Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, July 15, 2015 at 10:04 AM
THE ALL-STAR GAME REPORT: THE AMERICAN LEAGUE WINS (AGAIN)
PLUS COLLEGE FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: WHO'S THE BIG 10'S BIGGEST CHALLENGER TO THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY?
By Jim Hurley:
The bottom line when it comes to these Baseball All-Star Games is that the American League has Mike Trout in its lineup these days ... and the National League does not.
Trout's leadoff home run jet-powered the AL to its 10th All-Star Game win in the past 10 years - the AL is 15-3-1 overall in the past 19 years and is 21-6-1 the past 28 years - and the aforementioned Trout wound up winning a second consecutive All-Star Game MVP award while scoring two runs and beating out a potential double-play ball in a two-run fifth inning.
So, home field advantage goes to the junior circuit one mo' time - yes, it didn't mean a Game 7 win for the Kansas City Royals last year but you better believe any/all contending teams want to open the 2015 World Series at home and play a Game 7 in its own backyard too - and even with the NL getting at least the next three All-Star Games in its ballparks, that's no guarantee it can put an end to this AL domination.
In other MLB News & Notes ...
Okay, so after watching the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game at The Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati you can see how the hometown Reds rank third in the National League in home runs with 96 but you can also see how Cincinnati's pitching staff has surrendered 84 round-trippers this year.
In fact, dig into the individual stats and you see that four different Cincinnati starting pitchers have allowed double-digit home runs: RHP Mike Leake has yielded 14 home runs in 114.2 innings; righty Michael Lorenzen has given up 12 dingers in 71.1 innings pitched; ace RHP Johnny Cueto has allowed 11 homers in 118.2 innings; and RHP Jason Marquis - released back in June - gave up 10 home runs in just 47.1 innings.
It's duly noted that superstar closer LHP Aroldis Chapman - who fanned all three batters he faced in Tuesday night's game -- has surrendered just one home run in 37.1 innings, so not everyone on this Reds' staff has been damaged by the long ball but you do have to wonder the psychological effects on Cincy's starters - a couple of whom mentioned here that may not be part of the landscape in the next couple of weeks ...
Did you want to go deep into the numbers to see how those All-Star Game starting pitchers - that's Houston LHP Dallas Keuchel and Los Angeles Dodgers RHP Zack Greinke - fared in terms of day/night and road/away breakdowns?
Well, note that when Keuchel (11-4, 2.23 ERA with 114 Ks) starts, the Astros are 13-6 overall this year and that includes Houston going 2-1 in Keuchel's home day starts and 6-1 in his home night starts; also, the 'Stros are 2-2 in Keuchel's road day starts and 3-2 in his road night starts.
Meanwhile, when Greinke (8-2 with a 1.39 ERA and 106 Ks to 20 BBs) starts, the Dodgers are 12-6 overall in his 18 starts and that includes LA going 1-0 in his home day start and 6-4 in his home night starts; also, the Dodgers are 2-0 in Greinke's road day starts and 3-2 in his road night starts.
The bottom line is if you had wagered on both Keuchel and Greinke each one of their starts so far this year, you'd be 25-12 including a dazzling 15-6 record when both hurlers are home ...
Finally, get a load of the team records when these handful of starting pitchers take the hill in 2015:
The Pittsburgh Pirates are an electric 14-4 in the starts made by All-Star RHP Gerrit Cole;
The St. Louis Cardinals are a dazzling 14-3 in the starts made by All-Star RHP Carlos Martinez and the Redbirds are 13-4 in starts made by fellow All-Star righty Michael Wacha;
The New York Yankees are 11-6 this year in starts made by RHP Michael Pineda;
The Tampa Bay Rays are 10-3 in the starts made by Erasmo Ramirez;
The Chicago White Sox are 11-6 in starts made by All-Star LHP Chris Sale;
The Cleveland Indians are 11-5 in starts made by righty Danny Salazar (and they're 5-14 in starts made by 2014 Cy Young winner RHP Corey Kluber);
The Detroit Tigers are a scintillating 15-3 in the starts made by All-Star Game winner LHP David Price;
The Kansas City Royals are 13-5 in the starts made by RHP Edinson Volquez and they're 11-6 in starts made by RHP Jeremy Guthrie;
The Seattle Mariners are 12-6 in starts made by All-Star RHP Felix Hernandez;
And, lastly, the Texas Rangers are 10-5 in starts made by LHP Wandy Rodriguez.
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers are banging outs lots of winners in Major-League Baseball these days and all you need to do is check in either right here online or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 any time after 1 p.m. Eastern time for the weeknight action, after 11 a.m. ET for weekday games and after 10 a.m. ET for the baseball winners. Plus, the Football Season isn't far off as NFL Preseason action swings into gear on August 9th with the NFL Hall of Fame Game between the Pittsburgh Steelers versus the Minnesota Vikings - can't wait, right?
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK
Okay, so we're starting to get really juiced over the fact that the 2015 College Football season now is just some six weeks away and so in the coming days/weeks we'll be sprinkling in Conference Previews, Team Features and the like.
Today we ask what Big 10 team - if any - can dislodge The Ohio State University Buckeyes from atop the league's standings.
No doubt the Buckeyes - the pick to repeat as national champions by many so-called experts - are loaded following last year's 14-1 season that featured playoff wins against Alabama and Oregon and who could forget that 59-0 dismantling of Wisconsin in the Big 10 Championship Game?
Well, the Badgers are banking on getting back to the Big 10 Championship Game and possibly a revenge match with Ohio State and the latest in a long line of great Wisky running backs is Corey Clement who steps into the shoes vacated by Melvin Gordon (2,587 yards rushing last year) - can he steer the Badgers' ship to a Big 10 title?
Keep in mind Wisconsin brings back seven starters on defense but new head coach Paul Chryst.
Maybe it's Michigan State that's gonna bring the Buckeyes down. The Spartans have won 11-or-more games in four of the last five seasons and M-State has played in two of the last four Big 10 Championship Games (lost to Wisconsin in 2011 and beat Ohio State in 2013) and efficient QB Connor Cook (3,214 yards passing with 24 TDs last year) could be ready to raise up his game to an even higher level but one problem here could be the fact former DC Pat Narduzzi is gone off to Pittsburgh and that star-studded secondary needs a facelift.
Is there a potential dark horse in this Big 10 field that could kayo Ohio State from the top spot in this conference?
Maybe Penn State is set to make a charge under second-year head coach James Franklin but keep in mind the Nittany Lions do have a road date at Ohio State on Oct. 17th ... or maybe the Jim Harbaugh-led Michigan Wolverines are gonna surface as a national power following a composite 20-18 SU (straight-up) mark the past three years that includes zero bowl wins.
NOTE: There's lots of NCAA Football and NFL News & Notes coming your way later this week in Jim Sez plus the Major-Leaguers are back in action Friday night and we'll have plenty of things to see now that the All-Star Game's been played and we're headed to an exciting second half of action.