Friday MLB Betting Preview – Reds at Cubs

Cincinnati won the series rubber match with the Pirates on Wednesday, 9-4, at PNC Park to give the team a 10-1-1 record in its last 12 series.  The Reds have won six of their last eight games overall and currently lead the division by a half game.  “Yeah, we’ve got to keep winning series and hopefully you’ll throw a sweep or two in there somewhere,” manager Dusty Baker said.  The last time the club led the division this late in the season was the final week of the 1999 campaign.   In 37 daytime games this season, the club has managed to produce a 19-18 record (-150), with the total going 11-21 O/U in those contests.  The National League’s leading offense is managing to average 4.1 runs per game and hitting a combined .259 during the day, which is nearly a full run lower than its season average (4.9).  The Reds have played 12 straight games against divisional opponents (7-4) and have produced a dominating 31-18 record against the Central (+1,340).

Reds starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo is 11-6 with a 4.01 ERA in 22 starts this season and is coming off a 5-2 home victory against the Braves.  In that start, he allowed two runs (zero earned) and four hits over seven innings.  He is 6-3 with a 3.86 ERA in 11 road starts this season, as opposing hitters are hitting just .222.  The right-hander is 4-3 with a 3.28 ERA in nine daytime starts, while he issued 30 walks and picked up 32 strikeouts.  In 20 career appearances (18 starts) versus the Cubs, Arroyo has compiled a 8-6 record and 2.91 ERA.  He made six starts in July, going 4-2 with a 2.81 ERA, allowing opponents to hit a .185 average.

Chicago picked up a 15-3 blowout victory at home over the Brewers in the series finale at Wrigley Field, but the team was outscored 67-20 in its previous seven games.  “We allowed a lot of runs in Colorado and the first game in Milwaukee and it wasn’t fun,” third baseman Aramis Ramirez said.  “Today we turned the page around and scored 15 runs.”  The Cubs began the second half of the season with a 3-1 mark, but has gone 5-10 in their last 15 contests.  The team’s .278 average in the second half ranks third in the NL and sixth in the Majors.  Chicago is 2-3 in August thus far in 2010 and 33-28 during the month the last three seasons (-730).  The team has failed to produce many winning streaks this year, going 16-30 after a win (-2,060).   Playing divisional opponents hasn’t been any easier, currently standing at 21-32 against the NL Central (-2,300).

Cubs starting pitcher Tom Gorzelanny is 6-5 with a 3.48 ERA in 21 appearances (15 starts) this season and his team has won four of his last five outings.  Over that span, the offense has provided him 38 runs of support.  The left-hander is an even 3-3 with a 4.05 ERA in 10 home outings (eight starts), but has surrendered just a single home run in 46.2 innings.  He has made 13 daytime appearances (eight starts) this year, going 41 with a 3.10 ERA, managing to strike out 49 batters in 49.1 innings.  In eight career starts versus the Reds, Gorzelanny has posted an even 3-3 record and 4.89 ERA.

Bettors can’t ignore the fact that the Reds are 11-3 in Arroyo’s last 14 starts against divisional opponents and the under is 8-3-1 in his last 12 starts in that situation.  Chicago is 4-9 after an off day this year and the over is 4-0-1 in its last five games against a right-handed starter.

From Smart Bodies to Statin Therapy, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Companies Honored for Helping Consumers Manage Their Healthcare

US Fed News Service, Including US State News October 6, 2008 The Blue Cross And Blue Shield Association issued the following news release:

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), in collaboration with the Harvard Medical School Department of Health Care Policy, today recognized four ground-breaking Blue Cross and Blue Shield company initiatives for their innovative and successful approaches to improving health and wellness for consumers. These programs coordinate care for children with special healthcare needs, address racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare, enhance statin therapy efficiency, and encourage children to adopt healthy lifestyles.

The programs were recognized as BlueWorks?????? winners – a unique collaboration between BCBSA and the Harvard Medical School Department of Health Care Policy, through which Harvard researchers evaluate and select Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies’ local programs for recognition based on their innovation, efficacy, robust design, and potential for replication. Collaborating with Harvard to evaluate this year’s winners were Edward P. Zimmerman, MS, department director, American Academy of Pediatrics; Yul Ejnes, MD, FACP, American College of Physicians; and Leonard Lichtenfeld, MD, FACP, deputy chief medical officer, American Cancer Society. this web site highmark blue shield

Since the inception of BlueWorks in 2004, Harvard has recognized 45 programs of Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies for their innovative work to help consumers better manage their healthcare choices.

“Harvard is pleased to recognize the Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies for their innovative programs to provide consumers with the tools they need to make better, more informed healthcare decisions,” said Barbara J. McNeil, MD, Ph.D., head of the Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School. “These efforts are helping to improve the quality, value, and access to healthcare, while enabling consumers to become more engaged in their health and wellness.” The four BlueWorks programs that were recognized for their innovation and success are:

Caring Program: Care Coordination for Children with Special Healthcare Needs (Highmark Blue Shield’s Caring Foundation, Pennsylvania) Applications of Indirect Estimation of Race/Ethnicity Data in Health Plan Activities (Anthem Blue Cross, California) Enhancing Statin Therapy Efficiency (Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas) Smart Bodies: Building Healthy Bodies and Active Minds (Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation) “These pioneering programs should be applauded for their efforts to improve the quality of healthcare for consumers,” said Scott P. Serota, BCBSA president and CEO. “They are prime examples of the work that Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are doing to drive health and wellness and make managing healthcare choices easier for consumers.” Children with Special Heathcare Needs (Highmark Blue Shield’s Caring Foundation, Pennsylvania) Parents and caregivers of children with special healthcare needs must often navigate a maze of services and providers to ensure that their children receive appropriate care. Recognizing the enormous financial and emotional burden of this system, the Highmark Blue Shield’s Caring Foundation developed the Caring Program. Through its use of community-based nurse care coordinators who engage in home visits and offer ongoing support to families, the program provides communication, coordination, and collaboration among systems. As a result, these children have experienced 50 percent fewer inpatient hospitalizations, and families have enjoyed an estimated cost savings of $334/year. here highmark blue shield

Racial Disparities in Healthcare (Anthem Blue Cross, California)Problems of racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare persist in the United States. To better target the healthcare needs of underserved populations, Anthem Blue Cross (California) designed a program to indirectly determine the race and ethnicity of its members, using a combination of name analyses and addresses geocoded with census data. The information allows Anthem to identify underserved members so that it can provide them with culturally and linguistically appropriate screening and health-education materials and other targeted quality-improvement and disease-management initiatives based on race and ethnicity.

Statin Therapy Efficiency (Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas)For people with high cholesterol levels, following a prescribed regimen of statin drugs can help lower the risk of a heart attack or other serious cardiac events. To increase the utilization of statins by members who have been prescribed the drugs but are not adhering to their prescriptions, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas notifies the patients’ physicians of the nonadherence and urges the doctors to follow up. The program has produced a significant increase in statin use among target members, who are three times more compliant with statin therapy than previously. In addition to increasing statin use, the program improves economic efficiency through a pharmacy benefit step therapy plan that discourages the use of expensive brand-name statins when less-expensive, generic versions will work equally well for the patients. The rise in statin utilization has been more than offset by the increased use of generic forms of the medications.

Healthy Behaviors for Children (Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation)The startling increase in childhood obesity is a major public health concern. Obese children are likely to become obese adults, which increases the likelihood of their suffering from chronic diseases, including Type 2 diabetes. In response, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation designed the Smart Bodies program, which targets elementary-school children and aims to promote lifelong healthy eating patterns and a physically active lifestyle. Through the program, children increase their basic knowledge of nutrition, learn the importance of physical activity, and increase their intake of fruits and vegetables. In 2007, 89 schools in 32 parishes, serving more than 35,000 students statewide, participated in the Smart Bodies program. Research reveals that students who have taken part in the program have increased knowledge about healthy behaviors, engaged in more physical activity, and maintained healthy weight levels.

A BlueWorks Honorable Mention was also recognized:

Smooth Transition from the Hospital to Home (Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts) The transition from hospitalization to a home setting is increasingly recognized as having significant risks that can result in readmission to the hospital and increased medical expenses. In response, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts developed the Aftercare Program, through which case managers initiate calls to identified members within two days of discharge from the hospital, in order to assess their condition at home, reinforce discharge instructions and address self-management strategies. Preliminary results show a reduction of readmission rates in targeted hospitals of 25 percent and initial savings of $4.4 million. Member satisfaction surveys also report that 95 percent of members surveyed were satisfied with the support that they received through the program.

“Each BlueWorks program promotes a better understanding of the issue at hand and improves the effectiveness of healthcare for the consumer and the healthcare system as a whole,” said Harvard’s Dr. McNeil. “BlueWorks exemplifies the ways Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are responding to needs in the current healthcare system with original programs that are showing remarkable impact.” TNS hs62 -JF78-081007-1906568 18MASHJofrey Paul Cholette, 312/297-5954

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