Everything You Wanted to Know About Baseball. 2 of 9.

Everything You Wanted to Know About Baseball. 2 of 9.

The good news for the LA Angels is that they are only four game back in the loss column in the wacky AL West. The bad news is that 2005 CY Young award winner Bartolo Colon is returning and has looked brutal in 2006.

In his third minor league rehabilitation start, Colon gave up six earned runs and nine hits against the Fresno Grizzlies. In three starts for the Angels this season, Colon is 0-2 with a 7.07 ERA and they are going to send down their best pitcher to accommodate him.

Jered Weaver, the Angels’ first-round draft pick in June 2004, reduced his ERA to 1.37 and became the second pitcher in franchise history to win his first four major league starts on Tuesday night. The other was Bo Belinsky, who won his first five starts in 1962 and finished his rookie season 10-11. Whether that’s enough to keep Weaver up in the bigs is another story. He has allowed just four earned runs, 16 hits and four walks in his 26 1-3 innings of work — and has received a total of 30 runs of support from his teammates.

The player who should be sent down is Weavers brother Jeff Weaver who is 3-9 with an embarrassing ERA of 6.15, but is earning $8.3 million.

The Angels are lucky to have Orlando Cabrera in the lineup as this guy has been incredible. Cabrera has reached base in 43 consecutive games without the benefit of a fielder’s choice, the longest current streak in baseball and longest in club history. He has hit safely in 27 of his last 31 contests and is 25-for-54 over his last 14 games, raising his average from .271 to .313.

When the LA Dodgers acquired Brad Penny a couple of years ago, much was expected of the hard throwing righthander, but some arm ailments affected him and he was just 7-9 in 2005. Already in 2006 he has equaled his 2005 total. Penny (7-1, 2.34 ERA) is 5-0 with a 2.03 ERA over seven starts since his lone loss of the season at Arizona on May 1. He also hasn’t allowed a home run in 10 outings since April 14.

The right-hander enters tonights start with a scoreless streak of 14 1-3 innings after a victory at Colorado on Friday. He surrendered five hits over 8 1-3 innings in a 3-0 win.

Padres catcher Mike Piazza, a former Dodger who is hitless in his last nine at-bats, is hitting .400 (12-for-30) with three homers and 12 RBIs in his career against Penny. Piazza is hitting just .188 at home this season.

The Colorado Rockies look to win three straight road games for the first time since April when they continue a four-game series against the Washington Nationals at RFK Stadium on Wednesday.

The Rockies (32-32) opened the season winning 10 of their first 13 road games, but have gone just 6-13 away from Denver since May 1. Still, Colorado is 16-16 on the road this season — a huge improvement over last season’s 27-54 mark.

Garrett Atkins had a double and scored two runs, and is batting .395 (17-for-43) with seven runs, five doubles and nine RBIs during a season-high 12-game hitting streak.

Washington will counter with Tony Armas (6-3, 3.48), who has won six of his last seven decisions. He allowed three runs and six hits in five innings in a 9-8, 12-inning win over Philadelphia on Friday, but did not receive a decision.

The Nationals have won in six of his last seven starts.

Armas is just 1-1 with a 4.80 ERA in six starts at RFK, and has pitched five or fewer innings in three of his last four home starts, posting a 7.13 ERA in those games.

The right-hander is 2-2 with a 7.39 ERA in seven starts against the Rockies, but went 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA in two starts against them last season.

We told you what to expect this year from over the hill Randy Johnson and he has failed to earn his salary in 2006. Johnson (7-5, 5.63 ERA) was hit hard again his last time out, allowing six runs and six hits over four innings of a 6-5 loss to Oakland on Friday. He gave up three more homers, a season high, to bring his total for the year to 15.

The Big Unit has surrendered 10 homers in his last 33 1-3 innings spanning six starts, doing nothing to dispel the notion that his dominance may be fading at age 42. Last year, he gave up a career-high 32 homers in his first season with New York.

Baseball betting: placing a bet on the white sox is risky business!

Any time you start think about investing money in a defending World Champion you do so with a great deal of risk as Las Vegas linemakers are going to make you pay a premium to back them.

Case in point is the Chicago White Sox who stunned the world last year when they knocked off the Houston Astros and stormed out of the gate this year, in impressive fashion.

In recent days though the Ozzie Guillen led team have shown some cracks in the armor and when this happens, you can usually look at the pitching staff as the culprit. They have now lost three in a row and both Jose Contreras and Freddy Garcia were both lir up pretty good by the Cleveland Indians.

Garcia leads the team with 7 victories but those numbers are very misleading and this guy barely gets his fastball past 85 mph on a good day. His ERA is 4.57 and he has given up 74 hits in 69 innings. Meanwhile John Garland as usual is giving up a plethora of homeruns, but he is also not striking anyone out with just 33 Ks in 63 innings.

Chicago returns to the friendly confines of US Cellular Field this weekend to host a Texas team that is surging and leads the AL West. The White Sox have lost five of their last six games to the Rangers (28-25) overall, but have won four of the last five meetings at U.S. Cellular Field.

Texas has won five of its last seven contests and leads the AL West by 3 1/2 games over Oakland.

Jon Garland (4-2, 6.25 ERA) is 1-0 with a 2.75 ERA in three home starts this season. He won on the road Sunday, despite allowing five runs and seven hits in six innings of a 7-5 victory over the Blue Jays. Toronto hit three home runs off of Garland, increasing the 26-year-old right-hander’s season total to 16 homers allowed — the second-most in the majors.

The Rangers open their 10-game road trip with 24-year-old right-hander Kameron Loe (3-5, 4.48) taking the mound on Friday. Loe is 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA in two career games against the White Sox.

Garland will have his hands full with the red hot Texas hitters, especially Mark Teixeira who is 10-for-28 (.357) with two homers and three doubles in his last eight games, and is 7-for-16 (.438) with two homers, three doubles and 11 RBIs in his career against Garland.

I look for the White Sox to continue slumping and must lean to the Rangers tonight!

Baseball Betting: the White Sox send the Twins a crystal clear message!

I mentioned in this space recently that I thought Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire could be the first to get the axe in the 2006 MLB season, as his team is grossly underachieving.

There were reports of lack of discipline in the clubhouse and on the field last year and it looks like things have gone from bad to worse this year. On Sunday the Twins scored 7 runs in the first inning, to answer the 3 that the White Sox had posted in the top of the frame.

Then the Twins allowed the defending World Series champions to storm back for a 9-7 win and in the process get nailed on an embarrassing triple play in the 6th inning. With Nick Punto on second and Shannon Stewart on first, the Twins Luis Castillo popped up a bunt and a charging Paul Konerko made a shoestring catch.

How in the world could Konerko right himself and throw to first for a double play and then second baseman Tadahito Iguchi fired to Juan Uribe at second for a triple play. The first rule of thumb that a little league player is taught on a sacrifice bunt, is to make sure the ball hits the ground before taking off.

What is heck were Punto and Stewart thinking and why did Gardenhire not sit their butts down on the bench. Sundays game was also the first time in AL history that a starting pitcher (Mark Buehrle) allowed 7 runs in the first inning and won a game.

Scott Baker was the latest Twin to get roughed up for Minnesota, whose starters have a collective 6.51 ERA, the worst in either league! The Twins needed a strong start from Baker, especially with everyone else in the rotation not named Johan Santana still struggling to find their form. Before the game, righty Carlos Silva was sent to the bullpen temporarily to give him more time to straighten himself out.

Budding star lefty Francisco Liriano will fill his spot for now as the starters are an embarrassing 13-21.

In eight starts, Silva is 2-6 with an 8.80 ERA and 74 hits and 15 homers allowed in 46 innings. After going 14-8 with a 4.21 ERA in 2004, his first year as a starter, the righty pitched through an injured right knee and was picked as Minnesota’s most improved player in 2005. He went 9-8 with a 3.44 ERA in 188-plus innings and led the majors with the fewest walks, 0.4 — per nine innings.

The Twins are a horrible 7-14 in their own division and now head to Motown to face the surging Tigers, who are the most improved team in baseball. After that they face the Brewers in Milwaukee and an embarrassing road trip, could spell the end to Gardenhires regime in the Twin cities!

Baseball Betting: the White Sox send the Twins a crystal clear message!

I mentioned in this space recently that I thought Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire could be the first to get the axe in the 2006 MLB season, as his team is grossly underachieving.

There were reports of lack of discipline in the clubhouse and on the field last year and it looks like things have gone from bad to worse this year. On Sunday the Twins scored 7 runs in the first inning, to answer the 3 that the White Sox had posted in the top of the frame.

Then the Twins allowed the defending World Series champions to storm back for a 9-7 win and in the process get nailed on an embarrassing triple play in the 6th inning. With Nick Punto on second and Shannon Stewart on first, the Twins Luis Castillo popped up a bunt and a charging Paul Konerko made a shoestring catch.

How in the world could Konerko right himself and throw to first for a double play and then second baseman Tadahito Iguchi fired to Juan Uribe at second for a triple play. The first rule of thumb that a little league player is taught on a sacrifice bunt, is to make sure the ball hits the ground before taking off.

What is heck were Punto and Stewart thinking and why did Gardenhire not sit their butts down on the bench. Sundays game was also the first time in AL history that a starting pitcher (Mark Buehrle) allowed 7 runs in the first inning and won a game.

Scott Baker was the latest Twin to get roughed up for Minnesota, whose starters have a collective 6.51 ERA, the worst in either league! The Twins needed a strong start from Baker, especially with everyone else in the rotation not named Johan Santana still struggling to find their form. Before the game, righty Carlos Silva was sent to the bullpen temporarily to give him more time to straighten himself out.

Budding star lefty Francisco Liriano will fill his spot for now as the starters are an embarrassing 13-21.

In eight starts, Silva is 2-6 with an 8.80 ERA and 74 hits and 15 homers allowed in 46 innings. After going 14-8 with a 4.21 ERA in 2004, his first year as a starter, the righty pitched through an injured right knee and was picked as Minnesota’s most improved player in 2005. He went 9-8 with a 3.44 ERA in 188-plus innings and led the majors with the fewest walks, 0.4 — per nine innings.

The Twins are a horrible 7-14 in their own division and now head to Motown to face the surging Tigers, who are the most improved team in baseball. After that they face the Brewers in Milwaukee and an embarrassing road trip, could spell the end to Gardenhires regime in the Twin cities!

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