Saturday FOX Tips
July 27, 2012
By Kevin Rogers
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The Saturday afternoon baseball showcases two legendary division showdowns, as the Dodgers battle the Giants in San Francisco while the Yankees and Red Sox hook up in the Bronx. The AL East race is quickly turning into New York's to lose, as Boston attempts to stage a comeback with two months remaining.
Red Sox at Yankees
It's the best and worst of the AL East meeting up towards the end of July and who would have thought Boston would be at the bottom of the division? Bobby Valentine's squad looked to be getting on track after series victories over the Rays and White Sox, but the Red Sox dropped five of the next six to fall into the cellar. The Yankees continue a nine-game homestand after a 2-5 swing at Oakland and Seattle.
New York sends out former Cy Young award winner CC Sabathia (10-3, 3.30 ERA) to the mound on Saturday. The southpaw is making his third start off the disabled list, while coming off a no-decision in his last outing at Oakland, as the Yankees squandered a 4-0 lead in a 5-4 defeat in extra-innings. Sabathia scattered six hits and three earned runs in seven innings, while the Yankees suffered their first loss with the lefty on the mound since June 3 against Tampa Bay. New York owns a 5-2 in Sabathia's seven home starts this season, as the Yanks lost both of his Bronx outings in 2011 to the Red Sox.
Another southpaw takes the hill for Boston, as Jon Lester (5-8, 5.46 ERA) is coming off three consecutive home losses. Lester has fared better away from Fenway Park this season by posting a 3-2 mark with an ERA of 3.04 in eight road outings. The lefty has yielded three earned runs or more in seven of the last eight starts, including five runs in 4.1 innings of a 7-3 home loss to the Yankees earlier this month.
The Yankees grabbed five of the first six meetings at Fenway Park before Friday's 10-3 victory, the third time New York has scored 10 or more runs on Boston. The Red Sox offense has struggled to find a rhythm recently by plating three runs or less in seven of the previous eight contests.
Dodgers at Giants
The last time Los Angeles visited AT&T Park in late June, the Dodgers' offense dried up by getting shut out in all three games of a Giants' sweep. That series helped San Francisco dust itself off and turn the NL West race into a two-team battle, as the Giants began the weekend with a three-game advantage over the Dodgers. L.A.'s lineup received a boost with the acquisition of third baseman Hanley Ramirez from Miami, but the Dodgers failed to win in his first two games at St. Louis. Ramirez came through on Friday night with a homer in extra innings to lift the Dodgers past the Giants, 5-3.
Chad Billingsley (5-9, 4.15 ERA) picked up a victory in his first start of the disabled list last Monday, a 5-3 triumph over the Cardinals as a $1.30 underdog. The Dodgers are just 2-3 in his five day starts, while the 'over' has cashed four times in his matinee outings. Billingsley has lost four of the last five starts against the Giants, including five straight at AT&T Park.
The Giants trot out former Cy Young award winner Barry Zito, who rebounded from two tough starts in mid-June to allow a total of eight earned runs in his last five outings. Zito received a no-decision in his previous start at Philadelphia, a 12-inning loss by the Giants. San Francisco is just 2-2 in Zito's four starts as a home favorite, with one of those victories coming over Los Angeles in late June. Zito tossed a gem by yielding just three hits in seven scoreless innings, while beating the Dodgers for the first time in five tries dating back to 2010.
Royals at Mariners
Even though this game will not be televised on FOX, it's still a contest that can be bet on. Seattle is 5-1 against Kansas City this season after grabbing a victory last night, 6-1. The Royals are just 4-14 the last 18 games, while not winning a series since sweeping the Rays at home in late June.
A pair of veteran pitchers takes the mound as Kevin Millwood and Bruce Chen face off for the second time in 10 days. The Royals won in walk-off fashion in that contest at Kauffman Stadium, 8-7 on a Billy Butler solo home run. Kansas City squandered a 7-3 lead, costing Chen his eighth victory on the season. Chen (7-8, 5.54 ERA) hasn't delivered a quality start in his last five trips to the mound, while allowing 25 earned runs in this stretch. The Royals have been involved in plenty of high-scoring games during this span, cashing the 'over' in each of Chen's past six starts.
The Mariners have lost each of Millwood's (3-8, 4.13 ERA) last six starts, while the offense has scored two runs or less in four of his previous five outings. Seattle's offense ranks last in the American League in runs scored at home, as the Mariners have hit the 'under' in four of Millwood's last five starts at Safeco Field. The M's are 6-0 to the 'under' in the previous six Game 3's of a series at home, while the Royals are 5-1 to the 'under' the last six Game 3's away from Kauffman Stadium.
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