Friday, April 20, 2012

Game Picks - Friday: April 20, 2012

If picking games were the stock market, yesterday would be called a market correction. Seven of the twelve picks went south. There was a chance to finish the day at .500 but then Brandon League stepped on the mound to save a brilliantly pitched game by Felix Hernandez. Perhaps that is the difference between King Felix and Justin Verlander and why Verlander has eclipsed Hernandez as the best pitcher in the American League. Verlander finishes what he starts. 

But League's blown save wasn't the only problem on Friday. There was also a market correction for the Cardinals, who finally lost a game to the Reds. There are the Houston Astros, who supposedly feature a Triple-A lineup, but banged out seventeen hits to shoot down the Nationals. There was C.J. Wilson getting no run support from the rebuilt, but moribund Angels. There was Jason Hammel, who is turning out to be better than Jeremy Guthrie after all.

What are you going to do? Market corrections happen. Today is a new day. There are fifteen more games to choose from on this season of the relentless schedule. Here are Friday's picks:

  • The Cubs over the Reds: This is a tough one. Chris Volstad and Homer Bailey square off. And neither provides much comfort. Which way is the wind blowing at Wrigley? If it is blowing in, Bailey could be better. If blowing out, Bailey could get bombed.
  • The Yankees over the Red Sox: Today marks the 100 year birthday at Fenway Park. Ivan Nova goes against Clay Buchholz. Nova needs a big start to win this one. After all, he has a fourteen-game winning streak on the line.
  • The Nationals over the Marlins: The Marlins are starting to play well. But the Nationals seem like the better team. Ross Detwiler is looking pretty good while Carlos Zambrano is walking a tightrope with all those walks.
  • The Cardinals over the Pirates: Lance Lynn has been sensational and the Cardinals are hitting well. Charlie Morton makes his second start of the season and should keep the game close with a million ground balls.
  • The Tigers over the Rangers: The Tigers have always hit Matt Harrison well and though this feature hardly ever picks against this Rangers' pitcher, Rick Porcello looks terrific this season.
  • The Bay Rays over the Twins: Matt Moore did not have a phenom like start against the Red Sox. He should bounce back against the Twins, who played the Yankees tough this week. Liam Hendriks pitched well his first time out though.
  • The Mets over the Giants: This game is tough to pick. Barry Zito should neutralize Duda and Ike Davis. A lot will depend on his control. Jonathan Niese has started his season impressively so that is the pick.
  • The Dodgers over the Astros: Those plucky Astros aren't rolling over and playing dead like they are supposed to. And J.A. Happ is much better this year than last. But Ted Lilly and the Dodgers should prevail.
  • The Brewers over the Rockies: Shaun Marcum has pitched well in his last two outings and Jhoulys Chacin should be fine too outside of Coors. But the Rockies historically don't hit well away from home. That makes picking them here difficult.
  • The Blue Jays over the Royals: Kyle Drabek has been very good, which is a huge surprise thus far. Luke Hochevar is making his first start since a line drive ricocheted off his ankle. Neither team is hitting like they should thus far.
  • The Diamondbacks over the Braves: Another tough game to pick. Brandon Beachy can be great if he is efficient and the same can be said of Trevor Cahill. Since the Diamondbacks are at home, that's the call.
  • The Angels over the Orioles: The Angels' offense has been pathetic. Could this be the game they break out against a struggling Brian Matusz? And if it does, can Jerome Williams hold back the Orioles? Tough day of games to pick today!
  • The Indians over the Athletics: Graham Godfrey hasn't been that bad but has lost both his decisions. Sometimes it just goes that way. Ubaldo Jimenez should have little trouble with the A's lineup.
  • The Mariners over the White Sox: Chris Sale and Hector Noesi have both had one great start and one lousy start. So this is a toss up. Going with the Mariners at home.

And the Game of the Day!

  • The Phillies over the Padres: The poor Padres. They just look terrible. Edinson Volquez takes his high wire act against the Phillies, who despite poor hitting, do have the patience to wait Volquez out. Cole Hamels should have a big game.

Yesterday: 5-7

Week: 42-24
Season: 110-82
Games of the Day: 9-6

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