Rating The MLB Teams at the Break

LET'S SEE HOW ALL 30 MLB TEAMS RATE IN TWO OF OUR FAVORITES STATS AT THE ALL-STAR BREAK

No regular season games on the schedule until Friday in Major League Baseball. That means the 2015 All-Star Break is the perfect time to get caught up in two of our favorite indicator stats so we're ready to hit the ground running when play resumes. Those are:

*Wins Minus Home Games Played
*Won-Lost Record in Games Decided by 2 runs or more

You longtime readers are familiar with both of those evaluators. The first adjusts for imbalances in home/road splits at this stage of the season (a few teams have played many more home games than road games, and vice versa). The second eliminates the games most often decided by luck (one-run affairs), and focuses on the results that are better overall indicators for team quality.

Putting them both TOGETHER helps you see what's REALLY been happening thus far. Let's start in the AL East and work through all six divisions...

AL EAST
New York Yankees +7; and 36-28 in games decided by 2 or more
Toronto +1; and 35-28 in games decided by 2 or more
Baltimore -1; and 32-30 in games decided by 2 or more
Boston -3; and 29-37 in games decided by 2 or more
Tampa Bay -5; and 34-29 in games decided by 2 or more

We've talked often about how the Yankees unfair home/road split (which will even out eventually) has hurt them in the standings. They're better than people realize. We told you they'd surge to the top and it happened quicker than we expected. Tampa Bay has played a ridiculous 51 home games compared to 40 road games...so they weren't as good as people were thinking before their recent slump. Though we should note that both Toronto and Tampa Bay are enduring some bad luck in close games. Moving forward...the Yanks are the class of the division, while Toronto is the team most likely to chase them down or earn a Wildcard from this division. Tampa Bay's odd mix of great scheduling luck but poor luck in close games will probably meet in the middle within arm's reach of the .500 mark.

AL CENTRAL
Kansas City +6; and 41-27 in games decided by 2 or more
Minnesota +2; and 36-28 in games decided by 2 or more
Chicago White Sox +1; and 22-30 in games decided by 2 or more
Detroit -1; and 30-31 in games decided by 2 or more
Cleveland -3; and 33-36 in games decided by 2 or more

Kansas City is still for real as the defending league champions. All the "experts" who assured you they couldn't keep it going have been exposed. Minnesota is basically Toronto...which is a lot better than anyone had anticipated. Just be aware that the Twins have played 47 home games and only 42 road games. CWS is a reverse image of Tampa Bay. They've had bad luck with the home/road split...but good luck in close games. That means they were probably a little better than you were thinking...but not so much better that they're going to make a run at a Wildcard. Detroit and Cleveland are both big disappointments in a group that most pundits badly read from top to bottom.

AL WEST
Houston +5; and 37-29 in games decided by 2 or more
LA Angeles +5; and 33-28 in games decided by 2 or more
Texas even; and 28-32 in games decided by 2 or more
Oakland -3; and 33-28 in games decided by 2 or more
Seattle -6; and 24-34 in games decided by 2 or more

In your newspaper standings, the Angels have snuck past the Astros because of developments over the past few days. But, Houston still has the better record if you throw out one-run decisions. Note that Seattle may be the true last-place team based on our indicators. Oakland's 8-22 pace in one-run games is very unlikely to hold up over the full season. Randomness plays such a big role in nailbiters. The Angels and A's have the same record in games NOT decided by one run!

AL PLAYOFF PICTURE USING WINS MINUS HOME GAMES
NY Yankees +7
Kansas City +6
Houston +5
LA Angels +5
Minnesota +2

A few teams at +1 have a chance to crash the party. Toronto seems most likely of the potential crashers given that Minnesota' roster isn't particularly potent.

NL EAST
Washington +7; and 33-29 in games decided by 2 or more
Atlanta +2; and 25-33 in games decided by 2 or more
NY Mets +1; and 31-28 in games decided by 2 or more
Miami -9; and 24-38 in games decided by 2 or more
Philadelphia -13; and 20-46 in games decided by 2 or more

Wow...a lot of ugly numbers there. Miami would be seen as a laughingstock if they weren't in the same division as the truly pathetic Phillies. Atlanta grades out well in one measure because they've played 40 home games and a whopping 49 road games. But, a lousy record in non-nailbiters suggests they're a pretender anyway. Washington should win the division in a cakewalk. The Mets have their eye on a Wildcard run.

NL CENTRAL
St. Louis +14; and 38-18 in games decided by 2 or more
Pittsburgh +5; and 33-22 in games decided by 2 or more
Chicago Cubs +2; and 28-24 in games decided by 2 or more
Cincinnati -1; and 26-32 in games decided by 2 or more
Milwaukee -6; and 27-41 in games decided by 2 or more

You may have watched Pittsburgh rise to within 2.5 games of St. Louis on TV this past weekend in that dramatic head-to-head series. Just remember that the Cards have only played 42 home games compared to 47 road games, while Pittsburgh's friendlier schedule is 48/40 the other way. Our methodology has them further apart than your newspaper standings. Not many surprises below them. The Cubs have a shot to play in October.

NL WEST
LA Dodgers +1; and 37-24 in games decided by 2 or more
San Diego +1; and 29-34 in games decided by 2 or more
San Francisco -1; and 35-31 in games decided by 2 or more
Arizona -1; and 27-33 in games decided by 2 or more
Colorado -6; and 28-36 in games decided by 2 or more

The Dodgers are hard to figure. They seem dominant when things are going well. And, they have been dominant in non-nailbiters. But, they've played 50 home games and only 40 road games...which may be pumping some air into the balloon. Let's see what happens in those 10 additional upcoming road games! San Diego has been a disaster this year...yet playing 40 home games compared to 50 road games could certainly be a hidden influence that many are missing. We think the record in non-nailbiters will ultimately rule the day...pushing the Dodgers to the division title and the Giants into potential Wildcard contention.

NL PLAYOFF PICTURE USING WINS MINUS HOME GAMES
St. Louis +14
Washington +7
Pittsburgh +5
Chicago Cubs +2
LA Dodgers +1 (!!!)
NY Mets +1

We left Atlanta and San Diego off the list because of their poor records in games that aren't close. Right now, the betting markets are fairly confident that St. Louis, Washington, and the Dodgers will win their divisions...and that Pittsburgh will earn one of the two Wildcards.

We're going to take a break in the NOTEBOOK until Friday when play resumes. And, obviously, there are no daily baseball picks to buy except for Tuesday's All-Star Game! You're very welcome to call the office to ask about details for remaining baseball and early-bird football packages. The number to call is 1-800-323-4453 during normal business hours this week.

Here's our coming schedule when action resumes...

Friday: MLB Series Preview...LA Dodgers at Washington
Saturday: College Football Preview...Big 10 "East"
Sunday: College Football Preview...Big 10 "West"
Monday: MLB Series Preview...Pittsburgh at Kansas City
Tuesday: MLB Series Preview...Baltimore at the NY Yankees

Enjoy the break. Join Jim Hurley for Tuesday's TV showcase. We'll see you again Friday!

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