Saturday, October 25, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Saturday: October 25, 2014

I was correct and I was wrong. I ultimately picked the Giants, which was wrong. But I did say the Giants would be in deep trouble if they did not get the lead off of Jeremy Guthrie in the first five innings. They did not and that was the correct part. Still, it ends my win streak and instead of finally bouncing back to .500 (from the lower depths), I am back to two games under for the post season.
Every game in a short series is important, but this one is really so. If the Giants go down, 3-1, then they are in a heap of trouble. But if they can tie the series, we will have a good long one where anything can happen. Will the Giants get it done? Let's take a look.
The pick:
The Royals over the Giants: Frankly, I do not trust either Jason Vargas for the Royals or Ryan Vogelsong for the Giants. They have similar meh stats for their careers, but have had success in the post season. In fact, Ryan Vogelsong has never lost a post season game and he has pitched quite a few of them. This post season is the first for Vargas and he has put two good games together even though the home run bug has plagued him a little bit. My big reason for picking the Royals is that Vogelsong simply does not go deep into games. He has averaged 5.77 innings per start this season and hasn't even gotten to the sixth inning in this post season. The middle of the Giants' bullpen is hard to choose at that point. Vargas does go deeper into games and even if he doesn't, the bullpen is killer all the way through. Key match-ups are Vargas against Hunter Pence and Buster Posey and perhaps, Michael Morse. Basically, if the Royals get to the sixth inning tied, they win.
Yesterday: 0-1, Post season: 13-15, Season: 1378-1105

Friday, October 24, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Friday: October 24, 2014

The World Series resumes tonight in San Francisco with the Giants and Royals each winning a game in Kansas City. I laugh when I see news outlets calling tonight's game a "Pivotal Game." Well, of course! The teams are tied and one team is going to go one up. That would be the definition of pivotal, would it not? We all need our headlines.
And tonight's pitching line is very interesting. Either pitcher could be brutal, or he could be brilliant. It's all a matter of how much they are able to throw the ball where they want to throw it. The go-go Royals can play gap ball and run like crazy. But the Giants can mash. It will be interesting.
Here is the pick:
  • The Giants over the RoyalsTim Hudson has not won a post season game since 2001. He has had one great start this post season and one not so great. He has not walked a batter and I don't suppose he will walk the free-swinging Royals. It is the ability to limit walks that I like him over Jeremy Guthrie. Guthrie is a true contact pitcher who relies on the good defense to keep his BABIP against down. He has the perfect team behind him to accomplish that for him. Hudson has gone deeper into his post season games which he needs to do tonight. The Giants don't need another bullpen fiasco. Guthrie will not go deep into the game. But the Royals' bullpen is lock down. The Giants must go ahead early and stay there. If they don't, they lose. Like I said, this is going to be very interesting. The Royals will miss having the DH.
Last time out: 1-0, Post Season: 13-14, Season: 1328-1104

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Corey Kluber and Clayton Kershaw win Walter Johnson Award

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA) has announced that Corey Kluber barely edged out Felix Hernandez for the American League Walter Johnson Award and that Clayton Kershaw won every vote for the National League award.
The official ballot of the General Chapter of the BBA (made up of writers who write generally about baseball and not about one particular team or area) had King Felix just barely ahead of Kluber. The BBA tallied all the ballots from the various chapters to come up with the winners of the award for 2014 which celebrates the best pitchers in each league.
Kershaw was also an overwhelming winner on the General Chapter's ballot with every first place vote except one. Take note of the fact that both winners share the exact same initials!
For the official announcement, press release and voting results, click the link in the first paragraph of this post to the official BBA site.
Congratulations to both Corey Kluber and Clayton Kershaw for their terrific seasons which earned these awards.

MLB Game Picks - Wednesday: October 22, 2014

Game One of the World Series went as I expected it to go and my overall post season record is inching closer to the .500 mark.  I figured the Royals would have trouble against Madison Bumgarner and they certainly did. I also thought that James Shields would get hit around a little bit and that happened as well. And once again, the visiting team won the opening game in a post season series. It has happened over and over again this year.
Hunter Pence sure is fun to watch, isn't he? He is like the Joe Everyman of baseball.
The home field advantage is broken. Like breaking a serve in tennis, the Giants have taken away the one big advantage the Royals had. But the Royals aren't dead yet. They have proven that they cannot beat one of the best pitchers in baseball and a true post season stud. Tonight is a different story and it is a truly perplexing game to pick. Let's look at it closely.
The pick:
  • The Royals over the Giants: First, Jake Peavy is a long shot to be effective. He now has an ERA over seven in his post season career. Add that to the fact that Peavy is 1-5 lifetime at Kauffman Stadium with a 6.42 ERA and you have a recipe for good things to happen for the Royals. The question is: What can we expect from Yordano Ventura? He is not exactly predictable. He was great against the Angels in the ALDS but was accosted a bit by the Orioles in the ALCS. And that's the problem. He is inconsistent. He is slightly better at home in his career with better control than on the road. I think he will be okay tonight. Peavy will get a short leash and a lot will depend on how many runs the Royals can score early. If they fail to push across runs against Peavy, they will have trouble winning the game. All things considered, I have to go with the Royals in this one.
Yesterday: 1-0, Post Season: 12-14, Season: 1377-1104

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Tuesday: October 21, 2014

Hey! Remember baseball? They play it again tonight after what seems like forever. And not only is it baseball, it is one of the most unlikely World Series encounters in memory. Two teams that started out as wild card teams battle it out for the title. It's the San Francisco Giants at the Kansas City Royals for Game One.
As my 11-14 record indicates for the post season, this has been a wacky ride to get to this point. Home field advantage has meant nothing. Will it matter what happened at the All Star Game back in July? The way the rest of this post season has played, I doubt it. That might mess the Royals up since they won't be the underdogs here.
My initial call is the Giants in six. They will complete their every other year trifecta.  But let's take it a game at a time starting tonight:
The Pick:
The Giants over the Royals: As mentioned, home field advantage has meant nothing in this post season. I think only one opening game of a series thus far was won by the home team. Madison Bumgarner has been amazing. James Shields has been pretty darned good himself. But if you go by talent alone, you have to go with Bumgarner. The Royals revolve around running the bases and playing small ball. But you have to get on base in order for that to happen. A key match-up will be MadBum against Billy Butler. It will be interesting.
The last time we played: 1-0, Post Season: 11-14, Season: 1376-1104

Monday, October 20, 2014

Dellin Betances and Craig Kimbrel earn Goose Gossage Awards

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA) has announced today that Dellin Betances of the New York Yankees has won the American League Goose Gossage Award as the year's best relief pitcher and Craig Kimbrel of the Atlanta Braves has earned his fourth consecutive nod as the best relief pitcher of the National League for 2014. See the link for the details.
The General Chapter of the BBA is made up of generalist baseball bloggers (not focusing on one team or one area) and that chapter's official ballot had Betances beat by one vote by Wade Davis, but agreed to the Kimbrel selection. That ballot was compiled with all of the other chapters of the BBA to come up with the eventual winners.
The General Chapter salutes both Betances and Kimbrel for their fine seasons in 2014.