For a short schedule, Thursday was a good day. Seven of nine correct is a fine tally. But as always, it was the two that got away that get all of my attention. If you reread yesterday's version, you can even see me say that Jonathon Niese was due for an overpowering performance. And yet, I still picked against him because it was the Cardinals he was facing at home. The Mets won easily despite facing Adam Wainwright.
The other wrong pick was the Yankees. Aaron Harang was supposed to start. I predicted the Yankees would rough him up. Instead (and I never heard why), Hector Noesi got the start. He was part of the Jesus Montero deal and has an astronomical ERA as a member of the Mariners. Noesi shut down the Yankees for four and a third and then five other relievers held onto the lead while Andy Pettitte hurt his back in the fifth inning.
But again, it was a good day. And now on to Friday:
- The Mets over the Cubs: The Matt Harvey show makes a stop at Wrigley and it will be an afternoon game and is must-see TV. The kid is amazing. Edwin Jackson will try to keep the Mets scoreless to at least give the game to the bullpen.
- The Phillies over the Reds: The Phillies are at home and Phil Lee is having a good season with a 4-2 record. With the Phillies not playing well, few have noticed. Tony Cingrani still has not lost a game and experts are poo-pooing his fine start to his MLB career. Time will tell if they are right or not.
- The Pirates over the Astros: Neither pitcher fills me with much enthusiasm. Jeanmar Gomez has pitched okay, but I still do not trust him. Jordan Lyles still sounds like the name of a country singer rather than a pitcher. The Pirates had a good series in Milwaukee. The Astros lose a DH as if their offense can afford to lose another bat.
- The Indians over the Mariners: Interesting game and one that is hard to peg. The M's won two of three from the Yankees. The Indians are pitching better. Among those pitching better is Ubaldo Jimenez. But it is still hard to trust him. Brandon Maurer has had some good games. Hard one to judge.
- The Orioles over the Rays: The Rays just cannot get going. And the fact that Fernando Rodney is not locking it down at the end is killing them too. When I see a guy like Rodney who was so good last year go through this, it again makes you amaze at Mariano Rivera. Rivera never had such a stretch. Jason Hammel over Jeremy Hellickson.
- The Yankees over the Blue Jays: The Yankees lost two more players yesterday in Andy Pettitte and Chris Stewart. Hiroki Kuroda will try to keep their ship afloat against a tough Blue Jays' lineup. Mark Buehrle is having a tough season, but he could hold the Yankees in check.
- The Marlins over the Diamondbacks: The Marlins will win 50 games this season. As I have said before, the trick is to figure out which games those will be. I think this one will be one of them. Kevin Slowey can have a good BABIP game and the Marlins can squeeze a few runs out of Trevor Cahill.
- The Braves over the Dodgers: Hyun-Jin Ryu has been very good. There is no doubt about that. But the Braves have the kind of right-hand hitting pop that can get to him I think. At least, that is my story and I am sticking to it. Paul Maholm goes for the Braves.
- The Rangers over the Tigers: I am not feeling this as strongly as I did yesterday when Darvish was the winner as predicted and Verlander got whacked. Rick Porcello pitches well on the road. Nick Tepesch is the wild card for me. I simply have no idea how good he is or is not.
- The Red Sox over the Twins: Clay Buchholz is really good. And it has nothing to do with tanning oil and rosin. The Red Sox had a huge comeback win against the Rays last night so they should be pumped. I really thought Vance Worley would be better for the Twins than he has been.
- The Cardinals over the Brewers: I hate picking the Cardinals. I just do. In my mind, they should win this game as Jaime Garcia is usually good at home. But Wily Peralta is an unfamiliar pitcher to me. I have just seen his name every five days doing this every day. But I really know nothing about him.
- The Giants over the Rockies: How the heck did the Rockies blow a 6-0 lead against Matt Cain, no less? Amazing. It is that kind of thing that will always keep the Rockies from contention in the end. Madison Bumgarner over Jorge De La Rosa.
- The White Sox over the Angels: Glub, glub, glub go the Angels as they lose day after day. Extraordinary development. Chris Sale will not make it any easier on them today. C.J. Wilson will not be head and shoulders above Sale. Did you see what I did there?
- The Royals over the Athletics: I kind of root for the Royals, just so you know. That might influence the picks a bit. But I do think that James Shields is better than Jarrod Parker so, all feelings aside, the pick should be correct.
And the Game of the Day!
- The Nationals over the Padres: Burch Smith made his major league debut his last time out. It did not go well. I am not expecting much better today. Gio Gonzalez should enjoy Petco and have a good day.
Games of the Day: 32-13