Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, July 17, 2012 at 9:51 PM
It’s very difficult in Major League Baseball to put runs on the board every single night. Every team has dangerous pitchers…and some teams have a lot of them. There’s no way to time your hits exactly when you need them. Your clean-up hitter is going to blow hot and cold. You’re going to get shut out. You’re going to have a few games where you score only once or twice.
Unless you’re the New York Yankees from May 30th through mid-July! We’re posting this online before the games of Tuesday Night July 17th are being played. The NOTEBOOK has been known to jinx tendencies in the past, and we may do so again here. We just want you to be aware that the Yankees have become the dominant team in baseball the past couple of months because their offense is consistently putting them in position to win.
Imagine a team that averages five runs a game by scoring in sequences of 2-4-9. They rarely win with just two. They virtually always win with nine. That four is either 50/50 or a bit worse depending on their pitching staff. We’re looking at a 50/50 team…maybe worse if the pitching staff consistently allows 4.5 runs per game. Going 2-4-9 against 4.5 runs a game is going to cause problems, even with a gaudy average of five. In this case, the average gives you a false read of offensive impact.
Now, imagine a team that averages five runs a game by scoring in sequences of 5-5-5. Nobody could ever do this of course. There’s too much randomness in baseball (and all sports) to allow for it. But, you can see how efficient that would be. A team like this is going to post a fantastic record if their pitching staff consistently allows 4.5 runs per game or better. Same average for the offensive totals…but the consistency yields a better result.
Here’s what the New York Yankees scored going back in time from Monday’s win over Toronto to the Boston series you probably watched on TV just before the All-Star Break.
Wow! That’s not averaging five per game. That’s not 5-5-5. That’s five as a WORST CASE SCENARIO against an archrival, a possible playoff opponent, and then one game against another divisional foe. Put runs like that up on the board, and you’re going to make history.
Let’s look at the prior three series, which came against Tampa Bay, the Chicago White Sox, and Cleveland (again going from most recent to furthest back in order)
Not as great…because it can be hard to light up the scoreboard on the road in Tampa Bay (the first three games on that list). But, you don’t see any 0-1-2 marks…and you see a team that consistently gets to at least four runs for their pitching staff. When not facing the Rays on the road, you see a string that’s not far off that very potent run that we first described.
Now we’ll run a longer list that goes through Interleague play. The specifics aren’t really that critical. Don’t treat the numbers like broccoli. Just note the volume and consistency as you gaze over the scoring line.
Same story here. Nothing representing a disaster. There are only three 3’s on the list. The Yankees were consistently scoring in a range that was going to be enough for their starting pitchers. Notice that we don’t have any double digit numbers on the last two lists. This isn’t an offense that pads its stats with occasional explosions (which Texas sometimes does when home run conditions are favorable). They just keep putting numbers on the board that MATTER…night after night.
We still haven’t seen a 0-1-2 yet and we’re all the way back through the beginning of Interleague Play against an NL East division that’s known for its pitching. We’ll run it back until there’s something less than three.
There it is! The first number at 2 or less going back in time was against the LA Angels back on May 29th. The Yankees didn’t post a 0-1-2 at any time in June, nor through the first half of July. It’s not quite that dream scenario of 5-5-5 in perpetuity. But, it’s the closest thing to that we’ve seen in the majors since the end of the steroid era.
We’re probably due for some regression to the mean. And, if the Yanks find themselves 10 games ahead of the field in the AL East, there’s no reason for them to keep their feet on the gas pedal to such an extreme degree. Things could get quiet in September as a veteran team paces itself for the playoffs. For now, in games that matter, this is a development that handicappers need to be aware of.
*Don’t ask opposing pitchers to shut down the Yankees
*Don’t fade the Yankees unless you have a strong opposing offense at a great price
*Look for spots to bet the Over, but remember that the Yanks don’t run up the score often
*Look for ways to invest in the Yanks scoring tendencies in good home run parks or good hitting parks
New York finishes off its three-game set with Toronto Wednesday afternoon before flying out to Oakland for the weekend. THAT will be a good test for the Yanks. Teams are known to play flat in get-away spots, particularly when catching a plane for the other coast without a day off. And, scoring in Oakland is always tough because of the ballpark conditions. A visit to Seattle is in store after that. The main reason we decided to write this up today is because games in great pitcher’s parks are imminent. The six-week run may be over now for the time being. Or, the Yankees may be about to prove that they have a historic offense that will be a headache for anyone to deal with come playoff time.
Here are the games of interest for JIM HURLEY on Wednesday…
Toronto at NY Yankees
Texas at Oakland
St. Louis at Milwaukee
Philadelphia at LA Dodgers
LA Angels at Detroit
Chicago White Sox at Boston
NY Mets at Washington
San Francisco at Atlanta
We’ve already talked about some of these matchups in prior editions of the NOTEBOOK. Wednesday brings a day-night money management dynamic that you should all try to take advantage of if you can.
You can always purchase NETWORK selections right here at the website with your credit card. Plays go up a few hours before first pitch. If you have any questions about our baseball or football programs, call the office at 1-800-323-4453. Early bird rates are available for Preseason and Regular Season football. The Hall of Fame Game matching Arizona and New Orleans is set for Sunday Night August the 5th. The debuts of multiple high profile rookie quarterbacks will come just a few days later.
Back with you Thursday with another baseball topic. Our showcase series this weekend will be Texas at the LA Angels in a series both of those teams have been waiting for. Details about what’s at stake will run Friday, as we scope out the AL West race and study the probable pitching matchups. Our college football conference previews continue Saturday and Sunday with Conference USA. Those are running on weekends this 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).
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