05/21/2012 04:40 PM
MLB Betting Notes
May 21, 2012
Dodgers 10/1 to Win World Series
When looking at the chances of all the baseball teams to win the 2012 World Series, the club that looks to have the best shot is the Dodgers. It’s not even June yet, but getting 10/1 (Bet $100 to win $1000) odds on a team that has a seven-game lead in the NL West and the best record in baseball, there really is no better future value. It doesn't mean they'll win, but they have the best chance to at least be there.
The first thing all of the contending teams have to do is make the playoffs and only the Rangers have as much of a five-game lead in their division with all others being tightly contested. This is why the Orioles are still 50/1 to win despite leading their division. The AL East is the toughest division in baseball with the four other teams having lower odds to win the World Series than the Orioles according to LVH Super Book odds. Yes, even the Blue Jays are 25/1.
Despite playing in a pitcher’s park, the Dodgers hitters have been producing at a high level good enough for the NL’s fourth most runs scored (183) and third best average (.267). Even with MVP candidate Matt Kemp going on the DL, the Dodgers have continued to hit and win ball games.
The Dodgers usually always have good pitching and this year is no different. The staff has the second best ERA (2.99) in the NL, led by a surprisingly good starting rotation.
Perhaps the main variable in supporting the Dodgers moving forward is the new ownership group, in particular, president Stan Kasten. Whatever glaring need the Dodgers might appear to have in July, Kasten will make the necessary moves to get to the next level just like he did every year with the Braves in their glory years.
The Braves won 14 straight division titles -- the first 12 with Kasten -- and the final push to the playoffs was always made easier with Kasten going out and getting the missing piece of the puzzle. Look for the Dodgers to do the same thing this year.
Aging Pitchers Getting it Done
As it becomes clearer each ensuing year that baseball has finally cleaned itself up with players use of performance enhancing drugs, we’ve seen home run totals and ERA’s drop simultaneously. Along the way we’ve also seen some pitchers “Long in the Tooth” hang around a few more years than they might of in the past because the game looks somewhat easier for them now than during their steroid era.
It’s getting to the point now where you might have a hard time telling the difference between players and coaches because of the gray in their hair and beards.
Last month, Jamie Moyer -- at 49 years of age -- became the oldest pitcher in baseball history to win a game. The win came one year removed from retiring. He missed the entire 2011 season, but still felt he could throw strikes and keep hitters off-balance with his array of slow pitches. Should he play next season, he’ll be the first player at 50 to play in the majors in a non-publicity stunt since 1933.
The topic of age had me thinking last Friday because I saw some irony in how a few events transpired. On the day that 35-year-old Kerry Wood retired, he struck out his final batter with a 92 mph fastball that had some nasty movement. On the same day, 39-year-old Andy Pettitte went eight scoreless innings in his second start of the season after sitting out the entire 2011 campaign. Then another gray-beard dominated with 37-year-old Kevin Millwood pitching a complete game shutout.
We also have 38-year-old Derek Lowe, who is having an amazing season with Cleveland. He’s 6-2 with a 2.15 ERA in nine starts for the Tribe.
We’ve seen future Hall of Famers go deep into their 40’s with some success like Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens. We’ve had knuckleballers like Hoyt Wilhelm pitch until he was 49, Phil Niekro 48, Charlie Hough 46 and the recently retired Tim Wakefield at 45. Nolan Ryan, Tommy John and Gaylord Perry all pitched at the age of 45. It's at least nice to know there is still a place for craftiness in baseball.
With hitters being less amped up, translating to being less aggressive and angry at the plate, pitchers have been more willing to throw that first strike and get ahead in the count which ultimately leads to hitters swinging at questionable pitches later in the count. With a pitcher like Moyer, who tricks hitters with speeds varying from 62 to 77 mph, he is using all his wealth of pitching knowledge from 269 big league wins to get hitters out and chew up innings.
Manny Ramirez turns 40 on May 30, the same day he‘s eligible to return to the majors after serving his second suspension for use of performance enhancing drugs. He’ll be playing all this week for the Sacramento River Cats with hopes that he finds his swing again and gets the call back to the show from the A’s. Oakland is in a major power outage right now with Brandon Inge and Yoenis Cespedes on the DL and could use Manny being Manny.
"I still think I can play this game,'' Ramirez told reporters over the weekend while playing in Albuquerque. "When I retired last year, I was all over the place. And I went to the fans, and they told me, ‘We miss you. The game is not the same without you.' Why not come back when I'm doing something I love?''
While Josh Hamilton (22 hits, 13 runs, 9 home runs, 22 RBIs, .440 average last 15 days) has been getting all the well deserved superstar attention over the last two weeks, a few other players have kind of got lost in the shuffle. Over the same stretch, David Wright (22 hits, 12 runs, 1 HR, 10 RBIs, .478 average) has been on fire and he’s currently leading baseball with a .412 average through Sunday and doing all he can to provide some offense for a team that is struggling to get good pitching (MLB fourth worst ERA, 4.60).
The Baltimore Orioles currently lead baseball with 64 home runs and two of the players providing much of the pop have been overlooked during their remarkable run to stay atop the AL East. J.J. Hardy (5 HRs, 12 RBIs) and Adam Jones (7 HRs, 15 RBIs) may not be house hold names, but they’re doing enough for their teams to warrant early MVP considerations and they combined for 12 home runs and 27 RBIs in the last 15 games.
Melky Cabrera, Martin Prado and Robinson Cano are all hitting over. 400 over the last two weeks, but perhaps the biggest name to jump out over that span is last year’s NL MVP Ryan Braun, who has hit .423 over that span. After a slow start without having Prince Fielder hitting behind him and all the media scrutiny from the botched performance enhancing test, Braun’s current run has us all reminded that he’s one of the best players in the game despite the cloud of uncertainty hanging over him.
Young Player Deserving of Hype
The baseball world can’t seem to get enough of Bryce Harper, especially here at his home in Las Vegas. Not everyone who is a No. 1 draft pick has such a dynamic personality with such endless potential, nor do they play on a team battling for first-place for the first time ever. But Harper has struggled as many expected with a .244 average and two home runs in his first 21 games.
Coming up from the minors about the same time as Harper was Angels outfielder Mike Trout, who has hit .355 with four home runs and six stolen bases. Over the last 15 days Trout has hit .420 and given the struggling Angels a spark with plenty of scoring chances for the boppers to bring in. Trout was in the same position last year that Harper is in this season. He took his lumps (.220) when first brought up, started this season in the minors, made adjustments and now it looks like he’s completely comfortable to show off all his skills and be a mainstay in the majors.
Technically, Trout is not a rookie because he had 123 at-bats last season and isn’t eligible to win Rookie of the Year award, but he looks like a player that has the chance to put bigger and better hardware on his mantle.
When will it be the appropriate time to get plays called right in baseball? They’ve made the first step by having instant replays for questionable home runs, so why not do it now for balls, strikes and outs? Just this past week, the number of bad calls alone has given us a great reason to upgrade with technology, but traditionalists of the game still protest that the naked eye of the umpire is an essential part of the game that should never be changed.
However, baseball has shown to be more progressive in other areas where there was plenty of backlash. We have 10 teams in the postseason now. Up until 1969, there were only two teams that made the playoffs making the long regular season mean much more and more pure to the traditionalists. Why do we have to stand with tradition when everything else in baseball has been de-traditionalized? We have lights in stadiums, cable and satellite television, Interleague play and the designated hitter. We even had a World Series cancelled due to modern greed when even world wars and terrorist attacks couldn’t stop baseball.
Best Days of the Week
We’ve got seven weeks in the books the season that have given us plenty of data to come up with some ridiculous statistics that don’t really mean a thing other than just bar room talking points. One of those stats is how a team does on each individual day of the week. The Reds went 7-0 on Sunday’s with their win at Yankee Stadium this past weekend. It‘s not that big of a deal, but the fact remains that they are only two games above .500 and for some reason they always play big on Sunday.
Other trends include the Dodgers going 7-0 on Saturday’s while the Phillies, Rockies and Diamondbacks are all 1-6 on Saturday. The Braves love Friday’s (6-0) while the Pirates hate them (0-6). The Phillies best day of the week is Thursday (5-0), but if the Angels (0-5) could do without that day, they’d be .500. The D’Backs don’t like Wednesday’s (0-6), but the Rays love them (6-0). And the best, or worst, trend on Monday is the Braves going 0-6.
Hurry Up and Get to the Pen
We always hear about how good teams' bullpens are in regards to blown saves and ERA, but how about actual wins and losses. How about teams that go into the seventh inning with a lead always make you feel comfortable with a bet on them? Only three teams in baseball are perfect. The first one shouldn’t come as a surprise because the Braves (19-0) are highly regarded for their bullpen. But the other two are kind of shock. The Pirates (13-0) and Brewers (13-0), despite losing records, both slam the doors shut without fail when they have a lead.
On the opposite side we have teams that -- for the lack of a better word -- 'quit' when they're down heading into the seventh and records reflect their surrender flag. The Angels (0-16) and Rockies (0-17) have shown no fight in the late innings and is most of the reason the teams haven't had much rah-rah in their club houses and W's in the win column.
Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs: