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MLB Surprise Money Starters

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

The MLB season is nearly a month old and already baseball bettors have been treated to some very profitable surprise starting pitchers.

Here’s a look at a sportsbook review of three of these money-making arms and whether they’ll continue to cash in as the baseball season goes on:

Nick Martinez, Texas Rangers:

The Rangers’ right hander has jumped to the top of the money standings with a 2-0 record and slim 0.35 ERA through four starts this season – all of which ended in wins for Texas as a plus-money underdog. But buyer
beware of Martinez’s stellar start to the year.

He’s climbed near 100 pitches in those four starts despite not going more than seven innings and has a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 1.38, well off the pace of the top pitchers in baseball. This second-year starter could wear
himself thin before the calendar gets to June at this pace.

Bartolo Colon, New York Mets:

The veteran hurler is proving he has plenty left in the tank with a strong debut to 2015. Colon is a perfect 4-0 with a 2.77 ERA through four starts, striking out a combined 23 batters and walking just one in that span. The
Mets were moneyline underdogs in his first two starts but the market has quickly corrected and betting New York with the right hander on the mound now comes at a price. Colon is usually a slow starter, which is why his strong April is puzzling.

The hefty hurler peaked around June and July last year and then again toward the end of the season. His heavy frame is made for those long hot days in August but as long as he keeps his pitch count down, he should
continue to surprise.

Archie Bradley, Arizona Diamondbacks:

Bradley entered the season with his top prospect mantle tarnished, battling back from injuries that took some velocity off his fastball and break off his curve. The 23-year-old righty has proven those doubters
wrong with a strong start to his rookie campaign.

Bradley is 2-0 (Arizona 3-0) with a 1.45 ERA through three starts. Those efforts have come against the Dodgers, Giants (on the road) and Rangers, so there’s still plenty to prove. However, the youngster did overcome some early control issues against Texas and battled back with a few double-play setups. The price is always going to be right for Arizona if Bradley continues this hot streak.

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GO: Stadium Tour

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

What baseball stadiums have you been to, and where do you still want to go?

(I know we do something similar every year, but we’ve got tons of new readers and the rest of us forget quickly!) :-)

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Ryan Dempster: Let’s Gamble

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Ryan Dempster looks to rebound from a disappointing 2011 campaign and win Joe a bet.

Before you really offer up a preview of Ryan Dempster, I think it deserves mentioning that Jim Hendry does deserve a massive amount of credit for the signing. A quick history less on Demp. He was originally selected in the 3rd round of the 1995 draft by the Texas Rangers, where he spent a small amount of time in the minors before being traded to the Marlins where he made 121 starts and compiled a 4.64 ERA before being traded again to the Cincinnati Reds. While in Cincinnati his ERA rose to 6.54 in his final season with Reds before being shut down in August to have Tommy John surgery. Shortly after he was released by the Reds. Hendry had the foresight to sign Dempster, while he was still rehabbing, to a minor league contract with the hope of mining a gold nugget from a scrap heap. Remarkably, Dempster would not only pitch in 2004, but would pitch well, just 12 months removed from the surgery. In 20+ innings of work out of the pen, Demp compiled and ERA of 3.92 and picked up a pair of saves. In 2005, after starting 6 games, Dempster was named the closer for the Cubs, replacing LaTroy Hawkins. He collected 33 saves in 35 opportunities, the best save percentage in the league; in both blown saves, he collected the win. He is the only Cub and one of just three players ever to both start a game and collect 30 saves in the same season.

Since signing with the Cubs he’s gone on to win 62 games and save 87 all while posting an ERA under 4.00. It’s not “Ace” type stuff, but it’s certainly production far more than anyone could have expected when he signed that minor league deal.

I chose to do the season preview on Ryan Dempster because I’m passionate that 2012 will show a significant upgrade over last season’s results for Dempster. In fact, Cap’n Obvious and I even went so far as to put a little wager on it. While we haven’t yet seen the lines on TopBet Sportsbook, there is a bet, though the terms of the bet have yet to be discussed.  It’s sure to be the talk all throughout the summer around the water cooler at work. The time is now to decide who’s side you’re on.

Cap’n and I chose five categories and then set a number for each. On each stat, I have chosen the under, while he has chosen the over. The table below details Dempster’s 2011 numbers, his career average, and the 2012 over / under numbers for the bet for quality starts, Home runs, base on balls and strikeouts per 9 IP as well as ERA.

As you can see, the Cap’n was more than generous in the numbers he gave me to choose from. Looking the ERA, I don’t see a way he’s over 4.90. It’s never happened for him as a Cub. In fact, the last time it happened to him, he was pitching out of the bullpen. Since that time, as a starting pitcher, he’s posted an ERA under 4.00 up until last season.

Looking at the ration numbers for home runs, strikeouts and walks, Dempster has been very consistent as a starter. For the Cubs, in the last four seasons he’s been a full time starter he’s posted numbers of 0.9 HR/9, 3.5 BB/9, and 8.3 K’s/9. To think he’d suddenly drop in production that significantly seems ludicrous to me. I’ll gladly take those categories as well, which leads to the final one, which is the biggest lock. In 2011, Dempster posted a quality start percentage of 62%. Cap’n has been kind enough to set the number at….wait for it….a league average number of 49%. Poor poor Cap’n. This one is a sure lock.

All of that leads to what we should be expecting going forward for Dempster. He exercised his player option before this season to return for $14 million in 2012, plus an amount from 2010 that was deferred over two years in 2011 and 2012. Odds are he will not be re-signed after the season so while here his role needs to be one of leadership and upper rotation production. We need to see the return to good production to avoid the embarrassment that was 2011. I believe we’ll see it…wanna bet?

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Spring Training Is Here, Foot in Mouth Disease, and We’re on Facebook

Monday, February 20th, 2012

The Cubs have reported to spring training, which is the biggest tease in all of sports. The mid-February date is such a waste of time considering it’s more than two week before the first pitch is thrown in a game and even then almost a month till the pitches actually mean anything. Still, there are those who get excited, so we’ll mention it before we get to some nuggets of news this Monday morning.

We’re now on Facebook. You’ve bombarded my e-mail inbox with letters (not really, it’s more that I’ve been lazy setting it up) and we’ve listened. You can now follow us and interact with us on Facebook. The most important thing I would ask is to use it to share the site you “like” with fellow Cub fans. Help them find out about us and continue to build on the community we’ve developed here. This site remains fun for us as writers because of you the reader. Let’s continue that. Take a minute and visit the Facebook page and let everyone know you Like Us.

Paul Sullivan had a story as camp opened discussing Theo’s plan for the team. He “stressed the collectively-written manual as a way to get the entire system on the same page, from the Dominican Republic summer leagues to the majors leagues.” It’s usually the pat answer, but it’s so key to make sure that the team you’re running has the same message preached throughout. If you want guys to play a certain way, preach it and teach it from the day they sign till the day they leave the system. Then tell them it was all crap and to forget everything they learned. To accomplish that you have to hire the teachers at every level of the system. Hire guys that buy into what your philosophy at every level and train them to be the teachers to develop the skills. Up until this point, I never felt the Cubs have had that in their system. We hear things about the “Dodger Way” and read interviews from players in the organizations that have systems like this in place and it’s all they talk about. They stress the fact that from the moment they entered the system there was consistency throughout. Everyone on the same page. If Jed and Theo can develop that system, the success will come as a result.

Jed Hoyer met with the media over the weekend and discussed Matt Garza and the possibility of signing a long term extension.

“We focused really hard on getting the one-year number done a few weeks ago. We didn’t have any kind of long-term discussions before that, but certainly there was some dialogue about possibly having some long-term discussions at some point maybe this spring. . . . I think we probably will sit down and talk. We’ve said many times he’s the kind of guy we need. We need more Matt Garzas, not less. We need a rotation full of those guys, so if we can work something out, that’d be wonderful.”

As the season draws closer, everyone seems to have their prediction on what the 25 man roster will look like. What interests me most is what they see as being the starting five when it comes to the rotation. The folks at Hardball Talk took a crack at it and came up with:

Ryan Dempster  -R
Matt Garza – R
Randy Wells – R
Paul Maholm – L
Chris Volstad – R

I agree with all but Volstad, with Travis Wood being my pick. I mentioned in my appearance last week on ESPN radio that I didn’t think someone like Jeff Samardzija had a chance at the rotation, but there are those that believe he does. Ultimately, can we really say any of the spots after the top two are a lock and set in stone? I don’t think you can at this point. Certainly Wells and Maholm are close, but what it they come out and tank in spring training?

Shifting our focus now to people who have put their foot in their mouth lately, we look at the fool who no longer works for ESPN who came up with the headline about Jeremy Lin “A Chink in the Armor”. If you missed the story, the headline was sent to mobile devices and caused a lot of outrage as a result. It’s a terrible thing to make racist comments, but what if this guy didn’t even mean to reference Lin’s ethnicity in any way when he came up with the headline? What if it was an honest mistake? Ultimately, I think ESPN’s hands are tied in that instance and they have to sacrifice him to save face, but it’s sad that we live in a society that is so filled with litigation that mistakes can no longer happen. I don’t know either way. I just found it interesting.

Bruce Weber, coach of the Illini basketball team, also had some insert foot in mouth comments that put a good amount of nails in his coaching coffin at Illinois over the weekend. What he didn’t finish, the team took care of with an embarrassing, no heart, effort against the last place team in the Big Ten on Saturday night. If you didn’t get a chance to listen to the press conference late last week, it’s worth listening to. It’s not too often we see a coach all but lists the reasons for his AD to let him go.


  • ‘Cubs Way’ underway – Paul Sullivan (Chicago Tribune)
  • After gauging his trade value, Cubs seem ready to make Matt Garza a long-term investment – Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun Times)
  • Running down the rosters: Chicago Cubs – Matthew Pouliot (Hardball Talk)
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GO: Songs of Shame

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

Tell us the songs on your iPod you’re embarrassed to like. C’mon, we’ve all got some!

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Cubs Claim Adrian Cardenas off waivers and Designate Blake DeWitt for Assignment

Monday, February 6th, 2012

The Cubs media department sent out the following release on a transaction processed today:

CHICAGO The Chicago Cubs today claimed infielder Adrian Cardenas off waivers from the Oakland Athletics.  In a corresponding 40-man roster move, infielder Blake DeWitt was designated for assignment.

Cardenas, 24, batted .314 (154-for-491) with 28 doubles, four triples, five home runs, 70 runs scored, 51 RBI and a .374 on-base percentage in 127 games with Triple-A Sacramento last year.  The left-handed batter and right-handed thrower ranked eighth in the Pacific Coast League with 154 hits and posted his highest batting average in his five full professional campaigns.

In 2011, Cardenas saw action at second base (35 games), shortstop (three games), third base (13 games) and left field (44 games), his first professional experience in the outfield.  He has primarily played second base (361 games) in his professional career.

Cardenas was originally selected by Philadelphia in the supplemental round (37th overall) of the 2006 Draft and acquired by Oakland as part of the trade that sent Joe Blanton to the Phillies on July 17, 2008.  In 643 minor league games, Cardenas is a career .303 hitter (749-for-2,475) with 143 doubles, 21 triples, 29 home runs, 77 stolen bases and a .368 on-base percentage.

DeWitt, 26, batted .265 (61-for-230) with 11 doubles, five home runs and 26 RBI in 121 games with the Cubs last year, his first full season with the club after being acquired from the Dodgers on July 31, 2010.  He is a career .260 hitter (283-for-1,087) in 404 major league games with the Dodgers (2008-10) and the Cubs (2010-present).

We’ll try to track down our A’s blogger for his thoughts on Cardenas and have that report ASAP. In the meantime, discuss the move which should have a lot of you excited because of the loss of DeWitt.

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Get up close to the Houston Texans through

Saturday, August 20th, 2011

The NFL season is starting to wind up, and many sports fans have their eyes currently locked onto the preseason. Nowhere is there more excitement for the upcoming season than in Houston as the Texans field what just might be their best team yet. Fans are ready to line up for their Houston Texans tickets to the opening game against Indianapolis, our biggest threat in the division.
As game three of the preseason is right around the corner Houston Texans fans waits anxiously to get their first good look at our starters who will be playing 3 full quarters according to coach Kubiak.

We have already seen a preview of what some consider the best offense in the league in game two of the preseason. Arian foster carried for 47 yards and two touchdowns with just 5 carries. Ben Tate showed us that there is more than one great talent at running back for the Texans when he rushed for 95 yards, and had one touchdown that very same game. Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson showed that they still have what it takes to make big plays for 4 receptions that added up to a total of 100 yards. With the added help of a great offensive line that has been giving Schaub all the time in the world, there seems to be little that can stop our offense this season.

Yet a strong offense is what we already expected from what happened last season, what everyone had their attention focused on was our defense under the new guidance of Wade Phillips. So far Houstonians like what they see. In our game versus the Saints QB Drew Brees didn’t have a single snap where he wasn’t pressured, if not sacked or forced to fumble by Mario Williams who has been moved to outside line back in the new 3-4 scheme implemented by Phillips. Williams isn’t the only one showing promise in a new position either, Texans number 1 draft pick J.J. Watts has been exceeding expectations in putting consistent pressure on QBs and their Running Backs. Not to mention the several other defensive draft picks that have been showing promise, such as Brooks Reed who forced two fumbles during the same game.

This is just one of many exciting events here in Houston, between the Houston Rockets starting soon, and the Houston Rodeo springing up near the end of the Texans’ regular season we aren’t running out of fun events anytime soon. But don’t get caught off-guard and miss out on the tickets you want, MyTicketIn gets amazing tickets from several sources, and chances are we have them here waiting for you to by them, so check out Be ready to grab your Houston Texans Ticket, Houston Rockets Tickets and Houston Rodeo Tickets in time!

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