Extreme foul ball territory at Oakland Coliseum (Oakland, CA)
No stadium in the majors boasts more foul territory than the home of the Oakland Athletics, which is just one of the many reasons why general manager Billy Beane enjoys building his club around starting pitching.
When it comes to Oakland’s excessive foul ground territory, the additional space aids in producing a significant increase in foul-ball outs each season over the rest of MLB. Look no further than the 2012-2013 seasons for proof, as the Athletics experienced 398 foul outs during that time span, good for the most in MLB by a wide margin (second place was Seattle with over 100 less ).
Believe it or not, Oakland starting pitchers currently boast a combined ERA of 3.00 this season (second in MLB) despite the fact that the team owns one of the worst records in the American League.
Right-handed power at Fenway Park (Boston, MA)
Everybody and their mother knows about Fenway's legendary Green Monster, but did you know that despite it’s excessive height, the Red Sox’s left field wall serves as a significant boon for right-handed hitting?
From 2012-2014, Boston led all of MLB in BABIP (batting average balls in play) for right-handed hitters at .353, while the league average was a mere .311. A 42-point jump in the BABIP category should set off alarm bells for bettors, especially when opposing right-handed dominant lineups come to town.
Additionally, bettors should keep a close eye on when LH pitchers take the bump at Fenway. They’ll tend to struggle more than RH's do, in some small part, to the Green Monster.
The wind at Wrigley Field (Chicago, IL)
When betting any MLB totals, especially games at Wrigley Field, it is of the utmost importance to study the wind direction. No park in baseball is more affected by the wind than Wrigley, but that’s not to say others don’t benefit from it as well.
Two good websites to consult include Baseball-Weather.com and DailyBaseballData.com, as well as the usual suspects like Weather.com. Just be sure you beat the inevitable line move.
The short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium (Bronx, NY)
At a distance of 314 feet from home plate, the right field wall at Yankee Stadium is the third-shortest RF wall in the majors, save for where the Boston Red Sox (302 feet) and San Francisco Giants (309 feet) play their home games.
But the thing about San Francisco is that between the wind and the enormous height of AT&T Park’s right field wall, very few home runs sail over that section of the fence. That’s certainly not the case in the Bronx, where left-handed pull hitters have been mashing on a consistent basis for quite some time.
Over the last three years, left-handed hitters at Yankee Stadium combined for .371 isolated power when hitting to right field, with 40.1 percent of their fly balls soaring over the fence. Both of those statistics lead all of Major League Baseball by a mile.
So what does that tell us? When handicapping games at Yankee Stadium, be especially wary of right-handed, fly-ball pitchers, but look to target left-handed power lineups.
Retractable roofs (6 teams)
Major League Baseball currently features six organizations (Arizona, Houston, Miami, Milwaukee, Seattle, and Toronto) that own a retractable roof stadium. Here’s a look at how many plate appearances per home run it takes for these clubs when playing outdoors as opposed to when they play indoors:
Arizona Diamondbacks: 44.5 PA/HR outdoors, 41.5 PA/HR indoors
Houston Astros: 33.1 PA/HR outdoors, 23.5 PA/HR indoors
Miami Marlins: 42.2 PA/HR outdoors, 42.5 PA/HR indoors
Milwaukee Brewers: 46.2 PA/HR outdoors, 37.7 PA/HR indoors
Seattle Mariners: 31.7 PA/HR outdoors, 37.9 PA/HR indoors
Toronto Blue Jays: 35.9 PA/HR outdoors, 26.1 PA/HR indoors
Notice anything interesting here? Four of the aforementioned clubs (Arizona, Houston, Milwaukee and Toronto) hit home runs at a much more frequent pace when playing indoors as opposed to outdoors. Miami is pretty much a push while Seattle proves to be the outlier in this situation.
Bettors who are looking to wager on MLB totals played in games with a retractable roof stadium need to know as soon as possible whether or not said roof will be open or closed come first pitch.
The old codger has a Garage Sale about every 2-3 years. It is simply a great way to rid your home of stuff you rarely use anymore. We had one a couple of weeks ago and I finally got rid of fishing lures and poles, camping gear, clothes, shoes, books, etc. all for bargain-blow-out prices.
What we had left over from the sale we took to the local Goodwill. While I was out back helping an employee unload my car another employee came running out of the store and said, " Codger! I heard you were here! You will not believe what some good Samaritan dropped off just this morning! " To be truthful, my heart skipped a beat, and life became just little bit more rosey, 'cause I knew from the excitement in his voice and joy in his eyes what exactly he was talking about! I instructed the good fellow to put a hold on the item and I would be in very shortly to purchase it.
Yes, it was there. waiting for me and it was all mine. Finally. It was a thing of beauty; pristine, very impressive and worth a whole lot more than what Goodwill was charging. I gave $4.00 to the cashier and proudly left the building clutching a Stuebenville Central Catholic Crusader t-shirt.......
The Cleveland Indians' outlook for the second half of the season is, at best, murky. On paper it should be better than murky because the Indians are well fortified in the most important area of all: starting pitching. In the first half of the season the Indians had four quality starting pitchers, but still had a losing record.
Those two statements don't seem to go together, but they have for the Indians, which is why the second half seems so uncertain. They clearly have enough starting pitching to reach the playoffs, but even with that starting pitching the Indians had a winning record for just one day in the first half: April 9, when their record was 2-1.
This, despite the fact that the Indians became the first team in major league history to have four pitchers with 100 strikeouts before the All-Star break: Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer. For most of the season Kluber, Carrasco and Salazar have ranked in the top five in the American League in total strikeouts and strikeouts per nine innings, and the Indians' staff is on a pace to break their own major league record for most strikeouts in a season, which they set last year.
The bullpen has been very good as well. The Indians are fourth in the league in bullpen ERA, and closer Cody Allen is 19-for-20 in save opportunities and has been almost untouchable since late April. In 31 games since April 29 Allen is 16-for-16 in save chances, with a 1.15 ERA while holding opposing batters to a .157 batting average. So the Indians appear to have enough pitching to make a run at a postseason berth, but all that pitching is being sabotaged by a stagnant offense. The Indians rank 12th in the league in total runs scored and runs per game.
Shortstop Francisco Lindor, the Indians' top prospect, and third baseman Giovanny Urshela were both promoted to the big league club in June. Both have significantly upgraded their positions defensively. Virtually all of the Indians' other position players are having sub-par offensive years, to such a degree that it has been difficult for the Indians to sustain any winning momentum.
The most dramatic reflection of why the Indians' offense needs to improve in the second half is Kluber's record in the first half. The reigning American League Cy Young Award winner is 4-10, despite a fine 3.38 ERA. Kluber has had the worst run support in the American League: 2.4 runs per start. In his 10 losses the Indians have scored a total of 16 runs.
They lead the AL in Runners In Scoring Position and are last in the AL in bring those same runners home, Too often they are '1st Pitch Swinging" and hitting into double plays.
Before I describe my paradise of a camp, I just have to mention a pet peeve of mind. Some of you may know that the old codger spent 3 years living in Brooklyn, NY. in an area known as Bay Ridge. A lovely area, hardly any crime but was always 'buzzing' 24 hours a day. The movie, 'Saturday Night Fever' was filmed in Bay Ridge (and I had a bit part as one of the dancers), it is in the extreme southern end of the borough and a long way from the Bronx.
The point of this story is that when the Cleveland Indians were in town, after work I would take the subway to the Bronx, watch them lose and then take the subway for about 2 hours back to Bay Ridge, getting home around midnight. Undoubtedly during those long late night rides home I was probably around gang bangers, thieves, escaped convicts and Dead Heads. Kind of scary stuff, don't you think? Maybe not. When I would tell folks back in Appalachia (where I spent my youth) they would yawn, and simply reply that they hoped to visit New York City some day. BUT, tell those very same people that I am going to leave the 'safety' of the USA, head to the wilds of Ontario for a camping;fishing vacation - by myself - and their stunned silence is quickly followed by "Oh my .... a foreign country, the woods, bears, ... we will never see me you again!"
I tried to explain that this fishing camp was not what they envisioned, far from it, but no one listened. Yes, it was 'remote' but definitely not enough for my taste,
Tomorrow. Day 2. My Camp Neighbors.
The old codger tries to make it to Canada every year for a fishing vacation - and either a cabin or a tent will be satisfactory. These great trips over the years have proven to be a lot of fun, usually provide some good Smallmouth bass fishing and really make me appreciate the modern conveniences that we everyday take for granted. This year I chose a late June tent trip at an unknown fish and camping resort east of Sioux St. Marie, Ontario. I also know that occasionally a June tent/camping trip can pose some challenges and be somewhat difficult. And, yes, this year was no different.
I left Appalachia this past Saturday morning at 7 a.m. in a monsoon, got on the Ohio Turnpike and drove to Toledo in the still raging monsoon and also dealing with 100 miles of road construction. As a consequence I only averaged about 45 mph and realized when I hit Toledo my planned arrival schedule at camp (before dark; very important) would be in jeopardy. Finally left the monsoon just south of Detroit and headed north making great time on I-75 . . .. . until about 20 miles south of "The Soo" when the interstate for some inexplicable reason is simply closed and am forced to take a detour. Now I know I am in serious trouble since I am still about 3+ hours from camp. The detour takes 40 extra minutes and forces me into downtown "Soo" (Michigan) which has a 25 mph speed limit and is overrun with old Caucasian tourists who insist on jaywalking and the morons are not even trying to quickly cross the streets or even remotely caring that I am now running really late and the last thing the old codger needs is to try and set up tent camp in the dark. Not only is it pitch black in the 'bush' but late June also means pesky mosquitoes. I am now screaming .... because I know when I hit the Canadian border on a Saturday afternoon at 5:30 pm there will be a gigantic back-up of Ugly Americans waiting to enter the Canadian Paradise. I am not disappointed. After 30 minutes of silently cursing my always rotten luck in life I make it to the check-in and the polite Canadian border patrol agent apparently decides that an old codger who claims to be going fishing by himself just has to be up to 'no good' (and obviously she does not give a damn about me not wanting to pitch the tent in the dark). She starts off by asking me what weapons do I have? Not "do you have"? but, "what"? Apparently my ill-advised chuckle caused her to ask 23 more questions (including another of ...."and why are you going fishing by yourself you old fool ?). She also laid on me such gems as,.... "narcotics"? .... " who do you know in Ontario"? ,..... "are you bringing anything into Canada for someone you have already claimed you don't know ?" (and after being on the road for almost 10 exhausting hours I know my eyes are blood shot and mannerisms appear to be suspicious but this line of questioning was getting to be confusing and I just know that my occasional lapse into 'cretinism' may mistakenly have me admit to some past illegal or terrorist activity and a Canadian prison with 'hard time' as a bonus, here I come!). But, she finally wishes me good luck in setting up camp in the dark and waves me into the country. It s now 6:00 p.m, I am still 3 hours from camp ... and the last 30 miles are on dirt roads of unknown condition. As can be imagined, I am not happy - especially so when I discover that my cell phone/Verizon will not transmit calls - only texts - and then once I leave Highway 17 and take the dirt roads North into the bush - even that disappears. I stop screaming and start praying that the 17 year old Buick Century will not break down for the next 40 kilometers to the camp.
To be continued.
Day 2, Sunday. The lovely Fish Camp and Canadian Gear Heads.
.......... 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 Mans entourage ....and the sheer terror of having Under 7 with 5 runs already on the board by the fourth inning".