Sooner or later Coors Field catches up with pitchers, even Mike Hampton.
Critics had to bite their lips after Hampton posted a 9-2 record for the Colorado Rockies, which spent plenty during the off-season to acquire the lefty from the New York Mets.
However, the past two outings have been costly for bettors. Hampton fell at home 10-3 last week as a $2.00 favorite to Arizona and then lost 11-3 to San Diego at Coors last Tuesday as a $2.20 choice.
The Texas Rangers had no trouble spending $250 million for a shortstop. Maybe during the off-season they can invest half as much for a new pitching staff, especially a bullpen.
The Rangers own a team earned run average of 6.48 in games played on turf and a 5.78 ERA during contests played on grass. From the sixth inning on, the Rangers have a 5.38 team ERA, second worst in the major leagues only to Tampa Bay. While Alex Rodriguez puts up his usual numbers (.321 BA. 23 HR, 67 RBI through Saturday), Texas flounders at the bottom of the AL West, nearly 20 games under .500. Jeff Zimmerman (3.26 ERA) has 10 saves in the closing role, but he rarely has that opportunity.
On the other side of the ledger, the Cleveland Indians added to an already stellar bullpen with the acquisition of John Rocker from the Atlanta Braves. Rocker immediately picked up saves in his first two appearances. There aren’t many left-handed closers, but Rocker throws 97 mph on the gun, which are Billy Wagner numbers.
The Florida Marlins have truly been fish out of water during their important series in Philadelphia. Florida was ready to pounce after the Phillies were swept at home by Atlanta and fell out of first place for the first time since early April. But that hasn’t happened.
The Marlins dropped four straight contests at Veterans Stadium, on a surface that used to be turf and now is a combination of turf and grass. That’s unfortunate for Florida, which posted a 4-8 record on the hard stuff through last Saturday’s games. Â
The curse of the Bambino apparently doesn’t exist on Tuesdays. For whatever reasons, logical or metaphysical, the Boston Red Sox are a perfect 10-0. The last victory was the wild 7-6 result against Tampa Bay with the winning run occurring on a ninth-inning bases loaded walk.
Other notables ready to crack the best and worst list are: Colorado 8-4 and Oakland 3-9 (Sunday), Baltimore 5-1 and Florida 1-8 (Monday), Arizona 10-3 and Anaheim 3-9 (Tuesday), Los Angeles 10-3 and San Diego 2-11 (Wednesday), Philadelphia 7-3 and Atlanta 2-7 (Thursday), Chicago Cubs 9-4 and Milwaukee 3-9 (Friday) and Houston (9-5) and Houston 9-5 and the New York Mets 4-9 (Saturday).
Note: Daily statistics obtained from the CNN and Sports Illustrated internet site.
Beware of rookie pitchers with popular teams carrying heavy odds. Shawn Chacon, Nick Bierbrodt and Adrian Hernandez are not household names, yet because of the team they pitched for, the line was swayed accordingly in their favor. And, all three lost.
The line was especially appalling in Hernandez case. Maybe the house believed bettors would mistake Adrian for El Duque or that veteran Charles Nagy was still damaged goods. Here are some of the expensive defeats from last week.
Shawn Chacon (-165) - San Diego 6, Colorado 4
Nick Bierbrodt (-140) - Houston 10, Arizona 7
Adrian Hernandez (-180) - Cleveland 5, NY Yanks 3
Mike Hampton (-220) - San Diego 11, Colorado 3
Hideo Nomo (-230) - Tampa Bay 9, Boston 7
Frank Castillo (-195) - Tampa Bay 4, Boston 3
Dave Burba (-190) - Kansas City 5, Cleveland 3
Bartolo Colon (-215) - Kansas City 11, Cleveland 7
NL teams rising since last Tuesday: LA (up $330), Atlanta (up 230) and Houston (up 225). Headed south: Colorado (down 780), Milwaukee (down 525) and Florida (down 270).
Bullish in the AL: Kansas City (up 480), Baltimore (up 430) and Minnesota (up 295). Falling:Detroit (down 515), Boston (down 355) and Cleveland (down 295).
NL Money Line Record
San Diego +315
San Francisco +100
Los Angeles -115
St. Louis -395
New York -1690
AL Money Line Record
New York +55
Kansas City -570
Tampa Bay -2300
(Based on $100 ML bets for each game of the season)Â
The gambler should be on full alert each time Kenny Rogers is the starting pitcher against Oakland, especially when the Texas Rangers southpaw is favored.
Rogers, a sterling 83-42 at home in his career, was a $1.20 favorite against the Athletics. Oakland wound up winning 15-4, despite starting a rookie pitcher.
For all of Rogers’ home-cooking success through the years, Oakland has been a nightmare to face. The Athletics are now 2-0 against Rogers and have batted .403 as a unit this year. Rogers has a 12.51 ERA in his two matchups, allowing 27 hits and 20 runs (19 earned) in just 13 2/3 innings.
Rogers, a solid 130-97 lifetime, posted a miserable 7.98 ERA in June. The career numbers for July are 18-13 with a 3.76 ERA. A word to the wise: Don’t bet on it.
The Hirschbecks continue to control most of the market for ”˜under’ contests this season. John and Mark are a combined 24-6 when they ump behind the plate, with each having seen his respective game go ”˜under’ the posted total last week. The results were a bit different last year when the duo compiled a 29-27 mark ”˜under’ the total.
John Hirschbeck is riding a three-game ”˜under’ streak, while Mark has seen the ”˜under’ go 2-1 in his past three home plate assignments. The hottest ”˜over’ umpire is Marty Foster, who has had his last five home plate appearances exceed the posted total. Foster is 9-6 in the ”˜over’ category for the season. Others "over-heating" of late at 4-1 are Angel Hernandez,, Derryl Cousins and, Mark Carlson.
The umpiring crew of John Hirschbeck, Chuck Meriwether, Brian O’Nora and Bill Welke have combined for a 36-21 ”˜under’ record when working the plate. Meriwether is sandwiched between the Hirschbecks at 11-3 this season. O’Nora is the one differing crew member, seeing 10 of his 15 games go ”˜over’ the posted total. Welke has an ”˜under’ mark of 7-6.
Hollowell, 5-1, Cousins 12-5, Culbreth 10-4, Kulpa 12-6, O’Nora 10-5, Reynolds 10-5, Roe 10-5, Hernandez 11-6, Everitt 11-6, Rapuano 11-6, Diaz 11-6, Gibson 11-6, Schrieber 9-5, Reliford 9-5, Froemming 10-6, Shulock 10-6.
J. Hirschbeck 13-2; Meriwether 11-3, M. Hirschbeck 11-4, Young 9-3, Dimuro 6-2, Eddings 10-4, Cuzzi 11-6, Iassogna 10-6, Reilly 10-6, Layne 10-6, Wendelstedt 10-6, Danley 9-6, Marquez 9-6, Rippley 10-7, Timmons 10-7.
Statistics provied by National Sports Services, Inc.