Saturday, June 15, 2013

Brandons still overrunning baseball

I pick the Major League games every day. As such, you notice names because of discussing the starting pitchers. The name that comes up more than any other is, "Brandon." Brandons overrun baseball. The 1980s must have been the age of Brandon. Every parent must have wanted to name their male children by that name. You would expect a lot of the names, Joe, Jim, William, Dave and other classics. You would expect a run of Hispanic names like Jose and Juan. But Brandon? Why Brandon?

When Brandon Cumpton makes his Major League debut today, he will be the 22nd Brandon to play in the majors in the last two seasons. Then there is the Brendan variation that includes Brendan Ryan and Brendan Harris to add two more. Then there is Brennan Boesch, which may or may not be another variant. There are nine more Brandons playing in the minors, so we are not done yet. Heck, there is a Brendan Brennan in the minors playing in the White Sox system. Maybe he wins a prize.

The other name that comes up a lot is, "Jonathan." There are eleven of those. Ten if you include Jonathon Niese of the Mets, who must have had a bad spelling nurse when he was born. But the Brandons still have it.

Here is a list of Brandons in the past two seasons: Brandon Allen, Brandon Bantz, Brandon Beachy, Brandon Barnes, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Brandon Dickson, Brandon Gomes, Brandon Guyer, Brandon Inge, Brandon Hicks, Brandon Kintzler, Brandon Laird, Brandon League, Brandon Lyon, Brandon McCarthy, Brandon Maurer, Brandon Morrow, Brandon Moss, Brandon Phillips, and Brandon Snyder. In addition, there is Luke Brandon Scott and Christopher Brandon Young. And today, we will have Brandon Cumpton.

That is a lot of Brandons.

But they could be dethroned in the next couple of years. I mentioned that there were eleven Jonathans with another Jonathon. But there are 19 Jonathans in the minors. So that name could take over from Brandon. But in the meantime. Brandon is king. Brandons are everywhere.

MLB Game Picks - Saturday: June 15, 2013

My horrible week of picking continues with another terrible night. When I went to bed, the Rockies were leading the Phillies, 7-2, as Kyle Kendrick got bombed as predicted. What I did not see coming was the Phillies scoring six runs in the last four innings to win the game despite the fact that their pitching staff did not record a strikeout until Jonathan Papelbon recorded one in the ninth.

The day started off well. The Orioles beat the Red Sox, the Indians beat the Nats and the Pirates beat the Dodgers all as predicted and I was 3-0. But then the Cardinals lost, the Rays lost (the Game of the Day), and the Mets lost and the slide had started. Only three more picks were correct the rest of the evening.

I do not know what I am going to do if this does not turn around soon. Saturday's picks:

  • The Cubs over the Mets: And of course, the day starts out with a puzzler. Jonathon Niese is supposed to be a pretty good pitcher. But he has games where he gets bombed, including his last one. Scott Feldman has had a good year for the Cubs, but again, his last start was not so good. Ugh.
  • The Dodgers over the Pirates: has the Pirates' pitcher as TBO. That is not good. Yahoo lists Brandon Cumpton as making his Major League debut. So we will go with that. Cumpton's numbers in the minors are ordinary and he does not make any prospect list. So maybe Clayton Kershaw can actually get a win to go with his 1.88 ERA. Just maybe.
  • The Red Sox over the Orioles: The Orioles have the Red Sox' number. It has not been pretty. But John Lackey seems like a better pick than Freddy Garcia. Then again, I have picked against Garcia twice in a row and he has won. So there you go.
  • The Braves over the Giants: Okay, I get that I should have picked Bumgarner last night. But both starters had been hot and it was a flip of the coin of which would have a good day. I flipped poorly. But in this one? Come on, Mike Minor has to be better than Chad Gaudin. He just has to be. If he is not, then I give up.
  • The Blue Jays over the Rangers: Let's face it, R.A. Dickey has not been good. But at least he is capable of a good game if his knuckler works. But Josh Lindblom? He is not exactly Lindblooming in his early time with the Rangers. This could be a wild one.
  • The Bay Rays over the Royals: Yeah, this pick did not work out yesterday or the day before. But I am stubborn that way. For one, I like Alex Cobb...a lot. For another, the Royals are hot, but the Rays are not this bad. Lastly, I do not know what the heck I am doing anymore. Jeremy Guthrie goes for the Royals.
  • The Reds over the Brewers: Homer Bailey has a horrible lifetime record against the Brewers but beat them his last time out quite impressively. Ryan Braun's status remains day to day. Yovani Gallardo is certainly capable of a shut down day if he is on. Never an easy pick these days.
  • The Rockies over the Phillies: I have no idea which team is going to win this game. I will be honest. Jonathan Pettibone and Tyler Chatwood both pitching at Coors Field sounds like a nightmare. This could be like a 13-12 score. Or one of the pitchers can be unexpectedly sharp today. Either way, I have no idea.
  • The White Sox over the Astros: The Astros won yesterday. The Astros have been a thorn in my side because they are bad enough to lose every game, but will win at least fifty games this year because that is how it works. You never know when a win will happen. The White Sox are terrible. They are probably one of the worst constructed teams in baseball. But I like John Danks over Lucas Harrell.
  • The Cardinals over the Marlins: I had a dream that Tom Koehler won his first game ever the other night. Seriously, I dreamed that. But since these picks have been my nightmare, I have to pick the Cardinals behind Lance Lynn. The Marlins are a different team with Giancarlo Stanton in there. But still.
  • The Tigers over the Twins: Anibal Sanchez does this every year. He shows brilliance. But then he gets nagging injuries and misses a start or two and is mediocre in between. But then he shows brilliance again. One never knows. And of course, that Tigers' bullpen. Ouch. The Twins are starting Samuel Deduno, which rhymes with I dunno.
  • The Angels over the Yankees: Let's be real here. Whenever I pick the Yankees, it is an emotional pick. For years, the emotions matched the team's skill level. This year, they do not. Tommy Hanson over David Phelps.
  • The Mariners over the Athletics: As good as Felix Hernandez is, we have all seen how his start does not guarantee a win. But you still have to respect that he gives his team a chance to win. A.J. Griffin is hot and cold. But the Mariners' offense is stinky. Gosh, this is hard.
  • The Diamondbacks over the Padres: How silly is it that Jason Marquis is 8-2? I know because I have picked against him all year and he has made me look stupid...which at this point, after this week, I can do pretty much well by myself. But I am going with Wade Miley and thinking Goldschmidt does something good.

And the Game of the Day!
  • The Nationals over the Indians: My champion, Jordan Zimmermann, goes tonight. He is my man and I have been going with him for three years. If I was playing Strat-O-Matic baseball, I would pitch him every night. Scott Kazmir pitches for the Indians.

Yesterday: 6-9
Week: 31-48  Worst. Week. Ever.
Month: 89-98
Season: 552-448
Games of the Day: 43-30

Friday, June 14, 2013

It is a real shame about Troy Tulowitzki

Troy Tulowitzki is the best shortstop in the Major Leagues since Alex Rodriguez. The problem is that A-Rod almost never got hurt early in his career and Troy Tulowitzki cannot seem to avoid the injury bug. After only playing 46 games a year ago, Tulowitzki has just been diagnosed with a broken rib and will miss another four to six weeks after playing just sixty games this season.

Tulowitzki has averaged 29 homers and a 105 runs batted in for every 162 games he has played with 66 walks and 181 hits. Unfortunately, he cannot get close to 162 games in a season. He has played now for eight years and has only twice reached the 150 games played mark. 

Tulowitzki missed 51 games in 208, 40 in 2010, 19 in 2011, 115 last year and now he will miss 30 to 45 more games this season. I have seen some posts by Rockies' writers that seem to blame Tulowitzki for this problem. How can you blame a guy for getting hurt? It is just plain bad luck. His career kind of reminds me of George Brett and Larry Walker. Like them, he is a brilliant talent who simply cannot get a physical break. Or maybe he gets too many depending on how you look at it.

And 2013 was shaping up to be his best season yet. His triple slash line reads: 347/.414/.629. He had already hit sixteen homers and sixteen doubles. He had driven in 51 runs in just sixty games. It was a monster season in the making. Now it will be on hold for more than a month.

And lest you think those were simply Coors Field numbers, Tulowitzki was a .975 OPS guy on the road this season with eight of his homers and nine of his doubles on the road.

If Tulowitzki could have stayed healthy over his career, he would have been everyone's All Star. He would have been one of the most talked about players in baseball. Instead, his career thus far has been a sad shake of the head, and to some, a disappointment. You cannot call a guy a disappointment because he gets hurt. But you can call it disappointing.

MLB Game Picks - Friday: June 14, 2013

The picking day on Thursday finished a game over .500 and it still feels like a major victory. Granted, it was mediocre and barely acceptable, but it was the first day in the black this week. That is a victory. Of course, two games went a combined 32 innings to be wrong. Those extra inning games never help. Ever. And it seems there have been more of them than ever before. As usual, Yu Darvish was very good and could not win. The same was the case for Matt Harvey, but at least I predicted that one.

And here is a little tidbit for you. In one of those extra inning games, Travis Hafner, Kevin Youkilis and Vernon Wells were back to back to back in the lineup. They went zero for 23. That's right. Zero for 23. Just keep running them out there, Girardi. Yup.

Here are Friday's picks:

  • The Orioles over the Red Sox: Like I told you yesterday, the Orioles like playing the Red Sox. It is just one of those things. Both teams will be exhausted after their long game yesterday. But the Orioles will hit Ryan Dempster more than the Red Sox will hit Chris Tillman.
  • The Pirates over the Dodgers: I keep forgetting that the Pirates are a good team now. For all the years I have been doing this, the Pirates were the easy mark. They still have some problems occasionally on offense, but they are a good team. And Jeff Locke will be Barney Stephen Fife.
  • The Indians over the Nationals: The Nats have run out of pitchers named, "Ross." They win with pitchers named, "Ross." They have not won often with pitchers named Gio Gonzalez. Besides, Justin Masterson is the Indians' best pitcher.
  • The Mets over the Cubs: The two pitchers in this contest are a combined 2-15. Yes, those are the kinds of messes I have to deal with. I have a new theory about Edwin Jackson. He was born in Germany and in that country, most citizens get five weeks of vacation a year. Jackson takes his during the baseball season. Shaun Marcum is going to get his first win of the season.
  • The Reds over the Brewers: Kyle Lohse has always pitched pretty well against the Reds. He has one of his better K/BB splits against the Reds over the years. But the feeling here is that the Brewers will find some way to screw it up and lose. Bronson Arroyo is hit or miss and when he is hit, he is hit.
  • The Cardinals over the Marlins: Jake Westbrook has not pitched in a while and it is almost a bad thing he has come off the disabled list because the young pitchers have pitched better than him. And the Cardinals have Stanton back and young, Jose Fernandez, has been pitching well. Despite all that, I am going with the Cardinals.
  • The Braves over the Giants: This is a tough, tough game to predict. Kris Medlen has not had a good start to the season but has not given up an earned run over his last two starts and wants to stay out of the bullpen. But the Giants are pitching Madison Bumgarner, which means with the free swingers on the Braves, he could strike out twelve of them.
  • The Rangers over the Blue Jays: The Blue Jays have been on a bit of a roll. The Rangers have been in a funk. Justin Grimm has not been very good lately. Mark Buehrle is a powder-puff guy who keeps teams off balance...most of the time. When he does not, it ain't pretty. The Rangers at home are still tough to deal with.
  • The White Sox over the Astros: Chris Sale was supposed to pitch the other night, but the game was rained out. The extra rest should do him good. Erik Bedard could surprise with a good game tonight. But that would indeed be a surprise.
  • The Tigers over the Twins: This game is no gimme for the Tigers and the Twins have played them tough. Scott Diamond should not be able to hold Miguel Cabrera and company down. Rick Porcello has been decent for the Tigers.
  • The Rockies over the Phillies: The Rockies are losing players to injuries, which is a shame. But I have a feeling they will still rock Kyle Kendrick's world today at home in Coors Field.
  • The Angels over the Yankees: The Angels have at least three hitters that can do something. The Yankees cannot say that. And as long as the Yankees play Vernon Wells, I cannot pick them anymore. Despite Andy Pettitte pitching, I am going with C.J. Wilson.
  • The Athletics over the Mariners: I cannot see the Mariners' offense doing anything in this game. The A's are a really good team. Tommy Milone over Joe Saunders.
  • The Diamondbacks over the Padres: I can tell I am being set up here. I have picked against the Padres and picked against them and they keep on winning. Today, I think they will win behind Eric Stults. But that is a setup and I recognize it. So I am going to foil it and pick the Diamondbacks and the terrible Trevor Cahill. So there. Nice try. Gosh, I am going insane.

And the Game of the Day:
  • The Bay Rays over the Royals: The Rays have been pretty sucky for a couple of weeks now. And the once unhitable Matt Moore has been getting bombed. The thinking here is that Moore rediscovers himself in this game and the struggling Rays' lineup gets a few runs off of Luis Mendoza.

Yesterday: 5-4
Week: 25-39
Month: 83-89
Season: 546-439
Games of the Day: 43-29

Thursday, June 13, 2013

MLB Game Picks - Thursday: June 13, 2013

Holy freakin' Hannah. What the heck is going on here? Verlander throws seven shutout innings and then Papa not-so Grande gives up a two-run homer to Lorenzo Cain in the ninth and the Tigers lose in extras.  The Braves would go 0-162 if they played the Padres every day of the season. The Cardinals can club any pitcher in baseball to death, but not Dillon Gee. Ubaldo Jimenez gave up four walks and a homer in five innings and still wins. Ross Ohlendorf comes out of nowhere to pitch six innings of two-hit Coors Field. The Dodgers behind Ryu, build a 4-3 lead in the late innings and then give the job of keeping it there to a kid making his major league debut. What!? The Mariners are ahead, 1-0, going into the top of the ninth and allow the Astros to score six runs. Phil Hughes goes back to sucking. I cannot win. This has been the worst stretch of my picking career. It is brutal. The week is so deeply in the hole that it should break through to China any minute now. The month is deep in the red. I am pulling my hair out and it is my only good feature.

There are only nine games on the Thursday schedule. Let's see how badly I can screw this up. Thursday's picks:
  • The Cardinals over the Mets: The Cardinals cannot beat Gee, but they will beat the Mets' best pitcher. Why? One, they have Adam Wainwright on the mound. Two, Matt Harvey tweaked his back in his last start and three, the Mets do not score any runs when Harvey pitches. He has not had a decision since mid-April despite an ERA during that time of 2.68.
  • The Reds over the Cubs: I would like to think the Cubs can finally win one of these games against the Reds. But can I afford to pick it that way? Even with Jeff Samardzija on the mound? Heck no. Mat Latos has to be the pick.
  • The Nationals over the Rockies: The Nats are going to Ross the Rockies to death. Last night it was Ohlendorf and tonight it is Ross Detwiler. The Nats should trade for the Rangers' Ross Wolf so they would have the complete set. Jeff Francis should get clubbed. But then again, I should find a better way to spend my mornings.
  • The Yankees over the Athletics: Yeah, I know, this is dumb. The Yankees cannot hit Oakland pitching in Oakland. They got melted there last year. They are getting melted again this year. But you would have to think that Hiroki Kuroda should beat Jarrod Parker, right? Keep starting Vernon Wells, Girardi. He is a pip.
  • The Orioles over the Red Sox: The AL East is a strange place. The Rays beat the Yankees but cannot beat the Red Sox. The Rays also beat the Orioles, but the Orioles beat the Red Sox. And on it goes. This game can go either way, of course, with Felix Doubront and Kevin Gausman as the pitching line. The pick is the Orioles at home.
  • The Giants over the Pirates: Oh look! Charlie Morton is back. He of the career 1.55 WHIP and 23-45 career win-loss record. He did not even strike out six minor league batters per nine innings, so he should do less in the majors, right? But see? That is what keeps happening. The Giants are the obvious pick behind Matt Cain. But nothing is going obvious.
  • The Rays over the Royals: Ervin Santana will give up a couple of homers. My prediction is Matt Joyce and Luke Scott. Jeremy Hellickson will pitch his five or six mediocre innings and get his win, just like pretty much always.
  • The Rangers over the Blue Jays: I never know what to do with a Yu Darvish start. I am almost always disappointed. He has had plenty of rest lately. So will that help? Esmil Rogers should get hit hard in Texas. But will he? The Rangers are having trouble getting the runners home despite a lot of base runners.

And the Game of the Day (not even going to use the exclamation point the way it has been going):
  • The Phillies over the Twins: Cliff Lee is the reason for the pick. But I do not feel strongly about any of the picks today. There is not one game that feels like a lock. So this pick is it by default. Lee should have a chance to shut down the Twins and perhaps the feeble Phillies' offense can score a few off of Kevin Correia.

Yesterday: 4-10  ::sigh::
Week: 20-35   A five year old could do better pointing to a schedule.
Month: 78-85   How sad
Season: 541-435   Still living off of April
Games of the Day: 42-29   When a lock is not a lock

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

MLB Game Picks - Wednesday: June 12, 2013

The picks took another beanball to the head last night. Oh, wait. That was the Dodgers. Which ironically, was one of the few correct picks of the day. I do not think players should be thrown at with baseballs, so I can barely stomach Zack Greinke throwing at a Diamondback player to retaliate for Puig getting hit in the nose with a pitch. But at least I can understand it and Greinke hit the guy where it could do no damage (even though that does not excuse it). But then Ian Kennedy threw a pitch at Greinke's head (and succeeded) and that has no place in baseball at all, and in my mind is a criminal act with a deadly weapon. Kennedy, long one of my favorite players, should be suspended for weeks for that act. All you have to do is look at what Brandon McCarthy has gone through to know that was the worst thing Kennedy could have done and inexcusable. Color it any way you want, but that was brutal, I do not care whose fan you are or what you say to excuse it. You never, ever, ever should throw at a player's head.

Anyway, it was another awful picking night in what has been an awful week and now even the month is in the red. Does anyone want to buy this feature from me? I obviously suck at it after four years of doing this. Sheesh. Maybe it is time for another opposite day. An opposite day is where I pick every team I think should lose to win to reverse gears. Nah. I cannot.

Wednesday's picks:

  • The Angels over the Orioles: Maybe this is an opposite pick. Maybe I cannot believe what I see for stats from Jason Hammel. Maybe I think Jerome Williams is the best Angels' pitcher. Maybe I have nothing to lose. Maybe Mike Trout should be batting third so there might be someone on base when he hits a homer (29 of his 46 career shots are solos).
  • The Tigers over the Royals: I would pick James Shields on just about any other occasion except pitching against Justin Verlander.
  • The Reds over the Cubs: So I picked the Cubs twice in this series. Shame on me. So I learn my lesson the hard way and pick the Reds. But now watch Travis Wood beat Mike Leake. I am ready for it emotionally. It will happen.
  • The Braves of the Padres: So now I have picked four straight home teams to lose. And I have that sinking feeling. But geez, the Braves should beat the Padres. The Braves should hit ten homers off of Edinson Volquez. Paul Maholm should be even better in a big ballpark. Should. Oh, crap.
  • The Pirates over the Giants: Some of that Giants' mystique has been missing in recent weeks. And the only guy winning consistently is Barry Zito. So I might as well pick against him, right? But there is a reason. Francisco Liriano has been awesome. Ugh.
  • The Bay Rays over the Red Sox: Come on, man, give me an easy one will ya!? Chris Archer is the kind of pitcher the Red Sox should eat for lunch. High homer rate. High walk rate. Young, inexperienced guy. All good so far. But then they start Alfredo Aceves, who could be awesome or awful depending on how the non-existent wind in that dome blows.
  • The Marlins over the Brewers: Egads. Is this Alfredo night, or what? This time it is Alfredo Figaro Figaro Figaro pitching for the Brewers. Kevin Slowey benefits perhaps from Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison being back in the Marlins' lineup.
  • The Rangers over the Indians: The Indians have had a good series at the Rangers' expense. But sooner or later, you would think the Rangers would explode at home. While I am not a big fan of picking the Rangers to win when Nick Tepesch is pitching, the thought is that the Rangers hit Ubaldo Jimenez at home.
  • The Twins over the Phillies: So the Phillies could not beat the Twins with Hamels on the mound. Are they going to win with Tyler Cloyd and his 4.91 K/9 rate? It does not seem likely except that Mike Pelfrey is pitching for the Twins. Oy.
  • The White Sox over the Blue Jays: This pick went south yesterday late in the game when the Blue Jays pulled it out with a White Sox' blown save. Perhaps a save will not be in the offing with Chris Sale on the mound against Esmil Rogers.
  • The Rockies over the Nationals: The Nationals were supposed to be in the World Series this year. But Bryce Harper is wearing a brace on his knee. Strasburg has a pulled muscle. And the Nats are reduced to starting Ross Ohlendorf. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Jorge De La Rosa should take advantage.
  • The Yankees over the Athletics: Phil Hughes pitches better outside of Yankee Stadium and the A's lost Cespedes to yet another leg muscle injury. Dan Straily, though, will have a wimpy Yankees' offense to deal with. I will be in bed by the time this pick goes wrong.
  • The Dodgers over the Diamondbacks: Yes, Patrick Corbin is 9-0 and deservedly so. He has been that good. But he goes against Hyun-jin Ryu in this one and that should be the difference  with the Dodgers at home. Hopefully, the bean ball wars are over.
  • The Mariners over the Astros: The Astros made Aaron Harang look like Tom Seaver last night. So Jeremy Bonderman should look like a Cy Young Award candidate. Meanwhile, Jordan Lyles is 3-1 so far this season, so I could look like a dope again.

And the Game of the Day!
  • The Cardinals over the Mets: Dillon Gee has been pretty good lately. But he is facing the Cardinals. The awesome Shelby Miller is pitching for the Cardinals and is facing the Mets. Now that is a pick I can at least feel good about. That makes one today.

Yesterday: 6-9
Week: 16-25  Isn't that pretty
Month: 74-75  man oh man
Season: 537-425
Games of the Day: 42-28

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Max Scherzer is ripping that shadow to shreds

Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers has made twelve starts and he has not lost a game. Not only has he not lost a game, he does not look capable of losing a game. He has pitched in the shadow of Verlander for so long that he has always been considered the other guy. He might just be the guy now. He has gotten better every season in the last four and now Scherzer is in an elite class as one of the best pitchers in the game.

Let's look at some three year progressions for Scherzer. These progressions will show the progress he has made over the three year period. The numbers will start with 2011 with 2012 the second number and this year as the third. Here we go:
  • Winning percentage: .625, .679, 1.000
  • K/BB ratio: 3.11, 3.85, 5.00
  • WHIP: 1.349, 1.274, 0.888
  • Hits/9: 9.6, 8.6, 5.8
  • FIP: 4.14, 3.27, 2.36
  • Strikeout percentage: 20.9%, 29.4%, 31.6%
  • GameScore Ave: 50.7, 55.6, 64.2
  • HR/9: 1.34, 1.10, 0.65
  • Batting average against: .269, .248, .182
And it goes on and on. The same kind of three-year improvement can be seen in his tERA, SIERA, Win Probability and more. Scherzer has simply gotten better each year to the point where he is now an ace caliber pitcher and among the best in the game, if not on his own team.

To show you how strong the Tigers are, according to, the Tigers have the number 2 starter in baseball (yes, currently Sanchez has better stats than Scherzer), the number 6 (Scherzer) and number 8 (Verlander) starters in baseball. And if you had to go with one of the three in a big game, who would you give the ball to?

Verlander gets the nod by most still because of his history. But it would be a tough choice for me. I think personally that Sanchez will fall behind the other two eventually as he has trouble staying healthy. But Verlander and Scherzer will be neck and neck the rest of the season. Verlander had a rougher start to his season but has been coming on strong. The two have similar numbers with Scherzer coming out on top in most of them due to Verlander's season start.

But the bottom line here is that you cannot go wrong with either selection. As good as Verlander is, Max Scherzer is just as terrific now. You could not say that two years ago or even last year. But Scherzer's progression reminds me of Verlander's.

The only obstacle left for Max Scherzer to break to be in Verlander's league is to go beyond 200 innings this season, something he has not done. Part of that might be Verlander's strength of will to keep the ball late into the game and Leyland not having the same trust level with Scherzer. But that looks to be changing this season because one of those other progressions is innings per start. Scherzer has averaged 5.91 and 5.85 innings per start in the last two seasons, but is averaging 6.9 innings a start this year.

Max Scherzer has been in Verlander's long shadow for most of his career. But if his season continues to go this well, then the sun will be shining equally on both of them.

MLB Game Picks - Tuesday: June 11, 2013

Yesterday was about as bad a picking day as you can get. In fact, it was a disaster. I got Brandon League-ed in Los Angeles. The Red Sox won in extras after John Lackey's bush league move did not cost him or his team. Everything went wrong except for the last two picks of Hisashi Iwakuma (at least that was the Game of the Day) and Jeremy Guthrie beating the Tigers. Everything else was wrong.

And geez, am I sick and tired of not having good days. Mediocrity is bad enough, but downright terrible is a killer. Now I have to be extremely successful to pull this week out of the hole and the month has gotten as crappy as the Nationals.

Tuesday's picks:

  • The Orioles over the Angels: Well, if the Angels cannot win with Weaver, they certainly have less of a chance even with Jason Vargas. Miguel Gonzalez is nothing to write home about, but even if this is a slugfest, the Orioles win.
  • The Giants over the Pirates: Gerrit Cole makes his Major League debut. The Number 9 prospect (Baseball America) and former #1 draft pick has not been splashy in the minors this season, but effective. My problem is his Pirates scoring runs to get him a win in his five innings of work. Tim Lincecum is the pick.
  • The Red Sox over the Bay Rays: Ramon Hernandez will get beat up by the Red Sox faster than you can say Fausto and Jon Lester will shut down the lefty bats of the Rays for the win. This one might get testy after last night.
  • The Brewers over the Marlins: The Marlins have Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison back, but they are still the Marlins. I think the Brewers get to Jacob Turner and Wily Peralta pitches a decent game.
  • The Cardinals over the Mets: Michael Wacha has been a bit of a letdown after his initial five innings in the majors. But I believe he will power through the Mets' lineup, such as it is, and that the Cardinals will score off of Jeremy Hefner.
  • The Reds over the Cubs: I really want to go with Matt Garza and the Cubs, but it was that kind of thinking that got me in trouble last night. After a disaster, you have to go with the percentages and the Reds are the better team as long as Tony Cingrani pitches like he has so far this year.
  • The Rangers over the Indians: This is a dicey pick. The Indians are well set up to hit left-handers, which is what they will get in Derek Holland. And Corey Kluber has been decent at times this season. But again, after last night, I have to go with the better team, especially at home.
  • The Tigers over the Royals: Max Scherzer should be out of Verlander's shadow as he has become a big-time stud pitcher. Why doesn't he get more attention? He should have an easy win over the Royals and Wade Davis will not help.
  • The White Sox over the Blue Jays: Oh, how I would love to see Chien-Ming Wang pitch well for the Blue Jays. I will always appreciate him for his Yankee years. But I just don't see it happening. So the pick is for Carlos Quintana.
  • The Rockies over the Nationals: The Rockies will ding up Dan Haren in Coors Field and Jhoulys Chacin needs to hold the Nationals to five runs or less for this pick to be correct. But the pick has to be the Rockies in that field and with that lineup.
  • The Yankees over the Athletics: Bartolo Colon is the A's best pitcher. That is kind of a sad statement foe the A's, is it not, despite how well they are playing? The Yankees love fastballs. Colon loves throwing them. CC Sabathia is on a two-game roll. All things point to the Yankees, but that's why they play the game.
  • The Dodgers over the Diamondbacks: Ian Kennedy has made a career of shutting down the Giants and the Dodgers, so this game will be close as Zack Greinke will be stingy as well. The Dodgers' bullpen is one scary place though.
  • The Braves over the Padres: The Padres have been spoiling a lot of good teams lately and it sure did not help the picks for them to beat the Braves yesterday. But I have to believe that Tim Hudson will love pitching in Petco and will blank them allowing the Braves to win with a few runs off of Andrew Cashner.
  • The Astros over the Mariners: Oh dear, this is not fun. Aaron Harang is terrible. But so are the Astros. Bud Norris is talented, but only puts it together about once a month. Will this be that once? Gosh, what a lousy game to pick.

And the Game of the Day!

  • The Phillies over the Twins: The Phillies get an extra bat, which will help as they can DH Ryan Howard and put Mayberry at first. Cole Hamels finally got a win his last time out and will now pull off a string of them. P.J. Walters is a average, generic starter.

Yesterday: 2-8 oh man
Week: 10-16
Month: 68-60
Season: 531-416
Games of the Day: 42-27

Monday, June 10, 2013

MLB Game Picks - Monday, June 10, 2013

June has turned out to be just as difficult for me picking games as May was before it. Like Josh Hamilton, I cannot seem to get anything going for an extended period of time. The season total is based almost solely on the success of April. Since then, sheesh. The Marlins beat up on the Mets' bullpen to hand the Mets another loss. Matt Moore got crushed again. What is up with him? The Cubs beat the Pirates as Edwin Jackson finally pitched a good game and Cody Ransom hit a three-run homer. Cody Ransom!?

And that is the way it keeps going. So despite good picks like the Yankees beating the Mariners when Felix Hernandez started and the Braves thumping the Dodgers, the tally for the day ended with an 8-8 record. Blah.

All I can do is continue on as the season grinds away. Today there are ten games on the schedule. Let's see if I can do any better:

  • The Bay Rays over the Red Sox: I really like Alex Cobb and his ground ball machine of a pitching arm.  The trouble is that he is facing the Red Sox, a team on a season-long roll. John Lackey has been effective coming back this season. The Rays at home.
  • The Angels over the Orioles: This is a scary pick as the Orioles, as they showed yesterday, can turn around just about any pitcher's offerings. The pick is based on Jered Weaver being able to slow them down for a game and the Angels teeing off on Freddy Garcia.
  • The Marlins over the Brewers: Okay, Marlins, are you on a roll? Or was it just the Mets? lists Koehler as the Marlins' pitcher today. But that cannot be right. Yahoo lists Ricky Nolasco. I hope that is right as the pick is based on him pitching and putting up more zeroes than Yovani Gallardo.
  • The Cubs over the Reds: The Reds really got beat up over the weekend by the Cardinals and their bullpen has to be toast right about now. They do not even get a chance to rest as they traveled to Chicago after the game last night and face a Cubs' pitcher who has been very effective this year in Scott Feldman. Homer Bailey will really need to go deep in this one.
  • The Indians over the Rangers: Again, I hate streaks. The Indians have lost seven straight. When will it end? Will it be today or will it go on a bit longer? I hate that. Scott Kazmir does not seem like a pitcher to stop losing streaks. But what the heck. He is facing Josh Lindblom, whose first start of the season did little to show how he was so effective this season in the minors.
  • The Royals over the Tigers: Perhaps I believe a little bit too strongly in Jeremy Guthrie. Or perhaps I do not have the proper faith I should in Doug Fister. I really never thought that offense would be the Royals problem this season. But it has. Guthrie better be good.
  • The Blue Jays over the White Sox: R.A. Dickey has been on an every-other-start-is-good jag for his last four starts. And from that, tonight should be a bad one. But I have faith in him to have a good game and in his offense to score off of Dylan Axelrod.
  • The Dodgers over the Diamondbacks: I really expected Wade Miley to have a better season than he has had. But his critics have proven correct in that he would fall back to the mean with his stuff. Stuff has never been an issue for Clayton Kershaw. His team scoring runs has though.
  • The Braves over the Padres: Julio Teheran has been impressive and he gets to pitch in a big ballpark in San Diego to mitigate his mistakes. Jason Marquis has been effective for the Padres. But I will be surprised if the Braves do not win this one.

And the Game of the Day!

  • The Mariners over the Astros: I cannot see Hisashi Iwakuma losing to the Astros pitching at home. I cannot see how that could happen. Dallas Keuchel has been better than expected, but still. It would be a shock if Iwakuma did not win this game.

Yesterday: 8-8
Week: 8-8
Month: 66-58
Season: 529-408
Games of the Day: 41-27

Sunday, June 09, 2013

MLB Game Picks - Sunday: June 9, 2013

Saturday was a brutal day of picking. If you have been following along, you have seen that extra inning games kill me. They hardly ever turn out with the team I picked winning the game. Three games yesterday took an incredible 49 innings to decide the outcomes and all three ended with the picked team losing. That is amazing.

But as bad as I feel, think of poor Shaun Marcum. The Marlins and the Mets played twenty innings yesterday and Shaun Marcum was not expecting to pitch. He game in and pitched brilliantly for seven shutout innings but gave up the losing run in the 20th for his seventh loss without a win. Poor guy.

Sunday features another double-header as the Twins and Nationals make up their washed out Friday game. They played eleven innings yesterday. And so it is a big day. The picks;

  • The Blue Jays over the Rangers: Can the Blue Jays sweep this series? Can Josh Johnson get his mojo back? Can Justin Grimm keep the ball in the park? Will the players fall over after playing eighteen innings yesterday?
  • The Indians over the Tigers: The Tigers always seem to beat the Indians but two things prevent me from picking them. First, the Tigers are giving a spot start to young Jose Alvarez. Secondly, the Indians held back Justin Masterson for an extra day of rest to pitch today. That gives the edge to the Indians.
  • The Mets over the Marlins: Let's try this again, shall we? Jonathon Niese goes against Tom Koehler. Both pitchers better go deeply into the game for their teams.
  • The Red Sox over the Angels: Ryan Dempster against Joe Blanton is not a very savory match-up. Neither has been stellar this season. But Dempster has been better of late. But then again, so has Blanton. The Red Sox are at home so that is the pick.
  • The Nationals over the Twins: In this first game of the double-header, my man, Jordan Zimmermann, goes against Scott Diamond. Zimmermann never gets much for run support, but he should win this game if he pitches like he usually does.
  • The Royals over the Astros: The Royals have taken the first two games of the series and should finish out the sweep today. Luis Mendoza does not fill me with glee as the Royals starter. And Lucas Harrell usually keeps the Astros close.
  • The Athletics over the White Sox: The White Sox came out ahead yesterday but if anything, I am stubborn. A.J. Griffin seems like an ultimately better pick than Hector Santiago. But then again, Santiago is much better than his record when you look at this closely. This pick could blow up on me.
  • The Brewers over the Phillies: I cannot figure this series out and have been wrong both days. Kyle Lohse has also let me down for two straight picks. It is time for him to redeem himself. And the Brewers do some damage on Jonathan Pettibone.
  • The Pirates over the Cubs: How long did the Cubs commit to Edwin Jackson? Ugh. Going with Jeff Locke for the win.
  • The Braves over the Dodgers: does not list a Dodgers' starter and lists TBO instead. Yahoo Sports lists Matt McGill. If that is the case, then the pick has to be Mike Minor because McGill was just awful his last time out.
  • The Yankees over the Mariners: I might as well go all jiggy with this as the Yankees face Felix Hernandez. A Hernandez start has never guaranteed a win for the Mariners and all it does is give them a fighting chance. My pick is that David Phelps shuts down the Mariners and King Felix loses a low scoring game.
  • The Rockies over the Padres: Clayton Richard is just barely passable in his spacious home backyard at Petco. Put him in Coors Field and it will not be pretty. Juan Nicasio, on the other hand, pitches there all the time and should put in a better outing.
  • The Diamondbacks over the Giants: What a lousy pick this is. First Chad Gaudin starts again for the Giants. Somehow, he lasted six innings in his last start and got the win. I cannot imagine a repeat. But then again, Tyler Skaggs is young and was beat up in his last outing. Ugh.
  • The Twins over the Nationals: Another doozy of a pitching line. Sam Deduno goes for the Twins and might be decent enough. But Nathan Karns does not seem ready for prime time for the Nationals either.
  • The Cardinals over the Reds: Bronson Arroyo has been pitching really well of late. But he is due for a clunker. Lance Lynn has power going for him, which helps sway this pick his way.

And the Game of the Day!

  • The Bay Rays over the Orioles: I like Matt Moore here at home in a match-up against Chris Tillman. Tillman rarely goes deep into games and Moore should bounce back from a bad outing last time out.

Yesterday: 6-10  ouch
Last week: 48-46
Month: 58-50
Season: 521-400
Games of the Day: 41-26