Saturday, July 27, 2013

MLB Game Picks - Saturday: July 27, 2013

I was very happy with nine correct picks out of sixteen considering I picked both ends of the Nationals - Mets double-header incorrectly and then the Yankees' CC Sabathia got pounded (again). And then the Cardinals lost with their ace on the mound and the Pirates lost with their best pitcher on the mound and I was in a pretty deep hole. Fortunately, the rest of the day went according to plan.

I thought I was going to lose the Astros - Blue Jays game as the Astros held a 6-4 lead heading into the eight inning. But then this happened. Yes, Edwin Encarnacion can hit a baseball. Two Edwings in one inning. Whoa.

Saturday's picks:

  • The Yankees over the Bay Rays: Yeah, stupid is as as stupid does. What can I say? I just like the match-up of Ivan Nova, who has really been pitching well, and Chris Archer. I feel like Nova has a better chance of shutting the other team down. It is probably either dumb or wishful thinking.
  • The Blue Jays over the Astros: Josh Johnson has been a complete mystery for the last two seasons. But this is the Astros he is facing. Plus, the Blue Jays should handle Dallas Keuchel fairly easily. Has anyone noticed how well Jose Reyes has been playing?
  • The Angels over the Athletics: Garret Richards has allowed only two runs in his last 12.2 innings of work with thirteen strikeouts. But that has been from the bullpen. Can he translate that to the starting rotation? We'll see. He did not fare well in the rotation earlier this season. But it looks like he has grown some. Tommy Milone is one of the A's pitchers that can be had.
  • The Mets over the Nationals: The Nats could get a bump from that walk-off win last night. But more likely, Dan Haren will get bumped around today as he does not seem to have anything left. And Dillon Gee has a chance to shut down the Nats.
  • The Twins over the Mariners: The M's blew it last night and wasted an amazing performance by King Felix. So what chance will they have with Aaron Harang on the mound? Well, he does pitch pretty well at home. But Samuel Deduno has pitched mighty well for the Twins.
  • The Orioles over the Red Sox: Ryan Dempster and Scott Feldman are very similar in that they induce contact and that contact has to go to places that can turn them into outs. Both pitchers canceling themselves out, I am going with the home team as well as the fact that the O's seem to play the Red Sox well.
  • The Cardinals over the Braves: I had to look up what Julio Teheran did last time because his pattern has remained constant. He has a good outing and then a bad outing and then a good outing and then bad. He gets a win and then a loss and then a win and then a loss. He is due for a loss in the cycle. Joe Kelly goes for the Cards.
  • The Indians over the Rangers: Justin Masterson, when he is on, can match Yu Darvish. And if he can do that, the Indians can win it late. That is the theory here.
  • The White Sox over the Royals: Wade Davis is not a starting pitcher. Wade Davis should not be a starting pitcher. He is fine in the bullpen, but as a starter? No. Now, Chris Sale is another story. Now that is a starting pitcher.
  • The Marlins over the Pirates: Bear with me on this one before you laugh. Tom Koehler has had three really good starts in his last four outings. He can shut the Pirates down. Meanwhile, the Pirates have Charlie Morton pitching and that, to me, is a weakness.
  • The Rockies over the Brewers: The Rockies are pitching Collin McHugh and the young Irishman has not had any success at all in the Majors. So why am I picking him then? Because, he is getting another chance and I am big on that, plus, he is facing Tom Gorzelanny and the hapless Brewers.
  • The Diamondbacks over the Padres: The Padres have been good for the D-backs and have helped them stay relevant in the NL West race. Today will be no different as Tyler Skaggs beats Andrew Cashner.
  • The Giants over the Cubs: I keep picking the Giants like they are still a good team or something. And everyday they prove to me they are not a good team. But Madison Bumgarner is still their best pitcher and the Cubs pitch Chris Rusin, who is not a strikeout pitcher or a ground ball pitcher. Hmm...
  • The Dodgers over the Reds: It seems that Hyun-jin Ryu was built for Dodgers Stadium and I never pick against him there. Bronson Arroyo has been the most efficient pitcher in baseball this season, so there is that. But it is not like the Dodgers like to wait around to hit a baseball.

And the Game of the Day:
  • The Tigers over the Phillies: Max Scherzer is 14-1. So picking against that kind of success would be kind of stupid, right? Right. Besides, the Phillies are starting Raul Valdes who has been a mediocre relief pitcher all season.

Yesterday: 9-7
Last week: 65-38
Month: 193-124
Season: 870-660
Games of the Day: 67-44  -1

Friday, July 26, 2013

MLB Game Picks - Friday: July 26, 2013

Thursday was not nearly as good a day as the day before. With a postponement of the game in Boston, eight of the thirteen picks were correct. The Royals beat the Orioles again as Jeremy Guthrie was terrific. Nathan Eovaldi was terrific at Coors against the Rockies and I did not see that coming. Justin Verlander was again very human and his ERA is 3.99 now. Perhaps I should stop picking him. I went with the wrong horse as Mat Latos out-pitched Zack Greinke. And the last incorrect pick happened because Yovani Gallardo had nothing and lost at home, which hardly ever happens.

But it still was not a bad effort. Hey, what do you do when somebody is blatantly ripping off your writing? This Facebook page called What's The Odds blatantly copies and pastes my stuff. There are no attributes or links back here. Whoever it is simply claims my work as his or her own. How low is that? Go ahead and copy this, you sycophant. At least this make sure it has to do some editing in order to use it. Apparently, whoever this is also has a website by that same name but you cannot get to it. So not only is What's The Odds a lowlife thief, but also a lousy programmer.

On this day in 1923, my dad, William R. Tasker, was born. Happy 90th birthday, Dad. I miss you.

Friday's picks:

  • The Nationals over the Mets: These two teams play two games today. The first one features Jordan Zimmermann who has really gotten hit hard lately. He has been my guy all season though and I will not give up on him yet. Meanwhile, the Mets are starting Jenrry Mejia, another young pitcher. But this one is 1-6 so far in the Majors and has averaged four innings per start in the minors.
  • The Orioles over the Red Sox: The Orioles have had a tough week. But they always seem to play the Red Sox tough and Chris Tillman never loses lately. John Lackey goes for the Red Sox.
  • This intellectual property belongs to The Flagrant Fan, William Tasker, at  Copying is not cool.
  • The Mets over the Nationals: Every Matt Harvey Day is an exciting day. The Nats had a big win last night, so they could get hot. But they will have to go through Harvey first. Ross Ohlendorf goes for the Nats and I will not make fun of the pick. The guy is 2-0. What an amazing fringe career this guy has had.
  • The Yankees over the Bay Rays: CC Sabathia has not been good. He has hardly been an ace. That role has now gone to Kuroda. But perhaps Sabathia can have a good outing. Jeremy Hellickson has had some success against the Yankees and some nightmares. Who knows today.
  • The Indians over the Rangers: After splitting with the Yankees this week, I am not very impressed with the Rangers. Their lineup has holes and Martin Perez is still in the rotation and goes today. Corey Kluber goes for the Indians.
  • The Blue Jays over the Astros: R.A. Dickey has not had a great year. But he has shown flashes of his old self. He should baffle the Astros while his teammates rough up Jordan Lyles.
  • The Tigers over the Phillies: Cole Hamels. Is that enough to write about this game? Cole Hamels is snakebit. Nothing has gone right this season. He was my Cy Young Award pick and he is 4-12. Yeesh. Going with Doug Fister and the Tigers.
  • This intellectual property belongs to The Flagrant Fan, William Tasker, at  Copying is not cool.
  • The Cardinals over the Braves: It seems like Mike Minor should be better than he is. But after a hot start, he has been really ordinary. The Cardinals, meanwhile, have their ace on the mound with Adam Wainwright. That seems to give the edge to Redbirds.
  • The Royals over the White Sox: The White Sox are playing better, but then so are the Royals. And the Royals are a better team. Besides, I feel better picking James Shields than picking Jose Quintana.
  • The Rockies over the Brewers: I cannot imagine the Brewers' clubhouse right now. Are they mad about Braun? Are they demoralized? Who knows. They are not that great a team to begin with. And I am thinking that Tyler Chatwood beats Wily Peralta. Picking against Peralta has hurt me in the past.
  • The Diamondbacks over the Padres: Every time I have picked against Randall Delgado, he pitches great. Of Eric Stults' 21 starts, I have picked nineteen of them incorrectly. So there you go. Take this pick any way you want.
  • The Athletics over the Angels: Forget it. Shrek is pitching. Bartolo Colon is a Cy Young Award candidate. Figure that one out. He never loses these days. Of course, that could end today with a Mike Trout or Mark Trumbo homer. But this is the way you have to go with the pick. Jerome Williams goes for the Angels.
  • This intellectual property belongs to The Flagrant Fan, William Tasker, at    Copying is not cool.
  • The Dodgers over the Reds: This is a very intriguing and cool series. The Reds took the first one. Today, Clayton Kershaw goes against Homer Bailey. The team that wins will be the one with the hotter pitcher.
  • The Mariners over the Twins: No matter how bad things get in Seattle, at least they can throw Iwakuma and Felix Hernandez at you and have a chance to win for sure in two of their five games. The Mariners' offense, meanwhile, should have a Scott Diamond jubilee.
  • The Giants over the Cubs: If Matt Cain was Matt Cain, then this pick would not be an issue. But Matt Cain has not been Matt Cain this season. Okay, I will stop repeating myself now. I am going with Matt Cain being Matt Cain. Edwin Jackson goes for the Cubs.

And the Game of the Day:
  • The Pirates over the Marlins: The Marlins are going to have culture shock going from hitting happy Coors back to their Grand Canyon ballpark. Jeff Locke has been quite a story for the Pirates. Henderson Alvarez has a story in there somewhere.

Yesterday: 8-5
Week: 56-31
Month: 184-117
Season: 861-653
Games of the Day: 67-43

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Tim Hudson retrospective

Tim Hudson has not died or anything. And there is no telling how his broken ankle will affect the rest of his career. But it was a sad and awful moment when he went down after inexplicably not getting his foot out of the way on that play at first. Tim Hudson has been one of the best pitchers of his generation. He has also been a lot of fun to watch over the years.

While this is not meant as a requiem for his career, I wanted to reprint an article I wrote back in February where I compared the careers of Roy Halladay and Tim Hudson. Halladay has long been considered the pitcher of his generation. And while Tim Hudson has not been as good, the difference is closer than you think. Now both are out with devastating injuries and you have to wonder what the future holds.

So anyway, apologies if you remember this. But I thought it was fitting to rerun this piece today. Remember that the statistics were from before this season started:

Roy Halladay has been a much more valuable pitcher over his career than Tim Hudson. Roy Halladay has won two Cy Young Awards and probably should have won another. Tim Hudson has never won a Cy Young Award and probably never will. Roy Halladay has accumulated ten more wins above replacement in his career according to and twenty more according to Fangraphs. But all that being said, a lot of the same end results are remarkably similar.

Let's start with some basic (and now mostly discredited statistics):

Roy Halladay: 199-100 .666 winning percentage,  3.31 career ERA
Tim Hudson:  197-103  .654 winning percentage, 3.42 career ERA

That's pretty darned close, isn't it? Halladay has pitched 403 times and compiled 2,687.1 innings. Hudson has pitched 406 times with 2,682.1 innings. Those numbers are virtually identical.

Tim Hudson has given up 2,504 hits and 210 homers. Roy Halladay has given up 2,594 hits and 224 homers. Those numbers are pretty darned close too.

For his career, Roy Halladay has allowed a .666 OPS against with 3,811 total bases allowed. Tim Hudson has allowed a .674 OPS against with 3,675 total bases allowed.

Roy Halladay has allowed 987 earned runs. Tim Hudson has allowed 1,019. That is a total difference of 32 runs for virtually the same amount of innings pitched.

Roy Halladay has faced 11,005 batters in his career. Tim Hudson has faced 11,157. Roy Halladay has induced batters to hit into 248 double plays. Tim Hudson has turned 282 ground balls into double plays. Tim Hudson has allowed 55 sacrifice flies, Roy Halladay, 59.

Roy Halladay has a .625 winning percentage on the road. Tim Hudson has a .620 winning percentage on the road. Roy Halladay has won 90 games on the road. Tim Hudson has won 93.

Roy Halladay has pitched 94 times when his own team scored two runs or less and has won 19 of those games. Tim Hudson has pitched 91 times when his own team scored two runs or less and has won 19 of those games.

A batter leading off an inning against Roy Halladay has hit a home run 69 times against Roy Halladay in 2,737 chances. A batter leading off an inning against Tim Hudson has hit a home run 67 times in 2,764 chances.

Roy Halladay has a combined OPS against of .672 against non-pitchers. Tim Hudson has a combined OPS against of .688 against non-pitchers.

Tim Hudson has only loaded the bases with no outs 28 times in his career. Roy Halladay has only put himself in that position 32 times. Roy Halladay has an OPS against of .661 in high leverage situations. Tim Hudson has an OPS against of .657 in high leverage situations.

Are a lot of these statistics cherry-picked? Well, yes, sure. And in the final analysis, Roy Halladay has been the better pitcher. His K/BB ratio is much better, his xFIP is much better and so forth. The purpose of this post was not to build a case that Tim Hudson has been as good as Roy Halladay. But perhaps the purpose has been to show the final results have been much more similar than you might have thought.

MLB Game Picks - Thursday: July 25, 2013

I came close to nirvana. Nirvana, of course, is a 15-0 day. I finished the day yesterday at 13-2. So close! The only two blemishes on the night were the Red Sox losing to the Rays. I should have gone with David Price, who was brilliant. The second was the Nationals, who refuse...utterly refuse to score runs for Stephen Strasburg, who was unbelievable. But the Nationals could not hit Francisco Liriano. You have to tip your cap to Liriano too, but still. So close. So bloody close.

Speaking of bloody, I was very saddened to see that Tim Hudson broke his ankle. Hudson has been a long time favorite here and has always been one of the classiest players in baseball. It was just one of those fluke things that was awful and that will be a big blow to the Braves moving forward. Hudson is not only a class act, but one of the best pitchers of his generation. You cannot replace that.

There are fourteen games on the schedule today which is the exact same thing as happened Monday. Six of the games are day games. Yes! Here are today's picks:

  • The Mets over the Braves: This is a very intriguing game. Zack Wheeler can strike out a bunch of Braves as they are that sort of team. But he has to avoid walking people. Alex Wood is starting for the Braves and he is nasty. The lefty strikes people out, does not walk batters and is a ground ball machine. But, he will only be able to go five innings or so. Very intriguing.
  • The Nationals over the Pirates: A.J. Burnett is sort of back to being the Yankees' A.J. Well, not that bad, but just bad enough to lose. Gio Gonzalez will get the run support that Strasburg never gets. Although he did not last time.
  • The Yankees over the Rangers: There are two facts here that are conflicting. The first is that the Yankees really stink against lefty starters. They are just not built right now for facing them. The second salient fact is that Derek Holland has really funky road / home splits not only this year, but his entire career as a Ranger. He does not pitch nearly as well at home. That will give Hiroki Kuroda a chance to win.
  • The Tigers over the White Sox: It is hard to pick the White Sox and Jake Peavy, because you never know if Peavy will still be with the team by the time this game is played. Even if he is, Justin Verlander, as badly as he has pitched, is still a better pitcher and pick.
  • The Brewers over the Padres: Yovani Gallardo at home? Yes, please. But will he be traded? Good question. I doubt it. Edinson Volquez goes for the Padres.
  • The Rockies over the Marlins: Juan Nicasio has experience pitching at his home ballpark at Coors. The thought of Nathan Eovaldi pitching there is frightening. I have to go with the Rockies even if Giancarlo Stanton hits a bomb or two.
  • The Blue Jays over the Astros: You cannot get much worse of a loss than what the Blue Jays put together last night and it sort of epitomized their season. Even so, Mark Buehrle should beat Erik Bedard and the Astros:
  • The Red Sox over the Bay Rays: The Rays are playing outstanding baseball. But I think the Red Sox are still the best team overall. John Lackey should be better than Jeremy Hellickson. In fact, I expect the Red Sox to knock Hellickson out early.
  • The Cardinals over the Phillies: Kyle Kendrick will have a good game if he holds the Cardinals to four runs. You know what I mean? This team just scores and scores. Lance Lynn has not racked up the wins like I thought he would after the way he started. But he is still good enough to beat the Phillies.
  • The Orioles over the Royals: Jeremy Guthrie is capable of having a good game. He is just as capable of allowing the Orioles' hitters to hit a bunch of bombs on him. Miguel Gonzalez continues to win. And there is no sense questioning it. Just pick it.
  • The Angels over the Athletics: Dan Straily is tough at home. Why the A's will not commit to him in the rotation is a bit baffling. But this pick goes to the Angels because C.J. Wilson has pitched really well since his Head & Shoulders commercial came out. I doubt the two are related.
  • The Dodgers over the Reds: The best pitching match-up of the day pits Zack Greinke against Mat Latos. Both have trouble going deep in games. The winner will be the most efficient today. You cannot pick against the Dodgers these days.
  • The Mariners over the Twins: The M's had themselves a little roll going until yesterday. The Twins have been playing well too. But Hisashi Iwakuma is not someone to pick against when going at home. Kevin Correia goes for the Twins.

And the Game of the Day:
  • The Diamondbacks over the Cubs: The D-backs have watched the Dodgers zoom by them in the standings and better pick up the pace if they want to keep this a race. Wade Miley has not been great, but is good enough to beat the Cubs. Carlos Villanueva goes for the Cubs.

Yesterday: 13-2  Weeee!
Week: 48-26
Month: 176-112
Season: 853-648
Games of the Day: 66-43

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Chad Gaudin is full of surprises but will it last?

If you ask most Yankee fans about Chad Gaudin, who now pitches for the San Francisco Giants, most would shiver. And yet, he was not that particularly bad for the Yankees. And the Yankees were just one of the teams for which Chad Gaudin has pitched. He has long been one of those fringe Major League players that you do not think much about unless he is pitching for your team. But suddenly, he has become one of the Giants' most reliable starters. How did that happen?

As I said, unless he was pitching for your team, you would hardly ever think about Chad Gaudin. As such, there would be little reason to check out his player pages on and But this little hot streak of his, where he has given up just two earned runs in his last 23+ innings, has forced a lot of people like me to look at his pages. And once you do so, it is full of surprises.

The first of which is that he is only thirty years old. The guy has seemed to be around forever. And in some ways, he has. He has pitched in parts of eleven different seasons. He has pitched for nine different teams. He pitched for multiple teams in a season three times in his career. You would think a guy like that would be 36 years old or something. But he is not. He is thirty. That is the first surprise.

The next one is that he made his Major League debut for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays back in 2003 when he was twenty years old. That would make you think that he was a high draft pick by the Rays. He was not. He was selected right out of high school in the 34th round. So we have a kid who was drafted way down on the draft board who pitched well in A-ball and then the next year pitched well in A-ball again and then Double-A and was in the Major Leagues for Tampa to make his debut on August 1, 2003.

Not only is that surprising, but he stayed with the club for the remainder of the season. And he was successful with a 2-0 record for a team that lost 99 games with a 3.60 ERA good for a 123 ERA+. His second win was against a powerhouse Red Sox team on September 27, 2003 as the Red Sox were heading into a showdown against the Yankees.

He started the following season with the Devil Rays in 2004 and was not as successful. He stayed with the team until late June and then was sent to Triple-A and then would be called up again in September. Gaudin pitched mostly in relief and it was not a real good season. But he was 21.

After the 2004 season, he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for Kevin Cash. The Devil Rays must not have thought much about Gaudin because Cash, a journeyman catcher, had played three years for the Blue Jays and had compiled a .485 OPS.

Gaudin made only five appearances for the Blue Jays in 2005 and they went horribly. He spent most of the season in the minors.

At the end of that season, the Blue Jays traded him for the dreaded "player to be named later" to the Oakland A's. It was his two and a half years in Oakland that probably made Gaudin a commodity that would intrigue teams to this day. He had a very stable and productive run for the A's.

In 2006, Gaudin was a staple of the A's bullpen and made 53 appearances. He even had his only two saves of his career and finished with a 3.09 ERA.

The following season, Gaudin was installed in the A's rotation and he did not have a great season, but it was decent enough to tie for the league lead in games started with 34. That was a disfunctional A's team in 2007 that lost 86 games and Gaudin went 11-13.

In 2008, Gaudin was off to a good start and had a 5-3 record with the A's in five starts and twenty relief appearances with a 3.59 ERA. But he was traded to the Cubs on July 9th along with Rich Hardin for a package that netted the A's Josh Donaldson among others.

Gaudin's time in Chicago was abysmal and they released him after the season.

Then it gets a little crazy for Gaudin. Here is a rundown:
  • Released by the Cubs on April 5, 2009
  • Signed with the Padres on April 12, 2009
  • Sold by the Padres to the Yankees on August 7, 2009
  • Released by the Yankees on March 25, 2010
  • Signed by the Oakland A's on March 28, 2010
  • Released by the A's on May 21, 2010
  • Signed by the Yankees on May 26, 2010
  • Granted Free Agency on November 2, 2010
  • Signed by the Nationals on December 17, 2010
  • Released by the Nationals on July 21, 2011
  • Signed by Blue Jays on August 5, 2011
  • Granted Free Agency on November 2, 2011
  • Signed by the Marlins on January 4, 2012
  • Granted Free Agency on October 29, 2012
  • Signed by the Giants on December 13, 2012
Whew! That is a whirlwind! But it has all worked out as things are going really well with the Giants. As someone who picks games every day, I have a hard time accepting that he has been this good. But there it is.

In 71 innings, he has a 2.15 ERA and a 3.02 FIP. He has only given up 6.7 hits per nine innings and has a WHIP of 1.070. He has a higher fWAR this season than Matt Cain and Barry Zito combined. Who would have predicted that being the case?

So is this voodoo? Is it a fluke? It might be. If you look at all his peripherals, they all look very similar to the rest of his career. His O-swing, ground ball to fly ball ratio, swinging strike percentage and others are all very similar to what he has done for his career.

The only two glaring differences this season are both what seem to fall in the fluke category. His home runs per nine rate is way down off of his career average and that might be a ball park factor not only pitching at home, but also in some spacious away parks.

The other glaring difference is his hits per nine innings pitched. And that may be summed up by his BABIP, which currently sits at .253. He is a ground ball / fly ball neutral pitcher. And the Giants are not exactly a great fielding team. They are sixth from the bottom in defensive efficiency. So is it just luck then?

Perhaps it is just my perception of the guy as a pitcher. But it does seem to me that a slip to his mean is impending. The Giants have caught a little bit of lightning in a bottle with Chad Gaudin's first 71 innings with the team. Either way, he has had an interesting career and eleven seasons for a guy with middle-of-the-road stuff is a good run. And at the still young age of 30, he could have plenty of middle-of-the-road seasons to come.

MLB Game Picks - Wednesday: July 24, 2013

The picks came out on top yesterday by two games. But it was a convoluted day. The Yankees came back on closer, Joe Nathan, to win that game. I should have stuck with Jose Fernandez. And yet, I correctly picked the Astros to win and for Carlos Torres to shut down the Braves. There was some brilliance there parked in between some dung heaps.

Another full slate of games and I am late this morning. So here are Wednesday's picks:

  • The Athletics over the Astros: This day game features A.J. Griffin and Bud Norris. Norris is a very frustrating guy and any team that is considering him for trade possibilities should think twice. It is fitting that he is pitching against a guy named, A.J., because he reminds me a lot of a young A.J. Burnett.
  • The Angels over the Twins: As embarrassing as that loss was last night, the Angels should rebound with a win by Jered Weaver. He is that good a pitcher. Mike Pelfrey won his last game, but he is no match for Weaver.
  • The Indians over the Mariners: I want to go with Joe Saunders at home just because his rare good outings keep some contenders thinking that he can help them. Ha! But I like Scott Kazmir in this one in that big ballpark. I like underdog stories and I root for Kazmir. So sue me.
  • The Nationals over the Pirates: I am still in shock about the Nationals' season. It simply confounds me. Stephen Strasburg is all but forgotten this season because his record is 5-7. He team rarely supports him. He usually pitches well. Take today for example, he faces Francisco Liriano who will probably shut his team out. But I will take Strasburg on principle.
  • The Braves over the Mets: Jeremy Hefner was creamed in his last outing. I mean, he was tattooed. But he will bounce back today with a good outing. Unfortunately for him, Tim Hudson will be better. But I would not be surprised if the results were the opposite.
  • The Red Sox over the Bay Rays: At this point, Matt Moore is more reliable than David Price. I think the Red Sox get to Price and Felix Doubront has a good enough day to keep the Red Sox as the best team in the American League.
  • The Rangers over the Yankees: Andy Pettitte has not been sharp for a long time. He has been decent. But not sharp. Matt Garza is going to make a difference for the Rangers. He has been in this position before pitching for a contender. It was a great pickup.
  • The Royals over the Orioles: Woo  boy. What am I thinking? I am thinking that I am tired of picking against Ervin Santana and him throwing gems for the last month. That is what I am thinking. Wei-Yin Chen is a worthy pitcher. But Santana has been exceptional of late.
  • The Tigers over the White Sox: Anibal Sanchez is better than John Danks. The Tigers proved they can win without Miguel Cabrera. The White Sox are a bad team.
  • The Brewers over the Padres: The Brewers have to be a mess inside right now. The Braun thing must be really hard to deal with. Not to mention that the Braun thing has lost them their best hitter. But I am picking them tonight because Kyle Lohse has been on a roll. That and I have no faith in Sean O'Sullivan despite his wonderful Irish name.
  • The Cardinals over the Phillies: I really have no faith in Jake Westbrook. But then again, I have no faith in John Lannon. So when you have no faith in either pitcher, you pick the better team--especially when they are home.
  • The Rockies over the Marlins: I keep waiting for the Rockies to bust out in their home park. Perhaps tonight will be the night. Jacob Turner has been good for the Marlins though. Hmm... Okay, with Jorge De La Rosa on the mound, I am still going that way.
  • The Cubs over the Diamondbacks: I am really, really torn over this one and have gone back and forth. I am going to go back to my initial instinct and pick the Cubs. It is based on Jeff Samardzija building on his great last appearance and how badly Ian Kennedy has pitched this season.
  • The Reds over the Giants: Someone pinch me when it comes to how well Chad Gaudin has been pitching for the Giants. Seriously!? Chad Gaudin!? But there it is. Two earned runs in his last 23+ innings. Amazing. So why am I picking Mike Leake instead? Because I am still not a believer.

And the Game of the Day:
  • The Dodgers over the Blue Jays: Yeah. Put the Blue Jays in the same category as the Nationals. The Dodgers have been kicking their butts all week. Why should today be any different? Ricky Nolasco over Esmil Rogers.

Yesterday: 9-7
Week: 36-24
Month: 163-110
Season: 840-646
Games of the Day: 65-43

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

MLB Game Picks - Tuesday: July 23, 2013

Between all the histrionics and hand-wringing, there was baseball played last night. I watched the ESPN broadcast of the Rangers and Yankees and was pretty disgusted that a third of that broadcast was based on Ryan Braun instead of what was going on in the field. I very nearly turned it off.

But at least I had a decent day with nine correct out of fifteen. I made a couple of stupid picks in the five that were incorrect. I remember even mentioning that pitchers always stink the game after a no-hitter and yet I still picked Tim Lincecum. Duh. I picked the Angels to win a Joe Blanton start. Duh. My belief in Josh Johnson was laughably misplaced.

But otherwise, it was a good picking night. The Seattle pick over Cleveland was brilliant. Here are Tuesday's picks:

  • The Reds over the Giants: The Reds and Giants play two games today. In this first one, it will be Tony Cingrani against Eric Surkamp. Surkamp pitched a bit for the Giants in 2011 but missed all of 2012. He has impressive minor league numbers but still walks too many for my taste. That is why I am going with Cingrani.
  • The Pirates over the Nationals: I like Gerrit Cole over Taylor Jordan. Jordan is a ground ball machine though and those guys can have really good nights once in a while. But Cole is a guy who can shut the Nats down.
  • The Reds over the Giants: The Giants must think the Reds cannot hit lefties as that is all they will get today. Barry Zito could get eaten alive though by the Reds offense, which is deep enough. The wild card here is the start by Greg Reynolds. Reynolds was the number 2 pick in all the nation back in 2006 but never panned out for the Rockies. He is having a brilliant minor league season and will not be a stranger to a Major League mound.
  • The Dodgers over the Blue Jays: Yesterday's game caused me to officially give up on the Blue Jays. Gosh, I thought they were better than they are. Todd Redmond will not last long and things are going so well for the Dodgers that even Chris Capuano is pitching well.
  • The Mets over the Braves: It was scaring me that I had not picked a home team to win as yet. The Mets are at home. But it is more than that. I like Carlos Torres, who at the age of 30, is not afraid, throws strikes and they are quality strikes. Kris Medlen goes for the Braves.
  • The Red Sox over the Bay Rays: Jon Lester has a lot of people scratching their heads, including me. He started out so well! But even a messed up Jon Lester is better than a Roberto Hernandez. Why do the Rays keep pitching him?
  • The Rangers over the Yankees: I cannot stomach any more of Vernon Wells / Travis Hafner playing every day. I just cannot. Play the kids already, for crying out loud. And it is time to DFA Eduardo Nunez. How many chances does one guy get? Phil Hughes will give up two or three homers and Alexi Ogando has an easy night.
  • The White Sox over the Tigers: Yeah. I know. And I swear that Hector Santiago and Jose Quintana are the same guy who just changes his name for different starts. But Rick Porcello is pitching and needs a new home. And if Miguel Cabrera sits...
  • The Astros over the Athletics: Yes, this will probably come back to haunt me. But Jarrod Cosart sure looked good in his first start against the Rays, a good team. I looked like a BABIP start though, so warnings there. Jarrod Parker goes for the A's.
  • The Brewers over the Padres: Tyson Ross goes for the Padres tonight. He is 0-4 for the season.  Tyson Ross is 6-22 in the Big Leagues. I cannot take those numbers. Instead I will go with ground ball machine, Donovan Hand.
  • The Cardinals over the Phillies: Shelby Miller has had some rest and should come out strong. Jonathan Pettibone has not done poorly for a young guy. But the Cardinals are a really tough test for any young pitcher.
  • The Rockies over the Marlins: As much as I like Jose Fernandez, I cannot see him conquering Coors Field. Jhoulys Chacin, however, knows how to pitch there.
  • The Diamondbacks over the Cubs: I have been aboard the Patrick Corbin train all season. Why stop now? By game time, Alfonso Soriano might be a Yankee. That will not help Travis Wood's chances any.
  • The Twins over the Angels: Gosh, Angels. I thought you were movin' and groovin' there for a while. Now you are back to the same old slow grind. Kyle Gibson has had only one real bad start (Yankees) but is your typical no-strikeout Twins pitcher. This pick is really against Tommy Hanson more than anything. I think the Twins will hit him.
  • The Indians over the Mariners: I like the move of putting Nick Swisher in the two-hole. That should work better. Zach McAllister is back. How good he will be is anyone's guess. I am guessing he will be better than Erasmo Ramirez.

And the Game of the Day:
  • The Orioles over the Royals: Jason Hammel and Bruce Chen are amazing in that they remain in the Majors year after year. Hammel has not won in a while and Chen, though terrible, is 3-0. He will be 3-1 after tonight.

Yesterday: 9-5
Week: 27-17
Month: 154-103
Season: 831-639
Games of the Day: 65-42

Monday, July 22, 2013

MLB Game Picks - Monday: July 22, 2013

Sunday included only eight correct picks out of fifteen, so it was not a great day. I need to understand with my picking that CC Sabathia is no longer an ace. But Madison Bumgarner is and he lost too. Then I had two aces against each other in Jordan Zimmermann and Clayton Kershaw and picked the wrong one. I had two other aces in Matt Harvey and Bartolo Colon (yeah, weird to put those two in the same category) and they won. But I guess James Shields is not an ace and I picked him like he was. And then I picked against Wily Peralta and he had an ace like day.

Speaking of which, the Marlins did not score a single run against the Brewers. Has that ever happened before for a team to get shut out in a series? Remarkable. Do you give a bit hat tip to the Brewers' pitching or a stink eye to the Marlins' offense?

There are fourteen games on the schedule today, which is weird too. Everybody had enough rest during the break but two teams did not? What?  Monday's picks:

  • The Rangers over the Yankees: Yu Darvish has been shut down a while with a sore shoulder. So that makes him suspect. But he is still good enough to shut down the Yankees' woeful attack. But the Rangers have not been hitting either and Ivan Nova has looked pretty good. So we'll see.
  • The Pirates over the Nationals: That was a big win for the Pirates yesterday. They needed that. Today is a real corker with Charlie Morton against Dan Haren. Ugh. What do you do there? The Nats are really scuffling, so Pirates.
  • The Blue Jays over the Dodgers: I know that the Dodgers are hotter than a pistol. And Hyun-jin Ryu is a good pitcher. But his left-hand throwing works in favor of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. Plus, Josh Johnson is a guy I believe in despite his 1-5 record.
  • The Braves over the Mets: Remember, Julio Teheran wins every other start and then loses every other start. He lost last time. So I have to go with the pattern. He wins today. I hate to pick against Dillon Gee as doing so always burns me. But there it is.
  • The Bay Rays over the Red Sox: This is going to be an interesting series. I think the Rays take the first game because of Matt Moore. The Red Sox do have the ability to wait him out. But the Red Sox also have guys that strike out a lot. Besides, the Red Sox seem to be at a disadvantage with Brandon Workman on the mound. But if the latter wins, will it be a Workman like effort? Apologies.
  • The Orioles over the Royals: The Orioles are one heck of an impressive team. And if Scott Feldman pitches well, they should win this game. But that is a big "if." I like the O's chances of hitting Wade Davis though.
  • The Tigers over the White Sox: Chris Sale is good. Very good. And the White Sox actually had a good weekend. But my horse has been Max Scherzer and I am going to keep riding him.
  • The Padres over the Brewers: The Brewers have not given up a run in like forever. But that cannot last and Tom Gorzelanny is pitching, so it should not. Andrew Cashner is capable of shutting down a team, but he is inconsistent. Man, anything can happen in this one.
  • The Rockies over the Marlins: Ugh. Tom Koehler and Drew Pomeranz? There will be runs in this one, especially at Coors. The Rockies should win a slugfest.
  • The Diamondbacks over the Cubs: Yes, Matt Garza will pitch a good game and keep the scouts drooling and his trade value singing. But his teammates have to score and I am not sure they will against Tyler Skaggs. So the pick goes to the D-backs.
  • The Angels over the Twins: Sam Deduno looks like the Twins' best pitcher right now. But that is not saying much. But this pick means that Joe Blanton is getting a pick and he is 2-12. Uh... But the Angels are home and should score some runs.
  • The Mariners over the Indians: The M's suddenly have an offense and the pitching has been decent too. Aaron Harang is okay in a big ballpark and he has that at home. But then again, Ubaldo Jimenez is not having that bad a season if you take away his first three starts. But still...
  • The Giants over the Reds: Another game to make you think twice. Tim Lincecum is coming off a no-hitter. Has not every pitcher in the last couple of years stunk after their no-hitters? Maybe Lincecum will be okay at home. The Reds go with Bronson Arroyo who is a BABIP guy who can allow homers. Maybe I should have picked the Reds...

And the Game of the Day:
  • The Athletics over the Astros: Sooner or later, the Astros are going to win another game. But picking them is a losing proposition. Dallas Keuchel is not the guy to pick for a win. Tommy Milone is not great either, but the A's are the better team with or without Cespedes (who should not have been in the home run derby).

Yesterday: 8-7
Week: 18-12
Month: 145-98
Season: 822-634
Games of the Day: 64-42  -1

Sunday, July 21, 2013

MLB Game Picks - Sunday: July 21, 2013

Saturday started out a lot like Friday where every correct pick was balanced by an incorrect one. The Yankees winning was a surprise as were the Padres and the Mets. After after ten games were completed, the record stood at 5-5. But every pick for the rest of the day was correct and an extra innings game even went my way. Picking the White Sox over the Braves was probably the best pick of the day. I was proud of that one.

Talk about a weird game. How weird was it that the Mariners scored four runs while only tallying one hit in the game? Erik Bedard got the loss and never gave up a hit in six and a third innings. Two of the Mariners' four runs were scored in the sixth inning on a walk, a walk, a passed ball, a sacrifice fly and a passed ball. Bizarre.

On to Sunday we go. Some high powered pitching match-ups are on tap and it should be a great day of day baseball. The picks:

  • The Blue Jays over the Rays: The Blue Jays salvage one game of the series as R.A. Dickey has a good day and Chris Archer leaks enough runs for his team to lose.
  • The Mets over the Phillies: I have not yet gotten a game of this series correct. So this is one of those opposite picks. I think Cliff Lee holds back the Mets and is slightly better than the super-powered Matt Harvey. But I am picking the opposite to occur.
  • The Pirates over the Reds: The Pirates salvage one game of this series after two straight tough losses. Jeff Locke always seems to pitch well and despite his great stuff and his two no-hitters, Homer Bailey is still just 5-8.
  • The Nationals over the Dodgers: The Nats have already lost games in this series started by Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez. And both pitched well too. Today, the Nats face Clayton Kershaw, only the best pitcher in the National League. But...and this is a big but...Jordan Zimmermann is my secret weapon.
  • The Braves over the White Sox: The Braves might be one of the most excuse me first place teams of all time. But there they are, still ahead by half a dozen games. Incredible. Mike Minor is a case in point. Nine wins and he seems very beatable at times. Jose Quintana, though, is never a guy I pick and rightly so.
  • The Indians over the Twins: Yeah, this is the way I picked it on Friday and Saturday and both were wrong. But I still like Justin Masterson and I still don't like to pick Kevin Correia who seems to pitch every day. But then again, all those Twins' pitchers look alike.
  • The Royals over the Tigers: Okay, I give up trying to figure out the Tigers. They are the most frustrating team there is. The Royals are right behind them. This pick is based solely on thinking James Shields has a better chance of being good than Doug Fister does.
  • The Marlins over the Brewers: I am getting all jiggy with this pick. Henderson Alvarez is going to pitch a good game. The Marlins will score their first runs this series and Wily Peralta, along with Pena, keeps the Wily name proud.
  • The Mariners over the Astros: Every time Felix Hernandez looks ordinary, I think his arm is going to fall off. And then he pitches great. Today will be one of those days. Jordan Lyles will give up more than one hit today.
  • The Cardinals over the Padres: The Cards are starting to do it to me again. Two losses to the Padres? Come on boys. Cut that out. But the big horse, Adam Wainwright, is on the mound today and that should be a win against Eric Stults.
  • The Athletics over the Angels: You win, Bartolo Colon. I capitulate. Of your twelve wins, I probably picked against you nine times. I am tired of beating my head against the wall. I do not know how you do it. But carry on. Jerome Williams has not looked good in his last three starts.
  • The Rockies over the Cubs: I have no idea, really, who is going to win this game. Edwin Jackson is sort of on a good streak. But he is at Coors. Tyler Chatwood has not convinced me yet. So I have no idea. I am going with the home team.
  • The Orioles over the Rangers: The Rangers do not seem like a good team to me. They are short in the rotation and in the lineup. The Orioles do not seem to be short on anything. Chris Tillman over Martin Perez.
  • The Yankees over the Red Sox: The Yankees play better when I predict them to lose. So this might be dumb. And CC Sabathia never pitches well at Fenway. So why am I picking him then? Because I think the Yankees will score on Ryan Dempster.

And the Game of the Day:
  • The Giants over the Diamondbacks: It is just another season in the NL West as the Giants look like crap for most of the season, then hang around as the rest of the division rots and is suddenly in first place on the last day of the season. Madison Bumgarner over Randall Delgado.

Yesterday: 10-5
Week: 10-5
Month: 137-91
Season: 814-627
Games of the Day: 64-41