Thursday was an exciting and strange day in baseball. Bullpen meltdowns helped picks like the Mets, but hurt picks like the Twins and Scott Diamond (who was great again). All in all, the day ended up just slightly in negative territory, the second straight negative day in a row. To his credit, Jose Quintana out-dueled the great Matt Harrison and that went against the pick. The Blue Jays continue to fluster any kind of predictions. And the Padres beating the Reds is just too weird to talk about.
The last two days of the week need to rally to bring the luster back to the week. It all starts with Friday:
- The Braves over the Phillies: For two months people have been looking for the Phillies to get their horses back. Chase Utley came back last week and now Ryan Howard comes back today. But the Phillies problems go way beyond those two hitters in the lineup. The fact is, both are past their prime and while they both might add a win or two to the final total, it is not the answer to all the problems. Tim Hudson over Kyle Kendrick (one of the problems).
- The Tigers over the Royals: This picker can't in any good conscience pick Jonathan Sanchez to win a game. Going with The Emoticon instead, Drew Smyly.
- The Pirates over the Giants: The Giants are a surprisingly good offensive team. But they are starting Barry Zito and it won't be enough. Erik Bedard will hold the runs down below Zito's level.
- The Indians over the Bay Rays: Alex Cobb has been losing quite often and Justin Masterson seems to be peaking into top form. So that is the pick.
- The Mets over the Cubs: Two hot teams and two hot starting pitchers in Travis Wood and Johan Santana. With those two canceling each other out, the home team Mets are the pick.
- The Yankees over the Red Sox: With Josh Beckett going for the Red Sox, this will be a four hour game. Hiroki Kuroda has been terrific. But can he keep it going? The Red Sox will be without Dustin Pedroia, who went on the disabled list.
- The Astros over the Brewers: This is just a hunch that J.A. Happ will be very good at his home park and Yovani Gallardo will struggle on the road.
- The Rangers over the Twins: Francisco Liriano is such a scary guy to pick for or against. You just never know. The Rangers have been in an offensive funk and they should break out of it soon. Martin Perez does not instill a lot of confidence though.
- The White Sox over the Blue Jays: The Red Sox will miss Kevin Youkilis. The White Sox keep getting big hits from him. Jake Peavy should out-pitch Aaron Laffey.
- The Cardinals over the Marlins: Giancarlo Stanton is a big bat that's missing from the Marlins' attack. Jake Westbrook will be solid. Ricky Nolasco is the wild card. He was great his last time out, but you just never know with him.
- The Dodgers over the Diamondbacks: The D- backs are in trouble and Josh Collmenter is not going to help. Clayton Kershaw should dominate.
- The Angels over the Orioles: The Angels comeback win last night had to be a gut punch for any hope the Orioles can stay in the AL East rate. And a reality check. C.J. Wilson should be good and Miguel Gonzalez gets his first start for the Orioles. Who?
- The Reds over the Padres: Kip Wells won his last start with seven scoreless innings. Is that not the most improbable statement ever declared in this space? To think it can be repeated just stretches reality. Bronson Arroyo should enjoy Petco.
- The Athletics over the Mariners: These teams have played each other like fifty-five times already, right? Tommy Milone over the "to groin or not to groin" Kevin Millwood.
And the Game of the Day!
- The Nationals over the Rockies: If anyone is left wondering if the National are for real, well, you then are a pessimistic sort aren't you? Stephen Strasburg needs to beat the heat at his home ballpark. If he does, he will easily beat the Rockies. Drew Pomeranz goes for the Rockies.
Games of the Day: 53-37