MLB Playoffs:One and Done

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The Cover 4.com presents you with the MLB Playoffs:One and Done! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter at @thecover4 or facebook at theCo VerFour

The Wild in the WIldCard

The purpose of the playoffs is to provide a forum to establish the best team of the best teams over a course of a year.  As in most sports, there is a regular season to weed out the poor teams and isolate the good teams. In football, they play once a week in a 16 game season. In the NBA, they play three or four times a week in an 82 game season. In baseball, teams play six or seven times a week in a 162 game season. Why do they play that many games? Maybe it is less grueling on the body so they can afford to play almost every day, unlike basketball and especially football. So, if that many games are laid out to determine the best teams over such a large sample size, you would think baseball would have the largest and longest size for their playoffs amongst the main sports. Right? Nope.  It’s laughable. And for the Rangers, Reds, and the Indians, they receive the short end of the stick.

With baseball’s new Wild Card format, they have baseball teams competing in a one, yes I repeat, ONE game playoff to determine who moves on and who is gone. After six long moths of regular season games traveling around the country, they the new format dictates that their postseason fate is determined by one game. Last time I checked my math, this ratio of regular season games to playoff games here is preposterous, and it has me burning more than a summer in Death Valley.

world-series-trophy-rangers-cardinals-baseballBaseball, and Bud Selig especially, thought they would make baseball more meaningful in September by adding an extra playoff spot for a competing team. Instead of three division winners and a wildcard in each league, the new format as of last season includes the three division winners and two wildcard spots. The two wildcard teams however, who have experienced all the twists and turns of a 162 game season, then compete in one solitary game to determine who will play the division winner with the best record in baseball as the true wildcard representative. Give me a break! And I’m not talking about a Kit Kat. How can baseball think this is fair? No wonder Bud Selig recently announced his retirement at the end of next season. No wonder the ratings are down.

In a sport where one pitcher can determine the whole outcome of a game, to have one sudden death game be played is ludicrous. Baseball has the least amount of teams make the playoffs compared to hockey, basketball, and football. How can they truly justify the existence of such a short element in their post-season. A broken clock is right twice a day, but it does not mean that this is the best clock in a clock store. This is the World Series we are talking about, not March Madness, or a clock store.

In basketball, they have 16 teams make the playoffs and every series is best 4 out of 7. Even hockey partakes in this same format. They play half the games baseball does. And in basketball, sure winning game 1 is a good start to winning a series, but not every team that wins game 1 wins the series. This year and last year’s NBA Finals, LeBron James and the Miami Heat lost game 1 both times before moving on to win the series. If it was the baseball wildcard playoff, LeBron would still be known as the “Ringless King.” The reason this does not happen in basketball is because in a competitive sport where parody exists everywhere, the better team is determined over a larger sample sizes. It is not football, and you cannot fairly outline a system where one game determines who wins and goes home after such a long quantitative regular season.

NASCAR races do not determine the winner after 5 laps. Tennis matches do not play best 3 out of 5 games in a set to see who wins the whole match. Majors in Golf are not determined by two round tournaments or 9 hole matches. Soccer matches do not play twenty-minute games in the World Cup. I can go on and one with examples to illustrate my point, but it will not change the format that exists in baseball.  Otherwise, this article would have only been one paragraph long.

Going into the final weekend of the regular season, the National League Wildcard matchup was clear-cut and the American League Wildcard reminded me of the BCS System. The Cardinals, Pirates, and Reds had an exciting battle throughout the final months of the season. The Cardinals, class personified, took the NL Central Crown and the Reds and Pirates battled off for the Wild Card Spot. The Pirates with the better record held the home field and predictably defended their turf, winning 6-2 the re-emerging of Francisco Liriano. Pittsburgh postseason baseball has not taken place since 1992, and this victory against the Reds was a fantastic emotional watch. However, if I am a Reds advocate, I played 82 home games during the regular season to prepare me for the playoffs, qualified for the playoffs, and I do not get even one home playoff game? This is blatantly out of bounds, unnecessary, and insulting. Make it two out of three. Do something Bud. Even the WNBA plays two out of three throughout the playoffs. You cannot justify playing that many regular season games to only have one game determine a team’s fate. Not to this baseball fan. Sorry Reds fans, looks like you had to walk the plank.

In the American League, the Wild Card Playoff berths resembled a hybrid of a Presidential Election Race and the BCS Bowl system. Chaotic, confusing, and most importantly, unfair. If two teams are supposed to play in a one-game playoff for the final wildcard spot, what happens when there is a tie for these final two spots? Well, I guess you can say baseball got its wish. The Rangers and the Rays tied for the second Wild Card spot, while the Indians finished first for the top spot. There were ten different cluttered scenarios that could have happened on the final day of the season. Hypothetically if this happens; then this is the result. In the end, there was a one-game playoff for the one-game playoff, furthering the ridiculousness of this new system.

8811b8d4321303213f0f6a7067001791The Tampa Bay Rays threw their ace David Price against the Texas Rangers in Arlington. And the Rangers pitcher was Yu Darvish, their best pitcher, naturally right? No, incorrect. Martin Perez who? Why, because Yu pitched on the final day of the season to secure their playoff “berth.” Baseball features a dynamic where a pitcher can impact a game more than any player on the field. This is why they typically pitch once every five games. The format did not even allow a team to have their best pitcher throw one pitch. How can this format truly determine the best team? It is very unfair and cruel. Sorry Rangers, you just got stung. By the Rays and more importantly, baseball’s misconception of balance. And what the playoffs represent.

The Rays got to throw their ace against the Rangers and they won. Then they advanced to the real wildcard playoff against the Indians, where they showcased Alex Cobb. Their number two starter Matt Moore could not pitch because he pitched on the final day of the regular season, but is scheduled to start Game 1 against the Red Sox on Friday in the ALDS. And the Indians were unable to throw their hottest pitcher in Ubaldo Jimenez. They had to pitch rookie Danny Salazar. He gave up a couple runs, but the story of the game was that the Indians stranded baserunners left and right. The Indians outhit the Rays but lost 4-0. In a long series, they could have won 4-1 and outhit them every game. We will never know. Neither will the Indians nor their fans. Cleveland sports will have to continue to suffer because of this stupid format. One off-night after a ten game winning streak sends a team home with no second, third or fourth chance.

In the end, the best team is determined in the League Championship Series and World Series. Why? Because it is a best-out-of-seven series. All pitchers can be used, and all assets and liabilities can be used and exposed. But in getting to these final four teams, injustice is incurred along the way. Basketball playoffs take almost two months, where baseball’s takes place in one month, and Baseball plays twice as many games in the regular season. Now I’m no math teacher, but something does not add up. Here is a quick solution: Cut out the final month of the regular season and make the playoffs longer. Simple, make it a 130 game season and make more playoff games.

Yasiel-PuigC’mon baseball! Show us you can adapt. Football adopted its new overtime system because its previous format created a scenario where one team potentially did not get a fair chance. They realized a problem existed and rectified it. Baseball is moving slowly with updates in instant replay because baseball is America’s pastime. Change is hard for them, and the changes they do make are also unfair. They have the All-Star Game winner’s league get home-field advantage in the World Series. There are so many elements of this sport that I love that are broken. Baseball needs to strongly look at itself in the mirror, put on the eye black, and re-evaluate its playoff system, especially the Wild Card format. They are not only robbing the teams, but the fans as well. We all want you to succeed baseball, but you are making it very hard on yourself.

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September 26, 2013

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September 6, 2013

The Cover 4 presents you another installment of The Sound Off by Long Island Sound…

Let us know what you think!

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22: The New Face of Baseball – Andrew McCutchen

cutch

In an era in where steroids and PEDs have tarnished the image of baseball and its players, there are very few pure American stars — yet alone any stars — left.

Ryan Braun has suffered a disgraceful fall. Alex Rodriguez is an afterthought. Barry Bonds was forced out of baseball six years ago. If you ask the uninformed fan who the next face of baseball is, I’m sure that there would be a lot of pauses before he answers. Well, I have a simple suggestion for you. You take the best player on one of the the best teams in baseball. How about the Pittsburgh Pirates?

Yes, those Pirates. For Pittsburgh sports fans, many are used to boasting about Ben Roethlisberger or Sidney Crosby, but they have a new superstar to talk about, Andrew McCutchen.

”Cutch” has steadily progressed since making his debut in June 2009. The right-handed hitting center fielder is the total package. He has speed like a gazelle. He shows his power by hitting it to all over the field, including over the fence. He covers ground like a sumo wrestler. Most importantly, he plays the game the right way, free from off-the-field temptations and PED use.

In January, McCutchen was announced as the cover athlete of the baseball video game MLB 2013: The Show, where he beat out CC Sabathia in fan voting. After making the All-Star team for three consecutive years, Cutch is slowly starting to be the face that baseball desperately needs to carry its torch. Just like the Pirates, he is walking the walk with style and class. They don’t the need the media attention that the other teams get to prove their greatness.

Social media is a new tool that players like Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth never experienced. Typically, the media helps create these superstars who play in big markets such as New York or Los Angeles. And given the fact that the Pirates have played in a playoff game since two days before Bryce Harper was born, they have not received much attention from the fans, and especially the people who just tune in to watch during the playoffs. McCutchen is putting Pittsburgh on the map. This Wednesday, ESPN televised the Pirates playing on the road against St. Louis, a game in which the Pirates won easily. It was very symbolic for Cutch and his Buccos.

Given the state of the game rife with scandal and steroids, baseball must utilize their superstars to get fans interested again in watching the game. It starts with finding the right players who epitomize the perfect balance of excellence on and off the field. And Cutch hits a home run in regards to those statistics. He is very proud of who he is, where he came from, and what he is on his way to doing. Young kids learning the game need a role model like this to learn how to play the game the right way, with hard work and dedication. He was drafted out of high school, worked his way up, paid his dues and is now thriving as the cornerstone of the Pirates organization.

Meanwhile, he is leading his team to their best season in ages, and given a terrible collapse, we will be seeing the Pirates playing ball in October for the first time in a long time. Cutch has been there through thick and thin, and did not choose to abandon ship to cash in on a bigger paycheck. He signed a 6-year, $51.5 million extension with the Bucs, showing that he plans to play in Pittsburgh for a very long time. His loyalty to his team and city is commendable and another positive character trait that kids growing up can follow. Very few superstars in any sport these days play with one team their entire career.

McCutchen is a rising star for a rising franchise. He has made Pittsburgh a baseball city again and has the rest of Major League Baseball buzzing as well. Steroids and PED use has given the sport a major black eye, especially with the Braun scandal. Now, Cutch emerges as the new face of a sport that needs a face lift. His skills are elite, his team is playing like it belongs in the World Series and he does this with class personified. He never promotes himself as a superstar, and these days, he does not have to. The Pittsburgh Pirates are back and Cutch is here to stay. Baseball has a new golden boy, and they look to Buc the trend of scandal and negativity into a new era of excellence done in the right way, on and off the diamond.

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Buc’n the Trend: A Pirates Fan’s View

Andrew McCutchen

It was just over a year ago when I was coaxed by one of my best friends to fork over a couple hundred dollars and purchase season tickets for the remaining two months of Pittsburgh Pirate games. At the time, it seemed like a good investment. The team was 10-plus games over .500 and had a favorable position in the NL Wild Card race. My buddy and I wanted to guarantee we’d be able to buy playoff tickets.  But as everyone knows, the Pirates imploded. A team that was 63-47 on August 8 spectacularly collapsed, winning just 16 of its last 52 games. Despite having tickets to every game in September, I did not attend PNC Park at all that month.

So when it came time to renew my season ticket package in early 2013, I wanted no part. I dodged phone calls from any number that began with 412-325. This team had way too many question marks. Would A.J. Burnett regress from his 2012 form? How would Jason Grilli handle the closer role (even though I tend to believe the closer role to be overrated)? Hell, Jonathan Sanchez made the starting rotation. There wasn’t much belief that this team would be anything more than a 75 to 78-win team. Four months later, and the Pirates have captivated Pittsburgh. The Pirates are tied for the most wins in baseball and lead their division by four games. Various websites list their odds to make playoffs as 99 percent.

For the long-suffering Pirates fans, it’s nearly impossible to grasp the reality that not only will the Pirates break their 21-year-old streak of losing seasons, but that this Pirates team is, by winning percentage, the best team in baseball. We knew the Pirates would likely become contenders at some point this decade. One would think 21 consecutive years of losing seasons would produce talent from the resulting high draft picks, but when you give a pea-brained moron like former GM Dave Littlefield six years at the helm, you end up with nothing more some 100-loss teams and an empty PNC Park. It wasn’t until Littlefield was fired and replaced by Neal Huntington in 2007 that the franchise’s fortunes turned around. Sure, Huntington presided over five losing seasons, but under his leadership the Pirates have been drafting players like Pedro Alvarez, Gerrit Cole and Justin Wilson instead of Pacific Rim all-stars Danny Moskos, Bryan Bullington and Clint Johnston.

You could have made a case for Huntington to be fired after last season’s collapse. But he took a gamble this offseason on several players who have become key contributors. The demand for Francisco Liriano was so little that Liriano signed a contract that guarantees him just $1 million this season (to be fair, this came after it was discovered Liriano broke his non-throwing arm). Vin Mazzaro was acquired in a minor-league trade and then designated for assignment during spring training. Jeanmar Gomez was a head-scratching acquisition at the time. Now, Mazzaro and Gomez have provided front-end stability to the bullpen with an ability to eat innings. Mark Melancon spent much of last season in AAA but now sports a sub-1.00 ERA.

None of those moves were considered high-profile transactions. What they have done though is contribute to a team that has revived baseball in Pittsburgh. And after spending money to see such greats as Chris Stynes, Bobby Hill, Daryle Ward, Tony Armas, Mike Williams, Jose Castillo, John VanBenschoten and Tike Redman, winning baseball is way better than I thought. Oh, and I regret not renewing my tickets.
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Tainted Love

Ryan BraunBaseball is viewed as our national pastime. But in actuality steroids are making baseball past its time for many other reasons. Recently, Ryan Braun became the newest member of baseball’s CSUC, the Convicted Steroid Users Club. He has now destroyed his image of a hard-working power hitter for a hard-nosed team in a blue-collar city. Once viewed as one of the game’s up-and-coming stars, Braun must now live with this stain for the rest of his life. And baseball now has another huge bruise it must cover up, but I’m afraid this one will require some serious reconstructive surgery.

Braun made a splash in the big leagues as a rookie, swatting home run after home run, leading the Milwaukee Brewers to new winning ways. Before, fans only showed up to MillerPark because it was sponsored by a beer company. Now, along with Prince Fielder, fans had something to gloat about and root for. From the naked eye, he looked like a medium-sized built player who just had an unbelievable swing and eye for the ball. Looking back at it now, it all makes too much sense.

With steroids and PEDs becoming a major issue in the post-Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds era, Braun had been viewed as one of the good guys. A role model for young players, if you will. Hard work and dedication can pay off. The adage, “If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying,” is a myth. Now the only thing mythical about Braun is Braun himself, and this represents another devastating blow to the game of baseball.

The main crux of the issue lies with the deterrence for using performance enhancing drugs. Even though players know it’s bad for the sport, why do they continue to take banned substances? It’s because they get paid the big bucks to produce. This is why over the years many owners and managers kept their mouths shut and looked the other way. They saw all the butts in the seats for every game. Revenue was up. Home runs were up. Popularity was up. The only thing that was down was the integrity of the game and that didn’t matter one bit to those profiting owners. Teams generated money and players got a piece of the pie. Both parties won.

Money is the key ingredient to this all. Baseball thinks it can suspend players 50 and 100 games, and have that be enough to prevent players using PEDs. I don’t think so. Sure, strides have been made, but going from awful to terrible is still pretty bad. And when a superstar like Braun is a member of the CUSC, the game’s image and integrity plummets. No one cares when the stupid bully cheats on a test, but when the class valedictorian does, it’s a big deal.

Let’s examine how this whole Braun thing has played out. He first was suspected of steroid use, but avoided punishment because of a technicality. The handler of the evidence “handled” it in a way that was against protocol, and Braun’s representation jumped on this mistake. It’s like when a guilty party gets off because he has a really good lawyer. Everyone knows he is guilty but the system does not allow the right justice to be served. Secondly, in this entire process, he maintained his innocence, still holding on to the last ounces of trust we had left in him as fans of the game. With his PED use now confirmed, he not only cheated the game, but all the people associated with it. Players, owners, managers, family, friends and especially us, the fans, the ones who pay his salary. We were duped.

With Braun reaching an agreement with MLB, he is now suspended for the remainder of the season and gets to hide away on vacation and let his negative rep linger in the background. People won’t forget, but they will forgive as soon as he starts hitting home runs next year. Especially with the attention now on Alex Rodriguez, Braun might actually end up as the good guy, relatively.

The bottom line is that players are cheating to produce. Then, they get paid because of their production. And no suspension of games is going to take a significant chunk of change out of their pocket to deter them from cheating until they get caught. Sure it is $3 million, but what is three million compared to the $52 million they are making because of their PED use. It’s almost as if it is a tax that if they are careful enough, they might not have to pay.

With Braun’s guilt, it just adds another big name to the list of stars who cheated, except this guy represented a glimmer of hope in a new of era of trying to rid baseball of steroids. In fact, he now has put baseball and its integrity in an even worse state. He is the bad apple that has spoiled the bunch. It does not matter that many players are playing the game the right way. Braun cheated, he signed his big contract, and now has to face a slap on the wrist for his mistake, while baseball faces the brunt of the punishment. Do you think Braun cares he might be hated every time he plays on the road from now on? Maybe. But he will quickly forget about this problem whenever he checks his bank account.

I propose that baseball needs to enact clauses in all contracts stating that any player guilty of steroid or PED use will have his contract voided at the team’s discretion. It is not about the number of games he misses. It is about the big picture financial impact that getting caught will have on a player. Take away the guaranteed contract. Take away the sponsors. Take away the stability. Then, only then, can you have a deterrent to improve the tainted image on the game. Good luck baseball. This fan is rooting for you.

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The Betting Corner: MLB Friday, April 26th, 2013

gordon_5axedjyy_zhhnascc4-25-13 Recap:

LOSS: 1 Unit – Texas at Minnesota (Over 8.5)

Season YTD: 30-23 +5.32 Units

Screen shot 2013-04-25 at 11.39.02 PM

Well, both pitchers came to play in this one.  Can’t say we had this one right.  Texas had a few chances with the bases loaded in the middle innings and less than two outs but couldn’t produce the breakout inning we needed.

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1 Unit – Atlanta at Detroit (+115)

Even though Detroit won against KC the other day, they still haven’t been playing well.  You could argue 4 of their runs were unearned because they came after an error that would’ve ended the inning.  2 of the remaining 3 runs scored were from players that walked due to the wildness of Wade Davis.  Outside of those gifts their offense has been stagnant.  Atlanta on the other hand went into Colorado and took 2 of 3 from the number 1 team in the NL West.

I feel I’ve got a pretty good read on Maholm this year, we’ve been on the right side of two if his games this year (one was last week with Pitt in a 3-1 victory).  He’s coming off the 3 earned runs we called and would love to bounce back against struggling Detroit.  Maholm is holds a 2.60 ERA against the Tigers in 3 career starts.  Add that to his outrageous 3-1 record and 1.03 ERA, I’ll take him as a road underdog against a struggling offense.

Anibal Sanchez on the other hand, while throwing well this year (2-1 with a 1.75 ERA), has struggled against Atlanta in the past.  In 17 starts, he’s 4-11 with a 5.42 ERA (Atlanta’s won the last 5 games he’s started against them).  And if we don’t get up early, it’s always nice knowing Atlanta’s bullpen is 5-1 with a 1.60 ERA on the year.  That’s ranked #1 in MLB.  Detroit, not so much.  They hold a 1-5 record with a 4.86 ERA.  That’s good for 27th in the majors.

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1 Unit – Philadelphia at NY Mets (Over 7.5) (-120)

7.5 is an awfully low total for these two teams considering their offensive capabilities and who they’re sending to the mound.  Hell, Dillon Gee threw two and a half weeks ago against the Phils and gave up 7 in just 3 innings. Philadelphia hasn’t been playing bad.  They’re getting runners on base, they’re just not getting those timely hits to get over the hump.  Facing Gee again may be the kick they need.  He’s now got a 7.55 career ERA against them in 7 games.

The Mets offense has scored an average of 5.68 runs per game (ranked #1 in the NL) and are currently 7-4 this year against right handed pitching.  Kyle Kendrick has pitched well in the early going, but I expect enough of a hiccup if not from him then hopefully from the Philly bullpen who has fared so well when we’ve gone with them in the last.

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TheCover4.com is not an online gambling operator, or a gambling site of any kind. We are simply here to provide information about sports betting for entertainment purposes only.

All information regarding gambling is intended to be purely educational from an academic perspective, and not to actually encourage gambling.  We are in no way condoning gambling and are not affiliated with any and all casinos/sports books mentioned.

The Betting Corner: MLB Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Getty_Jose_Valverde_IS_BACK_BABY_i7etjxz4_a3as2vup4-24-13 Recap:

WIN: 1 Unit – Arizona at San Francisco (+150)

LOSS: 1 Unit – Pittsburgh at Philadelphia (-120)

WIN: 1 Unit – Texas at LA Angels (Over 7.5)

LOSS: 0.5 Units – Kansas City at Detroit

WIN: 0.5 Units – Cleveland at Chi White Sox (Under 8)

Season YTD: 30-22 +6.37 Units

MLB Futures Watch:

.5 Units: Pittsburgh Pirates Under 77 (-110) 12-9

1 Unit: Houston Astros Under 59.5 (-110) 7-14

1 Unit: Atlanta Braves Over 87.5 (-110) 15-6

1 Unit: Seattle Mariners Over 77 (-125) 8-15

1.5 Units: Cleveland Indians Over 77 (-110) 8-11

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We tack on 1.3 units yesterday, but it could have been a lot more IMO.  Tough to be frustrated with a winning day, but both our losses could have been avoided.  A costly error in Detroit opens up the floodgates to a 4 run inning (3B Mike Moustakas botched 2 ground balls in a row; one of which went right through his legs, costing us 4 runs in what could have been a win).  In Philly, another bullpen blows a 2 run lead we held the entire game late.  All 3 of our other wins were just as a suspected.  A coin flip of a game in San Fran goes our way, Cleveland and Chicago continue to have trouble scoring runs, and I’m pissed with a total of 7.5 I didn’t take the Angel game as a step out.  I had a feeling Texas could cover this one on their own with the pitching they were up against and they accomplished it in one inning.  We’re slowly grinding our way forward right now (which is a hell of a lot better than backwards) but we just can’t hit that break out day.  It’ll happen though, the streak will come. Until then, a slow profit is perfectly fine with me.

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1 Unit – Texas at Minnesota (Over 8.5)

Texas hit the over for us last night themselves, we go back to them for the over in game 1 of their 4 game set with Minnesota.  Texas is on a tear at the plate of late and Minnesota is holding their own as well (scoring at least 4 runs in 4 of their last 5).  Vance Worley hasn’t proved he can pitch successfully at Target Field yet and last year he held an ERA a full 2 points higher at home vs on the road.  Texas sends to the mound rookie Nick Tepesch who has held his own early this 2013 campaign.  He’s yet to be weather tested in his young career and throwing in 30 degree weather against any MLB offense may prove itself to be a bit of a curveball.  Take the over.

 

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TheCover4.com is not an online gambling operator, or a gambling site of any kind. We are simply here to provide information about sports betting for entertainment purposes only.

All information regarding gambling is intended to be purely educational from an academic perspective, and not to actually encourage gambling.  We are in no way condoning gambling and are not affiliated with any and all casinos/sports books mentioned.

The Betting Corner: MLB Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

BJ_Justin_Upton_b2b_p1uze741_kw4c469p4-23-13 Recap:

CANCELED: 1 Unit – Cleveland at Chi White Sox (Under 8)

Season YTD: 27-20 +5.07 Units

MLB Futures Watch:

.5 Units: Pittsburgh Pirates Under 77 (-110) 11-9

1 Unit: Houston Astros Under 59.5 (-110) 6-14

1 Unit: Atlanta Braves Over 87.5 (-110) 15-5

1 Unit: Seattle Mariners Over 77 (-125) 8-14

1.5 Units: Cleveland Indians Over 77 (-110) 8-10

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We have another game cancelled yesterday.  In recent history, I don’t remember this many games that have been cancelled due to inclement weather.  We’ve got to be in or at least close to double digits at this point and there’s still a week left in the month of April.

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1 Unit – Arizona at San Francisco (+150)

As I’m writing this, Arizona has just taken a 6-4 lead over San Fran in the top of the 11th so I’m going to assume they’ll close it out.  We could’ve gotten a little more value out of this had they lost the first two games of this series but our bet Wednesday is based off of value anyways so it’s kind of irrelevant.

Ian Kennedy has struggled a bit this year, but the Giants would be a perfect candidate to break out of it.  In his career against San Francisco, he’s started 13 games and has a 6-2 record with a 2.38 ERA.  In his career at AT&T park, he’s 3-1 over 7 starts holding a 2.66 ERA, a 1.08 WHIP, and a .215 opponent BA.  His opponent in Madison Bumgarner has started off a little stronger this year, going 3-0 with a 2.05 ERA.  He hasn’t given up more than 2 runs in a start yet YTD.  He doesn’t have horrible stats against Arizona holding a .500 record in 8 starts and a 3.78 ERA.

Two reasons we’re betting this one.  The first is I don’t expect Bumgarner to continue his dominance in this game.  3 of his first 4 games were against under .500 teams and Arizona has won 4 of their last 5 games against him.  The second reason is the moneyline is way off.  No reason in hell should Arizona be anywhere near a +150 underdog given this matchup.

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1 Unit – Pittsburgh at Philadelphia (-120)

For the second game on our card, we’re going with Philadelphia in game two of this civil war series.  Hamel’s pitched well, but the Phillies offensive woes continued as they lost 2-0 Tuesday night.  They face off Wednesday against Wandy Rodriguez who’s started off the season strong.  He’s 2-0 in 3 starts with an ERA of 0.56.  However, in Citizen’s Bank Ballpark, he’s sporting a 7.11 ERA over 4 games.  He’s also got the following stats against the following Philly hitters.  Ryan Howard (4-12 w/ 1 HR), Jimmy Rollins (6-15 w/ 1 HR), Chase Utely (2-10), and Michael Young (6-18).  Those are some encouraging stats for the core of the Philly offense (less Utley). Hopefully, they’ll be able to put a few early runs on the board and relieve some pressure off Halladay.

Speaking of Halladay, he seems to have figured out his early season woes, getting 2 wins in his last 2 starts giving up only 3 earned runs in 15 innings of work.  Not only that, but he’s pitched extremely well against Pittsburgh in his career.  He’s 4-1 over 6 starts with an ERA under 1.  At -120, at home, AND after a loss in the series opener, look for the Fightin’ Phils to bounce back and scrap out a win in this one.

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**Note – The lines on the following games aren’t up yet.  I’ll check into them tomorrow and update the page with plays if needed.

Atlanta at Colorado

Toronto at Baltimore

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0.5 Units – Cleveland at Chi White Sox (Under 8) -120

We’re hopping back on the same play we had yesterday before it got rained out.  We’re knocking it down to 0.5 units however because our odds were hacked from -105 to -120, and it scares me just enough that they were ready to go yesterday and have to re-prepare themselves all over again to start today (some pitchers can do it no problem and others hate breaking their routine).  The stats are still there to back up this play, but there’s a few more variables at work now.

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0.5 Units – Kansas City at Detroit (+166)

Wade Davis has always been a quick starter in his career.  In the month of April all time, he holds a 7-3 record with a 2.83 ERA.  So far this year, he’s 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA (and hasn’t given up an earned run in his last 2).  His opponent in Max Scherzer has also started off well this season, honing a 1-0 record with a 2.84 ERA.  The line is what get’s me in this one.  Detroit has been struggling to score runs (averaging 1.2 runs per game in their last 5) and has lost their last 4 in a row.  Kansas City played very competitively in Boston taking 2 of 3 (surprising considering the emotion Boston was playing with in front of their home fans for the first time since the bombing).  The only reason I’m not making this a 1 unit play is that neither of these teams have played a game in 3 days, so with that much time off, I don’t wanna get burned if Detroit’s offense comes out hot.

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1 Unit – Texas at LA Angels (Over 7.5) (-115)

The Angels Bullpen is taxed right now.  They’ve had 2 extra inning games in their last 3, of which the bullpen has thrown 14 innings.  De La Rosa, Downs, and Frieri have all thrown at least an inning of work in each of those 3.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, their hand is forced to use Michael Roth in a spot start thinning their bullpen even more.  This game could get out of hand quick against an offense as powerful 1 through 9 as Texas.  7.5 seems awfully low considering the above.  Not to mention, neither team has scored less than 4 runs in their previous 5 games.  Darvish is the only reason this game is near the number it’s at and he only lasted 5 innings and gave up 3 against the Angels not 2 and a half weeks ago.

____________________________________________________________________________
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Jeremy Murray
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TheCover4.com is not an online gambling operator, or a gambling site of any kind. We are simply here to provide information about sports betting for entertainment purposes only.

All information regarding gambling is intended to be purely educational from an academic perspective, and not to actually encourage gambling.  We are in no way condoning gambling and are not affiliated with any and all casinos/sports books mentioned.

The Betting Corner: Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

alg-cliff-lee-pitches-jpg4-8-13 Recap:

LOSS: 1 Unit – NY Mets at Philadelphia (-112)

LOSS: 1 Unit: Cincinnati at St. Louis (-110)

Season YTD: 11-6 +4.36 Units

MLB Futures Watch:

.5 Units: Pittsburgh Pirates Under 77 (-110) 2-5

1 Unit: Houston Astros Under 59.5 (-110) 1-6

1 Unit: Atlanta Braves Over 87.5 (-110) 6-1

1 Unit: Seattle Mariners Over 77 (-125) 4-4

1.5 Units: Cleveland Indians Over 77 (-110) 3-4

Been slipping back to reality the last couple days after our hot start to begin the season.  Tough 0-2 day having to watch the bullpen implode in St. Louis after taking a lead into the 8th inning.  With Philly, I was optimistic after watching Halladay’s first inning of work, but it was all downhill from there.  Halladay’s gonna have to do some serious soul searching because it’s not just these first two starts; he struggled all last year as well.  It will be interesting to see his next couple starts and whether he’s able to make the necessary adjustment to get back to his old dominant self.

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1 Unit – NY Mets at Philadelphia (-1.5) (+125)

Not a big write up for this one.  The Phillies have never, and I repeat, NEVER, lost 3 straight games started by the trio of Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, and Cliff Lee.  Cliff Lee pitched an 8 inning 2 hit shutout against Atlanta last week; expect more of the same this week.  Philly knows they’ve come out of the gate slow this year, and it’s obvious Hamels and Halladay have struggled mightily.  Cliff Lee is exactly who I’d want on the mound in this situation.  I feel bad for Dillon Gee (who has a 6.46 ERA in his career against Philly) in this situation, because he can pitch great like Medlen did last week against Lee and still come out with the loss.

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1 Unit: LA Dodgers at San Diego (-140)

Still not sold on San Diego.  In their home opener, runs are going to be even harder to come by now that they’re out of the mountains and beachside in sunny San Diego.  Even though Clayton Richard has faired decent against LA in the past, he didn’t look good against New York in his first outing.  Becket on the other hand threw decent against the defending World Champs.  He’s also 5-2 in 7 career starts with a 2.09 ERA against SD.  I’ll lay the chalk in this one and take the favorite.

____________________________________________________________________________
Thank you for reading The Cover 4! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

Oh yeah, tell your friends too!

Jeremy Murray
Sports Activist for The Cover 4
http://www.facebook.com/thecover4
http://www.twitter.com/thecover4

TheCover4.com is not an online gambling operator, or a gambling site of any kind. We are simply here to provide information about sports betting for entertainment purposes only.

All information regarding gambling is intended to be purely educational from an academic perspective, and not to actually encourage gambling.  We are in no way condoning gambling and are not affiliated with any and all casinos/sports books mentioned.

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