MLB Game Picks – Thursday: September 18, 2014

The definition of a good picking night for me is when twice as many picks are correct than incorrect. Call it my “quality start.” By that definition, last night was a good one as the picks went 10-5. What impressed me the most (hey, nobody else is going to pat me on the back!) was picking the Cubs and not only picking the Cubs but making them the Game of the Day. Righteous!

Of the five that were incorrect, I had warned myself about picking James Paxton against the Angels. But I didn’t listen and C.J. Wilson was much better. I picked both New York teams incorrectly. The Yankees won and the Mets lost. I had them both the other way around.

Thursday’s picks in a light schedule day:

  • The Athletics over the Rangers: The Rangers have had a nice little run, but that will end today against Sonny Gray and the A’s. Nick Martinez will try to keep it going for the Rangers, but I don’t see it today.
  • The Yankees over the Blue Jays: Both of these teams have stumbled and bumbled and the Blue Jays were crushed by the Orioles. Shane Greene is a mixed bag so who knows how good he will be. R.A. Dickey is a guy I always seem to pick against. But even Jeter can catch up to his stuff. The last homestand.
  • The Nationals over the Marlins: I hate picking teams that have clinched. The starters will only go five innings. The lineups will be sparse. It’s awkward and like picking Spring Training games. All that said, the Marlins are in a bad way without Stanton. Gio Gonzalez and Brad Hand are the starters.
  • The Dodgers over the Cubs: The Dodgers still have work to do. So Zack Greinke has to grind it out and go deep against Tsuyoshi Wada. I told you starting Frias was stupid. Now they have to work even harder.
  • The Indians over the Astros: I never know what to do with these two starters. Danny Salazar can be dominating or he could throw too many walks. Scott Feldman needs BABIP and great control. Sometimes it is there, sometimes not.
  • The Cardinals over the Brewers: Shelby Miller has really turned it on down the stretch and it couldn’t have come at a better time. The Cards’ old friend and golf partner, Kyle Lohse, goes for the Brewers. He might pitch tough.
  • The Diamondbacks over the Rockies: The two starters are a combined 2-16. Yeah, that’s fun to pick, especially at Coors. I cannot pick Yohan Flande, so I guess it’s Vidal Nuno. Yeesh.
  • The Phillies over the Padres: Okay, you win, Kyle Kendrick. I always pick against you and you always foil me. Well, here you go, Big Fella. It’s your pick. Robbie Erlin is like a blank slate to me. I don’t know him very well as a player.
  • The Mariners over the Angels: The M’s still have something to play for and Felix Hernandez needs two more good starts to seal the Cy Young Award. Jered Weaver can’t knock down a piece of cardboard with his fastball, but has won 17 games. Go figure. You know I don’t like to pick teams that just clinched.

And the Game of the Day:

  • The Pirates over the Red Sox: The poor Red Sox can’t get out of Pittsburgh fast enough. They are getting their fannies slapped. Brandon Workman has not performed as a starter and has proved he is a relief pitcher. Gerrit Cole will shut the feeble offense down.

Yesterday: 10-5, Sept.: 137-99, Games of the Day: 97-63 (+5), Season: 1267-1033

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Kevin Long will get the blame

I wrote a piece over at It’s About the Money on how Kevin Long will be the sacrificial lamb for this season’s New York Yankees offensive crater. Check it out.

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MLB Game Picks – Wednesday: September 17, 2014

Last night was fun to watch for a lot of Beltway fans as the Nationals and Orioles clinched their divisions. I feel happy for the fans of those teams as they get to celebrate (for now) the accomplishments of the teams. For others seeking the wild card, last night was a problem as several of them lost and that became a problem for me as I did not have a good night of picking at all.

I should have picked Jake Arrieta. Wow, what a game he had. I shouldn’t have picked the Royals when the best they could do was start Liam Hendriks. But KC’s vaunted bullpen let them down too. Speaking of bullpens, Trevor Rosenthal blew his sixth save and caused the Cards – Brewers game to go twelve innings and the Brewers won. And I lost. Heh.

Wednesday’s picks:

  • The Rockies over the Dodgers: Carlos Frias? Seriously, Dodgers? The poor guy hasn’t started since the minors and has to pitch at Coors Field. Nice. Jorge De La Rosa is my pick by default.
  • The Giants over the Diamondbacks: While the Dodgers are frittering around, they have kept the hopes alive for the Giants. The D-backs start Andrew Chafin, their 2011 first round draft pick. He was pretty good in his first start. I worry about his control in the long run. Madison Bumgarner becomes the difference here.
  • The Pirates over the Red Sox: Playing in an NL park hurts the Red Sox more than anyone else in the AL. Besides, the Pirates are playing for a goal and the Red Sox are just playing. Francisco Liriano over Clay Buchholz.
  • The Orioles over the Blue Jays: This will be the norm for the Orioles for the rest of the way with starters going five innings or so and Spring Training like lineups. I still have them beating J.A. Happ who has turned to mush.
  • The Mets over the Marlins: The Mets have pretty much owned Henderson Alvarez in his last two starts against them. Besides, Dillon Gee is a reliable starter for the Mets who are playing well despite their circumstances.
  • The Rays over the Yankees: The Yankees cannot beat Alex Cobb and they cannot hit to save themselves. Brandon McCarthy has been a nice addition for the Yankees but like all Yankee pitchers this year, he’ll have to be perfect. I hope there are no head huntings in this one.
  • The Braves over the Nationals: The Braves cannot hit either but have a chance at least against Blake Treinen. Alex Wood is good, which rhymes, and the Nationals might be hung over.
  • The White Sox over the Royals: Adam Eaton can be a force when he is healthy. Jose Abreu has been too quiet. But most importantly, Chris Sale is pitching. Yordano Ventura will try to keep up.
  • The Indians over the Astros: Carlos Carrasco has had a really nice season that nobody knows about. Brett Oberholtzer, again, is a hero for taking the ball week after week and doing his best with little support.
  • The Tigers over the Twins: Weird game last night. Joe Nathan blew it again and then blamed it on his outfielder. Nice. Hopefully for the Tigers, David Price will go deep and the Tigers will score often on Kyle Gibson.
  • The Cardinals over the Brewers: These are games an ace is supposed to win. Adam Wainwright needs to win. I am worried about how Mike Fiers reacts in his first start since breaking Giancarlo Stanton‘s face.
  • The Mariners over the Angels: I just love James Paxton. The kid is amazing. Of course, sooner or later, picking him is not going to work out. This might be the night as the Angels are mighty good. C.J. Wilson starts for the Angels.
  • The Rangers over the Athletics: Derek Holland has been amazing since returning to the Rangers. Three starts, seven innings in each start, 21 innings, two runs, no walks. Until he falters, I have to ride him. Jeff Samardzija goes for the A’s.
  • The Phillies over the Padres: This pick is based solely on the fact Cole Hamels is pitching. It doesn’t help that Eric Stults is going for his 17th loss.

And the Game of the Day:

  • The Cubs over the Reds: I like Kyle Hendricks a lot better than I like Daniel Corcino. In this stage of their respective careers, Hendricks is much more polished and has better command.

Yesterday: 6-9, Sept.: 127-94, Games of the Day: 96-63 (+4), Season: 1257-1028

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MLB Game Picks – Tuesday: September 16, 2014

Yesterday, I got cute and picked against Stephen Strasburg and he threw a gem. Of course, the Braves offense is similarly futile as the Yankees’ offense these days. Jacob deGrom was sailing along, striking a ton of people out and then the Marlins erupted. I didn’t see that coming. I shouldn’t have picked against the Dodgers and I should not have picked the Giants. All those decisions led to a 6-6 day. At least the Game of the Day feature is on a three-game positive streak.

Tuesday’s picks:

  • The Pirates over the Red Sox: Why would the Pirates, who need to win every game, pitch Charlie Morton? No matter, the offense will pick him up against Anthony Ranaudo and win a high scoring game.
  • The Blue Jays over the Orioles: I have learned over the years not to pick a team the day after they seal the division. Besides, the Orioles are pitching Ubaldo Jimenez. I’ll go with Drew Hutchison in hopes he will have a good game.
  • The Mets over the Marlins: I know this didn’t work out yesterday. And Nathan Eovaldi is capable of a big game. I just think that Bartolo Colon is due for one of his good games at home.
  • The Rays over the Yankees: I asked Katie Sharp about the Yankees’ line drive rate for the last two weeks and she told me that it was the lowest in the majors. I’m not surprised. They made a 4-A pitcher look like a god last night. Imagine what will happen against Jake Odorizzi. Actually, Odorizzi was the last guy they scored more than three runs against. No matter. The Yankees never score for Michael Pineda anyway.
  • The Nationals over the Braves: The Braves are now a .500 team. Amazing. The Nationals are pushing for the clinch. Tanner Roark over Aaron Harang.
  • The Reds over the Cubs: This pick did not work out yesterday because the Reds have sipped the same offensive Kool-aid as the Yankees and Braves. But Johnny Cueto goes for his nineteenth win, so I need to go there. Jake Arrieta gentille Arrieta will try to prevent it.
  • The Royals over the White Sox: Despite the fact that Jose Abreu might hit a ball thrown by Liam Hendriks to St. Louis, I’m going with the Royals with a win over Chris Bassitt who did pitch well his last time out.
  • The Tigers over the Twins: The odds of Ricky Nolasco beating the Tigers? 100-1? Rick Porcello hasn’t had a great second half, but he should win this thing as the Tigers inch closer to another danged division win.
  • The Cardinals over the Brewers: With a day off, the Cardinals should be fresh as daisies and Lance Lynn has been solid all season. Wily Peralta seems to be running out of steam. The Brewers showed so much promise earlier this season. It all fizzled.
  • The Dodgers over the Rockies: Yes, this could be high scoring. But I’ve learned not to pick the Rockies (again). I must have lost my mind or something. Dan Haren and Tyler Matzek get the starts.
  • The Diamondbacks over the Giants: The Giants have been the biggest hot and cold teams all season. They are either great for stretches or terrible for stretches. It’s weird. Jake Peavy has been sensational for the Giants. But he is due for a bad game. Josh Collmenter has been one of the bright spots for the D-backs all season.
  • The Mariners over the Angels: What did I say about picking against teams that just clinched? Yeah. Roenis Elias is not exactly reliable. But the Angels will be giddy. And I don’t get warm fuzzies when Cory Rasmus starts.
  • The Athletics over the Rangers: The Rangers have come alive and they are pitching suddenly. So this pick is uncomfortable. It is especially so since Scott Kazmir‘s wild streak has come back. Nick Tepesch goes for the Rangers. The A’s will find a way.
  • The Phillies over the Padres: Ian Kennedy simply doesn’t do it for me. Ever. I mean, I root for him, but he is just an average pitcher. That might be enough against the Phillies if the Padres could hit. A.J. Burnett goes for the Phillies.

And the Game of the Day:

  • The Indians over the Astros: Nick Tropeano did win his first MLB start, but let’s not get carried away. He is facing Corey Kluber after all.

Yesterday: 6-6, Sept.: 121-85, Games of the Day: 95-63 (+3), Season: 1251-1019

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MLB Game Picks – Monday: September 15, 2014

Sunday ended up being a 10-5 day which erased some of the bad taste of Saturday. The Orioles moved closer to the inevitable division crown as did the Dodgers, Cardinals, Tigers and Nationals. With “magic numbers” now on the standings, it won’t be long until some of these teams can start resting people and set up their post season runs.

Clayton Kershaw continued his fantastical season. The A’s and Jon Lester took care of the Mariners with ease. Three blown saves actually helped my picks in two of them. Things are becoming clearer all the time with only two weeks left in the season.

I forgot one thing yesterday. Every win streak has been stopped at ten games. The Angels headed into yesterday at ten games. I should have known.

Twelve games are on the Monday schedule. Let’s get to them:

  • The Orioles over the Blue Jays: The O’s have been swatting aside pretenders all season and Wei-Yin Chen has had a great season. The last time he faced the Blue Jays, however, he got cuffed around a little bit. But here is my final logic on the way the game goes: Marcus Stroman, who has been terrific, pitched a complete game his last time out. I have noticed all season that pitcher who do so have little success in their very next outing.
  • The Mets over the Marlins: Jacob deGrom and Jarred Cosart have been very successful in their last two months. So who to go with? My rule has always been when both offenses cancel each other out and the pitching match-up cancels each other out, go with the home team.
  • The Rays over the Yankees: Chris Capuano has fallen on hard times. Alex Colome is nothing great shakes, but he will look like Roger Clemens against the Yankees’ offense. The Yankees hate playing in that trash dome.
  • The Braves over the Nationals: Stephen Strasburg never pitches well in Atlanta. Never. Plus, he is weaker on the road than at home. Double whammy. Ervin Santana has had a nice season.
  • The Reds over the Cubs: This game all depends on how well Alfredo Simon pitches. You know Travis Wood will give up three or four runs or more. So Simon is the key to the game.
  • The Royals over the White Sox: I can’t ever pick the White Sox with John Danks pitching. The guy sure is a mystery and he has been bad for a long time. How much longer will he keep getting the ball? James Shields needs to pitch well.
  • The Astros over the Indians: I have had good success with Collin McHugh and if he can pitch through the sixth or seventh, he has been golden. Zach McAllister has not fared as well.
  • The Rockies over the Dodgers: The Dodgers are likely to have a bit of a letdown after their big series against the Giants. Besides, Roberto Hernandez in Coors is scary. Christian Bergman goes for the Rockies.
  • The Giants over the Diamondbacks: The Giants aren’t dead despite their series loss to the Dodgers. They are only three back and also in the wild card hunt. Ryan Vogelsong is a weak link in their rotation, though. Wade Miley is unpredictable.
  • The Angels over the Mariners: Hisashi Iwakuma is very good. But so is Matt Shoemaker and the Angels have the better offense. I’m going Angels here.
  • The Phillies over the Padres: Andrew Cashner cannot seem to put it together after the Padres counted on him so heavily. Jerome Williams is just a fill-in pitcher for the Phillies, but if his sinker is on, he can be too.

And the Game of the Day:

  • The Tigers over the Twins: Max Scherzer should have a good day today and Anthony Swarzak has spent most of the season in the Twins’ bullpen. That’s not a good combination.

Yesterday: 10-5, Sept.: 115-79, Games of the Day: 94-63 (+2), Season: 1245-1013

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No arrows for Fernando Rodney

You have to hand it to the Oakland Athletics. They are a smart team that uses their information very wisely. The A’s had tied a huge game with the Seattle Mariners up with a home run by Josh Donaldson off of perhaps the best pitcher in the American League. The homer ensured that King Felix could not seal the deal on perhaps the biggest start of his career in Seattle. In the tenth inning, they drew Fernando Rodney. And they nailed it.

The A’s didn’t hit the guy who has averaged 43 saves the past three seasons. They simply would not swing. Rodney has one big flaw. He walks people. Last year, his rate per nine innings was 4.86. This year, Rodney is walking people at a rate of 4.04 per nine. But he usually succeeds because he gets people to swing.

Fernando Rodney does not like the strike zone. Only 47.7% of his pitches are thrown in the strike zone. He likes to stay off the corners and throw his change below the knees. It usually works. It did not work against the A’s. All the A’s had to do was stand there.

Four walks later, the A’s scored the winning run. It was a huge victory in the chase for the wild card. It was a huge win because they have Jon Lester pitching today. It was a huge win because ever since they traded for Jon Lester, they stopped hitting.

But in the tenth inning, they didn’t have to hit. They just had to stand there and let Rodney do all the work for them. Four walks. Rodney threw 28 pitches. Only ten of them were strikes. Only six of them were in the strike zone but the A’s swung at eight of Rodney’s offerings. They needn’t have.

Here, courtesy of Brooks Baseball is Rodney’s evening in all its glory. The A’s aren’t hitting. But they know what to do when they don’t have to hit. The only arrow shot in this one went into the hearts of Mariner fans.

Rodney

 

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MLB Game Picks – Sunday: September 14, 2014

Yesterday I was complaining because of having two great days but having the Game of the Day feature come up empty. I should have kept my mouth shut. I got the Game of the Day feature correct (the Cardinals hung on to win) but had a crappy day overall. I think the great day / bad Game of the Day is preferable.

How about Mike Trout with two big flies? How about Zack Greinke with a double an a homer? Tim Hudson and Tim Lincecum have both had great success pitching in the Major Leagues. The Dodgers destroyed them both. Hudson’s string of winning seasons is surely going to be ended now.

I didn’t think the Twins could lose another double-header. I was wrong. King Felix was not clutch as he gave up the game-tying homer to Josh Donaldson and the A’s eventually won a game the Mariners had to have. I have no idea what Fernando Rodney was doing in the tenth, but needless to say, he did not shoot any arrows. The Yankees did their patented “score-early-and-then-die” offense but still hung on two win. That bullpen is terrific. The Blue Jays beat the Rays in the battle of the Ays. I got all those games wrong.

Here we go, Sunday, treat me right:

  • The Blue Jays over the Rays: This is a scary pick because you never know with Mark Buehrle. But he has been on one of his good streaks again and Chris Archer has not been as effective in the last month or so. The Blue Jays at home.
  • The Tigers over the Indians: Justin Verlander is no longer an ace. But he can still be good enough to beat the Indians at home. Trevor Bauer simply doesn’t do much for me at any time–even less today.
  • The Nationals over the Mets: Again, I like Jon Niese. I like him a lot. The Nationals are just too hot at the plate right now and Jordan Zimmermann really shouldn’t have any trouble with the Mets’ lineup.
  • The Pirates over the Cubs: This pick did not work out yesterday, which was a huge shock to me. Edinson Volquez needs to come up big. Jacob Turner is starting to turn it around for the Cubs. Scary pick.
  • The Marlins over the Phillies: This is another pick that did not work out yesterday. It is another pitching match-up that makes me go this way. Tom Koehler is a better pick than David Buchanan. The Marlins’ offense is pretty dead without Stanton though.
  • The Red Sox over the Royals: I just like Joe Kelly. Is that okay? Jason Vargas would not survive the Boston lineup in the past, but this is a different Boston lineup. In other words, it’s not any good. But I’m still going with Joe Kelly.
  • The Reds over the Brewers: I will admit that I have no idea which team will win this game. Mike Leake is so unpredictable and Matt Garza can look so ugly at times that I have no idea. None.
  • The White Sox over the Twins: Who would have ever thought three months ago that I would be picking Hector Noesi to win a game? How strange is baseball. But there it is. I like him over Trevor May.
  • The Cardinals over the Rockies: I have no delusions of Marco Gonzalez pitching great for the Cardinals. The pick is based on the belief that the Cardinals will score eight runs on Jordan Lyles and company.
  • The Rangers over the Braves: The Braves are terrible now. They simply don’t win very often. I don’t know, frankly, how they have won 75 games. Colby Lewis over Mike Minor. Of course, I said all that and the Braves will win…
  • The Angels over the Astros: I think it is going to be the Orioles and the Angels in the ALCS and that’s going to be a great series. The Angels just don’t lose these days no matter if Hector Santiago or anyone else is pitching. Dallas Keuchel will try to stop the streak. Good luck, young man.
  • The Dodgers over the Giants: After scoring 17 runs yesterday, I’m not sure the Dodgers are all tuckered out or not. I do know that Yusmeiro Petit might give the Dodgers problems. But would you ever pick against Clayton Kershaw? No, me neither.
  • The Padres over the Diamondbacks: If I keep picking the Padres, they have to win sooner or later, right? I’m not thrilled with picking Odrisamer Despaigne in Arizona’s hot air, but Trevor Cahill is even more of an uncomfortable pick.
  • The Orioles over the Yankees: I hate Sunday night games. They are un-American, especially when the game doesn’t even start until an hour after the two teams usually start night games. Chris Tillman over Hiroki Kuroda.

And the Game of the Day:

  • The Athletics over the Mariners: The Mariners had their chance yesterday and didn’t get it done. Both teams are still challenged offensively. But you have to go with Jon Lester over Chris Young in this one. Young was a nice story for most of the year, but if you pin your playoff hopes on him, I don’t know…

Yesterday: 7-9, Sept.: 105-74, Games of the Day: 93-63 (+1), Season: 1235-1008

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Mark Teixeira and the first pitch

I wrote an article over at It’s About the Money, Stupid on how it isn’t just the shift that is eating up Mark Teixeira‘s productivity. His outright refusal to swing at the first pitch has also contributed. Check it out.

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MLB Game Picks – Saturday: September 13, 2014

The picks had their second straight good night. They are 25-5 in the last two days. But as good as that sounds, the Game of the Day feature has been wrong three days in a row. Yesterday, I had no idea whatsoever that Nathan Karns was capable of shutting down the Blue Jays on two hits. Seriously!?

Other incorrect picks from yesterday included the first game loss of the Yankees. They had the game at 1-0 and brought in Adam Warren in the bottom of the 11th. Terrible decision. Boom and goodnight. And by the way, the Yankees are officially dead. I did not expect the Red Sox to beat the Royals. Wow, those Royals fans must be in full panic mode now. Gosh, I was hoping for a team over than the Tigers in that division. Lastly, the Mets beat the Nationals again.

So, are two great days of picking worth not having the Game of the Day feature correct? No. Hey, that’s the way I roll. I want it all.

Saturday’s picks:

  • The Braves over the Rangers: There should be a moratorium on weird baseball names. It’s getting out of hand. The latest addition is the Rangers’ starter today, Lisalverto Bonilla. I mean, come on already. Can’t these scouts in South and Central American only scout guys with easy names? Julio Teheran sounds tame by example.
  • The Orioles over the Yankees: I have officially given up on the Yankees and their offense. Watching their offense is like watching the desert sky waiting for a rain cloud. Don’t be surprised if Kevin Long is the designated scapegoat after the season is over. Miguel Gonzalez over Shane Greene.
  • The Rays over the Blue Jays: I have to think about my bias against R.A. Dickey after the season is over. I think I might have picked him once or twice this year. But I always seem to find a reason. Today’s is that the Rays’ offense is an opportunistic one to make up for their lack of talent. Dickey is good for opportunists. Jeremy Hellickson goes for the Rays. The Blue Jays are just about dead too.
  • The Twins over the White Sox: These two teams play two today after a rain out yesterday. I still like Phil Hughes over the hard luck of Jose Quintana in the first game.
  • The White Sox over the Twins: The second game has a troubling pitching match-up which makes it hard to pick either team. But I guess I’ll take Scott Carroll who has thrown a decent game once in a while over Logan Darnell who has seemed out of his element thus far.
  • The Pirates over the Cubs: I have a little harder time picking against the Cubs in this game. Felix Doubront has been pitching very well since heading to Wrigleyville. But I will stick with Jeff Locke and the Pirates.
  • The Marlins over the Phillies: I have picking against Kyle Kendrick all season so why stop now? I have also been picking against Brad Hand and he was good his last time out. I just wonder where the Marlins will get any offense to win the game.
  • The Tigers over the Indians: The #$%## Tigers are going to win this division again. How freaking boring is that? I can’t count on Danny Salazar and Kyle Lobstein has made me look foolish for four starts in a row now.
  • The Royals over the Red Sox: If the Royals cannot beat Rubby De La Rosa, I don’t know what else to say. Of course, I would feel a whole lot more confident if Jeremy Guthrie wasn’t the Royals’ starter today.
  • The Brewers over the Reds: Once again, I am going with Yovani Gallardo at home even though he is not as much of a lock there as in the past. David Holmberg was pretty good in his last start even if I have no idea who he is.
  • The Nationals over the Mets: Maybe Jayson Werth can get on the field today despite his “dead legs.” Whoever heard of such a thing? I like Zack Wheeler a lot. But I like Doug Fister more.
  • The Padres over the Diamondbacks: Chase Anderson has had a decent season. But he does not get a whole lot of decisions in his starts. Tyson Ross gets lots of decisions but has only won half of them. When Ross is on, he is awfully good.
  • The Angels over the Astros: I have not given Jered Weaver his due. No pitcher does more with less stuff. And he is 16-8. You can’t argue with that. Scott Feldman will be today’s victim.
  • The Dodgers over the Giants: At 9-10, Tim Hudson is in serious danger of breaking his streak of winning seasons. He has never had a losing season in his long and brilliant career. Zack Greinke might be the one to seal that fate.
  • The Mariners over the Athletics: For the first time in his career, Felix Hernandez is going to pitch a meaningful game that could vault them into the post season. I think he will bask in the moment. Sonny Gray will not get any support.

And the Game of the Day

  • The Cardinals over the Rockies: Franklin Morales will give the Cards some trouble simply because they don’t hit lefties well. That said, Shelby Miller has been on fire in his last three starts.

Yesterday: 11-4, Sept.: 98-65, Games of the Day: 92-63 (-3), Season: 1228-999

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MLB Game Picks – Friday: September 12, 2014

I was one blown save away from a perfect picking day. When Chris Young hit his three-run blast in the bottom of the ninth off of Jake McGee to win the game for the New York Yankees, a dream 11-0 day went out the window. That was also the Game of the Day pick. And you know what? How can I be upset about that?

I had called the double-header sweep by Cleveland. I had called the Red Sox win. I had called Cueto’s gem over the Cardinals. I had gotten it all. And then that homer. But I don’t care. I’m happy.

The only thing I’m not happy about was what happened to Giancarlo Stanton and Chase Headley. Both got hit in the face by fastballs. I really hope that both will be okay. That was very, very scary.

Friday’s picks:

  • The Yankees over the Orioles: These two teams play two games today and this will be a tough task for the Yankees. The Orioles are starting two of their regular rotation guys and the Yankees will have to use an untested rookie in the second game. Besides that, the Yankees are missing lots of players due to being banged up. The Yankees have their best chance in the first game as Brandon McCarthy faces Kevin Gausman.
  • The Orioles over the Yankees: I really like Bryan Mitchell and I think he is going to be a good pitcher. But this is a lot to ask of a guy making his first MLB start. Bud Norris goes for the O’s.
  • The Pirates over the Cubs: Tsuyoshi Wada has been great for the Cubs and the 33-year-old Japanese star knows how to pitch. I just think that Gerrit Cole and the Pirates the way they are playing will be too much for the Cubs to overcome.
  • The Phillies over the Marlins: Without Giancarlo Stanton in the lineup for the Marlins, they have little to work with. Plus, Cole Hamels is very, very good. Henderson Alvarez does have flashes of brilliance, but what support will he get?
  • The Tigers over the Indians: David Price is way due for a win and though Carlos Carrasco has pitched really well for the Indians, I can’t see him matching Price if Price is on his game.
  • The Nationals over the Mets: There is some bad blood brewing in this series already. Dillon Gee looked good against the Reds, but the Reds are struggling. Gio Gonzalez had a good start his last time out too.
  • The Rangers over the Braves: If Derek Holland pitches like he did his first two starts, then the Braves won’t touch him. But that is the only way the Rangers win the game. Otherwise, this pick could go up in flames with Alex Wood going for the Braves.
  • The Royals over the Red Sox: Yordano Ventura has to pitch well for this pick to come in. Otherwise, Allen Webster and the Red Sox could prevail for the second straight game.
  • The Brewers over the Reds: I always like picking Kyle Lohse at home. He traditionally does better in those cases. Mat Latos can come up big, but I don’t see it happening today.
  • The Twins over the White Sox: The one thing I can be sure about is that Phil Hughes will probably not walk anyone and Jose Quintana just never gets a break. Both of these pitchers have been really good all season.
  • The Cardinals over the Rockies: The Cardinals have stumbled again and if ever they needed a stopping kind of win it is from Adam Wainwright today. Jorge De La Rosa is the Rockies’ best starter.
  • The Padres over the Diamondbacks: Is it just me or do Vidal Nuno and Eric Stults always seem to face each other? How do you pick a winner out of those two guys? I’m going with the Padres, but I have no good reason.
  • The Angels over the Astros: The Angels hardly ever lose these days and are clicking really well. Brett Oberholtzer should get some props for taking the ball every fifth day and giving it his best. I don’t see him beating the Angels and C.J. Wilson today.
  • The Mariners over the Athletics: This is the Mariners’ chance to knock off the A’s while the A’s are really vulnerable. James Paxton has been terrific and Jason Hammel can be had.
  • The Giants over the Dodgers: This is a tough one as two tough lefty pitchers square off. I am giving the edge to Madison Bumgarner over Hyun-jin Ryu because he has been at the top of his game in the last month.

And the Game of the Day:

  • The Blue Jays over the Rays: The Rays will start Nate Karns who they got in the Loboton trade with the Nationals. Karns made three unimpressive starts last year for the Nats and has not had a good season in Triple-A. I’m going with J.A. Happ even though he looks out of gas lately.

Yesterday: 10-1, Sept: 87-61, Games of the Day: 92-62 (-2), Season: 1217-895

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