Ness Notes for August 8
The Dodgers continued to maintain the proverbial “full pedal” last night, winning their 10th straight game with a 7-2 victory over the Rockies. MLB’s longest active winning streak is also the Dodgers’ first 10-game winning streak since May 2003. Jeff Kent returned after missing 18 games and had one HR and three RBIs.
My free game for Tuesday is the Los Angeles Dodgers over the Col Rockies at 10:10 ET. On Tuesday I’m introducing another new Technical Insider (won last night with Seattle) plus one of my exclusive Insiders from Las Vegas (62% winners since May 1, despite a drop in late July). Get them right now.
LA, which was 7 1/2 games behind San Diego in the West in late July, is now just 1 1/2 games behind the Padres and is tied with the Reds for first at a field of wild cards from the packed National League. Greg Maddux will make his Dodger Stadium debut tonight against the Rockies (10:10 ET), as Los Angeles looks for its 11th straight win in a tight 15-game schedule for Tuesday. MLB’s worst team, the Royals 38-73, are on a four-game losing streak in their home game tonight against the Red Sox (8:10 ET).
The Tigers continued to dominate the Twins this year, beating Minnesota 9-3 on Monday night. Detroit is now 10-3 against Minnesota this year, including 7-0 at Comerica Park (they’ve outscored the Twins 56-11). The Twins’ loss ended the team’s eight-game winning streak on the road, which had equaled a franchise record.
However, the biggest story from last night’s game may be rookie phenom Francisco Liriano’s health. Liriano had missed his previous start with a sore left forearm and allowed a season-high 10 hits last night in just four innings. His ERA this year against the Tigers is 7.63 compared to 1.39 against the rest of MLB.
Speaking of the Tigers, they now have a season record of 50 games over .500 at 76-36 and the team’s .679 winning percentage puts them on track to win 109 or 110 games. The Tigers joined the American League in 1901 and have only five 100-win seasons. The most memorable is the 1968 team that won 103 plus a World Series over the Cardinals and the 1984 team that won 104 games plus a World Series over the Padres.
Zack Miner improved to 7-2 with a win Monday, giving Detroit three rookie pitchers who are at least five games above .500. The others are Justin Verlander (14-4) and Joel Zumaya (6-1). No major league team in the past 120 years has had three rookie pitchers who finished the season at least five games above .500.
Two other release notes from Monday’s games include Chicago’s Mark Buehrle and San Francisco’s Jason Schmidt. Mark Buehrle was 9-4 with a 3.22 ERA through the end of June. At the time, he ranked seventh in the American League in wins and sixth in ERA. In seven starts since early July, Buehrle is 0-6 with a 9.61 ERA. That’s the most losses and the highest ERA (minimum: 25 innings) for any major league pitcher since July 1.
Schmidt beat the D’backs 8-4 last night. While the victories raise his season mark to just 9-7, 3.15, he is now undefeated in his last 15 starts against the Diamondbacks since the start of the 2003 season. Schmidt’s 15-start unbeaten streak against Arizona is tied at 3rd longest current streak of any pitcher against any team.
John Smoltz is undefeated in his last 17 starts against the Reds (since 1995) and David Wells is undefeated in 16 straight games against the Royals (since 1993). The other 15-game streak is Schmidt himself, against the Marlins (since 1996).
Tonight’s 15-game schedule features just one television game, the Yankees in Chicago, where they open a three-game series against the White Sox (WGN at 8:05 ET). It wasn’t long ago that the White Sox still had hopes of catching Detroit, trailing the Tigers by two and a half games as they entered a three-game series at Yankee Stadium after the All-Star Game. However, New York edged Chicago 26-12 to sweep the series.
The sweep started a streak in which the White Sox lost 10 of 12 games to lag far behind the Tigers. Chicago (65-45) is 10 games behind Detroit in the AL Central, but tied for the wild-card lead with Boston. Meanwhile, New York has won 16 of 22 games since halftime and 10 of its last 12 overall. The Yankees have overtaken the Red Sox for the AL East lead and have a two-game lead over archrivals.
Chien-Ming Wang (13-4, 3.58 ERA) puts his five-game winning streak on the line when he starts Game 1 for the Yankees. Wang is 5-0 with a 1.64 ERA in his last five outings and is entering an 18-inning streak without a run. Chicago’s Freddy Garcia (10-7, 4.87) is winless in his last six starts, going 0-3 with a 5.50 ERA.
Week 1 of the 2006 NFL preseason begins Thursday night. The Eagles, 16-10 losers to the Raiders a couple nights ago, will host the Browns (Philadelphia is a three-point option with a 33 1/2 total) and the Rams will host the Colts at 8:00 Et on Zorro. The Rams are a 5 1/2 point top pick with a 38 1/2 total.
College football ranks are set for the first weekend of the season, with the first games being played on Thursday, August 31. The No. 1 Ohio State (coaches poll) opens with a home game on Saturday, September 2. The Buckeyes will face Northern Illinois and are one of the first 19-point options.
Three of the most exciting games on Opening Weekend will be played on September 2 (Saturday). No. 12 Cal is at No. 23 Tennessee, where the Vols are favored by two points. Notre Dame, tied for third with USC in the preseason coaches poll, visits Atlanta to face Georgia Tech (the Irish are an eight-point option) and co-No. 3 USC is on track to face unranked Arkansas (Trojans are favorites by 8 1/2 points).
There will be much more soccer news tomorrow as Ness Notes will be available Monday through Friday at 1:00 ET.