Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, June 1, 2012 at 4:37 PM
There’s been a surprising amount of parity in the American League all season thanks to less than stellar starts to many projected powers. If you focus just on the last 30 games for each team, things seem even more tightly bunched together.
In fact, believe it or not, the entire AL East (Tampa Bay, Baltimore, NY Yankees, Toronto, and Boston) have records of exactly 16-14 over their last 30 games! Every single one of them! Nobody in the AL has won as many as 20 games during the hunk (19-11 is the best). Nobody in the AL has lost as many as 20 games over their last 30.
Here’s a quick breakdown of 30-game records heading into weekend action…
Chicago White Sox
Both of these teams have surged into the playoff discussion with hot runs. Chicago now leads the AL Central after seeming like a non-entity in the early stages of the season. The Los Angeles Angels are back to .500 after a truly miserable start…and are in the thick of the Wildcard discussion. They have a chance to get back into the AL West race at home against first place Texas this weekend as well. We know that you’re used to thinking of the traditional AL powers as being the best teams to bet on in Las Vegas. That’s just not true at the moment. Only the Angels and White Sox are playing playoff caliber baseball over the past month.
16-14 or 15-15
The Whole AL East (5 teams)!!
The entire AL East is sitting at 16-14 over the last 30 games, as are the teams just below them in that hunk outlined above. Texas is the only team at 15-15 right now in the AL (were you aware that Kansas City’s been better than Texas over the last 30 games?!). That gives us more than half the league (8 of 14 teams) with a game of the .500 mark. If you’re used to laying odds with the likes of Boston, New York, or even Texas since they became a power, you’ve been juicing out in recent weeks. Remember that THIS is where Vegas sportsbooks make their money! Squares want to bet on big name teams in a sport where it’s hard to dominate all the time. If we’re approaching a new era of parity because of lulls for the Yankees and Red Sox, then the last thing you want to do is chase chalk.
13-17, 12-18, or 11-19
While only two teams are establishing a high level of play of late, we have four stragglers who are in serious trouble. Detroit is the biggest surprise given their off-season moves and the general consensus that they were a lock to win the AL Central. Not only are they off to a slow start…but they’re now one of only four teams playing losing ball over a midseason 30-game period! There’s still plenty of time to get things in gear. And, in any condensed pack like this…getting good means you suddenly have an edge over almost everybody. The Tigers better not wait too much longer or this is going to be a lost season.
The American League should be fresh on your minds because of all the big matchups on display this weekend.
*A pair of early disappointments go head-to-head as the Yankees visit the Tigers in a series that will get prominent TV coverage on FOX Saturday Night and TBS Sunday afternoon. Neither of those teams is performing at a playoff level lately, but you can assume playoff intensity since both know they have to get things in gear. Can the Tigers beat Sabathia and Kuroda on consecutive days? Justin Verlander (scheduled for Sunday) can’t pitch every day!
*The four AL East teams who aren’t the Yankees are matched up as Baltimore visits Tampa Bay and Boston plays in Toronto. That jammed up race has to work itself out soon. Given the head-to-head battles over the next week…and then Interleague play against the tough NL East through June…we may be about to see one or two teams fall off the pace. Don’t less past assumptions overrule logic as you try to figure out who those pending collapses might be.
*As we mentioned earlier (and touched on in a previous article), the Angels host the Rangers with a chance to get right back into the AL West race. Note that staff aces Yu Darvish and CJ Wilson are scheduled to face each other again Saturday Night. Will the Angels continued their surge? Has Vegas finally caught up to their improved level of play?
Definitely a fun weekend on tap for baseball handicappers and analysts in the AL. Vegas oddsmakers are in an awkward position trying to straddle the reality of 2012 with multiple early misperceptions about contenders and pretenders.
If you’d like some help finding the best plays on the board, consult with our VSM experts each and every day. Check the home page of this website for big play bulletins. That and the listings on the “buy picks” page are your best sources for special announcements from our industry legends. The busy summer schedule gives you a chance to win EVERY DAY!