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Hot and Cold Baseball Teams

   by Matt Fargo - 05/08/2009

The baseball season is in full swing and Matt Fargo will be examining teams that are hot and teams that are not and how they can make us some money. This week he takes a look at the cold teams that may be providing some good value to play against.

Seattle Mariners 15-13 +1.28 Units

The Mariners were dreadful last season, finishing with the worst record in the American League at 61-101. Because of that, the fact that they started 2009 by going 7-2 surprised many but it looks like they are coming back down to earth. Heading into Thursday, Seattle had lost three straight and went 8-11 after that hot start. The Mariners started the season as fairly big underdogs in the majority of their games but that leveled out and eventually went the other way as six of their last seven games has seen them in the role of favorite. Because they still have a winning record, they will likely be overpriced for a while.

The pitching has gotten Seattle to where it is right now as the team ERA of 3.96 is seventh best in baseball. The strength has been the bullpen as the relievers have put up a 3.49 ERA, good for sixth in the Majors. That is a little deceiving however as the Mariners pen has issued 50 walks, fifth most in the bigs and the .258 average allowed is below average at 16th. They have been fortunate as to not allow many of those runners to score but that will eventually catch up. The offense is hitting only .261, tied for 18th and their 4.3 rpg is tied for 22nd. Only one player, Russell Branyan, has more than three home runs and their 22 total dingers are fourth lowest in the American League.

I can see the Mariners continuing to move in the wrong direction. Starting Friday, they have two more three-game series’ on the road, at Minnesota and at Texas before heading back home to play seven games against the Red Sox and Angels. Seattle isn’t going to be favored in those road games but it won’t be a big underdog either so those who prefer taking the small to medium favorites will want to take a look at the Twins and Rangers in the next few days.

Cincinnati Reds 14-13 +2.81 Units

The Reds are another team that has gotten off to a surprisingly good start but we are starting to see a shift as well. Cincinnati started the season going 1-3 but won eight of its next 11 games. Since then however it has gone 5-7 as the offense continues to struggle. The Reds were favored in seven of those games and they were an underdog of more than +120 only once showing that the value has been there on the other side. Like the Mariners, a winning record means Cincinnati will not be dogged very much and if it is, it won’t be by a lot.

As mentioned, the offense is struggling. The Reds are hitting only .246 which is tied for 6th worst in baseball and they are averaging just 3.9 rpg, tied for 4th worst overall. Only one everyday player is hitting above .267 and that is first baseman Joey Votto who had a solid 2008 season so he is capable of keeping it up. Other than that, I don’t see anyone stepping it up to help carry this weak offense. The pitching has been keeping the team afloat as starters Johnny Cueto, Aaron Harang and Edinson Volquez are all pitching well but run support could be a big issue long term.

A major problem thus far for the Reds has been the inability to win at home as they are just 4-8 compared to 10-5 on the road. That road record will not hold up all year. Up next is a home series against the Cardinals so we should see some great value with St. Louis. Following that is a west coast trip to Arizona and San Diego, two teams who are not playing well but could do some damage against Cincinnati if the feeling is that the road success will not continue. Then it is home for a series with the Phillies. I do not see much success in these next 12 games and we should get value prices to play against in most situations.

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