Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 7:00 PM
You regular readers of the NOTEBOOK know that we often emphasize “recent form” at the expense of full season numbers when handicapping Major League Baseball. There’s no better example of that than what we’re seeing right now with the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers as they continue a three-game series Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon.
You know the Kansas City Royals have dominated the AL this year. And, you know that the Houston Astros have been in relative control of the AL West much of the way. Yet, if you look at records over just the last 30 games…
Last 30 Games (thru Monday Night’s results)
Kansas City 19-11
NY Yankees 16-14
Tampa Bay 15-15
LA Angels 9-21
Suddenly Toronto is the class of the league (after acquiring high impact talent just before the trade deadline), while Texas has been better than both Kansas City and Houston as they’ve made a late run for a playoff spot (signaling “getting serious” by acquiring Cole Hamels!)
Toronto is now a virtual LOCK to play in the postseason. Even if they can’t win their dogfight with the New York Yankees at the top of the AL East…they’re well clear of the second Wildcard spot. Texas was in the second Wildcard spot at the start of this series…and is surely playing like a team that could be on the field in October.
Let’s run JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats to see how the rest of this series might play out…
Toronto: 5.40 runs per game, .332 on-base, .445 slugging
Texas: 4.46 runs per game, .318 on-base, .407 slugging
We’ve done a lot of baseball previews this summer…and those numbers are off the charts compared to most teams we’ve been studying. These late bloomers added pitching to go with their bats. We should note though that the stats of both offenses are helped by playing home games in great hitter’s parks. If you only look at road games, Toronto falls from FANTASTIC to excellent (5.33 runs-per-game on .317 and .418 respectively…second behind Detroit in “road only” performance), while Texas drops down to 4.28 runs-per-game on .304 and .390…a disappointing #10 in on-base and #7 in slugging in “road only” data). Bottom line…there’s some inflation here that could matter when you have to analyze playoff matchups. Toronto is a legitimately great offensive squad.
David Price: 2.40 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 8.7 K-Rate, 7.1 IP-per-Start
Colby Lewis: 4.29 ERA, 1.18WHIP, 6.6 K-Rate, 6.4 IP-per-Start
Price isn’t afraid of pennant race pressure, and has thrown four straight quality starts since joining the Blue Jays. He’s in the Cy Young race with a 12-4 record and gaudy stats for an AL pitcher. If the Blue Jays keep playing at a very high level…he has a chance to end the regular season with as few as five losses! Colby Lewis is clearly outmatched here…and will have to deal with the migraine of facing the Blue Jays offense in Arlington’s great hitting environment. Clear edge to the Jays.
Marco Estrada: 3.27 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 6.9 K-Rate, 5.9 IP-per-Start
Yovani Gallardo: 3.25 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 5.9 K-Rate, 5.7 IP-per-Start
Estrada is effectively grinding…but he has trouble lasting more than six innings. With good run support behind him, that’s enough to do the job. Not an ace…but a guy who rounds out the rotation effectively on a good team. The same could be said for Gallardo to a slightly less degree (worse WHIP and K-Rate). Let’s remember that…in context…those are very strong ERA’s! These guys have to throw home games in hitter’s parks. Note that this will be a day game played in hot conditions. Hitters have been known to race through their at bats when it gets this hot in getaway spots Arlington, which usually helps out the pitchers.
JIM HURLEY loves handicapping the pennant races…particularly when they can add so much to the bankroll you use for football! You can purchase BEST BETS seven days a week right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours.
Back to football tomorrow as we’ll preview the live TV action during the NFL’s dress rehearsal weekend. Here’s what’s on tap…as the next week includes the NFL, MLB, and the start of college football!
Thurs-Friday: NFL TV Preview…Detroit at Jacksonville on CBS
Saturday: NFL TV Preview…Seattle at San Diego on CBS
Sunday: NFL TV Preview…Houston at New Orleans on FOX
Monday: MLB Series Preview…Either Washington at St. Louis or San Francisco at the Los Angeles Dodgers
Tuesday: College Football Notes (the season begins a week from Thursday!)
Wednesday-Thursday: College Football TV Preview…North Carolina at South Carolina
Wow…what a great time to be a Las Vegas sports bettor! We’ll keep providing helpful handicapping guidance here in the NOTEBOOK. Be sure you link up with WORLD CHAMPION HANDICAPPER JIM HURLEY to GET ALL THE MONEY!
Be sure to follow:
Jim Hurley on twitter @vsm_hurley
Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters