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Hot and Cold Baseball Teams

   by Matt Fargo - 05/14/2009

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

Los Angeles Angles 17-15 +3.71 Units

After a horrific start, the Angles are one of the hottest teams in baseball right now. The Haloes got off to a disappointing 6-11 start but since then they have gone 11-4 over their last 15 games and look poised to take over an overachieving Texas team for first place in the American League West. We knew coming in that we were not going to see the same team from past seasons as injuries to the starting pitching decimated the staff, the bullpen was hurt with the loss of Francisco Rodriguez to the Mets and Vladimir Guerrero was hurt coming into the year.

The sudden death of pitcher Nick Adenhart really put a hurting on this team and rightfully so. A tragedy like that is impossible to overcome right away but the Angels have picked up the pieces and are arguably a stronger team now because of the unity. Adenhart’s close friend Joe Saunders is having a terrific season as is Jered Weaver who looks to be back to his 2007 form while Matt Palmer has come out of nowhere to go 4-0 with a 3.38 ERA in four starts. As the original starters come back, Ervin Santana starts Thursday while John Lackey is close, this will be a solid team once again.

The offense is hitting and scoring and the return of Guerrero will only make it better as long as he is 100 percent. Because they are hot, the Angels could be overpriced in certain situations but we have them in a great spot now that won’t allow us to spend a lot to back them. The next 10 games are on the road so we will be guaranteed some low moneylines and we cannot forget the fact this is an above average road team that went 50-31 last year during the regular season.

Milwaukee Brewers 20-14 +5.87 Units

Like the Angels, the Brewers were a slow starter this year by going 4-9 in their first 13 games but they have been a moneymaker ever since. Milwaukee is 16-5 in its last 21 games and I do not believe we have missed the value stretch. The Brewers are a team that will remain under the radar, especially playing in the National League Central with high-profile teams St. Louis and Chicago. The public isn’t buying into a team that lost its two best pitchers, C.C. Sabathia and Ben Sheets from last year’s playoff team.

So what is the big turnaround from? For one thing, the Brewers are hitting and scoring runs. They scored six or more runs only three times in those first 13 games but have done so 10 times over the last 21 contests. Milwaukee is still hitting a weak .259 on the season but it is up from before and should continue to climb. While that average is below the median, the runs scored are not as their 5.1 rpg are tied for 9th best in the bigs. That shows clutch hitting is coming through and that is proven by their .280 average with runners in scoring position and two outs.

The pitching is average with a 4.18 ERA and only one starter, Yovani Gallardo, has an ERA under 4.00. Braden Looper, Manny Parra and Jeff Suppan are better than what they have produced and they will improve as the season moves along. Like the Angels, the Brewers are about to embark on a long roadtrip as they being a nine-game trek starting Friday. That means good value in backing them on the moneyline as we should get possible underdog situations as well.

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