Major League Baseball’s Review at the Two-Thirds Point

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

Mike-Trout

Major league baseball is at the 2/3 mark of the 2015 season and begs for a review. These are the dog days, heading into mid-August with sellers selling and buyers hoping to rent their way to top of the heap. Re: Toronto Blue Jays. [Read more…]

2015 MLB Predictions

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

mike-trout

Baseball season kicks off on Sunday night with the Cubs and Cardinals in the first ever opening night game at Wrigley Field. The Cubs are teeming with hope this year, as with every year. This year though, the hope actually has some actual talent with which to base itself on. This isn’t another Cubs story though, these are my predictions for the upcoming baseball season. Division races, wild cards and the World Series. As a bonus I’m throwing in the individual postseason awards. So sit back, take a look and then let me know what you think. Play ball! [Read more…]

5 Best MLB Over/Under Bets

By Matt Conley
PSDC Contributor

The first thing you notice when you look at Over/Under bets on a sportsbook is that the people who set the lines are very good at what they do. If you pick a number for a team, then cross reference that with the actual line, chances are your guess will be within a couple games of the line. If it isn’t, chances are it’s because you are misjudging something, not them. None of this means there isn’t money to be made. Bookmakers tend to undervalue certain types of teams. Lines get swung too high by flashy free agent signings that the public thinks will help a team more than they actually will. If you have a good understanding of what makes a team successful, you can jump on some value. The hardest part is waiting six months for your bet to pay off.

All lines from sportsbook.ag

Toronto Blue Jays (Over/Under 79.5 wins)

jose-reyes

Under- I have never bought into this team. The pitching is never there. Last offseason, they made a big splash by trading for Cy Young winner RA Dickey, and most of the Marlins veterans. That didn’t work out the way GM Alex Anthopoulos thought it would. Sure, if Brandon Morrow and Jose Reyes stay healthy, Brett Lawrie breaks out, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion keep thumping and RA Dickey can get back to his elite form, this team will make noise. How likely are all those to happen in the same season, though? This team isn’t deep enough to have struggles from their top players. The back of the rotation isn’t pretty, and there are questions about the readiness of their AAA pitchers. A good rule of thumb: if a team seems to be getting the benefit of the doubt on their major question marks, jump on their under. [Read more…]

Here’s The Thing – Do You Remember? 10/16/13

By Stephen Thomas
PSDC Funnyman and Brad Pitt Doppelgänger

Stephen Thomas’ brand new CD “Magic Wife Dust” is now available HERE! His sports-humor commentary can be heard nationwide, weekdays on The Nick Bonsanto Show on the Sports Byline USA radio network. You can subscribe to the Here’s The Thing podcast on iTunes and/or Podbean for free.  The transcripts will appear here.

I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

Twenty five years ago this week is when Kirk Gibson limped to the plate and hit one of the most famous World Series home runs in history.  Along with being an iconic image, it brings back a flood of memories as a demarkation point in the sports-time continuum. Yeah, I just made that up. That’s why I get the big bucks that are just enough to get by every month, folks. [Read more…]

MLB Playoffs: National League Division Series Previews

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru 

While waiting to see if Tampa Bay or Cleveland earns the right to be dismantled by their next opponents, here is a Reader’s Digest version of the National League Division Series.

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. St. Louis Cardinals:
As a Cubs fan, every atom I’m made of wants to see St. Louis lose… or to see Pittsburgh win. These Central Division rivals continue a long season series in the NLDS. The Pirates have the advantage of having the entire country rooting for them, outside of St. Louis. This of course is because they are in the postseason for the first time in 22 years. That personal bias aside, here is how I see the series unfolding by segment.

Russell-Martin

OFFENSE
Advantage: St. Louis. The Cardinals have a preposterous advantage here. Their average of .300 plus with runners in scoring position is absurd. The major league average is somewhere around .260. One of the few offensive liabilities is the loss of Allen Craig. He was having a near-MVP season until he was injured, but I see the likes of Yadier Molina and Matt Carpenter filling the hole left by Craig’s absence.

PITCHING
Advantage: Stinking Cardinals. A rotation thought to be weaker with the loss of Chris Carpenter continued to plug holes with the seemingly endless stream of minor league call-ups. Adam Wainwright with 19 wins leads the way in the rotation. The bullpen is a red flag though, especially the back end. That may be one of the Pirates slim chances, getting to the short relief corps.

INTANGIBLES
Advantage: Pittsburgh. We love to posit ourselves behind the feel good story in any playoff series, and the Pirates fill the bill. The long postseason absence has most baseball followers hoping for the feel-good, magical result. The Buccos, with 94 wins have the most wins besides the Cards, they haven’t even had 80 wins for a season since 1992.

Prediction: Cards in 4

Atlanta Braves vs. Los Angeles Dodgers:

OFFENSE
Advantage: Atlanta. The Braves get just a slight edge here largely due to the absence of Matt Kemp of the Dodgers. LA has played the great majority of its schedule without Kemp. In fact, the ignominious beginning to their season, up until June, was played WITH Kemp in the lineup. The remarkable final 2/3 of the season was played largely without him.

PITCHING
Advantage: Los Angeles. Clayton Kershaw and his sub 2.00 ERA is enough to carry over to the rest of the staff, even games he doesn’t start.

INTANGIBLES
Advantage: Los Angeles. Due largely to the worst to first in one season scenario they put together. They were something like 30-3 immediately following the All-Star Break. Plus Kershaw is just awesome.

Prediction: Dodgers in 5

American League tomorrow.

Follow Joe on Twitter: @hinesjoe

Carlos Quentin Over Zack Greinke By TKO

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Zack Greinke hit San Diego Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin with a 3-2 in the sixth inning of a one-run game on Thursday night. Baseball logic tells you it wasn’t intentional but Quentin did not share that sentiment. He charged the mound resulting in a bench-clearing brawl. Most baseball fights usually consist of a bunch of guys standing around with very little interest in actually throwing a punch. Unfortunately for Greinke, he left the game — by way of ejection — with a broken collarbone and a lengthy trip to DL in his future. Should Quentin be suspended? If so, how long should the suspension be?

Check out the video of the mayhem:

2013 MLB Team Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers

By Ryan Schofield
PSDC Sports Dude

The Dodgers spent last offseason season bankrupt, with an incompetent owner and very little hope from outside that they could contend in the tough NL West. Despite all that they made a strong early push and were contenders all season. Everything changed in late March when The Guggenheim Group, which included Magic Johnson, bought the team from the bumbling Frank McCourt. The new owners made sure very quickly that everyone understood this was a new era of Dodger baseball.

Before the trade deadline the Dodgers acquired Hanley Ramirez, Brandon League and Shane Victorino.  After the deadline the Dodgers pulled off the biggest deal of the season acquiring Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford bringing with them roughly $250 million in salary.

The Dodgers missed the playoffs, but the spending didn’t stop in the offseason. They signed Zack Greinke, the marquee pitcher on the free agent market, to a six-year, $140 million deal.

So all told the Dodgers completely remade their team between June and today adding almost half a billion dollars in salary. The era of fiscal responsibility in major league baseball does not currently apply to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

[Read more…]

Look on the Bright Side for the Other 28 MLB Teams

By Chris Patton
PSDC MLB Dude

With the Giants and Tigers playing in the World Series, 28 other teams have been ignored recently. While those teams are pretty disappointed with how their seasons went, I’m here to cheer them up. As the guys from Monty Python sang, “Always look on the bright side of life.”

So, sit back, take a drink from your glass that’s half-full and let’s look at why the teams who are currently at home should feel better about themselves. [Read more…]

Five MLB Trade Deadline Winners

By John Imossi
PSDC Contributor

In the days and weeks leading up to the trading deadline, we saw a lot of deals going down and there were even more happening up until 4:00 p.m. today. A lot of players were added to a lot of teams, but who made the deals that will help their team the most?

5. Chicago White Sox Get Kevin Youkilis

Coming into the season the Detroit Tigers were supposed to run away with the AL Central, but the White Sox managed to take the division lead thanks to the Tigers slow start. White Sox General Manager Ken Williams has never been afraid to make a deal and went to work to secure the division as Tigers are beginning to turn it on. He added Youkilis, reliever Brett Meyers and enigmatic starting pitcher Francisco Liriano. [Read more…]

MLB Trade Deadline Talk

By John Imossi
PSDC Contributor

The July 31 MLB trading deadline is under a week away and already major pieces are being shipped all over the league. The new, two-team wild card system makes for a very interesting trading deadline. The National League has eight teams out of sixteen within five games of a playoff spot. The American League is even more contentious with eleven of fourteen teams within five games of a playoff spot.  With all these teams so close to playoff spots it makes the buyers and sellers less clear-cut. This also creates a very delicate situation for these teams on the outskirts of the playoff race. Now that wild cards have to play in a one-game playoff are teams going to be less willing to part with their prized prospects?

Helping the market out this year is three teams that seem to be in all-out fire sale mode. The Chicago Cubs, the Florida Marlins and the Houston Astros all seem to be ready to forget about this year (and possibly next year) to put together some young talent.  Other teams such as the Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins and San Diego Padres seem to be surfacing as sellers in recent rumors. There are players available but teams are going to want to make sure that they make their trades count. While every team could use something, what teams could make the biggest difference in their season with a single trade?  I have three.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 

Biggest Need:  Bullpen 

At 54-45 the Angels are currently in position for the first wildcard spot and they are beginning to gain ground on the first place Texas Rangers.  [Read more…]