I picked both ends of the Cardinals - Pirates double-header incorrectly (nice, Pittsburgh) and still picked twelve out of seventeen correctly. That is pretty sweet. Besides the Cardinals double-whammy, the only other incorrect picks were Mark Buehrle pitching his second brilliant game in a row, the Reds' bullpen blowing up again and picking the wrong mediocre pitcher to do well between Barry Zito and John Lannon. But it was still a great night and went a long way toward erasing a rather bland start to the week.
Today is the last day of July. Geez, it went by fast. It is also the trade deadline day. So any number of these games could be impacted by players moving. Regardless, here are Wednesday's picks:
- The Tigers over the Nationals: Justin Verlander has been the Tigers' worst pitcher for weeks now, which is really weird to say. And he faces Gio Gonzalez today, who is very good. But I have a feeling that the Tigers are playing so well and the Nats so poorly that the Tigers will still win the game at home.
- The Athletics over the Blue Jays: Yes, this pick did not work out well yesterday. But, man, can you pick against Bartolo Colon right now? I don't think so. His 80% fastballs might play into the hands of the Blue Jays' big hitters, but you could say that against a lot of teams and look at Colon's record. R.A. Dickey goes for the Jays.
- The Reds over the Padres: Okay, by now you know the drill. I was wrong on Eric Stults' first eighteen starts. So today, I think he will pitch well at home. Therefore, I have to pick against him. Besides, Homer Bailey is capable of a big game.
- The Indians over the White Sox: Corey Kluber got lost there for a little while, but he has come back well in his last three games and has to be the pick here over Dillon Axelrod. My only concern with this pick is that the Indians' bullpen has to be a little gassed after the last few games this week and could use a rest.
- The Orioles over the Astros: Erik Bedard could give the Orioles some problems. Nah, probably not. Miguel Gonzalez just wins and wins. The O's are the easy pick.
- The Phillies over the Giants: Two teams that seem to be going nowhere this season. With two pitchers that are of the mediocre variety. Regression finally caught up to Chad Gaudin in his last start (as I predicted) and Kyle Kendrick will get his team a win.
- The Cardinals over the Pirates: The Cards have to be a little shell-shocked right now and they do not have an easy task today against Jeff Locke, who I love. But can you pick against Adam Wainwright in a big game? I don't think so.
- The Braves over the Rockies: Every time I pick Mike Minor to win, he does not. So this pick is again stressful. But the Braves are on a serious roll and are cementing their division with this stretch. They get a pretty tough pitcher today in Tyler Chatwood though.
- The Mets over the Marlins: I have made fun of Henderson Alvarez for a month now and all he has done is pitch to superb games in a row. Shut up, William. Right? But he is canceled out by Jenrry Mejia, who was also terrific in his last start. If the two pitchers cancel each other out, go with the better team. Mets.
- The Red Sox over the Mariners: I still do not quite trust John Lackey, especially at home. But the Red Sox are so good that they will hardly flinch against a very good Hisashi Iwakuma. If Iwakuma was at home, this pick might be different.
- The Rangers over the Angels: The Angels have to be completely demoralized. They scored eleven runs yesterday and could not win. Their bullpen has blown two straight save opportunities. It's really sad. Compound that with Jerome Williams getting batted around a lot lately and even against the so-so Martin Perez, I cannot pick them.
- The Brewers over the Cubs: Edwin Jackson has been better of late and Wily Peralta has not been that great. But the Brewers have had their way in this series, so I am sticking with them.
- The Royals over the Twins: Don't look now, but the Royals are a game over .500. They are obviously a better team than the Twins. But on any given day, you know. I think the Royals will hit Kevin Correia though and Jeremy Guthrie is capable.
- The Yankees over the Dodgers: Hiroki Kuroda goes home. Kuroda has been the Yankees' best pitcher, so he will slow down the Dodgers in his former home park. The Yankees, with Derek Jeter and Alfonso Soriano, are not as culpable against left-handers. Of course, Clayton Kershaw is no ordinary left-hander.
And the Game of the Day:
- The Bay Rays over the Diamondbacks: Jeremy Hellickson is a five or six inning pitcher who gets by and always seems to win. He is not great, but he plays on a real good team. Wade Miley pitched much better his last time out, but he will meet Will Myers and that will not go well.
Games of the Day: 69-46 +1