I thought I would write about how well Edwin Encarnacion's bat has kicked in lately with his 1.111 OPS and 14 RBIs in his last twelve games and what that has meant to the Blue Jays. But a picture really is worth a thousand words:
Saturday, May 10, 2014
Another day, another day that wasn't very good. At least I finished a pick over .500 this time and at least I was .500 on extra-inning games. But days like yesterday are extremely frustrating and, of course, the Game of the Day was wrong again. Amazing. The Marlins' streak ended in a big way. I told you Jose Fernandez is not the same on the road. Why did I not listen to myself? Phil Hughes. Phil freakin' Hughes. That's all I'm going to say there.
It was a real shame that Yu Darvish lost his no-hitter with two out in the ninth. I get the feeling that Ian Kinsler on defense would have made a difference there. But he plays for the Tigers now.
- The Tigers over the Twins: The Twins are quite pesky and I need about five hands to count all the times I've been wrong picking against them this season. I would pick them today with Kyle Gibson on the mound. I would, that is, if Max Scherzer were not pitching for the Tigers.
- The Dodgers over the Giants: I have a feeling this game might get testy around Puig. I could be wrong, but I feel it building. I like Zack Greinke over Matt Cain, who is coming back from his culinary cuts that caused him to miss a start.
- The Orioles over the Astros: Miguel Rodriguez has not been very good this season. But he gets the Astros. Collin McHugh was brilliant for two games and then not ever since.
- The Cardinals over the Pirates: Yesterday was a real bad loss for the Cardinals. They had that game and blew it. Today they have a favorable match-up with Lance Lynn versus Edinson Volquez. Will they take advantage?
- The White Sox over the Diamondbacks: Woe is the Diamondbacks. Gosh, it's ugly. Are they really this bad? Will it ever turn around? Today they get the lefty, Jose Quintana, who is starting to put it together again. Wade Miley has been better of late though.
- The Cubs over the Braves: I am going with Jeff Samardzija today. This is a tough guy here who is pitching great. He deserves a win. Ervin Santana is not this good. I repeat, he is not this good.
- The Indians over the Rays: Erik Bedard is simply not what he used to be and is a good symptom of what is wrong with the Rays. I am going with Zach McAllister instead.
- The Rockies over the Reds: This one is really tough. Alfredo Simon and Jordan Lyles have been two of the biggest surprises this year. They are a combined 8-1. One of them has to lose. I am going with Jordan Lyles because he has only given up three earned runs so far in three road starts.
- The Brewers over the Yankees: CC Sabathia returns to the home of his glorious run with the Brewers all those years ago. He will be remembered warmly there and will get lots of Milwaukee love. But he is not the pitcher he was then. He is far from it. Kyle Lohse is extremely effective at home.
- The Mets over the Phillies: This pick did not work out well yesterday. But I am a big fan of picking Dillon Gee. On the other hand, he hasn't pitched well over the Phillies through the years. So there is that. Kyle Kendrick goes for the Phillies.
- The Red Sox over the Rangers: Martin Perez was my guy and I hardly ever picked against him. But he has really kronked over the last two outings. And the Red Sox hit lefties well. Jon Lester is the only question. How good will he be in Texas?
- The Marlins over the Padres: Another pick that did not go well yesterday. Nathan Eovaldi is throwing serious gas. But he hasn't gotten the decision very often. Eric Stults confuses me.
- The Athletics over the Nationals: I like Tanner Roark quite a bit. But I like Sonny Gray even more. The Nats get an extra bat in the lineup, but does that help in the Coliseum?
- The Royals over the Mariners: Chris Young is pitching way over his head. But at 6'10" he pitches over most people's heads. His strikeout rate is like 4.5 per nine. This has to end soon. On the other hand, Yordano Venture is throwing great, especially on the road.
And the Game of the Day:
- The Angels over the Blue Jays: First off, I really like Tyler Skaggs. Secondly, J.A. Happ is pitching for the Blue Jays and is coming off the disabled list. That combination of things leans me in the Angels' direction.
Yesterday: 8-7, May: 67-57, Games of the Day: 16-20, Season: 300-232
Friday, May 09, 2014
When the Texas Rangers signed Shin-Soo Choo to a very nice chunk of change many writers panned the idea a bit and mentioned that 2013 was a bit out of line with the rest of Choo's career and that he was a target for regression. Surprisingly, I was not one of those writers. It has not been noteworthy since the Rangers have struggled out of the gate, but Choo is having an even better year so far in 2014.
So far this season, Choo is second in baseball in on-base percentage. He is third in wOBA and wRC+ and is 20th overall in fWAR. Consider what I consider the best stat thus far: In 30 games, Choo has been on base 62 times! That includes five HBPs, 34 hits and 23 walks. He is tied for fifth in that category and eighth in runs created. Choo has been sensational.
Here is a ridiculous stat for you: Of all of the pitches Choo has seen out of the strike zone, he has only swung at 14.8% of them. That puts him second in baseball behind Joyce of the Rays (really!? who knew?).
The .343 batting average is going to come down. After all, his BABIP is .419 and you should not be able to sustain that kind of average on balls in play. Plus, his number of infield hits is by far the highest of his career. On the other hand, he currently is sporting his highest line drive percentage of his career (full time years) and that helps.
A couple of other numbers you should know. First, his swinging strike percentage is easily the lowest of his career. Between his 17.8% walk rate, his low swinging at strikes out of the strike zone and his low swinging strike percentage, it is obvious that Choo is very locked in at the plate and has a definite plan of attack when he gets there.
Choo's current fWAR of 1.3 is ahead of the pace to have him blow past of the 5.2 fWAR he accumulated last season. Playing left field instead of being out of position in center like he was for the Reds helps out too. Choo won't be nearly as hurt by his defensive numbers as last year. On the other hand, his defense is less valued in a corner outfield position than it would be in center field.
Oh, and in case you are saying, "Yeah, yeah, but look where he plays his home games." I might tend to agree with those sentiments if it wasn't for the face that Choo is sporting a 1.410 OPS on the road compared to .723 at home. That is strange, eh? Ah, the wonder of early season short sample sizes.
Small sample size or not, Shin-Soo Choo is having another great season. And the offensive numbers he put up in 2013 are showing more and more to be his norm and not some sort of fluke season.
I can at least say I had one good day this week. And, no, Thursday was not that day as I again fell into negative territory. There were two extra-inning games and both went the opposite way of the picks. I am keeping track of those because they irk me. In the last eight extra-inning games, I am 1-7 with the outcomes. That hurts the bottom line a lot.
Houston destroyed the Tigers. George Springer hit his first homer. Drew Smyly wasn't smyling. The Orioles beat the Rays again and David Price. I didn't see that coming. My biggest mistake was letting my heart get in the way by picking the White Sox. Alas, Scott Carroll was hammered.
Maybe Friday will be better. The picks:
- The Orioles over the Astros: It's not that I am very high on Wei-Yin Chen. Rather, I am always leery of picking a pitcher coming back from the disabled list like Scott Feldman. The Orioles will be very familiar with their former pitcher.
- The Pirates over the Cardinals: The Cardinals have had trouble with lefties which extends back to last year. Francisco Liriano has taken advantage of that before. However, if Michael Wacha can hang with Liriano, then I like the Cards' bullpen better.
- The Blue Jays over the Angels: The Blue Jays are pounding the baseball right now and I think that will cancel out the strong arm of Garrett Richards. Dustin McGowan will pitch well enough to win the game.
- The Tigers over the Twins: Phil Hughes has looked good lately. But I cannot imagine him doing well against the Tigers. And even if he has another good night, Justin Verlander will be better.
- The Indians over the Rays: The Rays are struggling and need to get some pitching back. Jake Odorizzi just doesn't seem like a rotation guy to me. Corey Kluber should have a good night though.
- The Reds over the Rockies: If anyone can stop a hitting streak, it is Johnny Cueto. So that is what I expect to happen. And even if he is not on top of his game, the Reds are going to score against Jhoulys Chacin.
- The Mets over the Phillies: The Phillies have had a really bad week. They were smoked by the Blue Jays and after being over .500, have sunk more than a couple of games under that mark now. I like Jenrry Mejia to match up well here and for Roberto Hernandez to not be as good as his last outing.
- The Braves over the Cubs: The Cubs did well against the White Sox, but will face much better pitching in Atlanta. It starts tonight with Julio Teheran. Jason Hammel is having a good season though.
- The Rangers over the Red Sox: I never feel comfortable picking Yu Darvish. But when I don't, he wins. I don't expect Clay Buchholz to do well in Texas.
- The Diamondbacks over the White Sox: The White Sox really miss Adam Eaton and they have been kind of dead since he went on the DL. Andre Rienzo is not dependable to me. Brandon McCarthy is not having much fun this season either.
- The Brewers over the Yankees: Wow, this is a tough one. Yovani Gallardo is always tough at home. And the Yankees have never seen him. But the Yankees are pitching Masahiro Tanaka, so what do you do there? The Yankees lose the DH, and that hurts them. I'm going with a bullpen win for the Brewers.
- The Nationals over the Athletics: I just said earlier that I don't like picking pitchers coming off the DL and here I am picking Doug Fister. Yeah, probably dumb, but I just don't like picking Tommy Milone and I like the Nats getting an extra bat in the lineup.
- The Royals over the Mariners: Brandon Maurer pitched well his last time out, but I think that was a BABIP win. He won't be as good tonight. And I think Jason Vargas will be better.
- The Giants over the Dodgers: The Giants are amazing. This every other year thing is amazing. How can you pick against them? Especially with Madison Bumgarner on the mound? And especially with Paul Maholm pitching for the Dodgers.
And the Game of the Day:
- The Marlins over the Padres: Gosh, the Marlins are on fire...even now on the road. I don't like Jose Fernandez as much on the road, but against a weak-hitting team like the Padres? Yeah, that's an easy call. Tyson Ross has been up and down.
Yesterday: 4-5, May: 59-50, Games of the Day: 16-19, Season: 292-225
Thursday, May 08, 2014
Ah! That is the sound of basking in a much better day than I have had in a while. A lot of the picks came in on Wednesday. I correctly picked both ends of the A's / Mariners' double-header. The only blemishes on the evening were the Orioles over the Rays, the Cardinals over the Braves, and the Diamondbacks over the Brewers. That's it. After the way most of this month has gone. it feels good.
Thursday has a short schedule with nine games on the schedule. I think I only have five total players playing today on my fantasy team. The picks:
- The Indians over the Twins: The Twins without Joe Mauer are a lot worse off than with him. Kevin Correia was good his last time out, but every squirrel finds a nut, they say. My only problem is trying to remember the last time Justin Masterson pitched two good games in a row.
- The Tigers over the Astros: All winning streaks come to an end. But the Tigers' won't yet. The Emoticon, Drew Smyly goes for the Tigers :) and Dallas Keuchel pitches for the Astros. Keuchel has not pitched overly bad thus far though.
- The Blue Jays over the Phillies: My instincts are to pick the Phillies because with their old guys, a knuckle ball gives them something they can catch up to. You never know how good or bad R.A. Dickey is going to be and home is not his favorite cooking. A.J. Burnett comes home to Toronto, but I feel a clunker coming out of him today. That's my initial reaction. Get it? That was a joke, son.
- The Bay Rays over the Orioles: David Price has an 11.0 strikeout to walk ratio and 10.2 strikeouts per nine. But, and this is a big but, he has given up eight homers and lots of hits. Certainly a strange start to his season. But he is a true ace. Ubaldo Jimenez finally had a good outing his last time out. Does he have another one in him for an AL East team? I'm not feeling it.
- The Rangers over the Rockies: As good as the Rockies' offense has been, their pitching has not been great. They are fourteenth in the NL in runs and hits allowed. Take Franklin Morales, for example. He is 3-1 but has a WHIP over 1.5. Sooner or later this team will come down to earth. Matt Harrison has not had great command since his return, but the assumption here is that he has a good day.
- The Mariners over the Royals: This is an interesting match-up. Hisashi Iwakuma is back and always a good pick at his home ballpark. But if Danny Duffy has an overpowering night and can keep his walks down? Hmm...
- The Padres over the Marlins: The Marlins are 17-5 at home and 2-10 on the road. Uh. What!? Jacob Turner did not turn (hahaha) in a good performance in his debut outing of the season. Ian Kennedy will probably hit a batter, but if he hits many bats, then all bets are off.
- The Dodgers over the Giants: This one is tough. Josh Beckett is about as trustworthy as a cat near a fishbowl. But on occasion looks brilliant. Ryan Vogelsong has pitched better of late and could pitch well in spacious Dodger Stadium. Toss up.
And the Game of the Day
- The White Sox over the Cubs: I haven't gotten a game of these two teams playing each other correctly yet. And I have to admit I really root for Scott Carroll. So I am taking him over Jake Arrieta gentille Arrieta.
Yesterday: 12-4, May: 55-45, Games of the Day: 16-18, Season: 288-219
Wednesday, May 07, 2014
After hitting 97 combined homers in 2010 and 2011, things got a little sleepy for Jose Bautista and the baseball world has sort of forgotten him. A severe wrist injury and surgery limited him the last two seasons and cut down his production...though few would probably guess he hit 55 homers combined in 2012 and 2013. But the big bat is back in Toronto and better than ever.
Here are some quick facts about Jose Bautista so far in 2014:
- His walk rate is the best of his career at an amazing 22.5%. His plate discipline is amazing as he is swinging at only 18% of pitches out of the strike zone and only at 34% of pitches overall. He is waiting for HIS pitch. His on-base percentage is an amazing .464.
- His strikeout rate is the best of his career. Despite being a big, potent bat, he does not strike out very much. He swings and misses at only 6.6% of the time. Walking a lot, not striking out much and hitting well equals wow.
- Jose Bautista is currently second behind Tulowitzki in all of baseball in wOBA and wRC+. The only thing knocking him down on the WAR leaderboard is his defense, which hasn't been one of his strong suits so far.
- Meanwhile, he is eighth in slugging percentage and sixth in ISO.
- Despite being a power hitter with a .595 slugging percentage, his walk to strikeout rate is fourth best in baseball.
- Despite a BABIP of only .293, he is batting .306.
- He is tied for third in all of baseball in runs scored. Hitting nine homers and getting on base that often will do that.
- Of his 34 walks, only one is intentional. In other words, he is protected well in the lineup and has earned his walks.
The best part for Blue Jays fans is that none of his numbers jump out as fluky. We don't have a guy here with an ultra-high BABIP or freakish home run to fly ball numbers that should dip as the season goes along.
All it appears is that Jose Bautista is now fully healed from his former wrist problems and is back to where he was in 2011. Thirty-five or more homers, 110 or more runs scored, 100 or more RBIs, 100 or more walks all seem very doable for Bautista, especially when you consider that Encarnacion hitting behind him has been off to a sluggish start. Jose Bautista is again among the elite offensive players in the game today.
Gosh, I'm doing terrible lately. The extra inning games are killing me to the tune of 1-5 over the last two days. The Angels blew a lead (but I'm happy about that one). The Brewers blew a lead. The Cardinals could not beat Gavin Floyd for crying out loud. Hector Noesi pitched well. What the heck is going on here!? Hector Noesi!?
The longer I do this (six years now?) the harder it seems to get. But the show must go on with Wednesday's picks:
- The Pirates over the Giants: We start out with a tough one. How good will Tim Lincecum be? Will Gerrit Cole get back on track? Can the Pirates ever score more than a run or two in a game? The game is played very early, so we will find out soon enough.
- The Marlins over the Mets: There comes that crucial point where a winning streak or a losing streak has to end. The Braves ended theirs yesterday and I wasn't on top of it. The Marlins are due to lose some time. But they are playing so well that it is hard to know how long to hold on to them. Tom Koehler over Zack Wheeler.
- The Nationals over the Dodgers: Another really tough call. Stephen Strasburg has not been a lock. Dan Haren is 4-0 and is pitching great. Which way to go? I'm going with Strasburg at home.
- The Brewers over the Diamondbacks: The Brewers' bullpen is starting to crack a bit after being nearly perfect for so long. But Wily Peralta has been very good and I just can't pick Bronson Arroy0 at this point.
- The Mariners over the Athletics: I think the M's and A's will split their double-header today. But picking which one is which is the key. I think Felix Hernandez will win the first game if he is on over Dan Straily.
- The Athletics over the Mariners: I don't like either pitcher in this one. Erasmo Ramirez is just so-so and Drew Pomeranz seemed to find a bullpen and not in the rotation. His control is too spotty for a long stint. Hmm...The M's might take both of these games...
- The Royals over the Padres: James Shields got rocked by the Tigers his last time out. But the Padres are not the Tigers. Yet, Andrew Cashner is the Padres' best pitcher. Man. Who knows.
- The Indians over the Tigers: Take Joe Mauer out of the Twins' lineup and poof, they have lost two straight. Danny Salazar is taking baby steps on getting his act together. Ricky Nolasco has his moments.
- The Blue Jays over the Phillies: It's the battle of the "crafty" lefties. I think the Phillies will have more problems off of Mark Buehrle than the Blue Jays will off of Cliff Lee.
- The Tigers over the Astros: I predicted before the season that Rick Porcello would have a much better year with better defense behind him and so far, so good. He is four and one. Make that five and one after tonight. Brad Peacock goes for the Astros.
- The Rays over the Orioles: Blech. I hate this pick. Bud Norris? Uh... Cesar Ramos? Uh... No Matt Wieters? The Rays are at home.
- The Red Sox over the Reds: The Red Sox are starting to show flashes. The Reds really need to get Chapman back in that bullpen. Jake Peavy at home over Mike Leake. I think this will be a runaway win for the Red Sox.
- The Braves over the Cardinals: Sooner or later, the Cardinals are going to hit. But when will it start? Mike Minor is back and this is his second start. Should I pick him over Adam Wainwright? Probably not. But that's what it feels like it should be. Somebody once commented that I should look at the odds given by the odds makers when doing this post. Then the daily feature would be totally different. I don't do odds. I do what I feel based on match-ups and how teams are doing.
- The Rockies over the Rangers: The Rangers are playing about as bad as the Rockies are playing well. So that makes for a dangerous mixture for the Rockies. And even though they are away from Coors (finally) and have noted big splits at home and on the road, Texas is a good hitting environment. Jorge De La Rosa over Colby Lewis.
- The Cubs over the White Sox: I haven't gotten one of these games right, so why should I start now? I like Travis Wood much better than I like John Danks.
And the Game of the Day
- The Yankees over the Angels: I might as well pick this game even though I am as unsure of this one as I am about any of the others. Vidal Nuno is not a comforting thought. But Alfredo Aceves can bail him out early if trouble develops. Hector Santiago has been awful. That being said, the Yankees will either make him look like Kershaw, or jump on him. I am betting on the latter.
Yesterday: 6-9 (sigh), May: 43-41, Games of the Day: 15-18, Season: 276-215
Tuesday, May 06, 2014
The good news was that I finally had a Game of the Day pick go my way. The bad news was that a lot of the rest of the picks messed up. The biggest thing that hurt me yesterday was the three extra-inning games. All three ended up on the opposite side of what I predicted. Now that is lousy luck right there.
Tuesday returns to a full slate of games and here are the picks:
- The Dodgers over the Nationals: I do not usually like to pick a pitcher coming off the disabled list. But Clayton Kershaw is no ordinary pitcher. And it adds to my thinking that Blake Treinen is making his first MLB start for the Nats.
- The Indians over the Twins: Sam Deduno can be pretty good at times and the Twins are playing better than the Indians. But I'm going with Josh Tomlin being able to go deeper in the game than Deduno.
- The Giants over the Pirates: The Pirates are finally starting to hit and their pitching falls apart. Both teams will have tired bullpens. Therefore, I am going with Tim Hudson over Charlie Morton.
- The Phillies over the Blue Jays: Cole Hamels has gone 6-18 since I predicted he would win the Cy Yong Award before the 2013 season. Woof. And Drew Hutchison has very good stuff. But this is one of those trap picks. I can feel it.
- The Tigers over the Astros: It does not bother me to pick a guy, Robbie Ray, making his MLB debut tonight because the Tigers are on fire and the Astros are cold as ice. Brett Oberholtzer can't seem to buy a win or a run, or anything from his team. Rays' minor league K/9 rate is down, but the lefty has suddenly found great control.
- The Bay Rays over the Orioles: I like Chris Tillman a lot and he can be a shut down guy at times. But I'm going with Chris Archer who has been hard to beat at home. On the road is another story, but at home, he's been very good.
- The Red Sox over the Reds: There is enough red in this game to make Senator McCarthy blanch. Felix Doubront is fighting for his rotation spot at Fenway, which is the good news. Homer Bailey is hit or miss...literally.
- The Marlins over the Mets: You cannot pick against the Marlins at home right now, can you? I know it has to end some time. How long has this home stand been? It seems like they have been home for a month. Henderson Alvarez over Bartolo Colon.
- The Cardinals over the Braves: Gosh, the Braves have gone cold. Having Gavin Floyd back to start this game does not fill me with confidence for them. But Tyler Lyons doesn't do much for me either.
- The Cubs over the White Sox: This pick did not do much for me yesterday. And I have picked twice in a row against Edwin Jackson and was wrong both times. And the White Sox are starting Hector Noesi, who has been punted by two teams already this season.
- The Rockies over the Rangers: The Rangers are suddenly kind of a mess. And they are not having fun at Coors Field. That should continue today. Robbie Ross (it must be Robbie Day) will not get it done but Juan Nicasio will.
- The Angels over the Yankees: The Yankees are in a really bad stretch. Nothing they seem to do is working. Hiroki Kuroda hasn't been very good. C.J. Wilson handled the Yankees easily the last time he faced them.
- The Athletics over the Mariners: Jesse Chavez needs to bounce back from his last start and being at home should help that happen. Roenis Elias looked great against the Yankees, but every pitcher has looked great against the Yankees.
- The Padres over the Royals: Being a fan of the Royals has to be the most frustrating thing ever. The way they finished the season last year and then stumbling and bumbling this year? Sheesh. Robbie Erlin (I told you it was Robbie Day) over Jeremy Guthrie.
And the Game of the Day
- The Brewers over the Diamondbacks: The Brewers just keep rolling along and the Diamondbacks keep rolling under. Marco Estrada has pitched well. Josh Collmenter would not be a starter I would ever pick to win a game.
Yesterday: 6-7, May: 37-32, Games of the Day: 15-17, Season: 270-206
Monday, May 05, 2014
After all these decades as a baseball fan and my last twelve years as a writer of the same, I had resisted fantasy baseball. I had tried fantasy football years earlier and hated it because I was rooting for players to do well against my favorite teams and it was too confusing. But peer pressure by my colleagues over at It's About the Money, Stupid, set me up to give it a shot this year. After the first five weeks of the season, I am not doing too badly.
I liked the name of my team: "Nights in Josh Satin." It's an ode to the Moody Blues. And I felt I did well in the draft and have made some decent pick ups on waivers. Here is my current team:
Pitchers: Stephen Strasburg, Francisco Liriano, Yovani Gallardo, Martin Perez, Jesse Chavez, Mark Buehrle, Tommy Hunter, Tyler Thornburg, Carlos Martinez and Marcus Stroman.
That seems pretty strong to me. But I never seem to get a day where more than one of those starters pitch on the same day and when they do, they seem to cancel each other out. Hunter has eight saves, but they are never clean and his strikeouts are down. Thornburg and Martinez have been inconsistent. That kind of talent should be getting me better results than they have currently.
My position players: Carlos Ruiz. (I had Wilin Rosario, but he just went on the DL and I can't seem to get myself to carry more than one catcher since they only play five days a week.) Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, Jayson Werth, Xander Bogaerts, Ian Kinsler, Josh Donaldson, Wil Myers, Ian Desmond, Matt Adams, Adam Eaton, Jedd Gyorko and George Springer.
Adams is hitting well, but not for power. Springer was supposed to be a duel power and stolen base threat. Not so far. I thought I'd get more from Bogaerts and even Trout has been a little sleepy. I can't complain. I usually get good offense and have enough variety to cover off days.
In a twelve-team league, I am currently in sixth place. I am a distant 44 and a half games behind The Overlord, otherwise known as Jason Rosenberg. And so it seems that I am simply treading water.
Maybe I'll get better as the season goes along. I have enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I just feel like I am still fishing for the right combinations. Do I need more relievers? How much do starters matter more than utility positions? Should I waste a position on a backup catcher? I have no clue. I follow a lot of fantasy experts like Chris McBrien (@cmcbrien) but I am not going to lean on them as a rookie at this.
I'll just muddle through. After all, it's my first attempt and I am ahead of six other teams!
Buenos Cinco de Mayo amigos! Sunday was a struggle all day and when all the day games finished, the picks were sitting at 7-7. A positive (though not very good) result depended on the Cardinals beating the Cubs on Sunday Night Baseball which translates to: "Way too late to be well rested on a Monday morning."
Remember, I had picked the Cardinals for the past two days and the Cubs had won them both. I picked the Cards again on Sunday, so I wasn't in a good situation. I felt better after the Cards took a 3-0 lead and held it to the bottom of the fourth when Lynn gave up two runs to make it 3-2.
When the Cardinals brought in Carlos Martinez in the seventh, I knew he was going to screw up because he is on my fantasy team. And he did. But somehow the Cardinals scored two runs in the top of the ninth, held on through a scare in the bottom of the ninth and won by a run. Whew! I finished over .500!
Speaking of over .500, have you noticed that every team in the NL East is over that mark? Very cool.
- The Nationals over the Dodgers: Yes, Zack Greinke is 5-0. But Jordan Zimmermann is coming on strong and is pitching at home. Puig is banged up (again). I think the Nats take this one.
- The Indians over the Twins: The Indians got their guts ripped out yesterday when their closer gave up three runs and blew the save. It ripped out my guts too. Ugh! Zach McAllister (shouldn't all the Zacks and Zachs get together and standardize?) will win. Kyle Gibson has three great starts followed by two bad ones.
- The Pirates over the Giants: Sometimes a win like yesterday's ninth inning walk-off can spur a team on. MLB.com lists TBO for both teams as to their pitchers. Yahoo.com lists either Petit or Matt Cain for the Giants and Jeff Locke for the Pirates. I think it will be Cain. And I like Jeff Locke coming up and getting a win.
- The Phillies over the Blue Jays: I think the Phillies' players are keeping the team relevant just to keep from having the team broken up at the trade deadline. Kyle Kendrick doesn't thrill me, but neither does J.A. Happ. The latter's lefty tosses might throw off the Phillies though.
- The Marlins over the Mets: The Marlins' homestand is lasting forever. And that's how their opponents must feel as they do not seem to lose at home. The Mets come in hot too, but Nathan Eovaldi will beat Jon Niese at home.
- The Cardinals over the Braves: Aaron Harang complained that the Marlins stole his signs in his last outing. He could not consider that his old mediocre self had reappeared. He'll make the Cardinals' batters feel better about themselves today. But Shelby Miller has to pitch well.
- The Cubs over the White Sox: I am soooo torn over this one. The battle for Chicago is not taken lightly. Jeff Samardzija is a good pitcher. Jose Quintana pitches better at home than on the road. Oy!
- The Brewers over the Diamondbacks: Matt Garza is being his usual inconsistent self. But he has the ability to shut the Diamondbacks down. Mike Bolsinger has had three bad appearances and one good one. Have to go Brewers.
- The Rangers over the Rockies: Martin Perez discombobulated me with his last start and getting shelled. He was so good before that! Now he goes to Coors! Well, Dillon Gee did well there, perhaps Perez can too. The Rockies start Jordan Lyles.
- The Angels over the Yankees: Which pitcher has better odds to tame the other lineup? David Phelps against Trout and company? Or Jered Weaver against a stacked lefty lineup? It's pretty close.
- The Athletics over the Mariners: Chris Young, all 6' 10" of him, looked great against the Yankees, but the Yankees have a way of making mediocre pitchers look great. The A's will pound him and Scott Kazmir will make the M's sing, "WoeWoe, WoeWoe."
- The Royals over the Padres: The Royals will be far from home and won't have the DH, but if Yordano Ventura is on his game, they won't need one. Eric Stults goes for the Friars.
And the Game of the Day
- The Tigers over the Astros: Should be an automatic pick, right? With Max Scherzer on the mound against Jarred Cosart? Yeah, so why am I so scared about it then?
Yesterday: 8-7, May: 31-25, Games of the Day: 14-17 (unreal), Season: 264-199
Sunday, May 04, 2014
Saturday reversed the day from Friday. After only getting five correct on the latter, only five were incorrect for the former. Even so, the Game of the Day feature was wrong again, which is infuriating. Julio Teheran was great but gave up three solo homers. And on the other side, Ryan Vogelsong had command issues, but was aided by two double-plays and a caught stealing. Another pick was aided this time from the Blue Jays' total inability to put a game away. That team's bullpen is a total disaster right now.
That brings us to Sunday, the best baseball day of the week. The picks:
- The Indians over the White Sox: Andre Rienzo has been good thus far, but I have to go with Corey Kluber at home. The White Sox will miss Adam Eaton's energy while he is on the disabled list.
- The Yankees over the Bay Rays: This game could go either way. Both teams should have their better relief pitchers back. A lot will depend on how the starters do. Erik Bedard and CC Sabathia are hard to trust either way. I'm going with the home team.
- The Marlins over the Dodgers: I am worried over always depending on Jose Fernandez to be perfect at home. On some days, he won't. On the other hand, the Dodgers are starting
BarneyStephen Fife, which doesn't make me want to pick them.
- The Athletics over the Red Sox: John Lackey has had two brilliant starts in a row. But Sonny Gray is my guy! I have to go with my guy, right? It is a stupid reason to make a pick, but it's not as if I have these magic scientific formulas with this daily column.
- The Braves over the Giants: This is how messed up my mind gets after weeks of doing this in the unpredictable game we call baseball. I figure Madison Bumgarner is a lock over Alex Wood and will strike out a dozen Braves. But then I start to thinking about Wainwright and the Cards and the last time I called a lock and remember this as a trap. Oy. Does anyone want to do this for me for a few weeks?
- The Pirates over the Blue Jays: Are the Blue Jays a mess right now, or what? Dustin McGowan is the starter today, but he would solve some problems if he were in the bullpen. On the other hand, Edinson Volquez could give up at least four homers today with his history.
- The Twins over the Orioles: Heaven help me, I am picking Phil Hughes to win at home. The big ballpark should help him and the fact that Miguel Gonzalez is as unpredictable as him should help too.
- The Tigers over the Royals: Jason Vargas has pitched somewhat well against the Tigers in his career, winning two of his three decisions. But I just can't get myself to go there with Justin Verlander on the mound for the Tigers.
- The Astros over the Mariners: Collin McHugh has been brilliant in his first two starts, but the key is if the Astros can score anything. Brandon Maurer can be had. But this is far from a lock pick.
- The Angels over the Rangers: I never seem to get it right when Yu Darvish is pitching. Hey! Did yu know that Darvish's real first name is Sefat? I am going with the Angels and Tyler Skaggs.
- The Padres over the Diamondbacks: The Dbacks are playing better lately. But I like Tyson Ross at home over Wade Miley in this one. It all depends on if the Padres can score.
- The Reds over the Brewers: I like Kyle Lohse better at home than in a band box like the one in Cincinnati. On the other hand, I know that it's almost midnight and Alfredo Simon is going to turn back into a pumpkin. Both pitchers have great records, so it could go either way.
- The Mets over the Rockies: Yeah, this might be dumb. I just don't like picking guys who are making their first starts of the season like Jhoulys Chacin is for the Rockies. Dillon Gee is very good, but will he be at Coors?
- The Cardinals over the Cubs: Both Lance Lynn and Jason Hammel are 4-1. Hammel will be a nice flip for the Cubs at the trade deadline. The Cards aren't scoring and Cardinal Nation is in an uproar. But the fans should relax. The Cards will be fine. Wait and see.
And the Game of the Day:
- The Nationals over the Phillies: Every sensibility would figure that Gio Gonzalez should be better than Roberto Hernandez. But, again, after doing this for so long, such sensibility are rubbed raw by the nature of the game.
Yesterday: 10-5, Month: 23-18, Games of the Day: 14-16, Season: 256-192