This is a very cool day. First, the sun is shining and golf should be fun for a change. Secondly, I finally had a good night last night after having the worst picking week of my career. And lastly, and most importantly, I have special guests to challenge me for the picks. Let me set up how this came about.
It is no secret that I have been on an alarming bender with the picks. Nothing has gone right and May and particularly June have been terrible. This past week, in my frustration, when I promoted my newest picks post on Twitter, I wrote: "A 5 year old could do better right now." Cardinal writer extraordinaire, Daniel Shoptaw (@C70), tweeted back, "Sounds like a great idea. Pick a day and I'll have my kids pick games, we'll compare them to yours."
And so we communicated and Benjamin Shoptaw (8 1/2), Sarah Shoptaw (just turned six) and dad (ancient) all submitted picks for today's games. I will list them after my picks (so I am not influenced
by them) and then tomorrow, I will tally them all up. Many thanks to Daniel for making this happen!
My Sunday's picks:
- The Indians over the Nationals: Stephen Strasburg returns for the Nationals, and while that is exciting, he will probably only pitch five innings or so. Meanwhile, Corey Kluber has been very good with great outings against the Red Sox, Rangers, etc. Both pitchers can throw zeroes but the Indians win late.
- The Cubs over the Mets: The Cubs have had their way all weekend in this series. Matt Garza should bounce back from his last outing to get back on the trade deadline lists. Jeremy Hefner has been better of late, but even if he is good, the Mets cannot score.
- The Reds over the Brewers: The Brewers kicked the Reds yesterday and it was one of only four bad picks all day. I do not think that will happen today since Johnny Cueto is on the mound for the Reds and should be better than Wily Peralta.
- The Cardinals over the Marlins: Giancarlo Stanton has been hot since coming back, but I anticipate this game to go much like yesterday's where the Cards score double digits so it does not matter how many the Marlins score. Tyler Lyons has not fared well lately and Ricky Nolasco is pitching with scouts in the stats for those deadline deals.
- The Orioles over the Red Sox: The Orioles have dominated the Red Sox ever since September of 2011. The Red Sox got off that ride a little bit yesterday behind John Lackey. Today is Jon Lester's turn and while I believe in Lester's talent, he has been shaky lately and Miguel Gonzalez has had good success against the Red Sox and all AL East teams.
- The Pirates over the Dodgers: Gerrit Cole's MLB debut in his last outing was successful and the Pirates are playing really well. Zack Greinke could slow them down. But the pick is for the Pirates to continue to dominate this series.
- The Rays over the Royals: There are several reasons I am picking the Rays but Ramon Hernandez is not one of them. So do not think I have gone to the dark side on my feelings for him. I have not become Faustus (or Fausto). The Royals are moribund. Wade Davis is the Royals' version of Phil Hughes and the Rays are at home.
- The Astros over the White Sox: I have picked against the Astros this entire series and have been burned by it. Do you realize that the White Sox only have three more wins this season than the Astros? Yeah, that is bad. Dallas Keuchel over Hector Santiago.
- The Tigers over the Twins: This is a double-reverse pick. The Tigers should win all of these games. But they have not won any of them. P.J. Walters has done nothing but win lately. Doug Fister has done nothing but lose lately. So I am still reversing all of that logic to pick the Tigers to win. Baseball is a funny game.
- The Blue Jays over the Rangers: You never know if Derek Holland is going to throw a gem or a booby trap. His left-hand throwing will not bother guys like Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. But the Jays need a good start from Chien-Ming Wang for this to happen.
- The Angels over the Yankees: The Yankees' offense is painful to watch. Ichiro Suzuki is playing his heart out and gets on third with no outs after a bunt single and two stolen bases. The next three Yankee batters struck out. That, friends, is the epitome of the Yankees' offense right now. Jerek Weaver over CC Sabathia.
- The Mariners over the Athletics: This is a tough, tough pick. I have had success all season picking Hisashi Iwakuma to win. I have had great horrors all season picking Bartolo Colon to lose (he is 8-2). So which truth today will hold more evident? Yikes!
- The Diamondbacks over the Padres: The only place that Clayton Richard can pitch halfway decent is at home, which he is. But Ian Kennedy as a fly ball pitcher should also pitch well at Petco. Going with the D-backs despite the loss yesterday.
- The Phillies over the Rockies: Who the heck knows. Cole Hamels is 2-9. The world is upside down. Jhoulys Chacin is as confusing as ever. Coors Field is the ultimate wild card. All I can do is pick a winner and hope.
And the Game of the Day!
- The Braves over the Giants: This is also the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball game. And so, it will be interesting. Julio Teheran might melt in the spotlight. But it is more likely that the Braves will hit some dingers off of Tim Lincecum or that the formerly long-haired and formerly great pitcher will have no control and get in trouble that way.
Yesterday: 11-4 Well, what do you know!?
Last week: 42-52 Was beyond saving.
Games of the Day: 44-30
And now the Shoptaw picks: