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Ness Notes for August 8
The Dodgers kept the proverbial “pedal to the metal” last night, winning their 10th game with a 7-2 victory over the Rockies. The longest active MLB hitting streak is also the Dodgers’ first 10-game hitting streak since May 2003. Jeff Kent returned after missing 18 games and had a HR and three RBI.
My free pick for Tuesday is the LA Dodgers vs. the Col Rockies at 10:10 a.m. ET. On Tuesday, I’ll feature another new Tech Insider (Seattle won last night) and one of my exclusive Las Vegas Insiders (62% of winners since May 1st, despite a dip at the end of July). Get them both now.
LA, which trailed the West by 7 1/2 games at the end of July, now sits just 1 1/2 games behind the Padres and is tied with the Reds for first place in the crowded NL wild card field. Greg Maddux will make his debut tonight at Dodger Stadium against the Rockies (10:10 ET) as LA goes for its 11th win in a 15-game hitting streak heading into Tuesday. MLB’s worst team, the 38-73 Royals, is snapping a four-game losing streak tonight at home against the Red Sox (8:10 ET).
The Tigers continued their dominance of the Twins this year with a 9-3 win over Minnesota on Monday night. Detroit is now 10-3 vs. Minnesota this year, including 7-0 at Comerica Park (outrebounding the Twins 56-11). The Twins’ loss ended the team’s eight-game hitting streak, which matched a franchise high.
However, the bigger story from last night’s game may be the health of rookie phenom Francisco Liriano. Liriano missed his previous start with soreness in his left forearm and last night allowed a season-high 10 hits in just four innings. His ERA against the Tigers this year is 7.63 compared to 1.39 against the rest of MLB.
Speaking of the Tigers, they are now a season high 50 games over .500 at 76-36 and a team winning percentage of .679 puts them on pace for 109 or 110 games. The Tigers joined the AL in 1901 and have only had five 100-win seasons. Most memorable were the 1968 team that won 103 World Series against the Cardinals and the 1984 team that won 104 games as well as a World Series win over the Padres.
Zack Miner improved to 7-2 with Monday’s win, giving Detroit three rookie pitchers who are at least five games over .500. The others are Justin Verlander (14-4) and Joel Zumaya (6-1). No major league team in the last 120 years has had three rookie pitchers finish the season at least five games over .500.
Two other pitching notes from Monday’s games include Chicago’s Mark Buehrle and San Francisco’s Jason Schmidt. Mark Buehrle was 9-4 with a 3.22 ERA through the end of June. At that point, he was seventh in the American League and sixth in ERA. In seven starts since early July, Buehrle is 0-6 with a 9.61 ERA. That’s the loss and the highest ERA (minimum: 25 innings) for any major league pitcher since July 1st.
Last night, Schmidt won 8:4 against D’bekistan. While the win raises his season mark to just 9-7, 3.15, he is now unbeaten in his last 15 games against the Diamondbacks dating back to the start of the 2003 season. Schmidt’s 15-start hitting streak against Arizona is tied for the third-longest current streak by any pitcher against any team.
John Smoltz is hitless in his last 17 games against the Reds (since 1995) and David Wells is hitless in 16 against the Royals (since 1993). Another 15-game hitting streak by Schmidt himself, against the Marlins (since 1996).
Tonight’s 15-game schedule includes just one televised game, the Yankees at Chicago, where they open a three-game series against the White Sox (WGN at 8:05 ET). It wasn’t long before the White Sox were still hoping to catch Detroit and trail the Tigers by 2 1/2 games after the All-Star break entering a three-game series at Yankee Stadium. However, New York defeated Chicago 26-12 to sweep the series.
The sweep started a ballgame in which the White Sox lost 10 of 12 games to fall behind the Tigers. Chicago (65-45) is 10 games back of Detroit in the AL Central but is tied with Boston for the wild card lead. New York, meanwhile, has won 16 of 22 games and 10 of its last 12 games. The Yankees have overtaken the Red Sox for the AL East lead and have a two-game lead over their arch-rivals.
Chien-Ming Wang (13-4, 3.58 ERA) puts his five-game winning streak on the line when he starts the opener for the Yankees. Wang is 5-0 with a 1.64 ERA in his last five starts and enters with an 18-inning hitting streak. Chicago’s Freddy Garcia (10-7, 4.87) is winless in his last six outings, going 0-3 with a 5.50 ERA.
Week 1 of the 2006 NFL season begins Thursday night. The Eagles, coming off a 16-10 loss to the Raiders a few nights ago, will host the Browns (Philly is a three-point pick at just 33 1/2) and the Rams will host the Colts at 8:00 ET. Fox. The Rams are a 5 1/2-point early pick with a total of 38 1/2.
College football lines up for the opening weekend of the season, with the first games on Thursday, August 31. Illinois is the 19-point first choice.
The three exciting opening weekend games all take place on September 2 (Saturday). No. 12 Cal is at No. 23 Tennessee, where the Vols hold a two-point advantage. Notre Dame, tied for third in the preseason coaches poll with USC, visits Atlanta to host unseeded Georgia Tech (the Irish are an eight-point pick) and fellow no. 3 USC is on its way to host Arkansas (the Trojans are favored by 8 1/2 points).
More football news tomorrow as Ness Notes is available Monday through Friday at 1:00 a.m. ET.
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