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And So It Goes....

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

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

June 4th, 2009 Picks

Awww hell, 0-1-0 today with Bay's single being enough to sink me and my streak. Lot's of golf and a couple tennis props on the board tomorrow so I'm hoping for an 11-4-0 day at worst.
UPDATE: In an attempt to get all the previews tomorrow up before the first matchup of the day starts, and to pick more damn winners, the evening previews for tonight will be a bit thin. On the plus side, four straight losers this morning should lead to a nice run of winners this evening.

Bay Single And Beckett's 2-Hitter Enough To Sink Cabrera, Tigers
Boston Red Sox 10 - 5 Detroit Tigers
Called Bay having a poor game 100%, one single for him, but Beckett was awesome, 72/3 innings and only 2 hits allowed! Phenomenal stuff there. Cabrera had a chance even then, but his one hit off a reliever was a weak grounder that would have been an out if Lowell hadn't mishandled it. From the article: "Beckett (6-2) gave up a single to Curtis Granderson with two outs in the seventh to end the no-hit bid. He retired 18 straight after walking Placido Polanco with one out in the first until he walked Magglio Ordonez with one out in the seventh. Miguel Cabrera hit a fly to the warning track in right-center before Granderson singled to right." Read more....

Picks click on bold posts to scroll directly to them
1) Dinara Safina vs. Dominika Cibulkova - 17 games or fewer
2) Aaron Baddeley vs. Johnson Wagner - Baddeley cards more birdies on the front 9
3) Samantha Stosur vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova - 2 sets
4) New York Mets @ Pittsburgh Pirates - New York
5) Ernie Els or Zach Johnson vs. Tiger Woods - Els or Johnson card a lower 1st round score
6) Kenny Perry's Total Par 5's Score: 18 strokes or fewer vs. 19 strokes or more - 18 strokes or fewer
7) Municipal @ Suchitepequez - Municipal win or draw
8) Will Randy Johnson Get Win Number 300 Today: Yes or No - No
9) Chicago Cubs @ Atlanta Braves - Chicago
10) San Francisco Giants @ Washington Nationals - Washington
11) New York Red Bulls @ DC United - New York win or draw
12) Detroit Red Wings @ Pittsburgh Penguins - Detroit
13) Dwight Howard vs. Kobe Bryant - Bryant pts. and reb.
14) Toronto Nationals @ Washington Bayhawks - Toronto
15) Philadelphia Phillies @ Los Angeles Dodgers - Philadelphia

1) Dinara Safina and Dominika Cibulkova have each waltzed through to the semi-finals at Roland Garros for the most part. Safina lost her first set in the quarterfinals to Victoria Azarenka, having lost only 5 games up to that point, and has won 61 games with 17 losses including the match with Azarenka. Cibulkova lost her only set in the first round, to #28 Alona Bondarenko and has won 62 games with 29 losses to reach the semi-finals.
Match Stats
1st Serve %67.2%60.6%
1st Serve Won %73.6%65.4%
2nd Serve Win %43.5%50.8%
Receiving Win %55.4%52.6%
Unforced Errors79110
Data through all 5 rounds of play
The table at the left displays some of that dominance with each player winning over 50% of their points while receiving. Safina has been a bit better, however, with over 2/3 of her first serves being in play and winning over 70% of those services compared to Cibulkova who has faulted on nearly 40% of her first services and winning just 65% of those put in play. Safina has also committed fewer errors than Cibulkova, though both players have more than one match with over 20 errors with Cibulkova committing 45 errors in her first round match.

The official Roland Garros site has a nice match analysis section covering this match. They note Safina has had a weak mental game in the past which has been more or less mastered thanks to a new coach. I think she shows a little bit of those mental lapses remaining however, with only 45% of her 2nd services converted into points. They note Safina is much bigger and more powerful, but Cibulkova is very fast paced. Safina is a huge favorite to win this match and from their head to head match ups one can see why. They have met twice, both last year and on hard court, with Safina winning both times in straight sets. One match took 15 games to complete and the other match took 19 games. The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour site also has a brief preview where they also note Cibulkova is simply outmatched in terms of height, power, and shots.

Dinara Safina has been here before, but will her advantages in strength, height, and experience be enough to overcome the feisty 20 year old Slovak?

Overall I think Cibulkova has been playing tremendously especially in her domination of Maria Sharapova, but that may have been due to fatigue setting in on the unfit Sharapova. Safina has been just as dominant, with her only set loss coming to #9 ranked Azarenka, someone who I would favor to beat Cibulkova, possibly in straight sets. Cibulkova is only 20 years old and has never progressed this far in a Grand Slam tournament. She may have nothing to play for with nobody expecting her to win, but I think nerves may set in if she wins a game or two as she starts to think "what-if". Of course it could work the opposite way, with Safina losing a game, then another, and a third with frustration overcoming her, but I think she would grit her teeth and up her level of play after losing the first game. Cibulkova has just not been as good as Safina even in her straight set victories and I think it will be enough for Safina to win the match quickly and efficiently. Keep in mind, however, Cibulkova only has to win 6 games total to send this over 18 matches.

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

Samantha Stosur has an entire continent rooting for her. Kuznetsova has her game.
3) Samantha Stosur and Svetlana Kuznetsova have eached faced their share of challenges in this tournament having been taken to three sets in earlier rounds of the tournament. Most recently Stosur had a difficult straight sets victory over Sorana Cirstea 6-1 6-3 while Kuznetsova advanced through the quarterfinals past Serena Williams in a marathan 77-63 5-7 7-5 match.

Head to head these two do not have much experience with their only match being in 2004, a straight sets victory for Kuznetsova on hard court. Looking at their matches on clay this year on the WTA Tour one can see that Stosur winning 4 matches and losing 1 in straight sets, and winning 2 matches and losing 2 in three sets. Kuznetsova has been more dominant on the clay surface with 10 matches won and 2 lost in straight sets to go with 5 matches won and 1 lost in three sets. Overall then these two have played 20 matches decided in straight sets and 7 matches decided in three sets on clay surfaces this year. Kuznetsova defeated Dinara Safina in straight sets earlier this year and I think she may be able to dispatch Stosur in the same fashion.

8) Randy Johnson faces an historic milestone tonight as he looks to get his 300th career win in the first game of a doubleheader against the Washington Nationals. Washington will be starting Jordan Zimmerman, who was 1 going on 2 years old, when Johnson threw his first pitch in the Majors.

Randy Johnson pitching against Atlanta, his 299th win. Can he repeat that success today?
For Randy Johnson to pick up the win he needs to pitch at least 5 innings, the Giants must have the lead when he is relieved, and the Giants must keep that lead for the rest of the game. Jordan Zimmerman does have a tendency to give up runs early in the game, but the Nationals offense bails him out quite a bit and his record for the season is 2-2. The last time Zimmerman pitched against the Giants San Francisco had Matt Cain pitching. The Nationals came back to tie the game before Cain was relieved in the 8th inning and both starting pitchers ended up with a 'No Decision'. I think something very similar to that could end up happening in today's game.

14 ) OK, here's the deal. This game is being played as we speak. Toronto is currently leading 13-11 after the third quarter. It doesn't lock until it is replayed on ESPN2 later tonight. By that time the winner should be just about decided so if you like you can take the gimmie on this one after checking out the final score.

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