Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, July 3, 2017 at 12:00 PM
The American League playoff chase is going to be very interesting. Sure, Houston is almost a lock already to make the brackets because of their huge lead. But, after that we have all sorts of possibilities. Boston’s recent form…and quality roster…have now put them in the driver’s seat to win the AL East. But, there’s not much margin for error because SO MANY teams are within a few games of playoff qualification.
Texas is one of those teams. And, they’d love to make a statement in front of their home fans against a big-name opponent during a holiday series. Actually, it would be a NATIONAL statement because games Monday night and Tuesday night will be on ESPN. Let’s get to JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats to see how things might play out.
Boston: +63 runs, while playing 39 home games and 43 road games
Texas: +22 runs, while playing 39 home games and 43 road games
Clear edge to Boston…as they’re finally rising up to where most pundits expected them to be all along. Texas is clearly a real Wildcard threat rather than any sort of pretender. Helpful that both teams have the same road/home split in terms of a head-to-head comparison. But, it also reminds us that both are slightly better than run differential would suggest. Neither has enjoyed a cushy schedule.
Boston: 4.9 runs-per-game, .342 on-base, .423 slugging
Texas: 5.0 runs-per-game, .314 on-base, .425 slugging
Those look fairly even, outside of the issues Texas is having in the area of on-base percentage. But, as we’ve discussed in prior matchups, the influence of a home ballpark can create illusions in full season stats. That’s definitely the case with Texas, who gets to play home games in a great hitters’ park. They’re road numbers fall to 4.5 runs-per-game, .292 on-base, and .407 slugging. Boston pretty much stays the same. So, in reality, Boston has a MUCH better offense than Texas. The Red Sox could really enjoy some warm nights in Arlington this week. (Be aware going forward that the Texas pitching staff is probably better than you realized…their offense always gets credit when the team is in the playoff hunt, but that’s often a ballpark illusion.)
Here are the probable starting pitching matchups….
Porcello: 5.06 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 8.5 K’s per 9 innings
Perez: 4.70 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, 6.7 K’s per 9 innings
Wow…this could get ugly fast for those pitchers. Porcello has fallen back to earth after a great season. Good luck getting outs with that high WHIP in Arlington! Perez is a low strikeout pitcher, which is really bad for Texas pitchers unless you entice ground balls all the time. The market has posted a high total…but it still might not be high enough in these conditions. Should be a fun TV game for ESPN viewers.
Price: 4.61 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 7.9 K’s per 9 innings
Darvish: 3.11 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 9.7 K’s per 9 innings
Clear edge to Darvish, who has historically used a high strikeout rate to avoid trouble in this ballpark. Though, he still has the occasional off night. Price isn’t back to has past form yet after returning from injury. Even if you assume he’s going to get better than he’s been, he’s not likely to match Darvish. Look at Texas if Darvish is affordable.
Fister: 4.91 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 9.0 K’s per 9 innings
As we go to press, Texas hasn’t yet decided on a starting pitcher. Not many great options…so this could be another scoreboard fireworks show. Fister has only made two starts this season. But, those numbers are probably a good representation of what’s likely to happen to him in this ballpark.
There are great opportunities all over the Major League board the next few days based on the likely pitching matchups. So, JIM HURLEY may or may not have something for you in this series. You can rest assured that he and his full team of experts are working around the clock to find you BIG, JUICY WINNERS.
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Back with you Tuesday to preview the Arizona/LA Dodgers series that begins that evening. Those are two of the hottest teams in the major leagues right now. You probably know the Dodgers have been playing at a championship level for a couple of months. Arizona has been as well.
In the meantime…LET’S GO MAKE SOME MONEY!