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Report: Cubs the clear front-runner for Russell Martin
Martin is the prize of this off-seasons class of free agent catchers after batting .290/.402/.430 with 11 home runs and 67 RBI for the Pirates. He continues to draw praise for his defense, pitch framing, and handling a pitching staff as well.
In the event the Cubs do land Martin, they will likely make 27-year-old catcher Welington Castillo available.
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MLB: Questions for World Series Game 6 2009-11-04
Tonight either the New York Yankees win a 27th World Series or are pushed to a deciding Game 7. The beauty of a series is it evolves and takes on a life of its own, which is particularly true in baseball since every game involves two new starting pitchers that alter the dynamics from game to game. For the baseball bettor that means breaking the contest down into components in order to pick the right side or total. Here are Game 6’s most pressing questions. After reviewing these, decide whether or not the Yankees are worth the price of -200 at Sportsbook.com.
Can Andy Pettitte pitch effectively on three days’ rest?
This is the leading mystery coming into this confrontation and even Pettitte admits he has no idea how his arm will react. When asked what it’s like to throw on short rest, Pettitte responded, “Man, I don't even remember the last time I went on three days' rest,"
In fact, it was September 30, 2006, when still a member of the Houston Astros. The left-hander is not an excitable type and will likely focus his attention on breaking pitches and off-speed stuff if the fastball isn’t up to typical standards. Pettitte is 4-6 with a 4.15 ERA in 14 career starts on three days' rest. With more adrenaline pumping in the playoffs, he is 3-1 with a 2.88 ERA on short rest. Sportsbook.com has New York as -200 money line favorites. With Pettitte on the mound, his record is 36-8 as a home favorite of -175 to -200 since 1997. (Team's Record)
Manager Joe Girardi better hope this works tonight, otherwise he will be facing the critics before tomorrow’s Game 7 with Burnett and Pettitte both failing in using this pitching strategy.
What’s that cool breeze?
Every year different player’s end up having struggles in the playoffs or World Series and right now two guys are in the heart of each team’s lineup. Mark Teixeira is batting below .200 in the Fall Classic and has been fanned 16 times since postseason action commenced. His body language suggests he’s pressing, swinging harder after each strike. New York could use his normally potent bat to wrap up this series, since he contributed to Yankees 60-23 record as a home favorite of -110 or higher this season.
Ryan Howard’s timing couldn’t be more off. His swing mechanics are a mess and he’s tied the World Series record for strikeouts with 13, with at least one more game to go. What makes hitting so intriguing is Howard could come up in the first inning and hit a soft liner the other way, just over Derek Jeter’s head and suddenly start sending rockets all around Yankee Stadium. Given Philadelphia is such a large underdog; his big bat could take the Phillies to 12-3 in road games after three or more consecutive home games this season.
How does manager Charley Manuel use Pedro Martinez?
Give Martinez credit, in two playoff starts he’s allowed three runs in 13 innings, striking out 11 and walking just two. Though the radar gun seldom sees 90 anymore, Pedro still struts around the mound like a peacock, acting like he owns the place. Look for Yankees hitters to be more patient this time and not be as inclined to swing at off-speed pitches out of the strike zone. It would be in Manuel’s best interest to start getting a pitcher ready once Martinez goes thru the batting order once, since he doesn’t have enough heat to keep New York batters honest and not sitting on off-speed tosses.
How cool is it right now to be Alex Rodriguez or Chase Utley?
For both these hitters, they are as ESPN’s Stewart Scott would say, “cool as the other side of the pillow”. They are working pitchers until they make the slightest mistake and rocketing shots like they are seeing batting practice speed beach balls. Each is capable of winning a game single-handily with the way they are swinging. Will Utley raise the Phillies playoff record to 21-8 the last two years and force a Game 7 or does A-Rod drop an “A-Bomb” (Yankees radio announcer John Sterling call) and New York is champion yet again and finishes the year 39-11 as a favorite of -175 to -250 this season.
What was learned from Game 5 that could determine winner for tonight?
The most important factor for the sports bettor is the OVER could well hit a fourth straight game. The first two contests of the World Series saw rested starting pitchers going deep in games, for a pair of Under’s. Since then, the two most power-laden team in the big leagues have hit homers in smallish parks against relief pitchers who have resembled an interleague matchup of the Orioles and Nationals.
If you take Mariano Rivera out of the equation, if either team trails buy almost any margin, they have to feel they can comeback against two bullpens short on getting outs quickly.