Saturday, May 17, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Saturday: March 17, 2014

I laughed out loud this morning when I looked at yesterday's results. I have been stuck on the 8-7 mark for full schedule days for a week now and after tallying up yesterday, I finished at 8-6. The only reason I did not finish 8-7 was because of a rain out in New York. The same thing happened on Wednesday when I finished 8-5 because of two rained out games. Call this the Groundhog Day of picking.

Drew Hutchison really has thrown me for a loop this season. When he is good, he is good enough to beat Yu Darvish. When he is not, he is out of the game by the fifth inning. How do you predict which will happen when? And the other close loss was Max Scherzer out-dueling Jon Lester. A match-up of aces that could have gone either way. And it should have been a draw if Will Middlebrooks hadn't been Will Middlebrooks in the first inning in the field.

Saturday's picks:
  • The Cardinals over the Braves: Shelby Miller believes he knows what his problem has been in his mechanics this season. I believe him and he will have a good day. Aaron Harang is starting to meet himself at his statistical mean.
  • The Brewers over the Cubs: To be honest, I have no clue in this one. I suspect that the Cubs will be gunning for Matt Garza for what he said to Samardzija. I also suspect that Edwin Jackson will get all of Samardzija's run support. But I still think the Brewers win. I know. Weird.
  • The Nationals over the Mets: The Mets have lost three in a row and Bartolo Colon has been hit hard of late. I like Gio Gonzalez in this one.
  • The Yankees over the Pirates: This is the same pitching line that was supposed to happen yesterday. That said, I am surprised the Yankees did not skip David Phelps here. But I still think the Yankees will hit a few of Edinson Volquez's offerenings over the wall.
  • The White Sox over the Astros: I have been surprised at how the White Sox have turned around Hector Noesi. They have a really good pitching coach there. I don't think Noesi will ever be great, but he will win today over Jarred Cosart.
  • The Reds over the Phillies: That whooshing sound you are hearing is that Phillies sinking to the depths of the NL East. Cole Hamels can't get a break to save himself and Homer Bailey is starting to own his stuff.
  • The Athletics over the Indians: Scott Kazmir is a secret elder of a gentle race and is 5-1. I like his chances over Josh Tomlin today. Tomlin has been very good too though. The A's are amazing.
  • The Royals over the Orioles: Danny Duffy has walked too many batters in his two starts, but has otherwise been tough to hit. I like him today against the Orioles since he is left-handed. I've never been a big Bud Norris fan, though the pitcher did have a good outing last time out.
  • The Red Sox over the Tigers: My instinct was telling me that the Tigers would hit John Lackey. But Lackey likes pitching in Boston and as well as Rick Porcello has been pitching, the Red Sox should find him a treat after Scherzer yesterday.
  • The Mariners over the Twins: How could the M's go get Robinson Cano and then stop there? The man needs help. I do like the way Roenis Elias pitches though and I think he will be better than Sam Deduno.
  • The Blue Jays over the Rangers: It is hard to argue with the roll Mark Buehrle has been on. Buehrle has always been more steady than great. So what is different this year? I don't know, but I'm sticking with him until he goes back to his old self. Robbie Ross goes for the Rangers.
  • The Dodgers over the Diamondbacks: Clayton Kershaw has a 3.00 ERA at Chase Field with 10.6 strikeouts per nine. But he is 3-5 there in eight decisions. I think he still wins today over young Chase Anderson.
  • The Giants over the Marlins: I do think that Tim Lincecum will give up a bomb to Giancarlo Stanton. But I still think he wins a low scoring game against Tom Koehler and the Marlins.
  • The Angels over the Bay Rays: I was wrong with this pick yesterday as Chris Archer had a really good day. But Cesar Ramos is not Chris Archer and C.J. Wilson should be good at home.
And the Game of the Day
  • The Rockies over the Padres: Yeah, Jordan Lyle's 5-0 record is hard to fathom and reality doesn't seem to fit here. But I do think the Rockies will out hit the Padres who start Robbie Erlin. Robbie Days aren't the same without Robbie Ray.
Yesterday: 8-6, May: 111-94, Games of the Day: 20-22, Season: 352-272

Friday, May 16, 2014

fWAR Games

I am not a good writer to talk about numbers. I love the new stats and trying to figure out what they are telling me. But just don't ask me how they are calculated or to dig much deeper than that. I am probably a cross between Murray Chass and Dave Cameron. I like the numbers, but I don't always get them. I do know that WAR is an attempt to try to give us a value of a player that can be used to compare the player to others and a league replacement. Knowing only as much as that, sometimes what I find makes me scratch my head (hence, some of my Chass DNA). *
*Shameless Posnanski Asterisk: If you are too young to get the reference of this post, I apologize.
The first thing that set me off in this questioning mode was the fWAR (the "f" stands for was looking at where Masahiro Tanaka stood among his fellow starters. I was surprised to find him tied for fourth behind Jon LesterFelix Hernandez and Corey Kluber (if you can believe it). He is tied with Jose Fernandez of the Marlins who will be out the rest of the season and Justin Verlander. How can this be?
He has a better xFIP than all of them. He has a better K/BB ratio. He has the best LOB percentage. And, as meaningless as the stat is, he is 6-0 and the Yankees would be in a whup of trouble without him. The only thing I can see is that his home run rate is higher than the rest of him. Should that account for having more than a half a win WAR than Jon Lester? I don't buy that. Johnny Cueto and David Price have the same problem and David Price leads all of baseball with his K/BB ratio.
Okay, let's look at Jason Heyward. Heyward currently sports an inglorious 78 wRC+ and a .284 wOBA. The latter figure is not one you want to be less than .320, never mind .300. A wRC+ of 100 is league average. He is 22 points less than league average. He has an OPS of .619. I am not writing this to pick on Jason Heyward. He is obviously having a tough time at the plate and doesn't need me to pile on. His .248 BABIP suggest better days are ahead.
But I point out Heyward's numbers because according to fWAR, Heyward is tied for sixteenth place among "position players" for fWAR. How can that be? Well, it seems that he has been Superman in the field. In just 37 games, Heyward is given credit for 10.9 runs of value for his defense. That accounts for about a win and two-thirds of his total 1.5 fWAR.
Just to put that in perspective, Andrelton Simmons had just about the greatest fielding season ever last year and totaled 31.6 runs of defense in his 157 games. And he is a shortstop, the most valuable position on the field (you could argue for the catcher too). Simmons' runs for defense divided by his games comes to .201 runs per game. Heyward is currently sitting at .295 runs per game for his defense.
I will not dispute that Jason Heyward is a great fielder. But that great that he has been worth more per game than Simmons was last year? Call me dubious. And that is Mr. Dubious to those I don't know.
I could be wrong, but I think I heard somewhere that shifts in the infield are not even counted by the fielding stats because they are too confusing.
Okay, one more. Jacoby Ellsbury currently sports a .339 wOBA compared to last year's .343. That is a difference of .004. Minuscule right? His wRC+ last year was 113 and it is 111 so far this year. So how come last year, his offensive runs came to .0322 runs per plate appearance and this year, they come to .0185 per plate appearance? It doesn't make sense and it affects his fWAR.
Then you look at his defense. Last year, his defense (which affects fWAR) was worth 12.0 runs for the season. He is currently sitting at -2 this season. Seriously? I know this sounds awfully close to a certain Boston Globe's writer, but I have watched every game he has played this season. He has been terrific. -2? I don't understand.
Look, I know numbers are not perfect. For an example by a good writer, check this piece out. But it's hard for me because I am not learned enough to figure out why these numbers do not make sense to me. I risk looking stupid--which really isn't a risk because I already look stupid--because something doesn't feel right to me. I sense a problem without knowing enough to know if it is or not.

MLB Game Picks - Friday: May 16, 2014

I'm so glad it is Friday. You have no idea. Work has been just beating me up silly. But the bottom line is that I am thankful to have a job. I am also thankful to get to do this every day and have for the last five years. And I am thankful even on mediocre results days like yesterday. I needed that walk-off homer by Mike Trout just to break even. And while that made me sigh in relief, it had to be a real kick in the nether regions for the Rays. What a spectacular blown save. The good news was that the Game of the Day has been correct two days in a row, but another extra-inning game went against me.

Friday's picks:
  • The Cubs over the Brewers: We need to get Jeff Samardzija a win. He deserves it. He is pitching lights out and is still 0-3. It's not right. Kyle Lohse is better at home than on the road. This is just wishful thinking though.
  • The Reds over the Phillies: I do see Alfredo Simon coming back to earth a bit. But I also see Kyle Kendrick at 0-3 and think the Reds have every chance to win this game with their offense.
  • The Athletics over the Indians: I need to go with Sonny Gray to save the day. He's my guy. But there is method to the madness too. He has pitched well on the road. It should be a close game because Zach McAllister has been good to.
  • The Yankees over the Pirates: I am not too thrilled with picking David Phelps here, but the Yankees should hit multiple homers at home against Edinson Volquez. It will be interesting.
  • The Red Sox over the Tigers: Speaking of interesting, this should be lots of fun to see what happens. Jon Lester is among the leaders in fWAR for starters and has pitched very well. Max Scherzer is Max Scherzer, one of the best in baseball. Very interesting.
  • The Rangers over the Blue Jays: Another really interesting game with Yu Darvish trying to hold back a very good offense. A lot will depend on if Drew Hutchison can pull it together. He has been up and down a lot this season.
  • The Orioles over the Royals: I like Chris Tillman a lot more than I like Jeremy Guthrie. The pick is pretty much as simple as that.
  • The Astros over the White Sox: Collin McHugh has only given up one homer in four starts. Three of those four starts have been very good. McHugh faces a White Sox team with the hottest home run hitter in Jose Abreu. It should be fun. Jose Quintana has pitched three very good games in a row with nothing to show for it.
  • The Twins over the Mariners: How good has Chris Young been for the Mariners!? But can that continue? The Twins' offense has been pretty good of late. And Kyle Gibson has been solid as a starter. I'm going with the home team here.
  • The Cardinals over the Braves: St. Louis fans have a term they call, "Lynning," that is a lyrical way of saying that Lance Lynn often has an inning that undoes him. If he avoids that inning, he should strikeout ten Braves on the way to a win. The Cardinals can hit Ervin Santana.
  • The Rockies over the Padres: The Rockies are at home? Let the mashing begin. Jorge De La Rosa needs to pitch decently and Eric Stults should be the victim here.
  • The Dodgers over the Diamondbacks: Wade Miley is so hit or miss, it's hard to count on him. On the other hand, Zack Greinke is the Dodgers' good luck charm. I'm leaning that way then.
  • The Angels over the Bay Rays: Jered Weaver has a noodle arm and yet simply knows how to pitch. Every time I count him for dead, he wins. Chris Archer has been a disappointment thus far. He should find a way to see every team as the Yankees and he would never lose.
  • The Giants over the Marlins: This one confuses me. Yusmeiro Petit has pitched mostly in relief. He has started twice and one time was very good and one time was very bad. On the other hand, Henderson Alvarez has been very good at home and very bad on the road (just like the Marlins). That sways it for me.
And the Game of the Day
  • The Nationals over the Mets: Tanner Roark has not given up an earned run at home this year and while that is subject to correction eventually, I look for him to eek out a win over Jon Niese and the Mets.
Yesterday: 5-5, May: 111-94, Games of the Day: 20-22, Season: 344-266

Thursday, May 15, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Thursday: May 15, 2014

The last four full scheduled days had me on a streak of 8-7 finishes. Last night saw two games postponed because of weather and I finished 8-5. So what does that say? Would I have finished 8-7 if those two games had been played? The way it has been going, probably.

David Ortiz has hit four home runs in the last two days against the Twins. You would think the Twins would get up in his grill a little bit. At the very least, work around the guy. Congrats to Anthony DeSclafani for his first Major League win. The guy done himself proud.

Thursday's picks:
  • The Reds over the Padres: This is the makeup game from yesterday. And I still think it will be a good pitchers' duel with Johnny Cueto being slightly better than Ian Kennedy.
  • The Red Sox over the Twins: There are a lot of things going on here. Clay Buchholz has started the season miserably. But he was better his last time out. Phil Hughes has had a very good start to his season, but I'm not so sure he can hold off the hot Boston team.
  • The Cardinals over the Cubs: These two teams were rained out yesterday and that game won't be made up until the end of August. But the two pitchers from yesterday are still scheduled to start today. That said, I'll still take Michael Wacha over Jason Hammel in a close game.
  • The Padres over the Reds: I could not find who was starting for the Reds today no matter where I looked. Even Twitter failed me. That said, I'll go with the Padres and Robbie Ross.
  • The Indians over the Blue Jays: The Indians are playing better and the concern with the Blue Jays is always the pitching. For example, today's game will be started by J.A. Happ. Happ has an occasional good day followed usually by nine bad ones. Danny Salazar has to throw strikes and get ahead in the count against the powerful Jays' lineup.
  • The Mets over the Yankees: This will be a fascinating day in Citi Field as two pitchers make their Major League debuts. I have no idea whether Jacob deGrom and his flying hair will be any better than Chase Whitley. I only pick it this way because deGrom has had more time at Triple A than Whitley.
  • The Royals over the Orioles: The Royals have given the O's a handful in the last two days. And then they get the flame thrower, Yordano Ventura. Have fun with that. Wei-Yin Chen goes for the Orioles.
  • The Angels over the Bay Rays: I have had good success sticking with Tyler Skaggs, so I will do so again. I like him and feel the Angels stole a good pitcher here in the off season. The Rays will start Erik Bedard. Eh.
  • The Marlins over the Giants: Is Matt Cain the Giants' Sabathia? After all those innings, Cain has seemingly hit a wall. Meanwhile, Nathan Eovaldi is throwing gas, but not always getting the results to go with it.
And the Game of the Day
  • The Brewers over the Pirates: I always like to pick Yovani Gallardo at home and Wandy Rodriguez just cannot seem to get going due to injuries and rust.
Yesterday: 8-5, May: 106-89, Games of the Day: 19-22, Season: 339-261

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The best and worst bullpens thus far

Measuring how a team's bullpen is doing can be tricky business. You really can't go by WAR like in other positions because, for example, the Red Sox' bullpen leads baseball in WAR. But that may be because they are pitching more innings than other teams' bullpens. The Red Sox' bullpen is actually doing extremely well, but is it the best as the WAR seems to indicate? One thing is for certain: If your team is not doing well in the bullpen, you are quite aware of that fact as it gets ugly.
So how then should we measure bullpens? We can look at FIP, which is probably better than looking at ERA. We can look at WPA. We can look at which teams have better success with inherited runners scoring. We can look at strikeout to walk ratios. We can look at a lot of different things. Let's look at the top and bottom five in each of these categories and see what we can see.
The top five teams in FIP are:
  1. The Braves - 2.32
  2. The Royals - 2.88
  3. The Athletics - 2.93
  4. The Red Sox - 2.96
  5. The Padres - 3.02
The worst five teams in FIP
  1. The Astros - 4.70
  2. The Reds - 4.65
  3. The Rays - 4.61
  4. The Phillies - 4.60
  5. The White Sox - 4.38
  1. The Padres - 3.87
  2. The Giants - 3.52
  3. The Brewers - 3.35
  4. The Red Sox - 2.38
  5. The Braves - 1.61
The bottom five:
  1. The Astros: -2.51
  2. The Cubs: -2.22
  3. The Marlins: -1.62
  4. The Reds: -1.61
  5. The Blue Jays: -1.52
Inherited Runners:
  1. The Pirates - 84%
  2. The Giants - 83.8%
  3. The Padres - 80.7%
  4. The Brewers - 79.6%
  5. The Nationals - 78.6%
The worst five:
  1. The Cardinals - 66.3%
  2. The Tigers - 66.8%
  3. The Astros - 67.5%
  4. The Royals - 68.7%
  5. The Rangers and Yankees: 68.8%
K/BB Ratio:
  1. The Brewers: 3.53
  2. The Braves: 3.47
  3. The Cardinals: 3.20
  4. The Giants: 3.19
  5. Tigers: 3.14
The worst
  1. The White Sox: 1.21
  2. The Reds: 1.68
  3. The Rays: 1.81
  4. The Mets: 1.90
  5. The Dodgers: 1.96
  1. The Red Sox: 2.4
  2. The Braves and Royals: 2.1
  3. The Athletics 2.0
  4. Two tied with 1.99
The worst:
  1. The Mets: -1.3
  2. The Rays: -1.0
  3. The Astros and Reds: -0.7
  4. The Phillies and Angels: -0.4
So have we seen any sort of patterns here? It is hard to pick on the Reds because they went most of the season thus far without Aroldis Chapman. But the worst bullpens appear to be (from appearances at the bottom of the most categories) the Mets, the Astros, the Rays and the Reds. The Yankees have made a run for the worst lately.
As for the best bullpens, thus far, the Braves, Red Sox, Padres and the Brewers appear to have the best bullpens in baseball followed closely by the A's and the Royals.

MLB Game Picks - Wednesday: May 14, 2014

I am back on the 8-7 train again. When it comes to full schedule days, that is four straight such finishes. The Game of the Day pick was wrong again. And Stephen Strasburg lost again. And Cliff Lee lost again and the entire thing is starting to make me cranky. Oh wait. The Yankees have already made me cranky.

Wednesday's picks:
  • The Tigers over the Orioles: On the Tigers' side, you have an established ace (Justin Verlander). On the Orioles' side, you have a prospective ace in Kevin Gausman. It seems more prudent to pick the established one.
  • The Angels over the Phillies: My problem with this pick is that you never know what A.J. Burnett is going to do. He can be the crappiest pitcher in the world, or the best one. And that is week to week! Garrett Richards has been the bomb thus far though.
  • The Royals over the Rockies: The Rockies are going to have to hit on the road someday to quiet the skeptics. This road trip, they have not--at least recently. Jason Vargas over Jhoulys Chacin.
  • The Athletics over the White Sox: I usually pick against Tommy Milone, but he won last time out. I usually pick against Andre Rienzo and he hasn't lost a game yet. So one of my usual wrong picks has to be right in this one. Okay, that confused even me.
  • The Mariners over the Rays: Brandon Maurer has a 1.67 WHIP. Jake Odorizzi has a 1.74 WHIP. Ugh. They are both terrible. The only recourse then is to pick the home team and rub a rabbit's foot.
  • The Diamondbacks over the Nationals: Brandon McCarthy has some pretty impressive peripherals for a guy with a 1-6 record. His strikeout to walk rate is 4.5. That's very good. And his WHIP isn't bad at 1.38. But he did have a real clunker in his last outing. The problem is that Doug Fister still looked awful rusty in his first start of the year last time out.
  • The Giants over the Braves: Let's be honest, I have no idea who is going to win this game. How do you pick between Madison Bumgarner and Julio Teheran if both are at the top of their game? Again, defaulting to the home team when all other logic fails.
  • The Indians over the Blue Jays: Dustin McGowan has pitched pretty well in his last three starts, but I'm still not buying. I much prefer Corey Kluber here. The Blue Jays are hitting really well though.
  • The Yankees over the Mets: I don't know if the Yankees are ever going to beat the Mets. But if they are, having Masahiro Tanaka on the mound is their best chance. He will be challenged by the Major League Debut of Rafael Montero and the Yankees struggle against power pitchers. Oh boy.
  • The Reds over the Padres: Both Ian Kennedy and Johnny Cueto have been pitching super well. And that should continue in San Diego. But I still have more faith in Cueto and in the Reds' offense than the other way around.
  • The Brewers over the Pirates: I keep picking Francisco Liriano like he is last year's version. But he isn't. He is this year's version and 2012's version and 2011's version, etc. On the other hand, Wily Peralta seems to be getting better and better.
  • The Astros over the Rangers: This pick is dependent on how well Scott Feldman pitches for the Astros. I like the Astros' chances to score against Nick Tepesch in a teapot. But if Feldman isn't good, it will be a slugfest and the Rangers would hold sway.
  • The Cardinals over the Cubs: Maybe last night's extra-inning win put the curse away for the Cards against the Cubs.  I do like the way Jason Hammel is pitching for the Chicago team though. Michael Wacha needs to have a good night.
  • The Dodgers over the Marlins: I hate to pick Paul Maholm. I really do. But I generally don't like to pick pitchers making their Major League debuts. Anthony DeSclafani is from New Jersey and pitches for Miami. That is so historically anomalous. If you were here with me, I would be doing my best New Jersey accent (I grew up there) saying, "ANTony DeSlafani, how yooo doooin?" DeSlafani has shown very good control in the minors and I like that.
And the Game of the Day
  • The Red Sox over the Twins: The Red Sox pushed Felix Doubront back a day and that makes sense as he will now match up with the squishy Kevin Correia. Of course doing so meant pushing Jake Peavy ahead last night and that did not work out so well.
Yesterday: 8-7, May: 98-84, Games of the Day: 18-22, Season: 331-256

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Tuesday: May 13, 2014

There are two strange sensations going on as I sit here this morning. First, the sun is shining. That is pleasantly different. Second, Monday was a good picking day, which is also pleasantly different. I only had three picks wrong. The Yankees had the lead twice and couldn't hold off the Mets. The Cubs annihilated the Cards and the Giants beat the Braves. While it would have been nice to see those coming, I will certainly take the 7-3 day and a rare Game of the Day pick success.

Tuesday's picks:
  • The Tigers over the Orioles: Ubaldo Jimenez has not pitched well against the Tigers in his career. He is 5-9 with an ERA well over 5. But I'm not real high on The Emoticon, Drew Smyly either.
  • The Mets over the Yankees: The Yankees can barely field a team at this point with all the players hurt. And the team does not match up well with power pitchers like Zack Wheeler. Vidal Nuno is not trustworthy. All in all, the Yankees are in trouble.
  • The Indians over the Blue Jays: I think the Indians will hit R.A. Dickey. It is just a question of which Justin Masterson will show up tonight. He can be brilliant or the opposite and you never know.
  • The Padres over the Reds: The Padres have most of their big bats back now and Andrew Cashner is tough. Mike Leake has his moments, but he is not as good as Cashner.
  • The Twins over the Red Sox: Both of the times Ricky Nolasco pitched at home, he was very good. And Felix Doubront is hard to figure out. This is not the most comfortable pick I am making today.
  • The Royals over the Rockies: I like James Shields at home and I don't much like Franklin Morales anywhere.
  • The Pirates over the Brewers: Marco Estrada has actually pitched better for the Brewers on the road than at home. And Gerrit Cole just has too much big time talent for me to pick against him here.
  • The Rangers over the Astros: I'm looking over my picks so far and I am uncomfortable with how many road teams I have picked. But I have to go with the road team here too. Matt Harrison is scary to depend on, but he is less scary than Dallas Keuchel.
  • The Cardinals over the Cubs: Oh, why the heck not. So I will keep picking them as the best team in the NL only to watch them continually lose to the Cubs and every other Tom, Dick and Harry team. Adam Wainwright over Jake Arrieta gentille Arrieta.
  • The Nationals over the Diamondbacks: I worry about Stephen Strasburg pitching in Arizona. But I worry even worse about Bronson Arroyo pitching there. The Nats will either be bamboozled or hit five homers.
  • The Athletics over the White Sox: Alas, the bloom is off the Scott Carroll rose. I was rooting for you, buddy. Not that Drew Pomeranz instills great confidence in me, but he is making noises of finally figuring this thing out.
  • The Dodgers over the Marlins: The Marlins got the worst news in the world yesterday and are not playing well on the road anyway. Jacob Turner should yield to Josh Beckett today.
  • The Mariners over the Rays: David Price is hard to pick against. But if I was going to do so, it would be with him pitching against Hisashi Iwakuma. The latter just flat out knows how to pitch.
  • The Giants over the Braves: Ryan Vogelsong has bounced back nicely after a rugged start to the season. He has now pitched three good games in a row. Mike Minor has not come back from the DL pitching very well.
And the Game of the Day:
  • The Phillies over the Angels: It is hard to gauge how good Matt Shoemaker is by his minor league numbers. He pitched in the PCL which is notoriously hard on pitchers. If he was a lefty making his first start against the Phillies, I'd go for him. But he throws with his right hand. Thus, Cliff Lee gets the pick.
Yesterday: 7-3, May: 90-75, Games of the Day: 18-21, Season: 323-249

Monday, May 12, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Monday: May 12, 2014

Sunday added up to a third straight day of finishing 8-7. It's like my KitchenAid Electric Mixer is permanently stuck on Mediocre. Not only that, but the Game of the Day feature was wrong again. Unbelievable.

The pick that got me the most was the Yankees. They came back and tied the game and were within a strike of getting out of a man-on-third situation with an 0-2 count on Mark Reynolds. Reynolds has been in 863 0-2 counts in his career and had struck out 512 times and had a .429 OPS in those situations. In the second guess of all second guesses, the Yankees decided to throw him a slider. What a stupid pitch to call. Ballgame.

I'm still steaming about that one.  Monday features ten games, so there is no way I can finish 8-7. Somehow that is not comforting. The picks:
  • The Tigers over the Orioles: Yes, Chris Davis is back. Even so, I do not like to pick Bud Norris...ever. Yes, he won his last time out. I am aware. But against the Tigers? No. I'd much rather go with Rick Porcello with the Orioles pounding a bunch of balls into the ground.
  • The Yankees over the Mets: The Yankees need revenge for last year's whitewash at the hand of of the Citi Field gang. They face old Shrek, Bartolo Colon. Hiroki Kuroda goes for the Yankees and was much better his last time out. My wife pointed out last night that the Mets need to trade for Danny Farquhar so that they have Shrek and Lord Farquhar on the same team. Of course, Farquhar blew one of my picks yesterday with an incredibly bad pitch.
  • The Blue Jays over the Angels: This is a tough, tough one. Mark Buehrle is pitching really well, but we all know he is not THIS good. C.J. Wilson is pitching really well too. I'm going with the Blue Jays at home. Both teams have bad bullpens.
  • The Cardinals over the Cubs: The Cardinals have trouble with the Cubs. This we know. Travis Wood is a good pitcher. And Tyler Lyons is 0-2. But two of Lyons' three starts have been pitched well. It's time for him to get a win.
  • The Rangers over the Astros: Brad Peacock had a really good Spring Training but did not carry it over into the season. Colby Lewis still makes me nervous. But he's my pick for today.
  • The Nationals over the Diamondbacks: The Diamondbacks are off life support but I still like Jordan Zimmermann way better than I like Josh Collmenter. I did pick against Collmenter last time out and he won, so there is that...
  • The Athletics over the White Sox: Jesse Chavez was pitching really well until I picked him up for my fantasy team. I killed Martin Perez the same way. I am the reverse King Midas. But I am picking him to win over John Danks who is not quite as terrible this year as past years.
  • The Dodgers over the Marlins: The Marlins are now 3-12 away from their home park. Weird. I like the way Tom Koehler is pitching. But with the above fact, I will stick with the Dodgers and Dan Haren.
  • The Braves over the Giants: Gavin Floyd cannot be as good as his first start went. However, Tim Lincecum's breaking stuff has been awful. So I am going with Floyd and the Braves.
And the Game of the Day
  • The Mariners over the Bay Rays: Felix Hernandez at home is too good to pass up. The lefty, Cesar Ramos, is a pretty good match-up against the Mariners though. But I'm going with it. What do I have to lose at this point?
Yesterday: 8-7, May: 83-72, Games of the Day: 17-21, Season: 316-246

Sunday, May 11, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Sunday: May 11, 2014

Sorry folks, I slept in so this post is a bit tardy. Another 8-7 finish, which makes two days in a row like that. What a struggle! At least the Game of the Day feature was finally correct and an extra-inning game actually went my way.

I do feel bad for Jeff Samardzija. He pitched another great game and I picked him in support. But of course, his team could not score for him. They never score for him. The poor blighter.

Sunday's picks:
  • The Blue Jays over the Angels: Jered Weaver has more guile than arm and he could run into his share of Blue Jay bats. Drew Hutchison, on the other hand, has a great arm.
  • The Tigers over the Twins: Robby Ray won his first start in impressive fashion. But picking him again is very scary. Sam Deduno makes the pick a little easier to live with.
  • The Reds over the Rockies: I'm going out on the limb with this one. I think Homer Bailey can shut down the Rockies if he has a good day. Juan Nicasio has been winning, but a bit sloppily. We'll see.
  • The Mets over the Phillies: Jon Niese has been pitching well and has run into some hard luck. Cole Hamels over the past couple of seasons has been the definition of hard luck. One of them has to win.
  • The Braves over the Cubs: Who the heck knows with this one. Aaron Harang has shown his true colors lately (like I have been telling you would happen) and Edwin Jackson always wins when I pick him to lose. Gosh, I don't know.
  • The Rays over the Indians: Whenever I think the Rays are dead and I pick against them, they win. Chris Archer has to have a good game for this pick to be right. Josh Tomlin is okay, but not a pitcher to hang my hat on.
  • The Diamondbacks over the White Sox: Let's go nuts here and pick a win for the Major League debut of Chase Anderson. He is a former 42nd round pick who has never lit up anyone's prospect list. But he does have very good control and misses his share of bats. Hector Noesi goes for the White Sox.
  • The Yankees over the Brewers: Matt Garza does not have good career numbers against the Yankees. In my mind, he has always been an overrated pitcher. David Phelps needs to have a good game though, which is a tough call to make.
  • The Red Sox over the Rangers: After Yu Darvish, the Rangers struggle. Robbie Ross cannot hold a lineup like Boston's. It all depends how well John Lackey pitches in the hot air of Texas.
  • The Athletics over the Nationals: The A's just have a way. They never look like a great team. But somehow, they are a great team. It does not even bother me that they are facing Gio Gonzalez. They will get his pitch count to 100 in six innings. Scott Kazmir was a typically great pickup by Beane.
  • The Mariners over the Royals: The Royals are frustrating. Just ask its fans. Jeremy Guthrie can be had. I would rather pick Roenis Elias at this point as the latter has showed flashes of good stuff.
  • The Marlins over the Padres: The Marlins, once again, are not taking their home mojo on the road with them. I like Henderson Alvarez to win here though over Robbie Erlin. Yes, indeed, it is Robbie day again.
  • The Dodgers over the Giants: This is tough, folks. Clayton Kershaw, the best in baseball, against Tim Hudson, the veteran who isn't afraid of any situation. It could go either way or become a bullpen battle.
  • The Cardinals over the Pirates: The Cardinals made this pick look bad yesterday. And the same could happen today. I just happen to think that Shelby Miller is better and has more of a chance to win than Charlie Morton.
And the Game of the Day:
  • The Orioles over the Astros: The Orioles have been getting fat on a weak stretch of their schedule. Chris Tillman is a good pitcher who should pitch well today. Jarred Cosart is dealing with pitching-for-a-bad-team syndrome.
Yesterday: 8-7, May: 75-64, Games of the Day: 17-20, Season: 308-239