There is a point in time when it is useful to identify teams who have tossed the towel for the season. Let's take a look at 5 teams who will miss out on post-season Tourney action.
In CFB, it comes around November 1st, when teams have come to the realization they will not be getting a Bowl bid. In the NFL, the date is December 1st when teams understand the playoffs are not in their future.
The basketball season is much the same … come February 15th, it is easy to identify teams who will miss out on post-season Tourney action and are saving their best for early March in the upcoming CCTs. The NBA happens even earlier in the season, when it becomes readily apparent by the All-Star Break as to which teams are not going to the Playoffs. At that point, there are still 2 months remaining in regular season action. What a treat for home-town fans to watch those struggling teams!
The same is true of MLB teams, whose destiny seems etched in stone by the August 1st trade deadline. Talk about the Dog Days of August! Just imagine suiting up every day in the heat and humidity of August, knowing that your team has just traded away key pieces of the squad and is already looking forward to next season. Meanwhile, you still have to suit up for 60 more games! Last year was a great example of those teams, especially in National League action.
Though prices begin to rise accordingly, AGAINST THESE TEAMS, there is still a way to make money by fading these towel-tossers in the last 2 months. Since these teams are “playing out the string,” they are often experimenting, both in terms of their lineup and pitching. As a result, they often get “blown out” in losses. Never was that more evident than last year! I isolated 5 teams in early August, whom I identified as “towel-tossers.” These 5 teams were Atlanta, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Colorado and San Diego. BY PLAYING AGAINST THESE TEAMS ON THE RUN LINE IN AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER, you would have gone 157-30 on the run line when these teams lost the game. Simply amazing!
This week, the August 1st trade deadline has just been completed, and I have isolated our 5 towel-tossers for August and September. In the National League, these include Arizona, San Diego, and Atlanta. In the American League, the teams are LA Angels and Oakland A's. Let's take a brief look at each of the teams to see why they have been placed on this list.
The D'Backs had great hope for a winning season when they signed pitching ace, Zach Greinke. But he, like the other starters, has been a total bust from this mound, where the D'Backs entered August at 17-35 (that was before they got blown out 14-1 Monday night). They are now on a 7-24 slide, are behind even San Diego in the NL West and have truly tossed the towel! Consider that 52 of their 63 losses have already come by 2 or more runs and you will see that they are a prime PLAY AGAINST team on the run line for the remainder of the season.
San Diego Padres
Talk about a team who sold out! The Padres traded Kemp and Upton (two of their best hitters) at the trade deadline. But, those losses pale in comparison to the fact they are without their ENTIRE PROJECTED STARTING ROTATION from the beginning of the year, including Shields, Pomeranz, Cashner and Ross. As they enter August action, it is worthwhile to note that 23 of the Padres' 27 home losses have been by 2 or more runs. Don't expect that percentage to change!
Last year, the Braves had 38 losses in August and September. An incredible 36 of those were by 2 or more runs, including all 19 of their home losses. Can't figure much to change from the worst team in baseball, who has a 37-68 record, including the worst home record in MLB at 16-38! Though I expect them to falter, both home and away, take special note that 25 of 30 Atlanta road losses this year have been by 2 or more runs.
A world of talent has failed to materialize for the Angels this year, who at this writing are 47-58 and have admittedly tossed the towel! At the trade deadline, the Angels divested themselves of Hector Santiago, who had ONLY WON 7 CONSECUTIVE DECISIONS AND WAS IN LINE FOR AMERICAN LEAGUE PITCHER OF THE MONTH HONORS WITH A RECORD OF 6-0 AND 1.78 ERA! With that move, the Angels have made it clear they have given up on contending for a playoff spot. Looking for the best place to PLAY AGAINST them? How about the fact that an incredible 27 of their 28 home losses have come by 2 or more runs!
Much like the Angels (above), whom the A's square off with in an early week set, it was clear that Oakland has now given up hope for a playoff spot. They have never challenged the .500 mark all season. At the trade deadline, they traded their best pitcher Rich Hill, who was 9-3 with a 2.25 ERA to the LA Dodgers, along with outfielder, Jose Reddick (who will be of much more value in the clubhouse to LAD than Yasiel Puig, who was a major downer for the Dodgers). Oakland's worst may be yet to come! But, for right now, consider that 22 of 29 home losses have been by 2 or more runs.
There you have it … my August 1st list of MLB Towel Tossers! It will be no surprise, if we are every bit as successful fading them in the next 60 days for our MLB picks, as we were last season.