Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 at 9:40 PM
We have a variety of strategies for cleaning out the pollution in Major League Baseball stats. One we haven’t talked much about so far this season is the pure exclusion of one-run games. We have gone over results in nailbiters a few times to give you a sense of who’s been lucky and who’s been unlucky. But, until now, we haven’t run the numbers for both leagues while completely EXCLUDING those games from the standings.
It’s time to rectify that. We start in the American League, where the known powerhouses of Texas, the New York Yankees, and the Los Angeles Angels jump off the charts with very clear superiority. (For deadline reasons, we’re using the records upon completion of Tuesday Night’s action)
AL RECORDS: GAMES DECIDED BY 2 RUNS OR MORE
NY Yankees: 43-25
LA Angels: 43-29
Tampa Bay: 31-31
Kansas City: 25-39
Toronto is a surprise in fourth place. They may have been well-positioned to make a run at the Wildcard if not for injuries suffered by key players this week. Of course, we say that every season! Toronto is always better than people realize, but not quite strong enough to crash the centers of power in their division. If only they played in the AL Central with Detroit and Cleveland.
Oakland is another team that might surprise you. They’re a few games over .500 even though many fans and handicappers tend to classify them as one of the also-rans. If you see the AL West as having two “have’s” and two “have-nots,” then it’s easy to lose sight of what the A’s have been doing this year. They’ve been better than Detroit and Tampa Bay once you take the coin flip essence of one-run games out of the mix. They don’t get that kind of respect in the markets or in the media.
Notice how Cleveland and Baltimore both fall dramatically from grace in this stat. Each has been part of a pennant race through the first half of the season. But, much of that may have been an illusion caused by extreme good fortune in close games. They’ve generally played to unimpressive preseason expectations once you throw out the lucky wins.
Seattle, Kansas City, and Minnesota do grade out very badly here. We would like to point out though that each team is probably playing better right now than those records would suggest. Horrible starts to a season can make it look like you’re ALWAYS bad…when, in fact, you can rise up to be average in a way that won’t fix that ugly record. Minnesota and Kansas City have been doing better in the markets than those records would suggest.
Let’s move now to the National League…where taking out the one-run results makes the NL Central look better than you had thought, and the NL West look much worse.
NL RECORDS: GAMES DECIDED BY 2 RUNS OR MORE
St. Louis: 36-28
NY Mets: 34-31
San Francisco: 30-27
LA Dodgers: 29-27
Chicago Cubs: 26-36
San Diego: 24-42
It’s still hard to think of Washington as the best team in the National League because of that franchise’s mediocre history. But, every “clean” methodology we can come up with tells the same story. Washington IS the best as long as their ace pitchers stay healthy. Cincinnati is right up there with them in this stat, as well as many others we respect. It’s a weird year in the NL where the big city payrolls aren’t buying wins, and the projected powers have been stumbling.
Note the big hunk of teams right around the .500 mark. As bad as Philadelphia has looked lately, they have played in some misfortune. Even though Arizona has failed to match Preseason expectations in terms of their battle with SF and LA in the West…the Diamondbacks are right there with those two teams in this stat. We have a division where the winner is based solely on luck in close games.
If you keep Power Ratings in baseball, be sure that the NL is relatively condensed amongst its top dozen teams. And, keep an eye out for some of the cellar dwellers improving their play down the stretch. The Cubs actually had a nice run lately. San Diego isn’t the doormat now it was earlier, even if they haven’t joined the parity party in the middle just yet. It’s probably a good idea to go through your schedule each night and put an X through any one-run game. Focus on results in the more one-sided games to get a truer read on where everyone stands in the big picture.
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THURSDAY AFTERNOON HIGHLIGHTS (out of 8 total day games)
San Francisco at Atlanta (Bumgarner vs. Hudson!)
NY Mets at Washington (Dickey vs. Gonzalez!)
Cleveland at Tampa Bay
LA Angels at Detroit
THURSDAY NIGHT HIGHLIGHTS
Chicago White Sox at Boston (televised by MLB Network)
New York Yankees at Oakland
Win early…then let your winnings ride if anything grades out big on the night time schedule. JIM HURLEY always does his best to apply the best money management principals to your Las Vegas wagering experience.
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Don’t forget that the Hall of Fame Game matching Arizona and New Orleans is set for Sunday Night August the 5th. That’s just two-and-a-half weeks away! All 32 pro teams will take the field a few days later. This is shaping up as one of the most interesting preseasons in years because of all the high quality talent that just got drafted by teams who need immediate help. Be sure you’re making THE DOLLARS OF AUGUST so they’ll multiply themselves over several times between now and the Super Bowl.
Back with you Friday for “Showcase Series” coverage of the Texas Rangers visiting the LA Angels. Those teams will be battling tooth and nail for the AL West flag down the stretch…and may square off again in the American League Playoffs. Naturally, that matchup will be the featured telecast Saturday afternoon on FOX, and then will be the Sunday Night game on ESPN.
Our college football conference previews continue Saturday and Sunday with Conference USA. We’ll study the East on Saturday and the West on Sunday. Be sure you read up on SMU, a team that may have the right quarterback for the right system at just the right time! Our previews will continue on weekends throughout the summer. Please check the archives for the WAC and Sun Belt (two weekends ago), and the two divisions of the Mid American Conference (last weekend).
If you’re new to the world of Las Vegas wagering, you may have never realized that JULY could be this exciting! Make money in the bases…prepare for football…all with the undisputed World Champion of Sports Handicapping, JIM HURLEY!