MLB's best and worst teams in one-run games
Smoking, drinking and betting on these six baseball teams will take years off your life.
(Maybe that’s how Lindsay Lohan went from hot tamale to candied prune?)
These clubs have a flair for the dramatic and love taking MLB bettors - especially those playing the runline - for a wild ride during their many one-run games. Some close out those contests with a happy ending more often than not, while others leave you with empty pockets and handfuls of your own hair.
Here’s a look at the best and worst teams in one-run games so far this season. Stats compiled prior to Wednesday's action:
Tampa Bay Rays (10-3 in one-run games)
Over 29 percent of the Rays’ games have been decided by one run this year. Luckily, for Tampa Bay backers, their team has been successful with a slim margin on the scoreboard – and we stress “luckily”. The Rays boast the lowest batting average from the seventh inning on (.203) and don’t have a shutdown bullpen (3.68 ERA). However, they’ve suffered only two blown saves and have nasty strikeout ability, which bails them out of late-inning jams.
Cleveland Indians (9-2 in one-run games)
The Tribe are a pleasant surprise for American League Central bettors. Cleveland is leading the division by 3.5 games thanks to some clutch play in tight games. The Indians are among the best teams with two outs on the board, hitting .253 and scoring 68 runs with two away – second to only Texas in the AL. Those timely hits have been helped out by the bullpen, which is finally coming around thanks to a healthy Chris Perez handling the ninth inning.
Los Angeles Dodgers (13-6 in one-run games)
The Dodgers are another club shocking bettors with their early exploits. Los Angeles has marched to the top of the major leagues, squeaking out nearly half its wins in one-run fashion. Over 44 percent of the Dodgers’ games have been decided by a single score, with the nod going to a solid rotation (2.83 ERA) and terrific hitting with RISP (.277).
Arizona Diamondbacks (4-11 in one-run games)
What a difference a year makes. Arizona’s improbable run to the NL West Pennant last season was fueled by a 28-16 record in one-run games. Now, the Diamondbacks are seeing the ugly side of those close contests. Arizona has come up short on both sides of the field. It continues to swing and miss in key situations, boasting the third-most strikeouts in the NL, and has watched its bullpen blow nine saves this season.
Los Angeles Angels (3-9 in one-run games)
The Halos have been anything but heavenly with a one-run spread on the scoreboard. Unlike their crosstown rivals, the Angels haven’t been able to get the big hit late in games. Los Angeles’ .250 average dips to .222 in the final three innings, where it has scored just 41 of its 159 total runs on the year – 26 percent. Add to those woes a bullpen that has chronic blown save issues (six on the year, tied for AL lead with 25 last year) and you have recipe for disaster.
Toronto Blue Jays (3-7 in one-run games)
The Jays haven’t been in as many one-run games as some of their counterparts, but that doesn’t make those seven losses any less painful. Toronto’s bullpen has been horrific for many years, and 2012 is no exception. However, a few of their seven blown saves can fall on the head of manager John Farrell, who sometimes over manages his relievers while trying to remind folks he knows a little something about pitching (former big-league pitcher, pitching coach).