Wednesday, October 29, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Wednesday, October 29, 2014

How wrong could I have been? Hey, I was only off by ten runs. No biggie. The Royals truly surprised me. It wasn't a surprise that Jake Peavy struggled or that the Giants would be in big trouble if they had to go to long relief. I am surprised by Yordano Ventura who ended up being every bit as good in this series as Madison Bumgarner. And so we are headed to Game Seven. Everyone's dream scenario is a full series.
My prediction for the series is already toast. My chance of getting even in the post season is gone. After all, this is the last game of the MLB season for 2014. There won't be another one and there won't be a game pick after this one. But perhaps I can make it a good one at least and end with a correct pick. That would be nice.
The pick:
  • The Royals over the Giants: The home field advantage is going to make a difference after all. The Giants can't water down the infield. The Royals can make theirs rock hard. With Tim Hudson and Jeremy Guthrie on the mound, relief pitching will make a big difference. The Royals will have that advantage. The home fans will be rocking unless the Giants score often and early to quiet the crowd. That could happen. This entire series, I had thought that the script had been written with the Giants destined to complete their every-other-year trifecta. But this script has a surprise ending. What you expect does not happen. The Cinderella really will live happily ever after.
Yesterday: 0-1, Post Season: 14-17, Season: 1379-1107

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Tuesday: October 28, 2014

These posts are where I try to objectively pick which teams are most likely to win their games on any given day. For the first time in doing this, I feel like I have painted myself into a corner (cliche alert). I predicted before the Series a six game victory for the Giants. If I pick the Giants, it is a nod to my earlier prediction. If I pick the Royals, I am calling myself stupid. In the words of Oliver Hardy, "Here's another fine mess you've gotten me into."
Some what am I going to do?
The pick:
  • The Giants over the Royals: No, it's not about calling myself stupid. I am usually self-deprecating enough. I can take it. No, this is about a team that has been here twice before. The Giants are going to complete their every-other-year miracle even if Jake Peavy is the starter and they could not hit Yordano Ventura the last time they faced him. It doesn't matter if you do not want history to repeat itself. It's like one of those old films where the character is in a room and the walls are squeezing him in no matter how much he tries to hold them back. Hunter Pence will do something special. Or Pablo Sandoval will do something, or Buster Posey. Pick a name. Somebody who has been here before is going to make sure it happens again.

Sunday: 1-0, Post Season: 14-16, Season: 1379- 1106

Sunday, October 26, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Sunday: October 26, 2014

I was wrong again and I was right again. I was wrong because I did not factor in Yusmeiro Petit and his ability to rescue San Francisco's starter. I was right because I knew the starting pitchers in this game would not pitch well.  They did not. I was wrong because the Royals over-relied on a kid who was pitching for a college team just two months ago and gave him such a large responsibility when he is nothing but a babe and should be at the Arizona Fall League and not the World Series.
I was right that if the Giants had a lead before the sixth or seventh inning, that would spell trouble for the Royals. But I was wrong in my final pick. Oh well.
The good news is that we are getting a nice and long seesaw battle between two evenly matched and flawed teams in this World Series. Let's face it, nobody really wants to see the season end yet. Tonight features the Giants' last home game of the season in a Series knotted at two games each. And we are back to the Game One starters.
The Picks:
  • The Giants over the Royals: Anyone who would pick against Madison Bumgarner in this post season is either the most courageous of souls or knows something I don't know. MadBum has been sterling in every start this post season. I am a bit nervous that he does his best work on the road and not at his home park, but still. He is the best pitcher in this post season and I cannot pick against him. James Shields has never put the fear into me to pick against. Yes, he is a smart and talented pitcher. But I would never call him an ace. Am I the only one who thinks Danny Duffy should have been in the Royals' rotation this post season?

Yesterday: 0-1, Post season: 13-16, Season: 1378-1106

Saturday, October 25, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Saturday: October 25, 2014

I was correct and I was wrong. I ultimately picked the Giants, which was wrong. But I did say the Giants would be in deep trouble if they did not get the lead off of Jeremy Guthrie in the first five innings. They did not and that was the correct part. Still, it ends my win streak and instead of finally bouncing back to .500 (from the lower depths), I am back to two games under for the post season.
Every game in a short series is important, but this one is really so. If the Giants go down, 3-1, then they are in a heap of trouble. But if they can tie the series, we will have a good long one where anything can happen. Will the Giants get it done? Let's take a look.
The pick:
The Royals over the Giants: Frankly, I do not trust either Jason Vargas for the Royals or Ryan Vogelsong for the Giants. They have similar meh stats for their careers, but have had success in the post season. In fact, Ryan Vogelsong has never lost a post season game and he has pitched quite a few of them. This post season is the first for Vargas and he has put two good games together even though the home run bug has plagued him a little bit. My big reason for picking the Royals is that Vogelsong simply does not go deep into games. He has averaged 5.77 innings per start this season and hasn't even gotten to the sixth inning in this post season. The middle of the Giants' bullpen is hard to choose at that point. Vargas does go deeper into games and even if he doesn't, the bullpen is killer all the way through. Key match-ups are Vargas against Hunter Pence and Buster Posey and perhaps, Michael Morse. Basically, if the Royals get to the sixth inning tied, they win.
Yesterday: 0-1, Post season: 13-15, Season: 1378-1105

Friday, October 24, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Friday: October 24, 2014

The World Series resumes tonight in San Francisco with the Giants and Royals each winning a game in Kansas City. I laugh when I see news outlets calling tonight's game a "Pivotal Game." Well, of course! The teams are tied and one team is going to go one up. That would be the definition of pivotal, would it not? We all need our headlines.
And tonight's pitching line is very interesting. Either pitcher could be brutal, or he could be brilliant. It's all a matter of how much they are able to throw the ball where they want to throw it. The go-go Royals can play gap ball and run like crazy. But the Giants can mash. It will be interesting.
Here is the pick:
  • The Giants over the RoyalsTim Hudson has not won a post season game since 2001. He has had one great start this post season and one not so great. He has not walked a batter and I don't suppose he will walk the free-swinging Royals. It is the ability to limit walks that I like him over Jeremy Guthrie. Guthrie is a true contact pitcher who relies on the good defense to keep his BABIP against down. He has the perfect team behind him to accomplish that for him. Hudson has gone deeper into his post season games which he needs to do tonight. The Giants don't need another bullpen fiasco. Guthrie will not go deep into the game. But the Royals' bullpen is lock down. The Giants must go ahead early and stay there. If they don't, they lose. Like I said, this is going to be very interesting. The Royals will miss having the DH.
Last time out: 1-0, Post Season: 13-14, Season: 1328-1104

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Corey Kluber and Clayton Kershaw win Walter Johnson Award

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA) has announced that Corey Kluber barely edged out Felix Hernandez for the American League Walter Johnson Award and that Clayton Kershaw won every vote for the National League award.
The official ballot of the General Chapter of the BBA (made up of writers who write generally about baseball and not about one particular team or area) had King Felix just barely ahead of Kluber. The BBA tallied all the ballots from the various chapters to come up with the winners of the award for 2014 which celebrates the best pitchers in each league.
Kershaw was also an overwhelming winner on the General Chapter's ballot with every first place vote except one. Take note of the fact that both winners share the exact same initials!
For the official announcement, press release and voting results, click the link in the first paragraph of this post to the official BBA site.
Congratulations to both Corey Kluber and Clayton Kershaw for their terrific seasons which earned these awards.

MLB Game Picks - Wednesday: October 22, 2014

Game One of the World Series went as I expected it to go and my overall post season record is inching closer to the .500 mark.  I figured the Royals would have trouble against Madison Bumgarner and they certainly did. I also thought that James Shields would get hit around a little bit and that happened as well. And once again, the visiting team won the opening game in a post season series. It has happened over and over again this year.
Hunter Pence sure is fun to watch, isn't he? He is like the Joe Everyman of baseball.
The home field advantage is broken. Like breaking a serve in tennis, the Giants have taken away the one big advantage the Royals had. But the Royals aren't dead yet. They have proven that they cannot beat one of the best pitchers in baseball and a true post season stud. Tonight is a different story and it is a truly perplexing game to pick. Let's look at it closely.
The pick:
  • The Royals over the Giants: First, Jake Peavy is a long shot to be effective. He now has an ERA over seven in his post season career. Add that to the fact that Peavy is 1-5 lifetime at Kauffman Stadium with a 6.42 ERA and you have a recipe for good things to happen for the Royals. The question is: What can we expect from Yordano Ventura? He is not exactly predictable. He was great against the Angels in the ALDS but was accosted a bit by the Orioles in the ALCS. And that's the problem. He is inconsistent. He is slightly better at home in his career with better control than on the road. I think he will be okay tonight. Peavy will get a short leash and a lot will depend on how many runs the Royals can score early. If they fail to push across runs against Peavy, they will have trouble winning the game. All things considered, I have to go with the Royals in this one.
Yesterday: 1-0, Post Season: 12-14, Season: 1377-1104

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Tuesday: October 21, 2014

Hey! Remember baseball? They play it again tonight after what seems like forever. And not only is it baseball, it is one of the most unlikely World Series encounters in memory. Two teams that started out as wild card teams battle it out for the title. It's the San Francisco Giants at the Kansas City Royals for Game One.
As my 11-14 record indicates for the post season, this has been a wacky ride to get to this point. Home field advantage has meant nothing. Will it matter what happened at the All Star Game back in July? The way the rest of this post season has played, I doubt it. That might mess the Royals up since they won't be the underdogs here.
My initial call is the Giants in six. They will complete their every other year trifecta.  But let's take it a game at a time starting tonight:
The Pick:
The Giants over the Royals: As mentioned, home field advantage has meant nothing in this post season. I think only one opening game of a series thus far was won by the home team. Madison Bumgarner has been amazing. James Shields has been pretty darned good himself. But if you go by talent alone, you have to go with Bumgarner. The Royals revolve around running the bases and playing small ball. But you have to get on base in order for that to happen. A key match-up will be MadBum against Billy Butler. It will be interesting.
The last time we played: 1-0, Post Season: 11-14, Season: 1376-1104