I could not ride Friday's success into another good day on Saturday. Less than half the picks were correct and the week ended with the tally of just three games over .500. Blech. I suppose the final tally is good news considering how poorly the week started. But you would think that I would have some sort of idea what players and teams could do after watching them for four months now.
Maybe a part of it is being a slow learner. Justin Verlander simply is not what he used to be. And yet I continue to pick him like he is. The Giants are not a World Series Champion caliber team anymore and I pick them like they are. I keep picking the Rays to win on the West Coast when obviously they cannot. It all reminds me of my former brother-in-law when he was young. After being brought before a judge after his sixth speeding incident within a six month span, the judge looked at him over his glasses and said, "Slow learner, aincha?"
- The Yankees over the Red Sox: Jon Lester has been pitching really well and Hiroki Kuroda has been pitching poorly after being brilliant for three-quarters of the season. The Red Sox have pounded the Yankees for three straight games in Yankee Stadium. So why pick the Yankees? Kuroda during the day is pretty hard to beat. He has a 2.19 ERA this year in day games after having a 1.99 ERA in those games last year.
- The Nationals over the Marlins: Stephen Strasburg is pitching, so naturally that means the Nats won't score many runs (if any). But I have to pick him over Jacob Turner based on talent level.
- The Phillies over the Braves: Holy cow, the Braves sure can look awful for a team that has a fifteen game lead in their division. The Phillies are playing well under Ryne Sandberg and Cole Hamels has been pitching well. Paul Maholm's BABIP for the game will determine the outcome.
- The Orioles over the White Sox: And the losing streak continues for the White Sox, the AL East's designated punching bag. I cannot see Andre Rienzo stopping the Orioles and can see Bud Norris breezing through the White Sox.
- The Tigers over the Royals: The one time Bruce Chen faced the Tigers this year, the Tigers pummeled him. That has happened pretty consistently over Chen's Royals' career. Doug Fister is either great or terrible. Which will today be?
- The Blue Jays over the Twins: Esmil Rogers of the Blue Jays gives up a lot of homers. But then you look at the Twins' lineup and say, "who is going to hit them?" Plouffe maybe. Who else? That said, the Blue Jays will win and Andrew Albers will be the victim.
- The Cardinals over the Pirates: The key to this game will be Michael Wacha's pitch count. If he can keep it under control and go deep into the game, the Cards win. Charlie Morton has never convinced me no matter how many games he wins.
- The Brewers over the Cubs: Scott Baker. Wow. It's been a while, sir. Baker has not pitched in the Majors since 2011. He was a pretty good pitcher at one time with good control and a decent strikeout rate. The strikeouts were gone in his minor league starts this year. So I don't know. Yovani Gallardo seems a better pick.
- The Angels over the Rangers: The Angels have finally woken up. Just in time to mess with the Rangers who are fighting for the division. It is not going well for the Rangers who have lost too much offense this season. Jason Vargas over Nick Tepesch.
- The Giants over the Diamondbacks: Obviously, I am a slow learner. Why else would I keep picking Madison Bumgarner to win when he never does when I pick him? Wade Miley goes for the D-backs.
- The Athletics over the Astros: Bartolo Colon has given up 71 hits in his last 58 innings of work and has failed to go more than five innings in each of his last three starts. But I pick him because he should win against the Astros even though young Paul Clemens is pitching pretty well.
- The Padres over the Rockies: Ian Kennedy has been playing with my head all season. I cannot seem to time my picks for when he pitches well. He is at home in San Diego and that sways me as that is a good place for a fly ball pitcher. Chad Bettis still has not won a game.
- The Rays over the Mariners: The Rays are 17-5 in games Matt Moore has pitched this season. That seems too overwhelming for odds to pick against no matter how poorly the Rays are playing right now. Erasmo Ramirez has been a surprise though for the Mariners.
- The Dodgers over the Reds: I have flip-flopped on this pick a couple of times already. Homer Bailey has been great lately with his latest outing being a dominant start against the Cardinals. But he is facing Clayton Kershaw, the best pitcher in the National League. Cincinnati plays in a small park though. How will Kershaw handle that?
And the Game of the Day:
- The Indians over the Mets: I suppose it is possible for Daisuke Matsuzaka to pitch a good game for the Mets. It just is not probable. Either way, it will be a very long baseball game. Gosh, the guy is slow. His pace is 26.1 seconds. That is brutal. Danny Salazar for the win.
Last week: 50-47
Games of the Day: 89-65