What a baseball day! The Giants clinched a wild card berth with the Brewers total collapse official. The Royals had a thrilling comeback win to ensure a tension-packed weekend to either determine the AL Central or the pecking order of the wild card game. And biggest of all, Derek Jeter had the walk-off hit in his last ever appearance in pinstripes.
As for the picks, they started out zero for four. The Brewers had a game that typified their season. They got out to an early lead and Yovani Gallardo was pitching effortlessly. Then he lost it and the game got away. Say goodnight, Brewers. Then I got both ends of the Nationals - Mets double-header wrong. And the Mariners finally beat the Blue Jays. Zero for four. Uh oh.
But I did not get another pick incorrectly for the rest of the day and ended Thursday at 8-4. Nice comeback, kid.
Three days to go. Today's picks:
- The Nationals over the Marlins: Holy cow! The Nationals played two yesterday and will play two again today. It's a good thing they have expanded rosters. I think they will split like yesterday, but I got the order wrong yesterday. Doug Fister should shine in his final tuneup before the post season. He will only go five or six innings, but it should be enough over Jarred Cosart.
- The Marlins over the Nationals: Who knows what will happen this game. Andrew Heaney gets the start for the Marlins. He has the most hype of any prospect in the Marlins' system, but hasn't had much fun in the Majors thus far. He faces Taylor Hill making his first MLB start. Since Hill is a BABIP kind of pitcher, I'm going with Heaney.
- The Phillies over the Braves: What will this off-season hold for the Braves? We already know part of the answer as Wren was fired as the GM. Will we see a complete house cleaning in management and coaching? It will be interesting to watch. In the meantime, the Braves have to play three more games and I imagine they are a dispirited bunch. Jerome Williams has been good for the Phillies and Ervin Santana hasn't won a game in a while.
- The Indians over the Rays: There is a lot going on in this game. If Corey Kluber pitches well, he is my CYA pick. If he doesn't, then I will have to look at it much more closely. But I think he will against the offensively-challenged Rays. Chris Archer gets the Rays' call. What the heck happened to him in the second half?
- The Blue Jays over the Orioles: I can't imagine Chris Tillman pitching very long into this game since Showalter has already said he is the Game One pitcher for him against the Tigers in the ALDS. Drew Hutchison is unpredictable, but when he is good, wow.
- The Tigers over the Twins: The Tigers have to win one more game, perhaps two. Rick Porcello has struggled down the stretch. Anthony Swarzak, however, won't hinder their offense at all.
- The Red Sox over the Yankees: Chris Capuano has been dreadful and a start should go to someone else. Plus, the Yankees should be emotionally drained after yesterday. The only caveat is how well Steven Wright will pitch. He is highly regarded for the Red Sox' system.
- The Pirates over the Reds: Finally! I can pick a visiting team! The Pirates are still alive for the division title and need to win two to have home field in the wild car. All that said, they will be motivated. Vance Worley over Mike Leake.
- The Rangers over the Athletics: It is amazing that the A's found themselves in this position. They are highly fortunate that the Mariners could not sieze the moment. I just feel like the Rangers are rolling and would like nothing better than to knock the A's around to end the season. Nick Tepesch over Scott Kazmir.
- The Cubs over the Brewers: Jimmy Nelson has just been so-so for the Brewers this season. The Cubs have a chance with him. The Cubs will give Eric Jokisch his first MLB start. The young pitcher has excellent control and that is half the battle.
- The Royals over the White Sox: The Royals' only chance for the division is to win out and hope the Tigers fall, which won't happen. But they have to give it a go. It's too bad they have to pitch Jeremy Guthrie to start it off. But if they score on Hector Noesi, they can make it happen.
- The Cardinals over the Diamondbacks: Trevor Cahill should not be much of an obstacle for the Cardinals. Michael Wacha most likely will not figure into the Cards' post season plans, so it would be nice for him to finish the season on a high note.
- The Dodgers over the Rockies: The Dodgers don't have much to play for, but have the depth to win anyway, especially at home against the Rockies. Roberto Hernandez over Jordan Lyles.
- The Mariners over the Angels: The M's are totally at the mercy of what Oakland does this weekend. They have to win all three and hope. I don't think Hisashi Iwakuma is healthy. There is something wrong there. But if I am wrong, he will pitch well at home and Jered Weaver is not going to go very deep in this game.
- The Padres over the Giants: The Giants have clinched the wild card and can ease up a bit. I just don't think Ryan Vogelsong has much left to offer the Giants' rotation. Ian Kennedy has had a nice second half to his season.
And the Game of the Day:
- The Mets over the Astros: Jon Niese is very overlooked as a quality MLB starter. He should win his last start of the year working against the Astros. Brad Peacock goes for the Astros.
Yesterday: 8-4, Sept.: 205-139, Games of the Day: 103-65 (+3), Season: 1335-1073