Articles by Tom Vara

A listing of all the articles written by Tom Vara for the RotoWire Blog.

Backing the Twins

Record 27-30

Bank Account +492

A’s at Twins – Scott Diamond and his 3-1 record take the hill for the Twins today vs Travis Blackley who has not started since 2007. Diamond has not given up a run in 14 innings pitched at Target Field this year. Considering the Twins own the worst ERA among starting pitchers in baseball at 5.47, Diamond is their ace with a 1.78 ERA. The A’s have the worst hitting team in the AL with a .209 average. I like Diamond a lot over Blackley and will take the Twins hitters over the A’s anyday which leads me to also do the unthinkable and take the Run Line also!

TV’s Take: Twins -130; -1.5 +150/Bet $130 to win $100 and Bet $100 -1.5 to win $150

I was very tempted to go against Kevin Millwood and Seattle, but Millwood has been lights out vs the Rangers. The Money Line at -200 is too high for me. Actually, Matt Harrison has been pretty good vs Seattle also, but I do not trust him.

Betting BIG against Grandpa Moyer

Record 24-30

Bank Account -168

Padres at Mets – Johan Santana dominated the hitless Pads yesterday and I expect the underrated R.A. Dickey to continue the dominance. Dickey is 4-0 with a 2.48 ERA in his last four starts. Edinson Volquez takes the hill for the Pads as the pitcher with the least amount of run support in the majors at 1.82 runs per game. Volquez is also 0-2 with a 6.06 ERA vs the Mets. David Wright may sit for the Mets, but it looks like Cameron Maybin is out for the Pads which is an even bigger loss since the Pads have few bats that can produce. Also, the Money Line is really low in my mind at -138 so I will take a big shot at a nice payday.

TV’s Take: Mets -138/Bet $276 to win $200

Rockies at Reds – Thank you Jamie Moyer for the memories but father time has finally caught up with you. Moyer has a 7.56 ERA over his last five starts. Folks, this looks like the ultimate sucker bet if you ask me and boy I am all in! There are HUGE opportunities in baseball that few people realize unless you bet baseball that you do not see in other sports that much. I am talking about catching a pitcher a few starts before he is cut or sent to the pen. A great, great example was the wager I placed on the Twins last week with the struggling Jason Marquis on the hill for the Twins. He simply was getting rocked every start and was running out of time. The key with Marquis and Moyer is that they are vets so you know what you are going to get. They are not youngsters like Jeff Samardzija who sometimes need more time to figure it out. Moyer is on a short leash and may only have 1-2 starts left to improve. I say he is done and will get rocked again. Mat Latos takes the mound for the Reds coming off a 3-0 record with a 2.72 ERA in his last six starts. Latos was 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA against the Rockies last year as a member of the Pads.

TV’s Take: Reds -180; -1.5 +110/Bet $360 to win $200 and Bet $200 -1.5 to win $220

I like a few more games, but since I am going big on the two games above I am passing.

C.J. Wilson -145 over the Mariners

Red Sox Over 10

Bal -135 over KC

AZ -120 over Mil

LAD -140 over Hou

Betting on Strasburg

Record 22-27

Account -248

Nationals at Braves – Mike Minor and his 6.96 ERA take on Stephen Strasburg. On paper this is a blowout. Minor has been a huge disappointment for the Braves and fantasy owners like myself. Minor has given up a league high 12 homers this year which should bold well for my favorite player already Bryce Harper. Seriously, does he not have the best swing in baseball right now? Man, I have a man crush on this kid. Strasburg it should be noted has a 4.35 ERA in two starts vs the Braves which is his highest vs any team, but Chipper is on the D.L. which takes out a huge chunk of the weak Braves offense. The Money Line is too low considering Minor is pitching. Love it!

TV’s Take: Nats -120/Bet $360 to win $300

Phils at Cards – I was going to pass on this game from a gut perspective, but after looking at the numbers I couldn’t as Jaime Garcia owns the Phils with a 2-0 record and a 0.96 ERA in four career starts. He also has a 1.88 ERA with 16 K’s over his last 14 1/3 innings. Jimmy Rollins and Hunter Pence are a combined 4-26 vs Garcia. Kyle Kendrick takes the mound for the Phils. Seriously, Kyle Kendrick? The man simply is better off in the pen. Kendrick pitched well his last outing, but overall is 0-4 with a 5.23 ERA. The Money Line is a little high at -160 so I am going to go with the Run Line as I see a Cards 7-2 type of win.

TV’s Take: Cards -1.5 +125/Bet $100 to win $125

Tigers at Twins – If you have followed my blog you know I have a list of pitchers I can’t resist betting against and on top of the list may be Max Scherzer. He is simply a thrower and not close to being a real pitcher. Some of you may recall the nice win I had the other day taking the Twins +160 over the White Sox because the Twins own Gavin Floyd. Guess whom else the Twins own? Yep, Mr. Scherzer is 1-1 with a 6.45 ERA vs the Twins. The Twins core three of Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and Josh Willingham are a combined 10-23 with four homers! Carl Pavano is a risk indeed as he is 1-4 with a 6.00 ERA in his last eight games vs the Tigers. The game may be canceled as it is raining hard right now.

TV’s Take: Twins +120/Bet $100 to win $120

Yankees at A’s – The big ticket C.C. Sabathia takes the mound for the Yankees. C.C. has a 2.28 ERA in Oakland since 2009 which doesn’t mean that much, but it shows he doesn’t mind the mound in Oakland. C.C. is in a slump since his terrific start, but I would say the A’s bring a nice shot at victory as C.C. tries to avoid losing three straight since his Cleveland days. Bartolo Colon takes the mound for the A’s which means the combined weight of the starting pitchers may be a record! Colon has not faced the Yankees since 2007 and is coming off his first win since early April. Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriquez are a combined 35-83 vs Colon with 11 homers! That is more than enough for me.

TV’s Take: Yanks -166/Bet $166 to win $100

Brewers at Diamondbacks – Lets keep riding the Brewers as they love playing in Arizona. Zack Greinke is on fire as he is now 5-1 with a 2.70 ERA. In his last three starts, Greinke is 2-0 with 24 K’s in 21 2/3 innings! This is the pitcher the Brewers paid heavily for a few years ago. Wade Miley and his 5-1 record takes the hill for the Diamondbacks. There is still some lack of trust regarding Miley as I have noticed in fantasy leagues he is still available as people are waiting for the ball to drop. Miguel Montero may miss the game also which helps the cause. Miley also has pitched slightly better on the road than at home. I am going to ride the vet Greinke who seems unstoppable right now and the likes of Ryan Braun and Corey Hart in this one.

TV’s Take: Brewers -120/Bet $120 to win $100

Betting on the Reds

Record 21-24

Account +190

Rockies at Reds – I was shocked the Money Line was only -150 considering Johnny Cueto is on the hill, the Reds are on fire having won six in a row, the Reds are at home, and Colorado isn’t that good. Feels like a sucker bet, but I am all over it. Cueto is simply one of the best starters in baseball right now with a 5-1 record and an incredible 1.97 ERA. The Rockies counter with Christian Friedrich who is 1-1 with a 5.00 ERA in three starts. The Reds have scored 4 or more runs in five of their last six games. The only thing that makes me nervous is the Reds hitters with Friedrich.

TV’s Take: Reds -155; -1.5 +135/Bet $155 to win $100 and Bet $100 -1.5 to win $135

Brewers at Diamondbacks – The rematch of the NLDS last year which was filled with drama. As you may recall Yovani Gallardo owned the Diamondbacks going 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two starts. Gallarado is 6-0 lifetime vs the Diamondbacks. Ian Kennedy on the other hand has pitched terrible this year including a 5.92 ERA in his last four starts. The Brewers are only hitting .216 on the road this year, but I believe Kennedy is the cure as Gallardo continues to own the Diamondbacks.

TV’s Take: Brewers +107/Bet $100 to win $107

Blue Jays at Rangers – The Brandon Morrow express hits Texas this weekend just in time as they are catching the Rangers at a time when the bats have gone cold. Morrow is coming off his second shutout in his last four starts. He owns Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, and Mike Napoli who are a combined 5-39 vs Morrow! Yes, that stat blows me away. Derek Holland takes the hill for the Rangers who is 3-3 with a 4.27 ERA. Holland was expected to take the next step after a stellar playoffs, but he continues to be stuck in mediocrity. It is dangerous betting against the Rangers, but I like how Morrow is pitching and love his numbers vs some of the Rangers big guns.

TV’s Take: Blue Jays +125/Bet $100 to win $125

Betting Big on Humber

Record 19-24

Bank Account -290

Twins at White Sox – Cole DeVries makes his major league debut for the Twins today after posting a 1-4 record with a 4.24 ERA at AAA. Now, I have said before I hate betting against pitchers making their debuts because the pitcher has the advantage over the hitters the first time around. However, looking at DeVries numbers at AAA makes it easy to go against him and a weak Twins offense. Philip Humber counters for the White Sox who have to be pleased Humber has turned it around after a bad stretch allowing only three runs in his last 13 innings. Paul Konerko is on fire hitting .567 with three homers over his 9-game hitting streak. I am going to take the Money Line and Run Line in this game as I see a blowout win for the White Sox. What a gift to have the Money Line at +140!

TV’s Take: White Sox -141; -1.5 +140/Bet $282 to win $200 and Bet $200 -1.5 to win $280

Betting on the Mets

Record 18-22

Bank Account -270

Mets at Pirates – I feel as though many pitchers I typically bet against are on the hill today which includes Charlie Morton, Kevin Millwood, Bronson Arroyo, etc. What can I say about the Pirates that hasn’t been said? They simply have the worst offense in baseball, but Andrew McCutchen is very hot right now. The Pirates have scored two or less runs in 20 games! Jonathan Niese has been up and down most of the year and is coming off his worst performance of the year vs a slightly more talented hitting Toronto Blue Jays. I look for Niese to rebound big time as I will take advantage of a nice Money Line value today.

TV’s Take: Mets -105/Bet $210 to win $200

Braves at Reds – The Reds are playing great ball right now as they look to sweep the Braves behind Bronson Arroyo whom I have never trusted. Arroyo has won only one of his last 12 home starts. The Braves counter with Tommy Hanson who has pitched like the ace they expect winning four of his last six road starts along with a 2.57 ERA. I like the Braves who avoid the sweep.

TV’s Take: Braves -120/Bet $120 to win $100

Dodgers at Diamondbacks – My man Ted Lilly on the hill is an automatic bet for me these days. While Lilly is more dominant at home it doesn’t matter where he pitches lately as the Dodgers have scored 6+ runs in five of his last seven starts. Joe Saunders will try to help the Diamondbacks avoid the sweep, but after a great start to the season Saunders has slumped the past month. He is only 1-3 with a 6.04 ERA at home this year. The Dodgers also are very slight dogs which is even more appealing.

TV’s Take: Dodgers +110/Bet $100 to win $110

Betting on a Healthy C.J. Wilson

Record 16-21

Bank Account -610

Royals at Yankees – This is personal Mr. Luke Hochevar! I went with you and the Royals last time out vs the Yankees and you were pounded like Jason Marquis. In fact, Mr. Hochevar you were taken out by the same pitcher you will face today in Mr. Phil Hughes. Hochevar owns the third worst ERA in baseball at 7.02. Robinson Cano is 5-10 with two homers lifetime vs Hochevar. Hughes has pitched well as of late including a win last time out vs the Royals. This is the pitcher the Yankees need to face to get it going. The Money Line is too high at -175 so lets go with the value in the Run Line.

TV’s Take: Yankees -1.5 +120/Bet $100 to win $120

Twins at White Sox – I’m going on a limb here with the Twins. Gavin Floyd‘s daddy is the Minnesota Twins as his ERA in his last seven starts vs the Twins is a whopping 7.65 and in three starts at home his ERA is 10.91! Joe Mauer his hitting .421 vs Floyd and Dernard Span is 13-26 vs Floyd. The Twins counter with P.J. Walters who will be making his third start of the season and first vs the White Sox. Walters looks okay according to the eye test from my point of view. It is always risky taking a big dog, but the numbers do not usually slant this much in favor of the dog.

TV’s Take: Twins +160/Bet $150 to win $240

Angels at A’s – I love this game and want to thank Vegas for keeping the number low on the Money Line. C.J. Wilson takes the hill for the Angels who lost last night to the A’s 2-1. Wilson comes off a start in which he was sick which explains his six walks in a losing effort to the White Sox. Wilson is money vs the A’s with a career 3.17 ERA and a 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in his last two starts in Oakland. The A’s counter with something called Graham Godfrey who was called up to take Brandon McCarthy‘s place. Godfrey was 0-3 before being sent to AAA in April, but has pitched well in AAA it appears. No big deal as I will take a healthy C.J. Wilson all day and any day vs a terrible hitting A’s team. Good spot also for the Angels coming off a loss.

TV’s Take: Angels -155/Bet $310 to win $200