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TOP NEWS
SEVERAL INTRIGUING MATCHUPS ON TUESDAY MLB SLATE
Wed, 23 Jun 2010 07:12 PM EDT

Eleven new MLB Interleague series’ begin on Tuesday and several of them boast plenty of standings and betting intrigue. In fact, five of the matchups pit teams with winning records against one another. Even the one National League head-to-head matchup finds pitching aces squaring off. It figures to be a great night on the diamond, one which you’ll probably want to be tuned in to MLB Network for. Let’s take a quick look at some of what will be taking place tonight. Get more on each of the 15 games on the GAME MATCHUPS page.

San Francisco (38-30) at Houston (26-44), 8:05 p.m. EDT

Two-time reigning NL Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum looks to beat Roy Oswalt and dominate the reeling Astros for the third time this year, and the San Francisco Giants can improve to 7-0 against Houston this year as they open a three-game set Tuesday night.

Lincecum, who is 4-0 with a 1.33 ERA in seven career starts against the Astros, will be opposed by Astros’ ace Roy Oswalt, who owns a 3.12 ERA this season and deserves better than his 5-8 record. His WHIP is a miniscule 1.083.

The Astros have totaled 12 runs versus San Francisco in the first six meetings this year. Those numbers aren’t a huge surprise as Houston ranks 28th in the majors with 3.37 runs per game while the Giants are third with a 3.33 ERA.

A key trend to note, the Giants have done very well against the league’s best pitchers of late:

SAN FRANCISCO is 14-6 (+11.8 Units) against the money line vs. an NL starting pitcher whose WHIP is 1.150 or better over the last 2 seasons. The average score was SAN FRANCISCO 4.1, OPPONENT 3.2 – (Rating = 1*)San Francisco is a -140 road favorite with a total of 6.5 OV -115 at Sportsbook.com. Vegas Odds

St. Louis (38-31) at Toronto (38-32), 7:07 p.m. EDT

As a sign of just how tough things are in the A.L. East Division, St. Louis and Toronto are separated by just a half-game in won-lost records but the Cardinals lead the N.L. Central by a game while the Jays trail the Yankees by five.

St. Louis starts Jaime Garcia, an impressive young left-hander, who boasts a 6-3 record and 1.59 ERA to date as the teams open a three-game series in Toronto on Tuesday night.

Garcia has only allowed two home runs in 79 1-3 innings this season, but Toronto could prove to be tougher to contain. The Blue Jays have connected in 17 of their last 18 home games and lead the majors with 106 homers overall. That leads to a very interesting StatFox Power Trend:

TORONTO is 14-7 (+9.1 Units) against the money line vs. a starting pitcher whose gives up 0.5 or less HR’s/start this season. The average score was TORONTO 4.5, OPPONENT 3.6 – (Rating = 1*)Brett Cecil (7-3, 3.58) takes the mound for Toronto, and both starters are taking on their opponent tonight for the first time.

Toronto, who hasn’t faced St. Louis since winning two of three games at home in June 2005, is 13-5 at home since May 1.

Oddsmakers are seeing this game as a tossup, as you’ll have to lay -105 with either team.

Detroit (38-30) at New York Mets (39-30), 7:10 p.m. EDT

Two teams nipping at the heels of the leaders in their respective divisions get together in New York on Tuesday when the Mets host the Tigers.

Detroit, who trails Minnesota by 1-1/2 games in the A.L. Central, sends ace Justin Verlander to the hill. Verlander (8-4, 3.54 ERA) has posted a 2.86 ERA while winning each of his three June starts after compiling a 5.02 ERA in losing his last two May outings.

Life on the road has been a problem for Detroit. The team has dropped eight of 11 as the visitor, with the starting rotation posting a 6.08 ERA. Detroit now begins a nine-game trip, which includes three-game series at New York (39-30), NL-best Atlanta and Minnesota.

The Mets have won 10 of 11 at Citi Field and are second in the NL with a 24-10 home record, while the Braves lead the majors at 24-7.

Jonothan Niese (4-2, 3.64) gets the ball for the hosts and he has won three consecutive starts with a 1.57 ERA. He has been especially tough at Citi Field, 2-0 with a 2.30 ERA over his last five home starts – all Mets victories.

The Mets, who trail the Braves by 2 1/2 games, own the N.L.’s best interleague record at 9-3.

Verlander and the Tigers are -130 favorites with a total of 7.5 OV -115.

San Diego (40-29) at Tampa Bay (42-27), 7:10 p.m. EDT

Perhaps the best matchup of all this week has the Padres visiting the Rays, as out of the top spot in the AL East for the first time in two months, Tampa Bay looks to bounce back from its first losing road trip of the season. Betting Lines

Doing so Tuesday night could be tough against Mat Latos and the NL West-leading Padres, who come to Tropicana Field for a three-game set.

The Rays (42-27) have lost seven of 10 after a 2-4 trip, dropping them into second place. Tampa had been in first since April 22.

The Rays will have their hands full, facing Mat Latos (7-4, 3.19 ERA), who has gone 6-1 with a 2.05 ERA in his last eight starts. Tampa bay will give the ball to rookie Wade Davis (5-7, 4.94). The right-hander has gone 0-3 with an 8.22 ERA in his last three starts despite striking out 15 and walking one.

Tampa Bay’s struggles are due in part to lack of offense. Aside from a 14-9 defeat to the Marlins on June 11, the Rays scored 11 runs in the other six losses during their current 3-7 stretch. That leads to a pretty nice FoxSheets System for Tuesday’s tilt:

Play On – Home teams when the money line is +125 to -125 (TAMPA BAY) – cold hitting team – batting .225 or worse over their last 5 games against opponent starting a pitcher who gave up <=2 earned runs in his last 2 outings. (108-64 over the last 5 seasons.) (62.8%, +46.4 units. Rating = 3*)If you want the Rays, you’ll need to be willing to lay -125 against one of the league’s hottest pitchers.

Boston (43-28) at Colorado (36-33), 8:40 p.m. EDT

The last time the Boston Red Sox and Jon Lester were in Denver, they were celebrating a championship. The way they’re playing right now, another one in 2010 seems like a real possibility. The Red Sox put their season-best six-game winning streak on the line as -150 favorites vs. the Rockies as the teams open up a 3-game set.

Boston (43-28) is ½ game from the AL East lead after going 24-8 overall since May 18, tied with Atlanta for the best record in the majors in that stretch. Jon Lester (8-2, 3.13 ERA) is a big reason for Boston’s surge, going 8-0 with a 2.01 ERA in his last 11 starts. He goes on Tuesday versus Colorado rookie Jhoulys Chacin (3-6, 4.00).

The Rockies (36-33) have won six of nine, and come into this series as winners of 30 of their last 37 interleague home games, including a three-game sweep of Toronto from June 11-13.

Something clearly has to give in this series with such powerful streaks on the line. For tonight’s game, perhaps this angles winds up being the difference:

COLORADO is 10-1 (+10.2 Units) against the money line vs. an AL starting pitcher whose ERA is 3.20 or better over the last 3 seasons. The average score was COLORADO 5.2, OPPONENT 2.7 – (Rating = 1*)Los Angeles Dodgers (38-31) at Los Angeles Angels (39-33), 10:05 p.m. EDT

Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Angels capped their longest trip of the season with their first road sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Angels are looking to duplicate those results, this time at Angel Stadium, as they open a season-high 12-game homestand Tuesday night.

The Angels, winners of 17 of 23 in the Freeway Series, will send the struggling Ervin Santana (6-5, 3.91 ERA) to the mound Tuesday. After winning five straight starts, the right-hander has gone 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in his last two outings.

Trying to avoid matching a season-high five-game slide, the Dodgers (38-31) will counter Santana with the red-hot Clayton Kershaw (7-3, 2.96), who has gone 6-1 with a 1.82 ERA in his last eight starts. Sports Scores

The Dodgers are 2-7 in their last nine games and have fallen 2-games back of San Diego in the N.L. West. They have also dropped seven straight versus the AL, part of this rare poor angle involving Joe Torre:

TORRE is 16-26 (-13.3 Units) against the money line in an inter-league game as the manager of LA DODGERS. The average score was LA DODGERS 3.6, OPPONENT 4.5 – (Rating = 1*)Still, with the pitching mismatch being given more than its fair share of credit, it is the Dodgers that are the favorite on the road, -125 according to Sportsbook.com.


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