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Submitted by Jim Hurley’s Network on Monday, July 10, 2017 at 12:05 PM

ONE OF OUR FAVORITE STATS SUGGESTS AL PENNANT WILL COME DOWN TO TWO TEAMS

You longtime readers know we like playing with a stat we invented many years ago for Major League Baseball standings evaluation. It's simply "Wins Minus Home Games Played." At a glance, you can see who's been producing (or not) against either home-heavy or road-heavy schedules. The All-Star Break is the perfect time to check in on the numbers because THIS is the time YOU should use to prepare for the second half of the season.

Today, we're going to focus on the American League. We'll come back midweek to run the numbers for the National League. Then, our showcase series previews will resume when the regular season picks up again Friday.

AL EAST (Wins Minus Home Games)
Boston +11
NY Yankees +2
Tampa Bay +1
Baltimore +1
Toronto -5

Big news here for Boston. You probably knew that the Houston Astros were going to be one of the two teams that mattered most in the AL. Were you guessing Cleveland was the other? Nope! At least, not according to this stat. It's gone basically IGNORED by the mainstream media that Boston has played 11 fewer home games than road games. Just 39 so far this year at Fenway, but FIFTY on the road! They already have a 3.5 game lead on the Yankees at the Break. Then they have a lot more home games than road games moving forward.

In terms of the Wildcard race, things could get very interesting. Baltimore isn't as bad off as you may have been thinking. They've played 41 home games and 47 road games. Assuming they can dump some bad pitchers between now and September…they have a chance to sneak in despite a horrible recent run. You'll see through the course of today's NETWORK NOTEBOOK entry that something as low as +3 or +2 might get a Wildcard. Everyone but Toronto's in the running right now.


AL CENTRAL (Wins Minus Home Games)
Cleveland +2
Kansas City +1
Chicago White Sox +1 (seriously!)
Minnesota -3
Detroit -4

The Indians have games here and there where they look like champs again, which explains their huge run differential. But, they've played a friendlier schedule than others in the division. Kansas City was hot before running into the Los Angeles Dodgers…and NOBODY's beating the Dodgers lately. Keep an eye on the Royals. Chicago has played a brutal schedule with just 37 home games and 50 road games. They would be more widely respected as a surprise story in 2017 if not for that unfortunate schedule luck. Minnesota looks to be a pretender, posting an ugly run differential despite playing 48 home games and 40 road games.


AL WEST (Wins Minus Home Games)
Houston +15
LA Angels +3
Texas -2
Seattle -6
Oakland -6

Houston has the best performance in this category in the majors (you'll see in a couple of days that the Dodgers are at +11, along with the Red Sox). They've had an amazing season, with little sign that things are going to slow down. Who's going to outscore that offense?! The Angels have played 48 road games, compared to just 41 games. So, they're not as bad off as the standings make it seem. In fact, they'd join the Yankees in the Wildcard slots if this "invented" stat determined playoff positioning. Just wait until they get Mike Trout back!

The AL East grades out as the best division because four of their five are in positive territory. The West is top-heavy with Houston, but gives that back with disappointing seasons from Seattle (49 home games, compared to 41 road games) and Oakland. The Central is the most balanced division, which isn't a compliment this deep into the campaign. Cleveland was supposed to have been more dominant than this.

For the Wildcard: LAA +3, NYY +2, Tampa Bay +1, Baltimore +1, and Kansas City +1 are fighting for two spots according to this stat. We'll leave CWS out because they don't realistically have a shot with their current roster.

If you'd like some help picking the All-Star Game, hook up with JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK. You can always purchase BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453 during normal business hours. This is a great time to check on football rates since we have a few days before a heavy betting schedule resumes. The earlier you sign up, the more you save! Be sure to ask about combination packages that include the rest of baseball and all of football.

Back with you midweek to run these numbers for the National League. Then, we'll preview the much-anticipated Yankees/Red Sox series for you Friday. Boston has a chance to get some standings distance from the Yanks as their home/road split starts to even out. BIG SERIES!

Enjoy the All-Star Game! Don't ever forget that the biggest star in the world of sports handicapping is living legend JIM HURLEY. He'll make sure you GET THE MONEY!