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Another month is almost in the books in the 2010 Major League Baseball season, as teams will wrap up July and welcome in August this weekend. More importantly, the trade deadline is Saturday and there has already been a flurry of activity over the last few days. Expect more to come. That activity however, can make life difficult for bettors, since pitching matchups are changing, lineups are being adjusted, and relatively few series go unaffected. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what’s on tap for the next three days’ action and reveal this weekend’s list of Top StatFox Power Trends to consider in your wagering.
One of the biggest moves in anticipation of the trade deadline occurred yesterday when the Phillies acquired Roy Oswalt from the Astros. Oswalt will get his first start for Philadelphia on Friday when he goes at Washington. The Phillies are heating up and come into the series as winners of their last eight games. Their bats have finally gotten going, having produced 5.8 runs per game during that stretch. In addition, Philly has dominated Washington of late, going 31-11 overall and 15-6 in Washington over the last three seasons.
The National League’s biggest series is in Cincinnati though, where divisional leaders will square off. The Reds host the Braves for three games, with both teams holding on to slim leads. Atlanta leads Philadelphia by 2-1/2 games in the East but that lead is shrinking fast, as the Phillies are streaking and the Braves are not. They are just 5-7 in their last 12 games, and will try to improve this weekend on a road record of 24-30.
Elsewhere in the Senior Circuit, the rivalry between the Giants and Dodgers resumes in San Francisco, with the hosts heading upward in the standings and the visitors sliding down. The Giants are 17-5 since the 4th of July holiday, having taken over the wildcard lead 3-1/2 games behind San Diego in the NL West, but 3-1/2 games on top of sinking L.A. The Dodgers are just 9-12 in that time span but made a key move this week in acquiring Scott Posednik to plug the outfield gap while Manny Ramirez remains unable to play with a calf injury. Los Angeles is looking to repeat the 3-game sweep of the Giants they enjoyed in San Francisco in late June.
In the American League, the best two teams in baseball will get together for three games when the Yankees visit the Rays. Only two games separate these teams at the top of the A.L. East Division, with Tampa currently in tow. The Rays can easily make up that ground this weekend though, as you’ll see from the trends below that they have absolutely dominated good teams at home in the latter part of the last few seasons. Both teams are playing at the top of their games right now and three solid pitching matchups will make this a series to watch. Incidentally, all eight games between these teams in 2010 have gone OVER the total.
Finally, out West, it’s last gasp time for the Angels, as they host the division leading Rangers for three games. With the Rays comfortably in control of the Wildcard race right now, it’s division or bust for almost everyone else. In that sense, the fact that Angels trail the Rangers by 9-games heading into this series make this desperation time. The clubs have separated over the last two weeks, with Texas going 8-3 since July 18th and the Angels winning just two of 10 games in that span. Angels bats are partly to blame, with just 2.9 runs per game put up in that stretch. At this point, anything but a sweep will be a failure in Anaheim.
Now, here’s a look at those top StatFox Power Trends you’ll want to consider for your weekend wagering.
<b><i>PHILADELPHIA at WASHINGTON</b></i>
<li>PHILADELPHIA is 6-14 (-14.1 Units) against the money line in road games vs. NL teams scoring 4.3 or less runs/game in the second half of the season over the last 2 seasons. The average score was PHILADELPHIA 3.8, OPPONENT 4.9 - (Rating = 2*)
<b><i>ATLANTA at CINCINNATI</b></i>
<li>ATLANTA is 19-10 (+11.7 Units) against the money line in road games when playing against a team with a winning record in the second half of the season over the last 2 seasons. The average score was ATLANTA 5.1, OPPONENT 3.5 - (Rating = 1*)
<b><i>ARIZONA at NY METS</b></i>
<li>NY METS are 20-5 UNDER (+14.3 Units) vs. an NL team with a team batting average of .255 or worse this season. The average score was NY METS 2.9, OPPONENT 3.9 - (Rating = 3*)
<b><i>MILWAUKEE at HOUSTON</b></i>
<li>MILWAUKEE is 30-42 (-21.4 Units) against the money line vs. an NL team with a team batting average of .250 or worse over the last 2 seasons. The average score was MILWAUKEE 5.1, OPPONENT 5.5 - (Rating = 1*)
<b><i>PITTSBURGH at ST LOUIS</b></i>
<li>PITTSBURGH is 2-14 (-11.5 Units) against the money line when playing against a good team (Win Pct. 54% to 62%) this season. The average score was PITTSBURGH 3.1, OPPONENT 6.9 - (Rating = 2*)
<b><i>CHICAGO CUBS at COLORADO</b></i>
<li>COLORADO is 126-69 (+31.8 Units) against the money line in home games vs. a mediocre bullpen whose WHIP is 1.450 to 1.550 since 1997. The average score was COLORADO 6.9, OPPONENT 5.5 - (Rating = 1*)
<b><i>FLORIDA at SAN DIEGO</b></i>
<li>SAN DIEGO is 23-8 (+13.9 Units) against the money line vs. a poor bullpen whose ERA is 4.50 or worse this season. The average score was SAN DIEGO 4.7, OPPONENT 2.6 - (Rating = 2*)
<b><i>LA DODGERS at SAN FRANCISCO</b></i>
<li>LA DODGERS are 15-32 (-16.2 Units) against the money line in road games vs. teams outscoring opp by 0.5 or more runs/game on the season over the last 3 seasons. The average score was LA DODGERS 3.1, OPPONENT 4.7 - (Rating = 1*)
<b><i>CLEVELAND at TORONTO</b></i>
<li>TORONTO is 14-2 (+11.6 Units) against the money line in home games vs. poor power teams - averaging 0.9 or less HR's/game in the second half of the season over the last 3 seasons. The average score was TORONTO 6.1, OPPONENT 3.1 - (Rating = 1*)
<b><i>DETROIT at BOSTON</b></i>
<li>DETROIT is 16-33 (-17.5 Units) against the money line in road games this season. The average score was DETROIT 3.8, OPPONENT 5.1 - (Rating = 2*)
<b><i>NY YANKEES at TAMPA BAY</b></i>
<li>TAMPA BAY is 14-1 (+13.3 Units) against the money line in home games when playing against a top-level team (Win Pct. > 62%) over the last 3 seasons. The average score was TAMPA BAY 6.7, OPPONENT 3.3 - (Rating = 3*)
<b><i>BALTIMORE at KANSAS CITY</b></i>
<li>KANSAS CITY is 24-9 OVER (+14.7 Units) in home games vs. teams outscored by opp by 1 or more runs/game in the second half of the season since 1997. The average score was KANSAS CITY 6.0, OPPONENT 6.3 - (Rating = 1*)
<b><i>OAKLAND at CHI WHITE SOX</b></i>
<li>CHI WHITE SOX are 17-4 (+10.9 Units) against the money line in home games vs. poor power teams - averaging 0.9 or less HR's/game this season. The average score was CHI WHITE SOX 6.0, OPPONENT 3.7 - (Rating = 1*)
<b><i>SEATTLE at MINNESOTA</b></i>
<li>SEATTLE is 4-21 (-16.1 Units) against the money line in road games when playing against a good team (Win Pct. 54% to 62%) in the second half of the season over the last 3 seasons. The average score was SEATTLE 3.5, OPPONENT 6.3 - (Rating = 1*)
<b><i>TEXAS at LA ANGELS</b></i>
<li>LA ANGELS are 77-61 (+17.6 Units) against the money line vs. teams outscoring opp by 0.5 or more runs/game on the season over the last 3 seasons. The average score was LA ANGELS 4.7, OPPONENT 4.6 - (Rating = 1*)
MLB: Rays try for historic road trip
The only downside of this 10-game road trip for the Tampa Bay Rays may be that it’s coming to an end. The Rays look to finish up one of their most successful swings in franchise history when they close a three-game series with the Chicago White Sox on Thursday night. They are a slight underdog according to Sportsbook.com. Let’s take a look at this evening clash.
After winning the first seven games of the trip by sweeping Baltimore and Boston, the Rays (11-4, +7.4 units) bounced back from a loss to Chicago (5-10, -6.9) on Tuesday with a 12-0 rout Wednesday. Sean Rodriguez had three hits, including a three-run homer during a six-run sixth inning, and starter Wade Davis gave up two hits and struck out six over six innings. Rodriguez, who had four RBIs, came in hitting .160.
“This guy’s got a nice track record of success,” manager Joe Maddon said. “Most of its been in Triple-A, but … his ability’s going to translate in the big leagues.”
While scoring 59 runs on the road trip, Tampa Bay has been led by Carl Crawford, who is hitting .371, and B.J. Upton, who has driven in 12.
With a win Thursday, the Rays would set a team high for victories during a single road trip. They went 8-1 in June 2004. Tampa Bay is 8-0 if their opponent scored two or less runs in last contest.
Chicago, meanwhile, has lost five of six to fall into last in the AL Central. The White Sox finished with four hits Wednesday, and are batting .198 at home.
“When you look up and see .180, .190, .200, .210, you want to hit .300 in one at-bat. That’s hard to do,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “Just take it one at-bat at a time and give it your best shot.”
Carlos Quentin went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts Wednesday, dropping his average to .176. He is hitless in his last 20 at-bats. The left fielder has fared a little better against James Shields (1-0, 4.50 ERA), who will take the ball for Tampa Bay on Thursday. Quentin is 3 for 13 with a home run off the right-hander and his team is 21-8 at U.S. Cellular Field vs. a starting pitcher whose strikes out five or more batters per start.
Shields gave up four runs and nine hits, including two home runs, in 6 2/3 innings of a 6-5 win over Boston on Saturday. He is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA against the White Sox and 5-10 (-11.6 Units) against the money line vs. teams averaging 2.75 or less extra base hits per game over the last two seasons. (Rays Record)
Chicago will turn to Jake Peavy (0-0, 6.00) while still looking for its first series victory of 2010. Peavy pitched a season-high 7 1/3 innings against Cleveland on Saturday, giving up two runs and four hits in a 3-2 loss. The White Sox led until he gave up a one-out home run in the eighth. The right-hander said his lack of experience against the American League after coming from San Diego late last season is no excuse for his struggles.
“Not having a history is tough,” he told the White Sox’s official website. “It’s no excuse not to go out there and learn and make adjustments on the fly and do well.”
In Peavy’s only start against Tampa Bay, he gave up two hits in seven innings of a 9-0 win in 2007. For whatever reason, the Sox right-hander is 20-8 OVER when playing on Thursday’s. (Team's Record)
Sportsbook.com has Chicago as -110 ML favorite with total of O8, but the South Siders are merely 40-43 (-19.4 Units) when the betting choice of -110 or higher since last season. Sox announcer Ken Harrelson’s “good guys” are 28-15 UNDER at home when the money line is +125 to -125.
Two ways to look at the Rays, this devilish team is 14-3 vs. right-hand starters dating back to last season or 7-21 when Shields pitches in underdog role. Whatever position is chosen, Tampa Bay is going home after today’s contest and they are 20-7 UNDER as a road underdog of +100 to +150.
The final game of the series has 8:10 Eastern start and is viewable in local markets, with the UNDER 8-3 in previous 11 meetings in Chi-Town. The StatFox Power Line shows White Sox -107