Bang the Book takes yet another look at the hottest and coldest teams in the majors for baseball betting fanatics through Sunday's clashes.
Money Power Poll
1: Tampa Bay Rays (14-5, +$872): If you had told Manager Joe Maddon that the Rays were going to go on the road for their longest roadie of the year and come back to Tropicana Field with the best record in baseball, he'd take it. Tampa Bay is scoring just under six runs per game, tops in the bigs, and have gotten some great starts from its young pitchers to boot.
2: Minnesota Twins (13-6, +$579): The two losses this week were bad ones for the Twins, who have now been favored in ten straight MLB betting battles. However, there's no shame in going 7-3 in those ten when the worst loss was this week's 8-1 slip to Cleveland as a -195 favorite. The road is about to get a lot tougher for Minnesota though, as not every series can come against Kansas City and Cleveland.
3: Washington Nationals (10-9, +$559): Are the Nats really staying competitive this year? Don't kid yourself. Especially at home, this is a team that can play some ball. Washington just took two out of three against the Dodgers and did so by allowing just five runs in the series. With pitching like that, the Nationals could be in the discussion in the NL East all season long.
Money Power Outage
30: Baltimore Orioles (3-16, -$1,253): Every other team in baseball has at least seven wins. Then there are the Orioles, who just won on Sunday to improve to 3-16. They'll come back to Camden Yards starting on Monday in search of their first home win of the season (0-6).
29: Boston Red Sox (8-11, -$740): The Sox have won four out of six since getting swept in a four-game set against the Rays last week. Still, they're six games in the rears of Tampa Bay and have three team to hop to reach it, and there's now a very tough stretch of games on the horizon. Boston travels to Toronto and Baltimore before coming home for the Angels, Yankees, and Blue Jays, then come trips to Detroit and Yankee Stadium, a brief visit from the Twins, and trips to Philly and Tampa Bay. Yikes!
28: Los Angeles Dodgers (8-10, -$492): In spite of the fact that the Dodgers have the third best offense in the majors at 5.72 runs per game, they still wake up at the end of the third week of play this year in last place in the NL West. A 4-8 record away from Dodger Stadium isn't helping matters right now, nor is a team ERA of 4.92.
The Good:RHP Mike Pelfrey, New York Mets: Coming into this week, Pelfrey led the Mets in wins and saves! Since then, K-Rod has shut the door three times, but Pelfrey keeps on ticking as the best starter that New York has at its disposal (which is saying something considering the fact that it has LHP Johan Santana to turn to every fifth day as well). Pelfrey tossed five shutout innings against the Braves on Sunday night and has now thrown 24 straight spotless frames, the longest streak in the majors.
The Bad:3B David Wright, New York Mets: The boo birds are out for the Mets' franchise third baseman, and why not? Over the last week, he has fanned ten times in 22 ABs, mustering just four hits and one extra base hit. If he can't get it going, it's going to be a long, long season in the Big Apple for one of the cornerstones of this franchise.
The Ugly:The comedy of errors known as the Pittsburgh Pirates: It's not often that you can say that you're making team history when you've had as bad of a history as the Pirates have. Pittsburgh was bounced 20-0 at home on Thursday afternoon at PNC Park in front of 13,634 very angry fans. It was the most lopsided defeat in team history and one of the worst losses in the history of all of baseball. The Pirates were outhit 25-8 in the beat down, while ten different Brewers drove in runs on the day.
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