Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, July 5

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, July 5

MLB Predictions

Los Angeles Dodgers +118

The Dodgers are 8-2 in their last 10 and have gotten to within 3.5 games of first in the NL West. The Giants on the other hand are just 1-9 in their last 10 and have fallen to last place in the division. Los Angeles had won 4 straight before losing last night's meeting with Colorado 9-5. They have won 10 of their last 12 overall and are one of the hottest teams in baseball. The Giants are coming off a 9 game road trip to forget as they were swept in Los Angeles, lost two of three in Colorado, and then were just swept in Cincinnati where they scored just 3 runs over the 3 games. In fact the Giants have scored 2 or fewer runs in 8 of their last 10 games. The Dodgers have Hyun-Jin Ryu on the mound who is 6-3 on the season with a 2.83 ERA, .245 OBA and 1.24 WHIP. He faced the Giants on the 24th of June giving up 8 hits but just 1 earned run in 6.2 innings of work. He has given up 3 or fewer earned runs against in 9 straight starts. The Giants send their ace Matt Cain to the mound who is 5-4 on the year with a 4.29 ERA, .216 OBA and 1.07 WHIP. After a rough start to the year he is pitching much better posting a 3.10 ERA in June. The Giants are just 8-9 when he starts this year (the Dodgers are 10-6 with Ryu on the mound). Note that the Dodgers are 7-1 in their last 8 divisional games, 4-1 in their last 5 road games, and 5-2 in Ryu's last 7 starts. The Giants have lost 9 of 10, are just 1-5 in their last 6 divisional games, and just 1-4 in their last 5 games vs a left handed starter. Right now the Dodgers are very dangerous with Puig, Gonzalez, Ramirez, Ethier and Kemp through the middle of their order. Given how hot the Dodgers are and how cold the Giants bats are, with a pretty even pitching match up, I like the value here on Los Angeles +118.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, July 5

Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAYS

PHILADELPHIA -141 over Atlanta: Cliff Lee has been excellent for the Phils this year, posting a 9-2 record with a 2.59 ERA and an 0.97 WHIP on the year. He has pitched well vs the Braves of late as the Phils are 5-1 in his last 5 starts vs them and Cliff has posted an 0.71 ERA in those 5 starts. Actually going back 6 starts vs the Braves, Cliff has an 0.78 ERA vs them. Tim Hudson has pitched well at home, but on the road he has been horrible, with a 1-7 mark and a 5.71 ERA. The Braves are 1-8 in his road starts and have been outscored by 3 rpg in those games. The Braves overall have struggled on the road this year at 20-23, while the Phils have been playing much better at home, winning 7 of their last 10 here. I know that Philly is off a long road trip, but they are an amazing 39-14 in their last 53 games following a road trip of 7 or more days. The Phils just took 2 of three in Pittsburgh and they have Lee on the mound, while Atlanta struggles on the road with Hudson on the mound, so I will look for Philly to start of this series with a big win here.


KANSAS CITY +100 over Oakland: Neither starter is in good form as they enter this game, but I feel the KC offense is playing better right now and they have some momentum after taking the last 2 games vs Cleveland. Kansas City is averaging 6.4 rpg in their last 5 games and 5.6 rpg in their last 10 games and will be taking on a struggling Tommy Milone here. Tommy comes in with a 1-1 mark in his last 3 starts, but he has a 7.31 ERA and a 1.75 WHIP in those starts. On the road he is just 3-4 with a 5.04 ERA for the year. Wade Davis is struggling as well as he comes in with a 1-1 mark and a 6.43 ERA with a 1.93 WHIP in his last 3 starts, but he is facing an Oakland offense that has scored just 3.6 rpg in their last 5 games, putting up just 1 run in 3 of those games. Big series for KC as they look to get back to .500 before the All-Star break and having this game at home helps as the home team has won 8 of the last 10 in the series. Look for the Royals to take game 1 here.   

2 UNIT PLAYS

CINCINNATI -1.5 (-105) over Seattle: Terrible spot for Seattle, coming off taking 2 of 3 in Texas and now travel to Cincinnati where the Reds are 29-14 and off a day off thanks to rain. Mike Leake is 2-0 with a 1.20 ERA in his last 4 starts, while Aaron Harang is 0-4 with a 6.75 ERA on the road this year and the Mariners have been outscored by 6.4 rpg in his road starts. Easy Cincy win here. 


Cleveland/ Detroit Over 8.5: Cleveland's offense is hot as they have put up 6.4 rpg in their alst 10 games and Porcello has an 8.80 ERA and a 1.92 WHIP in his last 3 starts. Justin Masterson has been solid for the Tribe, but this Detroit offense is very strong, averaging 5.6 rg in their last 5 games and 5 rpg in their last 10 games. Both teams should put up at least 4 runs each.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, July 5

Harry Bondi

BALTIMORE (-110) over NY Yankees

The New York Yankees have struggled with the Orioles this year including getting swept by the birds in Baltimore last weekend. Orioles are playing great baseball and have been pounding the ball. Tonight's Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez is 6-3 with a 3.77 ERA this year and his ERA against new York is an even more impressive 2.41 in three career starts. Yankees plug in Ivan Nova, who has a 2-3 lifetime record with a 5.70 ERA vs Baltimore, in place of Hiroki Kuroda who is nursing a hip flexor. Baltimore is simply the better team and also has the stronger pitcher going. The line also tells you that Vegas agrees with us as the Yankees are rarely home underdogs and have won just 20% of the time under that scenario over the last two years! Orioles fly high.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, July 5

Rocketman

Oakland Athletics vs. Kansas City Royals
Play: Oakland Athletics     

The Oakland A's travel to Kansas City to take on the Royals on Friday night. Oakland has played well this season with a 50-36 overall record while Kansas City is now 40-42 overall this year. Oakland has won 6 of their past 8 games overall. Oakland is allowing only 3.3 runs per game their past seven games overall allowing opponents a combined team batting average of only .233. Kansas City is scoring only 3.3 runs per game against left handed starters this year where they have a team batting average of only .233. Tom Milone has done decent this year for Oakland with a 7-7 overall record. Wade Davis gets the start for Kansas City where he has really been somewhat of a disappointment. Davis is 4-6 with a 5.55 ERA overall this year, 1-3 with a 4.53 ERA at home this season and 1-1 with a 6.43 ERA his last 3 starts. Oakland is 3-0 overall vs Kansas City this year. Milone is 2-1 with a 1.29 ERA in all his starts vs Kansas City in his career. Davis has a whopping 6.75 ERA in all his starts vs Oakland in his career. We'll recommend a small play on Oakland tonight!

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, July 5

Andre Gomes

Pirates / Cubs  Under 7.5

The Pirates finally lost a series against Philadelphia, including a loss yesterday where they were dominated by Cole Hamels! On the other side, the Cubs had to make a big trip from Oakland to Chicago overnight, even though they barely played yesterday, as they were simply terrible on offense.

Today's game should be great, as we have two excellent pitchers on the mount! Pittsburgh will start Francisco Liriano and he is coming from one run allowed over six innings against Milwaukee last Saturday. Liriano struggled against San Francisco, but then bounced back with three quality outings in a row, including two legit great starts on his last two outings. Liriano faced just one top ranked offense on his last six games (LA Angels), but he dominated them. The Cubs' lineup has been above average over the last two weeks, but they were a disaster yesterday and they won't have David DeJesus, Luis Valbuena and Nate Schierholtz in the lineup today. Liriano has already faced the Cubs twice this season and he was incredible in both outings with no earned runs allowed in seven innings on each start. I expect the same to happen today.

On the other side, the Cubs will start Jeff Samardzija today, who is coming from a win at Seattle, on his third quality outing in a row as well. Just like Liriano, Samardzija has been in great form lately, even though he hasn't been facing a lot of tough opposition lately. This will be Samardzija's fourth game against the Pirates this season and he dominated in the first two games played at Pittsburgh, but then struggled on a third game at home with four earned runs allowed in six innings. However, Pittsburgh's offense struggled against the Phillies and if Samardzija keeps playing at the level he has been showing as of late, he should be able to have a good outing today. I believe this game will be a pure pitchers-duel with both Liriano and Samardzija dominating and therefore, I'll be taking the Under in here.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, July 5

Red Dog Sports

Tampa Bay Rays -1½ +108 

Look for the Rays to win by 2 or more runs on Friday night. Hellickson is 3-0 with an ERA of 1.42 in his last 3 starts while Axelrod's is 0-3 with an ERA of 5.94 in that span. I think we see a 5-2 type of win by the home team as Hellickson's last 4 home games are wins by 3-1, 4-1 and 8-0 along with a 10-1 loss.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, July 5

Craig Davis

The White Sox are 14 games under .500 and in last place in the AL Central... and that's after their 3-2 win over Baltimore Thursday after Adam Dunn broke a 2-2 tie with a solo home run.

Jeremy Hellickson (7-3, 4.90 ERA) gets the start for the Rays in tonight's game vs. the White Sox and has posted a 1.42 ERA over his last three starts. In April and May, however, he posted a 2-2 record with a 5.61 ERA.

When I handicap a pitcher, I don't often look at the overall numbers as much as I look at how they've been pitching lately... and Hellickson has been as good as anyone.

He looks to pitch Tampa Bay to its sixth win in seven games after a 7-5 win over Houston Thursday in extra innings.

Chicago starter, Dylan Axelrod (3-4, 4.57 ERA), who has posted a 7.40 ERA over his last four outings and is expected to turn things around in a hurry. I don't see it happening tonight.

This is a pitching mismatch at its finest... take Tampa as your free play of the day.

3♦ TAMPA BAY -1.5

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, July 5

Jeff Benton

Your Friday freebie is Under the total in the Padres-Nationals game.

The Padres just have not been scoring runs lately, as San Diego has only come up with 7 runs total over their last 6 games, and each of their last 4 games have played Under the total.

Washington did plate 8 yesterday, but in their previous pair were only able to come up with 1 run total, as the Nats have held low in 2 of their last 3 games.

Andrew Cashner and Gio Gonzalez have been throwing the pill quite well of late, as Cashner's ERA is 2.61 for his last 3 starts, while Gonzalez has a even lower ERA of 1.77 for his last 3 starts.

Going to look for a pitcher's duel to open the weekend in the nation's capital, and for the Padres to make it 5 straight unders in this low-scoring contest tonight.

Padres-Nationals Under the total.

3♦ SAN DIEGO-WASHINGTON UNDER

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, July 5

Brad Wilton

Friday's comp play is the Over in the Orioles-Yankees contest.

Baltimore does come into this one off of 3 straight Unders in their series with the Chicago White Sox, and they have been Under the total in each of their last 4, but they are facing a New York team that is starting to swing the bats a little better of late.

The Yankees just played Overs in 3 of their 4 games in Minnesota, and they are seeing Baltimore starter Miguel Gonzalez for a second time this year, so they should be a little more familiar with what Gonzalez wants to do on the mound.

Ivan Nova is making just his second start since April, and his over 10 ERA the last 3 times he has faced the Orioles certainly does not bode well for the Yankees.

Look for the runs to add up in the weekend opener from Yankee Stadium.

2♦ BALTIMORE-N.Y. YANKEES OVER

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, July 5

Brett Atkins

My free winner for tonight is on the New York Mets against the Milwaukee Brewers, and I want you listing Zack Wheeler over Johnny Hellweg. Though Wheeler struggled in his home debut in his last outing, allowin five runs on six hits to a surging Nationals team, it's hard to overlook a prospect the Mets have been counting on.

I know the right-hander's fastball command and ability to shut down hitters has been inconsistent through three starts, but this might be the right spot for him - away from CitiField.

There is a lot of pressure - and expectation - in Queens, where the All-Star festivities will begin next week, and there's a huge spotlight right now. Many handicappers and analysts are too busy looking at numbers and don't spend enough time learning about the pitchers and personalities they're dealing with, and I can tell you this is just what Wheeler needs.

On the flipside of things, Hellweg (0-1) gave up seven runs - five of 'em earned - over a mere 1-2/3 innings in his MLB debut. And I like Wheelers' chances much better than Milwaukee's young right-hander.

Take the Mets and list both.

4♦ N.Y. METS

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, July 5

Chris Jordan

My free winner for tonight is going to be on the Pittsburgh Pirates over the Chicago Cubs, and I want you listing both Francisco Liriano and Jeff Samardzija. I think the Bucs are going to rebound from yesterday's loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, by taking out frustration on the lowly baby bears.

As for all you haters who have said to yourselves: "The Pirates do this every year, and they will tank in the 2nd half of the season..." you're not paying attention to what's going on in Steeltown.

Last season, and in the previous ones, when the Bucs were winning early in the season they didn't have the pitching staff they do this year.

This season, the relief staff ranks fifth in baseball and the starters rank third. But this staff leads the bigs in ERA (3.16) as a whole. And barring injuries, there's nothing going to change about this pitching staff.

And part of that rotation is veteran Francisco Liriano, who performed superbly in June, allowing just nine earned runs over 37-2/3 innings. He lasted at least six innings in each of those six starts while he's allowed two runs or fewer in all but two of his 10 trips to the rubber this season.

The Pirates have dominated Baseball Tonight, and MLB.TV's topic of conversation, as they boast a 52-32 record and tthat means they're on pace for their first 100-win season since 1909, when the Bucs won the World Series

Play Pittsburgh here, and list both pitchers.

4♦ PITTSBURGH

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, July 5

Scott Delaney

Lost my free play yesterday on the Minnesota Twins, as they were hammered by the New York Yankees in Minneapolis. Tonight I am taking the Toronto Blue Jays over those same Minnesota Twins, who have lost five straight now, and won't be feeling like traveling for three games to close out the first half. There's just no motivation to play when you're losing, and you have to play on the road.

Now as you may already know, all Run Line plays automatically list the pitchers with the starters who are scheduled to go at the time of the wager. But make note I am not concerned with who goes for either team tonight and want you playing this game on the Run Line regardless. So be aware that if either Kevin Correia or Mark Buehrle are scratched, IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to be sure you have action by re-wagering the game if that takes place.

While the Twins are reeling right now, this might be the right spot for Toronto to get back to the dominating form it displayed in during a red-hot mid-June streak that saw them win 14 of 16 games. I know the Jays have stumbled since an 11-game win streak came to a close, having lost eight of 11 games since June 24, but again, this visit from the Twins opens the door to close the first half on a winning spree.

Look for the Jays to open the series with a blowout win.

2♦ TORONTO -1.5

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