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Baseball 101:
Cubs on right end of first base deal

Aug 14, 2001 3:15 AM

Chicago was 9½ games ahead of the New York Mets on August 13, 1969. The Mets, acquiring veteran first baseman Donn Clendenon from Pittsburgh, overtook the Cubs and went on to win the World Series.

History could be working for Chicago this time, with first baseman Fred McGriff making a major impact since coming over from Tampa Bay. Maybe 2001 will be a “Cubs Odyssey.” Holy, Cow!

No Bull From Pen:

Two pitchers that began the season in the bullpen are now making their marks at starters.

Tampa Bay P Tanyon Sturtze improved his record to 7-9 after defeating the Yankees and Mike Mussina last Tuesday for his second straight win. The right-hander was in 11 games in April as a reliever. Sturtze won’t raise many heads with that record, but it’s not that bad considering that these are the Devil Rays. Bettors should know that Sturtze had picked some up impressive wins against quality pitchers. Mussina was a $2.50 favorite and lost. Sturtze also won at Cleveland and at Oakland, while beating Al Leiter and the Mets at home June 9.

Terry Adams has been a major find for the Los Angeles Dodgers since joining the starting rotation in July. Adams is 6-2 since the injuries to Kevin Brown, Darren Dreifort and Andy Ashby. The right-hander scattered one run on six hits over seven innings in last week’s 2-1 win over Pittsburgh.

Trivial pursuit

Experience met youth in the Boston-Oakland midweek shootout and the Young Guns posted three straight KOs. The Athletics and their “Big Three” of Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson and Barry Zito blew away Boston’s “30s Something” trio of Bret Saberhagen, Frank Castillo and Tim Wakefield by a combined 17-3 score. The three-game series in Oakland drew over 105,000, including Wednesday night’s stellar 50,863 turnout. The Detroit Tigers scored 13 runs in the ninth inning to break a 6-6 tie Wednesday night against Texas. The Tigers are 8-0 this year against the Rangers”¦Seattle had 75 hits over a five-game stretch last week, including the incredible 12-run blown lead at Cleveland...Milwaukee is just 3-12 at Shea Stadium.

Major medical

Minnesota lost ace right-hander Brad Radke (thumb) at least a month, which could be a lethal blow toward its postseason hopes. The injury explains in part why Radke dropped his last four decisions”¦Cleveland, battling the Twins for the AL Central lead, placed injury-plagued OF Ellis Burks (wrist) on the DL. Burks was batting .281 with 22 HR and 55 RBIs”¦Boston RHP Bret Saberhagen, placed on the DL last week, announced his retirement at season’s end. Cubs P Kerry Wood (tender elbow) is expected to miss one start.

Money market

If pitching is the basis for the World Series, then expect to see Oakland vs. Arizona.

The A’s rose $800 on the strength of a nine-game winning streak through Saturday night. The D’Backs are in a three-way battle with LA and Frisco in the NL West, but have to be favored with Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling in the rotation.

San Diego has climbed to second behind Philadelphia among the top money-line teams in the NL. Seattle is the runaway leader in the majors, threatening to post a $4,000 profit for $100 per game wagers. Now, that’s a great year.

Here is a list of losing high-priced favorites.

Monday, August 6

Sterling Hitchcock (—190) ”” Anaheim 3, NY Yankees 1

Tuesday, August 7

Mike Mussina (—230) ”” Tampa Bay 3, NY Yankees 2

Wednesday, August 8

Joaquin Benoit (—155) ”” Detroit 19, Texas 6

Thursday, August 9

Freddy Garcia (—225) ”” Toronto 6, Seattle 5

Friday, August 10

Aaron Sele (—205) ”” Chicago 8, Seattle 2

Saturday, August 11

David Cone (-150) ”” Baltimore 4, Boston 2

NL teams going up were Houston (+ 335), Philadelphia (+ 285) and St. Louis (+ 250). Down were Montreal (- 555), Milwaukee (- 245) and Atlanta (-195).

AL risers were Oakland (+ 800), Anaheim (+ 275) and Tampa Bay (+245). Down were Texas (-490), NY (-465) and Minnesota (- 460).

AUG 11

NL Money Line Record

Philadelphia  

+1315

San Diego  

+1030

San Francisco  

+1005

Chicago  

+990

Los Angeles  

+560

Arizona  

+240

Houston  

50

Florida  

-35

St. Louis  

-300

Cincinnati  

-695

Atlanta  

-1035

Milwaukee  

-1300

Pittsburgh  

-1340

New York  

-1370

Montreal  

-1490

Colorado  

-3240

AL Money Line Record

Seattle  

+3920

Minnesota  

+1515

Anaheim  

+1515

Oakland  

+560

New York  

210

Boston  

-305

Chicago  

-515

Kansas City  

-670

Detroit  

-855

Baltimore  

-860

Toronto  

-915

Cleveland  

-950

Texas  

-1540

Tampa Bay  

-2090

(Based on $100 ML bets for each game of the season)

Darn Lefties

Randy Johnson and Tom Glavine show no signs of aging in their formidable years. In fact, they are pitching better than ever.

Johnson is 4-0 with a 1.45 ERA since the All Star Game, including a 2-0 mark in August. The Big Unit has allowed just eight hits and one run in 14 innings, while striking out 16 and holding opposing batters to a tidy .174 average. The 37-year-old Arizona ace is 15-5 with 267 strikeouts. Johnson and Curt Schilling continue to form the best 1-2 punch in baseball this season.

Glavine is matching the Big Unit nearly win for win. The Atlanta southpaw is also 4-0 with a 1.69 ERA since the All-Star break. The 35-year-old Glavine has surrendered 10 hits and two runs over 15 innings. Glavine has yielded 72 walks in his last 115 innings ”” a bit high.

You make the call

Mike Fichter has taken the lead among home plate umpires involved in games ending up ”˜over’ the posted run total. Fichter has an ”˜over’ mark 68.7 percent, edging the threesome of Greg Gibson, Ed Rapuano and Ron Kulpa. The only thing is, seeing Fichter isn’t easy.

Fichter is among a large group of “alternate” umpires, who don’t have a regular crew to work with for each series. Alternates fill in during vacation time, injuries and emergencies. Gibson, Rapuano and Kulpa are all regular umps.

Chuck Meriwether jumped over Randy Marsh and into the top spot for ”˜under’ umps in home plate assignments. Meriwether owns a 76.4 success rate.

Angel Hernandez made SportsCenter for his icy stare at guest “singer” Steve MacMichael during the seventh-inning stretch at Wrigley Field last week. MacMichael, a former Bears defensive lineman, blasted Hernandez over the PA over a call that went against the Cubs. Hernandez has a 15-11 ”˜over’ record, including 1-0 in stare-downs.

Over:

Fichter 11-5, Gibson 15-8, Rapuano 15-8, Kulpa 16-9, Hollowell 9-6, Cousins 16-10, Schrieber 12-7, A. Fletcher 13-8, Reynolds 14-9, Everitt 15-10.

Under:

Meriwether 17-5, Marsh 14-4, Miller 18-8, Iassogna 17-8, Cuzzi 16-8, J. Hirschbeck 15-8, Meals 15-8, Gorman 15-9, M. Hirschbeck 14-9, Barrett 14-9.

Statistics provied by National Sports Services, Inc.