Woke up this morning to a gorgeous day in Maine. Perfectly blue skies and fresh, clean air. These are the days you live for in this part of the country. Golf is delayed until this afternoon. This morning, your humble picker has to go get fingerprinted. No, there were no arrests involved. But in order to substitute teach, you actually need to pay the state to fingerprint you. It is understandable that the schools would want a thorough check. But having to pay for it? Now that's weird.
Checking the picks from yesterday, a mediocre day was yesterday's result. The picks did finish above .500 (barely) and the Game of the Day (Cardinals) was right. But there were a lot of surprises. The A's beat the Yankees again as yet another late rally for the Yankees fell short. The Twins beat the Royals again and got a good outing from Nick Blackburn. Who knew? Tim Lincecum was very, very good against the Phillies yesterday. Or, conversely, the Phillies just can't hit. Either way, the pick was wrong. And so it went.
There are sixteen big games on the schedule as the Nats and Braves will play two. That is a lot of games to pick, so let's get to them:
- The Braves over the Nationals: A lot of this game depends on which Edwin Jackson shows up. The guy is as predictable as the weather. The pick might also be swayed by Ben Sheets, whose story and comeback are just so compelling. It's hard to imagine him being as good as his first outing.
- The Dodgers over the Mets: Chris Capuano faces his old team. He will need to avoid the bat of David Wright and if he can do that, should win because the ancient Miguel Bautista gets a rare start out of the bullpen.
- The Tigers over the White Sox: You can feel this one coming. The Tigers have been slowly marching back to respectability and if this pick is correct, could take over first place. Chris Sale has been terrific for the White Sox, but has to crack sooner or later. Rick Porcello has had two of his best games this season against the White Sox.
- The Giants over the Phillies: The Phillies are trying to get a Cole Hamels deal done. Those things will not be affected if Hamels cracks a little against the hot-hitting Giants who have their ace, Matt Cain, on the mound.
- The Rangers over the Angels: Sooner or later, Josh Hamilton is going to hit again. Sooner or later, Yu Darvish is going to look good against somebody. Sooner or later, the Rangers' lineup is going to get cohesive again. Today could be that day. Ervin Santana will try to delay the inevitable.
- The Nationals over the Braves: Long-banished John Lannon will pitch for the Nationals after grumpily going to Triple-A in the spring. Here is his chance to thumb his nose at the decision. Randall Delgado having a good game goes beyond the imagination. But strange things do happen.
- The Indians over the Orioles: How do you predict Chris Tillman? One game he was terrific and the next he was pounded mercilessly. Let's go with Zach McAllister, who has been very good for the Indians.
- The Pirates over the Marlins: A.J. Burnett has sunk his season some since the All Star Break. But he should be able to beat the Marlins who are now without Hanley Ramirez for a few days after he punched a fan. No, not a paying customer, the whirling around kind. That was smart, Hanley. Carlos Zambrano could be brilliant and ruin the pick, but that is doubtful.
- The Brewers over the Reds: Yovani Gallardo was brilliant in his last outing against the Cardinals. Tease? Real? He should be better than Bronson Arroyo.
- The Twins over the Royals: Those darn Royals are always fouling this picker up. They should lose today with Luis Mendoza on the mound facing Scott Diamond. But this team wins when it should lose and loses when it should win. Imagine how frustrating this team has to be for its fans!?
- The Rays over the Mariners: The Mariners should not have lost a game in this series, but they have found creative ways to do so. Both teams are going to be gassed after going fourteen innings last night. Will this be another Alex Cobb taking one for the team event? Jason Vargas goes for the Mariners.
- The Blue Jays over the Red Sox: Carlos Villanueva has been good for the Blue Jays. AaRon Cook has been good for Boston. Which one will continue that trend? Darned if this picker knows.
- The Cardinals over the Cubs: Matt Garza will have lots of scouts watching this one. He is not as good on the road as he is at home, so that is a problem. Plus, the Cardinals have a great lineup. Jake Westbrook needs to hold the Cubs down though.
- The Rockies over the Padres: The only thing the Rockies have done right this season was pick up Jeff Francis. He is solid if not spectacular and pitching in San Diego will help him. And for the Padres, this picker still can't believe that Kip Wells found a major league job.
- The Yankees over the Athletics: Who knows. Jarrod Parker can be outstanding. But he hasn't looked it his last two starts. Phil Hughes has been good more often than bad this season. Can the Yankees get Coco Crisp out? Sheesh already.
And the Game of the Day!
- The Diamondbacks over the Astros: How did Stephen Drew's return get past this picker? When did he get back? Wade Miley should have no trouble with the Astros and the D-Backs should hit Dallas Keuchel.
Games of the Day: 59-42