We’re a week into June, and my mind started to wander, curious to see if teams had established their identities.
The league average for games played is around 58, and some teams have the right chemistry after a loss while some are stuck on the periodic table.
Nevertheless, thanks to several teams at opposite ends of the spectrum, sports bettors have a reason to celebrate a loss. (based on records at teamrankings.com)
Heading into Tuesday’s games, teams likely to respond after a loss are the Minnesota Twins (15-3), Los Angeles Dodgers (13-6), New York Yankees (13-6) and Tampa Bay Rays (13-8).
First and foremost, with this quartet — a whopping 54-23 after a loss — is the offense. As long as that stays hot, these teams have a chance to win every night.
Heading into their series at division rival Cleveland, the Twins had the No. 1 batting average (.275), the most runs scored (347), the most home runs (109), and a demolishing .511 slugging percentage.
The Dodgers, who start the week visiting N.L. West-rival Arizona, have the third-best batting average, at .266, followed by the Rays (.259, 7th) and the Yankees (.258, 9th). And while the Dodgers (96, 5th) and Yankees – who have been in Toronto since Tuesday – are in the top seven (93, 7th) with home runs this season, you have to respect what the Rays are doing to manufacture runs, as they check in at 20th in the league with 73. The league mean is 78.6.
The Rays rank 13th in the league with 193 extra base hits, and 11th with 48 of them when runners are in scoring position. Tampa Bay leaves Detroit to visit the defending World Series champion Red Sox this weekend. Boston could steal a win, which would put the Rays into play.
On the flip side, fades after a loss are the Seattle Mariners (10-26), Miami Marlins (11-25), Kansas City Royals (12-27), Baltimore Orioles (13-27) and the Oakland Athletics (10-19). This handful is a combined 56-124. Their pitching is the biggest culprit. The Orioles (5.75) went into their road trip to see the Rangers with the worst ERA in baseball. The Mariners hosted the Astros this week with the second-worst ERA in baseball, at 5.29, while the Royals (5.22) checked in with the third-highest ERA. They started the week hosting the Red Sox.
The Marlins and Athletics? There are a couple of stats you must dig deeper to see where these teams struggle, because they’re both average in most statistical categories, spiking the line graph in rare spots. But there are two that stand out and you can observe when looking at your game.
Miami’s problem is its bullpen, with the third-highest ERA (5.27) in the league. When the Marlins visit a team like it did in Milwaukee — the Brewers rank third with 104 home runs — you must consider relievers come into play.
Oakland’s pitching staff has allowed 41 stolen bases and nabbed only 17. This weekend, the Athletics visit Texas, which ranks second in the league with 43 stolen bases. Teams can manufacture runs by putting runners in scoring position.
Braves at Pirates: Though the Braves have been the better team over the first nine weeks of the season, this is a great spot for the Bucs to pick up some momentum. They went into this series have losing three of a four-game series to the Brewers and will be finishing up a three-game series and seven-game homestand with a Braves team that came into this series hitting just .239 in its previous 10 games.
Now Atlanta faces veteran hurler Chris Archer, who labored to a win against Milwaukee in his last start. He’ll get the run support he needs, as Pittsburgh’s hitters went into this series with a .303 batting average over the team’s last 10 outings, and will attack struggling Mike Foltynewicz, who has been shelled for 13 home runs over 38 1/3 innings, just four fewer than he allowed in 183 innings last season. PIRATES
Reds at Cardinals: It doesn’t matter where these two are located in the National League Central standings, it will always make for a good rivalry. And as the Cardinals wrap up this three-game series and six-game homestand, I’m thinking they’ll be looking to end on a high note with 10 road games staring them in the face.
The offensive production has been on high, which is why we saw St. Louis come into the series riding a four-game win streak. And Cardinals hitters will chase Tyler Mahle early, as he’s 1-2 with a 5.87 ERA in three previous starts against them, including April 27 in St. Louis, where he yielded five earned runs in five innings of work. Look for Paul Goldschmidt to lead St. Louis’ hit parade in this one. CARDINALS
Athletics at Rangers: The American League West continues to be one of the more confusing divisions, as we’ve seen all the teams’ streak, and all of them fail, at some point this season. And while the Houston Astros finally got their act together to secure first place and maintain their stronghold, the Rangers and Athletics are battling for second place, along with the Angels.
Oakland continues its 10-game road trip with four in Arlington, including a doubleheader on Saturday. After three in Anaheim, including a late start on Thursday, I’m not convinced the A’s will be able to challenge Texas starter Lance Lynn in the series lid-lifter. The right-hander is 5-2 with a 3.30 ERA in his last seven starts. He toes the slab with a perfect 4-0 mark and 3.96 ERA in his last four starts at Globe Life Park and will shine once again. RANGERS
Last week: 1-1
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