Our newest capper, Arnie Rothstein, suffered a tough loss Saturday on what should have been a solid play with the Baltimore Orioles getting +101 against the Miami Marlins. What was amazing and totally unexpected was the first of a series of bizarre events: through the first 9 innings of the game the Orioles had 3 walks, 7 hits and left 10 men on a base in an eventual 13 inning 1-0 loss to the weak hitting Marlins.
Then to compound Arnie's frustration Orioles reliever, Brian Matusz became the second pitcher in just a week to get thrown out of the game for having a foreign substance on his arm. That event might well have been the difference as Orioles manager Buck Showalter was forced to turn to T.J. McFarland, and Miami eventually got him for the game’s only run in the 13th. And there went Arnie's unbeaten pick streak.
Finally, to complete a night of bizarre crap the game also featured three scoreless innings by Miami reliever Carter Capps, who many are now claiming - this author included - that his delivery is illegal. He is literally leaping forward off the rubber before he throws his pitch. That’s not legal. He got called on this in the minors, but the ruling so far from MLB is that as long as he’s dragging his foot it’s legal. However, he is not dragging his foot - he is leaping - and is gaining an unfair advantage. At his release point he is actually almost on the grass that fronts the mound; approximately 52+ feet from the plate!
Watch one the strangest deliveries you will have ever seen and tell me it's a legal pitch.
Since the headline is somewhat provocative I had best explain my feelings about the NFL - which I often refer to as an opiate for the masses. And, yes, I am aware that probably includes most folks who are reading this blog. But, that topic I will save later in the year as we get closer to the start of the NFL season and all the b.s. hoopla that surrounds it.
But, back to the topic. The NFL is a 'Micky Mouse' league for two reasons: 1) their officials are part time employees who, however, are expected to put in a full time work week due to their NFL responsibilities and 2) the league allows each team to not only control the footballs that are used in the game but also to have different balls used at the line of scrimmage and field goal tries. What the hell!? Can you ever imagine MLB allowing any of that nonsense ?
"Deflategate' is also so much nonsense. You mean to tell me that the officials in the Patriots-Colts game (where the controversy erupted) who handled each of the balls for BOTH teams that were used at the line of scrimmage - for every play! - could not tell the difference between the Patriots so-called under inflated balls vs. the ones the Colts used? Either the officials were on the 'take' or, the Colts game balls were also under inflated, or more likely, the inflation difference was miniscule.
The four-game ban for Patriots QB Tom Brady for not fully cooperating with the Ted Wells investigation wasn’t surprising. But after Wells absolved the organization -in particular the head coach - of any wrongdoing, the league still took first and fourth round draft picks from the Patriots and hit them with the biggest team fine in NFL history, $1 million. LMAO !!
Just where is the proof? As you have already read, this entire 'Micky Mouse' episode is most likely to end up in court. But, more importantly, for the league image, don't you think the very profitable multibillion dollar NFL should have full time referees and also have an NFL employee at every game guarding these "all-important-game-changing, mountain-moving footballs ? Then, once all these two long overdue improvements take place - hopefully in the very near future - we can go back to discussing how this 'gladiator sport of the 21st century' is an opiate for the masses.
Las Vegas is well known for many things but one thing you may not have heard about is .... the frequency of ghost sightings - particularly the older downtown hotels. Long time natives claim these ghosts are good luck charms... and after my encounter with one on Sunday morning at a local casino, I am now a firm believer.
The local casino where i hang out has a parking garage and I had parked on the 3rd floor as is my custom. I entered the back left elevator from the right. After entering I go to push the button for the 'casino' and notice it is lit. My first thought was, 'that's strange. How did the elevator know I wanted to go to the casino?" I then move slightly backwards to the rear of the car (as is my custom in the event there are folks waiting to enter from the 2nd floor) out of the corner of my eye I see a man - or ghost- standing behind me in the back, left corner. WTF !!
I instantaneously feel my body leaping towards the ceiling from pure, unadulterated surprise! When my feet finally return to the elevator floor I see what just has to be a ghost and he appears to be a slight, nice looking "Asian" man, nonchalantly looking at me, dressed in blue shirt and dark blue trousers. When the elevator doors open to the casino and I am ready to bolt to safety, he calls out a pleasant, 'good luck' to me. I do not look back.
Please note these important facts: I enter the elevator from the right which means I would have spotted a person standing in the back left of the car. It would have been impossible not to - especially since those elevator cars are not that large.
When I reach the sportsbook I tell a couple of buddies of my weird encounter and, of course, they immediately disparage it and claim I am losing my mind. But the old codger knows better. And, as a rebuttal, I remind them of the 'phone call' received from the late 'Cleveland Tommy" and that shuts them up.
That particular gambling session rewarded me with 2 horse and 1 baseball winners. One of the horse winners was picked by Don Cheech simply because it had his lovely wife's name in it. It paid $7.40. Yep. I call it Ghostly Luck.
From the Associated Press. May 16, 2015.
The Arizona Diamondbacks' relievers again provided no relief on Friday night .One game after Addison Reed, now the former closer, surrendered a game losing grand slam in the ninth inning of a 9-6 loss, the bullpen yielded three runs in the seventh inning of a 4-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.
Nothing new there. The relievers began the night with a 4.45 ERA: 23rd in the major leagues.
The first reliever, Andrew Chafin, wriggled out of a second-and-third, one-out jam in the sixth. The next three were not quite so fortunate.
Daniel Hudson gave up two hits to start the seventh. Oliver Perez wild-pitched the runners into scoring position, gave up a game-tying two-run single to Freddy Galvis and then failed to back up home plate on a wild throw home by center fielder A.J. Pollock after Galvis' hit.
"I made a mistake," Perez said. "I didn't cover home, and he got to third base."
That set the stage for Philadelphia pinch hitter Jeff Francoeur, who singled off the third pitcher of the inning, Enrique Burgos.
"The bullpen," manager Chip Hale said, "just didn't do it tonight."
The following is my rant on how the 'by-the-book-over-managing" Chip Hale helped blow the game and my money. I had wagered some hard earned retirement money on the D'backs (and yes, also knowing their BP had been atrocious all season but also knowing they were facing the weakest hitting team in basebal!!).
"Sorry Chip, but YOU also blew the game by Over Managing. Your starter had only thrown 103 pitches before he gave up a 2 out double to Ryan Howard in the 8th. Yes, I know Chip, the unwritten rule book says SP's can only throw 100 pitches and at 103 he was 3 OVER. And we both know Chip just how LOUSY your bullpen has been this season. So, of course you had to yank your SP and put your chances of holding the lead in jeopardy with your misfits in the BP. How else can you justify your salary if you don't try to Over Manage the game? Well, Sparky Anderson you are not.
Your first reliever Andrew Chafin got out of the 6th inning unscathed and the D'backs still had their 3-1 lead. BUT, then in the 7th, instead of leaving Chafin in the game (you mean a healthy male cannot pitch just one more inning???) you start YOUR parade of relief pitchers WHO AGAIN failed to do the job. All against the worst hitting team in MLB. Here is a vow: we will never play your team to win as a side bet.
We almost got to witness history last night in the Cleveland and St. Louis game, but today's laughable mind set on 'pitch counts' stood in the way.
The Indians Corey Kluber was as dominant as any pitcher has been in my lifetime of watching MLB. Here’s how dominant Kluber was in this game. He took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and also had struck out 18 Cardinals in eight innings. Kluber had a chance to complete one of the best-pitched games in the history of baseball. He was positioned to try and break the all-time nine-inning strikeout record of 20 BUT, he was at 113 pitches and that was about 13 pitches too many by today's standards and so he was not allowed to pitch the ninth inning. That decision was disappointing but not surprising given the state of today's corporate MLB mindset. I am a Terry Francona fan - not the way he manages the game (too much'by the book' for my taste - along with choosing the weak Murphy over premier RF Jeff Francona last season) but by the way he manages the clubhouse. No, the decision to yank Kluber and throw away a chance at history was made by MLB: play the game by the awful and unwritten book of rules'. And, in this case it was maximum pitch count for a starting pitcher.
I have never agreed with pitch count limits but of course, I am just a guy who never played the game at a level beyond AA, so what could I possibly know? However, HOF pitchers like Bob Gibson, Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver (just to name a few) have the same opinion as I do.
Just who came up with magical number of 100 pitches? Was it thought of by other unknown HOF pitchers and then instituted in the past 20+ years by the far to many many 'play by the book' managers or GM's? Or, possibly by leading kinesiologists and doctors after years of study and consultation with various HOF pitchers ? Or, possibly some corporate moron (and there are a ton of those guys in MLB) just thought it would be easier to have the round number of '100' be the maximum number a guy should pitch every 5 days? I am betting on the latter and will do some more research on just who should be blamed for this idiocy.
In the meantime, congrats to Cory Kluber for a fantastic performance. Hopefully, he is back to his Cy Young form.
In the Indians' 8-2 win over the Twins Sunday, Salazar gave up a home run to the first batter he faced and then retired the next 21 batters in a row.
His streak of 21 consecutive batters retired included 11 strikeouts. In an Indians starting rotation that was supposed to be a strength of the team but has instead been one of its weaknesses, Salazar has stood out. He is 4-1 with a 3.27 ERA. In his last three starts, he has pitched 20 innings and has 27 strikeouts and no walks. Also over his last three starts, he has retired 28 of the 29 batters he's faced, 14 of them on strikeouts. He has pitched 24 consecutive innings without walking a batter.
Oakland GM Billy Beane once said you spend the first third of the season seeing what you have and evaluating your team. The middle third trying to acquire pieces to fill weak spots, and the final third sitting back and watching the team make a run at the postseason -- or not. We are in the first third of the season and there's a long way to go.
In the same way GMs need patience when analyzing their teams, so do handicappers. Surprises will emerge over a long season and offer sharp bettors good value for their money, even with individual players.
A few years ago the Royals started 17-4, the Mariners started 40-18 and the Diamondbacks were 52-42 at the All Star break. None of those teams made the playoffs. Those examples give hope to those teams -like the Cleveland Indians and Cory Kluber - that are off to struggling starts. In the meantime you can always bet the Over!
May 3, 2015.
I had the opportunity to watch the Pacquiao - Mayweather fight Saturday night over at Marco Guiseppe's house on his huge hi-def television. However, before I discuss the fight I have to give a large shout out of 'thanks' to his buddy, Harpo the Handyman - "some jobs too big but none to small" who did a simply marvelous job of adjusting the pictures 'sharpness'.
Even though I was hoping for a Pacquaio win the fight went pretty much to the historical script that Floyd Mayweather has made a fortune off of. He punches enough to win rounds, defends superbly and is very hard to hit with any kind of force. The guy does not get hurt. In fact, one of the announcers made the comment that he could not think of any fighter in his lifetime who was a better defender than Mayweather.
I am sorry, but if you are blaming Floyd not making things more exciting either you haven’t watched him box over the years or just chose to ignore reality. The fighter who needed to brawl and gamble didn’t. Those folks that I spoke with Sunday morning at the sportsbook complaining about the lack of action are mostly pointing the finger of blame at the wrong guy.
Manny stopped being Manny nearly three years ago, when he was on the wrong end of a vicious knockout from Juan Manuel Marquez. Sure, he was now on a 3-0 run coming into this match but that Pacquiao didn’t need to show up against those opponents and the Manny version of earlier years absolutely needed to show up at the MGM - and did not.
At 36 years of age the brawling, tough guy Pacquiao is gone for good and there is no need whatsoever for talk of a rematch. Zero.
Bill James’ Pythagorean Winning Percentage
A popular method to employ when attempting to eliminate luck from a team’s overall record is Bill James’ Pythagorean winning percentage, which is an estimate of a club’s winning percentage based on its runs scored and runs allowed.
Below you’ll find five teams that are either overachieving or underachieving through May 3, along with each team’s current record and Pythagorean won/loss record. The purpose of this analysis is to identify which MLB teams are poised for either a surge or fall in the immediate future while being offered at a reasonable price based off a faulty understanding of current records.
Oakland Athletics (11-15, Pythagorean record of 14-12): How does a team that ranks in the Top 5 in MLB in scoring and Top 12 in team ERA find themselves four games under .500 at the beginning of May? Simple. By playing lousy defense (27th in errors per game) in conjunction with a gas can of a bullpen (4.92 ERA, 28th).
Oakland currently boasts a run differential of plus 18, which is the best in baseball for any team with a sub-.500 record. Assuming the bats stay relatively hot, this team is due for an incendiary winning streak.
Houston Astros (18-7, Pythagorean record of 15-10): Surprising Houston has a plus-37 run differential (third in MLB) and pitching (3.08 ERA, fourth) has led the Astros to a fantastic (and unexpected) start this season.
Credit a relatively soft schedule that featured 19 games against divisional opponents who are either slow out of the gate (Angels, A’s, Mariners) or downright terrible to begin with (Rangers), as well as a three-game set with a Cleveland Indians team that is dreadful at the moment. The Astros’ upcoming schedule features more of the same, so don’t be surprised if this club enters the month of June still atop the standings. But at some point, don’t say you weren’t warned about a regression.
Milwaukee Brewers (7-18, Pythagorean record of 10-15): The Brewers are a bad baseball team, but Milwaukee won’t be this awful over the course of a 162-game season. Part of the organization’s sluggish April can be chalked up to matchups against some of the best and/or hottest teams in baseball, like six showdowns with the Cardinals and three with a Rockies team that sprinted from the gates at the sound of the gun.
St. Louis Cardinals (18-6, Pythagorean record of 15-9): An excellent start, no doubt. But the Cardinals have put together an 18-6 record by playing against competition that boasts a combined mark of 65-85, with the Chicago Cubs serving as the only St. Louis opponent currently in possession of a winning record. Keep an eye on an upcoming 10-game stretch against the Tigers, Mets and Royals.
Detroit Tigers (17-9, Pythagorean record of 14-12): After winning nine of their first 10 games, Detroit has come back down to earth by posting an 8-8 mark
Detroit may rank 11th in scoring (4.44 runs per game), but the team’s team ERA is a pedestrian 3.95, which ranks 16th in baseball. With Max Scherzer in Washington and Justin Verlander not expected back until June, .500 baseball makes perfect sense for this club.
May 8, 2015.
One of the most surprising things I have found while living in Las Vegas is the number of people who have no desire to have a 'wilderness' experience - whether it be at some luxurious Alaskan fishing lodge on the Kenai Peninnsula, or in a tent in Northern Ontario or just anywhere in between. These poor folks have no idea what a delightful and 're-charging' trip of this type can have on your body, mind and handicapping.
I have been fishing and camping in the woods since I was a kid and have not missed a Canadian Northwoods vacation for about 40 years. And, what is so fantastic; when I return I find my mind sharper and my handicapping is so much better. After my Canadian adventures I usually average around a 60% return on my MLB bets and then continue my winning ways into my best paying sport, Mid-American Conference football. I look to repeat a couple of these trips this summer and also expect when I return to Las Vegas to pick up where I always have left off: enjoying the company of a certain cocktail waitress and winning a lot more money.
.......... muses about ballgames and life in Las Vegas - particularly the long hours spent in the casino sports book surrounded by sexy cocktail waitresses, degenerate horse players, the Whale Man's entourage ....and the sheer terror of having Under 7 with 5 runs already on the board by the fourth inning".