Feb 012013
 

New York Yankees fans must have thought they had seen the last of Derek Jeter after the shortstop broke his ankle in the 2012 American League Championship series against Detroit.

Jeter went down taking a routine ball in Game One of the series, which the Yankees lost 4-0, and needed surgery to correct a fractured left ankle days later. It ruined his series, season, and threatened the 38-year-old’s career but, thankfully, three months of physiotherapy and rehabilitation has brought him back to competitive fitness.

Now, instead of waving goodbye to Jeter there is every chance Yankees fans will see him play another pivotal role in their season after the shortstop confirmed he would be fit for Opening Day in the MLB come April.

“Everything went well,” he told MLB betting news reporters last week, before being asked about his chances of playing the start of the season: “Why not? I’ve always said [I'’ll be ready], for a long time. I told you it’s fine now.”

Indeed, Jeter may have thought all along he would be fine but many fans betting MLB World Series had serious concerns he would never pick up a glove and bat again. At 38-years-old, New York’s legendary shortstop is not getting any younger and, although his game does not require 100% fitness every day, his ankle surgery could affect his play over the season.

If Jeter can prove himself fit for Opening Day, however, his presence at the least will be a real boost for this Yankees side still hurting from Detroit’s demolition last October. Manager, Joe Girardi, has made changes this offseason and the team look stronger then ever, a good sign heading into a new campaign with that 2009 World Series success still in fans’ minds.

Dec 052012
 

Many other sports already use cameras and instant replay to help their officials, in fact it’s hard to imagine life in the NFL in particular without seeing the officials disappear “under the hood” to look at a disputed call or play.

Now it seems that we will have to wait a little longer for the technological revolution to affect MLB scores despite only some six weeks ago the commissioner (Bud Selig) saying that it would be available for the new season, now only four months away.

Selig has said repeatedly over the last six months that baseball plans to expand replay to cover fair/foul balls and trap/catch calls in time for the 2013 season. But now there is a disagreement over how to implement the use of the technology, with a split over whether to use traditional replay, or new, experimental technologies, which were tested in the two New York stadiums late in the season.

Those “new” systems included the Hawk-Eye animation system used in tennis and golf’s TrackMan radar technology – officials are though sceptical are to whether either are a good fit for the type of calls that they would be used to adjudicate on in baseball.

So that leaves traditional replay technology, which is currently being used to review disputed home run calls. But in order for traditional replay to be expanded effectively for use on other types of calls, MLB probably would have to standardize the number of cameras, and even dictate specific camera angles, at all 30 ballparks.

Of course moving the game forward in this manner would incur a significant cost and there is another sticking point – where do you station the replay officials? Some favour having them at every ballpark while others would have them positioned in a central location – the addition of those replay umpires would have to be negotiated with the umpires’ union, however and that, too, would involve a major expenditure of dollars.

So while baseball continues to push toward more replay decisions, it appears to be running out of time to implement it in time for the 2013 regular season. That is despite having all the players, officials, league management and punters betting on baseball in favour of expanding its role. Unfortunately for all its proponents putting all the pieces together to implement the scheme has turned out to take much longer than even the commissioner of baseball ever envisioned.

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Oct 302012
 

The battle to secure the signature of Japanese teenage sensation, Shohei Otani, took a twist last month when the 18-year old pitcher was selected in the first round of the draft by the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters.

The decision to draft the pitcher came after Otani had made it clear he was looking to skip the Japanese league in order to test himself in America straight away, a development that will no doubt have piqued the interest of fans betting on baseball.

The Nippon Professional Baseball league has grown accustomed to losing their star players to teams from the MLB, but losing a player of Otani’s potential without a fight was never going to happen.

The Fighters will now be at the centre of a bidding war between the two most powerful leagues in baseball, but a bidding war with only one real winner.

Teams from the MLB have been aware of Otani’s potential ability to affect MLB scores for a number of years now, and one of those teams will surely have the funds capable of securing the services of the teenage sensation.

“We want to get the best available player this year as the team’s first pick,” Fighters manager, Hideki Kuriyama, told reporters. “We apologize to Otani, but I believe this will only be a positive.”

The 6-foot-3 right-hander is being tracked by a host of major league teams, with the Dodgers, Yankees, Orioles, and the Rangers all very much in the hunt for the hottest young pitcher to come out of Japan since Yu Darvish.

Otani, capable of producing a 99mph fast ball, admitted his plans remained unchanged, despite being drafted by the Fighters, insisting he was still determined to head to the States as soon as possible.

“I was honestly surprised (with the draft),” Otani admitted. “I am still determined to go to the U.S.”

Sep 252012
 

Many people betting on baseball latched onto a recent comment from the New York Yankees captain that he could envision himself playing elsewhere and, to be frank, it was taken out of context in answer to an indirect question.

What he was actually asked was about Peyton Manning going from Indianapolis to Denver, and the question, to put it in context, was: ‘if the organization doesn’t want you around anymore, do you still want to play?’

Jeter answered “You have no choice but to go to another team. I think it is common sense”. That answer created plenty of buzz on the Internet and landed Jeter up on the front page of the New York Daily News.

Despite his age, 38, Jeter is leading the majors this year in hits with 202 so far; he is in the second season of a three-year deal that includes a player option for 2014.

It would be quite something for Jeter to play for someone else, but he has clashed with the Yankees before, prior to the 2011 season. All was not sweetness and light then, with GM Brian, Cashman, challenging Jeter to test the market to see how he was valued throughout baseball, especially as Jeter was coming off a career-worst .270 season in 2010.

Despite Jeter’s success this season, the Yankees will be forced to weigh how much longer he will sustain his high level of play. They already have Alex Rodriguez, 37, signed for five more seasons after this one, which could create a very old left side of the infield, a fact that will no doubt permeate the minds of supporters betting MLB.

Jeter, who, in the past, has never referenced, in any context, the possibility of playing elsewhere, probably regrets the publicity that an innocent question created. On the back of being asked the question again, Jeter repeated his answer that he expects to be a Yankee for life and cannot see himself playing anywhere else.

It looks like Jeter will be around at the Yankees for a long time yet, even if journalists try to twist his answers to mean something different.

Aug 282012
 

The Philadelphia Phillies were able to allow Roy Halladay a rare off-day as the team’s offence produced the goods to see off the Cincinnati Reds 12-5, with John Mayberry Jr. collecting a two-run homer, three hits, and three RBI’s.

Halladay was way off his best on his way to a 7-7 return, allowing five runs and 10 hits in seven innings.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner was thankful to an explosive batting line-up, however, with Mayberry, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Eric Kratz all weighing with two runs apiece, and Juan Pierre hitting three for three runs.

Domonic Brown was also in good touch, as he got his side off to a strong start with a two-run double off Mike Leake, a tally that no doubt delighted people betting MLB.

Halladay was relieved to have seen his offence make up for his mixed day at the office, praising the entire batting line-up for a stunning performance all round.

“It’s always kind of ironic; when you think you’re not catching breaks, we put up a bunch of runs,” Halladay said.

“That was one of our best offensive games of the year. From the standpoint, it seemed everybody was involved, and it wasn’t one or two guys; they were all outstanding.”

The victory took the Phillies record against the Reds to seven straight victories and 12 from 13.

While the Reds may see this as a chance wasted, due to Halladay’s disappointing performance from the mound, the fact is that this Phillies offence would have taken apart most NBA teams in the sort of form they found themselves in at the Citizens Bank Park.

Visit the Bet365 website for the latest MLB trade rumours, as well as the most accurate picks for Major and Minor League Baseball.

May 252011
 

This weekend the Seattle Mariners will lock horn with the New York Yankees. This series will be very important for both teams as they continue to compete as these teams are both in contention for their respective divisions this season.

In baseball betting lines odds, Seattle is at 125-1 whereas the Yankees are among the top favorites to win the World Series, at 5-1.

Even though the Mariners are just 1.5 games behind the leading Texas Rangers, they are the 3rd place team in the NL West. While the Mariners have now won 6 games in a row and they look like a team that could compete in the NL West, they looked like they were on their way towards a last place finish.

The Mariners will send Pineda and Hernandez to the mound in this series, which is good news for them. Both of these pitchers are a major reason for the recent success of the Mariners as they have been on as of late. The Yankees will have a difficult time beating Seattle, if they put up good games in this series.

Even though the Yankees have found their way back into the first place position in the AL East, they were counted as dead by many teams. It is not encouraging that they are only in first place because Tampa Bay has played awfully as of late while they are in first place again. The Yankees need to win this series to stave them off as the Red Sox and Blue Jays are in hot pursuit.

In this series, the Yankees will send AJ Burnett, Ivan Nova and Bartolo Colon to the mound.

May 102011
 

This weekend the Texas Rangers will lock horn with the Los Angeles Angels. As these teams are fighting for the top spot in a crowded American League West Division, this should be an exciting series. In this series the Rangers will be the home team.

For the Rangers the home field advantage could prove to be the difference in this series. Even though they have posted a 12-7 record while at their home field, they have been a very poor team playing away from their home field. The Angels are a solid road team as this being said. This season they have already collected 12 wins on the road. With a 20-15 record they are atop the division. At 18-17 on the season the Rangers are tied for 2nd place.

While the Rangers are at 30-1, MLB Odds have the Angels at 20-1 to win the World Series.

Because of the Angels’ stellar starting pitching, they have had so much success on the road this season. Between Jered Weaver and Dan Haren, they have two of the best pitchers in the Major Leagues. They have a shot at going the distance and shutting out their opponents, each time that these pitchers take the mound.

In this series the Angels will be fortunate to have both of these pitchers take the mound. Early in their starts the Rangers will need to jump on both of these pitchers. As they go deeper into games they tend to get stronger.

In opposition to a dominant defense this will be a matchup of a dominant offense. When the series is over the winner of this series could end up as the top team in the division. In online free picks, the Texas Rangers are favorites to win this match.

Oct 052010
 

It may have taken both the Atlanta Braves and San Francisco Giants until the very last day of the season to secure a playoff berth, but both teams can now breathe a small sigh of relief knowing that they will be a part of the 2010 MLB playoffs. With Atlanta winning the Wild Card berth, the Braves will travel to San Francisco to open the best of 5 NLDS beginning on Thursday, October 7th.

The season’s head to head matchup was won by the Atlanta Braves 4 games to 3 with 3 of their victories coming at home. Home field advantage should play a pretty big role in this series as San Francisco sports a 49-32 record at their home ball park, while Atlanta has just a 35-46 road record for the season. Compare that to the Braves’ 56-25 home record and the Braves will probably end up regretting losing the division crown the Philadelphia Phillies.

San Francisco also has a slight edge entering this series with the way they have been playing recently. Fighting for their playoff lives every night the last few weeks have forced the Giants to stay sharp and be on top of their game. The Giants enter this series having won 7 of their last 10 games, while the Braves are an even 5 and 5 in their last 10.

The pitching matchup also appears to favor the Giants in this NLDS series. The first 3 games’ scheduled starters are as follows:

Game 1 – Lincecum vs Lowe
Game 2 – Hanson vs Cain
Game 3 – Sanzchez vs Hudson

If San Francisco can win the first two games at home behind their two best pitchers, they should have no problem closing out the Braves for the series win.

Jul 232010
 

The Atlanta Braves hit the road Friday to start a nine- game road swing that will take to Miami to play the Florida Marlins for a three-game set this weekend. The Braves are coming off of a so-so home stand where they went 4-3, which included an 8-0 victory over the San Diego Padres. The victory gives Atlanta a 1/2 game lead over San Diego for the best record in the National League.

Atlanta will have to continue to swing a hot bat when they get to Miami. The Florida Marlins have held their opponents to 2 or fewer runs in 4 of their last 6 games. Whiling displaying some of that good pitching and defense that has helped the Marlins keep their opponents at bay they have won 5 of their last 6 games, and are looking to get back into the division race with a strong showing against the Braves. Currently the Marlins are in 4th place in the NL East and are 9 games behind the Braves.

This weekend’s match up is void of any marquee pitchers, but it still has some decent match ups to keep your eye on. Friday’s game will showcase Alex Sanabia vs Derek Lowe, Saturday’s game will see Anibal Sanchez take on Kris Medlen, while the final game on Sunday will feature Chris Volstad against Jair Jurrjens.

Jul 152010
 

To kick off the second half of the season the Tampa Bay Rays travel to New York on Friday to take on the Yankees in a weekend series. This match up will pit the two best teams in all of baseball against each other with first place in the AL East on the line. Tampa Bay trails New York in the AL East standings by only 2 games and will look to make up some ground this weekend.

The Rays, who have won 7 of 8 overall and are 10-1 on the road against AL East teams, will look to increase their series lead against the Yankees. Tampa leads in head to head competition 3-2, but will face a tough task this time around.

There are a handful of intriguing pitching match ups for this weekend as well starting with Friday night’s game which will see Yankee’s ace C.C. Sabathia take the mound against James Shields. Shields is hoping to improve on his 2-7 record and 5.54 ERA in 11 career starts against the Yankees with a strong performance Friday night. Saturday’s match up is Jeff Niemann vs A.J. Burnett while Sunday boasts the best match up of the series with 2 all stars, David Price and Andy Pettitte, facing each other.

This will be the first series for the Yankees after having lost both broadcasting legend Bob Sheppard and controversial owner George Steinbrenner. The Yankees will wear patches on their uniforms the rest of the year to honor both men. It is expected that there will also be a small tribute to both men before the start of Friday’s contest.