MLB: Five teams go for sweeps on Wednesday



MLB: Five teams go for sweeps on Wednesday

MLB: Five teams go for sweeps on Wednesday


2010-07-07

Another full schedule of 15 baseball games awaits on Wednesday night, and interestingly, in one-third of them, one of the teams is looking to wrap up a 3-game sweep of its opponent. The Cubs, Tigers, Rays, Yankees, and Royals all have a chance to finish off already successful series’. Let’s take a look at those matchups, focusing specifically on the sweep aspect and how we might take advantage for Wednesday. Get all of the key betting information for these and all 10 other MLB games on the GAME MATCHUPS page on Sportsbook.com.

(963) CHICAGO CUBS (DEMPSTER) at (964) ARIZONA (JACKSON) 9:40 PM

With a road record of 17-24 this season, sweeps are obviously a rarity for the Cubs when away from Wrigleyville. In fact, it has only happened one time in 2010, that being a 3-game set back in Milwaukee in late April. The Diamondbacks have been swept twice at home this season, as they lost six straight games to the Brewers and Dodgers back in May.

Tonight’s pitching matchup features Ryan Dempster vs. Edwin Jackson. The Cubs are just 6-11 in Dempster’s starts, while Arizona has won four straight games with Jackson on the hill, including the no-hitter at Tampa on June 25th.

One of the more interesting trends for today’s game concerns the Cubs’ struggles as road chalk this season:

• CHICAGO CUBS are 5-12 (-11.4 Units) against the money line as a road favorite of -110 or higher this season. The average score was CHICAGO CUBS 3.2, OPPONENT 3.9 - (Rating = 1*)

Dempster and the Cubs are playing as -115 favorites, but the StatFox Game Estimator indicates the line should be only -107. With Jackson pitching well of late, I’d say there’s a better chance the D-Backs avoid the sweep than the opposite.

(969) BALTIMORE (BERGESEN) at (970) DETROIT (SCHERZER) 7:05 PM

The most likely sweep on the board today finds the Tigers looking for their third straight win over the Orioles. Detroit is a heavy -235 favorite according to Sportsbook.com with Max Scherzer (5-6, 4.88 ERA) taking the hill for the hosts and Bradley Bergesen (3-5, 6.64) going for the O’s. Baltimore is of course no stranger to seeing the brooms on the road, having been swept five times already in 2010. The Tigers are looking for their fifth home sweep themselves, and boast the American League’s best home mark overall at 29-12.

While the price on this one seems fairly steep with Scherzer’s overall 2010 numbers, the fact that he has a 1.69 ERA with 32 strikeouts in 25-2/3 innings in his last four starts makes it even tougher to back the underdogs. Plus, how can you overlook a trend like this:

• BALTIMORE is 10-40 (-24.6 Units) against the money line when playing against a team with a winning record this season. The average score was BALTIMORE 3.1, OPPONENT 5.7 - (Rating = 3*)

(971) BOSTON (WAKEFIELD) at (972) TAMPA BAY (PRICE) 7:10 PM

When I focused on Game 1 of the 3-game set between the Red Sox and Rays on Monday night, I pointed out the following trend, which now includes back-to-back losses over the last two nights:

• BOSTON is 3-19 (-17.2 Units) against the money line in road games when playing against a team with a winning record in the second half of the last 2 seasons. The average score was BOSTON 3.0, OPPONENT 5.2 - (Rating = 4*)

Having been turned back in consecutive one-run games, the Red Sox turn to Tim Wakefield to stop the bleeding. Unfortunately, Boston is only 5-8 in his starts this season and he is matched by a pitcher enjoying a breakout season in David Price (11-4, 2.42 ERA).

Perhaps the one thing going for the Sox here today is that WAKEFIELD is 18-6 when starting against TAMPA BAY with an ERA of 3.79 and a WHIP of 1.249.

At -175, the Rays have been favored by a nickel more in each of the three consecutive contests. Considering that Boston has not been swept on the road since the beginning of May, and actually did the sweeping last time in Tampa (5/24-5/26), I’d be leery of laying this high price for Wednesday. The Sox left 11 men on base on Tuesday and are scoring 5.8 runs per game vs. lefties in 2010. They could be due for a breakout game.

(977) NY YANKEES (BURNETT) at (978) OAKLAND (GONZALEZ) 10:05 PM

As far as season numbers go, the A’s and Mariners have distinct starting pitching advantages in their quests to avoid getting swept at home. The A’s match Gio Gonzalez (7-5, 3.50 ERA) against the Yankees’ A.J. Burnett (6-7, 4.90). The latter has been on the hill for six straight Yankees’ losses. Although he pitched very well in his last outing at Toronto, Burnett’s five prior starts amounted to 29 runs allowed in 23 innings. Gonzalez meanwhile, has only allowed five or more runs in two of his 17 starts this season, and has allowed just one run in 19-2/3 innings in his last three starts. Even with all of this info available for both pitchers, oddsmakers have installed the Yankees as -120 favorites. It all sets up for a very powerful system backing the home dogs:

• Play Against - Road teams when the money line is +125 to -125 (NY YANKEES) - with a cold starting pitcher- ERA >= 7.50 over his last 3 starts, with an on base percentage of .310 or worse over their last 20 games. (56-15 over the last 5 seasons.) (78.9%, +38.5 units. Rating = 4*)

The A’s offense is struggling right now, but it might not matter with Gonzalez on the hill. Look for Oakland to avoid a second 3-game home sweep of 2010.

(979) KANSAS CITY (DAVIES) at (980) SEATTLE (FISTER) 10:10 PM

Don’t look now but the Royals are playing very good baseball, and they will look for their first series sweep of 3-games or more in 2010 when they take on Seattle Wednesday night. Oddsmakers don’t like their chances, installing the Mariners are -145 favorites behind Doug Fister, but when sifting through the facts & figures, bettors may see things differently.

First and foremost, the Royals are killing the baseball of late, pounding out 125 hits during their current 9-3 surge. While leaving men on base has been a problem, they are getting just enough pitching to come out on the right end of the scoreboard most often.

The Mariners have gone just 4-8 since their season long 7-game winning streak was snapped a couple weeks back. The magic number for them has been five runs, as they are 4-0 in the 12-game stretch when reaching that figure as opposed to 0-8 when coming up short.

One other angle going for Kansas City is that Fister, while boasting strong stats for 2010 overall (3.22 ERA, 1.047 WHIP), has struggled his last three times out, yielding 14 runs in 16-1/3 innings.

Davies has been pretty effective for the Royals against lesser hitting teams on the road lately:

• DAVIES is 8-3 (+10.0 Units) against the money line in road games vs. teams averaging 2.75 or less extra base hits per game over the last 2 seasons. (Team's Record) The average score was DAVIES 5.7, OPPONENT 4.5 - (Rating = 1*)

Don’t be surprised to see the Royals finish this one off, despite oddsmakers’ indications.



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