Odds On Most Any Matchup: 5dimesSkyBetBetFairBetUS

And So It Goes....

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

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Monday, June 1, 2009

June 1st, 2009 Picks

1-2-0... Just one of those days where I managed to pick a few losers out of the winners after getting lucky in the morning. Justin Rose got me back on track, but then I took Tim Clark to win the tournament rather than either the Twins, the Red Sox, or the Angels, or even Jimmie Johnson. A Sean Marshall 1st inning meltdown ended the day on a down note for me. I've been experimenting with various elements for this blog and I've discovered some compatibility issues with Google Chrome (and thus with Safari and probably iPod/iPhone browsers as well). I'm trying to fix them, but if something isn't rendering properly for you on this page please leave a comment and I'll fix that problem first thing.


Justin Rose 34, John Rollins 35 (Front 9 Scores)
J. Rose/J. Rollins - Front 9 Scorecards - Colonial CC
J. Rose44434542434
J. Rollins44436343435
2+ Bogey
Justin Rose took a two stroke lead when Rollins double bogeyed the par-4 #5 but got them both back with a birdie on #6 and a bogey by Rose on the same. Rose hit a tremendous tee shot to score birdie on the 8th hole and that was the difference in this matchup.

Tim Clark clung to a one to two stroke lead for the entire final round, and with one hole remaining he retained that one stroke lead on playing partner Steve Marino. Clark hit a poor tee shot and was unable to scramble for par dropping him back into a tie with Marino and Steve Stricker. Stricker had chipped in for birdie on #17 and it ended up being the shot that entered him into the playoff. Tim Clark missed a 7 foot putt on the first playoff hole which would have won it and then hit his tee shot on the par-3 17th right at the hole. His shot was so on target that it bounced off the flag pole, rolling to about 23 feet away. Stricker hit his tee shot within four feet and sunk his putt for the birdie and the win.

Sean Marshall gave up five consecutive singles to lead off the 1st inning and the Chicago Cubs were never able to recover from the 5 run deficit. Aside from that debacle the Dodgers outscored the Cubs 3-2 to win the game 8-2 and split the series at Wrigley field two games apiece. And so on to the picks.

1) Andy Roddick vs. Gael Monfils - Monfils
2) Odd Grenland @ Molde FK - Odd Grenland win or draw
3) South Carolina vs. East Carolina - South Carolina
4) New York Mets @ Pittsburgh Pirates - New York
5) New York Yankees @ Cleveland Indians - Cleveland
6) Washington vs. Florida - Florida
7) Cincinnati Reds @ St. Louis Cardinals - Cincinnati
8) Philadelphia Phillies @ San Diego Padres - San Diego
9) Baltimore Orioles @ Seattle Mariners - Baltimore

1) Andy Roddick meets French favorite Gael Monfils in the 4th round of the French Open. Third round results are discussed here. Roddick has advanced through the first three rounds without losing a set while Monfils lost his first set on Saturday to world 26th ranked player Jurgen Melzer.

Roddick has the strength and skill to win. Monfils has the strength, skill, and acrobatics to.
Roddick has never made it through the second round in 8 previous entries into the French Open but his improved training over the off-season, including slimming down and adding more shots to his repertoire have allowed him to be more successful on the clay surface than ever before. Monfils made it through to the semi-finals last year so expectations are high despite his knee problems due to ongoing growing pains this year. He has not been able to play much this season with his last ATP appearance coming at the end of March.

Head to head Roddick and Monfils have split their meetings, 3 apiece, with Roddick winning both meetings this year and Monfils winning both of their matches on clay. The Roland Garros site contains a nice preview of the match. Both players appear to be in excellent form, with Monfils not yet showing signs of the pain in his knees, leaping, diving, and sliding in the ways that earned him the moniker "The Sliderman". Oddsmakers have Monfils as the favorite in this match, but with the way Roddick has been playing he will certainly have a shot but Monfils should prove too skilled on clay to go down today.

Ξ Ξ Ξ==__|| Watch the match live from UStream ||== Ξ Ξ Ξ

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2) World Football Net is a very nice place to look for information on this match. One can see immediately that Molde FK and Odd Grenland are tied in the tables with 18 points apiece. Clicking on the home and away tables to the left shows that Molde FK are one of the worst teams in the league in terms of home performance, while Odd Grenland are one of only three teams to have yet to win a match outright on the road. Head to head Molde FK has been fairly dominant at Aker Stadium against Odd Grenland, with a 6-1-1 record through the clubs' histories. Their last match was in 2006 which Molde FK won 2-0.

Odd Grenland visit Aker Stadium as they attempt to make a push for second place in the Tippeligaen.
Only two players, Morten Fevang and Svindal Larsen remain from that Odd team.

Odd Grenland's homepage has a terrific preview of the match against Molde FK, but unfortunately it's only in Norwegian. Essentially it notes that Odd Grenland will welcome back Tommy Svindal Larsen and Jacob Sørensen at midfield, but will be without Alex Valencia up front and Torjus Hansèn on defense who picked up knocks in their last match, in Cup play. They will likely start 19 year old phenom Fredrik Semb on defense to give him some match experience. Worth noting are that Odd Grenland midfielders Morten Fevang and Simen Brenne play for the Norwegian national team, and equally worth noting is that team is in last place in their World Cup qualifier group, earning 2 points from 3 matches.

Information on Molde FK is a bit harder to come by though there are some goals scored by minute stats. Molde FK appear to score the majority of their goals in the five minutes before and after half time. In their last five matches they have 1 win, 2 draws, and 2 losses with their lone home win of the season coming against FK Bodø/Glimt in March.

Possible starting XI's
Molde FK: (3-4-3) Lillebakk -- Vatshaug, Steen, Forren -- Rindarøy, Hoseth, Thioune, Skjølsvik -- Moström, Mame Diouf, Pape Diouf
Odd Grenland: (4-3-3): Arason -- Hagen, Fevang, Semb, Rambekk -- Storbæk, S. Larsen, Brenne -- Sørensen, Kovacs, Bentley

4) The Pittsburgh Pirates are one of only two teams the New York Mets have swept this season, the other being the Washington Nationals. Both of those sweeps this season occured at home at Citi Field.

The Mets try and carry their success with them to PNC Park.
Today the Mets will travel to PNC Park sporting an 11-12 away record this season. They've been successful at PNC, winning most of their games there the past few years, but have had some hard to take losses with a late lead. Livan Hernandez will be starting on the mound for the Mets today. Hernandez has come on strong at the end of May pitching a complete game against Washington while allowing only 1 earned run from 9 hits and holding the Dodgers to 1 earned run in 7 innings at Dodger Stadium. He will need to keep up with those kinds of performances for the Mets to succeed on the road, especially considering all the injuries the Mets have had to deal with, the latest being to outfielder Angel Pagan who tweaked his groin in the series against Florida over the weekend. He was playing for the injured Carlos Beltran who, coincidentally, is expected back for today's game against the Pirates.

Pittsburgh will start right-hander Ian Snell in a rematch of the starting pitchers from the May 10th game at Citi Field in which the Mets won 8-4. Snell and Hernandez both had decent outings, giving up three and two runs in 6 innings, respectively. It was Pittsburgh's bullpen who put the Pirates out of it, a fact they are well aware of. Pittsburgh's bullpen has improved since then, but Ian Snell has not, increasing his ERA to 5.43 and WHIP to 1.58 after giving up 6 earned runs from 8 hits in 5 innings to the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park. Snell also walked 4 batters while striking out the same number.

Livan Hernandez pumps his fist after throwing his first complete game of the season last week against Washington.

The Mets had some problems with their offense against Florida, batting .212 with a .303 slugging average, scoring only 8 runs in the series. It was still good enough to take 2 of the 3 games with their bullpen holding slim leads in both victories. Although Snell has been fairly successful in limiting the Mets' offense, even with Reyes and Delgado in the lineup, I think New York will turn things around some offensively. As long as Hernandez can maintain his form and put in a quality start the Mets should be able to take a small lead or at least stay close. I do think Pittsburgh's bullpen is performing better now than they did three weeks ago so they may be able to hold off New York from 2 or 3 runs down. If the Mets have the lead then New York's bullpen, tops in the league, should clinch the victory for the Mets. Especially considering Pittsburgh is 1-21 this season in games in which they are trailing after 7 innings.

7) The St. Louis Cardinals host the Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium tonight in a matchup of NL Central hopefuls. The Milwaukee Brewers currently hold a one game lead over St. Louis with the Reds lurking 21/2 games further back. St. Louis will start Todd Wellemeyer, who has a 5.02 ERA and 1.64 WHIP in 10 starts this season, hardly all-star numbers. His numbers were even worse a week and a half ago before he pitched two quality startsSTL 3 - 2 MIL(W)
STL 5 - 0 KC(W)
against Kansas City and at Milwaukee. Wellemeyer has not earned that high ERA and WHIP by stringing together multiple quality starts and another one today would be the first time he has had three in a row all season.

Cincinnati will have to hope they can keep Wellemeyer from reaching that mark without the help of slugger Joey Votto who has been placed on the disabled list with an inner ear infection and to deal with personal issues. The loss of Votto will hurt the Reds' offense, but they have had to make do without him quite a bit recently, managing a 5-5 record in their last 10 games.

Edinson Volquez looks to outduel a streaking Todd Wellemeyer after returning from the disabled list.
As a team the Reds are batting only .219 in their last three games but have made up for that with a .409 slugging average, earning nearly two total bases with every hit. With Wellemeyer's 5.5 K/9 and low ground ball to fly ball ratio (0.63), coupled with a fairly high walk rate that could spell trouble if say he walks a batter, gives up a sacrifice fly, then a double to drive a run home.

Cincinnati will welcome back Edinson Volquez who is returning from a stint on the disabled list due to back spasms. Volquez struggled the last time he faced the Cardinals giving up 7 earned runs in 62/3 from just 6 hits though he did record 8 strikeouts. Was he feeling those spasms even in that game? How he performs in his return from injury will be pivotal for the Reds' chances at victory tonight. Back spasms are a tricky ailment with a subconscious component - if they flare up on him tonight he may struggle again. Additionally, the Cardinals are back to hitting well again now that Ryan Ludwick and Ricky Ankiel have rejoined the team. In their last three games the Cardinals are batting .274 with a .409 slugging average, not too far off of their season averages. If they can get Brian Barden back to his season opening form it could be a very long 5 innings for Volquez.

Overall I think the 25 year old Volquez will heal nicely and have a strong start against a Cardinals though he will probably still give up 2 to 4 runs in 6 innings. That should be good enough against Wellemeyer who I can see being shelled by the Reds' lineup even without Votto. Both teams have strong bullpens so it will be important for both pitchers to start off strong. I think Volquez will have the stronger start and the Reds will pull away early in this game.

9) The Baltimore Orioles visit Safeco Field to take on the Seattle Mariners who are enjoying their best offensive production to date this season. The Mariners have scored an average of 5.75 runs in their last four games, going 3-1 in that stretch. They're also batting over .300 and slugging over .500 in that stretch, well above their season long numbers of .258 batting and .387 slugging. Part of that success, according to manager Dan Wakamatsu, is finding the right lineup and swinging at the right pitches.

Baltimore looks to rediscover the offense that's been key to their recent success.

Seattle will try to maintain that success at Safeco against the Orioles' Rich Hill. Hill has recorded a 6.14 ERA and 1.70 WHIP in his 3 major league starts. The bulk of his runs were given up in his last start, against Toronto, where he conceded 6 runs on 6 hits in just 31/3 innings. The Orioles were able to keep pace, however, and won the game 12-10. Hill is a strikeout pitcher with a K/9 of over 9.0, but he has a tendency to walk batters. Last season his WHIP in the Majors consisted of more walks than hits. He had the same problem in the minors as well. It speaks to an issue of delivery and control as a pitcher who strikes so many batters out will throw balls that are swung at he must be putting the ball way outside the zone at times. Even with the Mariners most likely to cool off at the plate tonight any hits they do get will be that much more costly with runners already on base. One man who will certainly make Hill pay is the speedy Ichiro Suzuki, who is currently riding a 24 game hit streak.

Baltimore will have to hope their offense can keep pace tonight if Hill is unable to keep men off base. Their offense already cooled down facing Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson against Detroit, though they are still batting .247 and slugging .412 in their past three games.

Luke Scott (left) has an OPS of over 1.900 in the past week, while Ichiro (right) has a hit in 24 consecutive games.
The Orioles boast the presence of Player of the Week Luke Scott who has gone 8-for-18 with 6 home runs, driving in 14 runs in the past 5 games. Baltimore will be tested once again, facing Jarrod Washburn who rebounded from a poor showing against the Angels with a 6 inning shutout of Oakland.

Overall I think Washburn is likely to avoid a poor start, but could very well give up 4 or 5 runs in 6 innings. If the season were to end now Washburn's 3.45 ERA would rank as his 3rd best in his 12 year career. I think the Mariners will not hit as well as they have been but bases on balls and speedy base running will still lead to a few runs off of the hits they do get. The x-factor will be whether Baltimore can score enough runs to keep pace.

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