Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 10:04 AM
It can be tough to squeeze baseball coverage into the NOTEBOOK at this time of year because football is king! But, Tuesday seems like the ideal time to get caught up with what's going on in the playoffs. There's no football until Thursday…and there are a whopping FOUR games on the Tuesday baseball schedule.
We're going to get you caught up in the bases with a stat that you regulars will recognize. During the regular season, we like to turn a baseball score into a 'football score' by using the offensive sum of Total Bases Plus Walks. This combination gives you a great sense of production. As much as TV announcers like to talk about clutch hits and postseason heroes…it's raw production at the team level that usually gets the job done.
If you're getting guys on base and moving them around…you're usually going to win. If you're not, then you have to time your hits extremely well to advance through the month. That's always been true for the years. In the rare cases where it's NOT true…that's telling you something important too.
This stat has turned out to be very interesting in the opening weekend because we've had a few games where the 'wrong' team won. If you take a typical regular season Sunday…there might be one, maybe two games where it happens. Often it doesn't happen at all. In the first eight games of the playoffs (two games per series), it's happened three times already!
Let's take things series by series and see what the numbers might mean…
TEXAS AT TAMPA BAY (2:05 p.m. ET)
Game One: Tampa Bay 23, Texas 5
Game Two: Tampa Bay 23, Texas 15
Game Three: Texas 17, Tampa Bay 17
Stunning domination for the Rays in the first two games. And, a really bad loss in Game Two because a 'converted' stat score would have been 6-4 for Tampa Bay (it takes four bases to score a run…and there's a good correlation between TB+W divided by four and actual scoring in large sample sizes).
If they lose this series, they're really going to regret not making the most of that Game Two production. But, a 46-20 edge on the road is a good sign that they at least have the ability to take this series the distance. Tampa Bay is doing a much better job of getting people in position to do some damage through the course of 27 innings.
It's often a very fine line that determines who wins a best-of-five baseball series. The Rangers are lucky to have a series advantage to this point.
PHILADELPHIA AT ST. LOUIS (5:05 p.m. ET)
Game One: Philadelphia 22, St. Louis 13
Game Two: St. Louis 24, Philadelphia 11
See what we mean about these looking like football scores? The right team won each of the first two games based on those numbers. You can see that either offense is capable of going big…or of getting shut down. Philadelphia is still the series favorite even with the home loss in Game Two. They're favorites in Tuesday's Game Three as we go to press…and they'll be high priced favorites in a fifth game at home with Roy Halladay on the mound.
Still, it's worth noting that we're basically at a dead heat through two games…with St. Louis leading 37-33 in total bases plus walks. And, that's with the games being played in Philadelphia…with Halladay already getting a win…and with Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter having a horrible outing. Regular season records don't matter now Philadelphia, you have some work to do!
NY YANKEES AT DETROIT (8:35 p.m.)
Game One: New York 20, Detroit 14
Game Two: New York 19, Detroit 13
Amazing that we saw a virtual replay of offensive production, but a complete flip flop of results. Detroit managed to steal a win in a game they should have lost by a score of about 5-3. We mentioned at the top that you'll maybe see about one game a day go the wrong way with this stat. When that happens, it's usually close. By that, we mean that a team lost despite winning this stat 23-22, or 14-13 or something. You really have to waste your opportunities to turn a 19-13 edge in bases into a loss (or the 23-15 edge that Tampa Bay had in Game Two).
With Justin Verlander getting rained out…those are very strong pitching numbers for the Tigers considering the ballpark they're playing in. Tough to hold those Yankee bats to just 19-20 bases when home runs are so easy. And, credit to the Yankees pitchers too. This is a high scoring park, but those aren't big offensive totals.
ARIZONA AT MILWAUKEE (9:35 p.m. ET)
Game One: Milwaukee 17, Arizona 8
Game Two: Arizona 26, Milwaukee 21
Yes, a THIRD game where a team lost on the scoreboard despite having a decent-sized edge in bases. What happened? Arizona scored just four runs in a game where they hit three homers. Those three homers accounted for 12 of the 26 bases…meaning everything else was pretty much wasted. Milwaukee clustered five runs in one really big inning where they strung together some hits (and a safety squeeze bunt that worked).
Hey, good work if you can get it. But, you can't count on a breakthrough inning every game, particularly against the kind of pitching you're supposed to see in the postseason. Be aware that Milwaukee isn't quite as scary offensively as they've looked on the scoreboard so far. Arizona's in a deep hole in the series…but they're only down 38-34 in offensive bases…which means they not being outclassed.
We can't talk about specific Tuesday pitching matchups or game scenarios because we have to protect that information for our clients. But, we can tell you that JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK will definitely be active in Tuesday's QUADRUPLEHEADER, so take care of business early in the day to make sure you get full value. Then, check back with the website every day this week to get an updated schedule of big plays on the purchase page. Great opportunities present themselves in terms of ebb and flow in a playoff series on a daily basis. Being in the business for almost 25 years helps you recognize when a series is going to see-saw back and forth…or when it's all done but the shouting.
If you want to create a combination baseball-football package, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453. We have a big football weekend coming up…starting with California-Oregon Thursday Night…and continuing on through the weekend with big college games like Oklahoma-Texas, Iowa-Penn State, Auburn-Arkansas, Georgia-Tennessee, Miami-Virginia Tech, Air Force-Notre Dame, Florida-LSU, and Ohio State-Nebraska. Sunday could get very interesting with games like Philadelphia-Buffalo, Tennessee-Pittsburgh, NY Jets-New England, and Green Bay-Atlanta.
We'll be back here in the NOTEBOOK Wednesday to run through some interesting stat indicators from all the NFL action this past Sunday and Monday. We pick up with big game previews beginning on Thursday. Make sure you're with us every day so you know what's REALLY happening in the world of sports.
Things get busy on the weekend…so use this Tuesday to get all of your ducks in a row. Blown lines in Vegas are sitting there like sitting ducks waiting for JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK to fire away!