Interleague's Big Weekend Winners

INTERLEAGUE'S BIG WEEKEND WINNERS...
PLUS AFC EAST POINTSPREAD NOTES

Can somebody please get us a broom? The Major-League Baseball weekend fun-and-games featured four sweeps in Interleague action – Tampa Bay over Houston, Toronto over St. Louis, Milwaukee over Minnesota and San Francisco over Cleveland – and the central theme in all of the above 'broom jobs' was stellar pitching (save for Sunday's wild 14-10 Rays win in Houston).

Otherwise, the four teams that were swept scored a grand total of 20 runs in the 11 other games played between these sides this past June weekend and hasn't that really been the numero uno story so far in this 2011 MLB campaign? Heck, the suddenly struggling Indians registered just four runs in 27 innings of play while losing three in a row in San Francisco while Houston/St. Louis/Minnesota were held to one run or less in three other affairs. It's tough to win that way, right?

We'll have some quick-hitter comments on all four weekend sweeps in just a moment but now hear this:

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers release Major-League Baseball Winners each/every day and you can be part of all the action -- just remember to call the toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or go online right here and make sure you're all aboard for a summer filled with all our MLB winners! The calling/check-in times are after 10 a.m. ET on Saturdays and Sundays; anytime after 11 a.m. ET for the weekday Baseball action; and than anytime after 1 p.m. ET for all the weeknight action. Now go ahead and pile up all your summertime Baseball winners!

Now, let's 'toast' the big weekend winners …

TAMPA BAY (44-34) – Heck, you know that you're 'living well' when scoring multiple runs in four different innings and that was the case in the Rays' rollicking 14-10 win against the beleaguered Astros on Sunday afternoon. Maybe it was the two home-run game by Rays 3B Evan Longoria that caught your eye (and note the five RBI) but how about the fact the first four hitters in Tampa Bay's lineup went a collective 13-of-22 with 12 runs scored and 10 RBI. Yowie!
Strange but true that Tampa Bay finally comes back home on this Monday night for the start of an Interleague series with Cincinnati but did you know the Rays have played 30 of their last 47 games on the road and all the while they've closed the gap to just two games behind the American League East-leading New York Yankees. In the 'biz', that's known as grinding.

TORONTO (39-39) – We know, we know. There are some folks that would like to place an asterisk next to this just-completed series between the visiting Blue Jays and the St. Louis Cardinals thanks to the fact that Redbirds' megastar 1B Albert Pujols missed the action with his broken left wrist (and he's expected to miss up to six weeks with the injury) but don't sell Toronto short! First-year manager John Farrell – whose team earned the 'straight sets' showdown 5-4, 6-3 and 5-0 – is clicking his heels thinking about how his Blue Jays just went 5-4 on the road in three Interleague series (at Cincinnati and at Atlanta preceded the Cardinals' three-game set) thus marking the first time since 2000 that the North-of-the-Border crew played plus-.500 ball on the road against National League teams … so there!

MILWAUKEE (44-35) – Gee, hope you hadn't forgotten about these Brewers!
The NL Central club – which staggered out of the starting gate by losing its first four games in a row – have turned on the power these days and now enter the new week with a three-game lead in its division and with one of MLB's hottest hitters. Leftfielder Ben Braun extended his hitting streak to 17 games with Sunday's tie-breaking home run in a 6-2 conquest of the injury-riddled Minnesota Twins and – don't look now – but Braun has 16 HR and 59 RBI and he should be getting mid-season talk of being this year's NL Most Valuable Player. Hey, did you know that Milwaukee was the only NL Central team to win on Sunday?

SAN FRANCISCO (44-34) – Maybe you would like to say this is saving the best for last ‘cause the Giants' three-game sweep against Cleveland did feature a pair of one-run wins (see 4-3 last Friday night and than 1-0 on Saturday) to go along with Sunday night's 3-1 triumph and the Jints are sure happy that kid lefthander Madison Bumgarner (4-9, 3.84 ERA) bounced back from one of the worst starts in recent MLB memory: Bumgarner surrendered eight runs and got just one batter out in last Tuesday's ugly-as-sin 9-2 home loss to the Twins but his follow-up game didn't resemble that mess at all. Bumgarner struck out a career-high 11 batters (and walked just one) while going seven strong innings of one-run, six-hit ball. The Giants left a total of eight runners on base in the prime-time win and leadoff hitter/CF Andres Torres (.235) went 0-for-3 with a walk while not exactly igniting this challenged San Fran offense but a sweep's a sweep and it appears the defending World Series champions are back on the beam for good.

NFL UPDATE: A POINTSPREAD REPORT ON THE AFC EAST

We fully trust that there will indeed by a 2011 NFL season and so let's get off the lockout talk and discuss recent Pointspread Trends. Now, let's get things kicked off with the AFC East:

BUFFALO – The Bills are a dead-even but vig-losing 15-15-2 ATS (against the spread) while dating back to the start of the 2009 season but did you realize that the upstate New York crew is a rock-solid 15-9 versus the vig away the past three seasons (and note that does not count the Bills going 0-2-1 ATS in those once-a-year games played in Toronto). Make a mental note of this one: The Bills have covered their season-opening game five times in the past six seasons with last year being the exception to the rule as Buffalo fell 15-10 as 3-point home underdogs versus Miami.

MIAMI – Here's another AFC East team that's wallowed around in overall pointspread mediocrity in recent seasons as the Dolphins have registered back-to-back-to-back 8-8 ATS regular-season campaigns the past three years. The Fish really have been rotten as home investments for years now as evidenced by the club's eight consecutive losing seasons in their own backyards and the official won/loss spread mark in South Florida is 18-46-1 (that's a wobbly .220 winning rate). Dig a little bit deeper and you'll find that Miami is 13-18 ATS when playing non-divisional opponents the past three seasons and the Dolphins are just 1-3-1 spreadwise in season-opening affairs with the lone Week One cover the past five years happening in that aforementioned five-point victory at Buffalo in 2010.

NEW ENGLAND – It's a fact: The Patriots have sported .500-or-better winning spread marks in each of the past eight seasons and the collective won/loss pointspread record here is a glittery 85-55-4 (a .607 winning percentage). Last year's club – 10-6-1 versus the vig overall – never lost three consecutive pointspred verdicts and from Week 4 forward never, in fact, failed to cover back-to-back games but that stinging 28-21 AFC Divisional Playoff loss to the 9-point underdog New York Jets did mark the sixth straight post-season spread defeat for this Foxboro-based squad – you can look it up! Go back to the 2000 season and you'll note that the Patriots are just 4-6-1 spreadwise in Week One affairs – now wouldn't you have thought that Bill Belichick's teams fared better than that in season lid-lifters?

NEW YORK JETS – Say what you will about loud-mouth Jets head coach Rex Ryan but the fact remains his green gang has banged out back-to-back 11-8 ATS campaigns in his first two years on the job and note that includes a nifty 4-2 spread record in playoff games with all of them on the road! The Jets sported a five-game spread winning streak beginning in Week 2 play a year ago and Ryan's first year on the job featured three different spread winning streaks of three-or-more games. Looking for a negative factoid here regarding the Jets and their recent pointspread history? Then consider that NYJ is a vig-losing 8-8 spreadwise as hosts in the Ryan Era and the Jets are still just 8-12 ATS in their last 20 head-to-head spread showdowns against the hated Patriots.

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