April 10, 2011
For Amusement Only 4/10
We'll celebrate getting our payroll into the black on Saturday by going with seven plays on Sunday.
I'll take the Mets and Chris Young -139 over the Nationals and Jason Marquis. I have a feeling Citi Field is going to be a good place for Young, who will be making his home debut after signing as a free agent over the winter, to pitch just as Petco Park was when he was with the Padres.
The Pirates and James McDonald +115 over the Rockies and Jhoulys Chacin seems like a good percentage underdog play. It is hard to imagine the Rockies, who were 31-50 on the road last season, taking three of four in their first series of the season away from home.
The first of two big underdog picks is the Cubs and Casey Coleman +155 over the Brewers and Yovani Gallardo. Coleman showed he knows how to pitch when he made his major-league debut September, not surprising since he is the major leagues' first third-generation pitcher, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, both named Joe. Add in the fact the Cubs have won 10 of their last 15 games at Miller Park and I'll buck the odds against Gallardo.
I'll also go with the Blue Jays and Jo-Jo Reyes +160 over the Angels and Jered Weaver. Reyes got rocked in his first start and Weaver has been good in each of his two starts, but this is just a gut feeling pick.
A lesser underdog play is the Indians and Josh Tomlin +115 over the Mariners and Erik Bedard. I watched Tomlin completely stymie the Red Sox on Tuesday night in Cleveland and the Mariners' lineup is a lot less formidable.
Tomlin beat Beckett in that game but it doesn't deter me from going with him and the Red Sox +105 over the Yankees and CC Sabathia on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. I felt Beckett pitched better than his line indicated on Tuesday and I'll take a shot on the Red Sox as a rare home underdog.
I'll go with the Mets to -205, the Pirates to -120, the Orioles to -135, the Cubs to -105, the Blue Jays to -110, the Indians to -115 and the Red Sox to -150.
Depending on line movement, there are two other games that are worthy of plays: the Phillies and Cole Hamels over the Braves and Derek Lowe at +100 or higher and the White Sox and Gavin Floyd over the Rays and Jeff Niemann at -150 or lower.
The picks were 5-2 on Saturday for +298 units. The winners were the Phillies -109 over the Braves, the White Sox -120 over the Rays, the Orioles +104 over the Rangers in the first game of their doubleheader, the Reds -104 over the Diamondbacks, and the Giants -145 over the Cardinals. The losers were the Orioles +100 over the Rangers in the second game and the Pirates -106 over the Rockies.
Season record: 26-21 (.553)