Saturday, May 31, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Saturday: May 31, 2014

Is it progress when you have your third bad night in a row but finally get a Game of the Day pick right? I guess that's progress. But I'm still fairly frustrated. Obviously, I am in a terrible rut and cannot seem to dig my way out of it. I had one 10-4 day on Tuesday, but starting with Memorial Day, on days other than Tuesday, I am 21-34. Unreal.
All I can do is keep plugging along. At least May is on its last day. That has to be good since the month has been so crappy for the picks. Oh, and I did an audit to make sure I have been doing the math correctly and found two more losses that I had to add to my season total. Lovely.
Saturday's picks:
  • The Nationals over the RangersDoug Fister has started the season with only one walk in 23+ innings. He has three straight very good appearances. He is going to lift these Nationals. Nick Tepesch has been pitching well too, but the Rangers lose a hitter in the lineup.
  • The Yankees over the Twins: The Yankees are making a habit of making lousy pitchers look good. They should be all over Kevin Correia, but will they be? How good will Masahiro Tanaka be finally getting a day game in nice weather?
  • The Blue Jays over the Royals: You have two young arms in this one. Aaron Brooks is making his first MLB start. He pitched once in relief and got hit hard. He is not a strikeout guy who has lately found some command in the last year or so. Marcus Stroman, on the other hand, is a big arm also making his first MLB start. So I'm going that way.
  • The White Sox over the Padres: This pick did not go well yesterday, but I am stubborn that way. Andre Rienzo has a good record and up and down performances. Tyson Ross looks great for one start and terrible on others. Bottom line? Anything can happen in this one.
  • The Indians over the RockiesTrevor Bauer has come into his own and is finally where he needs to be as a pitcher. Franklin Morales, on the other hand, has been abysmal. The Rockies on the road are not the same team.
  • The Cardinals over the Giants: I like Michael Wacha way more than I like Yusmeiro Petit. And look out world, here comes Oscar Taveras.
  • The Phillies over the MetsJacob deGrom has been very good but has been snake bit with no run support. Kyle Kendrick was great his last time out. The battle for last place continues.
  • The Braves over the Marlins: I haven't picked a visiting team to win yet, so this one looks the most likely. Jacob Turner doesn't thrill me and Ervin Santana will enjoy the bigger ballpark.
  • The Astros over the Orioles: Why the heck not!? Go Astros, go! Dallas Keuchel has been very good by throwing more strikes. Chris Tillman has been the O's best pitcher, but since his injury, has not thrown a good game.
  • The Brewers over the Cubs: The Brewers are back after scuffling a few weeks. The Cubs have gone back to not hitting. Jason Hammel is pitching for his next job and should be bested by Wily Peralta.
  • The Dodgers over the Pirates: I'm getting really nervous about picking all these home teams. But Hyun-jin Ryu is just to hard not to take at home. Brandon Cumpton is pretty good though.
  • The Red Sox over the Rays: If the Rays wanted to end up on the higher end of the moral story yesterday, they had to win. And they didn't. Thus, the Red Sox will feel like the martyrs and on the high side of the narrative. The Rays are a last place team and Jake Odorizzi is not helping. The Red Sox will win despite Rubby De La Rosa starting--a kid with a big arm and no idea where the ball is going. Oh, and I hate A.J. Pierzynski with pretty much all I am.
  • The Athletics over the Angels: The Angels are not going to do anything against the A's. I could see that from last night's game. Tommy Milone has rediscovered himself and is pitching really well. I like Tyler Skaggs too, but the A's are just too much.
  • The Reds over the Diamondbacks: For the second straight night, the Reds are going to take it to the D-backs behind Johnny CuetoBrandon McCarthy has a great Twitter account and a great wife, but he just can't seem to win.
And the Game of the Day
  • The Tigers over the Mariners: If Robinson Cano is out of the lineup, forget about it. Chris Young is tall, but throws as hard as me. The Emoticon, Drew Smyly has been awful, but watch him have a good game in this one.
Yesterday: 6-9, May: 213-198, Games of the Day: 26-30, Season: 446-372

Friday, May 30, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Friday: May 30, 2014

Have you ever heard a grim laugh? You know the kind where things get so bad you just have to laugh because there is nothing else you can do? When I went to see the scores last night, I immediately searched out the Dodgers game. And sure enough, they lost. They were the Game of the Day pick. And for the sixth straight day, it was incorrect. It's comical. It's a joke.
To make matters worse, it was another bad day in total. The Blue Jays did not win because of an error, so that team's streak is over. Ubaldo Jimenez had never lost to the Astros. He lost. Jaime Garcia pitched a very good game as I predicted. But Carlos Martinez came in and blew it. I just want this month to get over!
Friday's picks:
  • The Indians over the Rockies: The Rockies get an extra bat in the lineup and Juan Nicasio is a pretty good pitcher. And the Indians are missing Swisher and Santana. So why pick the Indians then? Corey Kluber.
  • The Yankees over the Twins: The Yankees spent eleven days on the road, so some home cooking is going to feel good. I don't like picking Vidal Nuno but I think the Yankees will hit Ricky Nolasco.
  • The Phillies over the Mets: I hate picking A.J. Burnett because he is so unpredictable. But I can't count on Rafael Montero even though the youngster came up big in his last start.
  • The Rangers over the Nationals: Picking Stephen Strasburg never works out for me. So maybe picking against him will help him. I don't know anything at this point. The Nationals are not playing well. With that talent, they should be flying. Colby Lewis with the win.
  • The Blue Jays over the Royals: Can someone tell me how at the age of 31, J.A. Happ has gained a MPH on his fastball from a year ago and two and a half MPH from three years ago? But it's happened if you care to look it up. Jason Vargas faces a lineup on fire.
  • The Marlins over the Braves: The Marlins are back at home where good things seem to happen for them. Tom Koehler has been a huge surprise this year. Julio Teheran has been the Braves' best pitcher, but the team is playing awful right now and just had their butts handed to them in Boston.
  • The Rays over the Red Sox: The Red Sox are flying high after weeks of mediocrity. Xander Bogaerts is playing like he doesn't want Stephen Drew to take his spot. I still hate that move. But anyway, David Price will have a good night and Brandon Workman will not.
  • The Astros over the Orioles: Can you pick against the Astros right now? I don't think so. Yeah, Brett Oberholtzer is 1-6, but he has some talent. And Miguel Gonzalez better be careful to George Springer.
  • The White Sox over the Padres: The White Sox are another team playing well right now. The Padres will be a long, long way from home. John Danks has actually won a few games, which is surprising to me. Ian Kennedy is someone I used to know...
  • The Cardinals over the Giants: What a pitching match up! Madison Bumgarner versus Adam Wainwright! Gosh, I would pay double to be there to see that. I am giving Wainwright the nod at home. He just better finish what he starts because that bullpen has been shaky as all get out.
  • The Reds over the Diamondbacks: I just don't like to pick Bronson Arroyo pitching in Arizona. His mistakes will fly all over the place there in the hot air. Mike Leake has a better chance of winning, I think.
  • The Angels over the Athletics: The Angels need to make the most of this series to have any chance in the AL West. They have the right pitcher on the mound in Garrett Richards but will have to battle Drew Pomeranz who has been pitching well. Oakland is a tough place to play.
  • The Mariners over the Tigers: Remember when Justin Verlander was a lock? Not anymore. He should be better against the weak-hitting Mariners, but he faces Hisashi Iwakuma who is really tough at home.
  • The Pirates over the Dodgers: Here is my reasoning here. First, Francisco Liriano has not won a game this year. He is due and having a big park like Dodgers Stadium should help. Secondly, I cannot remember the last time a pitcher who has thrown a no-hitter had a very good game his next time out. Can you? Josh Beckett is the next one.
And the Game of the Day (oh brother):
  • The Brewers over the Cubs: The Cubs' offense has shut down again and it doesn't matter how well Travis Wood pitches. Marco Estrada will benefit and the Brewers win at home.
Yesterday: 4-6, May: 207-189, Games of the Day: 25-30, Season: 440-361

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Cardinals fan meme questioned

The New York Yankees just finished a three game series in St. Louis against the Cardinals. The Yankees took two of the three game and thus had a successful series. The two fan bases are fun to compare. You cannot deny that the Cardinals have something special in St. Louis. The sea of red is everywhere and no city supports their team better. But they also, with a few rational exceptions, do not like their team questioned in any way. Yankee fan, on the other hand, love to argue and usually do so against each other!

Last night on Twitter was a typical example. I wasn't picking on the Cardinals, which is the funny thing. It was actually a compliment to the Yankees for the series. I tweeted:

In my mind, that is not saying anything bad against the Cardinals. The current MLB strikeout rate is 20.2%. So 9.8% for a series is a nice bit of information. It was one of the few things nice you can say about the Yankees' inconsistent offense thus far this season. In the last seven days, the Yankees' strikeout rate has been 13.5% and it is only 17.8% for the month of May, nicely below league average. But a Cardinal fan took exception to the tweet and fired back:

I thought that was interesting. So I decided to see if that was indeed a "thing." A couple of articles I did find seem to indicate that it was indeed a "thing" during the Tony La Russa / Dave Duncan days. But now pitching coach Derek Lilliquist states that the current philosophy is more of a hybrid.

In other words, the current power pitchers the team has make it conducive to pitch up in the zone and get their share of strikeouts. That was anecdotal evidence that this fan's meme was perhaps dated. What do the statistics say?

The statistic show that the Cardinals are fifth in baseball as a pitching staff in strikeout percentage of 22.0%. It was higher before the series with the Yankees. Since we've already said that the league average is 20.2%, the Cardinals are decidedly better at striking people out than most of the league.

If the Cardinals are still pitching to contact, they aren't doing it very well. The pitching staff is currently 20th out of thirty teams in contact percentage against. But have no fear, that is a good number, not a bad one. Missing bats is a good thing.

If you are pitching to contact, it would be preferable to have a staff that features ground balls. In fact, from the articles I culled for this piece, the Duncan philosophy was to pitch down in the zone to get ground balls. But the current Cardinals are nineteenth out of thirty teams in causing ground balls and they are eighteenth in ground ball to fly ball percentage.

Sometimes fans aren't as informed as they could be. But that is understandable. The only problem with not being current in what a team is really doing is the risk of blindly defending a meme that is no longer defensible.  And to get back to my original point, the Yankees did do a great job of frustrating the Cardinals current strategy by actually getting the bat on the ball quite often.

MLB Game Picks - Thursday: May 29, 2014

I feel like the Pirates this morning. I cannot get on any kind of roll. I have a bad night, then a good night, then another bad night. Clayton Kershaw is a pretty good lock for the Game of the Day, right? Apparently not. That feature is drowning being incorrect for five straight games.

Even if I was blindly picking the games at random, I think I would be more successful than this. Supposedly, I know what I'm doing. Supposedly, I've been watching fifty years of baseball and having some idea how what's what. I pour over the stats every day. And the picks make me look like a complete dope. Of all shticks to pick, why did I pick this one?

Thursday is a short schedule day. Here are the picks for the ten games to be played:
  • The Rangers over the Twins: Nick Martinez has made two starts now and did quite  well in both of them. My only concern is the lack of strikeouts. The BABIP bug has to snap up and bite him once in a while. But I think the Ranger will hit Sam Deduno.
  • The Athletics over the Tigers: The A's are a really good team and their comeback win yesterday really isn't that much of a surprise. The Tigers never seem to do it right when it comes to getting a closer. Joe Nathan's shelf life might be one year beyond fresh. Anyway, I think Jesse Chavez will be better than Rick Porcello.
  • The Phillies over the Mets: The Phillies are on a bit of a roll and they too had a dramatic finish to their game last night. David Buchanan throws strikes and you have to like that. Again, he is not a big strikeout guy though. Zack Wheeler seems to be lost in a sea of stuff.
  • The Blue Jays over the Royals: How can you pick against the Blue Jays these days? I did yesterday and got burned. The Royals, on the other hand, are in desperate need of new leadership. R.A. Dickey over James Shields.
  • The Red Sox over the Braves: Have the Braves looked terrible in this series or have the Red Sox looked good? Take your pick I suppose. The Red Sox complete the sweep with Jake Peavy over Mike Minor.
  • The Orioles over the Astros: Ubaldo Jimenez is 4-0 lifetime against the Astros with some of his best stats against any team. But these aren't the same Astros. This version has won ten of fifteen and has George Springer. I'd go with the Astros if Brad Peacock wasn't their starter tonight. The guy can't buy a win.
  • The Cardinals over the Giants: Ryan Vogelsong has been pitching well but is always vulnerable in my book. Jaime Garcia has looked good and is always tough at home. That is how I'm going then.
  • The Diamondbacks over the Reds: This is a tough one. Josh Collmenter has won his last two starts, but is not quite as good at home as on the road. The D-backs hit lefties better because all of their good hitters bat from the right side. Tony Cingrani is a lefty. I'm going Diamondbacks.
  • The Angels over the Mariners: Matt Shoemaker is 2-0 as a starter in three starts for the Angels. His stats look real too. Brandon Maurer will suffer in comparison to King Felix and his pitches will look like beach balls to the Angels after last night.
And the Game of the Day:
  • The Dodgers over the Pirates: Okay, this is my new tactic. If a team is the Game of the Day pick and loses instead, the odds are they will win the next night. Has it really come to this insanity? I pick against the Pirates because I am blindly angry that they have left Gregory Polanco rotting in the minors simply because of money when their offense ahs struggled all year. It's the worst thing in the world to me. YOU PUT THE BEST TEAM ON THE FIELD! Oh! Dan Haren over Gerrit Cole.
Yesterday: 6-9, May (is it over yet?): 203-183, Games of the Day: 25-29, Season: 436-355

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Wednesday: May 28, 2014

I should be happy. I reversed a 5-10 day on Monday to go 10-4 on Tuesday. But that darned Game of the Day feature is driving me crazy. For a reminder, the Game of the Day is the pick that seems the easiest of the day or the one I feel the most confident about. Last year, that feature was correct 60% of the time and was 35 correct picks over .500. That still wasn't great for being that confident a pick, but this year, the feature is simply terrible.

Take yesterday for example. I had Yu Darvish and the Texas Rangers. Reasonable, right? But what is announced around six o'clock in the evening? Darvish has a sore neck and might be going on the disabled list. Poof goes the pick, the Twins win and the stupid feature is back to three games under water. Grrr.

Wednesday's picks:
  • The Pirates over the Mets: I don't like this pick because Charlie Morton is pitching for the Pirates. But he is doing so in a good pitchers park at Citi Field. Plus, a fastball pitcher like Bartolo Colon pitching to fastball happy Pittsburgh doesn't seem favorable.
  • The Royals over the Astros: The Royals need a kick in the pants and they won't get it from the manager they have now. But they should still win behind Danny Duffy over Jarred Cosart.
  • The Giants over the Cubs: Tim Lincecum has been pitching fairly well and the Giants are rolling. They should roll over the Cubs and Edwin Jackson.
  • The Rockies over the Phillies: A lot of attention has been placed on the Rockies and the team's non-Coors offense and rightly so. But the Phillies are no great shakes on offense home or away. And Jordan Lyles is pitching really well. Look for the Rockies' road offense to get a boost off of Roberto Hernandez.
  • The Nationals over the Marlins: This is the same pitching line that was supposed to happen yesterday but couldn't because of the rain. And I still think Blake Treinen comes out better than Henderson Alvarez.
  • The Bay Rays over the Blue Jays: The battle of the ays continues and I think the Blue Jays finally lose a game here. Yes, Liam Hendriks won his first start. But he is still Liam Hendriks. Chris Archer has had some command issues, but he hasn't given up an earned run in his last two starts.
  • The Red Sox over the Braves: Talk about any meme you want. The Red Sox have woken up. They will pounce on Gavin Floyd and John Lackey will win a game at Fenway most of the time.
  • The Brewers over the Orioles: Yovani Gallardo had the pinch hit game winner on Tuesday night, so I have to pick him to win today, right? He is good at home anyway and Bud Norris is not a guy I ever have confidence in.
  • The White Sox over the Indians: The Indians are banged up. There is no Nick Swisher or Carlos Santana. My only problem here is the pitching match-up which is like picking the worst of two negatives. Hector Noesi versus T.J. House. Yikes!
  • The Twins over the Rangers: Maybe this is one too many incarnations for Joe Saunders. Maybe he'll make me look like a chump and pitch a good game. Maybe it won't matter because Kyle Gibson is pretty good, especially at home.
  • The Cardinals over the Yankees: The Yankees look really tired. Mark Teixeira's bat is missed in the lineup. They struggle over power arms like Shelby Miller and Hiroki Kuroda has no stamina left. This has Cardinal win all over it.
  • The Padres over the Diamondbacks: Chase Anderson has been fairly productive so far for the D-backs. But I have always liked Tim Stauffer and it looks like the latter is back to where he needs to be. I have to go that way.
  • The Athletics over the Tigers: The two teams have split the series so far. And a lefty like Scott Kazmir doesn't have the match-up advantage over the Tigers' lineup like he has other times. But I still like the A's here over Anibal Sanchez.
  • The Mariners over the Angels: This is a great pitching match-up with Felix Hernandez going against C.J. Wilson. On the one hand, I like lefties against the Mariners. But it's just too hard to pick against King Felix.
And the Game of the Day:
  • The Dodgers over the Reds: Anytime you have Clayton Kershaw on the mound, you have to give the Dodgers the nod. Make it a home game and even more so. Homer Bailey could have a great game and spoil the party, but I still think the Dodgers win.
Yesterday: 10-4, May: 197-174, Games of the Day: 25-28, Season: 430-346

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The strikeout rate of Brandon Moss

Brandon Moss is currently tied for eleventh on the leaderboard for 2014. He is having a terrific season and all of his value is for his offense. While his defense and base running seem to have improved, it is his offense that has taken a dramatic step forward. And one of the things driving that success is a drastically reduced strikeout rate.
Moss is a left-handed batter who flailed against left-handed pitching in the past. He batted .200 last year against them last year with a 43% strikeout rate. This year, he is killing lefties with an OPS over 1.1 and has cut that strikeout rate down to 27.8%. That's still high, but he has also cut down his strikeout rate against right-handed hurlers.
Last year, Moss struck out 27.8% of the time against right-handed batters. This year, that figure is down to 16.9%. The two improvements against both handed pitchers drops his overall strikeout rate from 30.4% in 2012 and 27.7% last year to just 19.6% this year.
Along with the lowering of his strikeouts have come a corresponding increase in his walk percentage from 8.8% two years ago to 9.9% last year to 10.1% this year. How is he doing it?
Brandon Moss has been around for eight years now. He is only now coming into his own. And you can see an odd progression and regression back to progression in his numbers over the years. When he first came up with Boston and then after his trade to the Pirates, he had decent plate discipline and his contact percentage was manageable.
Then he went to the Phillies in 2011 and that team nearly wrecked him. Suddenly, he was swinging at everything (over 50% of pitches outside the strike zone!) and not making contact. In that year in Philadelphia, his contact percentage fell all the way to 58.4%. That is bloody awful.
The A's picked him up as a free agent after the 2011 season and he has seen slight improvement in his discipline but not a full recovery to his early days. Meanwhile, his power suddenly spiked and his ISO went to new levels.
It wasn't until this year that he has gotten his swinging ways under control and his contact percentage back up and still maintains his power numbers.
Brandon Moss' O-swing rate, or swing rate of pitches out of the strike zone is down to 28.7% according to PitchF/X, his lowest rate since his 2010 season with the Pirates and the first time under 30% since that year.
Correspondingly, his contact rate and his swing and miss rate have improved to points from earlier in his career. Did he just develop bad habits in Philadelphia or did that coaching staff there do him a great disservice? It's hard to say. What is known is that the A's have once again picked a diamond in the rough and buffed it up until it shines.
Moss has driven in 42 runs in his 50 games, has a wOBA of .410 and a wRC+ of 166. His .971 OPS put him in elite company and makes him the ninth best offensive player in baseball at this moment. The taming of his strikeout rate has played a big part in his overall success and as we have seen, is something that he had in him since his early days in the Big Leagues.

MLB Game Picks - Tuesday: May 27, 2014

I had a wonderful weekend with my wife and enjoyed myself. While I was doing so, the game picks were withering on the vine (cliche alert). Yesterday was awful. Jeff Samardzija won a game. The Red Sox won a game. The Yankees beat the Cardinals. None of which I picked to happen. The latter was the game of the day, which is back to two games under .500. And that is just a little of what went wrong. Multiply those things by five and you have my day. Awful. But at least I had a wonderful weekend.

A lot of people still come to read these daily picks. At this point, it must be out of morbid curiosity. Well, here comes some more. Tuesday's picks:
  • The Phillies over the Rockies: One of the few things I was correct about yesterday was the no-hitter waking the Phillies up. They totaled the Rockies yesterday and will beat them again today behind Cole Hamels. Jorge De La Rosa will be on the short end.
  • The Nationals over the Marlins: Blake Treinen has had one good start and one bad start for the Nats. He should get his first win today. Henderson Alvarez is much better at home and a big risk to pick away from Miami. Giancarlo Stanton is the bomb though.
  • The Blue Jays over the Bay Rays: It's hard to pick against Mark Buehrle this year. After all, the guy is 8-1. I keep waiting for him to regress and that worries me. Alex Cobb picked up where he left off in his first start off the DL.
  • The Red Sox over the Braves: The Red Sox are officially over the hump now with their win yesterday. Now that dark cloud is gone, Jon Lester can come in and shut down the Braves and the Red Sox can tee off on Aaron Harang.
  • The Mets over the Pirates: The Pirates need to get Edinson Volquez out of their rotation. He is just not good enough to justify going back to that well over and over. Jon Niese, on the other hand, is a very solid starter.
  • The Brewers over the Orioles: The Orioles surprised me by winning yesterday and they did not have Chris Davis in the lineup (paternity leave). I don't often pick Matt Garza but I am going to here over Wei-Yin Chen.
  • The White Sox over the Indians: It's hard to believe that the White Sox are closer to the top of the division than the Indians. The Indians have to count as a major disappointment thus far. Chris Sale over Justin Masterson.
  • The Astros over the Royals: The Royals have me all kerfuffled. I simply cannot figure them out. I do know that George Springer is the real deal and is crunching. Jeremy Guthrie should look good to Mr. Springer. Collin McHugh goes for the Astros.
  • The Cardinals over the Yankees: I won't pick this as my game of the day, but I still think that Lance Lynn is going to be better than David Phelps. The Yankees only hope is if the Cardinals' pitcher has a lynning.
  • The Diamondbacks over the Padres: If the Diamondbacks can drub Tyson Ross, they can do the same to Eric Stults. And Wade Miley is another guy I keep picking against like he was still bad like last year. He's not. Since I wrote about Seth Smith the other day, he's gone 2-16 with no walks.
  • The Athletics over the Tigers: Will Max Scherzer turn this Tigers' staff around, or will he continue the rotation woes with another bad start? Will it matter either way if Sonny Gray does his thing?
  • The Angels over the Mariners: Jered Weaver has been on a roll. But the Mariners beat the Angels yesterday. So I don't know. Roenis Elias goes for the M's and he has been pretty good.
  • The Dodgers over the Reds: The Dodgers' rotation is on some kind of ride right now. Zack Greinke could join the party. Alfredo Simon has been solid all year for the Reds though.
  • The Giants over the Cubs: This seems like a no-brainer with Tim Hudson facing Jake Arrieta gentille Arrieta. But nothing about baseball is that simple.
And the Game of the Day:
  • The Rangers over the Twins: Phil Hughes has been a pleasant surprise for the Twins and is having a very good season. But he is no Yu Darvish. I think the Rangers will win by a couple here.
Yesterday: 5-10, May: 187-170, Games of the Day: 25-27, Season: 420-342

Monday, May 26, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Monday: May 26, 2014

First of all, an observance of Memorial Day and a heartfelt thank you to the men and women who have served this country and have allowed us to continue to write whatever we want and however we want to write it. A special thought goes to those who lost their lives doing so. May this day not be about picnics and fireworks...nor even just baseball, but instead may this country reflect on where we've been and the brave souls who got us here. And to my dad, my hero, who served as a radio man in the bombers that helped us win World War II. Your medals are right beside me, Dad, whenever I write.
There were a lot of games yesterday and it was a struggle just to finish with a 9-7 record. May has really been difficult for me in picking and I'm sort of glad it is almost over.
A full schedule of games is to be played today and ten of them will be day games. It's a good family day to go to the ballpark. Here is what they might see:
  • The Braves over the Red Sox: The law of averages say that the losing streak of the Red Sox has to end some time. It's getting to the tipping point of that law. But, and this is a big but, the Braves are good, the Red Sox are pitching Clay Buchholz, who has been hammered this season and the Red Sox lose the DH. Ervin Santana is the sole saving thought for the Red Sox.
  • The Mets over the Pirates: Both teams are pitching interesting young pitchers, both of whom have pitched well but have nothing to show for it. One of them has to win. Jacob deGrom over Brandon Cumpton.
  • The Nationals over the MarlinsNathan Eovaldi seems to be doing as little as possible with his big time stuff. I'm not sure why that is. But it is especially apparent on the road. I'm going with Tanner Roark in this one.
  • The Brewers over the Orioles: If you have followed along, you know I like Kyle Lohse at home and Chris Tillman is a little banged up for the Orioles. Plus, the Orioles lose the DH, which means Nelson Cruz--who has been a one-man wrecking crew--has to play the field.
  • The White Sox over the Indians: I am torn on this one. Jose Quintana has been a lot better than his record and has pitched really well at home. The White Sox really miss Jose Abreu but having been playing fairly well. Josh Tomlin can have very good days too. Torn.
  • The Rangers over the Twins: The Rangers have come alive and are really smacking the ball. They face a Kevin Correia who is prone to being smacked around. That's not a good combination for the Twins. Nick Tepesch is my only concern with this pick.
  • The Giants over the CubsYusmeiro Petit had one good start and one really bad one and the rest of his work has been out of the bullpen. He is home today. Jeff Samardzija is snake bit thus far this season as he leads baseball with his ERA and yet cannot buy a win.
  • The Athletics over the Tigers: The Tigers have been scuffling a bit and their starting pitching hasn't been good. Drew Smyly, the Emoticon, has been inconsistent. I have continued to pick against Tommy Milone like this was last year when he was terrible. But he keeps pitching well. I am a slow learner.
  • The Angels over the Mariners: I really like Tyler Skaggs and he should have a good day in that big ballpark. Chris Young is coming down to earth in his last two starts. Though at six foot, eleven inches, it is a long way to the earth for the Mariners' pitcher.
  • The Phillies over the Rockies: The Phillies were no-hit yesterday so they might be a bit riled up.  Kyle Kendrick is too experienced a pitcher to remain without a win and Jhoulys Chacin has not lit it up for the Rockies thus far.
  • The Blue Jays over the Bay Rays: The Rays are coming off a beat down on the Red Sox but the Blue Jays have been on a serious roll. This series will be a test at how good they really are. Drew Hutchison over Erik Bedard.
  • The Reds over the Dodgers: I'm a little nervous that I have picked all home teams thus far instead of one. Maybe that is the psychological reason for this pick. Or perhaps it is because Johnny Cueto has been unbelievably good and should at least counteract Hyun-jin Ryu. Cueto has beaten quite a few very good pitchers thus far this year.
  • The Royals over the AstrosYordano Ventura's fastball against George Springer's quick bat will be an interesting match-up. Otherwise, the Royals should hit Scott Feldman for a few runs at least.
  • The Padres over the DiamondbacksTyson Ross has quietly put together a very good season. It all depends on if his offense can give him some runs. He's given up one earned run in each of his last two starts but one was a loss and one was a win. So it goes for him. Brandon McCarthy has been similarly snake bit his last two starts. This is a toss up.
And the Game of the Day:
  • The Cardinals over the YankeesMichael Wacha has big time stuff. The Yankees are an older team that doesn't react well against big time stuff. Plus, Chase Whitley has not been able to go deep in games and as much as I like him, he's no Wacha.
Yesterday: 9-7, May: 182-160, Games of the Day: 25-26, Season; 415-332