Thursday MLB Handicapper Report

Thursday MLB Handicapper Report – (Final)

Atlanta Braves

  • Since snapping a season-high nine-game losing streak on 4/30, the Braves have gone 12-6 and have evened their record at 20-20.  Atlanta is .500 for the first time since 4/23 (8-8).
  • Tied with the Brewers and Rockies for the fewest home games (18) in the National League so far this season.  Atlanta is 12-6 at home.
  • Tonight the Braves will depart on a six-game, seven-day road trip, opening a stretch in which they will play 17 of 23 games on the road.
  • INF/OF Eric Hinske is batting .464 with two home runs and 10 RBI in his last eight starts, spurring the Braves to pick up victories in six of those eight games.
  • Atlanta batters have collected a major-league-best 181 walks this season (NYY – 175), but rank just eighth in the majors with a .342 on-base percentage.
  • SP Tommy Hanson has just one career start against the Reds, picking up a victory while allowing just three hits.
  • The right-hander is 8-4 with a 3.35 ERA in 15 career starts at home, striking out 101 batters and walking just 28 over 94 innings.

 Chicago Cubs

  • The Cubs have won a season-high, four-straight games for the second time this year and look to win five-straight for the first time since July 22-27 of last season.  The current stretch follows a period in which the team went 2-9 from May 8-15.
  • Chicago is 5-9 against the NL East this season and have dropped the last five series against the division.
  • Starting pitchers have recorded five-straight quality starts with a 2-1 record and 2.43 ERA in their last five games – the club has gone 4-1 in those contests.  The Cubs rank third in the majors with 27 quality starts, trailing only St. Louis (32) and Tampa Bay (29).
  • Faced three left-handed starters in their last six games, including Philadelphia’s Jamie Moyer last night.  The team is hitting .275 off left-handed pitching this season and a .266 average off righties.
  • This is the fourth (3-0) of a 10-game stretch in which Chicago plays teams outside its own division.
  • SP Ryan Dempster owns an 0-1 record and 2.57 ERA in two starts against the NL East this season. 

 Cincinnati Reds

  • In the last 11 games, Cincinnati pitchers are 9-2 with a 2.46 ERA, including a 8-1 mark and 2.37 ERA by the starting staff.
  • The Reds are 13-4 within the division in their last 17 games.
  • SP Mike Leake leads all NL rookies with a four-game winning streak.  The 22-year-old right-hander is making his eighth Major League start, as he leads the pitching staff with six quality starts in seven appearances. 
  • In Leake’s starts, the Reds have gone 6-1 and scored 32 runs (4.57 rpg).

Cleveland Indians

  • The Indians have turned 51 double plays this year, which are the most in the majors.  Cleveland is T-4th for the fewest errors in the AL to date (24).
  • Team average has gone from .223 to .248 over their last 19 games.
  • Cleveland is fifth in the AL in on-base percentage (.334) and 10th in the league in average at .248 thanks to the sixth-highest walk total in the league (153).
  • Offense has scored three runs or less in 19 of 38 games (50%) and are the only team in MLB that has not scored 10 or more runs in a game this year.
  • SP Mitch Talbot is making his eighth start and appearance of the 2010 season.  Right-handed batters are batting .316 off him and left-handed hitters are batting .129.  He is the only rookie pitcher in the Majors with five wins and ranks tied-2nd overall in the AL in wins (5).  His ERA is 15th in the AL overall.

 Colorado Rockies

  • The Rockies are currently on a three-game losing streak, as the club has lost the first three games of this seven-game road trip.
  • Colorado is 1-5 against the NL Central to begin the 2010 season.  Colorado is in the middle of a 13-game stretch in which the team plays all non-NL West teams.  The Rox are 7-8 against their division and 12-13 against all others.
  • Currently on a five-game losing streak to NL Central clubs with the only win coming on opening day against the Brewers.
  • With the loss last night in Greg Smith’s start, the Rockies dropped to 1-7 in eight games he has started.   Colorado is 18-14 when anyone else starts and 7-1 with tonight’s starter Ubaldo Jimenez.
  • 1B Todd Helton has begun the road trip by going 5-for-9 (.556) with his first home run of the season.
  • Jimenez makes his fifth career appearance against Houston, as he’s yet to allow a home run in 24.2 innings against them.  The Rockies are 2-2 all-time in his starts against the Astros.

Kansas City Royals

  • The Royals rallied for five runs in the ninth inning last night to pick up a 8-4 road win against the Indians.  The victory was Kansas City’s fifth in its last seven games and gives manager Ned Yost a 4-2 record since taking over control.
  • SP Luke Hochevar has posted a 3-2 record thus far due to great offensive support by the offense.  The Kansas City bats have backed him with 34 runs while he’s been in the game, good for 7.12 runs per 9.0 innings, the third-highest mark in the AL.
  • Hochevar is looking to snap a three-start losing streak to Cleveland, as he’s allowed 12 earned runs in 16.1 innings of work over that stretch.
  • The club has scored 32 runs for Hochevar on the road (6.4 rpg).  He is 8-16 in his career on the road with a 7.18 ERA in 29 games (28 starts)

Philadelphia Phillies

  • The Phillies have lost back-to-back games for the first time since April 25-27 (3 losses).
  • Despite having the highest team batting average in the National League (.276), the Phillies have scored a total of two runs over their last two games (0-2).
  • During the month, Phillies starters have pitched six or more innings in that time frame in all but one of those outings.
  • Philadelphia is 8-6 in day games so far this season (4-3 home, 4-3 road).  The Phillies are hitting an NL-best .289 during the day.
  • The Phillies are 19-8 (.704) in games against right-handed starters this season, which is the most wins among all NL teams.
  • SP Joe Blanton is 9-6 with a 3.82 ERA in 25 career starts at Citizens Bank Park.  The Phillies are 16-9 in those games.
  • Blanton is 9-2 with a 3.45 ERA in 17 career starts against NL Central opponents.

 Pittsburgh Pirates

  • Pittsburgh has won two straight games and four of their last six overall.  The Pirates have gone 11-10 in their last 21 games.
  • A victory today would give the Pirates their third series sweep of the season – all coming at PNC Park.  The team had a total of three series sweeps last year, all coming at PNC Park.
  • Won the last three games played against the Brewers after dropping the first four.
  • Bullpen has the best winning percentage in the Major Leagues (.800; 8-2) and has struck out an MLB-high 142 batters in 1482. innings of work.
  • OF Andrew McCutchen has 11 hits in his last 19 at-bats against left-handed pitchers and is hitting .440 against southpaws this season.
  • Closer Octavio Dotel has gone 6-for-6 in save opportunities this month since suffering his last blown save on 4/28.  He has held opposing batters to a .080 average in May.
  • SP Paul Maholm tossed just 3.1 innings in his last start at home, a career-low for the lefty at PNC Park.  He has gone 25-16 with a 3.62 ERA in 68 career stats in Pittsburgh.

Seattle Mariners

  • The Mariners have had six of their last six games decided by one run (1-5).  Seattle is 4-11 in one-run decisions this season.
  • Seattle is 3-14 this month, after entering the month one game under .500 at 11-12.
  • OF Ichiro Suzuki is batting .349, ranking third in the AL.
  • Recorded 10 hits in back-to-back games, marking the fourth time this season to log double-digit hits in consecutive games.  They have lost the last two instances, after starting the season 9-0 when reaching double-digit hits.
  • Rank 12th in the AL batting .236 (79-335) with men in scoring position.  They are hitting .197 RISP over the last nine games.
  • SP Jason Vargas is 3-1 with a 3.23 ERA in 14 career games (8 starts) in the month of May.

St. Louis Cardinals

  • Came up short in a 5-1 loss to the Washington Nationals last night, having lost four of their last five games at home and six of their last nine overall.
  • SP Adam Wainwright has a career 2-1 with a 2.61 ERA in five career starts versus Florida.  He was 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in two starts against Florida last year.
  • The Cardinals won the game in each of his first five appearances versus the Marlins in his career.
  • Bullpen has compiled a 5-6 record and 2.98 ERA this season.  The unit has allowed 93 hits in just over 105 innings of work.

Tampa Bay Rays

  • At 29-11 (.722), the Rays have the majors best record by 100 percentage points and own the best 40-game record by a major league team since the 2002 Red Sox (also 29-11).
  • Opened their five-game road trip last night with their fifth-straight win, already their fourth win streak of five or more games this season.  The Rays are 7-2 since they fell to Oakland’s Dallas Braden in a perfect game.
  • Lead the majors with a road ERA of 2.36 and have outscored opponents 121-53 on the road overall (+68).
  • Tampa Bay has stolen 16 bases out of 17 tries in their last eight games, including six last night.
  • The Rays are 13-5 this season when the opposition starts a lefty, including 9-1 in the last 10 games.
  • SP James Shields leads the AL with a 9.8 strikeouts-to-IP ratio and a 5.36 strikeout-to-walks ratio.  He has gone winless in his last two outings, after wining four straight starts.  The Rays offense has managed just three runs in those two starts.
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