Soccer – Chicago Fire @ Sporting Kansas City

Here is another MLS game and I thought I hit last night’s match until the 80 minute and Columbus gets a PK and a late goal….Thanks Real for giving up with 10 minutes left…..Now to Chicago at Sporting KC.  This is a match between the two cellar dwellers of the division and could be a dicey pick so let’s check out the numbers.

Chicago Fire

Overall Record:  1-7-4

On the Road:  0-2-3

Last 5:  0-4-1

Sporting Kansas City

Overall Record:  1-3-6

At Home:  Surprisingly No Home Games

Last 5:  0-2-3

These two teams met earlier this year and Chicago won 3-2 at home.  This is apparently the home opener for Sporting KC and I would think they would be primed and ready to win this one but I am not so sure.  Neither team has won a game in quite some time….Sporting KC(Mar 19th) and Chicago(Mar 26th vs Sporting KC).  This match is definitely one I would not touch with any kind of respectable streak(ask the guy at W18 who took Real Salt Lake….OUCH) but if I have to pick I would say take the draw because Chicago did beat them in their last match.

Pick:  Chicago Fire W/D

Soccer – IF Sylvia @ Sleipner

We venture back to the country of Sweden for a League One match between IF Sylvia and Sleipner. Here is another zinger of a match we get to choose….THANKS SM!!!!! This match seems like it will be another tough one to pick but after looking at the numbers it may not be.  Sleipner is currently 2nd and IF Sylvia sits at 12th on the table.   Let’s look at the numbers shall we…..

IF Sylvia

Overall Record:  2-1-5

On the Road: 1-0-3

Last 5:  2-1-2

Sleipner

Overall Record:  5-2-1

At Home:  3-1-0

Last 5:  3-1-1

Last year Sleipner defeated Sylvia both times they met and in convincing fashion at home with a 3-1 victory.  Also, Sylvia hasn’t played well at all on the road and Sleipner hasn’t loss yet at home.  This is one of those matches that if you have a streak I would stay away but I feel a little more confident about picking the home team in this one  even without the draw option.

Pick:  Sleipner Win

Soccer – Real Salt Lake @ Columbus Crew

The 2nd soccer match of the day comes straight from our own backyard with the MLS.  Real Salt Lake @ Columbus Crew could  be one of the easiest picks of the day.  Real Salt Lake is in 4th place in their division while Columbus is in 5th in their division.   Columbus is coming off a 1-1 tie with the New York Red Bulls while Real Salt Lake recently defeated Vancouver 2-0. Lets take a quick look at this early season match…..

Real Salt Lake

Overall Record:  6-2-2

On the Road:  2-1-1

Last 5:  2-2-1

Columbus

Overall Record:  3-6-3

At Home:  3-3-0

Last 5:  0-3-2

While Columbus hasn’t lost at home they have had a few draws and haven’t won a match in 5 tries albeit their last win was against the league’s worst team Vancouver.  Real on the other hand have won a few and tied a few plus their have a  4-1 victory over the league leading LA Galaxy earlier this season. With all that being said I can’t believe the Real has the draw option which makes this match easier to pick for me.

Pick:  Real Salt Lake Win/Draw

Prop – MLB – Strikeouts in the 8th inning (BOS @ NYY)

Typically when ESPN puts up this prop, the majority goes with zero or one strikeouts in the 8th inning. There are usually middle relievers in the game at this point, either getting through the inning or setting up the closer. They are good pitchers, but not the best. In the bullpen for the Yankees, there have been 172.2 innings pitched, and in those innings, 145 strikeouts recorded. For the Red Sox bullpen, the numbers are a little higher – 184.2 innings pitched and 166 strikeouts.

In 626 at-bats as a team in innings 7 and beyond, the Yankees have 135 strikeouts. As a team, the Red Sox have 133 strikeouts over 698 at-bats in the seventh inning and beyond. These teams do not strike out a lot. They like to swing, and usually make contact, but not great contact, but enough to not get the K.

Pick: 0 or 1 batter strikes out in the 8th inning

MLB – Seattle Mariners @ Chicago White Sox

The Seattle Mariners (31-30) look to avoid being swept in their latest series against the Chicago White Sox (30-33). In order for them to do this they must do something they have had little success in doing; winning a game at US Cellular Field. The last time Seattle beat Chicago in their ball park was way back in April 28, 2009 when Felix Hernandez led them to a victory. Chicago has won an astounding 14 of their last 15 games against Seattle at home and look to continue their dominance Wednesday night.

Chicago will send out pitcher Gavin Floyd who is 6-5 with a 3.84 ERA, 57 Ks, and a 1.13 WHIP. Seattle will oppose Floyd with Justin Vargas who is coming off of a complete game shutout victory over the Tampa Bay Rays. Vargas has been pretty effective this year posting a record of 4-3 with a 3.96 ERA, 48 Ks, and a 1.27 WHIP. It looks like both pitchers will be pretty decent here so the x-factor will be the offense.

Seattle’s bats have been on a major slump lately as Justin Smoak, Ichiro, and the rest of the Mariners have been mired in a team slump. Suzuki has struggled the most putting up a paltry .210 average in May, a career worst. In order for the Mariners to get things rolling, their table setter needs to get things started. On the other hand, Paul Konerko has been red hot lately for the White Sox and looks to continue his torrid pace. After missing two games due to wrist surgery, Konerko has returned and belted 2 HRs in his last two games both against the Mariners. Konerko has gone .536 (15 for 28) with 10 RBIs his last eight contests.

For the Mariners to overcome history and get a rare win against Chicago at their ballpark Seattle’s offense must come alive. The good thing for them is that they are a good night team posting a solid 24-18 record during night contests on the year. Chicago has only managed a record 19-20 during the late starts. However, their offense seems to be clicking at a higher rate than Seattle’s especially with Konerko on a tear. If this is a close game and Seattle is in the lead in the late innings it might be tough to call a Chicago victory as they have a solid bullpen and have been great in 1 run ball games as of late. Chicago’s bullpen has been up and down this year and have made many blunders allowing many games to slip away. However,  their new closer Sergio Santos has made things a little easier to relax in the ninth inning.

Overall, I see the White Sox completing the sweep as their offense is just much better than Seattle’s right now. Vargas might keep Seattle in it but I don’t see their offense helping him out to get the win. Besides, Gavin Floyd isn’t a bad pitcher to put out there.

Pick: Chicago White Sox.

Prop – MLB – Curtis Granderson’s 1st plate appearance

Lefty Curtis Granderson is having an excellent season offensively. He ranks second in the AL in runs scored and third in the AL in home runs. However, last night in his four at-bats, he struck out three times and walked once. In 223 at-bats on the season, he has 60 hits and 59 strikeouts with 25 walks. He’s 8th in the AL in OBP (.927).

Wakefield has issued 11 walks in 43.0 innings pitched. He has 20 strikeouts. Out of the 40 total hits he has allowed this season, only 12 of them are against left-handed batters. Out of the 11 walks, only four of them are against lefties as well. And out of the 20 strikeouts, only seven are against lefties.

Hit, walk, or strikeout has been the winner five out of the past six times this prop has been offered. However, before that, AOR was the majority winner. Despite Granderson’s slump last night, I’d go with hit, walk, or strikeout. He hasn’t gone hitless in two consecutive games (against the same team) since May 3 at Detroit. While that doesn’t guarantee a hit at the first at-bat, it is a promising stat, as are the figures below:

Curtis Granderson:
Plate Appearances: 223
Hits: 60 (26.9%)
Walks: 25 (11.2%)
Strikeouts: 59 (26.5%)
Total: 144 (64.6%)

Tim Wakefield
NYY Batters Faced: 410
Hits Allowed: 106 (25.8%)
Walks Allowed: 42 (10.2%)
Strikeouts: 79 (19.3%)
Total: 227 (55.4%)

Pick: Hit, walk, or strikeout

Prop – MLB – Home run hit in 4th-6th innings (BOS @ NYY)

The starting pitchers tonight are Tim Wakefield (2-1) against A.J. Burnett (6-3). Burnett has only had four HRs hit off him at Yankee Stadium this year (10 total HRs). Wakefield has only allowed six total home runs this year, and only one on the road (at Detroit on May 27).

The Yankees as a team and the Red Sox as a team have both hit 88 total HRs this season. The Yankees have hit 47 home runs in Yankee Stadium this year. Also, 58 of their total home runs (not just at home) have come off right-handed pitchers. The Red Sox have hit 35 away and 44 against right-handed pitchers. Both teams do have the hitters to knock one out.

While Yankee Stadium is a hitter-friendly park, and the weather will likely help (it is supposed to be very warm and humid), these pitchers most likely won’t allow a HR. With the window being the 4th to 6th inning, these stats assume that each SP will last through the 6th inning (which they should).

Pick: No HR hit in 4th – 6th innings