Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Yesterday we updated one of our favorite indicator stats for the National League. Today we’re back to do the same thing for the American League. It’s important for you to remember as we run through the numbers that the AL is much better than the NL once again this season (at least to this point in Interleague action). It’s dangerous to compare the numbers you see today directly to those if you’re trying to make across-the-league comparisons. A few, and possibly ALL of the best teams in the NL would have trouble posting big win totals in the AL East for example.
If you missed yesterday’s report. This key stat we’re discussing is “Wins Minus Home Games Played.” It adjusts for the unbalanced home/road splits that are unavoidable at any snapshot you take of midseason standings. Handicappers need to make sure they know which teams have played some extra home games so far (they probably aren’t as good as the newspaper standings are suggesting), and which teams have played some extra road games (they’re probably better than those standings suggest).
Here we go with the AL. Note that data is through the games of Tuesday Night because of publication deadlines…
Tampa Bay +10
NY Yankees +1
What a great division! Well, except for Toronto. The Blue Jays are actually worse than your newspaper standings would suggest because they’ve played a couple series worth of extra home games. That will even out through this West Coast swing. Otherwise…what you see is what you get. Tampa Bay and Boston are arguably the two best teams in baseball once you adjust for strength of opponent’s on the schedule. Baltimore is currently in a battle for the final Wildcard with Cleveland and the runner-up out West. Let’s see what this stat says about those teams…
Kansas City +1
Chicago White Sox -10
Not much big news in this division. The only major discrepancy is Minnesota…who’s had a lot of extra road games so far. That would normally mean that they’re better than everyone things…and a value team moving forward. But, they’ve hit a bit of a slump since the All-Star Break. They need to show more life on a nightly basis before we’ll invest any of our bankroll in them for big Las Vegas bets. Cleveland is within striking distance of both the Tigers in this division and the Orioles in the Wildcard race. Kansas City’s gotten hot lately…but they needed that just to get back to respectability. Can they keep it going the whole second half?
LA Angels -7
The most important thing for you to know with this group is that only Oakland has played more road games than home games right now! That means they’re even further ahead in the “true” standings than the newspaper makes it seem. As long as they take care of business in those extra home games, they’ll be in great shape to go the distance. Texas had been in a bad slump after the All-Star Break until the disintegrating Angels came to Arlington and kept handing them late wins! If the Rangers do eventually reach the postseason…they should send a playoff share to the Angels bullpen. By this pet measure of ours, the Rangers have some work to do to catch both Cleveland and Baltimore in the race for the last Wildcard spot. You have to assume right now that either Tampa Bay or Boston will get the first one, particularly with the Red Sox picking up Jake Peavy before the trade deadline.
Note that the Rangers and A’s begin a three-game set Friday in Oakland. The Rangers can rectify their current ills by winning that series. If they don’t…then the results will help re-align the newspaper standings properly as the Rangers and A’s move toward a 50/50 split of home and road games so far. That series helps even up the schedules…which means the standings on Monday will give you a pretty good read of this division.
We’ll preview that huge AL West series Friday here in the NOTEBOOK. Don’t forget that our summer series of NFL Divisional stat previews will begin Sunday to get you ready for the Hall of Fame game matching Miami and Dallas. Yes, FOOTBALL BEGINS SUNDAY!
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