April 12, 2011
For Amusement Only 4/12
Perhaps we should retire Pick of the Day right now. The new feature made its debut on Monday and was a winner as the Rangers' Alexi Ogando pitched seven scoreless innings to post an underdog victory at +115 over the Tigers and ace Justin Verlander.
For our Pick of the Day on Tuesday, based on the opening odds, we'll go with the Giants and Tim Lincecum -174 over the Dodgers and Chad Billingsley. It's a big number to lay against a good pitcher but Lincecum has a 0.64 ERA and a 0.78 WHIP after his first two starts. Billingsley, meanwhile, was rocked for five runs in three innings by the Rockies in his first road startof the year. That continued a bad stretch on the road that dates back to last season when the Dodgers lost Billingsley's final seven starts away from home, though six of them were quality starts. Lincecum is 5-2 with a 3.10 ERA in 11 games, 10 starts, against the Dodgers in his career. I'll go with the Giants up to -180.
Our second choice among nine overall is the Mets and Jon Niese +105 over the Rockies and Esmil Rogers. Despite their victory Monday night, the Rockies have won just five of their last 28 games against the Mets in New York. It is hard to believe the Rockies' 4-1 start on the road will last much longer. I would go with the Mets to -150.
We'll go back to the Rangers for our No. 3 pick, taking them and C.J. Wilson -149 over the Tigers and Brad Penny. This is a momentum play as the Rangers are 9-1 and the Tigers are 3-7 so far this season. I'll go with the Rangers only to -150.
I believe Armando Galarraga might be baseball's most overrated pitcher in the aftermath of all the publicity he received for his near perfect game last season. Nevertheless, I'll take him and Diamondbacks +134 over the Cardinals and Chris Carpenter. It just feels like a good underdog play at home. I'll go with the Diamondbacks to -165.
It's hard to pick against the Phillies, especially in the few times in which you get a reasonable number on them, so I'll take Joe Blanton -145 over the Nationals and Livan Hernandez. The Phillies have also won 39 of their last 52 games against the Nationals. I would go no higher than -145, though.
The Blue Jays blew a 7-0 lead against Felix Hernandez on Monday night but I'll go back with them and Ricky Romero -130 over the Mariners and Michael Pineda. The Blue Jays have won six of their last nine against the Mariners at Safeco Field but I'll go no higher than -130.
Another underdog I like is the Royals and Jeff Francis +135 over the Twins and Brian Duensing. The Royals are playing with some confidence at 6-3 and Francis finally appears over his shoulder woes as he has a 1.98 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP through his first two starts. I like the Royals to -120.
It will essentially be a bullpen game for the Cubs as they will use left-hander James Russell to start but I'll still take them +115 over the Astros and Brett Myers. The percentages say to play the Cubs as a road dog since they have won 21 of their last 28 games away from Chicago, dating to last season. I'll take the Cubs to -115.
The Rays finally broke out offensively with a 16-run outburst on Monday night and I'll go with them and David Price at +155 over the Red Sox and Jon Lester. Rare is the time you can get one of the top pitchers at the game at such a good price. I'll take the Rays to -115.
Monday's picks went .500 at 2-2 but finished +15 units to the good. Beside the Rangers, the Tigers, the other winner was the Reds -103 over the Padres. The losers were the Diamondbacks +108 over the Cardinals and the Blue Jays +157 over the Mariners.
Season record: 30-28 (.517)
Pick of the Day: 1-0