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.
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.
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.