Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, July 24, 2012 at 9:55 PM
We haven’t had a chance in awhile to check in on “recent form” in Major League baseball. We touched on it yesterday when talking about the Oakland A’s. They have been the hottest team in the bases for a few weeks now. What other teams have been on nice rolls of late? Who’s fallen off the map? If you just casually glance at the newspaper standings every day, the full season standings tend to get locked into your mindset. That’s HORRIBLE because many teams have changed stripes since April extremes created illusions.
*Baltimore is in second place in the vaunted AL East while Minnesota is in last place in the much maligned AL Central. Yet, Minnesota’s had a better record dating back several weeks now.
*The Los Angeles Dodgers are in a tight race in the NL West and for the NL Wildcard. Would you believe they’ve been six games worse than both the Chicago Cubs and the San Diego Padres over the last 30 games?!
If Oakland caught you by surprise, those revelations might make your head spin!
For today’s update, we’ve gathered the records for all 30 teams over their last 30 games. Because of publication deadlines, these are through the games of Monday Night. Let’s take it division by division.
AL EAST LAST 30 GAMES
New York 17-13
Tampa Bay 12-18
The most important news to us here is how badly Baltimore and Tampa Bay have been over the last 30 games. Baltimore is still in a pennant race. And, Tampa Bay is always seen as being on the verge of breaking through and doing some damage. Yet, over the last month, they’re two of the worst teams in the American League. Only Kansas City is worse. And, Kansas City actually had good results vs. Tampa Bay. Have the Rays become the worst team in the AL? Vegas is still pricing them like an 85-90 win team even though they’ve been playing like an 85-90 loss team for awhile now.
Boston is also a disappointment…but that’s just staying in line with what’s been a full season of disappointments. The Red Sox 30-day form shouldn’t surprise you because it’s just a continuation of what the standings have been saying all year. The struggles of Baltimore and Tampa Bay have probably surprised many of you reading this.
AL CENTRAL LAST 30 GAMES
Chicago White Sox 16-14
Kansas City 11-19
Detroit is right on the heels of Oakland over the last 30 games in terms of “Best in the AL.” That’s why the Tigers are now leading their division for the full season…and why they’re once again being talked up in championship discussions. It took them half the season to find the form everyone was expecting to see right out of the gate!
Be sure you pay attention to Minnesota. They started off so badly that their records in the newspaper standings were destined to be embarrassing all year. They’ve actually matched Boston win for win for a sustained time period now. We’re not suggesting the Twins are as good as the contenders or anything (Boston’s been a non-contender). Just that the market is pricing Minnesota like a patsy, when they’ve played fairly representative baseball for several weeks.
AL WEST LAST 30 GAMES
LA Angels 17-13
No surprises here because you already knew Oakland was hot, and the two teams just below them have maintained extremely strong form. Texas and LAA are championship material if they can keep from breaking down physically. Oakland may or may not belong in the championship discussion because their recent hot streak has been heavily influenced by nailbiter wins. Nobody can win all of those on purpose all the time. Note that the Angels and Seattle cancel each other out in terms of the records, which makes the division 20 games over .500 as a unit during this sample size. THIS is the power division in the AL right now.
NL EAST LAST 30 GAMES
NY Mets 12-18
What’s striking here is the collapse of the bottom three. The Phils were supposed to be championship material. Miami was everybody’s darkhorse before the season started. The Mets got off to a great start, and became a “new darkhorse” for everyone who gave up on Miami. All three have stunk in recent weeks! We fell into the trap ourselves this year of seeing the NL East and AL East as the power divisions in baseball. That was true for awhile. It’s not even close to being the case in recent form. Stunning developments for the Phils and Marlins in particular given the preseason hype.
NL CENTRAL LAST 30 GAMES
Chicago Cubs 17-13
St. Louis 16-14
First, let’s notice that the Cubs are playing almost as well as the top contenders over the past month. Sometimes bringing in new blood can revitalize a team. Unfortunately, trades may wreak havoc with the rest of 2012 as the franchise continues to focus on the future. Just be aware that “off the radar” teams can get hot after making impactful changes. Somebody you’re only half paying attention to right now will be the Cubs of August.
Also, we need to mention that Houston has become a special kind of horrible. They’re a minor league team right now in almost all facets of play. The market has been ridiculously slow to react to this development. The Astros are being priced like a 65-70 win team during an extended stretch where they’ve lost 80% of their games in mostly non-competitive fashion. We may be looking at a 50-55 win team unless opponents start showing some mercy.
NL WEST LAST 30 GAMES
San Francisco 17-13
San Diego 17-13
LA Dodgers 11-19
Would you have guessed San Diego was 17-13 while the Dodgers were 11-19? LA did get some healthy bodies back in recent days, and are likely to play much better than 11-19 going forward. San Diego joins the Cubs on the list of doormats who’ suddenly started to click. Too many of you lost money fading these teams the past month even after they started playing well. Don’t let full season records weight too heavily on your process. You must ALWAYS be updating your perceptions of teams based on what’s been happening most recently.
Speaking of recent form…JIM HURLEY has been on a nice baseball run. You can purchase his selections every day right here at the website. Game day releases go up a few hours before first pitch. Be sure you take care of business EARLY on Wednesday because of all the day action.
EARLY WEDNESDAY HIGHLIGHTS
Washington at NY Mets
Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh
Atlanta at Florida
San Diego at San Francisco
Minnesota at Chicago White Sox
NY Yankees at Seattle
LATE WEDNESDAY HIGHLIGHTS
LA Dodgers at St. Louis
Tampa Bay at Baltimore
Oakland at Toronto
Boston at Texas
What a great double-loaded card! If you have any questions about our service, how are games are rated, or about money management, call the office at 1-800-323-4453. Be sure to ask about early-bird football when you call. We’re now just a week-and-a-half away from the start of the NFL Preseason.
Back with you Thursday for more baseball notes. Our showcase series on Friday for the weekend will either be the LA Dodgers at the San Francisco Giants or the Boston Red Sox at the New York Yankees depending on what happens between now and then. Two heated rivalries…and one where fans will suddenly be chanting “Ichiro, Ichiro, Ichiro” in the Bronx!
If you’re recent form hasn’t been up to standard, link up with PROVEN WINNER JIM HURLEY!