Take a ride on Redding

Jun 24, 2008 7:06 PM

On The Mark by Mark Mayer | Tim Redding is the reason why we, as handicappers, do our homework.

On the surface, his 6-3 record, 4.10 ERA, 80 hits allowed in 85 innings and a strikeout to walk ratio of about 1½-1 (52 K, 32 BB) is respectable, but not overwhelming. But there a whole lot more to this cat.

The 5-foot-11, 225-pounder is built more for football than baseball. Redding came up with Houston in 2001, pitched for the Yankees, San Diego and now Washington. He’s never won more than 10 games in a season. And yet this year when Redding starts, the Nationals are an astounding 13-2, including eight straight wins.

To show how ridiculous this Redding thing is, the Nationals have just 17 wins when anyone else starts. Washington has won Redding’s last eight starts. His next scheduled outing should be Wednesday at home against the LA Angels. No doubt he will be an underdog again and we’re salivating.

Speaking of the Red Sox, you might want to think twice about betting against them in interleague play. In the last 61 games against the NL, Boston is 49-12. The Sox are on a bit of a dry spell of late, going 4-4 in the last eight matchups. But that’s still a pretty gaudy.

One better than gaudy is Tampa Bay at "The Juice Box," aka Tropicana Field. The (don’t call us Devil) Rays are 26-6 in their last 32 home games, including a three-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs, own baseball’s best record. Nothing fluky about the Rays, who are 7-2 with Scott Kazmir, 11-4 with Andy Sonnanstine and 8-1 at home with James Shields.

Keep an eye on the Colorado Rockies. The situation is not as bleak as the 33-44 record would dictate. Remember the Rocks are 12-6 in their last 18 games and in the NL West.

FYI: When St. Louis defeated Boston and Daisuke Matsuzaka 9-3 last Saturday at Fenway, it the most expensive favorite (-290) to lose on the Vegas board this season.