The Game Picks were 7-7 headed into the Game of the Day. It was the make or break game. The Game of the Day was the Cardinals over the Astros. Oh no! Not the old Bud Norris curse again! You've got to be kidding! It's back? Yes. It is. And for about the one-hundredth time this season, the Cardinals messed up a pick and a day. Not that there weren't a bunch of other gaffes. One of the contenders in the AL Central was going to lose a ballgame. The wrong one was picked. That's two more bad picks right there. Drew Pomeranz won a game!? How did that happen? The Braves weren't hung over at all. And there was symmetry to the ending. Craig Kimbrel recorded his 40th save of the season by striking out four in one inning. A wild pitch allowed him to tie an old record shared by many others.
September continues to be a difficult month. Some teams are pouring it on hoping to get a final spot in the playoffs. Others are dying off. It is hard to predict. Teams that have nothing to play for are unpredictable and are playing many players on their roster to see what they have. All a picker can do is to hang on and try to read the tea leaves. It's not easy.
There are twelve games on the schedule and seven games will be played during the day. This should be the last off day for some teams before the end of the season. Thursday's picks:
- The Brewers over the Reds: This game is worrisome. The Reds have nothing to play for. All they are interested in is giving a guy like Mat Latos some regular reps to stay sharp. To think he will pitch deep in to the game seems a stretch. A pitcher like Wily Peralta can have a great day and beat a sleepy team like the Reds right now. But Latos is so good at times, that this pick is dangerous. Ugh.
- The Mets over the Pirates: This pick is purely sentimental and is made with the hopes that R.A. Dickey can win his 20th game. The head knows that "20" is just a number and means little in the grand scheme of things. But we Americans so love our multiples of ten. Come on, Dickey! Win the thing! Kevin Correia can get in the way, of course.
- The Rangers over the Athletics: A Rangers' win will split the series and leave the Rangers exactly where they were before the series started. Matt Harrison is the Rangers' ace and Travis Blackley is probably the weakest link in Oakland's tough rotation.
- The Rockies over the Cubs: For no other reason than somebody has to win this game of also-rans. Jhoulys Chacin is now a part of that 75 pitch crap so it won't matter how good he is or isn't. Chris Volstad can't seem to get out of the fifth inning himself these days (or all of September) and should not fare well at Coors.
- The Angels over the Mariners: This is by no means an easy match up for the Angels. Hisashi Iwakuma has been the real deal and has pitched extremely well as a starter. He shut down the Rangers in his last start. But Dan Haren is also pitching very well and the Angels simply have more talent.
- The Giants over the Diamondbacks: Not too many people are making fun of Barry Zito this season. The eyes still have to be rubbed to see that he is 13-8 with a 4.14 ERA. Heh. Who would have guessed it. Patrick Corbin hasn't had much fun starting for the Diamondbacks lately.
- The Nationals over the Phillies: Gio Gonzalez needs one more really good start to really cement his front-running Cy Young Award status. Tyler Cloyd is pretty good though for the Phillies. Pretty boy Cloyd? Ha!
- The Yankees over the Blue Jays: Yeah, probably a stupid pick. Ivan Nova got rocked his last start. But maybe it was a fluke. And just because Brandon Morrow is an outstanding talent and the Blue Jays' best pitcher doesn't mean his team will win. Though the probably will.
- The Marlins over the Braves: The Marlins might as well win a game or two before Ozzie gets fired. Is Stanton playing? If so, he should hit one or two off of Tommy Hanson, who has become a homer-giving machine. Jacob Turner gets a good game.
- The Bay Rays over the White Sox: It's no fun fading at the end of the season. The White Sox are in an abyss and playing the Rays does not help. James Shields should out duel Jake Peavy.
- The Padres over the Dodgers: The Dodgers simply don't trust Chris Capuano as they pull him usually before he goes a third time through a batting order. That puts a lot of outs into their bullpen. Casey Kelly walked too many batters his last time out. He should be better tonight. Tough young pitcher.
And the Game of the Day!
- The Tigers over the Twins: The Tigers, on the other hand, have to keep winning. And Doug Fister is facing a team he just shut out a week ago. So you have to figure he will pitch well. Luis Mendoza is just too unreliable and too much of a BABIP pitcher to pick.
Games of the Day: 101-66