Saturday, April 20, 2013

MLB Game Picks - Saturday: April 20, 2013

Weather continues to play havoc with the Major League Baseball schedule. Three more games were postponed yesterday. The game in Boston was not weather related and there is not much you could do with that situation other than to call it. But the weather also knocked out the Twins - White Sox game and the Dodgers - Orioles game.

A couple of picks from yesterday were sort of brilliant. The solid outing by Lucas Harrell to win a game for the Astros against the Indians was spot on. Matt Harvey out-pitching Stephen Strasburg was called correctly. And even the Phillies over the Cardinals behind Roy Halladay was a good pick.

But there were surprises that--along with the postponements--helped hold success in check. I remember switching the Yankees pick and that was stupid. The Marlins defeating the Reds was a surprise. And Wandy Rodriguez blanking the Braves for a 6-0 Pirates win was a surprise. The picks ended up over .500 for the first time in three days. But it was not by much.

So I need a good day to finish out the week. Saturday's picks:

  • The Dodgers over the Orioles: This is the make-up game from yesterday and I still think Hyun-Jin Ryu beats Jason Hammel.
  • The Blue Jays over the Yankees: Hiroki Kuroda has pitched twice in Rogers Center and neither went well. The Yankees' lineup against left-handed pitchers is pathetic. So give this one to Mark Buehrle and the Blue Jays.
  • The Reds over the Marlins: How can you pick the Marlins to win two games in a row? Oh, I'm sure it will happen at some point in the season. But still. Bronson Arroyo should be savvy enough to hold the weak Marlins' offense down and Wade LeBlanc is not having fun pitching for Miami.
  • The Angels over the Tigers: Yeah. This is the Angels waking up against a good team like the Tigers. Rick Porcello runs into trouble while Garrett Richards has a good day.
  • The White Sox over the Twins: This is the same pitching line that was supposed to go yesterday. Why these two teams are not playing a double-header today is beyond me. But anyway, Jake Peavy still is the pick over Vance Worley.
  • The Nationals over the Mets: Gio Gonzalez had a baffling and awful start his last time out. His body language was not good either. I hope he is okay. If he is, he should do well against the Mets who do better against right-hand pitching. Jeremy Hefner often looks overwhelmed in the majors.
  • The Braves over the Pirates: James McDonald could harness his great stuff and have a big game. But you have to go with his standard, non-command performance. And how can you pick against Paul Maholm, who baffles and wins every time he pitches?
  • The Dodgers over the Orioles: Yes, this pick means predicting the Dodgers sweep two from a very tough Orioles team, which seems to be asking a bit much. And Josh Beckett on the mound back against an AL East team is a bit disconcerting. But Wei-Yin Chen was not very impressive against the Yankees in his last start either. And sooner or later, Matt Kemp is going to jump out of his fog.
  • The Cardinals over the Phillies: The Phillies have trouble with power pitchers and Lance Lynn would certainly qualify. The only question if Lynn pitches well is how long he can go and if the bullpen will hold the lead. Cliff Lee goes for the Phillies and had a rough start his last time out after two brilliant outings. I think the Cards hit him.
  • The Brewers over the Cubs: Some dude named, Hiram Burgos, is making his Major League debut against the Cubs today. All I know about the guy that he is from Puerto Rico, is kind of short and has decent control in the minors. Other than that, who knows. But picking Edwin Jackson to win is sort of against my religion.
  • The Astros over the Indians: Yes, I am going to pick the Astros again. Crazy right? Phil Humber was pretty good his first time out. Scott Kazmir starts for the Indians. Kazmir spurs all kinds of shivers and spookiness on my insides after his last couple of years in the majors. Do not get me wrong, it would be cool if he could resurrect his career. But would you expect it?
  • The Athletics over the Bay Rays: Jeremy Hellickson is usually okay at home. But I simply never feel him with any confidence. Jarrod Parker is more likely to have a good day for the A's in the battle of the long-A sounds.
  • The Rangers over the Mariners: Two unproven pitchers in this one complicate the pick. Will Nick Tepesch fare better than the M's Brandon Maurer? I do not have the foggiest idea. We will find out together.
  • The Rockies over the Diamondbacks: The Rockies are hitting well and pitching much better this year. Jorge de la Rosa has a very good WHIP for his three starts and seems a better pick here at home than going with Trevor Cahill. Cahill simply has not found success since leaving the A's.
  • The Giants over the Padres: Take Clayton Richard out of Petco and you always have a problem. I never pick him on the road. Then again, picking Tim Lincecum is never a bargain. How many guys will he walk today?

And the Game of the Day!

  • The Red Sox over the Royals: The folks of Boston deserve this win. Let us hope they are boisterous and full of smiles today. Clay Buchholz over James Shields. David Ortiz returns for the Red Sox. I wonder if they were better off without him.

Yesterday: 7-5
Week: 39-33
Month: 143-95
Games of the Day: 13-6

Friday, April 19, 2013

A genius versus accepted dugout wisdom

I have often leaned against the tide when it comes to defending the role of a closer. But managers do take it too far and you would think someone with the reputation of Joe Maddon would not be one of those guys who goes with accepted dugout wisdom. But he does. What is that accepted dugout wisdom? If you are on the road, you do not pitch your closer in a tie game because if you get the lead, you want the closer finishing off the home team in the bottom half of an inning. Mr. Maddon should understand that this logic often misfires because a game is often lost by lesser relief pitchers while your best reliever sits in the bullpen. It has happened twice to the Rays in the last four days.

It happened on Monday in Boston and it happened again last night in Baltimore. In the Boston game, the Red Sox were leading going into the top of the ninth, 2-1. Boston's closer, Andrew Bailey, blew the save and allowed the Rays to tie the game at two runs apiece. Does Maddon bring in Fernando Rodney for the win? Heck no. You have to save the closer in case you take the lead, right?

Wrong. The Rays never got a chance to take the lead as Joel Peralta was brought in instead. Now Joel Peralta is a very good relief pitcher. Do not get me wrong here. But Peralta has not been as good as Rodney. And sure enough, Peralta gets in trouble and coughs up the walk-off hit and sends the Rays off to Baltimore for a crummy plane ride.

Then last night against the Orioles, The game again was tied and going into extra innings. Maddon goes with the same accepted practice and Jamey Wright and Brandon Gomes are allowed to throw away the game while Rodney sat in the bullpen.

I hate this practice and use of a closer. Yes, you need a closer to finish off games. But you also need to aggressively pursue a victory too. There is no law against using your best reliever to pitch two innings of superior baseball to give your team at least a chance to win the game.

Yes, Fernando Rodney could have just as easily blown the game. But you have to think you have a better chance to win with Rodney pitching a couple of innings than bringing in Wright and Gomes and hoping you get a chance to give Rodney a save.

This strategy is defensive thinking and you would think Joe Maddon would be running against the tide here. But he does not and has two losses for his team to show for it. In the tight American League East, two games could mean a huge difference at the end of the season.

MLB Game Picks - Friday: April 19, 2013

Whatever funk I was in about yesterday's picks being so bad was quickly erased this morning by the news going on in Watertown, Massachusetts. What an awful week it has been. Between Boston and West, Texas and lots of places in between, one seriously bad story after another has pummeled us and made baseball and those of us that report it, irrelevant. Writing about baseball has become like the band continuing to play while the Titanic was sinking. My heart goes out to all involved in tragedy this week.

But baseball does continue on and so do the picks. It is what we do. Friday's picks:

  • The Braves over the Pirates: Wandy Rodriguez is back for the Pirates, but I am always leery of a pitcher coming back from time off. And Tim Hudson was brilliant in his last start.
  • The Dodgers over the Orioles: The Orioles are fresh off an impressive win last night as Matt Wieters walked off with a grand slam. But they face an unknown for them in Hyun-Jin Ryu. The Dodgers get an extra bat in the lineup with the DH and should score a few times against Jason Hammel.
  • The Phillies over the Cardinals: Remember when Roy Halladay was an automatic pick? He might be again after his last start. But the Cardinals are not the Marlins and we will see if Mr. Halladay is indeed back. Halladay versus Holliday is always one of the rare treats. Jaime Garcia goes for the Cards and is riskier when not pitching at home.
  • The Blue Jays over the Yankees: A sore backed Andy Pettitte is a bit of a risk on Toronto's fake grass. But despite everything, the old guy still knows how to get out big league hitters. Brandon Morrow, though, could shut the Yankees down if he is on. The Yankees' bullpen is a bit gassed.
  • The Red Sox over the Royals: Things will be quite emotional as the Red Sox head back home. Not only is it their first time home since that awful day, but David Ortiz will be back in the lineup. Clay Buchholz has been terrific. He has a tough competitor though in James Shields.
  • The Reds over the Marlins: Mat Latos should have no problem with Miami's offense. After all, nobody else has. And the Reds should have a third straight double-digit run score off of Kevin Slowey and those who come after him.
  • The Bay Rays over the Athletics: The Rays did have a tough loss last night. But going back home might help. Having Alex Cobb pitch at home might help too. The A's are a bit banged up, but are still a very good team. Brett Anderson could shut the Rays offense down and make this pick look a bit stupid. Yeah, like that has never happened before.
  • The Mets over the Nationals: Okay, the Nats can finally use Stephen Strasburg the way they want and as much as they want and the big guy simply has not been the same pitcher so far this year. Meanwhile, Matt Harvey has been lights out and is an especially good pick at home.
  • The Rangers over the Mariners: Joe Saunders can baffled you some times. But he can get killed some times too. Texas is not a good place for him to pitch. But who knows. This much can be said: he is not Hisashi Iwakuma. The Japanese pitcher that is starting tonight is Yu Darvish.
  • The Cubs over the Brewers: The Cubs have me totally baffled. I might have picked three of their two weeks worth of games correctly to this point. I pick against Jeff Samardzija and he wins. I do pick him to win and he loses. The Cubs have done that to me all season. Well, here we go again with Samardzija. Marco Estrada goes for the Brewers.
  • The Astros over the Indians: Okay. Hear me out on this one. Lucas Harrell is not a bad pitcher. Yes, he is off to a bad start. But he is not that bad. Plus, he is right-handed and the Indians have been hitting lefties better so far. Plus, the Astros are at home and the Indians lose the DH. This pick is a gamble. But it is a good one. Did I mention that Brett Myers was pitching for the Indians?
  • The White Sox over the Twins: Vance Worley was better for the Twins in his last start. But Jake Peavy is better. The offenses are about the same. This pick is about Peavy and the White Sox as the home team.
  • The Rockies over the Diamondbacks: The D-Backs had to play extra innings and then fly across the country to play in Denver. The Rockies have been pounding the ball and this game does not look good for Ian Kennedy's stuff. Jhoulys Chacin should have a better time of it.
  • The Tigers over the Angels: There seems to be a pall over this Angels team so far. Boy, have they been bad. The Tigers are playing well and Anibal Sanchez pitching well is one of the reasons. Tommy Hanson is not that frightening for the Tigers.
And the Game of the Day!

Yesterday: 5-6
Week: 32-28   blah
Month: 136-90
Games of the Day: 12-6  c'mon now

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Early season slow starters

Most of us notice when a Major League Baseball player gets off to a fast start. Just about everyone is aware of the fast starts by Justin Upton and Bryce Harper. Their exploits are all over the highlight shows. But unless they are sucking the wind out of your fantasy baseball team or watch your team every night and see the numbers, players off to a really poor start get little notice.

One of the reasons this is so is because these players are not making the highlight reels. Secondly, slow starts are more apt to be excused as small sample size blips that will correct upward over time. And generally, that is just as true in that Upton will not hit eighty home runs.

We are only fifteen to sixteen games into the season. And we are talking about fifty to sixty plate appearances for these players. That is hardly a sample size to worry about. But when looked at it another way, nine percent of the season is now completed. While still a small sample, we are not talking insignificant here.

When divisions and wildcards are won and lost by a single game, can a 5-10 start be labeled insignificant for a team? Yes, there is a lot of time to fix it, but a team has to play above its talent level to catch up.

All this is mentioned so that first, you know that many of these players will "fix" the depths that they are in, and secondly, they will have to play above their talent level to make up for such a horrendous first couple of weeks.

Our list starts with the batters or position players or whatever you want to call non-pitchers. I was going to use WAR, but with it being so early in the season, can we really penalize players for their fielding after just two weeks? Base running? Nah. It is too early.

And it does make a difference. When counting by WAR, Asdrubal Cabrera places fourth in our list of suctitude. But when using wOBA or OPS, he falls to tenth. The same thing holds true for Matt Kemp, who is off to a terrible start. He falls from second to eleventh.

Okay, enough talk. Here are the seven worst starts for batters this season:

  1. Aaron Hicks: The rookie Twins' center fielder is not having any fun to start the season. And it will be interesting to see how long the Twins stick with him. The youngster has played twelve games and has been to the plate 51 times. He has two singles. Twelve games: two total bases. Ouch. He scores the lowest wOBA (should call his, "woeBA"). He is walking at a decent eleven percent, but is striking out close to forty percent of the time.
  2. Pedro Alvarez: This guy sure makes it tough on his fans, does he not? Alvarez has played fourteen games, come to the plate fifty times and has four singles. His triple slash line: .089/.180/.089. He too has decent walk numbers but has struck out 34 percent of the time.
  3. Yunel Escobar: Yay! The Rays finally got a shortstop that could hit more than his weight. Wait. What? Escobar has a .163 woeBA.  His on-base percentage is not even higher than his weight.
  4. Jeff Keppinger: A lot of teams wanted this guy after his season in Tampa Bay last season. So far, the White Sox are not getting the worth of what they paid. Yes, he has eleven hits in 61 plate appearances, so he is closer to the Mendoza Line than the first three. But he has not walked--not even once. He has not been hit by a pitch either. His batting average is .183. His on-base percentage is .180. That, friends, is hard to do.
  5. Dustin Ackley: Take a batting prospect. Send him to Seattle. Watch him die. What goes on up there? Smoak, Montero and yes, Ackley. At least Ackley has walked twice. So that gives him a woeBA of .167, one point higher than Keppinger.
  6. Russell Martin: Remember all the Yankee fans and writers screaming that the team did not keep Martin? Well...he is making Francisco Cervelli look like a superstar right now. Martin is batting .103 with just four hits so far this season. And just for kicks, he has only thrown out two of ten base steal attempts. But he can still frame those pitches like the best of them (not sarcasm).
  7. Adam Dunn: The pitchers are listening to me! After railing on for several posts about why you would ever walk Adam Dunn, his walk rate is down to just 5.2 percent thus far. Yes, the guy will beat you 35 to 40 times this season. But the rest of those 600 plate appearances will be pretty useless. Take your chances, pitchers! Dunn is batting .211 and has a .413 OPS and a .188 woeBA.

Well, there is our slow seven. Granted, many of these hitters will turn out all right in the end. But for right now, there is a whole lot of flailing going on. These seven hitters have not only had a tough start, they are the only qualifying batters with a wOBA of less than .200. Good times, eh?

MLB Game Picks - Thursday: April 18, 2013

Yesterday was not a good day. The picks broke even for a mediocre day for a (thus far) tepid week. Heh, even Anita Marks is starting to give me golf claps. Things are not helped when there is at least one postponement a night (seven straight days now). Last night, there were three of them. The weather in the north and in the northeast has been nasty. Snow has hit Denver hard. Can we get some warmth already?

And what is a game picker to do when Clayton Kershaw loses twice in a row and the formerly hot Justin Masterson has an extreme BABIP correction? Roll with it. As I replied to Ms. Marks, baseball means that there is always another day.

There are eleven games on the schedule. The Mets are still in Colorado and the Rangers are still in Chicago. Will they play today? Assuming they all do, here are the picks:

  • The Brewers over the Giants: Assuming that Yovani Gallardo can catch a cab to the ballpark, he will start at home--where he is usually tough--against Matt Cain. Cain has certainly not looked ace-like so far this season.
  • The Mets over the Rockies: Similar situation here. The Mets can now start Jonathon Niese in the game instead of Jeremy Hafner. Not that it will make a difference in Coors Field. This will be high scoring and Niese and John Garland will probably not have much to do with the final outcome.
  • The Tigers over the Mariners: Hisashi Iwakuma has become one of my favorite pitchers and picking against him is hard to swallow. But that is how the pick has to be since he is facing Justin Verlander. However, if Iwakuma can match Verlander for goose eggs, I like the Mariners' bullpen better than the Tigers.
  • The Yankees over the Diamondbacks: Might as well pick the sweep even if it is Phil Hughes on the mound for the Yankees. Hey, if Ivan Nova can win, so can Hughes. The Yankees' lineup against lefties like Patrick Corbin is pretty bleak though, so do not expect the score to be that high.
  • The Braves over the Pirates: Jeff Locke is not A.J. Burnett and in his two starts thus far has more walks allowed than strikeouts. He did win his last start though. Meanwhile, Julio Teheran is once again being bitten by the home run bug after a dominating spring. There is no confidence here for Teheran, but the Braves will score big and often in this game.
  • The Red Sox over the Indians: The Red Sox look like the best team in the American League right now and Jon Lester is just one reason why. He is pitching fabulously. Zach McAllister should keep the Indians in the game, but the Indians will not score more than a run or two in this one.
  • The Cardinals over the Phillies: The Cardinals are starting to get frustrating again. They look so good in some games and so bad in others. Hard to figure. But Adam Wainwright is pitching really well and combine that with a lack of offense on the Phillies and you should add up to a Cardinal win over Cole Hamels.
  • The Bay Rays over the Orioles: I see a big problem thus far with the picks. I have picked seven of the visiting teams to win out of eight contests. That is probably not a good idea. Oh well, I have to go with the match-ups and in this one, David Price is simply a better pick than Miguel Gonzalez. The only caveat is if the Rays can score like they did yesterday.
  • The White Sox over the Blue Jays: Again, this is a match-up choice. It just seems that Chris Sale has a better chance of shutting down the Blue Jays than R.A. Dickey has of shutting down the White Sox. The Sox will hit at least two homers.
  • The Reds over the Marlins: A battle of young arms in this one. Jose Fernandez has looked great for the Marlins despite never pitching above A-ball before this season. He has not faced a lineup like the Reds before though. The Reds start there own prospect, Tony Cingrani. Cingrani sort of rhymes with Cincinnati, so that is a nice marketing angle. He has fared well so far in relief and his minor league numbers are outstanding. Neither starter will go longer than five innings, so the Reds bullpen wins the game.

And the Game of the Day!

  • The Rangers over the Cubs: The postponement yesterday allows the Rangers to move up Alexi Ogando into the game instead of the rookie, Justin Grimm. That makes a big difference and should allow them to beat Carlos Villanueva

Yesterday: 6-6
Week: 27-22
Month: 131-84
Games of the Day: 12-5

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Justin Upton's latest homer prompts tweet of the week

The Arizona Diamondbacks wanted to get rid of Justin Upton in the worst way. He simply did not fit into Kirk Gibson and the front office's philosophy of gritty guys digging deep for wins. The Diamondbacks wanted gamers. They wanted guys with dirty uniforms and so on and so forth. We can all make fun of those ideals if we want. Most of us know that it is talent and performance that wins, not ideals or scrap or grit or whatever it is you want to call it.

The Atlanta Braves have to be thrilled about the Diamondbacks strategy. Upton has been a monster for them. He has helped make them now the team to beat in the NL East.

So that brings us to this tweet by Jonathan Bernhardt. It was truly an epic tweet and sums it up for most of us rational thinkers about baseball, but only in a dead-on, dripping with sarcasm way that most of us do not have enough grit or scrap or whatever to come up with something as perfect as this:

Beautiful. Simply beautiful. That tweet had some dirt on its uniform right there.

MLB Game Picks - Wednesday: April 17, 2013

Yesterday featured some brilliant picks. The Twins over the Angels? I had it. The Padres over the Dodgers? Yep. Got that one. Unfortunately, there were some really stupid picks that canceled out the smart ones. Picks like the Indians over the Red Sox. Did I really pick Ubaldo Jimenez. Oh Ubaldo. Ubaldo. What the heck was I thinking? And I picked the Cubs over the Rangers!?

There were other surprises. The double-header between the Rockies and Mets was going perfectly until the Mets' bullpen blew the second game late. The magic bubble of Barry Zito burst on me and he was hammered.

And weather continued to play havoc in baseball. The Phillies and Reds played nine scoreless innings and then decided to call it a night. And the rains came to the Pirates - Cardinals game and wiped that out after the second inning. Baseball has seen five straight nights with at least one postponement.

So all in all, the picks ended up in the positive. But not by much. The suspended game will count on yesterday if it is finished up today. It looks like from's schedule, that they will finish up the game today at some point.

Wednesday's picks:

  • The Braves over the Royals: There is no stopping this Braves team right now. They are pitching, hitting and playing defense. And of course, once they get the lead, that bullpen is amazing. Wade Davis pitches for the Royals and he has been good. But the Braves will hit at least a couple of homers to take the game behind Mike Minor.
  • The Athletics over the Astros: While it is always an adventure to pick Bartolo Colon to win a game, the A's have to be the pick here. Bud Norris has won two of the Astros' games, but again, the pick has to go to the A's.
  • The Phillies over the Reds: I am simply not buying Mike Leake here. The Phillies' offense is weak, but Leake has not been able to stop anyone. John Lannon has a chance to stop the Reds, however.
  • The Yankees over the Diamondbacks: C.C. Sabathia has won his last two starts in impressive fashion and should be able to tame the Diamondbacks in his home yard. Wade Miley, however, is also a lefty and has been really impressive. The Yankees' lineup against lefties has been weak. This may up a bullpen game, and if so, advantage: Yankees.
  • The Indians over the Red Sox: No, I did not learn my lesson, so what of it? Justin Masterson is 3-0 with an ERA under one. I wrote this week that I do not think that is a fluke. Obviously, his ERA will regress, but he is facing Alfredo Aceves. Aceves was not bad in his last start, but he is a tantrum waiting to happen.
  • The Cardinals over the Pirates: A.J. Burnett has pitched well for the Pirates but is still 0-2. That is because of the Pirates' offense which faces the seemingly incredible Shelby Miller. Miller has been lights out thus far. The only scary part in this game is the Cardinals' bullpen.
  • The Bay Rays over the Orioles: Chris Tillman at least gives the Rays' offense a chance to score two or three runs. If he does, then Matt Moore should hold down the Orioles enough for the guy with the crooked cap to end the game with a save.
  • The Blue Jays over the White Sox: J.A. Happ has been very good for the Blue Jays. Who would have guessed that? He is 2-0 so far. My only worry is that Konerko might get to him. Otherwise, he should be better than Jose Quintana.
  • The Nationals over the Marlins: The Marlins pulled two surprises yesterday. First, they won. Second, they scored a lot of runs. Neither will happen two days in a row. Ross Detwiler over Ricky Nolasco.
  • The Rangers over the Cubs: Carlos Villanueva has been very stingy for the Cubs and has an ERA under one. But he has nothing to show for it. Justin Grimm makes his second major league start. The first one was only so-so. So this pick looks wrong. But it will be right.
  • The Angels over the Twins: The Angels have looked awful. Just awful. But should win today because Vance Worley has looked abominable thus far. He used to be much better than this, so I do not really get what is going on with him. While Tommy Hanson does not thrill me either, he should be better than Worley.
  • The Brewers over the Giants: Maybe the Brewers are ready to go on a hot streak. Kyle Lohse has pitched well but has not been fortunate. Ryan Vogelsong has been inconsistent. The Brewers steal a win here after beating the Giants last night.
  • The Rockies over the Mets: I hate picking games that originate in Coors Field. Anything can happen there. Jeremy Hefner is not having a fun time thus far and goes against a tough offense in a tough place for pitchers. Jon Garland is at least crafty enough to survive, if by his fingernails.
  • The Tigers over the Mariners: If there is one thing we have learned over the years is that just because Felix Hernandez is pitching, it does not mean the Mariners will win the game. Max Scherzer certainly has the ability to shadow Hernandez until the Tigers can scratch out a few runs.

And the Game of the Day!

  • The Dodgers over the Padres: Clayton Kershaw lose two games in a row? As if. He should mow through the Padres without a problem and the Dodgers will get to Tyson Ross. This should be a no-brainer. But saying so has always haunted me.

Yesterday: 8-6  and pending on the completion of the suspended game
Week: 20-16
Month: 124-78
Games of the Day: 12-4

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

MLB Game Picks - Tuesday: Aprl 16, 2013

About an hour after the Red Sox finished their walk-off win against the Rays, I kind of lost interest in baseball for the rest of the day. The horrible events that took place in that same city sucked the wind out of me and made me sad and reflective the rest of the day. The television stayed off. The computer was ignored. Baseball simply did not seem that important.

But life goes on for those of us fortunate enough not to be in that wrong place at the wrong time. Those filled with such evil want very much to suck the joy out of life. Whoever they are, they succeeded for a day. But for that to stretch out more than a day means that evil is winning. The only way to overcome such evil is to not allow those of us who try to live a good life to roll up into a fetal position.

But still, it is with a heavy heart. For what they are worth for today, here are Tuesday's picks:

  • The Rockies over the Mets: This game is a makeup of yesterday's "snow-out." The only problem is that it is supposed to snow again today. So good luck getting this double-header in. I still think Juan Nicasio beats Dillon Gee, just like yesterday. It is a bit daunting to know that the Mets lead baseball in runs scored per game. The Mets!?
  • The Yankees over the Diamondbacks: Ivan Nova is an enigma. In 2011, he was beautiful. In 2012, he was ugly. In his first start, he was somewhat serviceable. This pick depends on him having a decent outing. Brandon McCarthy had a bad start to his season, but is still getting tons of ground ball.
  • The Indians over the Red Sox: It is not that I think the Indians will win because of Ubaldo Jimenez. I think the Indians win despite him scoring plenty off of Felix Doubront and middle relievers to win the game at home.
  • The Cardinals over the Pirates: Anyone want to start a pool on how long Jonathan Sanchez remains in the Pirates' rotation? I will start and say one more start after this one. Jake Westbrook doesn't inspire confidence either, but he should be better than Sanchez.
  • The Orioles over the Bay Rays: The Rays are really in trouble because of their offense. They simply cannot hit other than the first three spots in their lineup. They will make Jake Arrieta look good today. Meanwhile, the Orioles should pound Roberto Hernandez. The Rays better get a fifth starter out of their farm system soon.
  • The Blue Jays over the White Sox: The stubbornness I have in my belief in Josh Johnson seems to have no end. Now if only the Blue Jays could keep Jose Bautista in the lineup for more than a day. The White Sox start Dylan Axelrod.
  • The Braves over the Royals: The Royals have had a nice start to the season and it appears that Kansas City fans will have a lot more fun this season. But the Royals are not as good as the Braves. Jeremy Guthrie is capable of holding down the Braves. It will depend on if Kris Medlen has a good game or not. The Royals lose the DH for this series.
  • The Reds over the Phillies: The Phillies could not beat the Reds with Cliff Lee on the mound. So they should not with Kyle Kendrick either. The Reds start Homer Bailey, who seems to alternate between a Homer of legend and a moniker for what he gives up too many of.
  • The Nationals over the Marlins: What Loria has done to the Marlins is criminal. What a joke. Dan Haren is still a scary starting pitcher to pick, but heck, he is facing the Marlins. Alex Sanabia actually won his last start, so there is that.
  • The Cubs over the Rangers: The Rangers lose the DH in Chicago. Derek Holland has not found his legs yet and the Cubs have some right-handed batting bop. Travis Wood should be decent. It all seems to add up to a Cubs win. We'll see.
  • The Twins over the Angels: Are the Angels really this bad? They sure look bad as the Twins took the first game of this series. Perhaps this pick is an overreaction to that result. But Mike Pelfrey sounds better than Jason Vargas.
  • The Mets over the Rockies: IF the games are both played, the Mets will take the back end. Sure, they have not announced a pitcher. But they will figure it out and beat Jeff Francis.
  • The Giants over the Brewers: I keep waiting for the Barry Zito bubble to burst. I hope it does not soon as it sure is fun. I have no idea how good or not good Wily Peralta is or is not. So, I would not put much stock in this pick
  • The Tigers over the Mariners: How does Aaron Harang always find a home team with a big ballpark? It is the only reason his career has thrived for this long. First the Padres, then the Dodgers and now the Mariners. The guy is charmed. But the Tigers still win behind Doug Fister.
  • The Padres over the Dodgers: Yeah, probably another knee jerk over yesterday's results. But Jason Marquis can pull rabbits out of a hat occasionally and Chris Capuano has not started thus far for the Dodgers. He will be rusty.

And the Game of the Day!

  • The Athletics over the Astros: Brad Peacock was good in his last start, but A.J. Griffin is always terrific at home. I just cannot see the Astros having a chance in this one.
Yesterday: 5-3
Week: 12-10
Month: 116-72
Games of the Day: 11-4

Monday, April 15, 2013

MLB Game Picks - Monday: April 15, 2013

Happy Jackie Robinson Day and Patriots Day to all of you in Massachusetts and Maine. Nine games are taking place today, so Jackie Robinson Day might not have as big an effect as it would otherwise.

When is finishing at 7-7 a good day? When the day starts out 1-5. The Braves really wiped me out over the weekend along with the Nationals. I never thought they would completely whip the Nats like that. Picking the Rays to win is problematic because they cannot hit. And yes, Clay Buchholz was great too.  Jonathan Broxton had a complete meltdown for the Reds to cost that pick. The Cardinals and Blue Jays lost and the entire day looked like it was going to be a disaster.

So, yes, finishing at 7-7 feels like a win. Monday's picks:

  • The Red Sox over the Bay Rays: Boston hosts its annual Patriots (and Marathon) Day game at eleven o'clock in the morning. Ryan Dempster looked much better in his last start and other than Ben Zobrist and Evan Longoria, the Rays cannot hit. Jeremy Hellickson starts for the Rays and he is their weakest link.
  • The Cardinals over the Pirates: The Cardinals' bullpen cannot keep giving away games. But the Cards' offense should score more off of James McDonald to give Lance Lynn a big enough cushion.
  • The Blue Jays over the White Sox: Mark Buehrle faces his old team for the first time. As always, Buehrle's success will depend on where his batted balls land. Gavin Floyd goes for the White Sox and the Blue Jays should have enough offense to take care of him.
  • The Phillies over the Reds: Picking the Phillies is difficult since their offense is just not that good. But Cliff Lee has looked terrific this far and even though he is facing a tough Reds' offense, if he pitches like he has, he will be great. Bronson Arroyo will keep it a game if he keeps the ball in the park.
  • The Angels over the Twins: The Angels are starting to hit finally but will need Joe Blanton to have a good game on the mound. The Twins can make that possible on any given night. Since they were snowed out yesterday (and it is supposed to snow today), Kevin Correia gets the start for the Twins.
  • The Rockies over the Mets: Anything can happen at Coors Field but it seems that Juan Nicasio has a better chance at succeeding there than Dillon Gee does. The Rockies offense is rocking it too.
  • The Athletics over the Astros: The A's got beat up over the weekend by the Tigers and have lost Cespedes for a while. But Tommy Milone should hold the Astros down and the A's should be able to score three or four against Erik Bedard.
  • The Dodgers over the Padres: Chad Billingsley better be good in this one or Eric Stults could sneak in with a win. All things considered, you have to take the Dodgers at home in this one.

And the Game of the Day!

  • The Nationals over the Marlins: What better way for the Nationals to lick its wounds after a really bad weekend than to face the Marlins, who are hopeless. Wade LeBlanc is capable of keeping the score down, but the Marlins will not hit Jordan Zimmermann.

Yesterday; 7-7
Week: 7-7
Month: 111-69
Games of the Day: 10-4

The Game of the Day is not the most exciting game, but it s the pick that looks the safest to turn out the way it is predicted.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

MLB Game Picks - Sunday: April 14, 2013

Yesterday's MLB Game Picks came out in the positive. But for some reason, it sure does not feel that way. The first three games of the day featured six aces in an incredible array of starting pitching. Two of those games were picked incorrectly as Tim Hudson beat Stephen Strasburg and Madison Bumgarner beat Jeff Samardzija. Then the Yankees lost and Phil Hughes got beat up pretty good and the picks were suddenly, 1-4. Fortunately, only two other games were incorrect the rest of the day. But one of those was the Game of the Day, so that feature is on a two game losing streak.

The amount of key injuries around baseball are sad. They are depriving us of some great players. Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Reyes, Zack Greinke, Johnny Cueto, Yoenis Cespedes and more. It seems every day brings bad news. Not only do these injuries effect picking games, but it deprives the fans of genuine and entertaining talent.

But to use the ultimate cliche, the show must go on. Here are Sunday's picks:

  • The Phillies over the Marlins: Sure, there is all kinds of concerns about Roy Halladay, who starts today. And there should be. But this is the Marlins they are playing. And while the Marlins were correctly picked to win yesterday, those wins will become few and far in between. Kevin Slowey will make even the Phillies lineup look good.
  • The Nationals over the Braves: These two teams are like Ali and Frazier fights. They are both such good teams. It is too bad for them that they are in the same division. The Braves have taken the first two and both those picks were wrong. Do I learn? Nah. Gio Gonzalez over Paul Maholm.
  • The Reds over the Pirates:  Here is how I see this game. Obscure prospect, Phil Irwin, gets his Major League debut for the Pirates. He has good control and a decent strikeout rate in the minors. He pitches five innings of really nice baseball and matches Mat Latos, who finally has a good game. Then the bullpen blows the game for the Pirates. How is that for a literal pick?
  • The Rays over the Red Sox: Can you tell that I really like Alex Cobb? I must to pick him over a very stingy Clay Buchholz so far this season. The combination of Buchholz and Lester could take the Red Sox all the way to the division title the way they are pitching. But Cobb wins today.
  • The Twins over the Mets: Remember again that bad teams do win once in a while. The Twins will win sixty times, so the picks have to choose them wisely. Dillon Gee gives the Twins lineup a chance and Kevin Correia throws enough "at-em" balls to keep the Twins in the game. Bullpens will decide it.
  • The Blue Jays over the Royals: I have no idea what to do with the Blue Jays' rotation anymore. Before the season, I thought they were perhaps the best in baseball. They have been terrible. Dickey gave some hope yesterday. Will Brandon Morrow pick up the torch? We will see. Ervin Santana will go for the Royals and the only real drama there will be how many homers he allows.
  • The Cardinals over the Brewers: Can you say sweep, boys and girls? Jaime Garcia always has a good chance to win at home and Marco Estrada will surprise you once in a while. But it will not be today.
  • The Giants over the Cubs: No, I am never picking Edwin Jackson again. Ever. Never. Ever. So, of course, he will win today. Picking Tim Lincecum for the Giants is no picnic either.
  • The Angels over the Astros: In the battle for last place (Angel fans never expected to hear that), the Angels should get the better of a C.J. Wilson / Phil Humber match up. Neither starter is a solid pick though. Good luck with this one, William.
  • The Tigers over the Athletics: Losing Cespedes is a big blow for this A's team. They still have some decent hitters though. But then again, Anibal Sanchez has started well for the Tigers this season. Jarrod Parker is always tough at home though. Ugh!
  • The Padres over the Rockies: I hate to make this pick, but I do not trust Jorge De La Rosa and Clayton Richard only has a chance to win at home. So there you go.
  • The Diamondbacks over the Dodgers: This is another game where I have no idea what to do. Josh Beckett and Trevor Cahill have both started the season with problems. Beckett is over the hill? Still capable of a good game? Trevor Cahill was jettisoned by the A's because they had better pitchers? And do? Gosh.
  • The Rangers over the Mariners: I picked against Nick Tepesch in his debut and he did great. I picked twice against Brandon Maurer and will continue to do so as he is not ready for prime time for the Mariners. Rangers.
  • The Yankees over the Orioles: Hiroki Kuroda and Wei-Yin Chen have done this dance before and will do it again. Either team could win depending on how the ball bounces. Two very equal teams right now. Picking the Yankees at home.

And the Game of the Day!

  • The White Sox over Indians: The Indians' lineup has picked up over the last few games, but again, the rotation is the problem. Today you have another start by Brett Myers and those kinds of starts are going to kill this team. Jake Peavy should get the win in this one.

Yesterday: 9-6
Last week: 57-32
Month: 104-62
Games of the Day: 9-4