After a horrendous 15-27 pick performance after the first three days of this week, there was a long, uphill climb back to respectability. And after an 11-3 night last night (yet another postponement), the picks have climbed to .500 for the week at 41-41 and are within a successful Saturday of finishing in the black.
But as long as I am feeling good about yesterday, I can still laugh at picking the Braves over the Tigers. I gave Anibal Sanchez's lifetime stats against the Braves, which were horrible and based the pick on that. But then he goes and strikes out seventeen, breaks a Tigers record and pitches the best game of the season. Congrats, Anibal. Nice game.
Matching Sanchez on the plus side was my man, Jordan Zimmermann, who pitched a complete game, one-hit shutout for the Nationals. The Cincinnati Reds, who have a pretty great lineup, have been one-hit by the Nationals for two consecutive nights.
Will the Reds rebound? Let's take a look along with all the rest of Saturday's picks:
- The Braves over the Tigers: I do not know about the Reds until we get there, but the Braves will bounce back tonight against Rick Porcello. I do not believe Porcello is a bad pitcher. I simply feel that he is in a bad atmosphere with a team that does not believe in him. Kris Medlen has not been as lights out as last year, but he will win today.
- The Nationals over the Reds: Yes, the Reds will recover their batting stroke against Dan Haren. The trouble is that the Nationals will recover theirs as well against Mike Leake. I am predicting a high scoring game with the Nats coming out on top.
- The Phillies over the Mets: Man, this is a tough one. I do not like picking against the home team. And the Phillies are pitching a rookie in Jonathan Pettibone. But Pettibone pitched well in his first outing and Shaun Marcum is making his first start of the year for the Mets after starting the season on the DL. Marcum was never reliable when he was healthy never mind coming off the DL.
- The Athletics over the Orioles: The O's have run roughshod over the A's so far in this series. And today's A's pitcher, A.J. Griffin, got roughed up in his last start. But Griffin has never lost a game at home in his young career and that sways the pick despite the fact that Chris Tillman has not pitched that badly for the Orioles.
- The Yankees over the Blue Jays: Edwin Encarnacion is killing the Yankees and Juan Bautista is getting his homer stroke back. The problem is that the homers are all solo jobs because the top of that lineup is sucking wind. CC Sabathia wins over J.A. Happ.
- The Rangers over the Twins: Pedro Hernandez is yet another Twins' pitcher who is a soft-toss, BABIP-controlled pitcher whose effectiveness comes from the quality of contact and where the ball is hit. Like all the other Twins' pitchers, that does not inspire confidence. The Rangers have not exactly smoked the ball this season though. Derek Holland goes for the Rangers.
- The Pirates over the Cardinals: A.J. Burnett's stats are huge so far this season. I mean, he is really pitching well. But his team is not scoring him any runs. That could change today if the improving offense of the Pirates can get to Jake Westbrook. Andrew McCutchen is really due for a breakout soon.
- The Marlins over the Cubs: I have no idea who is going to win this game. I have to be honest here. The Marlins are demoralized and have little talent. Alex Sanabia is not going to blow people away. But gosh, the Marlins are going to win at least fifty games this season so it is a question of when to pick them. Travis Wood pitching for the Cubs seems like a good time. I will probably regret this.
- The Royals over the Indians: Rained washed out this pitching match-up yesterday and I am surprised the Indians are sticking with Scott Kazmir instead of skipping him. But I guess they have to figure out if he can help them. The guess for me would be no. Ervin Santana goes for the Royals.
- The Red Sox over the Astros: I just do not see the Astros having a chance against the Red Sox under any circumstances. Brad Peacock is capable of a decent game. But the Astros are not going to score enough despite Felix Doubront's unpredictability.
- The Diamondbacks over the Rockies: The Rockies have been playing extremely well but I think Wade Miley will slow them down today just enough to give the D-Back hitters enough space to catch up to Jeff Francis. If this game was in Coors, the pick would go the other way.
- The Giants over the Padres: I really do not know what to do with this game. Barry Zito just throws me for a loop. Will he get bombed? Will he throw a shutout? Who the heck knows. The Padres beat Lincecum yesterday despite a great performance by the Giants' pitcher. And then Eric Stults has looked brilliant and then the opposite. Crap. Picking the Giants.
- The Mariners over the Angels: How often does Felix Hernandez win two in a row? Not very often. But that is what I am asking him to do here today. Even the Mariners should score a few runs against Joe Blanton. So all King Felix has to do is hold the Angels to two runs.
- The Brewers over the Dodgers: Here is another game I do not know what to do with. First, the Dodgers are pitching Barney Fife...uhh...wait...that is Stephen Fife. And Fife is simply not a Major League pitcher IMHO. But the Dodgers are at home and it is not as if Wily Peralta is a household name. Crap again.
And the Game of the Day!
- The Bay Rays over the White Sox: Matt Moore has been so good so far this season that until he stumbles, he has to be the pick every time out. Gavin Floyd will never have that said about him.
Games of the Day: 18-8