There's just one more day of MLB betting before we get to the first wave of interleague games this weekend, and now's as good a time as any to toss in a quick update on how totals wagers have been faring.
May is dead even heading into Wednesday's action (May 16) with a 98-98 'over/under' mark plus 11 'pushes' for the month. Through the first 545 games of the 2012 campaign, the 'under' has a slight 271-252 edge with 22 'pushes.'
Boston and Milwaukee are the top 'over' winners for the year with the Red Sox and Brewers each at 22-13-1 to the high side. The only other clubs to be hitting 'overs' at a 60 percent clip are the Mets and Astros who are both 21-14-1. Houston saw its league-leading 'over' run come to a screeching halt in the past week with a string of seven consecutive 'unders' halted by a 'push' on a 7-run total in Tuesday's 4-3 setback in Philadelphia.
Pittsburgh continues to rule 'under' bets with a 24-9-3 record to the low side. The Pirates are followed by the Los Angeles Angels (24-12-1 'under') and Oakland Athletics (23-13-1 'under').
Our Wednesday focus was on four National League tilts, three of which featured left-handed pitching matchups, so it's only fair that we shift to the American League schedule for Thursday where we've found a couple of double-southpaw mound duels.
Halos & Pale Hose Close Short Set At Big A
It appears the Los Angeles Angels have discovered the cause behind the team's slow start in general, and slugger Albert Pujols' woes specifically. Halos GM Jerry Dipoto announced the firing of hitting coach Mickey Hatcher on Tuesday, and Pujols responded with a 3-hit effort in LA's 4-0 win vs. Oakland that raised the quarter-billion dollar slugger's average all the way to – Wait for it! – .212.
That win also lifted the Angels out of last place in the AL West entering Wednesday's series opener against the Chicago White Sox. Jerome Williams was slated to start that contest for LA who was a slight $1.10 favorite. Gavin Floyd was on the hill for Chicago with a 7½-run total for the game that was still pending.
The two clubs will wrap up their short set Thursday in an afternoon affair (3:35 p.m. ET). Chris Sale is in line to start for the White Sox while CJ Wilson gets the call for the Anaheim 9.
Sale's role as the Chicago closer lasted all of one blown save on May 8 before he promptly returned to the rotation last Saturday vs. Kansas City. The Royals pinned a 5-0 loss on Sale and the White Sox as +150 underdogs, leaving Robin Ventura's club 3-3 in the young lefty's six starts. His only previous experiences against the Angels were as a reliever.
Wilson had the rare experience of starting two days in a row last weekend in Texas where he faced his former club for the first (and second) time. Friday's outing was cut short 22 pitches into the evening by rain, and Wilson came back to throw 93 more the next day in a 4-2 triumph with Angels backers getting +140. He made two starts against Chicago while with the Rangers, and won them both with a 2.18 ERA.
This series was even-steven since the start of the 21st century heading into Wednesday's contest, 54-54. The ChiSox and Angels also split the last 12 in Anaheim, and at least eight runs were scored in all five games at the Big A last year.
Doubront & Moore On Tap At The Trop
Tampa Bay continues to wrestle with the Baltimore Orioles at the top of the AL East, and the Rays hope to get Matt Moore out of his early funk when they finish off a short set with the Boston Red Sox on Thursday. Moore will be opposed by Felix Doubront in a matchup of young southpaws for the 7:10 p.m. (ET) clash at Tropicana Field.
The Rays and O's were tied for the division lead entering play on Wednesday, each at 23-14, with Boston (17-19) 5.5-games back in the cellar. Wednesday's series opener saw Tampa Bay priced at -140 behind Jeremy Hellickson. Clay Buchholz was set to take the mound for the Red Sox with an 8½-run total.
Known for outstanding K/BB ratios coming up in the Tampa system, and even during his very brief duty last season, Moore has struggled with his control and fastball command so far in '12. He has issued 22 free passes in seven starts (39 IP) while also serving up six homers. The Rays have won just two of those games, both at home against the rather impotent attacks belonging to the Mariners and Angels.
Boston banged Moore around pretty good at Fenway Park about a month ago, slapping two long balls and scoring six runs in his 6+ innings. That was one of three losses the Rays endured in that 4-game series. They entered Game 1 of this series having won 22 of the last 34 in St. Pete.
Doubront will reportedly still make this start despite catching a batting practice fly off his coconut prior to Tuesday's home game vs. Seattle. The Venezuelan is coming off one of his better outings of 2012 last Saturday vs. the Indians, tossing six innings of 3-hit, 1-run baseball in Boston's 4-1 victory. The Red Sox are 5-2 with Doubront on the bump, including a dubya in the game Moore started at Boston back in April, and he's in the midst of a 19-1/3 innings streak without allowing a homer.