Dave’s new site is smokincokin.com

I’ve moved the daily blog and free play to a new site. Please be sure to visit smokincokin.com each day.

Thanks!

DC

Advertisements
Published in: on May 8, 2013 at 2:41 am  Leave a Comment  

Dave’s Free Play, Tuesday 5/7/13

I’m still scuffling on the diamond, although the free opinion on the Braves managed to connect on Monday. But the last three days have been poor overall. I’m counting on a major rebound Tuesday night with plays across the board in MLB, the NBA and on the ice as well.

Sports bettors know full well how quickly things can swing from one direction to the other. The same can be said for the teams that actually play the games. Consider the sudden plight of the Boston Red Sox. The first month of the 2013 campaign has been a tremendous success for the Red Sox. But there are suddenly some major issues in an area that looked like a real strength for the Bosox. Andrew Bailey is back on the DL, and now Joel Hanrahan could be headed back that way himself after having to remove himself from Monday’s game. Thus, what was one of the game’s deepest pens is now wafer thin. That’s trouble for the starting pitchers, who might feel the need to go deeper in games than previously required. It’s definitely a major factor to consider when ‘capping any Boston games over at least the next couple weeks.

For questions about how to get my personal plays on a daily basis, fire off an email to cokin@cox.net for all the info and rates. Here’s the Tuesday comp on one of the AL hookups.
————————-
05/07 04:05 PM MLB (913) KANSAS CITY ROYALS VS (914) BALTIMORE ORIOLES

Take: (913) KANSAS CITY ROYALS

The Kansas City Royals are off to a terrific start and there are some legit indicators that say that this might not be just an early season fluke. There certainly has to be some apprehension at how well this team will hold up as the games become bigger later in the campaign, but right now the Royals are making believers out of many observers.

The big key for the Royals has been the tremendously improved starting pitching. James Shields has been everything KC hoped he would be as the ataff anchor. Jeremy Guthrie has picked up where he left off late last season. And then there’s Ervin Santana. He was basically given the heave-ho out of Anaheim following his less than stellar 2012 season. His arrival in KC was mostly greeted with little more than a shoulder shrug, with the thought being that his upside might be as an innings eater toward the back of the rotation. Santana has clearly been far more than that through the early going, however, and right now he’s pitching at an exceptionally high level.

There’s no way of knowing whether or not Santana can keep this up. History says he probably won’t and will revert to his erratic career form at some point. But for the time being, Santana is about as go with as it gets. As for this evening, bear in mind that Santana has had trouble in this ballpark, and he has been very prone to the long ball against the likely lineup he’s going to face.

Wei-Yin Chen gets the call for Baltimore tonight, and the lefty has not pitched as well as the 3.50 ERA might indicate. If there’s one red flag to isolate on, it’s the extreme fly ball rate, which is currently at an alarming 54%. Chen’s peripherals are mostly mediocre, and he’s going to be facing a Royals lineup that is scoring plenty against southpaws. Also, the probable KC starters are 14/38 vs. Chen, with three long balls.

The Royals are smacking lefties around, especially on the road. The Orioles do their best offensive work at home against righties. The bullpen edge definitely belongs to the Orioles. But with Santana pitching at such a high level and my belief that Chen can be had, I’m putting the biggest weight tonight on the starting pitching and that will have me siding with the Royals.

Published in: on May 6, 2013 at 10:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Dave’s Free Play, Monday 5/6/13

One of the benefits of posting this blog each day is that affords me a great opportunity to push my product, while also letting everyone know just how well I’m doing. But there’s a downside as well, and that comes when the plays aren’t producing the desired results. I suppose I could just gloss over it and hope no one notices, but that’s not my style. I don’t know anyone who detests losing more than I do, and I’m not just talking about betting on sports. I’m not a gracious loser, and I’m absolutely convinced that the day that mindset changes is also the day it’s time to retire to a rockin’ chair on a porch someplace (preferably San Diego).

This weekend was one of the bad ones. It actually started off really well with a couple of Saturday baseball winners, plus Orb at the Derby (not a selection, as I don’t ‘cap the ponies, this was on advice from someone who does). But Saturday night was a disaster and Sunday wasn’t much better. While completely comprehending that no one wins all the time and everyone hits the occasional rough patch, that doesn’t mean I have to like it. The fact that in addition to losing my own money, I’m also taking bucks out of the pockets of those following my plays, simply makes it even worse.

Bottom line is that I’m irritated and there’s only one way to alter that mindset. That’s by getting right back into the win column starting tonight. And for info on obtaining the games I’m betting each day, rates and details are available by emailing me directly at cokin@cox.net.
————————–
05/06 04:10 PM MLB (951) ATLANTA BRAVES VS (952) CINCINNATI REDS

Take: (951) ATLANTA BRAVES

The Reds return home riding a nice little winning streak after sweeping their weekend set with the hapless Cubs. The Braves were on a three-game losing streak heading into Sunday’s action, but they got the offense rolling as they picked up a needed win against the Mets. Both teams should be excited about this upcoming series, as it could well be a very early preview of one that could take place this October.

Paul Maholm gets the call for the Braves. The southpaw has lost three straight following a terrific start to the season. But Maholm has arguably had just one bad outing all season, and I think he’s got a decent shot at containing the Reds. The key to Maholm’s success or failure here might well be Brandon Phillips. The Reds 2B has enjoyed facing Maholm over the years and has taken him deep four times. The rest of the Reds likely starters are only 11/61 against Maholm though, so if he can avoid major trouble with Phillips, the lefty will have a good chance to succeed here.

Bronson Arroyo continues to get guys out, despite having what can only be called underwhelming stuff. Arroyo was never a big strikout guy, but he’s basically not missing any bats these days, with a feeble 3.9 K rate so far this season. Yet he churns out starts that might not be spectacular, but are more often than not good enough to keep his team in the game. That said, this could be a lineup that gives him trouble. The likely Braves starters have been mostly ordinary against Arroyo (21/85, 5 HR). But this is a big swing and miss team and if they can make contact on a regular basis, Atlanta becomes very dangerous.

There’s an intangible at work here. Brian McCann is slated to come off the DL and will go right to work behind the dish for the Braves. With the retirement of Chipper Jones, McCann is now viewed as the captain of this club, and I expect there to be a big mental lift here as he gets back on the field for the first time this season.

The Reds can be very rude to lefties at the GAB, so Maholm has his work cut out here. But the pitching metrics display a clear cut edge for Maholm against Arroyo, and I like the McCann factor coming into play as well. The dog should command a good deal of money here, so this is a game likely best played early, and the Braves are my choice to come away with the win.

Published in: on May 6, 2013 at 1:28 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Dave’s Free Play, Sunday 5/5/13

My day started off in spectacular form with a pair of baseball winners and a great Derby result as Orb crossed the finish line first. Note that I am not a horse handicapper, but I have a couple of guys who are as good as it gets with the ponies, and they both liked Orb to win convincingly. I took their advice and made a very nice score on the race.

That’s the good news. The bad news was my evening results on the diamond, which were all bad. The most frustrating one was certainly the free play on the Dodgers, which ended up on my personal card as well. Great comeback from a huge early deficit, and then they blow the lead not once, but twice, before surrendering another walkoff home run.

Rapid rebound time today, and that includes the comp, as I’m really doing no more than treading water with these recently. Despite the off day on the diamond, those results are still rock solid, and for info on how to get my personal plays each day, rates and details available by emailing me at cokin@cox.net.
————————–
05/05 05:05 PM MLB (913) LOS ANGELES DODGERS VS (914) SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

Take: (913) LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Things just keep getting worse for the Dodgers. Injuries are an issue to be sure, but the roster just isn’t constructed all that well. I also think there’s a real problem in the dugout with the manager. Don Mattingly was a great player, but I honestly don’t think there’s a worse game manager in the majors.

Mattingly was at it again Saturday night, with the worst faux pas in the top of the eighth of what was a tie game at the time. Lead guy gets on, AJ Ellis up next. Ellis was having a very good night with the stick and I liked his chances against lefty Jeremy Affeldt, who he’s had success with in a small sample of at bats. A lefty hitter is on deck, and while Affeldt’s L/R splits aren’t dramatic, he’s still stronger against that side. So the LAST thing Mattingly should be doing here is trying to bunt. Giving up an out to advance a runner one base in this situation is simply the wrong decision at every level. Naturally, Mattingly has Ellis bunt, and he manages to not only fail to advance the runner that’s on, he bunts into a double play.

Nevertheless, even with Mattingly doing just about everything wrong, the Dodgers can’t lose ’em all, and they should have a good shot at salvaging the series finale tonight. Hyun-Jin Ryu has been outstanding, and while this is the second time around for the lefty against the Giants, the guy is on a roll and looks like a decent dog take right now.

The other aspect of this play is Matt Cain, who is really struggling. The issue for Cain in the long ball. His HR/FB ratio is an astounding 19.1% so far. That’s amazing, and what it means is that when Cain makes a mistake, it’s leaving the ball park. Cain has never fared well with the Dodgers. He’s only 4-8 lifetime, including 2-6 in this park.

Off back to back walkoff home runs, the Giants could actually be a little flat here and if ever a team needed to win a game, it’s tonight for the Dodgers. With Ryu in such good form and getting a decent price, I’ll swallow hard and give LA a roll tonight.

(Please note this is currently not a personal play. If that changes, it will be noted prior to game time on my Twitter page.)

Published in: on May 5, 2013 at 3:27 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Dave’s Free Play, Saturday 4/5/13

Small profit overall on Friday evening. 2-1 in baseball on full plays, 1-2 on half unit plays in the NBA and NHL, and that one win was fortunate as the Sharks rallied late in regulation after pulling the goalie and then won in overtime. So I’ll be more than happy to escape with a little black ink for the day.

Today’s baseball card looks better than usual, at least in terms of volume. I’ll be on at least four plays, with a couple other possibilities, including the free opinion I’m posting here. For all the rates and info on getting my personal plays each day, just drop me an email at cokin@cox.net.
———————-
05/04 06:05 PM MLB (963) LOS ANGELES DODGERS VS (964) SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

Take: (963) LOS ANGELES DODGERS

There isn’t much positive to say about the Dodgers right now. They’ve got some big stars, but they’re also saddled with some borderline talent and beyond that, this is a team playing some really lousy baseball. Nevertheless, tonight looks to me like a pretty decent opportunity to grab the plus sign as they try to even up the series with the rival Giants.

I like what I saw from rookie Matt Magill in his debut. The righty is a pretty good prospect with swing and miss stuff and I was impressed with his ability to command the strike zone in that first outing. I’ve never had a problem putting something on rookies in their first trip around the league, facing hitters unfamiliar with them. With the one strong showing under his belt, Magill should be confident tonight and I expect him to be at least adequate for the Dodgers.

That could be enough to get Magill past Ryan Vogelsong, who has not been sharp for the defending champs. The peripherals for Vogelsong are not horrible, so it’s not like he’s a disaster, and he’s better than the 6.23 ERA. But even factoring in the bad luck in some categories, the best grade I can give Vogelsong through the season’s first money is barely average.

It’s clearly not that easy to side with LA right now, Their inefficiency in scoring situations last night was mind numbing. But Barry Zito found a way to keep stranding runners and the Dodgers, almost incredibly, scored just once all night. The difference here is that Vogelsong is having much of his trouble with men on base. So I’m going to look for the visitors to put together a couple good innings tonight, and I’ll bank on the rookie to come through on the mound. Make today’s free play the Dodgers at plus money to defeat the Giants.

(Please note this free opinion is currently not one of my personal plays. If that changes, it will be so noted prior to game time on my Twitter page.)

Late Update: Already 2-0 today, I’m adding the Dodgers as a personal play.

Published in: on May 4, 2013 at 7:58 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Dave’s Free Play, Friday 5/3/13

Nothing better than following up an off night with a sweep, and that’s exactly what took place for me on Thursday. The Orioles dusted the struggling Angels on the diamond, and both the Blues and Red Wings managed to get wins on the ice. The free play also connected as the surging Red Sox got the job done against the reeling Blue Jays.

Here’s an off the wall prediction that has a real chance of happening, and possibly sooner than you might think. The Mike Scioscia era in Anaheim is winding down. He’s had a strong run with the Halos, but after missing the playoffs last season and with the team off to a miserable start this season, Scioscia is on the hot seat. It’s important to note that Jerry Dipoto is now the man in charge for the Angels and with this high-payroll entry falling way short of expectations, I would not be shocked to see a managerial change.

Meanwhile, it’s pretty much just as ugly in Los Angeles. The Dodgers are playing thoroughly uninspired baseball. I don’t like their roster as while there are some serious studs on the team, there are also some very low-level guys and the mix is not working. I thought Don Mattingly was on thin ice prior to the start of the season, and remember he was not brought on by the current ownership. With the bucks they’re spending, I’m think patience might not be one of their virtues and Mattingly is almost guaranteed to get the blame. Whether or not that’s the case is immaterial, although to be candid, I’m not all that sold on Donnie Baseball in this role.

So here’s the prediction. Next manager of the Dodgers…Mike Scioscia. I think he’s due for a change in scenery, and what better locale than right there in SoCal wearing the uniform that served him so well during his playing days. Will Carroll from Bleacher Report actually suggested on my show that there could be a trade in the works in the not so distant future that would move Scioscia from Anaheim to Los Angeles. That’s not as far fetched as it sounds, so stay tuned!

Good things happening with the personal plays and if you’re in the serious player realm, I really feel as though these plays are worth looking into. For rates and details, shoot me an email at cokin@cox.net.
————————
05/03 11:20 AM MLB (901) CINCINNATI REDS VS (902) CHICAGO CUBS

Take: (902) CHICAGO CUBS

It’s not easy to back the Cubs. They’re horrendous defensively and the bullpen is often atrocious. Yesterday’s game against the Padres was this team’s season in microcosm. They completely wasted a terrific outing from Travis Wood with some amateurish defense and the pen wasn’t exactly lights out. San Diego scratched out about the softest four runs you’ll ever see and that was that. Nevertheless, the Cubbies have a good chance to notch a victory today. Carlos Villanueva has been very solid virtually each time out for the Cubs. Mike Leake will throw for the Reds and he’s struggling. My guess is that when Johnny Cueto comes off the DL, Leake could well end up being relegated to the bullpen. Cueto’s injury forced the Reds to bring up Tony Cingrani and off his first few starts he’s sticking in the rotation. Leake therefore stands to be the odd man out.

Trust me when I tell you I have to be really convinced to put a bet down on the Cubs. But the comparison here heavily favors Villanueva. The Reds have a massive bullpen edge. But right at the present time, there’s not a whole lot of offense being produced by Cincinnati, and with Leake pitching less than inspired ball, this is a spot where the Cubs should manage to get some runs on the board. In fact, their bats are pretty warm right now, and I’ll excuse the two-run output on Thursday as the weather was a major offense killer with the substantial wind blowing in.

The price on this game is cheap enough to virtually guarantee a good deal of Reds money. I’ll opt to take the anti-public side here and I’ll give the nod to the Cubs.

(Note this will not make the final cut as a personal play. The Cubs are now the favorite, and while I believe they will win this game, the price does not justify this as a good value.)

Dave’s Free Play, Thursday 5/2/13

Things have gone really well for me lately, but Wednesday was a clunker. 1-2 on the diamond, 0-1 NBA, and that adds up to a negative day. The good news is that I’ve been rebounding from the rare off days with plus results the next day, and that’s how slumps are avoided. I’m expecting that trend to continue with the Thursday agenda.

2013 is turning into the all time swing and miss season. Yes, it’s still early. But the strikeout rates for some of the big league staffs is mind boggling. I’m not sure whether that’s more on the pitching or if it’s mostly some really inefficient at bats being turned in. I’m leaning toward the latter as the primary motivator. Some of these lineups are just plain inept. But at the same time, there’s no intention of downplaying some of the outstanding pitching that’s taking place, and one of the early season stars is the catalyst for tonight’s free play.

My personal plays are available for all interested parties. I’ll be happy to provide the rates and in depth details if you’ll send me an email at cokin@cox.net.
———————-
05/02 04:05 PM MLB (961) BOSTON RED SOX VS (962) TORONTO BLUE JAYS

Take: (961) BOSTON RED SOX

The first month of the 2013 season has been about as good as it gets for Red Sox Nation. Talk about a total reversal of fortune from what can only be described as the ultimate nightmare of 2012. While there’s no doubt the Bosox are banging the baseball, the real key to their success has been the pitching.

Ryan Dempster is certainly a huge part of what’s right with the Red Sox rotation. This team’s strikeout rate is off the charts right now and Dempster is punching out opposing hitters at a staggering rate. Dempster’s drop in contact rate is phenomenal, and it’s pretty clear from his pitch chart as to the reason. It’s the splitter. This pitch is almost impossible to barrel when it’s doing what it’s supposed to, and Dempster is commanding this pitch almost like he invented it. There’s going to be the occasional walk, but that’s more than offset by all those swings and misses. Dempster is definitely go with material right now, and the fact the likely Blue Jays starters are a combined 10/57 against Dempster is more fuel for the fire.

JA Happ has been adequate for Toronto, and he threw it really well at Fenway in his first start of the season. But Happ still owns some red flags. The fly ball rate is absurdly high even by his standards, and Happ has not been sharp in two of his last three starts.

This is no slam dunk at the price, as Boston is a good sized road favorite. Dempster is being given serious respect from the guys who make the numbers. But it’s also completely justified and as far as the teams are concerned, Boston is vastly superior right now. Add it all up and I can justify backing the Red Sox to win this series finale.

(Note this will not be a personal play. Looks like I will be on just one game tonight.)

Dave’s Free Play, Wednesday 5/1/13

Just a harmless 2-2 split for me on the Tuesday personal plays, but the April bottom line turned out to be solid, and the net profits for the last two months would fall into the major category. There just isn’t any doubt in my mind that the task of beating the books is much easier when you’re able to play with their money rather than your own. It’s simply a stronger mindset that inspires confidence. That’s where I’m at right now, and I’m feeling good about that trend being maintained.

The offer for the month of May is a good one, as I’m including a guarantee. It’s not for small players, sorry, the rates are too high to justify the investment for 50-100 bettors. But if you’re playing at a more serious level, drop me a line at cokin@cox.net for all the info.

A miss on the Tuesday free opinion as the reeling Angels got smacked around again. That ended a modest three-game win streak on the comps. Let’s try and start a new one this evening.
———————-
05/01 05:05 PM MLB (909) SAN DIEGO PADRES VS (910) CHICAGO CUBS

Take: (909) SAN DIEGO PADRES

The Padres have shown some life with the bats lately, and if they can continue to produce some quality AB’s tonight, they’re going to have a solid chance at another win at Wrigley Field against the Cubs.

I’m pretty bullish on Andrew Cashner, tonight’s San Diego starter. Cashner has dominating swing and miss stuff. The key for the hard throwing righty is maintaining his command. It’s pretty simple for Cashner. When he avoids free passes, he’s nasty. I’m also impressed by his 51% ground ball rate this far this season. That’s obviously a small sample as Cashner has not thrown many innings, but it’s still a positive indicator. There’s no doubt in my mind that Cashner has the potential to be a high end starter and the ace of the San Diego staff. There still figures to be the occasional bump in the road, but at least for the time being, I’m putting Cashner in the undervalued category.

Scott Feldman will throw for the Cubs tonight, and he is off two pretty good starts. Two games back, he got in some trouble thanks to shoddy defense and then gave uo a bomb to Ryan Braun. Last time out was Feldman’s best effort of the season, and now that his back seems to be okay, Feldman has a decent chance to maintain a spot at the back of the Cubs rotation. But that’s about the ceiling for Feldman. He’s a guy who has to throw strikes and generate grounders. Anything away from that and he is a candidate to get hammered. Feldman has exhibited improved control of late, but the BB rate is still 5.2 on the young season, and that’s a red flag.

It’s not a blowout on the pitcher comparison, but it’s decisive enough for Cashner. The Padres have the more reliable bullpen and while it won’t last, the Friars are mashing right now, scoring 30 runs in their last four games. Basically, this is one of those games where nearly all the variables point to San Diego getting the win, so I’ll go ahead and side with the Padres to collect another win tonight.

(This game has been added as a personal play.)

Dave’s Free Play, Tuesday 4/30/13

Off another plus night on Monday, thanks to getting the winner on the amazing marathon between the Angels and A’s. Lucky win? You bet it was, and you bet I’ll take it as well!

I’m in the midst of a really nice run right now, and this one is pretty extended as it’s been going on for what amounts to a couple of months. As previously noted, it was needed following a February that was my worst month in at least several years. But that fiasco of a month is no longer even in the rear view mirror, and the ledger for the year is starting to look pretty good.

Two more days to get in on the May special. Rates are the same, but I’m including a guarantee in terms of net unit profit for the coming month, and that’s without any crazy 10 unit plays or anything like that. Almost all my personal plays are a flat one unit each. It’s still only feasible for medium or higher players, but if that’s you, it’s worth checking out. Send me an email at cokin@cox.net for the details and costs.

Daily free plays are getting warm again. Let’s try for four in a row with the second game of the Halos-A’s series.
—————
04/30 07:05 PM MLB (975) LOS ANGELES ANGELS VS (976) OAKLAND ATHLETICS

Take: (975) LOS ANGELES ANGELS

The Angels and A’s have to be a little bit drained coming out of the amazing Monday night marathon. The win was sweet for Oakland, as they rallied from way back to force the extras and then won it in the 19th inning. Good thing, as they were about at the point when they were literally running out of bodies.

That’s really the essence of tonight’s opinion. Oakland got all kinds of dinged up in the game that wouldn’t end, and they’re likely to be shorthanded tonight. The bullpens for both teams took a hit last night, but it was worse for the A’s. I have to give the Halos a significant edge just in terms of the available bodies tonight.

Beyond that, Garrett Richards rates a considerable advantage over Jarrod Parker in the starting pitcher comparison. Richards is displaying what he’s capable of when he commands his pitches and avoids walks. But Jarrod Parker is pretty much of a disaster right now. Parker needs to work his changeup to be successful, and he simply has not been able to locate that pitch on any kind of regular basis. That means a reliance on his other pitches, and the results have been downright hideous.

The Angels are having a rough time of it, and it’s seemingly never easy to beat this determined Oakland entry. But off the starting pitchers and the circumstances out of the crazy Monday nighter, I have to side with the Halos tonight.

(Note this is NOT a personal play at this time. If that changes, it will be noted on my Twitter page in advance of the start.)

Dave’s Free Play, Monday 4/29/13

Another good day on Sunday with a 3-1 ledger on the diamond. That was all my action for the day, as I never did pull the trigger on any of the basketball games, which turned out to be a good decision. I’m strictly a spot player in the NBA and if I can’t get the right price, I won’t play. Whereas I will find a way to get involved on a baseball game I like, I look for ways to stay away from the NBA (although I’m 6-4 so far in the playoffs, and one of the losses was that monster moose with the Nets on Saturday). Knowing one’s own strengths and weaknesses is of paramount importance to long term success at this stuff. Let the ego get in the way and it’s a recipe for red ink.

Funny story. Despite the fact the free plays posted here have done exceptionally well (270-174 going back to 3/1/12), one of my Twitter followers decided that the recent 2-8 slide, which by the way immediately followed a 7-0 run, was due to my being nothing more than a “stats and metrics geek.” He added that this was all I knew, and that I therefore didn’t really understand anything about the players or the game. Maybe he’s right. On the other hand, all 30 MLB teams now utilize in depth metric analysis for themselves as well as in game planning for opponents. It’s a HUGE part of the preparation for every big league team, for every game they play. Obviously, I’m not looking for a strategy to win a game, so my usage of the numbers is completely different from how teams utilize them. But in terms of garnering a real edge in determining value, it’s awesome. So if that makes me a “stats and metrics geek”, I’ll take it as a compliment even if it wasn’t intended that way.

Personal plays are now a net +27.2 since the start of March. Full disclosure, February absolutely sucked, but the dreaded red from that bad run has been more than wiped away and I’m very pleased with where I stand right now and more than enthused about what should be coming moving forward. For those interested in obtaining what I’m on myself every day, drop me a line at cokin@cox.net for rates and info, including a guarantee I’ve got for the month of May.
————————
04/29 06:40 PM MLB (911) SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS VS (912) ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
Take: (911) SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

What’s wrong with Matt Cain? That’s one of the big questions on the minds of Giants fans right now. The Giants have lost each of Cain’s five starts and he’s sporting a bloated 6.59 ERA. Naturally, there’s plenty of concern among the team’s faithful following.

My advice to worried Giants fans would be to relax. There’s just nothing to indicate that this is anything more than a short term blip for Cain. His velocity is down just a tick from where it usually resides, and that was mostly from one really bad start at St. Louis. Cain has a terrific BB/K ratio, and there’s nothing out of the ordinary on the hit chart. About the only standout deviation is an abnormal HR/FB ratio. For Cain’s career, that number is 6.9, this season it’s 16.2. In other words, his mistakes are traveling a longer distance than they generally have in the past. But there’s really nothing to suggest this is going to continue as Cain’s stuff appears to be as good as ever.

Ian Kennedy is also pitching a little better than his ERA would indicate, although the differential isn’t as dramatic as Cain’s. Kennedy is not a top tier starter, but he’s solid. He’s generally going to be above average and will give his team a chance to win most of his starts. I’d love to be able to pick apart his stats and give you a great reason to fade the Diamondbacks righty. But for the most part, Kennedy is pitching okay ball, and considering both his record at home and his good stats against the lineup he will face tonight, there’s just nothing really negative here.

My primary motivation for leaning to the Giants tonight is that Cain is now a little undervalued off what I would call a somewhat misleading slow start. The Giants have to be looking at this as a big game. They have now dropped five in a row after losing all three weekend scraps at Petco. The losing streak started with a pair of extra inning losses at home to the Diamondbacks, so there’s a little payback in the mix tonight.

The price on tonight’s contest offers a bit of indication, in my opinion. With Cain owning the ugly ERA and the winless ledger, the Giants in a slump and the Diamondbacks on a current roll, it looks easy to take Arizona tonight at close to pick ’em odds. That will frequently get me looking at the other side, and with my perspective on Cain, I’m willing to shade the Giants as the right side tonight.

(Note this play is currently NOT a personal play. If that changes, it will be noted prior to the game starting on my Twitter page.)