Thursday, April 24, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Thursday: April 24, 2014

Let's tally the damage. The Tigers pick was going well until they gave up an eighth inning grand slam. The Rockies were tied with the Giants and in extra innings when they too gave up a grand slam. The Angels had a lead going into the ninth and Frieri does what he does best and gave up four runs to lose it. The Cubs were winning, 5-2 on their Wrigley birthday party bash. They gave up five runs in the ninth. Poof. By my count, that is at least four games which if it wasn't for relief pitching would have given me eleven correct picks. But I did not get eleven correct picks.

I still refuse to believe Aaron Harang is this good.

There are eleven games on the schedule tonight. Imagine all the things that could happen this time! 

The picks:
  • The Indians over the Royals: I rarely pick Bruce Chen on the road. At home, yeah. Road, no. Corey Kluber is a solid MLB pitcher.
  • The Pirates over the Reds: The Pirates need a win here. Brandon Cumpton is back from the minors and I'm not sure why he did not make the team in the first place. He is solid with excellent control. Tony Cingrani has that silly streak of five or less hits, but if he gives up four runs in four innings, does it all become meaningless?
  • The Tigers over the White Sox: It seems once again that the Tigers are going to toy with the AL Central all year. They never win as often as they seem like they should. Look for a good outing by Max Scherzer and a low scoring game with Jose Quintana.
  • The Rays over the Twins: This pick was wrong yesterday. So, it is hard to be confident, especially with Erik Bedard on the mound. I just never know what to expect from Ricky Nolasco.
  • The Cardinals over the Mets: A steady diet of Bartolo Colon fastballs does not sound like a good thing for the Mets. They should wreak Shrek. Lance Lynn is already 4-0. But we have seen this before, haven't we?
  • The Cubs over the Diamondbacks: Keep Pedro Strop out of this game and we're cool. Edwin Jackson is never fun to pick.  Mike Bolsinger has strikeouts, but not much else going for him.
  • The Nationals over the Padres: I do feel pretty good about this pick. Jordan Zimmermann should be fine at home and beat the Padres and Eric Stults.
  • The Blue Jays over the Orioles: Yeah, it did not work out yesterday. But I do like Drew Hutchison today much better than I like Bud Norris. Norris always finds a way to lose a game.
  • The Athletics over the Astros: Poor Brett Oberholtzer. He keeps pitching great and will end up 0-17 or something. Scoll Kazmir has his best Led Zeppelin vibe going on right now. Wo-0h wo-oh.
  • The Dodgers over the Phillies: Dan Haren is 3-0, which is pretty scary. Why? Because you don't expect him to be 3-0 and expect it to continue. The other option is picking Kyle Kendrick. Not a bad pick, but the Dodgers should win.
And the Game of the Day:
  • The Red Sox over the Yankees: CC Sabathia NEVER pitches well at Fenway. They kill him every time. Felix Doubront has to be Dr. Jekyll today instead of Mr. Hyde for the Red Sox to win.
Yesterday: 7-8, Games of the Day: 10-10, Season: 183-136

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Are the Braves good or what?

The Atlanta Braves are a weird team. Last night's game against the Marlins showed it all too. The Braves pitched brilliantly, but could not hit and struck out fifteen times. The Braves have pitched brilliantly all season--good enough to build a terrific 13-7 record. But the offense is so hit or miss that one wonders how far the team can go. Are the Braves good or what?
The projection systems are not kind to the Braves. PECOTA still thinks the Braves will only go 71-71 the rest of the season and give the Nationals the NL East crown. But that was supposed to happen last year too and did not. Will the Braves' pitching stay this good? And will the offense get more consistent?
The pitching was supposed to be a problem. They lost Mike Minor. They lost Kris Medlen. They lost Brandon Beachy. That was supposed to sink the team. But the rotation has been fabulous.
Ervin Santana has terrific and sports an 0.86 ERA. Aaron Harang's ERA is at 0.70. Julio Teheran is at 1.80. Alex Wood is at 1.50 and even David Hale is holding his own at 2.93. And that starting pitching has been aided greatly by a rangy defense which is itself a bit of an up and down.
The Braves get to more balls than anyone else, but they have the second lowest fielding percentage in baseball too. But since the former is so much more important than the latter, it works. And it can only help the pitchers. In fact, the pitching staff has only a .275 BABIP against.
The BABIP figure is one that makes you wonder about how good the pitching will remain. If the BABIP normalizes somewhat, then their current success cannot sustain. The same can be said for the team's strand rate. That strand rate is currently at 79.5, the second highest in baseball. Can that be sustained? One statistic that is not luck dependent is keeping the ball in the ballpark. The Braves are doing really well there.
The Braves have had the best bullpen for years. But that bullpen is a bit in flux right now. Craig Kimbrel has been dealing with soreness and Braves' fans are holding their collective breaths. He is still striking out batters like some super-human. But he has given up three earned runs in his last two outings.
The rest of the bullpen has been a bit of a mess, frankly. Bullpens are the easiest things to fix, however, so that is not a big worry. Kimbrel has to remain healthy for the Braves bullpen mystique to continue.
Then there is the offense. The Braves have four starters with a wOBA of less than .300. They are second in baseball in strikeout percentage and only 21st in walk percentage. Justin Upton, one player who has an excellent wOBA, has struck out 35.9% of the time. Chris Johnson has walked only once all season.
Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton are both struggling at the plate again this season. Both have really high strikeout rates and really low on-base percentages. Jason Heyward has struggled. Evan Gattis has struggled up until recently and his backup at catcher, Gerald Laird, hasn't hit at all.
And yet the team if fifth in baseball in home runs. You just have to wonder what kind of offense this is going to be and how it will all play out. You just have to go back to last year and remember how the team's defense and pitching bailed out its spotty offense and took them to the post season.
Then again, Freddie Freeman is a star and Andrelton Simmons' offense is starting to catch up to his defense.
The Atlanta Braves were not supposed to win the division last year. But they did. They were not supposed to be on top of the division this year. But there they are. Somehow, the team gets it done. You just have to wonder sometimes if it will all crash and burn somehow. The post asks if the Braves are good or what. After writing it, I still have no idea.

MLB Game Picks - Wednesday: April 23, 2014

Tuesday was an 8-7 day. Blah. And the Game of the Day was wrong again. That feature is stuck in mud this season. There were two extra-inning games that could have gone either way. Both went the wrong way. Jose Fernandez was not at home, but he might as well of been as he was nearly perfect against the Braves. Madison Bumgarner could not get any run support. And the Astros beat the Mariners again as Collin McHugh was unbelievable. It was a Laodicea night. Big congrats to Albert Pujols for hitting homers 499 and 500.

Here are Wednesday's picks:
  • The Marlins over the Braves: I refuse to believe that Aaron Harang is real. I refuse to believe that Aaron Harang is real. I refuse...Oh well. I'm still going with Nathan Eovaldi.
  • The Cubs over the Diamondbacks: What the heck, right? The Cubs have won both so far and the Dbacks look dead on arrival. I might as well go with Jeff Samardzija over Wade Miley.
  • The Rockies over the Giants: I can tell that the Rockies are going to confuse me all season. If I pick Tyler Chatwood to do Tyler Chatwood things, he will pitch great. If I don't...he will probably lose. Matt Cain has not looked pretty thus far.
  • The Rangers over the Athletics: I always pick Sonny Gray. Always. But he faces Martin Perez tonight and Perez has been outstanding. Egads! This one could go either way.
  • The Mariners over the Astros: It makes perfect sense in baseball's nonsensical way that the Mariners would get their first win of the series with Chris Young on the mound. Jarred Cosart goes for the Astros.
  • The Angels over the Nationals: It would make sense to pick Gio Gonzalez here except the Angels' best players bat right-handed. And Jered Weaver is capable of being as good as Gio.
  • The Reds over the Pirates: The Alfredo Simon bubble has to burst here some time. That's what scares me here. And just when you count out Charlie Morton, watch him pitch well. Why did I start doing this five years ago?
  • The Indians over the Royals: This pick all depends on how well Justin Masterson pitches. Jason Vargas will keep the Royals in the game. Ever since I wrote about Salvador Perez two weeks ago, he hasn't had a hit since.
  • The Blue Jays over the Orioles: Even if Chris Tillman is better than Dustin McGowan, the Orioles' bullpen is so bad that it won't matter. What a disaster for the O's.
  • The Tigers over the White Sox: The Emoticon, Drew Smyly hasn't been great, but he should be tonight and Andre Rienzo is a fringe Major League pitcher. Miguel Cabrera is going to get hot now.
  • The Bay Rays over the Twins: Jake Odorizzi should be fine in that horrible St. Pete dome. Mike Pelfrey, on the other hand will land in a pear tree.
  • The Red Sox over the Yankees: Last night was too easy for the Yankees and makes me suspicious. John Lackey will have a good night and Michael Pineda will not. That's the call.
  • The Cardinals over the Mets: I sure wish baseball-reference.com would figure out how it wants to spell Jon Niese's name. No matter how they spell it, Niese should lose tonight to Michael Wacha, wacha, wacha.
  • The Brewers over the Padres: Tyson Ross has pitched two outstanding games in a row for the Padres. But I can't pick against Kyle Lohse at home.
And the Game of the Day:
  • The Dodgers over the Phillies: Zack Greinke should be better than the first start of the year of Cole Hamels. It would be nice if Greinke could keep his pitch count down for a change so he can last longer than Hamels does.
Yesterday: 8-7, Games of the Day: 9-10, Season: 176-128

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Tuesday: April 22, 2014

So yesterday, I am sitting at 9-3 heading into the Game of the Day, which was a lock. There was no way that Felix Hernandez is going to lose to the .194 batting Houston Astros, right? Right? Come on, now. That pick was a lock. That pick was one of the surest of the season. Which just goes to show you what a great game baseball is because on any given night, truly, anything can happen.

We are back to a full schedule tonight (alas, no day games). Here are Tuesday's picks:
  • The Angels over the Nationals: I get a terrible vibe watching the Nationals. I don't know what it is. On the other hand, the Angels are playing like they have nothing to lose and getting good pitching is key. As such, I like Tyler Skaggs a lot. And so far, Taylor Jordan has not been very impressive.
  • The Pirates over the Reds: How does Pittsburgh turn around bad pitchers so well? Edinson Volquez has looked great. Johnny Cueto is capable of a shutdown game at any time though. So this pick depends on which pitcher comes out hot.
  • The Royals over the Indians: James Shields has been much better than people think. And he should be a better pick than Danny Salazar who has been striking out like ten batters in four or five innings, but gets losses while he is at it.
  • The Blue Jays over the Orioles: Okay, this pick is a trap and I recognized it. R.A. Dickey has been terrible and that would make me pick the Orioles, and then the Blue Jays would win and I would be feeling stupid. Too bad I'm smarter than that. Miguel Gonzalez goes for the O's.
  • The Tigers over the White Sox. The Tigers have not been playing well. Has Miguel Cabrera forgotten how to hit? Anyway, they should win this one. Justin Verlander should win at home and Charlie Leesman has never shown command whether in the Majors or the Minors.
  • The Braves over the Marlins: The Braves just keep rolling along somehow. They are fortunate to get Jose Fernandez on the road and not at home. And Alex Wood has been terrific.
  • The Bay Rays over the Twins: David Price should bounce back after his last start against the Yankees and Kyle Gibson can't win all of his starts, can he?
  • The Red Sox over the Yankees: If Masahiro Tanaka has a great splitter tonight, he should neutralize David Ortiz. But that doesn't mean he will. And Jon Lester has been very good. That means the game might be decided by the bullpen and there the Red Sox are much better.
  • The Cardinals over the Mets: The Cards got smoked last night by Mejia. And they face another tough pitcher in Dillon Gee tonight. But Adam Wainwright is supposed to come up big in games like this. It's his job.
  • The Cubs over the Diamondbacks: This worked yesterday proving that the DBacks might be the worst team in the NL. So let's pile on, shall we? It's the American Way. Jason Hammel over Brandon McCarthy.
  • The Brewers over the Padres: Yovani Gallardo is usually money at his home park and the Padres are really struggling on offense. So I think they win no matter how well Ian Kennedy pitches.
  • The Giants over the Rockies: This one is tough. Madison Bumgarner has an ERA over four at Coors but has won four out of eight decisions there. Franklin Morales has pitched four times and his only bad start was his one start at home. So there you go.
  • The Rangers over the Athletics: Nick Martinez looks like a really good pitcher. So let's go with that because Tommy Milone is simply a pitcher I have never had much success picking over the years.
  • The Mariners over the Astros: Collin McHugh gets the start for the Astros and he has never shown any ability to get Major League hitters out. Sure, it's a small sample size, but you have to show me to make me believe. Erasmo Ramirez with the win.
And the Game of the Day!
  • The Dodgers over the Phillies: I really like Hyun-jin Ryu at home against the Phillies in this one. A.J. Burnett was pretty filthy in his last start. But can he do it twice in a row?
Yesterday: 9-4, Games of the Day: 9-9, Season: 168-121

Monday, April 21, 2014

Eight things to know about Charlie Blackmon

One of the biggest surprises of the 2014 season thus far has been Charlie Blackmon of the Colorado Rockies. He leads the National League in hits and is among the league leaders in fWAR. He has played all three outfield positions and played them better than league average and is a better than league average base runner. His current wOBA is a fairly amazing .449.
  1. While Blackmon is in his first full season with the Rockies, he has played parts of three other seasons and he is not some young phenom. He is 27-years-old and probably at the peak of his physical playing abilities.
  2. Blackmon has a career batting average of .306 after a career minor league batting average of .309. So hitting above .300 is not a stretch for Charlie Blackmon. Hitting over .400 certainly is a stretch. His BABIP currently sits at .413, which is hardly sustainable. The odds of him batting over .300 are very good though.
  3. He scores equally proficient at all three outfield positions. Though he is primarily a center fielder and has been most of his career. CarGo likes to play there though, so expect Blackmon to continue moving around.
  4. Charlie Blackmon has not yet shown the kind of plate discipline he showed in the minors. While his 5.3% walk rate is double what it was in the Majors last season, it is half of what he did in the minors. He is currently swinging at 35% of pitches outside the strike zone. His walk rate should improve as he continues his MLB career. His MLB career on-base percentage is .337, which is not good enough to lead off. But it was over .370 in the minors.
  5. Blackmon makes a lot of contact and does not swing and miss very often. Currently, Blackmon has the fifth highest contact percentage in baseball. In other words, he puts the ball in play. His swing and miss rate is paltry at 4.5%.
  6. His batted ball rates are conducive to a high BABIP. He has good speed, so his 50% ground ball rate works for him. His ground ball rate is high for him currently and he should level out to about 45%. But his career line drive percentage is 22.8% and that works very well in his favor too.
  7. Blackmon's arm is the weakest part of his defensive game. His arm scores a 48 and his arm accuracy is also a 48. So if you need a guy thrown out at the plate to win a game, Blackmon is not your guy.
  8. Charlie Blackmon is officially a product of Coors Field. Coors Field colors a lot of players because of how offensively well it plays. Thus is it hard for guys like Walker and Helton of the past to get much respect. Blackmon will be another one of those guys. Blackmon is batting .486 with a 1.284 OPS at home and .313 with a .746 OPS on the road. Six of his eight extra base hits have also occurred in Coors. For his career, those numbers are just as bent. He has a career batting average of .362 at home with an OPS of .905 and .254 on the road with an OPS of .655. That is a very dramatic swing. Batting left-handed, he does not have a big swing in his splits against left-handed pitching, however.
Conclusions: I don't see it beyond the realm of imagination for Charlie Blackmon to hit .320 or higher for the season. Of course he won't hit .400 like he is now. But his walk rate should get better as he gets more comfortable too. He should steal thirty bases or so at his current rate and play excellent defense wherever he is in the outfield. And it is good to keep in mind that he is not nearly the same player on the road as he is at home.

MLB Game Picks - Monday: April 21, 2014

Sunday was my second straight 9-6 day. There were three or four picks that were correct for seven innings. But we do not play seven innings, thank goodness, we play nine. And may that never change, Mr. Anonymous Buster Olney source.

My son, who reads these missives every day asked me politely never to pick the Yankees to win because doing so guarantees them a loss. Oh the power that I have here! I have had the same request from Cardinal fans in the past. Heh.

There are thirteen games on the schedule today which is not bad. And today is Patriots Day in Massachusetts and Maine and that means the Red Sox play in the morning. Here are the picks:
  • The Red Sox over the Orioles: Much of this pick will depend on how good Clay Buchholz is today. The Red Sox will score a few off of Wei-Yin Chen, but Buchholz has to hold the Orioles to less.
  • The Angels over the Nationals: I like Garrett Richards in this one over Tanner Roark. How did we get two "Tanners" in baseball? It's not like anyone in this country tans leather anymore. That is all done overseas now. I used to work in a tannery. I bet you didn't know that...or care.
  • The Pirates over the Reds: I am a little concerned so far with Francisco Liriano, but if he is on, the Pirates are not going to hit him. Mike Leake can be had though. Neal Walker is off to a great start, but Andrew McCutchen is scuffling.
  • The Indians over the Royals: The Indians came alive a bit over the weekend with a couple of comeback wins. I like Zach McAllister over Jeremy Guthrie.
  • The Tigers over the White Sox: This pick was wrong yesterday by fourteen runs. I have had a fourteen-run bad pick and a fifteen-run bad pick in the last two days. But I still like Anibal Sanchez over John Danks.
  • The Braves over the Marlins: The Marlins are raising cane at home, but not so much on the road. Tom Koehler will be somewhat stingy, but Julio Teheran is just too good for the Braves.
  • The Cardinals over the Mets: I don't know how good Tyler Lyons will be. I am not expecting much, put it that way. And Jenrry Mejia is very good. So why am I picking the Cardinals? Because they are a much better team.
  • The Cubs over the Diamondbacks: This will be a true test of how bad the Diamondbacks are. If they cannot beat the Cubs, they are really that bad. I would take Travis Wood over Bronson Arroyo.
  • The Brewers over the Padres: It looks like we are going to have to believe in the Brewers as they are not sinking at all. Wily Peralta goes for them and Andrew Cashner goes for the Padres. This is a good pitching match-up.
  • The Rockies over the Giants: This is one of those games where Coors will make the difference for the Rockies. I have no expectation that Ryan Vogelsong can pitch well there whereas Jorge De La Rosa at least has a chance to be decent today.
  • The Rangers over the Athletics: Most of my gut tells me to pick the A's. But if Yu Darvish is on, forget about it for the A's. Dan Straily is not nearly as good as Darvish. In other words, I haven't a clue.
  • The Phillies over the Dodgers: Cliff Lee has to get some run support sooner or later. And he is much better than Paul Maholm. The only troubling aspect here is that the Dodgers are not bothered much by left-handed pitchers.
And the Game of the Day!
  • The Mariners over the Astros: There is clear separation between these two teams this year and Felix Hernandez is on the mound. That's all I need to know. It does not even matter what Dallas Keuchel does.
Yesterday: 9-6, Games of the Day: 9-8, Season: 159-117

Sunday, April 20, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Sunday: April 20, 2014

Happy Easter to everyone who observes the day.

Yesterday was a better day than the previous two, that's for sure. It still wasn't great, but it was better. Picking the Yankees was a joke. I mean a real haha kind of joke. But again, at least it was a positive day instead of a negative.

Here are Sunday's picks:
  • The Blue Jays over the Indians: Carlos Carrasco is probably not as he has pitched so far. But even at his best, he isn't great either. Brandon Morrow is confusing. But he seems the better pick here. The Indians are confusing as a team so far too.
  • The Tigers over the Angels: This pick depends totally on how good or not Rick Porcello is today. Hector Santiago is a pretty good pitcher for the Angels and his left-handed offerings will affect some on the Tigers. But I have to go with the Tigers at home.
  • The Mets over the Braves: Zack Wheeler and David Hale are both young pitchers. But Wheeler has the superior stuff. But will he be in the strike zone? Ah, one never knows. If he is not, this pick blows up.
  • The Marlins over the Mariners: Something is going on down in Miami. That team seems pretty alive this year. I feel stupid picking Kevin Slowey to win, but then again, it feels stupider to pick Brandon Maurer. So there you go.
  • The Pirates over the Brewers: The Pirates sure blew that game yesterday and that makes me worry about this pick. But the natural tendency is to question yourself over a bad pick and second guess it. I am trying to avoid that by being more swayed by the match-ups. I like Gerrit Cole more than Marco Estrada especially Estrada on the road.
  • The Nationals over the Cardinals: I refuse to believe Stephen Strasburg is not the big old stud that we keep thinking he is. He has not looked like one so far and the biggest concern is that his off-speed stuff looks really flat. Shelby Miller gave hope to Cards' fans his last time out, which is scary for this pick. And of course, we'll have to see what happens from the stupid Williams decision from yesterday.
  • The Rays over the Yankees: I am not ever again going to pick the Yankees when they are at Tropicana Field. That place has been such death to them over the years. And I don't care if they are facing Cesar Ramos because they are countering with Vidal Nuno. Oh boy.
  • The Royals over the Twins: Good old frustrating and completely undependable Phil Hughes. Picking him would be stupid. On the other hand, Yordano Ventura is always an event when he pitches.
  • The Reds over the Cubs: This pick did not work out yesterday and is a bit dicey today too. Homer Bailey should win every game with his stuff. But when he is off, homers happen frequently. Carlos Villanueva was shelled his last time out. So who knows.
  • The Rangers over the White Sox: I like Robbie Ross, Jr. I don't like Erik Johnson so much. All other things being considered, this pick seems easy.
  • The Athletics over the Astros: Jesse Chavez has been pitching really well. So I have to stick with him for now. Brad Peacock will always seem like a fringe pitcher to me.
  • The Dodgers over the Diamondbacks: Josh Beckett is an enigma. I don't know if he will ever be consistently good again. But he is far and away a better option than Josh Collmenter. Collmenter is better in the bullpen. I just noticed that this is a battle of Josh.
  • The Rockies over the Phillies: Roberto Hernandez in Coors really scares the heck out of me. Juan Nicasio is a much better pick here.
  • The Giants over the Padres: It is amazing how fast the Giants can go flat on offense. I like Tim Lincecum in that big ballpark in San Diego. Robbie Erlin has been pretty good though. If the Giants don't hit, they don't win.
And the Game of the Day!
  • The Red Sox over the Orioles: Ubaldo Jimenez has been terrible thus far and faces a patient and potent Red Sox attack. Jake Peavy is the better option here, especially at Fenway Park.
Yesterday: 9-6, Games of the Day: 8-8, Season: 150-111

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Matt Williams' public call out of Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper mysteriously disappeared from the Washington Nationals game against the Cardinals. There was speculation that he had re-injured himself. But after the game, Matt Williams made it clear that Harper was pulled for lack of hustle. And Williams made quite a big deal of the decision.
Williams indicated that he had an agreement with Harper about the way the game was played and Harper did not hold up his end of the bargain. Williams then went on to say that later in the game, Harper was not in the game in a situation where Harper could have helped the Nationals win which was unfortunate with his fellow players.
I have three basic problems with this entire situation:
  1. Harper has always been known as a hustling player. If anything, complaints in the past have been that Harper plays too hard!
  2. The play in question was a when Harper hit a one bounce comeback hit to the pitcher. Even if Harper hustled, he would not have gotten half way to first before the play was over.
  3. Williams called out a player, or an employee if you will, in public.
Matt Williams made a classic mistake that new managers often make in the real world. Being newly in charge, new managers think they have to be tough and forget all about what it was like to be an employee.
In the real world, you never want to call an employee out in the public and in front of their peers. Embarrassment leads to inner anger as it is a blow to the ego. Discipline is always best handled in private in a closed door meeting.
Williams clearly overplayed his hand in this situation and it will be interesting to see if his actions will lead to problems in the clubhouse going forward.

MLB Game Picks - Saturday: April 19, 2014

Wow! I am in a slump. The last two days have gone 10-17. Yuck! I haven't been able to pick a duck from a goose these last two days. I made a joke about Jered Weaver throwing a gem. He threw a gem. I picked the Mets to win!? Really? Of course, had I know they would trade Ike Davis on Passover, I would have known maybe. I stole that joke from Wendy Thurm. Come on, William, buckle down and let's get this right.

Saturday's picks:
  • The Cardinals over the Nationals: I have the same situation as I had with Weaver yesterday. Jordan Zimmermann has been terrible thus far. If today is his discovery day, the pick is messed up. Lance Lynn goes for the Cards.
  • The Indians over the Blue Jays: The Blue Jays won yesterday and I think Jose Reyes comes off the DL today. But I like Corey Kluber at home over Mark Buehrle.
  • The Tigers over the Angels: Mike Trout and Albert Pujols combined for ten total bases yesterday. If that happens again, the pick is dead. But again, I like Max Scherzer at home over C.J. Wilson.
  • The Red Sox over the Orioles: The Red Sox should jump all over Bud Norris (though he pitched well last time). My only concern is Felix Doubront who has been all over the place thus far.
  • The Royals over the Twins: Bruce Chen at home? Oh yeah, that's a keeper. He has the most amazing home/road splits of all time. Kevin Correia doesn't scare me on this pick.
  • The Reds over the Cubs: Tony Cingrani is pitching and I root for Italians. Hey, every prognosticator has their peccadilloes. Edwin Jackson is pitching for the Cubs and even if he does well, his team is not hitting.
  • The Athletics over the Astros: Poor Brett Oberholtzer has been pitching so well and is 0-3. Oh, the plight of a pitcher for a bad team. Teams like the A's pick up guys like Scott Kazmir and they just work out. Pretty amazing that.
  • The Brewers over the Pirates: This is another Jered Weaver situation. Wandy Rodriguez has not been able to put it together. He has looked terrible. Will today be the day he puts it together? The Brewers best hitters are right-handed, so I don't think it will happen. Matt Garza gets his first Brewers win.
  • The Yankees over the Rays: This pick is totally based on the good Ivan Nova to show up. If the bad one shows up. Uh oh. Plus, Chris Archer has had the Yankees' number, but if I pick it that way, it will go the opposite way. Boy, two bad days really plays with your head.
  • The Mariners over the Marlins: Roenis Elias will be pretty darned close to his Cuban home in Miami. He's been pretty good. Henderson Alvarez has not been good at all. The Marlins walked off yesterday. Today is a different day.
  • The White Sox over the Rangers: The Rangers should have saved some of those runs. They will need them today. Jose Quintana is a good pitcher and Colby Lewis scares me to death.
  • The Dodgers over the Diamondbacks: Mike Bolsinger is making his first MLB start. I never like those situations. So I am going with Dan Haren and the Dodgers, especially at home.
  • The Rockies over the Phillies: Jordan Lyles is inducing twice as many ground balls as fly balls. That is perfect for Coors. Kyle Kendrick at Coors doesn't sound fun.
  • The Giants over the Padres: Tim Hudson was built to pitch in San Diego's park. Eric Stults is a mystery.
And the Game of the Day!
  • The Braves over the Mets: Ervin Santana has been very good. Bartolo Colon has not been very good and his back hurts. Not good for the Mets.
Yesterday: 6-9, Games of the Day: 7-8, Season: 141-105

Friday, April 18, 2014

MLB Game Picks - Friday: April 18, 2014

Yesterday was brutal. The picks got their butts paddled like those guys in the movie, "Turning 21." Yes, the things we will watch for our teenage children. The Twins? What is with the Twins!? Sabathia was good while David Price was bad!? A.J. Burnett, who has looked like the Yankees' version all season thus far throws a gem!? Why would I pick the Astros to win!? And there were two great pitching match-ups yesterday. Both went against me.

But, we move on. Baseball is an every day sport. So, like Joe Maddon said in his tweet last night, "When you let it bother you, that's when it gets more profound." Okay, Joe.

Friday's picks:
  • The Reds over the Cubs: Alfredo Simon has been incredibly good thus far as a starter. Will that continue? Not likely. But the Cubs can't hit. Jeff Samardzija spits into the wind.
  • The Pirates over the Brewers: Yesterday's whipping kind of rips away the Brewers' 2014 mystique. Charlie Morton over Kyle Lohse. I'm not sure about this pick because Morton is always a scary deal.
  • The Nationals over the Cardinals: Left handed pitching has the Cards a more of a chance to lose than the opposite and Gio Gonzalez is a good one. Michael Wacha can shut the Nats down though and if that happens, anything can happen.
  • The Indians over the Blue Jays: The Blue Jays got spanked by Minnesota. So you would think the Indians could beat them too, especially at home. Justin Masterson has to pitch well and Drew Hutchison can be very good at times too.
  • The Tigers over the Angels: Jered Weaver has looked awful. Watch him throw a gem tonight. Heh. Drew Smyly <--the Emoticon goes for the Tigers.
  • The Mets over the Braves: There is no way that Aaron Harang is this good. The coach has to turn into the pumpkin and it has to be midnight soon. Jonathon Niese isn't a great option either.
  • The Yankees over the Bay Rays: The Yankees have caught the Rays in a down time. Erik Bedard is the wild card here and Hiroki Kuroda needs to be good for the pick to come in.
  • The Marlins over the Mariners: Nathan Eovaldi is starting to convince me. Chris Young can't put two good performances in a row in, can he?
  • The Rangers over the White Sox: Martin Perez has been very good. Felipe Paulino has been very bad. Thus are the basis of some picks made.
  • The Red Sox over the Orioles: The Red Sox are starting to look resilient again. You didn't think they were going to stay bad, did you? John Lackey over Chris Tillman.
  • The Royals over the Twins:  I keep rubbing my eyes and when they clear, the Twins keep winning and I keep picking against them. We all have our weaknesses. Jason Vargas over Ricky Nolasco.
  • The Phillies over the Rockies: You just know that the score of this one will be like 10-9 or something, right? Jonathan Pettibone versus Tyler Chatwood means a wild night at Coors.
  • The Athletics over the Astros: You know that Sonny Gray is my guy, right? I never pick against him. He is like that Strat-O-Matic baseball pitcher that you pitch every night and he wins 30 games in a season. Jerred Cosart has his good moments.
  • The Giants over the Padres: Tyson Ross was very good in his last start and so was Matt Cain. So this is a tough call. I'm going with the Giants.
And the Game of the Day!
  • The Dodgers over the Diamondbacks: The Dbacks haven't beat the Dodgers all year and are 4-14. They face Zack Greinke. They pitch Wade Miley. None of this is looking good.
Yesterday: 4-8 Oof, Games of the Day: 7-7 Come on now! Season: 135-96