Lessons learned over the past couple of days: Picking the Astros is problematic. Picking the Yankees has become problematic. Picking the Giants and the Diamondbacks has worked out really well. Friday was a decent day with the picks coming in at a 10-5 rate. The three day rally in picks has overcome a mediocre start. And above all else, it sure is good to have baseball back again.
I slept in this morning and am still a bit groggy, so let's get right to the picks:
- The Blue Jays over the Red Sox: The Blue Jays are off to a tough start and their big pitching rotation has not been as sharp as hoped. The Red Sox, on the other hand, have gotten very good rotational pitching. All of that said, John Lackey did not look great this spring, is making his first start after missing a lot of time and J.A. Happ will be the improbably pitcher that gets the Blue Jays a win.
- The Mets over the Marlins: Rickey Nolasco is the Marlins' most effective pitcher. But it is hard to beat Mrs. Jonathan Niese and her blue panties. The Mets with the win.
- The Mariners over the White Sox: Dylan Axelrod had a good spring and seems to be a decent enough starter for the White Sox. Unfortunately for him, he pairs up against Felix Hernandez today. The Mariners are hitting a little better than in the past. Going with the Mariners and King Felix.
- The Nationals over the Reds: The Reds jumped all over the Nationals yesterday, but those kinds of games are meaningless. Mike Leake starts for the Reds and the Nats should hit him often. Ross Detwiler is there for the beating too, but should be somewhat better than Leake. Nationals.
- The Rangers over the Angels: Josh Hamilton is striking out at a rate of 42.1% and has one hit this season. Tommy Hanson has become an enigmatic pitcher who the Angels are counting on. Good luck with that. Matt Harrison is a solid starter despite getting cuffed around in his first start of the season.
- The Tigers over the Yankees: The Yankees rushing Phil Hughes back into the rotation seems a bit of a panic move from this desk. He won't be able to pitch very deep in the game and then David Phelps, who was supposed to get the start will have to finish it. Add to all of this the fact that Max Scherzer has this big arm and could strike out twelve Yankees.
- The Giants over the Cardinals: The Cardinals start one of their best young arms in Shelby Miller. So this is an exciting day for Cardinal fans. But picking young pitchers is always a problem and Ryan Vogelsong is a proven big league starter. The Giants are not hitting much though.
- The Phillies over the Royals: How did you decide between Luis Mendoza of the Royals against John Lannon of the Phillies? It's not that Lannon has been a bad pitcher for the past couple of seasons. He hasn't. But he is too much of an unknown factor here. But Luis Mendoza has had such and up and down career that picking him just doesn't feel good despite that he had a good spring.
- The Twins over the Orioles: There is no hotter entity right now than Chris Davis. His current RBI total outpaces many team totals at this point. It's crazy. Vance Worley did not have a good start in his debut for the Twins. He can't have fallen this far off of what was a promising start to his career, can he? Chris Tillman is the dicey part of the Orioles' rotation. Going with the Twins, though it is probably nuts.
- The Diamondbacks over the Brewers: The D-backs have come out of the gate smoking. The Brewers? Not. Mike Fiers is not the guy to improve things for the Brewers as pitching has again been a problem. Is Patrick Corbin the next Wade Miley for the Diamondbacks? Could be.
- The Braves over the Cubs: Julio Teheran had such a big spring, but it is so hard to forget what happened last year. The Braves look like one of the best teams in the early going despite B.J. Upton being zero for the season with a 67% strikeout rate. The Cubs counter with Carlos Villanueva and that should not go well at all.
- The Astros over the Athletics: Yeah, I know. Revert back to the first paragraph, right? But Bartolo Colon? Come on. Seriously? Bud Norris has the only Astros win this season. Why can't he get another. Even if the Astros lose a hundred games, they still have to win sixty of them. This will be one of them.
- The Padres over the Rockies: Yeah, this pick sounds stupid as the Rockies are off to a fast start. But the Rockies start Jon Garland, who hasn't started in the majors in two years. How can you safely pick him to win? In Colorado no less? The Padres start Tyson Ross, which really isn't any better. Can you say, "Bullpen game?"
- The Dodgers over the Pirates: I can't pick against Clayton Kershaw. A.J. Burnett is capable of a big game. But Burnett over Kershaw? Nah. I can't do it.
And the Game of the Day!
- The Bay Rays over the Indians: The Indians are a wildcard hopeful this season, but they have to figure out what they are going to do with their rotation. Trevor Bauer gets the start today and that simply does not feel good for a pick. Alex Cobb has been one big pleasant surprise since the Rays put him into the rotation last season. He'll have the Indians pounding the ball into the ground the entire game.
Games of the Day: 4-1