A team to keep an eye on both this weekend and in the second half of the season is Toronto. At this time last year, the Blue Jays were just a .500 team, but had a run differential that suggested they might take off. They did and finished 93-69 with a run differential of +224.
This year, a similar pattern may emerge, but the bad news for their fellow contenders in the American League is that the Jays are already 10 games above the Mendoza Line. Their run differential (+65) is best in the division and trails only Cleveland in the league. They won their sixth straight game Thursday night, taking the series opener from Detroit.
The Jays are one of only three A.L. teams to be at least four games above .500 both at home and on the road. Cleveland and Texas are the others.
There’s No Place Like…The Road?
One of the more unusual dichotomies MLB bettors need to take note of from the first half is Arizona’s atypical home and road split. On the road, they’ve actually made backers a significant profit (+11.6 units), actually the second most in all of baseball (Giants). But at Chase Field they’ve been an unmitigated disaster, going 15-32, which works itself out to a net loss of -24.0 units, by far the worst in all of baseball.
This weekend sees them visiting the division rival Giants. True to form, the Diamondbacks swept a (four-game!) series here back in April, but have since lost five of six to them at home. For not just this series, but in general, I’m interested to see if this unusual dichotomy continues. It’s definitely worth keeping track of.
What to Look Forward To
Teams that I expect to see their win percentage decline in the second half are: Kansas City, Texas and Philadelphia.
The Royals, who close out the 1st half at home vs. Seattle, continue to be just awful on the road (16-30). Texas, whose 1st half concludes with a visit from Minnesota, leads MLB at the betting window (+26.3 units) as they did last year. But despite leading the AL in wins, they are just seventh in run differential (+27) and their 18-7 record in one-run games will be difficult to maintain. It’s a similar story in the City of Brotherly Love where half of the Phillies victories have come by a one-run margin! Their -91 run differential is worse than everybody in baseball besides Atlanta and Cincinnati.
WAG of the Week
Like a match made in heaven – baseball and beers. Of course we’re talking about David Wright’s wife Molly Beers.
* San Diego might be baseball’s equivalent of Siberia (not talking weather here), but Wil Myers is a name I’ve mentioned before and he certainly deserves more attention than he’s probably getting. He hit 11 home runs in June and is entered in next week’s Home Run Derby. If interested in playing that event, Myers might be a good bet as it will be contested in his home park where he’s hit 13 of his 19 home runs this season.
* Over the last week, the Mets have scored 55 runs, which is a much needed offense surge. They scored nine times in a big win Thursday against the first place Nationals, who they’ll continue to host this weekend. On a personal note, I’ll be at Sunday’s game at Citi Field!
* More Padres! San Diego leads the pitching notes “portion of the program” as well thanks to Drew Pomeranz, who I made the mistake of going against Thursday night. He ended up tossing a two-hit shutout against the Dodgers, improving his WHIP to 1.07 (TSR only 9-8). Pomeranz now has 26 strikeouts in his last 27 innings of work and leads the entire N.L. in opponent’s batting average. Because he’s on a bad team, you might be able to get some good prices on him moving forward. The Dodgers are certainly happy they won’t have to see him the rest of the weekend.
* Boston’s Sean O’Sullivan toes the rubber for the Red Sox Friday night in Fenway against a bad Rays team. O’Sullivan has a 3-0 team start record so far, but is not deserving of it given a 6.46 ERA and 1.696 WHIP. Underdog opportunity? He’ll be opposed by Chris Archer, who you can get at a nice price.
Remember that Arizona team I talked about earlier? They’ve also gone Over in seven straight and 11 of their last 13 games.