Saturday, July 30, 2011

Top MLB HR hitters if the ball parks were all the same dimensions

I always found that all of the MLB ball parks are different sizes and dimensions was a little strange. I understand that this introduces some unpredictability in the game which gives it character. But to me sport should be played in a defined area that is the same for all players in that league. Sports like the NFL, NBA, NHL are all played on the same size field all over the United States. Why should baseball be different? I would love it if a reader could tell me the answer of the history of how this came to be. If you have read this blog you may realize that I am very interested (some would say obsessed) in sports and sports statistics. A baseball stat that gets a lot of attention is the HR leader table. Often considered as one of the most prestigious of titles the HR leader is considered synonymous with power and hitting ability.  The question I have is though how can you look at the HR leader board and say that the guy at the top is truly the HR king?  Maybe he played in a ball park where it was easier to hit HRs? 
To illustrate my point lets look at 2 ball parks :  Comerica Park in Detroit and the new Yankee Stadium in New York.

                                        HRs in 2011     avg HRs per game
Comerica Park                        88                           1.66
Yankee Stadium                     130                          2.32

Here we can clearly see that a lot more HRs are hit at Yankee Stadium then Comerica.  Therefore you would expect that Tigers players would hit less HRs since they play half of their games there.

I fantastic website that I refer to often is the Hit Tracker website founded by Greg Rybarczyk (  The information on this site is amazing and if you are at all interested in stats check it out.  What they have done is calculate the true distance of HRs, that is the distance of the hit based on where it landed, the speed off the bat etc if there were no physical structure within the ball park to stop it.  This true distance calculation is basically a true indication of how far the ball would have been hit if all ball parks were built the same.

After studying this website I found that this information could be used to calculate who the true HR champ would be if everyone played in the same sized ball park.  If you go to the HR tacker website you can see that the true HR distance ranges from 323-486 ft.  But a 323 ft HR by Sam Fuld (Rays) at Fenway down the right field line near Pesky Pole would not be a HR down the same right field line at Comerica Park (which would be about 340). Firstly lets look at the current HR (non-adjusted leader list):

Bautista, Jose (Blue Jays) 31
Granderson, Curtis (Yankees) 28
Teixeira, Mark (Yankees) 28
Konerko, Paul (White Sox) 24
Cabrera, Miguel (Tigers) 22
Cruz, Nelson (Rangers) 22
Reynolds, Mark (Orioles) 21
Beltre, Adrian (Rangers) 20
Ortiz, David (Red Sox) 20
Quentin, Carlos (White Sox) 20

Next let's look at the list if it is adjusted to the the number of HRs that are over the true HR distance of 400 ft (according to my calculations based in the data from the HR tracker website, BTW I know this is a huge hit but started with this as an exercise).

HR HR>400ft adj
Cruz, Nelson (Rangers) 22 17
Reynolds, Mark (Orioles) 21 16
Bautista, Jose (Blue Jays) 31 14
Lind, Adam (Blue Jays) 19 13
Beltre, Adrian (Rangers) 20 13
Quentin, Carlos (White Sox) 20 10
Ortiz, David (Red Sox) 20 10
Granderson, Curtis (Yankees) 28 10
Ellsbury, Jacoby (Red Sox) 17 10

Quite a surprising result right?  Here we can clearly see that Yankees players (Teixeira, Granderson) are benefiting from playing in Yankee Stadium more often.

Any questions and comments are welcome!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

MLB series coming up this weekend - Fantasy Baseball implications

Angels v Tigers at Comerica Park

Howie Kendrink (Angels, 2B, yahoo rank 117) - career at Comerica Park : 52 AB, 0.135 BA
Miguel Cabrera (Tigers, 1B, yahoo rank 17) - 2011 vs Angels : 10 AB, 0.100 BA
Victor Martinez (Tigers, DH, yahoo rank 116) - 2011 vs Angels : 11 AB, 0.091 BA

Yankees v Orioles at Yankee Stadium

Russell Martin (Yankees, C, yahoo rank 322) - career v Orioles : 23 AB, 0.391 BA
Derek Jeter (Yankees, SS, yahoo rank 199) - 2011 v Orioles :  33 AB, 0.375 BA
Brett Gardner (Yankees, OF, yahoo rank 87) - 2011 v Orioles : 27 AB, 0.185 BA
Nick Swisher (yankees, OF, yahoo rank 139) - 2011 v Orioles : 21 AB, 0.143 BA

Royals v Indians at Progressive Field

Alex Gordon (Royals, yahoo rank 46) - 2011 v Indians : 35 AB, 0.200 BA, 2011 at Progressive : 11 AB, 0.091 BA
Jack Hannahan (Indians, 3B, yahoo rank 911) - 2011 v Royals : 30 AB, 0.367 BA

Mets v Nationals at Nationals Field

Josh Thole (Mets, C, yahoo rank 982) - career at Nationals Park : 18 AB, 0.444 BA, 2011 at Nationals Park : 10 AB, 0.400 BA
Jason Bay (Mets, OF, yahoo rank 423) - 2011 vs Nationals : 18 AB, 0.389 BA
Wilson Ramos (Nationals, C, yahoo rank 477) - career v Mets: 27 AB, 0.444 BA, 2011 v Mets : 14 AB, 0.500 BA
Danny Espinosa (Nationals, 2B, yahoo rank 113) - career v Mets : 50 AB, 0.180 BA, 2011 v Mets : 26 AB, 0.154 BA

Pirates v Phillies at Citizens Bank Park

Neil Walker (Pirates, 2B, yahoo rank 95) - career vs Phillies 17 AB, 0.176 BA, 2011 vs Phillies 10 AB, 0.100 BA
Andrew McCutchen (Pirates, OF, yahoo rank 37) - 2011 vs Phillies 12 AB, 0.500 BA
Garrett Jones (Pirates, OF, yahoo rank 387) - career at Citizens Bank Park 19 AB, 0.421 BA
Ryan Howard (Phillies, 1B, yahoo rank 64) - career vs Pirates 136 AB, 0.201 BA, 2011 vs Pirates 12 AB, 0.167 BA
Shane Victorino (Phillies, OF, yahoo rank 78) - 2011 vs Pirates 14 AB, 0.214 BA

Friday, July 22, 2011

Upcoming MLB series this weekend - Fantasy baseball implications

I have picked some interesting stats that could have fantasy implications this week. Want to know how your fanatsy players matchup this week? Send me a message and I will check up the stats for you!

Astros v Cubs at Chicago

Jeff Keppinger (Astros, 2B, yahoo rank 719) - 2011 at Wrigley Field (14 AB, 0.429 BA)
Carlos Lee (Astros, OF, yahoo rank 179) - 2011 at Wrigley Field (13 AB, 0.417 BA)
Michael Bourn (Astros, OF, yahoo rank 32) - 2011 at Wrigley Field (15 AB, 0.400 BA)
Hunter Pence (Astros, OF, yahoo rank 35) - 2011 at Wrigley Field (13 AB, 0.538 BA)

Mariners v Red Sox at Boston

Adrian Gonzalez (Red Sox, 1B) - 2011 at Fenway: 180 AB, 0.383 BA
Dustin Pedroia (Red Sox 2B) - 2011 vs Mariners: 12 AB, 0.167 BA, career vs Mariners: 110 AB, 0.209 BA
Kevin Youkilis (Red Sox, 3B) - 2011 at Fenway: 149 AB, 0.383 BA

Athletics v Yankees at New York
Robinson Cano (Yankees, 2B) - 2011 vs Athletics (11 AB, 0.364 BA)
Brett Gardner (Yankees, OF, yahoo rank 84) - career vs Athletics (61 AB, 0.180 BA), 2011 vs Athletics (7 AB, 0.143 BA)
Curtis Granderson (Yankees, OF, yahoo rank 4) - 2011 vs Athletics (14 AB, 0.214 BA)

Carlos Pena (Cubs, 1B, yahoo rank 150) - career vs Astros (27 AB, 0.111 BA), career at Wrigley Field (153 AB, 0.222 BA)
Starlin Castro (Cubs, SS, yahoo rank 84) - 2011 vs Astros (28 AB, 0.393 BA)

Angels v Orioles at Baltimore
Eric Aybar (Angels, SS, yahoo rank 92) - career vs Orioles (89 AB, 0.202 BA)

Matt Weiters (Orioles, C, yahoo rank 218) - career vs Angels (38 AB, 0.393 BA)

White Sox v Indians

Gordon Beckham (White Sox, 2B, yahoo rank 347) - Career vs at Progressive Field (55 AB, 0.400 BA)
Alexei Ramirez (White Sox, SS, yahoo rank 139) - 2011 at Progessive Field (13 AB, 0.154 BA)

Tigers v Twins at Minnesota
Victor Martinez (Tigers, DH, yahoo rank 109) : 2011 vs Twins (26 AB, 0.462 BA), 2011 at Target Field (13 AB, 0.615 BA), career at Target Field (26 AB, 0.423 BA)
Jhonny Peralta (Tigers, SS, yahoo rank 68) : career vs Twins (39 AB, 0.489 BA), 2011 vs Twins (19 AB, 0.586 BA)

Padres v Phillies at Philladelphia

Raul Ibanez (Phillies, OF, yahoo rank 190) : 2011 vs Padres (11 AB, 0.154 BA)
Shane Victorino (Phillies, OF, yahoo rank 82) : 2011 vs Padres (15AB, 0.133 BA)

Ryan Ludwick (Padres, OF, yahoo rank 177) : career at Citizens Bank Field (42 AB, 0.143 BA), 2011 vs Phillies (16 AB, 0.125 BA)
Will Venable (Padres, OF, yahoo rank 375) : 2011 v Phillies (10 AB, 0.462 BA)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Upcoming MLB series this week - Fantasy implications

I have picked some interesting stats that could have fantasy implications this week.  Want to know how your fanatsy players matchup this week?  Send me a message and I will check up the stats for you!

Twins vs Indians (at Minnesota)

First thing to note is that Grady Sizemore (Indains, OF) is now on the DL (again).

Michael Cuddyer (Twins, OF, Yahoo rank 82)vs the Twins this year (21AB, BA 0.143) and has struggled in the last week (12AB. 0.154).  You may want to stay away from him this series.

Delmon Young (Twins, OF, Yahoo rank 842) has been on fire lately (15AB, BA 0.467 last 7 days).  But watch out because this year he has struggled against Masterson (Indians, SP) who pitches later in the series (14AB, BA 0.143)

Michael Brandtley (Indians, OF, yahoo rank 113) has struggled this year at Minnesota (8AB, BA 0.125) but has been hitting well lately (19AB, BA 0.368 last week) so keep this in mind.

Asdrubel Cabrera (Indians, SS, yahoo rank 23) has a great record this year vs Liriano (Twins, SP) who pitches later in the week (19AB, BA 0.579).

Red Sox v Orioles (at Baltimore)

You can't go wrong with most of the Red Sox players in their series against the O's.
While it is obvious that Adrain Gonzalez should be in your fantasy lineup every day here are some stats that will excite you for the sereies vs the Orioles.

Adrian Gonzalez is absolutely killing the O's this year - 32AB, BA 0.500.  At Cambden Yards he is also killing them, 13AB, 0.463 BA.  Plus he has had good records this year vs all the pitchers in this series :  Bergensen, Guthrie and Arrieta (BA at least above 400).  Should be series where A-Gon piles on the stats.

Jacoby Ellsbury also has a good record this year against the O's (35 AB, 0.457 BA) and at Cambden Yards (14 AB, 0.500 BA).

Reds v Pirates (at Pittsburgh)

Joey Votto (Reds, 1B) - Career vs Pirates (69 AB, 0.420 BA)
Drew Stubbs (Reds, OF, yahoo rank 54) vs Pirates at Pittsburgh (36 AB, 0.194)
Jay Bruce (Reds, OF, yahoo rank 39 ) vs Pirates 2011 (19AB, 0.474 BA)

Marlins v Mets (at New York)

Gaby Sanchez (Marlins, 1B, yahoo rank 86) - 2011 vs Mets (17 AB, 0.412 BA)
Omar Infante (Marlins, 2B, yahoo rank 761) - career vs Mets at Citi Field (59 AB, 0.424 BA), 2011 vs Mets at Citi Field (4AB, 0.750BA)
Hanley Ramirez (Marlins, SS, yahoo rank 88) - 2011 vs Mets (20 AB, 0.150 BA, no hits at Citi Field)
Mike Stanton (Marlins, OF, yahoo rank 70) - career vs Mets (38 AB, 0.184 BA) at Citi Field (16 AB, 0.125 BA)

Carlos Beltran (Mets, OF, yahoo rank 44) - 2011 v Marlins (13 AB, 0.231 BA)

Yankees v Rays (at Tampa)

Mark Tiexeira (Yankees, 1B, yahoo rank 43) - 2011 vs Rays (14 AB, 0.214)
Brett Gardner (Yankees, OF, yahoo rank 98) - career vs Rays (97 AB, 0.196 BA), 2011 vs Rays (14 AB, 0.357 BA)
Curtis Granderson (Yankees, OF, yahoo rank 5) - 2011 vs Rays (19 AB, 0.105 BA), 2011 at Tropicana Field (9 AB, 0.111 BA)

Ben Zobrist (Rays, utility, yahoo rank 56) - 2011 vs Yankees (16 AB, 0.375)
Evan Longoria (Rays, 1B, yahoo rank 252) - 2011 vs Yankees (20 AB, 0.252 BA)
BJ Upton (Rays, OF, yahoo rank 47) - 2011 at Tropicana Field (154 AB, 0.182 BA)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Prominant MLB position players that could struggle on Sunday

Here are some players that are in the top 100 for Yahoo Fantasy Baseball but have struggled against today's pitchers in the past.  Chances are you may have them on your team and you may want to look for other options.

Joey Votto (Reds, 1B) v Jaime Garcia (Cardinals, SP) - 11AB, BA 0.091
Jay Bruce (Reds) v Jaime Garcia (Cardinals, SP) - 10AB, BA 0.100
Hunter Pence (Astros, OF) v Kevin Correia (Pirates, SP) - 12AB, BA 0.167
Adrew McCutcheon (Pirates) v Wandy Rodriguez (Astros, SP) - 14AB, BA 0.143
Torii Hunter (Angels, OF) v Gio Gonzalez (Athletics, SP) - 17AB, BA 0.118
Bobby Abreu (Angels, OF) v Gio Gonzalez (Athletics, SP) - 16AB, BA 0.063

Players who have lead since round 2 and won the British Open

Darren Clarke is in great position to win his first major and British Open.  Before the tournament started he fit the profile of winners since 1980 well (see my previous posts) and he has had the lead since round 2.  Since 1980 9 players have led since round 2 and gone on to win as shown below.  Could this be Clarke's year?  Would be a great story.

Shots behind/ahead Shots ahead Shots ahead
2010 Oostthuizen -2 5 4
2006 Woods -1 1 1
2005 Woods 1 4 2
2002 Ernie Els -3 1 2
2000 Woods -1 3 6
1996 Tom Lehman -2 1 6
1992 Nick Faldo -2 3 4
1986 Greg Norman -4 2 1
1981 Bill Rogers -2 1 5

Saturday, July 16, 2011

MLB Position players that could struggle on Saturday

Here are some players that are in the top 200 for Yahoo Fantasy Baseball but have struggled against today's pitchers in the past.  They have more than 10 AB v that pitcher and a BA of less than 0.200 in the last 6 years.

Want to know a matchup or more stats?  Message me for details.

Carlos Pena (Cubs, 1B) v Carlos Vasquez (Marlins, SP)
Jose Bautista (Blue Jays, OF) v CC Sabathia (Yankees, SP)
Kevin Youkilis (Red Sox, 3B) v James Shields (Rays, SP)
Carlos Quentin (White Sox, OF) v Max Scherzer (Tiges, SP)
Ryan Howard (Phillies, 1B) v Jonathan Niese (Mets, SP)
Brandon Phillips (Reds) v Chris Carpenter (Cardinals, SP)
Jay Bruce (Reds) v Chris Carpenter (Cardinals, SP)
Ian Kinsler (Ranges) v Felix Hernandez (Mariner, SP)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Analysis of previous winners of British Open after round 3

OK round 2 is in the books and the cut has been made.  Some big names missed out including one of the pre-tournament favourite Luke Donald.  One of the criteria I used to eliminate players who would win pre-tournament was that they should not have won the week before and that held true for Donald (although Steve Stricker did make the cut).

So my last analysis will be be after the round 3.  Again an analysis of the round three scores of the winners from the last 30 years produced some interesting results.  The most important factor appears to be whether the player is leading or trailing as shown by the graph below. Out of the 30 winners, 15 had the lead or a share of the lead after round 3.  But another 12 were within 3 shots of the lead.  The far outlier was in 1999 when Paul Lawrie came back from 10 shots behind!  But 20 players were in the range of a 2 shot lead or within 2 shots of the leader.  Appears to be more favourable to be not too far ahead or to be within close range of the leader.

My predictions after round 2 at the British Open

Players from my list of 20 that made the cut and therefore still have a chance to win.

Adam SCOTT, Australia
Darren CLARKE, Northern Ireland
Henrik STENSON, Sweden
Jason DAY, Australia
Justin ROSE, England
Martin KAYMER, Germany
Robert ROCK, England

Of this list I still have these guys that I said woud be in the hunt (Graeme McDowell and Ian Poulter missed the cut)

Darren Clarke, Northern Ireland (my pick for best chance for British win)
Martin Kaymer, Germany (my pick to be in the hunt)
Adam Scott, Australia (who I wanted to win)
Bubba Watson, USA (my pick to be in the hunt)
Robert Rock, England

MLB players currently in hitting streaks of more than 10 games

Ryan Braun (Brewers, OF) - 23 games
Pablo Sandoval (Giants, 3B) - 22 games
Emilio Bonifaco (Marlins, OF) - 13 games
Dustin Pedroia (Red Sox, 2B) - 12 games
Melky Cabrera (Royals, OF) - 10 games
Ian Kinsler (Rangers, 2B) - 10 games

Interesting MLB matchups for Friday - Fantasy implications


Paul Konerko (White Sox, 1B) - v Verlander (Detriot, P).  41AB, BA 0.122

Cutris Granderson (Yankees, OF) v Brandon Morrow (Blue Jays, P) 12AB, BA 0.167

Delmon Young (Twins, OF) v Luke Hochevar (Royals, P) 21 AB, BA 0.190


Jorge Posada (Yankees, DH) - v Brandon Morrow (Blue Jays, P) 15AB, BA 0.467

Alexi Casilla (Twins, 2B) v Luke Hochevar (Royals, P) 14 AB, BA 0.571

Statistics of British Open winners after the 2nd round

We are now in the second round at the British Open and players are scrambling to make the cut.  An analysis the the scores of the previous winner since 1980 provides some interesting results and trends.  Here are some of the trends that I have noticed.

The average combined score is 137 and the median is 138 but this represents only 10 winners out of 30.  But from the graph below you can see a wide range of scores.

Similarly the average score for the second round for the eventual winner is 68 but the spread is quite large.

More interesting though is the graph showing the number of eventual winners and how far they led or behind the leaders they were.  Again there is a fairly large spread but 19 winners either lead by a shot or were within 3 shots of the lead.  Not a great correlation but something to note.

My conclusions from this analysis is that there is no real strong correlations here.  Players are scrambling to make the cut which can lead to variable scoring.  However it does appear that players that are leading by more than 2 shots have trouble holding on to the lead while trailing by more than 4 is too much of a deficit to overcome.  But as we all know exceptions do happen!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Revision of players that I predicted would win the British Open after round 1

OK so the first round of the British Open (or The Open) is in the books.  Lots of surprised for sure and I am sure of lot of people's picks may have not fared so well.  Golf is a difficult sport to predict.  Now I happen to be in the camp of picks who may already be out of it after the first round.  I stuck my neck out and picked Hunter Mahan who had a disastrous round and is currently at 5 over, 10 behind the leader.  My previous post mentioned some statistics of the first round scores of winners in the last 30 years.

The amazing thing is that of my list of 20 that I picked to win only Hunter Mahan (who I narrowed down to my final winner) is the only one that is not within 7 shots!!!! (I believe this to be the magic number that the winner must be within the leader after 1st round).

Here is the post with my original list of 20:

So I already lost out with Mahan so I decided to revise my 20 and pick a new winner based on the new stats after the first round.  The most notable stat is that the final winner usually is behind the leader by 2-4 shots after the first round (this would make a score of between 3 to 1 under).  So my new list.

Darren Clarke, Northern Ireland (my pick for best chance for British win)
Graeme McDowell, Northern Ireland
Martin Kaymer, Germany (my pick to be in the hunt)
Ian Poulter, England
Adam Scott, Australia (who I wanted to win)
Bubba Watson, USA (my pick to be in the hunt)
Robert Rock, England

Of these guys I still have 2 guys I picked to be in the hunt before the tournament : Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson (also had Adam Scott and Darren Clarke in my last 8 to win).

My new winner is (if I picked with my head) : Martin Kaymer
If I used my heart : Adam Scott (because he is an Aussie)

NOTE:  I got a lot of comments on twitter that history could be made, just so people know I would love to see history made, this analysis is just an academic exercise and I love sports stats!

Some history to keep in mind after the first round of the British Open

Amazing first round at the British Open, some real surprises (as always) and some disappointments (as always).  Still a long way to go a lot of interesting facts have come to the surface.  Fist of all lets look at an analysis of the winners from the last 30 years and how they played in the first round.

1.  Only Tiger Woods (2005) had the outright lead (1 shot) and one.  Only three other men: John Daly (1995), Greg Norman (1993) and Tom Watson (1980) have had a share of the lead after the first round and won.  This is probably due to the fact that it is extremely difficult to deal with the pressure of leading the British Open from the start.

2.  The average first round score of the eventual winner is 69.

3.  Of the 27 players that trailed after the first round the average number of shots behind is 3 (but from the graph below the median is 2).

4.  No player has shot more than 74 and won (Harrington, 2008; Norman, 1993, 1986).

5.  The lowest first round score by a winner was 65 (Oosthuizen last year).

Fantasy Baseball sleepers for Thursday

Only 7 games today but if you are looking but I have a couple of potential sleepers if you need them.  I classify a sleeper as a player that is ranked above 200 and owned by less than 30% in yahoo fantasy baseball.  Therefore there is a good chance you could pick them up on the waiver wire.
Nyger Morgan (Brewers, OF) yahoo rank 293; % owned 17
Good record in last 10 games : 12 hits, 6 RBIs.  Also has a good record vs Jimenez (7AB, BA 0.571)who is having a bad year particularly at Coors field.

Danny Valencia (Twins, 3B) yahoo rank 262; % owned 26
Good record in last 10 games : 14 hits, 2HRs, 10 RBIs. Great record v Bruce Chen (Rangers, P) : 9AB, BA 0.667

My final 8 players that will be in the hunt for the 2011 British Open

Narowed my list of 20 players to these 8:

Adam SCOTT, Australia
Darren CLARKE, Northern Ireland
Martin KAYMER, Germany

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My 2011 British Open picks and why I picked them

Finally I have narrowed down my 20 to a handful of potential winners.  In the end my choices were influenced by the fact that Royal St Georges quite often produces winners that were a bit of an underdog.  Hence my selection of Hunter Mahan over one of the main favourites Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson.  Let's see how my secret formula pans out!

Here are some of the main statistics that I noticed from an analysis of the British Open winners from the last 30 years.

1.  Only Tiger Woods (2000), Tom Watson (1982), Lee Trevino (1971), Ben Hogan (1953) have won the US Open in the same year as the British.  Both of these players had won majors before.  I know a lot of people are picking Rory McIlroy to win and he is in top form but may not have the expereience to get it done.

2.  Only 2 players in the last 30 years have not won a tournament in the previous 18 months and won the British Open - recent winning expereince counts for a lot.

3.  Back to back winners are fairly rare : only Harrington, Woods and Watson have done it recently.

4.  Only 2 players did not play in the previous year at The Open and won : Ben Curtis (the only debut player to win) and Tom Lehman.

This narrowed down the field to about 20 players (see my previous post).  From here I used some other criteria which I will reveal later (need to keep some secrets!)


Runners up or in contention : Martin Kaymer (Germany), Bubba Watson (USA), Zach Johnson (USA)

Best chance for British Win : Darren Clarke (Northern Ireland)

Best Australian Chance (who I want to win) : Adam Scott (Australia)

Long shot to win : Alvaro Quiros (Spain) (note he doesn't conform to my analysis above but there have been winners outside those criteria before!)

Position players that could struggle in Thursday's MLB games

Nick Markakis (Orioles, RF) - vs Masterson 16AB, BA 0.125
Adam Jones (Orioles, CF) - vs Masterson 11AB, BA 0.091
Asdrubel Cabrera (Indians, SS) - vs Guthrie 9AB, BA 0.111
Billy Butler (Royals, 1B) - vs Liriano 21AB, BA 0.190
Josh Hamilton (Rangers, OF) - vs Vargas 10AB, BA 0.100
Elvis Andrus (Rangers, SS)  - vs Vargas 16AB, BA 0.125

Interesting pitching matchups for Thursday's MLB games

Only seven games tomorrow after the all star break but I picked out a couple of interesting pitching matchups that may be of interest.

Justin Masterson (Indians) v Orioles
Masterson (7-6) has had a decent year and his last game against the Yankees was a good one (3 hits) and he has won his last 2 starts.  His record against the Orioles is not great (3-3 overall and 1-3 with the Indians) and he his record against at Camden Yards is also not great (0-2, has not pitched there this year). But he has had some success against the heart of the Orioles order : Guerrero (17 AB, BA 0.176), Markakis (16AB, BA 0.125) and Adam Jones (11 AB, BA 0.091).  The Orioles also just got ruffed up by the Red Sox (4 game sweep) so their confidence is down.  This could be a good game for Masterson.

Yovani Gallardo (Brewers) v Rockies
Gallardo is having a great year for the Brwers (10-5).  However he is a much better pitcher at home (7-1) than away (3-4) and he is pitching at Coors Field on Friday.  Some key Rockies players have good batting records against him : Todd Helton (13 AB, BA 0.385), Troy Tulowitzski (12AB, BA 0.333), Carlos Gonzalez (11 AB, BA 0.455), Ian Stewart (8 AB, BA 0.500), Ryan Spillborghs (8AB, BA 0.375).  This could be a high scoring game (see Jimenez below) and the batting looks like it will dominate.

Ubaldo Jimenez (Rockies) v Brewers
After a great year last year (19-8) Jimenez is struggling this year (4-8).  Even more amazing are his struggles at home (1-5 this year compared to 9-2 last year).  These stats alone don't look good for his matchup against the Brewers at Coors field this Friday.  However a number of Brewers have great records against Jimenez as well including Ryan Braun (17AB, BA 0.353), Prince Fielder (14 AB, BA 0.286), Rickie Weeks (11 AB, BA 0.545), Nyger Morgan (7AB, BA 0.571).  Doesn't look good for Jimenez and the Brewers could really rack up some runs against him on Friday.

What's on my sports radar this week

Middle of July, middle of summer in the northern hemisphere, winter in the southern, plenty of sports action.
The British Open golf championships starts on Thursday, an event I never miss watching.  This year it is being played at Royal St Georges in Kent, England, weather forecast doesn't look good which is not unusual for The Open.  The Open is famous for producing long shot winners and particularly on this course with bad weather an underdog could get up for a win.  Plenty of Aussies in the field including Adam Scott, Jason Day, Robert Allenby.

Check out my list of 20 players I think can win the British Open this year (based on my secret formula):
The Tour de France heads into the second week and into the high mountains for the first time on Thursday.  Plenty of action in the first week with some big names already crashing out but Aussie Cadel Evans and Luxembourgian Andy Schleck in good position but Alberto Contador has been plagued by crashes so far.  Once they get to the mountains the battle will be on for sure and Contador is sure to launch attacks to test out the field.

MLB returns to normality after the all star break and teams will be heading into the second half of the season will the aim to reach the playoffs.  The Red Sox start the second half in first place (one game lead over the Yankees) and play the Rays this weekend. Now I pay a lot more attention to the other teams in the AL East that are in the race for the Division title and the wild card.  Therefore I now get game alerts from the Red Sox, Yankees and Rays!

After an amazing State of Origin rugby league win by Queensland over New South Wales the NRL competition get back to normal (no more byes!).  Full complement of games this weekend and teams are sorting out into finals contenders now with 7 rounds to go until the finals.  As always I wil be following my childhood team the Cronulla Sharks and all the Queensland teams, Brisbane Broncos, North Queensland Cowboys and the Gold Coast Titans.

For an explanation of my rugby league allegiences check out this previous post:

After an amazing Super Rugby season and win by my team the Queensland Reds the international rugby season starts culminating in probably the biggest sporting event of the year the Rugby World Cup in September.  This weekend is the first game of the year for the Australian Wallabies team v Samoa.  Should be an easy win for the Wallabies but will be interesting to see who is picked and their current form.  Later in the month the Tri Nations series (vs South Africa and New Zealand All Blacks) will be contested which will be a true warm up before the world cup.  From now on I will be checking the form of all the World Cup contenders including England, France, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

This week in tennis there are a couple of ATP 250 tournaments in Stuttgart and Bastad, Sweden. No Aussies are playing and many big names are sitting this week out.  For the women there are tournaments in Bad Gastein, Austria and Palermo, Italy.  Aussie Jarmilla Gajdosova (who was the second seed) was knocked out in the first round at Bad Gastein by Johanna Larson.

Check back later in the week for how it all panned out!

Rory McIlroy winning the British Open will be an upset in my books

There is no denying Rory McIlroy is an amazing golf talent - possibly the best talent since Tiger Woods.  From a study of the British Open winners over the last 30 years (since 1980) and number of trends are apparent.  Only 2 men have won the US Open before the British Open in the same year (the US Open is about 4 weeks before).  Only Tiger Woods (during his amazing year in 2000) and Tom Watson (1982 another amazing year for Watson) have accomplished the feat.  Here are some of the reasons I think why this feat is so difficult:

1.  The British Open is played on a links course, the US Open is not often played on this style of course.  While the pros can play any style and any type of shot on any given day it is a huge change from the style of play at the US Open.  Obviously if they won at the US their game is well suited at that time for that style.

2.  The weather and the course is a great leveler.  The British Open and particularly those played at Royal St Georges are notorious for producing upset winners (Louis Oosthuizen last year, Ben Curtis in 2003, Todd Hamilton in 2004 and John Daly in 1995).  This has been even more pronounced in the last 10 years.  Part of the reason for this could be that even though a player is in great form and hitting great shots they may be more likely to have some bad luck due to the weather or a rough bounce.

3.  The relief of winning a major could lead to some relaxation for a period of time due to the feeling of less pressure.  Some may say that playing with less pressure is better, I also think this is true but maybe in subsequent seasons, at least after a longer period of time after the win.  Of the players that have won the US and British Open in the same year since WWII (Tiger Woods 2000, Tom Watson 1982, Lee Trevino 1971, Ben Hogan 1953) all of them had won majors in previous years.

Rory McIlroy absolutely destroyed the US Open field and is a pleasure to watch play golf.  He is an incredible talent and as a golf fan I am rooting for him to do well.  He has the potential to win many majors and I think he will.  But if he wins the British Open this year he will do something that no other golfer has done.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Narrowed my list of British Open winners to 20

This Thursday the 3rd golf major of the year the British Open will be played at Royal St Georges in Kent England.   The British Open is famous for long shots winning the title including Louis Oosthuizen last year, Ben Curtis in 2003, Todd Hamilton in 2004 and John Daly in 1995 in recent years.  Part of the reason is that the tournaments are played on links style courses, often with high winds and bad weather which can cause unpredictability in play.

This year I am going to stick my neck out and make some predictions on who I think will win.  I have narrowed down the field of British Open players to 20 using my secret formula.  Tomorrow I will make my picks including long shots, who I want to win etc.

Feel free to comment good or bad!

Adam SCOTT, Australia
Darren CLARKE, Northern Ireland
Ernie ELS, South Africa
Graeme McDOWELL, Northern Ireland
Henrik STENSON, Sweden
Ian POULTER, England
Jason DAY, Australia
Justin ROSE, England
Lee WESTWOOD, England
Martin KAYMER, Germany
Robert ROCK, England
Ross FISHER, England