The Tampa Bay Rays certainly made a statement in their opening salvo in Arlington against the Texas Rangers. Kelly Shoppach became this year's Terry Steinbach, Mike Scioscia or Jim Leyritz. C.J. Wilson struggled early and young Matt Moore, the kid with the smile, showed up amidst all the hype and shut down one of the most potent offenses in the game. It was an eye-opening game. The other game on the schedule was eye-opening for other reasons, mainly because it was suspended by rain and as such will test the Yankees ability to rewrite their plan of attack against the Tigers.
The irritating thing about the Yankees - Tigers game was that the greed of the networks and Major League Baseball turned it into a fiasco. Insisting the Yankees be available for the late game for ratings purposes put the game out of reach for the rains that came and washed it all away. How did those rating go after that, TBS? It's high time that playoff schedules were made via common sense instead of with dollar signs. Instead we lose one of the greatest pitching match ups we could have hoped for lost to the elements. There is no blame to not heeding the weather maps to start that game. The rain was apparently worse than expected. That happens. But when you start a game so late, you have no other options but to call it. It was yet another scheduling black eye for baseball.
Hey, a picks post turned into a rant. Sorry about that. Here are Saturday's picks:
- The Brewers over the Diamondbacks: This one rolled around in this picker's head for quite a while. The pitching match up is outstanding with Ian Kennedy facing Yovani Gallardo. Kennedy has faced the Brewers three times to the tune of twenty innings and did a nice job of shutting them down with only one homer allowed. But as good as he's been, Gallardo has been even tougher on the Diamondbacks. He's never lost to them and has a sparkling ERA. Add a full house of screaming Milwaukee fans and it should all add up to a Brewers win.
- The Phillies over the Cardinals: Let's face it, Roy Halladay was born to pitch these kinds of games. He is the Bob Gibson of this generation, which is ironic facing the Cardinals. Kyle Lohse has had a really nice season and is a wily and smart pitcher. But he won't be able to keep up with Halladay.
- The Rangers over the Bay Rays: This game all boils down to Derek Holland. Holland can be unhittable at times and put up nine zeroes and at other times, he can stink up the joint. He needs to be the former for this pick to pan out as James Shields is one tough customer and the Rays are flying on all cylinders.
- The Yankees over the Tigers: Such a shame we lost that match up. But, it is what it is. Doug Fister has been brilliant but this is his first rodeo in the post season. How cool and calm can he be? Will he fall apart when things get tough? Ivan Nova is really in the same boat. The game will come down to who gets off to the faster start. Playing at home has to give the Yankees the edge when all other elements are equal.