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Baseball Betting: bet on Phillies & Dodgers to continue streak!

The good thing about wagering on sports this time of year is that with a plethora of activity, you may fine a soft line here or there if you probe hard enough. Two teams who are beginning to get healthy and make some noise are the Philadelphia Phillies and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Philadelphia Phillies seek to push their winning streak to 10 games for the first time in nearly 15 years when they wrap up a three-game series against resurgent Tom Glavine and the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday.

With a 5-4 win in the middle game of the series on Tuesday, Philadelphia (18-14) has won nine in a row for the first time since a 13-game streak from July 30-Aug. 12, 1991.

The streak also has allowed the Phillies to move within two games of the Mets, who sit atop the NL East and are trying to avoid their first three-game losing streak of 2006.

The City of Brotherly Love is beginning to embrace the Phil’s as both the 76ers and Flyers have been banished from their respective sports and the players are brimming with confidence. Having won 9 in a row and facing a pitcher (Glavine), you would think the Phil’s would be rock solid favorites, but the morning line has the game a pick-em!

The lefty’s last two outing have been superb however and there should be some Mets money to keep the odds attractive if you are a Cory Liddle fan. The right-hander will try to put together consecutive wins for the first time this season. Against Atlanta on Friday, he gave up three runs and five hits with a season-high three walks over six innings in a 6-3 victory that lifted the Phillies to .500 for the first time this year.

He’s had success against his former team, going 4-1 with a 2.15 ERA in five outings, striking out 26 and walking just five.

Glavine (4-2, 1.94) will make the start for New York looking for his 280th career win, but also looking to beat the Phillies for the first time in 10 starts.
Since last defeating Philadelphia on Sept. 19, 2002, Glavine is 0-7 with a 5.82 ERA and opponents have hit .298 against him. He has dropped his last five starts versus them, allowing 24 runs and 35 hits in 29 innings.

Overall, Glavine is 24-16 with a 3.77 ERA in his career against Philadelphia.
At 40, Glavine is pitching recently like the two-time Cy Young Award winner he is. In wins April 29 over Atlanta and Thursday against Pittsburgh, the left-hander has given up just seven hits with 11 strikeouts and just three walks in 14 innings.

Take the Phillies to extend their streak!

In the other game you have two teams passing each other in the express elevator. The Dodgers are on their way to the penthouse, while Houston is freefalling to the outhouse. LA winner of 4 in a row is beginning to get production from their big name players Garciaparra, Drew and as always Jeff Kent.

On the other hand you have Astro’s slugger Lance Berkman in a terrible funk hitless in five at-bats and is 4-for-20 with no RBIs on the road trip. Only 14 of his 36 RBIs have come on the road. Tonight momentum is in the Dodger’s favorite.

Brett Tomko (3-1, 3.41 ERA) has been outstanding in his last three outings for Los Angeles, going 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA in that stretch. He did not win his last outing despite allowing five hits over seven scoreless innings in a 3-0 loss to San Diego on Thursday.

“I tweaked a couple of things in the bullpen this week, and it worked. I felt more comfortable with my off-speed stuff,” Tomko said. “It would have been a lot nicer if we would have come out with the win.”

The veteran right-hander is 4-5 with a 4.90 ERA in 13 career starts against Houston.

Impressive Houston rookie Taylor Buchholz (2-1, 2.16) will oppose Tomko in his fifth career start. Buchholz is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA since joining the rotation on April 17.

The right-hander failed to record a decision his last time out after allowing three runs and six hits over seven innings in a 5-4 loss at Colorado last Friday.

You have to grab LA at -110!

Baseball betting numbers that matter!

The good news for the LA Angels is that they are only four game back in the loss column in the wacky AL West. The bad news is that 2005 CY Young award winner Bartolo Colon is returning and has looked brutal in 2006.

In his third minor league rehabilitation start, Colon gave up six earned runs and nine hits against the Fresno Grizzlies. In three starts for the Angels this season, Colon is 0-2 with a 7.07 ERA and they are going to send down their best pitcher to accommodate him.

Jered Weaver, the Angels’ first-round draft pick in June 2004, reduced his ERA to 1.37 and became the second pitcher in franchise history to win his first four major league starts on Tuesday night. The other was Bo Belinsky, who won his first five starts in 1962 and finished his rookie season 10-11. Whether that’s enough to keep Weaver up in the bigs is another story. He has allowed just four earned runs, 16 hits and four walks in his 26 1-3 innings of work — and has received a total of 30 runs of support from his teammates.

The player who should be sent down is Weaver’s brother Jeff Weaver who is 3-9 with an embarrassing ERA of 6.15, but is earning $8.3 million.

The Angels are lucky to have Orlando Cabrera in the lineup as this guy has been incredible. Cabrera has reached base in 43 consecutive games without the benefit of a fielder’s choice, the longest current streak in baseball and longest in club history. He has hit safely in 27 of his last 31 contests and is 25-for-54 over his last 14 games, raising his average from .271 to .313.

When the LA Dodgers acquired Brad Penny a couple of years ago, much was expected of the hard throwing righthander, but some arm ailments affected him and he was just 7-9 in 2005. Already in 2006 he has equaled his 2005 total. Penny (7-1, 2.34 ERA) is 5-0 with a 2.03 ERA over seven starts since his lone loss of the season at Arizona on May 1. He also hasn’t allowed a home run in 10 outings since April 14.

The right-hander enters tonight’s start with a scoreless streak of 14 1-3 innings after a victory at Colorado on Friday. He surrendered five hits over 8 1-3 innings in a 3-0 win.

Padres catcher Mike Piazza, a former Dodger who is hitless in his last nine at-bats, is hitting .400 (12-for-30) with three homers and 12 RBIs in his career against Penny. Piazza is hitting just .188 at home this season.

The Colorado Rockies look to win three straight road games for the first time since April when they continue a four-game series against the Washington Nationals at RFK Stadium on Wednesday.

The Rockies (32-32) opened the season winning 10 of their first 13 road games, but have gone just 6-13 away from Denver since May 1. Still, Colorado is 16-16 on the road this season — a huge improvement over last season’s 27-54 mark.

Garrett Atkins had a double and scored two runs, and is batting .395 (17-for-43) with seven runs, five doubles and nine RBIs during a season-high 12-game hitting streak.

Washington will counter with Tony Armas (6-3, 3.48), who has won six of his last seven decisions. He allowed three runs and six hits in five innings in a 9-8, 12-inning win over Philadelphia on Friday, but did not receive a decision.

The Nationals have won in six of his last seven starts.

Armas is just 1-1 with a 4.80 ERA in six starts at RFK, and has pitched five or fewer innings in three of his last four home starts, posting a 7.13 ERA in those games.

The right-hander is 2-2 with a 7.39 ERA in seven starts against the Rockies, but went 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA in two starts against them last season.

We told you what to expect this year from over the hill Randy Johnson and he has failed to earn his salary in 2006. Johnson (7-5, 5.63 ERA) was hit hard again his last time out, allowing six runs and six hits over four innings of a 6-5 loss to Oakland on Friday. He gave up three more homers, a season high, to bring his total for the year to 15.

The Big Unit has surrendered 10 homers in his last 33 1-3 innings spanning six starts, doing nothing to dispel the notion that his dominance may be fading at age 42. Last year, he gave up a career-high 32 homers in his first season with New York.

Baseball Betting: number’s don’t lie!

When betting major league baseball it is very wise to pay attention to the numbers, as teams and players seem to own certain pitchers or clubs, but also struggled mightily against others. We warned you at the start of the year about Johnson for the Yankees.

Randy Johnson is 5-2 through seven starts. But that’s not as good as it looks.

Facing a Tampa lineup missing Jorge Cantu, Aubrey Huff and Julio Lugo, Johnson gave up five runs on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings Thursday night, letting the Devil Rays stay in the game until the Yankees finally broke it open for a 10-5 victory.

Such games have become routine. In his previous start, against Toronto on Saturday, Johnson allowed six runs on six hits in five innings. The Yankees bailed him out by scoring 17 runs.

That method may work now. It won’t in October.

“Right now he’s not as good as he’s going to be,” manager Joe Torre said of Johnson, 42. “Let’s put it this way: We don’t have any concerns. … This is just normal pitching stuff.”

Johnson has allowed 19 earned runs in his last 23 innings, bumping his ERA to 5.02. But he is 5-2 because the Yankees have averaged just over nine runs over his seven starts.

The divorce of long time mates Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox and former pitching coach Lee Mazzone, has made life miserable for both of their teams. The Braves avoided dropping to 10 games behind in the National League East when they broke a four-game losing streak Sunday by beating the New York Mets 13-3. Still, the nine-game deficit beginning the day was the Braves’ largest since Aug. 11, 1993.

That was the third year of their unprecedented string of 14 division crowns (there was no champion in the strike-shortened 1994 season). The streak remains alive but appears in jeopardy with the Mets’ emergence.

Baltimore starter Bruce Chen gave homers to Kevin Mench and Mark Teixeira in his last start against Texas and Chen was battered for 11 hits and eight runs (seven earned) in four innings as he fell to 0-4. RHP Jim Brower, who ended the week ahead of all relievers with the most earned runs allowed at 14, the most walks with 11 and most hits allowed with 17. Their new pitching coach is Mazzone.

The Boston Red Sox team slugging percentage of .409 entering April 28, is ranked 22nd in baseball. The Red Sox finished in the top two in slugging each of the past three seasons. Few teams succeed while digging themselves holes, and the 2006 Red Sox have proved no exception to that trend. For that reason, the fact that Boston had been outscored by its opponents by a 25-13 margin in first innings prior to Wednesday raised something of a red flag.

The Sox own just a 5-9 mark when their opponents score first, something that has now happened in exactly half of the team’s games. It is a pattern that the team is eager to reverse.

With Thursday’s 7-4 win, the Sox now have an 11-3 record when they score first. If the recent awakening of the Boston bats (20 runs during the first three games of a homestand) points to more such nights, then the team might be able to breathe a bit easier.

RHP Bobby Jenks of the Chicago White Sox continued silencing the critics who jumped on him in spring training, saving his ninth game in nine opportunities Thursday. His velocity on his fastball is still on the rise, but the impressive thing with Jenks has been his other pitches, especially his curveball. The Sox swept the two-game series against the Mariners and in doing so won their 10th consecutive home game, tying a franchise record. They have won 19 of 23 overall, becoming the first team in the majors to reach 20 wins.

Since getting swept in the 2000 American League Division Series against the Mariners, the Sox are now 8-17 at Safeco Field.

The Indians’ inconsistent pitching staff cost the team another game Thursday, as Cleveland lost 12-4 at Oakland. Starter Jason Johnson (2-2) lasted just two innings and gave up seven runs.

Johnson had a 1.83 ERA after his first three starts, but his ERA in the last three starts is 9.64. That’s the kind of inconsistency that has plagued the Indians in the first five weeks of the season.

Equally distressing to the Indians is that Johnson has averaged less than five innings per start in his last three starts. Not pitching deep into games has been a problem for Indians starting pitchers since the beginning of the season, and the two innings Johnson pitched Thursday was a reminder of that shortcoming. Because of the starters’ inability to consistently pitch six or seven innings, the bullpen has been overworked. The result has been that the pitching overall has been wildly inconsistent.

That lack of consistency has sabotaged a terrific start to the season offensively. The Indians are at or near the top of the league in most offensive categories, but yet they are just one game over .500 (15-14).

The Indians failed to hit a double Thursday, snapping a streak in which they had at least one double in 43 consecutive games, dating to last year.

RHP Jason Johnson’s career record against Oakland fell to 1-8 after he was roughed up Thursday.

RHP Jake Westbrook, who will start Friday night in Seattle, has a 9.17 career ERA in eight appearances, six starts, against the Mariners.
C Victor Martinez has reached base in 43 consecutive games, dating to last year. That’s the longest such streak in the majors since Jim Edmonds reached in 47 straight games from June to August 2004.

DH Travis Hafner has homered in his last four games. In his last four games, Hafner is hitting .389 (7-for-18) with four home runs and 13 RBIs.

When RHP Carlos Silva surrendered a two-out, fourth-inning walk to former teammate 1B Doug Mientkiewicz on Thursday night, it snapped a streak by Twins pitchers of more than 3 1/2 games without allowing a walk. The first walk of the homestand (four games in) ended a 33-inning streak that spanned 133 plate appearances.

The Twins’ 1-0 loss to the Royals on Thursday night was their first 1-0 loss since the same team handed them one at Kansas City last Aug. 31 — beating the Twins with a run in the bottom of the ninth inning after the Twins failed to score despite 13 hits and a walk.

The Twins have been shut out four times already this season, including three times in their past seven games. This after they thought they improved the lowest-scoring lineup in the AL in 2005 — which didn’t get shut out until May 9 last year and was shut out only four times until Aug. 26. The 2005 Twins were shut out 10 times all season.

CF Tori Hunter’s infield single in the fifth inning Thursday was the 34th of the season for the Twins, who entered the day tied with Baltimore for the major league lead.

Baseball betting: placing a bet on the white sox is risky business!

Any time you start think about investing money in a defending World Champion you do so with a great deal of risk as Las Vegas linemakers are going to make you pay a premium to back them.

Case in point is the Chicago White Sox who stunned the world last year when they knocked off the Houston Astros and stormed out of the gate this year, in impressive fashion.

In recent days though the Ozzie Guillen led team have shown some cracks in the armor and when this happens, you can usually look at the pitching staff as the culprit. They have now lost three in a row and both Jose Contreras and Freddy Garcia were both lir up pretty good by the Cleveland Indians.

Garcia leads the team with 7 victories but those numbers are very misleading and this guy barely gets his fastball past 85 mph on a good day. His ERA is 4.57 and he has given up 74 hits in 69 innings. Meanwhile John Garland as usual is giving up a plethora of homeruns, but he is also not striking anyone out with just 33 K’s in 63 innings.

Chicago returns to the friendly confines of US Cellular Field this weekend to host a Texas team that is surging and leads the AL West. The White Sox have lost five of their last six games to the Rangers (28-25) overall, but have won four of the last five meetings at U.S. Cellular Field.

Texas has won five of its last seven contests and leads the AL West by 3 1/2 games over Oakland.

Jon Garland (4-2, 6.25 ERA) is 1-0 with a 2.75 ERA in three home starts this season. He won on the road Sunday, despite allowing five runs and seven hits in six innings of a 7-5 victory over the Blue Jays. Toronto hit three home runs off of Garland, increasing the 26-year-old right-hander’s season total to 16 homers allowed — the second-most in the majors.

The Rangers open their 10-game road trip with 24-year-old right-hander Kameron Loe (3-5, 4.48) taking the mound on Friday. Loe is 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA in two career games against the White Sox.

Garland will have his hands full with the red hot Texas hitters, especially Mark Teixeira who is 10-for-28 (.357) with two homers and three doubles in his last eight games, and is 7-for-16 (.438) with two homers, three doubles and 11 RBIs in his career against Garland.

I look for the White Sox to continue slumping and must lean to the Rangers tonight!

Baseball betting: did you bet the Reds on their road trip?

There has to be at least one gambling fan of the Cincinnati Reds in America who woke up May 31st after the Reds had lost their first two games of the road trip to the Cubbies and decided the Reds would win that day!

John Q Public then probably decided to take the Big Red Machine in Texas as they played the Astros and by the time they left the Lone Star state had compiled a nice big bankroll as Cinci swept Houston. Next stop was the “Show Me” state of Missouri and could Reds bettor have the guts to play them against the vaunted Cardinals? Why not as Pujols is on the shelf, and the Reds are pounding the ball!

If Reds fan backed them all the way through Houston and St. Louis he is one happy camper today as they have reeled off 7 in a row and head home to Ohio, to face Chicago. Tonight I would be betting with the whole bankroll as the Reds look like a mortal lock.

The Reds are averaging 7.4 runs while batting .303 with 13 home runs during their winning streak, and have not won eight consecutive games since winning 10 straight from June 21-July 1, 1999.
Ken Griffey Jr. did not play Wednesday because of a tight left quadriceps muscle, but Reds manager Jerry Narron expects him back in the lineup for Thursday’s contest.

Griffey is batting .471 (16-for-34) with four home runs and eight RBIs during an eight-game hitting streak. Adam Dunn is 11-for-29 (.379) with five home runs in eight games against the Cubs this season, and is 10-for-25 (.400) with six homers and 12 RBIs in his career against Thursday’s Cubs starter, Glendon Rusch.

As I mentioned in a previous article, the Boston Red Sox must be kicking themselves for trading Bronson Arroyo to the Reds for Willy Mo Pena as the right hander has been on fire all year with his arm and his bat!

Arroyo (7-2, 2.40) has homered off Rusch twice this season, in an 8-6 win over the Cubs on April 5 at Cincinnati and again in a 9-2 victory at Wrigley Field on April 11.

Arroyo went 3-for-3 with a career-high four RBIs, while allowing two unearned runs and eight hits in six innings in a 7-5 win over Houston on Saturday.

The right-hander has allowed two or fewer runs in seven of his 12 starts, and the Reds are 9-3 when he takes the mound.

Arroyo is 2-0 with a 1.98 ERA in two starts against Chicago this season, both of them wins over Rusch.

The Reds are doing this as well without any offensive contribution from catcher Jason LaRue who is 1-30 in the month of June.

Baseball betting: Diamondbacks latest Arizona team to impress!

Last week I praised Bobby Cox and his Atlanta Braves on their 6-3 road trip and suggested they were beginning to play like manager Cox’s previous NL East teams. Then the Dodgers and Arizona came to Turner Field and suddenly the Braves are 1-6 on this current homestand.

The Braves got swept by Arizona on the weekend and the Diamondbacks are beginning to play great ball and this comes on the heels of the Phoenix Suns getting turfed from the NBA Playoffs.

Before the Diamondbacks departed on a 10-game trip, manager Bob Melvin called the excursion to Cincinnati, New York and Atlanta a measuring stick that would give his team an idea of just how good it really is.

After finishing it off with a 7-3 record, topped by a four-game sweep of the Braves at Turner Field, the results are in: Arizona is a pretty good ballclub and just might do a little bit more than hang around at the top of the National League West.

The four-game sweep over the Braves marked just the third time in Diamondbacks history that they have accomplished such a feat on the road. The 7-3 record, meanwhile, ties a club mark for the best trip of a road campaign involving at least 10 games.

The pitching staff posted a 2.35 ERA during the 10 games, allowing 24 earned runs in 92 innings, and in the past three games alone, the offense has delivered 10 home runs. Overall, the Diamondbacks outscored their opponents 56-24.

The Diamondbacks continue to get sterling performances from their starting pitchers, as Sunday’s 9-3 win over the Braves marked the 13th “quality start” from the rotation in the past 15 games. Right-hander Miguel Batista was the latest to work at least six innings and allow three or fewer runs, and during this particular stretch, the starters have fashioned a 1.94 ERA.

Batista, who allowed three earned runs through 6 2/3 innings in improving to 6-2, got help from an offense that pounded out 14 hits and four home runs for the second consecutive day. The Diamondbacks swept the Braves in four games at Turner Field, the first time that’s happened to Atlanta at home or on the road since the Phillies did it to them in 1995.

RHP Brandon Webb needs to pitch 2 2/3 scoreless innings when he starts Monday against the visiting Phillies to establish a Diamondbacks record for pitching consecutive scoreless innings. Webb is on 25 and counting. Andy Benes holds the club mark with 27 1/3 straight scoreless frames during the team’s inaugural season in 1998.

.099 — Eric Byrnes’ batting average differential on June 1, 2006, compared to June 1, 2005. Byrnes hit .226 after the first two months of the season last year and after June 1 this year, was hitting .325. It’s the biggest jump of any player in the major leagues.

Baseball Betting: Yankees Bring Brooms to Motown!

The New York Yankees look like they flew to Detroit on a broom rather then a jet and they may leave the wooden sweeper when they depart the motor city just before midnight tonight.

The pinstripers have sent an emphatic message to the upstart bengals, that they are the bullies of the American East. I have been propping the Tigers pitching but both the starters and relievers have been awful this week, being outscored 21-7.

While we are blasting the pitchers, the offense must have the finger pointed at them as seven runs in three games against the anemic Yankee pitching is embarrassing.

The Tigers hit five consecutive grounders to Miguel Cairo in the first and second innings to give him five assists and a putout on Detroit’s first six batters.

Detroit’s Nate Robertson (5-3) allowed six runs and 10 hits, walking two and striking out seven in 8 2-3 innings.

Certainly have to question Angel’s general manager Bill Stoneman’s decision to award pitcher Kelvim Escobar a whopping $28 million for three years. The guy is only three games over .500 (77-74) and is 19-19 in his career with the Angels.

Escobar gets a $1.5 million signing bonus, $8.5 million in 2007, $9 million in 2008 and $9.5 million in 2009.

The pitcher signed a three-year, $18.75 million contract with the Angels on Nov. 24, 2003, after pitching five full seasons and parts of two others with the Toronto Blue Jays. He was 11-12 with a 3.93 ERA in 33 starts in 2004 and 3-2 with a 3.02 ERA in seven starts and nine relief appearances last season.

I mean the entire 25 man roster of Florida is getting $14 million and that includes all star Dontrelle Willis, while Escobar is grabbing $9 million. Go figure?

Three major components of their team’s ultimate success were reported suffering from injuries on Wednesday. Jake Peavey the stud of the Padres starting staff, Vernon Wells the star center fielder of the Jays and Jim Edmonds the leader of the Cardinals outfielder.

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