Waiting for Hamels, Cueto to be traded

GamingToday.com is an independent sports news and information service. GamingToday.com has partnerships with some of the top legal and licensed sportsbook companies in the US. When you claim a bonus offer or promotion through a link on this site, Gaming Today may receive referral compensation from the sportsbook company. Although the relationships we have with sportsbook companies may influence the order in which we place companies on the site, all reviews, recommendations, and opinions are wholly our own. They are the recommendations from our authors and contributors who are avid sports fans themselves.

For more information, please read How We Rank Sportsbooks, Privacy Policy, or Contact Us with any concerns you may have.

Gaming Today is licensed and regulated to operate in AZ, CO, CT, IN, KS, LA, MI, NJ, NY, PA, TN, and VA.

Over the past week most teams reached the mathematical midpoint of the season by playing No. 81 of the 162 game schedule. The July Fourth holiday is generally considered the second major checkpoint of the season and coming out of the holiday weekend basically half a season is still to be played.

The next major date that teams are pointing to, once next week’s All Star break takes place, is July 31, the date when trades may be made without requiring waivers. Often some highly regarded prospects are given up as teams in contention are more concerned with the here and now rather than the uncertainties of next season or the season thereafter.

Heading into this week, the final week of play before the All Star break, only one division leader had a lead of less than 3 games. In the AL East the New York Yankees had a one game lead over Baltimore with both Tampa Bay and Toronto right on Baltimore’s heels, just a game behind the Orioles.

Houston’s lead in the AL West was 3 games over the LA Angels. The other Division leaders were up between 4 and 6 games with St. Louis holding the biggest of those leads, up by 6 games over Pittsburgh in the NL Central.

There may be more buyers than sellers during the upcoming trading period as only a handful of teams are realistically out of contention.

In the American League, where Kansas City’s 46-33 leads 48-36 Houston by a half game for the top AL seed no team is more than 10.5 games out of first place in any of the three Divisions. With roughly 80 games remaining it takes only a hot streak of, say, 8-2 over a 10 game period to make up much of that gap.

As such the Chicago White Sox, 10 games behind the Royals in the AL Central and Oakland, 10.5 games behind the Astros in the AL West, may still believe they can contend at least well into August. Oakland has been a very strong second half team in recent seasons despite their failures in the post season. And, in fact, Oakland, despite the worst record in the American League, started this week just 6.5 games out of the Wild Card and have won 15 of their last 25 games.

The A’s have been the most underperforming team according to one key sabermetrics measure and, based on their runs differential of plus 49, should be nearly 11 games above .500 rather than 9 games below.

The sellers may come from the National League where three teams – Cincinnati, Milwaukee and Philadelphia – are each more than 15 games behind their Division leaders and also at least 10 games out of the second Wild Card. Add in Colorado – 10.5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West and 10 games out of the Wild Card – and you have a fourth team that could be a talent provider come the end of this month.

Miami, 11.5 games out in the NL East, might be another seller, especially with slugger Giancarlo Stanton now sidelined.

It’s about this time each season, just prior to the All Star break, that the first key trades are made so it would not be a surprise if a big name is traded before next Tuesday’s All Star game. The most often named players are a pair of starting pitchers, Cole Hamels of Philadelphia and Johnny Cueto of Cincinnati. Interestingly, both of those teams’ closers, the Reds’ Aroldis Chapman and the Phils’ Jonathan Papelbon, are also mentioned quite frequently in trade rumors.

Of course a major theme of this season has been the lack of offense that is prevalent throughout MLB. The Mets just ended a stretch of 15 games in which they scored 2 runs or less 13 times. With their outstanding starting pitchers the Mets might be willing to part with one of those young arms for a middle of the order slugger, perhaps a bat from the Reds or the Brewers.

It will be interesting to see what Houston does at the trade deadline as the Astros, probably a year or two ahead of schedule, have to now be considered legitimate contenders. It would not be surprising if Houston makes a trade to enhance the roster. But rather than a high profile, impact player the ‘Stros may look to add a strong veteran presence.

Here’s a look at three series for the weekend leading into the All Star break.

Cards at Pirates: This four game series begins Thursday. St. Louis swept the first series, winning each game by a single run. A week later Pittsburgh won 2 of 3. Pittsburgh’s offense has been below average all season whereas the decline in St. Louis’ productivity has been greatly impacted by injuries over the past month.

PLAYS: UNDER 7 or higher and First 5 Innings UNDER 3.5 or higher in matchups of Pittsburgh’s A J Burnett, Gerrit Cole or Francisco Liriano opposing St. Louis’ Lance Lynn, Carlos Martinez or Michael Wacha; Cardinals + 110 or higher in starts by Lynn, Martinez or Wacha against any Pittsburgh starter; Pirates -125 or less in starts by Burnett, Cole or Liriano not facing Lynn, Martinez or Wacha.

Yanks at Red Sox: In their first series at Yankee Stadium in early April all 3 games went OVER the total. In the rematch at Fenway in early May, 2 of the 3 games stayed UNDER. The Yankees have the better starting rotation although Boston’s Clay Buchholz has been the best starter on either staff. New York rates an edge in the bullpen and is expected to have closer Andrew Miller back for this series after having missed about a month due to injury.

PLAYS: Boston -135 or less in a start by Buchholz against any New York starter; Yankees -120 or less, or as underdogs, in starts by Michael Pineda or Masahiro Tanaka not facing Buchholz; OVER 8.5 or lower in any matchup not involving Buchholz.

Nationals at Orioles: Despite the fine pitching this could a relatively high scoring series depending on the matchups. Baltimore averages a full run per game more at home than on the road (5.0 vs 4.0) and Washington is nearly the opposite, averaging 4.8 runs per game on the road but just 3.9 rpg at home.

PLAYS: Baltimore as underdogs of plus 150 or more against Max Scherzer or Jordan Zimmermann if Chen, Gonzalez or Jimenez start for the O’s; Washington -120 or less, or as underdogs, with any starter against other than Chen, Gonzalez or Jimenez; UNDER 8 or higher if Scherzer or Zimmermann opposes Chen or Jimenez; OVER 8.5 or lower if Scherzer, Zimmermann and Chen are not involved.

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]

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.

Get connected with us on Social Media