Sports

Ness Notes for August 8

The Dodgers continued to maintain the proverbial “rear pedal” last night, winning their 10th straight game with a 7-2 victory over the Rockies. The longest active winning streak in MLB 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 play for Tuesday is the LA Dodgers over the Col Rockies at 10:10 ET. On Tuesday I’ll be featuring another new technical Insider (won last night with Seattle) as well as one of my exclusive Insiders from Las Vegas (62% winners since May 1, despite a drop in late July). Get them both right now.

LA, which trailed San Diego by 7 1/2 games in the West at the end of July, now sits just 1 1/2 games behind the Padres and is tied with the Reds for first place in a field full of wild cards. of the National League. Greg Maddux will make his Dodger Stadium debut tonight against the Rockies (10:10 ET), as LA looks for its 11th straight victory in a tight 15-game schedule on Tuesday. MLB’s worst team, the 38-73 Royals, are riding 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 road win streak, which had tied the franchise record.

However, the biggest story of last night’s game may be the health of rookie phenom Francisco Liriano. Liriano had missed his previous start with a sore left forearm and last night allowed a season-high 10 hits in just four innings. His ERA this year against the Tigers is 7.63 compared to 1.39 against the rest of the MLB.

Speaking of the Tigers, they are now 50 games over .500 on the season at 76-36 and the team’s winning percentage of .679 puts them on pace to win 109 or 110 games. The Tigers joined the American League in 1901 and have only five 100-win seasons. The most memorable are the 1968 team that won 103 games 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 over .500. The others are Justin Verlander (14-4) and Joel Zumaya (6-1). No major league team in the last 120 years has had three rookie pitchers finish the season at least five games over .500.

Two other pitching 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 highest ERA (minimum: 25 innings) for any major league pitcher since July 1.

Schmidt beat the D’backs 8-4 last night. While the win raises 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 for third-longest current streak by 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 against the Royals (since 1993). The other streak of 15 games is by 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, 2 1/2 games behind the Tigers before entering a three-game series at Yankee Stadium after the All-Star break. However, New York outscored Chicago 26-12 to sweep the series.

The sweep started a streak in which the White Sox lost 10 of 12 games to fall far behind the Tigers. Chicago (65-45) trails Detroit by 10 games in the AL Central but is tied for the wild-card lead with Boston. Meanwhile, New York has won 16 of 22 games since the break and 10 of its last 12 overall. The Yankees have passed the Red Sox for the AL East lead and hold a two-game lead over their archrivals.
Chien-Ming Wang (13-4, 3.58 ERA) puts his five-game winning streak on the line as he starts the first game for the Yankees. Wang is 5-0 with a 1.64 ERA in his last five starts and comes in with an 18-inning scoreless streak. 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, who lost 16-10 to the Raiders a couple of nights ago, will host the Browns (Philly is a three-point option with a total of 33 1/2) and the Rams will host the Colts at 8:00. am Fox. The Rams are an early pick at 5 1/2 points with a total of 38 1/2.

College football lines 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 an early 19-point option.

Three of the most interesting games of the first 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 coaches’ preseason poll, visits Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech (the Irish are an eight-point option) and co-No. 3 USC is on course to take on unranked Arkansas (the Trojans are 8 1/2-point favorites).

Lots more soccer news tomorrow as Ness Notes is available Monday through Friday at 1:00 ET.

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