Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, July 14, 2016 at 10:46 AM
THE BASEBALL REPORT: WHAT TEAMS SHOULD WE BE WATCHING WHILE COMING OUT OF THE SECOND-HALF STARTING GATE?
THE NFL TEAM-BY-TEAM GLANCES ROLL ON WITH BUFFALO, PITTSBURGH AND ARIZONA
Hey, Baseball's "back" come Friday night ... everyone's had an opportunity to catch their breath, "sleep in" a little bit and hit the pause button for a few days.
But when action heats up beginning tomorrow - the Texas Rangers are at the Chicago Cubs (2:20 p.m. ET) to get it all rollin' - what teams should we be watching in terms of getting on a hot streak or maybe making a run for the top of their respective divisions? Here's some thoughts on a team from each league ...
DETROIT TIGERS (46-43) - Are we looking for something that just might not be there? Here's what we mean: The Tigers have two starting pitchers in their current rotation with lousy records as RHPs Anibal Sanchez is 5-10 with a 6.75 ERA and righty Mike Pelfrey is 2-8 with a 4.58 ERA but something tells us the Motowners won't be giving either guy too much "rope" from this point forward and so an infusion of new blood into the rotation could work wonders.
Consider that the Tigers - 6.5 games behind Cleveland in the American League Central race and four games back of Toronto for the second wild card berth -- have been energized by rookie RHP Michael Fulmer (9-2, 2.11 ERA) and another arm could be a major jolt for this AL Central squad - did someone say something about a deal for Minnesota's Ervin Santana or perhaps Tampa Bay's LHP Matt Moore? No doubt there's plenty of pop on offense starring 2B Ian Kinsler (71 runs scored) and 1B Miguel Cabrera (18 HR) - soon the Tigers won't be a minus 1 in the runs differential category and starting off the "second half" with six straight home games against Kansas City/Minnesota could get 'em started.
ST. LOUIS (46-42) - Here's the main reason you might want to pay special attention to these Redbirds: They entered the All-Star Game break with a shoddy 19-26 home record and, sorry folks, there's simply no way that this NL Central squad is gonna play sub-.500 ball for the year in its own back yard. Fittingly, the Cards begin the second half with a 10-game home stand against Miami/San Diego/Los Angeles Dodgers and Mike Matheny's crew could rocket its way back into the race for top spot in the Central with a 7-3 or 8-2 type home stand.
Hey, for all the mixing-and-matching the Cards have had to do with their everyday lineup, they still rank second in the NL in runs scored (455) and should perk up even more with the hot weather hittin' St. Looie. You heard it here first, the Cards are gonna get on a little streak sooner rather than later.
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 Saturday/Sunday/Holiday Winners. Plus, the Football Season isn't that far off as NFL Preseason action swings into gear on Sunday, August 7th with the annual NFL Hall of Fame Game between the Indianapolis Colts versus the Green Bay Packers - just cannot wait, right?
NFL TEAM-BY-TEAM GLANCES
It is summertime and that means the annual Jim Sez report on all 32 NFL teams with our quick-hitter looks continuing today with the Buffalo Bills, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals ... and check out our quickie pointspread ditties too. Last year's SU (straight-up) records appear next to the team name below and note all post-season results are included in the mark:
BUFFALO (8-8) - Last year's team ranked a lowly 27th in the NFL in passing offense (averaged just 209 yards a game) and the Bills are keeping fingers crossed that star WR Sammy Watkins can be ready for the season-opening game at Baltimore (Sept. 11th) after undergoing foot surgery this past May. Last year Watkins played in 13 games with 60 receptions for 1,047 yards and 9 TDs. In his two-year pro career, Watkins has registered 15 TDs and averaged 16.2 yards-per-catch on his 125 receptions.
Pointspread Notes - The Bills are 10-5-1 ATS (against the spread) as point-grabbers the past two years and check out the fact that this AFC East crew is 12-5-1 spreadwise in divisional games dating back to the start of the 2013 season.
PITTSBURGH (11-7) - Anyone that's watched the Steelers the past couple of years knows they love to go for the two-point conversion play following touchdowns ... but just remember second-year PK Chris Boswell comes off a sensational rookie season after stepping in for an injured Shaun Suisham (knee). Boswell nailed 29-of-32 FG tries last year and made good on 26-of-27 PATs and now he knows the job is his following Suisham's release last month.
Pointspread Notes - The Steelers have posted three consecutive winning seasons versus the vig with last year's 9-6-3 ATS log improving the 2013-15 numbers to 27-21-3 ATS. Mike Tomlin's team may want to do something, however, about the Week 1 results as Pittsburgh is 0-4-1 spreadwise in openers the past five seasons (open Monday, Sept. 12th at Washington).
ARIZONA (13-3) - Cornerback Patrick Peterson has not missed a single game in his star-studded five-year NFL career but there are some folks wondering if this will be a full-strength Peterson come September. Remember Peterson underwent ankle surgery in mid-April and all signs point to a full return but everyone will be watching closely at the team's training camp later this month.
Pointspread Notes - The Bruce Arians Era has been highlighted by sensational play versus the vig as the Cardinals are a cumulative 30-20-1 ATS mark since the start of the 2013 campaign. Note that Arizona's 15-8 ATS as underdog sides these past three years although that does include last year's NFC Championship Game blowout loss at 3-point fav Carolina.
NOTE: More NFL Team Glances and Baseball too in tomorrow's Jim Sez.