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And So It Goes....

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

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

April 22nd, 2009 Picks

‘Twas a quite disappointing 0-2-0 day for me today. My first pick was Liverpool to win at home. They were very aggressive right from the start but were unable to work one past keeper Lukasz Fabianski. At 36’ Mascherano lost the ball to Arsenal and Andrei Arshavin booted the go-ahead goal in past Pepe Reina. Arsenal led 1-0 at half time but Liverpool quickly jumped in front with a header by Torres at 49’ and another one by Benayoun at 56’. Fabianski slapped the Benayoun header out of the goal but was standing past the line and the ball crossed it before he made his move.

At 67’ Arshavin stole the ball and rocketed a shot past a diving Reina. The Liverpool defense made another costly mistake at 70’ when Aurelio chipped a shot clear which landed right to Arshavin who collected his third goal of the day. Torres brought another equalizer two minutes later when he received the balll in the box and turned to his left to slam his shot into the goal. Right as injury time was reached Liverpool had a corner and had pulled an extra man into the box. Fabianski punched the ball clear and there was no Reds player to collect the rebound. Arshavin and Walcott broke for the counter attack and easily beat the Liverpool defense. Arshavin made his fourth goal on the resulting shot. Benayoun equalized again in the third minute of injury time but Liverpool could not muster up a fifth goal in the final two minutes. Arsenal picked up a well deserved point with a 4-4 draw at Anfield.

My second pick was the Milwaukee Brewers. My gut feeling that the Brewers would hit well against Moyer was only half correct. They took a 1-0 lead in the first inning off a Braun solo home run, but gave back two runs in the bottom of the inning. The Brewers ended up with 7 hits and 4 runs off of Moyer, but Parra was one run worse. Moyer put in a solid 6 innings while Parra lasted only 4. In the next two innings the Brewers’ bullpen had allowed another 6 runs and the Brewers were down 11-3. They could not outpace the Phillies’ bats which produced 13 hits with those 11 runs. A rain delay caused the game to finish late, precluding the selection of the late evening picks and the Phillies prevailed 11-4. So on to the picks, eh?

1) Florida Marlins @ Pittsburgh Pirates – Pittsburgh
2) Werder Bremen @ Hamburg SV – Werder Bremen win or draw
3) Lazio @ Juventus – 3 goals or more
4) San Diego Padres @ San Francisco Giants – San Diego
5) Chicago White Sox @ Baltimore Orioles – Baltimore
6) Montreal (v. Boston) vs. NY Rangers (v. Washington) – Montreal scores more goals
7) Andre Miller vs. Orlando Magic win margin – Orlando win margin
8) Miami Heat @ Atlanta Hawks – 184 points or fewer
9) Los Angeles Dodgers @ Houston Astros – Los Angeles
10) Jose Reyes vs. Joel Piniero – Piniero total strikeouts
11) Chicago Blackhawks @ Calgary Flames – 5 goals or fewer
12) Detroit Tigers @ Los Angeles Angels – Los Angeles
13) C. Paul and D. West vs. C. Billups and C. Anthony – Paul and West pts.

1) Ricky Nolasco will be starting pitcher for the Florida Marlins as they try to avoid a sweep by the Pittsburgh Pirates and PNC Park. Paul Maholm will start for the Pirates. Maholm is having a terrific start to the season with a 0.87 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in 3 starts and 202/3 innings pitched. Nolasco has had a more mundane start with an ERA of 6.60 and a WHIP of 1.60 in 3 starts and 15 innings pitched. Last season Nolasco was a slightly better pitcher regarding these metrics and collected 15 wins to 8 losses while Maholm had 9 wins and 9 losses. The Marlins batters have had success historically against Maholm as well, batting .286 and slugging .603 in 63 at bats. The Pirates have not done as well with a .216 batting average and .314 slugging average. One bright spot for Maholm is his 2.6 strikeout to walk ratio against the Marlins’ lineup compared to a 1.8 SO:BB ratio for Nolasco against the Pirates. This season, however, it is Nolasco with the 4.0 SO:BB ratio and Maholm with a 1.0 SO:BB ratio. The Marlins have been cold at the plate in their last three games with a .185 batting average. This could be the game they break out of that slump, but I think the Marlins are facing Maholm at the wrong time to take advantage of him again. The Pirates’ bullpen of Yates, Grabow, and Capps has performed well this year so they should be able to hold on to a lead as long as Maholm doesn’t plummet back to earth in this game.
Confidence: W2 streak or less

2) It’s probably easier just to read it for yourselves so here are each clubs’ news in English. Click for Werder Bremen news; Click for HSV news; And a preview from goal.com. Werder Bremen have won 4 away matches to reach the semi-final, including a 5-2 thrashing of VfL Wolfsburg who are 13-1-0 (W-D-L) in league play with a plus-27 goal differential. Werder Bremen are 1-5-8 away in the Bundesliga with a minus-7 goal differential. Wolfsburg was at full strength so one can see how Bundesliga form can fly out the window for a Cup match like this. Throw in that this is a ‘derby’ (read: rivalry) match between HSV and Werder Bremen and it’s tough to predict the outcome. I would give HSV the advantage at home but give Bremen the overall advantage of performing well in this tournament. HSV have their hands full with the Bundesliga title within reach. HSV and Bremen play one another in the UEFA Cup semi-finals as well so neither team is relying on this tournament solely for winning a trophy this year.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

4) The starting pitchers for this game are Chris Young for the Padres and Barry Zito for the Giants. Young has had a good start to the season with a 4.86 ERA and 1.32 WHIP in 16.2 innings pitched which is not far off from his overall ERA and WHIP from the 2008 season. He also has done well against the Giants with a 2.57 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in 14 innings against them last season. Barry Zito has not gotten off to a stellar start with a 10.00 ERA and 1.89 WHIP in 9 innings pitched. He gave up 6 earned runs in one start and 4 earned runs in his other start. His numbers from last season were worse than Young’s but much better than his current lines. He did alright in 202/3 innings against the Padres last season with a 3.48 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. Both teams are hitting the ball well with the Padres batting .330 in their last three games and the Giants batting .255 in their last three. In terms of slugging percentage the Padres are at .477 recently and the Giants are at .363. Overall the Padres’ bullpen has done better with Bell recording 5 saves in 5 appearances, and Cla Meredith recording 3 wins. The Giants’ Brian Wilson has 2 saves in 5 appearances and no wins, and the other main relievers have nearly as many losses as holds and saves. I fully expect Zito to pitch a good game today, but Young should be better. The Padres have had the hotter bats lately and the deadlier bullpen as well.
Confidence: W5 streak or less

7) The Sixers won Game 1 by two points in Orlando and Andre Miller had 7 assists and 7 rebounds. Stan Van Gundy is a good coach who was the favorite to win Coach of the Year for most of the season. I think Van Gundy will make some adjustments and Orlando will find itself up by at least 15 after three quarters and this time Orlando will extend that lead. Hedo Turkoglu not being 100% will make it more difficult for the Magic as he has been a large part of their ability to close teams out at the end of games. Andre Miller is also one of the better rebounding point guards in the league. If Orlando plays strong defense Miller’s teammates will start to miss shots and Miller could very well end up with under 5 assists. Half of Miller’s rebounds this season were offensive so he’ll still get at least 4 rebounds. Miller has the potential to get a triple double so 20 plus assists and rebounds is possible but I like the Magic to win by more than 20.
Confidence: W2 streak or less

10) Piniero has had 2 and 3 strikeouts in his first two starts. His median number of strikeouts this year and last is 3. Last season Piniero had 10 games with 4 or more strikeouts and 16 with three or fewer. This season Reyes has two games with 5 or more total bases and 11 games with 3 or fewer. His median number of total bases this season and last is 1. Reyes has recorded 13 total bases in 9 career at bats against Piniero while being struck out twice. This looks to be very close and only based on Piniero’s success in a small number of at bats would he have a chance here.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

11) In the playoffs these teams have scored 4, 5, and 6 goals in regulation. During the season they scored 7, 4, 7, and 7 goals. Notice when the series was at 0-0 there were 4 goals, at 1-0 there were 5 goals, and at 2-0 there were 6 goals. Now it’s 2-1 so I see more conservative play and defensive focus from these two teams.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

13) Chauncey Billups scored 36 points on 10 of 15 shooting in Game 1, including 8 for 9 from three point range. Anthony added 13 points with a poor shooting night. David West did even worse with 12 points on 16 field goal attempts and Paul added 21 points, with the Nuggets’ duo outscoring them 49 to 33. During the season Paul and West averaged 43.8 points while Billups and Anthony averaged 40.5 points. In the last 5 games of the regular season Paul and West averaged 53.2 point to 35.6 points for Anthony and Billups. Billups would do well to have even 3 three pointers and 25 points in this game. I think West, Anthony, and Paul all increase their scoring from Game 1. In the end West and Paul should win this prop by 5 points or so.
Confidence: W2 streak or less

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