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Hot and Not
We’re two weeks into the 2012 MLB regular season with teams having already developed betting trends both good and bad. We’re going to be taking a look at the three most lucrative and costly teams with every passing week, but remember, the regular season is an arduous one with every team going through numerous cycles; play accordingly.

Money Makers

Texas Rangers (13-3, $832): Where else would one start to look when breaking down the best investments of the young season other than in Arlington where the two-time defending AL champion Rangers have gotten out to a smoking hot start. It took the offense three games before exploding for the first double-digit offensive tally of the season (11), and ever since, Josh Hamilton and his mates have pounded out three-more 10+ run explosions en route to the best record in the league. Texas’ stats are simply eye-popping! Manager Ron Washington’s squad looks to have another “Murderers Row” at his disposal with Texas averaging 5.88 runs per game (#2) with a .303 team batting average (#1); oh yeah, they’ve also gone yard 26 times! Making them all the more lethal has been the starting pitching staff (#1 with 13 quality starts) and bullpen, which has converted all but one of their six save opportunities.

On The Docket: Texas returns home for its next six to face the Yankees and Rays, but might be forced to go without the services of 3B Adrian Beltre who’s been a consistent source of offense in the middle of their potent line-up.

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Los Angeles Dodgers (12-4, $802):
L.A. last qualified for the playoffs back in 2009. Since then, the franchise was marred in mediocrity as it dealt with the McCourt bankruptcy drama and a fledgling ball club. With the news of the Dodgers being sold for an outrageous amount at the season open, the squad has fed off the positive mojo by trotting out to a 3.5-game lead in the NL West. This in large part has been due to the Herculean efforts of one Matt Kemp who’s playing with an awfully big chip on his shoulder after getting snubbed for the NL MVP last season; he’s currently the leader in batting average (.450), HRs (9), RBI (22), and runs scored (17). The pitching staff has also been top notch with Clayton Kershaw dominant and Chad Billingsley getting out to an unforeseen start – sans @ HOU. The stoic Javy Guerra has also locked down seven of his eight overall save chances.

On The Docket: We’ll get a clearer picture of what the Dodgers are all about this upcoming week with them scheduled to put their unblemished home record (6-0, $600) on the line against the Braves and Nationals. LA’s first five opponents combined for just 24 total wins in 64 tries (.375).

Washington Nationals (12-4, -$728): The surprising NL East leading Nats have gotten it done in the early going with some exceptional pitching and timely hitting. Manager Davey Johnson’s squad is only hitting at a .243 clip (#24) and scoring an average of just 3.62 RPG (#24), but the pitching staff has been nothing short of lights out ranking top two in ERA (2.34), WHIP (1.05), and strikeouts (144). Ian Desmond has done a fantastic job setting the table for big boppers Adam LaRoche and Ryan Zimmerman who have combined for three HR and 20 RBI. The main story in our nation’s capital however has been the starting staff of Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman, Gio Gonzalez, Ross Detwiler, and Edwin Jackson who’ve all put forth at least one quality start.

On The Docket: The Nats have benefitted from playing each of their L/10 games in front of the hometown faithful, but will hit the road for six games versus the red hot Dodgers and weak hitting Padres. Still, the staff should thrive in pitcher’s paradises Petco & AT&T Park.

Money Burners

Los Angeles Angels (6-10, -$943): This is not the way it was supposed to go! After Arte Moreno threw Brinks trucks filled with cash at Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson in the off-season, the Halos were hailed as one of the favorites to represent the AL in the World Series. Regardless of how good a team looks on paper, you still have to play the games, and right now, Manager Mike Scioscia would love for the “mulligan rule” to be implemented. A foreshadowing of what was to come might have taken place in their opening home series against the Kansas City Royals who went into the “Big A” and took two of three by limiting the Angels to a combined 11 runs (3.7 RPG); the power outage has continued with Pujols still in search of his first home run. As for the starting rotation, Jered Weaver and C.J Wilson have been rock solid, but the remaining three arms have combined for a 6.18 ERA.

On The Docket: LA’s struggling pitching staff will be tested over the next week at Tampa Bay and Cleveland with both possessing offenses that can mash.

Kansas City Royals (3-12, -$834): The Royals went into the offseason feeling very good about themselves after their young roster seemed to find its way en route to posting a lucrative September for their betting backers (15-10, $668). After splitting their first six games at Los Angeles and Oakland, the Royals returned home psyched to take to the diamond and play in front of a revitalized KC fan base. That said; Manager Ned Yost’s squad went on to drop each of its first nine home games of the year (-$956) by giving up an average of 6.7 RPG. The starting staff has only secured five quality efforts (#28) and constantly put the defense in precarious positions with a 1.46 WHIP (#28). If the Royals are to turn this thing around, the offense is going to have to start living up to its preseason expectations.

On The Docket: They’ll be out for their first home win on Monday in the series finale with Toronto before hitting the road for nine against divisional opposition. KC’s 9-11 its L/20 versus the AL Central and 4-11 its L/15 when dogged.

Chicago Cubs (4-12, $701): Would any list like this be complete without adding the “Loveable losers” to the mix? It might be a changing of the guard in Wrigleyville, but the story remains the same on the Northside with Manager Dale Sveum’s squad managing just four wins in their first 16 games. The offense is void of big sticks as it’s launched just five HRs into the bleachers (#30) while scoring an average of just 3.69 RPG (#22). Neither the starting staff (4.66 ERA) nor bullpen (5.06 ERA) has offered much in relief, and Carlos Marmol has blown two of his three overall save chances. It’s almost as if the games over if their opponent hangs a crooked number on the board early with this team unable to score runs themselves or prevent runs from going on the board late.

On The Docket: Chicago hosts the Cardinals in the rivals second series of the season before heading out to Philadelphia which will be the first of two stops on a seven-game road trip. The Cubs have dropped seven of their L/26 when installed underdogs.

  
HEADLINES
Williams: Wednesday's Diamond Notes
Lawrence: April Pitchers Report
White Sox hand Royals 6th straight loss
Twins crush Rangers, 'under' hits
Tigers score 9 in 5th, rout Mariners
Hendricks, Cubs blank Pirates, 1-0
Thames lifts Brewers past Reds, 9-1
Rays use 5 relievers to two-hit Orioles
Keuchel tosses CG, Astros edge Tribe
MORE HEADLINES
 
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