I've mentioned on the radio multiple times that on initial glance, based on what I remember last year, totals are a half run and sometimes a full run lower than what they were a year ago. Tonight in Baltimore for example, Kansas City's Kyle Davies takes on Brad Bergesen. Both pitchers own fringe stuff and ERA's above 5.00, and if you go back and look at last year's logs, 9.5 and above were placed on nearly 70% of their starts. Yet the market number opened at 9 and while it may eventually move to 9.5, you get the feeling that even with those two gas cans on the mound bettors are reluctant to play the over off such a key number. Go through a week's worth of totals and you'll likely come across a 6.5 or even a 6 – something you rarely saw last season, even in the NL West. Yesterday's Seattle at Tampa game closed at 6.5 and
– Tampa won 2-1. So that brings us to the discussion of steroids and how testing has finally started to impact the betting marketplace. A recent article points out that
. Both leagues are currently averaging less than two long balls per game – a feat not accomplished since 1993. The American League is averaging nearly a half home run less than a year ago. I joked with Tim Trushel – a longtime “under” bettor – that five years from now he’ll be playing nothing but overs. He responded by saying that he may be forced to make the switch
based what he's seen out of the betting market.
One long-time major league scout, when asked the reason for the decline, raised an eyebrow and joked: "Seriously?"
His explanation was predictable:
Major League Baseball's drug testing must be working, at least to a large degree.
"Steroids don't help you hit the ball, but they sure make you stronger," the scout said.
"If I was running an organization, I'd go back to concentrating on speed, pitching and defense.
"But the pitching isn't what it used to be, either. I think there were almost as many pitchers using (steroids) as there were hitters, yet nobody talks about them. You don't see that many guys throwing in the mid-to-high 90s anymore. Some of these guys are throwing in the 80s. Velocity is down everywhere."