AL Sluggish In Early Action
AMERICAN LEAGUE NOT DOMINATING
NATIONAL LEAGUE AS IN PRIOR YEARS
by Mathew Hurley, Managing Editor
The first two weekends of 2010 Interleague action saw a dead heat.
Through 84 games, it was 42 wins for the National League, and 42 wins for the American League. Why aren't we seeing American League dominance so far? They had been beating the NL like a drum over the last five years. Let's take a closer look.
*First, it's still early. The NL held its own early last year before fading. The 100-game point may seem like a lot, but there's still more than that coming up. The NL will prove it's back to being competitive by maintaining quality results through the whole process.
*Secondly, Baltimore is horrible, which makes it tougher for the AL to dominate! The Orioles just got swept at home by the Mets...a team that had been struggling on the road prior to that series. In recent seasons, the worst AL teams actually posted a decent record (even winning records a few times). Baltimore makes it unlikely the last place teams will provide a boost to the record this year.
*Seattle is in a Baltimore-type slump in recent weeks. They were second worst in the AL in IL play after Monday's action. That's continuing a slide that's pretty much lasted all season. You'd have to figure a change at manager may be in the offing of the Mariners don't pick up the pace.
*Handicappers and baseball fans have to be prepared for the possibility that the National League has finally improved. FINALLY! There's a lot of quality young talent in the league, particularly on the mound. The American League powers are in the habit of buying other team's proven veterans. The NL may have climbed back to an equilibrium where they're spending for talent (like Roy Halladay in Philadelphia this year), and developing young stars. It took too long for the NL to be embarrassed about their IL results. It may have finally sunk in that they had to upgrade significantly.
*Let's also note that the AL may have gotten a bit arrogant. When you win IL games at a nice clip over many years, the players start to think the wins are going to be automatic. Five years is a long time in a man's baseball career. There are 28-29 year olds who ONLY know AL dominance. That makes AL players arrogant, and NL players mad. Baseball is considered to be less emotional than the other major sports. It's hard to hit a 92-mph fastball no matter how fired up you are! To the degree that emotion and intensity is going to play a role this year, they could favor the NL.
*We're keeping an eye on the NL West. We've mentioned their surge toward quality a few times this season. Through Monday Night's action, the NL West was 17-12 vs. the American League. And, that includes a bad weekend for the Dodgers at home against the red hot Angels. Only the Dodgers had a losing IL record through Monday's action. Even Arizona took two of three earlier this season vs. Toronto. Outside of the rivalry games, the NL West is playing the AL East a lot this year. That's a battle of the toughest 2010 divisions in both leagues. That makes the matchup a great 'indicator' series. If the NL West is holding its own against the AL East...well, the division has come a long way in a very short time.
*Let's point out that the NL does have some soft spots too. We mentioned earlier that the Orioles and Mariners are dragging down the AL's potential for dominance. Dragging down the NL's potential for getting back to equality:
Houston: 1-5 in its first six games, and has been the worst team in the inferior league for most of 2010.
Pittsburgh: is 0-3 in its only IL action, and has fallen behind Houston because of a recent slump. The Pirates are NOW the worst team in the National League.
Philadelphia: not a bad team, but a slumping team that has a killer draw early in the IL slate (six games with 'rival' Boston, plus this week's World Series rematch with the Yankees) followed by a weekend series vs. Minnesota.
We don't expect this to be a season where the NL surpasses the AL, even with their decent early results. What's important is finding value where it's offered. That's likely to be with the NL West teams when their best pitchers are on the mound; against the worst AL teams, particularly when the bottom of the rotation or off-rotation guys are throwing' and with any NL team 'playing with fire' against arrogant or complacent AL teams who are taking these games too lightly.
We're monitoring developments VERY closely because you can make a lot of money staying ahead of the curve in IL play. Vegas oddsmakers were caught napping for YEARS when the AL first surged forward. JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK made a killing. We're going to make a killing again in these next few weeks because we're literally on top of developments BEFORE they happen.
Series getting the most attention from us currently:
Colorado/Minnesota (two traditional IL powers)
|There's juicy interleague games all over the card on Wednesday night, and the Hurley Network is locked in on three of them! Click here to go 3-0 on the night's marquee matchups!|
And...brace yourselves for some DREAM matchups this weekend. This will be one of the most highly anticipate INTERLEAGUE weekends ever!
Weekend matchups we're looking forward to:
LA Dodgers at Boston (Manny returns to Fenway!)
NY Mets at NY Yankees (always a grudge battle)
LA Angels at Chicago Cubs (hot AL team at a storybook site)
Minnesota at Philadelphia (two contenders who need to win)
San Francisco at Toronto (nice 2010 stories unfolding)
Oakland at St. Louis (franchise links with LaRussa and Holliday)
Tampa Bay at Florida (state rivalry rematch)
Texas at Houston (Lone Star showdown)
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There's so much going on in baseball right now that do-it-yourselfers just can't keep up. Each league has its strengths and weaknesses. Every division has a race. Every team has a story. Only one man has all the winners. The man who's been winning for his clients for more than 20 years...living legend JIM HURLEY!
This article is part of the VSM MASTERS SERIES presented by VegasSportsMasters.com and JimHurley.com. For more information on JIM HURLEY'S handicapping packages, call 1-800-323-4453.
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