The early picks were a mess. The Phillies, Braves, Royals and Pirates all were picked and lost. In fact, the Pirates lost in the worst way possible as Homer Bailey threw a no-hitter. Way to go, Homer. And the picks stood at 2-4 at that point and it looked like it would be a bad day. The turning point was when the Angels and Twins both won in upset fashion to even the record. The picks would go 8-1 the rest of the day including a clean sweep of all the late games out west. Nice.
The only AL wild card contender to lose was the Rays, so that team put a dent in their playoff hopes. They now have to jump over two other teams to get a spot in the playoffs. The Cardinals demolished the Nationals to really put a stranglehold on that last NL wild card spot with five games to go. Clayton Kershaw was heroic in trying to keep the Dodgers' hopes alive, but their chances are slim and none at this point.
There is a tinge of sadness in all of this. This is the last Saturday of the regular season. And only five more days remain to what is always the end of a daily ritual that has been going on for four months. So here are the last Saturday of the regular season's picks. [sniffle]
- The Yankees over the Blue Jays: Every game for the Yankees from here on out is like a playoff game. And who do you want to pitch in a Yankee playoff game? Why, that would be Andy Pettitte. He hasn't given up a run since his return and you can't expect that. But he will limit the damage and allow the Yankees to gang up on Ricky Romero.
- The Angels over the Rangers: The Angels are still gunning for that last wild card spot and Ervin Santana has really turned around his season. Meanwhile, the Angels have done nothing but bash around the Rangers' Derek Holland every time they have seen him.
- The Athletics over the Mariners: The A's need to keep winning to stay a game ahead of the charging Angels. They draw a tough pitcher in Jason Vargas and Dan Straily will have to be really good to win. It has to be tough for the A's to rely on these young kids to pitch them into the playoffs.
- The White Sox over the Bay Rays: Another win by the White Sox would just about bury the Rays so far back that even their three-game series against the Orioles to end the season won't matter. And the match up favors the White Sox with their ace, Chris Sale on the hill going against Matt Moore. Moore has had trouble in recent outings staying in the game. for very long.
- The Orioles over the Red Sox: Steve Johnson has come out of nowhere to go 4-0 for the Orioles. That is the kind of season the Orioles are having. Felix Doubront has been better of late, but the Red Sox are dead in the water.
- The Reds over the Pirates: The Reds will continue to rest their big guys but Mike Leake should build on Bailey's masterpiece against a dead Pirates' offense. Kyle McPherson still hasn't won a major league game and won't today either.
- The Royals over the Indians: This picker better get used to spelling Jake Odorizzi's name as he appears to be the real deal. He goes against Jeanmar Gomez, who still doesn't look like a big league starter from this lens angle.
- The Brewers over the Astros: A battle of two inconsistent starters as Marco Estrada would seem to have a better shot at pitching a good game against the Astros than Dallas Keuchel would have of doing the same to the Brewers in their home park.
- The Braves over the Mets: Chris Young has made all of his starts since returning from a long injury rehab and that is impressive and promising for him to rebuild his career. But Mike Minor will out-pitch him in this one as the Braves win a meaningless game.
- The Marlins over the Phillies: Roy Halladay just doesn't seem right and he was having spasms by his shoulder the other day. That isn't good. Meanwhile, Ricky Nolasco has been solid and effective the entire second half of the season. Giancarlo Stanton has 35 homers in just 118 games played.
- The Cardinals over the Nationals: You can't blame the Nationals to play at a less than stellar pace down the stretch when they have won the division. Don't expect Jordan Zimmermann to remain in the game very long. The Cardinals still have some work to do before clinching their wild card spot and Kyle Lohse has been their good luck charm.
- The Diamondbacks over the Cubs: Here is an interesting fact for you: The Cubs have not won a game on the road against a NL West club this season. Not one.They won't win today either as Trevor Cahill will finish his up and down season with a win. Justin Germano hasn't had much success in the majors.
- The Padres over the Giants: Eric Stults has been terrific for the Padres this season and has experience pitching well against the Giants. This could be a 1-0 or 2-1 win over Madison Bumgarner, who is just getting some work in before the playoffs.
- The Dodgers over the Rockies: The Dodgers will keep playing like they have a chance even if they don't. Joe Blanton will give them a good outing and Tyler Chatwood will yield enough for the Dodgers to win.
And the Game of the Day!
- The Tigers over the Twins: This sure looks like a mismatch on paper. Not only will Justin Verlander try in one more start to get enough cred to overcome Jered Weaver's 20 wins for the Cy Young Award, he will try to greatly improve the Tigers' chances of winning their division. P.J. Walters would not appear to be able to keep up with him.
Games of the Day: 103-66