The good news from yesterday was that it was not a disaster like two of the previous three days that preceded it. The bad news was that it was not good enough to make up much ground in the hole the week has put me in. At least it was a positive day with eight correct picks and six incorrect ones. I thought sure there was going to be nine correct picks as the Braves brought in Craig Kimbrel in the ninth with a two run lead. That is a lock, right? Wrong. Kimbrel coughed up the lead and the Braves lost in extra innings.
The other strange development was a walk-free, seven-inning shutout performance from Edinson Volquez to beat the Brewers. Seriously? Edinson Volquez? One more strange one for you. First, the Astros scored ten runs. If that was not strange enough, Brandon Laird played first base and batted third for the Astros and went three for four with two doubles and a homer. Crazy.
There are twelve games on Thursday's schedule including three day games. The picks:
- The Phillies over the Pirates: James McDonald was really good his last time out. The question is whether he will get any run support against Cliff Lee. The pick is that he will not.
- The Tigers over the Royals: For the second time this season, Justin Verlander will match up with James Shields in what should be a great game. The edge has to go to Verlander at home. I watched a highlight of last night's game and yes, Jose Valverde got his first save. But man, those were three really loud outs. His performance bears watching.
- The Dodgers over the Mets: The Mets got a big walk-off grand slam from an unlikely source last night in a Mets win behind another good outing from Matt Harvey. But Jeremy Hefner is not Matt Harvey and Hyun-Jin Ryu is doing pretty well in this country so far.
- The Red Sox over the Astros: There is perfect symmetry here as Clay Buchholz is 4-0 and Philip Humber is 0-4. The strong opinion here is that the symmetry will continue as the former gets win number five and the latter gets loss number five.
- The Nationals over the Reds: The Nationals have been a major disappointment thus far and are under .500. Mostly, their bats have been sleepy. I think they will bust out today against Bronson Arroyo. But they will need a good performance from Gio Gonzalez who so far has not looked anything like the 2012 version.
- The Yankees over the Blue Jays: Mark Buehrle is a lefty. The Yankees' lineup against lefties has been pathetic with no switch hitters in the lineup for the first time in decades. Kevin Youkilis needs to be in the lineup but is having back problems. The key to the Yankees winning is Hiroki Kuroda. If he is on, they win.
- The Marlins over the Cubs: Geez. What a match-up. Kevin Slowey versus Edwin Jackson. Now there's a pitching lineup that will get your day going. Going with the home team on this one for a lack of any other reason.
- The White Sox over the Bay Rays: Chris Sale needs to come up big for the White Sox for this pick to come in. But he is capable and the Rays struggle to hit. Jeremy Hellickson was very good in his last start. Will he carry that over into this one? If so, the pick is in trouble.
- The Rangers over the Twins: Nick Tepesch has not yet convinced me that he is going to stay in the rotation for the Rangers. If he gets hit tonight, this pick is doomed. But if he can hold the Twins to three runs, the Rangers win with more than that against Vance Worley.
- The Diamondbacks over the Rockies: I do not see any clear favorite in this game. Trevor Cahill has been a disappointment for the D-Backs. Jorge de la Rosa has been decent for the Rockies. But the Diamondbacks are at home and I am definitely going with a home bent in this picking day.
- The Athletics over the Orioles: Jarrod Parker is in serious need of a good outing. He has been lit up so far this season. Heck, he has more walks than strikeouts. But he is pitching at home against an aggressive swinging team. So maybe that will work for him. That is the thought process behind this pick anyway. Jason Hammel goes for the Orioles.
And the Game of the Day!
- The Angels over the Mariners: I officially threw up my hands on the Mariners when they benched the slick-fielding shortstop who cannot hit in Brendan Ryan and replaced him with a non-shortstop who cannot hit in Robert Andino. And it does matter that Garrett Richards is facing Brandon Maurer.
Games of the Day: 17-7