Today’s Pick

September 3, 2013

Yesterday's Pick Recap

How about Jameis Winston?  What a debut for the Seminole's redshirt freshman QB going 25-27 for 356 yards and 4 TD's.  He also ran for a TD.  Takes the sting out of losing EJ Manuel to the NFL, for sure.  Pitt was simply outclassed in their first ever ACC game.  That's what we figured and we nailed another pick as FSU easily covered the 10 1/2 point spread.  Back to MLB today.

Free Picks Overall: 12-8

Today's Free Pick: Chicago White Sox at New York Yankees

The Yankees aren't ready to call it a season yet.  After yesterday's 9-1 win over the White Sox they sit just 2 1/2 games behind Tampa Bay for the second AL wildcard.  Baltimore is also 1/2 game in front of New York.

The good news for the Yanks is that they are playing the White Sox.  The bad news is that they must face LH Chris Sale tonight.  The 24 year old Sale (10-12, 2.99 ERA) is coming off a 4 hit 12 strikeout performance against Houston where he only gave up 1 run over 8 innings.  Sale is 4-1 over his last 5 starts.  He faced NY on August 6th winning 3-2 in a game he went 7 1/3 innings giving up 5 hits, striking out 6 and only 1 unearned run.

Sale's counterpart tonight, RH Hiroki Kiroda (11-10, 2.890, has not fared as well lately.  Kiroda has not won a game since July 25th going 0-4 over those six starts.  Prior to that, he had been having a season where he was being talked about as a Cy Young candidate.  Not now.  The Yankees will be looking for the pre-July 26 Kiroda to emerge tonight and for the remainder of the season.

Offensively, the Yankees have picked it up late in the season bolstered by Alfonso Soriano, Robinson Cano, Ichiro Suzuki, Mark Reynolds, Curtis Granderson and even Alex Rodriguez.  The ChiSox have Alexei Ramirez and the powerful Adam Dunn, but not much else.  Avisail Garcia has provided a little lift offensively.

I think the key to this game is which Hiroki Kiroda will show up.  If the early season Kiroda does, the Yanks win.  If the recent one does, it will be a long night for the Bombers.  I also think Sale will pitch a solid game for Chicago but not necessarily dominating.  The Yanks will score some.  The uncertainty of Kiroda's pitching leaves this a tough game to pick a winner.  However, I see the total number of 7 as attractive.  On the plus side.  If Kiroda fails again, easy over.  If he pitches well, I still think both sides will combine to score more than 7.

The Pick:  Over 7 Runs


September 2, 2013

Yesterday's Pick Recap

We were looking good with the Mets last night up 5-2 after 6 1/2 and 5-3 after 7 1/2 but the bullpen couldn't hold on giving up 3 runs in the bottom of the 8th to lose 6-5 to Washington.  Niese had to leave in the sixth with a cramp in his calf.  Back to college football tonight as we try to snap our little cold streak.

Free Picks Overall: 11-8

Today's Free Pick: Florida State Seminoles at Pitt Panthers

In today's lone college football game, the Pitt Panthers begin life in the ACC taking on 12th ranked, defending ACC champs FSU, at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.  The good news for Pitt is that the 'Noles no longer have EJ Manuel at QB.  That may be where the good news ends for the Panthers.

Redshirt freshman Jameis Winston will start under center for FSU.  Winston was widely considered the nation's top quarterback prospect coming out of high school two years ago.  He will have help in junior WR Rashad Greene, who led FSU in receiving in each of his first two seasons.  He'll also have running backs James Wilder, Jr. and Devonta Freeman who are collectively dubbed "Wild and Free"  These two combined for 1,295 yards and 19 TD's last year.

Pitt will feature senior QB Tom Savage.  Savage, however will be making his debut at Pitt having started his career at Rutgers and then transferring a couple of times to where he now finds himself today, at Pitt.  Savage won't have a lot of returning help as the Panther's top returning rusher is junior Isaac Bennett with just 378 career yards.

Freshman QB aside, the Seminoles seem to be a legitimate top 12 team.  Pitt does return eight starters from last years solid defense, but I still think FSU's speed and athleticism will cause problems for them.

FSU lost some players up front defensively, but return their primary playmakers in the secondary.  All in all, I see FSU playing somewhat conservatively on offense in this opene,r but it will be enough.  The Panthers will struggle to score and if they get down and try to open it up then I can see some turnovers happening.

I think FSU wins by at least 17 points.

The Pick:  Florida State - 10 1/2 to win

Result:  FSU 41 Pitt 13 -  Win

September 1, 2013

Yesterday's Pick Recap

Great college football game last night as the Clemson Tigers hung on to defeat the Georgia Bulldogs 38-35.  We had Georgia - 2 1/2, but Tiger QB Tajh Boyd along with WR Sammy Watkins and RB Roderick McDowell were able to outduel Bulldog QB Aaron Murray and his star RB Todd Gurley.  Clemson is for real.  Today, we'll shift back to MLB.

Free Picks Overall: 11-7

Today's Free Pick: New York Mets at Washington Nationals

The Mets are out of it and the Nationals are hanging on by a thread in their quest for a wildcard playoff spot.  The Mets are looking to sweep the three game series in Washington in a game that could put a nail in their coffin with a loss.

Washington will call on RH Ross Ohlendorf (3-0, 2.49ERA) to start after he pitched well enough on Tuesday against Miami, 1 run on three hits through 5 innings, to get the nod over Tanner Roark.  The versatile 31 year old Ohlendorf has been used primarily as a reliever but has started 4 games in limited action this season.

LH Niese (6-6, 3.69) also pitched well in his last start as he recorded his second career shutout against the Phillies on Tuesday, giving up only 3 hits.  Since coming off the DL August 11th, he is 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA in four starts.

The Mets had a season high 17 hits on Saturday while scoring 11 runs.  Losing Ike Davis with an oblique injury is a setback as he was starting to produce for the Mets offensively, too.  But with Murphy, Young, Satin and Lagares all collecting 3 hits yesterday, I think the Mets have found an offensive groove.

The National's are capable offensively with Harper, Desmond, Werth and Zimmerman, but I think Niese is pitching well enough to be able to keep them in check.  I see the Mets winning this game.

The Pick:  Mets +126 to win

Result:  Loss, Nats 6 Mets 5

August 31, 2013

Yesterday's Pick Recap

We figured that Jose Fernandez would pitch a solid game for the Marlins and he did.  Fernandez gave up only two runs, on a 2 run homer by Freddie Freeman in the first.  However, Atlanta starter Julio Teheran was just a little better, giving up only one run as the Braves held on to win 2-1.  Miami's woeful hitting does them in again.  A loss for us, but we get back to college football today.

Free Picks Overall: 11-6

Today's Free Pick: Georgia Bulldogs at Clemson Tigers

A top ten matchup headlines college football's first Saturday slate of games as no. 5 Georgia rolls into Clemson Memorial Stadium, otherwise known as Death Valley to take on the no. 8 Tigers.

Not only is this game important in the national championship picture, but both starting QB's, Clemson's Tajh Boyd and Georgia's Aaron Murray, are expected to be  Heisman Trophy contenders and a strong outing in front of a national TV audience (ABC) on a Saturday night would do wonders for their cause.  So it's a big game all-around.

Georgia begins the season with brutally tough schedule with no. 7 South Carolina and no. 13 LSU coming up in two of the next three games after Clemson.  Not that they'll be looking ahead, but I'm sure Mark Richt and his staff know what's on the horizon.  In addition to Murray's passing, they'll need big contributions from a pair of sophomore RB's Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall who combined for 2,144 yards and 25 TD's last year.

The high-scoring Tigers will need to replace the production of last year's leading RB and top WR from their 11-2 squad.  Boyd will look in part to WR Sammy Watkins who excelled as a freshman 2 years ago but had a disappointing season last year with injuries, illness and a 2 game suspension thrown in.  Coach Dabo Swinney hopes he can bounce back.

I see this game as a high emotional contest especially on the Clemson side as they are looking to show their geographical (90 miles apart) rival that they belong in the upper echelon.  Also, a wild atmosphere will greet the Bulldogs for this Saturday night contest in Death Valley.  Ultimately, however, I see Georgia as the superior team with a mature senior QB in Murray who will be able to handle the pressure of the game.

Clemson's own senior QB Boyd should dazzle and most likely make a couple of big and exciting plays, but I don't think it will be quite enough.

The total on this game is 71.  With these two high scoring offenses it is attainable, but in this high stakes opener I think both teams will be a little on the conservative side and I see the total staying just below this relatively high number.

In the end, Aaron Murray will outduel Tajh Boyd and Georgia will win by more than a touchdown.  Having said that, the 2 1/2 point spread should be easily covered.

The Pick:  Georgia - 2 1/2

Result:  Loss


August 30, 2013

Yesterday's Pick Recap

Mr. T got the college football season off to a profitable start with South Carolina's somewhat lackluster 27-10 victory over North Carolina.  The game also featured a delay because of a lightning storm in the fourth quarter.  USC's Heisman Trophy candidate Jadeveon Clowney didn't stand out much with just 3 tackles and no sacks.  Anyway, the type of game the T man expected and the 37 point total was easily below the 57 number and we hit another Free Pick for our followers.

Free Picks Overall: 11-5

Today's Free Pick: Miami Marlins at Atlanta Braves

So, we are perfect so far in the 2013 college football season (1-0) so we'll head back to MLB for the day.  As the season winds down teams are heading in different directions and shifting priorities.  Figuring out how to benefit from this knowledge is what we do.  Tonight's Marlins / Braves matchup has the front running Braves simply looking to hold on to their top spot, get their pitching in order and remain healthy for the postseason.  The last place Marlins, on the other hand, are looking for bright spots to build on for the future.

A clear bright spot for Miami is tonight's starter Jose Fernandez.  Fernandez (10-5, 2.30 ERA) will be seeking his sixth straight victory tonight.  In those 8 outings, he has not allowed more than 2 earned runs and has struck out at least 8 five times.  Overall, the 21 year old Rookie of the Year candidate has held opposing hitters to a .188 average, second in the majors behind Clayton Kershaw (.186).

The Braves' starter tonight, Julio Teheran, is no slouch.  Teheran is only 22 years old himself and sports a 10-7 record along with a 3.08 ERA.  He is struggling a bit as of late giving up 4 runs in 6 innings in two of his last three starts.  His earlier stellar control also seems to be lost as he has issued 13 walks in the last 29 innings after giving up 13 in his previous 63 innings.

The Braves are the superior team here, no doubt, with the major's best overall and home records.  The Marlins have the 2nd worst record overall and the worst away record.  A seemingly slam dunk win for the Braves.

Atlanta has relied heavily on it's pitching and I believe they will get out-pitched tonight.  If the Marlins can score just 2 or 3 runs I think it will be enough.  Having said that, the offensively challenged Marlins have been held to six or fewer hits in six straight games and have been shutout 16 times already this year.

I like a Miami +126 / under 6.5 parlay here, but if I have to just take one part of that play it will Miami to win.  Hoping that Giancarlo Stanton and co. can eke out some kind of offense to support Fernandez.

The Pick:  Miami +126 to win

Result:  Loss

August 29, 2013

Yesterday's Pick Recap

The Astros hung in there for 6 1/2 innings before Lucas Harrell came in to relieve Jarred Cosart and promptly give up 4 runs in the frame to the White Sox. Chicago went on to win 6-1.   Cosart was solid as expected, going 6 innings and giving up only 1 run on 7 hits.  Cosart's counterpart, Chris Sale was even better, though, yielding just 1 run on 4 hits over 8 innings while striking out 12.  We lost our underdog play.  Tonight, we try some college football.

Free Picks Overall: 10-5

Today's Free Pick: North Carolina Tar Heels at South Carolina Gamecocks

In tonight's college football opener on ESPN all eyes will be on South Carolina all world DE Jadeveon Clowney.  This is somewhat of a departure, as head ball coach Steve Spurrier is usually the center of attention  for the Gamecocks.  The junior Clowney, who finished 6th in Heisman Trophy balloting last season, will need some help this season if SC is to live up to it's pre-season hype and be a legitimate national championship contender.

He'll have that help on the offensive side with the likes of returning starting quarterback Conner Shaw who threw for 1,956 yards last season and 17 TD's.  He also ran for 435 yards and 3 TD's.  Shaw will have a couple of formidable targets to work with this season in junior WR Bruce Ellington and TE Rory Anderson.  The athletic Ellington, who also starts for the basketball team, had 40 catches for 600 yards and 7 TD's last year.  Anderson, another junior, had 14 grabs for 271 yards and 5 TD's in 2012.

The Tar Heels may have a player capable of containing Clowney in senior LT James Hurst who is an All-American candidate and a projected first round pick in next Spring's NFL draft.  Hurst's size, 6-7, 305 lbs. ability and leadership among the UNC offensive line should at least make Clowney work hard all game.

UNC employs a fast paced spread offensive scheme led by senior QB Bryn Renner who has passed for over 3,000 yards in each of the last two seasons throwing 26 and 27 TD passes over the last two campaigns.  Renner's top target will be WR Quinshad Davis who caught 61 passes for 776 yards and 5 TD's as a freshman last year.

South Carolina is the superior team here and I expect them to win the ballgame.  The point spread listing the Gamecocks as 11.5 point favorites looks reasonable and I think they will cover.  However, being a season opener, I see the defenses being able to impose their will more so than the offenses.  UNC's explosive offense may not score a ton in this game but I think it will keep the Heel's in decent field position and to hang around for most of the game.

With such high expectations this year for Spurrier and the Gamecocks I think they will be happy to simply win the game and move on.  Therefore, I see the total of 57 as being a little on the high side here.  Something like a 28-17 or 31-21 outcome seems likely and that would keep the total below the number.  So that's what Mr. T likes in this contest.

The Pick:  Under 57 pts.

Result:  Win

August 28, 2013

Yesterday's Pick Recap

The Yankees had a relatively easy time with Toronto last night, winning 7-1, as Andy Pettitte continued his streak of strong outings shutting out the Blue Jays over 7 innings while giving up only 5 hits.  Alfonso Soriano smacked 2 home runs while Alex Rodriguez and Mark Reynolds each added solo shots.  Jays starter J.A. Happ lasted only 4 2/3 innings after giving up 5 runs on 7 hits.

Free Picks Overall: 10-4

Today's Free Pick:  Houston Astros at Chicago White Sox

Tonight, Mr. T sees what looks like a live dog in the form of the Houston Astros.  They'll face LH Chris Sale (9-12, 3.08 ERA) and the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field in the Windy City.  At first glance, the White Sox, winners of 9 of 11 look to be a lock especially with the lanky southpaw Sale on the mound.  But as we look closer at the matchup, I like what I see in terms of the Astros.  Especially at a whopping +226!

The 'Stros will send out RH Jarred Cosart to face Chicago.  This young, 23 year old (1-1, 1.50) has been impressive recording the lowest ERA by an Astros starter through his first seven starts in franchise history.  He has only given up one home run thus far, that coming in his last start against Texas.

Houston is 4-2 against the Pale Hose this season and they beat Sale 2-1 back in Houston on June 14th.  Sale did strike out 14 in that contest.

On Friday against Texas, Sale gave up a career-worst 4 home runs and matched a career high by allowing 8 runs over seven innings in an 11-5 loss.  Could he be tiring towards the end of the season?

Additionally, last place Chicago ranks at the bottom of the AL in runs scored and I don't expect it will be easy to score off of Cosart.

I see a low scoring affair here as both clubs don't feature a lot of offense.  If the young Astros can just get to Sale a little bit I believe Cosart and the Houston bullpen will be able to hold off the White Sox tonight for a nice payday.

The Pick:  Houston Astros +226 to win

Result:  Loss

August 27, 2013

Yesterday's Pick Recap

The Yankees could not continue their dominance against the Toronto Blue Jays as R.A. Dickey only gave up one earned run in 6 1/3 innings and the Blue Jays prevailed 5-2.  It was another rough start for NY's Phil Hughes as he was unable to make it through 5 innings as he gave up 5 runs (3 earned) on 7 hits before being relieved in the fifth.  This is a key series, so Mr. T will analyze tonight's action in Toronto.

Free Picks Overall: 9-4

Today's Free Pick:  New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays

In tonight's second game of this key series for the Yankees, LH Andy Pettitte will start for the Bombers and LH J.A. Happ will go for the Jays.  With Oakland's win over Detroit, the Yanks dropped 4 1/2 games out of the wildcard picture.  With now only 31 games remaining, there cannot be many more losses.

Derek Jeter was 0-3 with a walk in his return last night and NY hopes he will be able to make it the rest of the way.  A-Rod homered last night (his 650th) and he has hit more homers than any opposing player ever at the Roger's Center.  The Yankees will need some more of that the next couple of games.

Pettitte (9-9, 4.26 ERA) and Happ (3-3, 5.10) matched up in New York just 5 days ago with Pettitte prevailing in a 5-3 Yankees win.  Pettitte pitched well in that game as he did in Boston the start before that.  The Yanks are hoping for a similar outing tonight.

Happ will be starting his 5th game since returning from the DL after being hit in the head with a batted ball in Tampa Bay on May 7th.  He has pitched OK since but has not been able to harness his control as he has issued 11 walks in those 4 starts over 21 2/3 innings.

Look for the Yankees to be patient with Happ and try to draw walks and increase his pitch count.  I also think that the bats will return for NY after facing the knuckleballer Dickey last night.

Even though Pettitte is 41, he is a big gamer and with his recent form I feel comfortable that he will give the Yankees a quality start tonight.

The Blue Jays are scrappy and the effort being given by Reyes, Encarcion, Lawrie and company is still high even though they are out of any playoff contention.  Even so, I think that the Yankees' Rodriguez, Cano, Granderson, Suzuki, Soriano and now Jeter will find a way to get to Happ and win the game.

The Pick:  New York Yankees -114 to win

Result:  Win

August 26, 2013

Yesterday's Pick Recap

We are now 9-3.  A nifty 75% after successfully predicting the over in last night's 8-1 Red Sox win over the Dodgers.  I expected a tighter contest, but was not surprised that the Bosox were able to score runs off of Capuano and company.  Peavy's 3 hit gem was a little surprising, but with a relatively low 7.5 total we only needed one team to bust out and that is what Boston did, riding homers from Saltalamacchia, Victorino and Napoli en route to their 8 run output.  I hope you guys are cashing along with us here.

Free Picks Overall: 9-3

Today's Free Pick:  New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays

When the Yankees travel north of the border to play the Blue Jays in Toronto tonight they will meet up with their captain, Derek Jeter.  Jeter is coming off the DL once again and the Yanks are hoping he can stay healthy enough to help them down the stretch in their playoff hunt.  With only 32 games remaining in the season, they need to make up ground as they sit 3 1/2 games behind Oakland for the second AL wildcard spot with Cleveland and Baltimore also ahead of them.

The Blue Jays have no playoff hopes as their season has been a major disappointment.  They can only hope to play the spoiler and try to find some positives to take into the offseason.  Not what they envisioned heading into the 2013 campaign.

New York will give the ball to Phil Hughes tonight.  Hughes' numbers this year (4-12, 4.88 ERA) are unimpressive to say the least.  Hughes did, however, pitch effectively last Tuesday against the Blue Jays in New York giving up just 2 runs on 7 hits over 6 innings.  He did not factor into the decision but the Yanks won 3-2.  His last win came on July 2nd and since then he has absorbed 5 losses to go along with 3 no decisions.

R.A. Dickey's season has not gone as he would have liked.  The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner has not found the success in the junior circuit like he did last season with the Mets.  His overall stats (9-12, 4.49) are not terrible, but for a pitcher that was signed to headline a World Series contending team they are less than stellar.  Dickey face NY in the Bronx on Wednesday where he pitched a complete game giving up only 6 hits and 4 runs, but unfortunately the Jays only scored 2 and he took the loss.

The Yankees have dominated the Blue Jays this season winning 12 of 13 contests.  Including all 10 in NY.  Toronto did manage 1 of 3 earlier in the season at home and will look to reverse their fortunes against the Bronx Bombers.  Hughes and Dickey have pitched relatively well against Toronto and NY respectively this season, therefore, I think each will do the same tonight.

Offensively, Toronto is led by Jose Reyes and Edwin Encarcion but are missing Jose Bautista who is on the DL.  They are still averaging about a half a run more per game than the Yankees this season.

New York's offensive woes have been curtailed somewhat by the acquisition of Alfonso Soriano who has added some much needed run production since coming over from the Cubs.  Also, the returns from the DL of Curtis Ganderson and Alex Rodrigues has bolstered the Yankees offense.  Robinson Cano continues to produce as perhaps the best overall 2nd baseman in the majors.

I don't see an extremely high scoring game here and the total number of 9 looks a little high to me.  Having said that, I think that the Yankees recent acquisitions and better offensive production will be a factor in the game.  I think they will score enough to allow Hughes to go 5 or 6 innings and then turn it over to the bullpen where the Yankees can continue their season long dominance over the disappointing Blue Jays.

The Pick:  New York Yankees +106 to win

Result:  Loss


August 25, 2013

Yesterday's Pick Recap

We advanced to 8-3 overall with our Free Picks with the National's 7-2 victory over the Royals last night.  Zimmerman pitched 7 2/3 solid innings for the Nat's and the offense put up 7 runs, all charged to KC starter Wade Davis.  We expected the game to mirror the recent trends of these two teams and we weren't disappointed.  Washington continues on it's hot streak, whereas the Royals are ice cold and struggling.  We were surprised the Nationals were a dog here, but there was no need to overanalyze and we jumped on the opportunity.  We hope most of you did, too.

Free Picks Overall: 8-3

Today's Free Pick:  Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Dodgers

Tonight's interleague matchup could be a preview of the World Series as these two contenders look to decide the 3 game series on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball.  With LA taking the opener on Friday 2-0 and Boston holding on yesterday 4-2 it is clear that run scoring is at a premium.

The Dodgers send out Chris Capuano tonight and he has struggled lately going winless in his last three starts.  During these 3 games he has given up a total of 26 hits in 14 1/3 innings while posting an ERA of 7.53.  Overall, Capuano is 4-6 with a 4.70 ERA.  Not terrible numbers, but when you consider that LA is 76-53 it looks worse.

For the BoSox, Jake Peavy will get the nod.  Peavy has four starts in a Red Sox uniform since coming over from the Chicago White Sox and is a modest 1-1 with a 4.18 ERA in those 4 games.  Overall, he is 9-5, 4.25.  Interestingly, Peavy spent his first 7 1/2 seasons in the NL with San Diego and has faced the Dodgers 24 times.  His numbers look good here at 13-2, 2.27 over those 24 starts.

The first 2 games of this series have been dominated by pitching.  Tonight, I see an opportunity for the offenses to get involved with two starting pitchers not exactly shutting the opponents down this year.  The Dodgers have rookie Cuban sensation Yasiel Puig along with Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonalez who can all do damage.  The Red Sox lose David Ortiz with no DH, but he is still there to pinch hit if needed.  Pedroia, Victorino and Ellsbury can be productive at the top of Boston's lineup.

Ultimately, I see another close game here between these two relatively evenly matched teams.  However, I see the score being higher than the first two games of the series taking into consideration the underwhelming stats of tonight's starting pitchers.  Therefore, the 7.5 run total on this game seems very attainable.

The Pick:  Red Sox / Dodgers over 7.5 runs

Result:  Win

August 24, 2013

Yesterday's Pick Recap

Mr. T stays in the win column as the Rangers handled Chris Sale and the White Sox last night in Chicago.  Texas belted 5 home runs in the game while scoring 11 runs en route to their 11-5 victory.  For the Rangers, young Martin Perez improved to 7-3 as he went 7 innings giving up 4 runs on 8 hits.  Another successful underdog pick for the T man.

Free Picks Overall: 7-3

Today's Free Pick:  Washington Nationals at Kansas City Royals

A team many thought would be a contender in the NL this season, The Washington Nationals have not lived up to those expectations.  But lately, we are seeing glimpses as to why they were so highly rated at the beginning of the season.  Winners of four in a row, the Nat's are now at .500 with a 64-64 record and are 8 1/2 games back in the race for the 2nd NL wild card spot behind the Cincinnati Reds.  A long shot, but a shot nonetheless.

The Royals, on the other hand, have had a pleasantly surprising season but have fallen on some tough times recently.  They have lost six in a row, nine of eleven, and find themselves now 7 games behind the Oakland A's for the second wild card in the AL.

In the series opener last night, Washington shook off a poor start by Gio Gonzalez and an early six run deficit to then score 8 straight runs and ultimately hang on for an 11-10 victory.  A heartbreaker for KC and a big lift for Washington.

Righty Jordan Zimmerman (14-7, 3.37 ERA) will try to keep the momentum going for the Nationals.  He had a rough outing last out at the Chicago Cubs giving up 8 runs on 7 hits in 5 innings, but was solid in the start before that yielding only 1 run on 6 hits in 7 innings against the Giants.

For the Royals, right hander Wade Davis gets the start.  Davis is 6-9 with a 5.43 ERA this season, however, he also struggled in his last start giving up 4 runs on 8 hits in only 3 2/3 innings against Detroit.  Overall this season, Davis has started 23 games but has pitched only 119 innings which is about 5 innings per.  This puts pressure on the KC pen and Washington will look to exploit this.

I expect that the Nationals, who rapped 13 hits last night to continue to produce offensively.  Ryan Zimmerman, Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth should be able to cause problems for KC pitching and Ian Desmond and Tyler Moore each had 3 hit last night.

Eric Hosmer hit his 26th home run while going 3-3 last night for the Royals, but I don't expect the KC offense to get enough off of Zimmerman to win this game.

I see both teams continuing their recent trends and for the hot Washington Nationals to prevail against the struggling Kansas City Royals.

The Pick:  Washington Nationals -107 to win

Result:  Win

August 23, 2013

Yesterday's Pick Recap

Nice win last night for the Pirates over Matt Cain and the Giants.  Best part was the underdog money on the Bucs.  The fact that Cain had to leave in the fourth inning after getting hit on the arm helped the cause, but the Bucs were getting to him anyway.  Jeff Locke was OK for Pittsburgh and the bullpen pitched in to hold of SF.  Look for Pittsburgh to have a nice weekend in the Bay Area.

Free Picks Overall: 6-3

Today's Free Pick:  Texas Rangers at Chicago White Sox

The AL West leading Rangers open up a 3 game series in Chicago tonight.    Texas is red hot, going 18-4 as of late but they meet another hot team in the White Sox who have taken 8 of 10 including the last six in a row.  Having struggled through a disappointing year, the Pale Hose would like to keep their momentum and finish the season on a high note.  The Rangers are concentrating on holding off the Oakland A's who sit just 2 1/2 games behind them in the West.

Chris Sale gets the ball tonight for Chicago.  Sale is 9-11, 2.78 overall this year and the tall, lanky southpaw has been pitching well recently winning his last three starts, giving up only 5 earned runs over that span while striking out 20.

For the Rangers, lefthander Martin Perez is tonight's starter.  The 22 year old Venezuelan is also in a groove winning his last three starts as well.  Giving up only 6 earned runs over that period to go along with 20 K's of his own.  Overall he is 6-3, 3.48.

The pitching matchup seems to be a push so we must look deeper to predict the winner.  Texas sports a 74-53 overall record while the White Sox come in with a 52-74 mark.  The Rangers have an AL best 36-26 road record while Chicago is only 28-32 at home.

Texas' offense is averaging 4 1/2 runs a game behind the likes of Ian Kinsler, Adrian Beltre and former White Sox C A.J. Pierzynski.  Chicago has Alexei Ramirez and Adam Dunn, but they don't have the overall explosiveness the Ranger's are capable of.

I honestly don't know why Chicago is favored here, although I suspect the Chris Sale factor is in play.  I think getting the Texas Rangers here is a gift that should not be overlooked.  It sort of reminds me of yesterday's play where Matt Cain put the Giants in as the betting favorite.  Take the superior team here again.

The Pick:  Texas Rangers +115 to win

Result:  Win

August 22, 2013

Yesterday's Pick Recap

The overall pitching was a little better than I expected in the O's win over the Rays last night.  Hellickson had to be relieved early in the 5th after giving up 4 runs but the Tampa Bay bullpen held from there.  On the other hand, Chen pitched a very solid game for Baltimore giving up only 2 runs on six hits over seven innings before handing it over to the pen and that was it.  Not enough production from the Rays big guns, or should I say none.  Anyway, the O's avoid the sweep and Mr. T takes the loss.

Free Picks Overall: 5-3

Today's Free Pick:  Pittsburgh Pirates at San Francisco Giants

As the Pirates hold on to a 1 game lead in the NL central they head up to San Francisco to take on the disappointing Giants this weekend.  In tonight's opener Matt Cain will be on the hill for SF while the Bucs send out Jeff Locke.

The Giants have lost six of their last ten which seems to be about right for them this season.  Most recently, the Red Sox took 2 of 3 from them scoring 7 and 12 runs in their two victories.  Matt Cain (8-8, 4.35 ERA overall) has pitched better lately while going 3-2, 2.41 ERA in his last six starts.  During this stretch he hasn't yielded more than 6 hits or 3 runs in any of the outings.

Cain's counterpart tonight, Jeff Locke, has seen his campaign go in the opposite direction.  Locke is 9-4 with a 2.90 ERA overall but he has failed to pick up a win in his last 5 starts.  Most recently giving up 8 runs on 10 hits in only 2 2/3 innings against Arizona last Saturday.  Locke will need to revert to his early season form to have a chance against Cain.  I think he can.

Considering current form, the starting pitching edge tonight clearly goes to the Giants.  Having said that, I believe that Locke is due to give the Pirates a quality start.  If he does, I think it will be enough.  The Pirates are battling for playoff position in what has been a magical season for them thus far.  The defending World Series champs Giants are playing out the string in this disappointing season.

For the Pirates, Andrew McCutchen is the leading MVP candidate and Pedro Alvarez with 31 homers and 83 RBI's is having a productive season.  The Giants' big three Posey, Scutaro and Pence have been OK, but haven't given them enough to be contenders this year.

To me, the game boils down to whether Matt Cain can shut down the Pirates offense.  If he does, SF wins.  However, I don't believe he will and I think Locke will give the Bucs a quality start and McCutchen, Alvarez and co. will scratch out enough runs to take the series opener.  And at underdog odds, I like the Pirates even better.

The Pick:  Pittsbugh Pirates +114 to win

Result:  Win

August 21, 2013

Yesterday's Pick Recap

Mr. T had Boston to win and Jake Peavy did his part for the Red Sox last night, but the bullpen couldn't quite get the job done.  Boston squandered a couple of bases loaded situations early which could have changed the momentum of the game.  Give the Giants'starter Ryan Vogelsong credit for a stellar performance as well as the bullpen.  Ultimately, a game ending bases loaded walk to Marco Scutaro by Red Sox reliever Brayan Villerreal gave San Francisco a 3-2 victory.  A tough loss, but today's another day and we're going after it again!

Today's Free Pick:  Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles

Mr. T takes on tonight's key matchup of AL east contenders.  This will be the final game of this three game series and Tampa Bay has taken the first two.  Tampa Bay is now tied with Boston for 1st place in the division while the Orioles sit 5 1/2 games behind those two teams.  More importantly, for Baltimore anyway, they are now four games behind Oakland for the second AL wild card spot.

While Tampa Bay has won six of it's last seven, Baltimore has dropped six of eight.  The O's will send Wei-Yin Chen to the mound to try to stop the bleeding.  Chen is 6-6 overall this season but has lost his last three starts after having a nice July where he went 3-0 in four starts.  Chen sports a respectable ERA of 3.23 which indicates he should be able to keep Baltimore in the game.

For the opposing Rays, Jeremy Hellickson gets the nod and he will be looking to turn his his personal slide around.  Hellickson has an overall record of 10-6 with a 4.91 ERA but he has been awful as of late.  After getting off to a 10-3 start he has gone 0-3 over his last four starts while yielding 16 runs in only 18 innings over that span.  On a positive note, Hellickson is 8-3 with a 3.09 ERA in his career vs. the O's so if he can find that form it will bode well for the Rays.

I don't see either starting pitcher shutting down the other team so there should be runs scored here and therefore over the total of 8.5 should be considered.  That said, I believe Hellickson will pitch more like his first 21 starts this season as opposed to his last four.  If he does this, then I believe that Matt Joyce, Yunel Escobar, Evan Longoria and company will be able to outslug the likes of Chris Davis, Manny Machado and Adam Jones.

The Pick:  Tampa Bay Rays +106 to win

Result:  Loss

August 20, 2013

Boston Red Sox at San Francisco Giants

The Lucky Latina was unable to get us back on the winning side last night as the Marlins beat the Dodgers behind rookie Jose Fernandez who pitched six strong innings and remained undefeated at home.  Tonight Mr. T steps up to the plate to break down the Boston Red Sox against the San Francisco Giants.

Last night, the Red Sox shook off any jet lag they may have had to hand SF 7-0 defeat.  Pitcher John Lester threw 8 1/3 innings of dominant stuff at the Giants and then Brandon Workman came in to strikeout the final two batters.  Anyone, including myself, who thought the same day travel across country after playing the previous night would have an effect were dead wrong.  At least not a negative effect for the Red Sox.

Now that they are all settled in to the west coast time zone and acclimated it should spell bad news for the Giants.  They will be facing Boston's Jake Peavy tonight.  Peavy is 1-1 in his three starts for the Red Sox with an ERA of 5.00.  Overall this season he is 9-5 with a 4.41 ERA, which includes his time with the White Sox.  Also, Peavy is no stranger to the Giants having pitched in San Diego for the Padres his first 7 1/2 years in the majors.  His overall record against SF is 8-5 with a 4.06 ERA over 13 starts.

San Francisco will send Ryan Vogelsong to the mound to face Boston.  Vogelsong is 2-4 this season with a 6.75 ERA.  He has been on the DL this year and really hasn't been effective.  At home he only 1-2 with a 6.68 ERA in six starts.  Not very impressive numbers.

An interesting twist to this game is that the Red Sox have called up their top prospect SS Xander Bogaerts and he is expected to start tonight.  At 20 years old, he will be the third youngest players currently in the majors behind Bryce Harper of the Nationals and Jurickson Profar of the Rangers.

Look for Peavy to pitch a solid game, the bullpen to follow suit and for the Red Sox offense to produce enough to give them an easy win here.

The Pick:  Boston Red Sox -150 to win

Result:  Loss

August 19, 2013

Los Angeles Dodgers at Miami Marlins

OK, so Mr. T lost yesterday with the Mets / Padres game.  The Mets wasting another one of Matt Harvey's quality starts.  It marks the first loss for after successfully predicting the first 5.  Today, the Lucky Latina steps in with her analysis of the Dodgers at Marlins tilt.

Hanley Ramirez had a tough outing yesterday committing two ninth inning errors helping the Phillies win 3-2.  It snapped a 10 game winning streak for the Dodgers as well as costing LA only their second road loss in 21 outings.  Tonight, the Dodgers begin a series in Miami, Ramirez's old stomping grounds, and look to regain their winning ways.

The Marlins are suffering through a dreadful season, but as they usually do, are developing some young talent.  Specifically pitchers.  Tonight's starter is a perfect example.  Jose Fernandez (8-5, 2.45 ERA) is a 21 year old rookie from Cuba who has established himself as the ace of the Marlins pitching staff.  At home, Fernandez has been extremely effective posting a 5-0 record and a 1.39 ERA.

Hyun-Jin Ryu will get the nod for the Dodgers.  Ryu, like Fernandez, is a rookie who is having considerable success.  The 26 year old Korean is 12-3 with an ERA of 2.91.  Recently, he has only yielded 8 earned runs in his last five starts.

Clearly this looks to be a low scoring game and the total number at 6.5 seems to set up for an under.  However, as attractive as that bet looks, I like the Dodgers to win.  I believe LA will be motivated to get back to it's winning ways and despite the impressive home numbers for Fernandez, the Marlins are still a losing team at home.  I also think Ryu will at least match Fernandez and the superior Dodger team will prevail.

The Pick:  Los Angeles Dodgers -122 to win

Result:  Loss

August 18, 2013

New York Mets at San Diego Padres

Mr. T will keep today's analysis short as he sees Matt Harvey and the Mets get decent value here against a struggling Eric Stoltz and the Padres.

No need to overthink this play.

The Pick:  New York Mets -133 to win

Result:  Loss

August 17, 2013


Manchester United at Swansea, English Premier League Soccer

Today, Mr. T ventures into the world of soccer, or football, as many around the world refer to it.  Today kicks off the EPL season and why not start with a prediction on the most famous team in the league, Manchester United.

In the opener, Man U will travel to Swansea to take on the Swans at Liberty Stadium.  The big news here is that David Moyes will be making his debut as the manager of Man U after taking over from long time skipper Sir Alex Ferguson.  Moyes comes from an Everton squad which had considerable success at Swansea winning by 2-0 and 3-0 margins his last times here with his former club.  Red Devil supporters are hoping for some of that same success today.

Swansea will hope to delay Moyes' first taste of victory with his new club and are looking for new additions Wilfried Bony, Jonjo Shelvey, Jordi Amat and Jose Canas to help with that cause.  A victory, or even a draw here will be the first step in bringing Swansea City into the mid to upper tier in the league.  A goal that manager Michael Laudrup has set for his team.

Manchester United has some player issues to deal with as Wayne Rooney will most likely not start as he has been sidelined for a while with hamsting and shoulder injuries.  Meanwhile, Darren Fletcher and Rafael Da Silva will be out.  Fletcher with ulcerative colitis and Da Silva will be serving the final game of his three-match ban for a red card received against Chelsea in May.

I see today's match starting out relatively cautious on both sides as neither team will want to make an early mistake in the season opener.  Especially Swansea with a number of new players.  However, I think that eventually the game will open up enough for a superior Man U squad to prevail and win the match.

The Pick:  Manchester United -105

Result:  Win


August 16, 2013

Yankees / Red Sox as Mr. T sees it

An important series for both teams here in mid-August.  Definitely more important for the Yankees in terms of making the postseason.  Let's take a look at Friday night's game 1 at Fenway.

The Red Sox lead the AL East by 2 games over Tampa Bay and are 8.5 ahead of the Yankees right now.  In terms of the wildcard standings, New York is currently 6 back of Oakland for the second wildcard spot with several teams in between them.  With only 42 games remaining in the season, every game is crucial right now.

The Red Sox come off of a tough defeat last night at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays dropping a 2-1 decision.  They lost 2 of three to Toronto after dropping 3 of 4 to Kansas City.  They are not at their best right now and the Yankees might have found some offensive power they have been lacking virtually all season.  Alfonso Soriano had a tremendous series against the Angels and with Curtis Granderson back in the lineup and Robinson Cano producing it seems they might have some momentum coming into this series.

The Yankees will send Andy Pettite to the mound who is coming off two subpar outings in a row.  Overall this season he is 7-9 with a 4.62 ERA.  He is still a veteran of the Yanks / Sox games and I expect he'll give New York a decent, if not spectacular effort tonight.

Felix Doubront will start for Boston and he is having a good season thus far going 8-5 with an ERA of 3.66.  These two pitchers matched up recently with Boston beating NY 4-2 on July 19th at Fenway.  I expect a few more runs scored tonight.

The way I see this game going tonight is that the Yankees continue to enjoy their recent offensive outbreak at hitter friendly Fenway Park and score a decent amount of runs.  I think Pettite will keep the Yanks in the game because of his experience but with his recent form I don't think he'll shut down the Sox and therefore I expect them to score a few runs as well.

Too close to call on a winner here, even though the Yankees at +161 look attractive, I like the total better in this game.

The pick:  Over 9 runs

Result:  Win

August 15, 2013

Mr. T breaks down MLB tilt Boston at Toronto

The Blue Jays have had a disappointing season thus far and with the trade of Emilio Bonafacio, more Toronto fans are questioning the front office and the direction of the franchise.  Having said that, one bright spot this season has been the effectiveness of Mark Buehrle.  He has turned into their ace even as R.A. Dickey was supposed to fill that role.  Nevertheless, Buehrle has pitched very well as indicated by his 8-7 record, considering the Blue Jays are 10 games under .500 overall.  Toronto is actually 15-9 in all games Buehrle has started this season.  An even more telling stat.

The Red Sox lead the AL East by 3 games heading into today's play and would like to stay there.  They send Jake Peavy out to pitch tonight's game.  Peavy is 9-4 overall and will be making his third start for the Red Sox since coming over from the Chicago White Sox.  He pitched well in his Boston debut, not so much in his next start on the road vs. Kansas City.  Peavy is less than stellar away from home this season going 3-4 with a 6.65 ERA.

Both games in this series have been close and relatively low scoring.  I look for the same this evening and I also look for Toronto to rise up for Buehrle and for the Blue Jays to win a close game as a slight dog at home.

The Pick:  Toronto Blue Jays +115

Result:  Win

August 14, 2013

Mr. T on Yankees vs Angels

The Yankees busted out offensively last night scoring 14 runs on 19 hits.  The kind of output Yankee fans have rarely seen this season.  This bodes well for the Bronx Bombers if they are going to make a run at the postseason.  Also, a lot of the production came from guys the NYY haven't had most of the season, Alfonso Soriano with 2 home runs and a career high 6 RBI's, Curtis Granderson with three hits, and Alex Rodriguez adding a 2 run double.

Ivan Nova takes the mound tonight and he has been very effective this season even if his overall record doesn't show it.   He is 5-4 but his stellar ERA of 2.92 indicates the poor run support he has gotten so far.  If the Yankees can score just a reasonable amount of runs for him then the wins should come.

Those runs won't necessarily come easy tonight against the Angel's Jared Weaver.  Weaver is pitching exceptionally well as of late going 6-1 over his last nine.  He also has lowered his ERA to 2.87 proving that he is among the elite pitchers in the AL.  Offensively, the LAA are adequate but certainly not the dynamic force they hoped to be.

Look for Nova to outduel Weaver and New York to give him enough run support to win the game.  Plus, Mariano Rivera will be available if needed.

The pick:  New York Yankees -125 to win

Result:  Win

August 13, 2013

Today's free pick comes from The Lucky Latina.

After watching intently the Roger's Cup tennis tournament from Montreal this past weekend I was impressed with the play of Vasek Pospisil.  Even though he lost in the semi's to fellow Canadian Milos Raonic, I came away with the feeling that Pospisil is an up and comer who, at 24 years old, now has a taste of the big time and that will only help him win matches.

Gilles Simon is a formidable opponent, but I like the fact that Pospisil is coming back to play in another tournament just 3 days after his three set tiebreak loss to Raonic.  I see a momentum play here.

The pick:  Vasek Pospisil 1.90 over Gilles Simon 1.55

Result:  Win