Moneyball vs. Big Money

IT’S “MONEYBALL” VS. “BIG MONEY” WHEN A’S BATTLE THE YANKEES WEDNESDAY ON ESPN

Everyone keeps expecting the Oakland A’s to crash and burn because of their low payroll. Yet, they’ve now…once again…become an annual American League powerhouse on a shoestring budget. This year’s team may be their most amazing yet given the production they’re getting on offense and from the pitching staff given their payroll. It’s not just bang for their buck. It’s arguably THE BEST TEAM IN BASEBALL despite having a budget that’s a fraction of the size of other powers.

In most years, it’s the New York Yankees that represent big money. The LA Dodgers have supplanted them at the moment as the sports biggest spender. But, the Yanks are still a team that’s supposed to figure out how to buy their way to a championship.

That sets up an intriguing matchup Wednesday Night on ESPN2.  A cheap power visiting an expensive Wildcard contender who’s not even assured of reaching the playoffs. Let’s crunch some numbers.

OFFENSE
Oakland: 5.19 runs per game, .349 on-base, .417 slugging
NY Yankees: 4.14 runs per game, .319 on-base, .388 slugging

Oakland entered the series with the best run-per-game average in baseball. And, they did that despite having to play their home games in a great pitcher’s park. So, this truly an elite offense. Look at each of those categories, then make a ballpark adjustment. The A’s are bash brothers who you’ve never heard of! The Yankees need to pick up the pace if they expect to contend. Even though it’s a down year offensively in this sport, something like 4.14 runs per game probably won’t be good enough in the American League given the potency of other contenders. 

WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE PITCHERS
Jesse Chavez: 2.78 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 6.5 K-Rate
Vidal Nuno: 5.48 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 7.0 K-Rate

Chavez has slowed down a bit after having a fantastic start. Oakland’s done a good job of getting him out of the game when he starts to wear down. He’s typically lasting about six inning recently unless things are going very well. Amazing how Oakland finds guys like this. Were you aware he’s already 30 years old? Only two career starts before this season. Suddenly he’s a rotation starter on a possible World Series team!

Ugly full season numbers for Nuno, even though three of his last five outings have qualified as quality starts. He’s mostly a desperation stopgap for a team that doesn’t have a lot of great options at the back of their rotation. He’s either a tease, or a guy who’s about to get things figured out. Huge test tonight vs. this potent Oakland offense.

Based purely on the math, the A’s look to be a strong side here. The Yankees have home field…but the A’s are better with the bats and on the mound. It gets tricky though when you try to figure out the specifics for tonight. Chavez isn’t as good as his numbers in terms of true skill set. Nuno has enough of an up-and-down tendency to beat anybody when he’s up.

JIM HURLEY has been working closely with his New York sources, statheads, and Wise Guy connections to get the right read on this game. It could easily show up as part of the mix Wednesday. Other games on the radar include Toronto at Detroit (in a series we previewed yesterday), Kansas City at St. Louis (in a series we previewed Monday), Boston at Cleveland, and Baltimore at Texas,

You can always purchase the final word right here at the website with your credit card. Be sure to take care of business early Wednesday just in case the day game between Seattle and Atlanta is part of the mix. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453. Don’t forget that THE BELMONT STAKES goes this Saturday. Check on combination packages that include the final jewel of the Triple Crown, the NBA Championships (that begin Thursday) and are award-winning baseball.

Here’s the NOTEBOOK schedule for the rest of the week:
Thursday: Game One of the NBA Finals…Miami at San Antonio
Friday: MLB series preview for the LA Dodgers at Colorado
Saturday: Boston at Detroit on FOX in prime time
Sunday: Game Two of the NBA Finals…Miami at San Antonio

Back with you Thursday for the Championship opener in the NBA. It’s going to be a big week in the world of sports…which means you need to hook up with THE BIGGEST NAME IN SPORTS HANDICAPPING, JIM HURLEY!

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