Saturday's MLB Notes
July 7, 2012
By Chris David
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Saturday’s pro baseball slate will feature three regionally televised games on FOX, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:15 p.m. ET.
Let’s break ‘em down!
Atlanta at Philadelphia
Are the Phillies done? After watching the Braves post a 5-0 shutout win on Friday, you can certainly ask that question. Philadelphia has dropped eight of its last nine games and is now 13 games behind Washington for first place in the National League East. The club has been banged up with injuries but it did just get back Ryan Howard last night and has had Chase Utley in the lineup for the past eight games.
Backing a team at home off a shutout loss is usually a good investment but chasing with Philadelphia these days is dangerous. Plus, the team will be facing the Braves’ Tommy Hanson (9-5, 3.70 ERA). Despite losing last Monday to the Cubs (1-4) at home Atlanta has won his previous five starts and are 11-6 overall in his 17 appearances.
Hanson has been better on the road this season, going 6-2 with a 2.89 ERA. He only faced Philadelphia once this season and he was tattooed for eight hits and four earned runs in just 3 2/3 innings.
The Phillies will counter with “Big” Joe Blanton (7-7, 4.85 ERA), who has helped the team to a 4-1 record in his last five appearances. Blanton faced the Braves in Atlanta on May 3 and tossed a three-hitter as the club won 4-0.
Atlanta has been made a short road favorite (-110), while the total is sitting at 9 runs. The ‘under’ has cashed in three of the first four meetings between the pair this season, including last night’s result.
If you want some more ammo to back up your Atlanta bet then you should look at Philadelphia’s record on the weekend. This season, the Phillies are 3-10 on Saturday and 3-11 on Sunday.
Minnesota at Texas
Possible trap here on the Rangers. Texas is laying a big price (-180) against Minnesota, who are playing good baseball lately. The Twins have won six of eight, including last night’s 5-1 win against Texas. In the loss, the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton (back) left the game and is ‘questionable’ tonight.
Texas is going to take the ball out of Yu Darvish’s hand and give it to Derek Holland (5-4, 5.10 ERA), who hasn’t pitched since June 3. And he didn’t pitch well in his latest rehab appearance, giving up three home runs in one inning at the Triple-A level. So why are Holland and the Rangers favored by so much?
Even without Hamilton, the Rangers do have the better lineup plus they’ll be facing the Twins’ Sam Deduno, who will be making his first career start. Deduno has pitched in the majors before with bullpen stints for the Rockies and Padres, but he’s never started. He was 1-2 with a 2.14 ERA in nine minor league starts.
The total is listed as high as 11 runs, which is the biggest number on the board. Minnesota has hit lefties (4.9 runs per game) well this season, plus the ball travels well in the Texas heat. Before you run and bet the ‘over’ on tonight’s matchup, make a note that all four encounters this season have gone ‘under’ the number.
N.Y. Yankees at Boston
The Yankees and Red Sox will play a double-header on Saturday with the first battle going at 12:35 p.m. ET before this contest. New York held off Boston 10-8 on Friday in a back-and-forth shootout. The Yankees have won all three encounters against the Sox this season, all coming at Fenway Park too.
Phil Hughes (9-6, 4.29 ERA) started the season off slow but he’s in great form lately. He’s 5-1 with a 2.59 ERA in his last six starts, which includes a 4-2 win over the Chicago White Sox last Sunday.
Boston’s Felix Doubront (8-4, 4.42) will toe the rubber in the nightcap. The lefthander will face a Yankees’ squad that is averaging a league-best 5.5 runs against southpaws this season. Those runs for New York have produced 16-10 record against lefties this season, 10 of the victories coming on the road.
The Red Sox have dropped four in a row and six of eight games. The problem with the club has been their offense. Over this span, they’ve been held to two runs or less in six of the games. Total players have watched the ‘under’ go 7-1 in Boston’s last eight games.
Doubront has been an ‘over’ pitcher (10-6) this season, especially at home (6-2). The ‘over/under’ is listed at 10 ½, which seems doable.