Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, July 3, 2018 at 12:00 AM
HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!!
HERE’S THE HOLIDAY MENU OF
WEDNESDAY’S BEST GAMES ON THE MLB BOARD …
OUR NFL TEAM-BY-TEAM ACCOUNTS
FEATURES THE DOLPHINS, PANTHERS & RAMS
Happy Birthday, U.S.A.!
It’s time for America’s Pastime to set off the fireworks – both during and after some big 4th of July games – and so while you’re out there cookin’ up the hot dogs, burgers, etc. we’ll be checking out the action on a busy Major-League Baseball day/night … here’s a sampling of what’s on the holiday menu with a bevy of Interleague games catching our attention (all records below thru Monday’s games):
BOSTON (57-29) at WASHINGTON (42-41) – 11:05 a.m. ET
Rise and shine on this 4th of July with the annual morning-time start in the nation’s capital – now let’s see if the swooning Nationals (lost eight of their last 10 games and just 19-21 at home following Monday’s 4-3 loss to Boston) can get their act together … paging 2B Daniel Murphy (.203 batting average since return from injury).
Probable Starters – LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (9-3, 4.11) vs. RHP Erick Fedde (1-3, 6.00 ERA)
ATLANTA (49-34) at NEW YORK YANKEES (54-28) – 1:05 p.m. ET
Baseball in The Bronx means an inning-by-inning death march through this potent Yankees lineup that’s averaging 5.12 runs per game with a handful of Bombers on a pace to whack 25+ home runs. If the Braves’ bullpen can navigate its way through the Aaron Judge / Giancarlo Stanton gauntlet then the National League East team could have a big week in New York City. P.S., we’ll trust that RF Judge will catch the next long ball hit his way (see Monday’s extra-innings gaffe).
Probable Starters – RHP Julio Teheran (6-5, 4.21 ERA) vs. C.C. Sabathia (5-3, 3.02 ERA)
MINNESOTA (35-46) at MILWAUKEE (49-35) – 4:10 p.m. ET
The rumor mill says the Brewers are all set to swing a deal that’ll import a star pitcher – is Texas Rangers’ LHP Cole Hamels possibly Milwaukee-bound? – but right now the NL Central leaders are trusting that RHP Chase Anderson (see stats below / team-best 1.13 WHIP) will duplicate his latest start when he held Cincinnati to one run and two hits in six innings of work.
Probable Starters – RHP Jose Berrios (8-6, 3.52 ERA) vs. RHP Chase Anderson (6-6, 4.18 ERA)
ST. LOUIS (43-40) at ARIZONA (47-38) – 10:10 p.m. ET
Good luck trying to predict either one of these senior circuit squads – the up-and-down Arizona Diamondbacks exited Monday’s 6-3 loss to the Cards with a four straight loss and this has been one of the streakiest MLB teams in recent memory. Meanwhile, good to see St. Louis C Yadier Molina back in good health as he delivered a two-run single and a home run in the Monday win when closer Bud Norris nailed down his 16th save of the ’18 season.
Probable Starters – RHP Miles Mikolas (8-3, 2.61 ERA) vs. LHP Patrick Corbin (6-3, 3.14 ERA)
Now hear this …
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We continue our NFL team-by-team summer accounts right here – and every day at Jim Sez we’ll be posting a few teams as we check out news/notes/reports. Plus, we get you some key pointspread info to boot and note a team’s SU (straight-up) record is listed next to the team name. Here’s the Miami Dolphins, Carolina Panthers and Los Angeles Rams:
MIAMI (6-10) – It’s no secret that the here-and-now Dolphins are in serious need of an offensive upgrade after last year finishing 25th in the NFL in total offense (28th in rushing / 17th in passing) and so that means a ground game that averaged a paltry 86.8 yards per game will be looking for a breakout season from RB Kenyan Drake (644 yards rushing in 2017 and another 32 receptions for 239 yards). Word is Drake has put on 20-to-25 pounds in anticipation of the heavier workload (he’s up to about 220 pounds) with RB Frank Gore signed this past off-season as a backup. Still, if Drake can’t at least get close to 1,000 yards rushing it’ll signal trouble – again – for this AFC East crew.
Pointspread Notes – Last year’s Dolphins finished 4-8-1 ATS (against the spread) when placed in the underdog role and so that means Miami is 14-22-1 spreadwise as pups since late in the 2014 season. Overall, the Fish are 1-6-2 ATS in their last nine head-to-head tilts versus the New York Jets.
CAROLINA (11-6) – For much of the last decade or so, the Panthers’ defensive front has been a major force but this year they’re replacing Charles Johnson and backup D-linemen such as Wes Horton, Bryan Cox and Vernon Butler must flex their muscles. Last year Carolina’s defense finished fourth against the rush (allowed 88.1 ypg) but take note Carolina allowed more than 25 points per game following the team’s Week 11 bye. Horton – now entering his sixth year with the Panthers – collected 5.5 sacks from his defensive end position last year and is a “player-to-watch” type in 2018.
Pointspread Notes – The Panthers are a collective 4-9 against the odds in divisional games the past two years and that includes the 31-26 loss-but-cover at 6.5-point fav New Orleans in the NFC Wild Card round game last January. Overall, Carolina’s failed to cover six of its last nine season-opening games while dating back to 2009.
LOS ANGELES RAMS (11-6) – One of the most active organizations in the NFL this past offseason, the Rams’ depth chart now includes the likes of WR Brandin Cooks, NT Ndamukong Suh and star CBs Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters but the $64,000 question with the defending NFC West champs is QB Jared Goff gonna continue to ascend as one of the league’s best/brightest young slingers? Goff threw for 3,804 yards with 28 TDs and just 7 INTs last year while playing 15-of-16 regular-season games but in his team’s 26-13 home NFC Wild Card round playoff loss to the 6-point underdog Atlanta Falcons, Goff completed only 24-of-45 passes for 259 yards and one TD in that setback – remember that Goff and the Rams’ offense was plagued by poor field position for much of the night.
Pointspread Notes – The Rams are just 5-10-2 spreadwise as underdogs the past two years and that includes last year’s outright wins at 5.5-point fav Dallas and 1-point favorite at Jacksonville. Take note that the LA Rams ended last year on a three-game spread losing streak and ended the 2016 season on a seven-game pointspread losing skein.
NOTE: More MLB, NBA and NFL goodies in the next edition of Jim Sez.