Saturday, April 30, 2016

MLB Recap: Kansas City Royals (0) vs. Seattle Mariners (6) - 4/30/2016

MLB Recap: Kansas City Royals (0) vs. Seattle Mariners (6) - Date: 4/30/2016 Wade Miley scattered five hits for his first career shutout and Kyle Seager hit a three-run homer to cap a four-run first inning off an ineffective Yordano Venture and pace the Seattle Mariners to a 6-0 victory over Kansas City on Saturday night, the Royals' fifth consecutive loss on their current road trip. Miley (2-2) struck out four and walked none for his second complete game in 139 starts. His only other complete game was last September with Boston in a 9-2 victory over Philadelphia, when he allowed two runs and five hits. Seth Smith, whose homer accounted for the Mariners' only hit in a 1-0 victory Friday night, homered in the first inning, a one-out solo shot, his fourth. Handicapping Sports. The Mariners capitalized on two walks in the first off Ventura (2-1), w ho allowed five runs, three hits with six walks in four-plus innings. With two outs in the first, Ventura walked Nelson Cruz and Adam Lind, and Seager followed with his fifth homer to make it 4-0. Miley benefited from a successful challenge in the third. Paulo Orlando was safe at second when shortstop Ketel Marte bobbled Alcides Escobar's one-out infield chopper while trying for the force out. MLB Baseball Handicappers. The call was overturned after review and Mike Moustakas followed with a ground-rule double to left-center, holding Escobar at third. Miley escaped by retiring Lorenzo Cain on a pop out to short. Seattle took a page out of the Royals' offensive play book and manufactured a run in the fourth. Seager walked to open the inning, Chris Iannetta singled and both runners advanced on Marte's sacrifice bunt. Second baseman Omar Infante then attempted a difficult throw home on Leonys Martin's cho pper, but Seager slid in ahead of the tag. Basketball Picks. The Mariners made it 6-0 in the sixth when Dillon Gee hit Cruz with a pitch with the bases loaded. Cruz was also hit by a pitch in the second inning and walked twice. UP NEXT:Royals: RHP Ian Kennedy (2-2, 2.77 ERA) allowed five runs and seven hits in a 6-1 loss to the Angels in his last start to open the current winless road trip. He was 0-2 with a 5.59 ERA in two starts last season against the Mariners when he was with San Diego. Mariners: Seattle wraps up a six-game homestand before heading out for seven games on the road. RHP Taijuan Walker (2-0, 1.44 ERA) has allowed two or fewer runs and pitched at least six innings in each of his first four starts. Free MLB Baseball Picks. TRAINING ROOM:Mariners: With relievers Joaquin Benoit (right shoulder inf lammation) and Charlie Furbush (left shoulder tendinitis) both on the 15-day DL, RHP Nick Vincent has taken advantage of the opportunity. Vincent, acquired from San Diego right before the start of the season, retired Cain with the tying run on third in the eighth inning of Seattle's 1-0 victory on Friday night. ''Last night he did a great job. Coming in there, that was going to be his hitter. He attacked,'' manager Scott Servais said. ''He's attacked every time he comes in. He goes right after them. He knows who he is and he executes.''  

MLB Recap: Colorado Rockies (5) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (2) - 4/30/2016

MLB Recap: Colorado Rockies (5) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (2) - Date: 4/30/2016 Trevor Story's two-run triple in the top of the ninth inning broke a tie, and the Colorado Rockies beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-2 on Saturday night. Story, who'd hurt the Diamondbacks with home runs in the four previous meetings between the two teams this season, doubled, tripled and drove in three for the Rockies, who have won four of five in Arizona this year. Carlos Gonzalez had three of the Rockies' 13 hits and Nolan Arenado drove in a third run in the ninth, all of the runs in the inning off Diamondbacks closer Brad Ziegler (1-1). Chad Qualls (2-0) earned the win for one scoreless inning of relief and Jake McGee pitched the ninth for his fifth save. Diamondbacks ace Zack Greinke kept his team in the game with seven innings of work. Greinke limited the Rockies to two runs on eight hits, striking out eight and walki ng two. Greinke got little run support, and until the Diamondbacks scored in the sixth they went 18 innings without a run dating back to Thursday's game against St. Louis. Brandon Drury's two-run home run in the sixth tied the score at 2. Free Sports Betting Picks. The Rockies (11-12) scored first, with the rookie sensation Story doubling to center field to drive in Charlie Blackmon in the third inning. Free MLB Baseball Picks. Then former Arizona player Gerardo Parra lined a base hit to left field, and Story beat the throw home to make it 2-0. Jean Segura stole a hit from Mark Reynolds in the fourth when the Diamondbacks second baseman backhand-caught a sinking pop fly to shallow left-center field with four Arizona players converging on the ball. Profitable Handicappers.& nbsp;The Diamondbacks finally broke through in the sixth when Drury homered to left off Rockies reliever Carlos Estevez with Segura on base. Arizona (12-14) managed only five hits in the game, two in the bottom of the ninth. Chris Rusin, making his first start after four relief appearances this season, pitched five strong innings. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. The left-hander held the Diamondbacks scoreless on one hit and struck out six with three walks. A SUCCESSFUL DEBUTThe Diamondbacks selected left-hander Zac Curtis from Single-A Visalia before Saturday's game and designated reliever Keith Hessler for assignment. Curtis, 23, made his major league debut in relief of Ziegler and induced an inning-ending double play.'' We've been going through so many pitchers, this is the guy that our player development people . they're excited,'' manager Chip Hale said.  9;'What we've heard is he can get righties and lefties out.'' The plan is to add a left-hander to complement Andrew Chafin in the bullpen so as not over-use Chafin. RUFF, RUFF, RECORDThe Diamondbacks are hoping to earn a place in the Guinness World Records for most dogs attending a sporting event on Sunday. World's Best Handicapper. The team said 1,000 dogs are needed to set the world record. A Guinness World Records adjudicator will count the dogs at Chase Field on Sunday and the record is expected to be known by the end of the second inning. UP NEXTRockies: RHP Chad Bettis (2-1) begins May starting against the Diamondbacks in the series finale on Sunday. Bettis gave up five runs in 5 1-3 innings in his first outing against Arizona on April 5 in Phoenix. Diamondbacks: Shelby Miller looks for his first win Sunday against Colorado. Miller (0-2, 8.69 ERA) is 2-2 with a 4.84 ERA in six career starts against the  

MLB Recap: Los Angeles Angels (2) vs. Texas Rangers (7) - 4/30/2016

MLB Recap: Los Angeles Angels (2) vs. Texas Rangers (7) - Date: 4/30/2016 Rougned Odor matched a Rangers record with three doubles, Mitch Moreland hit a three-run homer and Texas benefited from another replay challenge in a 7-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night. Odor's second double was part of the Rangers' six-run third inning. Sports Handicapper Records. The play was initially ruled a foul ball, but Rangers manager Jeff Banister challenged the call. After a delay of about 3 1/2 minutes the replay showed the ball kicked up a small bit of chalk and Odor was awarded a double and Delino DeShields advanced from first to third. Nomar Mazara followed with a sacrifice fly off Matt Shoemaker (1-4) before the next six Rangers had hits, including Moreland's third homer of the season for a 7-0 lead. Derek Holland (3-1) pitched si x scoreless innings, allowing four hits with one strikeout and no walks. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. The Angels were scoreless until Albert Pujols' sixth homer of the season, a solo shot with one out in the ninth. Best Sports Handicappers. Texas won the series opener 4-2 on Friday night, when a potential Angels rally was thwarted in the sixth after a successful Rangers challenge showed Pujols briefly lost contact with the bag while second baseman Odor applied a tag. Instead of runners at first and second with no outs, there was an out and the Angels failed to score before Texas got three runs in the bottom of the inning. MLB Baseball Handicappers. The Rangers, who have won four straight since a four-game losing streak, led for good Saturday after Odor led off the first with a double and scored on a two-out double by Prince Fielder. Odor doubled in the sixth, and made it safely to third with a nifty slide even though the throw beat him there after Mazara's fly out to left. While diving headfirst with the ball in third baseman Yunel Escobar's glove, Odor pulled back his right hand to avoid the tag while reaching around with his left hand to grab the bag. Shoemaker allowed seven runs in 2 1-3 innings with one strikeout. Free Sports Picks Today. The right-hander has allowed 13 runs in 5 1-3 innings in two starts this year against the Rangers. FOUL BALL HITS FANA woman sitting about 15 rows behind the Rangers dugout was struck in the left side of the face by a foul ball hit by Angels DH C. J. Cron in the fifth. Medical officials immediately tended to the woman in her seat, where she remained for the rest of the half inning before being helped in leaving the seating area. Rangers off icials said the woman was conscious and talking when taken to a hospital for observation. Free MLB Baseball Picks. TRAINER'S ROOMAngels: OF Craig Gentry was unavailable because of back stiffness. ... OF Daniel Nava (left patella tendinitis), eligible to come off the 15-day DL on Sunday, could start getting some at-bats in minor league rehab games next week. Rangers: C Robinson Chirinos (broken right forearm) will have more scans Tuesday to determine if he's healed enough to start other baseball activities and rehab games. He is catching balls off a machine in the batting cage and running. ... OF Shin-Soo Choo (right calf strain) feels good, but is still another week to 10 days from rehab games. UP NEXTAngels: RHP Garrett Richards (1-3, 2.35 ERA) starts the series finale. Rangers: LHP Cole Hamels (3-0, 2.52) makes his first start in 11 days, having been skipped in his scheduled rotation spot last Monday because of left groin soreness. Hamels has a career-best 10-game winning streak dating to last year and the Rangers have won his last 14 regular-season starts. The only time Texas has won more consecutive starts by one pitcher was 15 straight by Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins from 1978-79.  

NBA Recap: Oklahoma City Thunder (92) vs. San Antonio Spurs (124) - 4/30/2016

NBA Recap: Oklahoma City Thunder (92) vs. San Antonio Spurs (124) - Date: 4/30/2016 LaMarcus Aldridge had 38 points and the San Antonio Spurs dismantled the Oklahoma City Thunder 124-92 on Saturday night, never trailing in Game 1 of the second-round series. Kawhi Leonard added 25 points, five rebounds and five assists in 22 minutes for San Antonio. NBC Sports Picks. The Spurs led by as many as 43 points and sat their starters in the fourth quarter to rest them for Game 2 on Monday night. Aldridge broke out for his finest performance of the season after Memphis held him to 14.5 points in the first round, nearly seven points below his regular-season numbers. Aldridge was 18 for 23 from the field, including his first 3-pointer of the season and banking in a left-handed scoop shot as he was falling in the lane. Leonard and Aldridge combined for 45 points in the first half, o utscoring Oklahoma City as a team by four. Unfortunately for the Thunder, the rest of the Spurs were just as impressive early. San Antonio matched a postseason franchise record for points in a quarter with 43 in the opening period. Serge Ibaka led Oklahoma City with 19 points, but was limited to two rebounds. Kevin Durant had 16 points, and Russell Westbrook added 14, but they were harassed into 11-for-34 shooting. Free NBA Basketball Picks. The Spurs scored the most postseason points against the Thunder. Handicapper Return on Investment. They had 39 assists, which was more than the Thunder's field goal total of 35. San Antonio shot 82 percent in the opening quarter, including 3 for 4 on 3-pointers in taking a 23-point lead. Profitable NBA Basketball Handicappers. The Spu rs also blocked six shots, collapsing and surrounding the Thunder with multiple defenders whenever they drove into the lane. Sports Handicapping Sites. The only scare came when Leonard grabbed the back of his left leg after landing on it awkwardly off a powerful one-handed dunk on the game's opening possession. San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich paced the sideline in concern, asking Leonard ''are you OK?'' on the Spurs' ensuing possession. Leonard didn't respond verbally, but his dynamic efforts on both ends of the court answered Popovich's concerns. He shot 10 for 13 from the field and had only one turnover while guarding Westbrook and Durant. Oklahoma City was noticeably frustrated and out of sorts throughout the game. Westbrook shook his head and cringed when he saw Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan signal for him to run a play after the Thunder's electric point guard slowly broug ht the ball upcourt and looked toward the bench in an apparent desire for a timeout with San Antonio up 17-6. NBA Basketball Handicappers. That play would lead to a breakaway dunk by Leonard, which prompted Donovan to call a timeout. TIP-INSThunder: Memphis held the previous record for most postseason points against Oklahoma City, scoring 123 in a 10-point loss in triple overtime on May 9, 2011. ... San Antonio had 51 field goals, besting its own postseason record for a Memphis opponent. The Spurs had 50 field goals against the Grizzlies on May 19, 2014. ... The Thunder split the regular-season series with the Spurs, winning both games at Oklahoma City by an average of 12.5 points and losing twice in San Antonio by six points. The Thunder closed the regular season with a 102-98 overtime loss in San Antonio on April 12. Spurs: Aldridge's postseason career high of 46 points came for Portland against Houston on Apri l 20, 2014. His regular-season high is 44 against Denver on Jan. 23, 2014. ... Duncan won his 156th postseason game, surpassing Robert Horry for second on the career list. Derek Fisher has the record with 161. ... San Antonio has swept nine best-of-seven series in franchise history, which is second to the 13 by the Los Angeles Lakers. ... San Antonio tied the franchise record it established with 43 points in the fourth quarter against Phoenix on May 22, 2005.

NHL Recap: Pittsburgh Penguins (2) vs. Washington Capitals (1) - 4/30/2016

NHL Recap: Pittsburgh Penguins (2) vs. Washington Capitals (1) - Date: 4/30/2016 Eric Fehr scored the tiebreaking goal against his former team with about 4 1/2 minutes remaining Saturday night, giving the Pittsburgh Penguins a 2-1 victory over the Washington Capitals that tied the Eastern Conference second-round playoff series at a game apiece. Fehr redirected a pass out of a corner from Evgeni Malkin, sending the puck off the right post and past goalie Braden Holtby. Fehr played parts of nine seasons in Washington across two stints before leaving as a free agent last summer to join Pittsburgh. Carl Hagelin had put Pittsburgh ahead in second period of Game 2, before Marcus Johansson pulled Washington even on a power play with about 16 minutes to go in the third. Sports Handicapping Software. The series shifts to Pittsburgh for Game 3 on Monday night. NHL Hockey Handicappers. The Penguins improved to 43-0 this season, including the playoffs, when leading after two periods. Winning Picks. They have not lost two consecutive games in 3 1/2 months - since dropping a pair in overtime against Carolina and Tampa Bay on Jan. 12 and 14. Free NHL Hockey Picks. This time, Pittsburgh recovered quickly from its 4-3 overtime loss in Game 1 on Thursday night, and did it in part by again shutting down Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, who led the NHL with 50 goals this season. While Penguins star Sidney Crosby didn't factor in Saturday's scoring, either, Malkin did provide a spark on the go-ahead goal, and 21-year-old rookie goalie Matt Murray made 23 saves. Holtby had 33 stops. Money Cappers. The tone for the scrappy game was established less than 4 1/2 minutes in, when Washington's Brooks Orpik leveled Olli Maatta with a high hit, and the Penguins defenseman fell backward, his helmet slamming to the ice. Maatta was helped off and did not return - his total ice time for the game limited to 31 seconds. Profitable NHL Hockey Handicappers. Twelve of the game's first 13 shots on goal were taken by Pittsburgh. The Penguins did not generate much in the way of truly dangerous chances, however, and the Capitals began to look more active at the offensive end in the closing minutes, when Murray blocked a backhand by T. J. Oshie - he of the hat trick in Game 1 - from the top of the crease during a power play. Hagelin put Pittsburgh ahead at the 7:08 mark of the second period, taking a pretty behind-the-net feed from Nick Bonino after Orpik lost the puck in the corner. Washington had all of five shots on goal all game to that point - and zero in that period. Washington's first - courtesy of Ovechkin, naturally - came with barely 5 minutes left in the second and was easily gloved by Murray. That doesn't count Jason Chimera's shot that found the right post and bounced away harmlessly. The home team - and, of course, the home fans - thought the score was tied with about 2 minutes remaining in the second, when defenseman Nate Schmidt sent a shot in over a prone Murray. Here's the thing, though: Murray was face-down in his crease because Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov essentially sat on the goalie's back. Not only was the goal waived off, but Kuznetsov was sent to the penalty box for goalie interference. Schmidt yelled, ''Come on!'' Coach Barry Trotz told an official there shouldn't have been a penalty. Still, the Capitals managed to shut down Pittsburgh's power play yet again. Through two games in this series, Washington's penalty ki ll is 7 for 7; through eight games in this postseason, it is 30 for 31. Trotz continued to plead his case to the officials before his players had made it to the bench area for the third period - and not much later, a call went against Pittsburgh, with defenseman Kris Letang sent to the box for tripping. Sure enough, Washington capitalized on its second power play of the evening to make it 1-all. Johansson's goal was Washington's first with an extra man since getting five in Game 3 of the first round against Philadelphia. Notes: Capitals D Dmitry Orlov missed a game for the first time all season, a healthy scratch one game after a bad blunder led to a Penguins goal. D Taylor Chorney played instead. ... Penguins LW Chris Kunitz played despite bleeding after getting smacked in the left ear by a puck while sitting on the bench during Game 1. ... Crosby and Malkin each played in his 107th career playoff game, equaling Mario Lamieux for second-most in Penguins history.---F ollow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

MLB Recap: New York Yankees (0) vs. Boston Red Sox (8) - 4/30/2016

MLB Recap: New York Yankees (0) vs. Boston Red Sox (8) - Date: 4/30/2016 Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts had three RBIs apiece, David Ortiz homered again and the Boston Red Sox blanked the struggling New York Yankees 8-0 on Saturday night. Baseball Picks. The Red Sox will look to sweep the three-game series Sunday night when David Price pitches for Boston in his first regular-season taste of the longtime rivalry. Rick Porcello (5-0) had six strikeouts and gave up five hits in seven innings to tie for the major league lead in wins. Porcello has pitched at least six innings in each of his last 13 starts since coming off the disabled list last August. Free MLB Baseball Picks. That is the longest such streak of his career and the longest active streak in the majors. Top Rated Sports Handicappers. The Yankees managed five hits. Michael Pineda (1-3) took the loss, allowing two runs and five hits in five innings. New York has lost four straight and 12 of 16. In their last four losses the Yankees have been outscored 25-5. Boston entered the night leading the American League with 5.13 runs per game. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. The Red Sox bats didn't show any signs of slowing down. Pineda had won his previous three starts at Fenway Park, giving up just one earned run in each victory. Sports Tipsters. That changed in the second inning when Betts dropped in a little flare down the right-field line, scoring Christian Vasquez and Bradley. MLB Baseball Handicappers. They were the only runs Pi neda gave up before getting pulled. Chasen Shreve, who entered in the sixth, was responsible for Boston's two runs in that inning. Ortiz added the fifth home run of his farewell season - and second in two nights against the Yankees - in the seventh, taking Johnny Barbato's 2-1 fastball over the right-field fence. The loss marked the Yankees' second four-game losing streak this season. CITIZEN CHAPMANYankees closer Aroldis Chapman was back on the mound in Florida one day after announcing on Instagram that he had become a U. S. citizen. The left-hander completed his third week of extended spring training games by striking out two and allowing one hit over a scoreless inning against Pittsburgh minor leaguers. Chapman, serving a 30-game suspension stemming from baseball's new domestic violence policy, can join the Yankees on May 9. TRAINER'S ROOMYankees: Manager Joe Girardi said OF Aaron Hicks, who pinch-hit in the eighth inning after missing the last six gam es with left shoulder bursitis, should be ready to return the starting lineup in the series finale Sunday. Red Sox: RHP Carson Smith (right flexor muscle strain) made his first rehab appearance Friday night with Double-A Portland against Reading, retiring the only two batters he faced. Smith pitched another clean, nine-pitch inning on Saturday. Manager John Farrell said Smith will be evaluated Sunday and remains on track to be activated from the disabled list in time for Boston's series in Chicago next week. UP NEXTYankees: RHP Nathan Eovaldi (1-2, 4.38 ERA) will make his fifth start of the season Sunday night. He took a no-hitter into the seventh inning of his previous start last Monday at Texas. Red Sox: Price (3-0, 5.76) is 13-7 in his career against the Yankees, with a 4.04 ERA in 31 games. He is 3-0 in his last four starts against them.  

MLB Recap: Chicago White Sox (8) vs. Baltimore Orioles (7) - 4/30/2016

MLB Recap: Chicago White Sox (8) vs. Baltimore Orioles (7) - Date: 4/30/2016 Jose Abreu hit a tie-breaking RBI single in the ninth inning off reliever Vance Worley, leading the Chicago White Sox to an 8-7 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday night. After Todd Frazier hit a two-run homer off Darren O'Day in the eighth to give Chicago a 7-5 lead, Chris Davis tied the game in the bottom half with a two-run double off Zach Duke. Leading Handicappers. Those runs were charged to Matt Albers, ending his streak of 30 consecutive scoreless appearances. Adam Eaton and Carlos Sanchez reached base with two outs in the ninth against Zach Britton (1-1). Worley entered and allowed the single to Abreu. Nate Jones (2-0) got the final four outs for the win. Pedro Alvarez had three hits, including a homer, off Chicago's Mat Latos, who entered the game with a 5-0 record. Latos allowed four runs and a career-high 11 hits over just five innings. Hyun Soo Kim had three hits and is 9 for 15 (.600) on the season for Baltimore. White Sox manager Robin Ventura was ejected in the third when his challenge for interference was overruled by a replay. He argued a slide by Manny Machado prevented second baseman Brett Lawrie from making a throw to first for a potential triple play. A two-out single by Mark Trumbo gave the Orioles a lead in the first. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. The White Sox scored twice in the third helped by third baseman Machado's throwing error and a dropped pop-up by second baseman Jonathan Schoop. After Lawrie gave the White Sox a 3-1 lead with a homer off Kevin Gausman in the fourth, Alvarez and Schoop tied the game with solo shots in the bottom of the inning. Alvarez, who entered the game 8 for 44, delivered a two-out RBI double in the fifth that gave the Orioles a 4-3 lead. Adam Jones added another run with a double off Zach Putnam an inning later. Chicago pulled within 5-4 on an RBI single by Austin Jackson in the seventh and tied the game in the eighth on a flare to right by Abreu before Frazier's two-run shot. Top Rated Sports Services. TRAINER'S ROOMWhite Sox: RF Avisail Garcia was held out of the lineup after straining his right hamstring running out a grounder on the final play of Friday's game. . RHP Dan Robertson is expected to be back from bereavement leave Sunday. Orioles: RHP Hunter Harvey, a first-round draft pick in 2013 and the Orioles' top pitching prospect, will see a specialist after experiencing discomfort in his groin. UP NEXTWhite Sox: LHP Chris Sale (5-0) has been sensational over his five starts, striking out 32 batters with an ERA of 1.66. He has allowed just one earned run in his past three outings. Orioles: RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (1-2) has 26 strikeouts over 23 innings.  

MLB Recap: Miami Marlins (7) vs. Milwaukee Brewers (5) - 4/30/2016

MLB Recap: Miami Marlins (7) vs. Milwaukee Brewers (5) - Date: 4/30/2016 Adeiny Hechavarria had four hits, including one of four Miami solo home runs, to help the Marlins beat the Milwaukee Brewers 7-5 on Saturday night. Giancarlo Stanton, Derek Dietrich and Marcell Ozuna also homered as Miami won its seventh consecutive game. It is the longest winning streak for Miami since it won seven consecutive games May 1-7, 2012. Winning Sports Handicappers. The Marlins are 12-11, the first time they have been over .500 since being 64-63 on Aug. 22, 2014. Wei-Yin Chen (2-1) allowed three runs with two walks and four strikeouts one night after the team took a combined no-hitter into the ninth inning. A. J. Ramos pitched the ninth for his eighth save in eight chances. Milwaukee starter Chase Anderson (1-3) had his third consecutive subpar outing, allowing six run s in just 4 1/3 innings. He didn't give up an earned run in his first two starts, but has allowed 15 in his last three and his ERA climbed to 5.55. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. The Marlins had 14 hits and walked nine times, scoring in each of the first six innings. NFL Handicappers. They could have done more damage if they had any clutch hitting but went 0 for 12 with runners in scoring position and left 17 men on base. Milwaukee's starting pitching continues to struggle. MLB Baseball Handicappers. The starters are 5-15 with a 6.32 ERA, and have given up 14 earned runs while pitching just 13 innings in their last three games. Expert Sports Picks. The Brewers have lost four consecutive games and seven of eight. Mi lwaukee fell behind 7-1 before scoring four runs in the seventh, capped by a two-run home run by Hernan Perez, his first. Dietrich, starting for the second consecutive game at second base after Dee Gordon was suspended 80 games for using performance enhancing substances, hit the first pitch of the game into the stands for his second home run of the season. Milwaukee tied it, 1-1, in the bottom half of the inning on an RBI groundout by Ryan Braun. Hechavarria opened the second with his second home run, giving Miami the lead for good, 2-1. He also had three singles and went 4-for-5 to snap a 3-for-29 slump. Stanton hit his eighth homer of the year in the fourth and Ozuna connected for his third home run off reliever Chris Capuano to make it 7-1 in the sixth inning. Chen exited with a 7-1 lead and two runners on base. Ramon Flores hit a two run bloop single off reliever Craig Breslow to make it 7-3 in the seventh. Fr ee MLB Baseball Picks. TRAINER'S ROOMMarlins: Stanton returned to the lineup after being given a day off on Friday. Brewers: Manager Craig Counsell said LHP Will Smith (15-day DL) continues to improve from his left knee injury. ''In the next 10 days, I'd say his activity is going to be significantly ramped up,'' Counsell said. ''And right now, the response has been positive.'' UP NEXTRight-hander Tom Koehler (2-2) will pitch for the Marlins as they go for a three-game sweep against Milwaukee's Wily Peralta (1-3).  

MLB Recap: Cincinnati Reds (1) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (5) - 4/30/2016

MLB Recap: Cincinnati Reds (1) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (5) - Date: 4/30/2016 Francisco Liriano won for the first time since opening day and John Jaso homered to open the bottom of the first as Pittsburgh beat Cincinnati 5-1 Saturday night for the Pirates' sixth straight win and Reds their sixth consecutive loss. Liriano (2-1) allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings for his first win since April 3 when he pitched six scoreless innings against St. Louis. Sports Handicapping Monitor. The left-hander also held the Reds to five hits and struck out six while walking none after allowing 17 bases on balls in his first four starts. Jaso hit the first pitch of the game from Alfredo Simon (0-3) out to right-center field for his first home run of the season. It was also his fifth career homer leading off the first. Simon lowered his ERA to 13.50 from 16.39 by allowin g three runs and six-plus innings. He walked four and struck out four. Francisco Cervelli's RBI single in the fifth for the Pirates snapped a 1-1 tie and chased Simon. Josh Harrison added a sacrifice fly later in the inning. Cervelli and David Freese each had two hits of the Pirates' 10 hits. Sean Rodriguez hit a two-run homer, his fourth, in the eighth to make it 5-1 after entering the game in the top of the inning at first base as a defensive replacement for Jaso. Mark Melancon got the last out for his seventh save, striking out Zack Cozart with runners on first and second. Billy Hamilton had three hits for the Reds and scored their only run in the fifth, tying it at 1 when he came around from first base on Cozart's double. Cincinnati has scored just 10 runs during its losing streak. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. The Pirates' Jordy Mercer extended his hitting streak to seven game s. Sports Handicapper Leads. TRAINER'S ROOMReds: RHP Raisel Iglesias may miss his scheduled start Sunday against the Pirates in the finale of the three-game series after feeling discomfort in his shoulder Friday during a throwing session. ... RHP Anthony DeSclafani (strained oblique) felt tightness in his side late in his rehab start Friday when he pitched five scoreless innings for Class A Dayton and will be evaluated by the team's medical staff. ... C Devin Mesoraco (sore left shoulder) missed his second straight game but could be in the lineup Sunday. Pirates: RHP Jared Hughes (strained left lat muscle), who was injured late in spring training, was activated from the 15-day disabled list and RHP Rob Scahill was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. ZIKA TALKMajor League Baseball medical director Gary Green held an hour-long meeting with the Pirates prior to the game. Players from both the Pirates and Miami Marlins have expressed concerns about playing their scheduled two-game series in San Juan, Puerto Rico, from May 30-31 over fears of contracting the Zika virus. According to the Center for Disease Control, Zika can cause a birth defect called microcephaly, which causes infants to be born with very small heads and underdeveloped brains. MLB Baseball Handicappers. The virus is spread by mosquito bites and sexual intercourse and those infected might not show symptoms, which can heighten the risk of spreading the infection. PLAY OF THE DAYReds second baseman Brandon Phillips made an outstanding play to retire Jaso in the sixth inning. He charged a slow roller and made a behind-the-back throw to first baseman Joey Votto. UP NEXTReds: If Iglesias (1-1, 3.49) is unable to pitch, RHP Tim Adleman is expected to be called up from Triple-A Louisville and make his major league debut. Pirates : LHP Jeff Locke (1-2, 5.03) is coming off his first win of the season as he pitched six shutout innings Monday night at Colorado after having a 7.24 ERA in his first three starts.  

MLB Recap: Cleveland Indians (3) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (4) - 4/30/2016

MLB Recap: Cleveland Indians (3) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (4) - Date: 4/30/2016 Freddy Galvis homered and had the go-ahead single to lead the Philadelphia Phillies to their fifth straight win, 4-3 over the Cleveland Indians on Saturday night. Make Money Betting Sports. The Phillies (14-10) have won eight of nine and are four games over .500 for the first time since they finished the 2011 season 102-60. Jeanmar Gomez had Phillies fans on edge in the ninth before he earned his eighth save. With runners on second and third and two outs, Jason Kipnis lined one to right that forced Peter Bourjos to leap and snag the ball for the final out. Phillies reliever Colton Murray retired Juan Uribe on a deep fly to center to end the eighth that left runners stranded on second and third. Galvis' bloop two-out single to right off Tommy Hunter (0-1) scored pinch- hitter David Lough for a 4-3 lead in the seventh. Andrew Bailey (1-0) pitched a scoreless seventh for the win. Riding a hot streak not seen in Philly since Charlie Manuel was the manager, the Phillies needed only three pitches to take a 2-0 lead. Odubel Herrera extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single and Galvis hit a two-run shot to right off starter Trevor Bauer for his third of the season. Manager Pete Mackanin's decision to bat the pitcher eighth for the ninth straight game again paid off. Phillies righty Jerad Eickhoff ripped an RBI single up the middle for a 3-0 lead in the second. Mackanin made the quirky call because Bourjos is batting below .200 and he stuck with the decision because of winning streak superstition. Eickhoff couldn't let the lead stick. He allowed a run in the third and two more in the fifth to make it 3-3. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. Tyler Naquin knocked one off the scoreboard in left-center that caused Herrera to slam into the wall and walk away holding his back. Naquin ended with a triple and scored. Eickhoff allowed six hits and struck out four with no walks in six innings. Sports Experts. The Phillies ran themselves out of a rally in the fifth that started with runners on first and third and no outs. Bourjos bumbled on third base, getting caught in a rundown before he was tagged out trying to escape back to the bag. With Ryan Howard hitting in a 3-3 game and two outs, Herrera was tagged out at home on a wild pitch that barely scuttled beyond the plate. MLB Baseball Handicappers. The call stood after a challenge and baserunning continued to haunt the Phillies this season. But a night after Howard won the game with a solo shot in the 11th, the Phillies again were saved with late-inning runs. Free Picks for Today. TRAINER'S ROOMPhillies: RHP Dalier Hinojosa went on the 15-day DL with a bruised right hand. RHP Colton Murray was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Hinojosa's hand was struck by a batted ball in Thursday's game at Washington. He was 0-1 with a 3.27 ERA. UP NEXTThe Indians send RHP Danny Salazar (2-1, 2.35 ERA) to the mound against RHP Vince Velasquez (3-1, 1.78). Velasquez has struggled since he struck out 16 in a three-hit shutout against San Diego on April 14. He lasted only 4 1/3 innings in his next start and struck out four in six innings in his last outing. Free MLB Baseball Picks. The Phillies last five-game winning streak was July 22-28.  

MLB Recap: Toronto Blue Jays (3) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (4) - 4/30/2016

MLB Recap: Toronto Blue Jays (3) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (4) - Date: 4/30/2016 Curt Casali drove in the winning run with a single in the ninth inning Saturday night and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-3. Brad Miller led off the ninth with a pinch-hit single off Brett Cecil (0-5). Miller beat first baseman Justin Smoak to the bag after a ground ball. Kevin Kiermaier followed with a double before Casali's hit, the first walkoff hit of his career. Logan Forsythe had tied it for the Rays with a home run in the seventh after Kevin Pillar's first homer of the season gave Toronto a 3-2 lead. Forsythe went 3 for 3, including his fourth homer, and walked. Xavier Cadeno (2-0) got the win after retiring two Blue Jays in the ninth. Jose Bautista's two-run home run off Chris Archer gave the Blue Jays a 2-0 lead in the third. It was Bautista's fifth homer of the season. Forsythe's two-out singl e got the Rays on the board in the third and Evan Longoria tied it 2-2 by hitting J. A. Happ's first pitch of the sixth inning for his fourth home run. Archer gave up one hit - Bautista's homer - in six innings, walking four and striking out four. He retired the last 11 batters he faced. Happ pitched 6 2/3 innings, giving up six hits and three runs while striking out seven. Sports Handicapper Leaderboard. The Blue Jays had only three hits. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. They have 10 hits, including six home runs, in the first two games of the series. GOOD SWITCHMoving Michael Saunders into the leadoff spot and moving Pillar out of it has paid off for both. Saunders is hitting .333 in 10 games as a leadoff hitter and Pillar, who batted .188 in 12 games as a leadoff man, has hit .364 in 12 games since being dropped in the order. NUM BERSArcher's four strikeouts set a franchise record of 43 for April, exceeding David Price's 41 in 2014. ... Happ has a 1.87 ERA over his last 15 starts, the last five this season. ... Forsythe is hitting .388 in his last 11 games. Sports Bettors Email Leads. TRAINER'S ROOMRays: RHP Brad Boxberger (adductor surgery) threw a bullpen session. After one more session in two or three days, he expects to throw live batting practice. ... RHP Alex Cobb, who threw 25 pitches in a bullpen session, is still months away from pitching in his recovery from Tommy John surgery on May 14, 2015. UP NEXTRHP Marcus Stroman, who beat the Rays on opening day four weeks ago, will pitch the series finale for Toronto against RHP Jake Odorizzi, who has allowed one earned run or fewer in 20 of his 33 starts at Tropicana Field.  

MLB Recap: Atlanta Braves (0) vs. Chicago Cubs (0) - 4/30/2016

MLB Recap: Atlanta Braves (0) vs. Chicago Cubs (0) - Date: 4/30/2016 If there's any question about his first-place team, Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon says it has to do with its untested relief corps. Sports Touts. The answer had to wait at least a day after the Cubs' scheduled game Saturday against the Atlanta Braves was postponed because of rain. While no makeup date was immediately announced, the game likely will be rescheduled for July 7, the day before the Braves open a series against the White Sox in Chicago. MLB Baseball Handicappers. The Cubs also are off that day.'' The biggest thing for me is defining the bullpen,'' Maddon said of his to-do list. Cubs relievers own the lowest opponents' batting average (.179) in the National League, but their 53 innings are the fewe st as well. Only Pedro Strop has pitched more than eight innings.'' More than anything, it's about the bullpen,'' Maddon said. ''The bullpen has not been by any means overtaxed during the first month of the season. We talked about that in spring training. We talked about it every year, not overworking the bullpen in the first month. So they've not been tested a whole lot.'' Overall, Chicago leads the NL with a 2.30 ERA.'' The starters, they've just done a really wonderful job,'' Maddon said. ''A couple guys have had a couple blips, but for the most part, you can't ask for a better month out of the entire group, starting and relieving.'' Because of the rainout, Maddon elected to push back the rotation one day. John Lackey will start on Sunday, while Kyle Hendricks will make his next appearance on eight days of rest on Thursday, when the Cubs meet the Washington Nationals to open a 10-game homestan d.'' Kyle is fine. He doesn't need any extra time,'' Maddon said. ''It's just something we chose to do. Actually, on paper, he matches up well against Washington also.'' FAST AND LOOSEMaddon revealed his next creative venture for the team, a Minimalist Zany Suit Trip to Pittsburgh, where it opens a three-game series on Monday.'' I saw this website with some cool suits, different,'' Maddon explained. ''Mine will feature tulips. If you're at any time without part of your suit, it's a hundred-dollar fine, unless you're working out. ... Part of it is that we never get dressed up. If we're going to dress up, I don't want it to be a conventional suit. Free Golf Picks. That was my premise. Free MLB Baseball Picks. Then I found these.'' TRAINER'S R OOMBraves: INF Gordon Beckham is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring. He is eligible to return on Monday. Cubs: 3B/OF Kris Bryant (sprained ankle) will be available to start the series finale. ''He's doing really well this morning,'' Maddon said. ''We'll wait to see what tomorrow looks like. I'll debate whether to play him or not, If he doesn't start, he'll be able to come off the bench.'' UP NEXTLackey (3-1, 4.97) has a 1-1 record and 2.76 ERA in three career starts against Atlanta. Sports Handicapper Tracker. The Braves will send RHP Julio Teheran (0-3, 4.60) to the mound. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. They won all five of his career starts against Chicago.  

MLB Recap: San Francisco Giants (5) vs. New York Mets (6) - 4/30/2016

MLB Recap: San Francisco Giants (5) vs. New York Mets (6) - Date: 4/30/2016 Michael Conforto and Wilmer Flores homered and the New York Mets won their eighth in a row, building an early lead for Jacob deGrom and holding off the San Francisco Giants 6-5 Saturday. Top Rated Sports Services. The crowd of 44,466 was the largest for a regular-season game at Citi Field since the park opened in 2009, with a lot of fans attracted by the Noah Syndergaard Garden Gnome giveaway. MLB Baseball Handicappers. The Mets almost gave away the game, too. Ahead 6-3 in the eighth inning, they walked a pair of batters and let the Giants load the bases with no outs. Hunter Pence's bid for a go-ahead grand slam was caught just in front of the center-field wall for a sacrifice fly. Brandon Crawford followed with another sacrifice fly, a liner that right fielder Curtis Granderson jumped to backhand on the warning track. Jeurys Familia took over in the ninth and closed for his eighth save in as many chances. Conforto tied a Mets record by hitting a double in his sixth straight game. He also singled and drove in three runs. Neil Walker capped a productive first month for his new team with a two-run single. DeGrom (3-0) overcame his first four walks of the season, pitching two-hit ball for six innings. All three runs against him were unearned and came after a throwing error by Flores, who played third base to give David Wright a day off. New York's defense also helped deGrom. Pence fisted a bases-loaded, two-run single with two outs in the third, but first baseman Lucas Duda took the accurate relay from Granderson and threw out Brandon Belt trying to reach third. A day after the Mets set a club mark by scoring 12 runs in the third inning, they quickly struck against Matt Cain (0-3). Wal ker's two-out single in the first made it 2-0. Conforto launched a two-run double off the top of the left-field wall in the second for a 4-0 lead. Overall, the Mets have outscored opponents 50-21 during their winning string. Cain has gone a career-worst 12 starts without a win, dating to his last victory July 22. Slowed by injuries and inconsistency in recent years, the three-time All-Star who once pitched a perfect game is saddled with a 7.00 ERA this season. Conforto hit his fourth homer in the fifth. Flores connected the next inning for his first of the year. Sports Picks Today. The Mets have 31 home runs in their last 14 games. Free MLB Baseball Picks. The Giants had won five straight series at Citi Field before losing the first two games of this set. Winning Sports Gambling. T RAINER'S ROOMGiants: 2B Joe Panik was out of the lineup a day after tweaking his groin. Mets: Wright and C Kevin Plawecki got to sit for a day. C Rene Rivera, who started 87 games for the Rays last year, made his Mets debut. He was hit by a pitch in the back his first time up. UP NEXTA prime pitching matchup on deck - if the weather holds. Steady rain is in the forecast Sunday and well could dampen the duel between Giants ace Madison Bumgarner (2-2, 3.64 ERA) and Syndergaard (2-0, 1.69). Bumgarner has won all three of his starts at Citi Field with an 0.78 ERA. Syndergaard has struck out 38 this season, matching Pedro Martinez for the most by a Mets pitcher in the first four starts of a season.  

MLB Recap: Houston Astros (0) vs. Oakland Athletics (2) - 4/30/2016

MLB Recap: Houston Astros (0) vs. Oakland Athletics (2) - Date: 4/30/2016 Jesse Hahn pitched into the seventh inning in his return to the majors and combined with two relievers on a four-hitter as the Oakland Athletics held off the Houston Astros 2-0 on Saturday. Houston loaded the bases with one out in the ninth inning before Ryan Madson got Evan Gattis to ground into a game-ending double play. Billy Burns drove in the only runs with a two-out single in the second to help the A's (13-12) move back above .500. Hahn (1-0) was called up from Triple-A Nashville before the game and pitched as well as he did for most of 2015 before missing the final three months with a right forearm strain that also delayed his debut in spring training this year. Best Sports Picks Today. The right-hander faced the minimum through five innings. He gave up three hits and allowed only one runner past first base to win for the first time since July 1. John Axford retired four batters and Madson worked the ninth for his eighth save, completing Oakland's first shutout of the season. Hahn got plenty of help from his defense, too. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. The A's turned two double plays, and shortstop Marcus Semien threw out Tyler White to end the fifth after sprinting deep behind second base to get the ball. Chris Devenski, who began the season in Houston's bullpen, allowed two runs over five innings in his first major league start. Devenski (0-1) struck out four and walked three. NEW PLAN FOR GILESHouston manager A. J. Hinch plans to change how he uses RHP Ken Giles. Best Sports Handicappers in the World. The reliever has pitched almost exclusively in the eighth-inning setup role, b ut the Astros want to shake things up for Giles, who has a 9.00 ERA in 11 appearances. ''I met with Ken and told him I am easing the burden of the eighth inning off him,'' Hinch said. ''I just gave him a heads up he may not get the eighth to give him a physical, mental break. It's not an announcement as much as if it comes to the eighth and don't see Giles out there, you'll know.'' TRAINER'S ROOMAstros: CF Carlos Gomez is expected to miss the next few days due to sore ribs. Gomez was hurt diving for a fly ball Friday. ... Rehabbing RHP Lance McCullers is scheduled to pitch four innings in extended spring training on Monday. Athletics: RHP Chris Bassitt is facing possible Tommy John surgery after being diagnosed with a partially torn ligament in his pitching elbow. Bassitt will meet with a specialist in Cincinnati to get a second opinion before a decision is made. . 3B Danny Valencia will play three rehab games before rejoining the team in time for its May 6 game at Baltimore when he's eligible to come off the disabled list. . RHP Andrew Triggs was optioned to Triple-A Nashville. UP NEXTAstros: RHP Doug Fister (1-3) has lost three straight starts heading into Sunday's series finale. Fister issued a career-high seven walks in his most recent outing. Athletics: LHP Rich Hill (3-2) is fourth in the AL with 37 strikeouts.  

MLB Recap: Washington Nationals (6) vs. St Louis Cardinals (1) - 4/30/2016

MLB Recap: Washington Nationals (6) vs. St Louis Cardinals (1) - Date: 4/30/2016 Jayson Werth's three-run home run capped a four-run first inning and Joe Ross had another stingy outing for the Washington Nationals in a 6-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday. Ross (3-0) allowed one run on six hits in six innings, raising his ERA to 0.79. He has given up only two runs in 22 2/3 innings. Werth added an RBI single in the eighth, his fifth in the first two games of a weekend series and 10th of the year. Washington goes for a sweep Sunday after raising its record to 8-24 at 11-year-old Busch Stadium. Opponents had been 2 for 13 with no runs in the first against Jaime Garcia (1-2) before the Nationals jumped on the lefty for four runs on three hits. Daniel Murphy had an RBI single before Werth hit his fourth over the left-field wall. Garcia struck out six and walked three in 6 1/3 innings.  

MLB Recap: Detroit Tigers (4) vs. Minnesota Twins (1) - 4/30/2016

MLB Recap: Detroit Tigers (4) vs. Minnesota Twins (1) - Date: 4/30/2016 Jordan Zimmermann won his fifth straight start to begin his first season with Detroit, and Justin Upton hit a three-run homer to help the Tigers top the Minnesota Twins 4-1 on Saturday. Zimmermann (5-0) gave up one run and six hits with no walks and seven strikeouts over seven innings. He became the first Tigers pitcher to win five games in April since Frank Tanana in 1988, according to STATS. Victor Martinez doubled twice for the Tigers, who have won five of six. Francisco Rodriguez pitched a scoreless ninth for his sixth save in seven opportunities. Eduardo Escobar had three singles for the Twins, who lost their third straight and fell to 7-17 overall. Make Money Betting Sports. Tyler Duffey (0-1) gave up just one earned run in 6 1/3 innings, striking out seven and walking none. But one mistake in the first marred an otherwise solid performance. Upton put the Tigers on top with a drive into the second deck in left field. With two on and two outs, Duffey tried to get ahead in the count with a first-pitch fastball. But the pitch caught too much of the plate and Upton drove it an estimated 417 feet for his second homer with Detroit. Just like Zimmermann, Upton was a free agent this past offseason and signed with the Tigers for more than $100 million. Zimmermann cruised through the first three innings, but Byung Ho Park homered in the fourth to break up the shutout. Park lined a 1-2 pitch into the bullpen in left-center, his team-leading sixth homer of the year. It was the first home run allowed by Zimmermann in 29 2/3 innings this season. After that, each time the Twins threatened, Zimmermann had an answer. John Ryan Murphy reached second on an error by right fielder J. D. Martinez with one out in the fifth before Zimmermann struck out Danny Sant ana and Brian Dozier to preserve the two-run cushion. Minnesota got its leadoff man on in the seventh, but Zimmermann promptly induced a double-play grounder from Eddie Rosario. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. TRAINER'S ROOMTigers: C James McCann (sprained ankle) caught nine innings for Triple-A Toledo on Friday, but manager Brad Ausmus said McCann will continue his rehab assignment through the weekend. McCann was expected to catch nine more innings Saturday and five innings on Sunday before rejoining the Tigers for their three-game series in Cleveland that begins Tuesday. Sports Handicapper Scams. Twins: 3B Trevor Plouffe (strained intercostal muscle) was scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with Class A Fort Myers on Saturday. Plouffe has been on the DL since April 19. Barring any setbacks, he is expect ed to join the Twins in Houston on Tuesday. UP NEXTTigers: RHP Mike Pelfrey (0-4, 4.64 ERA) faces his former team in Sunday's series finale. Pelfrey spent the past three seasons in Minnesota. He pitched a season-high 6 2/3 innings in his most recent start, a 5-1 loss to the Athletics on Tuesday. MLB Baseball Handicappers. Twins: RHP Ricky Nolasco (1-0, 3.25) has been the team's most effective starter this season. He's averaged just shy of seven innings in his four starts and is second in the AL in strikeout-to-walk ratio with 24 strikeouts against three walks.  

MLB Preview: Los Angeles Angels vs. Texas Rangers - 4/30/2016 - 8:05 PM EST

MLB Preview: Los Angeles Angels vs. Texas Rangers - Date: 4/30/2016 Time: 08:05 P.M. EST Venue: Globe Life Park in Arlington   The start to Matt Shoemaker's season hasn't just been more like his disappointing 2015 year than his breakout '14. It's been far worse. Any good involved has come on the road, and the Los Angeles Angels right-hander has a shot to continue that and end a largely rough April on a high note Saturday night. He'll just have to do it against a Texas Rangers team that crushed him in his first start. Shoemaker (1-3, 6.87 ERA) went 7-10 with a 4.46 ERA last season after posting a 16-4 record and 3.04 ERA the season before. He dug himself more of a hole in Sunday's 9-4 home loss to Seattle, surrendering seven runs and six hits in three-plus innings. Soccer Handicappers. Two of those hits left the yard for a second straight game, and he's walked 10 in 18 1/3 innings. At home, he's 0-2 with an 18.00 ERA. Away, he's 1-1 with a 1.46. Over his career, he's been far better at home, so manger Mike Scioscia isn't concerned with venue." Matt is really sensitive to commanding counts; he's really sensitive to locating his fastball," Scioscia told MLB's official website. "When he does, he pitches great. When it's not there, in these two starts in particular, he's had a little trouble righting his ship and getting back to where he needs to be. It's something he's going to have to figure out." One was a 7-3 home loss to Texas on April 8. Shoemaker gave up six runs and seven hits in three-plus innings after winning his first four starts in the series, including 3-0 with a 2.89 ERA at Globe Life Park. MLB Baseball Handicappers. The day before that, Derek Holland took a no-decision for Texas in a 4-3 loss. Holland (2-1, 3.13) is 9-6 against the Angels but it comes with a 5.52 ERA. Albert Pujols is 8 for 25 with three home runs and three doubl es in their matchups, but C. J. Cron (0 for 8) and Kole Calhoun (2 for 10) have struggled. More recently, the left-hander gave up three runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings of a 4-1 road loss to the Chicago White Sox on Sunday. After being limited to 15 starts the previous two seasons, the Rangers can't be displeased with his April. In fact, it may go down as the best of his career after going 1-2 with a 3.38 ERA in five April 2013 starts. Holland will be asked to continue a string of strong pitching. Baseball Picks. The Rangers (13-10) opened the three-game series with Friday's 4-2 win for their third straight victory after a four-game skid. Free MLB Baseball Picks. They've allowed five runs in three games, the rotation has posted a 2.75 ERA over the last six, and the bullpen has put together n ine scoreless innings. At the plate, Prince Fielder drove in his 1,000th career run, but the slugger's sitting on two homers this season." You look up and see the numbers and where he's at, it's a testament to him," manager Jeff Banister said. "You've got to be in the game for awhile and you've got to hunt RBI. I have been on the other side (with Pittsburgh) of a lot of those RBI. I am happy to be on the same side." Los Angeles (11-12) saw its three-game winning streak come to an end, though Mike Trout doubled and singled to extend his hitting streak to nine games. He has reached base in 15 straight and is batting .438 on the streak after opening the year at .220. Sports Monitor. The Angels have also gotten strong relief work lately with 11 1/3 scoreless in the last four games, but they'll have to keep it going without Huston Street. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. The closer landed on the 15-day disabled list after straining his left oblique on Wednesday.

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MLB Preview: Colorado Rockies vs. Arizona Diamondbacks - 4/30/2016 - 8:10 PM EST

MLB Preview: Colorado Rockies vs. Arizona Diamondbacks - Date: 4/30/2016 Time: 08:10 P.M. EST Venue: Chase Field   Nolan Arenado leading the majors in homers isn't exactly a surprise, but Trevor Story tying him has matched a rookie record. Both players take aim at the Colorado Rockies' mark for April on Saturday night against Zack Greinke and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Arenado led the NL with a career-high 42 homers last year and his 130 RBIs topped the majors, so having 10 homers through 22 games - including one in each of the last three - isn't at all unexpected. What's been surprising is Story matching his 10 homers in his first 21 games to equal George Scott (1966) as the fastest player in history to reach the mark. It also tied the rookie record for April set by Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox in 2014." Maybe when it's all said and done it will be something cool to look back on, but right now I'm just worried about winning games," Story said. He and Arenado helped Colorado (10-12) do that Friday, hitting one out each in a 9-0 romp of Arizona to open this three-game set. Free Sport Pick. The homers put both players on the verge of tying the Rockies record for April first set by Larry Walker in 1997 and matched by him in 2001. Story has hit five of his homers in four games against the Diamondbacks (12-13), while Arenado has only managed to hit three in 28 career games at Chase Field. Free MLB Baseball Picks. The All-Star third baseman is also 5 for 27 versus Greinke (2-2, 6.16 ERA), while Story homered on both of his hits against him in a 10-5 opening-day victory April 4. Greinke got pulled from that outing after four innings, surrendering seven runs and three homers. Winning Sports Gambling. The right-hander's struggles in the desert have continued and he owns the fourth-highes t qualifying ERA in the NL after leading the majors with a career-best 1.66 mark with the Los Angeles Dodgers last year. Greinke has also compiled a 9.72 ERA while losing two of three starts at home. He earned a 12-7 win over St. Louis on Monday, but was hammered for seven runs and 11 hits in 6 2/3 innings." I thought I did all right. It's just kind of embarrassing giving up seven runs thinking you did all right," Greinke said. "I'll take it, as long as it's not like that all the time." The Rockies have put Chris Rusin (1-0, 2.45) in the rotation in place of Jordan Lyles, who went 1-1 with a 7.64 ERA in four starts before being demoted to Triple-A Albuquerque earlier this week. Rusin has tossed 9 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings over his last three outings, and he's not getting overly excited about starting." That's the best way to go about it because things change so much throughout the year," Rusin told MLB's official website. "You can't make too much of switching roles." Rusin, however, should be accustomed to his new role since he started 42 of his 48 games over four seasons with the Rockies and Chicago Cubs prior to this season. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. The left-hander, though, is 9-19 with a 5.21 ERA in his career as a starter. However, he's 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA in three starts against the Diamondbacks - all in the desert.

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MLB Preview: Kansas City Royals vs. Seattle Mariners - 4/30/2016 - 9:10 PM EST

MLB Preview: Kansas City Royals vs. Seattle Mariners - Date: 4/30/2016 Time: 10:10 P.M. EST Venue: Safeco Field   The Kansas City Royals have stepped up their game when Yordano Ventura has taken the ball. Looking to improve to 5-0 with the right-hander on the mound, the visiting Royals try to avoid losing five straight for the first time in almost two years Saturday night against the surging Seattle Mariners. Kansas City (12-10) has managed seven runs and gone 4 for 34 with runners in scoring position during its four-game slide. Despite going 0 for 11 in that department Friday, when Seth Smith's sixth-inning homer was Seattle's only hit in the 1-0 defeat, the Royals don't seem overly concerned with their offensive struggles." It's just part of it," manager Ned Yost told MLB's official website. "You just work through it." Kansas City last dropped five straight in May 2014. Seattle (12-10), meanwhile, has won seven of nine and is 4-1 at Safeco Field since losing its first five there." It's been fun," Smith sa id. "We show up and get ready to play and go out there and seem to be doing the big things and little things we need to do to win baseball games." Sending Ventura (2-0, 2.35 ERA) to the mound could provide the Royals with some confidence, too. Point Shaving. They've totaled 14 runs in his last two starts, most recently Sunday against Baltimore when he allowed a run and three hits over seven innings of the 6-1 victory." I have a lot of confidence right now,'' Ventura said. ''I'm executing pitches, I'm concentrating hard on working hard on and off the field.'' His teammates were particularly impressed with his poise after giving up that run during a rough first inning.'' He's matured,'' backup catcher Drew Butera said. "He's understanding himself. He's more relaxed.'' Ventura is 0-2 in four starts against the Mariner s but has a modest 3.24 ERA while receiving five runs of support. Smith is 2 for 6 with a double and a triple against Ventura. Both of his home runs plus four RBIs have come in his last five contests. Seattle starters have a 2.03 ERA in the last four games, and Wade Miley (1-2, 7.04) hopes a solid finish in his latest outing is a sign of things to come. Free MLB Baseball Picks. The left-hander allowed three of his four runs in the first, then settled down to last 7 1/3 innings in Sunday's 9-4 victory over the Los Angeles Angels. It was a big step for Miley, who gave up 14 runs in 15 2/3 innings of his first three outings." I was getting a little frustrated with myself because I wasn't executing my pitches," he said. "So I just tried to stop thinking a little bit after that, and I was able to establish a rhythm. I started throwing down in the zone and they were hitting it a t people.'' Manager Scott Servais has been impressed with Miley's resiliency through a rough start to his Seattle tenure." I think it speaks to the professional that he is," Servais said. "He doesn't quit, he's a gamer, he keeps going after you and he will figure it out." Miley gave up one run in 13 1/3 innings to win both starts against Kansas City for Boston last season. Eric Hosmer has gone 1 for 8 against him but is batting .366 during a career-high 18-game hitting streak. Sports Handicapper Records. The 30 consecutive games he's reached base in are also a personal best. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. Teammate Alex Gordon is 1 for 14 with six strikeouts in the last four.

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NHL Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals - 4/30/2016 - 8:05 PM EST

NHL Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals - Date: 4/30/2016 Time: 08:00 P.M. EST Venue: Verizon Center   The Washington Capitals' stars shined the brightest in an opening act that will be hard to top. Now its up to Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins to answer in Game 2 when the series resumes Saturday night. Best Free Sports Picks. This marquee second-round matchup featuring the NHL's two premier players lived up to its immense hype in Thursday's Game 1, though neither Crosby nor Alex Ovechkin had the greatest impact on the outcome. Free NHL Hockey Picks. T. J. Oshie instead played the leading role in Washington's 4-3 victory, completing his first playoff hat trick with a wraparound goal 9:33 into overtime.'' That's kind of the stuff you dream about when you're a kid playing in the backyard by yourself is scoring the OT winner and getting a hat trick,'' Oshie said. ''It was awesome. Grea t way to win.'' Oshie was the unlikely hero on a night when the Capitals' top line outplayed Pittsburgh's unit of Crosby, Patric Hornqvist and Conor Sheary. Despite garnering a reputation as a big-game player for his shootout performance in the United States' win over Russia at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the offseason addition entered the opener with just six goals in 36 career playoff games. Ovechkin didn't score but was still effective, assisting on Oshie's second goal and finishing plus-3. Crosby was held to one shot and his line ended minus-3, the one glaring negative on an otherwise strong showing by the Penguins on the road. Pittsburgh outshot the Capitals 45-35 and fought back to force overtime on Nick Bonino's goal 8:42 into the third period." This game could have went either way," coach Mike Sullivan said. "It was an even game. Our guys played hard. I thought we carried stretches of momentum for long periods of time. It d idn't go our way. We'll learn from it, put it behind us and try to get Game 2." The line of Bonino, Carl Hagelin and Phil Kessel was on the ice for two goals and Evgeni Malkin scored his third in five games since returning from injury. Rookie Matt Murray recorded 31 saves - including two breakaway stops on Ovechkin - in his fourth playoff start in place of Marc-Andre Fleury, who remains out indefinitely with concussion symptoms." He made the saves and gave us a chance to win," Sullivan said. Pittsburgh did have problems matching Washington's physicality, with the Capitals owning a 43-29 advantage in hits. Sheary briefly left the game in the third period following a knee-on-knee collision with Tom Wilson, a play that wasn't penalized but drew a $2,404 fine from the league, the maximum allowable under the current collective bargaining agreement." I know we're a bigger team and we're best when we play with our size and weight,&qu ot; Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "You've got to use your assets. If we're going to have puck possession, we're going to have to do it with our size. We're going to have to go to the net. We're going to have to do all the things we do well." The bigger issue for the Penguins could be solving Braden Holtby, who continued his excellent playoff run with 42 saves. Profitable Sports Handicappers. The Vezina Trophy finalist has a 1.12 goals-against average and .960 save percentage this postseason. Neither team was a factor on the power play, with the Capitals 0 for 6 and Pittsburgh 0 for 2. Profitable NHL Hockey Handicappers. That also was the case during the teams' five regular-season meetings in which the Penguins went 1 for 18 and Washington 2 for 16. Both teams had eight power-play goals in the first round, but the Capitals are 0 for 14 in the last four games with the man advantage after converting five times in their 6-1 rout of Philadelphia in Game 3.

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NBA Preview: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. San Antonio Spurs - 4/30/2016 - 7:30 PM EST

NBA Preview: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. San Antonio Spurs - Date: 4/30/2016 Time: 08:30 P.M. EST Venue: AT&T Center   OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Two years ago, the Thunder's Kevin Durant tweeted that Kawhi Leonard was a good player who got a lot of help from the San Antonio Spurs' system. Durant recognizes the Leonard Oklahoma City is about to square off against is much more. In fact, Durant is so impressed that he checks how Leonard performs each game.'' He's grown so much,'' Durant said. ''He's probably the best in the league at shooting the mid-range (jumper) off the dribble. He posts up, dribbles, can shoot the three, catch and shoot. Sports Handicapping Software. Their team, their system, their continuity and how they move allows him to get free a lot of times and utilizes his game.'' Durant respect for Leonard has also grown over the years. After Leonard was named Finals MVP in 2014, Durant said on Twitter he would take Indiana's Paul George over Leonard, and that Leonard was ''doing work like this because of the system.'' Durant later clarified, saying he meant no disrespect to Leonard, he simply liked George better. Last month, Durant, unprompted, said Leonard is not a ''system player.'' On Saturday, Durant and Leonard will renew acquaintances in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals in San Antonio. NBA Basketball Handicappers. Their individual matchup will be worth keeping an eye on. Durant is a four-time scoring champion who averaged 28.2 points and a career-high 8.2 rebounds per game this season. Leonard is the two-time reigning defensive player of the year who was a first-time All-Star this season and led the Spurs in scoring. Leonard knows his job will be difficult because of Durant's versatility.'' Being able to do everything on the floor, shoot, get in the paint, post, create shots for his teammates,'' Leonard said of Durant's skills. ''Just active the whole game.'' Leonard has also become more of an offensive threat. His scoring average has increased from 12.8 points per game in 2013-14, to 16.5 last season, to 21.2 this season. He shot a career-high 44.3 percent from 3-point range on a career-high 291 attempts this season.---Some things to watch in the Thunder-Spurs series:ALDRIDGE EFFECT: LaMarcus Aldridge has gotten comfortable in San Antonio after being acquired in the offseason. He averaged 18.0 points and 8.5 rebounds per game this season while allowing Tim Duncan to rest a bit more. ''You've got to play both ends of the floor a little differently because he's an All-Star player,'' Durant said. ''He's a guy that can shoot over any shoulder, he can shoot from range, he can roll to the rim, so it's a different dynamic when you play a guy like that, and that's when you've got to be locked in and ready for anything.'' TEXAS-SIZED THREAT: Russell Westbrook had 18 triple-doubles in the regular season, then averaged 26.0 points, 11.2 assists and 7.2 rebounds per game in the first round of the playoffs against Dallas. In 12 career playoff games against the Spurs he averages 22.5 points, 7.3 assists and 5.8 rebounds per game. ''He's got a lot of energy, he's super aggressive and obviously one of the best point guards in the league,'' Spurs guard Tony Parker said. ''It's just fun to play against him. He brings a lot of excitement to the game. It's always a great matchup.'' THEY HAVE HISTORY: The Thunder beat the Spurs 4-2 in the Western Conference Finals in 2011-12, then lost to Miami in the NBA Finals. Sports Predictions. The Spurs beat the Thunder 4-2 in the 2013-14 Western Conference Finals, and San Antonio beat Miami for the NBA title. ''We've ha d some battles,'' Durant said. ''And there were a few battles where the Finals was on the line. Each team really respects each other and definitely wants to compete.'' COACHING MATCHUP: Gregg Popovich is a five-time NBA champion and the league's most successful active coach. Oklahoma City's Billy Donovan just won the first playoff series of his career in his first year in the league. Donovan doesn't look at it as a one-on-one matchup, but he said he learns every time he studies Popovich's teams. ''You watch San Antonio and Pop's teams play, there's a lot of respect and admiration for the way their team plays,'' Donovan said. OFFENSE vs. DEFENSE: Oklahoma City scored 112.0 points per game on 47.6 percent shooting against Dallas in the first round and shot better than 50 percent in each of the final three games. San Antonio held Memphis to 81 points per game on 39.4 percent shooting in a first-round sweep.---AP fr eelancer Raul Dominguez in San Antonio contributed to this report.---Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP .

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MLB Preview: New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox - 4/30/2016 - 7:10 PM EST

MLB Preview: New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox - Date: 4/30/2016 Time: 07:10 P.M. EST Venue: Fenway Park   Rick Porcello's fifth win last year came after the Fourth of July. Best Free Sports Picks. This year, he has a chance to do it before May. Free MLB Baseball Picks. The right-hander will try to tie the major league lead in victories Saturday night when the Boston Red Sox face the New York Yankees at Fenway Park. Porcello (4-0, 3.51 ERA) could become the first pitcher to win all five of his starts in April with an ERA above 3.00 since Chien-Ming Wang did it with the Yankees in 2008. He needed 17 starts to get his fifth win in 2015. Porcello got No. 4 on Monday, yielding four hits with six strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings of a 1-0 win at Atlanta after entering with a 4.66 ERA." It feels good that I'm not out there searching for something and trying to make an adjustment during a game," said Porcello, alluding to findin g the right arm slot during spring training and maintaining it. Porcello is 4-2 with a 2.75 ERA over his last eight starts against the Yankees. He had a career-high 13 strikeouts while allowing three runs - one earned - in eight innings of a 3-1 loss in his only start against them at Fenway on Sept. 1. New York (8-13) hasn't been much of a threat offensively of late, batting .207 while being outscored 17-5 during a three-game slide. Gambling Profit. The Yankees were held to six hits and David Ortiz belted a tiebreaking two-run shot in the eighth inning of Friday's 4-2 win in the opener of this three-game series. Ortiz, who was 2 for 4, reveled in the clutch performance against AL East rival New York, which has lost 11 of 15." When you're playing at home and the adrenaline's flying all over the place when you're playing against the Yankees, when something like this happens you enjo y it," he said. Ortiz is batting .343 with seven extra-base hits and eight RBIs over his past nine games. However, he's 3 for 15 with five strikeouts against scheduled starter Michael Pineda (1-2, 6.95). Pineda has the third-highest qualifying ERA in the AL, and he's looking to bounce back from one of the worst performances of his career. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. The right-hander retired the first two batters before being tagged for five runs and six hits - two homers - in the opening inning Sunday. He gave up two more runs and as many homers over the next four while finishing with nine strikeouts in an 8-1 loss to Tampa Bay." He didn't have the movement on (the fastball), he didn't have the cut on it," manager Joe Girardi told MLB's official website. "For whatever reason, he didn't have it. Obviously, his slider was pretty good, he had nine strikeouts. Handicapper Directory. The four homers, too? It doesn't make a lot of sense, but the lack of movement on his fastball and lack of location is what killed him." Pineda had all sorts of trouble in his last start against the Red Sox (13-10) on Sept. 29, surrendering seven runs and two homers in six innings of a 10-4 home loss. Perhaps a change of venue can help. He's got a 1.42 ERA while winning his last three starts at Fenway after yielding one run and fanning seven in six innings opposite Porcello on Sept. 1. Alex Rodriguez has hit solo homers in consecutive games and is 5 for 9 with two doubles and three RBIs in his past three.'' If you told me 10 years ago that Big Papi and I would be hitting home runs at 40, I probably would've laughed,'' Rodriguez said. ''But winning the game is the most important thing.''

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MLB Preview: Miami Marlins vs. Milwaukee Brewers - 4/30/2016 - 7:10 PM EST

MLB Preview: Miami Marlins vs. Milwaukee Brewers - Date: 4/30/2016 Time: 07:10 P.M. EST Venue: Miller Park   The Miami Marlins appear determined to successfully move on from losing All-Star Dee Gordon to a lengthy drug suspension. Sport Handicapping. They'll try to win seven in a row for the first time in four seasons Saturday night against the struggling Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Less than 24 hours after it was announced that Gordon was suspended 80 games for unknowingly taking performance-enhancing drugs, the Marlins (11-11) held a team meeting then took a combined no-hitter into the ninth inning of Friday's 6-3 victory." It is a team," outfielder Christian Yelich told MLB's official website. "It is 25 guys. We all have to step up and do our jobs to keep playing good baseball. MLB Baseball Handicappers. That's what we're going to do. ... Sports Predictio ns. That's how we're going to deal with it." Adam Conley was pulled after 7 2/3 innings and 116 pitches and Justin Bour homered twice with five RBIs.'' For us to come out and set the tone the way we did, and put runs up, and I can't say enough about the way Adam pitched,'' said Bour, who belted a three-run shot in the first. Free MLB Baseball Picks. The Marlins have not been above .500 in 2016 or won seven straight since May 2012." We aren't just going to throw in the cards," manager Don Mattingly said. "Teams that are going to go forward are going to have to go over obstacles, around obstacles and under obstacles. Handicapper Return on Investment. That's what this team is going to have to do." We can't let anything stand in our way." Miami starters have a 1.65 ERA in the last five games, a stretch that began Monday when Wei-Yin Chen (1-1, 4.32 ERA) allowed two solo homers in 6 2/3 innings of a 3-2 victory at Dodger Stadium. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. The left-hander has yielded seven runs in 20 innings over three starts since giving up five in five in his first. The Brewers (8-14) made things interesting Friday with four ninth-inning hits before falling for the sixth time in seven games. Jonathan Lucroy had one of those hits and is batting .313 in his last nine games. Lucroy should be ready to catch Chase Anderson (1-2, 4.50), who did not allow an earned run in 11 innings of his first two starts before giving up 10 over nine of the last two. Six of those runs came in four innings of a 10-6 loss to Philadelphia last Saturday.'' I can't really put my finger on it," the right-hander said. "I just know my com mand the last two games has not been very good with the fastball." I know I've got to attack hitters but if you look up and you have 80-some pitches in three or four innings, then you can't pitch deep into the ball game.'' Anderson has lasted at least six innings in each of his three starts against the Marlins while going 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA. Giancarlo Stanton, who got the night off Friday, is 3 for 9 against Anderson. After batting .193 through his first 15 games, Stanton is 8 for 18 with four homers, eight RBIs and four walks in his last five.'' You really don't want to push Giancarlo over the edge,'' Mattingly said. Bour is 2 for 3 with a double against Anderson.

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MLB Preview: Cleveland Indians vs. Philadelphia Phillies - 4/30/2016 - 7:05 PM EST

MLB Preview: Cleveland Indians vs. Philadelphia Phillies - Date: 4/30/2016 Time: 07:05 P.M. EST Venue: Citizens Bank Park   Coming into his team's series with the Cleveland Indians, catcher Cameron Rupp insisted the Philadelphia Phillies were setting out to put all the talk of tanking to rest. Sports Handicapping Service Leads. They certainly aren't playing like a team interested in another last-place finish. Jerad Eickhoff will try to add to an outstanding run on the mound Saturday night when the host Phillies chase their fifth straight win and eighth in the past nine games. After finishing at the bottom of the NL East the past two seasons, Philadelphia (13-10) appeared to be in rebuilding mode with several young and inexperienced players. MLB Baseball Handicappers. The Phillies, however, have won 13 of 19 since dropping their first four games, leading Rupp to say, ''A lot of people write us off saying we don't want to win. Sports Picks Free. That's not true." The club has been sparked by a formidable pitching staff that has a 1.42 ERA during a four-game winning streak. Free MLB Baseball Picks. The bullpen pitched six scoreless innings before Ryan Howard hit a walk-off home run in Friday's 4-3, 11-inning series-opening win." There's a different energy and all that began in spring training," Howard said. Now they'll give the ball to Eickhoff in hopes he can find the command on his normally devastating breaking ball. After allowing two runs while striking out 18 over 14 innings in his previous two starts, the 25-year-old was tagged for seven runs and nine hits - including two home runs - over 5 1/3 innings in Sunday's 8-5 loss at Milwaukee. According to MLB's official website, Eickhoff (1-3, 4.07 ERA) had given up only two extra-base hit s on curveballs in 11 career starts before Ryan Braun hit a solo home run on a 1-2 curve and Kirk Nieuwenhuis ripped a two-run single on an 0-2 breaking ball." If I get beat on my curveball, I'll live with it," the right-hander explained. Now Eickhoff will have to be cautious with Jason Kipnis, who might want to consider playing in the NL someday. Winning Sports Handicappers. The two-time All-Star infielder hit a two-run home run Friday and has a .426 average with 10 extra-base hits and 10 RBIs in his last 11 interleague games. He's also 4 for 8 with two homers and five RBIs in his past two games at Philadelphia. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. The Indians hope to avoid their fourth loss in five games since sweeping Detroit to open this nine-game trip. They had averaged 6 runs and hit .298 in their previous five games bef ore finishing with six hits and putting just four runners in scoring position Friday. Cleveland looks to get regroup offensively for Trevor Bauer (1-0, 4.76), who comes out of the bullpen to start in place of injured Carlos Carrasco. The right-hander had allowed six runs and 13 hits over 11 1/3 innings in six relief appearances. He'll try to keep center fielder Odubel Herrera off the bases. The leadoff man is batting .338 with a .494 on-base percentage while reaching safely in 20 consecutive contests. Carlos Santana, who is 10 for 26 on the road swing, could get an opportunity to play in right field with the designated hitter spot not available at Citizens Bank Park. The Indians (10-10) have dropped five of the six all-time meetings at Philadelphia after closer Cody Allen surrendered Howard's shot and fell to 0-3 with a 6.97 ERA.'' (Saturday) it will be over and I'll be ready to pitch,'' Allen said.

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MLB Preview: Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates - 4/30/2016 - 7:05 PM EST

MLB Preview: Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates - Date: 4/30/2016 Time: 07:05 P.M. EST Venue: PNC Park   The perfect draw for a struggling pitching staff right now might be the Cincinnati Reds' slumping lineup. NFL Handicappers. The right matchup to keep offensive production flowing may be their pitchers, too. MLB Baseball Handicappers. The Pittsburgh Pirates will get another crack at both Saturday night when they go for their sixth straight win while trying to hand the visiting Reds as many losses in a row. Both sides of the equation held up in Pittsburgh's series-opening 4-1 victory Friday night, its third straight at PNC Park. Home runs from Josh Harrison and Matt Joyce were more than enough as the Pirates (14-9) held the Reds to six hits. Cincinnati (9-14) has lost seven of eight games, totaling 10 runs in the losses - just the right medicine for a Pirates' staff that surrendered 32 earned runs in its previous six conte sts. Maybe the ugliest pitching line in that stretch came from Francisco Liriano's last start on Sunday, though the left-hander was pleased with his stuff. Handicappers Free Picks. Three of the four runs he gave up came off two early homers, but Liriano (1-1, 4.64 ERA) settled down to hold Arizona to four runs in six innings of an eventual 12-10, 13-inning win." Location-wise, everything was a lot more sharp. It was working a lot better down in the zone," Liriano told MLB's official website. "Just get ahead in the count and not try to do too much. Free MLB Baseball Picks. That got better at the end." Liriano continued to struggle with his command, walking three to give him 17 free passes through his first four starts. After tossing six innings of three-hit ball in a 4-1 opening day win over St. Louis, he has allowed 16 hits and 11 runs - nine off five homers - in 15 1/3 innings his last three outings. While Liriano hopes he can continue to improve, Pittsburgh's lineup looks to keep rolling against the Reds, who have lost 13 of 17 since taking two of three from the Pirates April 8-10. Harrison's fourth-inning solo homer in the opener was his first since May 15, snapping a drought of 379 at-bats. Joyce's two-run shot in the seventh inning was his third in 28 at-bats and raised his batting average to .357 after he signed a minor league contract in spring training following a miserable 2015 with the Los Angeles Angels. Winning Sports Handicappers. The Pirates have hit nine home runs in their last four games and have averaged 12.6 hits and 8 runs during their winning streak - numbers that could keep climbing against the scuffling Alfredo Simon. Simon (0-2, 16.39) skipped a turn in Cincinnati's rot ation due to biceps tendinitis but returned Sunday by surrendering eight runs and 10 hits over 2 2/3 innings in a 9-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs." The good news is his arm is feeling better, but the result wasn't very good," manager Bryan Price told MLB's official website. "We have to get him back to being sharp down in the strike zone ... to give us a chance to keep the pitch count down and keep our starters in the game." The right-hander only pitched long enough to qualify for a win in his first start while combining for 4 1/3 innings his last three outings - two starts and a relief appearance. His ERA is an astronomical 33.23 in that span after giving up 17 hits, four of them homers. Simon is 3-1 with a 2.57 ERA in four starts at PNC Park.

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MLB Preview: Chicago White Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles - 4/30/2016 - 7:05 PM EST

MLB Preview: Chicago White Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles - Date: 4/30/2016 Time: 07:05 P.M. EST Venue: Oriole Park at Camden Yards   Despite his rocky 2015 season, the Chicago White Sox took a flier on Mat Latos in hopes he could bounce back enough to contribute at the back end of the rotation. Best Sports Picks Today. The veteran right-hander has instead gotten off to one of the majors' best starts. Latos has an opportunity to become the first pitcher to win his first five starts with the White Sox in 13 years Saturday night when Chicago seeks a rare road victory over the power-hitting Baltimore Orioles. Chicago's gamble on Latos certainly appears to be paying off after the 28-year-old went 4-10 with a career-worst 4.95 ERA for three teams last season. He's unexpectedly played a key role on a pitching staff that owns an AL-best 2.62 ERA. Latos turned in a strong outing Sunday, allowing one run over six innings in a 4-1 win over Texas. Only Detroit's Jordan Zimmermann has a lower ERA than his 0.74. Latos can join Jake Arri eta of the Cubs and teammate Chris Sale as the majors' only pitchers with 5-0 records, and he also has a chance to become the first pitcher to win his first five starts with the White Sox (16-8) since Esteban Loaiza in 2003." My plan is to go out there and attack and throw strikes and put zeros up on the board," Latos told MLB's official website. "Every fifth day I go out there, I want to command the zone down, I want to mix my slider for strikes, I want to throw the curveball over for strikes, throw the split in there when I need to." Perhaps most importantly, he'll try to help Chicago avoid a season high-tying third straight loss after dropping the first two of this four-game set at Camden Yards. In his only career start versus Baltimore, Latos gave up five runs and 10 hits over five innings in a 5-4 road loss Sept. 2, 2014 while with Cincinnati. Pedro Alvarez has faced Latos the most of any Orioles batter, going 8 for 29 with two home runs. Free MLB Baseball Picks. The Orioles (14-8) have totaled 16 runs and 23 hits against Chicago's previously outstanding staff. Nolan Reimold delivered a three-run homer in the seventh inning of Friday's 6-3 victory that gave the club its 12th win in the past 16 home meetings. Reimold is batting .355 with three homers in 13 games for Baltimore, which is hitting .295 with 14 home runs during a MLB-best 9-1 start at Camden." He's been a real contributor," manager Buck Showalter said. "It's the first time, I don't want to say (he's) completely healthy, but healthy (enough) to show what he's capable of." Manny Machado is 19 for 41 while hitting safely in all 10 at home. He's also batting .375 with two home runs and five doubles in his last 10 there against the White Sox. Baltimore hopes to keep scoring for right-hander K evin Gausman, who allowed one run while striking out seven over five innings in Monday's 2-0 loss at Tampa Bay. He hasn't allowed a run over two innings in a pair of relief appearances versus Chicago. Jose Abreu has heated up, going 7 for 17 over his last four games. On Friday, Brett Lawrie hit his 12th career home run against the Orioles - his most against any team.

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