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MLB Trend Report – A Tale of Two Teammates

MLB Handicapping

It was Dickens who penned the line “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” and for our purposes I’ll use that as a way of leading into this week’s Trend Report, one which focuses on teammates that are trending in opposite directions.

Here are two pairs of teammates that are enduring differing levels of success on the mound.

Cliff Lee, SP, Philadelphia Phillies / Cole Hamels, SP, Philadelphia Phillies

Cliff Lee’s 2012 season was painful to watch as strong outings by the veteran lefty were consistently spoiled by an inept Philadelphia offense. Lee carried an 0-5 record through the first three months of the season despite seven quality starts, including an outing in which he threw 10 shutout innings against the Giants.

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Things are back on track for Lee this season. Through 17 starts he is 9-2 with a 2.59 ERA and 0.97 WHIP.  Lee has enjoyed even more success away from hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park, going 6-1 with a 2.09 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in a league-high 11 road starts.

A year ago it was Lee who drew the short straw and was forced to tolerate poor run support, but this season that burden has fallen on Cole Hamels. After notching a career-high 17 wins in 2012, Hamels is 2-11 with a 4.58 ERA in 2013. The Phillies are 3-14 in Hamels’s 17 starts this season.

Those numbers haven’t dissuaded bettors. The Phillies have been favored in five of Hamels’s last six outings. Bettors that have ridden with Hamels this season are down a whopping 15.92 units.

John Lackey, SP, Boston Red Sox / Jon Lester, SP, Boston Red Sox

Back in 2009 when John Lackey signed with Boston there were many observers claiming the deal was a steal for the Red Sox at only $16.5 million per season in a time when aces were receiving contracts worth upwards of $20 million annually.

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If Lackey’s 5.26 ERA and growing reputation as a bad teammate through the first two years of the deal weren’t bad enough, he sat out the entire 2012 campaign as he recovered from Tommy John surgery.

Expectations for the former ace were non-existent entering this season as Red Sox fans had grown tired of him. Against all odds, Lackey has responded with his best season in Beantown to date, posting a 2.99 ERA and 1.20 WHIP through 13 starts.

Lackey has found another gear at Fenway this year where he is 3-1 with a 1.36 ERA and 0.97 WHIP through five starts.

While Lackey is enjoying a renaissance season, teammate Jon Lester’s 2013 campaign is falling apart. Lester entered this season with low expectations after looking lost at times during the 2012 season, going 9-14 with a 4.82 ERA. It appeared Lester had figured things out as he was 6-0 with a 2.72 ERA through his first nine starts of the 2013 season, but his recent outings tell a different story.

Over his last eight starts Lester has posted a 6.99 ERA and 1.78 WHIP. Lester’s season has come completely off the rails in the month of June as he has posted a 7.62 ERA and 1.91 WHIP while allowing opposing batters to hit at a .328 clip in five June outings.

Lester has taken to the road five times over that stretch of eight starts, posting an 8.46 ERA and 2.02 WHIP with Boston losing four of those five games.

Lester’s base numbers remain respectable as he is 8-4 with a 4.61 ERA on the year. Those misleading numbers could lead to value in fading the lefty going forward.

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About Gino Bottero

Gino is new to CappersPicks.com but NOT new to the online gambling industry.He's got an AMAZING knack for discovering hidden gems when it comes to betting on sports. Stick with him as he predicts when a team will have a letdown! Check Gino out for NBA, NHL, NFL, and MLB betting articles all season long!


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