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Tuesday, August 1

   by Larry Ness - 08/01/2006

Monday's MLB schedule featured just 10 games but three separate teams scored 15 runs, the D'backs, Marlins and Twins. It was the first time in 70 years that three teams scored at least 15 runs in a game on the same day with 10 or fewer major league games played. The last time was July 25, 1936!

My free play for Tuesday is Tor/NYY Over at 7:05 ET. I'm not waiting to play my lone Oddsmaker's Error in August, releasing it today. Also, don't miss my 15* NL Blowout of the Month. Get them BOTH, right now!

While the above three teams were scoring all those runs, the Rockies took care of the Brewers 4-2 in Coors Field. The game lasted just two hours and six minutes, the fastest game in that stadium's history. The Rockies are averaging just 4.7 runs per game at home this year, after averaging 6.7 runs per games in Coors from 1995 through 2005!

With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that the Rockies are MLB's biggest 'under' team in 2006, with a mark of 39-59-7. That's 20 more unders than overs. Only Detroit comes anywhere close to that mark (42-59-4), as Detroit leads the league in runs allowed with 418 (3.98/game). In the NL, only the Houston Astros, and by just one game at 49-50-6, have played more unders than overs!

Chase Utley hit in his 32nd consecutive game in the Phillies' 15-2 loss to the Marlins, giving him the second-longest hitting streak in team history. Jimmy Rollins had a 38-game streak snapped in Philadelphia's third game of this year, after finishing 2005 by getting a hit in his last 36 games. Utley has entered rarified air as since 1901, there have been just 16 streaks longer than his current one, with Joe D's 56-game streak in 1941 leading the way.

The Giants lost 10-7 at home to the Nationals last night, keeping alive MLB's longest active losing streak. San Fran has now lost eight straight games and last night's three-run loss could be considered a blowout, as the Giants had lost their previous seven games by a grand total of just 10 runs! The Pirates own MLB's longest active winning streak at five in a row but were idle last night.

The calendar turns to August today and this is the first time in major-league history that rookies lead both leagues in ERA at the end of July. Josh Johnson of the Marlins leads the NL in earned run average (2.52) and Francisco Liriano of the Twins leads the AL with a 1.96 mark.

Eight rookies prior to Liriano and Johnson have led their leagues heading into August: Mark Gardner, Expos (2.34 in 1990); Mark Fidrych, Tigers (1.80 in 1976); Dennis Eckersley, Indians (2.20 in 1975); Gary Peters, White Sox (2.04 in 1963); Spec Shea, Yankees (2.07 in 1947); Atley Donald, Yankees (2.30 in 1939); Lou Fette, Boston Bees (2.46 in 1937); and Wilcy Moore, Yankees (2.35 in 1927). Check back tomorrow and I'll reveal if any held on to win the ERA title.

It's full 15-game schedule tonight. The Giants will try to avoid a ninth straight loss tonight at 10:15 ET when they host the Nationals. The Nationals send Livan Hernandez to the mound and the Giants counter with Matt Cain. The Nationals have won the last six times Hernandez has started, despite his 5.88 ERA. However, his ERA is a little deceiving, as he allowed seven ERs in one of the starts while allowing exactly three ERs in each of the other five!

The Pirates will try to make it six straight wins when they host the Braves at 7:05 ET. John Smoltz goes for Atlanta and he's 4-0 in his last five outings while Ian Snell toes the rubber for the Pirates. Snell is 2-0 in his last four outings, with the Pirates winning all four. Your move!

In other games of note, the A's and Angels resume their three-game series in Anaheim ((10:05 ET), after Oakland won last night 3-1 (now 3-0 in Anaheim this year). The A's have won five of their last six with a team ERA of 2.83 but tonight's starter (Joe Blanton) is 0-4 in five career starts vs the Angels. The Angels go with Joe Saunders, who makes just his fourth career start. He won back on July 18 vs Cleveland but had an ERA of 7.71 in two starts for the Angels last year.

In San Diego, it's Andy Pettitte vs Jake Peavy (10:15 ET). Pettitte was 17-9 with a 2.39 ERA last year but is 9-11 this year with a 5.18 ERA, allowing 173 hits in 139 innings. Peavy, who was 15-6, 2.27 in 2004 and 13-7, 2.88 in 2005, is just 5-10, 5.01 this year (team is 8-12 in his starts), despite a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 139-19. Peavy owns the highest ERA among the majors' top-30 in strikeouts.

NFL notes

Each day this week I'm previewing some of the topics I'll be covering over the next month with my NFL countdown to the 2006 season.

The 2005 NFL regular season ended with 11 teams finishing with at least 11 wins, the most in any single year since the league adopted a 16-game schedule in 1978. The 10-6 Kansas City Chiefs became just the fourth 10-win team not to make the playoffs since 1990, the year when the NFL expanded to its current 12-team postseason format.

The Philadelphia Eagles became the fifth straight Super Bowl loser to finish the following season with a losing record (6-10) and the team's failure to make the postseason in 2005, ended the NFL's longest current playoff streak (five) of any franchise. Green Bay finished just 4-12, ending the league's second-longest streak (four). The Colts, who finished with a league-best 14-2 mark, now own the league's longest current postseason run at four straight years.

The Cincinnati Bengals won the AFC North with an 11-5 mark, ending the league's longest current playoff drought at 14 consecutive playoff-less seasons. The new 'leader' in that department is the Arizona Cardinals, who have failed to make the playoffs for seven straight years.

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

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