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And So It Goes....

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

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Monday, May 25, 2009

May 25th, 2009 Picks

1-2-0 today. AS Roma defeated AC Milan 3-2 with 4 of the goals scored in the final third of the match. It was the first match of the season AC Milan had allowed more than 2 goals at San Siro in any competition against any team and increased their goals conceded at home by 33% for the season.

Then the Yankees failed to make the finishing play time and again with the Phillies’ fielders making New York pay for their aggressive base running. In the 10th inning Jeter and Damon lead off with singles to put men on first and second, but Teixera ground into a double play and they could not advance Jeter from third to win the game. The Phillies were the opposite, twice scoring from two outs and no men on base. It was a good win for Philadelphia which they deserved.

My last pick was the Minnesota Twins, and Baker pitched terrifically, taking 4 hits and 1 earned run through 8 innings. He gave up a two run shot to Fielder but by that time Morneau had already hit a grand slam to add to Mauer and Cuddyer’s solo home runs. Minnesota ended up winning the game 6-3, handing me a 1 game streak.

1) Burnley vs. Sheffield United – Burnley are promoted
2) Kyle Busch vs. Jimmie Johnson – Busch has a better finishing position
3) Tony Stewart vs. Carl Edwards – Stewart has a better finishing position
4) Cornell vs. Syracuse – Syracuse
5) Houston Astros @ Cincinnati Reds – Houston
6) St. Louis Cardinals @ Milwaukee Brewers – Milwaukee
7) Boston Red Sox @ Minnesota Twins – Boston
8) Seattle Mariners @ Oakland Athletics – Oakland
9) Tampa Bay Rays @ Cleveland Indians – Tampa Bay
10) Los Angeles Lakers @ Denver Nuggets – Denver
11) Chicago White Sox @ Los Angeles Angels – Los Angeles



Burnley are 33 years removed from top-flight football.

Sheffield United make their fifth attempt at promotion to the Premier League in 13 years.
Burnley F.C. and Sheffield United meet today at Wembley Stadium for the English Championship promotion play-off final to determine who will join Wolverhampton Wanderers and Birmingham in the Premier League next season. Sheffield United have seen a great run of form, losing only once in their last 16 matches with that one loss coming against Burnley at Turf Moor. Burnley have really come together behind manager Owen Coyle and have only lost twice in their last 16 matches, away at Cardiff City and home to Sheffield Wednesday.

The match pits the lovable Owen Coyle against the experienced Kevin Blackwell, who has guided clubs to Wembley before only to meet with heartbreak. There are a number of great previews

to this match and although the sportsbooks have the odds even up or Sheffield United slightly favored it sounds as if both sides almost expect Burnley to come out victorious. Blackwell especially seems to have the wrong focus, making an issue over the selection of head official Mike Dean, who sent off defender Kilgallon in the 27th minute during their derby match with Sheffield Wednesday in October. Said Blackwell, "I'm very disappointed with the stupidity and insensitivity of the appointment. I'm not saying Mike Dean is not a good referee but at Hillsborough he had a poor game and my marks reflected that." and "It puts pressure on me as a manager and puts pressure on Mike Dean as a referee."

Add on top of this the various injury concerns facing the Blades and Burnley appear to be a mortal lock. The match will be very hard fought and both sides have the quality to be promoted. It's not an easy call to make, but football is like any other sport, and in the end I think Burnley's team spirit, chemistry, and the enjoyment they derive playing for Coyle will be enough to see them through.

5) The Cincinnati Reds start a stretch of 13 games against division rivals as they take on the visiting Houston Astros. Cincinnati's Joey Votto and Bruce Phillips are doubts for today's game, with Votto still suffering from an inner ear infection which causes him to become dizzy without warning and Phillips suffering from a broken thumb which he will try to play through once the swelling goes down. Their presence will be missed as the Reds face Houston's Wandy Rodriguez for the third time this season. The Reds lost the first two games

by a combined score of 15-3 with Rodriguez getting the best of Aaron Harang and the Reds both times. Coincidentally it will be Harang on the mound for Cincinnati in this game as well. After those first two games Houston is batting .260 and slugging .403 against Harang in their careers and I expect Harang will do better than those two outings in this game. That speaks well for Cincinnati's chances, but Wandy Rodriguez has been dominant this season, posting a 1.83 ERA and 1.00 WHIP through his first 9 starts. Without Votto and Phillips, and with Houston batting well enough against Harang to increase his ERA by 50% in less than 20% of his innings, I think Houston has a good chance to win this game. With or without Wandy Rodriguez pitching.

8) The Seattle Mariners may opt to keep Yuni Betancourt in the second spot after they defeated the San Francisco Giants 5-4, matching their highest run total since a 9-6 loss to Minnesota back on May 9th. The Mariners have been tinkering with their batting order in an attempt to jump start their offense which ranks 27th in the Majors despite playing as many games (45) as anyone in the league except Toronto (47) and Tampa Bay (46). Starting pitcher Chris Jakubauskas is focusing on his opponent's starter rather than on the lack of run support his team has been providing this season, saying: "If he's putting up a lot of zeros, you have to match him zero for zero until your offense can explode." He was able to do that in his last start, pitching 6 innings and giving up 0 earned runs and only 2 hits. The Mariners won that game 1-0.

Facing off against Jakubauskas this time will be 21 year old Brett Anderson. The Athletics' management has all the confidence in the world that Anderson will one day be a star in the Majors despite the struggles he's experienced so far this season. Those struggles might be excused considering Anderson's first 7 starts have included games against Toronto, the Yankees, Boston, Tampa Bay, and Detroit. They point out he has been pitching with a blister on his finger which has hindered him. In his last outing, pitching without a bandage, he limited the Angels to 2 earned runs from 4 hits in 6 innings. He also struck out 5 batters without walking any. Oakland will have to hope Anderson can do the same against the Mariners, though hopefully in 7 innings, as their bullpen has been struggling lately. They once led the Majors with a 2.58 ERA in the league but that number has increased to 3.78 in the past couple of weeks.

The Athletics should have Nomar Garciaparra in the lineup after giving him a day off to rest yesterday and that should help their offense which has been decent recently, batting .278 and slugging .444 in their series against Arizona. Both pitchers have shown glimpses of how good they could be, but at 30 years old I would give Jakubauskas less of a chance to shine than Anderson. With Oakland being in their home park and Seattle's offense due to have another week of games with less than 5 runs I think Oakland has the advantage in this game.

9) The Tampa Bay Rays travel to Cleveland to take on the Tribe with Scott Kazmir recently being placed on the disabled list. Rather than being a blow to the ballclub the Rays are seeing this as an incredible opportunity as they have activated first round draft pick David Price. Excitement is brimming over the highly touted prospect, who has a 3.97 ERA and 1.34 WHIP in 341/3 innings with AAA affiliate Durham.

Tampa Bay will try to keep pace with the 9.3 runs per game they set in their previous series.

He will be facing off against Fausto Carmona

Carmona's Starts
(Best) G > Q > M > B > N (Worst)
, who has done very well against Tampa Bay this season and in seasons past. In 64 at bats against Carmona the Rays' lineup is batting .188 with a .266 slugging average, with Gabe Gross the only Ray batting over .300 with more than 1 hit off of him (.600 in 5 at bats). Tampa Bay, perhaps the hottest offense in baseball right now including the Twins, will surely test him. In their series against Florida the Rays had a combined batting average of .312 with a .504 slugging average en route to scoring 29 runs. I think Carmona will help them along in cooling off, which they've already started to on their own. The big question will be how Cleveland will hit off of Price. He may well end up needing only one or two runs of support in this game, and in that case the Rays have to be overwhelming favorites. Overall I can see Carmona having a quality start and with Cleveland likely to hit better than they have been Price could see a shaky inning or two. Unless Price lives up to his billing completely this could be a very close game in which the Indians are just as likely to win as Tampa Bay.

10) In Game 3 the Lakers showed their championship experience and the Nuggets their lack thereof. It was Denver who went ice cold in the fourth quarter after leading for most of the game. They missed their first 8 shots in the fourth and made some crucial mistakes down the stretch, such as the infamous Kenyon Martin inbounds pass. For Denver to win this game they will need to keep their composure and otherwise the same rules apply for each team to come away with victory.

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