We're now two months into the Major League Baseball season. The St. Louis Cardinals have the best record in baseball. What has propelled them to such a fast start? The Cardinals have a team ERA of 2.65, which is easily the best of anyone in baseball. Even with Adam Wainwright's injury, this pitching staff continues to dominate. The Cardinals continue to show how important pitching depth is to the success of a team. The worst record in baseball to this point also comes from the NL Central. The Milwaukee Brewers are 18-36. No one would have predicted the Brewers to be the worst of everyone through two months. Milwaukee is dead last in overall team batting average at .230. They are second to last in team ERA at 4.50.
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The MLB regular season is a marathon, and over the course of the season you'll want to latch onto certain trends that could make your season a profitable one. Doc's Sports will be doing a bi-weekly totals trends report to keep tabs on which teams are trending in one direction or the other. Statistics in this report are for games played between May 22 and June 3.
Top Five "Over" Teams (Number of Overs Listed First)
1. San Francisco Giants (9-3-2) The Giants offense has been much better than anyone could have expected this year. San Francisco is second in the majors in batting average. Hunter Pence's return has made this offense really dangerous. The recent slump for the Giants has been due to some rare poor pitching performances rather than any offensive slumps. Don't overlook that Nori Aoki has had at the top of the order for this team. He's quietly been one of the best offseason pickups in the majors.
2. Arizona Diamondbacks (8-3-1) The Arizona Diamondbacks have been on an offensive roll of late. Paul Goldschmitt doesn't get enough attention for the ridiculous numbers he's putting up. A key point to remember here is the Chase Field roof status. Arizona's home park has the roof open a lot early in the year, and the ball flies extremely well in the dry heat. The over is 17-8-2 in the Diamondbacks' 27 home games so far this year. Soon the weather will be too hot for the roof to stay open, but if you see the roof status as open don't be afraid to back the over.
3. New York Mets (9-4) Here's a case of the numbers just getting a little too small. The Mets offense is bad and their pitching staff is great, but sometimes the market adjusts things downward a little too much. The Mets have been creeping past some really low totals in recent games. In the past 10 games, the highest total on a Mets game was 7.5, and there have been several games at 6.5 thrown in there.
4. Atlanta Braves (8-4) Atlanta's offense has been better than expected, but their pitching staff has been bad lately. The Braves scored 8, 6, and 8 runs in their three-game series at Arizona earlier this week, but they only won one of those games. The Atlanta bullpen has been one of the best in the league for the last few years, but that definitely isn't the case this season. I'm skeptical of the Braves ability to keep scoring this many runs. I expect this offense to experience some negative regression in the weeks ahead.
5. San Diego Padres (8-4-1) In this report two weeks, I said I would keep playing Padres overs because the oddsmakers have been slow to respond to the changes in this team. The over has continued to cash in at a high rate in the past couple weeks, and I still believe the over is the right way to look at this team. Their historically-bad defense paired with a much-improved offense is a recipe for a lot of games that go over the posted total.
Top Five "Under" Teams (Unders Listed First)
1. St. Louis Cardinals (9-2-1) I've already touched on the reason St. Louis is on this side of the report; it has been their amazing pitching staff. Along with leading the majors in ERA, the Cardinals have gotten 34 quality starts, which is second in baseball. The bullpen is one of the best in baseball, too. One key thing that is often overlooked is how good this defense is both in the infield and the outfield. The Cardinals have a complete team, and that makes them a leading World Series contender.
2. Kansas City Royals (7-2-1) The Cardinals rivals from Kansas City are second on the list. The Royals are another complete team. Their pitching staff isn't as good as the Cardinals, but their defense is even better. The Royals have what is likely the best defense in baseball. On a nightly basis, this team makes multiple great plays that save their pitchers. Because their offense is so good, it is tricky to blindly bet unders with the Royals, but with a defense and bullpen like the Royals have they will play a lot of low-scoring games.
3. Detroit Tigers (7-3-2) This is a team that makes very little sense to me right now. Specifically, this offense has no business performing as badly as they have been of late. Detroit is missing Victor Martinez, but this offense is still loaded with talent. In their last nine games, they have scored more than three runs only once. Despite having the fourth-best batting average in baseball, they are 19th in runs scored. Clearly, this is an offense that isn't producing with runners on base. That should change, and I would be looking for spots to play the over with the Tigers.
4. Miami Marlins (8-4) The Marlins situation is unique, and I'm not high on their chances of being competitive the rest of this season. They have a manager with no experience, and a team with a ton of injury problems. Dan Haren has been their best starter so far this year, but his advanced statistics suggest he's pitching way above his head right now. Jose Fernandez isn't too far from a return, and that's the thing Marlins fans should be looking forward to the most.
5. Baltimore Orioles (9-5) The Baltimore Orioles offense was one of the best in baseball for the first month of the year. In the past couple weeks, they have been terrible. Matt Wieters is expected to return to the lineup on Friday in Cleveland, and that should be a nice boost for the team. Wieters has a proven record as a run producer, and that's something the Orioles need badly right now. Like Detroit, I think this offense is too good to slump for much longer.
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Read more articles by Aaron Smith
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