The last day of July finished a bit limply with a day just barely over the .500 mark. I picked the Yankees win almost exactly. But the Pirates' amazing sweep of the Cardinals surprised me each and every day. Pittsburgh must be jumping and rightly so. Even so, July ended much better than May and June and came in at about a 59% success rate. Not too shabby.
Can you imagine how depressing the Angels' clubhouse is right now? Holy cow. Three straight walk-off losses. What a killer. And the Indians and Royals are on fairly long winning streaks. Things are getting interesting.
There are eleven games on our Thursday schedule. Only three of them are day games. Here are Thursday's picks:
- The Indians over the White Sox: The Indians have won seven straight. And for the fourth straight day, they get to play the White Sox. Justin Masterson has turned into one of the best starters in baseball and should at least keep up with Chris Sale, who cannot buy run support.
- The Mets over the Marlins: I praised Tom Koehler before his last start as a guy figuring things out. And then he had a bad outing. He should pitch well against the Mets. But the Mets are starting Matt Harvey. Sorry, Tom.
- The Royals over the Twins: The Royals have won six straight. Eric Hosmer has been terrific. The pitching has been very good. How about a sweep then? Okay. James Shields over Scott Diamond in the daylight.
- The Orioles over the Astros: The Astros destroyed the Orioles last night and the O's have hit a rough patch. The might get a boost tonight though as Bud Norris makes his first start for his new team against his old team. Jordan Lyle tries to beat his ex-teammate.
- The Phillies over the Giants: Can we stop pretending the Phillies are contenders now? A big time writer tweeted yesterday that the Phillies would end up with more wins than the Braves. Poppycock. Cole Hamels will get a win today though and out-pitch Matt Cain.
- The Pirates over the Cardinals: Okay, Pirates, you win. I have picked against you the entire series and you have made me look like an utter moron. So even though I hate picking Charlie Morton, I will. The Cards starting Joe Kelly makes it a little easier. Can you imagine a five game sweep? Wow.
- The Braves over the Rockies: This is an interesting game. The Rockies will feature the Major League debut of Chad Bettis. Bettis was on the high prospect lists but missed all of 2012. He has the lovely combination of a high strikeout rate and a low walk rate. So he could stifle the Braves. But more likely, he will give up a couple of runs in five innings of work and Julio Teheran will get the win.
- The Mariners over the Red Sox: This pick is contingent on Felix Hernandez totally stifling the Red Sox' offense. If he does, the M's get a few runs off of Ryan Dempster and get a rare win.
- The Dodgers over the Cubs: The Dodgers had to fly to Chicago overnight for this game, which is tough. But Ricky Nolasco looks like a new guy since he moved to the Dodgers. Chris Rusin has had some success in his first crack at a full-time rotation gig. But he is not blowing people away and my feeling here is that he has been a bit fortunate.
- The Angels over the Blue Jays: I would say that this is a series of two of the bigger disappointments for teams this season. The Angels were brutalized in the late innings by the Rangers. But may get to nurse some wounds against the Blue Jays. Josh Johnson is 1-7 and a puzzle. The Angels should really let Garrett Richards stay in the rotation the rest of the year and get a foundation for the rest of his promising career.
And the Game of the Day:
- The Rangers over the Diamondbacks: The D-backs are starting Zeke Spruill who, judging from his minor league numbers, is more of a finesse pitcher than a power pitcher. He has a low minor league K/9 rate. Besides, he will likely only go five innings or so. It would be nuts not to pick the Rangers and Yu Darvish.
Games of the Day: 69-47 -1