Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, May 9, 2014 at 7:00 PM
We know that we had promised an NBA preview for Saturday in the “most compelling” of the day’s matchups. But, with Miami and San Antonio both winning Game Two blowouts…on top of Game One blowouts…there’s nothing YET compelling about either series! The defending conference championships are off to great starts…and neither of those series is going to get interesting until Brooklyn or Portland wins a game. We’ll get involved after that happens…which will hopefully be in our Monday report.
Because we haven’t checked in on baseball in a while, this seemed like a good time to dust off one of our pet stats for its first use in the new 2014 season. We have some discrepancies in home/road splits so far…which means it’s important to adjust for those when evaluating team quality. We do that periodically in the NOTEBOOK with a stat called “Wins Minus Home Games Played.” This does a great job of cleaning up polluted standings and helping you see baseball reality.
Let’s go division-by-division, starting in the American League. These numbers are through the games of Thursday night because of publication deadlines. Great to look at them as we enter all the weekend series.
AL EAST WINS MINUS HOME GAMES
NY Yankees +1
Tampa By -2
The horrible start for Boston is even more magnified here. They never really recovered from getting swept at home by Milwaukee. Baltimore and Toronto are shaping up as nice Cinderella stories.
AL CENTRAL WINS MINUS HOME GAMES
Kansas City +1
Chicago White Sox even
Detroit isn’t as dominant as you’ve been thinking. They’ve played a home friendly schedule that’s seen 20 games in Motown already. Once you adjust for that, the Tigers fall back to the pack. Cleveland’s off to a worse start than you probably realized because they’ve also played 20 games at home thus far.
AL WEST WINS MINUS HOME GAMES
LA Angels -2
The Seattle Mariners are a developing story. They’ve actually played 22 games on the ROAD out of their first 34, yet are still neck-and-neck with the Oakland A’s in your morning newspaper. It’s SEATTLE that currently rates as best in the league in this stat…with Seattle, Oakland, Baltimore, and Toronto all showing clear distance over the much hyped Detroit Tigers. Keep that in mind moving forward.
NL EAST WINS MINUS HOME GAMES
NY Mets -2
A very disappointing start for this division. Every game within the division is break-even obviously, so that means the group as a whole is struggling vs. everyone else. Nobody’s in positive territory after you adjust for schedules. Miami is starting to get some media run as a Cinderella because they lead in your newspaper standings. That’s largely the result of playing 22 home games and only 13 road games in a bad division.
NL CENTRAL WINS MINUS HOME GAMES
St. Louis +6
Chicago Cubs -6
St. Louis is supposedly off to a slow start because they’re only 18-17 in your newspaper standings. Shouldn’t a World Series threat be better than that? Maybe not! St. Louis has only played 12 home games so far, compared to 23 home games. If they take care of business when those nine games balance out, they’ll be back in the thick of the pennant race where they belong.
NL WEST WINS MINUS HOME GAMES
San Francisco +7
LA Dodgers +3
San Diego -5
It’s San Francisco that takes top honors in the National League and the Majors with a +7 mark heading into the weekend. Colorado and the LA Dodgers are very clearly Wildcard threats. Interesting that we see very wide splits in these last two NL divisions after the comparative equality of the NL East. Some real problems right now in Pittsburgh, Chicago, San Diego, and Arizona. And Pittsburgh was a playoff team last year!
That’s are look at REAL baseball performance thus far in the 2014 season. We’ll check in with this stat periodically through the summer (usually about once a month, sometimes more) to keep you updated. It’s back to basketball on Sunday as we preview Game Four of the Indiana/Washington series. Basketball “big game” coverage will continue through the week…with some baseball mixed in if some matchups end early.
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Another big weekend is upon us. LET’S GO GET THE MONEY!