Another day back in Maine, another day in the red for the picks. What is the deal here? July was going swimmingly. Then I came home. Am I only smart away from home? Did the Yankee bullpen just cough up nine runs in three frames? Did the Phillies really sweep the Brewers with ease? Did I really think Tim Hudson could derail Scott Kazmir? Did the White Sox really cause Koji Uehara to blow a save in the nine and still lose? Haven't I learned not to pick against Aaron Harang?
Obviously, I am scratching my head this morning. But it is too nice a day here to complain for long. So I'll just pick today's games:
- The Cubs over the Braves: It does not appear that Jake Arrieta's success is a fluke. He is flat out dealing. The only question is whether the Cubs can muster some runs of offense. They did yesterday. Alex Wood is the Braves' fifth starter, so we'll see.
- The Indians over the White Sox: The White Sox bullpen gives me gas. Not pitching gas, but the indigestion kind. Hector Noesi has been quite the surprise, but Corey Kluber is the real deal for the Indians.
- The Orioles over the Yankees: Miguel Gonzalez has been awful all year. But then he went and confused me by being brilliant against the Red Sox his last time out. The Yankees' offense will make him look good too. Hiroki Kuroda is the last starter standing...the oldest. How's that for ironic.
- The Nationals over the Phillies: Jordan Zimmermann will need to be his good old self to beat a suddenly hot offensive club in Philadelphia. Who knows what A.J. Burnett will do.
- The Mets over the Marlins: Three of Zack Wheeler's last four starts have been good. He could be figuring things out. The Marlins do not thrive on the road and Henderson Alvarez could make a difference.
- The Pirates over the Reds: I hate to pick against Mat Latos, but Jeff Locke has really been a nice addition to the Pirates' rotation and the Reds are missing two big chunks of their lineup and are not as effective against lefties. Tough call that could go either way.
- The Rays over the Blue Jays: Mark Buehrle has gone back to being ordinary and has lost his last five decisions. He bends but doesn't break. But if he gives up three or four runs, that might be enough for Chris Archer.
- The Red Sox over the Astros: This Pierzynski think is going to play out like Nomar in 2004 and whether or not it's a real factor, if the players believe so, it could end up being so. I don't count the Red Sox out yet. Not in this division. John Lackey over Scott Feldman.
- The Tigers over the Royals: In the AL Central, the Tigers are like this big elephant and the rest of the teams are these gnats it swats away with its swinging tail. Anibal Sanchez over Danny Duffy.
- The Brewers over the Cardinals: This is a huge series even though there is a lot of time left in the season. The Brewers have been tumbling but the Cardinals have to overcome Yovani Gallardo at home and have to do so with the return of Joe Kelly, who will most likely need bullpen help.
- The Rockies over the Twins: Kris Johnson scares me for the Twins, especially at Coors. The Twins' offense loses a bat with no DH and the offense can barely afford to lose that. Jorge De La Rosa should win this one.
- The Mariners over the Athletics: This will be Felix Hernandez's fourth start this year against the A's. Two have been great and wins and one was a poor outing with no decision. Jeff Samardzija might have an unfamiliarity advantage here, but I have to give an edge to the King at home.
- The Padres over the Dodgers: I just like Jesse Hahn. He is my new man-crush and I think he'll have a good day. That is probably foolish because the Padres hardly ever win and Dan Haren is having a decent season.
- The Giants over the Diamondbacks: Tim Lincecum is hard to predict. It does appear that he is starting to make the transition to pitcher and has been much less of a drag on the Giants this year. Mike Bolsinger is trying, but I'm not sure he's ready for the big show.
And the Game of the Day:
- The Angels over the Rangers: What I see from Ranger supporters on Twitter is the concern not only that the Rangers are playing badly, but that they are lackadaisical while doing so. That doesn't sound good and bears watching for Ron Washington's job. Garrett Richards over Nick Tepesch.
Yesterday: 5-7, July: 78-63, Games of the Day: 52-44, Season: 761-638