Saturday, May 03, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Saturday: May 3, 2014

After all these years, I am playing in my first fantasy baseball league. I was talked into it by my colleagues over at It's About the Money, Stupid.  And I am in fifth place and not doing too badly. But one thing I've noticed is that if I have a really good night in the league, I have a really bad day of picking baseball games. And so it was yesterday.

Friday was a brutal day for the picks with only five correct picks out of fifteen. Everything was bad. The Astros got a run in the eighth and walked off in the eleventh. Sergio Santos is the worst closer in baseball and he cost me another pick. And it all started early. Adam Wainwright was a lock, I said. Nothing is a lock in the game of baseball.

There is always tomorrow in baseball though. Here are Saturday's picks:
  • The Cardinals over the Cubs: I have been accused again of jinxing the Cardinals by picked them to win. Hey, folks, I'm just an old guy with a computer. Guess what? I am picking them again, so there. Michael Wacha over Jake Arrieta gentille Arrieta.
  • The Yankees over the Rays: Yeah, there was last night. And both teams have bullpens that are deeply gassed. That said, who is a better risk of going deep in the game, Masahiro Tanaka or Jake Odorizzi? That's what I thought.
  • The Red Sox over the Athletics: The A's have a team OPS of fifty points lower against left-handed pitching than the other way around. Jon Lester should have a good day at home. Tommy Milone was really good his last time out though.
  • The Orioles over the Twins: Picking Ubaldo Jimenez to win yesterday against an AL Central team was one of my best calls in a bad day. So I am sticking with the O's and Wei-Yin Chen over Chick Kevin Correia.
  • The Mariners over the Astros: I'll keep making this pick until it is correct. Heh. Hisashi Iwakuma is back on the hill for the M's and Dallas Keuchel goes for the Astros.
  • The Indians over the White Sox: Scott Carroll is a nice story and I root for him. He deserves whatever success he gets. But my gut is telling me that Justin Masterson has a good day and the Indians are tough at home.
  • The Pirates over the Blue Jays: The Blue Jays cannot close out games, that much is obvious. Francisco Liriano is due for a dominant start and a lot will depend on what kind of day R.A. Dickey has.
  • The Nationals over the Phillies: Every time I pick against A.J. Burnett, I get burned. But Tanner Roark is 9-1 in his brief career and has not given up a run in his last two starts. That is too hard to ignore.
  • The Tigers over the Royals: The Tigers simply have the Royals' number. And even though Danny Duffy can be dominant if he is on, I don't think he will be. I am worried about picking the Emoticon: Drew Smyly.
  • The Dodgers over the Marlins: The Marlins have been incredible at home. And I think they will hit Paul Maholm. However, I never like guys just coming off a long DL term like Jacob Turner is.
  • The Reds over the Brewers: If Yovani Gallardo was at home, I would pick this the other way. But the game is in Cincinnati and therefore, I like Johnny Cueto much better.
  • The Rockies over the Mets: This is one tough game to pick. Franklin Morales has been all over the place this year. Sometimes he is great. Others, not. Jenrry Mejia has a dynamic arm for the Mets, but how will it play at Coors? Tough one.
  • The Padres over the Diamondbacks: The Dbacks are playing better, but poor Brandon McCarthy is 0-5. Ian Kennedy has only given up one run in three of his six starts. I like his chances at home (though he has pitched better on the road).
  • The Angels over the Rangers: Doesn't it seem that the Rangers can't beat the A's, but the Angels can't beat the Rangers? Maybe today will be different with big Garrett Richards on the hill. Matt Harrison has to navigate against two of the toughest right-handed batters in baseball right now.
And the Game of the Day:
  • The Braves over the Giants: Ryan Vogelsong has been pretty brutal on the road and Julio Teheran can be dominant. So that's the pick.
Yesterday: 5-10 (oof), May: 13-13, Games of the Day: 14-15, Season: 246-187

Friday, May 02, 2014

Health or decline phase for Pedroia?

Dustin Pedroia is in his ninth year of Major League Baseball. He has been a leader and an admirable player for the Boston Red Sox and has earned two World Series rings during that time. In his time in the Majors, his offense has been worth 104 runs, a very good total, and his defense has been fantastic garnering another 77 runs. He has also been a very good base runner to bring about the full package. And yet, there are signs of decline. And the question to be asked is if the decline is health related or age regression.
The story we heard is that Pedroia played all last year with a bad hand or wrist from an injury he suffered in one of the earliest games of the season. Despite the injury, he played 160 games and was a big part of the World Series run. The story we are told is that the injury led to only nine homers and was a limiting factor. This season, he again hurt his wrist early in the season and feared there was structural damage. But the doctors gave him good news and he got a cortisone shot and was back in business.
But he has no homers this year. And injury last season or this season notwithstanding, the fact remains that Dustin Pedroia's slugging percentage is down again this year for the fourth straight season starting with his peak of .493 in 2010. The decline has been steady: .493, .474, .449, .414 and this year, .342.  So again, is it health or is it natural decline?
Pedroia still brings a lot of other things to the table. His fielding is still elite. It is too early in the season to be much concerned with his UZR/150 being down from years past. Every time I see him play, he is diving to get to balls you don't think he should get to.
But he is not stealing bases like he did in the past. He has only tried three times and has been thrown out twice. Compare that to his career average of 19 steals a season with a 77+% success rate.
We have only gone through one month of the season. So it is not overly concerning that Pedroia is only hitting in the .270 range. His BABIP of .300 doesn't show a lot of bad luck but it is down from his career BABIP of .313. But there is a disturbing trend in his batted ball rates.
Pedroia is hitting ground balls at an unprecedented rate for him. He has a career ground ball to fly ball ratio of 1.28. Last year that rose to 1.83 and this year is very high at 2.45. Taking last year and this year into account, more than 50% of his batted balls have been on the ground, a new wrinkle on his career and way higher than in his earlier years.
It's still early in the season, so there is not a lot of panic involved in Dustin Pedroia's wOBA only being .305. But the signs of decline are there and we have seen other second basemen peak early and decline fast. It is worth keeping an eye on Pedroia as the season progresses.

MLB Game Picks - Friday: May 2, 2014

The Boston Red Sox sure wanted to get those two games in yesterday. The Rays were sure upset about it. Perhaps the sweep of the two games by the Rays is a fitting end to the proceedings. I figured the Red Sox would win one of them, so that was part of the three incorrect picks for the day. Roenis Elias hamstrung the Yankees for the second one and the Dodgers coming back and beating the Twins in extra innings was the other.

But in the large scheme of things, three incorrect picks out of eleven isn't too bad. I was right about the Orioles taking both games against the Pirates but am sad about it. I was hoping the Pirates would be able to sustain last year's success. It's not going to happen.

Friday's picks:
  • The Cardinals over the Cubs: Would anyone pick against Adam Wainwright right now? The only caveat here is that he is pitching at Wrigley. But if he pitches like he has been, his sixth win should happen. Travis Wood continues to toil in vain.
  • The Indians over the White Sox: Danny Salazar has not put it together thus far. The strikeouts are there but so have been the high pitch counts and the walks. I think he'll have a promising game against the White Sox and the Indians hit John Danks around.
  • The Rays over the Yankees: David Price is too tough for the Yankees tonight and Vidal Nuno falls apart a little bit against the Rays who won two games yesterday and that might start a roll for them.
  • The Blue Jays over the Pirates: The Pirates are so down and though I like Gerrit Cole, he is a bit homer prone thus far and the Blue Jays can hit homers. Brandon Morrow cannot walk eight guys again though.
  • The Phillies over the Nationals: I always root for Stephen Strasburg. But he often lets me down in games like this. Cliff Lee is a worthy opponent. And the Phillies are at home.
  • The Marlins over the Dodgers: Tom Koehler has won both of his home starts with very good performances. It's the road he has trouble with. Josh Beckett returns to his roots, but you never know how he will pitch.
  • The Reds over the Brewers: I have gone back and forth on this one. I like Wily Peralta better than Mike Leake. But I also like the Reds at home better than the Brewers on the road. Crappers.
  • The Athletics over the Red Sox: Dan Straily has only had one bad start out of five. On the other hand, Clay Buchholz has only had one decent start. If Buchholz discovers his old self, this pick is in trouble.
  • The Braves over the Giants: I am also really torn on this one. Tim Lincecum is unpredictable. And Mike Minor is making his first start of the year. While that could be a boost to the Braves, I hate picking such scenarios.
  • The Orioles over the Twins: Ubaldo Jimenez has to win a game sooner or later. It might be this one as he gets away from the AL East to visit his old haunts in the AL Central. Ricky Nolasco has been hit or miss.
  • The Tigers over the Royals: Really tough call here. Both Rick Porcello and James Shields have been off to good starts. Shields might be Scherzer's replacement next year.
  • The Mets over the Rockies: If Carlos Gonzalez is out of the lineup, that makes a difference. Zack Wheeler has the stuff to overcome Coors. Jorge De La Rosa still has too many names.
  • The Angels over the Rangers: Hector Santiago is due for a win and has pitched with some bad luck leading to his 0-4 record. The Rangers are a bit down on their luck and I am still not convinced about Colby Lewis.
  • The Padres over the Diamondbacks: Bronson Arroyo has a better chance to win at a big field like in San Diego. But Andrew Cashner is really good too. I'm going with the Padres.
And the Game of the Day
  • The Mariners over the Astros: The M's just beat the Yankees two straight and have Felix Hernandez on the mound. That should equal another win for them. Brad Peacock looked promising in Spring Training, but has not put it together in the season yet.
Yesterday: 8-3, Games of the Day: 14-14, May: 8-3, Season: 241-177

Thursday, May 01, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Thursday: May 1, 2014

Happy May! Despite the four games washed out yesterday, I went to bed last night knowing I was having a really good day. The way it looked, I was going to be 10-1. But Rex Brothers pitched like Joyce Brothers and blew the save and I ended up 9-2. That is still very good and puts me at 18-6 for the last two days, but 10-1 would have been really cool.

The other game that messed me up was the Cubs beating the Reds. Tony Cingrani seems to be a stumbling block for me this season. The Cubs box score is fascinating. Anthony Rizzo went 1 for 1 with a homer and walked four times.

There are eleven games on the schedule, but six of them involve only six teams as there are three double-headers today. Those are so hard to pick! But here goes:
  • The Red Sox over the Rays: I always like the Red Sox at home and Jake Peavy rather than Cesar Ramos seems preferable here.
  • The Dodgers over the Twins: Dan Haren is off to a good start with the Dodgers and Mike Pelfrey is a pitcher I very rarely pick to win. The DH allows all four of the Dodgers' outfielders to get in the game.
  • The Orioles over the Pirates: I think the Orioles are going to sweep today. In the first game, I don't like Bud Norris, but he seems better than Charlie Morton. The O's are going to miss Chris Davis though.
  • The Orioles over the Pirates: Chris Tillman gets the tougher of the two assignments as Brandon Cumpton seems pretty impressive after his last start. But the Pirates' offense does not scare me very much.
  • The Yankees over the Mariners: Hiroki Kuroda is usually good at home, though he wasn't his last time out. Roenis Elias looks pretty good for the Mariners, but the pick is still the Yankees at home.
  • The Marlins over the Braves: I'm going for the sweep! Henderson Alvarez holds down the Braves while the Marlins take a little chunk out of Ervin Santana's unblemished armor.
  • The Twins over the Dodgers: This is a tough one because two pitchers are being called up from the minors to start the game. Of the two, Kris Johnson of the Twins has a little Big League experiences and is 29 after being picked in the first round by the Red Sox way back in 2006. Red Patterson is 27 and was a really late round draft pick for the Dodgers. Touch call...
  • The Reds over the Brewers: Everyone is down on Homer Bailey, but if my team were to pick him up, I would be really happy. The guy is going to win, folks. Just because he has struggled does not mean he is not worth the effort. Marco Estrada isn't a bad pick either though.
  • The Rays over the Red Sox: The Rays are pretty angry they are making up this double-header today. Apparently they were pretty vocal in the team's displeasure. Angry is motivating. Chris Archer over Felix Doubront.
  • The Blue Jays over the Royals: Mark Buehrle had his bad start. Now it's time for him to get back to pitching well. Jeremy Guthrie is the same kind of junk as Buehrle, but with a different arm. I can see Edwin Encarnacion hitting a homer today.
And the Game of the Day
  • The Rockies over the Mets: I cannot see Bartolo Colon doing well at Coors Field. Juan Nicasio, who is used to pitching there, seems a better option.
Yesterday: 9-2, Games of the Day: 13-14, Season: 233-174

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Wednesday: April 30, 2014

Good! April is over after today. Maybe we can get a little warmth around here and around baseball! Tuesday was finally a better day after struggling for a few days. It wasn't perfect. Sabathia, Martin Perez and the Cardinals' bullpen made sure of that. But it was a much better day overall.

Two more games were postponed, so that is another reason to get April out of here. Word has it that the East Coast is due for nasty weather today, so I imagine there will be more wash outs today. But all will be picked just the same in case they get the games in.

The picks:
  • The Cardinals over the Brewers: The first game I have to contend with. Thanks! I've been wrong all series. Why not go for a sweep. Why, yes. Why not. Shelby Miller over Matt Garza and his thirty lost wins.
  • The Tigers over the White Sox: This one seems so obvious, that there must be a catch. Baseball dictates that nothing is as easy as this pick seems. Max Scherzer is very good. Hector Noesi has already been jettisoned by two other teams just this season.
  • The Angels over the Indians: The Indians have fallen and they can't get up. You can't pick that team's games like they are as good as last year, because they are not. Zach McAllister will keep it close, but C.J. Wilson wins it.
  •  The Phillies over the Mets: The Mets are off to a great start but this game feels like a trap. Kyle Kendrick is fairly reliable at home and you never know if you'll get the good Shrek or the bad Shrek with Bartolo Colon.
  • The Orioles over the Pirates: I still think the Orioles with Chris Tillman will be better than the Pirates with Charlie Morton. A day of rain will not change that opinion.
  • The Yankees over the Mariners: The weather says that this game won't happen. And that's a good thing because I don't have a whole lot of faith in David Phelps. Roenis Elias is left-handed. The Yankees like most lefties.
  • The Marlins over the Braves: I don't believe in Aaron Harang. I don't believe in Aaron Harang. I don't believe in Aaron Harang. If he wins again, I will admit just how slow I am on the uptake. Nathan Eovaldi with the pick.
  • The Reds over the Cubs: Whenever I don't pick Tony Cingrani I pay for it. It helps that the Cubs can't hit and that Edwin Jackson is usually accommodating.
  • The Rays over the Red Sox: I am going for the upset here. Chris Archer has not had a good start except for against the Yankees. If he finds his game, he can win. Felix Doubront is a mystery to me.
  • The Athletics over the Rangers: Martin Perez has been one of my go to guys and he lost. Jesse Chavez has been another. I over value the Rangers and consistently undervalue the A's. Time to catch on with reality. Robbie Ross, Jr. goes for the Rangers.
  • The Dodgers over the Twins: A day later, I still think Zack Greinke beats Kyle Gibson.
  • The Royals over the Blue Jays: Two really good looking young pitchers in this one, so it can go either way. I'm giving the nod to Yordano Ventura over Drew Hutchison.
  • The Nationals over the Astros: Brett Oberholtzer is not nearly as bad as his 0-4 record. And Jordan Zimmermann is starting to show signs that he is regaining his mojo. Not a good combo for the Astros.
  • The Rockies over the Diamondbacks: The Diamondbacks are 8-22. That's amazing. The Rockies have taken advantage of the Arizonian slide. Jordan Lyles over Josh Collmenter.
And the Game of the Day
  • The Giants over the Padres: Tim Hudson has been very good and is a perfect fit in San Francisco. Robbie Erlin is inconsistent and that is hard to pick on a regular basis.
Yeterday: 9-4, Games of the Day: 12-14, Season: 224-172

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Cardinals' center field dilemma

The St. Louis Cardinals have struggled thus far at the plate. They are currently twelfth in the National League in runs scored and eleventh in team OPS. That recently led to the demotion of Kolten Wong and the call up of Randal Grichuk and Greg Garcia. Grichuk can play center field and was hitting well in the minors, which is attractive to the Cardinals because neither Jon Jay or Peter Bourjos have been hitting. But are the Cardinals overreacting?
After last night's loss to the Brewers, the Cardinals are five and a half games out of first place. But it is way too early to panic. The team has had slow starts before in seasons past and still found its way to the World Series. While I can see the team wanting to kick start its offense with these call ups, it seems to me a better decision to stay the course.
First of all, this team is going to hit better. Allen Craig and Jhonny Peralta have track records and will near their career numbers before all is said and done. You get those two going and with how well the rest of the lineup can hit, the Cardinals' offense will be fine.
The biggest concerns are at second base and in center field. Mark Ellis is 37 years old. Perhaps he has hit a wall as he is not hitting at all. Kolten Wong was not hitting either, but he is the much better defender. It remains to be seen if Greg Garcia can help. I would have stayed with Wong because of his defense. But if you are going to bring up Garcia, you might as well give him a shot and not just keep him on the bench.
Center field is another animal. I thought the Peter Bourjos deal in the off season was brilliant. Jon Jay is limited offensively and he is not the defender that the Cardinals need in center. But as brilliant as the move seemed to bring in Bourjos, the Cardinals are waffling on sticking with him. The Grichuk call up is one telling sign along with the fact that Jay has played more games and has more at bats than Bourjos.
But here is the deal. While Bourjos has not hit (yet), he still scores as more valuable to the Cardinals than Jay because of his defense and his base running. Add in the fact that his BABIP is an abnormally low .242 and you have a guy who should hit better as the season goes along. has Bourjos as 0.1 better in rWAR than Jay despite the lack of hitting and has him at 0.4 better in fWAR. That is almost half a win better if you go by Fangraphs. Either way, both sites say that Bourjos is more valuable.
And he is. He is a much better base runner and a much better fielder. And his fielding in center is completely important with the slug-like range of Matt Holliday and Allen Craig on either side of him.
I have looked at Grichuk's range factor from the minors and it does not come close to Bourjos. Jon Jay is not in Bourjos' league either in that category.
The bottom line for me is that Garcia can be just as rangy at second as Wong and has a chance to hit better. I am mostly okay with that decision as long as Garcia plays and doesn't caddie for Ellis. But Peter Bourjos should be the Cardinals' every day center fielder for the rest of the season. And nothing will convince me otherwise.

MLB Game Picks - Tuesday: April 29, 2014

Mediocrity is my name. Monday again included a Game of the Day that turned out wrong. What's up with you, Madison Bumgarner? The Cardinals had a 3-0 lead that disappeared while they left thirteen men on base and lost. Oakland blanked the Rangers and I did not see that happening at all. This has been discouraging. Very, very discouraging.

But today is another day and it has to get better. A month from now, the Games of the Day will have a nice and healthy record and things will feel better. And heck, it might even be warm here in Maine by then.

Tuesday's picks:
  • The Mets over the Phillies: Jon Niese has pitched two straight good games against two tough teams. So I am going with him over the Phillies and Cole Hamels who never seems to get helped out by his team.
  • The Orioles over the Pirates: The Pirates are off to a really disappointing start this season. Last season seems like a long time ago. I'm going with Chris Tillman over Charlie Morton (who is 0-3).
  • The Yankees over the Mariners: Robinson Cano returns to New York and will probably hit well in his old haunt. But the Yankees will run Chris Young's pitch count up and get him to leave the game early and then the Mariners have a problem. CC Sabathia has to pitch well though. Seager is really hot for the M's.
  • The Marlins over the Braves: I have to go with Jose Fernandez at home against the Braves. He should strike out like 14 tonight with that Atlanta lineup. Alex Wood has been good though and the Marlins have to score a few.
  • The Cubs over the Reds: I still think Jeff Samardzija will out pitch Alfredo Simon. Their game was rained out yesterday.
  • The Rangers over the Athletics: Scott Kazmir and Martin Perez are a combined 7-0. One of them has to lose. I'll stubbornly keep picking the Rangers and my man, Perez.
  • The Tigers over the White Sox: Justin Verlander is not the lock he used to be. But he should be better than Jose Quintanta. Verlander better be careful to Abreu though.
  • The Dodgers over the Twins: Some of the bloom has come off of Kyle Gibson's rose recently and the Dodgers get an extra bat in the lineup, which helps them more than it helps the Twins. Zack Greinke comes back to the AL Central.
  • The Royals over the Blue Jays: I never know what either of these teams are going to do. So that makes picking their games together a nightmare. I will go with Jason Vargas over Dustin McGowan and cross my fingers I guessed right.
  • The Nationals over the Astros: Jerred Cozart has been pretty solid except for one of his starts. But I think Gio Gonzalez will have a good game with a ten-spot at least for strikeouts. The Nats losing Bryce Harper for three months does not help though.
  • The Cardinals over the Brewers: The good news for the Cardinals is that Allen Craig is coming around. The good news is that Lance Lynn is 4-1. The bad news for the Cardinals is that Kyle Lohse is coming home and knows how to pitch in St. Louis.
  • The Rockies over the Diamondbacks. Mike Bolsinger had his first good outing of the season his last time out. But it was against the Cubs. Tyler Chatwood has shown signs of figuring life out.
  • The Angels over the Indians: A lot will depend in this game on how sharp Jered Weaver is. With his 87 MPH fastball, he has to be pinpoint. Corey Kluber is one of the best of the Indians' pitchers, but Trout and Pujols are tough to beat.
  • The Giants over the Padres: This pick did not turn out so well yesterday. And Matt Cain is not nearly as good (on paper) as Bumgarner. So why pick them? I still think they are a better team than the Padres, that's why. Eric Stults goes for the Friars.
And the Game of the Day:
  • The Red Sox over the Rays: If John Lackey pitches like he did against the Yankees, this should be a walk for the Red Sox, especially with Erik Bedard pitching for the Rays.
Yesterday: 3-3, Games of the Day: 11-14, Season: 215-168

Monday, April 28, 2014

How are the Biogenesis guys doing?

The suspensions have all been served--except Alex Rodriguez, who is still serving his--and all those players who were suspended must be struggling without their chemical boosts, right? Well...not exactly. The "stars" that were caught are still thriving. Those caught from the fringes have not fared so well.
Ryan Braun was (besides A-Rod) perhaps the biggest star brought down by the witch hunt investigation. His involvement really angered a lot of people because his denial and defense cost a guy his job the year before. Fair enough. But what about his performance this year without (we assume) his chemical dependency?
Braun's OPS thus far is .952 despite chronic problems with a thumb. That OPS is ahead of his career total and he is slugging like he did in 2011 and 2012. My guess is that he could have stayed off the stuff and done just as well as on it.
Then there is Nelson Cruz. Cruz is fitting nicely in the Orioles' lineup. His current OPS is .941, more than 100 points ahead of his career average and (to this point) his highest since 2010. I guess he didn't need that stuff either.
Everth Cabrera's OPS of .725 is 49 points than his career average. His current slugging percentage is the highest of his career. His fielding is as good as ever, if not better. He still doesn't walk enough, but hey, the chemists never said the stuff would make you more patient.
Jhonny Peralta was off to a really slow start, but even so, his OPS is eleven points higher than his career average. And he is coming around nicely with a 1.340 OPS over his last seven games. His defense at short has been good as well.
So far, if we assume that all these players are now off any performance enhancers, it appears they never needed any to begin with.
Antonio Bastardo might be a different case. According to his pitching data, he has lost a mile per hour off his fastball and his strikeout rate is down from 9.99 per nine last year to 9.00 this year. His FIP is at 4.99, which is pretty bad and his walk rate is way up. But his fastball velocity and strikeout rates have decreased every year since 2010. So is this a guy losing his stuff without the juice, or a guy losing his stuff due to the natural scheme of physiology?
Other than Bastardo, which had to be an awful last name to grow up with, the "stars" that were caught by the scandal are showing that they can thrive post scandal. The players really hurt by the whole thing were the fringe guys.
Two are in the minors, Jesus Montero and Cesar Puello. Montero is off to a fine start with the bat. I don't think the forty pounds he gained before Spring Training were a result of less juice in his system. Perhaps he was just lazy. Puello has struggled thus far to get going in his minor league start.
Francisco Cervelli won the backup catcher gig with the Yankees with a great spring. But he hurt himself (again) and is currently on the 60-day DL.
The rest seem to be out of baseball. Jordany ValdespinFernando MartinezSergio Escalona, Fautino de los Santos and Jordan Norberto all have no 2014 stats anywhere in the Majors or the Minors.
It should be noted that besides Braun, all of these players are Hispanic and the majority of them from the Dominican Republic. The latter is a mess that MLB created by the pressure of getting out of that depressed country for the promise of a paycheck playing baseball.
I am not excusing these players. They were caught with their shorts around their ankles. We can debate how MLB obtained the information. But the truth here is that good players are good players with or without so-called performance enhancers and those who have not made it yet in the Majors as established players have a lot more to lose and usually do in these kinds of scandals. To be sure, we still have a small sample size this year and we'll check in with these smudged players at the end of the season.

MLB Game Picks - Monday: April 28, 2014

This has been tough lately. I have really only had one good day in the last six and yesterday was not it. With the postponement of the Tigers - Twins game, I broke even at .500 and once again, the Game of the Day feature was wrong. To repeat, the Game of the Day feature is the one game where the odds seem to be the best that the pick will be correct. Historically, the feature is correct 70% of the time. Right now it stands at two games below .500. Man.

Today is a real slow day. There are only seven games on the schedule. Taking a quick look at them, none of them seem very easy. The picks:
  • The Cubs over the Reds: This is a pick for Jeff Samardzija, because he deserves it. The Cubs' pitcher has started five games thus far and has a 1.54 ERA with a WHIP of 1.10. And he is 0-2. Come on, Cubs. Give the guy some runs! Alfredo Simon has been terrific thus far. But he might have a lot of off-field distractions on his mind today.
  • The Rangers over the Athletics: I do not like picking against Sonny Gray. He is my guy. But when he goes up against Yu Darvish in the latter pitcher's house, I have to pick against him.
  • The White Sox over the Rays: Jake Odorizzi has had two sub-par starts in a row and the White Sox are very hot with Abreu leading the charge. That said, I don't have a lot of confidence in Andre Rienzo either.
  • The Cardinals over the Brewers: The Cardinals are going to start hitting one of these days and somebody is going to pay. If that happens, the best bet is for it to be home. But even if this is a close, low-scoring game, I have Michael Wacha over Yovani Gallardo.
  • The Rockies over the Diamondbacks: I don't like either pick to be honest with you. Wade Miley does not exactly throw a lot of zeroes up there and the Rockies can hit. At the same time, Franklin Morales has had two good starts in a row, but you never quite believe in him.
  • The Angels over the Indians: The Angels finished their game with the Yankees around 11:30 ET last night and then had to fly all the way to California. Ugh. They had a decent road trip though against some tough teams and I like Tyler Skaggs (who should be a country singer). Justin Masterson goes for the Indians.
And the Game of the Day
  • The Giants over the Padres: Madison Bumgarner at home is a pick I like to make. Tyson Ross hasn't been bad for the Padres, but he is not as good as Bumgarner. Plus, the Giants always seem to find a way.
Yesterday: 7-7, Games of the Day: 11-13, Season: 212-165

Sunday, April 27, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Sunday: April 27, 2014

If you cannot depend on aces, what can you depend on? <grumble> <mumble> Doggone it, Felix. Doggone it, Jenrry. Doggone it, Anibal. Perhaps if you would like a lesson in winning, you all should talk to Phil Hughes. That's right, Phil Hughes. Phil Hughes!? What is this world coming to?

Okay, so it was a bad day. Next! Here are Sunday's picks:
  • The Red Sox over the Blue Jays: R.A. Dickey has pitched 26 times at Rogers Centre (I hate calling it that) and has a 4.90 ERA there. Add a run to that with the Red Sox lineup. Jon Lester will bounce back from his encounter with the Yankees.
  • The Mets over the Marlins: Dillon Gee is a good pitcher and if he can avoid hitting the sweet spot of Stanton's bat, should win. Tom Koehler has been pitching fairly well for the Marlins though.
  • The Braves over the Reds: This pick has me way torn. Every time I pick against Johnny Cueto, he burns me. But Julio Teheran is really good too. Say the pitchers match each other. Then it becomes a bullpen battle. Whose bullpen do you trust? Exactly.
  • The Royals over the Orioles: Chris Davis out of the lineup hurts the O's. Miguel Gonzalez has not been very good. James Shields has been pitching well. So if the Royals can score a few (no mean feat for them), they can win this one.
  • The Nationals over the Padres: The two starters in this game, Taylor Jordan and Ian Kennedy are a combined 1-6 so far this season. So it's not like a solid choice abounds here. I will go with the Nats as the home team.
  • The Brewers over the Cubs: Both Wily Peralta (Can I please call him, "Wily Mo?") and Jason Hammel are having very good seasons. But as long as Ryan Braun doesn't injure more of his own players, the home team should win here.
  • The Tigers over the Twins: The Twins are playing much better this season and except for his last start, Kyle Gibson is doing well. And Justin Verlander isn't the amazing force he was two years ago. But wouldn't you always pick the Tigers here?
  • The Astros over the Athletics: This pick has to be an overreaction. The last time Collin McHugh pitched, I made fun of him as a 4-A pitcher. And he struck out 12 in six innings and looked completely dominant. Besides, Tommy Milone doesn't do it for me.
  • The Cardinals over the Pirates: The Cardinals are still not hitting and lost big yesterday. But you have to pick Adam Wainwright over Edinson Volquez. So sue me for going what seems to be obvious and probably won't be.
  • The Giants over the Indians: Danny Salazar has had about as much command as grandma over her bladder. Watch today be the day he puts it all together. Until he does or shows he can, I have to go with the Giants and Ryan Vogelsong, who is at least a little better at home.
  • The Dodgers over the Rockies: Hyun-jin Ryu has been messing with my head lately and I can't seem to get him right. I have to go with him at home though Jorge De La Rosa is certainly capable at stringing some zeroes together.
  • The Diamondbacks over the Phillies: This could be ugly. Or not. Brandon McCarthy is 0-4. A.J. Burnett is 0-1. I fear this will be a slugfest with whichever team slugs the most winning.
  • The Rangers over the Mariners: Matt Harrison makes his first start of the season. I don't usually like those situations. But I like lefties against the Mariners. Brandon Maurer was really good in his last start. We'll see.
  • The Yankees over the Angels: The big match-ups are Masahiro Tanaka against Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. Garrett Richards will also factor heavily. Unfortunately, we have to wait until tonight to find out how this goes.
And the Game of the Day
  • The Rays over the White Sox: Scott Carroll makes his Major League debut today and I would love to root for him. He has kicked around the minors for eight years despite not being a big strikeout guy and finally gets a chance at the age of 29. But I have to be practical here and figure he is not going to beat David Price.
Yesterday: 7-8, Games of the Day: 11-12, Season: 204-156