The Week in Baseball Betting By the Numbers
by Robert Ferringo - 6/27/2011
The game of baseball is an allegory of pre-industrial America and is the elemental sport in our national consciousness. However, it is also a very sophisticated mathematical construct, a symphony of statistics and a physical interpretation of integers that create the foundation of the sport. Baseball is a perfect dichotomy and every action within its natural framework - from pitch selections to hitting matchups to player positioning – is dictated by the digits.
To be a winning baseball bettor you need to understand these numbers. You need to immerse yourself in these integers and really get at the core of how things are developing on the diamond.
Each week we will take a quick trip around the fringes of the Major Leagues and look at some of the numbers that are at work on the diamond. From quirky to critical, these are all numbers at the core of the sport that dominates the summer betting boards.
With that in mind, here is a look at this week’s Baseball Betting By The Numbers:
.201 – Minnesota’s batting average with runners in scoring position and two outs. That number puts them at No. 26 of 30 teams in the Majors and is a big reason why they have fallen off this year. Last season they hit .277 in those positions, good enough for No. 2 in the Majors. The league average over the 2010 and 2011 seasons is around .230.
.260 – Batting average for Derek Jeter this year through 62 games. He has only knocked in 20 runs during that time, but has scored 39 times so far this year. Jeter is just six hits shy of 3,000 for his career.
.293 – Batting average for Eduardo Nunez since taking over the Yankees shortstop position since Jeter went down with an injury. He has hit safely in nine of 11 games and has chipped in five RBI.
.340 – Batting average since May 1 for Michael Morse. That’s excellent work, but the real reason I listed it was to give me a chance to point out one of my new favorite players. Morse is an absolute animal, manning first base for the Nats as they quietly have put together a great couple months. Washington is 40-38 so far this year, in third place in the N.L. East and just 3.5 games back from the Wild Card. They have gotten there mainly on the back of Morse, because Jason Werth and Ryan Zimmerman are both hitting below .235 and haven’t done much this year. If you haven’t seen this guy play, give him a look.
2.41 – Base runners per run for Kansas City, the best mark in the Major Leagues. The MLB average this year is around 2.81 and over the course of the last decade the average base runners per run is between 2.6 and 2.7. Not surprisingly, the Royals have been one of the best teams in the Majors against the total despite the fact that they aren’t inside the Top 10 in the league in scoring. (Their 4.57 staff ERA certainly helps as well).
3.21 – Base runners per run for Detroit, the worst mark in the Majors to this point. The Tigers are seventh in the league in runs scored, but some metrics suggest that they should be scoring at an even greater clip. Look for even more runs out of this team in the second half of the year as they become more efficient at plating their many base runners.
3.67 – Pitches per plate appearance for both Milwaukee and Toronto, tied for the fewest in the league. These two teams boast two of the most potent lineups in the Majors, but they could be so much better if they would practice a bit more patience.
3.94 – Pitches per plate appearance for both Boston and Pittsburgh, tied for the most in the league. Not surprisingly, the Red Sox have had the best offense in the Majors over the course of the last two months while Pittsburgh has quietly positioned itself to compete in the N.L. Central.
5.22 – Average runs per game at home by the suddenly potent Baltimore lineup. They have scored 35 runs in their last six home games and have tallied 94 runs combined in their last six home series. That is a full run higher than the MLB average of runs scored per game and this team seems to be finding its stride at the plate.
6 – Home runs in the last seven games for Colorado’s Ty Wigginton. Forced into action earlier this year because of injuries, the 2010 All Star has become a staple of the Colorado offense.
9 – Complete games from the Philadelphia Phillies starting pitching staff so far this year. Roy Halladay has five all by himself. The Phillies lead the league this season and they were No. 1 in the Majors in complete games last year.
87 – Fewer innings, compared to the MLB average, that the Phillies bullpen has thrown since the start of the 2010 season. Because of Roy Halladay and the rest of the starting pitching staff the Phillies have had the fewest bullpen innings in the National League over the last season-and-a-half and it hasn’t even been close.
39 – Number of players the Twins have had to use this year through 76 games. They have used the disabled list 16 times for 13 players. They have had four catchers, four shortstops, five second basemen, six left fielders and 11 designated hitters.
48 – MLB average number of errors per team so far this year. Errors have been a big problem for Minnesota (55), San Diego (57) and Oakland (61) as well. Those are three teams that pride themselves on winning with pitching and defense, so to be ranked No. 25 or worse in errors is a huge blow. Minnesota (78) and San Diego (72) were in the Top 5 in the Majors in fewest errors last year.
6-3 – The record of the Pittsburgh Pirates this year against division leaders Detroit, Boston and Philadelphia. This young, plucky Pirates team has played their best baseball against the top competition that they have faced this season, winning all three series against the Tigers, Red Sox and Phillies.
5-23 – Record for the Cleveland Indians in their last 28 games as an underdog. This team just continues to slide as their feeble pitching staff continues to be exposed. The Indians are just 38-81 as a road underdog over the past two years.
18-38 – Record for the San Diego Padres in their last 56 interleague games. This team is just brutal to watch right now.
26-16 – Road record for the Tampa Bay Rays. Tampa has been the best road team in the Majors this season – only nine of 30 teams are above .500 on the road – and they just completed a 5-1 road trip by sweeping Houston in dominating fashion.
30-15 – Record for Milwaukee since May 9, the best in the Majors. They are an MLB-best 29-11 this season at home and are now four games up in the National League Central.
32-2 – The record of the Arizona Diamondbacks when leading after seven innings this year.
5.74 – The bullpen ERA for Arizona last year. They had 24 blown saves, surpassed only by Baltimore’s 27, and the Diamondbacks only converted 59 percent of their save opportunities in 2010. Through 79 games the D-Backs have only blown nine saves and their ERA is 3.92 in the bullpen this season.
Robert Ferringo is a professional sports handicapper for Doc’s Sports. He is considered one of the top MLB handicappers in the country and has turned a profit in four of the last five years on the diamond. He closed 2010 with $6,000 in earnings over the last four months and is looking forward to continuing his exceptional earnings.
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