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Friday, April 7

   by Larry Ness - 04/07/2006

Joe D's record is safe from its latest challenge, as Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins went 0-for-4 last night against the Cards. It snapped his 38-game hitting streak, the eighth-longest in MLB history. He falls a mere 18 shy of DiMaggio record streak, set back in 1941.

My free play for Friday is on the NO Hornets over the Tor Raptors at 8:05 ET. While I stumbled last night in the NBA with the Heat, I'm still on an 8-2 NBA run since 3/28! Tonight, I'm featuring another Triple 15* Report (went 3-0 Tues) and it should be noted that I've cashed my last three 3-game reports going back to 3/10. In MLB, I'm back with my second Las Vegas Insider Play (won first last night) and my first MLB over/under play of '06 (cashed 64% of my MLB totals in '05).

While Rollins' record-challenging streak ended last night, Texas pitcher R.A. Dickey allowed six HRs (five solo) in the Rangers' 10-6 loss to the Tigers. It ties the post-1900 ML record for HRs allowed by a pitcher in a single game.

Other highlights from Thursday's action include Mark Hendrickson's three-hit shutout of the Orioles (2-0), a team that had scored 25 games in their first two games of '06. Also, Miguel Batista of Arizona, in his first start in almost two seasons, struck out a career-high 11 batters as the Diamondbacks beat the Rockies, 12-5.

The Twins lost at Toronto 6-3 and Carlos Silva, who walked just nine batters in 188 1/3 innings last year, walked two in 5 2/3 innings. It's the first time he's walked more than one batter in a game since September 26, 2004 (a span of 28 games!). The Giants won yesterday 6-4 over the Braves, getting all six runs in the 4th inning. Bonds was 0-2 with two intentional walks and is now 1-of-7 .143 on the year, with no HRs or RBI.

All 30 teams are in action Friday with the Cards and Cubs playing at 2:20 ET in Wrigley on WGN and the Braves and Giants playing tonight in San Francisco at 10:15 ET on WTBS. A three-game series of note opening this weekend is the Yankees in Anaheim to take on the Angels. The Angels eliminated the Yankees in the ALDS last year, three games-to-two.

Heading into the weekend, The Tigers are the AL's lone unbeaten team at 3-0, while the Royals are the junior circuit's lone winless team at 0-2. In the NL, both Milwaukee and St Louis have opened 3-0, while the Phils (0-3) and the Pirates (0-4) remain the league's lone winless teams. Philadelphia is 0-3 for the first time since 2000 and is 0-3 at home for the first time since 1982. Pittsburgh is 0-4 for the first time since 1994 and 0-4 for just the seventh time in franchise history.

The Nets won their 14th straight game last night, beating the Hornets by 11 points. It ties a franchise record for most consecutive wins and is the longest winning streak this year by any team. New Jersey had allowed just 82 PPG in winning the first 13 games of the streak but allowed 102 points last night. The Nets' 14-game streak (10-3-1 ATS) has brought them to within 2 1/2 games of the Heat for the East's second-best record.

Speaking of the Heat, they couldn't handle the Pistons last night, losing 95-82. Detroit is now 61-14 and leads the Spurs by three games for the NBA's best record with just seven games remaining. Detroit is just two wins shy of the 1988-89 team which won a franchise-best 63 games and the road win was its 27th on the year (11 losses), breaking a franchise record for road wins in a single season.

The Nuggets beat the Lakers 110-108 in OT last night, as Carmelo hit the game-winner with 3.8 seconds remaining. His 38 points led the Nuggets (Kobe had 42), who are now on the verge of clinching the Northwest Division title. It would be Denver's first division crown since 1987-88. Denver's "magic number" is down to two.

Tonight's NBA schedule features a 12-game schedule and all but two games (Seattle at Portland and Houston at Golden St) involve at least one team still battling for a playoff spot or playoff positioning. ESPN carries a doubleheader with the night's marquee game, Dallas at San Antonio (Spurs are favored by five points with a total of 186 1/2), starting at 8:05 ET. The Lakers at the Suns (Phoenix is favored by nine points with a total of 222) will follow at 10:35 ET.

The Dallas/San Antonio game features the West's two-best teams. The Spurs enter the game at 58-17, while Dallas enters two games behind at 56-19. With just seven games remaining for both teams, this a "must win" for the Mavs, as the Spurs face just one better than .500 team the rest of the way (Memphis on Sunday). As for Dallas, the Mavs still have two games remaining with the Clippers (44-30) and one game with the Suns (49-25).

San Antonio is 31-5 at home but just 18-18 ATS, while the Mavs are 24-13 SU on the road. However, the Spurs have won six of the last eight meetings between the two teams and the last four played in San Antonio. While the Mavs have never finished with the West's best record, the Spurs have done it five times since 1994-95. The team that 'loses' the Southwest Division, will be the West's fourth seed, despite owning a better record than both the Suns and Nuggets!

The Suns enter their game with the Lakers having lost four of their last six games, three time by 14 points or more. Since winning a season-high 11 straight games, the Suns have gone just 7-8. However, they've won six straight over the Lakers, including the last four by 10 points or more. The Pistons are in Orlando (7:05 ET) to take on the Magic. Since losing 18 of 20 games from late January through early March, the Magic have gone 10-4, including 8-0 at home. Detroit is favored by 4 1/2 points (187 1/2).

Ness notes is available Monday through Friday by 1:00 ET.

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