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Some Wednesday MLB Helpful Information............
Handicapping MLB's most overrated teams
By Bryan Power
As the years go by, I am subscribing less and less to the notion of “a team is what its record is.”
As is the case in most professional sports, scoring differential is a more accurate projection of just how good or bad an individual team may be. Using that as my guide, I decided to take a look at the three most overrated teams in Major League Baseball.
These teams might have winning records right now, but come October I don’t see anyone out of this group in the postseason or winning any kind of pennant.
Cleveland Indians (37-35, -48 run differential)
The Indians are the most overrated team in baseball right now. Heading into Tuesday, the Tribe are half a game back of the Chicago White Sox in American League Central despite having a run differential that’s 80 runs worse. Only four teams currently have a run differential worse than the Tribe and three of them have winning percentages of .417 or worse.
Pitching is Cleveland’s problem (4.54 ERA). Only two teams have a worse staff ERA, those being Colorado and Minnesota. The offensive numbers are better, but the Indians still rank only 19th in runs scored (305) and that’s not going to be enough to offset the poor pitching numbers.
You won’t be seeing this team playing deep into October. The Indians were in first place last season as of July 1 and would finish with a losing record. You get the feeling that third place Detroit is in a worst-case scenario right now at two games below .500 and could easily blow by the Indians in the division race down the stretch.
Pittsburgh Pirates (38-34, -10 run differential)
Remember what a nice story the Pirates were last year? This franchise has not made the postseason since 1992 - a drought that’s topped by only two other organizations (Nationals, Royals). On July 15 of last year, Pittsburgh was in first place in the NL Central. It finished 18 games below .500 at the end of the year.
Unlike Cleveland, the Pirates’ issue is offense – or a lack thereof. They rank 29th – second to last – in runs scored (252), which is 13 runs worse than the 28th-ranked team. Only San Diego is worse and the Padres currently reside 21 games under .500 in the basement in the NL West. Though the NL Central is not a tough division, I can’t see Pittsburgh competing with Cincinnati (+37) and St. Louis (+68) down the stretch.
Baltimore Orioles (41-31, +4 run differential)
Unlike the other two teams on this list, the Orioles’ main problem is their division. For years, the issue was the Yankees and the Red Sox. This season all five American League East teams find themselves above .500 with Baltimore’s run differential of +4 being the worst by a considerable margin. Tampa Bay is a force to be reckoned with. The O’s pitching won’t hold and you can expect the Orioles to start falling, possibly starting as soon as this week when they host the Angels.
Wednesday's streaking and slumping starting pitchers
James McDonald, Pittsburgh Pirates (6-3, 2.19 ERA)
McDonald is coming off the first complete game of his career, allowing six hits and one earned run while striking out five Minnesota Twins in a 9-1 blowout win. He has helped Pittsburgh to victories in four of his last five starts, yielding fewer than three runs in each of those efforts. The Pirates average just 3.6 runs in his starts this year.
Jason Hammel, Baltimore Orioles (8-2, 2.61 ERA)
Hammel tied a career-high 10 strikeouts in a 2-1 win over Washington last week. He heads into Wednesday’s date with the Angels without allowing an earned run in 19 innings and has helped the Orioles win six of his last seven trips to the hill. He faces off against an equally hot Jered Weaver.
Jeff Samardzija, Chicago Cubs (5-6, 4.34 ERA)
Apart from a couple of pitches, Samardzija was pretty pleased with his last outing, a 6-1 loss to the Diamondbacks. He lasted five innings and gave up five runs, but four of those came on a two-run homer and a two-run double. The big righty now has just one win in his last seven starts.
Josh Outman, Colorado Rockies (0-3, 8.64 ERA)
Outman has allowed at least four runs in four of his five starts and gave up five runs in 4 2/3 innings in a no-decision against Texas. He fired 92 pitches in that one, the most he has thrown in a start all year. Outman owns a 9.00 ERA and has allowed four homers in his last three.
Wednesday’s betting tips: Utley set to return for Phillies?
Weather to watch
Cincinnati Reds at San Francisco Giants – 14 mph winds expected to blow out to centerfield.
MLB: Over is 25-12-1 in Homer Bailey's last 38 starts for Cincinnati.
MLB: Home team is 36-16 in Tony Randazzo’s last 52 games behind home plate. He's set to work Wednesday's Rays-Royals matchup in K.C.
MLB: Athletics are 10-3 in their last 13 overall.
WNBA: Minnesota Lynx are 17-6 ATS in their last 23 home games.
MLB: Mets are 3-7 in Jon Niese’s last 10 road starts.
MLB: Dodgers are 5-11 in the last 16 meetings in San Francisco.
MLB: Pirates are 6-20 in the last 26 meetings in Philadelphia.
WNBA: Chicago Sky are 1-5 ATS in their last six home games.
2,623 - Spain have completed 2623 passes so far at Euro 2012, more than double as many as Portugal (1159). With the club’s patient ball-possession tactics, Spain has won its last six knockout games at major tournaments, outscoring the opposition 7-0.
Injury that shouldn’t be overlooked
Candice Dupree, Phoenix Mercury – Dupree is questionable for Wednesday’s game with a left knee contusion and she may not be the only member of the Mercury on the sideline. Phoenix has had to play its last two games with just eight dressed players thanks to other injuries to backup center Nakia Sanford, All-Star Diana Taurasi and forward Penny Taylor.
Game of the day
Portugal +320 vs. Spain -125, Draw +225
"You've got to be able to walk and talk winning. Our guys are walking better. They're talking better. They believe in things they can't see, but there has been some increments of tangible evidence. We can play this game." Manager Clint Hurdle on the play of his Pittsburgh Pirates this season. The Pirates went into Tuesday’s action two games off the pace in the NL Central while earning 10.78 units for their supporters.
Notes and tips
Portugal will be without striker Helder Postiga Wednesday after he suffered a hamstring injury in the club’s 1-0 win over Czech Republic. Hugo Almeida came on for him and is expected to be in the starting 11 Wednesday.
The Texas Rangers placed starting pitcher Colby Lewis on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday because of tendinitis in his right forearm. Lewis is one of four Rangers pitchers on the DL. The others are Derek Holland (elbow fatigue), Neftali Feliz (elbow inflammation), and Alexi Ogando (groin). Lewis is 6-6 with a 3.51 ERA this season. In his most recent start on Saturday, he gave up eight runs on 12 hits, both season-highs, in four innings.
Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley could return to the lineup as early as Wednesday. He has been out of the lineup since the beginning of the season with cartilage degeneration in his left knee and is expected to make his final rehab start for Lehigh Valley Tuesday before possibly joining the Phillies Wednesday. "There are some people who have given up on this team," he told reporters. "I'll be the first one to tell you that I definitely have not given up on myself and our guys have not given up on this year.”
A four-team playoff to determine a national champion in college football will become a reality in the 2014 season after an oversight committee of university presidents on Tuesday approved the conference commissioners proposal in Washington. The plan involves a 12-year deal, so this format will be in place though the 2025 season.
The Houston Rockets made another move designed to ultimately acquire a franchise building block, sending small forward Chase Budinger to the Minnesota Timberwolves for the 18th overall pick in Thursday's draft. The Rockets are loading up on assets with a goal of acquiring Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic.
-- Greinke is 3-0, 1.46 in his last five starts.
-- Niese is 2-1, 2.73 in his last four starts.
-- McDonald is 3-1, 2.03 in his last six starts.
-- Cahill is 4-0, 2.45 in his last four starts. Hanson is 3-0, 3.55 in his last four outings.
-- Richard is 3-0, 2.53 in his last three starts.
-- Pettitte is 3-0, 1.59 in his last four home starts. Jimenez is 2-1, 2.05 in his last four starts.
-- Sale is 5-0, 1.61 in his last seven starts. Minnesota won Blackburn's last seven starts, scoring 43 runs.
-- Moore is 3-1, 2.87 in his last five starts.
-- Parker is 2-1, 1.85 in his last six starts.
-- Orioles won last four Hammel starts (2-0, 2.25). Weaver is 2-0, 2.57 in his last four outings.
-- Oswalt allowed one run in 6.2 IP (110 PT) in his first '12 start. Fister is 1-1, 3.00 in two starts since coming off the DL.
-- Bailey is 1-2, 5.87 in his last four starts.
-- Samardzija is 0-3, 8.53 in his last four starts.
-- Lincecum is 0-6, 6.39 in his last ten starts.
-- Valdes is 5-4, 4.11 in 85 big league innings, allowing three runs in 14 IP in '12. He started one game for the '10 Mets. He appeared in 14 minor league games this year, with no starts, only 27 IP. He won't pitch long here.
-- Billingsley lost his last two starts, allowing 11 runs in 11 IP.
-- ASanchez is 0-3, 8.06 in his last four starts. Kelly has a 4.11 RA in his first three big league starts.
-- Harrell is 2-3, 7.04 in his last five starts.
-- Zimmerman is 0-2, 3.94 in his last five starts. Cabrera is making his MLB debut; he was 8-4, 2.94 in 15 starts in the AA Texas League.
-- Romero has a 6.25 RA in his last six starts, but Toronto won his last five, scoring 47 runs. Lester is 1-2, 5.79 in his last six starts.
-- Teaford allowed four runs in four IP in his only '12 start.
-- Millwood allowed 12 runs in 10 IP in his last two starts.
-- Diamondbacks won five of their last seven games.
-- Cubs are 7-4 in their last eleven games at Wrigley Field.
-- Reds won three of their last four games.
-- Phillies are 5-3 in their last eight games.
-- St Louis won six of its last seven games.
-- Padres are 5-3 in their last eight road games.
-- Giants won 11 of their last 15 home games.
-- Angels won seven of their last nine games. Orioles won seven of their last nine home games.
-- Bronx Bombers won 14 of their last 17 games.
-- Red Sox won 10 of their last 13 games. Injury-ravaged Blue Jays won seven of their last eleven games.
-- Rangers won eight of their last ten games. Detroit is 10-6 in its last 16.
-- Kansas City outscored the Rays 16-2 in first two games of this series.
-- A's won ten of their last fourteen games.
-- Atlanta lost six of its last eight home games.
-- Pittsburgh lost its last three games, scoring nine runs.
-- Brewers lost eight of their last eleven road games.
-- Miami lost 17 of its last 20 games.
-- Mets lost their last four games, scoring 12 runs.
-- Houston lost seven of its last eleven games.
-- Rockies lost 15 of their last 19 games. Washington is 4-6 in its last 10.
-- Dodgers lost eight of their last ten games.
-- Indians lost seven of their last eight road games.
-- Tampa Bay lost five of its last seven games.
-- White Sox lost five of their last seven road games. Minnesota lost five of its last seven at home.
-- Mariners lost 11 of their last 16 games.
-- Under is 10-3-1 in last fourteen Arizona road games.
-- Over is 23-8 in Philly's last 31 games.
-- Nine of last eleven Milwaukee road games stayed under.
-- Over is 5-2-1 in last eight Miami games.
-- Under is 4-1-2 in Cubs' last seven games.
-- Under is 5-1-1 in last seven Houston home games.
-- Under is 6-2-1 in last nine Washington games.
-- Under is 6-2-1 in Dodgers' last nine games.
-- Under is 8-4-1 in Angels' last thirteen games.
-- Under is 8-2-1 in last eleven Cleveland road games.
-- Over is 6-2-1 in Toronto's last nine road games.
-- Six of last seven Detroit games stayed under the total.
-- Six of last seven Minnesota games stayed under total.
-- Four of last five Kansas City games went over the total.
-- Under is 6-2-1 in last nine Oakland games.
-- Pitt-Phil-- Home side won six of last seven McClelland games, with six of last nine going over the total.
-- Mil-Cin-- Underdogs are 7-4 in last eleven Cooper games.
-- Az-Atl-- Six of last seven Carapazza games stayed under total.
-- StL-Mia-- Under is 5-1-1 in last seven Muchlinski games.
-- NY-Chi-- Under is 3-1-1 in last five Gonzalez games.
-- SD-Hst-- 11 of 15 Wolf games went over the total.
-- Wsh-Col-- Last four Hickox games stayed under the total.
-- LA-SF-- Nine of last eleven Culbreth games went over total.
-- LA-Balt-- Four of last five Danley games went over the total.
-- Cle-NY-- Hoye's last three games all went over the total.
-- Tor-Bos-- 11 of last 14 Drake games went over the total.
-- Det-Tex-- 13 of 14 Emmel games went over the total.
-- Chi-Min-- Nine of last eleven Schrieber games went over.
-- TB-KC-- Six of last nine Randazzo games went over total.
-- A's-Sea-- Under is 7-2-1 in last ten Iassogna games.
The Dodgers look to bounce back from yesterday's 2-0 loss and take advantage of a San Francisco team that is 0-8 in Tim Lincecum's last 8 starts after allowing 2 runs or less in their previous game. LA is the pick (+115) according to Dunkel, which has the Dodgers favored by 1. Dunkel Pick: LA Dodgers (+115). Here are all of today's picks.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 27
Time Posted: 6:00 a.m. EST
Game 951-952: Milwaukee at Cincinnati (12:35 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Milwaukee (Greinke) 15.760; Cincinnati (Bailey) 14.116
Dunkel Line: Milwaukee by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: Milwaukee (-115); 8
Dunkel Pick: Milwaukee (-115); Under
Game 953-954: NY Mets at Chicago Cubs (2:20 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Mets (Niese) 15.431; Cubs (Samardzija) 14.837
Dunkel Line: NY Mets by 1/2; 10
Vegas Line: NY Mets (-125); No Run Total
Dunkel Pick: NY Mets (-125); Over
Game 955-956: LA Dodgers at San Francisco (3:45 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Dodgers (Billingsley) 15.757; San Francisco (Lincecum) 14.641
Dunkel Line: LA Dodgers by 1; 8
Vegas Line: San Francisco (-135); 7
Dunkel Pick: LA Dodgers (+115); Over
Game 957-958: Pittsburgh at Philadelphia (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Pittsburgh (McDonald) 15.615; Philadelphia (Valdes) 14.806
Dunkel Line: Pittsburgh by 1; 7
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A
Game 959-960: Arizona at Atlanta (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Arizona (Cahill) 16.164; Atlanta (Hanson) 17.056
Dunkel Line: Atlanta by 1; 7
Vegas Line: Atlanta (-135); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (-135); Under
Game 961-962: St. Louis at Miami (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: St. Louis (Kelly) 15.732; Miami (Sanchez) 13.622
Dunkel Line: St. Louis by 2; 10
Vegas Line: Miami (-135); 9
Dunkel Pick: St. Louis (+115); Over
Game 963-964: San Diego at Houston (8:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Diego (Richard) 15.485; Houston (Harrell) 13.950
Dunkel Line: San Diego by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Houston (-115); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: San Diego (-105); Under
Game 965-966: Washington at Colorado (8:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Washington (Zimmermann) 15.003; Colorado (Cabrera) 15.570
Dunkel Line: Colorado by 1/2; 11
Vegas Line: Washington (-135); 10 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Colorado (+115); Over
Game 967-968: Cleveland at NY Yankees (1:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cleveland (Jimenez) 13.621; NY Yankees (Pettitte) 16.865
Dunkel Line: NY Yankees by 3; 10
Vegas Line: NY Yankees (-190); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: NY Yankees (-190); Over
Game 969-970: Chicago White Sox at Minnesota (1:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: White Sox (Sale) 14.925; Minnesota (Blackburn) 14.461
Dunkel Line: Chicago White Sox by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Chicago White Sox (-175); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Chicago White Sox (-175); Under
Game 971-972: Toronto at Boston (1:35 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Toronto (Romero) 16.427; Boston (Lester) 15.413
Dunkel Line: Toronto by 1; 10 1/2
Vegas Line: Boston (-145); 10
Dunkel Pick: Toronto (+125); Over
Game 973-974: Tampa Bay at Kansas City (2:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay (Moore) 15.017; Kansas City (Teaford) 13.789
Dunkel Line: Tampa Bay by 1; 7 1/2
Vegas Line: Kansas City (-110); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Tampa Bay (-110); Under
Game 975-976: Oakland at Seattle (3:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Oakland (Parker) 15.433; Seattle (Millwood) 14.837
Dunkel Line: Oakland by 1/2; 6
Vegas Line: Seattle (-110); 7
Dunkel Pick: Oakland (-110); Under
Game 977-978: LA Angels at Baltimore (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Angels (Weaver) 15.669; Baltimore (Hammel) 16.388
Dunkel Line: Baltimore by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: LA Angels (-135); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Baltimore (+115); Over
Game 979-980: Detroit at Texas (8:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit (Fister) 15.351; Texas (Oswalt) 16.324
Dunkel Line: Texas by 1; 11
Vegas Line: Texas (-160); 10
Dunkel Pick: Texas (-160); Over