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And So It Goes....

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

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

April 29th, 2009 Picks

Ouch, 0-1-1 today when I made the wrong MLB pick. My first pick was Bolelli which was cancelled fortuitously due to a long weather delay in Rome. My second pick was the Detroit Tigers. Edwin Jackson and Phil Hughes had dueled to a scoreless tie after 6 innings, with Jackson giving up 4 hits and Hughes only 2 hits. Jackson had reached 117 pitches by that point and so the bullpen was brought in for the Tigers. Suffice it to say it was the first time a scoreless tie through 6 or more innings was broken open with a 10 run inning by one team since 1913. A misread pop fly error, numerous walks, RBI singles, and a grand slam were all it took for the Yankees to run away in this game. In the end New York broke it’s losing streak with an 11-0 win over the Tigers. So on to the picks.

1) Los Angeles Angels @ Baltimore Orioles – Baltimore
2) Josh Johnson vs. Johan Santana – Santana pitches more innings
3) Arsenal @ Manchester United – Arsenal win or draw
4) Chicago Cubs @ Arizona Diamondbacks – Chicago
5) St. Louis Cardinals @ Atlanta Braves – Atlanta
6) Ryan Zimmerman vs. Chase Utley – Zimmerman records more total bases
7) New York Yankees @ Detroit Tigers – 9 runs or fewer
8) Dwyane Wade vs. Atlanta Hawks win margin – Atlanta win margin
9) Tampa Bay Rays @ Minnesota Twins – Tampa Bay
10) New Orleans Hornets @ Denver Nuggets – 197 points or fewer

2) Josh Johnson is a solid pitcher and has already recorded one complete game this season. Yes, against the New York Mets, in fact. From last season till now he has averaged just over 191/3 innings pitched. Johan Santana averaged just over 201/3 innings pitched in games last season till now. I would give Santana a slight edge based on his pedigree. In terms of pitches per batter retired Johnson averages 5.3 and Santana averages 5.2, essentially the same number. This could very easily go either way and depends more on how soon in the count batters are retired more than anything else.

3) Manchester United are at full strength while Arsenal are dealing with several injuries. Arsenal will be fielding the same team that drew away 4-4 at Anfield against Liverpool, with the additions of Cesc Fabregas and Johan Djourou. Based solely on their average number of goals scored and conceded in home and away matches I would give Arsenal a 53 percent chance of coming away with a win or a draw.

4) Ryan Dempster and Doug Davis are the starting pitchers for the Cubs and the Diamondbacks, respectively. Both are off to fairly good starts this season with Dempster recording a 4.88 ERA and 1.42 WHIP while Davis has a 3.67 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. Davis has had a WHIP of over 1.50 for each of the past three seasons and without a real rocket of an arm many expect he will end up back there again. In the past three games the Cubs have been killing the ball with a batting average of .291 and slugging average of .518. Davis has done well against the Cubs lineup, but their heavy hitters have shown an aptitude for getting big base hits when facing his stuff. The Diamondbacks have also been hitting fairly well recently, but their career slugging average against Dempster is only .358. Both teams’ bullpens have not done terribly well this year, with ERA’s of over 4.00 and WHIP’s over 1.50. I think the Cubs will be able to build a lead of 4 or 5 runs against Davis and should end up with the victory here.

6) The bulk of my analysis, including some graphs showing probabilities of total bases per game for each player, and the actual distribution of games with ‘N’ total bases, can be found here. I mainly like Zimmerman here because his career slugging average is .667 against Brett Myers while Utley has a career slugging average of .464 against Scott Olsen.

9) The Tampa Bay Rays look to avenge a 4-3 loss to the Twins last night with Scott Kazmir on the mound. Kazmire has recorded a 3.97 ERA and 1.32 WHIP so far this year, while his overall stats last season were a bit better. In one game against the Twins last year he allowed 0 earned runs and gave up 5 hits and 1 walk in 6 innings. Overall the Twins’ batters have a .194 batting average and a .328 slugging average off of Kazmir. Nick Blackburn has done fairly well this season with a 4.44 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. In one game last year he had a dismal outing against the Rays, pitching 11/3 innings and giving up 6 earned runs, on 6 hits and walking 3 batters. Both teams have struggled at the plate a bit recently with batting averages of .222 and .223 for the Rays and Twins, respectively. The Rays have gotten a bit more out of those hits, however, with a slugging average of .384 leading to 11 runs in those last three games. The Twins have a slugging average of .309 and 7 runs in their last three. The Rays' bullpen outpaces the Twins’ in statistical categories such as ERA, WHIP, and home runs given up. The Twins’ bullpen leads in the most important category, however, with a 4-1 record compared to an 0-3 record for the Rays. Overall I think Kazmir’s pitching will allow the Rays to take a lead and the Twins’ generally weaker hitting will not be able to catch up.

10) Well, it should be clear to everyone that the Hornets will absolutely not turn in another performance like they did the other night in losing by 58 points at home to the Nuggets. Their offense should look sharper, and the Nuggets will most likely struggle a bit more than they did in that game. The Hornets may not be able to muster the motivation to be 100 percent effective on the offensive end of te court, however, and the Nuggets, being a good defensive team, should be able to limit their points. It could be very close to going over, especially if the Nuggets come out playing lackadaisically, but I don’t think either team will break 100 in this game.

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