Thursday's game didn't go as I had hoped, with the Yankees losing 2-1 against the Rays. 5* 1-1, 10*4-2, 20* 0-1 is where I stand right now. I should have stuck with my guy instinct on Thursday night and supported Verlander and the Tigers at a -$155 price. Talked myself out of a winner and right into a loser. Great. Fridays action, however, I was able to post a winner. I was unable to blog yesterday but still found a winner with the Atlanta Braves (Jurrjens) at -$115 at the Reds and Bronson Arroyo. With Jurrjens on the mound as only a slight favorite against a Cincy team that was in a hitting funk and a pitcher who couldn't keep people off the basepaths. I was able to personally get a winner but won't count it on my record here since I was unable to record it. Time to break the blog losing streak and get another winner today.
San Diego (Latos, 5-10, 4.02 ERA) at Philadelphia (Kendrick, 5-4, 3.34) -$140
A play on the Phillies moneyline is my first play for the day. Latos is not the same pitcher he was last year. He is still very young and has a lot of room to grow, but a veteran lineup like the Phillies should be able to knock him around a bit. The Phillies have been putting up solid offensive numbers too while going 6-2 over their last 8. In all 6 Phils victories, the have won by at least 2 runs. That stat makes me want to possibly play the runline, -1.5 at +$155 for Philly. However, my bad luck with runlines scares me off of it. Shane Victorino has also returned to the Phillies lineup to help give them an offensive boost. He has already had a couple games back and got his first hit last night against SD, a sign he might be getting back in his .300 hitting groove before he went down earlier this month. Latos has pitched well against teams that aren't great at the plate (SF, LA, Sea) but has been roughed up against more experienced, better hitting teams (Bos, Col). SD does have a very solid bullpen, however, anchored by closer Heath Bell. They did trot out 3 relievers last night though, which gives Philly an edge by already seeing those pitchers. Where as Hamels went 8 and Madsen came in to close the door for Philly.
As for SD, they were able to put up some runs against Florida last series but I'm not sure that will carry over to this series, as evident by the 3-1 loss last night to Philly. Chases Headley and Jesus Guzman both have respectable averages, but everyone else in the Padres line up struggles to get on base. They are facing a pitcher in Kendrick who has been very respectable when he has been called upon to start, sporting a 3.60 ERA for July. Kendrick is a pitcher who doesn't walk many and makes teams put the ball in play, not exactly SD's strongest facet. Philly doesn't have as strong of bullpen, but as long as Kendrick can log 6-7 innings, there shouldn't be a worry.
With Philly cruising at home to a 5-2 record on Saturdays, I like the Phils for a 5* play on the moneyline. This was originally a 10* play but Ryan Howard is not in the starting lineup.
Detroit (Penny, 7-6, 4.47 ERA) +$110 at Minnesota (Baker, 7-5, 3.01 ERA)
The second play I like today is the Detroit Tigers moneyline as an underdog. Detroit has roughed up Minnesota in the first two games of the series although Detroit did have the starting pitching advantage in both of those games. Today's starters, Penny and Baker, both bring a different story to the table. Penny had struggle mightily for the Tigers to start the year, but has posted a solid run his last 5 starts, only giving 4 runs one time in 6 innings of work He is 2-0 in July with a 3.60 ERA in 3 starts. You can pencil him in for at least 6 innings which takes some pressure off the middle relievers who are not very good for Detroit. Opposing Penny is Scott Baker, who was lights out before going on the DL 3 weeks ago. Before the injury he was pitching well against TB and had shut down the Dodgers his previous start. I am betting on Baker having some rust against a hot Detroit lineup.
Detroit has scored at least 4 runs in each of the last 5 games, including the first two against the Twins. The Twins have only gone over 4 once in the last 7 and that was against a struggling Cleveland pitcher, certainly nothing to write home about. One big problem for the Twins has been the power outage from Joe Mauer. Although his average is climbing, he just doesn't have the power back yet after his knee injuries. Jason Kubel is back for the Twins after missing significant time and had 2 walks and a hit. Not a bad return, but not banking on that performance two days in a row. Detroit is anchored by Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez both are raking right now and have hit Scott Baker very well. Detroits team average against Baker is about .330, although that can be somewhat misleading considering they play every year and someone like Magglio Ordonez is not the hitter he was 2 or 3 years ago. Overall though, I think the Tigers just have too much firepower and have had the Twins number as of late.
Take Detroit +$110 on the moneyline for 10*.
Tampa Bay (Niemann, 4-4, 3.94 ERA) -$120 at Kansas City (Francis, 3-11, 4.62 ERA)
Tampa Bay on the moneyline is the play here. Niemann has been pitching very well against very potent competition as of late, posting a 0.84 ERA in July in 21.1 innings against NY, Bos and STL while going 2-0. Francis has not been nearly as sharp but is still pitching ok. He posts a 3.72 ERA in July but KC has lost his 6 starts and 7 of last 8. Francis has not gotten great run support all year, while Niemann has had solid to good run support, even if he only has a 4-4 record. Niemann had a long stint on the DL earlier this year and returned in mid June. He has only given up more than 1 ER once since coming of the DL in 5 starts. Very promising start.
Kansas City has been playing better as of late, but it has been against lesser competition, winning 3 in a row against 3 shaky pitchers (Peavy, Danks, and Wade Davis in first start back). Tampa has struggled going 2-7 in the last 9 but have all been very tight games against the BoSox and and Yankees. KC is getting good all around production but I think Niemann can shut them down. Francis has not pitched that great against poor teams, so the Rays should welcome the chance to see some lesser pitching.
Due to KC hammering them last night, I am only putting a 5* on the Tampa Bay moneyline.
3 games today, hopefully coming away with 3 big winners. Good luck and thanks again for reading.