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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 11:39 PM

The Boston Red Sox were a popular choice tonight for the VegasSportsMasters. So, there was some high-fiving going on when the Sox stormed to an 18-6 slaughter of the Toronto Blue Jays in Fenway Park. Those in celebration mode:

*Tony Salinas went 2-0 Tuesday Night with Boston (-145) over Baltimore and Washington (+135) over the New York Mets in a 3-2 victory. The true Vegas legend sweeps the board 2-0 and picks up some underdog juice in the process.

*Wayne Root, who’s only play Tuesday was a No Limit release on Boston. W.A.R. won his No Limit play Monday Night in the bases on Tampa Bay over Baltimore, so those are undefeated during this short week. Of course, those big baseball winners are coming on the heels of a 5-1 day Sunday in the NFL, and a “Perfect Play” sweep this past weekend on BYU (+) at Texas and Houston (-) over Indianapolis.

*Nick Bogdanovich continued his hot run with a release on the Red Sox. One additional release won’t finish until after publication deadlines, so a winning night wasn’t clinched as we went to press. Whenever you win a game by a score like 18-6, you always wish you could save some of those runs for a different game!

And, those are just the guys on Boston! Also of note Tuesday:

*Kelso Sturgeon won his 25-unit play on St. Louis (-165) over Pittsburgh 6-4. That was the strongest release of the night for the dean of Vegas handicappers. Kelso also won with Washington as a dog in New York, clinching a winning night. A third play will finish after publication deadlines.

*Jim Hurley is 2-1 heading into a late play. His regular service won with Washington. An internet special included Detroit (-1.5 runs) over Chicago with Justin Verlander getting another big win.

It’s very important to use Tuesdays and Wednesdays to build your bankrolls for weekend football. Far too few of you are taking advantage of this opportunity!

In the pennant races…

*The biggest story all of a sudden became Boston’s battle with Tampa Bay for the Wildcard spot in the American League. Last week it looked like the Red Sox had that locked up. But, a five-game losing streak (three at the hands of the Rays) suddenly put the final playoff position in great jeopardy. Boston gave themselves some breathing room tonight when their win was coupled with a Tampa Bay loss in Baltimore.

The current records:

  • Boston 86-61
  • Tampa Bay 82-65 (4 games back)

Nick Bogdanovich talked about this race some in his article this afternoon about pricing Boston. With 15 games to go…

  • Boston: 9 home games and 6 road games
  • Tampa Bay: 6 home games and 9 road games
  • Boston: 7 games vs. New York and Tampa Bay
  • Tampa Bay: 11 games vs. New York and Boston

Obviously the Red Sox have the much easier path. They control their destiny to a large degree with a four-game home series vs. Tampa that begins Thursday. Only 10 games will be left for both teams when that series ends (barring rainouts)…Boston could push its lead up to near clinch position by winning at least three of the four.

The first place Yankees will finish tonight in Seattle after publication deadlines.

*In the AL West, Texas held serve with a home win over Cleveland. That puts them 3.5 games head of the second place LA Angels pending the Halos late game in Oakland.

No other divisions to sweat at the moment. Though, we’ll put the NL Central back on the radar if the Cardinals can get within five games of the Brewers.

Some other quick baseball notes since we don’t get a chance to talk bases on the busy football days…

*Detroit has won 11 games in a row, and is also 16-3 its last 19 games, and 21-4 its last 25 games. That tear launched them into the playoffs. But, it also took away some of the “where would this team be without Justin Verlander” dialogue in the MVP discussion. He’s only going every fifth day during a 21-4 run…which means a lot of other guys were contributing too. Great season for Verlander. Great month for the Tigers. Oh, Detroit is the only team over .500 in the AL Central right now.

*Minnesota may be in the tank. Bruce Chen threw eight scoreless innings against them tonight, as they fell to 1-9 their last 10 games, and 4-18 their last 22 games. The offense has scored just 0-1-2-4-5-0-0-1-1 the last eight times they’ve taken the field. That’s three shutouts and three one’s.

*If the LA Dodgers beat Arizona Tuesday Night, they’ll tie the D-backs as the hottest team in the NL over the last 31 games with a 21-10 record. Philadelphia is 20-11. Had you realized the Dodgers had picked up the pace that much?

Back with you in the VSM Blog Wednesday for more news and notes. Look for a Network Notebook in the morning discussing some statistical factors from last weekend’s NFL you may have overlooked. Do you know which big name quarterback was only 14-32-167 passing last week even though he made all the highlight reels? Do you know which winning team was only 1 of 12 on third downs? The New England Patriots had the best performance of the week in terms of scoring on drives of 60 yards or more. They had 38 long distance points. Potent Green Bay was second in the league with 28. You’ll never guess who was third. The answer can be uncovered in Wednesday’s Notebook!

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