Catching Up With Baseball

CATCHING UP WITH BASEBALL AS THE NBA PLAYOFFS TAKE A NIGHT OFF

A rare dark night on the NBA Playoff schedule allows us the opportunity to get caught up in Major League Baseball. Our big game previews will resume Friday as we enter what promises to be a memorable Mother's Day Weekend.

You regulars know we like using a stat called "Wins Minus Home Games Played" to get a snapshot sense of every MLB division. Your morning newspaper standings can be a bit misleading because of unbalanced schedules. Teams enjoying more of a home friendly schedule so far show up better than they really are. Teams saddled with road heavy schedules are probably better than you had been thinking.

Let's run through all six divisions, starting with the American League East and the surprising New York Yankees (all results through Tuesday night because of publication deadlines)

AL EAST
NY Yankees +5
Tampa Bay +2
Toronto +1
Baltimore -1
Boston -2

Not only is it shocking to find the Yankees in first place. They're actually playing even better than it seems! They've only had 12 home games this season compared to 16 road games. In fact, the first three teams listed there have played 12 home games and are showing split deficits. While the bottom two have had friendlier schedules. Baltimore and Boston have been more disappointing than realized. Big story in the Bronx!

AL CENTRAL
Detroit +4
Kansas City +3
Chicago White Sox +1
Minnesota -1
Cleveland -3

Detroit actually gets the top spot with this approach because the Royals have been a bit home-heavy thus far. Both are playing well...and are serious candidates for the postseason. Chicago is in better shape than you probably realized because 13 of their first 23 games have been on the road. Cleveland and Boston were supposed to win their divisions. Each trails it's grouping by this measure so far.

AL WEST
Houston +3
LA Angels even
Oakland -1
Seattle -1
Texas -2

How about Houston?! They've been a laughingstock for a few years. Everyone expected improvement this season...with a chance to make a run at .500. Nobody thought they'd be leading what was supposed to be a very tough division in early May! The Angels, A's, and Mariners still have plenty of time to right their ships. Stunningly slow starts for most of the serious AL contenders this season. (Quants aren't happy with their bets!)

NL EAST
NY Mets +2
Washington +1
Atlanta -2
Miami -2
Philadelphia -2

This division has a lot of home-heaviness going on. So, the Mets aren't as great as you might be thinking (17 wins but 15 home games thus far). Washington is closer to the top than it seems too because they've actually been road-heavy. The Mets entered Wednesday action with a lead of 4.5 games over Washington in your newspaper standings. With this approach...they're much more neck-and-neck. Some ugliness at the bottom of the division. In a parity-riddled sport, -2 a month into the season grades out as a bad mark!

NL CENTRAL
St. Louis +5
Cincinnati +2
Pittsburgh +1
Chicago Cubs -1
Milwaukee -7

St. Louis is the second juggernaut we've come across (along with the Yanks). It's true that the Cards have played a home-heavy schedule...but that has them at +5 instead of even higher. Great team. The Cubs aren't quite as close to the playoffs as you may have been thinking because of their home-heavy schedule. Milwaukee is the first real disaster we've come across today. A lot of teams are sad about -2 or -3. Milwaukee imploded at launch.

NL WEST
LA Dodgers +2
Colorado +2
San Francisco -1
San Diego -2
Arizona -4

Some surprises here. Everybody but Colorado has played a home-heavy schedule. So, the Dodgers aren't as clear of the field as you may have been thinking. The Rockies only played 9 of their first 24 games at home! That makes them a sleeper moving forward even though your newspaper standings aren't exactly bragging about them right now. Let's see what happens when the schedules equalize. Disappointing starts for the defending World Champs (San Francisco) and the hyped Padres.

JIM HURLEY is aggressively attacking baseball every day. We don't get much of a chance to talk about that here in the NOTEBOOK because the emphasis is on the NBA Playoffs. As those wind down...baseball previews will become much more prominent on these pages. You can always purchase BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453 during normal business hours. Remember that we have great combination packages that include Major League Baseball, the NBA Playoffs, and the rest of the Triple Crown horse races.

Back to the baskets tomorrow. Here's what's coming up...

Friday: Cleveland at Chicago Game Three Preview
Saturday: Golden State at Memphis Game Three Preview (off a shocking split!)
Sunday: Houston at LA Clippers Game Four Preview
Monday: Atlanta at Washington Game Four Preview
Tuesday: Most pivotal Game Five of Chicago/Cleveland and LAC/Houston
Wednesday: Most pivotal Game Five of Washington/Atlanta and Memphis/GS

Whatever the sport...whatever the challenge, JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK is going to DIG DEEP to make sure you find BIG, JUICY WINNERS!

24
Sep

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