The season has passed the one-third point as teams have played at least 54 of their 162 game schedules.
St. Louis has the best record in all of baseball and is playing better on the road (20-9) than at home (17-10).
Texas has the best record in the American League and although they have a winning road record (17-13) they have baseball’s second best home mark (18-8).
Cincinnati has played extremely well at home (20-7) but is at .500 on the road while Detroit is a solid 17-9 at Comerica Park but has a losing 13-16 road record.
Boston has been well balanced, going 17-12 at home and 18-11 on the road. The Red Sox have played consistent ball all season and start the week atop the AL East. The top four teams are separated by just three games and each of the four have winning records.
The surprise is that fifth place Toronto was considered by many observers to be the favorite to win the division based upon some major offseason acquisitions that bolstered both their lineup and starting rotation. To say those deals have not yet worked out would be an understatement. The Blue Jays sit fifth, 7½ games out of fourth with a 24-33 record.
While the AL East may be the only division with four teams above .500 the NL Central is baseball’s most top heavy. St. Louis, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh are each more than a dozen games above .500. The watch continues for the Pirates as they seek their first winning season since 1992.
After flirting the past two seasons with ending that streak of futility, this season’s edition has an excellent chance of succeeding. The Pirates have gotten outstanding starting and relief pitching. Although the offense remains their weakness, should they be in position at the trading deadline to make a run at the playoffs, we could well see some trades made to improve the Pirates’ lineup.
Baseball is always filled with surprises. The highlight of last week was the Mets taking four straight games from their cross town rivals, the Yankees, in the four-day stretch of exclusively Interleague play.
Perhaps just as surprising was what the Mets did when they returned to National League play. They did something no other team had done yet this season, being swept by the lowly Miami Marlins, the worst team in baseball.
The Marlins are now 6-3 against the Mets and 10-38 versus the rest of baseball. In the three-game weekend sweep Miami outscored the Mets 24-8. The 24 runs represent a full 14 percent of the 171 Miami has scored all season.
And don’t look now but the lowly Houston Astros – the team with the second worst record in baseball – start the week having won five in a row (each as underdogs of +200 or more) and seeking to sweep a four-game series from the Angels with a win Monday night.
Baseball never ceases to amaze.
Here’s a look at four series to be played this weekend.
CARDS/REDS: St. Louis has won four of six meetings this season, taking two of three both prior series, each of which was played in St Louis. Four of the six games have UNDER.
Recommended plays: St. Louis +120 or more in any matchup; Cincinnati -120 or less in any matchup; UNDER 7½ or higher in any matchup.
GIANTS/D’BACKS: Arizona returns home following a four-game midweek series at St. Louis. The Giants lead the season series 5-1 with the road team winning each of the last 5. The OVER is 4-2 in the matchups.
Recommended plays: Arizona -150 or less in starts by Trevor Cahill or Patrick Corbin against any Giants starter; Arizona as underdogs of any price against Matt Cain or Madison Bumgarner; Giants as underdogs of any price in starts by Cain or Bumgarner not facing Cahill or Corbin; OVER 8½ or lower in any matchup.
INDIANS/TIGERS: The road team has won four of five meetings this season with Detroit holding a 3-2 edge. The OVER is 3-2 with an average of 11.6 total runs scored per game.
Recommended plays: Tigers as favorites of minus 150 or less not facing Justin Masterson and Zach McAllister; Tigers -125 or less against that duo; Indians +125 or more in starts by Masterson or McAllister against any Tigers starter; OVER 8½ or lower in any matchup.
ANGELS/RED SOX: These teams are meeting for the first time this season. As much as the Red Sox have exceeded expectations to date, the Angels – for a second straight season – are falling short.
Recommended plays: Boston -150 or less in starts by Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester or John Lackey against any Angels’ starter; Angels +120 or more not facing Buchholz, Lester or Lackey; OVER 8½ or lower in any matchup.
Andy Iskoe, and his Logical Approach, provides his popular and unique handicapping statistics to Gaming Today readers and online visitors. He has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football. Contact Andy at [email protected]