Happy 236th birthday, America!
When this picker went to bed last night, the picks sat at 8-3 and a good day seemed to be on its way. The Yankees' loss was frustrating. The Miami pick was right until Heath Bell stepped on the mound. And the Tigers continued their personal crusade to give this picker constipation. But otherwise, things were going well. Not a single pick went right the rest of the evening as the Red Sox, Reds, Cardinals (the pick of the day) and Mariners all lost. Instead of a good day, it became simply another mediocre one.
Ah well. Today is a great day. Today celebrates a brave group of leaders who hammered out a declaration of freedom. That is infinitely more important that who won what baseball game. And yet baseball goes on and as it does, so does the picks:
- The Giants over the Nationals: This game starts before noon! Madison Bumgarner should be better than Edwin Jackson. But you never know with Jackson who can be brilliant just as much as he can be awful.
- The Mets over the Phillies: The Cliff Lee story has become fascinating. Can he turn it around? Is he the symbol of a lost Phillies campaign? And what of Chris Young? You keep waiting for his arm to fall off and he keeps throwing gems. Going with Young and knocking on wood.
- The Pirates over the Astros: Dallas Keuchel continues to confound and Kevin Correia continues to be a fringe major league pitcher. And even so, the Pirates will win.
- The Angels over the Indians: Which pitcher will be worse? That is the story in this one as the struggling Ervin Santana meets the struggling Derek Lowe. Whichever team wins, this picker hopes Shelley Duncan hits another homer. You never should have lost playing time to Johnny Damon, son.
- The Red Sox over the Athletics: Which surprising pitcher will win? AaRon Cook missed no bats in his last start and managed to pitch a gem. Talk about your BABIP starts! Meanwhile, A.J. Griffin has been baffling teams since he first came up this season.
- The Orioles over the Mariners: The Orioles will bring back Chris Tillman to start this one. It's been a long time, man! Giving him the nod over poor Hector Noesi who just loses and loses.
- The Marlins over the Brewers: Okay, here's the thing. Josh Johnson will be terrific for six innings but will not go any further because he cannot find a way to cut down his pitch count. The Marlins have to build enough of a lead on Randy Wolf to make this game bullpen proof.
- The Tigers over the Twins: The Twins are red hot and no longer the laughingstock of baseball. Good on them. But Justin Verlander is still the best pitcher on the planet and single-handedly keeps the fading Tigers division hopes alive. Brian Duensing will keep it close.
- The Royals over the Blue Jays: Luis Mendoza is so hard to predict. He is a BABIP pitcher which means that things all depend on where his batted balls go during the game. Carlos Villanueva is a decent all around kind of pitcher and much like Mendoza in difficulty to predict.
- The Braves over the Cubs: Paul Maholm (read Luis Mendoza up above - same thing) versus Randall Delgado. There has to be a reason why the Braves keep running Delgado out there. Haven't figured that one out yet.
- The White Sox over the Rangers: Going with Dylan Axelrod in this one over Scott Feldman. It was like weighing them on a scale and Axelrod just felt heavier. The White Sox are a tough team right now anyway.
- The Cardinals over the Rockies: The Rockies four man rotation sure seems to have more than four guys in it. Today features Jeremy Guthrie who had been banished to the bullpen. He will probably throw a surprising outing today because that is the way baseball goes. But Adam Wainwright should be better.
- The Reds over the Dodgers: Mike Leake has been very good in his last three starts. Aaron Harang is good at home though. Tough one.
- The Diamondbacks over the Padres: The Padres have been killing the Diamondbacks. But man-crush, Ian Kennedy, is back on the hill for the D-backs. The Padres go with Jason Marquis.
And the Game of the Day!
- The Rays over the Yankees: The Yankees have Tropiphobia and cannot beat the Bay Rays. No matter how flawed this team is and loses to other teams, they will always beat the Yankees at home. David Price over David Phelps.