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And So It Goes....

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

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

May 13th, 2009 Picks

2-1-0 yesterday, so it could have been worse. Mumbai Indians pulled through with economical bowling and solid batting, especially from D.J. Bravo. Mumbai won by 8 wickets with 22 balls remaining. Then I picked the Dodgers, and well, Chan Ho Park had another good game. Go figure. Los Angeles got 11 hits but only 2 runs out of it all. A fielding error and a walk with the bases loaded gave Philadelphia the go ahead runs. Then I finished out the day with the Lakers' margin of victory. Up by double digits after one, and by 25 points at the break the Lakers were running away with the game. It didn't get any better for Houston in the 4th quarter as the Lakers took a 40 point lead that ended up being the final margin. Luis Scola had 12 points so this ended up being the easiest win of the night. Hopefully today can be as successful with baseball coming through for once. Just once I'd like my team to avoid walking in a run! So on to the picks.

1) Atlanta Braves @ New York Mets – New York
2) Sampdoria @ Lazio – 2 goals or fewer
3) Manchester United @ Wigan Athletic – Manchester United win by 2 goals
4) Ryan Zimmerman’s Hit Streak: Extends to 31 Games vs. Ends at 30 Games – Extends to 31
5) Pittsburgh Penguins @ Washington Capitals – Washington
6) Los Angeles Dodgers @ Philadelphia Phillies – Los Angeles
7) New York Yankees @ Toronto Blue Jays – Toronto
8) Florida Marlins @ Milwaukee Brewers – Florida hits the 1st home run
9) Jason Terry ast. and reb. vs. Denver Nuggets win margin – Denver win margin
10) Cincinnati Reds @ Arizona Diamondbacks – Cincinnati
11) Kansas City Royals @ Oakland Athletics – 5 runs or more in the 1st 5 innings
12) Boston Red Sox @ Los Angeles Angels – Los Angeles

1) The New York Mets are 1-1 in this 3 game series with the Braves after a 10th inning win over Atlanta yesterday. Jonathon Niese will be getting his second start of the season for the Mets today, facing off against Jo-Jo Reyes of the Braves. Niese had a good first start, holding the Pittsburgh Pirates to 2 runs and 7 hits in 6 innings, while striking out 5 batters and walking none. He did a solid job against the Braves last September as well, pitching for 8 scoreless innings and allowing only 6 hits. Of course, that Braves team did not have Chipper Jones or Brian McCann in the lineup on that day. His career stats, through all of 20 innings, have him with a 5.85 ERA and 1.75 WHIP so I would not expect him to have a great outing even though he is perfectly capable of it. Jo-Jo Reyes has 4 starts under his belt, and aside from a 3 hit, 1 earned run in 7 inning performance against the Cardinals he has been way off. His ERA for the season is 5.48 to go along with a 1.30 WHIP. With 13 earned runs in 16 innings aside from that Cardinals game his ERA has been closer to 9.00 than 5.00. Still, he has an impressive ground out-to-fly out ratio at 1.30 so I would expect the Mets, who are already struggling to earn extra base hits, to continue to hit singles. In their last three games the Braves have a .321 batting average and I think they will have a hard time finding enough hits to keep that number up. They're also not hitting the long ball with a .384 slugging average. Overall the pitching matchup is fairly equal, but I like the Mets to have the stronger bats in this game. It will come down to who can string hits together in one inning and advance the base runners.

2) Sampdoria and Lazio are two unlikely opponents in this Coppa Italia final. Here is a small article detailing their respective roads to the final. S.S. Lazio are the odds on favorites to win as the final is being played on their home pitch at the Stadio Olimpico. Both sides are near full strength, with their very best players out on the pitch for this match. In 23 away matches, in any competition, Sampdoria have averaged 2.4 total goals scored. 14 of the 23 matches have had 2 or fewer goals scored. S.S. Lazio averages 2.8 goals scored in their 22 home matches and have had 2 goals or fewer scored in 11 of them. I would favor the under only slightly based on those statistics, but the oddsmakers have the under favored a great deal more, with the under at -200 and the over at +110. Part of the reason for that is the cautious and tactical style of play with which these two sides are expected to display. This preview from goal.com can give a little more perspective on this match. The scoring threats from each side are dangerous, but assuming the keepers do well and there are no penalties or own goals the game should go under.

3) Manchester United could clinch a share of the Premier League trophy with a win over Wigan Athletic at JJB Stadium today. This match is a make up for a match originally scheduled to be played on April 19th which was postponed by Manchester United's progression through the FA Cup. Wigan Athletic face a couple of key injury concerns, with striker Amr Zaki being ruled out and keeper Chris Kingston out with an injury he suffered against West Bromwich Albion last week. Manchester United will give late fitness tests to defenders Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans. The Red Devils are heavy favorites to win this match given their recent form and the Latics' loss of their first string keeper. Otherwise JJB Stadium has been a difficult place for teams to pick up three points. In 18 home matches only two teams have scored more than 1 goal there: Arsenal and Aston Villa. Both Chelsea and Liverpool were held to 1 goal with Chelsea winning 1-0 and Liverpool being held to a 1-1 draw. Wigan Athletic have a great deal of respect for Manchester United and Alex Ferguson, and what they've done for the game of football and would not mind if the Red Devils clinched a share of the title today. Interestingly, Manchester United won the Premier League crown at JJB Stadium last season with a 2-0 victory. I think they will do the same today.

6) Randy Wolf faces Jamie Moyer as the Los Angeles Dodgers attempt to find some semblance of success since the suspension of Manny Ramirez. Their troubles started the day his suspension was announced as they gave up a 6 run lead to the Washington Nationals. Since that game they have gone 1-3. Jamie Moyer may provide some relief for them as the 46 year old veteran has been off his game despite posting a 3-2 record in his first 6 starts. With a 7.26 ERA and 1.81 WHIP he has been fortunate to have the Phillies' bats behind him, providing plenty of run support. He has given up 4 to 6 earned runs in all but one start this season, including 7 earned runs in 21/3 innings to the Mets in his last start. Randy Wolf has done well this season for the Dodgers, with a 2.95 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 7 starts. In his last three starts he has given up a total of 2 earned runs and 12 hits. The Philadelphia Phillies have not done so well batting in their last three games, with a .187 batting average and .319 slugging average resulting in 9 runs. That is well below their offensive production this season and I expect they will give Wolf some trouble today. Even if Wolf has a poor game and gives up 4 to 5 runs I expect Moyer will do the same. The Dodgers have been unfortunate in losing some of these recent games and I think their poor luck will end tonight.

7) The Toronto Blue Jays attempt to add another win to their league leading 23 against the New York Yankees today. The Yankees are 2-2 since Alex Rodriguez returned to the lineup, putting a bit of a damper on their hopes since their 4-0 win over Baltimore where Rodriguez hit a home run on the first pitch he faced. Scott Richmond will be pitching for Toronto, and he has had a very good start to his second season in the Majors with a 3.29 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. Richmond did get a bit touched up in his last start in Oakland as the A's got 7 hits off of him leading to 5 earned runs. Andy Pettite, sporting a 4.38 ERA and 1.36 WHIP, will be pitching opposite Richmond. Pettite also had a good start to the season but has been quite hittable in his past two starts, giving up a total of 10 earned runs off 18 hits to Tampa Bay and the Angels. In their past three games it has been the Yankees who have been struggling offensively. The Yankees are averaging 3.3 runs in those games with a .227 batting average. Their slugging is what has given them even those few runs. The Blue Jays have been better with a .333 batting average and .472 slugging average in their last three games. The Blue Jays are batting nearly .300 on the season so I don't expect them to fall off their recent hot hitting too much. The Yankees should also see an improvement in batting against an inexperienced pitcher. I do think Pettite is more likely to have a good game today as I would not expect him to be shelled three starts consecutively. With Richmond being so young and the Yankees' bats due to wake up I think New York has the advantage overall. Still, the Blue Jays have been so strong offensively that even a good performance by Pettite will yield 3 or 4 runs. With the Yankees' bullpen posting far inferior numbers to Toronto's I think the Blue Jays will pull off victory, even if they find themselves down 3 or 4 after 6 innings.

9) In Game 4 the Denver Nuggets were unable to pull off another miracle as in Game 3. Now they return to Denver with their second chance to close out this series. After Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban's remarks to Kenyon Martin's mother and his unwanted apology insinuating the series would return to Dallas the Nuggets will be looking to win big. The line graphs above show the distributions of Denver's home margins of victory and Jason Terry's away points plus assists based on their averages this season, playoffs and regular season combined. The bar graphs show how many games Terry has had with a specific number of points and assists and how many games the Nuggets have won by a certain number of points. The graph leaves off 3 games which the Nuggets won by more than 22 points. Jason Terry averages between 5 and 6 points plus assists in away games, while the Nuggets have won 38 home games by an average of 12 points or so. That makes this a massacre pick for the Nuggets, but when you look at their head-to-head results Terry averages 7.75 points and assists in games played at Denver. This is represented by the glow near the bar over '8' on the graph. The Nuggets have won those 4 home games against Dallas by an average of 7.75 points, so the prop is actually pretty even. I like the Nuggets here, however, because the two times Jason Terry won this prop were in the regular season games, where Dallas lost by only 2 and 3 points. The Nuggets have had the larger winning margin in both playoff games, winning by 12 and 14 points. I think the Nuggets will play hard in this game and win by double digits yet again. Remember, the last time Denver lost they won the next game by 58 points, and that was on the road. Sure, Dallas is better, but that's why I'm thinking Denver only wins by 10 to 15.

10) The Cincinnati Reds continued their winning ways, having won 5 of their last 6. In their last three games Cincinnati have recorded 12, 18, and 6 hits. They are still batting incredibly well, at .313 in their last three and slugging .583 leading to 23 runs being scored. Arizona's offense has picked up after being fairly anemic for most of the season and they have scored 16 runs in their last three games. Now Arizona must go up against Johnny Cueto who has a 1.59 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in his first 6 starts. After giving up 8 hits and 4 runs to the Pirates in his opener Cueto has not allowed more than 1 run in any game this season. Bryan Augenstein will be getting his first major league start after pitching in the minor leagues for nearly two years. His numbers there have been phenomenal. In 5 starts for AA Mobile this season he has a 5-0 record to go with a 0.79 ERA and 0.67 WHIP. It's difficult to say whether that success will translate to the Majors, but he has been successful at every level of competition he's played at. I think the Reds will continue to cool off at the plate and Augenstein has a good shot at keeping Arizona in the game. Even though I think this will be a pitchers duel, because Augenstein is an unknown at this level the advantage has to go to the Reds. Cincinnati's bullpen also holds the edge. Take the Diamondbacks if you think Cueto is due for a poor start and Augenstein will prove his worth, but otherwise the Reds are the better pick.

11) The Oakland Athletics scored 12 runs by the end of the 5th inning against the Royals yesterday. Against Bannister they will probably struggle to score any runs in the first 6 innings. Josh Outman is pitching for Oakland and aside from his relief pitching efforts he's given up a few runs in each start and has been lucky to have not given up more. Each team averages over 2.5 runs scored in the first 5 innings this season. The graph below shows Kansas City's scoring in the first 5 innings this season. You can see how their scoring goes up and down every two or three games, likely reflecting their facing different pitchers in the opposing team's rotation. The light red line is their five game average and one can see that it's at a low point for the season. I expect them to score 4 runs on their own off of Outman and raise that average. Since Oakland just scored 12 runs and they're facing a top pitcher from Kansas City I did not include their scoring. I think it will be close, but if Oakland can score 1 run it will go over.


  1. The reason the Caps got annihilated was cuz I had them picked, that's it.

  2. I do not doubt it. When I picked the Pens they couldn't do shit against Washington even at home. If I had picked Washington along with you it probably would have been 10-1 Pens.