MLB weekend trendsetter

The 2010 Major League Baseball season is reaching those “dog days” where bettors are starting to keep an eye on teams that have “thrown in the towel,” as well as clubs that are gearing up for a playoff run. Trends and angles for a couple of key weekend series appear below.

Marlins/Giants streaking downward

The Florida Marlins are in the midst of a league-high seven-game losing skid entering their three-game weekend series against the San Francisco Giants.

The fact that the Marlins will be playing those outings at Sun Life Stadium won’t provide baseball bettors with too much confidence, as the Marlins are a dismal 23-37 on their home turf. Only the Houston Astros, at 19-40, own a poorer home mark.

Ironically, the Marlins are a very respectable 32-25 through their first 57 road dates. Florida is 38-46 against right-handed starting hurlers, 17-16 against southpaw starters, 6-11 in extra inning affairs and 19-24 in one-run contests. The ‘over’ is 58-52-7 in the club’s first 107 overall outings.

The visiting Giants fell out of first place in the NL West thanks to dropping seven of their last 10 games. San Francisco’s offense has all but disappeared, evidenced by the squad scoring two runs or less seven times during that 10-game stretch.

The lack of offense is nothing new to Bruce Bochy’s defending World Series champs. The Giants are averaging a meager 3.45 runs per game, which ranks next-to-last. They are 27th with a .241 team batting average and 26th with just 75 home runs.

San Francisco is still in the playoff hunt thanks to a pitching staff that owns a miniscule 3.21 ERA, which ranks second in the majors. The men on the mound rank first in strikeouts (977) and second in quality starts (76).

The Giants have dropped all three games against the Marlins this season, with all three occurring in the Sunshine State. The series occurred May 24-26, with the Marlins registering wins of 5-1, 7-6 and 1-0. The ‘under’ cashed in two of the three meetings.

Getting into a close game with the Giants has not been wise for the opposition. San Francisco is 28-15 in one-run games and 10-6 in extra-inning affairs. Though the Giants are 10 games above .500, they are getting outscored by 13 runs (420-407).

Red Sox host mundane Mariners

Boston is clinging to a one-game lead over the second-place Yankees as the club travels to Seattle for a three-game weekend set against the AL West cellar-dwelling Mariners.

Playing away from Fenway Park has not been a problem for the Red Sox. Boston’s 35-22 road ledger is second-best in the majors behind only the Phillies’ 36-22 mark.

Terry Francona’s troops would welcome any Seattle starter that throws from the left side, as the Red Sox are a league-leading 27-12 versus southpaw starters. Boston is 16-11 in one-run outings, 5-3 in extra-inning affairs and is outscoring the opposition by a whopping 144 runs (631-487).

Though the Mariners enter the series 16 games below .500, they are an even .500 at home (29-29). Seattle is 18-21 in one-run contests, 5-5 in extra innings and is getting outscored by 63 runs (449-386). Unlike the Boston, the Mariners are a dismal 10-21 against southpaw starters.

Seattle figures to be in the underdog role in this series, which does not bode well. The Mariners are 16-35 in their last 51 games as an underdog, while the Red Sox are a stellar 43-18 in their last 61 encounters as a favorite.

The ‘under’ is 20-8-1 in the last 31 series meetings between Boston and Seattle. The Red Sox are 4-2 in the six meetings against the Mariners this season, but both losses occurred at Seattle’s Safeco Field (5-4, 2-0).

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