Pitchers rule Major League Baseball in 2013 season

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Last season has been referred to as the “Year of the Pitcher” with a total of six no hit games thrown, three being perfect.

That was for the full season. We nearly had as many gems pitched just within the past week in a 2013 season not yet a month and a half old!

Matt Harvey of the Mets began the stretch with a near perfect game last Tuesday, allowing just one base runner in a nine-inning no decision against the White Sox in a game the Mets won in 10 innings, 1-0. The lone base runner came on an infield single by Alex Rios with two out in the seventh inning.

On Friday night St Louis’ rookie righthander, Shelby Miller, gave up a single to Colorado’s Eric Young to start the game and then retired the next 27 in the Cardinals’ 3-0 win. That effort overshadowed another outstanding pitching effort in Boston where the Red Sox’ Jon Lester pitched a complete game one hitter. Lester allowed a sixth inning double to Toronto’s Maicer Izturis. That effort came almost five years to the day after Lester no-hit Kansas City on May 19, 2008.

And less than 24 hours after Miller’s gem, another Cardinals pitcher, Adam Wainwright, took a no hitter into the eighth inning. He finished with a complete game two hitter in another 3-0 St. Louis win over the Rockies.

Interestingly, scoring is at the same level as it was last season with an average of 8½ total runs. Through the first 552 games there have been considerably more OVER (282) than UNDER (249) in addition to 18 pushes and a trio of games that resulted in no action due to rain shortened or suspended contests.

Since 1989 there have been more than 50,000 major league baseball games played and just over 70 percent have been decided by more than 1 run. Just below 30 percent were decided by exactly one run.

This data comes in handy when considering betting baseball on the run line. When the underdog loses the game outright you have generally lost more than a single unit by taking the run and a half. And when the underdog wins the game outright you are generally collecting less by having bet the 1½ if you had played the dog to win

Conversely, the only time you are hurt by laying 1½ is when the favorite wins by one run. Most often you will be getting a plus price to lay the 1½ with the exception being in the case of large favorites, often in excess of -200 on the money line.

In more than 70 percent of the games the final margin is more than one run. In these cases those who backed favorites who won by two or more will benefit while those who took the 1½ generally lost more than by just playing the underdog straight.

The percentage of home favorites that win by two or more runs is fairly close to that of road favorites that do the same.

Here’s a look at four series this weekend.

Reds at Phillies: The real surprise has been the development of Phils righty Kyle Kendrick whose 2.47 ERA and 1.06 WHIP through 8 starts has opened many eyes and filled many wallets as he’s rewarded backers to the tune of 5.34 net units. Philly is 6-2 in his starts. The Reds remain without ace Johnny Cueto, but the rest of the rotation has generally fared well with the lone exception being Mike Leake.

Recommended plays: Phillies -130 or less in starts by Hamels, Lee or Kendrick against any Cincinnati starter; Reds +140 or more against Lee, Hamels or Kendrick or as underdogs of any price against any other Philly starter; UNDER 7½ or higher in matchups of Hamels, Lee or Kendrick not facing Leake; OVER 8 or lower if Leake does not face Lee, Hamels or Kendrick.

Dodgers at Braves: Only woeful Miami (2.7) is averaging fewer runs at home than the Dodgers’ 3.4 per game. The Dodgers have been the costliest team to back in the National League, down 12.61 net units while going 15-21. Atlanta got off to a blazing start in early April but just 8-12 in their last 20 games.

Recommended plays: Braves +140 or more against Clayton Kershaw or HJ Ryu or as underdogs of any price against any other Dodgers starter; Dodgers -125 or less against Atlanta’s Julio Teheran; OVER 7 or less in any matchup not involving Kershaw or Ryu.

Tigers at Rangers: Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez have been outstanding for the Tigers while Yu Darvish and Derek Holland have been almost as strong for the Rangers. Texas has played 13 OVER, 22 UNDER and two pushes. Detroit has seen the OVER go 22-12-1.

Recommended plays: Tigers (in starts by other than Rick Porcello) +120 or more against Yu Darvish or Derek Holland; Tigers at any price against other Texas starters; Tigers -130 in starts by Verlander or Sanchez not facing Darvish or Holland; UNDER 9 or higher in any matchup not involving Porcello.

Royals at A’s: Kansas City has gotten solid starting and relief pitching. Starters James Shields, Jeremy Guthrie and Ervin Santana each have ERAs below 3.00 and WHIPs below 1.20. Oakland’s starters have not been nearly as effective with Tommy Milone and A.J. Griffin the best of the bunch with barely mediocre stats. Historically a pitchers’ park, the OVER is 13-4 in games at Oakland.

Recommended plays: Royals as underdogs or favorites of -120 or less in starts by Guthrie, Santana or Shields; A’s -125 or less against other KC starters; OVER 7.5 or lower in starts not involving Guthrie, Santana or Shields.

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]

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About the Author

Andy Iskoe

Owner and author of “The Logical Approach,” Andy Iskoe has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football.

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