Diamond's Gems by Sid Diamond | A word of caution must be sent out to Major League Baseball about the players’ usage of maple bats. Not a day goes by that I don’t see at least 5 bats splinter and leave what is best described as an arrow heading towards the infielders and pitchers of the defensive team. It’s without a doubt a horrific accident waiting to happen. Believe me, the swords flying around the infield, as well as into the stands, are going to cause unnecessary problems. MLB is well aware of the danger now and better ban these bats immediately.
As Major League Baseball has reached the halfway point, here are a few observations that may or may not be significant to the second half of the season:
First I’d like to send a message to the teams in the American League relating to the Detroit Tigers. "Objects in mirror are closer than they appear." On Sunday, the Tigers went above the .500 mark to 41-40 after an absolutely brutal start, so don’t throw away your future tickets just yet.
Relating to the Seattle Mariners, this team is definitely for real – real bad – their major acquisition this season was Erik Bedard, who previously pitched for the Orioles. Well, Erik is 4-4 with a road ERA of 6.59, which is a horrible number. Richie Sexton, their power hitting first baseman, is hitting in the low 200’s and not contributing much to his club. Look for them to give him away to somebody shortly, if they can find a taker. Somehow their team is batting higher than two other teams, but their run production is lowest in the league by far. If you must best something on these stiffs, go under the total only.
Relating to the entire league, Boston is head and shoulders over everyone else, which is no surprise, but how about those Rays? They’ve got a shot at the Wild Card behind great pitching and timely hitting if every five days they can send Cy Young candidate Kazmir to the mound, in which case they would eliminate the mighty Yankees, who in all fairness, have suffered many key injuries. I don’t believe their young pitchers can hold up all season, and their position players are getting older and less productive.
The National League presents a much more complicated picture at the half-way point. As we all know, the Cubs for many years have fallen on hard times in the second halves of the season. As I look up and down their current lineup I can not visualize their annual collapse. They’ve got pitching, hitting and an outstanding manager in Lou Pinniela. Even the evil baseball Gods shouldn’t be able to stop them this year. Yes, I’m predicting a World Series appearance in 2008 for the Cubs. As it’s been 100 years since this phenomenon has occurred, I must be getting senile.
Well, now you have the mid-term grades which show the Cubs and Red Sox as A+, but I still say the Angels will win the World Series this historic season, beating the Cubs in six games.
Now let’s get to the most important part of this column. If you’ve been following the match-ups in the column and the Internet dailies, you’re aware that team vs. team as opposed to pitcher vs. pitcher is ringing true. Let Kenny White (las Vegas Sports Consultants) worry about the pitchers and the numbers for the totals, and we’ll continue to worry about the team match-ups.
Although I think his outfit does a great job, when you are projecting totals a week in advance, you’re compelled to primarily evaluate team run production, or the lack of it.
Our first example will be Texas at NY for a three-day series. In this case either offense is capable of getting enough runs by themselves to enable you to cash an over bet. The direct opposite occurs with Oakland at the Angels. In all probability neither team can score enough by themselves to get any of these three games over; therefore bet each game under.
Later in the week we have four matches ups that figure to be moneymakers. The first is a four-game series with the Red Sox visiting the Yankees. All players involved in this match-up will exhibit exceptional concentration and won’t waste an at bat regardless of the score: Over. Also, the Royals go to Tampa Bay, which, based on their pitching abilities, should produce some under games.
In the NL, the intensity of the Met-Phillies series should produce some overs, as both teams are high run scorers. As with the Royals-Rays series, the Padres visiting the Diamondbacks should include outstanding pitching and should produce a few under games. This prediction is a little easier, as the Padres would have trouble scoring on BishopGorman High School.