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And So It Goes....

Overall: 7-1-0 (0.875)
Basis Function: Daubechies4

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

April 21st, 2009 Picks

Holy flarking schnittballs, 1-3-0 today. My first pick of the day was Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot. He started out the race well as a dozen or so runners were leading the pack in a group of their own. At 25K, a little over halfway through the race Cheruiyot and Ryan Hall were still with the main group clocking in at 1:16:10, a very fast pace. 5 kilometers later Cheruiyot had dropped behind the main group by nearly half a minute and in the next 5 kilometers he had dropped behind by over 4 minutes. In the end he was unable to complete the race and Ryan Hall made a terrific finish to the race to close the gap between him and eventual winner Deriba Merga to 58 seconds. Ryan Hall finished in 3rd place with a time of 2:09:40 and proved he can run with the best in the world on one of the toughest courses in the world.

My second pick was Burnley over Sheffield United. Both teams looked very talented and worthy of promotion, though they played a bit recklessly most of the time. It was a very physical match with the referee allowing most contact when a play was made for the ball. In the 23’ Rhys Williams whipped a cross in from the right wing and Martin Paterson leaned forward to head the ball in to the goal and put Burnley ahead 1-0. At the end of the first half Sheffield United applied some pressure and were rewarded with three consecutive corner kicks, but could not get anything for the effort. They had some very dangerous opportunities arise in the 2nd half but Brian Jensen made the necessary saves and the Blades squandered other opportunities with off-target shots. Burnley held on to win after 5 minutes of injury time, 1-0.

My third pick was the New York Rangers. They were at home and up 2-0 in the series and that must have provided all the incentive the Capitals needed to show up. They played very well, going up 2-0 in the first 12 minutes on two Alexander Semin goals, each assisted by Ovechkin and Backstrom. The Rangers were frustrated by their inability to beat Simeon Varlamov, who finished with a shutout and 33 saves. The Rangers ended up with 26 penalty minutes and the Capitals took advantage with two power play goals. Washington took a game back with a 4-0 win.

My last pick was the Colorado Rockies. Considering Marquis and Garland had similar ERA’s last season it was not terribly surprising to see Garland pitch a fine game while Marquis was far too hittable. Arizona went up early on a lead-off home run by Reynolds in the 2nd. Colorado got the run back when Fowler hit a single to bat in Iannetta. A Reynolds double in the 4th put Arizona up 2-1, and in the 5th inning the Diamondbacks broke the game open. An error by Hawpe allowed Ojeda to reach home from 1st base off a single and Montero belted out a three run homer to give Arizona the 6-1 lead. Colorado made a game attempt at a comeback with a single run in the 6th and 8th innings but in the end left too many men stranded at 2nd and 3rd to take this game. Arizona won at home 6-3. So on to the picks.

1) Arsenal @ Liverpool – Liverpool win
2) Pittsburgh Penguins @ Philadelphia Flyers – Philadelphia
3) Milwaukee Brewers @ Philadelphia Phillies – Milwaukee
4) Rodney Stuckey vs. Zydrunas Ilgauskas – Ilgauskas pts.
5) New York Mets @ St. Louis Cardinals – St. Louis
6) Detroit Tigers @ Los Angeles Angels – Los Angeles
7) Tampa Bay Rays @ Seattle Mariners – Tampa Bay
8) San Jose Sharks @ Anaheim Ducks – San Jose
9) Carlos Boozer vs. Kobe Bryant – Boozer pts. and reb.

1) Liverpool currently lies one point off Manchester United for first place in the Premier League, and with a game in hand against Portsmouth for the Red Devils Liverpool absolutely need to win this game. Missing for Arsenal will be Robin van Persie and Emmanuel Adebayor at forward, Clichy, Gallas, and Djourou on defense, and goalkeeper Manuel Alumnia. Arsenal have the necessary depth up front with Arshavin, Bendtner, Eduardo, and Vela available, but will be hard pressed to replace Clichy and Gallas, though the return of Bacary Sagna will help. Lukasz Fabianski will fill in for Alumnia. Liverpool will be without Steven Gerrard who has a groin injury and another week or more of recovery left. That will hurt but they will be hoping Xabi Alonso can take on his role and Yossi Benayoun can put in a strong start. Liverpool played at the Emirates Stadium last December against a an Arsenal side missing Theo Walcott and Liverpool with Robbie Keane in place of Torres. The result was a 1-1 draw. Now Liverpool is at home and I think with the injuries in Arsenal’s backfield Liverpool have a good chance of winning this match outright.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

3) Because of the rainout last night Jamie Moyer will be getting his third start of the season tonight. So far in 11 innings pitched he has given up 16 hits and walked 4 batters while striking out 3. His WHIP is 1.83 where 1.75 is considered the break point between very poor and average. Last year his WHIP was 1.33 and his strikeout to walk ratio was 1.98 so he is due to have a good start, but in his 23rd season now it would not be surprising if he experienced a decline this year. Manny Parra is starting for the Brewers and has had an average start to the season with a 6.97 ERA and WHIP of 1.39. He has two losses in his first two starts due to the Brewers only scoring 1 run in each of those games. Milwaukee will need to generate more runs here to win this game and I think Jamie Moyer will allow that It will be difficult to outpace the Phillies’ bats which have generated 31 hits and 17 runs in their series against the Padres, but my gut tells me it will happen tonight.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

4) During the regular season Ilgauskas outscored Stuckey in 3 of the 4 meetings. Allen Iverson played in all four of those games and that had an effect on Stuckey’s role in the offense and his production. In Game 1 of their playoff series Stuckey outscored Ilgauskas 20-12 while taking 21 field goal attempts and 6 free throws. I cannot guarantee Stuckey will have been told to stop taking so many shots and distribute the ball more but that is how I see Curry playing it in Game 2. I’m guessing Hamilton, Wallace, Prince, and others will end up with more field goal attempts this time around. Ilgauskas should score 12 plus points, but he’s had bad games before with less than 10.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

6) Armando Galarraga will be starting for the Tigers tonight and he is off to a fantastic start to the season, and that’s understating it. In two starts he has pitched 131/3 innings with an ERA of 0.68 and a WHIP of 0.90, both wins. His strikeout to walk ratio is over 4:1. He had a 1.88 ERA and 0.85 WHIP against the Angels last season, so I think we can expect another great outing from him rather than a move back to the mean. Jered Weaver has had a fairly good start for the Angels, pitching 112/3 innings with a 3.09 ERA and a WHIP of 1.54. Detroit has been hitting the ball very well with a batting average of .283 in their last three outings generating 13 runs. Their slugging average has been lagging, however, at .321 with only four doubles in those three games. The Angels have been cold lately hitting .225 in their series against the Twins. They have done better at home and playing at Angel Stadium may be the boost they need. In their last series there, against the Red Sox, they batted .289 with a slugging average of .454 which included 4 home runs. The Angels need 5 to 6 solid innings from Weaver and will need to swing wisely and force Galarraga into high pitch counts in an effort to get to the Tigers’ bullpen early.
Confidence: W2 streak or less

9) Over the course of the season Carlos Boozer has averaged 26.6 points and rebounds and Kobe Bryant has averaged 26.8 points. Boozer was injured for over half of the season and had a number of low production games when he returned. He averaged 31.0 points and rebounds before the injury. His production remained limited even after recovering from the injury, however, as he averaged 27.8 points and rebounds in his last 5 meaningful regular season games. Kobe Bryant has also slowed a bit at the end of the season, averaging 25.0 points in his last 5 games where he played meaningful minutes. In last years playoff series Kobe Bryant won this prop in 4 games of the 6 including the first two homestand games. Bryant averaged 13.4 free throw attempts per game, with a series low of 10 attempts in Game 5. He had 7 attempts in Game 1 this year which gives an indication of how aggressive he was in attacking the basket. Boozer had 27 points and 9 rebounds to Bryant’s 24 points in Game 1. Watching the Lakers this year Phil Jackson has been running the offense through Pau Gasol to a greater degree. Against a generally weak defensive frontcourt in Utah I expect to see more of the same and thus fewer 30-plus point games from Bryant. Boozer only needs to have a decent night offensively, especially if he gathers 15-plus rebounds which he is more than capable of.
Confidence: W2 streak or less

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