The great start to this picking week has stumbled in the last two days and I just broke even yesterday in the twelve games that were played. Congrats go to the Dodgers and Don Mattingly for clinching their division yesterday (even though I did not pick them to win) and no, I did not think it was classless to go for a dip in that pool. I think some panties are worn too tightly. And congrats to the Boston Red Sox for clinching the playoffs. They will clinch the division in short order. Going from 93 losses a season ago to 93 wins this season is quite the accomplishment.
This coming week is going to be even more difficult to pick games as clinched division winners will rest people and who knows what will happen then. Let's see if it affects today's Dodgers pick as we take a look at Friday:
- The Braves over the Cubs: The Braves want to get their own clinching done and will push forward until that happens. Then they won't have to hear about last year's collapse any more. Scott Baker continues his comeback attempt with the Cubs and Paul Maholm goes for the Braves (which is my only concern for this pick.
- The Pirates over the Reds: This game features a great, on-paper, pitching match-up as Mat Latos and Francisco Liriano go for their respective teams. Latos has seen his strikeout totals go down in his last four starts and his hits against go up. He may be tired. Liriano has been terrific.
- The Indians over the Astros: Would it not be something if Terry Francona got his guys the wildcard and had to face the Red Sox in the playoffs? I really like Brett Oberholtzer but the Indians like lefties and should win behind Zach McAllister.
- The Nationals over the Marlins: If Jordan Zimmermann wins this start and his last one next week, he could reach twenty wins for the season. I would like that. Jacob Turner has had a tough time of it for the last month for the Marlins.
- The Phillies over the Mets: Daisuke Matsuzaka actually pitched really well his last time out, but it was against the Marlins. Philadelphia doesn't have a much better offense than Miami's but enough to make a difference. Besides, Cole Hamels is pitching.
- The Yankees over the Giants: What a weird series to be taking place this late in the season. And the pitching match-up is full of angst as CC Sabathia goes against Tim Lincecum. This game could go either way. If Girardi starts Vernon Wells again against a right-handed pitcher, forget it.
- The Bay Rays over the Orioles: The Orioles go into a must game with Jason Hammel. If he beats David Price, I will be one surprised game picker. But surprise seems to be my middle name. Have you noticed Price's walk rate? 1.4 per nine, which is really impressive!
- The Red Sox over the Blue Jays: The Red Sox are not going to rest until they clinch the division. That means that Jon Lester and his offense behind him should pound Esmil Rogers into submission.
- The Rockies over the Diamondbacks: What is it about the D-backs and their fans that get some upset about any perceived slight by the other team? Gosh, is it why Barry Goldwater came from that state? It makes it really hard to like them and pick them. Jhoulys Chacin over Randall Delgado.
- The Cardinals over the Brewers: Did you know that Johnny Hellweg's full name is Johnny Hellweg? Why would parents give a guy a name that means he never grows up? He is right-handed so that means the Cardinals pound him. Shelby Miller with the win.
- The Rangers over the Royals: This is a game that could go either way. Both are playing for a wild card. The Rangers have a better chance at it. Martin Perez over Ervin Santana.
- The Athletics over the Twins: Bartolo Colon wins another one. Why the heck not. The A's need to clinch so they will keep playing hard. Andrew Albers is trying to hang on to the big league dream.
- The Angels over the Mariners: Matt Shoemaker makes his Major League debut for the Angels after toiling six yeas in the minors. His Triple-A numbers are skewed by playing in the PCL. But it appears he has excellent control. I will pick him over the Mariners and Erasmo Ramirez.
- The Padres over the Dodgers: I would imgaine that the Dodgers will be hung over after their little pool party. Expect a lot of fillers to play. Edinson Volquez will not be on the playoff roster I hope. Robbie Erlin goes for the Padres.
And the Game of the Day:
- The Tigers over the White Sox: The Tigers want to clinch and Max Scherzer needs to get to twenty wins. That would make it a win/win. The White Sox are just playing out the string and cannot even play spoilers here with Andre Rienzo starting.
Games of the Day: 97-69