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Friday, June 30

   by Larry Ness - 06/30/2006

The AL heads into this weekend's final set of interleague games with a dominating 131-79 advantage over its NL counterparts. The Red Sox lead all teams with a 14-1 mark with the Mariners, Tigers and Twins just a game behind them, all at 13-2. The White Sox, last year's champs, are 12-3. The teams of AL Central have been the biggest winners, sporting a combined 52-23 (.693) mark.

My free play for Friday is on the Oak A's over the Az D'backs at 10:05 ET. Tonight in MLB, I'm capping the month of June with two huge plays. My Technical Insider (won three of last four) is backed not only by my expert analysis but by two team trends of 73 and 72%, respectively. My final Las Vegas Insider of the month, looks to extend my two-month run that's reached 19-7 since May 1. Get them both, right now!

Only the Rockies have done well in the NL (9-3), as the Giants and Marlins (both 8-7) are the only other teams in the senior circuit which own records of better than .500. The Diamondbacks own MLB's worst IL mark at 1-11 with the Pirates close behind at 2-10. The NL Central is MLB's worst division in IL play, owning a pathetic 25-50 (.333) mark.

The Red Sox beat the Mets last night (4-2), upping the team's winning streak to 12 straight games. Boston last won 13 straight back in July of 1948 (Red Sox play in Florida tonight at 7:35 ET). The Red Sox will not only go for their 13th straight win tonight but they will also be trying to set a new MLB record by playing their 17th consecutive errorless game. What in the name of Bill Buckner is going on?

The Twins host the Brewers tonight (8:10 ET), looking to extend their seven-game winning streak. Minnesota owns 10 straight home wins and has won 17 of 19 overall. The Tigers, owners of MLB's best record at 54-25, have won six straight and 16 of 18. They also own MLB's best road record (28-11), which they put on the line tonight in Pittsburgh against the Pirates (7:05 ET).

The Pirates ended their 13-game losing streak yesterday, beating the White Sox 7-6. Freddy Sanchez led off the ninth inning with his fifth homer of the year (matching last year's total), to end the team's longest losing streak in the modern era (post-1900). Sanchez, who batted .291 last year in 132 games, leads the NL in batting in 2006, hitting .363!

MLB's second-longest active losing streak also came to an end last night, when the Phillies beat the Orioles 4-0. Ryan Madson got all but one out in the game and although he owns a 5.71 ERA this year, it should be noted that the Phils have won 10 of his 13 starts! Pittsburgh's and Philadelphia's wins last night leaves Texas with MLB's longest active losing streak (five games), heading into this weekend's action.

However, the Rangers (40-39) are far from being at the bottom of the barrel. Even the KC Royals, despite MLB's worst overall record (25-52), are playing much better these days than the following teams. The Pirates have lost 14 of 16, the Diamondbacks 20 of 23, the Phillies 15 of 19 and the Cubs and Nationals have each lost 13 of their last 16.

It's a full 15-game schedule tonight in MLB, with the Giants and Padres playing the only non-interleague series this weekend. Cross-town rivalries highlight this final weekend of IL play, as the White Sox and Cubs start things off today at Wrigley Field (2:20 ET on WGN), followed by the Mets/Yankees in the Bronx (7:05 ET) and the Dodgers/Angels in Anaheim at 10:05 ET.

The White Sox took two of three from the Cubs when these teams met in May at U.S Cellular Field and since June 5, the White Sox are 17-5 and Cubs, 6-16. The Mets took two of three from the Yankees at Shea (May 19-21) but just got swept in Fenway these last three days, plus the Yankees own a 30-21 advantage in the "Subway Series" since IL play began in 1997.

The Dodgers swept the Angels in Dodger Stadium back in May, outscoring their rivals 31-7 in the three games. The Angels try to return the favor this weekend but own the AL's worst IL mark at 5-10. Also of note is the Rockies/Mariners series (10:05 ET), as the Mariners enter having won 10 of their last 12 games overall, plus own that impressive 13-2 IL record this year. As for Colorado, remember the Rockies own the only good IL mark among NL teams, going 9-3.

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

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