Wednesday was a fantastic picking day. Thursday was as bad as Wednesday was good. That's baseball for you. Joe Nathan blew a save for the Rangers. The Astros beat the Phillies late. The Orioles should never be picked against these days, even against the Rays. King Felix had nothing against the Blue Jays who deposed him. The Royals blew a save. And the Angels ended the A's winning streak as Jered Weaver came back to pitch a gem. It was an awful picking day. And for the second time in a week, the Game of the Day pick was rained out. How odd is that?
Isn't it amazing that the baseball season has less than twenty games to go? And it is going to be a fascinating finish in both leagues. The wild card races are simply crazy. It all begins tonight with a full slate of games with some rather interesting series. Here is a look at those games and the Friday picks:
- The Pirates over the Cubs: The Pirates aren't totally dead but they are on life support. They need to win most of their games from here on out. The Cubs should help though the team from Wrigley has played the Pirates tough this season. James McDonald over Chris Rusin.
- The Yankees over the Bay Rays: What a match up! At least on paper. David Price versus C.C. Sabathia! Price is missed a start due to shoulder inflammation but says he is ready to go. Sabathia has lost velocity and it is hurting his effectiveness. Which one blinks? Which one will come up big? After the Rays were swept by the Orioles, this is a chance to bury the Rays or let them back into the race. It is up to them.
- The Blue Jays over the Red Sox: The Red Sox had to fly overnight to Toronto after losing two of three to the Yankees. Aaron Laffey has been the target of jokes around here, but he has been decent for the Blue Jays. Daisuke Matsuzaka was brutal in his last start. Edwin Encarnacion reached the 40 homer mark and the 100 RBI mark in his last game. Quite a season for him.
- The Reds over the Marlins: Bronson Arroyo should benefit from the big ballpark in Miami and the Reds' only problem these days is how to get everyone enough at bats in the lineup. Jacob Turner is making baby steps for the Marlins but has a tough task facing the Reds.
- The Braves over the Nationals: This is a huge series for the Braves, if not so much for the Nats, who have all but wrapped up the division. But this could be a playoff preview so the Nats will want to show up well. Kris Medlen has been amazing for the Braves and that should continue tonight. Ross Detwiler has pitched well, but he is not overpowering like Medlen.
- The Phillies over the Astros: This game will not be a cakewalk for the Phillies. Edgar Gonzalez has come out of the Mexican Leagues and proven he can pitch in the majors. It's a great story. But unfortunately, his Astros will not hit Cole Hamels.
- The Rangers over the Mariners: An all Japanese match up is interesting as Hisashi Iwakuma squares up against Yu Darvish. The Rangers at home are a tough task for anyone. Iwakuma looked really great until his last start. Darvish has been much more impressive over the last month.
- The Angels over the Royals: A lot depends in this game how good C.J. Wilson is pitching in Kansas City. He should be fine, but that really bad stretch of his mid-season was scary. Bruce Chen at home is decent, but the Angels' lineup should get to him.
- The White Sox over the Twins: Like the Indians, the Twins will pay for the rained out game yesterday as now they get Chris Sale. Ouch. Sales should...well...sail through the Twins' and the White Sox should have a happy offensive game against Esmerling Vasquez.
- The Brewers over the Mets: Mike Fiers wants to prove he belongs. The Brewers want to prove they can still make it to the wild card spot. The Mets want to prove...uh...that Lucas Duda can play first base? Jonathan Niese goes for the Mets and will get no run support as usual.
- The Giants over the Diamondbacks: The Giants are going to win this division handily and Matt Cain is going back to the playoffs. Meanwhile, they have to play out the rest of the season like traveling to Arizona to take on Tyler Skaggs and the Diamondbacks. Should be no problem.
- The Athletics over the Orioles: Whoo boy. The two hottest teams in baseball square up. This picker keeps picking against the Orioles like some mad scientist thinking he is going to be a genius, only to have his latest experiment blow up in his face. But geez, Joe Saunders? He is not this good. He just isn't. Tommy Milone will have to be on his best game though. Plus, the Orioles had to travel across country overnight after a fourteen inning game.
- The Padres over the Rockies: Andrew Cashner is back and that is so cool. Love to watch that kid pitch. The Padres are playing good ball and should win this game at home. Tyler Chatwood goes for the Rockies.
- The Cardinals over the Dodgers: The Dodgers, despite their money tree, are not going to make it to the playoffs. They just don't have enough pitching to get there. Chris Capuano is a fringy fifth guy for most teams and he has to be a number two for the Dodgers. It doesn't work. Joe Kelly isn't thrilling for the Cardinals, but he should keep them in the game long enough for the Cardinal offense to take over this one.
And the Game of the Day!
- The Tigers over the Indians: Aren't the Indians lucky? Justin Verlander was supposed to pitch yesterday against the White Sox but the game was rained out. Instead, the Indians will get him on an extra day of rest. Corey Kluber will be no match.
Games of the Day: 91-63