Three of the four wild card contenders lost yesterday and the only one that won had to face the Triple A pitchers of the Yankees. Two of the three that lost cost this picker picks. It's a pretty sad state of affairs, these wild card teams. While on the one hand, it's great to have the stimulus of a wild card "race" (more like a crawl), on the other this year proves that the fourth team in the playoffs in each league do not deserve to be there. So while this writer is down with the whole wild card idea, it rankles the purist baseball sentiments that one of these teams will soon have an equal chance to win the whole championship when they weren't even good enough to compete in the first place.
Stepping down from the soapbox, Monday was the first positive day in the last few. Not greatly positive, mind you, but good enough to feel better than going 14-17 the two days before it. Some nice moments of the evening were a three run bomb by Justin Smoak. That homer cost a pick, but it was nice for the kid. The homer ruined an otherwise great outing by Brandon McCarthy. Others included a win for Mark Hamburger (can't get over that name) who relieved C.J. Wilson in his last tune up before the playoffs. Matt Kemp hit his 38th homer, a three-run shot that was the ultimate winner in that game (MVP). But Kemp won't catch Jose Reyes (for the batting title) who had three hits. Melky Cabrera went two for three which pretty much ensures he will finish the season over .300. Who would have guessed that? And probably the coolest thing that happened last night was Ryan Vogelsong pitching seven innings of scoreless ball to cap what has been a brilliant comeback season. Hats off to you star singer.
The picks for the penultimate day of the season:
- The Orioles over the Red Sox: Okay, this Fan has refused for days to believe that the Red Sox are incapable of winning. The bad picks have piled up one after the other. It's time to face facts. This team cannot get it done. Tonight they face lefty, Zach Britton who will pose the lefty-leaning Red Sox some problems. Meanwhile, Erik Bedard is an injury waiting to happen.
- The Tigers over the Indians: Jeanmar Gomez has been good, but the Tigers refuse to sleepwalk through these final games. Good on them. Max Scherzer with the playoff tune up.
- The Mets over the Reds: Bronson Arroyo has a chance to break Burt Blyleven's single season record for homers allowed. That's something to watch for. Chris Capuano, all in all, has had a decent comeback season.
- The Yankees over the Bay Rays: The feeling here is that Bartolo Colon is the odd man out for the Yankees' post season rotation. He will make that decision complicated by throwing a gem to beat young Jeremy Hellickson pitching the most important game of his life.
- The Phillies over the Braves: The Braves' season is on the line and Derek Lowe gets the start? Ugh. Roy Oswalt with the start for the Phillies who should win.
- The Marlins over the Nationals: Maybe Ozzie Guillen coming to Miami will change Javier Vazquez's decision to retire. The pitcher has been quite great in the second half. He faces John Lannon. Whatever the outcome, the Nationals have made positive steps this season.
- The Cardinals over the Astros: If the Cards can't beat the Astros when Henry Sosa gets the start, then they shouldn't be in the playoffs anyway. Jake Westbrook gets the start.
- The Royals over the Twins: Sean O'Sullivan's strange season comes full circle with a start for the big club before the season ends. The Twins are a nice team to start against. Anthony Swarzak can only hope for a miracle.
- The White Sox over the Blue Jays: Mark Buehrle has to finish his White Sox career with a win, doesn't he? That would just be right. But the Jays' Henderson Alvarez is really good.
- The Diamondbacks over the Dodgers: Former first round draft pick (2007), Jarrod Parker, makes his major league debut. Let's see what he can do against the Dodgers. Hiroki Kuroda is a fine pitcher with a perennially losing record.
- The Cubs over the Padres: Matt Garza and the Cubs reel in Anthony Bass. Ha! The Fan made a funny.
- The Angels over the Rangers: Colby Lewis hasn't fared well against the Angels historically. Ervin Santana should win this one.
- The Athletics over the Mariners: Trevor Cahill versus Blake Beaven is a good match up. Could go either way.
- The Giants over the Rockies: Alex White will make the Giants look like a hitting team. Madison Bumgarner will finish off a good season that belies his final record.
- The Brewers over the Pirates: Despite the Brewers coasting toward the playoffs, Ross Ohlendorf versus Randy Wolf is a mismatch in Wolf's favor.
Games of the Day: 109-66