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Baseball 101: Sweeping Yanks worth $252 million

Aug 7, 2001 1:29 AM

Go figure! For years, the Texas Rangers couldn’t catch a cold against the Yankees. Now, when the Rangers play themselves out of the AL West picture, they whip New York.

The Rangers were 10-34 against the Yankees, including the postseason. Last week, they won a series in New York for the first time since August 1993.  See, Texas did manage something from spending $252 million for Alex Rodriguez.

No Bull From Pen:

The Milwaukee Brewers have hit the skids in the past two weeks, but don’t blame the bullpen.

The Brewers bullpen leads the National League with a 3.32 ERA, yet has posted only 19 saves. The three teams in the majors ahead of Milwaukee (Seattle, Anaheim and the New York Yankees) have 44, 32 and 41 saves respectively. The Los Angeles Dodgers have a 4.52 bullpen ERA, third worst in the league, yet have 36 saves. True, the Brewers lack a big-time closer like Mariano Rivera, Kazuhiro Sasaki or Troy Percival. However, the starting rotation has let Milwaukee down all season. The injury to Jeff D’Amico has been a killer.

D’Amico seemed to finally put his great potential together last year, going 12-7 with a splendid 2.66 ERA. The 6-foot-7, 250-pounder has been out  since April 22.

Mike DeJean (3-1, 1.99 ERA in 58.2 innings) has been great, but David Weathers (2.03 ERA in 57.2 IP) is now with the Cubs.

Trivial pursuit

Two stats involving the Chicago Cubs, one relevant and the other meaningless. First, the noteworthy tidbit: The Cubs have only dropped two series since the All-Star Game. Now the yawner: Chicago is 53-4 when leading after seven innings. Guess what, no major league team is even close to owning a losing record when ahead after seven. Big deal...Florida has 20 come-from-behind wins but is 3-8 in extra innings...Anaheim ran off a 12-1 record on the road, including its first three-game sweep in Boston since 1974.

Beware of a run-line play involving San Francisco. Through last Thursday, the Giants had seen 21 of their last 31 games decided by three runs or less...Seattle has  not dropped a series all year on the road.

Major Medical

Wagering on the St. Louis Cardinals is tantamount to Russian Roulette. One never knows when to pull the trigger on a bet when some injury comes up and sidelines Mark McGwire. The slugging first baseman was a late scratch from Friday’s doubleheader against Florida after “tweaking” his knee on a cutoff play. McGwire has had a bizarre season, batting an anemic .198 with 19 homers and 39 RBIs. McGwire’s last nine hits have been homers, a stat the Elias Sports Bureau claims is unequaled over the last 25 years.

Money Market

Bettors sticking with underdogs were richly rewarded over two glorious days last week.

Underdogs won 14 games in a row on the Jim Feist rotation extending from the final seven  Tuesday to the first seven Wednesday. The streak included wins involving starting pitchers Darren Oliver, Jose Lima, Cory Lidle, Esteban Loaiza, Josh Towers, Ramon Ortiz, Paul Byrd, Bruce Chen, Matt Clement, Darryl Kile, Randy Wolf, Mark Thurman, Bobby Jones, and Lance Davis.

Here is the list of losing high-priced favorites.

            Tuesday, July 31
           
Aaron Sele (—170) ”” Detroit 4, Seattle 2
            Ted Lilly (—165) ”” Texas 6, NY Yankees 2
            Wednesday, August 1
            Hideo Nomo (—175) ”” Anaheim 4, Boston 2
            Thursday, August 2
            Mike Mussina (—250) ”” Texas 12, NY Yankees 2
            Friday, August 3
            John Burkett (—160) ”” Milwaukee 3, Atlanta 2
            Saturday, August 4
            Shawn Estes (-155) ”” Philadelphia  12, San Francisco 2

NL teams on the upswing since last week were Cincinnati (up 635), San Francisco (up 610) and San Diego (up 220. Headed south were Los Angeles (down 635), Arizona (down 310) and Atlanta (down 160).

Bullish in the AL during the same period were Texas (up 500), Oakland (up 305) and Seattle (up 230). The bears during the past week were Boston (down 385), Cleveland (down 340) and Baltimore (down 215).

AUG 6

NL Money Line Record

Chicago  

+1110

Philadelphia  

+1030

San Diego  

+1020

San Francisco  

+995

Los Angeles  

+455

Arizona  

+145

Florida  

-165

Houston  

-285

St. Louis  

-550

Cincinnati  

-620

Atlanta  

-840

Montreal  

-935

Milwaukee  

-1055

Pittsburgh  

-1325

New York  

-1440

Colorado  

-2910

AL Money Line Record

Seattle  

+3980

Minnesota  

+1515

Anaheim  

+780

New York  

+675

Oakland  

-240

Boston  

-255

Chicago  

-535

Detroit  

-600

Kansas City  

-675

Cleveland  

-760

Baltimore  

-1050

Texas  

-1050

Toronto  

-1145

Tampa Bay   -2335

Darn Lefties

The Seattle Mariners just went 50 games over .500 this incredible season. Left-handed reliever Arthur Rhodes is a big reason why.

Rhodes is having his greatest season since joining the majors in 1991 with Baltimore. The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder is 6-0 with a 1.53 ERA in 47 innings. Manager Lou Piniella has done a brilliant job of spotting Rhodes in situations where he often faces left-hand batters. The league is hitting only .180 against Sir Arthur, who has an incredible 11 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio per nine innings.

Rhodes is the rock of the Seattle bullpen, a proven closer should anything happen to Kazuhiro Sasaki.

At age 31, Rhodes is really just getting into his prime years. Rhodes may be the toughest lefty to face, outside of Randy Johnson.

You Make the Call

Using home plate umpire statistics to determine ”˜over / under’ trends is innovative, but, in my opinion, takes research and good timing to determine whether this is a hit or miss method. A case in point occurred in Saturday’s contest between Cincinnati and San Diego.

Dana Demuth, one of the better umps in the majors, was behind the plate. Demuth had been 10-10 in ”˜over / under’ games when calling pitches, or consistently inconsistent.

DeMuth was involved a 2-0 game, won by San Diego in a matchup of two young guns in Brian Tollberg (San Diego) and Chris Reitsma (Cincinnati). The two combined to walk just one batter and strike out 10. Demuth had been averaging 8.2 walks and 9.5 runs this year when behind the plate. Last year, Demuth had an ”˜over’ record of 19-16. In other words, Demuth remains a 50-50 proposition, whichever way you go.

Greg Gibson continues to pace the ”˜over’ crowd, seeing the final score exceed the posted pre-game total in 15 of his 22 plate assignments . Brian Gorman (15-6) has had five of his last six games behind the plate go ”˜under’ the total.

Over:

Gibson 15-7, Fichter 10-4, Schrieber 12-6, Kulpa 15-8, Hollowell 8-5, Cousins 15-10, Rapuano 14-8, Reynolds 13-8, Foster 12-8, A. Fletcher 12-8.

Under:

Marsh 13-3, Meriwether 16-4, J. Hirschbeck 15-6, Means 15-7, Gorman 15-7, Cuzzi 15-7, Miller 16-8, Iassogna 15-8, M. Hirschbeck 13-8, Reilly 13-8.

(Statistics provied by National Sports Services, Inc.)