And the winner is Benjamin Shoptaw! The eight and a half year old son of Cardinals writer, Daniel Shoptaw (@C70), participated along with his six year old sister, Sarah, and Dad against yours truly in a game picking contest yesterday. Benjamin went 9-6 with the picks while Daniel and I both went 8-7. Sarah had six games correct. I will be offering young Benjamin a contract within the next couple of days or so. Heh.
But it was great fun and proved, once again, how difficult it is to pick baseball games. On any given day, any team can win no matter how bad a team they are. And conversely, any team can lose no matter how good a team they are. Thank you so much, Shoptaw Family, for the great fun and who wants to be next? Maybe we can have a challenge like this every Sunday!
Monday's picks return to me flying solo:
- The Cardinals over the Cubs: The Cards has a surprisingly difficult weekend with the Marlins while the Cubs had a good weekend with the Mets...until Carlos Marmol entered the game in the ninth inning yesterday. That has to be demoralizing to lose in that fashion so many times. Shelby Miller should just be a bit better than Travis Wood in this one.
- The Royals over the Indians: Carlos Carrasco has pitched twice for the Indians this year and has been absolutely pounded. So, of course, that means he will throw a gem tonight, right? Even if he does, James Shields will hold the Indians back and allow the Royals to win a game.
- The Nationals over the Phillies: Both teams are struggling offensively. The pitching line of Dan Haren and John Lannon does not scare anyone. All I can keep thinking about is Cole Hamels, who lost due to poor umpiring, dunk hits and his team not scoring yesterday. The Phillies are not a good team.
- The Blue Jays over the Rockies: The pitching line here concerns me. Josh Johnson simply cannot put it together either physically or on the mound. Jorge De La Rosa, who has far too many names, can be quite good. But the Blue Jays are at home, the Rockies are going to miss Troy Tulowitzki and that's the pick.
- The Tigers over the Orioles: The only fear in this pick is the eighth and ninth inning and the Tigers' bullpen. But otherwise, Max Scherzer is exceptional and Jake Arrieta is up and down.
- The Braves over the Mets: Dillon Gee has been out of his mind lately and it all started in his start against the Yankees, which figures. I have not picked him since and he has won every time. Since I do not quite believe he is that good, the pick is Tim Hudson and the Braves. Slow learner, ain't I?
- The Pirates over the Reds: Two good teams. The Reds have the better offense. So the pick comes down to which pitcher could be really good today. Francisco Liriano seems to have a better chance of that than Mike Leake. So that is the pick.
- The Athletics over the Rangers: I hate winning and losing streaks. The Rangers have lost six straight. The A's have built a decent lead in the AL West. Are the Rangers dead? Will they roar back? I cannot pick then with Nick Tepesch on the mound. The streak goes to seven as Dan Straily tries to prove that he can kill more teams than just the Yankees.
- The Astros over the White Sox: Yeah, that is what I said too. What the heck!? But the White Sox are terrible. The Astros are on a roll. Who the heck knows. This is a coin toss of a pick.
CarlosJose Quintana goes for the Pale Hose and Bud Norris goes for the 'Stros.
- The Angels over the Mariners: It is hard for me to judge Aaron Harang and Jason Vargas. They both look like superstars against the Yankees and that is the only time I watch them pitch. In reality, both are mediocre at best. The Angels have to be the pick at home.
- The Giants over the Padres: Yes, the Padres have won a bunch of games in a row. And yes, against some good teams too. And yes, Barry Zito is pitching for the Giants. But this pick is against Edinson Volquez more than anything else.
And the Game of the Day!
- The Diamondbacks over the Marlins: The Marlins just finished gave the Cards all they can handle. Huh!? Jacob Turner has been decent since his call up. But I have to go with Patrick Corbin here. That is the only pick that makes sense.
Games of the Day: 45-30