Monday was a good day with only three incorrect picks. The first one was a blanking of the Phillies by Nathan Eovaldi of the Marlins along with two relievers. Roy Halladay, who I picked to win, left the game early with nothing left in his arm. Which is a shame. The other two I had talked about yesterday. Two teams who had clinched, the Braves and the Tigers, lost. And I mentioned how difficult it was to pick those kinds of games. That will occur all week and the question is how sharp these clinched teams play the last lame duck part of the season.
But 9-3 is 9-3. The Rays completed their burying of the Orioles and if that was not bad enough, Manny Machado suffered a horrendous injury. There is nothing baseball fans want to see less than a young superstar in the making suffer what could be a career altering injury.
Before I get to the picks, I just wanted to give a special shout out to a very special person on this very special day.
- The Rays over the Yankees: The Rays have everything going for them and the Yankees have nothing going for them. Hiroki Kuroda has hit a wall down the stretch and Matt Moore just wins and wins.
- The Orioles over the Blue Jays: The Orioles have to be devastated by what occurred to Machado yesterday and by totally ralphing for the month of September. But Chris Tillman should be celebrated for the great season he has had. He will beat Todd Redmond.
- The Brewers over the Braves: Even if Freddy Garcia has a good outing, which is stretching the imagination, young Tyler Thornburg has made quite the impression so far in his very early MLB career.
- The Reds over the Mets: Jonathon Niese is not a pushover by any means and this pick is not made without some thought. But the Reds still have a chance for the division as they are only two out with six to play. Mike Leake has been solid all season.
- The Phillies over the Marlins: This is not a ringing endorsement for Zach Minor. He is sort of a journeyman pitcher. And his success will depend on the lousy offense of the Phillies scoring off of Henderson Alvarez. But this feels like a Phillies win.
- The Rangers over the Astros: The interesting question is not whether the Rangers will win, but if the Astros will win another game this season. Brad Peacock has held his own this season, but Yu Darvish needs to give the Rangers a chance for a miracle. They are the only team with a slight chance to catch the Indians for Wild Card #2.
- The Pirates over the Cubs: The Pirates cannot let up as they are two games behind the Cardinals and the top spot is infinitely better than heading to a play-in game. Gerrit Cole had a bad start his last time out, but otherwise has been great. Chris Rusin has been nothing to write home about.
- The Tigers over the Twins: Here we go again with a team that does not have to worry going against a team that is just playing out the string. Doug Fister goes against Scott Diamond, who was good his last time out.
- The Nationals over the Cardinals: I will be sorry to see Davey Johnson go. He was a great manager during his career. And he is a good guy. This pick is for the Nats because Gio Gonzalez is a lefty and a good lefty and the Cards have had trouble with that all year. Michael Wacha goes for the Cards and their best chance is for Wacha to match Gio and let it become a bullpen game.
- The Red Sox over the Rockies: The Red Sox have nothing to lose and will probably have John Lackey just go five or six innings. They should enjoy Coors Field and I expect a high score as they should be all over Tyler Chatwood.
- The Athletics over the Angels: The A's pushed back A.J. Griffin to today and still won yesterday. Griffin will not go deep into the game, but should win as the A's do enough damage against Jason Vargas.
- The Diamondbacks over the Padres: The Padres are finishing the season on kind of a high note. But so is Wade Miley and he should enjoy Petco. Tyson Ross pitched half his games in the best pitching park in baseball and still went 3-8.
- The Mariners over the Royals: The Royals have had a very good season and they have been thrilling to watch in September. But they come up short for the post season and today will be the final nail. James Paxton has been terrific for the M's and looks like the real deal. Plus, he is a lefty. Bruce Chen is not nearly as reliable on the road as he is at home.
- The Dodgers over the Giants: The Giants' offense has been ineffective (to put it mildly) and should not be much improved facing Hyun-jin Ryu. Matt Cain has not been a lockdown pitcher like in the past.
And the Game of the Day:
- The Indians over the White Sox: Ubaldo Jimenez has been one of the best pitchers of the second half and the Indians are on a mission. Hector Santiago throws from the left side, which does not bother the Indians. Nick Swisher is a better hitter from the right side, for example.
Games of the Day: 100-70