Saturday, August 31, 2013

MLB Game Picks - Saturday: August 31, 2013

How can the most obvious pick of the day be wrong so often? The Rangers against the Twins. Yu Darvish, the most talented arm in baseball and the choice of many for the CYA, was on the mound and had a no-hitter through six. Darvish is up against Liam Hendriks, a pitcher with a career record of 1-11 and a 5.60 career ERA. Darvish gave up three runs in the seventh. No big deal. The Rangers should still win by scoring five or six runs, right? Of course not. Obvious never is right. The obvious has been wrong three days in a row. If I keep doing this, I am going to go crazy and become this gibberish-speaking lunatic.

Otherwise, it was a good day of picking. But that is all negated by being wrong on the obvious. There is no good feeling from a good day when the obvious never goes right. I do feel good about the Blue Jays pick and the Pirates pick.

Saturday's picks:

  • The Yankees over the Orioles: Ivan Nova has been on a roll. Even when he walks people, his stuff has been getting him out of trouble. Scott Feldman is a decent pitcher. But he is not a shut down pitcher and the Yankees should score enough to win.
  • The Blue Jays over the Royals: I am going to get all giddy here and predict the Blue Jays win a second game in a row. And no, there is no brandy in my coffee. R.A. Dickey is going to have a good day at home and the Jays score a few runs off of Jeremy Guthrie.
  • The Phillies over the Cubs: It has been a long while since Cliff Lee won a ballgame. Today will be that day. He should have no trouble with the Cubs' lineup and the Phillies will scratch a couple off of Chris Rusin.
  • The Nationals over the Mets: This pick did not work out yesterday as Dillon Gee did his thing. Zack Wheeler could be explosive and shut the Nats down. Or he could give up four runs in five innings. I am feeling the latter. Dan Haren, meanwhile, has turned his season around in a big way.
  • The Cardinals over the Pirates: Lance Lynn must avoid the big inning with the crooked number in the middle innings for the Cardinals to win. Lynn has to have a very good game. The Pirates' lineup is still their weakest link and can be shut down. A.J. Burnett is not reliable enough to pick.
  • The Indians over the Tigers: This is an upset pick and can be right if Scott Kazmir has a good day and if Anibal Sanchez has hit a wall like it appears his last couple of outings. Who knows if Miguel Cabrera is going to play. He is put together with duct tape right now.
  • The Brewers over the Angels: Jerome Williams has not pitched well lately and the Angels do not have much of an offense lately either (even though they have been winning more regularly. Marco Estrada gets a win.
  • The Red Sox over the White Sox: Jake Peavy was built for a pennant race. He is an intense guy. I like his chances over the White Sox, his old team. John Danks has been pitching really well, but he is facing the Red Sox.
  • The Mariners over the Astros: Guys on the Mariners like Kyle Seager and Dustin Ackley hit better on the road for the Mariners. Of course, this pick is a pick for Joe Saunders. Ugh. But Dallas Keuchel is not a good pick either.
  • The Rangers over the Twins: Matt Garza should be the difference here as he his a much better pitcher than Mike Pelfrey. As I mentioned earlier, "should be," is a scary phrase.
  • The Rockies over the Reds: If this game becomes a Coors shootout, the Reds win. Otherwise, it is a Rockies win as on any given day, Juan Nicasio should be better than Greg Reynolds.
  • The Giants over the Diamondbacks: I have picked against Ryan Vogelsong in his last three starts and have gotten burned. I picked against the Giants yesterday and got burned. Picking them today will probably burn me too. Trevor Cahill goes for the D-backs.
  • The Rays over the A's: Just because I like to say it. So I got this man-crush on Sonny Gray after his first couple of starts. I loved his name and he was pitching well. But he has caused me to fall out of lust with him over the past two outings. I am going with Alex Cobb instead.
  • The Dodgers over the Padres: Chris Capuano is the type of pitcher that will get you through the season but will be left off the post-season roster. He should get the win today. Andrew Cashner has good stuff, but no support.

And the Game of the Day:

  • The Braves over the Marlins: I simply like Mike Minor better than I like Jacob Turner in this one. The Braves are at home and even though they burn through four relief pitchers a game, keep on winning.

Yesterday: 10-5
Week: 45-34
Month: 232-174
Season: 1135-887
Games of the Day: 85-61  -3

Friday, August 30, 2013

Which MLB NL Managers should and will be fired

With one month left to the season, it is easy to see the teams that have struggled all season and which ones will be considering other managerial options once the season is over. Yesterday, I covered the American League and made my predictions on which AL managers will get fired and which should or should not. Today is the National League's turn. If I believe correctly, we do not have to cover Davey Johnson as unfortunately, at the age of seventy, he is probably going to step down anyway. Here are the rest of those to consider:

Terry Collins - I like Terry Collins. He has learned from past mistakes as a manager and has been a kinder, gentler version of himself as the Mets manager. He passionately cares about his players and they play for him. He has not had the talent to be competitive. But I like where the pitching has gone under him and how he got the most out of a really bad bullpen. But...despite the lack of talent, he will probably go by the wayside. Because that is how baseball works. Will not be back. Should be back.

Mike Redmond - Redmond has not had a lot of fun in his first season. The Marlins were totally bankrupted for talent after the team purged all its higher priced talent. They had the worst offense in the National League and finished dead last in average, on-base percentage and slugging. Mike Stanton did not explode onto the scene and struck out far too often. Young Jose Fernandez has been the only bright light in the entire season. Does Redmond get any of the blame for this? He should not. The team is slightly behind their Pythagorean win-loss record, but that is not much to sneeze at nor is a smoking gun. There seems to be no harm in bringing Redmond back. But it is hard to know what the owner will do here. Should be kept. 50/50.

Ron Roenicke - It is hard to know what to make of Roenicke's situation. His three years have seen diminished returns since his brilliant first year there in 2011. He has had the Ryan Braun mess and has never had a bullpen he can count on. This year, the rotation was continually in flux. But they have been pesky late in the season and if they continue to play well and act as the spoilers and beat their NL Central rivals somewhat regularly for the rest of the season, he might survive to fight another day. The Brewers have some nice pieces but have some large holes to fill. I think Roenicke survives. Stays. Should.

Dusty Baker - I threw Baker in here in case the Reds do not win the division and end up losing the wildcard game. If that happens, with the talent the team has and the window not seized, Baker might be the blame and be a consideration. He is alternatively loved and hated by Reds' fans who see flaws like not trusting young players and some on-field decisions. If the Reds falter, this could be interesting. Probably stays. Probably shouldn't.

Dale Sveum - I felt at the time Sveum was hired that is was a bad choice. I felt that Ryne Sandburg and paid his dues and deserved the nod. And Sveum's Cubs have done nothing to change my mind. The team is four games under their Pythagorean win-loss record based on their run differential and not only that, but their young players like Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney and Anthony Rizzo have not only not improved but in most cases, regressed. Add in some of Castro's off-field behavior and the lack of any team response and I think Sveum should be out the door. Whether he is or not remains to be seen. Shouldn't stay. 50/50.

Walt Weiss - I don't know if anyone can win as a manager with the Rockies. As long as they play baseball a mile high, they will never pitch as well as they need to pitch. They did pitch somewhat better, but the offense never really gelled into the juggernaut they have been in the past. Plus, the Rockies leadership is such a mess that it seems impossible to blame Weiss. If anything, he has hardly been noticeable and if no news is good news, then his presence must be good news. His chances at surviving seem to be 50/50 but I do not see any reason he should lose his job.

Bud Black - Now that new ownership is in place, you have to wonder if Bud Black will survive in San Diego. The team might want to set up their own shop and that might not be good for their current manager. The Padres are four games better than their run differential says they should be and that is good on Black. But you would think that a team managed by a former pitching coach would be better at pitching. Their staff was pretty much a disaster this season. The offense made some strides, but not nearly enough. The lack of pitching progress might be seen as a dagger on Black. I think he should probably keep his job, but I don't think the odds are good that he will.

Bruce Bochy - I get the feeling from many blog writers that cover the Giants that the team won two World Series titles despite their manager and not because of him. And both titles were followed by relatively stinky seasons. They play so far away from where I live that I do not know what to think of him. I would say that a manager who has won two titles in his last four seasons is probably about as safe as a bad team's manager can be.

I am not a real fan of Kirk Gibson and the whole Diamondback rah rah, scrappy vibe. I think it is overdone. But I think Gibson will be managing that team for a long time because of the organization he manages for.

MLB Game Picks - Friday: August 30, 2013

I am so bored with myself. Six straight days of mediocre, blah picking will do that. The week is only six picks above .500. Most of the days are above .500, but only slightly or barely. And yesterday was no different. Heck, I know you cannot predict what will happen in a baseball game. The mighty Red Sox can lose a game as Jon Lester was not quite as good as Chris Tillman. Yovani Gallardo can come back from the disabled list and be completely lights out. The poor pitching Angels can pitch a shutout against the Rays with Jason Vargas no less.

But still. Mediocrity day after day can get to you after a while.

Friday's picks:

  • The Phillies over the Cubs: The Cubs will play their traditional Friday day game at home and those will be a lot more fun when the team is better. Jeff Samardzija is good enough to hold down the Phillies, but his team will not score against Roy Halladay, who is back and a welcomed sight (except in Chicago).
  • The Yankees over the Orioles: I only pick the Yankees because they are at home where they have a better chance to win. All the Bronx team can really do at this point is act as spoilers. There are too many wildcard teams ahead of them. CC Sabathia over Miguel Gonzalez.
  • The Nationals over the Mets: The Nationals are hot right now and the Mets are also playing pretty well. And Dillon Gee has been pitching better than Jordan Zimmermann has. But a hot Nats' lineup is much more imposing than a hot Mets' lineup.
  • The Pirates over the Cardinals: The Cards have trouble against lefties. Francisco Liriano has been one of the hottest lefties in the game this season, even though he was humbled a bit in his last start. Shelby Miller can shut the Pirates down though. This game and this series will be interesting.
  • The Blue Jays over the Royals: Mark Buehrle gets scoffed at pretty regular. But year after year, he is solid enough to make his mark. And he has been very good in the last month and a half. He can quickly shut down the Royals with an assortment of junk. Ervin Santana was pitching great, but has seemed to hit a wall lately.
  • The Tigers over the Indians: The Tigers really spiked the Indians the last time they played and that was at the Indians' home park. This one is in Detroit. Rick Porcello goes against Zach McAllister which should be a pretty even pitching match-up.
  • The Red Sox over the White Sox: I am hesitant to pick the Red Sox with Ryan Dempster on the mound. Despite his killer Harry Carey imitation, he has not pitched well this season. But this is the Red Sox we are talking about against the White Sox. Hector Santiago throws left-handed and that is the only reason he has a chance against the Red Sox. It sure seems like the Red Sox get more home games than anyone else.
  • The Braves over the Marlins: Two young pitchers here. Julio Teheran goes for the Braves and the young phenom, Jose Fernandez, goes for the Marlins. If this game was in Miami, I would pick Fernandez every time. On the road, I will go with the Braves.
  • The Angels over the Brewers: The Angels lose the DH in this series, but they really haven't had much of one since Albert Pujols went down anyway. Jered Weaver should win though the Brewers have been pesky lately. Wily Peralta goes for them.
  • The Mariners over the Astros: This is a very exciting day for the Mariners and their fans as Taijuan Walker and his cool name and reputation takes the mound and makes his MLB debut. The #5 prospect in baseball has a big arm and his minor league numbers are a bit inflated because of the PCL. Brad Peacock goes for the Astros.
  • The Reds over the Rockies: Bronson Arroyo pitching at Coors Field is a little frightening. But considering he is facing Jeff Manship, most reservations disappear.
  • The Diamondbacks over the Giants: I really do not know how to pick this game. Tim Lincecum is so unpredictable and I don't like his chances in the desert air. Randall Delgado seems to have a better chance to me. But the D-backs have disappointed me all season.
  • The Bay Rays over the Athletics: I get to rhyme this one if I say, "The Rays over the A's." But the good David Price better show up to make this prediction come true. Jarrod Parker is better at home though and that makes the pick more complicated.
  • The Dodgers over the Padres: The Dodgers at home is always a good pick, even more so when Hyun-jin Ryu is pitching there. Eric Stults is going for the Padres. The Dodgers do need to just get over themselves about Puig though.

And the Game of the Day:

  • The Rangers over the Twins: This seems like a mismatch, which is always frightening to me for some reason. Yu Darvish should completely dominate this game and Liam Hendriks is a 4-A kind of pitcher.

Yesterday; 5-4
Week: 35-29
Month: 222-169
Season: 1125-882
Games of the Day: 85-60   -2

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Which MLB AL managers should and will be fired

Whether it is fair or not, many managers each season pay for the sins of their teams. Failed expectations, disasters or dashed dreams usually do the trick. Those dismissals usually happen during the season or directly after. The season has been quiet with only Charlie Manuel getting the ax. That was certainly a surprise, but understandable considering how listless the Phillies were playing. So that leaves the after-season. Who will face the chopping block once the season is over? What follows is a list of American League candidates followed by a prediction and one writer's opinion.

Robin Ventura - The two-year Ventura experiment should probably be put to rest. Ventura never actually aspired to manage this team and his hiring was out of the blue. Ventura's laid back ways were lauded last year but have fell with a thud this season. While it is true that his team was poorly constructed with only Adam Dunn batting above league average (as strange as that seems), Ventura should be put back out to enjoy the rest of his life. Should. Will.

Ron Gardenhire - The Gardenhire era in Minnesota has probably gone on long enough. The Twins have no immediate solutions and seem destined for another tough year or two. Why not start fresh? Plus, from this vague seat of observation, it seems that Gardenhire's reach and philosophies extend throughout the organization and they are not working. The Twins cannot continue with pitchers incapable of striking people out no matter how good they are at limiting walks. Should. 50/50.

Mike Scioscia - Much has been written in the last few days about the situation here. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports seemed to indicate that GM, Jerry DiPoto, will get the ax and the blame here. But a meddlesome owner has not helped DiPoto and in his defense, he never has had the chance to have his own guy in the dugout. If DiPoto had a numbers manager like Joe Maddon, things might be interesting. Instead he has Scioscia who is about as old school as it gets. There has to be clashes there. But Scioscia will win out. Should. Won't.

Ned Yost - This is Yost's tenth year as a manager and this year will be the first year that he has a chance to finish with more than 83 wins. Fairly or not, Yost will get some of the blame for the lack of development at the Major League level of some of the Royals' young offensive players. Expectations were high before the season with the addition of James Shields and others. The Royals are improved, but not by much and are below their Pythagorean win-loss record. Should. Will.

John Gibbons - No team had higher expectations entering the season. They were the darlings of the preseason picks. But reality has been cruel in Toronto and Gibbons' one year return to the Toronto dugout might be the cost for the disappointment. While it is easy to point to injuries in the rotation, the team seemed listless for most of the season, lacked spark and even Jose Reyes seems muted in personality. Should. Will.

Eric Wedge - This is a confusing one. Wedge, of course, just suffered a mild stroke, so we will have to see how that plays out. The Mariners' record is actually better than their run differential should be (the basis of the Pythagorean win-loss stat). He just seems so blah though. Should not. 50/50.

Bo Porter - What chance did Bo Porter have this season? One Yankees infielder was more expensive than his entire team. His team jumped to a new league, played an impossible schedule and had little talent. But despite it all, the Astros remain fun to watch and play with enthusiasm. If four or five of these young players can develop in the Majors instead of in the minors, they could turn into something. Plus, all those top round draft picks will help. Porter has done a good job in a bad situation. Should not. Will not.

The view from here is that the rest of the AL managers will be safe and rightly so. Tomorrow, we will look at the National League.

MLB Game Picks - Thursday: August 29, 2013

These game picks are laboring right into Labor Day Weekend. It was a struggle just to finish barely over the .500 mark. Of course, it did not help that some of the best pitchers in the league, Felix Hernandez, Hiroki Kuroda and Adam Wainwright all clanked yesterday and were hit hard. It also does not help that Kirk Gibson continues to place Heath Bell in meaningful situations. The Yankees have thrashed the Blue Jays all season, have many weapons back in their lineup and lost two of three in Toronto. Ah the life of a game picker. You cannot predict ball.

There are nine games on the Thursday schedule. Four of them are day games. And these are the picks:

  • The Tigers over the Athletics: Okay, so I have picked the Tigers for each of these games and have been wrong for each. But there is a stubborn streak in me. Bartolo Colon is coming off the disabled list. That could be good news for the A's. Or it could be bad news. Max Scherzer should be bad news for the A's. But then nothing about this series has been in the should category.
  • The Bay Rays over the Angels: At first, I thought that this was an easy Angels win as the Rays are starting Jake Odorizzi. But then I saw that the Angels were starting Jason Vargas. This will be a high scoring game with the Rays winning late.
  • The Royals over the Twins: I do not know what I was thinking picking the Twins yesterday. That was dumb. Really dumb. I will not be dumb today (which means that I probably will be). Sam Deduno is the only Twins pitcher with some life in his arm. But he might not be enough. Bruce Chen has lost two in a row though. So who knows.
  • The Mets over the Phillies: I will be honest. I have no idea which team is going to win this game. The Mets are starting Carlos Torres, a guy who has been in the bullpen for most of the season. The Phillies are starting Ethan Martin who has looked terrible at times and decent at times. I will go with the hometown Mets. But that is a poor reason and is all I have.
  • The Nationals over the Marlins: Remember when Gio Gonzalez was going to be one of the pieces that drove the Nats to the World Series? Yeah, that did not happen. But he still has enough talent to beat the Marlins. Tom Koehler has been pretty good though.
  • The Pirates over the Brewers: I hate to pick against Yovani Gallardo. He has been great since coming off the disabled list. But he is not at home and I think Gerrit Cole is going to shut down Gallardo's teammates. Marlon Byrd. Amazing.
  • The Braves over the Indians: I am not a big believer in either Ubaldo Jimenez or Kris Medlen this season. That said, I have to go with the Braves at home because I think they are the better team.
  • The Astros over the Mariners: Kyle Seager has been hot and hits better on the road. And I am not a fan of Jordan Lyles. But I am also not a fan of Erasmo Ramirez. The Astros have played with heart all season despite their record. I think they win here.

And the Game of the Day:

  • The Red Sox over the Orioles: You cannot stop these Red Sox. They are going to be hard pressed to beat before they get to the World Series. Jon Lester is peaking at a good time. The team is hitting well. Chris Tillman will not be able to stop them.

Yesterday: 8-7
Week: 30-25
Month: 211-165
Season: 1120-878
Games of the Day: 85-59   -1

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

MLB Game Picks - Wednesday: August 28, 2013

There were two extra inning games last night. Can you guess how many of them went for the pick and not against? Of course you can. They both went against the pick. They always do. Heck, the winning run in one of them was scored on a balk by Lord Farquhar. How is that for a creative way to blow a pick? Those two games put a damper on what had been a very good night to that point. I still finished at 9-6 so I should not complain. I predicted Jonathon Niese's great game. I predicted the Angels' win over the Rays.

But it was not all fun and roses. Jeff Locke and Justin Verlander let me down again. Travis Wood finally beat one of the aces he is tasked to pitch against every week. Both Wood pitchers won yesterday.

Wednesday's picks:

  • The Dodgers over the Cubs: Edwin Jackson is no Travis Wood and even though Ricky Nolasco is no Kershaw, he will get the job done. Nolasco has been terrific for the Dodgers.
  • The Mariners over the Rangers: Felix Hernandez rarely has two sub-par outings in a row and he is pitching at home during the day. All of those facts should get him a win over Martin Perez, who has also been pitching well of late.
  • The Nationals over the Marlins: Stephen Strasburg calmed my fears last time with his long and effective outing. He should have no trouble with the Marlins as long as he stays away from Giancarlo Stanton. Henderson Alvarez should give the Nats a few runs.
  • The Pirates over the Brewers: The Buccos have been having some trouble up in Milwaukee. They need to win this one. And they have a decent chance to do so. Charlie Morton continues to baffle me and Tom Gorzelanny should cough up a few at least.
  • The Yankees over the Blue Jays: Hiroki Kuroda just needs to get the baton from Andy Pettitte and do his thing for seven innings and the Yankees should get him a win with plenty of runs off of Todd Redmond.
  • The Tigers over the Athletics: Who knows, if I keep picking this result day after day, someday it might actually happen. Doug Fister needs to be better than Anibal Sanchez and Justin Verlander were and the Tigers need to take care of Dan Straily.
  • The Bay Rays over the Angels: This is a tough one. Chris Archer is a bit hit or miss as a starter. He has great outings and then bad ones. Garrett Richards is capable of shutting down the Rays, but will he? Going with the home team.
  • The Red Sox over the Orioles: Back in 2011, the Red Sox saw their season slip away at the hands of Buck Showalter and the Orioles. They seem determined not to be ambushed again. John Lackey has pitched well all season without much to show for it. The Red Sox should wreck Bud Norris.
  • The Indians over the Braves: This pick all depends on Justin Masterson. If the Indians' pitcher shows up with his A game, he can shut this lineup down and strike out ten. If he gets his sinker up, then Paul Maholm could sneak in there with the win.
  • The Phillies over the Mets: No, I do not believe that Daisuke Matsuzaka can win this game. It was a nice idea, Mets. But. Instead. Cole Hamels is going to win this game especially after the Mets wisely got some value for Marlon Byrd.
  • The White Sox over the Astros: I really like Jarred Cosart and he has been pitching well. Unfortunately, his team will not score against Chris Sale who hopefully will let water coolers and first aid kits get a break this game.
  • The Twins over the Royals: I still do not believe in Danny Duffy despite how well he threw in his last game. Then again, he should be better than Wade Davis. Anyway, my pick is for Andrew Albers of the Twins to have a good BABIP game.
  • The Cardinals over the Reds: Give the Cards credit. They have gotten the job done this week against the Reds and have already won the series. But they now can have ace, Adam Wainwright, mop up and dismantle the contenders. Homer Bailey, of course, could come out with no-hit stuff again and ruin the pick.
  • The Rockies over the Giants: Every time I pick Madison Bumgarner to win, he loses. And picking him pitching at Coors Field does not seem the safe way to go. Instead, I will go with Jhoulys Chacin who is used to pitching there.

And the Game of the Day:

  • The Diamondbacks over the Padres: Wade Miley is going to have a good game and has been good lately. Robbie Erlin is not having a good time so far in the Majors and has been lit up regularly.

Yesterday: 9-6
Week: 22-18
Month: 209-158
Season: 1112-871
Games of the Day: 85-58   +3

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Home is not a good place for Kyle Seager

If Kyle Seager of the Seattle Mariners could play all of his games on the road, he would be a beast. But since he plays half of his games in Safeco Field, he is merely a very good player and one of the young bright spots on his team. Most players prefer to play at home. Most players feel more comfortable at a place they play half of their games. But for Kyle Seager, home is a miserable place that could ultimately cost him money.

To give you an idea of how different a hitter Kyle Seager is at home, you only need to look at his splits and wOBA. If Seager played all of his games on the road, his wOBA of .389 while on the road would place him in a tie for eleventh place among all Major League batters. Instead, his overall wOBA of .352 puts him in 45th place. It is still a productive number and puts him alongside guys like Torii Hunter, Jonathan Lucroy and Colby Rasmus. He really seems to be a better hitter than all three of those guys.

But his wOBA at home is .316. That is quite the split. His isolated power or ISO is even more dramatic. At home, that number for him is .136. On the road, his ISO is .237. That is more than a hundred point difference. In the voice of Inspector Gadget, wowzers.

Many times, such splits are one year flukes. But that is not the case with Seager. Last year, his ISO at home was .102 while it was .219 on the road. Last year, his wOBA was .284 at home and .357 on the road. Now in his third season with the Mariners, Kyle Seager has an ISO of .113 at home and .216 on the road. His career wOBA at home is .291 and .370 on the road. Remarkable.

Just to break it down into simpler numbers, here are his career numbers on the road and at home in several categories:
  • Doubles:  44, 32
  • BABIP:  .318 road, .271 home
  • Homers:  31, 12
  • Walks:  60, 48
  • Hits:  193, 145
This year, of his twenty homers, seven have been hit at home. His OBP at home is .371 compared to .322 at home. His slugging percentage is .527 on the road and .397 at home. That is a 130 point swing!

The last time I can remember a swing this different and against a player at home was Adrian Gonzalez in his years with the Padres. For example, A-Gone's OPS at home in 2008 was .788 and was .946 on the road.

Seager's struggles at home and the large disparity in splits do not carry through for the Mariners team as a whole. The Mariners as a whole have a split of a .695 OPS at home compared to a .711 OPS on the road. Yes, there is some better success on the road than at home, but not on the level of Seager's.

Seager seems to share his struggles with fellow lefty-swinging Michael Saunders whose OPS is 119 points better on the road than at home. But another lefty swinger, Raul Ibanez is better at home and Dustin Ackley is just about the same.

Kyle Seager is an optimistic part of the Seattle Mariners' future. He is a very good player and has become a fan favorite. But unless he can adjust and hit at Safeco (where he plays half of his games), then that will keep him from becoming a superstar.

MLB Game Picks - Tuesday: August 27, 2013

Monday started bad with the news that Matt Harvey has a partial tear in his elbow. That bites for all baseball fans everywhere. And then the picks went bad which bites for this Fan here. Phil Hughes. The only way to say his name is with a bunch of expletives added. The guy just stinks. Plain and simple. And then the White Sox, who were winners of eight out of ten, lost to the Astros. Cincinnati had the Cardinals down but could not keep them there. Anibal Sanchez politely took himself out of the CYA conversation and on it went.

At least the Game of the Day was right for the second time in a row. Sadly, that is the first time that has happened in weeks.

Tuesday's picks:

  • The Nationals over the Marlins: Has there ever been a stranger career than Ross Ohlendorf's? I do not think so. How can a pitcher with that little talent last that long and keep getting shots at the Majors? And then go 2-0? Nathan Eovaldi is no better.
  • The Pirates over the Brewers: Jeff Locke has been no lock lately and his season has sort of hit a wall. I am thinking that some home cooking helps and a weaker team like the Brewers does too. But he better pitch well because Kyle Lohse is a smart pitcher who makes the most out of what he does.
  • The Yankees over the Blue Jays: Let's try this again shall we? Andy Pettitte has looked a little more like the old Andy in his last two starts and will need to pitch well. J.A. Happ is the kind of pitcher that can either get the Yankees to swing at slop or clobber him. There is no in between.
  • The Tigers over the Athletics: This is another pick that did not work out yesterday. Coco Crisp is amazing in small doses. Justin Verlander looked awful his last time out. Perhaps today will be better. I think he will be better than Tommy Milone.
  • The Angels over the Rays: This is a scary pick. The Rays win so often at home. But C.J. Wilson is pitching well and his left-hand tosses might throw off Matt Joyce and Loney. Plus, Roberto Hernandez simply is not very good.
  • The Red Sox over the Orioles: For those still hoping the Red Sox fall on their faces. Give it up. It is not happening. The Orioles seem to be the favorite of baseball shows down the stretch. But the pitching is not there with the Red Sox and the Rays. Felix Doubront over Wei-Yin Chen.
  • The Braves over the Indians: Who like interleague play every day? I do not see a whole bunch of hands raised. The Indians are still relevant in the wildcard race but have a series like this thrown in? Ugh. Two good young pitchers square up and Alex Wood squeaks by Danny Salazar.
  • The Mets over the Phillies: Let's try this one again too. Jonathon Niese has been pitching well since coming off the DL. Kyle Kendrick is Kyle Kendrick.
  • The White Sox over the Astros: Roger Clemens is pitching! Oh...wait...that is Paul Clemens. Never mind. Unless it is another slugfest like yesterday, Jose Quintana should win this game.
  • The Reds over the Cardinals: I keep picking the same mistakes I made yesterday. But this is Mat Latos we are talking about. The guy is a stud. And Joe Kelly is a nice pitcher. But he is not a stud. But that is the same set up as yesterday. And look what happened.
  • The Giants over the Rockies: Some dude named Yusmeiro Petit is pitching for the Giants? Who is that? Why have I never heard of him before? He is 29, so he is no spring chicken. So since I do not know him, what am I going to do? Pick him to win, of course. The other option is to pick Chad Bettis. No thanks.
  • The Padres over the Diamondbacks: David Holmberg, a 22 year old, former second round draft pick is making his MLB debut and jumping from Double-A. He is a control, BABIP kind of guy from the looks of his stats. But I do not know. Ian Kennedy seems like the better pick here.
  • The Dodgers over the Cubs: Poor Travis Wood. Every time he pitches, he gets the best studs in the NL to pitch against. Wood has held his own. But he is just a cut below these guys. Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher in the game.
  • The Mariners over the Rangers: This pick all depends on Derek Holland. If he has one of his nights where he is impossible to hit, the pick will look silly. If he is mortal, then I like Hisashi Iwakuma at home much better.

And the Game of the Day:

  • The Royals over the Twins: I do not think I have ever picked Kevin Correia to win a game. Well, maybe I have once or twice. James Shields, on the other hand, I have picked a lot. And sometimes, I have regretted it.

Yesterday: 4-6
Week: 13-12
Month: 200-152
Season: 1103-865
Games of the Day: 84-58   +2

Monday, August 26, 2013

MLB Game Picks - Monday: August 26, 2013

Sunday was nip and tuck all day until the end when a run of correct picks put the day in a positive place. Things were dicey after a while when the Yankees actually won a game in St. Pete and the Tigers totally wiped out Dillon Gee. Patrick Corbin then had an awful outing and John Danks out-pitched Matt Garza. I correctly picked the end of the Royals and Blue Jays losing streaks and correctly picked the Brewers over the Cardinals. So that was good. But, like I said, a nice run at the end put the day firmly in the positive.

There are ten games on the schedule today. The Reds and Cardinals start a big series and Derek Jeter again tries to come back from injury against the Blue Jays. Let's hope he can stay on the field awhile this time. Monday's picks:

  • The Royals over the Rays: This might be a goofy pick. It all depends on how good Jeremy Guthrie pitches. The Royals then need to score against Jeremy Hellickson. Jeremy versus Jeremy. I wonder how many times that has happened?
  • The Reds over the Cardinals: I like Mike Leake here better than Tyler Lyons. They both have to face terrific lineups and it all depends which holds up better. A very big series for both teams.
  • The Yankees over the Blue Jays: There are two divergent things going on in this game. First, the Yankees are 11-1 against the Blue Jays this season. It is kind of difficult to pick against that. But secondly, Phil Hughes is pitching for the Yankees. So mojo versus anti-mojo. And of course, who knows how good R.A. Dickey will be.
  • The Tigers over the Athletics: The Tigers certainly have the better offense and Anibal Sanchez is a much better pitcher than A.J. Griffin. Plus, the Tigers are at home. This one seems too obvious, which is always dangerous.
  • The Mets over the Phillies: These two teams are in a virtual dead heat for third place in the NL East. The Phillies are playing better and have won six of their last ten. And, they have Cliff Lee going. But I am banking on Zack Wheeler having a great day and shutting down the Phillies at home. If Wheeler does not have a good day, then it will be a Ruf game for the Mets. Ha! I kill me.
  • The White Sox over the Astros: The White Sox have won eight of their last ten games. That is a hot team. Andre Rienzo is pitching well. But then again, so is Brett Oberholtzer for the Astros. I have to go with the White Sox here.
  • The Giants over the Rockies: Barry Zito is among the worst starters in baseball this season. But he, surprisingly, has been quite decent over his career in Coors Field. You would think that would be a really ugly combination. It has not been. I am going with the Giants over Juan Nicasio.
  • The Diamondbacks over the Padres: The D-backs have been among my least favorite teams when picking games this season. They just never seem to do what I expect them to do. Today, I do not expect Brandon McCarthy to pitch well and he will. Tyson Ross goes for the Padres, which helps the pick.
  • The Rangers over the Mariners: Ugh. I hate this pick. I do not have much faith in Travis Blackley and then again, Joe Saunders comes out with a good game once in a while just when you think he is dead. I am going with the better team.

And the Game of the Day:

  • The Dodgers over the Cubs: Zack Greinke at home is a pick I would hardly ever go against. Jake Arrieta cannot seem to pull it together to match the talent everyone thought he had. The Dodgers are not as good as their big streak. But they should have no trouble winning with these pitchers in the rotation.

Yesterday: 9-6
Week: 9-6
Month: 196-146
Season: 1099-859
Games of the Day: 83-58  +1

Sunday, August 25, 2013

MLB Game Picks - Sunday: August 25, 2013

A second straight sub-.500 picking day does not make me happy. Not only did it ruin my week, but most of it does not make sense. And nothing makes less sense than my record in extra inning games. Again, the Phillies and Diamondbacks play eighteen freakin' innings and of course the team I picked lost after all that. When you think about it, the Phillies had nine walk-off possibilities as the home team and could not score once. Amazing.

And that one game was the difference between a plus night and a negative night. And then, I have been zero for the Angels - Mariners series, zero for the Giants - Pirates series, and can't the Blue Jays win anything!? You look at the Blue Jays and they have some talent. But then simply cannot win a ballgame. It is the freakiest thing. Here is the startling fact: Only four teams in the MLB have more losses than the Blue Jays. Amazing.

Sunday's picks:

  • The Indians over the Twins: I have been rooting for Scott Kazmir all season. I love comeback stories. I am a sucker for them. So naturally I pick him at home to beat Mike Pelfrey and the Twins.
  • The Rockies over the Marlins: At least I got it right yesterday with Jose Fernandez. He is spectacular. And at home, he is unbeatable. Jacob Turner is not the same kind of talent. He is not bad, but not like that. He will give up a few runs and Jorge De La Rosa will hold down the Marlins with the help of the big ballpark.
  • The Mets over the Tigers: Sometimes it is all about timing. Matt Harvey got Max Scherzer. Dillon Gee gets Rick Porcello. That is the way life goes sometimes.
  • The Brewers over the Reds: There are two ways this game can go and unfortunately for me, only one of them gets this pick correctly. Either Marco Estrada holds the Reds to four runs or less and the Brewers score more off of Greg Reynolds, or it is a donnybrook with both teams scoring massive amounts of runs, in which case, the Reds would win.
  • The Diamondbacks over the Phillies: The problem for the Phillies is that both of these teams blew through their bullpens last night. That is not good timing for Roy Halladay to be making his comeback appearance when he probably cannot go deep in the game. Patrick Corbin, however, can go deep in the game.
  • The Athletics over the Orioles: Yeah, I should not let the previous day's results influence my picks. But they do because I am human. Yeah, I should look at the Vegas odds and all of that. But this has never been a gambling feature. I just pick games. :::shrug::: I love Sonny Gray. Just love the guy. I used to love Scott Feldman. That was a long time ago.
  • The Rays over the Yankees: If you were to ask the Yankees if they would rather dive into a volcano or play in Tropicana Field, they would probably prefer jumping into a volcano. They simply have no shot in that crappy dome. Alex Cobb over Ivan Nova.
  • The Rangers over the White Sox: The White Sox have been tough to beat for the last couple of weeks and this pick went wrong yesterday when the Rangers could not score for Darvish. And while John Danks pitched really well his last time out, I think he gets bested by Matt Garza.
  • The Blue Jays over the Astros: Yeah, yeah, I know. But this becomes a law of averages thing after a while. The Blue Jays HAVE to win a game some time. Why not when it is Mark Buehrle against Dallas Keuchel? I still think it is hilarious that a guy named Dallas plays in Houston.
  • The Royals over the Nationals: The Royals, like the Blue Jays are on the tipping point of the law of averages. They too have lost seven straight and all those good feelings Royals' fans were building up. Ervin Santana over Dan Haren.
  • The Braves over the Cardinals: The Cards have trouble with lefty starters and Mike Minor has already beaten them badly once this season. Meanwhile, Lance Lynn has big-inning-itis. He will be cruising along nicely and then, BLAM. It reminds me of A.J. Burnett.
  • The Pirates over the Giants: Speaking of A.J. Burnett, he is going to win today. He will give up less runs than Ryan Vogelsong and that is what it takes to win a game. Baseball is that simple. Yeah, try and predict that simple game day in and day out.
  • The Angels over the Mariners: The Mariners have scored what, like one run in this series? And they have not faced Jered Weaver yet? Snap. They then will score two runs this entire series because Weaver only allows one today. All the Angels have to do is score two or more off of Aaron Harang. Doable.
  • The Padres over the Cubs: This is such a nondescript kind of series. The two teams are so similar. Andrew Cashner has great stuff and should win more than he does. Chris Rusin does not strike people out and depends on bad contact. That has its drawbacks.

And the Game of the Day:

  • The Red Sox over the Dodgers: I might as well make the game of the day the Game of the Day. Jake Peavy should enjoy that big ballpark. Although it is hard to tell when Jake Peavy enjoys anything. The Red Sox should score on Chris Capuano.

Yesterday: 7-8
Last week: 51-46
Month: 187-140
Season: 1090-853
Games of the Day: 82-58   -2