cnotes Posts:33122 Followers:38
09/02/2013 10:27 AM

Preview: Twins (59-76) at Astros (45-91)
Game: 1
Venue: Minute Maid Park
Date: September 02, 2013 2:10 PM EDT

When the Minnesota Twins swept three games from the Houston Astros last month, they had Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau.

Neither is available for the Twins this time.

Minnesota visits Minute Maid Park for the first time in seven years to start a three-game set Monday that begins with few recognizable players and rookie starters on the mound for these rebuilding teams.

Morneau was 5 for 13 and Mauer was limited to one hit in 11 at_bats when Minnesota swept Houston from Aug. 2-4. Morneau, however, was dealt to Pittsburgh on Saturday while Mauer is not with the club on this trip as he recovers from a concussion.

The youth movement is in full swing, with both teams using three rookies in their Sunday lineup.

Minnesota (59-76) gave catcher Josmil Pinto his big league debut in a 4-2 victory over Texas, also starting 33-year-old rookie Doug Bernier and first baseman Chris Colabello.

Houston (45-91) ended a five-game skid with a 2-0 home win over Seattle, with rookies Robbie Grossman, L.J. Hoes and Jonathan Villar combining for five strikeouts and 10 hitless at_bats.

Rookies will be on the mound Monday when Houston's Paul Clemens (4-4, 5.81 ERA) is matched up with Minnesota's Andrew Albers (2-2, 2.92).

Clemens will make his second career start after yielding one run over six innings and not receiving a decision Tuesday in a 4-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox. The right-hander, who will remain in the rotation for the remainder of the season, was in line for the win before the bullpen conceded three runs in the eighth inning.

"It's an honor, it's a privilege," Clemens said. "Just got to continue to work."

Albers threw 17 1-3 scoreless innings in winning his first two career starts before going 0-2 with a 5.49 ERA in his next three. He recovered after consecutive five-run efforts by allowing three over seven innings in Wednesday's 8-1 defeat to Kansas City.

Houston will try to improve to 12-26 against left-handed starters when it faces Albers for the first time. Minnesota has never faced Clemens.

Grossman turned in an impressive series in Minnesota last month, going 5 for 13 although he struck out six times. Hoes and Villar combined for three hits in 19 at_bats.

The Twins are visiting Houston for the first time since taking two of three in 2006. They have captured three of their last four road series, including a second in that span against a division leader by beating the Rangers in two of three this past weekend.

Minnesota's four runs Sunday represented its highest amount in its last eight games, with the 14 totaled in that span the lowest in the majors.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33122 Followers:38
09/02/2013 10:29 AM

Preview: Marlins (50-85) at Cubs (58-78)
Game: 1
Venue: Wrigley Field
Date: September 02, 2013 2:20 PM EDT

Although he took his share of lumps and tough luck in August, the Chicago Cubs' Travis Wood wrapped up the month with one of his most impressive outings of the season.

Facing the lowest-scoring offense in baseball might help him open September in similar fashion.

Wood looks to guide the Cubs to three straight home wins for the first time in almost two months Monday when they open a three-game series against the Miami Marlins.

Brian Bogusevic had two hits and Welington Castillo had two RBIs as Chicago (58-78) defeated Philadelphia 7-1 Sunday to take the final two games in a three-game set. The last-place Cubs, who won their first home series since July 5-7, are 7-19 at Wrigley Field since last winning three in a row there July 6-9.

They'll attempt to match that streak behind Wood (8-10, 3.09 ERA), who avoided a winless August by outpitching Clayton Kershaw on Tuesday.

After going 0-3 with a 5.16 ERA while receiving three total runs of support in his first five August starts, the All-Star ended the month by giving up an unearned run and five hits over seven innings in a 3-2 win at Dodger Stadium.

"He matched (Kershaw) pitch for pitch and actually outdid him,' Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "That was as good a stuff as he's had in a long time.'

Wood now hopes to end his struggles at Wrigley, where he's 0-3 with a 5.59 ERA while allowing opponents to hit .283 in his last five starts - all Chicago losses.

Although the left-hander is 1-2 with a 10.93 ERA in three career starts versus the Marlins, he yielded two runs and three hits over six innings in a 3-2 win at Miami on April 27.

Anthony Rizzo led the way offensively in that series, going 5 for 13 with two home runs and five RBIs to help the Cubs take three of four. They've won five of the last six meetings overall following a six-game losing streak to the Marlins.

NL-worst Miami (50-85) had been averaging 2.0 runs during a six-game losing streak before breaking out with its highest run total since Aug. 16 with a 7-0 victory at Atlanta on Sunday.

Giancarlo Stanton is day to day after injuring his right ankle Sunday. If he's unable to play, it may add to the Marlins' offensive struggles since he's hitting .400 with five homers and 11 RBIs over a nine-game hitting streak versus the Cubs.

The Marlins, who still rank last in the majors with 431 runs - 82 fewer than the next-closest team - seek consecutive wins for the first time since Aug. 18-19 by giving the ball to Henderson Alvarez (2-3, 3.90).

Since winning back-to-back outings in late July, Alvarez is 0-2 with a 5.74 ERA while receiving nine runs of support in his last five starts. He allowed one run and three hits over 1 2-3 innings before having his outing cut short by rain in a 4-3 loss at Washington on Wednesday.

He's never faced the Cubs, though Ryan Sweeney is 5 for 12 with four doubles lifetime in this matchup. Sweeney went 1 for 3 with an RBI Sunday after missing 56 games with a fractured rib.

Teammate Starlin Castro is hitting .333 with four multihit games in his last seven overall.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33122 Followers:38
09/02/2013 10:30 AM

Preview: Giants (61-75) at Padres (60-76)
Game: 1
Venue: PETCO Park
Date: September 02, 2013 3:40 PM EDT

When the San Francisco Giants signed Barry Zito to the then-richest contract for a pitcher in major league history prior to the 2007 season, they believed the former Cy Young Award winner from across the bay would anchor their rotation for years to come.

Now considered one of the biggest free-agent busts ever, Zito is limping toward the end of what could be his final season with the disappointing defending champions.

The Giants will attempt to win for the first time in Zito's 11 road starts as he looks to help send the San Diego Padres to a fourth straight defeat Monday afternoon

Zito won the 2002 AL Cy Young Award during a solid seven-year run with Oakland before signing a seven-year, $126 million contract with San Francisco. He hasn't quite lived up to that deal, though, going 62-79 with a 4.62 ERA in 195 starts and 10 relief appearances in the regular season.

The left-hander made four appearances out of the bullpen in August, but his return to the rotation hasn't brought any better results. Zito (4-10, 5.81 ERA) allowed six runs in 3 2-3 innings of a 12-1 loss to Boston on Aug. 21 before giving up five runs in four frames of last Monday's 6-1 defeat at Colorado.

He's pitched fewer than five innings in each of his last five starts, going 0-4 with an 11.21 ERA. He's 0-8 with a 10.10 ERA in 10 road starts this season - all Giants losses - tossing fewer than six innings in each.

Zito has an $18 million team option for 2014, though the Giants could buy him out for $7 million.

"I don't know. I don't know,' said Zito, who went 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in three 2012 playoff starts. "I've looked at tape of my starts in the playoffs and my starts this year. I've made more pitches this year without the results.'

The left-hander is 1-1 with a 3.44 ERA in four starts versus the Padres this season after giving up four runs - including solo homers to Chris Denorfia, Nick Hundley and Will Venable - in two innings of a 10-1 loss at San Diego on July 14.

That defeat ended San Francisco's five-game winning streak over the Padres (60-76), who scored just four runs while being swept by Los Angeles over the weekend.

While San Diego mustered only three hits in Sunday's 2-1 defeat, the Giants (61-75) took two of three from Arizona by winning 8-2. Buster Posey and Hunter Pence each finished with three hits and two RBIs.

Posey is hitting .478 over his last six versus the Padres, who send Ian Kennedy to the mound.

Kennedy (5-9, 5.10) has been inconsistent in five starts with the Padres since being acquired from Arizona, going 2-1 with a 4.55 ERA. After striking out eight in seven scoreless innings to beat Pittsburgh 2-1 on Aug. 21, he allowed six runs and walked five in 4 1-3 innings of Tuesday's 10-9, 10-inning loss to the Diamondbacks.

The right-hander is 6-3 with a 2.54 ERA in 16 career starts against the Giants, giving up two runs in six innings of a 2-0 loss the last time he faced them while with Arizona on July 19.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33122 Followers:38
09/02/2013 10:31 AM

Preview: Orioles (72-63) at Indians (72-64)
Game: 1
Venue: Progressive Field
Date: September 02, 2013 4:05 PM EDT

While the Baltimore Orioles and Cleveland Indians both sit quite a ways back in their respective division races, they continue to keep pace in the highly competitive AL wild-card hunt.

The Orioles try to distance themselves from the Indians when these teams open a pivotal three-game set Monday at Progressive Field.

After dropping four of five to begin a nine-game trip, Baltimore salvaged Sunday's finale against the New York Yankees with a thrilling 7-3 victory. J.J. Hardy hit a go-ahead three-run homer and Adam Jones followed with a three-run shot of his own as the Orioles put together a seven-run seventh inning.

"Hopefully, it jump-starts us in September," said Hardy, whose team remains 8 1/2 games behind East-leading Boston.

Sunday's win, though, moved Baltimore (72-63) into third place in the wild-card standings, three games back of second-place Tampa Bay. The Indians (72-64), meanwhile, are in a fourth-place tie with New York, one-half game behind the Orioles.

Cleveland returns home after concluding a 1-5 trek with Sunday's 4-0 win over Detroit. Mike Aviles provided all the offense with a ninth-inning grand slam as the Indians climbed within 7 1/2 games of the Central-leading Tigers.

"We needed this game because we've had a tough road trip," said manager Terry Francona, whose team is 10-15 since Aug. 5. "We want to keep playing until they make us stop."

The Indians will look for their momentum to carry over against Orioles starter Bud Norris (3-1, 4.91 ERA), who is 3-0 in six starts since he was acquired from Houston on July 31. After giving up a season high-tying seven runs in 4 2-3 innings in a 9-7 win over Oakland on Aug. 23, Norris yielded one run and four hits in 5 1-3 innings of Wednesday's 4-3 loss at Boston.

"These guys scored some runs early to give me a little cushion, so my focus is putting up a zero on every scoreboard, every half inning," said Norris, who left with a 3-1 lead. "As long as I could go and, (manager) Buck (Showalter), he made the decision and I'm OK with it, handing the ball off to the bullpen. I feel confident doing that every time."

Norris, set to make his first appearance versus Cleveland, posted a 2.20 ERA in three road starts last month.

The Indians counter with Justin Masterson (14-9, 3.49), who has gone 1-0 with a 2.13 ERA in his last two outings despite walking nine in 12 2-3 innings. The All-Star right-hander yielded two runs in six innings of Wednesday's 3-2 walkoff loss at Atlanta.

"When our ace goes out and gives us strong innings, we've got to find a way to get a W," said Aviles, referring to Masterson.

Masterson had a 2.30 ERA in winning four consecutive starts versus the Orioles before surrendering six runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 6-3 loss at Baltimore on June 25. While Jones, Matt Wieters and Nick Markakis are a combined 13 for 68 (.191) versus Masterson, Alexi Casilla is 6 for his last 14 with two homers, a double and a triple in their matchups.

Hardy has hit safely in each of his 14 games in Cleveland, batting .310, but he's 2 for his last 9 against Masterson.

Orioles outfielder Michael Morse, acquired from Seattle on Friday, went 2 for 4 with a run in his team debut.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33122 Followers:38
09/02/2013 10:32 AM

Preview: Rangers (79-57) at Athletics (78-58)
Game: 1
Venue: Coliseum
Date: September 02, 2013 4:05 PM EDT

The Texas Rangers used a dominant surge last month to overtake the Oakland Athletics atop the AL West.

Oakland now is in position to return the favor.

The A's can tie the Rangers for the division lead by winning for the seventh time in eight tries as the clubs open a three-game series Monday in Oakland.

Texas was six games behind the A's on July 29, when it began a stretch of winning 13 of 14 with a victory over the Los Angeles Angels. Oakland would go 8-13 from July 30-Aug. 23 and hasn't been in first place since Aug. 9.

The Rangers (79-57), though, fell 4-2 to Minnesota on Sunday and had their lead trimmed to one game after the A's (78-58) beat Tampa Bay 5-1 to complete a three-game sweep.

``We're not looking for help from anybody," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "We'll face Oakland on Monday when we get there, and we'll play it and when we finish, we'll leave.'

Though Oakland leads the AL wild-card standings, it would like to avoid the one-game playoff by winning the West, which it did by beating the Rangers on the final day of the 2012 season. Texas, which led the division by four games with six to play, then lost to Baltimore in the wild-card game.

Coco Crisp homered leading off the bottom of the first in Sunday's victory for his second homer in as many days.

"To me, it's pretty exhausting to look at all the wild-card implications right now," manager Bob Melvin said. "I think any team's goal and focus is to win their division so you don't have to deal with that one-game playoff."

The A's held a 3 1/2-game edge in the West over the Rangers ahead of the teams' three-game series last month, though Texas won twice. Derek Holland struck out 10 in eight innings Aug. 4 to help the Rangers win the series finale 4-0, and he'll be on the mound again Monday.

Holland (9-6, 3.00 ERA) is 1-0 with a 2.18 ERA over his last five outings, a stretch that started by beating Oakland. He's 5-0 with a 2.25 ERA in his last nine starts against the A's.

"We've got to take on Oakland for a reason and take some ground, but I've got to do my job and pitch pretty much like I did last time," Holland said.

The left-hander had a rough first inning Tuesday but calmed down to give up three runs in six frames of Texas' 4-3, 10-inning win over Seattle.

Dan Straily will oppose Holland in this contest looking to build off a solid outing of his own.

Straily (7-7, 4.41) went 0-5 with a 5.20 ERA over his previous seven starts since being recalled from Triple-A, but he gave up just one run in six innings to beat Detroit 14-4 on Wednesday.

"If you can't find a way to win that ballgame," Straily said, smiling, "you're in a lot of trouble. Just a great day overall."

The right-hander has gotten into some trouble against the Rangers this season while going 1-1 with a 5.63 ERA in three starts, but he also allowed just two hits in seven innings of a 1-0 win over Texas on May 21.

Straily, though, gave up six runs - including a two-run homer to A.J. Pierzynski - in 4 2-3 innings of an 8-7 defeat the last time he faced the Rangers on June 17. Pierzynski also has a double among his three hits in five at_bats versus Straily.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33122 Followers:38
09/02/2013 10:33 AM

Preview: Dodgers (81-55) at Rockies (65-73)
Game: 1
Venue: Coors Field
Date: September 02, 2013 4:10 PM EDT

Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw wasn't at his best in his latest outing but he's performed well in recent matchups with the Colorado Rockies.

The Dodgers haven't been as consistent against the Rockies.

Seeking a fifth straight win, Los Angeles hopes to shake its recent struggles against Colorado in Monday's series opener at Coors Field.

Kershaw (13-8, 1.72 ERA) had a three-game win streak snapped during his shortest outing in four months, a 3-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday. He gave up two runs, but needed 107 pitches to get through 5 2-3 innings and allowed seven hits, his most in 12 outings.

"You're never going to have your best stuff every game, so you've got to figure out ways to get some guys out regardless," said Kershaw, who also walked three. "There were too many guys on base, too many walks, too many times behind in the count."

Kershaw is 2-1 with a 1.74 ERA and 33 strikeouts in his last four starts against Colorado, including three this season. He tossed a four-hitter in his most recent visit to Coors Field on July 2, but was on the wrong end of a 3-0 loss July 12 at Dodger Stadium despite fanning 10.

Los Angeles is 6-7 against Colorado this season and has split its six games in Denver. It's unclear if the Dodgers will have Matt Kemp available for this series.

The Dodgers were hoping to get Kemp back from his rehab assignment Monday but manager Don Mattingly indicated they might give the outfielder more minor league at_bats. Kemp was 0 for 11 with five strikeouts in his first three games with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga.

The Dodgers (81-55) might be fine without him for a while as they have a stacked outfield with Carl Crawford in left, Andre Ethier manning Kemp's usual spot in center and star rookie Yasiel Puig in right.

Puig hit his 14th home run to lead Los Angeles to a 2-1 victory and a sweep of San Diego on Sunday.

The Rockies (65-73) have won two of three over each of their last three opponents, including playoff contender Cincinnati this past weekend. Colorado, batting .319 in its last six games, had 12 hits in Sunday's 7-4 victory.

Michael Cuddyer had four of those hits, homered and drove in three runs while Todd Helton recorded his 2,500th career hit.

"It took me three days to get it. ... I started feeling a little bit of the pressure, so it's a relief. I can go out and play and relax and finish this year with a bang," Helton said.

Rookie right-hander Chad Bettis will try to help the Rockies keep rolling by earning his first major league win. Bettis (0-3, 4.80) gave up four runs and a career-high nine hits in six innings of a 5-3 loss to San Francisco on Tuesday.

Recently acquired infielder Michael Young is the only Dodgers player to have faced Bettis, going 0 for 3. Young, acquired from Philadelphia on Saturday, is expected to meet his new teammates Monday and will likely come off the bench for Los Angeles.

Helton has gone 17 for 39 (.436) while hitting safely in 13 of his last 14 games against the Dodgers. The Rockies, though, likely won't have Dexter Fowler for this game as he's dealing with a bruised left knee.

Fowler's absence could help Kershaw as he's batting .421 (16 for 38) against the left-hander, the best average of any player who's had 25 or more matchups.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33122 Followers:38
09/02/2013 10:34 AM

Preview: Blue Jays (62-75) at Diamondbacks (69-66)
Game: 1
Venue: Chase Field
Date: September 02, 2013 4:10 PM EDT

With perhaps some renewed confidence in his mechanics, Brandon McCarthy will try once again to aid the Arizona Diamondbacks' playoff push.

The right-hander seeks to build on his first win in three months Monday against the visiting Toronto Blue Jays.

McCarthy has often struggled through his injury-shortened season and had one of those miserable outings in Cincinnati on Aug. 21. He was tagged for seven runs in a season-low 2 1-3 innings en route to a 10-7 loss but bounced back with an impressive performance last Monday.

McCarthy (3-8, 5.03 ERA) gave up one unearned run and five hits over seven frames in a 6-1 victory over San Diego, his first since he beat the Padres on May 24. He's spent a good portion of this season on the disabled list with inflammation in his pitching shoulder.

"Nice to see a positive result," McCarthy said. "I never felt that strong this season and went back to watch video from before I went on the disabled list last season. I saw some mechanical issues, made a few adjustments, and am satisfied with the results."

Arizona (69-66) could use another strong start from McCarthy after dropping three of four. An 8-2 defeat to San Francisco on Sunday kept the Diamondbacks six games behind Cincinnati for the NL's final wild-card spot.

Arizona will try to cut that deficit while facing a Toronto team that's won five of seven. The Blue Jays (62-75), however, couldn't complete a sweep of Kansas City on Sunday, managing just three hits in a 5-0 loss.

"We're happy to win the series," shortstop Jose Reyes told the team's website. "Every time we win a series, we'll take that."

The struggling Esmil Rogers (3-7, 5.03) will try to help his club bounce back quickly in his return to the rotation. The right-hander is 0-5 with a 6.56 ERA in his last 11 starts and gave up four runs over five innings in his most recent one, an 8-4 loss to the New York Yankees on Aug. 20.

Rogers is 0-2 with a 5.60 ERA in three career starts against Arizona and gave up six runs over 5 1-3 innings in his latest matchup, a 10-7 loss for Colorado on Sept. 5, 2011.

Martin Prado is 2 for 2 lifetime versus Rogers and batting .383 with 23 RBIs while hitting safely in 17 of his last 18 games. Prado went 4 for 14 (.286) in a three-game series against Toronto last season while with Atlanta.

Willie Bloomquist, 8 for 14 (.571) since his return from the disabled list, has three singles in his last eight at_bats against Rogers. He's batting .344 in his past nine games against Toronto but the most recent matchup was on July 21, 2010.

Arizona won two of three over Toronto at Chase Field in the latest matchup between the clubs May 21-23, 2010.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33122 Followers:38
09/02/2013 10:36 AM

Preview: Nationals (69-67) at Phillies (62-75)
Game: 1
Venue: Citizens Bank Park
Date: September 02, 2013 7:05 PM EDT

Jayson Werth has been on a roll for the past two months, and much of his success has come against his former Philadelphia Phillies.

The slugger, however, might find things more difficult facing red-hot Cole Hamels.

Werth and the visiting Washington Nationals hope to keep picking up ground in the NL wild-card race Monday night when they open a three-game series against Hamels and the Phillies.

Werth belted the go-ahead RBI double in a three-run eighth inning as Washington rallied for a 6-5 victory to salvage the series finale against the Mets on Sunday. The Nationals (69-67), who have won eight of 11, trail Cincinnati by 6 1/2 games for the final wild-card berth.

"There is a lot of baseball left," manager Davey Johnson said. "We just have to keep chugging away one game at a time.'

Werth went 2 for 5 with two doubles, leaving him with an NL-leading .374 batting average since July 1. He also tops the league with 13 home runs and ranks second with 44 RBIs during that stretch.

"He's been swinging the bat good," Johnson said. "He's driven.'

The right fielder, who played for the Phillies (62-75) from 2007-10 and won a World Series title in 2008, is batting .459 with four homers and 11 RBIs against his old club this season. Only his .480 average versus Milwaukee is better among teams he's faced more than three times this year.

Although Werth homered off Hamels (6-13, 3.58 ERA) in a 4-2 loss at Citizens Bank Park on July 9, he's just 3 for 18 lifetime in their matchups.

The left-hander has given just about everyone trouble lately, going 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA in his last six starts. He struck out eight and gave up two runs over seven innings in Wednesday's 6-2 victory over the Mets.

"He's pitched well all year,' said interim manager Ryne Sandberg, whose club seeks its seventh win in nine home games after dropping the final two of a three-game set at Wrigley Field.

Hamels is 14-6 with a 2.57 ERA in 26 career starts versus the Nationals, against whom he is 7-1 with a 3.13 ERA in his last eight home starts.

Scott Hairston is batting .412 with five homers in 34 lifetime at_bats in this matchup, while Adam LaRoche - mired in an 0 for 15 slump - is 10 for 31 with four homers and a double.

Stephen Strasburg (6-9, 2.96) has struggled with a 1-5 record and 4.98 ERA on the road, but he came an out away from a complete-game victory at Wrigley on Aug. 22 before giving up a game-tying two-run homer in a 5-4, 13-inning win. He struck out eight while allowing four runs over 8 2-3 innings.

The right-hander was limited to two scoreless innings Wednesday due to rain in a 4-3 win over Miami. He's 1-0 with a 2.60 ERA while limiting opponents to a .188 batting average over his last five starts.

Strasburg is 2-0 with 19 strikeouts in two starts versus the Phillies this year and pitched a four-hitter Aug. 11 for his first shutout.

Jimmy Rollins is 2 for 16 with six strikeouts versus Strasburg and hitting .172 in his last 16 games against the Nationals.

Washington's Denard Span is batting .407 over a 15-game hitting streak, while Ryan Zimmerman is hitting .380 over his last 12 games.

The Phillies have won five of seven at home between the teams, but the Nationals lead the season series 7-6.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33122 Followers:38
09/02/2013 10:37 AM

Preview: Rays (75-60) at Angels (63-72)
Game: 1
Venue: Angel Stadium of Anaheim
Date: September 02, 2013 9:05 PM EDT

The Tampa Bay Rays' slump includes a pair of losses to the red-hot Los Angeles Angels, but they've performed well in recent visits to Anaheim.

The Rays will also have the only pitcher to beat the Angels in the past 11 days, Chris Archer, starting in Monday night's series opener.

Tampa Bay (75-60) suffered its seventh loss in eight games and fourth in a row Sunday, 5-1 in Oakland. Percentage points ahead of Boston in the AL East on Aug. 24, the Rays have fallen 5 1/2 games back in that race and are three games ahead of Baltimore for the AL's final wild card berth.

A struggling offense carries much of the blame. Tampa Bay has batted .217 - including .191 with runners in scoring position - while producing 17 runs in its last eight games.

"We'll get through this. We'll be fine," manager Joe Maddon said. "In a lot of these moments the right guys have been up in RBI situations. It just didn't work out. We're struggling with runners in scoring position and I keep believing it will happen. You just have to fight your way through it, that's all. It's all about the guys you planned to get you here and you stay with them."

Tampa Bay scored a combined nine runs while splitting the first two games of last week's series against Los Angeles but managed three hits in losing Thursday's finale 2-0.

Archer (8-5, 2.81 ERA) was credited with the win in Wednesday's 4-1 victory, allowing one run over seven innings in his first matchup with the Angels (63-72). He'll next try to lead Tampa Bay to its 14th victory in 16 games in Anaheim.

Archer would appear to have a good chance to aid that attempt as he's 3-0 with a 1.52 ERA in his last five road starts.

Los Angeles has lost four straight in Anaheim and has one win in its last 10 games there, but the club is returning home from a stellar road trip.

The pitching staff posted a 2.03 ERA on that 8-1 trek and gave up four hits in Sunday's 5-3 victory over Milwaukee, the Angels' fourth in a row.

"Our guys are playing hard and really getting after it every day," manager Mike Scioscia said.

While Los Angeles' staff has shined lately, Garrett Richards (4-6, 4.16) was hardly at his best while pitching opposite Archer on Wednesday. He gave up four runs in 3 1-3 innings, his shortest start of the season.

The right-hander had pitched 7 1-3 innings in his prior outing, a 2-0 win in Seattle on Aug. 23.

"It was just an off night," Richards said. "I just didn't have it from the beginning. Arm felt good. Body felt good. I just wasn't there tonight. I'm not going to take this as a step back. I'm just going to move forward from it."

J.B. Shuck is batting .387 during a seven-game hit streak and went 5 for 13 during last week's series against Tampa Bay. He had two hits off Archer.

Yunel Escobar is batting .389 in 21 career games against Los Angeles, his best against any opponent, and is 15 for 35 (.429) during a 10-game hit streak versus the Angels.

Ben Zobrist is batting .385 during an 11-game hit streak against Los Angeles and had two hits off Richards on Wednesday.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33122 Followers:38
09/02/2013 11:18 AM


Tampa Bay at LA Angels
The Rays look to snap a four-game losing streak and take advantage of an Angels team that is 0-7 in its last 7 home games against a team with a winning record. Tampa Bay is the pick (-130) according to Dunkel, which has the Rays favored by 1 1/2. Dunkel Pick: Tampa Bay (-130). Here are all of today's picks.


Game 901-902: NY Mets at Atlanta (1:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Mets (Matsuzaka) 14.649; Atlanta (Maholm) 16.133
Dunkel Line: Atlanta by 1 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Atlanta (-200); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (-200); Over

Game 903-904: St. Louis at Cincinnati (1:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: St. Louis (Wainwright) 16.217; Cincinnati (Latos) 15.408
Dunkel Line: St. Louis by 1; 6
Vegas Line: Cincinnati (-120); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: St. Louis (+100); Under

Game 905-906: Pittsburgh at Milwaukee (2:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Pittsburgh (Morton) 14.663; Milwaukee (Thornburg) 15.711
Dunkel Line: Milwaukee by 1; 8
Vegas Line: Pittsburgh (-130); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Milwaukee (+110); Under

Game 907-908: Miami at Chicago Cubs (2:20 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Miami (Alvarez) 14.137; Cubs (Wood) 15.534
Dunkel Line: Chicago Cubs by 1 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Chicago Cubs (-150); No Run Total
Dunkel Pick: Chicago Cubs (-150); N/A

Game 909-910: San Francisco at San Diego (3:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Francisco (Zito) 14.389; San Diego (Kennedy) 15.784
Dunkel Line: San Diego by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: San Diego (-155); 8
Dunkel Pick: San Diego (-155); Under

Game 911-912: LA Dodgers at Colorado (4:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Dodgers (Kershaw) 15.932; Colorado (Bettis) 16.366
Dunkel Line: Colorado by 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: LA Dodgers (-200); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Colorado (+170); Over

Game 913-914: Washington at Philadelphia (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Washington (Strasburg) 14.100; Philadelphia (Hamels) 15.132
Dunkel Line: Philadelphia by 1; 5
Vegas Line: Washington (-120); 6 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Philadelphia (+100); Under

Game 915-916: Chicago White Sox at NY Yankees (1:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: White Sox (Quintana) 14.909; NY Yankees (Hughes) 16.581
Dunkel Line: NY Yankees by 1 1/2; 10
Vegas Line: NY Yankees (-150); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: NY Yankees (-150); Over

Game 917-918: Detroit at Boston (1:35 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit (Fister) 16.365; Boston (Lackey) 15.321
Dunkel Line: Detroit by 1; 8
Vegas Line: Boston (-130); 9
Dunkel Pick: Detroit (+110); Under

Game 919-920: Seattle at Kansas City (2:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Seattle (Hernandez) 15.747; Kansas City (Duffy) 14.375
Dunkel Line: Seattle by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Seattle (-120); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Seattle (-120); Over

Game 921-922: Minnesota at Houston (2:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota (Albers) 14.082; Houston (Clemens) 15.156
Dunkel Line: Houston by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Minnesota (-125); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Houston (+105); Over

Game 923-924: Baltimore at Cleveland (4:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Baltimore (Norris) 14.604; Cleveland (Masterson) 16.085
Dunkel Line: Cleveland by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: Cleveland (-140); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Cleveland (-140); Under

Game 925-926: Texas at Oakland (4:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Texas (Holland) 16.179; Oakland (Straily) 15.014
Dunkel Line: Texas by 1; 7
Vegas Line: Oakland (-110); 8
Dunkel Pick: Texas (-110); Under

Game 927-928: Tampa Bay at LA Angels (9:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay (Archer) 16.514; LA Angels (Richards) 15.207
Dunkel Line: Tampa Bay by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Tampa Bay (-130); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Tampa Bay (-130); Over

Game 929-930: Toronto at Arizona (4:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Toronto (Rogers) 13.957; Arizona (McCarthy) 15.374
Dunkel Line: Arizona by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Arizona (-150); 9
Dunkel Pick: Arizona (-150); Under

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