Saturday, July 06, 2013

MLB Game Picks - Saturday: July 6, 2013

I am down in Portland, Maine for the weekend to meet up with @_LeftField and @Replevel for a Portland Sea Dogs game tonight. It should be a lot of fun. With all that said, the picks will be short and sweet today so I can get on with the day.

Yesterday was okay with a 9-6 record. That is better than the other way around, I suppose, but there were some stupid picks. Picking against the Red Sox, Cardinals and Dodgers was dumb. And probably the dumbest was picking the Cubs to win. Oh well.

Saturday's picks:

  • The Orioles over the Yankees: The Yankees have been hot since getting swept in Baltimore last weekend and even won the first game of this series. But Andy Pettitte's stuff seems too easy to hit and Chris Tillman has really come on as a pitcher.
  • The Blue Jays over the Twins: R.A. Dickey has been terrific of late and the Blue Jays are playing much better baseball. That does not bode well for the Twins and Mike Pelfrey. The Twins have lost a bunch of games in a row.
  • The Royals over the Athletics: The Royals have lost a lot of games in a row too. But Eric Hosmer is hot and Ervin Santana could throw a good game against the A's here. Jarrod Parker is too uneven for me to pick on a regular basis, especially on the road.
  • The Cardinals over the Marlins: This game could have a lot of runs involved. Nathan Eovaldi has not been pitching that badly. But the Cardinals are--pardon the pun--another kettle of fish. That said, the Cards are starting Joe Kelly. Hmm... Cardinals by a crooked number or two.
  • The Tigers over the Indians: The Indians need a pitcher. Carlos Carrasco is like the right-handed version of Jose Quintana. I am not sure if Anibal Sanchez is healthy, but he has to be better than Carrasco.
  • The Pirates over the Cubs: I picked against the Pirates yesterday and paid for it. I would pick against them again today with Charlie Morton pitching. But Morton is more than matched by the lovely tosses of Edwin Jackson. Another high scoring game?
  • The Nationals over the Padres: The Padres got hot and reached .500 and everyone was cooing like they were a good team or something. Well, no. They are not. Jason Marquis is "gritty" and will battle you as much as a guy with little talent will. But Jordan Zimmermann will battle you too. And he, my friends, has talent.
  • The Reds over the Mariners: What have the Mariners been eating lately. This must be their hot streak of the year. Jeremy Bonderman has started to melt after a surprising couple of starts. And I cannot pick against Mat Latos at home against a lineup like the Mariners.
  • The Braves over the Phillies: I thought Tim Hudson was pitching yesterday, but Paul Maholm did instead. That is probably good for Hudson as I like him over Kyle Kendrick a whole lot better than against Lee.
  • The Bay Rays over the White Sox: The Rays have their swagger back and I guess Longoria is playing. So that means that Matt Moore should win again. It sure was nice of the Yankees to get him all fixed up. Poor Chris Sale will pitch well again for nothing.
  • The Rangers over the Astros: Yu Darvish should win every game. Am I right? But he does not. And sometimes, it seems like he is coasting. He should beat the Astros 99 times if he pitched against them 100 times. Dallas Keuchel will get the loss.
  • The Giants over the Dodgers: The Dodgers are super hot and I picked against them yesterday and lost. But we are talking about Madison Bumgarner here. Not some slouch pitcher. Stephen Fife has pitched admirably. But he is no Bumgarner. Then again...the Dodgers are hot...
  • The Brewers over the Mets: Yovani Gallardo's name is all over the place in trade rumors. That has to be hard on a guy. But he is always tough at home and should get a win here. After all, his old friend Shaun Marcum is 1-9.
  • The Red Sox over the Angels: I may not pick against the Red Sox for the rest of the year. They seem to have everything going on including their old intolerable arrogance. Whatever if it wins, right? Jerome Williams really got knocked around his last start. Ryan Dempster is pitching well.

And the Game of the Day!

  • The Diamondbacks over the Rockies: Wade Miley pitched really well his last time out and the Rockies are struggling since Tulowitzki went down. Besides, Drew Pomeranz simply does not have it thus far as a Major League pitcher.

Yesterday: 9-6
Week: 47-34
Month: 40-27
Season: 717-573
Games of the Day: 57-37

Friday, July 05, 2013

Hope yet for Smoak and Hosmer

Prospects will rip your guts out. For every Trout and Harper, there are disappointments. There have been no bigger disappointments in the last year than Justin Smoak and Eric Hosmer. Both seemed to symbolize their respective team's failures. Both play first base, a position that requires offense. Neither provided any in 2012. Smoak's failures go back further than Hosmer's. Eric Hosmer came in third in Rookie of the Year voting in 2011. He seemed like the next big thing until falling apart in 2012 and the first two months of this season. Smoak was given up by the Texas Rangers and has walked a tightrope of falling out of favor for the Mariners after years of disappointment. But both are showing a bit of hope in the last month or so. Maybe these two guys will pan out after all.

Both of these players finished with negative fWAR last season. Hosmer finished with a .291 wOBA and Smoak even worse at .274. Those are the kinds of wOBA you might expect from a shortstop and not a first baseman. If you prefer OPS+, Hosmer finished at 82 and Smoak at 86. That kind of lack of production will lead you into the doghouse with fans and become symbolic of an impatient and angry fan base.

But both have played really well since the start of June and suddenly, their respective numbers look pretty good. Smoak has a wOBA of .337, easily the highest of his young and sputtering career. Hosmer's wOBA is up to .333 which is much closer to his final tally in 2011 than his woeful 2012. While those offensive statistics are still not what you want from a first baseman, June and July have shown promise for both and for that period of time, both players have produced at a more first baseman kind of level.

Since the first of June, Justin Smoak has slugged at a .553 clip with a .407 on-base percentage. That .960 OPS in that time period is the kind of production you want from a first baseman. His on-base percentage for the season sits at a very respectable .362 and his 13.7% walk rate for the year shows a guy who looks like he has figured some things out. His power numbers are not that great, but if his success continues, I have a feeling that it will come, especially since his homer per fly ball rate is below is career average.

The quality of Smoak's batted ball contact has been much improved. His current line drive rate of 22.3% is very healthy and shows that he is getting good wood on the ball on a more consistent basis. This shows up in his BABIP. His batted balls have tallied up to the following averages from 2010 to 2012: .255, .273 and .242. Having that low a BABIP over that long a period of time does not seem due to bad luck but more due to bad contact. His BABIP this year is a much healthier .324.

Eric Hosmer has also been great since June 1. He has slugged at a .573 clip with a .356 on-base percentage. That comes to a .929 OPS in that time period. And his power has really been coming on. He has hit eight homers since June 1 and has hit five homers in his last six games.

Like Smoak, Hosmer's line drive percentage is up this year. After two years at 18.7% and 18.5% respectively, his line drive rate is up to 21.7% this year. The line drives have offset what seems to be a very high ground ball rate. Hosmer has Jeter-like ground ball rates the last two seasons. I believe that if I dug further into the numbers, that ground ball rate dropped significantly in June and July over the early part of the season.

It will be very interesting to follow these two first basemen over the rest of the season. Both had really rugged 2012 seasons and looked like busts. Both started the season poorly to the point that the fans were screaming. But both have been terrific since the first of June and could be on the way to becoming viable big league players. I am rooting for them.

MLB Game Picks - Friday: July 5, 2012

Two things yesterday kept it from being a great day and caused it to become just a decent day. The first was Josh Hamilton's home run in the ninth inning. I would have let Adam Wainwright finish the game. But hindsight is always 20/20. The second was that crazy game between the Mets and the Diamondbacks. My pick in that game had multiple chances to win and after fifteen innings (of course it was extra innings!) could not. Still, it was a very enjoyable day of baseball with day games galore.

There is only one day game today as the Cubs play their traditional home day game on Friday. Here are Friday's picks:

  • The Cubs over the Pirates: So let's go with those Cubbies then with Jeff Samardzija on the mound. He can shut down the Pirates' lineup and perhaps score two or three runs off of Francisco Liriano to squeak out a win. It is a stretch, but the Pirates will be tested before this year is out.
  • The Phillies over the Braves: The Braves are so unpredictable. With a lineup that is either hit or miss and a pitching staff that cannot seem to put back to back good efforts on the board, how do you pick them? Today, against Cliff Lee, the team has neutral splits against right-handed or left-handed starters. They will either hit four homers off Lee and have a laugher, or Lee will strike out eleven Braves and win the game. You choose. Tim Hudson goes for the Braves.
  • The Yankees over the Orioles: It all depends on Ivan Nova. As usual, you never know what will happen in a Nova or a Hughes start. The bullpen for the Yankees is a bit taxed, but Vernon Wells and Travis Hafner look back from the dead. Miguel Gonzalez goes for the Orioles.
  • The Indians over the Tigers: It seems logical to pick Justin Masterson over Rick Porcello, especially with the game being played in Cleveland. But since when did logic have anything to do with the outcome of baseball games?
  • The Blue Jays over the Twins: How many times has Mark Buehrle pitched against the Twins in his career? A bunch. How about 51 times? Yeah. His winning percentage in those games is .587. You have to go with that. Kevin Correia goes for the Twins who were just swept in four games by the Yankees.
  • The Bay Rays over the White Sox: The Rays are definitely not the same team without Evan Longoria. But Jeremy Hellickson has done nothing but win lately and Dylan Axelrod is just okay as a starter.
  • The Reds over the Mariners: If I picked Mike Leake yesterday over Matt Cain and the Giants, then I certainly should pick him over Aaron Harang of the Mariners, right? The Mariners lose a bat against the NL team and the Mariners cannot afford to lose bats.
  • The Rangers over the Astros: I just noticed that I have not picked a road victory yet. That is kind of scary. Home field does make a difference, but you also have to go with the team you think should win. The Rangers should beat the Astros just about every time. Nick Tepesch is not that great. Lucas Harrell is not that bad.
  • The Athletics over the Royals: And no, I did not pick this game this way just because it was a road team. Heh. Tommy Milone is unpredictable. He is certainly not untouchable. But Wade Davis should be a relief pitcher as he has never been that great a starter.
  • The Marlins over the Cardinals: Okay, hear me out. The Cardinals have hit a little rough patch. Jake Westbrook is their weakest pitcher. The Marlins have been hot. Logan Morrison and Giancarlo Stanton have made a huge difference. And finally, Jacob Turner has given up two runs and just walked two batters in his last sixteen innings.
  • The Mets over the Brewers: I am not keen on picking this one as you have two raw pitchers in Zack Wheeler and Johnny Hellweg. Wheeler has at least shown flashes of brilliance. Hellweg was blasted in his big league debut his last outing.
  • The Diamondbacks over the Rockies: In everything that I look at, it seems that Tyler Skaggs has simply been unlucky thus far this year both in the minors and in the majors. His peripherals are good and the Diamondbacks would be stupid to trade him for Yovani Gallardo which is the rumors I am hearing. I am taking Skaggs over Jorge De La Rosa.
  • The Angels over the Red Sox: What!? The Red Sox are not at Fenway? Not only are they not at home, but the Red Sox flew across country after their game yesterday and have little rest going into this series. Plus, Felix Doubront is their must vulnerable pitcher. C.J. Wilson better have a good tame, though.
  • The Giants over the Dodgers: The Giants had a horrible road trip and have played poorly. That said, Matt Cain at home is always a good pick. Hyun-jin Ryu beat the Giants the last time these two teams met, but that was in Dodgers Stadium.

And the Game of the Day!
  • The Nationals over the Padres: The Padres have lost six straight and have negated that little hot streak they had. The Nationals look like they are sputtering toward making a run. Gio Gonzalez has tobe the pick here over Andrew Cashner.

Yesterday: 8-6
Week: 38-28
Month: 31-21
Season: 708-567
Games of the Day: 56-37

Thursday, July 04, 2013

MLB Game Picks - Thursday: July 4, 2013

Happy birthday, America! And happy Independence Day, everyone. I wish there was happier news on the game picking front. I had a sub-.500 day on the heels of the Astros, Marlins and Cubs all winning games. I chose poorly between the Angels and the Cardinals as the Cardinals destroyed Jerome Williams. The Rangers lost to the Mariners again. Matt Harvey lost. The Royals beat the Indians despite a good start by Scott Kazmir (bullpen blew it). It was a tough day.

But with the holiday today, there are lots of day games. In fact, here on the East Coast, you can watch games from eleven o'clock straight through to eleven o'clock tonight.

Here are your July 4th picks:

  • The Nationals over the Brewers: This game starts at 11:05 ET and features two inexperienced pitchers in Donovan Hand and Taylor Jordan. That is hard to pick especially since the Brewers have won the first two games of the series. A Washington team has to win on July 4th, right?
  • The Mets over the Diamondbacks: Whenever I pick against Dillon Gee, I get burned. Ian Kennedy came back from his long suspension in his last start and was rocked. Of course, I had picked him to win. This game could go either way.
  • The Reds over the Giants: This is another game that could go either way. Matt Cain is pitching for the Giants and he is a good pitcher. Mike Leake goes for the Reds and sometimes he is good, sometimes he is not. Which will today be? The Giants are really scuffling.
  • The Pirates over the Phillies: Gerrit Cole has yet to lose a Major League game. It cannot be that easy, can it? Against the Phillies, it might be. Cole Hamels is 2-11. Gosh, who would have ever expected that. Hamels deserves better. He won't get it today either.
  • The Red Sox over the Padres: If you have followed along here, you know that I am zero for Eric Stults for the season. It is comical. If I pick him to win, he loses and vice-versa. I think he should beat Allen Webster, who has not looked ready for the Majors. So...since I think he is going to win, I will pick him to lose. Yes, it has come to this.
  • The Orioles over the White Sox: Zach Britton was good against the Yankees. But that has not been hard to do this year with the Yankees. Jose Quintana is just one of those guys who exists in the big leagues. He is neither good nor bad. Just an average Jose.
  • The Royals over the Indians: I still believe in James Shields. He has not had the kind of season for the Royals that I thought he would have. But he is still far better than most pitchers they have had the last ten years. Ubaldo Jimenez is not having that bad a season after a horrible April. Going with Shields.
  • The Twins over the Yankees: Even though the Yankees have taken the first three games of this series, this one seems set up for the Twins. David Phelps got bopped in his last start and looked like a batting practice pitcher. And Kyle Gibson is one of the Twins' best prospects and showed it in his debut start. He will get the Yankees to hit it into the ground all day.
  • The Rays over the Astros: The Astros took it to the Rays yesterday. I cannot imagine that happening two days in a row. Chris Archer, however, is not that great and can be had by the Astros. But the Rays should get to Jordan Lyles too despite missing Longoria.
  • The Athletics over the Cubs: Travis Wood has faltered a bit as the season has gone on. But after Garza is traded, he will be the face of this rotation. Still, I think the A's take the game behind Dan Straily.
  • The Braves over the Marlins: Henderson Alvarez, formerly of the Blue Jays, is coming off the 60-day disabled list to pitch this game. Why does that not sound appealing? Julio Teheran has been really impressive for the last couple of months. So that is the pick.
  • The Rangers over the Mariners: The Mariners have already taken two games from the Rangers at Arlington. What is with that? Martin Perez does not inspire confidence. Hisashi Iwakuma has not been the same in the last month. Who knows. This game could go either way.
  • The Rockies over the Dodgers: Chris Capuano was picked in his last outing and he did not last the second inning. That makes me afraid to pick him here, especially at Coors. And Jhoulys Chacin should be better than him anyway.
  • The Cardinals over the Angels: I paid for not picking the Cards yesterday and their ace, Adam Wainwright, is on the mound today. Joe Blanton won his last start. But the Cardinals should hit him around pretty good. This should be an easy win for the Cards. But then again, after forty years, I should be a good golfer too.

And the Game of the Day!
  • The Tigers over the Blue Jays: Justin Verlander said he found something in his mechanics that was leading to his problems. I am taking the man at his word that he will come out smoking. Esmil Rogers is pitching fairly well with the Blue Jays, but if Verlander is on, in the words of the late, great. James Gandolfini, "Forgetaboutit."

Yesterday: 7-8
Week: 30-22
Month: 23-15
Season: 700-561
Games of the Day: 55-37

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

The Flagrant Fan's All Star team

You cannot be a baseball writer this time of year without producing your own All Star ballot. Everyone has a different philosophy for putting them together. Some believe in picking the hottest players of the current year. Others like to consider the body of work and the current season. I am more of the former than the latter. I think it is a showcase for this year's hottest talent. On the other hand, I do think legacy players on the downside of probable Hall of Fame careers should be included for the fans as well. I grew up with that with Willie Mays and Hank Aaron making the NL squads even into their last years.

The only real legacy player this year is Mariano Rivera and he deserves a nod on merit anyway, so there is no problem. Chipper Jones was a legacy player. Derek Jeter is one. But the rest are all gone. So at least we do not have to have that debate.

So here, then, is my All Star ballot with the starters for each position and one backup. Oh yes, I should mention that the outfield positions should be picked by where a player plays and not just lumped all together.

American League:

National League:

Let the debates begin. And no on Puig this year.

MLB Game Picks - Wednesday: July 3, 2013

There are two ways to look at yesterday. The first is that it was a bit of a letdown after doing so well on Monday. The second is that the day started at 0-4 and then was at 2-6 before pulling it out in the end to have a slightly positive day. I will have to sip more of my coffee before I decide if the glass is half empty or half full.

It sure was a poor start. The Pirates certainly did not start Jeff Locke. Instead, they started Brandon Cumpton. And yeah, I would have thought twice about that pick. Then, Stephen Strasburg threw seven scoreless innings, but so did Wily Peralta and the Brewers eventually won. Chien-Ming Wang was more of an emotional pick and not only did he not pitch well, but he was DFA'd after the game. Ouch. Jeremy Hefner was terrific again and Patrick Corbin lost his first game. The White Sox beat the Orioles. Seriously? And the Mariners blew up the Rangers. Weird.

But all hail Homer Bailey on his second career no-hitter. That pick started the comeback and it was great fun to watch. Thank you,!

Wednesday's picks:

  • The Nationals over the Brewers: Since Strasburg is not pitching, and Ross Detwiler is, the Nats will score a bunch of runs. Look for Harper to do some damage to Kyle Lohse. Let's put it this way: If the Nats lose again, then they may not have a magical run in them that I expect.
  • The Pirates over the Phillies: Okay, today Jeff Locke is pitching. Do we have that straight now? I have had good success picking Locke all season. The Phillies go with John Lannon (Imagine there's no strikeouts, it isn't hard to do).
  • The Tigers over the Blue Jays: It is getting to critical mass now with Max Scherzer. How long can the streak last. That is the question with every pick each time he starts. He has a tough opponent in Josh Johnson and a tough lineup in the Blue Jays. You have to pick him until he loses, right?
  • The Mets over the Diamondbacks: The D-backs sure don't feel like a first place club, do they? I cannot imagine a first place team running Randall Delgado out there again and again. Matt Harvey goes for the Mets and this game is featured on ESPN. Harvey is my first half Cy Young Award winner in the NL.
  • The Orioles over the White Sox: We will find out how well Scott Feldman does with the Orioles. They are not wasting any time starting him. Hector Santiago goes for the White Sox and is a fly ball pitcher. A fly ball pitcher does not seem like a good recipe against the powerful Orioles.
  • The Braves over the Marlins: I am afraid to pick the Marlins and Ricky Nolasco because he might be traded before the game even starts. Besides, Mike Minor should beat them anyway.
  • The Reds over the Giants: Man, the Giants are struggling. And being no-hit is like the ultimate ouchie. Having Barry Zito pitch does not seem to be good timing after that either. Plus, they face Tony Cingrani, who has struck out 57 batters in 47+ innings. The one silver-lining for the Giants is that their lineup, such as it is, is set up well for lefties.
  • The Rangers over the Mariners: It would make baseball sense for the Mariners to win with Saunders on the mound and lose with Felix Hernandez pitching, right? Besides, Derek Holland has pitched five times at Safeco Field and has never lost there and has a 0.68 ERA. I think he likes it there.
  • The Indians over the Royals: Everything the Indians have done makes little sense, so losing with Scott Kazmir just goes with the flow. Carlos Santana walked three times yesterday and then did a guitar solo.  How can you lose with Santana and Led Zeppelin? Jeremy Guthrie gets a hard luck loss for the Royals.
  • The Dodgers over the Rockies: The Dodgers are rolling now. If I was the NL West, I would be pretty nervous. Zack Greinke will give them a decent six innings. Puig will continue to make the highlight reel and the entire cast of characters over there wail on Tyler Chatwood.
  • The Yankees over the Twins: The Twins have offered the woeful Yankees very little resistance in this series. P.J. Walters will not help the cause. The only question is how good CC Sabathia will be.
  • The Bay Rays over the Astros: The opponent must be really bad when I pick Roberto Hernandez to win. Yup, it is the Astros. Bud Norris will look good but lose. Life will be normal. Great. I have just picked five straight home teams to lose. Criminy.
  • The Athletics over the Cubs: Again, I do not want to get sucked in here. I could pick Matt Garza as he is pitching really well. But he might be traded any time now. So I pick him and some minor league pitcher pitches like yesterday. Going with Shrek Bartolo Colon seems safer.
  • The Angels over the Cardinals: The Cards are going through a flat period. Their timely hitting with runners in scoring position is regressing to the mean a bit and their starting pitchers all seem to have one bad inning that deflates them. Plus, the Angels are playing well and Jerome Williams has been terrific. Shelby Miller, the victim.

And the Game of the Day!
  • The Red Sox over the Padres: This is such a weird series, is it not? The Padres are way cross country from their home and get to play one of the best teams in the AL. Not fun for them. Jon Lester should win and it might not be pretty for Edinson Volquez pitching at Fenway. Speaking of Fenway, do the Red Sox ever play a road game?

Yesterday: 8-7
Week: 23-14
Month: 15-7
Season: 693-553
Games of the Day: 54-37

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

MLB Game Picks - Tuesday: July 2, 2013

Yo, like...I was perfect. Whuh? Get out!? Yeah, look! I picked all seven games on the nose. The Mets and Yankees coming back from behind sealed it. In fact, the Mets came back twice, the second time in extra innings. Extra innings games never go my way. What does this mean? I do not know and it is best to not ask questions. 15-0 is like a hole in one or like bowling a 300. So 7-0 is like a hole in one in mini-golf. I will take it.

One of the picks was the Marlins and Jose Fernandez. I wrote about him the other day and he made my words sing with a brilliant eight innings. He is twenty years old. Amazing.

And one other note: Ryan Doumit (or Dumbmitt as I like to call him) has to be the worst defensive catcher in history. He could not block any of the pitches his pitchers threw in the dirt and then had a passed ball that allowed another run. He should not be given a catcher's glove...ever.

Tuesday's picks:

  • The Nationals over the Brewers: The Brewers seem to be just going through the motions. The Nationals, meanwhile, seem to be on the verge of a run. Stephen Strasburg should cruise in this one and Wily Peralta has been getting knocked around regularly.
  • The Pirates over the Phillies: According to, the Pirates have not yet announced their pitcher for today and a TBO is next to the pitching line. According to Yahoo Sports, Jeff Locke is scheduled. Which one is true? If Locke goes, it is a lock. If it is someone other than Locke, the Phillies still win. Jonathan Pettibone goes for the Phillies.
  • The Blue Jays over the Tigers: Chien-Ming Wang made three good starts and then was knocked out in the second inning in his fourth start. Such are the vagaries of a BABIP pitcher. If his sinker is on, he wins. If not, this pick gets ugly with Doug Fister on the hill for the Tigers.
  • The Diamondbacks over the Mets: Jeremy Hefner has turned his season around and is pitching well now. But he faces Patrick Corbin who has yet to lose this season and was terrific his last time out in a no decision.
  • The Red Sox over the Padres: Robbie Erlin has pitched fifteen innings this season and has only walked one batter. That is impressive. But he faces the Boston Red Sox who have a very good one through nine lineup. The Red Sox, who never seem to play any games on the road, have John Lackey on the mound and Lackey has been very good.
  • The Reds over the Giants: I hope the Reds have a super duty squeegee because their field was under water by the time they called that game yesterday. I will take Homer Bailey over Tim Lincecum, especially in Cincinnati.
  • The Rangers over the Mariners: These are the games the Rangers have to win to keep up with the A's. Too bad the Grimm family had not named Justin Grimm as Justis instead. Then people would say, "The Rangers' Justis Grimm," and people would wonder, "Just as grim as what?" Anyway, Joe Saunders goes for the Mariners.
  • The Orioles over the White Sox: John Danks should have stayed on the disabled list until he was a free agent. The White Sox have to win a game some time. But today will not be it as the Orioles are tough. Jason Hammel with the win.
  • The Indians over the Royals: I am not sure about this one. The Indians are in first place. Yes, that is right. The Indians. And Corey Kluber has been great...up until his last start when he was far from it. Luis Mendoza totally messes me up.
  • The Yankees over the Twins: Phil Hughes actually pitched well at Yankee Stadium his last time out. That bodes well for an away start where he is usually better anyway. Sam Deduno can be good or he can be bad. He has the lowest WHIP of the Twins' starters. Tough one.
  • The Bay Rays over the Astros: The Rays are smart. What better way to bring back David Price from an injury than to face him against the Astros. Smart people. Erik Bedard won his last time out and can still miss bats occasionally.
  • The Dodgers over the Rockies: Clayton Kershaw is not a lock at Coors Field but he has a better chance of winning than Roy Oswalt does. The Dodgers are playing really well right now.
  • The Athletics over the Cubs: There will be scouts in the stands watching Scott Feldman pitch. He has been good this year. But I do not think he will beat the A's as long as A.J. Griffin pitches a decent game.
  • The Cardinals over the Angels: The Angels are playing well and Albert Pujols plays against St. Louis. And the Cardinals who were so good at batting guys in on the bases are suddenly scuffling in that department. Lance Lynn has to avoid one bad inning that seems to occur each game. If he does, he wins as the Cards eek out a couple against Jered Weaver.

And the Game of the Day:
  • The Braves over the Marlins: Kris Medlen has won four of his last five starts and even the game he lost was not that badly pitched. He seems to be the obvious pick here. Tom Koehler has not been having a good time in his first experiences on the mound for Miami.

Yesterday: 7-0
Week: 15-7
Month: 7-0
Season: 685-546
Games of the Day: 53-37

Monday, July 01, 2013

MLB Game Picks - Monday: July 1, 2013

Happy Canada Day to my friends north of the border. And Happy Birthday to my first wife, a lovely lady and mother to my children. June went by in a blur. But I guess that is what all older people say.

I am excited about a new month though because May and June were so ordinary and blah when it came to picking games. Both months just scraped by a bit over .500 and the season's tally is still riding a hot April with no help from the last two months. Yesterday ended the month in typical fashion at 8-7. I am so tired of being just barely adequate at picking these things.

So what has the new month to offer? A fresh slate. More of a crystallizing of what teams are good and which are not. The best weather of Northern Maine. And, with any kind of luck, better picking. Let's get it started with Monday, July 1:

  • The Blue Jays over the Tigers: R.A. Dickey has pitched three good outings in a row. The Blue Jays are at home and despite a tough series against the Red Sox are playing much better ball. The Tigers go with Jose Alvarez, a fill in starter, which gives the Jays an even better chance at winning.
  • The Nationals over the Brewers: The Nationals came out of their hitting slump yesterday and isn't Bryce Harper coming back today? On top of all that, my man, Jordan Zimmermann is pitching. Yovani Gallardo is nothing to sneeze at for the Brewers however.
  • The Mets over the Diamondbacks: The Mets seem a lot more versatile without Duda and Davis and are playing a bit more of an exciting game. Not that they are great or anything. Shaun Marcum got his first win and the pick is for him to win again. Wade Miley has not been able to come close to his form of last season.
  • The Marlins over the Padres: I just wrote about Jose Fernandez over the weekend, so it would be stupid of me to pick against him. I like him especially at home where he has not lost and has great peripherals. Jason Marquis has been great all year but got whacked last time out.
  • The Reds over the Giants: I just noticed that I have not picked an away team yet. That is kind of scary. Bronson Arroyo is no stopper and has to be really on to win. But even if he is not on, the Reds should be able to score a lot off of Mike Kickham, who has not impressed in his short career so far.
  • The Yankees over the Twins: I have picked against the Yankees for six straight days and that has worked out nicely, although it makes me sad. But I like Andy Pettitte against the Twins and he has a history of handling Mauer pretty well. Scott Diamond is yet another lefty and the Yankees hate lefties. But Diamond is not a high-quality lefty, so that gives them a chance at least.

And the Game of the Day!
  • The Bay Rays over the Astros: I will take Matt Moore at home just about against anyone. Against Houston, yeah. Besides, even without Evan Longoria, I do not think Dallas Keuchel will be much of an obstacle for the Rays.

Yesterday: 8-7
Week: 8-7
June: 211-197
Season: 676-546
Games of the Day: 52-37

Sunday, June 30, 2013

MLB Game Picks - Sunday: June 30, 2013

Saturday was another tepid picking day, which completed another tepid week, which nearly completed another tepid month. Bah! There were two Major League debuts by pitchers yesterday. I picked Taylor Jordan to win. He lost because his defense played like Little League behind him. I picked Kyle Gibson to lose and he won. Two more extra inning games finished the wrong way. And my zero for Eric Stults streak continued. At least the Game of the Day Pirates continued to win.

Sunday is my favorite baseball day of the week with all the day games. Here are the picks:

  • The Marlins over the Padres: I picked against the Marlins yesterday and they won. I picked against Nathan Eovaldi last time and he won. So I guess somebody is trying to tell me something. Did you know the Marlins have a winning record in June? I probably picked half of them wrong. Andrew Cashner goes for the Padres.
  • The Mets over the Nationals: Zack Wheeler has one problem as a pitcher: he walks people. The Nationals have one big problem on offense: they do not walk and are twelfth in the NL in that category. That makes me want to pick Wheeler over Gio Gonzalez. The bullpen is the key though for the Mets.
  • The Braves over the Diamondbacks: I am not thrilled with either pitcher here in Trevor Cahill and Paul Maholm. That being the case, I will go with the home team and the Braves' bullpen.
  • The Brewers over the Pirates: Look, I am sure that Charlie Morton is a great guy who works very hard at what he does. But he is a link to the old Pirates with his soft tosses and up and down pitching. I do not like him back in the Pirates' rotation. Going here with Kyle Lohse instead.
  • The Red Sox over the Blue Jays: With Mark Buehrle and Ryan Dempster on the mound for these two teams, this could be a shoot out. Or one of those very experienced guys can have a good day. They seem even to me. So, whenever that happens, I go with the home team.
  • The Angels over the Astros: Early in the season, the Angels lost regularly to the Astros. That was then, this is now and the Angels are playing much better baseball. Josh Hamilton is doing better as is C.J. Wilson. They still aren't head and shoulders above others on their team, but their resurgence helps. Lucas Harrell goes for the Astros.
  • The White Sox over the Indians: The Indians have really beat on the White Sox this entire series. But Chris Sale should slow the Indians down and salvage a game for the White Sox. If Justin Masterson comes out hot though, this pick could get dicey.
  • The Twins over the Royals: This is a hard game to pick. The Royals have been playing much better and Ervin Santana has pitched pretty well. And Chick Kevin Correia is not exactly reliable. But I expect the Twins to put it together for a game and get a win in this one.
  • The Reds over the Rangers: I watched Yu Darvish against the Yankees and was really confused. He threw nothing but sliders and was hardly dominant. The Reds have a better lineup than the Yankees and Mat Latos has been very good. So the pick is with the Reds.
  • The Cardinals over the Athletics: Tommy Milone has had three bad starts in a row. If he turns it around in this game at home, the pick is in trouble. I am not that big a fan of Jake Westbrook either. But he finds a way to win somehow.
  • The Mariners over the Cubs: Jeremy Bonderman is a true underdog and you always have to root for an underdog. I am not sure that means he will win, but at least he has a chance against the Cubs and Edwin Jackson.
  • The Giants over the Rockies: The Rockies have won the last two of these and the Giants are really scuffling. But despite Drew Pomeranz's terrific numbers in Triple-A this season, his Major League history is too much for me to overcome. I would much rather take a chance on Madison Bumgarner.
  • The Dodgers over the Phillies: I am not a real big Stephen Fife fan, but then again, I have never been a fan of Kyle Kendrick either. Hanley Ramirez is on least on offense. The Dodgers are playing animated baseball lately. Going with them at home.
  • The Orioles over the Yankees: The Yankees have reached a new level of sadness and have lost five of their last six. Frankly, watching them every day is so disheartening because it does not look like they have any chance at all to win. Hiroki Kuroda gives them a chance, but Chris Tillman will come out on top.

And the Game of the Day!
  • The Bay Rays over the Tigers: Jeremy Hellickson is not my favorite Rays' pitcher for reliability. But he has been winning lately. And I like him better at this point than Rick Porcello who has gone backwards lately.

Yesterday: 8-7
Last week: 48-41
Month: 203-190
Season: 668-539
Games of the Day: 51-37