Odds On Most Any Matchup: 5dimesSkyBetBetFairBetUS

And So It Goes....

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

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

May 26th, 2009 Picks

Ouch, 0-2-0 today, meaning I picked none of my 7 winners and 2 of my 4 losers. Wandy Rodriguez and Ervin Santana were awful in their starts.

Wandy got bailed out by his fielders, as he improved his ERA for the season despite giving up 10 hits and something like 5 or 6 runs. An error was assigned after the fact to the first hit, so Taveras reached first by error. His run is unearned, and because the fielder’s choice that scored him would have just put runners on 1st and 2nd with Taveras being out, then the foul out on the next at bat would have ended the inning so all the subsequent RBI singles given up by Wandy were also unearned.

Santana started out much the same way, only difference was all 7 of his runs were earned, and with three outs to his credit he had a 63.00 ERA for the game. Ouch. The White Sox had one of their massive hitting nights and scored 17 runs. Kind of a crazy day in baseball with the Rays giving up a 10 run lead, so on to the picks.

1) Serena Williams vs. Klara Zakopalova – 19 games or more are played
2) Fabrice Santoro vs. Christophe Rochus – Rochus
3) BK Häcken @ Djurgårdens IF – BK Häcken win or draw
4) Tampa Bay Rays @ Cleveland Indians – Cleveland
5) Toronto Blue Jays @ Baltimore Orioles – Toronto
6) Houston Astros @ Cincinnati Reds – Houston
7) Pittsburgh Penguins @ Carolina Hurricanes – Pittsburgh
8) New York Yankees @ Texas Rangers – Texas
9) St. Louis Cardinals @ Milwaukee Brewers – Milwaukee
10) Cleveland Cavaliers @ Orlando Magic – Cleveland
11) Atlanta Braves @ San Francisco Giants - Lincecum records 8 strikeouts or fewer

1) For those who never watched the opening rounds of Wimbledon on USA as a child tennis matches are made up of sets and games. Each set is won by being the first to 6 games, and winning at least 2 games more than the opponent. If each player wins 6 games there is a tie-break played where the first to reach 6 points and at least by 2 points wins the tie-break. So the minimum number of games in a set is 6 and the maximum number is 13. The match between Williams and Zakopalova is best 2 out of 3, so the minimum number of games a player must win, barring one player retiring (forfeiting) or being disqualified, is 12 and the maximum number is 39 games. For 19 or more games to be played both players must win 7 games, and that's all. I like those odds. You can check out the head-to-head history between these two players here. I noticed that both times these two have played on clay courts they played 19 or more games with Zakopalova winning the match earlier this year. You can follow the match live as well.

BK Häcken visit Stockholms Olympiastadion to take on Djurgården coming off of a brilliant 3-0 home defeat of Helsingborg. It was difficult to get any injury news for Djurgården but here is a match report from their recent loss away at Trelleborg which lists their starting line up. There was no news of injury in the report so that may be the lineup they use for today's match. Unfortunately, the BK Häcken site has limited English translation. Here is an injury report for BKH, and essentially their only major concern is that Josef Karlsson will miss the match. The other players mentioned have returned to training and will be fit, or have not started for the team so far this season. One concern for BK Häcken is the appointment of Daniel Stålhammar as head official. Stålhammar led the crew overseeing their 0-3 loss away at GAIS earlier in the season and the fans are none too happy over the perceived advantage he gave their opponents. He also overruled his assistants on an offisdes call in a match BK Häcken played against AIK. I think Djurgården will be fighting hard to find some measure of success but BK Häcken will prove to be too tough for a team who has scored 5 goals in 10 matches, with the match ending in a draw.

5) The Toronto Blue Jays are on a monumental streak. Of weakness. In their past three games they are batting a barely respectable .255 and slugging just .294, or just 1.15 total bases per hit. To put that in perspective that comes out to one extra base hit every 8 hits.

Do the Blue Jays even have a shot of ending their home run drought against Berken?
They have also reached an unenviable mark of going 53 innings without a home run, a span of 6 games which has seen them on the losing end every time. The management appear to be just hoping for a big hit to get things back on track rather than focusing on specific elements of power hitting like mechanics and rotation; and why should they, considering they were one of the leaders in the Majors until this drought. They will be hoping they don't greet newcomer Jason Berken with flowers and champagne. Berken is one of the Orioles' most promising prospects and his move up to replace Adam Eaton was probably one to be made in the near future even without Eaton's being placed on the disabled list. Through 331/3 innings in the minors this season Berken has recorded a 2.16 ERA and 1.05 WHIP while giving up only 2 home runs.

Toronto will counter with the return of Ricky Romero who had a 1.71 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in three major league starts before injuring himself, including a 7 inning, 4 hit gem against Oakland on April 19th. He's certainly struggled a bit in his two rehab starts, giving up 10 earned runs in 9 innings with Dunedin (A adv.) and Las Vegas (AAA). Still, he's healthy now and it's not uncommon to see even the best pitchers struggle right out of the gate, or coming back from injury.

Overall I would say there are a couple of important factors pointing towards Baltimore winning this game: a pitcher who is playing much better more recently, and better offensive numbers for the past week. Based on each pitchers' numbers from last season, however, I would say Berken would be due to have a poor start even in the minors, and facing a Toronto team that is far overdue to start hitting again I would give the advantage to Toronto. Also, the Blue Jays' bullpen have recorded a lower ERA and WHIP and give up far fewer home runs than the Orioles'. I think each pitcher will struggle a bit tonight and those bullpens will be the deciding factor.

11) One thing to notice immediately from the graphs is that Tim Lincecum averages over 7 strikeouts per game while the Braves have yet to strike out more than 7 times against any starting pitcher they've faced in 44 games, including Johan Santana. The top graph shows how much greater or lower than average a pitcher's K/7 was against the Braves in that particular game. K/7 is exactly like K/9, strikeouts per 9 innings pitched, but for 7 innings. One can see they sometimes allow a pitcher to go far above their average while others can't seem to strikeout a Brave for the life of them. Last season Lincecum pitched against Atlanta twice and had 10 strikeouts and 8 strikeouts, so he definitely can reach 9 against them. He's the Freak of Nature after all. Lincecum's K/7 is 9.3, so if he can be economical with his pitches I like his chances, but in the end I have to go with the Braves who have yet to be struck out even 8 times this season.

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