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Cnotes MLB May's News-Notes-Trends & Best Bets !!

May Pitchers Report

April 30, 2013

The running of the Kentucky Derby each year signals the fact that MLB enters its 2nd month of play. And with it a handful of surprise teams take center stage. The key to sustaining will be the success, or lack of it, from the pitching staffs. With that thought in mind, let's zero in on pitchers that will look to keep their team in the race and those that may pull up before they hit the wire.

Listed below are hurlers that have enjoyed a two-to-one or better success ratio in team starts the last three seasons during the month of May. On the flip side, we've also listed pitchers that struggle in May team starts, winning 33% percent or less of their efforts. To qualify pitchers must have made a minimum of 10 starts, with at least one start each May over the last three years.

I'll be back next month with June's Good Month Pitchers. Until then, it's batter up!


Buchholz, Clay (12-5)

The Boston right-hander has gotten off to the best start of his career, averaging better than a strikeout per inning and opponents are hitting under .200 against him. Being united with former pitching coach and now skipper of Boston John Farrell has sharpened his focus, added sink to his fastball and made his changeup downright filthy.

Buehrle, Mark (11-4)

For the second year in a row, the veteran left-hander is on a new club with big expectations who has not gotten out of the gate. Buehrle has been a part of the problem in Toronto, since he has to spot his pitches to make up for the lack of velocity and right-handed hitters are batting well over .300 against him. If the Blue Jays are going to turn their season around, Buehrle has to pitch like he has in the past this month.

Cueto, Johnny (11-5)

Cueto suffered a strained right lat muscle on April 13 and went on the DL. At the end of April, he began tossing from distances up to 75 feet. No official word has been given when he will return. The Reds ace had gotten off to a very strong start.

Gonzalez, Gio (13-3)

After winning 21 games in 2012, the Washington lefty started this season slowly, but appears to be rounding into form. Gonzalez is a sturdy strikeout pitcher with a mid-to-low 90's fastball that tails away from right-hand hitters and he likes to go up in the zone with this pitch when ahead in the count. He will freeze LH batters with a tightly spun curve, which drops from above the belt to below the knees.

Hamels, Cole (15-2)

The Phillies best pitcher recorded his first win of the season on Apr. 28 and brighter days are ahead for Hamels. His low-90's heater is almost always down in the zone and his changeup is a true swing and miss pitch, baffling opposing hitters. His walks are up so far in 2013 and if he improves his overall command, this May should be like many others of the past.

Johnson, Josh (12-3)

JJ was a scratched from his last April start because of tightness in his right triceps muscle. An MRI did not reveal any structural damage. Johnson has annually been a fast starter and Toronto need the 6'7 Minneapolis native to be the dominant pitcher he was from 2008-10, not the one everyone has seen since.

Lester, Jon (12-6)

Here is another BoSox hurler who has battled back from a mediocre campaign to help Boston's surprisingly effective start. Opposing hitters are scuffling to hit .214 against Lester's tosses and the familiar two and four-seam fastballs have the plus and minus effect in the range of five miles per hour, leaving batters uncomfortable. The biggest change is the curveball has the snap back and he could have another sparkling May.

Peavy, Jake (11-4)

No question the 31-year old Peavy is all the way back. The former San Diego chucker has lost velocity from his blazing fastball of a few years ago; however, he's made the complete transition to the second part of career. His K-rate is phenomenal and his ability to spot pitches is a thing of beauty. Some might complain he is taken deep too often, but are their two more different parks than Petco and U.S. Cellular for fly-ball pitchers?


Fister, Doug (4-12)

Fister played on a number of bad Seattle clubs before joining Detroit in 2011. Since taking residence in Mo-Town, the 6'8 hurlerr with a clean delivery has quit nibbling and gained confidence in his curve, which has become his main swing and miss pitch. It is worth watching to see if he breaks his past tendencies in baseball's second month.

Garza, Matt (3-10)

Garza was supposed to be one of the fixtures in the Cubs starting rotation, but was hurt in Spring Training and is only now throwing on flat ground. The earliest he is expected to return is at the end of this month and some in the Chicago organization think this is optimistic.

Hernandez, Felix (5-12)

In the years we have been doing this article, it has always been a head-scratcher why King Felix struggles in May. But every year like most pitchers, Hernandez has a rough patch and more often than not it is this month. With Seattle only having nine home games in May, we could see another repeat from Felix.

Jackson, Edwin (5-13)

This much-traveled hurler, who was born in Germany, has never found a home and settled in. Jackson "stuff" has always been good enough to make somebody's big league roster, yet even when he threw a no-hitter in 2010 for Arizona against Tampa Bay (who else?), he walked eight batters. On a subpar Cubs crew, victories will again be a challenge to find.

Masterson, Justin (5-13)

Though Masterson was lit up in his final April appearance, he's gotten off a solid start this campaign. The question for the side-arm thrower is can he keep it going? Typically, walks are Masterson's undoing and opponents start patiently lying off pitches and force him to throw strikes and belt him around. This was the year Cleveland was to start showing promise and the Tribe needs their ace to have a chance.

Richard, Clayton (5-10)

Richard has always been a tease who never delivered. The port-sider will put together two or three starts and his coaches will think "he's finally figured it out" and then he will be rocked for the next trio of starts, taking him back to square one. With a 7.94 ERA this season and more walks than punch-outs (13 vs. 10), possibly the most damning aspect of his season to date is left-handed hitters are batting a ridiculous .364 against the Padres starter.

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

Old Post 05-01-13 06:27 AM
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Preview: Mets (10-15) at Marlins (8-19)

Game: 3
Venue: Marlins Park
Date: May 01, 2013 12:40 PM EDT

Since David Wright's return to the lineup couldn't spark their struggling offense, the New York Mets are left trying to avoid a three-game sweep in Miami.

The reeling Mets also hope to end their season-worst six-game losing streak on Wednesday against the Marlins, who seek their longest winning streak since July.

Miami's Donovan Solano hit an RBI single and Juan Pierre scored on a wild pitch as New York's tired bullpen blew a one-run lead in the ninth in a 2-1 loss at Marlins Park on Tuesday.

The Mets (10-15) were also beaten in the final inning Monday when the Marlins scored twice in the 15th for a 4-3 win.

New York's offensive woes continued, leaving the team with a .165 batting average and 11 total runs during its skid. The Mets are also 1 for 21 with runners in scoring position over their last two games after going hitless in three chances Tuesday.

"Everybody's struggling,' said manager Terry Collins said. "We have to fight through it.'

Collins' club will try to break out of its funk and avoid being swept by the Marlins for the first time since 2010.

Left-hander Wade LeBlanc (0-4, 6.20 ERA) looks to pitch NL-worst Miami (8-19) to its first four-game winning streak since June 27-July 1.

"We're trying to find ways to win," Pierre said. "We found all the ways to lose. Now we're trying to get on the winning side.'

LeBlanc has allowed 11 runs and 17 hits in 9 2-3 innings over his last two outings at home. He surrendered four runs and eight hits - including a pair of homers - over six innings in a 4-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Friday.

"I made a few mistakes that I got away with tonight, but the two that really hurt me are the two that I need to execute better,' said LeBlanc, who is 0-5 with a 5.50 ERA in seven career starts at Marlins Park.

LeBlanc, though, has pitched well with a 2.21 ERA in four career starts against the Mets. He allowed one unearned run and seven hits over five innings, but failed to get a decision in a 3-2 home win over New York last October.

Wright went 0 for 4 in his return to the lineup after being relegated to pinch-hitting duties because of a stiff neck in the opener. The All-Star third baseman has hit LeBlanc hard with six hits in 10 career at_bats, including a home run.

Ike Davis is 3 for 7 with a homer, while Daniel Murphy is 4 for 8 with a home run in this matchup.

New York right-hander Dillon Gee (1-4, 5.96) hasn't fared well on the road, allowing 12 runs and 17 hits - including four homers - in his two starts away from Citi Field.

He's dropped five straight starts with a 7.36 ERA on the road dating back to last season.

Gee, who gave up four runs and seven hits in six innings of a 4-0 home loss to Philadelphia on Friday, is 1-0 with a 3.27 ERA in two career starts against the Marlins.

Miami, which placed slugger Giancarlo Stanton on the 15-day disabled list after Monday's game, ranks last in the majors with 73 runs and failed to advance a runner beyond first base until the ninth inning Tuesday.

The Marlins have won four of five at home against the Mets.

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

Old Post 05-01-13 06:30 AM
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Preview: Nationals (13-14) at Braves (17-9)

Game: 3
Venue: Turner Field
Date: May 01, 2013 7:10 PM EDT

The struggles and injury concerns surrounding Stephen Strasburg are making the most headlines, but in the meantime, Jordan Zimmermann quietly has been the most consistent starter in the Washington Nationals' rotation.

A lack of consistency on offense has caused the club some headaches, though.

Zimmermann takes the hill as Washington looks to avoid a 10th straight loss to the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night at Turner Field.

Strasburg has gotten off to a disappointing 1-4 start and may have an irritated nerve in his right arm after throwing six innings of Monday's 3-2 loss to Atlanta in the opener of this four-game set.

While it's uncertain if Strasburg will miss any time, he remains in the news much more than teammates like Zimmermann (4-1, 2.00 ERA), who has gotten off to a fantastic start.

Zimmermann allowed one hit and tossed his first career shutout in Friday's 1-0 victory over Cincinnati. It marked his second complete game in three starts after throwing one through the first 83 of his career.

Manager Davey Johnson said Zimmermann's latest outing was the best pitching performance he's seen since taking over the Nationals in 2011.

"He knows how (opponents) react to his stuff," Johnson told the team's official website.

The right-hander, who has not allowed more than three runs in any of his five starts, is giving up an average 0.86 walks and hits per innings pitched.

"He pitches his butt off every time he goes out there," Bryce Harper said. "He is a competitor. You are going to get a great performance out of him every night."

Zimmermann, 2-1 with a 3.81 ERA in five starts against Atlanta, may be hoping his team's offense can put together a solid performance as well.

Washington (13-14) mustered only three hits in Tuesday's 8-1 loss to the Braves and has scored two runs or fewer in eight of its last 10 contests - seven resulting in losses.

"We're off to a slow start," said Gio Gonzalez, Monday's losing pitcher. "Once we turn it around it's going to be a big change."

Atlanta (17-9) has won the first five meetings of the season with the Nationals after Andrelton Simmons homered and Freddie Freeman went 3 for 5 with three RBIs on Tuesday.

The Braves, who were coming off a 3-7 road trip prior to this series, will send Paul Maholm to the mound Wednesday as he looks to get back on track.

Maholm (3-2, 3.30) won his first three outings while pitching 20 1-3 scoreless innings. However, he's lost two straight since allowing four hits and striking out seven in 7 2-3 innings of a 9-0 win over Washington on April 14.

The left-hander gave up three runs in six innings in a 3-1 loss to Pittsburgh on April 20, then allowed eight runs and 10 hits in 3 2-3 innings of Friday's 10-0 defeat at Detroit.

"Baseball is a humbling game," Maholm told the team's official website. "Obviously, I was pitching really well and then in the last whatever, I've given up some runs. You kind of forget about it and move on."

Jayson Werth, who hopes to be back in the lineup after sitting out Tuesday with a sore ankle, is 10 for 30 with four doubles and a homer off Maholm.

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

Old Post 05-01-13 06:32 AM
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Preview: Twins (11-11) at Tigers (14-10)

Game: 3
Venue: Comerica Park
Date: May 01, 2013 1:08 PM EDT

Anibal Sanchez put on a dazzling display in one of the best pitching performances in recent memory his last time out.

Now everyone is eager to see what he can do for an encore.

Coming off his 17-strikeout masterpiece, Sanchez will try to lead the Tigers to a sixth straight victory Wednesday in the series finale against the visiting Minnesota Twins.

Off to a very solid start this season, Sanchez (3-1, 1.34 ERA) went well beyond that and had a game for the ages Friday, notching a franchise-record 17 strikeouts in eight innings and allowing five hits and one walk in a 10-0 win over Atlanta.

Since at least 1921, only Randy Johnson has struck out more than 17 while pitching eight innings or less. Johnson, then with Seattle, fanned 18 against Texas in 1992.

Sanchez was asked after the game about his new place in franchise history.

``Amazing,' he said. ``I'm just going to keep working. That's not going to stop today.'

The right-hander has held opponents to two or fewer earned runs in each of his five starts, pitching at least 6 2-3 innings in his last four outings.

"I don't think too much about strikeouts and records and things like that,' said Sanchez said, who has a 41:9 strikeout-to-walk ratio. ``I prefer getting some zeros.'

He is 5-3 with a 1.30 ERA in his last 10 starts, including three in the 2012 postseason.

Now, Sanchez will face one of the league's weakest offenses, one he held to two hits over five scoreless innings at Target Field on April 3. He was in line for the win in that game before Detroit's bullpen faltered in the ninth inning of a 3-2 loss.

The Twins (11-12) rank near the bottom of the AL in runs scored (92), homers (15) and batting average (.237). They were held to six hits against Justin Verlander and three relievers in Tuesday's 6-1 loss.

Sanchez's teammates, meanwhile, have given Detroit pitchers plenty of support lately. The Tigers (15-10) have outscored opponents 35-11 during a five-game win streak and have 11 home runs, 10 doubles and a triple during that stretch.

``The name of the game in baseball is to try to extend your winning streaks - when you're playing well - as long as you can, and shorten the losing streaks,' Verlander said. ``You're not going to be hot the whole year. Our talent is going to take over, and I feel like we're starting to show that now.'

Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder each hit two-run homers and Alex Avila added a solo shot in support of Verlander's seven-inning performance.

Cabrera, who is batting .420 at home, finished April with 28 RBIs, the most by a Tigers player in the opening month since at least 1921. He is 7 for 15 with a pair of doubles off scheduled starter Scott Diamond.

Fielder has four home runs and 14 RBIs in his last 11 home games against Minnesota.

Sanchez may have the added benefit of not facing Joe Mauer, who ended a career-worst 0-for-21 skid with a third-inning single Tuesday. Manager Ron Gardenhire said he may rest his veteran catcher with the Twins off Thursday.

Diamond (1-2, 4.32) looks to continue a run of solid outings against the Tigers. Since losing his first start versus Detroit on Aug. 26, 2011, the left-hander has gone 1-1 with a 1.98 ERA in four meetings.

He has a 2.35 ERA in three career starts at Comerica Park.

Diamond gave up a career-high 12 hits over 6 1-3 innings against Texas on Friday, but was able to limit the Rangers to three runs in a 4-3 loss.

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

Old Post 05-01-13 06:34 AM
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Preview: Phillies (12-15) at Indians (11-13)

Game: 2
Venue: Progressive Field
Date: May 01, 2013 7:05 PM EDT

The Cleveland Indians haven't found a true staff ace since sending Cliff Lee to the Philadelphia Phillies and are surely glad they haven't had to face him since doing so.

That finally changes Wednesday night.

Lee returns to the city where he turned into one of baseball's best pitchers and gets his first crack at the Indians, who have turned into an offensive juggernaut of late.

They're the only team he's never faced and the one with which he made his major league debut in 2002. Lee (2-1, 3.03 ERA) was a middle-of-the-road starter early in his career before a breakout 2008 season, going 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA to win the AL Cy Young Award.

In July 2009, with the Indians concerned about signing the soon-to-be free agent, they dealt Lee to Philadelphia (12-15) for four players. None of them have had much success in the majors, and only pitcher Carlos Carrasco and catcher Lou Marson remain with Cleveland.

Making the Lee deal look even worse, the Indians (11-13) have finished below .500 and no higher than 23rd in the majors in ERA every year since his last full season with the team. No Cleveland pitcher has won more than 13 games since he left.

Lee, meanwhile, has the majors' third-best ERA (2.90) since the start of 2008 and his 23 complete games in that span rank second.

One of those came in his last start at Progressive Field, defeating Seattle on July 16, 2009.

"It doesn't feel like it's been that long since I played here," Lee said Tuesday. "Tomorrow is just another outing, but it's going to be interesting and it's going to be neat."

The left-hander was 2-0 with a 1.52 ERA in his first three starts this season but has allowed eight runs and 17 hits over 12 innings in his last two.

He'll be facing a red-hot Cleveland offense which has outscored opponents 33-5 while pounding out 45 hits - 18 for extra bases - during a three-game winning streak. That follows an 11-game stretch during which the Indians failed to score more than three runs nine times.

They opened this two-game set by hitting seven home runs - the most by one team in any game this season - en route to a 14-2 victory Tuesday.

Ryan Raburn became the first Indians player since Travis Hafner in 2004 to record two straight multihomer games. He's 7 for 8 with seven RBIs in that span. Raburn had one home run in his previous 87 games.

"Right now everything is clicking for me," he said. "I'm trying to ride this out as long as I can."

Mark Reynolds and Michael Brantley each hit a two-run homer Tuesday and have keyed the win streak, going a combined 12 for 25.

Reynolds, though, is 0 for 6 with five strikeouts against Lee and Raburn has gone 2 for 19.

Nick Swisher is 8 for 25 (.320), but he may miss a second straight game due to a sore shoulder.

While Lee has surrendered five walks through five starts, counterpart Trevor Bauer (0-1, 5.40) issued seven in his lone appearance for Cleveland this season. Bauer, though, yielded only two hits and three runs in five innings of the 6-0 loss to Tampa Bay on April 6.

The right-hander was sent back to Triple-A Columbus after that game with Carrasco returning from a suspension, and he may follow this outing the same way. Bauer, 1-0 with a 2.50 ERA in three starts at Columbus, is starting only because Cleveland is playing its sixth game in five days.

Bauer is 1-3 with a 5.91 ERA in five major league starts, walking 20 in 21 1-3 innings.

Philadelphia had a three-game win streak snapped Tuesday, but the bright spot was Delmon Young going 2 for 3 with a homer in his Phillies debut. Young, last year's AL championship series MVP with Detroit, had been on the disabled list as he recovered from ankle surgery.

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

Old Post 05-01-13 06:35 AM
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Preview: Reds (15-13) at Cardinals (15-11)

Game: 3
Venue: Busch Stadium
Date: May 01, 2013 1:45 PM EDT

While Matt Holliday is producing at the plate recently, Lance Lynn's run of success dates to last year.

As Lynn goes for a 10th straight win, Holliday looks to continue pounding the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday when the St. Louis Cardinals try to take this three-game series.

Holliday is hitting .370 over the past seven games, increasing his season average 43 points to .276.

The left fielder hit a two-run homer to power Tuesday's 2-1 win over Cincinnati and help end the Cardinals' three-game losing streak, which included a defeat by the same score in the series opener Monday.

"The guy is a beast," Reds starter Bronson Arroyo said after Holliday's third homer of the season doomed him to a loss. "He's solid and he swings the bat about as hard as anyone in the game. There's only a handful of guys that hit the ball with such a low trajectory and get it out."

Holliday is batting .400 with 12 RBIs during a 14-game hitting streak against the Reds. He's 12 for 27 with three doubles, a triple and two homers against Homer Bailey, Cincinnati's scheduled starter.

The Cardinals (15-11) may also feel confident with Lynn (4-0, 3.10 ERA) taking the mound.

The right-hander is 9-0 with a 2.63 ERA in 10 regular-season games - nine starts - dating to a loss in relief to Milwaukee on Sept. 7. That stretch includes winning all five home starts behind a 2.10 ERA, including a 5-1 victory over the Reds (15-13) on April 9 as he struck out 10 in six innings.

He's vying to become the first Cardinal to win 10 straight regular-season decisions since Chris Carpenter's 11 in a row July 5-Sept. 7, 2009.

Lynn has been particularly dominant in his last two starts, yielding one run and three hits over 14 innings while striking out 17.

"I thought I had a pretty good season last year," said Lynn, who had 18 wins and was an All-Star in 2012. "I was just trying to build off of that. That's where we're at; just trying to improve every time out. I'm doing that thus far."

He'll have to contend with a hot-hitting Brandon Phillips, who is 7 for 16 with three RBIs in four games. The second baseman has a .361 average over his past 15 meetings with St. Louis, while going 2 for 5 versus Lynn.

Bailey (1-2, 2.81) is taking the mound in search of his first win at St. Louis.

The right-hander is 0-4 with a 6.93 ERA in six starts there, getting battered in the most recent April 10. He surrendered seven runs and nine hits - three homers - in five innings of a 10-0 loss.

Bailey has since been terrific in three starts, compiling a 1.29 ERA with 24 strikeouts in 21 innings. However, he has an 0-1 record to show for it because he's been backed by a mere two runs.

The bats let him down again in Friday's 1-0 road loss to the Nationals, as he yielded one run in seven innings opposite Jordan Zimmermann's one-hitter.

Carlos Beltran homered off Bailey earlier this month and is coming off a three-hit effort Tuesday, giving him a .386 average in his last 12 games.

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

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Preview: Angels (9-17) at Athletics (16-12)

Game: 3
Venue: Coliseum
Date: May 01, 2013 3:35 PM EDT

The Oakland Athletics are on the verge of their longest winning streak over the Los Angeles Angels in almost nine years.

Seth Smith has been an unexpected contributor.

Smith looks to continue his production against the Angels on Wednesday and help the A's to another three-game sweep of the AL West rival.

Oakland (16-12) has won eight of the past nine meetings with Los Angeles, including all five this year while batting .310 with eight homers, eight stolen bases and 48 runs.

The A's last won six straight against the Angels from June 23-Sept. 24, 2004.

Smith, a career .270 hitter, has been particularly impressive in the season series, going 11 for 21 with five doubles and six RBIs in four games. He had a .188 average in 20 games against Los Angeles prior to this season.

A left fielder who also acts as a designated hitter, Smith had two hits Tuesday, including a three-run double in Oakland's 10-6 victory. That came a night after he had a pair of singles in a 10-8, 19-inning win.

Yoenis Cespedes is also swinging a hot bat. He has five hits - three for extra bases - and seven RBIs in three games since returning from a strained muscle in his left hand.

He connected for a double and a triple and drove in four runs Tuesday.

Tommy Milone (3-2, 3.38) may not need much help from his offense since he's 2-1 with a 1.77 ERA in three home starts compared to a 6.17 ERA while splitting two road games. However, that road victory came at Los Angeles on April 10, when the left-hander allowed four runs in five innings of an 11-5 victory.

He's 3-1 with a 5.40 ERA in four starts versus the Angels.

"We always feel good when Tommy takes the mound," manager Bob Melvin said.

Milone was terrific at home again Friday, but a lack of support made him the hard-luck loser in a 3-0 defeat to Baltimore. He allowed only an unearned run in 6 2-3 innings, but Oakland had three hits and committed a season-high three errors.

"I have high expectations for myself, and outings like this are what I'm looking for every time, so it's good to get it," Milone told the team's official website.

The Angels will counter with C.J. Wilson (2-0, 4.30), who is 3-1 with a 2.40 ERA in his last five starts at Oakland. He's kept Smith hitless in five at_bats, while Cespedes is 3 for 9 in their matchups.

The left-hander didn't fare well against the A's at home April 9, allowing four runs with three walks in six innings while not getting a decision in a 9-5 loss.

Wilson has won both of his decisions over three starts since, including a 6-3 victory at Seattle on Friday. He surrendered three runs and seven hits while throwing 110 pitches in 5 1-3 innings.

Mike Trout had a double, triple and four RBIs on Tuesday after hitting .158 with one RBI in the previous nine games.

Last year's AL Rookie of the Year, Trout has a .188 average over 17 games in Oakland, and went 0 for 3 versus Milone last month.

Josh Hamilton, however, is 5 for 11 with a homer off Milone, but he's 4 for 22 against the A's this year.

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

Old Post 05-01-13 03:17 PM
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Preview: Astros (8-19) at Yankees (16-10)

Game: 3
Venue: Yankee Stadium
Date: May 01, 2013 7:05 PM EDT

Despite their lengthy list of injured players, the New York Yankees are patiently plugging away in the early part of the season.

The young Houston Astros would do well to learn that lesson going forward as the teams wrap up their three-game set Wednesday night in the Bronx.

With a roster minus some of the customary star power that comes with a Yankees lineup - Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis are all on the disabled list - New York (16-10) has stitched together a solid start.

Robinson Cano has been steady with team highs of a .327 batting average, seven homers and 17 RBIs, while veteran newcomers Travis Hafner and Vernon Wells each have six homers.

Hafner keyed Tuesday night's 7-4 win with three RBI singles, the first two coming over the first three innings to give Hiroki Kuroda all the cushion he needed for his fourth straight win.

"You just see that his approach is good, and he's been great in that four-hole for us," Girardi said of Hafner, who shares the team lead with 17 RBIs. "With all the people we have out, he's done a really good job in our lineup."

Hafner is 5 for 16 with five walks against Astros scheduled starter Erik Bedard but also has struck out eight times.

Lyle Overbay, 5 for 15 with two homers and a triple in his last four games, is 3 for 13 versus Bedard but hasn't faced him since 2007.

Bedard (0-2, 7.98 ERA) may be fighting to keep his spot in Houston's rotation. The left-hander was hit hard at Fenway Park on Friday, giving up five runs and eight hits - three homers - in three-plus innings of the 7-3 loss to Boston. It was the fourth time in as many starts Bedard has lasted four or fewer innings, and his frustration was evident after that outing.

"They did their job," he told the team's official website. "They fouled a lot of pitches off and got my pitch count up and got some runs."

Bedard, who is 4-5 against the Yankees but hasn't faced them since 2008, is 0-2 with a 15.95 ERA in his last three outings. During that span, he's been tagged for five home runs among his 16 hits while yielding 13 runs in 7 1-3 innings.

The Astros (8-19), who had 17 hits in winning Monday's series opener 9-1, failed to help themselves early Tuesday when Kuroda struggled. They finished with 12 strikeouts while going 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position.

"If we could have gotten a few runs earlier with the opportunities that we had and made a couple of the crucial break-point plays, then the outcome could have been a little different," said manager Bo Porter, whose team has dropped 10 of 11 on the road.

David Phelps (1-1, 5.29) will make his first start this season for the Yankees after six relief appearances. He did pick up the win in his last outing Friday against Toronto, allowing a solo homer and one other hit in four innings after Ivan Nova left with elbow pain in a 6-4 victory. Phelps had a career-high nine strikeouts.

The right-hander has never faced the Astros.

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Preview: Red Sox (18-8) at Blue Jays (10-17)

Game: 2
Venue: Rogers Centre
Date: May 01, 2013 7:07 PM EDT

Clay Buchholz is the first Boston Red Sox pitcher in six seasons to win his first five starts.

The right-hander is the only Red Sox starter ever to win six consecutive decisions at Toronto.

Buchholz will try to extend those streaks - and become the majors' first six-game winner - on Wednesday night when the Red Sox seek to bounce back from their first defeat in six games.

After going 0-5 with a 5.62 ERA in his final eight outings of 2012, Buchholz (5-0, 1.19 ERA) is off to a brilliant start for the MLB-best Red Sox (18-8). The right-hander matched his career high for consecutive winning starts by throwing 7 2-3 innings of two-run ball in Thursday's 7-2 win over Houston.

"If he doesn't have his best stuff, he finds a way to get it done," catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia told the Red Sox' official website after Buchholz struck out 10. "... That's what Clay's able to do."

The last Red Sox starter to win his first five starts was Josh Beckett, who opened 7-0 in 2007.

"Last couple of years I've been a slow starter, so it feels good to be out there and have a little bit of confidence early on, and that helps a lot,' said Buchholz, who was 7-8 with a 5.19 ERA in April heading into 2013. "Guys are playing well behind me. Things are going right.'

Things couldn't have gone much better for Buchholz in his last seven starts in Toronto. He's 6-0 with a 1.27 ERA during that stretch after not earning a decision in his last start there, a 3-2 win on Sept. 15.

The Red Sox are hoping for another solid start from Buchholz north of the border after getting denied a team-record 19th April win on Tuesday, losing 9-7 in the series opener.

"They've got a quick-strike offense and they swung the bats very well tonight,' said John Farrell, the Blue Jays' former manager. "They didn't miss pitches when they got them on the plate.'

Edwin Encarnacion hit a pair of homers - including the first one into the upper deck at Rogers Centre since 2011 - to help Toronto (10-17) end a season-worst four-game skid and avoid its first 18-loss April.

"Winning a game like this, that's what we need right now," he said.

Wednesday's scheduled starter Mark Buehrle (1-1, 6.35) needs a victory following a rough first month with the club. In his last outing, the veteran southpaw was tagged for a season-high three homers, including a three-run shot by Robinson Cano in a 5-3 loss at Yankee Stadium on Thursday.

"That's the thing about this game that sometimes makes it frustrating," said Buehrle, 28-16 with a 3.23 ERA in 65 May starts. "They get two infield hits, and I put it right where I want to and it's three runs.'

Buehrle, 6-8 with a 4.64 ERA lifetime versus Boston, better be careful where he puts the ball against David Ortiz, who is 22 for 61 (.361) with three homers and eight doubles in that matchup.

Since coming off the DL nine games ago, Ortiz has 18 hits in 36 at_bats. He hit his third homer on Tuesday and drove in a season-high four, extending his RBI streak to six.

Encarnacion is 10 for 30 with seven homers and 12 RBIs in an eight-game hitting streak, but he has one hit - a single - in 15 at_bats against Buchholz.

Believe in the 3 G's
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Preview: White Sox (10-15) at Rangers (17-9)

Game: 2
Venue: Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
Date: May 01, 2013 8:05 PM EDT

The Texas Rangers' struggling offense busted out in a big way in the series opener, though runs haven't been easy to come by against Chicago White Sox starter Chris Sale lately.

Texas looks to stay hot as it continues its three-game series with visiting Chicago on Wednesday night.

The Rangers (17-9) totaled eight runs while splitting a four-game series with Minnesota - including a 5-0 loss Sunday - before getting homers from Nelson Cruz, Adrian Beltre and Jeff Baker in Tuesday's 10-6 victory over the White Sox.

Cruz is hitting .364 with four homers and 14 RBIs over his last nine games.

``We were what, 11 innings (since) we (last) scored a run, then we got some big hits and they just kept coming,' manager Ron Washington said.

Texas scored its most runs versus Chicago since a 12-11 win July 13, 2008, and did so without catcher A.J. Pierzynski, whose first game against his former team was delayed as he nursed a right oblique injury.

Pierzynski, who has an eight-game hitting streak, hopes to be back in the lineup before Thursday's series finale.

``It's killing me not to be out there," Pierzynski said. "Obviously the team I was with the last eight years, a bunch of guys, a bunch of my friends and to not be able to go out there is hard. I was looking forward to this series.'

Pierzynski at the very least can give some inside information about Sale, who won 17 games in his first season as a starter in 2012 with Pierzynski catching the majority of the time.

Aside from giving up eight runs in 4 1-3 innings of a 9-4 loss to Cleveland on April 13, Sale (2-2, 4.09 ERA) has pitched to the level that led him to last season's success.

The left-hander has pitched at least seven innings in each of his other four starts, allowing a total of seven earned runs. He walked a career worst-tying four but struck out seven and gave up two runs and four hits in seven innings of a 5-2 win over Tampa Bay on Thursday.

"You can't throw confetti when you're going good and you can't kick yourself in the rear when you're going bad,' Sale said.

Sale gave up five runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 9-5 road win over the Rangers on July 27 in his last start against them. Cruz, whose .191 career average versus the White Sox is tied for his worst against any AL team, hit a three-run homer in that contest and is 3 for 6 lifetime against Sale.

The Rangers will counter with rookie Nick Tepesch, who had another solid outing Thursday after allowing one run and five hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 2-1 win at Minnesota.

Tepesch (2-1, 2.53) and fellow 25-year-old Justin Grimm, who will start Thursday's series finale, have shined in their opportunities to be members of the Rangers' rotation, which is exactly what Washington expected.

"We had to give these guys a chance," Washington said told the team's official website. "I don't care if you're young. You have to get it done. It's that simple."

Tepesch will be making his first start against the White Sox (10-15), who have dropped three straight. Adam Dunn homered to give him three during a five-game hitting streak after going 1 for 37 with 17 strikeouts over his previous 11 contests.

Chicago's .230 average is the worst in the AL.

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Preview: Padres (10-16) at Cubs (10-16)

Game: 3
Venue: Wrigley Field
Date: May 01, 2013 8:05 PM EDT

Carlos Quentin seems to like facing the Chicago Cubs, and he's recently been particularly productive at Wrigley Field.

The rest of the San Diego Padres' lineup also really enjoyed their latest visit to the storied ballpark.

Quentin looks to continue his success against the Cubs as the Padres attempt to build upon their best offensive display of the season Wednesday night.

The two-time All-Star has a .337 average with nine homers and 26 RBIs in 29 career meetings with Chicago. Quentin has been especially dangerous versus the Cubs since the Padres acquired him from the White Sox prior to last season, batting .480 with five homers and 12 RBIs in seven games.

Much of that damage has come on the North Side, where he's 10 for 19 with five doubles, four homers and nine RBIs over the past five visits. His .344 career average at Wrigley is his highest at any ballpark.

Quentin was at it again there Tuesday, connecting for two doubles and a solo homer while driving in three runs in a 13-7 victory. It was the first time this season the Padres scored in double figures, and every member of the lineup had at least one of their season-high 17 hits.

San Diego (10-16) had nine extra-base hits in that win after getting only one in a 5-3 loss to open this four-game set Monday, ending a four-game winning streak.

Andrew Cashner (1-1, 3.26 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound, and he's rather familiar with Wrigley Field.

The right-hander went 2-6 with a 4.29 ERA while making 59 of 60 appearances out of the bullpen for Chicago from 2010-11. A first-round pick in 2008, Cashner was sent to San Diego in a deal that delivered Anthony Rizzo to the Cubs (10-16).

"My first start with the Padres (at Wrigley), but it's just another game," Cashner told the team's official website. "You don't treat it any different. You don't get too up or too down. You try to just stay the same every start you make."

Cashner faced the Cubs twice in relief last season - both in Chicago - and allowed two runs in two innings.

He enters this visit following his first win in eight career starts, yielding one run in six innings of a 2-1 victory over San Francisco on Friday.

"I think in the last two years I've polished my changeup," Cashner said. "My breaking ball is getting better and I found my changeup later in the game. Everything is finally coming together."

Cashner will be facing a hot-hitting Rizzo, who doubled on all three of his hits and drove in one run Tuesday. The first baseman is 8 for 17 with four doubles, two homers and six RBIs over the last five games. He's struck out in his only at-bat versus Cashner.

Scott Feldman (1-3, 3.92) is slated to get the ball coming off his first win with Chicago, allowing two runs in 6 2-3 innings of a 4-2 victory at Miami on Friday. The right-hander had given up 14 runs - seven earned - in 14 innings through his first three starts.

He was credited with a 7-3 win in his only start versus San Diego on June 19, yielding two runs in six innings while with Texas.

Starlin Castro has five hits in the last three games, including a two-run homer Tuesday.

Believe in the 3 G's
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Preview: Rays (12-14) at Royals (14-10)

Game: 2
Venue: Ewing M. Kauffman Stadium
Date: May 01, 2013 8:10 PM EDT

While the late innings doomed the Tampa Bay Rays in the opening game of the series, it's the first inning that has given Jeremy Hellickson the most trouble lately.

Hellickson will try to get off to a strong start and get the Rays back on track on Wednesday night when they continue their road trip against the Kansas City Royals.

James Shields was outstanding in his first start against his former team and the Royals (14-10) rallied for eight runs over the final three innings to open this three-game series with an 8-2 victory Tuesday.

"It fell apart very quickly and that was unusual to see,' manager Joe Maddon said. "Shields was really good.'

The Rays (12-14), who did not score after Matt Joyce's two-run homer in the first, failed to win their third straight and dropped to 4-10 on the road.

Now they'll turn to Hellickson (1-2, 4.31 ERA) to get them back to .500 on this 10-game trip.

After allowing five runs over 19 innings in his first three outings, Hellickson gave up that many in six innings while losing his last start. He struck out eight and walked four in a 5-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.

Hellickson has been outstanding in two starts against the Royals - both at home. He's struck out 13 and allowed two runs over 14 1-3 innings while leading the Rays to a pair of wins.

The right-hander will have to find a way to get out of the first unscathed since eight of the 15 runs he's given up have been in the opening inning.

The Royals, however, haven't scored in the first inning over their last seven games.

"It's kind of frustrating, but I feel good,' Hellickson said. "I just need to throw better pitches.'

Mike Moustakas went 2 for 3 with a two-run homer that highlighted Kansas City's four-run sixth inning in the opener.

"One inning, you know, kind of turned the game around for us," Moustakas said.

The third baseman, though, might have a tough time extending his four-game hitting streak considering he's hitless in six career at_bats against Hellickson.

Although Alex Gordon is 1 for 13 over his last three games, he's done some damage with three hits - including a double - in six at_bats in this matchup.

The Royals will send right-hander Luis Mendoza to the mound as they seek their second home series win.

Mendoza (0-1, 5.14) allowed eight runs over 5 2-3 innings in a 8-4 loss to Toronto on April 12 before working 2 1-3 innings of scoreless relief at Detroit on April 24.

He lost his only start against the Rays, yielding two runs and five hits with four walks over 4 1-3 innings of a 5-3 road defeat Aug. 22.

Mendoza will want to be careful with Joyce, who is 6 for 17 with three homers and six RBIs in his last four games.

James Loney is also swinging a hot bat, collecting three hits in three of his past four contests.

The Royals have won eight of 11 at home in this series.

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Preview: Giants (15-12) at Diamondbacks (15-12)

Game: 3
Venue: Chase Field
Date: May 01, 2013 9:40 PM EDT

Tim Lincecum hasn't seemed to let his disappointing 2012 season carry over into 2013. It may be difficult for him to ignore his recent history against the Arizona Diamondbacks, though.

Lincecum looks to avoid a seventh consecutive loss to Arizona as the visiting San Francisco Giants seek a three-game sweep Wednesday night.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner looked like anything but last season, going 10-15 with a career-worst 5.18 ERA before making five of his six postseason appearances out of the bullpen in San Francisco's run to a World Series title.

Lincecum (2-1, 3.64 ERA) has had a couple of rough outings this season as well - he gave up six runs in six innings against Colorado on April 9 and four in five frames versus the Chicago Cubs on April 14 - but otherwise has been solid.

The right-hander scattered four hits over 6 2-3 innings of a 2-0 win over San Diego on April 20 before suffering a tough 2-1 loss to Padres on Friday despite giving up two runs and striking out nine in seven innings.

"I'm trying to get away from comparing this year to last year," Lincecum told the team's official website after his last outing. "It was great to go seven and not be all over the place. I'll take it as a positive."

Lincecum hasn't experienced many positives recently versus the Diamondbacks, though, dropping his last six starts while posting a 6.75 ERA.

He allowed seven runs - including a three-run homer to Paul Goldschmidt - in four innings of a 7-2 loss in his last start versus Arizona on Sept. 25.

Goldschmidt, who is 8 for 14 with five home runs in his career off Lincecum, went 0 for 4 on Tuesday, though, when Pablo Sandoval hit a two-run homer in the top of the ninth off J.J. Putz to give the Giants (15-12) a 2-1 win over Arizona.

Sandoval, 11 for 18 over his last four games, went 2 for 3 with an RBI in Monday's series-opening victory and shook off an elbow inujry to contribute the big hit Tuesday.

``He's swinging good,' manager Bruce Bochy said. ``When you get a good hitter like that in the zone, it's fun to watch. We weren't sure he was going to play, but he shows up, says he fine, and ends up swinging the bat well.'

Arizona (15-12) mustered only four singles and wasted a solid performance from Trevor Cahill, and it may need to provide plenty more run support for Brandon McCarthy on Wednesday if he continues allowing runs at his current pace.

McCarthy (0-3, 7.48) has gotten off to a disappointing start in his first season with the Diamondbacks. He's allowed 25 runs in 27 2-3 innings over five outings after giving up six runs in six innings of Friday's 6-3 loss to Colorado.

``I have never been through a stretch like this,' said McCarthy, who spent his first seven seasons pitching in the AL. "It gets pretty frustrating pretty quick and makes your margin of error so small. It just puts you on a razor's edge and if you are not sharp all the way through then you're going to get hurt.'

The right-hander has never faced the Giants, though Hunter Pence is 3 for 7 with a double and triple lifetime off McCarthy.

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Preview: Orioles (16-11) at Mariners (12-17)

Game: 3
Venue: Safeco Field
Date: May 01, 2013 10:10 PM EDT

The Baltimore Orioles are back in the win column after ending the Seattle Mariners' best run of the season. Left-hander Wei-Yin Chen could keep them there.

Chen, the team leader in ERA, has dominated back-to-back starts and now looks to match a career high with his third consecutive victory Wednesday night when the visiting Orioles go for their fifth straight series win.

After getting denied a four-game sweep in Oakland with Sunday's 9-8, 10-inning loss, Baltimore (16-11) had its eight-game winning streak over Seattle snapped with Monday's 6-2 defeat.

The Orioles, though, avoided a season high-tying third consecutive loss with Tuesday's 7-2 victory. The Mariners (12-17) had won their previous three games while allowing five runs.

Baltimore has won six of seven in Seattle, and Chen (2-2, 2.53 ERA) pitched well in two starts there last season but didn't win either one. The Mariners did win both, however, as he allowed four runs and struck out 11 in 12 2-3 innings.

Chen has posted four straight quality starts and was brilliant in winning the last two, surrendering five total hits and one run in 14 innings. He went a career-high eight innings in Friday's 3-0 victory over the A's.

"Not physically, but mentally, I think this is probably the best start I have had in the major leagues," Chen said through an interpreter.

Chen, who won a career-best three consecutive starts from June 6-17, hopes to provide another lengthy outing to help save the bullpen. Baltimore's relievers have had to pitch 12 2-3 innings in four games since Chen's last outing.

The Mariners' bullpen might see plenty of action as well if Wednesday's scheduled starter, Aaron Harang (0-3, 11.37), runs into more problems. Since he arrived from Colorado via trade last month, the veteran right-hander has lost each of his three starts while totaling 12 2-3 innings.

This could be a make-or-break start if Harang plans on keeping his spot in the rotation.

"I'm not concerned," manager Eric Wedge told the Mariners' official website after Harang permitted five runs in three innings of Friday's 6-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

"... He's a veteran pitcher. He knows how to win at this level, and I'm sure he'll be better next outing."

Harang, whose opponents are batting .362, could get an early test with Nate McLouth, whose 11th career leadoff homer opened a four-run first inning Tuesday. McLouth is batting .485 with 14 runs in his last nine games and has seven RBIs over his past six.

McLouth, though, is 3 for 27 against Harang with 11 strikeouts, his most against any pitcher.

Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, who has yet to face the right-hander, will try to extend his team-best hitting streak to 10. He's batting .410 over the last nine.

Mariners second baseman Dustin Ackley has lifted his batting average from .145 to .253 during a 10-game hit streak. Ackley is 1 for 5 against Chen.

The southpaw, giving up a team-low .56 homers per nine innings, has not allowed a home run to any current Mariner.

Seattle's Michael Morse, who has two of his team-high eight homers in the last three games, is 2 for 3 against Chen - both singles.

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Preview: Rockies (16-11) at Dodgers (13-13)

Game: 3
Venue: Dodger Stadium
Date: May 01, 2013 10:10 PM EDT

After Hanley Ramirez provided a boost in his return, the Los Angeles Dodgers hope Josh Beckett can do the same while avoiding a career-worst season-opening winless drought.

Beckett again looks to pick up his elusive first win on Wednesday night when the Dodgers try to take two of three at home from the NL West-leading Colorado Rockies.

In his first start of the season, Ramirez made an instant impact by going 2 for 4 with a home run and a double to help Los Angeles (13-13) cruise to a 6-2 win on Tuesday.

Ramirez started at shortstop after opening the season on the disabled list with a torn ligament in his right thumb suffered during the championship game of the World Baseball Classic. He improved his batting average to .365 over his last 14 meetings with the Rockies.

The Dodgers will try to finish with a 4-2 homestand while picking up another game on the Rockies (16-11) in the series finale.

After allowing nine runs in 19 1-3 innings over his first three outings, Beckett (0-3, 4.75 ERA) has given up that many in 11 innings in his last two. The right-hander has also allowed eight home runs, which ranks among the most in the majors.

Beckett will try to avoid going winless through his first six starts for the first time in his 13-year career.

"He's throwing the ball great and he's kept us in games,' first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said. "We just haven't been able to get those extra runs to get him a W.'

Beckett is 6-2 with a 3.40 ERA in nine career starts against the Rockies, including a 13-1 win in Game 1 of the 2007 World Series while with Boston. He surrendered just one run and six hits over six innings in a 7-1 win over Colorado last September.

Beckett may have to deal with Troy Tulowitzki, who is expected to play after missing his second straight game with a shoulder injury.

The star shortstop has a .308 average with six homers and a team-high 22 RBIs, though he's just 2 for 16 with one RBI in his last four games at Chavez Ravine.

"I think I can talk them into making sure that I'm in there," he told the team's official website. "I can't handle watching any more games."

Carlos Gonzalez hit his first homer since April 16 on Tuesday and is 6 for 13 in the last three meetings.

Dexter Fowler is batting .400 (14 for 35) during a nine-game hitting streak that's raised his average to .305.

The Rockies, who fell to 2-4 on a seven-game road trip that concludes on Wednesday, look to regroup behind unbeaten right-hander Juan Nicasio.

Nicasio (3-0, 4.65 ERA) hasn't been able to go deep into games, but has allowed three earned runs and seven hits in 9 1-3 innings in his last two starts. He pitched well in his last appearance at Dodger Stadium, striking out nine and allowing one run over seven innings in a 2-1 loss on May 12.

Andre Ethier has hit Nicasio hard with seven hits - including a homer and a double - in 11 career at_bats, while Matt Kemp is 10 for 22 with four homers in his last six home games against the Rockies.

Carl Crawford (hamstring) was scratched from the lineup on Tuesday, but is likely to be back in left field.

The Dodgers have won five of six at home in this series.

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April's MLB Total:

Totals 388-_338-_16 53.44% +17645

Wednesday, May 1

Game Score Status Pick Amount

NY Mets - 12:40 PM ET Miami +114 500 POD # 2

Miami - Under 8 500

Minnesota - 1:08 PM ET Minnesota +208 500 POD # 1

Detroit - Under 8.5 500

Pittsburgh - 1:10 PM ET Pittsburgh +129 500 POD # 3

Milwaukee - Over 9 500

Cincinnati - 1:45 PM ET Cincinnati +104 500 POD # 4

St. Louis - Under 7.5 500

LA Angels - 3:35 PM ET Oakland -116 500

Oakland - Over 8.5 500

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Armadillo: Wednesday's six-pack

-- Congrats to Tim Hudson on win #200, 92 of which he got pitching for the A's. He'll be an interesting decision for the Hall of Fame someday.

-- Memphis won by 10 at Staples Center, grabs a 3-2 series lead over the Clippers, as they try to avenge LY's loss in seven games to LA.

-- New Mexico and Steve Alford are $800,000 apart on the buyout of his contract to go coach UCLA; this will wind up getting settled when UCLA gives the Lobos a couple of guaranteed-money football games, to make up the money Alford isn't going to pay them.

-- NCAA failed to come with anything on the old Lance Thomas/$67,000 jewelry case, so they closed it. Kid put down $30,000 for jewelry, owed the store another $67,000, never paid it, and everything's OK? By the way, Lance Thomas played for Duke, so everything must be cool.

-- NCAA is so annoyed by this story they're thinking of putting Coastal Carolina on probation for five years. The little guys always get pummeled.

-- College sports babbles about how much they hate gambling, but the new AAC may have their first conference tournament at Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut. Go figure.


Armadillo: Wednesday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......

13) Late Monday night was filled with interesting baseball action; Mets went ahead of Miami in 15th inning because Marlins walked Ike Davis on purpose to face Ruben Tejada; Davis is hitting .159, Tejada .259.

According to, which keeps a database of such things, neither hitter had faced Jon Rauch before, so why walk the befuddled Davis to pitch to Tejada, who already had two hits Monday?

Long story short, they walk Davis, then throw a wild pitch, then Tejada gets an infield hit and the Mets go ahead. Horrific managing, but Miami rallies for two in the ninth to win anyway, a weird end to an odd game—there were no more than a couple hundred people left in that beautiful new ballpark in Miami at game’s end.

12) Monday’s game was supposed to be a Harvey-Fernandez showcase of two of baseball’s best young pitchers, but the two combined to throw 202 pitches while lasting a combined 9.1 innings- not very good. Harvey threw 5.04 pitches per batter, and had 35 balls fouled off, a ridiculously high number. Fernandez threw 4.76 pitches/hitter and was lifted after four IP, allowing two runs. These two have plenty of better days ahead of them.

11) Out in Oakland, Angels led 7-2 in 8th inning, before things got bizarre. The A’s tied the game in the 9th (Cespedes is the A’s version of Kelly Leak from The Bad News Bears), fell behind in the 12th, tied it again (Rosales with a huge hit), then finally won the game at 4:41 ET when Brandon Moss homered in the 19th off a guy named Enright who used to pitch for Arizona.

Longest game in history for both Angels and A’s. For a minute, thought I was going to have to call in late to work to watch the end of the game.

10) Weirdest part of the A’s game was that Brett Anderson was scratched from the start (ankle) but wound up throwing 5.1 innings in relief, before he re-injured the ankle and had to leave in the 18th inning.

As much fun as winning these close games is, there is a huge red flag for Oakland: if their starting pitching doesn’t revert back to LY’s strong level, they’re going to fall apart this summer, because too much strain is being placed on their fine bullpen. Its as simple as that.

Sunday/Monday was first time since 1941 the A’s won consecutive games, when they trailed by 5+ runs in both games.

9) Injuries, injuries and more injuries; Stanton-Crisp-Bourjos-CYoung all got hurt running from home to first Monday night. Four starting OFs in one night, some of the better athletes in the game. Anderson re-injured his ankle when he turned to try and field a ball hit up the middle- he is always hurt. Baseball players are paper mache, its unbelievable.

8) Phil Jackson has never run an NBA franchise and is 67, which makes the Raptors’ push to hire the Zen Master as Team President a little odd. Maybe they’re just looking for some free publicity before the NHL playoffs start. Maybe they're serious, which will be very expensive if they're wrong.

7) While Creighton’s Doug McDermott will play another year for his father, Ray McCallum Jr is leaving his dad at U of Detroit and is bolting early for the NBA. Detroit never enjoyed the success that was expected once young McCallum committed to the Titans, but he is expected to be a good NBA player. Its a big hit to his dad's team.

6) Baylor gets center Isaiah Austin back for another season because the big man hurt his shoulder and wouldn’t have been a first round NBA draft pick, so he smartly returned to school. Good break for Scott Drew.

5) Luol Deng is 1-18 on 3-pointers in the Bulls-Nets playoff series; at what point do you stop shooting them? He is a career 33.4% shooter behind the arc who made 32.2% this year; I’m just asking.

4) ESPN’s draft coverage got its best ratings in these three cities:
New Orleans-Birmingham-Kansas City.

3) Geno Smith already fired his agent? He got drafted four days ago!!! Smith has to wait five days before he can hire another agent. Hope he doesn’t hire the guy who advised Tyler Bray to leave school early.

2) There are 347 Division I college hoop teams; this spring’s transfer list is already over 350 kids. Last year’s wound up over 450. The average transfer rate for all college students, athletes or not, is said to be around 33%.

1) Oklahoma City owner Clay Bennett is head of the NBA’s relocation committee; he is the guy who stole the Sonics from Seattle, which makes you wonder how much of a shot Seattle had in the first place, as far as getting the Kings to leave Sacramento for the Pacific Northwest.
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GIRLS, GOLF,GAMBLING not in any particular order.

Old Post 05-01-13 04:00 PM
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See spot. See spot bet: This week's best spot bet opportunities

Spot bets are a classic handicapping practice that have proven profitable no matter what sport you’re betting. Whether it’s a team looking past this week’s opponent, one coming off a hard-fought victory, or a rough patch of schedule, bettors can find value picking their spots.

Lookahead spot

Mets not mindful of Marlins

The New York Mets may be in an extended lookahead spot after starting the season with a bang, but it’s come to a head with the National League East-leading Atlanta Braves on deck following a three-game set with the lowly Miami Marlins this week.

New York jumped out to a 7-4 start to the year but has gone just 3-10 since, even suffering a 4-3 loss to Miami on Monday. The Mets may have been getting ahead of themselves, sitting behind the Braves in the standings before plummeting to fourth in the division. With the series in Atlanta starting Friday, New York runs the risk of looking past the floundering Fish, who are getting solid underdog value at home.

Letdown spot

Leafs’ postseason letdown

A lot has changed since the Toronto Maple Leafs last made a postseason appearance. The year was 2004. Spider-Man 2 was a hit at theaters, Lance Armstrong was cheating his way to a sixth Tour de France title and George W. Bush was settling into his second term as President of the United States. Nine years of frustration are pouring into Wednesday’s playoff opener versus the Boston Bruins and Toronto may be happy just to be still playing.

Teams generally hold the sticks a little tighter in Game 1 of the postseason and aren’t quite themselves when playing under the playoff pressure. Now double those expectations for the Leafs, whose rabid fan base and cut-throat media coverage have been waiting nearly a decade for this. On the other side of the rink, Boston is playoff savvy and won’t be shaken by the switch in intensity.

Scheduling spot

Red Wings' cross-country tour

The Detroit Red Wings finished No. 7 in the Western Conference and therefore must make a cross-country trek to California to play the No. 2 Anaheim Ducks in the opening two games of their first-round series, starting Tuesday. The Wings don’t plan on making many adjustments to deal with the three-hour time difference and goalie Jimmy Howard told the media all the team needs is a good night’s sleep.

Detroit went 9-5-1 versus Pacific teams overall, including back-to-back road wins over Anaheim in March, and was 11-9-2-2 on the road. The Ducks boast a 16-7-1-0 record inside the Honda Center – the fourth-best home record in the West. The teams play Tuesday and Thursday in Anaheim before coming back to Detroit Saturday and Monday.
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Old Post 05-01-13 04:01 PM
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Colorado at LA Dodgers
The Rockies look to take advantage of a Dodger team that is 1-5 in Josh Beckett's last 6 starts as a favorite of -110 to -150. Colorado is the pick (+130) according to Dunkel, which has the Rockies favored by 1. Dunkel Pick: Colorado (+130). Here are all of today's picks.


Game 901-902: NY Mets at Miami (12:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Mets (Gee) 13.543; Miami (LeBlanc) 14.472
Dunkel Line: Miami by 1; 7
Vegas Line: NY Mets (-130); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Miami (+110); Under

Game 903-904: Pittsburgh at Milwaukee (1:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Pittsburgh (Gomez) 15.726; Milwaukee (Burgos) 16.545
Dunkel Line: Milwaukee by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Milwaukee (-145); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Milwaukee (-145); Over

Game 905-906: Cincinnati at St. Louis (1:45 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cincinnati (Bailey) 14.980; St. Louis (Lynn) 16.185
Dunkel Line: St. Louis by 1; 6 1/2
Vegas Line: St. Louis (-125); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: St. Louis (-125); Under

Game 907-908: Washington at Atlanta (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Washington (Zimmermann) 15.037; Atlanta (Maholm) 14.569
Dunkel Line: Washington by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Atlanta (-115); 7
Dunkel Pick: Washington (-105); Over

Game 909-910: San Diego at Chicago Cubs (8:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Diego (Cashner) 15.665; Cubs (Feldman) 14.452
Dunkel Line: San Diego by 1; 10
Vegas Line: Chicago Cubs (-110); No Total
Dunkel Pick: San Diego (-110); N/A

Game 911-912: San Francisco at Arizona (9:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Francisco (Lincecum) 15.844; Arizona (McCarthy) 15.655
Dunkel Line: San Francisco by 1/2; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: San Francisco (-115); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: San Francisco (-115); Under

Game 913-914: Colorado at LA Dodgers (10:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Colorado (Nicasio) 16.576; LA Dodgers (Beckett) 15.481
Dunkel Line: Colorado by 1; 8
Vegas Line: LA Dodgers (-150); 7
Dunkel Pick: Colorado (+130); Over

Game 915-916: Minnesota at Detroit (1:08 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota (Diamond) 15.386; Detroit (Sanchez) 16.971
Dunkel Line: Detroit by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Detroit (-240); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Detroit (-240); Under

Game 917-918: LA Angels at Oakland (3:35 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Angels (Wilson) 14.446; Oakland (Milone) 13.964
Dunkel Line: LA Angels by 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Oakland (-120); 8
Dunkel Pick: LA Angels (+100); Over

Game 919-920: Houston at NY Yankees (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Houston (Bedard) 13.500; NY Yankees (Phelps) 14.872
Dunkel Line: NY Yankees by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: NY Yankees (-230); 9
Dunkel Pick: NY Yankees (-230); Under

Game 921-922: Boston at Toronto (7:07 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Boston (Buchholz) 16.415; Toronto (Buehrle) 14.999
Dunkel Line: Boston by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Boston (-145); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Boston (-145); Under

Game 923-924: Chicago White Sox at Texas (8:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: White Sox (Sale) 15.045; Texas (Tepesch) 14.102
Dunkel Line: Chicago White Sox by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Texas (-120); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Chicago White Sox (+100); Over

Game 925-926: Tampa Bay at Kansas City (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay (Hellickson) 15.823; Kansas City (Mendoza) 16.656
Dunkel Line: Kansas City by 1; 7 1/2
Vegas Line: Tampa Bay (-125); 8
Dunkel Pick: Kansas City (+105); Under

Game 927-928: Baltimore at Seattle (10:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Baltimore (Chen) 15.595; Seattle (Harang) 14.034
Dunkel Line: Baltimore by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Baltimore (-130); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Baltimore (-130); Over

Game 929-930: Philadelphia at Cleveland (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Philadelphia (Lee) 15.375; Cleveland (Bauer) 15.946
Dunkel Line: Cleveland by 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Philadelphia (-160); 8
Dunkel Pick: Cleveland (+140); Over
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GIRLS, GOLF,GAMBLING not in any particular order.

Old Post 05-01-13 04:02 PM
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Wednesday, May 1

Four Wednesday starters with a combined 13-2-2 over record

Any bettor that wagered $100 on the over on each of these pitcher's 17 starts would be up $1,033.19.

Here's a look at four pitchers starting on Wednesday that have a combined 13-2-2 over record:

Erik Bedard, Houston Astros (0-2, 7.98 ERA, 3-0-1 O/U as a starter)

In Bedard's last three starts, he has given up 13 earned runs in only 7 1/3 innings, while serving up five home runs.

Anibal Sanchez, Detroit Tigers (3-1, 1.34 ERA, 4-1 O/U)

The Tigers have scored 7, 10 and 10 runs in three of Sanchez's starts. Octavio Dotel melted down in the other over game after Sanchez gave up only two earned runs through 6 2/3 innings. Detroit averages 4.96 runs per game offensively, fifth in baseball.

Aaron Harang, Seattle Mariners (0-3, 11.37 ERA, 3-0 O/U)

Harang has been blasted since returning to the American League for the first time since 2003. He hasn't made it to the sixth inning, has given up six home runs and 16 earned runs in his three starts.

Juan Nicasio, Colorado Rockies (3-0, 4.62 ERA, 3-1-1 O/U)

The Rockies have scored an average of 6.2 runs a game when Nicasio has been on the hill, better than the team's 5.35 runs per game average. Along with Nicasio not making it to seventh inning once and giving up an average of a home run a game, the scoreboard lights up with Nicasio pitching.



Wednesday, May 1

Wednesday's MLB weather watch

Favorable weather across the majors today, but a possibility of showers in Kansas City. Here's the MLB weather report for Wednesday:

Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves (-115, 7)
Site: Turner Field

The wind will blow in from right field at 11 mph.

San Diego Padres vs. Chicago Cubs (+107, n/a)
Site: Wrigley Field

The wind will blow from right to left at 10 mph.

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Kansas City Royals (+108, 8)
Site: Kauffman Stadium

The wind will blow in from left field at 17 mph, with a possibility of rain showers.

Cincinnati Reds vs. St. Louis Cardinals (-110, 7.5)
Site: Busch Stadium

Winds will blow from right field to center field at 10 mph.

Minnesota Twins vs. Detroit Tigers (-228, 8.5)
Site: Comerica Park

Wind will blow in from center field at 10 mph.

Chicago White Sox vs. Texas Rangers (-119, 8.5)
Site: Rangers Ballpark

Wind will blow in from left field at 11 mph.

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

Old Post 05-01-13 04:05 PM
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