The playoff landscape seems to change every week. One week a team seems to be out of it and is playing poorly and the next week, they are on top of their game and back in the hunt. These changes of course have affected the picks. Where the Mariners seemed like a lock to win most games just last week, this week, they sank like a stone. What will they do next week. The Yankees looked dead before the break and have only lost once. The Giants and Dodgers take turns looking awful and then good. Picking baseball games is already difficult and it is not getting any easier.
As such, I was fortunate to finish just a game over .500 yesterday in a seesaw day. The Game of the Day was wrong for the second day in a row as the Rangers actually beat the A's. Huh? With Jerome Williams on the mound? Yasiel Puig had eleven total bases with three triples and a double.
- The Blue Jays over the Yankees: Left-handed pitching does not bother the Blue Jays. In fact, I think it helps them. And forgive me if Chris Capuano doesn't fill me with warm fuzzies. I think Chase Whitley would have been better. But anyway, it all depends on Drew Hutchison who has not pitched well at all lately.
- The Cubs over the Cardinals: The Cardinals should never lose to the Cubs. And yet they do no matter how often Cardinal fans make fun of the Cubs and their fans. Jake Arrieta gentille Arrieta will shut them down and Shelby Miller will allow enough runs for the Cubbies to take the second game of the series.
- The Nationals over the Reds: It's hard to pick against Johnny Cueto here except that Gio Gonzalez (if he is on) should be able to match Cueto. The Nats have more firepower and are the better team right now. The Reds have lost seven in a row.
- The Orioles over the Mariners: The right-handed Bud Norris gives the Mariners a greater chance to hit a little bit but I still think the Orioles' offense is going to chew up Chris Young and spit him out. So much for this tough schedule the O's were supposed to be facing after the break.
- The Phillies over the Diamondbacks: Yeah, I was wrong about the Phillies yesterday and maybe that made me rethink today. Stuff affects you after a while. Still, I do think Cliff Lee's second start will go better than his first and I do think the Phillies will score a few off of Josh Collmenter.
- The Red Sox over the Rays: While the Red Sox have lost four in a row and the Rays have won a gazillion in a row, this game is ripe for a Red Sox win. Jeremy Hellickson makes his comeback start after a long DL stint and I never thought he was that good to begin with. The Rays seemed better off without him. John Lackey has to have a good game though.
- The Royals over the Indians: As much as Jeremy Guthrie is a weakness for the Royals and something that helps the Indians, Zach McAllister sputters away that weakness by being one himself. The Royals have picked themselves off the deck.
- The Marlins over the Astros: Tom Koehler is my guy and he has been pitching well. But he gets little run support and Jarred Cosart can be pretty good for the Astros. With George Springer on the DL, it becomes harder for the Astros to score.
- The Brewers over the Mets: This one is tough for me because I like Jon Niese as a pitcher. But I am not sure how healthy he is and the Brewers are playing well again. Wily Peralta is inconsistent, but should win today.
- The Padres over the Braves: Yeah, let's go for three in a row for the Padres over the Braves. Why the heck not? Odrisamer Despaigne has been bamboozling MLB hitters since he arrived and Julio Teheran has been off of late.
- The Athletics over the Rangers: Fifty Shades of Sonny Gray. I love this guy and picking him rarely leads me astray...which rhymes with Gray. Nick Tepesch should not be much of an obstacle for the A's offense.
- The Pirates over the Rockies: This pick did not go well yesterday. And any pick that concerns Coors is a Hail Mary anyway. In a battle of lefties, I guess I would go with Jeff Locke over Tyler Matzek.
- The Angels over the Tigers: The Angels can hit Justin Verlander as Verlander is no longer the dominant pitcher that he was. On the other hand, those Tigers hit pretty well themselves and Matt Shoemaker is going to have to pitch really well--something has done more often than not.
- The Dodgers over the Giants: Once again, you cannot pick against Clayton Kershaw. On any given night, he can just make you look feeble. He is 11-2 after all. Ryan Vogelsong does not have the same cred.
And the Game of the Day:
- The White Sox over the Twins: I thought at first this would be a easy win for the White Sox with Chris Sale on the mound and a rookie fresh from the minors pitching for the Twins. But Logan Darnell is a lefty and that isn't good for the White Sox and he is a lefty that looks pretty good. If Sale does his thing, I should be correct anyway.
Yesterday: 8-7, July: 169-131, Games of the Day: 59-48 (-2), Season: 852-706