Some Teams Just Need A Break! Plus NFC East Notes




By Jim Hurley:

There's no reason to hide the facts:

The Baltimore Orioles, Colorado Rockies and - from the what-else-is-new category - Houston Astros all simply cannot wait to get to next week's All-Star Game break ... and can you blame them?

They are three teams streaking "the wrong way" as we get closer and closer to this year's Midsummer Classic and here in today's Jim Sez we'll detail some of their woes and what they might be doing later this month as we approach the July 31st Trade Deadline:

BALTIMORE (36-48) -- The Orioles have lost eight of their last 10 games and three in a row following the clean sweep at the hands of the surging Texas Rangers and Buck Showalter's squad was outscored 30-11 in that series. Think it'll get any better closing out the first half of this 2011 MLB season with a four-game set in Boston? Egads!

The O's - who are 10-18 against fellow American League East teams this season - are doing all the "little things" wrong like botching that play at third base the other night in the Rangers' 4-2 win. And than last night - when Texas stormed to a 13-5 win against Baltimore's 11-game loser Jeremy Guthrie (that's 3-11 with a 4.23 ERA) - the hard-luck hurler dug an early grave by walking two of the game's first three batters en route to a four-run first inning for Texas.

Maybe Showalter and Company can get folks such as 1B Derrek Lee to hit a little bit in the season's second half but expect the Orioles to be "sellers" with 3B Mark Reynolds on the market (we hear the Toronto Blue Jays may have interest).

COLORADO (41-46) - Recent injuries to Rockies stars SS Troy Tulowitzki (quad) and CF Carlos Gonzalez (wrist) have crippled this National League West crew that exited last night's 9-1 loss in Atlanta on a four-game losing skid and losers of seven of its last 10 games. Don't look now but the Rockies are 7 games back of the NL West-leading San Francisco Giants plus Colorado sports a sub-par .500 against all three senior circuit divisions - plus Colorado's five games under .500 for the very first time this season.

No doubt the Rockies have been one of MLB's best second-half-of-the-season teams in recent memory but can Jim Tracy's club turn the beat around with folks such as RHP Aaron Cook (0-4, 5.82) apparently unable to recapture his past stuff? Look for Colorado to think like "sellers" also if things get even worse right after the All-Star break as folks such as OF Seth Smith (.301) and closer Houston Street (24 saves in 26 opportunities) could bring back some nice chips.

HOUSTON (30-58) - Okay, so the less said the better when it comes to MLB's worst team to date in this 2011 season but have you checked out the expanded standings to see Houston's 14-33 at home, 16-25 away and losers of eight of its last 10 games ... and that includes last night's 8-2 win in Pittsburgh.

The Astros apparently aired out some team grievances in a 75-minute meeting that preceded the Wednesday night win in the Steel City but that won't stop this club from being big-time sellers later this month and nobody should be shocked if corner outfielders Carlos Lee and Hunter Pence get change-of-address slips. Note that Lee has 48 RBI and Pence has 59 RBI so far - might either/both of the New York City baseball teams be inquiring for their respective services?

And now hear this: Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers release Major-League Baseball Winners each/every day and you can be part of all the action -- just remember to call the toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or go online right here and make sure you're all aboard for a summer filled with all our MLB winners! The calling/check-in times are after 10 a.m. ET on Saturdays and Sundays; anytime after 11 a.m. ET for the weekday Baseball action; and than anytime after 1 p.m. ET for all the weeknight action. Now go ahead and pile up all your summertime Baseball winners!



We fully trust that there will indeed by a 2011 NFL season and so let's get off the lockout talk and instead discuss recent Pointspread Trends. Now, let's take a look at the NFC East:

DALLAS - Last year was supposed to be a truly special season for the Cowboys what with the Super Bowl in their own backyard and all but instead this NFC East squad got off to a 1-7 SU (straight-up) start and finished both 6-10 SU and ATS (against the spread). The amazing thing is that the 'Boys actually covered five games in succession after Jason Garrett was named interim head coach and that equaled the franchise's longest spread winning streak since early in the 2003 campaign (yes, the Bill Parcells Era). Note that Dallas failed to cover 8-of-9 games last year when placed in the favorite's role - the lone win was a 35-19 home triumph over 5 ½-point underdog Detroit in Week 11 play - and so that means the Cowboys are a collective 42-48-3 ATS as chalk sides the past 10 years ... yuck! On the flip side, last year's Cowboys registered a nifty 5-2 ATS log whenever in the underdog role and Dallas is a respectable 38-34 ATS when grabbing points the past 10 years. One final note: Dallas is a rotten 3-9 versus the vig in its last dozen head-to-head showdowns with the archrival Washington Redskins.
NEW YORK GIANTS - The 2010 campaign was truly a "tale of two seasons" bit for the G-men who went 4-3 vig-wise prior to the team's Week 8 bye and than registered a shabby 3-6 spread log in the weeks following the bye. Tom Coughlin's crew managed to cover just two games in five tries as underdogs a year ago but take note the Giants are a collective 20-12 ATS as pups while dating back to the start of the 2006 season. On the flip side, the Giants are 9-13 ATS combined the past two years when laying points but note both the 2005 and '08 teams snagged identical 9-4 spread marks as chalk sides. It's interesting to note that last year's NYG club split its 10 non-divisional pointspread verdicts after going just 3-7 vig-wise in these games in 2009 - however, the 2007/'08 Giants were a wondrous 18-5 against the odds when playing outside its tough division.

PHILADELPHIA - No doubt that for a long, long time here in Jim Sez we've sung the pointspread praises of the Philly Eagles during the 12-year tenure of head coach Andy Reid and even with last year's sub-par 8-9 ATS campaign the Birds are a stirring 119-89-3 versus the vig since Reid came aboard prior to the 1999 season. Note that last year's Eagles split their eight regular-season road games in terms of the all-important pointspread but go back the past 10 years and you'll see Philadelphia is a spiffy 54-35 ATS away (and that's an incredible .607 winning rate). Dig a little bit deeper and you'll find the Birds are a tasty 15-9 against the odds when in the dog role dating back to the start of 2006 and that includes last year's outright win at 3-point favorite San Francisco and at the 3-point favored New York Giants. Meanwhile, if you're looking for single-season best spread stat involving the Eagles the past 10 years, than how about when Reid's crew went 9-1 ATS away back in the 2001 season. Now that's a money-making machine for you!

WASHINGTON - One thing last year's Redskins led the NFL in was most pointspread "pushes" by a single team: The 'Skins finished off the 2010 campaign at 8-5-3 juice-wise with "pushes" against Houston, Indianapolis and Tampa Bay and all of the above happened in close losses during a 6-10 SU season. Note that Washington did rally with three consecutive season-ending covers last year - versus Dallas, Jacksonville and the New York Giants in chronological order - to hurdle the .500 mark spreadwise and that proved to be the first time since 2005 (see 11-7 ATS) that the Redskins wound up on the plus side of the .500 mark spreadwise. If you wish to check out a darker side for the Redskins, than note they're a collective 14-19-8 ATS when playing non-NFC East teams the past four years ... how about that? That's nearly 20 percent of these non-NFC East games where the 'Skins "pushed" in their pointspread results over a four-year span. Strange stuff indeed.

NOTE; There is more MLB News & Notes in tomorrow's edition of Jim Sez as we creep closer to next week's All-Star Game.


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