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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, July 9, 2012 at 8:32 PM

The last time we were with you we discussed market misses in the National League, where many elements of the so-called “senior circuit” have been turned upside down in 2012. Today, we move over to the American League where there have been fewer surprises, but some clear shockers of note.

Don’t forget that JIM HURLEY’S selection in Tuesday Night’s All-Star Game will be available right here at this website in the afternoon for credit card purchase. Will the American League win as a favorite in front of friendly fans in Kansas City? Or, will the National League steal home field advantage for the World Series with an underdog victory? Don’t make a move until you hear what JIM HURLEY has to say!

We’ll start today the AL East, where a few surprises sit beneath the powerhouse New York Yankees in your newspaper standings…

 

AL EAST PRESEASON WIN ESTIMATES

NY Yankees 93

Boston 90

Tampa Bay 84

Toronto 80

Baltimore 69

New York is currently on pace to surpass what were already high expectations even though they started the 2012 season slowly, lost Mariano Rivera, then lost C.C. Sabathia and Andy Pettite for extended periods. This is a great team. And, it looks like some of the locker room chemistry issues have disappeared completely.

You could call it a surprise that the Yanks have been this good while dealing with injuries. But, there’s no debate about whether or not Boston and Baltimore have been surprises. The Red Sox have been down near the bottom of the standings all season…granting that you can still be over .500 but be at the bottom of the standing in the AL East! They obviously haven’t been playing at a 90-72 pace. There are stretches where they look like a playoff team. But, there have been more stretches (like the 2-5 West Coast trip to Seattle and Oakland) where it was pretty clear that the team still has a lot of work to do.

Baltimore has done an amazing job this year considering they’ve had a very poor starting rotation. The offense has been finding ways to get on the board. The team keeps its composure in close games. It’s amazing what a smart manager can do with a young hustling team (just remember that this same manager has a history of wearing out his welcome surprisingly quickly!). The O’s are still a statistical longshot to make the playoffs because of their tough schedule and spotty pitching. They’re not a longshot to finish over .500 though…and the preseason markets thought they’d be more than 20 games Under. Heck, the preseason markets had them with the worst record in the American League!

 

AL CENTRAL PRESEASON WIN ESTIMATES

Detroit 92

Kansas City 81

Cleveland 78

Chicago White Sox 74

Minnesota 73

Well, the markets got last place right! Minnesota has been the doormat of the division, though they have picked up the pace in recent weeks. Otherwise, things are topsy turvy.

Detroit was supposed to be an AL power along with the Yankees, Angels, and Rangers. They needed a recent winning streak just to get back to the.500 mark. That’s a big miss.

Kansas City was projected for a .500 record (81 wins and 81 losses). They’ll need a 10-game winning streak sometime soon to make that a reality. And, it’s very difficult to look at this rotation or lineup and assume something like that is in the offing. For now, that’s a big miss.

Cleveland may or may not be a big miss depending on what’s ahead. They’ve been playing better thus far than projections. What’s most important here though is that they’re contending for the division crown because the market misread the strength of the favorite so badly. Cleveland was supposed to be way off the pace. That hasn’t happened because there’s not much pace in this division!

Chicago is the biggest surprise of the division, and therefore the biggest miss. Not only have they surged into the lead on a pace to win 90-91 games…but they’ve been holding their own against the other class teams. Chicago just swept Texas! So, this isn’t a team that’s getting rich off a soft schedule. Chicago is legitimately one of the best teams in the whole AL right now. That’s a REALLY big miss for the markets.

 

AL WEST PRESEASON WIN ESTIMATES

LA Angels 92

Texas 91

Seattle 72

Oakland 71

Not much drama here. Things were out of kilter early when the LA Angels came out ice cold in the early weeks of the Albert Pujols era. Once he heated up, they started winning at a furious pace. They’re now back on pace to reach their full season projection, which didn’t seem remotely possible a month into the season. We should have a dogfight between the Halos and the Rangers to win the division down the stretch. Both are likely to get at least a Wildcard given their high level of play.

Seattle had a miserable stretch that’s dropped them well behind the A’s in your morning newspaper. There’s still time to make that up. We’ll see down the road if that deserves to be categorized as a miss or not. For the most part, things have gone as expected in this division in terms of contenders and also-rans. Not any reason to pick nits. 

Are you ready to pick winners! You should always be focused on that. We hope you’re putting in the work this week that it takes to enjoy a strong second half of the 2012 Major League season. You should be thinking about which teams may be poised to cool off and regress to the mean after possibly playing over their heads in the first three months. You should be thinking about which bad teams are already tossing in the towel on 2012 and thinking about rebuilding for the future. And, of course, you should be looking for potential positive surprises from off-the-radar. Is somebody like Atlanta, or St. Louis, or Toronto about to get hot and make a move?

The market just showed you they can make some bad misses. Don’t get the idea that everything’s settled in. More surprises are in store in the coming months. And, JIM HURLEY is convinced that at least FIVE different teams are due for very serious course changes!

You can take advantage of NETWORK’S unique TEAM HANDICAPPING approach all through July, August, and September in the bases right here at this website. Great rates are available for the rest of the season. Start off that second half with a win tonight in the All-Star Game. If you have any questions about our service, call and ask about the BLUE RIBBON CLUB at 1-800-323-4453.

Remember to check on combination packages with football too. The All-Star Break is the perfect time to get your ducks in a row for baseball AND football!

Back with you Wednesday with more baseball coverage. We’ll be checking in on some of our pet indicator stats before the games pick up again on Friday. Don’t forget that our college football conference previews resume this Saturday and Sunday with the Mid American Conference’s East and West Divisions. We’ll cover the mid majors on weekends through July (check the archives for the WAC and Sun Belt reports from last weekend). In August we’ll look at the major BCS conferences.

There may be a break in the schedule…but there’s never a break in the work at JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!

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