Giants-Dodgers and Tigers-Yankees Previews

CLASSIC RIVALRY RENEWS THIS WEEKEND AS NL WEST CONTENDERS GIANTS, DODGERS SQUARE OFF

Once again, it looks like we're in for a two-team race in the National League's West Division. The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants are the only two teams in that group over the .500 mark as we head into the weekend. Those two longtime rivals square off in a three-game set this weekend that will be prominently covered by network TV cameras.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are the market pick to win the West...and one of three tri-favorites to win the NL along with Washington and St. Louis. On one hand, you can see why they might even be better than their full season record.

Overall: 37-29 (heading into Thursday's action)
One-Run Games: 9-12
Pythagorean Projection: 39-27

The Dodgers "should be about 11-12 games over the .500 mark rather than just nine based on their overall math. Generally speaking teams eventually play to their math. So, this two-team race may only be a one-team race! Note that the Giants have been a fortunate 11-8 in one-run games...and have the stats of a team who should be about 5-6 games off the pace.

But...we still have that other hand coming! On the other hand, the Dodgers may be one of those teams that bullies weak opposition but struggles vs. quality.

LA Dodgers vs. teams at .500 or better: 4-15
LA Dodgers vs. teams under the .500 mark: 33-14

Wow...the Dodgers are getting CRUSHED by good teams...and you just saw a disappointing result vs. the Texas Rangers in that four-game Interleague series we previewed for you Monday. If San Francisco is legitimate, they'll prove that this weekend against the vulnerable Dodgers. If the Giants are a pretender, the Dodgers will expose them because LAD bullies pretenders! And, in terms of October...it will be very hard to take the Dodgers seriously if they don't start playing well vs. other good teams.

Let's see what JIM HURLEY'S key indicator stats have to say about the series...

OFFENSE
San Francisco: 3.96 runs per game, .327 on-base, .396 slugging
LA Dodgers: 4.30 runs per game, .334 on-base, .434 slugging

The offensive edge clearly goes to the Dodgers, thanks to that superior slugging percentage. This is a great comparison because both are California teams that play their home games in pitcher's parks. Generally, both are a bit better than realized because of that. Head-to-head? Clear edge to Dodger Blue.

FRIDAY'S PITCHERS
Chris Heston: 3.76 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 8.2 K-Rate, 6.1 IP-per-Start
Mike Bolsinger: 2.25 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 8.1 K-Rate, 6.0 IP-per-Start

Heston threw a no-hitter against the Mets two games ago, then had the obvious letdown spot right afterward. He is capable of great outings...but his overall numbers don't suggest consistent ace material. Bolsinger has been impressive while not lasting very long in his outings. Note that this is San Francisco's second look at him this season...and he's struggled in second-look spots vs. San Diego and Colorado. Might be a sleeper edge to the visitor there. At the very least, the numbers above overstate Bolsinger's advantage.

SATURDAY'S PITCHERS
Tim Hudson: 4.65 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 4.5 K-Rate, 6.1 IP-per-Start
Carlos Frias: 4.14 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 5.3 K-Rate, 5.8 IP-per-Start

Hudson has been very disappointing this season considering his home games are in a pitcher's park, and he throws in the lower scoring National League. Frias has seen his overall numbers hurt by one horrendous start. But, he has a poor WHIP even if you account for that as well as a low K-Rate. We generally don't endorse Overs in this ballpark...but you have to think about it here given those pitching lines and these offenses.

SUNDAY'S PITCHERS
Tim Lincecum: 3.31 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 7.0 K-Rate, 5.6 IP-per-Start
Brett Anderson: 3.43 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 6.0 K-Rate, 5.6 IP-per-Start

Lincecum has now gone five straight outings without a quality start. That, along with disappointing WHIP and IP numbers are warning signs that his ERA is about to rise even more. He's falling back to "disappointing" after flirting with "resurgent" earlier in the season. Note how Anderson has very even numbers with Lincecum outside of K-Rate. Interesting series finale that will be the prime time game Sunday night on ESPN.

JIM HURLEY is likely to have at least one big play in this huge weekend series. He's also paying very close attention to Detroit/NY Yankees, Baltimore/Toronto, Pittsburgh/Washington, and that Interleague series matching the Chicago Cubs and Minnesota Twins. You can purchase the final word for daily baseball right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about extended service, please call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453

More baseball on deck the next several days...
Sunday: MLB Notes
Monday: MLB Series Preview...Los Angeles Dodgers at the Chicago Cubs
Tuesday: MLB Series Preview....San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants
Wednesday MLB Big Game Preview...to be determined
Thursday: MLB Series Preview...New York Yankees at Houston Astros

The Giants miss out on both Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke this weekend...giving them a real shot to chase down the Dodgers at the top of the NL West. JIM HURLEY doesn't need any help beating the oddsmakers. He's been doing that for more than 25 years! Hook up today with JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK!

 

NEITHER LEADS THEIR DIVISION, BUT TIGERS, YANKEES STILL SERIOUS AL PENNANT THREATS

Both the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees are still thinking BIG for the 2015 championship chase as they head into a high profile prime time TV meeting Saturday night in the Bronx. Neither leads its division right now. The Yankees trail the suddenly hot Tampa Bay Rays, though they have a chance to get back on top once an unlucky schedule quirk evens out their home/road split. Detroit doesn't yet have the production of a playoff team, but certainly has the talent to get the job done from this point forward.

A look at current offshore odds to win the American League show that both are on the short list of serious contenders. The Yanks only trail defending league champion Kansas City...

ODDS TO WIN AL PENNANT
Kansas City +400
NY Yankees +700
Houston +800
Tampa Bay +800
Detroit +900
Toronto +900

As fans of the sport, it was great to see Tampa Bay and Toronto lift their games in recent weeks. The AL had gotten off to such a boring start! You probably noticed the AL owned the NL this week in Interleague action. Great pennant race shaping up particularly if the Tigers can start getting things on track in time to join the fun in a meaningful way.

Let's see what JIM HURLEY'S key indicator stats are suggesting about this Yankees/Tigers matchup...

OFFENSE
Detroit: 4.18 runs per game, .333 on-base, .411 slugging
Yankees: 4.56 runs per game, .318 on-base, .416 slugging

Interesting...the Yanks have a fairly big edge on a per-game basis, yet aren't showing any clear reason for that in the most important offensive categories. In fact, sabermetrics has long held that on-base percentage was more important than slugging in terms of consistent run production. These teams should be about even! Tigers must be hitting in some bad luck, the Yankees in some good luck. Probably a wash for handicapping purposes going forward. It's arguable that figuring out what's happening with Detroit's offense will be one of the most important handicapping angles for the rest of the 2015 season.

SATURDAY'S PITCHERS
Aldredo Simon: 2.58 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 6.6 K-Rate, 6.4 IP-per-Start
Nathan Eovaldi: 5.12 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, 6.4 K-Rate, 5.4 IP-per-Start

What got into Alfredo Simon?! Five quality starts in his last six outings has knocked about a run off Simon's ERA. Those are stellar numbers for a guy who's been in the rotation all year (12 starts). A very pleasant surprise for the Tigers in a season that's otherwise been disappointing. Eovaldi is coming off that epic disaster vs. Miami where he allowed 8 earned runs and didn't get out of the first inning. He only has three quality starts in his last 10 outings, and appears to be in over his head in a big time AL rotation. The difference between these arms probably isn't as big as those raw numbers suggest. But, you'd have to consider that a clear advantage for the visitors. Simon is getting the job done, while Eovaldi only does that every so often.

As of press time, we don't know yet whether or not this game will be part of NETWORK'S big Saturday package. There are several other great possibilities on the card. You can purchase the final word for Saturday right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453 before the early games get started. Don't forget that this is a great day to check in on early-bird rates for football as well.

It's all baseball for the next several days. But, heads up...our summer series of college football conference previews will begin next weekend!

Sunday: MLB Notes
Monday: MLB Series Preview...Los Angeles Dodgers at the Chicago Cubs
Tuesday: MLB Series Preview....San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants
Wednesday MLB Big Game Preview...to be determined
Thursday: MLB Series Preview...New York Yankees at Houston Astros
Friday: MLB Series Preview...Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals

A lot of marquee matchups involving contenders on the immediate horizon. Then, next Saturday and Sunday we're scheduled to begin our college football coverage with a look at the Mountain West Conference. Look for weekend reports for the mid-majors, and then the majors through July and early August...before coverage hands off to the NFL for the start of the Preseason slate August 9 in the Hall of Fame Game.

That's right...the summer is already flying by and football will be here before you know it!

Whatever the sport...whatever the month...whatever the handicapping challenge, you're always going to GET THE MONEY with JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK!

25
Sep

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