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MLB News

Report: Cubs the clear front-runner for Russell Martin

Martin is the prize of this off-seasons class of free agent catchers after batting .290/.402/.430 with 11 home runs and 67 RBI for the Pirates. He continues to draw praise for his defense, pitch framing, and handling a pitching staff as well.

In the event the Cubs do land Martin, they will likely make 27-year-old catcher Welington Castillo available.

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MLB: Competitive Wednesday Baseball Board

Wednesday’s full slate of 15 games in Major League Baseball stacks up as a competitive one, with only three games showing lines of minus-160 or higher according to, and only three games with starting pitcher WHIP differences of .200 or more. That said, it might take a bit more work to successfully handicap today’s action, looking specifically for more subtle edges. Let’s break down the schedule and see if we can’t uncover some value.
Line: Chicago -155, Total: 8
Starting pitcher WHIP edge: Chicago
Bullpen WHIP edge: Chicago
Offense Edge: Chicago (LARGE)
Recent Play Edge: Chicago
Overall Analysis: The Cubs bats have come alive lately, but as StatFox readers know from yesterday’s feature piece, they have struggled horribly against bad teams this season. Both pitchers have fared well in their careers versus today’s opponent, but Myers is the hotter pitcher of late. Tough laying this price today.
Line: Milwaukee -125, Total: 8.5
SP WHIP Edge: Milwaukee
BP WHIP Edge: Pittsburgh
Offense Edge: Milwaukee (LARGE)
Recent Play Edge: Milwaukee
Overall Analysis: Milwaukee’s overall dominance of the Pirates in recent years (32-10 L3 years) has to be given consideration here, and the Brewers are producing a lot of runs via the long ball of late. The Pirates’ Duke has been rocked by Milwaukee in recent starts while Wolf has enjoyed a ton of success against Pittsburgh.
Line: Atlanta -155, Total: 8
SP WHIP Edge: San Diego
BP WHIP Edge: San Diego
Offense Edge: Atlanta
Recent Play Edge: None
Overall Analysis: One of the best games on today’s board, Atlanta and Hanson are being shown quite a bit of respect by oddsmakers. The Braves are 3-1 this season against San Diego. GARLAND is 0-2 when starting against ATLANTA with an ERA of 14.03 and a WHIP of 2.998 in his career. While the line and home field seem to give the overall edge to Atlanta, you can discount the Padres, particularly as the dogs.
Line: Florida -115, Total: 8.5
SP WHIP Edge: Florida
BP WHIP Edge: Colorado (LARGE)
Offense Edge: Colorado
Recent Play Edge: None
Overall Analysis: The Rockies pounded the Marlins 10-0 on Tuesday to even up the current 4-game set at two games apiece. They are just 1-7 this season coming off a win by 6 runs or more. Though the Marlins are 4-3 in their L7 games, they have only batted .194 while producing 2.6 RPG during that span. Nolasco holds a significant edge historically versus opponent, with a 4-0 career won-lost mark and a WHIP of 0.967 against Colorado.
Line: Washington -115, Total: 7
SP WHIP Edge: Washington
BP WHIP Edge: Washington
Offense Edge: Cincinnati (LARGE)
Recent Play Edge: Cincinnati
Overall Analysis: To show how much oddsmakers are favoring Strasburg these days, the Nationals are 15-33 on the road this season but still favored over the Reds, who are 31-20 at home. WASHINGTON is 1-10 (-10.2 Units) against the money line on the road with a money line of -100 to -150 over the last 3 seasons. Cincy seems to be finding a groove again since returning from their recent lengthy road trip. They are 4-1 on the current homestand. Worthy underdog look.
Line: St. Louis -145, Total: 8.5
SP WHIP Edge: St. Louis
BP WHIP Edge: St. Louis (LARGE)
Offense Edge: St. Louis
Recent Play Edge: St. Louis (LARGE)
Overall Analysis: As you can see from the edges, there isn’t a whole lot going for the Phillies in this third of a four game series versus the red-hot Cardinals. St. Louis has won seven straight games and is now 33-15 at home in 2010. Garcia has been stellar for the Cards as well, while Blanton owns an ugly 7.06 ERA on the road. With trade rumors also dogging the franchise, bet Philly at your own peril.
(913) NY METS (NIESE) at (914) ARIZONA (HAREN) 9:40 PM
Line: Arizona -120, Total: 8.5
SP WHIP Edge: Arizona
Offense Edge: None
Recent Play Edge: None
Overall Analysis: Arizona has taken the first two games of the 3-game series versus New York, who continues to struggle on the road. The Mets are just 19-29 this season away from Citi Field, allowing opponents to bat .290. Niese has been a good stopper for them though and has put together four solid starts in a row. After losing last night as -125 favorites, an interesting trend finds MANUEL is 23-9 (+14.7 Units) against the money line revenging a loss vs opponent as a road favorite as the manager of NY METS. Don’t be surprised to see New York salvage this one.
Line: LA Dodgers -140, Total: 7.5
SP WHIP Edge: San Francisco
BP WHIP Edge: Los Angeles
Offense Edge: None
Recent Play Edge: San Francisco (HUGE)
Overall Analysis: San Francisco is among the hottest teams in baseball right now, having won 11 of 13 games. The Dodgers have lost six straight. Despite this and the fact that Zito is enjoying the better season over Billingsley, who has been rocked in his last two starts, the Dodgers are still somewhat heavy favorites. Strangely, the money seems to be moving towards Los Angeles. Value here is clearly on the confident Giants.
Line: Tampa Bay -200, Total: 9.5
SP WHIP Edge: Tampa Bay (LARGE)
BP WHIP Edge: Tampa Bay (LARGE)
Offense Edge: Tampa Bay
Recent Play Edge: None
Overall Analysis: One trend is very interesting to me in this game, BALTIMORE is 6-1 (+11.9 Units) against the money line vs. teams outscoring opp by 0.5 or more runs/game in the second half of the season this season. After last night’s huge come from behind, extra-inning win, it figures to be tough to lay the -220 against the O’s tonight, especially with a mediocre-of-late Shields getting the ball. Better plays on the board.
Line: NY Yankees -175, Total: 9.0
SP WHIP Edge: NY Yankees
BP WHIP Edge: NY Yankees (LARGE)
Offense Edge: NY Yankees (LARGE)
Recent Play Edge: None
Overall Analysis: The Angels pounded Phil Hughes last night en route to a 10-2 upset as +220 dogs. Today’s revenge spot shows a strong FoxSheets system: Play Against - Home teams (NY YANKEES) - revenging a loss where opponent scored 10 or more runs, with a hot starting pitcher- ERA less than 3.00 over his last 10 games. (33-16 over the last 5 seasons.) (67.3%, +31 units. Rating = 4*). Early money seems to be landing with New York, but everything else I look at indicates a slight over-pricing here.
Line: Minnesota -220, Total: 8
SP WHIP Edge: Minnesota
BP WHIP Edge: Minnesota (LARGE)
Offense Edge: Minnesota (LARGE)
Recent Play Edge: Cleveland
Overall Analysis: Minnesota hasn’t been this large of a favorite since May 8th. The difference here and then is that the Twins were playing far better baseball at that point in the season. They are just 9-16 in their L25 games now including back-to-back losses in this series in which they have yielded 30 hits to the Indians. Cleveland has won six games in a row and is playing as good as it has all year. Liriano and the hosts simply aren’t worthy of this price today.
Line: Kansas City -155, Total: 8.5
SP WHIP Edge: Kansas City (LARGE)
BP WHIP Edge: Toronto
Offense Edge: None
Recent Play Edge: Toronto (LARGE)
Overall Analysis: Greinke opened as an exorbitant -170 favorite only to be bet down to -155 since. While he has pitched well of late, he certainly hasn’t commanded this type of price. Considering that the Jays have been getting it going of late with a 7-3 mark in their L10 games, including a 13-1 win last night, I’d be leery of laying the chalk here with the Royals. Good underdog spot.
Line: Boston -115, Total: 8
SP WHIP Edge: Boston
BP WHIP Edge: Boston
Offense Edge: None at this point
Recent Play Edge: Oakland
Overall Analysis: Boston and Oakland have split the first two games of their 3-game set, with each contest being decided by a run. Tonight’s pitching matchup is a good one, with Buchholz getting the slight edge if only for his recent prowess. At -120, the StatFox Game Estimator and Power Ratings indicate that this game is underpriced for Boston by at least 25 cents, but savvy bettors have to give consideration to the bats missing from the Red Sox lineup.
(927) TEXAS (LEWIS) at (928) DETROIT (SCHERZER) 7:05 PM
Line: Detroit -105, Total: 9
SP WHIP Edge: Texas (LARGE)
BP WHIP Edge: Texas
Offense Edge: Texas
Recent Play Edge: Texas
Overall Analysis: What in the world is going on with the Tigers? Seven straight losses coming off a lengthy stretch in which they had gone 18-8. Pitching has been a huge problem in this current skid, as they have allowed opponents to score 6.1 RPG while hitting .294. Making matters worse today is that Detroit will be facing the Rangers’ Colby Lewis, who boasts an impressive 1.115 WHIP on the season and has had incredible command, striking out 112 hitters in just shy of 116 innings. Despite the fact that the two wins this week broke a 9-game losing streak in Detroit, you have to like the Rangers’ chances at a sweep.
Line: Seattle -135, Total: 6.5
SP WHIP Edge: Seattle
BP WHIP Edge: Chicago
Offense Edge: Chicago (LARGE)
Recent Play Edge: Chicago (HUGE)
Overall Analysis: Seattle is on an extended stretch of awful play, with just a 3-14 mark in its L17 games. I can NEVER advocate backing a team like that in the role of favorite, even if its ace starting pitcher is on the hill. The White Sox have surged to the top of the Central Division and wins over the last two nights have them in the position to sweep here. I’d honestly be surprised if they don’t.

MLB: Questions for World Series Game 6

Tonight either the New York Yankees win a 27th World Series or are pushed to a deciding Game 7. The beauty of a series is it evolves and takes on a life of its own, which is particularly true in baseball since every game involves two new starting pitchers that alter the dynamics from game to game. For the baseball bettor that means breaking the contest down into components in order to pick the right side or total. Here are Game 6’s most pressing questions. After reviewing these, decide whether or not the Yankees are worth the price of -200 at

Can Andy Pettitte pitch effectively on three days’ rest?

This is the leading mystery coming into this confrontation and even Pettitte admits he has no idea how his arm will react. When asked what it’s like to throw on short rest, Pettitte responded, “Man, I don't even remember the last time I went on three days' rest,"

In fact, it was September 30, 2006, when still a member of the Houston Astros. The left-hander is not an excitable type and will likely focus his attention on breaking pitches and off-speed stuff if the fastball isn’t up to typical standards. Pettitte is 4-6 with a 4.15 ERA in 14 career starts on three days' rest. With more adrenaline pumping in the playoffs, he is 3-1 with a 2.88 ERA on short rest. has New York as -200 money line favorites. With Pettitte on the mound, his record is 36-8 as a home favorite of -175 to -200 since 1997. (Team's Record)

Manager Joe Girardi better hope this works tonight, otherwise he will be facing the critics before tomorrow’s Game 7 with Burnett and Pettitte both failing in using this pitching strategy.

What’s that cool breeze?

Every year different player’s end up having struggles in the playoffs or World Series and right now two guys are in the heart of each team’s lineup. Mark Teixeira is batting below .200 in the Fall Classic and has been fanned 16 times since postseason action commenced. His body language suggests he’s pressing, swinging harder after each strike. New York could use his normally potent bat to wrap up this series, since he contributed to Yankees 60-23 record as a home favorite of -110 or higher this season.

Ryan Howard’s timing couldn’t be more off. His swing mechanics are a mess and he’s tied the World Series record for strikeouts with 13, with at least one more game to go. What makes hitting so intriguing is Howard could come up in the first inning and hit a soft liner the other way, just over Derek Jeter’s head and suddenly start sending rockets all around Yankee Stadium. Given Philadelphia is such a large underdog; his big bat could take the Phillies to 12-3 in road games after three or more consecutive home games this season.

How does manager Charley Manuel use Pedro Martinez?

Give Martinez credit, in two playoff starts he’s allowed three runs in 13 innings, striking out 11 and walking just two. Though the radar gun seldom sees 90 anymore, Pedro still struts around the mound like a peacock, acting like he owns the place. Look for Yankees hitters to be more patient this time and not be as inclined to swing at off-speed pitches out of the strike zone. It would be in Manuel’s best interest to start getting a pitcher ready once Martinez goes thru the batting order once, since he doesn’t have enough heat to keep New York batters honest and not sitting on off-speed tosses.

How cool is it right now to be Alex Rodriguez or Chase Utley?

For both these hitters, they are as ESPN’s Stewart Scott would say, “cool as the other side of the pillow”. They are working pitchers until they make the slightest mistake and rocketing shots like they are seeing batting practice speed beach balls. Each is capable of winning a game single-handily with the way they are swinging. Will Utley raise the Phillies playoff record to 21-8 the last two years and force a Game 7 or does A-Rod drop an “A-Bomb” (Yankees radio announcer John Sterling call) and New York is champion yet again and finishes the year 39-11 as a favorite of -175 to -250 this season.

What was learned from Game 5 that could determine winner for tonight?

The most important factor for the sports bettor is the OVER could well hit a fourth straight game. The first two contests of the World Series saw rested starting pitchers going deep in games, for a pair of Under’s. Since then, the two most power-laden team in the big leagues have hit homers in smallish parks against relief pitchers who have resembled an interleague matchup of the Orioles and Nationals.

If you take Mariano Rivera out of the equation, if either team trails buy almost any margin, they have to feel they can comeback against two bullpens short on getting outs quickly.

MLB: Heavenly Angels are Money-Makers

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim quietly moved ahead of more well-known teams like Boston and the New York Yankees, to be the best team in the American League with a 63-40 record. The Angels may not have made a lot of noise in climbing to be the best team in the AL, but they have excruciatingly loud with how they swing the bat. On Tuesday they’ll head to Chicago to start a 3-game set with the White Sox, and are backed by nearly 80% of early bettors at

The Angels lead the Major Leagues in hitting with a .290 average. With the high batting average, they are also the No.1 scoring offense at 5.7 runs per game, helped dramatically by hitting .308 with runners in scoring position. Just how good is the Los Angeles offense, start considering these numbers.

Manager Mike Scioscia’s team plays its own version of merry-go-round, with 94 more total hits than the average AL team to this point of the season. The Halos are second in baseball in all important on-base percentage to the Yankees and are third in slugging percentage, despite hitting 40 less home runs than the Bronx Bombers (154 homers) and 45 less than second place Texas (159 homers).
To understand just how good Los Angeles has been playing, consider on June 12, they were 29-29 on the season. Since then, L.A. is 34-11, having picked up +21.65 units of profit in just over seven weeks. Over what is a quarter of the season during this stretch, the Angels are AVERAGING over seven runs per game. That includes not having two of their biggest sluggers, Torii Hunter and Vladimir Guerrero in the lineup since before the All-Star break when they swept the Yankees at the Big A.

Just this part weekend, L.A. traveled to Minnesota, who was just off a sweep of the Chicago White Sox and feeling pretty spry. All the Angels did was outscore the Twins 35-15, collecting at least 15 hits in each game, becoming just the second American League team since the 1938 Red Sox (Sept. 4-5) to score more than ten runs with at least 15 base hits in each of three straight games. The Cleveland Indians did so in the interim with 15-4, 13-5 and 17-9 victories over the Brewers at County Stadium (Sept. 4-6 1986) according to Elias Sports Bureau.
The Angels remarkable offense plays in the Windy City starting Tuesday against the White Sox. The domination of this newer Big Red Machine shows up in several other key areas. A test of a team’s strength is how they preside over other opponents. Scioscia’s squad leads the major’s in running from first to third and this dizzying pace has them at 27-12 in games decided by four or more runs. They are 14-7 (+14.6) as underdogs and one game behind Philadelphia for the best road record (31-20) in baseball, having won 15 of last 18 as visitors.

Are the Angels than true World Series contenders? Probably not, unless the offense can continue at near the same pace, this is unlikely to occur in the postseason. The Los Angeles pitching staff does not strike fear into opposing hitters with ERA of almost five. John Lackey’s pitching has improved as the season has won on, but he is no longer the hard thrower he was when the Halos won the World Series in 2002. Jered Weaver has started to pitch like a No. 4 starter again, after throwing like an ace early in the season. Joe Saunders is hitting a lot of bats and Ervin Santana is a shell of former self since coming back from injury.
The bullpen has gotten better after carrying ERA of 5.5 or worse into June, but could hardly be described as reliable. The Angels front office acted like a salesperson working without leads and did nothing to help out current team, despite many working parts in the minor leagues.
That is something to concern with later; right now the Angels are stuffing bankrolls. Parlay wagers on them with the OVER mean serious return on investment, with Los Angeles 61-37-5 OVER (No.1). Totals players can’t believe their great fortune with L.A. on 13-0 OVER run. Since July 1, the Angels and OVER has won on parlays 18 times.
It’s not always fun to follow the crowd and do what everyone else is doing, nevertheless, when money is ripe to be taken, playing these Angels and the total is heavenly.