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Wednesday, August 16

   by Larry Ness - 08/16/2006

The Indians lost 4-1 to the Twins and Johan Santana last night, ending the team's six-game winning streak. Santana has not lost in the Dome since Aug. 6, 2005, going 12-0 in his last 19 home starts.He also upped his record to 18-1 with a 1.80 ERA and 174 strikeouts in 21 August starts dating to 2002. With Cleveland's loss, the Dodgers' six-game winning streak is now the majors' longest active streak.

My free play is on the StL Cardinals over the Cin Reds at 8:10 ET. Join me tonight for one of my exclusive Las Vegas Insiders in MLB, on a 4-0 run since August 5. I also feature a Technical Insider, a total play backed by two seasonal trends that have combined to win 71 percent of the time.

The Dodgers have won 17 of their last 18 games. The last National League team to win 17 of 18 games was the 1986 Mets. The Dodgers had won 17 of 18 only once previously, in May/June 1899, when the team was known as the Superbas. The Twins won 17 of 18 games earlier this season, making it the first time since 1988 that two major league teams had such a stretch in the same season when the Red Sox and A's did it.

Two major league games went 18 innings on Tuesday. The Cubs defeated the Astros, 8-6, while the Diamondbacks beat the Rockies, 2-1. It was the first time in major league history that two games of at least 18 innings were played on the same day. Colorado has turned into MLB's biggest 'under' team, as they own MLB's second-best team ERA (4.06) and have seen their games go under at the rate of 68-44-7!

The A's are right behind the Dodgers with five straight wins after beating the Mariners 11-2. That makes 14 straight wins over Seattle this year, one win shy of the longest streak against a division opponent since 1969 and the beginning of divisional play (the Braves won 15 straight against the Padres in 1974). The A's will have a chance to tie the record tonight when they host the Mariners at 10:05 ET.

The Devil Rays returned home last night but lost to the Blue Jays 4-3, extending MLB's longest active losing streak to seven in a row. Roy Halladay got the win for Toronto and is the first pitcher to 15 wins this season. He was also the first to 15 wins in 2003. The only other pitchers to be first-to-15 more than once during the expansion era were Sandy Koufax, four times (1963-1966), Roger Clemens, in three different decades (1986, 1997, 2001), Steve Carlton (1980 and 1982), and Joaquin Andujar (1984-1985).

The Mariners are right behind the D-Rays with five straight losses but the Royals saw their five-game losing streak end last night with a 4-2 win over the White Sox. Wednesday's schedule is again full with all 30 teams in action (15 games). There are three day games with the Dodgers hosting the Marlins at 3:10 ET offering an interesting storyline. LA has won 17 of 18 but is only an early $1.15 favorite. Florida's starter today is NL ERA leader Josh Johnson (2.69 ERA) but still?

The Tigers and Red Sox conclude their three-game series tonight In Boston at 7:05 ET on ESPN. Detroit has won the first two games but last swept a series in Fenway back in 1983. Justin Verlander goes for Detroit and while he is 0-3 vs the White Sox this year with a 9.88 ERA, he is 14-2 against the rest of MLB, posting a 2.20 ERA (it's his first-ever start vs Boston).

The Red Sox counter with David Wells, who has looked sharp in his last two outings, allowing just two ERs over 13 innings. However, those games were against Tampa Bay and Baltimore, not the 78-41 Tigers who also happen to own MLB's best record this year against lefties, at 28-11.

The Reds are in St Louis tonight to take on the Cardinals (8:10 ET) and Cincinnati's Bronson Arroyo (9-8, 3.54) will meet Anthony Reyes (4-5, 4.26). Arroyo, who lost to Reyes and the Cardinals last Thursday, gave up a season high-tying three homers as he failed for the 10th time to reach 10 wins.

Acquired from Boston during spring training for outfielder Wily Mo Pena, the right-hander won his first five decisions and was 9-3 with a 2.47 ERA after a complete-game victory over the New York Mets on June 19. Since then, he's 0-5 with a 5.29 ERA and has been tagged for 16 homers in 64.2 innings. He'd allowed just 10 in 105 2-3 innings before that. Maybe 11 will be his lucky number?

CFB notes

If you thought 28 bowl games were a few too many these last two years, there are 32 bowl games scheduled for the 2006-07 CFB season. New this year are the Birmingham Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl (both on December 23), the International Bowl (from Toronto on January 6) plus the BCS Championship Game (January 8). This year's game will be played at the site of the Fiesta Bowl, the new stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

The Poinsettia Bowl (San Diego), in just its second year, leads off the bowl season on December 19. The New Orleans Bowl, the lead-off bowl since its inception in 2001, will be the third bowl played on December 22. There are seven bowls scheduled before Christmas Day but none on Christmas There will be 14 bowls jammed into the six-day period of December 26 through the 31st. Six bowls will be played on New Year's Day, including the Rose and Fiesta.

The Orange Bowl is the only bowl game on January 2, the Sugar will played on January 3, the International Bowl on the 6th, the GMAC Bowl on the 7th and then the BCS title game on the 8th. ESPN or ESPN2 will carry 21 games with FOX getting five. However that network gets four BCS bowls, including the championship game, plus the Cotton. ABC (Capital One and the Rose) and CBS (Sun and Gator) get just two apiece, the same number as of all things, the NFL Network ( Texas and Insight).

Nebraska's all-time record of 35 straight bowl appearances (1969-2003) ended with its 5-6 season in 2004 but the Cornhuskers went 'bowling' last year, beating Michigan 32-28 in the Alamo Bowl. Michigan owns the longest active bowl streak at 31 straight appearances (1975-2005). The next two longest streaks belong to Florida State (24 straight) and Virginia Tech (13). Tennessee saw its 16-year streak end last year (1989-2004) when it finished 5-6.

Coming this weekend in another special edition of Ness Notes, I look into some of CFB's biggest turnarounds (both good and bad) since 2000, plus offer thoughts on some of 2006's potential surprise teams and flops.

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

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