Finding Pitchers that Make a Profit
by Mike Hayes - 06/15/2006
Call it karma, voodoo, star alignment, sheer luck or whatever you like, but a fact of baseball that cannot be ignored by the gambler is the uncanny knack some starting pitchers have for getting generous run support from their teammates. While the success of some of these beneficiaries might be difficult to understand or back with money, betting against these guys can prove hazardous to your wallet.
In preparing to make my baseball wagers last Friday, I noticed that the Blue Jays were 7-2 in games started by Gustavo Chacin - good for sixth best in all of baseball in terms of profitability - in spite of his 5.60 ERA. You see, the Jays are averaging nearly eight runs a game for Chacin, who entered the game with a 6-2 mark.
At +102 the Jays were the slightest of home dogs against Jeremy Bonderman and the Tigers - the most profitable road team in all of baseball.
Not one to argue with karma or trends, but against what I considered to be my better judgment, I played the Jays and went about my business. I checked the score later on and found the Jays were down 5-1 in the top of the eighth. I called it a night assuming I put the hex on Chacin's good fortune.
I didn't even bother to check the score the next morning and didn't find out until some time later that the Jays managed eight runs in their half of the eighth to win the game. I also didn't realize that Chacin left in the third inning with the game knotted at 2-2 and that he was placed on the 15-day DL.
That's really not that important. What is important is that Chacin was on the mound when the game started and that the Jays managed 10 runs and turned a +102 for backers - increasing to 8-2 the Jays record in games he started and his year-to-date profit to better than $650, which is currently fourth-best in baseball.
Through the first one-third or so of the season there have been about 100 starting pitchers that if you made a $100 moneyline bet on them in each of their starts would have at the very least resulted in a break-even situation.
Here's a list of the best and worst starting pitchers to wager on in terms of profitability assuming a $100 moneyline wager in each start:
Tom Glavine - $951
The Mets are 12-2 in games started by Glavine, who has a record of 9-2 to go with an ERA of 3.31. Glavine got off to a terrific start but has been shaky of late, not getting out of the fifth inning against the Phillies Tuesday. No matter. The Mets have provided the lefty with plenty of run support of late, something they did not do in his first three years in New York.
Curt Schilling - $728
The Sox are 11-3 in Schilling starts, good for a profit of $728 on the season. The Boston ace is 9-2 on the season with a 3.59 ERA.
Roy Halladay - $661
Toronto is 11-2 in games started by the Blue Jay stud. The Jays hit for just about everyone, but Halladay, who is 8-1 with a 2.75 ERA, doesn't need much support. It's a bit surprising that he's been so profitable considering he is almost always a heavy favorite.
Gustavo Chacin - $652
It's not always pretty, but who cares. The Jays score for him and he cashes tickets.
Miguel Batista -$651
The Diamondbacks are 9-4 when he starts. Batista, who sports a 6-3 record and ERA of 4.69, has benefited from what has been a potent D'Back offense.
Josh Towers - Minus-$888
With an ERA of 9.00 this guy makes Chacin look like a Cy Young candidate. Toronto is 1-9 in games he has started and his record is 1-8 on the season.
Oliver Perez - Minus-$796
Pittsburgh is 2-10 in Perez starts, a stat that has more to do with Perez and his 6.68 ERA than it does with the Pirates penchant for dropping one run affairs. However he did pitch well in losing to St. Louis 2-1 Tuesday.
Dontrelle Willis - Minus-$755
The Marlins are a woeful 3-10 in games started by the D-Train. Although he got of to an awful start he has pitched very well of late, picking up W's in his last two starts. He is 3-6 with an ERA of 4.32. The real problem here, of course, is that Florida stinks.
Jason Johnson - Minus-$644
The Tribe is 4-8 with Johnson on the hill. He is 3-6 with a 5.70 ERA.
Zach Duke - Minus-$607
This is one guy worth keeping an eye on as the season progresses. Talk about hard luck. This guy is the polar opposite of Chacin. He is 4-6 n the season with an ERA of 4.25. The Bucs are just 4-9 in his starts, with eight one-run losses. The Pirates cannot continue to lose one-run games at their current rate (7-19) and when that trend reverses Duke should pick up a few more victories. That is, of course, unless they start losing games by a lot of runs which is always possible with the Pirates.
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