wild-card starter.

Darvish vs. Orioles hitters

The rookie Darvish has yet to face the Orioles. While not specific to his Friday opponent, it's worth noting that Darvish has been a wholly different pitcher since tweaking his mechanics in mid-August. Over that seven-start span, he's posted a 2.13 ERA and struck out 59 batters against just 10 walks.

Saunders/Johnson vs. Rangers hitters

In his career, Saunders has been cuffed around pretty badly by current Rangers hitters -- cuffed around to the tune of .347/.407/.669. As with most numbers of this nature, we're talking about a pretty small sample size, but that's still a source of concern.

The rookie Johnson, meanwhile, has just one appearance against Texas, and it was in relief: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 K, 0 BB. It's worth noting that the Ranger offense this season has been slightly less effective against right-handers, so that's a possible point for Johnson.

Regular-season series

Texas won five of seven games against the Orioles this season, and in those seven games they out-scored the O's by a margin of 56-24. They last met for a three-game set that concluded on Aug. 22, and the Rangers took two of three in Arlington.

The Orioles will win if ...

... they lean heavily on a rested bullpen to keep the Texas bats in check.

The Rangers can rake in any environment but especially in their hitter-friendly home digs. Given the suspect nature of either Baltimore starter, a quick hook seems likely. Then it will fall to the bullpen to keep runs off the board.

The good news is that the Oriole bullpen has a very strong arrangement right now, and a number of their very best relievers -- namely Jim Johnson, Darren O'Day and Troy Patton -- are coming off a day of rest.

The Rangers will win if ...

... Darvish pitches like he did down the stretch.

It's that simple, really. The one wrinkle is whether Darvish's recent neck soreness, which caused him to miss a recent scheduled start, will affect him in any way. If he's on, there may be little the Orioles can do.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23749 Followers:32
10/05/2012 01:01 AM

All Times Eastern


Wild Card Games
Date Time (ET) Matchup TV Score

Fri. October 5 5:07 p.m. St. Louis at Atlanta TBS

Fri. October 5 8:37 p.m. Baltimore at Texas TBS



American League Division Series - Detroit vs. Oakland
Date Time (ET) Site TV Score Series

Sat. October 6 6:00 p.m. at Detroit TBS
Sun. October 7 TBA at Detroit TBS or MLBN
Tues. October 9 TBA at Oakland TBS
Wed. October 10 TBA at Oakland* TBS or MLBN
Thu. October 11 TBA at Oakland* TBS
*If necessary


American League Division Series - Wild Card vs. New York
Date Time (ET) Site TV Score Series

Sun. October 7 TBA at Wild Card TBS or MLBN
Mon. October 8 TBA at Wild Card TBS
Wed. October 10 TBA at New York TBS or MLBN
Thu. October 11 TBA at New York* TBS
Fri. October 12 TBA at New York* TBS
*If necessary


National League Division Series - San Francisco vs. Cincinnati
Date Time (ET) Site TV Score Series

Sat. October 6 9:37 p.m. at San Francisco TBS
Sun. October 7 TBA at San Francisco TBS or MLBN
Tues. October 9 TBA at Cincinnati TBS
Wed. October 10 TBA at Cincinnati* TBS or MLBN
Thu. October 11 TBA at Cincinnati* TBS
*If necessary


National League Division Series - Wild Card vs. Washington
Date Time (ET) Site TV Score Series

Sun. October 7 TBA at Wild Card TBS or MLBN
Mon. October 8 TBA at Wild Card TBS
Wed. October 10 TBA at Washington TBS or MLBN
Thu. October 11 TBA at Washington* TBS
Fr. October 12 TBA at Washington* TBS
*If necessary


Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23749 Followers:32
10/05/2012 01:05 AM

Sticking with my preseason call, Tigers over Giants in World Series

By Scott Miller | Senior Baseball Columnist
Oct. 4, 2012 7:49 PM ET

You bet I saw it coming this spring.

I looked into the future, and I saw the Athletics. But because this particular future was 2021, I threw it back.

Then I looked into the future and saw the Orioles. But because the bird was maniacally grinning back at me as if it had just escaped the clutches of Boog Powell's barbecue, I quickly shuddered and pulled the blind.


More on MLB playoffs

Playoff schedule
Snyder: Cards-Braves wild-card preview
Perry: O's-Rangers wild-card preview
Latest MLB news, updates


So then I looked into the future and saw the Tigers and the Giants in the World Series, with the Tigers winning. You can look it up. Coming out of spring training, that was exactly my call.

So I see no reason to change now.

Go ahead, start in on the Tigers, who for roughly 80 percent of this season couldn't get out of the way of their own stripes. Yeah, yeah. They haven't exactly been reminiscent of Alan Trammell and Sweet Lou Whitaker's 35-5 run to start the 1984 season. But they're not the Los Angeles Angels of We Paid $250 Million for Albert Pujols and All We Got Was No Playoffs and This Lousy T-Shirt, either.

While Pujols and the Angels are home tuning up their remotes for the playoffs, Prince Fielder and his Tigers are in. And getting there, that's half the battle.

"It's been a rough year," manager Jim Leyland freely admits. "We've taken some hits.

"But the thing I'm most proud of, I've said on a consistent basis, every day, let's wait until 162 games are played."

When they looked up at that point, Miguel Cabrera had become the first man in 45 years to win a Triple Crown.

So yes, you bet I can see what's coming next, too. And it ain't going to be pretty.

Cabrera will continue to mash. He's going to hit .800 this postseason, swat 10 or 11 homers, collect total bases like Halloween candy while the Tigers dance from here to November. He will be so awesomely awesome that when the Angels' Mike Trout wins the AL MVP award next month, folks will be so incredulous that the simmering outrage already surrounding the "debate" over this award finally will bubble over, pitting man against computer, brother against brother.

Oh, will it ever get nasty. I fully expect a mud-wrestling tussle between myself and Joe Sheehan of SI.com. Colleague Danny Knobler will engage in fisticuffs with Jeff Passan of Yahoo! In Anaheim, Mickey Mouse will bludgeon Tigger to death with his iPhone in Disneyland's worst riot ever.

But that's November. October?

Here's the thing about the Tigers that goes beyond Cabrera and Prince: If nobody slams a car door on Max Scherzer's fingers (and the way it's been going for him, don't underestimate the odds of that), Detroit has an assembly-line rotation that can kill in a short series. Justin Verlander, Doug Fister, Scherzer ... Anibal Sanchez, for crying out loud, is No. 4! And that doesn't even count whatever contributions Rick Porcello will make before Joaquin Benoit and the Big Potato himself, Jose Valverde, shut down the eighth and ninth innings.

Count me in for a seat on this shiny new Chrysler, or Ford, or whatever ride will serve as the Tigers' bandwagon. I'm a Motown guy. This ol' heart of mine breaks for two Coney dogs, please, and a Faygo orange pop to wash it down with.

Maybe the Tigers didn't live up to expectations this summer. But they will this fall.



Wild card round

Braves over Cardinals: There are zero overwhelming favorites this October. Clubs are so evenly matched that any one of the 10 teams can win. Well, any one of nine teams. Not the Cardinals. I mean, really, after what they did last September and October, even Hollywood's swiftest sequel writers couldn't write one this quickly. Kyle Lohse has had a great season. But the Braves are a ridiculous 23-0 dating back to last year in games Kris Medlen starts. Make it 24-0 Friday.

Orioles over Rangers: If Baltimore has provided one incredibly valuable service during its best baseball summer since 1997, it's that we all now know exactly what the term "ornothogically correct" means. As in, "Thank God these guys ditched the ornothogically correct Oriole on their caps and gave us back that Woody Woodpecker-looking bastard that makes us all smile so much." Or, maybe the one valuable service was recalling Manny Machado ... or drafting Matt Wieters ... or trading for Adam Jones. Anything can happen in one game, but it will be totally shocking if the Rangers' Josh Hamilton can see straight anymore after the debacle in Oakland.



Division Series

Athletics vs. Tigers You already know how this will turn out if you read my ode to the Mayo Smith Society's favorite club above. Where Oakland is concerned, suffice it to say that storming back from five games behind the Rangers with nine to play is the most impressive feat for the Swingin' A's since Rollie Fingers' handlebar mustache. This spring, I swear terrific manager Bob Melvin was giving Jarrod Parker, A.J. Griffin and the gang breaks for graham crackers and milk. Are you kidding, 14 rookies on the club? And rookie pitchers starting 103 of 162 games this season? This will not be easy for Detroit. Tigers in 4

Orioles vs. Yankees: You think the Orioles' rotation is bubble gum and thread, have you seen what the Yankees are throwing out there after CC Sabathia? Key game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Yankees right fielder Nick Swisher drifts back on a long J.J. Hardy drive but fails to catch it when a fan reaches out and snatches the ball. When the umpires don't see it, they rule it a home run. The series turns on the call. And the fan promptly disappears. Some swear it is retired umpire Richie Garcia. O's in 5

Reds vs. Giants: Talk about getting all sentimental out of the gate. Dusty Baker brings his Reds back to San Francisco, where he cut his managerial teeth. When Bruce Bochy's club won it all in 2010, it was the Giants' first trip to the World Series since Dusty was manager in 2002 against the Angels. This will be all about pitching, with Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto and Mat Latos among those set to take starring roles. But in Cincinnati in Games 3, 4 and 5, the Giants' offense will come alive. Giants in 5

Braves vs. Nationals: Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman and there's more where that came from, man. Even without Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals' pitching is very good. They didn't produce the majors' best record by accident. The coolest scene in the entire playoffs will happen in that first game in D.C., when postseason baseball returns to D.C. for the first time since 1933. Suddenly, Jayson Werth looks brilliant: His old club, the Phillies, is yesterday's news, and his current club is on the launching pad for what could be a sustained run. Nationals in 4



League Championship Series

Tigers vs. Orioles: Now would be a good time for Austin Jackson, Jhonny Peralta, Alex Avila and anybody else in the clubhouse to step up and let people know that the Sons of Al Kaline are more than a two-man offense. I mean, somebody's got to carry the bags for Miggy and Prince once in awhile, don't they? Leyland will have his hands full, facing Melvin in the first round and Buck Showalter in the second. "For me personally, this is probably the toughest year I've ever had to cast my manager of the year vote," Leyland says. He added that he won't tell us which way he cast his vote. No need. Tigers in 6

Giants vs. Nationals Big concern for the Nationals is that they peaked emotionally when Teddy won the President's Race. Another big concern for them will be Cain, Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong and maybe even Tim Lincecum. Plus Bochy's pitch-perfect knack for handling his bullpen-by-committee. Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez ... come the ninth inning, you never know which arm is going to whack you. This also is about the point in the playoffs where Nationals fans will start screaming, where's Stephen Strasburg?! Giants in 5



World Series

Giants vs. Tigers: How cool would it be if Kaline and Willie Mays delivered the lineup cards to home plate before Game 1? As we've already established, Cabrera's big stick will power the Tigers to their first World Series title since 1984. What will seem eerie is his presence in AT&T Park. Not even Barry Bonds, the slugger of recent vintage whom Cabrera is most reminiscent (even if he's a righty and Bonds batted left), won a Triple Crown. Tigers in 7

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23749 Followers:32
10/05/2012 01:10 AM

The no-fluke Nats have the most talent and will win the World Series

By Jon Heyman | Baseball Insider
Oct. 4, 2012 7:58 PM ET


The Nationals will win the World Series. It is the year of the Cinderella, after all.

By now, they are the forgotten Cinderella. They've played so well, and for so long, folks forget that nobody expected them to be here.

The Nats are so well-regarded now that nobody mentions them alongside the A's and Orioles, two upstarts that started OK but finished better.

But remember, the Nats were great from start to finish. They played better, and more consistently, than anyone else.

Sure, it's a loss that their most talented pitcher Stephen Strasburg won't pitch in the postseason. But the rotation still may be better than anyone else's. Nats general manager Mike Rizzo aimed to build around pitching and defense, and he carried out that plan magnificently.

The Nats are the first Washington-based baseball team to reach the postseason since 1933. But this was no fluke.

The Orioles and A's are marvelous stories. But you still wonder how they got here. With the Nats, it is no mystery.

The slogan writers will have you believe it's their NATITUDE. But people around baseball understand that's just a fun bunch of bunk.

They were in first almost from start to finish, not because they had any special aura or mojo or chemistry -- though, they may have all those things, too. It's pretty simple. On talent, they are tops.

Their rotation is still maybe the best in the league, even without the wunderkind Strasburg. Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman, Edwin Jackson, Ross Detwiler and maybe even the just-remembered John Lannan makes a very solid quintet.

The bullpen, for years a strength, got better with the return of closer Drew Storen. Overall, the Nats' team ERA was 3.33, best in the NL.

Look around the field. They have a solid to very good player at every position. First baseman Adam LaRoche is their MVP among everyday players, but Ryan Zimmerman is a star, and so is Ian Desmond.

To view Bryce Harper as only a future star would be to underestimate him. Turns out the high school catcher solved the Nats' long-running center field issue. Turns out, too, he's blessed with awesome speed to go with his extraordinary power.

The Nats weathered the season-ending injury to their fine young starting catcher Wilson Ramos, and injuries to three more catchers. They weathered an early injury to their closer Drew Storen, then a meltdown by replacement closer Henry Rodriguez. They weathered the injuries to Zimmerman, Michael Morse and Jayson Werth.

They don't have a ton of experience. But they showed their fortitude, if not their Natitude, with all the issues they overcame. The loss of Strasburg is just one more issue to overcome, and they will.



Wild Card Round

Orioles vs. Rangers: Texas has stopped playing like you'd expect, but there'll be nothing like a home crowd in an elimination game to get them going. Yu Darvish gives them a big edge, as the Orioles are likely to empty their pen here. Buck Showalter has done a masterful job with his relief crew and he'd like nothing more than to beat the Rangers after almost beating the Yankees. Still, a very tough assignment for the O's. Texas, 8-5

Cardinals vs. Braves: In 23 straight games, the Braves have won Kris Medlen's starts. Hard to go against them now, especially at home. But world champion St. Louis is also a tough team to pick against. The Cardinals, as always, are a greater threat than anyone thinks. And their own starter Kyle Lohse lost only three games all year, and all by one run. Still, that doesn't beat 23 to nothing. Braves, 3-2



Division Series

Rangers vs. Yankees: New York may have gained an extra edge by the way it fought off the Orioles to win an AL East it nearly blew, but let's not forget it closed with Toronto and Boston. The Yankees have experience in abundance, not only from this year but years past. Their lineup is as good as anyone's and their rotation is over-maligned. It's better than the 2009 version, as Hiroki Kuroda is a major upgrade over A.J. Burnett (or at least the Yankees' A.J. Burnett). Yankees in 5

Tigers vs. A's: Detroit has all the elements to go far -- an ace, a top closer, an excellent leadoff hitter and a great middle of the order, anchored by Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera. But it barely won baseball's weakest division and generally didn't play well for 90 percent of the season. They also have to be concerned about the health of No. 2 pitcher Max Scherzer. A's in 5

Braves vs. Nats: This will be a tough and hard-fought battle, just like the season. The Braves have a very nice team, with lots of key contributors in Chipper Jones' final year. Atlanta's disadvantage is that Medlen only gets to start once -- though, some might point out, it's one more than Strasburg. Nats in 5

Reds vs. Giants: San Francisco has a lot of terrific pitchers, and it played even better once Melky Cabrera was suspended. But the Reds are being overlooked nationally. They have a very deep and balanced team with a rotation and bullpen to match San Francisco's, with just a bit more firepower. Reds in 5



Championship Series

A's vs. Yankees: In a replay of some great playoff series from just more than a decade ago, the A's magic may last just a bit longer. The Yankees haven't gotten enough of a look at all these fine anonymous A's pitchers. A's in 7

Reds vs. Nats: The Reds have a real shot to win it all (especially since nobody is picking them) with strength throughout the lineup, rotation and bullpen. It's a very well-designed team. But the Nats are almost at full strength now (except for Strasburg and Ramos). Nats in 7



World Series

A's vs. Nats. The A's are the hottest team in baseball, and who knows, maybe they do pull off another few miracles. But it seems like a stretch to think this band of no-names and rookie starters can win a World Series. In comparison, anyway, the Nats look downright grizzled. Nats in 7

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23749 Followers:32
10/05/2012 01:13 AM

Braves & Rangers Favored At Home In Wild Card Playoffs

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Ian Kinsler has four homers and a .417 average lifetime vs. Joe Saunders.

St. Louis Cardinals at Atlanta Braves MLB Betting Preview
Date: 10/05/2012, 5:07 p.m. (ET) TBS
Opening Lines: Braves -165, O/U 6½
(click here for latest odds)

Pitching Matchup: Atlanta will look for its 24th straight win with Kris Medlen on the hill while St. Louis counters with Kyle Lohse. Medlen closed the season with an amazing 12-start run that saw him allow zero or one run in nine of the assignments while his backers collected an even dozen units of profit. He saw the Cardinals earlier this season as a reliever, working three innings and allowing a run. Lohse's only appearance vs. the Braves in 2012 was at the end of May in Atlanta where he surrendered five runs in five innings of a loss as a +120 underdog. St. Louis was 21-12 in Lohse's starts (+7.1 units).

Series History: The Braves are 36-23 vs. the Cards at Turner Field since it opened in 1997. That mark includes a loss during the 2000 NLDS when St. Louis swept Atlanta three straight, winning the first two games back at Busch II. The Braves won five of the six meetings between the clubs this year, sweeping the Cards in St. Louis and taking two of three in Atlanta where each contest skipped 'over' the total.

Odds & Ends: Atlanta 3B Chipper Jones is officially listed as questionable for Friday due to his chronic knee trouble, but there's no way he'll miss what could be the final game of his MLB career. St. Louis is not listing any big injury concerns on the playoff roster.


Baltimore Orioles at Texas Rangers MLB Betting Preview
Date: 10/05/2012, 8:37 p.m. (ET)
Opening Lines: Rangers -190, OU 9
(click here for latest odds)

Pitching Matchup: After blowing their lead in the AL West when Oakland swept Texas in the final three games, the Rangers will pin their hopes on Japanese import Yu Darvish to get the club into the ALDS. Texas was 19-10 when Darvish took his turn in the rotation, 5-1 in his final six assignments and 11-3 in 14 home starts. He did not face the Orioles during his rookie season, and Baltimore was 67-51 vs. righties in 2012. Baltimore's hurler will be lefty Joe Saunders who has a very ugly track record against the Rangers. The August acquisition from Arizona has made 11 career starts vs. Texas with a 3-7 record and ERA approaching seven. Those numbers are even worse at Rangers Ballpark where he has lost all six of his starts with an ERA above nine. Baltimore won four of his seven starts after the trade with the Diamondbacks, two of his three on the road.

Series History: The Rangers earned home-field advantage for this game with a 5-2 mark vs. Baltimore during the regular season. Texas was 2-1 in the three meetings at Rangers Ballpark when the teams met in August, and 49-37 at home vs. the O's since the stadium opened in 1994. Two of the three played in the Lone Star State stayed 'under' the total after the 'over' swept a 4-game series at Camden Yards back in May.

Odds & Ends: Texas was a 4/1 selection to win the American League when the season started, while Baltimore was 90/1. The Rangers were 9-6 at home the past two postseasons, and 24-16 overall vs. AL East teams during 2012.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23749 Followers:32
10/05/2012 01:18 AM

NL Wild Card game betting preview: Cards at Braves

GAME: St. Louis Cardinals (88-74) at Atlanta Braves (94-68)
WHERE: Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia

The final season of Chipper Jones’ Hall of Fame career will last at least one more game. Jones and the Braves will host the defending World Series-champion St. Louis Cardinals on Friday in the National League's one-game wild card playoff. After being overtaken for the wild card by the Cardinals on the final night of the 2011 season, the Braves will be looking for some payback when Kris Medlen takes the mound opposite Kyle Lohse.

Atlanta made a strong run at first place in the National League East over the final week before ultimately falling short. The Cardinals have been in playoff mode for at least the last two weeks, fighting off the Los Angeles Dodgers until finally clinching the No. 2 spot on Tuesday. The Braves set up their pitching for a deep playoff run by having a “bullpen game” in the regular season finale on Wednesday and have made sure that Jones is well-rested by giving him just one at-bat over the final two games. St. Louis, which dropped five of six to Atlanta this season, set itself up similarly by letting rookie Shelby Miller make his first start on Wednesday. The clubs have not met since May 30 and both come in having won seven of their last 10 games.

LINE: 153, -163 TOTAL: 6.5 - The line varies considerably for this game, depending on where you get it. Some offshore sites have the Braves as high as -180 and you can get them as low as -160 in Las Vegas as of Thursday.

TV: 5:07 p.m. ET, TBS

PITCHING MATCHUP: Cardinals RH Kyle Lohse (16-3, 2.86 ERA) vs. Braves RH Kris Medlen (10-1, 1.57)

Lohse put together the best regular season of his 12-year career by relying on pinpoint control, issuing only 38 walks in 211 total innings. Lohse struck out nine and walked one in his regular-season finale but was charged with four runs on eight hits in six innings against Washington. He matched his shortest start of the year at the Braves on May 30, yielding five runs on nine hits in five innings. He did not factor in the decision that time and is 3-1 with a 4.97 ERA in 10 career starts against Atlanta.

The Braves have won a major league-record 23 straight games started by Medlen, who has not lost since joining the rotation at the end of July. The right-hander, who turns 27 on Sunday, has allowed more than two runs only once in 50 total appearances in 2012 and capped his regular season by surrendering one run (unearned) on three hits in six innings to beat the New York Mets on Sunday. One of Medlen’s roughest appearances came out of the bullpen against St. Louis on May 28, when he was reached for two runs on four hits in 2 2/3 innings.

BETTING TRENDS:
•Eight of the 10 meetings played over between these teams this season
•Under is 23-5-1 in ATL last 29 home games.
•Cardinals are 8-19 in their last 27 road games vs. a team with a winning record
•Braves are 4-0 in their last 4 games with the total set at 6.5 or lower
•Braves are 25-1 in Medlen’s last 26 starts
•Cardinals are 1-5 in the last 6 meetings
•Medlen ranks 4th on the Covers starting pitcher money list with a profit of $1200 this season for his backers
•Lohse ranks 21st on the money list with a profit of just over $700
WALK-OFFS

1. Atlanta 2B Dan Uggla suffered a laceration to his right hand during the playoff clinching celebration but returned to the lineup despite swelling on Wednesday.

2. Due to the nature of the one-game playoff, neither team will need to carry multiple starters and could stock the bullpen or carry 16 position players if necessary.

3. Jones slumped his way to the finish, going 2-for-19 over his last seven games. He is 6-for-13 with six walks, a home run and five RBIs in his career against Lohse.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23749 Followers:32
10/05/2012 01:21 AM

ALDS preview and pick: Athletics vs. Tigers


Check out our breakdown of the AL Divisional Series between the Oakland Athletics and Detroit and Tigers.

Oakland Athletics (94-68) vs. Detroit Tigers (88-74)

Regular season head-to-head: The Tigers won the season series 4-3.

Series odds: N/A

PITCHING

Oakland’s young pitching staff is no doubt the backbone of the ball club. The A's are set to make history by fielding an all-rookie starting rotation this postseason. Travis Blackley, A.J. Griffin, Tom Milone, Jarrod Parker and Dan Straily are all likely to make their postseason debuts after impressive rookie campaigns. Oakland’s bullpen has been equally as impressive, posting a 2.94 ERA, the fourth-best mark in the league.

Nobody wants to face 2011 MVP Justin Verlander multiple times in a short series. With AL strikeout leader Max Scherzer factoring into the equation and feeling good after a return from shoulder fatigue, the Tigers have a potent one-two punch at the front of the rotation. Closer Jose Valverde has converted all four of his career save opportunities in the postseason.

Edge: Athletics

HITTING

The A’s, whose 14 walkoff victories lead baseball, won their seventh game this year after trailing by four or more runs Wednesday over the Rangers in the AL West clincher. Oakland’s .238 team batting average was one of the worst marks in the league, but its hitters ranked seventh in the majors with 195 home runs, 32 of those coming off the bat of OF Josh Reddick.

Tigers’ first baseman Miguel Cabrera became the first Triple Crown winner in 45 years, finishing the season with a .330 batting average, 44 home runs and 139 RBIs. But he isn’t the only big bat Oakland pitchers should be worried about. Slugger Prince Fielder eclipsed the 30-home run mark for the sixth consecutive season, while racking up 108 RBIs.

Edge: Tigers

INTANGIBLES:

Oakland came from 13 games back to capture the AL West title and become the most improbable $59.5-million payroll division winners you’ll ever see. Two of the four teams in MLB history to previously come from 13-or-more games back went on to win the World Series.

The Tigers also had to come from behind to clinch a division title and have been hot down the stretch, going 15-7 over their final 22 games.

Edge: Athletics

PREDICTION: A’s in five games.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23749 Followers:32
10/05/2012 01:24 AM

NLDS series preview and pick: Reds vs. Giants

Check out our breakdown of the NL Divisional Series between the Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants.

Cincinnati Reds (97-65) vs. San Francisco Giants (94-68)

Regular season head-to-head: The Reds won the season series 4-3. Three of the seven contests were decided by one run.

Series odds: N/A

PITCHING

The Reds’ starting rotation boasts four pitchers with ERAs under 4.00. The five starters were incredibly durable during the regular season, making every start except one. But the real strength of the Cincinnati ball club is its bullpen. Fireballer Aroldis Chapman leads a deep relief corps that registered a league-low 2.65 ERA this season.

Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain had a combined 6-1 record during San Francisco’s unforgettable championship run in 2010 and they’ll be joined by Madison Bumgarner and Ryan Vogelsong down the stretch this year. The bullpen will certainly miss the playoff experience and swagger of closer Brian Wilson, but the group still features some power arms in Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla that should be able to close out games.

Edge: Giants

HITTING

The Cincinnati offense ranked 21st in the majors in runs per game (4.13) and 17th in team batting average (.251) this season. Slugger Joey Votto batted just .227 against Giants pitching this season and also injured his left knee sliding into third base on June 30 at San Francisco, which led to a six-week stint on the disabled list. The Reds still managed to put up runs in Votto’s absence because of other offensive contributors like Jay Bruce (34 homers, 99 RBIs) and Ryan Ludwick (26 homers).

San Francisco has an impressive 30-14 record since OF Melky Cabrera was suspended for using performance-enhancing drugs. Buster Posey has been a monster at the plate, becoming the first catcher to lead the NL in hitting (.336 BA) since Ernie Lombardi in 1942.

Edge: Reds

INTANGIBLES

Cincinnati put up the second best record in baseball, just a single game behind the Nationals. The Reds finished the campaign with 97 victories – their most in the regular season since the tail end of the Big Red Machine days in 1976.

The Giants finished with 94 wins, the most the franchise has had since 2003, when they won 100 games. Cain gets the ball for Game 1 on Saturday. He has surrendered a run in 21 1/3 innings postseason innings, all during the 2010 championship campaign.

Edge: Giants

PREDICTION: Giants in five games.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23749 Followers:32
10/05/2012 01:34 AM

Friday, October 5

Game Score Status Pick Amount

St. Louis - 5:00 PM ET St. Louis +159 500
Atlanta - Under 6.5 500

Baltimore - 8:30 PM ET Baltimore +173 500
Texas - Under 9 500

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