Wednesday was a superlative day for the Game Picks with one slight problem. One of the only three incorrect picks of the entire day was the Game of the Day! That takes all the fun out of it. But there were some really good picks in there. It was hinted in the picks that Felix Hernandez would only need a run to beat the Rays. A perfect game later and that prediction looks aces. What a game he pitched! The Royals over the A's behind Will Smith was a really good pick. And the picks were definitely right on the Reds beating R.A. Dickey. On the down side, there are no excuses for picking the Blue Jays and the Astros. Those were just dumb picks.
Thursday features eleven games, which isn't bad for a usual travel day. The MLB scheduler really has the teams hopping this year. There hasn't been one Monday or a Thursday that had less than seven games on the schedule (that this brain can remember, anyway). This is very unusual after following this game for decades. Here are today's picks:
- The Yankees over the Rangers: A four game sweep of the Rangers seems highly improbable. Derek Holland usually pitches better on the road and in his last outing went toe-to-toe with Justin Verlander. There are two problems though. First, in nineteen outings, Holland has given up 22 homers. That translates to a 1.7 homers per nine rate. That's not a good thing in Yankee Stadium. Secondly, for his career, the Yankees have a 1.055 OPS against Holland and he is 0-5 lifetime against the Yankees with a 9.24 ERA. Oof. Ivan Nova should get Chris Stewart behind the plate again and that gives hope that he can have another good outing.
- The Pirates over the Dodgers: Went back and forth on this pick a hundred times. A.J. Burnett has had only one bad start at home but it was the last one too. Neil Walker dislocated his finger on Wednesday and is day to day. Joe Blanton can be decent and he can be hit depending on the day. The Pirates need this win.
- The Red Sox over the Orioles: Clay Buchholz is about as sure a thing as the Red Sox have. He has been really good for months now. Chris Tillman is confusing at worst and sometimes is really good. Have to go with Buchholz.
- The White Sox over the Blue Jays: Aaron Laffey can get through a lineup once. But by the second or third time, he gets knocked around a bit. Francisco Liriano will need to be good for the White Sox though and should triumph over a makeshift Blue Jays' lineup.
- The Reds over the Mets: Homer Bailey has given up a pile of runs in his last three games. But he should fare better against the Mets who are having trouble scoring runs. Matt Harvey looks like he is really going to be good, but he is kind of learning on the job in the big leagues.
- The Braves over the Padres: Jason Marquis has been terrific in his last half dozen starts. He is due for a rough up game and the Braves have the lineup to do that (sometimes). Kris Medlen has been sort of a good luck charm for the Braves. When he starts over his career, they win.
- The Athletics over the Royals: The A's are struggling suddenly and the Royals have won two straight against them. Luke Hochevar, the Royals starter is so hard to predict. He can be perfectly acceptable and then perfectly awful. The A's are due to break out the bats and this might be the game they do so. Dan Straily has good stuff but the Angels hit four homers off of him. He should do better against the Royals.
- The Phillies over the Brewers: Cliff Lee, under normal circumstances, is better than Marco Estrada, whose first name requires a response of, "Polo," and whose last name calls to mind, CHiPS. That poor bullpen of the Brewers. Wow.
- The Marlins over the Rockies: Giancarlo Stanton in Coors Field? That should be entertaining. Ricky Nolasco has the kind of stuff to succeed in that park while Alex White has less of a chance to pitch well there consistently.
- The Rays over the Angels: Dan Haren is not healthy. He doesn't pitch this badly when he is healthy. Something is going on with him. Meanwhile, David Price has the stuff to shut down Trout and the boys. The perfect game against the Rays will get them pretty steamed...enough to predict a rebound in this one.
And the Game of the Day!
- The Cardinals over the Diamondbacks: Baseball people still think the D-Backs are in the NL West race. That is not what this picker is seeing. And this series against the Cardinals has done nothing to change the mind any. Kyle Lohse over Trevor Cahill.
Games of the Day: 72-55