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And So It Goes....

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

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

May 24th, 2009 Picks

2-3-0… a discouraging day. Alabama did their thing and beat Jacksonville State 9-0 for the third time this year, then the Nationals showed why they’re the worst team in baseball with an utter lack of clutch hitting. Detwiler had a good outing, but lost his concentration in the third inning, walking three straight batters. A ground ball turned into an RBI single when no National player bothered to cover 2nd base and the Orioles posted their only earned run on Detwiler. An RBI triple, Baltimore’s third and last hit of the game, was enough to beat Washington 2-1. Uehara came out of the game after 4 innings as well with stiffness in his hamstring, so the Nationals never got a chance to hit off of him after 80 pitches.

Singh losing was alright, I knew it would be a close with one of the two winning by a stroke, it just turned out to be Davis Love III. And I was just a total sucker to take Virginia in lacrosse instead of the Rangers in a sport I kind of know a little bit about. It would've been a truly shitty day if the Giants had ended up losing. After picking MLB teams who had scored a combined 1 run in 25 innings San Francisco finally broke out for 5 in the top of the 8th. So on to the picks.

1) AS Roma @ AC Milan – AC Milan win
2) Rod Pampling vs. Steve Flesch – Pampling cards a lower front 9 score
3) Manchester United @ Hull City – Manchester United win
4) Danica Patrick vs. Marco Andretti – Patrick has a better finishing position
5) Philadelphia Phillies @ New York Yankees – New York
6) Tampa Bay @ Florida Marlins – Florida
7) New York Mets @ Boston Red Sox – New York
8) Byron Nelson Winner: R. Sabbatini or D. Johnson vs. Rest Of Field – Rest of field
9) Kansas City Royals @ St. Louis Cardinals – St. Louis
10) Detroit Red Wings @ Chicago Blackhawks – Chicago
11) Arizona Diamondbacks @ Oakland Athletics – Oakland
12) San Francisco Giants @ Seattle Mariners – San Francisco
13) Milwaukee Brewers @ Minnesota Twins – Minnesota
14) Cleveland Cavaliers @ Orlando Magic – Cleveland



AC Milan can secure their spot in the Champions League with a victory.
AS Roma need a victory for their place in the Europa League, but will have to do without de Rossi and a portion of their backfield.
With a victory at San Siro AC Milan AC Milan, could clinch their place in next years Champions League Group Stage and avoid the qualification phase which can be strenuous on a club seeking success in their domestic league. It will be defender and captain Paolo Maldini's final appearance at San Siro after 901 matches over 24 seasons. Emotions will be running high for il Rossoneri and the crowd should be large and raucous providing support for the most celebrated player in AC Milan's recent history.

AS Roma will not be intimidated as they seek to secure their place in next year's Europa League. With Palermo and Udinese 2 and 3 points behind them they can only hope those sides meet with defeat as they play away at Atalanta and Sampdoria. A victory for il Giallorossi would leave them needing only to draw at home against Torino in their final match even if Palermo wins their match as well. AS Roma's defense, worst amongst teams not currently in the relegation zone with 57 goals conceded this season, will be depleted for the match with Cicinho, Max Tonetto, Juan and goalkeeper Alexander Doni out with injury. They will also have to do without key midfielder Daniele de Rossi, suspended for the match, who has started 32 matches for them this season. AC Milan will not be without their own injury concerns, but will still be able to field a strong side. Starting keeper Christian Abbiati is out for the season, but his replacement, Dida, has performed admirably in conceding 4 goals in 7 matches.

Recent Form - AC Milan
HomeAwayResultOpp. Away GD
AC MilanJuventus1 - 1+10
AC MilanPalermo3 - 0-10
AC MilanTorino5 - 1-19
AS Roma (Away): 4-5-9, -10GD
Recent Form - AS Roma
HomeAwayResultOpp. Home GD
CagliariAS Roma2 - 2+11
FiorentinaAS Roma4 - 1+17
LazioAS Roma4 - 2-1
AC Milan (Home): 14-3-1, +28GD

After 24 years Maldini says goodbye to San Siro.
Here is a preview from goal.com, where they predict a 1-0 win for AC Milan. Personally, I think we'll see a bit more scoring than that. Sportsbooks have AC Milan undervalued a bit with a 48% to 52% chance of winning, depending on where one looks. Although they have had their troubles finishing lately their dominance at San Siro this season is reason enough for me to selct them. With AS Roma having conceded 10 goals in their previous 3 away matches and AC Milan having conceded 9 goals at San Siro in 18 matches it appears as if il Giallorossi have a difficult task ahead.

5) The New York Yankees, winners of 10 of their past 11 games, host the Philadelphia Phillies for the third and final time of the season and look to go 2-1 against the defending champions after an Alex Rodriguez home run and Melky Cabrera double gave Brad Lidge another blown save for the season. It will be C.C. Sabbathia's first game against the Phillies since giving up a go-ahead grand slam to Shane Victorino in the National League playoffs last year. Sabbathia is back in top form after he started the season shakily against Baltimore. In his last three starts he has pitched 24 innings, given up 3 earned runs from 12 hits, and struck out 20 batters while walking only 5. That's a 1.13 ERA and 0.71 WHIP against Baltimore (2×) and against Toronto at the Rogers Centre. It will be interesting to see whether he can keep Philadelphia from hitting the long ball, as he's given up only 3 home runs through 9 starts, but has allowed the Phillies to slug .466 off of him in 58 at bats.

Philadelphia will rely on Cole Hamels to limit the Yankees today, with the 25 year old left hander recording a 4.23 ERA and 1.40 WHIP through 7 starts this season. Hamels also endured a rocky start that lasted a bit longer and it's taken him more time to get back to business but he's starting to resemble the man who was MVP of the World Series last season. His last start, against the Cincinnati Reds, showed he still has a ways to go, however, as he gave up 3 earned runs off of 5 hits, 2 of them home runs. Hamels has already been hit for the distance 8 times this season in only 361/3 innings pitched. The Yankees will certainly be a threat to tack on some runs against Hamels in today's game.

New York's bullpen has also been problematic this season, though they can be forgiven for leading the Majors in home runs given up playing half of their games at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees have had the offense to still win those games, as the home run hitting works both ways. Even a solid pitching corps like the Phillies have can give up big shots in the new ballpark. Overall, I think the Yankees' success in this game depends on the performance of C.C. Sabbathia in limiting the Phillies' run production. The Yankees should be able to score against a less than impressive Cole Hamels so he will need some run support in this game. Philadelphia, batting a monstrous .312 and slugging .624 in their last three games, can certainly provide it. While they are unlikely to match those numbers today I expect them to still have a good game at the plate and a great game from Sabbathia would involve keeping Philadelphia from scoring more than 3 runs.

9) St. Louis attempts to sweep cross-border Kansas City in their third meeting in interleague play. The Cardinals have won the first two games by a combined score of 10-0 with terrific play from their pitching staff and fielders limiting Kansas City to 10 hits in the two games. Kansas City will have to hope they can find a light at the end of the tunnel soon as they have an overall batting average of .179 with a slugging average of .232 in their last 3 games, on their way to scoring 3 runs total. It won't get any easier when they face contact pitcher Joel Piniero who is coming off his best game of the season and one of the best games by any pitcher this year.

Kansas City seeks their first run of the series today.
Piniero pitched a complete game shutout against the Cubs at Busch Stadium, allowing 3 hits total without walking a single batter. His style of throwing strikes low in the zone and letting the fielders do their job was executed to perfection in the game. A second complete game shutout is highly unlikely, but 5 or 6 innings of scoreless pitching could be on the menu.

The Kansas City Royals counter with Brian Bannister, who is coming off his worst outing of the season, giving up 5 earned runs from 9 hits to the Cleveland Indians. Bannister throws difficult to hit pitches and the Indians were simply in the zone with choosing the right pitches to swing at so I expect Bannister to have a much better game this time out. Unfortunately for the Royals, St. Louis is finally starting to see a resurgence in hitting after going through their own multi-game slump. In their last 3 games the Cardinals are batting .242 with a .440 slugging average while scoring 13 runs. With Ricky Ankiel and Ryan Ludwick set to return to the lineup soon the Cardinals are hoping to retake their place at the top of the NL Central.

Overall, I like Piniero's style of pitching even if he puts a lot of balls in play. It's no fluke he's only given up 2 home runs in 541/3 innings pitched and the Royals will be happy to put any runs on the board against him. Bannister is who he is and the Cardinals will be lucky to hit him as well as the Indians did last week so I think the game will be very close. Bannister is more likely to walk batters, however, and any extra base runners ups the chances of a run being scored. With Pujols and the rest of the Cardinals hitting a bit better I think their chances of scoring one or two more runs than the Royals are good enough to favor their sweeping Kansas City.

11) The Oakland Athletics try to avoid a sweep at the hands of slugger Matt Holliday's old division rivals the Arizona Diamondbacks. Oakland lost the first two games by 1 run each, and in extra innings yesterday even after touching up Arizona ace Dan Haren. Oakland has been hitting well recently, .283 batting and .442 slugging, with the help of Holliday, who is batting .270 with 6 home runs in the month of May. Oakland will start sophomore pitcher Josh Outman (3.31 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in 6 starts) who is coming off of 6 shutout innings against Tampa Bay, giving up only 3 hits. Even though they'll Outman they will want to make sure they provide him with plenty of run support and put the outcome of the game beyond doubt.

Jon Garland will be starting for Arizona, who has been very up and down this season on the way to recording a 4.72 ERA and 1.51 WHIP. For example, in his last start he limited the Marlins to 1 run off of 7 hits but in his previous start lasted only 32/3 innings after giving up 7 runs on 10 hits against the Cincinnati Reds. I would expect Oakland to continue hitting well against Garland who is as likely to have a poor game as a good one, so the Diamondbacks will need to give him 3 or more runs of support. They'll hope Stephen Drew's luck has changed and that he really is done with his batting struggles after he went 3 for 4 yesterday, including batting in the go ahead and eventual winning runs in the extra innings. If Garland can have his second consecutive quality start the Diamondbacks will have a shot to win, but I have to favor Oakland who has been hitting more often lately and with Josh Outman pitching, a prospect who is proving day after day that he is a star.

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