Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ohio's Hidden Strength

Top two entries in the Baseball Playoffs Now scale of underrated teams:
1. Cincinnati Reds
2. Cleveland Indians

Here are two teams to watch. Cincinnati and Cleveland are faring almost identically by win-loss record (9-12 and 8-12, respectively), yet our ratings place them much higher than mere record would indicate. Cincinnati is playing better by far right now, earning the #8 rating in the majors, and Cleveland isn't doing too bad either at #16.

The Reds owe their high rating to playing generally well against the third hardest schedule in baseball. Fighting against the Brewers, Cardinals, and Cubs (all top-10 teams in the majors), Cincinnati has swung from poor losses (by 9 runs against Chicago) to great wins (by 8 runs against Milwaukee). Even more impressive is a series win against Arizona, the best team in major league baseball. With upcoming games against Houston (#20 in our ratings), San Francisco (#21) and Atlanta (#19), we predict that Cincinnati will pull to .500 and start to challenge the first team in the top half of the NL Central to have mid-season woes.

The Cleveland Indians also scored an important series win against the Chicago White Sox (#6), and picked apart Oakland (#5) twice. Yet this two-faced team also suffered disastrous outings against Detroit (#25), where the Indians lost by 11 runs, as well as three separate three-game losing streaks in a season less than a month old. Baseball Playoffs Now ranks Cleveland as baseball's #2 underrated team because our scoring algorithm believes that the Indians can keep it close to most team in the MLB, but does Cleveland have the guts to pull out wins?

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