O's & D-Backs Start Crucial Series Monday

TIME RUNNING OUT FOR BOTH BALTIMORE, ARIZONA AS THEY BEGIN CRUCIAL THREE-GAME SERIES

Both the Baltimore Orioles and Arizona Diamondbacks have had the misfortune of watching OTHER teams in their respective divisions catch fire lately. Baltimore trails both Boston and Tampa Bay in the AL East, after the Rays went on a demolition tour for about a month. Arizona was left in the wake of the LA Dodgers juggernaut that won about 80% of its games over six weeks! As a result, both are fighting for Wildcard consideration...and neither has any margin for error as they begin a three-game Interleage series Monday Night in Phoenix.

Both teams HAVE to win!

That makes for great drama, and hopefully some great baseball. Let's see if there are any great Las Vegas betting opportunities based on the probable pitching matchups...

MONDAY'S PITCHERS
Baltimore...Feldman: 9-9, 4.10 ERA, 1.19 WHIP
Arizona...Miley: 9-8, 3.56 ERA, 1.33 WHIP

Those are Feldman's full season numbers. He was pitching well over with the Chicago Cubs in the inferior National League much of the campaign. He's made six starts for the Orioles, with a very ugly ERA of 5.70 and a WHIP of 1.32. The media bends over backwards to avoid talking about the differences between leagues. YOU need to be aware of them as a handicapper. Of course, Feldman gets to face a National League offense tonight (albeit, in a hitter's park), which will give him a chance to not get shelled. Going forward, you need to remember that Feldman could have serious troubles against AL East offenses during the pennant race.

Miley has settled into very good form in recent weeks. In fact, he's knocked a run off his ERA in his last 10 starts. And, his last two starts were gems against previously red hot Tampa Bay of the AL. That he survived a second look against the Rays in very short order speaks extremely highly of Miley's current form. Baltimore has the MUCH better offense of the two teams when you adjust for league context. Miley is likely to be the better pitcher in Monday's series opener.

TUESDAY'S PITCHERS
Baltimore...Gonzalez: 8-5, 3.91 ERA, 1.28 WHIP
Arizona...Delgado: 4-3, 3.48 ERA, 1.30 WHIP

Gonzalez has been up and down this year...and is currently dealing with a down phase in his last three starts against Houston, Kansas City, and San Diego. He's always capable of throwing a gem. The O's desperately need him to start throwing more of those in these last seven weeks of the season. If the 13 earned runs allowed in his last 14.1 innings represent a sign of fatigue...then the O's mountain climb just got even tougher.

Delgado had been in fantastic form against the weaker NL, but then got hit hard by the Red Sox and Rays in Interleague play (8 earned runs allowed in 11 innings). That suggests trouble here against Baltimore. A game where the Over may make a lot of sense once you've studied the matchups from all angles.

WEDNESDAY'S PITCHERS
Baltimore...Tillman: 14-3, 3.73 ERA, 1.29 WHIP
Arizona...Corbin: 12-3, 2.36 ERA, 1.02 WHIP

Tillman's been both good and lucky this year. An ERA of 3.73 in the AL East will get the job done. He's also gotten a ton of run support, which gives him a won-lost record that's generally reserved for Cy Young candidates. He's pitched nowhere near as well as that record makes it look. But, he has been a rare consistently bright spot for the rotation.

What a great year for Corbin. The team stopped scoring for him the past couple of weeks or he'd be looking at a 15-2 type record with an ERA and WHIP to match. He's been very tough for teams in a first-look generally speaking. Could we actually have a pitcher's duel in this series? Note that this is an afternoon game that will wrap up a road trip for Baltimore and a homestand for Arizona. Both teams have Thursday off before playing in different cities Friday.

JIM HURLEY will probably have at least one big play in this series. He's also looking at LA Angels/NY Yankees, Pittsburgh/St. Louis (which we'll preview Tuesday here in the NOTEBOOK), Boston/Toronto, and any other matchup that involves a pennant race contender. You can always purchase game day releases (baseball AND football) right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453.

This week's schedule in the NOTEBOOK, which will focus on MLB until the NFL returns Thursday:

Tuesday: Preview of Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals (huge rematch showdown)
Wednesday: Bonus Baseball
Thursday: NFC South Preview to get you ready for Atlanta vs. Baltimore
Friday: NFC West Preview to get you ready for San Francisco vs. Kansas City
Saturday: NFC North Preview to get you ready for Green Bay vs. St. Louis

Don't make a move in this week's biggest games until you hear what JIM HURLEY has to say!

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