Sunday, October 30, 2011

Team Offense: 2010 vs. 2011

Team Runs, Change in Rank (2010 to 2011)
+13 Orioles (#27, 14)
+12 Mets (24, 12)
+10 Indians (26, 16)
+10 Royals (20, 10)
+9 Cardinals (14, 5)
+7 Tigers (11, 4)
+7 D-Backs (16, 9)
+3 Blue Jays (9, 6)
+3 A's (23, 20)
+2 Rangers (5, 3)
+2 Astros (28, 26)
+2 Angels (19, 17)
+2 Pirates (29, 27)
+1 Red Sox (2, 1)
+1 Brewers (12, 11)
+1 Nationals (25, 24)
0 Dodgers (21, 21)
0 Rockies (8, 8)
0 Mariners (30, 30)
-1 Cubs (18, 19)
-1 Yankees (1, 2)
-3 Reds (4, 7)
-6 Phillies (7, 13)
-6 Padres (22, 28)
-8 Marlins (15, 23)
-8 White Sox (10, 18)
-9 Braves (13, 22)
-12 Rays (3, 15)
-12 Giants (17, 29)
-19 Twins (6, 25)

This is interesting, but needs to be viewed cautiously.  Some teams will be hit harder by free agent losses than others.  For instance, the Mets could lose Jose Reyes, which would have a huge effect on their offense going into next season.  The same obviously goes for teams like the Brewers and Cardinals too, with Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols testing the market. 

Some teams could bounce back quickly if their key players stay healthy, like the Twins.  It's one part of the equation, but the teams that fell the furthest will be looking for offense.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Game 5

Lost Game 5 at home, fell behind 3-2

World Series, Best of 7 format
1997 Indians (Lost in 7)
1980 Royals (Lost in 6)
1953 Dodgers (Lost in 6)
1952 Yankees (Won in 7)
1951 Giants (Lost in 6)
1944 Browns (Lost in 6)
1934 Cardinals (Won in 7)
1931 A's (Lost in 7)
1930 Cardinals (Lost in 6)
1926 Cardinals (Won in 7)
1906 Cubs (Lost in 6)

1998 Indians (Lost in 6)
1993 Braves (Lost in 6)
1991 Braves (Won in 7)

It's pretty much all or nothing when losing 5 at home in a tie series, and usually nothing.  It's probably better to fall behind 3-1, then win Game 5 to create momentum going back on the road (2003 Marlins, 1985 Royals).  It's not a surprise that history would show the importance of not going back on the road down 3-2, but it is a little surprising how rare it's been lately.  If the Rangers do lose Game 5 and win the final 2 in St. Louis, it would be truly history.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Yikes! Game 1 Road Losses

Road Team Loses Game 1 since 1982 (1-15)

Won World Series
1992 Blue Jays

Lost World Series
1987 Cardinals
1988 A's
1989 Giants
1990 A's
1991 Braves
1993 Phillies
1995 Indians
1997 Indians
1998 Padres
2000 Mets
2001 Yankees
2004 Cardinals
2005 Astros
2007 Rockies
2010 Rangers

Update: The Rangers might just pull this off, after a thrilling Game 2 victory where they came from behind in the 9th innings to win (first time that's happened since Game 7 of the 2001 World Series).  At the very least, it appears that this World Series has a good shot at going at least 6 (and hopefully 7) games.

How many of the teams that lost game 1 came back to win Game 2?
1993 Phillies
1997 Marlins

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rangers/Cardinals, Home and Road

Team OPS - Regular Season (2011)

Home: .745 (#10)
Away: .785 (#1)

Home: .860 (#1)
Away: .740 (#7)

The Rangers are an exceptional offensive team at home, but that advantage could be blunted because they will be facing the best road hitting team in baseball.  The Cardinals demonstrated that in scoring 30 runs in 3 games in Milwaukee, against another team that had been great at home all year.  There could be some high scoring games in Texas if the starting pitching doesn't improve dramatically (it is 0-0 through 3 innings, so maybe it will be).

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Guest Post

World Series Baseball Betting Odds

The best time of the baseball season is here with the Texas Rangers playing the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. Baseball betting odds favor the Rangers in the 7-game series which features a 2-3-2 format. Since the National League won the All-Star game, it is the Cardinals who have home field advantage but the oddsmakers are still favoring the Rangers in the series.

Cardinals Favored in Game 1

Even though the Rangers are favored to win the series, the Cardinals are favored in Game 1. St. Louis sends Chris Carpenter to the mound while the Rangers counter with C.J. Wilson. You rarely see a series where one team is favored yet they are underdogs in the first game.


This year’s World Series doesn’t have the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox but that doesn’t mean it won’t have star power. The Cardinals have former MVP Albert Pujols while the Rangers have former MVP Josh Hamilton.

Series Notes

This is a really an intriguing series for a number of reasons. Did you know that the Cardinals and Rangers very rarely play each other? They have met just three times in history and that was back in 2004. The Cardinals have a rich baseball history and a strong following while the Rangers are in the World Series for the second straight season.


The Rangers are the better hitting team and they might also be the team that has stronger pitching. The Rangers were 3rd best in runs scored per game but the Cardinals were not that far behind at 5th. The Cardinals were 12th in the league in team ERA while the Rangers were 13th. You have to adjust those numbers somewhat though as Texas had a better bullpen in the second half of the season after acquiring super set-up man Mike Adams.

Over the Total

With these two offenses you can probably expect games to go over the odds on a regular basis. The Rangers starters, C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis, Derek Holland and Matt Harrison have a combined 5.62 ERA in 10 postseason games. The Cardinals are not much better at an ERA of 5.43 so runs should be plentiful. The total on Game 1 is low at 7.5 with both teams starting their aces but neither Wilson nor Carpenter has been that good so Game 1 could still end up going over the total.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Missing: Game 7

It's been a long time since the World Series went 7 games (2002).  The last Game 7 was 9 years ago, and too many of the World Series since then have been forgettable.  Sure, there have been some memorable individual moments, but there has been something missing without a Game 7.  This is very unusual from a historical perspective:

7 Game Series
2001, 2002, 2011?
1991, 1997
1982, 1985, 1986, 1987
1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1979
1960, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968
1952, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958
1940, 1945, 1946, 1947
1931, 1934
1924, 1925, 1926

The current 8 year drought is by far the longest stretch without a Game 7 since the World Series reverted back to the best of 7 format in 1922.  The longest previous drought was 5 years, from 1935-1939 (the final four were all Yankee wins).  This may be wishful thinking, but this seems like one that has a good shot at going 7. 

I'm not sure who the experts will be picking as the favorite, but the Rangers and Cardinals seem pretty evenly balanced right now.  They both have mediocre (at least by World Series standards) starting pitching, but quality bullpens.  Even if the Rangers do have the edge, the fact that the NL has finally been winning the All Star Game helps to negate that a bit by giving the Cardinals home field advantage.

Milwaukee Brewers - Team OPS, Home vs. Away

2011 Milwaukee Brewers

Team OPS

Regular Season
Home: .805 (5th of 30)
Away: .698 (16th)

Home: .847 (2nd of 8)
Away: .648 (7th)

The Brewers are probably going to need a decent number of runs because their starter (Shaun Marcum) has an ERA over 10.00 over his last three starts going back to his last start of the regular season.  They haven't had a huge offensive explosion at home yet, but they might be due for one just like the Rangers were last night.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

What should the Tigers do about Nelson Cruz?

Through 5 games, Nelson Cruz is carrying the Rangers to a remarkable extent. 

HR, RBI - Texas Rangers
Nelson Cruz - 5, 11
Rest of Team - 0, 13

Nelson Cruz is a very good hitter, but he's not this good.  He's also only been walked one time in the entire series.  That makes sense because he's not an especially patient hitter.  He only walked 33 times in 513 PA while striking out 116 times. 

The Tigers would probably do better to pitch around Cruz or treat him like Barry Bonds circa-2004 than pitching to him like they have been so far in the series.  The Rangers have plenty of excellent hitters (Hamilton, Beltre, Young, Napoli), but they've been relatively quiet in the series.  Cruz is in a zone, and he's probably too dangerous to pitch to right now.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

ALCS - Game 3

Colby Lewis vs. Detroit (2011)
6/6 - L (home): 3.1 IP, 10 H, 9 ER, 4 HR, 3 SO, 1 BB
8/2 - ND (road): 4.0 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 HR, 3 SO, 3BB

Lewis is lucky because one of the players he had the most trouble with was Brennan Boesch (2 HR on 6/6), and he's on the disabled list.  Lewis pitched better on the road this year (9-5, 3.43 ERA vs. 5-5, 5.54), and he was good in the ALDS against the Rays (6 IP, 1 H, 1 ER).

Doug Fister, who was great down the stretch (5-0, 0.53 ERA in September) was good against the Rangers this year (1-1, 3.68).

This could end up being another close game between these two teams, but those numbers (20 H in 7.1 IP) must be worrying the Rangers and give the Tigers their best shot to get back in the series.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sunday's Starters

Sunday's Starters, Post All Star Break + (Postseason)
Chris Carpenter (Cardinals) 7-2, 2.98 ERA (5-2, 2.93)
Cliff Lee (Phillies) 8-2, 1.79 (7-2, 2.13)

Daniel Hudson (D-Backs) 7-7, 3.15 (1st time in playoffs)
Zack Greinke (Brewers) 9-3, 2.59 (1st time in playoffs)

Max Scherzer (Tigers) 5-5, 4.09 (1st time in playoffs)
Freddy Garcia (Yankees) 5-2, 4.45 (6-2, 3.11)

It's an interesting mix of playoff newcomers and veterans.  It will be a big test for Cliff Lee, who was being hailed as invincible in the postseason last year until the World Series, where he went 0-2 with a 7.23 ERA (after going 3-0 with a .75 ERA in the NLDS and NLCS, and 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA in 2009). 

Chris Carpenter has had one bad start in the postseason since his shutting down the Tigers over 8 innings in Game 3 of the 2006 World Series).  Freddy Garcia last pitched in the postseason way back in the 2005 World Series for the White Sox.
Site Meter