June 13, 2014
Let's take a look at a couple of 1st place teams in baseball and assess how they got there and where they're going. Milwaukee and Detroit got off to fantastic starts this season but are currently trending downward are 'play against' teams right now. We see this situation arise every year when teams such as these start well and then become over-valued by the public. The Brewers and Tigers are currently valued like elite (1st place) teams, but are not really playing well of late even though the rest of the division has not been able to pass them up (yet).
Detroit is 6-16 their last 22 games after starting 27-12 and they were favored by -120 or more in 11 of those 16 most recent losses. That run has left the "Tiger-backers" with some empty wallets. Another sign Detroit is not as good as most people think is their record against top level opponents. The Tigers are just 11-13 against teams in our Top 10 Power Rating.
Much like Detroit, Milwaukee started the season 20-7, but have gone just 19-20 since, with seven losses as a favorite of -120 or more since May 1. Again, like Detroit the Brewers are just 2-5 against Top 10 teams this season.
Diminishing starting pitching has been a key factor for each club as four out of their five starters have much worse numbers since their first 6 starts of the season. Another reason both teams remain over-priced is the fact that both pitching rotations still have good overall season statistics and each has several established starters. Bullpens have been shaky of late as well, Detroit owns a 6.12 bullpen ERA in the last 10 games, Milwaukee at 4.40 in the last 10 games.
Milwaukee Brewers Starting Pitchers:
Lohse 1st 6 ERA: 2.70 Since: 3.60
Estrada 1st 6 ERA: 3.13 Since: 5.83
Gallardo 1st 6 ERA: 1.91 Since: 5.40
Peralta 1st 6 ERA: 2.04 Since: 3.73
Exception to the rule:
Garza 1st 6 ERA: 5.00 Since: 3.95
Detroit Tigers Starting Pitchers:
Scherzer 1st 6 ERA: 2.08 Since: 4.47
Verlander 1st 6 ERA: 2.48 Since: 6.27
Porcello 1st 6 ERA: 3.49 Since: 4.62
Smyly 1st 6 ERA: 2.96 Since: 4.67
Exception to the rule:
Sanchez 1st 6 ERA: 2.89 Since: 1.59
Both teams have a few tough series coming up and could provide some great opportunities to play against them. Detroit kicks off a difficult stretch of series' against Minnesota, Kansas City, Cleveland, and Texas. The Tigers have a losing record against three of those four opponents this year, besting only Kansas City. They are just 4-10 against Minnesota, Cleveland, and Texas combined.
On Friday Milwaukee starts a three game series against Cincinnati. They already dropped three of four against the Reds in early May in the only series between the division rivals so far. The Brew Crew never scored more than three runs in any of those four games. They also have series' coming up against Arizona (1-2 vs. Diamondbacks this year) and Washington (10-3 in their last 10).
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