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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, September 1, 2011 at 12:36 AM

Congrats to all of you who linked up Wednesday Night in the bases with our Vegas legends. What a night! The highlights:

*Kelso Sturgeon won his 25-unit NL Game of the Week on Arizona (-145) over Colorado 4-2. It was the second straight 25-unit winner for the dean of Vegas handicappers. Kelso won late Tuesday with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Kelso’s clients added to their bankrolls Wednesday with Boston (-160) over the New York Yankees 9-5 for 15 units.

*Jim Hurley swept the board with Tampa Bay (+115) over Texas 4-1 and Arizona over Colorado. You regular readers know Jim Hurley’s Network has been paying special attention to the Rangers on this homestand. No way James Shields should have been an underdog tonight to fading Alexi Ogando!

*Wayne Root swept the board with a Billionaire play on Seattle (+100) over the LA Angels 2-1. Felix Hernandez threw a complete game gem at home for W.A.R. clients. His Millionaire play was Tampa Bay (+115) over Texas.

*Nick Bogdanovich, finishing off his tenure at VSM with the 2010 baseball season (to focus full time on his work as oddsmaker and sportsbook director for Cal-Neva) won a laugher Wednesday on Toronto (-120) over Baltimore 13-0. Sometimes in Vegas, 13 is a lucky number! Toronto was Nick's only release.

Every single VSM handicapper won for his clients in the baseball Wednesday (note that Coach Ron Meyer focuses exclusively on football for us). Thanks to all of you who got a head start on the first big football weekend of 2011 by building your bankrolls in baseball!

Pennant race news: Boston beats New York

The Red Sox drew even in the showcase series of the week, atoning for a Tuesday Night loss with a 9-5 victory Wednesday on ESPN. Let’s crunch the numbers from a game that many of you probably watched on TV.

BOSTON 9, NEW YORK 5

  • Total Bases + Walks: New York 12, Boston 28
  • Starters: Hughes 5.2 IP, 6 ER, Beckett 7 IP, 4 ER
  • Vegas Line: Boston -160, total of 9.5

We like TB+W as a base offensive stat for a couple of reasons. First, it helps turn a baseball score into a football score…and many of you are football bettors who only dabble in baseball. This gives you a quick sense of how dominant a team was or wasn’t…because baseball scores can be misleading. Secondly, you can get a quick estimate of what a score “should” have been with normal distribution just by dividing the total by four. That’s easy to remember, because it takes four bases to score a run! This was more like a 7-3 game in terms of production, but both teams clustered their bases well. Boston hit three home runs, and somebody was on base each time. The Yankees scored four runs in the top of the sixth with one big inning. They actually grabbed a temporary 5-4 lead before Boston roared back.

Phil Hughes had his second straight shaky start. You’ll recall he was on the mound in that 22-9 slugfest vs. Oakland last week. His ERA for the year is back up to 6.75. He’s allowed 13 runs in 8 innings pitched against Boston this year…making it very tough to be optimistic about playoff success. C.C. Sabathia got a big win for the Yanks Tuesday. Who besides Sabathia can really they trust in the postseason?

The Red Sox lead in the AL East is back to 1.5 games. The rubber game is going to be very important…because there’s a big difference between a 0.5 game lead and a 2.5 game lead.

In other pennant race news…

*In the AL Central, Detroit rallied for the second straight day vs. Kansas City to protect its lead. The Chicago White Sox lost to Minnesota. Cleveland beat Oakland in 16 innings, moving back into second place ahead of CWS. They still trail the Tigers by 5.5 games.  

*In the AL West, first place Texas lost at home to Tampa Bay…dropping them to 4-5 on a very important homestand. Alexi Ogando continued to show signs of fatigue on the mound for the Rangers. He allowed 3 earned runs in 2.2 innings, and now has an ERA of 8.34 over his last five starts. His full season ERA is up to 3.68 after sitting at 2.88 before the slump. He’s past 150 innings on the mound this year, after having thrown only 41.2 innings in the majors prior to 2011. The LA Angels lost late in Seattle. They still trail Texas by 3.5 games.

*In the NL West, both Arizona and San Francisco won. The surprising Diamondbacks maintain their five-game lead.

College football starts Thursday. And, the VSM Blog will help get you ready for all the action. Check out the Network Notebook in the morning for a discussion of Wisconsin’s outlook entering the 2011 season. Wisconsin hosts UNLV in the first big TV game of September Thursday Night. Coach Ron Meyer, who started his career on the sidelines for UNLV, will discuss Rebels coach Bobby Hauck in a Thursday report that will help give you perspective on the underdog. Other VSM experts are likely to check in too as we inaugurate a new season.

See you Thursday. Thanks for being a VSM blog reader!

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