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Tuesday, June 27

   by Larry Ness - 06/27/2006

Monday was another easy day for the AL in interleague play. The AL won six of the seven games played, led by Boston's 8-7 win in 12 innings over the Phillies, Detroit's 10-4 win over the Astros and Minnesota's 8-2 win over the Dodgers.

The Red Sox own MLB's best overall winning streak at nine straight plus the majors' best IL mark at 11-1. The Twins' five-game winning streak is second-best, as is their 11-2 IL mark (Detroit is also 11-2).

My free play for Tuesday is on the Bal Orioles over the Phi Phillies at 7:05 ET. My easy win on Detroit last night ups my LV Insider mark to 19-7 since May 1. Tuesday, it's my third straight day of just one MLB play, as I feature my 15* IL Streak-Stopper of the Month. Since IL play resumed on June 16, my IL Game of the Month plays have gone 4-0. So don't miss tonight's play, as I go for five-in-a-row!

The Mariners and White Sox are both 10-2 in IL play, as the AL enters Tuesday's 15-game schedule (14 IL games as the Brewers and Cubs meet in the NL) leading its NL counterparts by a margin of 109-65. The Rockies (38-38 overall), who lost 5-4 last night to the Angels, are the NL's best IL team (7-3) with the Mets (at 5-4) owning the only other winning IL record among NL clubs.

The Pirates are 1-8 in IL play (tied with Arizona for the worst record of any team so far this year) and enter tonight's action with MLB's longest active losing streak (11 straight, getting outscored by a margin of 83-41). It marks the franchise's longest losing streak since 1955 and the Pirates can match their longest losing streak in the modern era (post-1900) when they host the White Sox tonight in Pittsburgh (7:05 ET). The Pirates set a team record for consecutive losses back in 1939, losing 12 straight games.

In the White Sox, the Pirates get the defending world champs, who own MLB's second-best record (49-26), as well as a 10-2 IL mark. Pitching for Chicago is its ace, Mark Buehrle, who has never faced the Pirates but is 10-4 in IL games. Ian Snell goes for the Pirates and while he's 0-1 in his last two starts, he did win five straight starts from May 20 through June 10 with an ERA of 3.00. Could there be hope for the Pirates tonight?

MLB's second-longest active losing streak is owned by the St Louis Cardinals, who despite a seven-game losing streak, own the NL's second-best record at 42-33. The Cards have been outscored 65-27 these last seven games and are 0-5 since the return of Albert Pujols (went 8-7 while he was on the DL). The Cards haven't lost eight straight games since July of 1988. The Cards host the Indians tonight (8:10 ET), facing CC Sabathia.

Sabathia has been "off his game" lately, going 0-3 in his last four starts (team is 0-4) with an ERA of 10.24. The Indians beat the Cards last night (10-3) but are just 7-15 over their last 22 games plus have gone 1-8-1 in their last 10 series, losing their last seven. The Cards send Anthony Reyes to the mound, who just last Thursday, went eight innings against the White Sox, allowing only a Jim Thome HR.

The Red Sox and Mets begin a three-game series tonight in Fenway (Pedro pitches tomorrow night), pitting MLB's hottest team (Boston has won nine straight and is a MLB-best 11-1 in IL play) against the NL's best team (Mets are 47-28) and the team that owns the largest division lead in MLB (Mets lead the 2nd-place Phillies by 12 games). By the way, Boston's 2 1/2 game lead over the Yanks in the AL East, is MLB's second-biggest division lead!

The Mets have won five straight road series and 10 of their last 11 road games. During their last 11 away games, the Mets are batting .320 and have outscored their opponents, 86-42. Rookie Alay Soler starts for the Mets and in his only two road starts this year, has allowed eight hits and one ER in 16 innings (0.56). Boston goes with a rookie also (Jon Lester) and he's 2-0 in three starts this season, posting an ERA of 2.76 with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 19-9.

While the Mets/Red Sox game is a tough call, it's not the only game tonight offering bettors a dilemma. The Dodgers are in Minnesota to take on the Twins (8:10 ET) and the game features a pitching matchup of Lowe vs Liriano. Everyone knows Liriano now, after he outdueled the Rocket last Thursday. The rookie lefty is 6-1 in seven starts this year, allowing just 24 hits and eight ERs in 44 innings (1.64 ERA).

However, Derek Lowe has quietly put together an impressive year for LA. He was bombed in his first outing of the year but over his last 15 starts, has allowed two ERs or less, 12 times. He enters tonight's game with a 5-0 mark over his last seven outings (team is 6-1) with an ERA of 2.23.

In San Diego, the A's take on the Padres (10:05 ET), as Barry Zito meets Chris Young. Zito is 5-0 over his last six starts (team is 6-0) with an ERA of 3.74 (strikeout-to-walk ratio of 38-18). San Diego's Young is 3-0 over his last five starts (team is 4-1), allowing just 15 hits and four ERs in 32 2/3-innings (1.10) with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 36-11.

Tonight's "pick your poison" game is Colorado at the LA Angels (10;05 ET). Starting for the Rockies is Aaron Cook and while he's posted a respectable ERA of 3.73 over his last six starts, he's 0-4 with Colorado losing all six games! Jeff Weaver starts for the Angels and the ever-disappointing righty is 3-9 on the year with an ERA of 6.03 (team is 4-10 in his starts). In six home starts this year, Weaver has an ERA of 7.92, despite a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 28-4!

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

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