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Steve Merril 2010 MLB Handicapping Tips

Steve Merril’s MLB Baseball Betting + Handicapping – Pitchers Preview

Steve Merril

Steve Merril

By Matt Josephs for Steve Merril Sports

Baseball begins this week and below is a list of play-on and play-against pitchers for the 2010 MLB season.

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Five Pitchers to back:

Wade Davis (Tampa Bay)

This 5th starter made six starts last year for the Rays going 2-2 with a 3.72 ERA on the season. Davis started his career giving up one run and three hits against the Tigers in seven innings of work last September. While he did struggle against the Red Sox in his next start, Davis gave up just six earned runs in his last four starts of the season against the likes of Baltimore, Seattle and the Yankees. Should be noted that Davis has an 8.80 ERA in spring training but he’s been tinkering with new pitches.

Brian Matusz (Baltimore)

The bandwagon is big for this tall lefthander as a good spring training has backed a nice finish to his 2009 season. Matusz is 1-2 with a 3.10 ERA in five outings this spring striking out 19 while walking only 3 batters.

Homer Bailey (Cincinnati)

This phenom’s career couldn’t be more helter-skelter. Bailey spent 2007 and 2008 getting smacked around going 4-8 in 17 games over those two seasons. Last year, he improved a bit going 8-5 with a 4.53 ERA. Bailey has made three outings this spring giving up just four runs in 11.2 innings pitched. While his strikeout numbers aren’t very gaudy (3), he seems to have fixed his walk problem that plagued him earlier in his career.

Ricky Nolasco (Florida)

Nolasco spent some time in the minors last season and it seemed to clear his head. While the 5.06 ERA last season is unsightly, he still managed to go 13-9 striking out 195 while walking only 44. This spring, Nolasco is 3-0 with a 1.78 ERA in five starts striking out 21 while walking only one batter. Ricky seems to be in midseason form already.

Luke Hochevar (Kansas City)

Much like Homer Bailey, Hochevar has been inconsistent throughout his career. The righthander is 13-26 with a 5.88 ERA in 51 starts over his career. Still Luke has shown flashes of brilliance. He’s 0-1 with a 3.94 ERA in four starts this spring. This is purely a speculative play as I feel that the Royals will be a team on the rise this season and for that to happen, Luke will have to lead the charge.

Four hurlers to fade:

Cole Hamels (Philadelphia)

While we don’t like telling people to fade the Phillies at any time, this lefthander’s inconsistency presents opportunities to jump on a juicy runline. Hamels is a top 5 pitcher when he wants to be. The lefty went 10-11 with a 4.32 ERA last year allowing batters to hit .273 against him. This spring hasn’t been much better as he’s gone 1-1 with a 5.57 ERA over five starts. Hamels has given up 11 runs in 10.1 innings of work his last two outings and pitchers are supposed to improve instead of regress the closer the season comes.

Cliff Lee (Seattle)

Of course the injury helps us here, but I feel like even when he gets healthy, the lefthander will be fade material. Lee expressed dismay at his trade from Philly to Seattle and has already been suspended once during spring training. In two starts, Lee has given up 11 hits and five runs during 5.2 innings of work. Lee’s move back to the American League could be a struggle this season as I feel like the Mariners may not live up to expectations.

Vicente Padilla (L.A. Dodgers)

The Dodgers named this righthander as their opening day starter and I’m not quite sure why. This head case seven months ago was released by a pitching starved Ranger team and went to LA where he experienced some success. Padilla’s been tattooed a bit during the spring giving up 19 hits and 10 runs in 14.1 innings of work as hitters are ringing him up to a tune of .306 BAA. I just don’t feel safe backing this righthander in games where he will be pitted against other aces.

Jeremy Guthrie (Baltimore)

Guthrie had one of the worst seasons of his short career last year going 10-17 with a 5.04 ERA. The righthander hasn’t been much better during the spring giving up 19 runs and 28 hits in 20.2 innings of work. Not only that, the righty has walked 13 batters as well.

Matt Josephs is a MLB expert and the chief baseball handicapper for Steve Merril Sports.

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