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Stats, Lines and the Crazy Comeback of Omar Vizquel

by Mike DePilla
Saturday, September 25, 2010
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The Sox won last night! Alex Rios had the clutch ninth-inning, game-winning RBI which, combined with the Twins loss in Detroit, means the Sox gained a full game on the Twins in the standings. On a two game winning streak, the Pale Hose are now a mere 11 games back. Take that, people who said the season is over.

Hey, if the Sox get their stuff together and go on a winning streak, I mean really play some sterling baseball in the last week, they could get this AL Central deficit down to single digits by the time the season ends.

That would really take the air right out of the Twins' balloon, wouldn't it?

******

Interesting stat of the day: On May 11, Alex Rios went 2-for-4 in a win over the Twins at Target Field, raising his season batting average to a robust .330. That same day, Omar Vizquel, who rode the pine as part of a full week of days off, saw his batting average sit at .129 as he began to contemplate retirement.

That is a 201 point differential.

Who would have thought that by September it would be Vizquel that would have a higher season batting average of the two?

Rios went on to have a fine season, even if he did tail off a bit in the last two months, and is currently hitting .286. Vizquel, meanwhile, became an everyday player thanks (and I do mean thanks) to Mark Teahen's injury, raising his average 156 points in less than three months. He has held it steady since then, and enters play today with a .287 mark, one point ahead of Rios.

Obviously batting average doesn't tell the whole story, but making up a 201 point deficit is quite an accomplishment. I would love to see what the odds were on that back in May.

******

Speaking of odds, I find the betting line on tonight's match up with the Angels very intriguing. According to Doc's Sports Service, the visiting Sox, whose starting pitcher is 0-2 with a 6.05 ERA in his last three starts, are -121 tonight (meaning you have to bet $121 to win $100). Meanwhile, the Angels, whose starter is 1-1 with a 3.24 ERA in his last three starts, are anywhere from +105 to +114 in their own park, according to the various lines listed at espn.com.

In other words, the Angels are an underdog in their home park with a hot pitcher and paying off up to 7-to-5 to win.

If I were a betting man on meaningless September baseball (I am not), I would think dropping a few bucks on the Angels tonight with those odds is a smart move.

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