Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, July 28, 2015 at 9:00 PM
Still two more games to play in the very important American League series matching the AL East leading New York Yankees and the stalling Texas Rangers of the AL West. The Rangers keep talking about acquiring Cole Hamels from the Phils…but they’d better focus on winning the rest of this series or they might fall too far off the pace!
WILDCARD RACE THRU MONDAY (top 2 teams earn Wildcards)
Baltimore and Toronto both at .500 (50-50 and 49-49)
Tampa Bay 50-51
The Rangers may be dreaming too big of a dream if they’re really thinking about reaching the postseason. That’s a lot of ground to make up on a lot of teams. Even if Houston and Minnesota fade (not a sure thing), Baltimore and Toronto or two of the others could both catch fire anyway. Plus, it usually takes about 90 wins to reach the playoffs. Texas would have to finish 43-22 to land on 90-72. Very tough to go from a .500 caliber team (or worse) to a .667 team at the drop of a hat.
The Yankees aren’t yet a lock to win the East. But, they are virtually a lock to get no worse than a Wildcard because they were 14 games over .500 after Monday’s win. Most importantly, they are playing like a true contender over the last several weeks (all preview data thru Monday because of publication deadlines). We alerted you to their uneven home/road spot weeks ago. They still have a friendly schedule left in terms of more home games than road games (as does Texas, a hidden sleeper in the Rangers hopes).
A high energy series so far because all hometown fans get sky high when the Yankees come to visit. And, Arlington REALLY loves to root against AROD! Let’s see what JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats have to say about these last two games…
NY Yankees: 4.65 runs per game, .322 on-base, .430 slugging
Texas: 4.34 runs per game, .315 on-base, .405 slugging
Interesting stories with these offenses. Both offenses have been helped this year by their home parks. That’s always the case with Texas. So far in 2015, Yankee Stadium has been an extreme hitter’s park. If you only look at ROAD games, Texas is still a respectable fifth in the AL in OPS (on base plus slugging), while the Yankees drop to ninth. Either offense can hit in this park tonight. Come playoff time, remember that these offenses may not be quite as dangerous as you were thinking when playing away from home.
Masahiro Tanaka: 3.64 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 8.9 K-Rate, 6.3 IP-per-Start
Colby Lewis: 4.49 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 6.8 K-Rate, 6.3 IP-per-Start
The Yankees have won five straight Tanaka starts, which is one of the reasons they’re surging to the top of the league in recent action. He’s pitched at least seven innings in his last three, and is starting to look like the ace they had been counting on before the season. That ERA isn’t bad at all considering the influence of his home park this year. Lewis is prone to allowing big blows…usually a WHIP of 1.19 has a better ERA than that. Edge to Tanaka…though it’s going to be a hot night that could hinder both pitchers.
Michael Pineda: 3.97 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 8.9 K-Rate, 6.2 IP-per-Start
Yovani Gallardo: 3.19 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 6.2 K-Rate, 5.8 IP-per-Start
Pineda has been inconsistent over his last several outings, and may be very vulnerable here given the environment. The Yanks are only 3-5 in his last eight starts even though they’ve been playing very well as a team during that stretch. He’ll still shut down struggling offenses. Can he get the job done in a great hitting environment? Big test. Gallardo had a mini-Greinke not too long ago, with four straight starts were opponents couldn’t score. But, that was followed by four poor starts that have people concerned about fatigue or a minor injury. He’s allowed 14 earned runs in his last 19.1 innings. Might be an over spot here if the prevailing winds are helping hitters against recently vulnerable pitchers.
JIM HURLEY is watching all the pennant race matchups closely…with a particular eye on how new personnel could help or hurt teams that made trades. You can purchase daily BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office during normal business hours at 1-888-777-4155. Be sure to ask about our “Dollars of August” football package when you call. The NFL Preseason starts a week from Sunday when the Minnesota Vikings face the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Hall of Fame game.
We’ll be football heavy here in the NOTEBOOK between now and that NFLX opener. We have to finish up our college conference previews in time for the pros!
Thursday: College Football Preview…American Athletic Conference
Friday: College Football Preview…the Independents
Saturday: College Football Preview…ACC Atlantic
Sunday: College Football Preview…ACC Coastal
Monday: MLB Series Preview…Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh
Tuesday: MLB Series Preview…Kansas City at Detroit
Wednesday August 5: College Football Preview…Pac 12 North
Thursday August 6: College Football Preview…Pac 12 South
Friday August 7: College Football Preview…Big 12
Saturday August 8: NFC North Preview to get you ready for the Hall of Fame Game (Vikings vs. Steelers)
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