Interleague Play Takes Center Stage
Of the 15 series that take place in the first half of the week, seven will be of the Interleague variety. The headliner will be the “battle for Chicago” with two games taking place on both the North and South side of the city.
There will also be four, short two-game series taking place Tuesday-Wednesday. Those are Seattle-Pittsburgh, Washington-Cleveland, Atlanta-Minnesota (yuck!) and Tampa Bay-Los Angeles.
For the record, the American League holds a 106-87 edge in Interleague Games this year.
Seattle could be a team to watch in Pittsburgh as the Mariners are 9-3 vs. the National League in 2016. The A.L. has won Interleague Play every year since 2004. The current .549 win percentage is right in line with the average percentage, year to year, over the last decade.
On paper, you would seem to heavily favor Baltimore this week against Colorado. The Rockies’ offensive numbers (predictably) dip dramatically outside of Coors Field (they do add a designated hitter here) and the Orioles are now a very-strong 36-14 at Camden Yards after an impressive sweep of Cleveland over the weekend. That’s the best home record in all of baseball.
But there is one interesting note that I’d like to pass along here. Factoring in only road games, the ERA of the much maligned Colorado staff is 3.83, which is actually seventh best overall! The ERA’s of the respective two starting rotations overall are not that different as Baltimore ranks 25th (4.95) while Colorado ranks 28th (5.04).
A big deal here though could be that the Orioles best starter (Chris Tillman) will go Tuesday while the Rockies best starter (Tyler Anderson) won’t be going at all in this series.
The Blue Jays could use a big boost right now. They just dropped two of three at home to Seattle over the weekend are three games out in the American League East. Still though, they are in Wild Card position.
Personally, I think the team is better than its overall record, but its Interleague record (11-6) remains strong. Those 11 Interleague victories are the most of any team in baseball right now. Were it not for a poor record in one-run games (9-18), this team would probably be winning its division.
I would not be the least bit surprised to see the Jays hammer the Padres this week even though San Diego has been shockingly competitive against San Francisco, St. Louis and Washington since the All-Star Break (5-5 overall).
WAG of the Week:
Brianne Sale – I wonder if Chris learned his clothing design skills from his wife.
* One of the biggest stories making the rounds right now is the Chris Sale saga in Chicago. The White Sox ace has been suspended for five games due to apparently tearing up a team uniform that he did not wish to wear Saturday. As a result, he will miss the entire series against the Cubs. Some are saying this could be the final nail in the White Sox coffin, which is too bad for a season that started with so much promise (team was 26-13 at one point!). The Sox will be an underdog in every game in this series.
* In the Rockies-Orioles writeup, I mentioned Chris Tillman being Baltimore’s best pitcher. This statement is not up for debate. Tillman has an 18-3 team start record, making him the best pitcher to have bet on in 2016 (+16.2 units) by a fairly comfortable margin. He’s been especially dominant of late by giving up just one run in seven innings in four straight starts (all wins) with only 16 hits allowed.
* Now isn’t the best time to talking about Cleveland’s exploits as they just got swept in Baltimore. They scored only six runs total in the three-game series. Looking ahead, the Indians’ 28th place ranking in batting average (.238) and 30th place ranking in on base percentage (.297) in road games doesn’t bode well for them. Thankfully then (for them), they are at home this week against Washington. The Tribe offense is fifth in runs scored at home.
* Teams whose overall offensive numbers could decline this week are Seattle and Tampa Bay as both head to National League Parks and thus will be losing the designated hitter from the lineup. Of those two teams, the Mariners are clearly more likely to absorb the loss of the DH as the Rays are only 25th in runs scored to begin with.
The Over is 9-2 for San Diego in Interleague Play. Incredibly, those games have averaged 15.3 runs per game.