This game picker was a perfect 4-0 yesterday and while it would be great to crow about those results like some proud rooster, the formula was fairly easy. All the home teams were picked and all the favorites. They just happened to all come in.
For the Yankees, Ivan Nova and Robinson Cano will get most of the credit and rightly so, but there were a lot of important events that led to the victory. The perfect relay execution from Granderson to Jeter to Martin to gun down Alex Avila while the game was still tied was huge. The double play that resulted in unfortunate timing by the Tigers came from a hit right up the middle on a stolen base attempt by Austin Jackson and allowed Cano to simply step on second and throw Magglio Ordonez out at first. Nick Swisher followed that with a dive in right field to take a double away from Delmon Young. But probably the biggest moment of the game was Brett Gardner's huge two-out single to plate two runs that took a 2-1 game to 4-1 off Doug Fister and opened the Yankee floodgates.
The first game of the day Saturday followed the pick's story line to a T. Yovani Gallardo was brilliant and out dueled Ian Kennedy as predicted and the Diamondbacks allowed the dynamic duo of Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder to beat them as the tandem went a combined five for eight.
After Lance Berkman's bomb off of Roy Halladay in the first inning, the 3-0 lead seemed for a while like it might hold up. But Kyle Lohse unraveled in the sixth inning and the Phillies went on to score ten runs in their final three at bats to put the game away. Ryan Howard takes a lot of guff here in the FanDome, but his three-run homer broke the Cardinal backs just like a star player is supposed to do. Halladay settled down after the first and pitched the typical Roy Halladay game the rest of the way for the victory.
Evan Longoria almost gave the Tampa Bay Rays another big comeback as he hit a huge three-run homer off of Koji Uehara to make it 7-6. But Darren Oliver, Mike Adams and Neftali Feliz shut the door the rest of the way to give the Rangers a bit of a slugfest win at home. The Rangers evened up the series and broke the two playoff record of these two teams winning every road game. Obviously in a short series, the win was huge for Texas but now must play the next two games in St. Pete.
- The Yankees over the Tigers: The Tigers really needed to win Game 1. Their next two games feature the softer side of their rotation. The Yankees should get to Max Scherzer, especially at home and have plenty of options if Freddie Garcia can't come through in his start for the Yankees. Expect Girardi to pull Garcia's plug quickly if the Big Chief doesn't have his good stuff.
- The Brewers over the Diamondbacks: Zack Greinke at home is a near lock. Daniel Hudson is real good too, but he won't be able to keep up with Greinke. This is why the Brewers got him and it will pay off and put the Diamondbacks close to the brink.
- The Phillies over the Cardinals: Yeah, the picks are all for the home teams and the favorites again. But this picker just can't see anything else happening. Cliff Lee neutralizes Lance Berkman and will do what he usually does in the playoffs. A super huge effort by Chris Carpenter is the Cardinals only hope here.
Last week: 40-28