MLB Handicapping: Teams to Watch After All-Star Break
by Trevor Whenham - 7/9/2011
There are some teams that really round into form after the All-Star break, and others that really, really don’t. Every year there seems to be a few surprising teams that get hot down the stretch. If you look at it over a longer time frame, though, the good teams shine and the bad teams sink. Here’s a look at the best and worst teams after the all-star break, looking at their combined record over the last four years:
New York Yankees (181-110, .622) - It’s no surprise that the team built to make the playoffs tends to heat up when the playoffs are on the horizon. Now if only they could consistently keep that strong play going in the playoffs. There is little doubt that the Yankees can again close strong -- they have a .600 winning percentage on the season, so they would only need to be slightly better down the stretch. They are in a reasonably unfamiliar situation right now -- they actually have some starting pitching depth.
Philadelphia Phillies (180-111, .619) - The Phillies have been the best team in the National League since the all-star break the last four years, and last year they won more games after the break than any other team. All they would have to do this year to win at the same pace as they have over the four years is to keep doing what they are doing -- they have a .625 win percentage. With the pitching they have it’s not hard to believe that they will -- especially since there is a lot of improvement possible offensively.
Los Angeles Angels (165-124, .571) - The Rangers have been hot the last two years, but the Angels have been the established class of the AL East for a long time. Early in the year it looked like they were in some real trouble, and they certainly are carrying some dead weight on their lineup. However, they are just a game behind the Rangers and playing well. They have gotten hot already, and there is no big reason to believe that they can’t keep it going.
Pittsburgh Pirates (102-188, .352) - Here’s a news flash -- the Pirates have long been a lousy baseball team. Really lousy. They have started out weak, and have tended to get weaker down the stretch. It hasn’t been pretty. This year they are actually looking respectable, and are above .500 right now. That’s uncharted territory for this squad in recent and not-so-recent history. They still aren’t a deep, talented team, so they could definitely fade down the stretch, but for once I finally feel like they could be moving in the right direction.
Baltimore Orioles (114-176, .393) - No surprise here, either. The Orioles are pretty much the Pirates of the American League. They have been consistently bad for a long while, and despite some signs that they could be moving in the right direction they are struggling again this year and the bright future is still at least a year away. Their pitchers are young and their lineup is inconsistent, so it’s far from unreasonable to expect some late struggles again this year. The only reason for some optimism is that the team was solid down the stretch last year -- much better than normal -- after Buck Showalter took over.
Kansas City Royals (119-167, .416) - If you are surprised by this one then you just aren’t paying attention. They have been almost as bad as the other two on this list. What’s remarkable is the consistency of their lousiness -- they have only won between 28 and 32 games after the break each of the last four years. They have some reason for long-term hope, but in the short term it’s hard to believe that they will significantly overachieve against expectations down the stretch.
Most Recent Baseball Handicapping
- 2021 AL Central Predictions and Expert Betting Advice
- 2021 NL West Predictions and Expert Betting Advice
- 2021 NL East Predictions and Expert Betting Advice
- 2021 AL West Predictions and Expert Betting Advice
- 2021 NL Central Predictions and Expert Betting Advice
- 2021 AL East Predictions and Expert Betting Advice
- 2021 Minnesota Twins Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
- 2021 Chicago White Sox Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
- 2021 Detroit Tigers Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
- 2021 Kansas City Royals Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series