Atlanta Braves vs. Arizona Diamondbacks u9.5 (-115) – Sun May 31 ’09 4:10p
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Young Max Scherzer is in peak form for the Arizona Diamondbacks, while Kris Medlen improved noticeably in his second start for the Atlanta Braves, so look for both youngsters to have success this afternoon.
Scherzer has reeled off three straight Quality Starts, allowing a total of five runs in 19 innings over those outings. Most impressive however is the fact that he had 20 strikeouts in his last two starts (1o strikeouts on each occasion) against only two walks! Scherzer has an electric arm, and if he can maintain this kind of control, he will be a force in the Arizona rotation for many years to come.
Now Medlen was horrible in his Major League debut, but he did improve to allow four runs on only four hits in 5.1 innings in his second start, and he may be in line for a Quality Start today with normal improvement. After all, he really had only one bad inning vs. the Giants on Tuesday, and he know that this may be his last chance to stick in the Atlanta rotation.
Finally, the Arizona offense has been very erratic all year, which is anther reason why the Under is 10-4 in the last 14 starts that Scherzer has made. Add in the fact the Braves are only batting .235 vs. right-handers the last 10 games themselves, and we simply do not see this game hitting double-digits.
MLB Free Pick: Braves, Diamondbacks Under 9.5 (-115)
Kansas City Royals vs. Chicago White Sox
Free Pick: Kansas City (-170) over the Chicago White Sox
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In this instance, the only name you need to say is Zack Greinke. Since the start of the season there has not been any pitcher that has shown more dominance. There has yet to be a team that can hit him. Baseball has not seen a pitcher shut down opponents in forty years! He is the first pitcher to record such numbers since 1966 when Juan Marichal had a sub 1.00 ERA through 10 starts. He has already beaten Chicago twice this year and today should be a third win.
He is tied for the league lead in wins. He is baseball’s ERA leader and complete games and has also not given up a home run this year. Chicago faces their biggest uphill climb today. What makes it even harder for the White Sox is that they are trying to complete the three game sweep which they have yet to be able to accomplish in over 4 years.
The Kansas City Greinkes should be able to halt the White Sox and send them packing without their sweep.
Touthouse.com Sports Handicappers – This year, the 141st running of the Belmont Stakes will take place on Saturday, June 6, 2009 at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. also named the “Test of the Champion,” the Belmont Stakes is the final and toughest race of the Triple Crown and takes place on the first Saturday that occurs on or after June 5. It is also the longest race of the three, at 1 1/2 miles. Though many in the current group of 3-year-old horses show stamina in their pedigree, only a select few will be up to the challenge of such a long race.
Below you will find the current betting odds for the 2009 Belmont Stakes. Bet the third race of this year’s Triple Crown, The Belmont Stakes at 5dimes.com online racebook. Only a few of the best thouroughbred horses have won all three races of the Triple Crown – The Kentucky Derby, The Preakness Stakes, and The Belmont Stakes. Even though no horse can win the Triple Crown this year, Calvin Borel has provided as much excitement as possible this year, as he was victorious in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. Will he ride the winning horse in the Belmont? We’ll just have to wait and find out!!
141st Running of the Belmont Stakes
Current 2009 Belmont Stakes Betting Odds, Horses, Post Positions and Jockeys
All Odds are subject to change
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Orlando Magic
Orlando Magic -2.0 (-110) – Sat May 30 ’09 8:35p
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The Cavaliers faced elimination for the first time in the 2009 NBA Playoffs in Game 5, but put their fishing poles on hold by defeating the Magic. Cleveland finally found a way to beat Orlando by closing out on their three-point shooters defensively; while getting its role players going offensively. Cavs F LeBron James scored 37 points to mark the second time he has failed to reach 40 in this series; incidentally, Cleveland won both of those contests. If the Cavaliers are to win in Orlando tonight they will need another solid performance from the supporting cast and a bench that scored 15 points in Game 5. The Cavs cover on Thursday was their first against the Magic in the L/10 meetings.
The Magic have the Cavs right where I predicted it before this series began and sure took some heat for being a “homer”. This game is a must-win for Orlando to reach the NBA Finals or they will be in deep trouble if there is a Game 7 in Cleveland. Magic F Rashard Lewis powered his team to a victory at home in Game 4 and turned in another solid performance on Thursday putting up 15 points with eight rebounds. Lewis has made every crucial shot of this series for Orlando and will be a big key to its success tonight in closing out Cleveland. The Magic have covered the L/5 spreads at home against the Cavs and are 4-1 ATS overall in this series.
My pick before the series was the Orlando Magic in six games and that hasn’t changed a bit as Cleveland winning games two and five on their home floor was part of the plan. Orlando has found a way to defeat Cleveland on its home floor for the last two seasons and I don’t expect tonight to be any different. Look for the Magic to take control of this contest early and answer any charge the Cavaliers might mount late in the game.
Florida Marlins vs. New York Mets u8.5 (100) – Sat May 30 ’09 1:10p
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Josh Johnson of the Florida Marlins came back from Tommy John surgery much better than most experts expected, but he now looks better than ever, and we look for Johnson to key an Under vs. Tim Redding and the New York Mets today.
Johnson is 3-1 with a terrific 2.67 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 10 starts covering 67.1 innings, and he has allowed three runs or less in seven straight starts and in nine of his 10 outings this year. He has also been fantastic against the Mets, as he has six Quality Starts in seven career starts against them including allowing four runs in two starts against them this season, and he allowed only four runs in his one non-quality effort against them.
Now Redding did not pitch well in his second start as a Met after posting a Quality Start in his New York debut, but that was almost expected. Remember that he just came off the Disabled List to take that first start on May 18, and the second start off of an injury-induces layoff is usually the toughest due to natural muscle soreness. Now that Redding has gotten that stinker out of the way, he should return to his normal level tonight.
Besides, the Marlins have tailed off considerably after a very hot start, so look for both offenses to struggle this early afternoon.
MLB Free Pick: Marlins, Mets Under 8.5 (+100)
Baltimore Orioles vs. Detroit Tigers
Free Pick: Baltimore (+120) over Detroit
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The red hot Baltimore Orioles are playing like a team on a mission. It seems everyone else forgot to tell Baltimore that they are in last place in the American League East so they are playing like a first place team right now. They have now just won 5 straight ball games and are looking to close the gap in the very tight A.L. East. They are also 7-3 in their last 10 games.
The team is feeding off of the energy created behind the All-Star play of Luke Scott, Adam Jones and Nick Markakis. Scott is one of the American Leagues hottest players over the last month with 4 home runs and 12 RBI in his last 3 games alone. Adam Jones continues to see the ball well and with the new addition of Phenom catcher Matt Wieters the Team is galvanized and playing as well as any in baseball right now.
Baltimore will however face a tough pitcher in Justin Verlander. He does enter tonights game with a 5-2 record and has been consistant so far this year. However, baseball teams see many ups and downs over the year and no team can be more up than Baltimore right now. Verlander will face Jermy Guthrie who is coming off a win vs Toronto where he went a strong seven innings in his decision. Look for Baltimore to continue to ride high and beat Detroit tonight and keep their red hot surge going through to the end of May.
Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Free Pick: Denver Nuggets -5.5 (-110) – Fri May 29 ’09 9:05p
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The Nuggets couldn’t quite come through in the clutch in Game 5 and took another bad loss in this series. Denver has shown that they could be the better team here, but have continuously turned the ball over in late game situations. Nuggets G Chauncey Billups had his worst outing of this series contributing just 12 points and five assists in 39 minutes. Before Game 5, Billups had been scoring 21.7 PPG in this series and needs to get at least that number for Denver to have a chance tonight. The Nuggets are 8-1 ATS in their L/9 games when playing as the ‘favorite’. Denver is an impressive 13-2 ATS in the 2009 NBA Playoffs and 21-6 ATS in their L/27 games overall.
The Lakers managed to dominate the fourth quarter 27-18 in Game 5 and earn their third win of this series to put them one game from the NBA Finals. In their three wins the Lakers have won the fourth by a combined score of 90-63, erasing late game deficits in each game. LA G Kobe Bryant has shown his best stuff in this series averaging 33.8 PPG and making big shots in crunch time to lead his team to victories. While Bryant scored just 22 points in Game 5 he made up for it by dishing out a personal series high eight assists. The Lakers are 2-3 ATS in this series and 8-9 ATS in the 2009 NBA Playoffs.
This is the last chance for Billups, Carmelo Anthony, and the Nuggets; look for them to dig down deep and pull out another ATS victory in this contest. Melo’ had 31 points in the loss on Wednesday and will no doubt put up another big number to help his team win tonight. The Nuggets are 7-1 ATS on their home floor in the NBA Playoffs and will force a classic Game 7 with the Lakers.
Washington Nationals vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Free MLB Pick: UNDER 9.5 – May 29th 2009
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Two very impressive young pitchers take the mound on Friday night in Philadelphia. Lefty J.A. Happ has been very impressive in relief and as a starter for the Phils in the early part of the season. He allowed just four hits and two runs over six innings -with no walks and strikeouts-against the Yankees on May 23rd. The Nats aren’t quite the Yankees. In fact, they are the National League’s worst team and are in last place in the NL East, trailing the Mets by 13 games. Happ earlier defeated the Nats in relief on May 15 in Washington, pitching two scoreless inning. He’s 2-0 lifetime against Washington, in six scoreles relief appearances, allowing just five hits in seven innings. As for Washington’s start, another lefty, Ross Detwiler takes the mound. He has just two starts this year, but bouth were impressive. He made his first start against Pittsburgh on May 18 and lasted five innings, giving up four hits with two earned runs in the Pirates 12-7 win. Five days later against Baltimore at home, he allowed a hit and a run in six innings, getting a second straight no-decision in the Nationals’ 2-1 loss. Philly has gone under six of their last six games. Washington is averaging just 3.3 runs their last seven games. We expect a pitcher’s duel in this game, with two promising Lefties going.
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St. Louis Cardinals vs. San Francisco Giants u7.5 (-110) – Fri May 29th 2009 10:15p
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Joel Pineiro of the St. Louis Cardinals and Matt Cain of the San Francisco Giants are both in sparkling form right now, and we do not expect that to change tonight with the spacious dimensions of AT&T park in San Francisco.
Cain has had the label of being the unluckiest pitcher in baseball the last couple of years, as he has always pitched very well but with a pathetic offense behind him. He is finally getting some support this year though, and as a result, he has a fine 5-1 record to go with his customary 2.40 ERA. Cain has allowed one run or less in three of his last four starts, and he is coming off of a Complete Game 5-1 win over the Seattle Mariners.
Meanwhile, Joel Pineiro appears to have regained the amazing form he displayed when he first came up with the Seattle Mariners a few years ago. He dominated the Chicago Cubs two starts back, tossing a Complete Game three-hit shutout, and he followed that up with a Quality Start in a tough luck 3-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Sunday. Most incredibly, he has not walked a single batter in his last four starts (28 innings), and he has issued one walk in his last 41.2 frames.
Finally, neither of these offenses is tearing things up right now, with the Giants averaging just 3.40 runs in their last 10 games and the Cardinals not doing much better in this same span at 3.50, so runs should be at a premium tonight.
MLB Free Prediction: Cardinals, Giants Under 7.5 (-110)
Detroit Tigers vs. Baltimore Orioles o10.0 (-115) – Thu May 28 ’09 7:05p
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Detroit will trot RHP Armando Galarraga to the hill on Thursday night. Following a breakout season in ’08 which saw the righty go 13-7 with a 3.73 ERA, he has come back to earth a bit in his nine starts this season. Galarraga is just 3-4, and hasn’t really figured out his stuff yet on the season. Opposing batters are hitting .271 against him, and he is allowing a bit too much contact to be successful at this level (6.70 K/9). His L/5 starts have been absolutely embarrassing, as he has a 9.93 ERA in those outings, which has seen his ERA over triple from April to May. Galarraga has only made one career start against the Orioles, and that day he allowed five runs (four earned) over 6.2 innings and suffered the loss.
RHP David Hernandez will be taking the mound for his first career start for the Orioles on Thursday. The righty is completely an unknown commodity at the MLB level, but was having a fantastic start to the season in AAA Norfolk. There, Hernandez was 3-1 with a 2.91 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, and a solid 4.65 K/BB ratio. Scouts know that he has a ton of movement on his pitches and usually has pinpoint control, but may not quite have the gas to get the ball up there past MLB batters. His whopping 12.46 K/9 in Norfolk suggests that his stuff is at least good enough in AAA, but there’s a big question as to how well his stuff will translate to the big leagues. Don’t expect to see Hernandez last too long in this game, as he has been limited to an average of just over 5.1 innings pitched per start in the minors. That’s bad news for a bullpen that has a 4.57 ERA for the season.
It’s hard to like either team’s pitching match-ups in this game. Hernandez is a complete unknown, while Galarraga has been a gas can the entire month of May. The Tigers have scored at least four runs in 11 of their L/14 and is coming off of a three-game set in Kansas City where they scored 22 runs. Baltimore just swept Toronto, and did so by scoring a whopping 25 runs. Expect more runs this evening.