Saturday, June 22, 2013

MLB Game Picks - Saturday: June 22, 2013

Oh, man. Back in the crapper I go. After a successful week that followed a prolonged slump, the picks went into the dumpster last night. The day started off just fine with a 3-1 start. But the lone wrong pick of those four was Scott Kazmir pitching a brilliant game against the Twins. From then on, Led Zeppelin started playing and Robert Plant was singing Kazmir. Whoa, whoa. And the most fitting loss was Cole Hamels whose team scored three runs for him in the second inning and never scored again. That, of course, was the Game of the Day and Hamels is now 2-11. Unfreaking amazing.

Whelp, all I can do is keep picking because the schedule remains relentless as baseball day follows baseball day. Here are Saturday's picks:

  • The Rockies over the Nationals: The Rockies have lost eight of their last ten games and their last five in a row. You tell me if that is a coincidence that it all started by losing Troy Tulowitzki. But I think they snap out of it today against Dan Haren, who has not been fooling very many people so far this year. Jhoulys Chacin will have to have a good day though.
  • The Yankees over the Bay Rays: See? No Vernon Wells in the lineup and the Yanks score six runs. Simple. Against another right-handed pitcher in Alex Colombe, maybe Wells will sit again. Zoilo Almonte! CC Sabathia better come up big though.
  • The Blue Jays over the Orioles: I cannot lie. I love Chien-Ming Wang. I always have. And I am just thrilled that he has pitched very well in his two starts back in the majors. I wish it was for the Yankees instead of Phil Hughes, but what are you going to do. The Orioles' lineup could wreck him. But I have to pick him. Miguel Gonzalez goes for the Orioles.
  • The White Sox over the Royals: A long time ago, I wrote that Wade Davis and Phil Hughes could be brothers. They are the same pitcher. Going with Jose Quintana instead.
  • The Cubs over the Astros: Two down teams. One of them has to win. Which one will it be? The Astros lose a bat. The Astros cannot afford to lose a bat. I kind of like Travis Wood in a he-tries-hard-and-was-well-coached kind of way. Bud Norris? I just do not know what to make of the guy.
  • The Marlins over the Giants: What has happened to the Giants? They have kind of fallen off the table a bit. Barry Zito is always capable of bamboozling the other team for six innings. He is just as capable of getting whiplash as Giancarlo Stanton hits a smash. So let's go with Jacob Turner again. He has been pitching well.
  • The Mets over the Phillies: I have picked against Dillon Gee for the past month and he has been throwing like Greg Maddux. What is up with that? So I will go back to picking him and then he will go back the other way. I would like him over Jonathan Pettibone anyway.
  • The Braves over the Brewers: The Braves' offense is so frustrating. There are so many strikeouts and it all depends on the night for them. They can score a ten spot or just as easily get shut out. At least the Brewers are giving them a hand today--Donovan Hand that is. Tim Hudson with the win.
  • The Tigers over the Red Sox: Yeah, this pick did not work out well yesterday. And it is scary picking Max Scherzer. Not that he is not terrific. He is. But he cannot win all of his games can he? He has not lost yet. But with Buchholz out, the Red Sox are starting Allen Webster, who still has not shown he can get Major League hitters out. That said, he will pitch a shutout today. Just watch.
  • The Diamondbacks over the Reds: Here we go again. Another pitcher with a spotless record in Patrick Corbin. Sheesh. I love the guy and even his no-decisions are the bomb. Mike Leake has been pitching well though and the Reds are a good team.
  • The Dodgers over the Padres: The Padres are the hottest team in baseball. The Dodgers not. So why this pick? I think Zack Greinke shuts the Padres down and the Dodgers score just enough off of a rejuvenated Edinson Volquez to win.
  • The Indians over the Twins: I have been riding the Corey Kluber wave and will keep doing so until the bubble burst. And his name is still fun to say in The Muppets' chef voice. Besides, I am not a big fan of P.J. Walters.
  • The Angels over the Pirates: I hate this series. Both teams seem capable of winning. Jerome Williams has really been the Angels' best pitcher all season. Francisco Liriano has cooled off after a hot start to his season. Tough one.
  • The Athletics over the Mariners: This one should be safe. The only games Aaron Harang pitches well are against the Yankees. Dan Straily has to be the pick here.

And the Game of the Day:
  • The Cardinals over the Rangers: This pick looks too easy. And that is frightening. I think the Cardinals eat Martin Perez for breakfast and Shelby Miller strikes out ten Rangers. Tell me this is not a setup.

Yesterday: 5-10
Week: 47-39
Month: 147-142
Season: 610-491
Games of the Day: 46-34

Friday, June 21, 2013

Separate Mauer from the money

If you do a Google search on baseball's worst contracts and look them over, Joe Mauer's name comes up a lot. Heck, even Head and Shoulders gave up on him. And the famous, "Well played, Mauer," commercial seems far in the past. All of that is because of the contract Mauer signed. And that happens a lot. You heard it when Beltran played for the Mets. You have heard it with Soriano with the Cubs. And yet, I always believe you cannot blame the player for the money he makes. And often times, that money obscures how good a player still is. Joe Mauer is still one of the best catchers in the game. It just does not feel like it because of the money.

Quick, who led the American League in on-base percentage last year? No, it was not Cabrera or Trout. It was Joe Mauer. Mauer also suffers because of the one year when he hit 28 homers (2009). We all know now that was a fluke much like the year Wade Boggs hit that many homers with the Red Sox. But that did not mean that Boggs was a bust after that season, and neither is Joe Mauer.

Would you guess that Joe Mauer currently ranks second among catchers in the majors in fWAR according to's leaderboard? Would you guess that he is fourth in the American League in batting and third in on-base percentage? How about that he is sixth in wOBA and wRC+? The guy flat out rakes on a regular basis, but the picture is always clouded by the money.

Joe Mauer is only 30 years old. He has only played ten years. And yet he is already seventeenth among catchers all time in WAR. And he will be rising up that leaderboard quickly. I like to look at's way of parsing out a player's stats per 162 games. When they do that with Mauer, he averages 195 hits, 89 walks and 39 doubles.

He has already won three batting titles. He is a catcher. That just does not happen. And check out his lifetime triple slash line compared to this year:
  • Lifetime: .323/.405/.469
  • 2013: .330/.412/.492
First, you see the consistency. Then, you see that he is over his career numbers in all three. The guy is a stud. And here are two facts about that on-base percentage: First, his last two seasons have been over his career average. And secondly, he has more career walks than strikeouts. How many of today's players can say that?

And then there is the quality of his batted balls. Joe Mauer's line drive percentage this year is 28%! Wow. And that can hardly be called a fluke. Mauer has had a line drive rate over 22% in eight of his ten seasons. His career average is an incredible 23.4%.

I could go on and on. How about that he has thrown out 41% of base steal attempts this season? How about that he only has four passed balls in the last two seasons combined!?

Joe Mauer is judged by the money he makes and that is unfortunate. He will make $23 million a year until like forever. He was only worth $21.5 million last year. His season this year is already worth $15.5 million. The bum. Fault the Twins if you would like to fault anyone about his contract. But separate the player from the money and appreciate that Joe Mauer is one of the best catchers ever and is truly a special player by any of today's standards.

MLB Game Picks - Friday: June 21, 2013

After picking to the tune of 22-10 over the past two months, I was hoping that I was over my long picking slump. That hope was misguided. Yesterday's picks limped into a 6-6 record and back to mediocrity. It was a screwy night. Felix Hernandez had an 8-2 lead over the Angels. That was safe right? Wrong. Jonathon Niese had to leave the game early after experiencing pain in his shoulder. The Braves went scoreless in five and two-thirds innings against Mets' relievers. The Marlins scored only two runs against the Giants. But that was enough as Tom Koehler won his first game. The Brewers blew a save (go figure) and lost to the Astros in extras. It was Pedro Alvarez five, the Reds three. So yeah, it was a tough night.

Friday's picks:

  • The Cubs over the Astros: Matt Garza continues to audition for his pending trade and Dallas Keuchel gives up a few too many.
  • The Nationals over the Rockies: Stephen Strasburg needs to calm down some of the naysayers with a big game. Tyler Chatwood has a good record and ERA, but I cannot imagine he will go the whole season without giving up a homer.
  • The Twins over the Indians: My boss is from Minnesota and loves the Twins, so I have to keep picking them. No, seriously, they are playing good baseball. Sam Deduno has helped. Scott Kazmir can still miss bats, but cannot hang around long enough.
  • The Yankees over the Bay Rays: The Yankees actually have a chance in this one. David Phelps is better than Phil Hughes. And Ramon Hernandez gives the putrid Yankees' lineup a chance as long as Vernon Wells finally sits. I hope Zoilo Almonte starts in the outfield.
  • The Orioles over the Blue Jays: This one could blow up quickly and all depends on which pitcher, Jason Hammel or R.A. Dickey, gives up the least amount of home runs.The Blue Jays winning streak is on the line.
  • The Tigers over the Red Sox: This one seems even as both Jon Lester and Doug Fister's last names even rhyme. There is no rhyme or reason to this pick. Either team could win. Both have no closers. It should be fun.
  • The Braves over the Brewers: Julio Teheran is really throwing the ball well these days. It is nice to see him settle down and start reaching his promise. The Braves' lineup is so spotty and inconsistent though. Wily Peralta will have either a great day or a bad day depending on which Braves show up.
  • The Royals over the White Sox: Is Robin Ventura still glad he took this job? I do not think so. Jeremy Guthrie should have a good day and win this one. Hector Santiago is one of those nondescript pitchers who wins every once in a while just to keep his job.
  • The Rangers over the Cardinals: Wow. This is a cool series. The Rangers lose a bat in the lineup. The only games the Cardinals have lost in the past couple of weeks have been started by Tyler Lyons, so that is the pick. Derek Holland will have to have a good day though. Remember that World Series?
  • The Reds over the Diamondbacks: The Reds are the better team and Johnny Cueto is a better pitcher than Wade Miley. But as we all know, since when does logic matter in baseball?
  • The Angels over the Pirates: This is a tough call and a tough series to predict. Gerrit Cole has been great for the Pirates. But the Angels have gotten hot as Albert Pujols has started to hit. I am going with the Angels at home.
  • The Dodgers over the Padres: The only place that Clayton Richard pitches well is at home. And that is where he is. But how can any picker ever pick against Clayton Kershaw? Kershaw does not always win. But he has the ability to win every game he pitches.
  • The Athletics over the Mariners: Hisashi Iwakuma was a lock earlier in the season, but has not won in a while. The A's are the better team and cannot seem to lose when Bartolo Colon pitches. So that is the pick. I hate picking against Iwakuma though...
  • The Giants over the Marlins: I am torn on this one. Tim Lincecum is far from a lock pitching any game. I could see a homer by Giancarlo Stanton in this one. And Ricky Nolasco could have a good game. But, gee, it is hard to pick the Marlins to win, though they have been more regularly. Ugh.

And the Game of the Day!
  • The Phillies over the Mets: The pitching line in this one is a combined 3-16. Yikes! So, how do you pick a game like that? Well, one of them is Cole Hamels and the other is Jeremy Hefner. Which one makes sense to you?

Yesterday: 6-6
Week: 42-29
Month: 142-132
Season: 605-481
Games of the Day: 46-33

Thursday, June 20, 2013

MLB Game Picks - Thursday: June 20, 2013

Finally! A good day of picking! Oh, man, did I need that. There were only four incorrect picks out of sixteen. They were: The Yankees second game, where they were as limp as a noodle; The Marlins, which was a stupid pick; The Pirates (and that took thirteen innings to go wrong) and the Red Sox, who had their hands full with the Rays. Otherwise, spot on. There were two blown saves last night. One helped me when Jonathan Papelbon blew one and the other was the Pirates Jason Grilli, which was unusual, and led to that pick going bad.

There are twelve games on the schedule tonight, which is a lot for a Thursday. Here are the picks:

  • The Reds over the Pirates: This early afternoon game should see two tired teams after a thirteen inning game yesterday. The Reds have the advantage with experience in Homer Bailey over the inexperience of Brandon Cumpton.
  • The Twins over the White Sox: John Danks has not been pitching badly for the White Sox since his return and his left arm causes problems for some of the lefty bats of the Twins. But I will still pick the Twins though it is with some Scott Diamond reservations.
  • The Athletics over the Rangers: The Rangers needed to win this series but the A's should finish it with a 2-2 tie. A.J. Griffin will hold the Rangers to just a few runs and the A's should score often against Josh Lindblom, who has not looked like he can get Major League hitters out thus far.
  • The Brewers over the Astros: Yovani Gallardo looks like he is rounding into mid-season form, which is not good news for the Astros. Lucas Harrell will keep his team in the game, as always, but the Brewers squeak by.
  • The Nationals over the Rockies: At least Roy Oswalt's 2013 debut will not happen at Coors. I just cannot imagine him being overly effective. Jayson Werth has been hot lately and will factor in here somehow. And my man, Jordan Zimmermann, will bounce back after a rare bad outing.
  • The Bay Rays over the Yankees: It would seem just right for Matt Moore to regain his footing against a terrible Yankees' lineup. The Yankees do not hit lefties at all and Joe Girardi insists on not only playing Vernon Wells, but batting him cleanup. Strange. Andy Pettitte will keep it close.
  • The Tigers over the Red Sox: The Tigers lead the world in Venezuelan ball players. Rookie, Jose Alvarez, is yet another. Alvarez has a good left arm and his first start of his career went very well. The Red Sox are a tough team though. John Lackey runs into Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder and should be shouting on the mound by the fourth inning.
  • The Braves over the Mets: Mike Minor has sort of been stuck a little bit lately, but he should have little trouble from the Mets. Jonathon Niese never seems to win. And I am thinking tonight will be no different.
  • The Cardinals over the Cubs: I have loved what Scott Feldman has brought to the Cubs this season. I knew he had it in him. But the Cardinals have the best lineup in the National League and Lance Lynn is 9-1. Yeah, that will work. Doesn't it seem that the Cardinals are always home?
  • The Mariners over the Angels: As I have stated before, just because Felix Hernandez is pitching, it does not mean his team is going to win. But at least they have a better chance to win and that is what this pick is about. I think Tommy Hanson gives up two runs and King Felix, one.
  • The Padres over the Dodgers: The Dodgers played two games against the Yankees and then flew all the way to San Diego overnight. I would imagine they could be flatter than flapjacks. Plus, I am not a big Stephen Fife fan and Jason Marquis has been tough at home.

And the Game of the Day!
  • The Giants over the Marlins: My problem with this one is that the Chad Gaudin I remember was the Yankees' version. And he caused nightmares there he was so bad. But he has been good for the Giants and I should stop being surprised. Of course, I will pick him here and he will turn back into a pumpkin. Tom Koehler gets another loss.

Yesterday: 12-4
Week: 36-23
Month: 136-125
Season: 599-475
Games of the Day: 46-32

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wheeler and Harvey - some serious heat

Yesterday could not have been better for Mets fans. Not only did they sweep a double-header in Atlanta, something most would term impossible, but they did it with a bookend of two of the brightest pitching phenoms in the game with Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler. The Atlanta Braves saw some serious heat yesterday.

According to, here is the fastball breakdown of the two pitchers:
  • Harvey: 64 fastballs, Average speed - 97.15, Max Speed - 100.85, strikes not in play - 32, swings and misses - 8.
  • Wheeler: 71 fastballs, Average speed - 96.15, Max Speed - 98.5 , strikes not in play - 39, swings and misses - 12
Woof. That is some serious gas spread out over a lot of pitches. The two pitchers pitched a total of 13 innings and struck out 20 batters. They allowed seven hits. They allowed three total runs and only one extra base hit (Uggla's double off of Wheeler). Between the two pitchers, they induced 36 swing and misses total. Wow!

The Mets have had a lot of sad times. The ownership situation and several down years have kept the fan base restless and even, at times, angry. Yesterday's double-header and the promise shown by Harvey and Wheeler had to be a strong salve on those hard times. Mets fans deserved yesterday. These two young pitchers should have them buzzing. They should have all of us buzzing.

MLB Game Picks - Wednesday: June 19, 2013

I went 4-0 in double headers yesterday including predicting the Mets would sweep the Braves. But then  I went 6-6 on everything else. Sheesh. I had three aces going in Justin Verlander, Yu Darvish and Adam Wainwright. They all lost. And Verlander was for the Game of the Day. I should start calling that feature the poop pick of the day. The Game of the Day is not the most exciting game. It is the game each day that I think is the easiest pick. It is a game that should be a slam dunk of a pick. The feature is 23-24 since May 1, when it stood at 22-8. I love my job here.

At least the 10-6 total record yesterday finally pushed the month of June back over the .500 mark.

Wednesday's picks:

  • The Yankees over the Dodgers: The rained out game yesterday actually gives the Yankees a better chance to win both games against the Dodgers. I would have easily picked Hyun-jin Ryu over Phil Hughes. But matching up against Hiroki Kuroda is an entirely different thing. Kuroda is good at home and is good during the daytime when this game will be played. It changes everything.
  • The Orioles over the Tigers: These two teams seem really evenly matched to me. The Orioles' power is impressive. Chris Tillman has been winning consistently. Rick Porcello has been good too. This is a toss up and I hope I end up on the right end.
  • The Marlins over the Diamondbacks: This pick is a bit of a stretch. Trevor Cahill has shown some signs of pitching better but is still 3-8. I am a bit concerned of how Jose Fernandez will fare in Arizona and that hot air. But Fernandez has made three straight terrific starts. So the pick slides that way.
  • The Giants over the Padres: Madison Bumgarner has not been a lock so far this season. But I like him at home today against the Padres. The Giants ended the Padres' streak yesterday. Eric Stults has frustrated me all season though.
  • The Indians over the Royals: What a tough loss for the Royals yesterday. They had that game under control the whole way until the end. It will not get any easier today as Justin Masterson is having a good season. I like Masterson over Luis Mendoza.
  • The Yankees over the Dodgers: This is what I mean. I did not like Phil Hughes against Ryu. But I do like him against Chris Capuano. The games have to be played as there is no way for the Dodgers to get back to New York after this. Dumb scheduling.
  • The Nationals over the Phillies: How do you look at these two teams? Are the Phillies now just as good as the Nationals? Or are the Nationals now as bad as the Phillies? Tough call. So is this game. Gio Gonzalez is not the same pitcher as a year ago and has been inconsistent. Kyle Kendrick, after a good start to the season, has regressed back to his FIP and has been roughed up lately.
  • The Blue Jays over the Rockies: Here we go again with a winning streak where you have to wonder how long it will last. The Blue Jays have been rocking despite Jose Bautista struggling with a .591 OPS in June. I think the streak will continue for another night with Mark Buehrle against Juan Nicasio.
  • The Pirates over the Reds: I am very torn on this one. I like Jeff Locke a lot. But the Pirates' offense is inconsistent and can go to sleep on you. Bronson Arroyo is tough, but he is also vulnerable to the long ball. Tough game. to pick.
  • The Red Sox over the Rays: The Red Sox kicked some serious Ray booty yesterday. Jeremy Hellickson is one of those pitchers I rag on all the time. But he is capable of a good game. Ryan Dempster has been a disappointment that I still believe in. I like the Red Sox at home.
  • The Rangers over the Athletics: The Rangers are at home and Tommy Milone is not unbeatable. Justin Grimm has not pitched well lately either. I am never quite convinced the A's are a good team. But they just win and win, so what do I know?
  • The Twins over the White Sox: Picking Chick Kevin Correia to win a game is dicey and probably stupid. Picking against Chris Sale is probably not a good idea either. But the White Sox are a bad team and I am not convinced Sale is healthy right now.
  • The Brewers over the Astros: Gosh, the Astros are really holding their own lately. Unfortunately, Kyle Lohse is a good and smart pitcher who is much better than his record. And Erik Bedard has run out of magic bullets.
  • The Cardinals over the Cubs: I still think the Cardinals are better with Michael Wacha than Jake Westbrook. But Westbrook makes the most of what little stuff he has. Edwin Jackson actually pitched well in his last start. That confuses this pick just a little bit.
  • The Angels over the Mariners: The Angels have a hot Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo and the consistently great Trout. Their offense is coming around (other than Hamilton). Joe Saunders should yield a few runs and C.J. Wilson should be okay against the Mariners' spotty offense.

And the Game of the Day
  • The Braves over the Mets: After Harvey and Wheeler, the Braves will welcome Shuan Marcum with open arms and big bats. Kris Medlen is still struggling to hold on to his starting role.

Yesterday: 10-6
Week: 24-19
Month: 124-121
Season: 587-471
Games of the Day: 45-32

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

MLB Game Picks - Tuesday: June 18, 2013

When you start off a picking night at 5-1 and only twelve games are on the schedule, things should go pretty well, right? Wrong. The rest of the picks went 1-5 to add up to another mediocre day of picking. Here was the best idea that happened along the way: With a tie game in the ninth and Giancarlo Stanton up, why not shake off the catcher and throw him a fastball. That was a good idea, Heath Bell. The Giants allowed the Padres 24 base runners in 13 innings pitched. Sooner or later, any team is going to cash in on that. And the Padres did. Just another night in unpredictable baseball.

My goodness! There are seventeen games on the schedule with two double-headers! Tuesday's picks:

  • The Red Sox over the Bay Rays: You expect Alfredo Aceves to blow up anytime now, right? Me too. But it has not happened yet. It will sooner or later. It always does. Chris Archer goes for the Rays and the Red Sox should wait him out and win.
  • The Mets over the Braves: Today is the day that Matt Harvey gets rewarded for all his good outings. He gets a few runs as the Braves start Alex Wood, who was just drafted less than a year ago from the University of Georgia. That is a fast rise. Perhaps too fast.
  • The Indians over the Royals: This could go either way depending on which starter does well. Ubaldo Jimenez versus Ervin Santana. Going with the home team, Indians.
  • The Dodgers over the Yankees: Phil Hughes gives up at least one homer and mostly more every time he pitches at home. The Yankees do not know Hyun-jin Ryu and are not good against left-handed pitching. Not a good way to start off a homestand after a tough West Coast trip for the Yanks.
  • The Phillies over the Nationals: You would have to figure that Cliff Lee would give up less base runners and runs than Ross Detwiler. But then again, the only games the Nats have won lately have been when pitchers named, "Ross," have started.
  • The Blue Jays over the Rockies: While I am not a big fan of Esmil Rogers, I am less of a fan of Jeff Francis. The Blue Jays are on a big role and last night's shutout showed how the Rockies would sag a bit without Tolowitzki.
  • The Mets over the Braves: This double-header should be a doozy. Matt Harvey goes in the first game for the Mets and then Zach Wheeler goes in the second game. That is some high powered arms. The only caveat is that the Mets have to score some runs and the bullpen needs to be good. Dicey, but I have nothing to lose. Paul Maholm goes for the Braves.
  • The Reds over the Pirates: The Pirates have a big series here. They can show they are here to stay. And then they put Charlie Morton on the mound. Ugh. Mat Latos has to be the pick here.
  • The Red Sox over the Bay Rays: Gosh, I have predicted two double-header sweeps. Hmm... And how about Aceves and Felix Doubront pitching on the same day. Now there are some emotions for you. Again, I just think the Red Sox' lineup will overcome Jake Odorizzi.
  • The Rangers over the Athletics: That was a big win for the Rangers last night. I got it wrong, but that happens (a lot). I do not see how Yu Darvish with that stuff ever loses. But he does not always win either. Jarrod Parker should get beat here.
  • The Twins over the White Sox: The Twins are the better team here. But Mike Pelfrey does not exactly instill a lot of confidence. But then again, neither does Dylan Axelrod. So there you go.
  • The Brewers over the Astros: Both pitchers in this game seem evenly matched. Alfredo Figaro Figaro Figaro was terrific in his last start. And Jordan Lyles is making the most of his second chance. I think the Brewers have a slightly better offense and that is the pick.
  • The Cardinals over the Cubs: I do not get why Cardinal fans hate the Cubs so much. It is not like the Cubs have ever been a threat. Jeff Samardzija could always pitch lights out and has before. And then again, even if he does, Adam Wainwright will match those zeroes and the Cards win a bullpen match.
  • The Diamondbacks over the Marlins: Ugh. What do you do with this game? Randall Delgado and Nathan Eovaldi, two 4-A pitchers if there ever was, make their first starts of the season tonight. How do you pick that stuff?
  • The Angels over the Mariners: If you thought the above pitching line was ugly, how about this one? Jeremy Bonderman against Joe Blanton. Hehe. Yeah. That looks fun. Sometimes I hate doing this every day...
  • The Giants over the Padres: Sooner or later, some team has to come along and end this Padres streak. After all, they are not that good. Andrew Cashner won the game for the Padres last night with a suicide bunt in the thirteenth inning. He kind of deserves to win here. But Matt Cain will not allow that I don't think.

And the Game of the Day!
  • The Tigers over the Orioles: The Orioles made a run at the top against the Red Sox but have run out of pitching against the Tigers. Not a good thing. Justin Verlander should have a good game and Zach Britton is not a good option for the O's.

Yesterday: 6-6
Week: 14-13
Month: 114-115
Season: 577-465
Games of the Day: 45-31

Monday, June 17, 2013

MLB Game Picks - Monday: June 17, 2013

And the winner is Benjamin Shoptaw! The eight and a half year old son of Cardinals writer, Daniel Shoptaw (@C70), participated along with his six year old sister, Sarah, and Dad against yours truly in a game picking contest yesterday. Benjamin went 9-6 with the picks while Daniel and I both went 8-7. Sarah had six games correct. I will be offering young Benjamin a contract within the next couple of days or so. Heh.

But it was great fun and proved, once again, how difficult it is to pick baseball games. On any given day, any team can win no matter how bad a team they are. And conversely, any team can lose no matter how good a team they are. Thank you so much, Shoptaw Family, for the great fun and who wants to be next? Maybe we can have a challenge like this every Sunday!

Monday's picks return to me flying solo:

  • The Cardinals over the Cubs: The Cards has a surprisingly difficult weekend with the Marlins while the Cubs had a good weekend with the Mets...until Carlos Marmol entered the game in the ninth inning yesterday. That has to be demoralizing to lose in that fashion so many times. Shelby Miller should just be a bit better than Travis Wood in this one.
  • The Royals over the Indians: Carlos Carrasco has pitched twice for the Indians this year and has been absolutely pounded. So, of course, that means he will throw a gem tonight, right? Even if he does, James Shields will hold the Indians back and allow the Royals to win a game.
  • The Nationals over the Phillies: Both teams are struggling offensively. The pitching line of Dan Haren and John Lannon does not scare anyone. All I can keep thinking about is Cole Hamels, who lost due to poor umpiring, dunk hits and his team not scoring yesterday. The Phillies are not a good team.
  • The Blue Jays over the Rockies: The pitching line here concerns me. Josh Johnson simply cannot put it together either physically or on the mound. Jorge De La Rosa, who has far too many names, can be quite good. But the Blue Jays are at home, the Rockies are going to miss Troy Tulowitzki and that's the pick.
  • The Tigers over the Orioles: The only fear in this pick is the eighth and ninth inning and the Tigers' bullpen. But otherwise, Max Scherzer is exceptional and Jake Arrieta is up and down.
  • The Braves over the Mets: Dillon Gee has been out of his mind lately and it all started in his start against the Yankees, which figures. I have not picked him since and he has won every time. Since I do not quite believe he is that good, the pick is Tim Hudson and the Braves. Slow learner, ain't I?
  • The Pirates over the Reds: Two good teams. The Reds have the better offense. So the pick comes down to which pitcher could be really good today. Francisco Liriano seems to have a better chance of that than Mike Leake. So that is the pick.
  • The Athletics over the Rangers: I hate winning and losing streaks. The Rangers have lost six straight. The A's have built a decent lead in the AL West. Are the Rangers dead? Will they roar back? I cannot pick then with Nick Tepesch on the mound. The streak goes to seven as Dan Straily tries to prove that he can kill more teams than just the Yankees.
  • The Astros over the White Sox: Yeah, that is what I said too. What the heck!? But the White Sox are terrible. The Astros are on a roll. Who the heck knows. This is a coin toss of a pick. Carlos Jose Quintana goes for the Pale Hose and Bud Norris goes for the 'Stros.
  • The Angels over the Mariners: It is hard for me to judge Aaron Harang and Jason Vargas. They both look like superstars against the Yankees and that is the only time I watch them pitch. In reality, both are mediocre at best. The Angels have to be the pick at home.
  • The Giants over the Padres: Yes, the Padres have won a bunch of games in a row. And yes, against some good teams too. And yes, Barry Zito is pitching for the Giants. But this pick is against Edinson Volquez more than anything else.

And the Game of the Day!
  • The Diamondbacks over the Marlins: The Marlins just finished gave the Cards all they can handle. Huh!?  Jacob Turner has been decent since his call up. But I have to go with Patrick Corbin here. That is the only pick that makes sense.

Yesterday: 8-7
Week: 8-7
Month: 108-109
Season: 571-459
Games of the Day: 45-30

Sunday, June 16, 2013

MLB Game Picks - Sunday: June 16, 2013 with special guests!

This is a very cool day. First, the sun is shining and golf should be fun for a change. Secondly, I finally had a good night last night after having the worst picking week of my career. And lastly, and most importantly, I have special guests to challenge me for the picks. Let me set up how this came about.

It is no secret that I have been on an alarming bender with the picks. Nothing has gone right and May and particularly June have been terrible. This past week, in my frustration, when I promoted my newest picks post on Twitter, I wrote: "A 5 year old could do better right now." Cardinal writer extraordinaire, Daniel Shoptaw (@C70), tweeted back, "Sounds like a great idea. Pick a day and I'll have my kids pick games, we'll compare them to yours."

And so we communicated and Benjamin Shoptaw (8 1/2), Sarah Shoptaw (just turned six) and dad (ancient) all submitted picks for today's games. I will list them after my picks (so I am not influenced
by them) and then tomorrow, I will tally them all up. Many thanks to Daniel for making this happen!

My Sunday's picks:

  • The Indians over the Nationals: Stephen Strasburg returns for the Nationals, and while that is exciting, he will probably only pitch five innings or so. Meanwhile, Corey Kluber has been very good with great outings against the Red Sox, Rangers, etc. Both pitchers can throw zeroes but the Indians win late.
  • The Cubs over the Mets: The Cubs have had their way all weekend in this series. Matt Garza should bounce back from his last outing to get back on the trade deadline lists. Jeremy Hefner has been better of late, but even if he is good, the Mets cannot score.
  • The Reds over the Brewers: The Brewers kicked the Reds yesterday and it was one of only four bad picks all day. I do not think that will happen today since Johnny Cueto is on the mound for the Reds and should be better than Wily Peralta.
  • The Cardinals over the Marlins: Giancarlo Stanton has been hot since coming back, but I anticipate this game to go much like yesterday's where the Cards score double digits so it does not matter how many the Marlins score. Tyler Lyons has not fared well lately and Ricky Nolasco is pitching with scouts in the stats for those deadline deals.
  • The Orioles over the Red Sox: The Orioles have dominated the Red Sox ever since September of 2011. The Red Sox got off that ride a little bit yesterday behind John Lackey. Today is Jon Lester's turn and while I believe in Lester's talent, he has been shaky lately and Miguel Gonzalez has had good success against the Red Sox and all AL East teams.
  • The Pirates over the Dodgers: Gerrit Cole's MLB debut in his last outing was successful and the Pirates are playing really well. Zack Greinke could slow them down. But the pick is for the Pirates to continue to dominate this series.
  • The Rays over the Royals: There are several reasons I am picking the Rays but Ramon Hernandez is not one of them. So do not think I have gone to the dark side on my feelings for him. I have not become Faustus (or Fausto). The Royals are moribund. Wade Davis is the Royals' version of Phil Hughes and the Rays are at home.
  • The Astros over the White Sox: I have picked against the Astros this entire series and have been burned by it. Do you realize that the White Sox only have three more wins this season than the Astros? Yeah, that is bad. Dallas Keuchel over Hector Santiago.
  • The Tigers over the Twins: This is a double-reverse pick. The Tigers should win all of these games. But they have not won any of them. P.J. Walters has done nothing but win lately. Doug Fister has done nothing but lose lately. So I am still reversing all of that logic to pick the Tigers to win. Baseball is a funny game.
  • The Blue Jays over the Rangers: You never know if Derek Holland is going to throw a gem or a booby trap. His left-hand throwing will not bother guys like Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. But the Jays need a good start from Chien-Ming Wang for this to happen.
  • The Angels over the Yankees: The Yankees' offense is painful to watch. Ichiro Suzuki is playing his heart out and gets on third with no outs after a bunt single and two stolen bases. The next three Yankee batters struck out. That, friends, is the epitome of the Yankees' offense right now. Jerek Weaver over CC Sabathia.
  • The Mariners over the Athletics: This is a tough, tough pick. I have had success all season picking Hisashi Iwakuma to win. I have had great horrors all season picking Bartolo Colon to lose (he is 8-2). So which truth today will hold more evident? Yikes!
  • The Diamondbacks over the Padres: The only place that Clayton Richard can pitch halfway decent is at home, which he is. But Ian Kennedy as a fly ball pitcher should also pitch well at Petco. Going with the D-backs despite the loss yesterday.
  • The Phillies over the Rockies: Who the heck knows. Cole Hamels is 2-9. The world is upside down. Jhoulys Chacin is as confusing as ever. Coors Field is the ultimate wild card. All I can do is pick a winner and hope.

And the Game of the Day!
  • The Braves over the Giants: This is also the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball game. And so, it will be interesting. Julio Teheran might melt in the spotlight. But it is more likely that the Braves will hit some dingers off of Tim Lincecum or that the formerly long-haired and formerly great pitcher will have no control and get in trouble that way.

Yesterday: 11-4  Well, what do you know!?
Last week: 42-52   Was beyond saving.
Month: 100-102
Season: 563-452
Games of the Day: 44-30

And now the Shoptaw picks: