Games from the west coast that go extra innings are a true test of endurance, but 19 innings is a little ridiculous. In case you didn't hear, or were in bed long before the final outcome was decided, that's what happened in Oakland last night in the game between the Angels and the A's. 19 innings. I love baseball, but I have to admit that when the game finally ended at close to 4 am here in God's Country, I was plum tuckered. It sure made getting up for Mass this morning a real challenge, but I made it. The worst part about the whole thing wasn't that the game went so long, it's that it didn't have to.
The Angels had a 5-run lead and only needed to get 6 more outs to close things out in 9, but that bullpen is a mess. And to make matters worse, when the Angels scored a run in the top of the 15th, they once again couldn't hold it, and that time they had the A's down to their last out before coughing up the lead. A bad bully is nothing new in Anaheim, and that's somewhat disturbing. It was a group that often brought a gas can and a match to the proceedings last year, and there's not much improvement this season. In fact, things may be worse this year. They sure had to have Josh Hamilton though, didn't they? I don't know who's pulling the strings out there, but there should be some folks on the chopping block. Disneyland deserves better than this. Hey, maybe that's it? Mickey Mouse and Goofy are in charge of player personnel operations for the Angels?
THE SHOW (2-3 last night and 4-6 so far for the week)
BUTTA (0-1 last night and 1-2 so far for the week)
1. BRAVES (HUDSON -110) over Nationals (Gonzalez) - The Braves usually find a way to break my heart a couple of times a season, but the Nats haven't found a way to beat them so far this year, and Gio has been hittable so far. In the end though, it's Huddy's numbers that have me jumping into this fire. He's 15-5 lifetime against the Nats, 23-10 in all games over the last 2 seasons, 148-67 in home games, 107-59 against division opponents and 151-84 when his team is coming off a win. Impressive.
2. TIGERS (VERLANDER -260) over Twins (Worley) - The difference between risking for the low payout with the Tigers tonight as opposed to last night is obvious: Justin Verlander. The Tigers have lost 2 of J.V.'s last 3 starts, but he's 13-7 lifetime against the Twinks, and over the last 2 seasons, the Tigers are 12-0 when Verlander starts a home night game.
ON THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR
1. Padres (Volquez +120) over CUBS (JACKSON) - The Cubbies are getting some really good pitching the last couple of times through their rotation, but Jackson is 0-3 lifetime against the Friars with his team going 1-5 in his 6 career starts against San Diego. Edinson Volquez has been erratic, but he's never lost to the Cubs (4-0) with his team going 6-0 in his career starts against Chicago.
2. CARDINALS (GARCIA -145) over Reds (Arroyo) - The numbers all line up for the Redbirds tonight. Garcia is 8-2 lifetime against the Reds, while Arroyo brings an 8-14 career record against the Cards into this game. The St. Louis bats have fallen deathly silent over the last 4 or 5 days though, and that's enough of a concern for me to keep this game at arm's length.
3. DODGERS (RYU -160) over Rockies (DeLaRosa) - I guess it's one of those undeniable truths of life that we can't escape: Death, taxes and the Dodgers can't hit. They seem to find a way to do something right against DLR though. He's never beaten Dodger Blue (0-7), and the Rox are 0-9 in all the games he's started against L.A.
4. Phillies (Halladay -125) over INDIANS (McALLISTER) - It sure looks like Doc is okay. He's had 3 real strong starts in a row now. The only problem is that the Phils seem to find a way to waste them. I'll pass.
RUN-(NING) LINES (3-9 ATS/7-5 SU/8-4 TOTALS last night and 9-19/14-13/17-11 so far for the week)
1. YANKEES (-1 1/2, O8) over Astros
2. TIGERS (-1 1/2, U7 1/2) over Twins
3. ATHLETICS (+1 1/2, O8 1/2) vs. Angels
4. MARINERS (+1 1/2, U7) vs. Orioles
5. Rays (+1 1/2, O7 1/2) at ROYALS
6. RANGERS (-1 1/2, U8) over White Sox
7. Red Sox (-1 1/2, U8 1/2) over BLUE JAYS
8. Phillies (-1 1/2, U8) over INDIANS
9. BRAVES (-1 1/2, U7) over Nationals
10. MARLINS (+1 1/2, U8) vs. Mets
11. Padres (+1 1/2, U10) at CUBS
12. BREWERS (-1 1/2, O8) over Pirates
13. CARDINALS (-1 1/2, U7 1/2) over Reds
14. D-BACKS (+1 1/2, U8) vs. Giants
15. Rockies (+1 1/2, U7) at DODGERS
THE NBA (2-1 ATS/2-1 SU/1-2 TOTALS last night amd 4-3/4-3/3-4 so far for the week)
BUTTA (no play last night or for the week)
I've got to say that this playoff season has me a little gunshy so far. Once again tonight, I don't really see where there's a clear edge for me to exploit in either game.
ALL THE REST
1. NUGGETS (-8. O212 1/2) 126, Warriors 113 - I see what the numbers say, but I've also seen the play on the court so far in the first 4 games. It looks like the Nugs are missing Gallinari a whole lot more than the Warriors are missing Lee. I think the Nugs find a way to get this series back to Oakland for Game 6, but the Warriors are playing with a lot of swagger and confidence right now, and I can't see how 8 points is justified.
2. CLIPPERS (-5 1/2, O179 1/2) 98, Grizzlies 83 - Both teams held serve on their home floors. That makes this look for all the world like it will go the full 7 games, but I sure don't like this "squishy" number with a team that can put the clamps on at the defensive end like the Griz can.
I don't mind telling you that I'm a little tired today. Here's to all the west coast games only going 9 innings tonight. Have a great evening, and I'll see you tomorrow.