Saturday, August 02, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Saturday: August 2, 2014

Friday made it three days in a row where the picks finished just under .500. Mediocrity is my name. Hey, did you notice that my Game of the Day was the Oakland A's and they were shut out a day after trading Yoenis Cespedes. Coincidence? Something to keep an eye on at least. Another bad pick was when Peralta was more Wily than Adam Wainwright. Oof. Another wrong pick was when Mike Minor's problems got more major on Friday as he was wrecked by the Padres.
I did get the Cubs over the Dodgers as Dan Haren continues to get hammered. And I also got the Red Sox over the Yankees. The young Anthony Renaudo did pitch well, but it really was a BABIP game as the Yankees hit a lot of at-em balls. And that Mookie Betts catch? Unbelievable...
Saturday's picks:
  • The Athletics over the RoyalsJon Lester has arrived in Oakland and makes his debut against the Royals. Jason Vargas is the Royals' pitcher and he has good his last two starts. Runs will be at a premium today.
  • The Red Sox over the Yankees: First, Shane Greene does not fill me with overwhelming hope for the Yankees. Secondly, Cespedes is going to have a big day and him and David Ortiz will be partying it up. The only question is how Allen Webster pitches. The Yankees' offense just cannot get going.
  • The Nationals over the Phillies: This pick was wrong yesterday. And if A.J. Burnett has one of his good day, it could be bad today too. Will the real Jordan Zimmermann please stand up?
  • The Orioles over the MarinersJames Paxton is a major talent. But he hasn't pitched since early April. Miguel Gonzalez is not a major talent, but he is a typical Oriole that seems to rise to the occasion--not to mention three great starts in a row. The M's offense is mired.
  • The Indians over the Rangers: Ugh, this one is ugly. Miles Mikolas can shut down the Yankees, sure. But he has been awful against everyone else. But then there is T.J. House who hasn't exactly been impressive. High scoring game?
  • The Angels over the RaysC.J. Wilson has had a really bad stretch of starts (four bad ones in a row) and Chris Archer has been very good. So the Rays seem to be the pick. But this feels like a trap and the roles will reverse today. Ah, you know I was just looking to pick a road team to break up the program.
  • The Reds over the Marlins: I have been getting some outside pressure for not picking the Marlins and rightly so as they were hot and at home. So I went with them last night and they lost. Well screw that then. Besides, I trust Nathan Eovaldi as far as I can throw him. Homer Bailey with the win.
  • The White Sox over the Twins: Did I dream somewhere that Yohan Pino is not very popular with his teammates? I must have because I cannot find a reference. Weird. Anyway, Scott Carroll doesn't fill me with peace about the pick, but there he is over Pino.
  • The Mets over the Giants: This pick was way wrong yesterday. However, Jacob deGrom is my guy. He has been great. And Jake Peavy seems cursed for some reason and cannot get run support from any team he pitches with.
  • The Blue Jays over the Astros: I would feel better about this pick if I knew Houston's roof would be closed with R.A. Dickey pitching. I still think the Jays win despite a nice outing last time out by Brett Oberholtzer.
  • The Brewers over the Cardinals: Forgive me for not being excited about Justin Masterson pitching for the Cardinals. Unless his velocity picks up from before his DL stint, he is not the same guy. Besides, Kyle Lohse is going to give his former team fits in his old haunts.
  • The Pirates over the Diamondbacks: Both Vance Worley and Chase Anderson have been winning pitchers for their respective teams. That seems to even out the pitching equation here. If that is the case, then the Pirates are the pick as the much better team.
  • The Padres over the Braves: The Braves seem to be fading a bit. That uneven offense has to get them in trouble eventually. I will say that Ervin Santana is earning himself a nice contract when he hits the market after the season. But despite his walks spiking, Ian Kennedy has been pretty good since the start of July and frankly, I am surprised he wasn't scooped up before the deadline.
  • The Dodgers over the Cubs: It is Korea versus Japan in this one as Hyun-jin Ryu goes against the 33-year-old rookie, Tsuyoshi Wada. Wada picked up his first MLB win his last time out. Ryu should best him at home.
And the Game of the Day:
  • The Tigers over the Rockies: Dang, all home teams picked so far. I hate when that happens. Rick Porcello should win though. Tyler Matzek seems perpetually frozen at a 2-5 record.
Yesterday: 7-8, August: 7-8, Games of the Day: 64-50, Season: 901-753

Friday, August 01, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Friday: August 1, 2014

July started very strong and ended with two days just under .500. But yesterday's results were totally swallowed up by the amazement and buzz created by the trade deadline. The flurry of activity and the names of the players involved were simply amazing. Keeping track of them all will be of vital importance for me moving forward as I try to pick these games. The clear winners to me were the Athletics and the Red Sox. The latter was a seller but picked up a lot of talent in return. The former was a buyer and got their big pieces.
Let's see how it all plays out. Friday's picks:
  • The Nationals over the Phillies: Much was made during the deadline of the Phillies doing diddly with their aging, overpriced team. But hey, they won yesterday. I don't think they will today with Doug Fister on the mound for the Nats. Roberto Hernandez starts for the Phillies.
  • The Mariners over the Orioles: The last time Wei-Yin Chen faced the Mariners six days ago, he threw eight shutout innings. This time, the Mariners will have right-handed bats Chris Denorfia and Austin Jackson in the lineup (I think). That makes a difference. But Roenis Elias must pitch well.
  • The Indians over the Rangers: Did the trade deadline signal that the Indians have given up? Maybe. But they are still better than the Rangers. Danny Salazar over Jerome Williams.
  • The Tigers over the RockiesJustin Verlander used to be the Tigers' ace. Now he is more famous for his girlfriend. He has been pitching a bit better though. The Rockies are moribund and Franklin Morales might get himself killed here.
  • The Angels over the Rays: What will the Rays' demeanor be like today? What did selling Price tell them? Jeremy Hellickson is doing his normal stuff since coming back: A high FIP and WHIP and only one run allowed. How does he DO that? But he hasn't gone five innings yet. Matt Shoemaker for the win.
  • The Marlins over the Reds: The Marlins didn't waste any time by putting Jarred Cosart immediately into the fire tonight as the starter. I always liked him and he should enjoy that nice fat ballpark in Miami. Mat Latos doesn't scare me nearly as much as he used to.
  • The Red Sox over the Yankees: These teams will look totally different when they take the field today. I have no idea what it will feel like and how it will play out. I don't trust Chris Capuano and you know Dustin Pedroia will play over his head and Ortiz will hit one out. Anthony Ranaudo makes his debut for the Red Sox. He is going to be fun to watch.
  • The Mets over the Giants: The Mets are still sort of in this thing which explains why Colon is still there. Jon Niese is a good pitcher and I am predicting he will keep the Giants' lineup in their current funk. Ryan Vogelsong will break just enough.
  • The White Sox over the TwinsLogan Darnell did not exactly have a great time the last time he faced the White Sox and this time he is up against Chris Sale. Good luck with that.
  • The Blue Jays over the Astros: I'm trying to remember...the Astros already won their one game of the week right? Yup. So I am all set. J.A. Happ over Collin McHugh.
  • The Cardinals over the Brewers: The Cardinals have fully committed to Matt Adams and we'll see how that plays out. They did not address the offense which is been their problem. They just got more pitching. Speaking of pitching, Adam Wainwright needs to ace-up tonight against Wily Peralta.
  • The Pirates over the Diamondbacks: What a surprise that the Pirates stayed pat. Would you expect anything different. With all of the D-Backs problems, they trade Gerardo Parra, one of their better players? Okay. Edinson Volquez over Vidal Nuno.
  • The Braves over the Padres: I don't think the Braves are good enough and did not overly help themselves yesterday. But today is about the pitching match-up, which isn't great. But I guess I will take Mike Minor over Eric Stults.
  • The Cubs over the Dodgers: Upset pick! The Dodgers did nothing in the deadline!? Strange for them. And Dan Haren is still in the rotation and he has been brutal. Hmm.. I'll take the Cubs and Kyle Hendricks, who has been pitching great.
And the Game of the Day:
  • The Athletics over the Royals: It's Sonny Gray Day in Oakland and that is always one of my favorite picks. The guy is 12-3 after all. Jeremy Guthrie does not move me. But I am interested to see how the A's offense reacts without Cespedes.
Yesterday: 5-6, July Final: 211-170, Games of the Day: 64-49, Season: 894-745

Thursday, July 31, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Thursday: July 31, 2014

This is it. July has come to a close and another month of the season is in the books. There are two more to go and some of it will be determined by last minute deals that happen today. As always, some fan bases will be happy and some will be disappointed.
Speaking of disappointing, the picking day ended under .500 yesterday. The Game of the Day worked out okay, but little else did. The Kluber / Hernandez match-up could have gone either way, so that's okay. But sometimes teams lose to teams they shouldn't lose to and it's the old saw about on any given day, any one team can beat another. There were a lot of given days yesterday.
Thursday's picks:
  • The Tigers over the White Sox: I hesitate to pick the White Sox because starter, John Danks, might be traded before the game starts. While that leaves The Emoticon, Drew Smyly as the alternative, I'll still pick the Tigers.
  • The Cubs over the Rockies: The Rockies are starting Pedro Hernandez, a 25-year-old lefty from Venezuela who has logged 60+ innings in the Majors and has given up thirteen homers and only struck out 4.6 batters per nine. Yeah. I'll go with Jake Arrieta gentille Arrieta.
  • The Padres over the Cardinals: I don't know which fan base is more restless these days, the Cardinals' or the Yankees'. It's probably a tie. There has been a lot of talk about Shelby Miller and his disappointing season. But despite a bump in his last start, the reason for this pick is Odrisamer Despaigne.
  • The Orioles over the Angels: It's silly to pick against the Orioles these days. They just keep on winning and winning and winning. Remember all that Buster Olney talk about their tough schedule after the All Star Break? Forget that. Bud Norris over Tyler Skaggs.
  • The Nationals over the Phillies: The Phillies are sort of like the big car manufacturers of the 1980s. They just keep on doing what they are doing despite the world passing them by. If Cliff Lee makes his start tonight for them, it's a complete fail for the Phillies and their front office. Gio Gonzalez for the win.
  • The Indians over the MarinersZach McAllister's peripherals are better than his results. It looks like a command issue more than anything. If he throws strikes, he can win. Chris Young has to be perfect not to get clobbered. That is a tightrope.
  • The Reds over the Marlins: I saw that Tom Koehler was pitching for the Marlins and said, "Oh, I should pick them." But then I saw that Johnny Cueto was pitching for the Reds and say, "Maybe not."
  • The Royals over the Twins: How is Kevin Correia still in the rotation for the Twins? Sorry for the disrespect, but the guy has become a batting practice pitcher. Yordano Ventura should be better. If he isn't, I hate you Royals.
  • The Blue Jays over the Astros: The Blue Jays are fresh off of pounding the Red Sox into submission after doing the same to the Yankees. The Astros should be next. Drew Hutchison needs to be better, but if he is, he should best Jarred Cosart.
  • The Pirates over the Diamondbacks: Both Josh Collmenter and Jeff Locke gave up more than ten hits in their last starts. Ugh. Locke is much better at home than on the road. But the Pirates have the better team if the pitchers are considered equal.
And the Game of the Day:
  • The Dodgers over the Braves: Any time you have Clayton Kershaw on the mound and he as at home when doing so, you have to pick him. Julio Teheran is a talented pitcher who has been all over the place for some reason lately.
Yesterday: 7-8, July: 206-194, Games of the Day: 63-49, Season: 889-739

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Wednesday: July 30, 2014

Considering the picks yesterday started with a 6-0 run, I'm not very proud to have ended up the day with a 9-6 record. Even the Game of the Day did not make me proud even though it was correct. After all, the usually vaunted Yankee bullpen gave up seven runs in three innings to nearly blow the game. But when David Robertson gave up a well-struck fly ball in the ninth with the bases loaded to win it to record a save (after giving up two runs) he couldn't have been proud and I wasn't proud the feature was correct. Sheesh.
Oh, about the Marlins. They are surging. Now there is talk they are in the Jon Lester race. I was given this well-deserved message by a fellow Twitter writer:

Wednesday's picks:
  • The Rays over the Brewers: Can you pick against the Rays right now? Can you pick against David Price right now? I don't think so on either count. Oh, Yovani Gallardo might pitch well, but the Rays seem invincible at the moment.
  • The Mets over the PhilliesZack Wheeler and Kyle Kendrick both only have five wins in their 21 starts (each). That's about as equal as they get. Wheeler has really pitched well for two months. Kendrick has maybe a good game here or there.
  • The Reds over the DiamondbacksAlfredo Simon has struggled after the All Star Break and has lost two straight. Can he put it back together or again? Wade Miley was pitching much better until his last start. Tough call here. I am going with the Reds at home.
  • The Nationals over the Marlins: Hey, Real American...I truly am a slow learner. Tanner Roark has been like a metronome his last three starts: Seven innings, one run, five or six strikeouts. He's my guy. Brad Hand pitched well his last time out. Is he as good as Roark. I don't think so. But can he be for this start? Real American is all over me.
  • The Athletics over the Astros: This isn't so much a pick for Jason Hammel. I am never truly comfortable picking him. The fact is that Dallas Keuchel (rhymes with Michael) might be traded before this game starts.
  • The Pirates over the Giants: I hate this pick and this game. Charlie Morton is one reason. I never like picking him. Tim Lincecum is about as consistent as the direction of a Barry Sanders run. Who the heck knows.
  • The Angels over the Orioles: The Orioles are on a magical run. No doubt this pick is flying in the face of fortune. But it is based on the pitching line. When Garrett Richards gave up seven hits in his seven innings last time out, it was the first time since May 15 that he allowed more hits than innings pitched. He is a super talent. Kevin Gausman is talented too. He needs more command.
  • The Mariners over the Indians: Man, is this a tough pick. Corey Kluber is great. Felix Hernandez is great in spades. One of them is going to win 1-0 or 2-1 or something.
  • The Red Sox over the Blue JaysMark Buehrle might be the weak link of this pitching staff now after carrying them earlier in the season. He has lost his last six decisions covering nine games. Though in full disclosure, the Jays did win three of those no decision games. He also has a career WHIP against the Red Sox of nearly 1.5. Brandon Workman has a workman-like effort and wins.
  • The Rockies over the Cubs: Two terrible teams. Two pitchers not having pretty seasons. But Brett Anderson does have the benefit of two good starts in a row. Travis Wood only has one in a row. Gosh, why did I start doing this?
  • The Yankees over the RangersColby Lewis pitched a good game against the Yankees the last time out. But Mark Teixeira wasn't in the lineup and Brett Gardner wasn't unconscious. It all depends on Hiroki Kuroda who has been hit or miss this season.
  • The Royals over the Twins: You need to be Elijah to figure out the Royals. I know I can't and I have given up trying. Danny Duffy has been very good his last three starts. But that doesn't mean anything with the Royals. Phil Hughes sounds like a bad fit against the Royals' offense, but he could throw a complete game victory too. I don't know.
  • The Dodgers over the BravesAlex Wood has had a decent season for being an afterthought in the rotation. Zack Greinke should win this game, however.
  • The Padres over the CardinalsJesse Hahn chaka hahn is my guy. So I have to pick him. It helps that he faces Joe Kelly who Cardinal fans are starting to see is not the rotation stud they thought he was.
And the Game of the Day:
  • The Tigers over the White Sox: I correctly picked the White Sox yesterday as jumping all over Sanchez. But they won't do the same against Max Scherzer. Can you imagine the frenzy when he is a free agent this winter? Hector Noesi can only dream about those untold millions.
Yesterday: 9-6, July: 199-156, Games of the Day: 62-49, Season: 882-731

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Tuesday: July 29, 2014

July is winding down and I'll be a little sorry to see it go. Up here in the far north of Maine, our summer months are precious and August will pretty much be it for us for sun and warmth. July has also been a decent picking month here. At least it was much better than June. But last night wasn't so good.
I don't think I could have been any more wrong about the Red Sox winning, eh? 14-1 is about as close to being correct as reading an eye chart from half a mile. And then I was concerned about Jesse Chavez and rightly so as the A's lost to the Astros. It took fifteen innings for my pick of the Reds to be incorrect. And I was correct about the Nationals until Rafael Soriano entered the game. He was awful. Just awful and gave up four runs to blow the save. Those were some of the lowlights of the day.
Tuesday's picks:
  • The Orioles over the Angels: The O's have been very impressive on this extremely difficult stretch they have faced since the All Star Break. They have stilled a lot of doubters with their play. Chris Tillman remains solid if somewhat easy to hit, which is pretty much the same you can say about Jered Weaver. I like the O's at home.
  • The Mariners over the Indians: The Mariners are not scoring. And Trevor Bauer has been pitching pretty well over his last four starts. I just have a hard time picking against Hisashi Iwakuma at this point. Did you know that he has not walked a batter in his last five starts and has only walked eight batters all season?
  • The White Sox over the Tigers: This is an upset pick. Anibal Sanchez has been roughed up badly in three of his last four starts. He never seems to have a good second half of a season. But the biggest reason for the pick is Jose Quintana. The poor guy has pitched his heart out and has nothing to show for it with no decisions in his last four starts despite great pitching.
  • The Reds over the DiamondbacksMike Leake has not pitched particularly well. But even Leake at his worst is better than Trevor Cahill these days.
  • The Rays over the BrewersMatt Garza comes home to St. Pete. And the Rays will jump him and his ugly goatee. Alex Cobb will shut the Brewers down.
  • The Phillies over the MetsCole Hamels has really been impressive and is making contenders drool. Will a trade happen this week? I doubt it. Dillon Gee has fallen on hard times lately. Maybe home cooking will turn it around. But I have to go with Hamels.
  • The Red Sox over the Blue Jays: Yes, I am probably out of my mind. But hear me out. Marcus Stroman has been terrific. But he is due for a learning experience. Rubby De La Rosa has been much better at home than on the road. All those runs last night tuckered the Blue Jays out.
  • The Nationals over the Marlins: This game is a classic trap. If you have followed along with me this season, you know what I am talking about. Henderson Alvarez has been very good, especially at home and has surprised people. Stephen Strasburg has been mediocre, especially early in games and has become the anti-ace. So the pick would be the Marlins then. But it's a trap. The Nats will win.
  • The Rockies over the Cubs: Oh Edwin Jackson, I hate when you pitch. I just never know what he is going to do. Jorge De La Rosa, on the other hand, has been steady and good. So he is the pick.
  • The Royals over the TwinsRon Gardenhire is a beloved manager. But I think it is time to change the philosophy that he sets for the organization. Kyle Gibson is a case in point. He is a strike thrower. But he strikeouts hardly anyone. He'll have his good games, but he'll get creamed in others depending on where the ball bounces. James Shields takes this one.
  • The Athletics over the AstrosScott Feldman is in the top five over pitchers averaging the highest hard hit balls against in the Majors. He is getting lit up. The A's will oblige and Jeff Samardzija will continue to feel like he got out of jail.
  • The Dodgers over the Braves: Uh oh, I am picking against Aaron Harang. That can be dangerous although I still don't understand it. Instead I am picking Josh Beckett at home despite two out of his last three starts not going so well.
  • The Cardinals over the PadresLance Lynn has been on a prolonged good streak and he should like it in San Diego. The Cardinals should play well there since they don't hit homers anyway. Tyson Ross is pretty good for the Padres though.
  • The Giants over the PiratesFrancisco Liriano is somewhat back in last year's form. But I am feeling Tim Hudson tonight. I think the old guy will put his particular spin on this game and win it.
And the Game of the Day:
  • The Yankees over the Rangers: Maybe now that Joe Girardi is done throwing games away by resting regulars he'll break this three-game losing streak. Brandon McCarthy has been terrific for them. Nick Martinez pitched his best game against the Yankees, but I consider that in the fluke category.
Yesterday: 4-6, July: 190-150, Games of the Day: 61-49 (-1), Season: 873-725