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Hot and Cold Baseball Teams

   by Matt Fargo - 05/21/2009

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 some cold teams that may be providing some good value to play against.

New York Mets 21-19 -1.13 Units

The Mets came into the season as one of the contenders in the National League but they did not start out that way. They started the season 10-13 before catching fire in early May when they went on an 11-2 run but things seem to be going backwards once again. New York lost the series finale in San Francisco before getting swept by the Dodgers in Los Angeles. The pitching held its end of the bargain but the bats were no where to be found as the Mets have averaged only 1.5 rpg during this four-game skid.

The offense hitting a cold spell is a surprise as New York is tied for 1st in all of baseball with the Blue Jays with a .287 batting average and its on-base percentage of .368 is second only to the Dodgers. Scoring runs remains an issue however as New York is averaging 4.9 rpg, tied for 12th in the Majors. The team ERA of 3.88 is tied for third in baseball thanks to the bullpen that tops the bigs with a solid 2.88 ERA. As for the starting staff, Johan Santana has been super with a 1.36 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. After that, trouble ensues as Mike Pelfrey, Livan Hernandez and John Maine have a combined 4.69 ERA.

We will see value playing against the Mets in most spots since they are rarely big underdogs based on the simple fact they are a public team. The Mets have Thursday off before heading to Boston for a weekend series with the Red Sox. Boston will be favored in two of those games with Friday being the lone exception as Santana takes the hill for New York. The cold bats means a play against Santana is possible especially considering the offense is averaging only 3.0 rpg in his outings. New York’s struggles could very well continue.

Minnesota Twins 18-23 -5.56 Units

Last week, the American League Central was shaping up to be anyone’s division but Detroit has won five straight games while the Twins have dropped six straight heading into Thursday’s action. That has put Minnesota 5.5 games back and in serious jeopardy of being a non-contender before the May calendar flips. Minnesota has been solid at home but it cannot win on the road as it is just 4-14 away from the dome and that is the worst road record in baseball. The Twins finished 12 games under .500 on the road last season so all is not lost if they can play .500 road ball the rest of the way.

The normally solid pitching has taken a big step backwards as the Twins have a 5.29 ERA which is 5th worst in baseball. The bullpen has a 5.09 ERA while the starters have posted a 5.22 ERA so nothing is going right. No regular starter has an ERA below 4.38 and the big disappointment is Francisco Liriano who has a 6.04 ERA through nine starts and he clearly is not the same pitcher since before his injury. The Twins are hitting a decent .270 on the year but averaging only 4.8 rpg and that production is far from good enough to make up for the struggling arms.

The good news for the Twins is that they head back home after the series finale with the White Sox. The bad news is that they have a three-game series against Milwaukee and a four-game series against Boston, two of the hotter teams in baseball. Playing against slumping teams on their home field is the best way to make money as you are not going to see the road team favored by huge moneylines. This will be the case in the coming week and we are going to see some good value numbers in going against Minnesota.

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