Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 10:47 PM
There’s only one game on the NBA schedule Friday Night as the Memphis Grizzlies visit the Los Angeles Clippers for Game Six of their rugged first round series. That will allow some room for bonus baseball coverage in today’s NOTEBOOK. We cover as many fundamentals as we can here in the daily NOTEBOOK to help you do-it-yourselfers. The best way to maximize your profits during these very busy stretches is to link up with the top plays from JIM HURLEY!
We start in the baskets…with the Clippers hoping to close out a series upset tonight at home…
MEMPHIS vs. LA CLIPPERS
Game Six Vegas Line: No early line
Clippers lead 3-2
As we go to press, Vegas is being cautious posting a line because of the injury situation with the Clippers. Chris Paul is dealing with a hip issue and a groin strain. You’d have to assume he’s going to play because wild horses couldn’t drag him away from this series. But, oddsmakers want to be certain because he’s obviously the most important individual player in this series. Also, Blake Griffin suffered a mild knee strain Wednesday night, and isn’t yet a sure thing to be able to contribute. By the time you read this, a line may be up. We can assure you that JIM HURLEY will be working with his Los Angeles sources to make sure we know what we need to know to make a smart play here. You really CAN’T make a confident call here unless you know how well Paul and Griffin will be moving.
GAME FIVE SUMMARY
MEMPHIS 92, LA CLIPPERS 80
Field Goal Pct: Clippers 37%, Memphis 44%
Three-Pointers: Clippers 7/24, Memphis 0/6
Free Throws: Clippers 21/29, Memphis 28/34
Rebounds: Clippers 35, Memphis 42
Turnovers: Clippers 13, Memphis 12
Vegas Line: Memphis by 6.5, total of 183.5
It’s not quite as ugly as Chicago-Philadelphia…but this series has turned into a real wrestling match. Memphis got very physical on both sides of the ball, holding the Clippers to 37% from the field while going 0 for 6 from behind the arc when they had the ball. Those numbers suggest a POUNDING on both sides of the court. You also see that in the free throw attempts for Memphis, though some of that was inflated because of multiple technical on the Clippers. This is the best way for Memphis to win and cover. They create a war of attrition and keep the most bodies healthy.
It will be very interesting to see if the Clippers try to play hard banged up and bruised with home court in Game Six…or worry more about getting healthy. If the Clippers just make their injuries worse and lose, Game Seven comes up EARLY in the day Sunday with less time than normal to recuperate and prepare.
The stage is set for a Memphis comeback. But, Chris Paul can decide fourth quarters on his own when the game is close and he can move. Very dramatic scene tonight…which is why JIM HURLEY is working so intensely on getting injury reports before making a call in the game.
As we explained at the top…because there’s only one game scheduled in the NBA for Friday Night, we have some time to get caught up with a key stat we like in Major League Baseball. We’ll be picking our spots in the coming days to talk more about the bases. Maybe the weekend schedule will allow for additional coverage (if the Clippers wrap up their series Friday Night, then we’ll only have one game Sunday with Indiana at Miami in the NBA…which would let us squeeze in more MLB again!).
Today we want to emphasize the importance of on-base percentage. We’ll use full season numbers at this point because everyone’s played enough games for meaningful differences to appear. Down the road, we’ll focus more on “road only” numbers to help get some ballpark effect pollution out of the numbers. Let’s quickly run through the highlights and lowlights from each league…
BEST AMERICAN LEAGUE ON-BASE PERCENTAGES
Tampa Bay .333
Texas and NYY probably have some inflation in their numbers because of their home parks. Cleveland isn’t in the same boat, and has to really be respected with a #3 showing in the DH league. This is why the Indians are leading the AL Central and potentially a surprise contender this year. They’re getting people on base. You can’t score runs unless you have runners coming around to score! Not a surprise that the traditional AL East powers are well respresented above. Three of the top five spots in the AL belong to the standard powers in the game’s elite division. Pitching issues may prevent Boston and NYY from playing to past elite levels though.
To us, the big news here is Cleveland. If they keep that up, they’ll continue to offer betting value in Las Vegas because oddsmakers just aren’t taking them seriously.
WORST AMERICAN LEAGUE ON-BASE PERCENTAGES
Kansas City .317
That’s nine of the 14 teams in the league who haven’t even been able to break .320 so far this season. It’s tough to love Baltimore as a team who can be a threat all season when they’re so far behind other AL East teams offensively. Detroit is a huge negative surprise here given how much they spent on offense in the offseason. Of course, you can say the same thing about the LA Angeles in even more direct language. Those two teams have been DISASTERS in context given their preseason expectations.
Remember that Oakland and Seattle play home games in pitcher’s parks. We’ll see in the future how much home field is reducing those numbers this year. So much for the DH rule inflating scoring in the AL. Apparently it’s hard to find 14 dynamic designated hitters!
BEST NATIONAL LEAGUE ON-BASE PERCENTAGES
St. Louis .357
Amazing stuff from St. Louis considering that Albert Pujols isn’t there any more. That has to be one of the biggest surprises ever in sports…that St. Louis would be great and LAA would be horrible after Pujols changed teams. If it keeps up all year there should be an investigation!
Colorado plays in a great hitter’s park, so they’re not likely as good as a fifth place ranking in the league would suggest. The Mets are a pleasant surprise given the doom and gloom over that franchise heading into the season. The Dodgers are a major surprise because they weren’t supposed to be this good this quick. Yes, they have a Triple Crown threat who’s playing over his head. But, they play home games in a pitcher’s park…so that’s some awesome production to be sure.
WORST NATIONAL LEAGUE ON-BASE PERCENTAGES
San Francisco .307
San Diego .306
This is why there have been so many Unders in games involving these teams this year. A lot of weak offenses…and some decent young pitchers have been taking advantage of good pitching environments. Warmer weather will help lift those numbers…but that will just be the weather rather than these offenses becoming good.
Cincinnati is a big negative surprise considering they were a popular pick to win their division. Philadelphia has injuries they’re dealing with…and they weren’t as good offensively as their press last year anyway. One reason St. Louis and LAD have been so dominant in the standings this year is because they have such profound edges over so many other offenses!
We look forward to talking more about baseball in the coming days and weeks. It will be mostly during respites during the second round of the NBA Playoffs that will be getting started in a matter of days. When the playoffs slow down, it will be wall-to-wall baseball through the summer months until football picks back up again when the leaves start to turn.
JIM HURLEY has been attacking the baseball and basketball cards with abandon every day. You can purchase BIG JUICY WINNERS right here at this website with your credit card. If you have any questions about NETWORK’S service options, call our office at 1-800-323-4453. Be sure to ask about including the Preakness and the Belmont when you call.
On-base percentage is a big stat in baseball. Nobody has a better WIN-BIG percentage than JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!