How bad is the Game of the Day feature this year when a team breaks an eight-game losing streak just to foil it? Pretty bad. And, of course, that outcome and the final outcome of last night's game of the Reds versus the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw put a damper on what was otherwise a good picking day.
There are eleven games on the schedule and some of them have great impact on the wildcard chase. Monday's picks:
- The Indians over the Royals: This is not a stunning endorsement for Ubaldo Jimenez. The only reason I pick him is that the best way to get to Jimenez is patience and the Royals are not a patient club. They are fifth in the AL in batting average, but only tenth in on-base percentage. Ervin Santana has not been rock solid lately either. Big game for both.
- The Orioles over the Yankees: First, Chris Tillman is as close to an ace as the Orioles have. Second, the Orioles are home. Third, CC Sabathia just cannot seem to avoid giving up five or so runs nearly every game he pitches.
- The Braves over the Marlins: It took Kris Medlen a long, long time to reach the .500 mark. But he has won six of his last eight starts and his last two in a row. As long as the Braves score a few off of Henderson Alvarez, they should win.
- The Reds over the Cubs: These are the games you have to look out for. The Reds have had two big series in a row and had a great time winning most of those games (including a sweep of the Dodgers). So you would expect them to beat the Cubs. Again, a pick fraught with danger. Bronson Arroyo and Travis Wood are the starters.
- The Angels over the Twins: Jered Weaver should have little trouble with the Twins' lineup. That said, the Angels need to score some runs off of Pedro Hernandez.
- The Nationals over the Mets: Carlos Torres has been fantastic in his two starts for the Mets. He has walked only one batter in 13.2 innings. But the Mets would need to score and I don't think they will against Gio Gonzalez today. If Gonzalez is off, this pick could blow up in a hurry.
- The Rangers over the Pirates: Good golly, don't I hate picking Yu Darvish to win. Every time I do it blows up in my face. And the Pirates are a great team. The outcome will depend on how well Gerrit Cole pitches and if the Rangers can get a lead before the Pirates' bullpen comes in and takes over.
- The Tigers over the White Sox: The Tigers have their hands full with Chris Sale. But that poor bloke can't seem to buy a win with that team behind him. Max Scherzer as an opponent does not help. This will be close and perhaps Miguel Cabrera makes the difference.
- The Mariners over the Astros: Two of my favorite young pitchers go in this one with Taijuan Walker and Jarred Cosart. Neither have struck out as many batters as I thought they would. That should change in this game though. This is a toss up and I am going with the home team.
- The Rockies over the Giants: Jhoulys Chacin has had a good season. And the last time he faced the Giants was at home and he allowed only one hit. He got hit a bit hard by the Dodgers his last time out though. Tim Lincecum was very good in his next to last start and very bad in his last start. So he is hard to predict.
And the Game of the Day:
- The Dodgers over the Diamondbacks: Did you know that Ricky Nolasco's real first name is Carlos? Anyway, old Carlos sure is having a good time in Dodgers' blue. He has a 1.65 in his four starts in Dodgers Stadium. That seems like a good pick to me even if faced by Randall Delgado.
Games of the Day: 89-66 -2