Eric Stults, I apologize. I said some disparaging remarks about him starting for the Padres yesterday and I was all wrong as Stultz was brilliant. His effort beat that pick and the ding was well deserved on this end. Then again, the disparaging remarks made about Brett Myers starting for the Indians were right on point as he threw a nice game of batting practice for the Blue Jays who won their first game of the season. Overall the day ended up on the plus side but the Game of the Day feature took it's first beating of the season with Cliff Lee having a brilliant game against the Braves.
Andy Pettitte, as predicted, gave the Yankees a chance to win and they did. Mariano Rivera had his first save opportunity since his knee injury and was successful (if a bit shaky with a run allowed). And as predicted, Brandon Maurer did not have a good debut and A.J. Griffin was much better for the A's.
The first Friday of the season brings us back to a full slate of games. It's going to be a big and wonderful day of baseball. The picks:
- The Yankees over the Tigers: The Yankees spoil the Tigers' home opener. Ivan Nova is a very important piece for the Yankees this season. If he pitches like last year, they are in bad shape. If he pitches like two years ago, then they will be better than anticipated. Doug Fister depends on location and keeping the batters off balance. When he does well, he's really good. If he is off, he is very easy to hit.
- The Rangers over the Angels: Josh Hamilton returns to Texas for the first time in an Angels' uniform. He's off to a slow start thus far and has to face a lefty in Derek Holland. Holland gives much more comfort in this one than Jason Vargas does as the Angels' starter.
- The Orioles over the Twins: The Twins took two of three from the Tigers over the weekend in surprising fashion. But the Orioles will beat up on Liam Hendriks and hope Jake Arrieta gives them a good outing too.
- The Royals over the Phillies: Let me ask this to Royals fans. When you see the last name of, "Davis," as the starting pitcher, doesn't it give you the willies? But take comfort, it is not Kyle Davies, it is Wade Davis. Davis seems better suited out of the bullpen, but he can be a decent starter for the Royals. Kyle Kendricks is generally as good as his BABIP allows.
- The Rockies over the Padres: The battle of the slop pitchers as Jason Marquis battles Jeff Francis. This could be ugly.
- The Giants over the Cardinals: I cannot gauge the Cardinals yet. They have a very good lineup. But anyway, Barry Zito's playoff run in 2012 confused me about how good he is or isn't. I think he'll be better than Jake Westbrook.
- The Blue Jays over the the Red Sox: I've been touting Josh Johnson all spring, so to pick against him would be pretty stupid, eh? Felix Doubrant can be tough, but his lefty offerings could be just what the Blue Jays are looking for too.
- The Bay Rays over the Indians: The Indians are on the soft side of their rotation as Zach McAllister does not scare anyone. Matt Moore has not come out gangbusters in his career as predicted. But he will be better than McAllister.
- The Mets over the Marlins: The Marlins may not win a game this season. Jeremy Hefner did not have a great spring, but he has a great arm and should be better than Alex Sanabia, who has done little in his big league career.
- The Reds over the Nationals: This game will be fascinating to watch. What kind of pitcher will Dan Haren be for the Nationals? If he can muster up some of his old dominance, there will be no stopping this Nationals team. I am not feeling it though. Going with Homer Bailey.
- The Braves over the Cubs: I have been a big booster of Scott Feldman for a long time. But when he finally got his shot in the rotation for the Rangers last year, he fizzled. Plus, the Braves have too much firepower. Mike Minor with the win for the Braves.
- The Diamondbacks over the Brewers: Nobody believes in the season Wade Miley had last season. Projections all predict him to regress. But I still believe. We'll just have to see how it plays out. Kyle Lohse gets the start for the Brewers and with his late signing, you wonder and the lack of real reps he had this spring.
- The Astros over the Athletics: What do you do with a Dan Straily / Brad Peacock match up? I don't know what to do with it. Give the pick to the home team and hope.
- The White Sox over the Mariners: Blake Beavan got belted around in Arizona, but you cannot take that too much into consideration considering. Jose Quintana surprised a lot of people last season. I still don't know if I believe what he did. But he should beat Beavan who will take a few games to get over his shell shock.
And the Game of the Day!
- The Dodgers over the Pirates: Jonathan Sanchez had about as bad a 2012 as you can have and still stay in baseball. Which just goes to prove that if you throw from the left side, you will always get the benefit of the doubt. Speaking of doubt, I doubt he will beat Zack Greinke making his season debut.
Games of the Day: 3-1