The week ended on a sour note at the picks finished at one game under .500. Of course the Cardinals were part of the reason. The Yankees beating the Rays was part of the reason except it's hard to complain there. The thing that hurt the most was losing the Game of the Day. That feature was on a fifteen day run of successive correctness. So to have the Phillies lose to the Astros and get blanked by Dallas Keuchel, of all people, not only was the dagger in the day being over or under .500, but it ruined a great streak.
September is still proving to be a very difficult month to pick baseball games. After 204 picks this month, September stands at 103-101. That is not exactly high flying, especially after the rest of the months were a total of 230 picks over .500. This month is starting to turn out like the last two minutes of a basketball game where everything changes. And yeah, that blown save by the Angels was particularly shocking.
Oh yeah, and it sure was embarrassing for yesterday's picks post going more than half the day with the wrong day of the week in the heading. Duh.
The only thing to do is to continue to pluck along one day at a time. Sunday's picks:
- The Yankees over the Rays: This game is huge for both teams. If the Yankees win, it puts a huge dent in the Rays' hopes. If the Rays win, the Yankees are vulnerable from the Orioles again. Big, big game. And the Yankees have the right guy on the mound. Hiroki Kuroda has been the team's most consistent pitcher. But not only that, he is 9-5 at home with a 2.38 ERA with an OPS against under .600 AND has an unbelievable 0.84 ERA in days games. The obstacle, of course, is Matt Moore, a pitcher much capable of shutting down the Yankees' offense.
- The Red Sox over the Blue Jays: Are the Red Sox really going to win three in a row? Perhaps. Brandon Morrow is the Blue Jays' best pitcher. But Jon Lester seems back in gear and is supposed to be the Red Sox ace. The battle for last place in the division continues.
- The Marlins over the Reds: Ricky Nolasco is the hottest pitcher in baseball right now. He has been superb for the Marlins for the last month and a half. Mat Latos is terrific too, but he'll give up a run or two. Who knows if Nolasco will give up any.
- The Phillies over the Astros: The Phillies should win, but after their shocking loss yesterday, the feelings are not as strong today. Roy Halladay has been just above ordinary since coming off the disabled list. But he is the best pitcher of his generation, so you got to pick him. Jordan Lyles has been better of late, but some of it against weak competition.
- The Angels over the Royals: Despite the Angels horrific loss yesterday, the pick goes back to them. Dan Haren has been himself again in his last three starts. Will Smith's scoreless outing last time out was a bit of a Houdini act.
- The Twins over the White Sox: This game was debated internally for about ten minutes before deciding to go with the first instinct. Scott Diamond is perhaps the Twins' best starter. Joe Mauer is killing the ball in September. Jake Peavy is having some command issues. The pick feels right even if it seems outlandish.
- The Cubs over the Pirates: The Pirates are starting Jeff Locke again while fighting for the last playoff spot? He has started seven big league games and has not won any of them. Then again, Chris Volstad became the standard for losing there for a while. But he seems back since returning to the minors.
- The Tigers over the Indians: Okay, the Tigers are starting to play really strong again. Fielder and Ramirez are diving all of the place and hitting the ball. Rick Porcello has been solid. Ubaldo Jimenez is, as always, a wild card.
- The Rangers over the Mariners: The M's got a surprise win yesterday as they jumped on Feldman and held on as the Rangers rallied and rallied. They won't score like that against Matt Harrison and the Rangers will continue to rally and rally against Blake Beavan and anyone that follows him.
- The Athletics over the Orioles: The Orioles are caught with a weak starter in a series they are in danger of getting swept in. Randy Wolf is an experienced pitcher, but gosh, he hasn't had much in the tank this season. The A's pitch Dan Straily, who is young and scary who can be scary.
- The Padres over the Rockies: Love this Andrew Werner story. A tryout pitcher makes good? Let's make a movie on this one. He should pitch well again and get a W over Alex White and the Rockies.
- The Giants over the Diamondbacks: Buster Posey is amazing. Ryan Vogelsong has been perplexing. But gosh, if Zito wins, Vogelsong should. Patrick Corbin does not impress the picker enough to garner a consideration for a pick.
- The Cardinals over the Dodgers: Oh please, this picker can't help himself. But it's Adam Wainwright, man! But he might be fatiguing with his rebuilt elbow. But the Dodgers are starting Stephen Fife, who was terrific before being replaced by Joe Blanton. Fife got no run support. And none of us are excused if we can't help calling Fife, "Barney."
- The Nationals over the Braves: The Braves have had their way this series and unlike last year are in a great position not to blow the wild card lead. They have a huge lead. Mike Minor has been much better but Gio Gonzalez is going for his 20th win. Have to root for that.
And the Game of the Day!
- The Brewers over the Mets: Wily Peralta has looked...well...wily in his first two starts and only a low strikeout rate is cause for concern. Chris Young is always a concern for the Mets.
Last week: 52-42
Games of the Day: 92-64