Sunday was a day of heart-felt tributes and stirring remembrances as MLB (and the NFL for that matter) honored the anniversary of the most painful day in our recent history. It was a day of tragedy that shook our country to its core and yet showed us that when our people faced the biggest test, goodness can prevail as people risked everything to respond to those in need. The day also led us to a tumultuous history of inexplicable wars, some questionable strains on our constitutional rights and a manhunt that took more than nine years to end.
Through it all, sports has been the Novocaine of aches and baseball was front and center of that ten years ago and again yesterday. The results ten years ago didn't seem to matter as much all that time ago and yesterday was little different. It was a day for reflection. Like any day of mourning, it was a mixture of celebration and loss. We have healed a bit since that tough day ten years ago. But our souls carry around the burden and will for a long time. The New York Mets and ESPN did a fabulous job last night with their ceremony and it's hard to remember a more stirring rendition of our National Anthem than what was sung by Marc Anthony.
Several of our BBA sites participated in a blackout of activity as a way to honor the day and this writer finds no fault with that. We all choose to remember the day differently. But here, the show went on because the game picks are a daily thing and secondly, one of the goals those men wanted to accomplish with their acts of terror was to disrupt our lives and by refusing to do so, we defeat their purpose.
Jumping down from the soapbox, there are picks to be made, sudden wild card races and match ups to consider. Monday:
- The Bay Rays over the Orioles: Zach Britton has been good lately (except for that Yankee game) and has already beaten the Rays this month. But the right-handed bats of the Bay Rays have come alive. Jeff Niemann should have a good game after some rough outings.
- The Reds over the Cubs: Calling Dontrelle Willis to get his first win in this game. It's all set up with a favorable match up against Rodrigo Lopez.
- The Braves over the Marlins: The Marlins have been on a roll and the Braves have been sputtering. The match up of Brandon Beachy against Chris Volstad seems favorable to this observer.
- The Mets over the Nationals: R.A. Dickey has been very good lately and should get the win here against Ross Detwiler. Detwiler has been struggling after a nice start to his stint in the rotation.
- The Phillies over the Astros: Roy Oswalt beats his former team, though there won't be many in the opposing dugout he recognizes. He will face old teammate, Brett Myers, who finally got a win in his last start.
- The Tigers over the White Sox: The division race is over. It's only a matter of playing the schedule. Rick Porcello over John Danks.
- The Athletics over the Angels: Gio Gonzalez has been all over the place this season. But one constant has been to totally shut down the Angels in three starts against them. Make it four after tonight. Joel Pineiro goes for the Angels and has been better of late.
- The Diamondbacks over the Dodgers: Joe Saunders versus Ted Lilly in a battle of so-so lefties. The Dodgers are tough at home, but the D-backs are the best team in the division.
- The Yankees over the Mariners: The Mariners' offense has picked up a bit and Phil Hughes needs to be on his game as the Yankees face Felix Hernandez, a really tough pitcher. The Yankees have faced some of the best starters in the league of late.
- The Giants over the Padres: This game has become somewhat meaningless but the Giants will press on behind Eric Surkamp who has already beaten the Padres this month. Aaron Harang isn't as good on the road as he is at home.
And the Game of the Day!
- The Cardinals over the Pirates: The Cardinals get to kick a dog when its down with a series in Pittsburgh. Kyle Lohse should continue his successful season with a fairly easy win over Brad Lincoln.
Games of the Day: 102-58