Okay, the knuckles are cracked and this Fan is buckling down. The game face is on. With a steely grunt, here are Friday's picks:
- The Reds over the Cubs: The day starts off with a really tough and interesting pick. Matt Garza, despite his record and ERA, has been one of the best pitchers in the National League this season. Edinson Volquez has been maddeningly inconsistent. Here's why the Reds win: The Cubs are not a patient bunch. That helps Volquez more than it helps Garza.
- The Phillies over the Braves: Cliff Lee goes for the Phillies and Derek Lowe for the Braves. Lowe has been better than his record. Cliff Lee is better than his current stats. Going with Philly at home.
- The Astros over the Pirates: Wandy Rodriguez against Paul Maholm. Wandy is one of the best pitchers in the league. The Astros don't have a closer though. So this will be interesting.
- The Orioles over the Bay Rays: Scary pick to make here, but that's how good Zach Britton has been. Shields with the tough luck loss.
- The Blue Jays over the Tigers: The Tigers have been pitching really well of late. But that doesn't include lefty, Phil Coke. Jesse Litcsh seems a lot better than his record and the Blue Jays are at home and can thump.
- The Dodgers over the Mets: Hiroki Kuroda should feel right at home in the spacious Citi Field. Jon Niese has been inconsistent. The Dodgers are a little banged up though. Still think they win.
- The Twins over the Red Sox: Scott Baker will either be one of the Fabulous Baker Boys or Home Run Baker. Which one will it be today? Tim Wakefield goes for the Red Sox. This is cruel, but the Twins should bunt a lot as that is Wakefield's biggest nightmare.
- The Yankees over the Rangers: Ivan Nova has to be good for this pick to pan out. Matt Harrison was rolling along this season until the Yankees beat him up last time they faced him. He's struggled ever since.
- The Athletics over the Royals: Gio Gonzalez will be good. The question is the A's offense and whether they can get to Sean O'Sullivan, who has been decent as the fifth starter. He walks too many batters though. The debut of Hosmer, of course, will be this game's wild card.
- The Cardinals over the Brewers: Randy Wolf has been okay this season, but he faces Jaime Garcia. Garcia has scuffled a bit in his last two starts, but some home cooking should help. Pujols is starting to hit. Look out NL.
- The Padres over the Diamondbacks: The D-backs played eleven thrilling innings last night and then had to travel to San Diego after that game. They will be a weary group. Tim Stauffer should beat Galarraga at home.
- The Indians over the Angels: Justin Masterson's record does not appear to be a fluke. He's pitching really well. The Angels counter with Tyler Chatwood, who hasn't embarrassed himself at all this season.
- The Mariners over the White Sox: Felix Hernandez pitches a gem against a struggling White Sox team and wins by two runs over a very good, Philip Humber.
- The Rockies over the Giants: It's time for Ubaldo Jiminez to come up big. He faces the always tough, Matt Cain. If the pitchers equal themselves out, you have to go with the Rockies offense.
And the Game of the Day!
- The Marlins over the Nationals: Jordan Zimmermann has pitched well, but the Nationals can't hit and won't hit against Ricky Nolasco. The Marlins are turning into quite the story this season.
Games of the Day: 17-19