Odds On Most Any Matchup: 5dimesSkyBetBetFairBetUS

And So It Goes....

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

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

June 28th, 2009 Picks

(skip to picks)2-1-0 today as Stepanek stepped on my streak like the clumsy Ursa he resembles. I'm not one to be discouraged, however, and I took the White Sox today to win by 1 and then Seattle to send the Dodgers to a rare loss at Dodger Stadium. Really quite luckly there. If Brian Wilson had managed to take care of a two run lead I would have had a perfect day yesterday (yes, ignore tennis). A few more good ones on the board, and guess what? U.S.A. is only +600 to win against Brazil. Online polls around the web have U.S.A. garnering quite a few votes. You beat Spain 2-0 and the world listens I suppose. Go Yanks!! And on to the picks.


Radek Stepanek Battles Through Knee Pain To Down Ferrer In Thrilling Five Sets
R. Stepanek def. D. Ferrer 7-5 7-5 3-6 4-6 6-4
There was only the question if they gonna tape my knee and, you know, it's gonna ‑‑ the pain's gonna go away or not. I gave myself, you know, if I'm gonna finish the set, the whole set with the pain, then I'm gonna retire. But slowly the pain was leaving. I was able to play with the tape. It was actually very uncomfortable, but, you know, I was able to play.
---Radek Stepanek about possibly retiring from the match
Apparently the match between Stepanek and Ferrer was pedestrian and hardly worth noticing as it is one of the few gentlemen's singles matches not written about on the day. It was a battle by Stepanek who aggravated his left knee up 6-5 in the first set. His knee is what caused him to retire in Madrid back in May. Well, he fought through the pain and eventually the pain subsided and he held on to take the first set 7-5. He went down 0-3 in the second set and it looked as if he would just not be quick enough to play through, but he managed to find a way back to tie the set at 3-3 and went on to take another set 7-5. He had a little help here as Ferrer double faulted at critical break points, and gave the free points to Stepanek 11 times in all after missing the end line 7 times in the first two rounds combined. Ferrer took the next two sets but in the fifth was unable to duplicate as Radek Stepanek pulled off the win!
Match StatsStepanek Interview (post-match)

Rookie Beckham Earns White Sox Revenge With A Bevy Of Hits, A Walk Off Single
Chicago White Sox 8 - 7 Chicago Cubs
This time it was the White Sox who laughed last in another well fought Windy City War.
``Gordon Beckham singled in the winning run with two outs in the ninth, and Scott Podsednik homered while tying a career high with four hits to lift the Chicago White Sox to an 8-7 victory over the Cubs on Saturday. White Sox starter Mark Buehrle and the Cubs' Ryan Dempster were shaky, but Podsednik was at his best. He drove in three runs while scoring two and just missed a possible triple before flying out in the eighth, when his shot down the right-field line landed about a foot foul. Even so, the White Sox nearly lost thanks to three errors that resulted in three unearned runs."
Read more....Box ScorePhotos

Felix Hernandez Nearly Perfect As Mariners Roll Behind No. 620 For Griffey
Seattle Mariners 5 - 1 Los Angeles Dodgers
``The Seattle Mariners overcame some distressing news from ailing third baseman Adrian Beltre, and evened their interleague series against the Los Angeles Dodgers with another dominating performance by Felix Hernandez. Beltre informed the club that he'll undergo surgery Tuesday in Los Angeles to have bone spurs removed from his troublesome left shoulder, which was operated on in September for the same reason. He's expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks. Hernandez scattered four hits over eight innings, Ken Griffey Jr. and Russell Branyan each hit home runs, and the Mariners beat the Dodgers 5-1 on Saturday night for their eighth victory in 11 games. Hernandez (8-3) allowed an unearned run, struck out nine and walked one. Rafael Furcal reached on an infield hit in the third inning and scored from third when eight-time Gold Glove right fielder Ichiro Suzuki misplayed Casey Blake's sinking liner for his second error of the season. Hernandez retired his next 12 batters and 16 of his final 17 before David Aardsma finished up."
Read more....Box Score

1) Cincinnati Reds @ Cleveland Indians - Cleveland
2) Philadelphia Phillies @ Toronto Blue Jays - Philadelphia
3) Tony Stewart vs. Jimmie Johnson - Johnson has a better finishing position
4) What Will Be The Winning Score At The Travelers: 20 under par or better vs. 19 under par or worse - 20 under or better
5) Chicago Cubs @ Chicago White Sox - White Sox
6) Minnesota Twins @ St. Louis Cardinals - Minnesota
7) United States vs. Brazil - United States wins or loses by 1 goal
8) Colorado Rapids @ Seattle Sounders F.C. - Colorado win or draw
9) Colorado Rockies @ Oakland Athletics - Oakland
10) Sacramento Monarchs @ Detroit Shock - Detroit
11) New York Yankees @ New York Mets - Yankees
12) Seattle Storm @ Los Angeles Sparks - Los Angeles
13) Houston Dynamo @ Los Angeles Galaxy - Houston win


The Cleveland Indians' bullpen continues to struggle so the addition of Asdrubal Cabrera along with a resurgent Grady Sizemore could be the difference between victory and defeat today.
1) The Cleveland Indians are currently in last place in the American League and have split the first two games against in-state opponent Cincinnati. Each team has dominated one of the games with the Indians winning the first 9-2 and the Reds winning the second 7-3. In their respective previous three games the Reds have been performing much better offensively, although the Indians have been the better offensive team over the season. Cincinnati has a .309 batting average and .491 slugging average in those three games, incredible numbers for a team that scores just 36% of their base runners and uses over 3 total bases per run scored. The Indians have been decidedly mediocre in comparison, batting .227 with a .381 slugging average in their last three. Cleveland will hope Grady Sizemore will begin to look like the healthy last season version who hit 33 home runs as he continues his play at the designated hitter position. The Indians will also give a fitness test to Asdrubal Cabrera to see if he can be inserted into the starting rotation for today's game in the spot vacated by the recently traded Mark DeRosa.
Grady Sizemore triples against Ian Snell last week. Sizemore struggled before returning from injury.

Facing Sizemore and Cabrera should make things tougher for Reds starter Micah Owings. Owings will attempt to add another increasingly rare quality start for the Reds' starting rotation after Homer Bailey picked up the win yesterday.

``We didn't start giving up these runs until we started playing these [American League] teams. The AL is built for offense. You might have as good of a hitter hitting ninth as you do hitting leadoff."
---Reds manager Dusty Baker
He'll also want to avoid anything close to resembling his last start against an AL team where he gave up 6 earned runs from 9 hits, including three home runs, in just 52/3 innings to the Toronto Blue Jays. For the Indians, starter David Huff will simply want to avoid a complete let down after pitching an 8 inning shutout gem against the Pittsburgh Pirates in his last start.

I think Owings is capable of shutting down a team like Cleveland if they begin to slump, but in this game he would probably be considered to have done well if he gave up only 3 earned runs in 6 innings. Cleveland will want a significant lead (3 runs at least) down the stretch as their bullpen continues to struggle and Rafael Perez will not be activated until tomorrow. As long as David Huff can keep Cleveland ahead, however, I like their chances against a Reds team that in all likelihood will struggle to score runs if not hit in the very near future.

The United States will miss midfielder Bob Bradley, but are glad Carlos Bocanegra remains healthy. Brazil will start the same side which defeated South Africa 1-0 in the semifinals.
7) The United States will take on defending champions Brazil in the final of the quadrennial Confederations Cup. Brazil already defeated the United States 3-0 in the Group stage, a defeat that looked sure to put the United States out of the semifinals before a 3-0 defeat of Egypt and an 0-3 loss by Italy to Brazil made a 6 goal swing in goal differential to send the United States through. In the semifinals the United States defeated world #1 Spain 2-0 while Brazil tackled South Africa 1-0 in a hard fought match.

Given how dominant Brazil looked in their 3-0 win it would seem the United States have little chance in this match. Of course, given how the United States looked in that match and the one against Italy they had no business playing with Spain either, let alone beating them. Two to nil. A number of previews from the CBC, New York Times, and goal.com can be found through Google. For the most part people expect Brazil to come out victorious and it is only a question of whether the United States can play with enough vigor and ferocity to keep the game close. bluedevils0829 at ESPN put together a fine preview highlighting three keys to the game for the United States.

  1. The spirit and fight has to be there.
  2. Don't give up an early goal.
  3. Attack early.

I agree whole-heartedly with these points and emphasize #1 as the most important. Brazil want the US to attack, they want the field to open up as they know they will be able to use their quickness and skill in dribbling to create danger on the counter attack. They will try and score early to force the U.S. to adopt a more offensive approach. The United States does need to attack, but they need to do so intelligently. They need to have confidence they can score with Landon Donovan playing the link-up midfielder's role and making one solid cross leading to a goal. If they have the fight to give it their all on the defensive end they can afford to focus on the attack and possibly even bring a third man up.

Probable starting lineups from LATimes.com
: GK Julio Cesar; Maicon, Lucio, Luisao, Andre Santos; Gilberto Silva, Felipe Melo; Robinho, Kaka, Ramires; Luis Fabiano

USA: GK Tim Howard; Jonathan Spector, Oguchi Onyewu, Jay DeMerit, Carlos Bocanegra; Landon Donovan, Ricardo Clark, Benny Feilhaber, Clint Dempsey; Jozy Altidore, Charlie Davies

Soccer is a difficult game to score in so to win by two goals would be a fairly dominating performance. I think the United States is too confident and too hungry to allow themselves to be dominated. Whether they lose 1-0, 2-1, or win 2-1 I think they can keep the game close.

1 comment:

  1. Those were some good keys to live by for the USA, and they certainly achieved #2 and #3 better than any US fan could hope for. The spirit and fight was certainly there as well, but it broke down in the second half. They couldn't keep the ball whatsoever, and Brazil is too good if you give them that much possession. Great game though, and a very exciting tournament overall. Good things to come in the future for US soccer!