EDITOR’S NOTE: GT baseball columnist Andy Iskoe is taking a week off due to an out of town getaway and a faulty laptop computer. We trust Andy and his computer will function at top speed next week.
Attacking a series and betting the same team for all three or four games is not a bad way of handicapping if you can hit a groove and stick with straight bets. Let’s examine a number of series for the upcoming week and please put your seats in the upright and locked position as we are getting ready to land here.
Started Monday, Aug. 4
Padres at Mets (through-Thu): Believe it or not, the Padres swept the Metropolitans in San Diego earlier this summer (2-1, 2-1, 2-1, 8-6) but that was then and this is now. NY has to win at Shea Stadium (especially against bottom-feeders like the Pads) with the Phillies and Marlins still in the thick of the NL East race. And after being swept by the Astros in Houston, expect the Mets to be in a foul mood. METS.
Nationals at Rockies (through Thu): Washington heads out on the road to the Rocky Mountains for this series with its work cut out. The numbers will be high but why ask why? Washington stinks. The Nats have lost six straight away from their new Nationals Park, have MLB’s worst record (41-70) and also own the league’s worst road record (18-37). Embrace logic. ROCKIES.
Pirates at Diamondbacks: (through-Wed): Another series where the prices will be steep. Expect Arizona to win two of three, if not sweep the Bucs in Phoenix. And with Haren, Webb and The Big Unit scheduled to go up against Duke, Karstens and Maholm in these three, a sweep is very possible. DIAMONDBACKS.
Orioles at Angels (throughWed): Baltimore has been on the West Coast, while the Halos were in the Big Apple on Sunday. Now Anaheim comes home and the O’s are waiting. The Angels starting pitching and bats should prove to be too much for the visitors. Noteworthy for LAA is the fact that Vladimir Guererro (rest) and Torii Hunter (bereavement) should be back in the fold on what has become an even scarier team with the addition of Mark Teixiera. The Halos still have MLB’s best record at 69-42 and are 9-6 on Mondays, alternating wins and losses in their last six (they won their last Monday). ANGELS.
Bonus: YANKEES-ROYALS OVER, TIGERS-WHITE SOX OVER, BEN & JERRY’s over Hagen Dazs, CAFFEINE over Decaf, PERIWINKLE over Fuscia.
Starts Friday, Aug. 8
Pirates at Phillies (Fri-Sun): The Battle of the Keystone State is always intense. Simply put, these three games mean so much more to the home team than to Pittsburgh. And with Hamels and Moyer in the rotation, Philly expects (and gets) so much more from its starters. PHILLIES.
Nationals at Brewers (Fri-Sun): Washington goes from Denver to Milwaukee on this road trip and will get wins about as often as a guy named Fillmore becomes president (I still love you Millard). With the majors’ worst road record (18-37) and a six-game slide away from home heading into this latest road trip, my plan is to bet against the Nats every single night. Sometimes handicapping is less like brain surgery and more about just pulling the trigger. Bang! BREWERS.
Padres at Rockies (Fri-Sun): SD is 1-2 at Coors and 4-5 overall versus the Rockies this season, but Colorado believes they’re in the race. Remember last year when the Rockies reeled off 21 of 22 en route to its surprise World Series appearance? Well it won’t happen again, but this team has enough offense and pride at home to stay in the NL West race for at least another month. ROCKIES.
Twins at Royals (Fri-Sun): The Twins own KC, going 7-2 overall at 5-1 at Kaufman Stadium this season. And with Francisco Liriano back in the fold and Minny grabbing the AL West lead by ½ game on Sunday, look for a maximum effort. TWINS. (BEST BET).
Yankees at Angels (Fri-Sun): These two split four in NYC last weekend but the Halos are 14-0-3 in their last 17 series and are seemingly just playing around with everyone, including the World Champion Red Sox (8-1 against in 2008!). ANGELS.
Bonus: DODGERS-GIANTS UNDER, DIAMONDBACKS over Braves, TURN SIGNALS over Laziness, FRUITS vs. VEGETABLES, Push, FRIDAY over Monday.