The biggest names likely on the move as the trade deadline comes later in the week are New York Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran and the San Diego closer Heath Bell, both of whom could have a major impact on their new teams.
Teams in rebuilding modes are generally the suppliers of talent and thus we could see a team with a pair of scarce commodities – left handed starting pitchers – be a key player this week.
The Houston Astros have the worst record in all of baseball at 33-68, a pace that translates to just 53 wins over a full season. Although right handed starter Brett Myers has been most often mentioned to be traded don’t be surprised if lefties Wandy Rodriguez and J A Happ draw attention.
Boston and the New York Yankees are very much in need of starting pitching depth.
Teams more than 10 games out of the Wild Card lead are all but out of the playoff race. And, that may even be a bit high with many more teams contending for the Wild Card than for a specific Division title.
A look at the profit and loss statements for teams through roughly 100 games shows that just five have accumulated at least 10 units of profit.
• Pittsburgh (plus 15.1 units).
• Philadelphia (plus 14.9).
• San Francisco (plus 10.8).
• Boston (plus 10.1).
• Arizona (plus 10.1).
There are eight teams that have cost their backers double digit units in losses this season with lowly Houston the biggest offender.
• Houston (minus 29.4)
• Colorado (minus 19.5).
• Chicago Cubs (minus 16.9.
• Oakland (minus 16.6).
• Baltimore (minus 16.4)
• L A Dodgers (minus 15.7)
• Seattle (minus 14.5)
• Kansas City (minus 10.9).
Looking at home/road splits, the greatest contrast is shown by Milwaukee. The Brewers have profited to the tune of 14.4 units at home but have given almost all of that back on the road, losing 13.5 units. That’s a disparity of nearly 28 units!
It should be noted that the Brewers have started to play better on the road since the All Star break, fashioning a 5-6 record in three series following a 16-29 mark prior to the mid season break.
Washington also has shown a dramatic difference in their home and road profitability, earning 9.5 units of profit at home while losing 6.6 units on the road.
A half dozen teams have performed dramatically better on the road than at home in terms of wagering results. Florida, the Chicago White Sox, the New York Mets, Tampa Bay and San Diego each showing solid profits on the road while enduring significant losses at home.
The disparity ranges from a difference between home and road results of 23.3 units (Florida) and 14.8 units (San Diego). Pittsburgh has also shown a disparity of more than 10 units between home and road performance by being nicely profitable on the road (plus 13.4 units) and just mildly profitable at home (plus 1.7 units).
Here’s a look at four series to be played this weekend.
Pirates at Phillies: In their prior meeting this season, the Pirates took 2 of 3 in early June. Two of the games went OVER the total. Although the strength of the Philly rotation is well known, the Pirates have received solid pitching starters Jeff Karstens and Paul Maholm. Also, Joel Hanrahan has been outstanding in the closer role.
Philly is anchored by Roy Halladay with Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels also posting outstanding stats. The biggest surprise has Vance Worley (2.01 ERA, 1.17 WHIP) who compares nicely with the Big Three and overcoming the absence of Roy Oswalt (DL). The offenses for each have been average (Phils) to below average (Pirates).
• UNDER 8 or higher in any matchup.
• UNDER 7 or higher if Karstens or Maholm faces Lee or Hamels.
• Pirates +150 or more in starts by Karstens or Maholm against Lee, Halladay, Hamels or Worley.
• Phillies -1½ not facing Karstens or Maholm.
Giants at Reds: These teams split a four game series in San Francisco in mid June with three staying UNDER.
Cincinnati’s lone bright spot in their rotation has been Johnny Cueto whose 1.97 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in 14 starts is among the league leaders. Ten different pitchers have started for the Reds this season.
What Cincinnati lacks in pitching they make up for on offense. The Reds are one of only three teams averaging more than five runs per game at home. This series puts to the test whether good pitching can stop good hitting or if suspect pitching is vulnerable to below average hitting.
• Reds -130 or less in a start by Cueto against any Giants starter.
• Giants +120 or more not facing Cueto.
• Giants +140 or higher against Cueto.
• Giants -125 or less in starts by Tim Lincecum or Matt Cain not facing Cueto.
• UNDER 8½ in starts by Lincecum, Cain, Ryan Vogelsong or Madison Bumgarner not facing Cueto.
• UNDER 7 or higher if Cueto opposes any of those 4 Giants starters.
Angels at Tigers: The Angels took 2 of 3 from the Tigers when the teams met in Anaheim earlier this month. Two went UNDER the total. The Angels rely much more on pitching than offense and their rotation is anchored by Jered Weaver and Dan Haren. Ervin Santana has pitched fairly well and arguably could be the No. 2 starter on Detroit.
The Tigers have the better offense although their average of 4.3 runs per game at home is matched by what the Angels average on the road. Detroit has one quality starter in Justin Verlander. Max Scherzer is the best of the rest. Tigers have won 14 of his 21 starts, but Scherzer’s stats (4.34 ERA, 1.37 WHIP) are rather ordinary.
• Angels +140 or more if Haren or Weaver starts against Verlander.
• Angels -120 or less if Haren or Weaver faces any other Tiger starter.
• Tigers -140 or less not facing Haren or Weaver.
• UNDER 7 or higher if Haren or Weaver oppose Verlander.
• UNDER 8 or higher if Santana faces Verlander.
• OVER 8 or lower in matchups not involving Haren, Weaver, Santana or Verlander
Red Sox at White Sox: Chicago swept three games series in Boston at the end of May — well after the Red Sox rebounded from their 0-6 and 2-10 starts to the season. All three games went OVER. Among Chicago’s starting rotation, only Jake Peavy has been ineffective statistically with just one quality start in 10 efforts. Mark Buehrle and Philip Humber have led the rotation.
Boston’s Josh Beckett has been one of the AL’s top hurlers with both Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz having decent seasons interrupted by injuries. They may both be back for this series. Boston’s offense (over 5 rpg) is one of baseball’s best. Chicago’s is average. White Sox are the biggest UNDER (55-38-7) team in baseball.
• Red Sox -125 or less in starts by Beckett, Lester or Buchholz against any Chicago starter.
• White Sox as underdogs or no more than -130 favorites not facing Beckett, Lester or Buchholz.
• White Sox +150 or more against Beckett, Lester or Buchholz.
• UNDER 8 or higher in starts by Beckett, Lester or Buchholz.
• UNDER 9 or higher in games not involving Beckett, Lester, Buchholz, Humber or John Danks.