Every now and again, a major league baseball series will spill over into a Monday, just not very often.
Every now and again, a major league baseball series will spill over into a Monday, just not very often. This means like the start of a work week for the rest of us working stiffs, MLB teams start a new series against a different opponent, trying to win the first game of a series, to establish the upper hand in hopes of taking control and doing what every baseball manager loves, triumphing series after series. Here is a look at this Monday’s most notable streaks by teams and pitchers.
Tampa Bay leads the AL East, in part on their performance in game one of series. In their last 23 series openers, the Rays have won 17. Tampa Bay will have to overcome the stigma of playing poorly on the road in July, with 4-20 record the last two seasons; however James Shields (9-6, 3.66 ERA) has shielded the Rays from defeat in last five outings to start new series. Toronto, who had their five game winning streak snapped, will counter with A.J. Burnett (11-8, 4.63) who is 2-6 (team record) in game one assignments recently.
Boston is off big Yankee series and goes from the fire, into the frying pan. The Los Angeles Angels own the best record in all of baseball at 64-40 (+17.1 units) and are fantastic 33-19 on the road. The Red Sox struggles can be traced to being just 4-10 in series starts, meaning they have frequently been playing up hill, just to win a series. At least they will have Daisuke Matsuzaka (11-1, 2.63) pitching for them, since combined; the two are 16-5 in this role. Sportsbook.com has the Red Sox as -145 money line favorites, as oddsmakers are aware Jered Weaver (8-8, 4.08) and the Angels are 1-7 when he opens a series. ESPN has this contest starting at 7:05 Eastern.
The Chicago White Sox, after defeating Detroit 2-1 to take three game series, travel to second place Minnesota for a stern four game test. The White Sox lead the AL Central by three games over the Twins and have won 12 of last 17 series lid-lifters. Minnesota is 34-19 at the MetroDome, garnering +17 units. Mark Buehrle (8-8, 3.56) gets the call, for the Pale Hose and he and his teammates are only 7-15 when he is game one starter. One huge positive for Chicago, they have won five of last six overtures versus the Twins.
Elsewhere on Monday, Oakland has lost game one’s of last two series, yet is still 9-3 in last dozen, with Kansas City visiting. Seattle’s season is down the tubes faster than Starbucks stores, but at least they and Felix Hernandez (7-6, 2.95) are 9-3 launching a new series.
In the National League, the Houston Astros have a bit more confidence, taking two of three from Milwaukee on the road and have Roy Oswalt (7-8, 4.56) facing slumping Cincinnati. Oswalt has 18-1 record with 2.55 ERA against the Reds and he and the Astros have won six of last eight beginnings of trio of encounters.
Maybe it was the depression of losing a couple of its best players, because losing last three games at home to San Diego has to be embarrassment to Pittsburgh. On the field it doesn’t figure to get any easier facing a Colorado club that is making similar statement to last September’s run, now on 9-1 excursion. The Pirates are 6-15 to open series and tonight’s starter Ian Snell (3-8, 6.10), is 1-4 in last five attempts to start series with a win.
One of baseball’s great old rivalries resumes, as San Francisco heads south to L.A. to take on the hated Dodgers. Both are coming in off sweeps, the Giants were wiped out by Arizona, while Los Angeles had little trouble with washed-up Washington. San Fran is 1-7 in game one installment, with the Dodgers on 5-1 roll.
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