Saturday, July 12, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Saturday: July 12, 2014

The end of vacation curse is over. When the picks stood at 4-3 yesterday, I wondered if they were heading for another bad night. But they went on a 7-1 run thereafter and it was a very good day. The Yankees were as bad as expected. King Felix beat the A's. Tim Lincecum won. Dan Haren lost to my man, Jesse Hahn. Everything fell into place nicely.
I have a golf tournament today, so here I am bright and early to bring you the picks. They are as follows:
  • The Indians over the White Sox: The last three times Zach McAllister pitched in the Majors this year, he was raked over the coals (cliche alert). But then he went down to the minors, went 5-0 and seems to be straightened out. I'll take him over Scott Carroll.
  • The Giants over the Diamondbacks: This is a tough one. Wade Miley has been very good lately. But the Giants prefer left-handed pitching. Ryan Vogelsong has had an off year, but has been better lately. If the two pitchers even each other out, the Giants will find a way to win.
  • The Braves over the Cubs: The trouble here is that you can never predict what Edwin Jackson you are going to get. It's very possible the very good one will come out today. Mike Minor has been somewhat disappointing. I'm still going with the Braves.
  • The Orioles over the Yankees: The only chance the Yankees have is to bust out on that will ever happen. Chris Tillman over Shane Greene.
  • The Red Sox over the Astros: The Astros are banged up. Jake Peavy is probably auditioning for another team. Brett Oberholtzer is still trying to prove he is a Major League pitcher. The Red Sox go 4-0 in the  post-Pierzynski era.
  • The Marlins over the Mets: The Mets are playing well, but I like Tom Koehler in this one over Daisuke Matsuzaka in this one. If Dice-K is off on his game, the big bats in the middle of the Marlins' lineup will kill him.
  • The Rockies over the TwinsKevin Correia is already a bad pitcher. Put him at Coors and it could get ugly quickly. Tyler Matzek. Look over the pitchers I've mentioned thus far in this post and see all the "Zs" I've used so far. And I haven't gotten to Odorizzi yet.
  • The Cardinals over the BrewersJimmy Nelson has a nice debut his last time out. He should cherish that and then step aside and watch Adam Wainwright do his thing. I don't think Nelson can keep up with that.
  • The Blue Jays over the Rays: The Jays are without some of that great lineup, but they have enough left to win this game with Drew Hutchison having a good game. The aforementioned Jake Odorizzi goes for the Rays.
  • The Angels over the Rangers: This could be a slugfest. The Tolkien elf, Miles Mikolas was creamed his last time out. Jered Weaver couldn't even go his last time out because something hurt, so I am doubtful about his health. If it is a slugfest, the Angels can out-slug the Rangers.
  • The Reds over the PiratesMike Leake has to be good in this game and the exciting Billy Hamilton continues to spirit the Reds beyond their injuries. Charlie Morton, as you know, is not my favorite pitcher to pick to win.
  • The Phillies over the Nationals: The Phillies refuse to be dead so they can be scrapped for parts. They are, in reality, dead. But continue to win games anyway like the walk of the zombies. Stephen Strasburg never wins for me, so I'll go with Cole Hamels.
  • The Mariners over the Athletics: His back is ever a concern, but if he is on his game, Hisashi Iwakuma is fun to watch.  Jesse Chavez predictably threw a great game his last time out after I dropped him from my fantasy team. I think he will get hit today.
  • The Padres over the DodgersPaul Maholm? Ah. No. I don't think so. Ian Kennedy might be auditioning in front of a bunch of scouts. I think he'll do better than Maholm, but that won't take much.
And the Game of the Day:
  • The Tigers over the Royals: :::SWAT::: Watch the Tigers swat the Royals away like some kind of pesky mosquito. Big Game James Shields never has a Big Game against the Tigers. Rick Porcello has been the bomb (as I predicted before the season by the way).
Yesterday: 11-4, July: 89-67, Games of the Day: 53-44, Season: 772-642

Friday, July 11, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Friday: July 11, 2014

Another day back in Maine, another day in the red for the picks. What is the deal here? July was going swimmingly. Then I came home. Am I only smart away from home? Did the Yankee bullpen just cough up nine runs in three frames? Did the Phillies really sweep the Brewers with ease? Did I really think Tim Hudson could derail Scott Kazmir? Did the White Sox really cause Koji Uehara to blow a save in the nine and still lose? Haven't I learned not to pick against Aaron Harang?
Obviously, I am scratching my head this morning. But it is too nice a day here to complain for long. So I'll just pick today's games:
  • The Cubs over the Braves: It does not appear that Jake Arrieta's success is a fluke. He is flat out dealing. The only question is whether the Cubs can muster some runs of offense. They did yesterday. Alex Wood is the Braves' fifth starter, so we'll see.
  • The Indians over the White Sox: The White Sox bullpen gives me gas. Not pitching gas, but the indigestion kind. Hector Noesi has been quite the surprise, but Corey Kluber is the real deal for the Indians.
  • The Orioles over the Yankees: Miguel Gonzalez has been awful all year. But then he went and confused me by being brilliant against the Red Sox his last time out. The Yankees' offense will make him look good too. Hiroki Kuroda is the last starter standing...the oldest. How's that for ironic.
  • The Nationals over the Phillies: Jordan Zimmermann will need to be his good old self to beat a suddenly hot offensive club in Philadelphia. Who knows what A.J. Burnett will do.
  • The Mets over the Marlins: Three of Zack Wheeler's last four starts have been good. He could be figuring things out. The Marlins do not thrive on the road and Henderson Alvarez could make a difference.
  • The Pirates over the Reds: I hate to pick against Mat Latos, but Jeff Locke has really been a nice addition to the Pirates' rotation and the Reds are missing two big chunks of their lineup and are not as effective against lefties. Tough call that could go either way.
  • The Rays over the Blue Jays: Mark Buehrle has gone back to being ordinary and has lost his last five decisions. He bends but doesn't break. But if he gives up three or four runs, that might be enough for Chris Archer.
  • The Red Sox over the Astros: This Pierzynski think is going to play out like Nomar in 2004 and whether or not it's a real factor, if the players believe so, it could end up being so. I don't count the Red Sox out yet. Not in this division. John Lackey over Scott Feldman.
  • The Tigers over the Royals: In the AL Central, the Tigers are like this big elephant and the rest of the teams are these gnats it swats away with its swinging tail. Anibal Sanchez over Danny Duffy.
  • The Brewers over the Cardinals: This is a huge series even though there is a lot of time left in the season. The Brewers have been tumbling but the Cardinals have to overcome Yovani Gallardo at home and have to do so with the return of Joe Kelly, who will most likely need bullpen help.
  • The Rockies over the Twins: Kris Johnson scares me for the Twins, especially at Coors. The Twins' offense loses a bat with no DH and the offense can barely afford to lose that. Jorge De La Rosa should win this one.
  • The Mariners over the Athletics: This will be Felix Hernandez's fourth start this year against the A's. Two have been great and wins and one was a poor outing with no decision. Jeff Samardzija might have an unfamiliarity advantage here, but I have to give an edge to the King at home.
  • The Padres over the Dodgers: I just like Jesse Hahn. He is my new man-crush and I think he'll have a good day. That is probably foolish because the Padres hardly ever win and Dan Haren is having a decent season.
  • The Giants over the Diamondbacks: Tim Lincecum is hard to predict. It does appear that he is starting to make the transition to pitcher and has been much less of a drag on the Giants this year. Mike Bolsinger is trying, but I'm not sure he's ready for the big show.
And the Game of the Day:
  • The Angels over the Rangers: What I see from Ranger supporters on Twitter is the concern not only that the Rangers are playing badly, but that they are lackadaisical while doing so. That doesn't sound good and bears watching for Ron Washington's job. Garrett Richards over Nick Tepesch.
Yesterday: 5-7, July: 78-63, Games of the Day: 52-44, Season: 761-638

Thursday, July 10, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Thursday: July 10, 2014

My second day back in Maine turned once again into a negative day. I'm starting to get a complex about being back in my state. Hmm. And the negative day included both extra-inning games falling my way.
What did not help were two games that were blown by bullpens in the ninth inning. They included the White Sox ralphing the eighth and finally the ninth on the Red Sox. They were up, 5-1, going into the eighth. And then the Tampa Bay Rays had a nice lead going into the ninth against the Royals only to cough up a three-run homer to Salvatore Perez in the ninth to lose it.
Thursday's picks:
  • The Reds over the Cubs: I don't believe this will be an easy win for the Reds, who lost Brandon Phillips yesterday to injury. Homer Bailey should pitch well, but the Reds will face Kyle Kendricks making his Major League debut. Kendricks is not big on folks' prospect lists, but he has good numbers in the PCL, a tough league and he has excellent control. More of a tough call than you would think.
  • The Brewers over the Phillies: I've been wrong picking the Phillies for two games in a row, but I'm nothing if not stubborn. I simply think Matt Garza will be better than David Buchanan.
  • The Giants over the Athletics: This one is very interesting. Scott Kazmir has been terrific for the A's. But the Giants actually hit lefties better than the other way around, which is unusual. And Tim Hudson is not going to walk into Oakland's trap of working up his pitch count.
  • The White Sox over the Red Sox: This one could go either way. Jose Quintana and Jon Lester are among the best lefty starters in the game. It depends who bends the most and which one gets support. And of course, it depends on if the White Sox can close out a game.
  • The Yankees over the Indians: It's not that I have uber-confidence in David Phelps. I don't. But I have even less in T.J. House. Both bullpens will be gassed. Phelps could get deeper in the game to save his. The Yankees showed resilience last night after the news about Tanaka.
  • The Nationals over the Orioles: Two more lefties on a night that seems full of them. Gio Gonzalez has been terrific and so has Wei-Yin Chen. So how do you pick? The Orioles have a similar OPS against pitchers from either arm side. But the Nationals are significantly better against southpaws. So that's the pick.
  • The Braves over the MetsBartolo Colon doesn't mess around and is around the plate. The Braves have no patience, so that suits them just fine. Aaron Harang has kept winning despite my ridicule, so there's that.
  • The Cardinals over the Pirates: The Cardinals are making their move. I can feel it. After dallying all season, they are putting it together. Of course, Shelby Miller hasn't been great though. But then again, neither is Edinson Volquez. Sweep time?
  • The Angels over the Rangers: The Rangers are only a game ahead of the Astros in the AL West. Let that sink in a second and were just swept by those Astros. The Angels, on the other hand, are as good as I thought they would be this year. The one caveat here is that Hector Santiago is pitching for the Angels. Ugh. But the Angels will hit Colby Lewis. So it will be an 8-6 win or something.
  • The Tigers over the Royals: The Emoticon, Drew Smyly, has not been very good this season. But one of his best starts was against the Royals. Jeremy Guthrie has had two bad outings in a row, but one of his best starts of the year was against the Tigers. Heh. Pick 'em.
  • The Twins over the Mariners: Wait. Tom Wilhelmsen is starting for the Mariners!? Wasn't he their closer? Has he ever gone more than a couple of innings? I am still rooting for Yohan Pino to get his first MLB win.
And the Game of the Day:
  • The Dodgers over the Padres: Yeah, I know this Odrisamer Despaigne is good, but Yasiel Puig will know all about him, which helps. AND Clayton Kershaw is going for the Dodgers. That is killer and I can't wait to see what he does this time.
Yesterday: 7-8, July: 73-56, Games of the Day: 51-44, Season: 756-631

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Wednesday: July 9, 2014

I should have stayed in Florida. My first picking day back in Maine was a disaster. Twice as many picks went wrong than went right. The Cubs blew a 5-0 lead as they inexplicably took Wada out after only five innings. The Yankees blew a 5-1 lead with Masahiro Tanaka on the mound. I picked against Kyle Kendrick and sure enough he gave up seven runs in five-plus innings...and won. Phil Hughes shut me up by blanking the Mariners. R.A. Dickey shut me up by blanking the Angels. It was just a bad, bad day.
Let's see how it goes now that I am home. Wednesday's picks:
  • The Tigers over the Dodgers: The Dodgers are the worst good team I have ever seen. Does that make any sense? The Tigers might be the second worst. But somehow they both stay at the top. Pitching sure helps. Both teams have pitching tonight as Max Scherzer faces Zack Greinke. I'm going with Scherzer.
  • The Padres over the Rockies: I pick the Padres and pick them again and again and they lose. When I pick them to lose, they win. Hmm. I am picking them to win. Eric Stults wins his second in a row and Jair Jurrjens continues to be a bad idea for the Rockies.
  • The Blue Jays over the Angels: This is not an overreaction to last night. It's a reaction to how good Marcus Stroman has been for the Blue Jays. And he has beaten some really good teams while at it. C.J. Wilson has looked so-so lately.
  • The Diamondbacks over the Marlins: Both Nathan Eovaldi and Josh Collmenter are completely unpredictable. Thus said, I'll go with the home team.
  • The Yankees over the Indians: This is a hedged thought that Brandon McCarthy might be a steal for the Yankees as his peripherals do not match his results. Josh Tomlin has had a weird last five starts. One was a brilliant one-hitter and the rest were all crap.
  • The Nationals over the Orioles: Yesterday's game was rained out. So tonight's game features the same pitching match-ups and I still think Doug Fister will pitch better than Bud Norris.
  • The Mets over the Braves: Yes. The Mets. Again. Dillon Gee was pitching great before he got hurt. Then he pitched great during his rehab. So I am going with him over Ervin Santana, who I have to admit has been throwing very well lately.
  • The White Sox over the Red Sox: I picked against Chris Sale his last time out. BIG mistake. I will not do that again. He will win if the White Sox get at least a couple of runs off of Rubby De La Rosa.
  • The Rays over the Royals: Let's face it. The Rays have gone on this hot streak just to avoid trading David PriceAlex Cobb over Yordano Ventura. They will find a way.
  • The Rangers over the Astros: The Rangers will finally win a game thanks to Yu Darvish pitching at home, where very good things happen for him. Dallas Keuchel goes for the Astros. What are the odds on two pitchers named, "Dallas," pitching in the big leagues on the same night? I bet that has never happened before.
  • The Brewers over the Phillies: I have been wrong with this pick for two nights in a row. But Kyle Lohse pitching at home is a good thing. Roberto Hernandez pitching for the Phillies is never a good thing.
  • The Cardinals over the Pirates: The Cardinals might be making a statement for the rest of the season in this series. If they sweep it, I would say they are. Lance Lynn has to avoid a lynning and a very good (lately) Brandon Cumpton has to be overcome for it to happen.
  • The Mariners over the Twins: This isn't a vote so much for Roenis Elias, who has been great in moments and not so great in others. Rather, it is the sad belief that the league is catching up with Kyle Gibson, who simply does not strike out enough batters to remain effective.
  • The Athletics over the GiantsJason Hammel will pitch well for the A's. Why? Because everything they seem to do turns golden somehow. Matt Cain has been in a sad state for most of the season. How long do the Giants stick with him?
And the Game of the Day:
  • The Reds over the CubsDallas Beeler gave up no earned runs in his first start and yet lost the game. Welcome to the Cubs, kid. He is up against Alfredo Simon, one of the best stories of the baseball season.
Yesterday: 5-10, July: 66-48, Games of the Day: 50-44, Season: 749-623

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Tuesday: July 8, 2014

Yesterday was not fun. Weather delayed our flights and we got stuck in Portland, Maine overnight and now have to drive back today up to northern Maine, a seven hour drive. Yay! And the picks showed their displeasure by finishing 7-7. But I should not complain about that. At one point they were 2-5 and the day really looked like it was heading for disaster. So a .500 day seems okay after all. Oh! And both extra-inning games yesterday turned into wrong picks. I am back on that dark road again.
I need to get these picks done quickly to get on the road, so apologies and here are today's picks:
  • The Reds over the Cubs: The two teams are playing two games today. The first one features regular starters Johnny Cueto versus Travis Wood. The second game features two inexperienced pitchers. As for this one, I have to go with Cueto.
  • The Nationals over the Orioles: These two teams played well into the night last night and the bullpens will be toasted. So which starter can get a longer outing? I'd have to go with Doug Fister over Bud Norris. Norris has pitched well lately.
  • The Yankees over the Indians: The Yankees are weird this year playing much better on the road than at home. Add to that Masahiro Tanaka on the mound and you have to go with the Yankees. Trevor Bauer goes for the Indians.
  • The Tigers over the Dodgers: The Dodgers get an extra bat in the lineup which is good for them with their crowded outfield. And Hyun-jin Ryu is a good pitcher. But I am going with Justin Verlander to build on his last start and win the game today.
  • The Braves over the Mets: I like Jacob deGrom, but I don't think he's quite there yet to compete against the likes of Julio Teheran. Then again, the Braves are not the best offense in the world either. Not sure about this one.
  • The Red Sox over the White Sox: The Red Sox have lost three straight and are now eleven games under .500 and in last place. Wuh? They were limited to two hits last night and that is the big problem. So you would think that if Carroll could hold them to just a hit in 6+ innings that John Danks could do even better. Instead, I am going with Brandon Workman to turn the tables.
  • The Cubs over the RedsTsuyoshi Wada was called, "Dr. K," in his Japanese baseball days but has spent the last two and a half years in America in the minors. He gets his MLB debut tonight and I like his Triple-A numbers this year. David Holmberg is a former second round pick and is making his second big league appearance. I don't like his minor league numbers at all.
  • The Royals over the RaysJeremy Hellickson makes his first start back after being away for a long time with injury. He wasn't that great to start with, so I'm not enthused about his chances. Jason Vargas is having a pretty good year for the Royals.
  • The Astros over the Rangers: The Rangers cannot get anyone out right now. Nick Martinez has been hit badly and so I am taking Brad Peacock. Not a much better choice, I know...
  • The Brewers over the Phillies: This pick did not work out last night, but Kyle Kendrick is no Cole Hamels. A lot will depend on how good Wily Peralta is in his start for the Brewers.
  • The Padres over the RockiesTyson Ross has been much better than people think this year and was outstanding his last time out. But how good will he be at Coors? Good question. On the other hand, Franklin Morales is only going to last five innings and that's not good enough for the Rockies:
  • The Diamondbacks over the Marlins: Oy vey! This pick is no fun. Brad Hand goes for the Marlins who are pretty terrible on the road this year. He's been a reliever most of the year. The Diamondbacks go with Vidal Nuno, just acquired from the Yankees, where he was terrible most of the time. But at least Nuno is stretched out. Ugh.
  • The Athletics over the GiantsMadison Bumgarner will have a lot to say about this pick. The thing is, I think Sonny Gray will stick with him and if that happens and it becomes a bullpen game? Advantage A's.
  • The Angels over the Blue Jays: The Jays are on a bad slide losing eight of their last ten. And now losing Edwin Encarnacion is a big blow. To win, they have to have a great effort by R.A. Dickey and I don't see it. Tyler Skaggs has to pitch well though.
  • The Cardinals over the Pirates: I can't see Vance Worley beating the Cardinals. So the only shot the Pirates have here is for them to jump all over young Carlos Martinez. It's certainly possible, which makes picking baseball games as tough as it is.
And the Game of the Day:
  • The Mariners over the Twins: I will remain to be seen if the Yankees wrecked Phil Hughes. Hughes had a nice bubble going with the Twins until the Yankees reminded him of what happened in the past. The wild card is Chris Young, who has been amazing at home despite no strikeouts and a FIP that is three runs above his ERA. Weirdness.
Yesterday: 7-7, July: 61-38, Games of the Day: 50-43, Season: 744-613