MLB Betting: Friday-Sunday Series Predictions
by Matt Severance - 07/03/2009
OK, we had a bit of a stinker with our Tuesday-Thursday series recommendations, but remember we are giving you what is the best value and not necessarily predicting the outcome.
The Mariners weren't able to surprise the Yankees despite beating CC Sabathia. If you would have told me Seattle would have beaten Sabathia before the series started, I really would have expected a Mariners pay off in that set in the Bronx. Close only matters in horseshoes and hand grenades, but the Mariners could have won one either of the first two games.
As for the Diamondbacks-Reds, Arizona won the opener as expected behind Dan Haren. But then the Snakes lost two one-run games to the Reds and didn't pay out. Again, that one could have gone either way.
Ah, the science of baseball betting. But we're here to recommend a few more series for this holiday weekend. Again, the best value (all odds from BetUS):
--Pittsburgh Pirates (+165) at Florida Marlins: For what it's worth, the Pirates swept the Marlins earlier this year in Pittsburgh and have won five of the past six against Florida.
But the Marlins are rolling again, having just swept the Nationals for their second straight home sweep and eighth straight win at home. They are actually tied for first in the bunched NL East. And no one is hotter than Hanley Ramirez, who has driven in a run in 10 straight games, a franchise record and the high mark ever for any NL shortstop (the major-league record for any player is 17 games). He has 24 RBI in those 10 games, in which the Marlins have won seven. But that streak simply can't continue.
So why would I recommend the Pirates here? Well, I think the team is finally over being angry at the front office for trading away two starting outfielders, even though the Pirates have lost two in a row.
And, quite simply, I think the pitching matchups favor Pittsburgh. Florida Game 1 starter Chris Volstad is 1-4 with a 6.29 ERA in his last six games. Pirates starter Charlie Morton (0-1, 4.09) is solid but not great - he's usually good for five mediocre innings. But the Marlins are 1-5 in their last six following an off day and 1-6 in their past seven Friday games.
I love Zach Duke (8-6, 3.13) against Florida's Andrew Miller (2-4, 4.45) in Game 2 even though Pittsburgh is 0-4 in Duke's past four against the Marlins. But the Pirates are 5-1 in their past six Game 2s of a series and 4-0 in the past four when Duke starts Game 2.
On Sunday, Pittsburgh starts Ross Ohlendorf (7-6, 4.41), who is coming off a shutout of the Cubs but has bad road splits. Florida starts Ricky Nolasco (5-6, 5.99), who has won three straight starts and appears to be rounding back into form.
So I look for Pittsburgh to have an excellent chance of winning the first two games of the series.
--Seattle Mariners (+190) at Boston Red Sox: Yeah, I'm back on the Mariner bandwagon for one more series against an AL East power. But, remember, this is all about value, and at +190 the Mariners represent value because I think they win Game 1 for sure.
That's because Felix Hernandez (8-3, 2.54) starts for Seattle. The M's juggled their rotation just so The King could pitch in Boston. Why? He has pitched at Fenway twice and hasn't allowed a run in 15 innings. That includes a one-hitter two years ago. Hernandez has been the best pitcher in baseball for a month, as he has allowed two or fewer earned runs in each of his last seven starts, going 4-0 with a 0.85 ERA.
Boston counters in Game 1 with Tim Wakefield (10-3, 4.18), who is unbeaten at Fenway this season but always will allow at least a few runs. That will be too many in Game 1. Plus, Boston is 1-7 in Wakefield's past eight against the M's.
I give the Mariners very solid chances in Games 2 and 3 when Seattle pitches Garrett Olson (3-2, 4.81) and Brendan Morrow (0-3, 5.14) against Boston's Brad Penny (6-4, 4.79) and Jon Lester (7-6, 4.35), respectively. If the game gets to the ninth inning, Seattle has a closer just as good as Jonathan Papelbon. David Aardsma has a 1.45 ERA, lowest among AL relievers, and is unscored upon in 26 of his last 27 games.
Also be aware that the guy who carried Boston's offense much of this season is struggling in a big way. That would be Jason Bay, who just struck out five times in a game against Baltimore. He was 0-for-15 during the entire three-game series with nine punch outs. Bay is just 6-for-42 in his past nine games.
Seattle, which is 19-13 in one-run games, should win Game 1 and can easily steal one of the final two games to pay off nicely at +190.
Happy betting, and enjoy your holiday weekend.