The Independence Day picks did not sour like a rocket into the sky. Rather, they fared about as well as an alien from space did in the movie starring Will Smith. So many things went wrong. The Yankees won a game that David Price started against David Phelps. Not that this picker is complaining about that. But what a shock. The Red Sox were swept by Oakland! Who saw that coming? Cliff Lee finally won a ballgame. Did not predict that. The Blue Jays got great pitching. Did not see that either. And the Angels were mutilated by the Indians putting a huge dent in their new-found status as an elite club. So, yes, the picks on July 4 were the firecracking equivalent of a dud.
Thirteen games are on the schedule today. Four teams have the day off. Three of the games are day games, which is always fun. Thursday's picks:
- The Twins over the Tigers: The picks begin with a real puzzler. Scott Diamond has been very good all season and is 7-3 with an ERA under three. But Rick Porcello has been coming on strong himself these days after a rough start to the season. Overall, the Twins are playing better than the Tigers these days.
- The Brewers over the Marlins: Mike Fiers has been outstanding and with him on the mound, the Brewers have to be given the nod at home. Mark Buehrle will give up two or three runs. The question will be if that is low enough for Fiers.
- The Rangers over the White Sox: The White Sox are hugely susceptible to left-handed pitching and Matt Harrison is one of the best. Jose Quintana continues to win, but his fastball looks straight and he can roll his slider at times. Quintana should neutralize Josh Hamilton, but not the big right-handed bats in the Rangers' lineup.
- The Pirates over the Astros: This picker is beginning to get excited about the Pirates. This is fun! Jeff Karstens surprised in his last outing. Bud Norris seems to be the ace that never becomes the ace. Maybe someday he'll put it together.
- The Nationals over the Giants: The Nats have been impressive in this series as they took care of Bumgarner yesterday. Matt Cain struggled against Cincinnati last time out. Is he tired? Is he okay? Or was it just a BABIP game? Hmm... Ross Detwiler should be good for six innings. Davey better take him out after that.
- The Indians over the Bay Rays: The Rays are coming off a successful series against the Yankees that did not end well. The Indians destroyed the Angels in their series and have Travis Hafner back. Jeremy Hellickson still seems overrated to this picker. Josh Tomlin needs to be fine though.
- The Blue Jays over the Royals: This picker is through trying to figure out Luke Hochevar. He is maddening! Going with Henderson Alvarez and the Blue Jays' bats at home.
- The Cubs over the Braves: The Braves are as maddening as Hochevar. They are supposed to be a good team, right? But the Cubs have looked far better. Matt Garza over Mike Minor.
- The Mets over the Phillies: Great match-up of Cole Hamels and R.A. Dickey. In these super match-ups, it seems impossible to pick which one will have the stellar day. This pick is a 50/50 deal.
- The Cardinals over the Rockies: This picker is officially worried about Lance Lynn. It would have been better for him not to have been picked for the All Star Team. He hasn't been as sharp. Is he fatigued? On talent alone, he should beat the Rockies once a decent Christian Friedrich eats up his 75 pitches.
- The Diamondbacks over the Dodgers: Two teams that need to get going and can't seem to. Nathan Eovaldi deserves to win a game. But will today be the day? That is the dilemma here. On the other hand, Wade Miley has been SO good but was bad his last time out. Ugh.
- The Angels over the Orioles: Both pitchers, Garrett Richards and Jake Arrieta (Arrieta gentille Arrieta) had really rough starts their last time out. Richards seems the better pick to snap out of it.
And the Game of the Day!
- The Reds over the Padres: Mat Latos faces his old team. And with the way he's been pitching lately, it will be painful for Padres' fans to watch. Edinson Volquez goes for the Padres.
Games of the Day: 53-36 (three day losing streak)