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CNOTES
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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.




Believe in the 3 G's
GIRLS, GOLF,GAMBLING not in any particular order.

Old Post 10-05-12 05:52 AM
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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.




Believe in the 3 G's
GIRLS, GOLF,GAMBLING not in any particular order.

Old Post 10-05-12 05:55 AM
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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




Believe in the 3 G's
GIRLS, GOLF,GAMBLING not in any particular order.

Old Post 10-05-12 06:00 AM
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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




Believe in the 3 G's
GIRLS, GOLF,GAMBLING not in any particular order.

Old Post 10-05-12 06:05 AM
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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




Believe in the 3 G's
GIRLS, GOLF,GAMBLING not in any particular order.

Old Post 10-05-12 06:09 AM
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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.




Believe in the 3 G's
GIRLS, GOLF,GAMBLING not in any particular order.

Old Post 10-05-12 06:13 AM
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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.




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GIRLS, GOLF,GAMBLING not in any particular order.

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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.




Believe in the 3 G's
GIRLS, GOLF,GAMBLING not in any particular order.

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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.




Believe in the 3 G's
GIRLS, GOLF,GAMBLING not in any particular order.

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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




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Final Win Totals

October 3, 2012

All ten teams are set for the MLB playoffs on Friday, as two squads will get knocked out in the Wild Card play-in game. Following the marathon of a 162-game regular season, all the win totals were decided heading into the final day, eliminating any kind of worry for many meaningless contests on the last day of the campaign. However, it wasn't meaningless for the Orioles and Athletics, who head to the postseason after receiving little fanfare in spring training.

Baltimore played a very consistent season with few hiccups along the way, while obliterating its 69 ½ win total en route to a playoff berth. Buck Showalter's team suffered through just one losing streak of more than three games all season, which will not only help eclipse 70 victories, but put the Orioles in the driver's seat for a Wild Card berth. Meanwhile, Oakland sat 13 games behind Texas in late June, but put together a 50-25 record after the All-Star break to get into the postseason for the first time since losing the ALCS to Detroit in 2006.

However, several teams that had high expectations fell way short, including the Phillies, Red Sox, and Marlins. Philadelphia can use the injury excuse this season with Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Ryan Howard, and Chase Utley all missing significant time. The Phillies made a late charge to get into the playoff hunt in the National League, but couldn't reach the 93 ½ win plateau posted in spring training. Boston never recovered from last season's meltdown, as Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, and Carl Crawford were all shipped off to Los Angeles in July, while David Ortiz missed the final few months with an Achilles' injury. The Red Sox actually put together a worse record this September (7-21) than they did in September 2011 (7-20), when Boston failed to qualify for the postseason.

Below is each team's win total from spring training and their actual win total following 162 games.

National League Win Totals
Team Win Total Result Over/Under
Arizona 86 ½ 81
Atlanta 86 ½ 94
Chicago Cubs 74 ½ 61
Cincinnati 87 ½ 97
Colorado 81 ½ 64
Houston 64 55
L.A. Dodgers 81 ½ 86
Miami 84 ½ 69
Milwaukee 84 ½ 83
N.Y. Mets 72 74
Philadelphia 93 ½ 81
Pittsburgh 73 ½ 79
San Diego 73 ½ 76
San Francisco 87 ½ 94
St. Louis 84 ½ 88
Washington 83 ½ 98
Projected Result Key: Over Under




American League Win Totals
Team Win Total Result Over/Under
Baltimore 69 ½ 93
Boston 90 69
Chicago White Sox 74 ½ 85
Cleveland 78 ½ 68
Detroit 92 ½ 88
Kansas City 80 72
LA Angels 92 ½ 89
Minnesota 73 ½ 66
NY Yankees 93 ½ 95
Oakland 71 ½ 94
Seattle 72 75
Tampa Bay 86 ½ 90
Texas 91 ½ 93
Toronto 80 ½ 73
Projected Result Key: Over Under




Believe in the 3 G's
GIRLS, GOLF,GAMBLING not in any particular order.

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Wild Card Action

October 4, 2012

Friday is the first elimination day of the MLB playoffs as two teams will be sent home after 163 games. Two of the clubs participating are one year removed from playing in Game 7 of the World Series as the Cardinals and Rangers are scratching and clawing just to advance to the League Championship Series. St. Louis heads to Atlanta, while Baltimore makes the trip to Texas for the night-cap. We'll start at Turner Field with the Braves looking to wipe out the defending champs.

Cardinals at Braves - 5:07 PM EST

St. Louis knocked out Atlanta in last September's Wild Card race, erasing a 10 ½-game deficit en route to a title. Now, the Braves have an opportunity to exact revenge with the hottest pitcher in baseball taking the mound, as Atlanta is riding a 23-game winning streak when Kris Medlen (10-1, 1.57 ERA) starts dating back to 2010. The Braves have compiled a 12-0 record in Medlen's starts this season, including seven victories coming at Turner Field.

The Braves finished the season at 94-68, four games behind the Nationals inside the NL East. If Atlanta can pull off a win on Friday, Fredi Gonzalez's squad will face Washington in the NLDS. However, the Braves need to get past a Cardinals' team that clinched a playoff berth on Tuesday night after the Dodgers lost to the Giants. St. Louis owns the worst record of any postseason club at 88-74, but the Cardinals won the World Series in 2006 with just 83 victories, while claiming the title last season with 90 wins, which were the fewest among playoff teams.

The Redbirds are without Tony LaRussa and Albert Pujols for this championship chase, as St. Louis will depend on right-hander Kyle Lohse (16-3, 2.86 ERA) for a trip to the NLDS against Washington. Lohse was perfect in April, but the Cardinals won just two of his final five starts of the season. The Braves battered Lohse in his only start against Atlanta in late May, scoring five runs in five innings, while picking up eight hits in a 10-7 victory by the Braves. In three playoff starts last season, Lohse allowed 11 earned runs in 12.2 innings, as the only win came in Game 3 of the World Series against Texas in which the Cards scored 16 runs to get the right-hander off the hook.

The Braves captured the season series by beating the Cardinals in five of six meetings, while all six games finished 'over' the total. Atlanta scored five runs or more in each victory, as the lone Cardinals' win came in the opener of a late May series at Turner Field, an 8-2 triumph as +120 underdogs.

Orioles at Rangers - 8:37 PM EST

There was no chance Texas would be a Wild Card team when it led Oakland by 13 games in the AL West in late June. But a monumental meltdown by the two-time defending AL Champions has now put them in a do-or-die situation against the upstart Orioles, who are in the postseason for the first time since 1997.

The Rangers were one win away (twice) from taking the World Series crown last October, but lost the final two games to the Cardinals. The complacency set in for Ron Washington's club down the stretch, as Oakland beat Texas five times in the final week to grab the AL West title, while the Rangers now have to depend on rookie Yu Darvish (16-9, 3.90 ERA). The right-hander is coming off eight consecutive quality starts, as the Rangers won six of those outings. Darvish finished the regular season at 10-2 in 14 home starts, while losing twice in the favorite role. The former Pacific League standout didn't face the Orioles this season, as the Rangers took five of seven meetings from Baltimore.

The Orioles will turn to recently acquired Joe Saunders (9-13, 4.07 ERA), who came over from Arizona in late August. The southpaw compiled a 3-3 record in seven starts with the O's, while allowing three earned runs in each of his last three trips to the mound. The Orioles and Diamondbacks combined to go 5-9 in his 14 starts this season as a road underdog, as Saunders looks for his first victory in Arlington in seven tries dating back to his days with the Angels.

The 'over' cashed five times between the Rangers and O's, but the 'under' went 2-1 in Arlington. One of the bigger stories this season came when these teams hooked up in early May at Camden Yards as Josh Hamilton knocked out four homers and drove in eight runs in a 10-3 Texas victory. Since sweeping the Rangers in Arlington back in July 2010, the Orioles are just 1-5 the last six visits to Texas




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Rangers look to end slide in Wild Card vs. O's

BALTIMORE ORIOLES (93-69)

at TEXAS RANGERS (93-69)


American League Wild Card Game
First pitch: Friday, 8:35 p.m. EDT
Line: Texas -185, Baltimore +175, Total: 9

After blowing a 13-game division lead this season, the Rangers will try to regroup at home in the first ever one-and-done Wild Card game against the Orioles on Friday.

Texas ended the 2012 regular season with seven losses in its final nine contests, dropping their final three games in Oakland to squander the large division lead it had on June 30. Baltimore scored 31 runs during a four-game win streak to end September, but scored just five runs in the three-game October set at Tampa Bay, losing two of three. Friday’s loser-goes-home playoff contest features two red-hot pitchers in lefty Joe Saunders and Texas right-hander Yu Darvish. Saunders had a tremendous September with his new team, going 3-2 with a 2.75 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. Darvish has been even better lately, going 5-1 with a 2.35 ERA and 0.87 WHIP during eight straight quality starts. While the Rangers clearly have more talent, they have not responded to the immense championship-or-bust pressure after coming within a strike of winning the 2011 World Series. On the other hand, the Orioles, who haven’t played in a postseason game in 15 years, have thrived in pressure situations. They are 29-9 in one-run games this year, and have won 16 straight extra-inning affairs. Baltimore also has the AL’s best road record (46-35, .568), and clearly has the superior bullpen between the two clubs. The O’s are also 61-46 (.570) as an underdog this year. All things considered, the pick here is for heavy ‘dog BALTIMORE to advance to the ALDS where the Yankees await.

This four-star FoxSheets managerial trend also sides with the Orioles:

BUCK SHOWALTER is 58-34 (63.0%, +40.8 Units) against the money line with a hot bullpen whose WHIP is under 1.000 the last 5 games as the manager of BALTIMORE. The average score was BALTIMORE 4.8, OPPONENT 4.2 - (Rating = 4*).

Although Saunders (9-13, 4.07 ERA, 1.34 WHIP in 2012) has been terrible against Texas in his career (3-7, 6.48 ERA, 1.49 WHIP), he’s only faced them once in the past three seasons. And in that start, also in Arlington, Saunders allowed just one run in seven innings while striking out six in a 1-0 defeat. However, that dropped his lifetime record to 0-6 all-time with a 9.38 ERA and 1.80 WHIP at Rangers Ballpark. Saunders has the benefit of extensive postseason experience, but he is 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA and 1.94 WHIP in his four career playoff starts. In last year’s postseason with Arizona, he allowed Milwaukee to score three runs in just three innings off him with five hits and two walks. The Orioles could choose to play this game like a spring-training affair with multiple pitchers throwing an inning or two here and there. The Orioles bullpen has been outstanding this season, going 32-11 (.744) with a 3.00 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 55 saves in 71 chances (78%). These numbers are even more impressive on the road: 16-4, 2.56 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 82% save percentage (31-of-38).

Darvish (16-9, 3.90 ERA, 1.28 WHIP) has never pitched in a bigger spot in his major-league career, and he has never faced the Orioles in his lone big-league season. He was known for his clutch pitching in Japan though, going 8-2 with a 1.38 ERA in 11 playoff starts for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. Texas is not an easy place to pitch, but Darvish has been more successful at home this year than on the road. In 14 starts in Arlington, he is 10-2 (team is 11-3) with a 3.88 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 111 strikeouts in 92.2 innings. His one weakness is control, as Darvish has walked 89 batters this year, the fourth-highest total in the American League. This has kept his innings below 200 for the season, as he sits at 191.1, or 6.6 innings per start. If he can’t last seven innings, Texas could be in real trouble. Since Sept. 1, its bullpen carries a 4.21 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. However, the Rangers are clearly the better offensive team, scoring 5.0 runs per game, as opposed to 4.4 for Baltimore. Also, Texas has already scored 10+ runs three times against the O’s this season and Josh Hamilton smacked an MLB-record-tying four homers against them on May 8.




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Medlen looks to keep rolling in Wild Card vs. St. Louis

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (88-74)

at ATLANTA BRAVES (94-68)


National League Wild Card Game
First pitch: Friday, 5:05 p.m. EDT
Line: Atlanta -165, St. Louis +155, Total: 6½

As major league baseball debuts its one-game Wild Card playoff on Friday, the Cardinals will travel to Atlanta in a win-or-die showdown.

The Cardinals finished the season riding the back of their pitching with 12 wins in their final 16 games. In that span, St. Louis gave up just 2.4 runs per game. Despite closing out the season with a series loss to the Pirates, Atlanta also finished the season with stellar pitching, winning eight of their last 11, allowing three or fewer runs in all but one of those games. Kris Medlen will look to continue to make history for Atlanta on Friday, leading the Braves to victory in each of his past 23 starts, an MLB record. In 2012, he has a 9-0 record with a 0.97 ERA and 0.80 WHIP in 12 starts. On Friday, he faces Kyle Lohse, who is also amid a strong season albeit not a historic one, with a 2.86 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. He also has an impressive win tally with a 16-3 record. Atlanta has taken five of six meetings with the Cardinals this season, but St. Louis has won 12 of 20 over the past three years and are 5-5 at Turner Field. Ultimately, this is shaping up to be an extremely competitive game, one in which no team should be heavily favored. Knowing that, take the significant help from the lines and ST. LOUIS to advance in this one and keep its hopes alive at a repeat World Series trophy.

This four-star FoxSheets trend also favors the Cardinals:

Play On - All underdogs with a money line of +150 or more (ST. LOUIS) - after allowing one run or less in a win over a division rival, starting a pitcher who walked <=1 hitters each of his last 2 outings. (40-27 since 1997.) (59.7%, +40.5 units. Rating = 4*).

On the road this season, Lohse is 8-2 with a 3.41 ERA and 1.12 WHIP, averaging 6.1 innings per start. In his career, he owns a 3-1 record (team 4-6) versus Atlanta with a 4.97 ERA and 1.58 WHIP. One of those starts came this year, an outing in which he yielded five earned runs in as many innings. The Cardinals have also struggled as a road team in the 2012 campaign with a 38-43 mark (.469), but are 5-2 in their past seven away games. Also, St. Louis deserves respect when it comes to postseason play—it has won the World Series two of the past three times they have made it to October baseball. Take them as underdogs here.

This will be Medlen’s first career start versus St. Louis. In Medlen’s dominance on the mound he has found himself deep into games, averaging 7.0 innings per start. That leaves little room for the Atlanta bullpen, as strong as it has been this season with a 2.76 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. They have 47 saves in 58 opportunities (81% conversion rate) and a 25-14 record. The Braves are a strong home team (48-33) and also great in the daylight (30-18). And whereas the Cardinals tend to make deep postseason runs, the Braves are the opposite. Atlanta has lost in the first round of the playoffs in each of its past five appearances. Play against.




Believe in the 3 G's
GIRLS, GOLF,GAMBLING not in any particular order.

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MLB
Dunkel

Baltimore at Texas
The Orioles look to build on their 19-7 record in their last 26 games following an off day. Baltimore is the pick (+170) according to Dunkel, which has the Orioles favored by 1. Dunkel Pick: Baltimore (+170). Here are all of today's picks.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 5

Game 901-902: St. Louis at Atlanta (5:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: St. Louis (Lohse) 15.754; Atlanta (Medlen) 15.828
Dunkel Line: Atlanta by 1; 6
Vegas Line: Atlanta (-170); 6 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (-170); Under

Game 903-904: Baltimore at Texas (8:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Baltimore (Saunders) 15.698; Texas (Darvish) 14.866
Dunkel Line: Baltimore by 1; 10
Vegas Line: Texas (-200); 9
Dunkel Pick: Baltimore (+170); Over




MLB
Long Sheet

Friday, October 5

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ST LOUIS (88 - 74) at ATLANTA (94 - 68) - 5:05 PM
KYLE LOHSE (R) vs. KRIS MEDLEN (R)
Top Trends for this game.
ST LOUIS is 88-74 (-5.3 Units) against the money line in all games this season.
ST LOUIS is 7-15 (-10.9 Units) against the money line when the total is 7 or less this season.
ST LOUIS is 38-43 (-10.7 Units) against the money line in road games this season.
ST LOUIS is 9-17 (-13.6 Units) against the money line when playing on Friday this season.
ST LOUIS is 88-74 (-5.3 Units) against the money line in games played on a grass field this season.
ST LOUIS is 57-57 (-14.7 Units) against the money line against right-handed starters this season.
ST LOUIS is 25-35 (-18.3 Units) against the money line when playing against a team with a winning record this season.
ATLANTA is 94-68 (+17.0 Units) against the money line in all games this season.
ATLANTA is 18-6 (+12.4 Units) against the money line when playing on Friday this season.
ATLANTA is 30-18 (+13.7 Units) against the money line in day games this season.
ATLANTA is 92-67 (+15.5 Units) against the money line in games played on a grass field this season.
ATLANTA is 64-37 (+22.5 Units) against the money line against right-handed starters this season.
ATLANTA is 59-35 (+17.6 Units) against the money line after a win this season.
ATLANTA is 46-37 (+9.3 Units) against the money line when playing against a team with a winning record this season.
MEDLEN is 12-0 (+12.0 Units) against the money line in all games this season. (Team's Record)
MEDLEN is 14-0 (+14.1 Units) against the money line in home games over the last 3 seasons. (Team's Record)
MEDLEN is 12-0 (+12.0 Units) against the money line in games played on a grass field this season. (Team's Record)
MEDLEN is 13-1 (+12.3 Units) against the money line after a win over the last 3 seasons. (Team's Record)
MEDLEN is 10-0 (+11.1 Units) against the money line when playing against a team with a winning record over the last 3 seasons. (Team's Record)
ST LOUIS is 71-47 (+24.2 Units) against the money line when playing against a team with a winning record in the second half of the season over the last 3 seasons.
ATLANTA is 38-51 (-32.4 Units) against the money line in October games since 1997.
ATLANTA is 14-21 (-16.5 Units) against the money line in home games in playoff games since 1997.

Head-to-Head Series History
ATLANTA is 5-1 (+4.7 Units) against ST LOUIS this season
6 of 6 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL this season . (Over=+6.0 Units)

KYLE LOHSE vs. ATLANTA since 1997
LOHSE is 3-1 when starting against ATLANTA with an ERA of 4.97 and a WHIP of 1.583.
His team's record is 4-6 (-1.4 units) in these starts. The OVER is 6-4. (+1.9 units)

KRIS MEDLEN vs. ST LOUIS since 1997
No recent starts.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

BALTIMORE (93 - 69) at TEXAS (93 - 69) - 8:35 PM
JOE SAUNDERS (L) vs. YU DARVISH (R)
There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

Head-to-Head Series History
TEXAS is 5-2 (+1.9 Units) against BALTIMORE this season
5 of 7 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL this season . (Over=+2.8 Units)

JOE SAUNDERS vs. TEXAS since 1997
SAUNDERS is 3-7 when starting against TEXAS with an ERA of 6.48 and a WHIP of 1.491.
His team's record is 4-7 (-3.6 units) in these starts. The UNDER is 3-8. (-6.5 units)

YU DARVISH vs. BALTIMORE since 1997
No recent starts.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------




MLB
Armadillo's Write-Up

Friday, October 5

Today's games are one-game, winner-move-on scenarios........

Braves won five of six games vs St Louis this year, but all six games came in May; all six games went over the total. Cardinals lost two of three here in last week in May. Overall, St Louis won 12 of its last 16 games, five of last seven on road. Braves won 10 of last 11 home games, eight of last 11 overall. Lohse is 2-0, 3.32 in his last three starts; he lost 10-7 here May 30, giving up five runs in five IP. Atlanta won Medlen's last 23 starts; he is 9-0, 1.18 in his 12 starts this season. He didn't start against St Louis in 2012.

Texas won five of seven vs Baltimore this year, winning two of three here in late August. Five of the seven games went over total, with two of three going under in this park. Rangers lost seven of last nine games to lose division title, they lost six of last ten home games. Orioles went 12-5 in last 17 games, 5-2 in last seven. Saunders is 1-2, 3.58 in his last four starts; he didn't pitch against the Rangers this year. Darvish cost the Rangers $100M to sign; he is 4-0, 2.06 in his last six starts. He didn't pitch against Baltimore.




MLB

Wednesday, October 3

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Trend Report
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5:07 PM
ST. LOUIS vs. ATLANTA
The total has gone OVER in 5 of St. Louis's last 5 games when playing Atlanta
St. Louis is 1-5 SU in its last 6 games when playing Atlanta
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Atlanta's last 5 games when playing St. Louis
Atlanta is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games when playing St. Louis

8:37 PM
BALTIMORE vs. TEXAS
Baltimore is 2-10 SU in its last 12 games when playing Texas
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Baltimore's last 8 games when playing Texas
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Texas's last 8 games
Texas is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games when playing at home against Baltimore




Believe in the 3 G's
GIRLS, GOLF,GAMBLING not in any particular order.

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MLB
Short Sheet

Friday, October 5

NL Wild Card (Best-of-One)

(TC) St. Louis at Atlanta, 5:05 ET TBS
Lohse: St. Louis 9-18 SU away with a total of 7.5 runs or less
Medlen: 14-0 TSR in home games


AL Wild Card (Best-of-One)

(TC) Baltimore at Texas, 8:35 ET TBS
Saunders: Baltimore 14-44 SU off BB games having 5 or less hits
Darvish: Texas 16-2 SU at home off BB losses


(TC) = Time Change




Believe in the 3 G's
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Amazing Athletics Look To Tame Tigers In ALDS

The reward for the Oakland Athletics’ extended and very stirring run to the American League West crown might not be as pleasant as Oakland fans envisioned.

Then again, we’ve learned to never underestimate this battling bunch of A’s.

Awaiting Oakland in the playoffs are the Detroit Tigers, who enter the postseason very hot themselves after putting away the White Sox in the last two weeks to draw clear in the AL Central. The A’s also get the chance to face the first Triple Crown winner in 45 years, Miguel Cabrera, and the pleasure of dealing with Detroit ace Justin Verlander in Game 1 and perhaps once again later in this series.

Action commences on Saturday at Comerica Park in Detroit as the Tigers host Game 1 of the ALDS. The Tigers will also host Game 2 before the remainder of the best-of-five series moves west to the Bay Area and the O.co Coliseum.

The aforementioned Verlander goes for Jim Leyland’s Detroit bunch in the Saturday opener, with Oakland manager Bob Melvin still deciding upon his starter as we go the press late in the week. Verlander will be a sizable favorite whichever pitcher Melvin decides to use, and a check with the Don Best MLB odds screen notes Detroit priced at -185/-190 on the win with Verlander, with the ‘under’ at 7½ and shaded to the ‘under’ at most Nevada wagering outlets.

First pitch on Saturday is slated for 6:05 p.m. (ET) with TBS providing the TV coverage.

Verlander presents quite a hurdle for the A’s, especially considering his recent form chart which includes not only four straight wins but an ERA of 0.64 in the process, allowing just two runs in his last 28 IP. Included in that recent stretch of success was a solid six innings of work vs. Oakland on September 19 at Comerica Park, allowing just five hits and no runs in the process as the Tigers went on to a 6-2 win.

Verlander also handcuffed the A’s on May 13 at Oakland, allowing just one run and two hits over seven innings of work in a 3-1 Tigers win. Over his career, Verlander is 7-5 with a 2.38 ERA in 13 starts against the A’s.

Leyland will pitch Doug Fister in Game 2 on Sunday. Max Scherzer, who got a four-inning tuneup Wednesday to see if his right deltoid and right ankle were OK, will probably start Tuesday's game in Oakland. Anibal Sanchez will likely go if a Game 4 is necessary, with Verlander, if needed, either going in Game 5 or starting the opener of the ALCS if Detroit advances beyond this round.

Rick Porcello has not been included in Leyland’s four-man rotation, and whether he gets included on the divisional round roster could depend on whether manager Jim Leyland wants to carry two left-handed relievers or three. Leyland is scaling back from 12 pitchers to 11, opting for an extra position player because days off mean he can get by with four starters.

Leyland was looking ahead with his rotation more that a week ago, setting it up so Verlander could start either a 163rd game against the White Sox to determine the Central champ or the first game of the divisional playoff round. It also lets him pitch a fifth game, if one is necessary.

The combination of Cabrera’s Triple Crown numbers, and slugging 1B Prince Fielder batting behind him, creates a menacing look for the Tigers in the 3-4 spots in the batting order.

But the concerns for Detroit continue to involve defense, especially some shaky work around the infield, which proved costly on occasion, including the last time these teams faced on September 20 at Comerica. The Tigers were denied a three-game sweep due in part to shoddy defense, including 2B Omar Infante’s throwing error that gifted the A’s a run in the third inning, and a misplayed fly ball by CF Austin Jackson in the sixth inning that resulted in a two-run triple for George Kottaras. Oakland salvaged the final game of that series with a 12-4 win after being outscored 18-4 in the first two games of the set.

The A’s, however, are red-hot, having swept Seattle and Texas at home to conclude the regular season to dramatically collarthe Rangers at the wire to steal the AL West title and avoid the wild card play-in game. Oakland is an astounding 72-38 since June 1, when the A’s began their unlikely turnaround after entering that month with a 22-30 record...the same as the Houston Astros.

Manager Melvin, however, might be a bit reluctant to go with with starter Tommy Milone, who would figure to be up in the rotation but was ineffective in his last start on Sunday vs. the Mariners, allowing nine hits in 4 2/3 IP, after also allowing the same number of hits in the same number of innings in that recent September 20 game at Comerica Park vs. the Tigers.

Melvin’s other likely option appears to be Jarrod Parker, who last pitched on Monday in the 4-3 win over Texas that at the time clinched a wild card berth for the A’s. Parker lost his only start vs. the Tigers back on May 13 (vs. Verlander) but was not terribly ineffective, allowing two runs and six hits in 5 2/3 IP of an eventual 3-1 loss.

But May was a long time ago for the A’s, who became a different team once the calendar turned to June. They enter the postseason with an underrated bullpen having spun 22 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings. Meanwhile, Oakland’s jerry-rigged lineup featuring career spare parts such as Brandon Moss, Seth Smith, Josh Reddick plus electric Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes, cracked 114 homers after the All-Star break, the best such mark in the majors as the A’s became known for their big-inning outbursts.

Indeed, the current Oakland edition might be the greatest masterpiece of GM Billy Beane’s well-documented career.

These sides have met in the postseason before, most recently in 2006, when Detroit swept the A’s in four straight to advance to the World Series. That was also Oakland’s last playoff appearance until this season.

There was also a memorable ALCS back in 1972, when Oakland’s Campy Campaneris was suspended after throwing his bat at Tiger pitcher Lerrin LaGrow in Game 2 at the Coliseum. The series went the full five games before the A’s pulled it out despite also losing Reggie Jackson at the end of the series due to a torn hamstring on a bang-bang play at the plate against Tiger C Bill Freehan as Reggie dramatically stole home base in a daring double steal ordered by manager Dick Williams. Oakland went on to its first of three straight World Series wins by beating the Reds in the World Series.

The teams met seven times this season, with the Tigers winning four of those, including two of three in the mid-September series at Comerica Park. The sides split a four-game set at Oakland between May 10-13.




Believe in the 3 G's
GIRLS, GOLF,GAMBLING not in any particular order.

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Reds Begin Playoffs At San Francisco Giants

Cincinnati Reds at San Francisco Giants MLB Betting Preview
Date: 10/06/2012, 9:37 p.m. (ET) TBS
Opening Lines: Giants -111, O/U 6½

Cincinnati Reds: Dusty Baker and the Reds (97-65, +17.4 units) hope for better results than their last trip to the postseason in 2010 when Philadelphia swept three straight. That all started with Roy Halladay throwing a no-hitter in Game 1, and Cincinnati will now face San Francisco's Matt Cain who authored a perfect game earlier this season. The Redlegs have a fine arm of their own for Saturday's matchup in Johnny Cueto. Cincinnati went 22-11 behind Cueto in 2012 (+7.1 units), one of the defeats coming in late-June at San Francisco where he pitched six and surrendered three runs for the loss. The Reds are 21-26 all-time at AT&T Park, but have won five of their last nine on this diamond.

San Francisco Giants: Bruce Bochy and the Giants (94-68, +19.3 units) have much fonder memories of the 2010 playoffs with World Series rings to show for their effort. San Francisco streaks into this postseason having won 39 of its last 60, including a 19-8 month of September when the Giants cemented their claim to the NL West title. They went 21-11 (+6.0 units) behind Saturday's starter Cain, 8-2 over his last 10 assignments. Two of those losses did come against the Reds, one in each park and Cain's ledger totaling 13 innings with eight runs charged to him. Two batters in Cincy's lineup who have hurt him over the years are Jay Bruce and Ryan Ludwick, a combined 14-for-35 (.400) with Ludwick taking him deep three times. The 'under' was 3-0-1 in the Giants' four games vs. Cincinnati played in San Francisco this year.




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Old Post 10-06-12 02:46 PM
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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.




Believe in the 3 G's
GIRLS, GOLF,GAMBLING not in any particular order.

Old Post 10-06-12 02:50 PM
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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.




Believe in the 3 G's
GIRLS, GOLF,GAMBLING not in any particular order.

Old Post 10-06-12 02:52 PM
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