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And So It Goes....

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

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

June 16th, 2009 Picks

(skip recaps)2-1-0 today thanks to the goddamn Indians relievers. They could not hold on to a 4 run lead with only 5 outs to go. Wedge finally put in Joe Smith who disposed the last 5 Brewers quickly and efficiently the damage had already been done. Thoroughly. At least U.S. born Giuseppi Rossi got me a win with Italy and then the Giants' clean up crew with three hits in the 6th. So on to some unadulterated picks.


New Jersey Born Rossi Nets Two For The Azzuri
Italy 3 - 1 United States
Another battle, more red cards, a penalty kick, a called off own goal. Simply put this is U.S.A. versus Italy.
``Teaneck-born Giuseppe Rossi scored twice in the second half, Daniele De Rossi had a goal and Italy rallied to overcome a Landon Donovan penalty kick and beat the United States 3-1 Monday night in its opener at the FIFA Confederations Cup. The U.S. played a man short after Ricardo Clark was ejected in the 33rd minute for a late tackle on Gennaro Gattuso, but went ahead eight minutes later when Donovan scored his American-record 40th international goal after Giorgio Chiellini hooked and kicked Jozy Altidore."
Read more....Box ScoreIn DepthAPBBCCBCUSA Today

Fielder's Grand Slam Completes Brewers Comeback; Indians Relievers Embarrass Themselves, The City Of Cleveland
Milwaukee Brewers 14 - 12 Cleveland Indians
Wow, Cleveland had a 5 run lead at two points in this one. Joe Smith, the fifth reliever used by the Indians retired 5 straight to end the game, but it was too late.
``Prince Fielder hit a go-ahead grand slam in Milwaukee's six-run eighth inning and the Brewers rallied to beat the Cleveland Indians 14-12 on Monday night. Milwaukee's comeback overshadowed another difficult outing for Dave Bush, who was charged with eight runs in 31/3 innings, his shortest outing of the season. Cleveland starter Carl Pavano struggled again, allowing six runs in five innings. In two starts since his shutout against the Chicago White Sox on June 5, he has allowed 15 runs and 20 hits in 92/3 innings."
Read more....Box Score

Sandoval's Two Home Runs Not Enough To Overcome 7 Run 4th By Angels
Los Angeles Angels 9 - 7 San Francisco Giants
A seven run 4th inning was just about enough for the Angels to secure this win.
``Aybar hit a two-run homer before Abreu connected in the Angels' seven-run fourth. Robb Quinlan singled in two runs, Mike Napoli added an RBI double and Lackey even singled in a run for his first major league hit and RBI. Juan Rivera and Sean Rodriguez also went deep for Los Angeles. Pablo Sandoval hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth to go with an earlier solo shot, his first career multihomer game. Brian Fuentes then entered and got pinch-hitter Rich Aurilia on a flyout for his 17th save in 20 chances. The teams combined for seven homers and 31 hits."
Read more....Box Score

1) Amelie Mauresmo vs. Vera Zvonareva - Zvonareva
2) South Africa vs. India - South Africa
3) Belarus(U21) @ Sweden(U21) - 2 goals or fewer
4) North Carolina vs. Southern Miss - 12 runs or more
5) Serbia(U21) @ Italy(U21) - Serbia win or draw
6) Texas vs. Arizona State - Texas
7) New York Mets @ Baltimore Orioles - Baltimore
8) Atlanta Braves @ Cincinnati Reds - Cincinnati
9) Houston Astros @ Texas Rangers - Houston
10) Justin Verlander vs. Adam Wainwright - Verlander pitches more 1/3 innings
11) Tampa Bay Rays @ Colorado Rockies - Tampa Bay
12) How Many Hits+Runs+RBIs Will Ichiro Suzuki Record: 2 or fewer vs. 3 or more - 2 or fewer
13) Oakland Athletics @ Los Angeles Dodgers - Los Angeles

1) Muscovite and world #7 ranked Vera Zvonareva is set to return to the WTA Tour after sitting out the past two months with an ankle injury suffered at Charleston. She had been set to return at Roland Garros but thought better of aggravating the ankle. It's not the first time she's had problems with her ankles. She was set for a final round match at the Hobart International last January in a run up to the Australian Open before rolling her ankle in practice and being forced to withdraw. Perhaps it was her first round exit at the Australian that taught her a lesson in patience. She took a month off after the early Oceanic exit before returning to reach the finals at Doha where she was defeated by a healthy Maria Sharapova.

Vera Zvonareva quietly celebrates another victory in 2009.

Her opponent in this match, #17 Amelie Mauresmo, has not had the same kind of success on the Tour this year, despite playing in more events having avoided any injuries so far this year. Neither player has had much experience on the grass surfaces in England recently with Zvonareva going 1-2 on grass in 2008 and Mauresmo going 2-1, at Wimbledon, in her only grass matches of the year. Mauresmo has enjoyed more success on the grass surface, especially when she was in her prime 3 to 5 years ago. She's also dominated Zvonareva in those years with a 7-1 all-time record. None of those matches have come on grass, however, and the most recent victory for Mauresmo was in 2005, when Zvonareva was 20 years old.

Mauresmo is the money line favorite to win this match with Zvonareva returning from that ankle injury. I think she is probably the better grass court player, but at this stage in their careers Zvonareva is easily the more talented of the two. I'm going to guess that Zvonareva has been practicing during this off time and will be well prepared entering into this tournament.

2) South Africa have used a terrific run in test and Twenty20 cricket to become the #1 team in the world. Their recent defeat of West Indies have put them into the ICC Twenty20 semifinals and left them undefeated in the tournament. India, on the other hand, are facing questions of whether the recent Indian Premier League season put too much strain on their team as they have dropped two straight matches. Their failure to chase 153 at the death against England on Sunday was a `bitterly disappointing' result for the defending champions that eliminated them from the competition. Cricinfo has put together a very nice and succinct preview of the match here.

South Africa is unbeaten in this tournament and looks to avoid another international choke by winning at all times.

India is eliminated and should be eager to prove their skill before leaving England.

This dead rubber match will thus pit the former top cricketing nation against the newest to hold that title. All the buzz in India has focused on explaining away their failure. Fatigue, both mental and physical, the absence of Virender Sehwag and the effect of his supposed rift with captain Dhoni, and an Achilles heel here and there being cited as reasons for their early exit and to avoid sounding the alarm just yet. Current coach Gary Kirsten focused on the strain the IPL schedule and busy international schedule placed on the players while former national coach Lalchand Rajput put Virender Sehwag's absence and the effect on team chemistry as the main factors. Click here to listen to Kirsten's reasoning as well as some analysis regarding India's weakness against bouncers and short-pitch bowling.

South Africa will be well aware of those weaknesses and will have the bowling attack to take advantage of them, especially with Morne Morkel being added to the squad in order to rest Jacques Kallis.

``It gives us an aggressive bowing option. A few other guys slide up the order and get more batting chances. This is our last week of what has been a great season so we want to make it count."
South Africa's Graeme Smith on Morkel's inclusion
The South Africans will want to put forth their best effort in order to maintain their winning form in this tournament and avoid yet another let down in international cricket. Past disappointments after a strong run have led to South Africa being labeled as `chokers' by some and have taught their fans to not expect anything from their team. South Africa have even gone so far as to hire a psychologist to keep them focused on winning and not on the pressure of high expectations.

With Parnell in top form - he bowled Chris Gayle out on three balls in their match against West Indies - and the knowledge of India's weakness against the bouncer South Africa should be well prepared to limit India's run rate to a manageable number should they bat second. India was unable to chase 153 against England and it is hard to see them coming out victorious here if they should chase, with South Africa likely to set a higher target. Although India should be eager to prove they did belong in the semifinals with a strong final match the overall tone from their camp is one of defeat and a desire to regroup and retool as quickly as possible.

(left) Yusuf Pathan fails to chase at the death against England; (center) West Indies' Chris Gayle is retired by South Africa's Parnell after only 5 on 3; (right) J.P. Duminy scores a four for South Africa.

Serbia are the runners up from the 2007 edition of the UEFA U21 Championship. Italy last made the finals 5 years ago.
5) Italy face Serbia in the UEFA Under-21 Championships after both teams made successful qualifying bids (Results displayed in table). Marco Motta and the Azzurini will be looking for revenge against a Serbian side that disposed of them 1-0 in the 2007 campaign, a tournament in which Serbia reached the finals before losing to the Netherlands 4-1. Italian coach Pierluigi Casiraghi will have to decide whether to play a standard 4-4-2 formation or go with a 4-3-3 formation to take advantage of his talented trio of strikers, Mario Balotelli, Robert Acquafresca and Sebastian Giovinco. UEFA highlights some of the stars to watch out for from each squad in this article with Bojan Krkić and Mario Balotelli getting the nod for Serbia and Italy, respectively. Serbia sees this match against Italy as the most important towards their goal of reaching the semi-finals, but that they have set the sights below the Championship implies even they do not see themselves as the best of the best. Italy may be too powerful up front for the Serbians to claim victory, but I think they have enough firepower in their own arsenal to secure a draw.
Results From UEFA U21 Championship
Denmark (1:0)Israel (1:3)
Denmark (0:1)Israel (0:0)
Hungary (8:0)Croatia (1:1)
San Marino (0:5)Greece (1:1)
Belarus (1:1)Azerbaijan (0:2)
Scores reported in (home:away) format

Relevant Statistics
DetroitSt. Louis
PIP - pitcher/inning pitched; BAA - bat against avg.;
10) Well, I have to favor Justin Verlander in this prop as he is facing a team who walks less often and has a lower bat against average. He also has a higher K/9 so that when the other team does not put the ball in play he is more likely than Adam Wainwright to get an out from it rather than put a man on base and face another batter. Verlander does use slightly more pitches per inning on average than Wainwright, but both pitchers are on a 100 to 120 pitch count and will pitch up to 120 if they are having a good game. I favor Verlander to have a better game as he is facing a weaker offense and has a lower bat against average than Wainwright. Looking at the chart below one sees that in the past couple of weeks Verlander has pitched more innings but that for certain stretches earlier in the season Wainright was pitching more games. I am hoping Verlander can stay ahead on innings pitched for one more start before we see another reversal in that graph.
Justin Verlander and Adam Wainwright's innings pitched in 2009, game-by-game. Verlander has more innings pitched in 6 starts, Wainwright more in 5 starts.

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