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And So It Goes....

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

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

June 2nd, 2009 Picks

Sorry folks but the free ride is over and the streams have been taken down. Enjoy the scoreboards and widghts!

Yarrr, 1-1-0 today with Gael Monfils knocking Andy Roddick around and that putz J.J. Putz fucking up big time to blow a 2 run lead. Ah well, que sera, sera.


Gael Monfils took his match against Andy Roddick in straight sets after a late start forced the match to be played in dusk lighting. Roddick complained to the side judge at one point in the match that he could not see the ball properly. Afterwards Roddick came to terms with the decision to play on, saying the conditions were the same for both players and that Monfils simply served bigger at the right times. Gael Monfils will move on to the quarterfinals to take on Swissman Roger Federer in his attempt to claim his first Grand Slam title.

The New York Mets had a small flurry of scoring in the 2nd and 3rd innings neutralized by a two RBI triple by Andy LaRoche in the 4th inning and were nearly able to hold on to the two run lead. In the end the New York Mets never scored again and the Pirates reeled off four consecutive singles in the 8th inning on their way to 5 runs and an 8-5 lead. It was only the second time this season the Pirates had come from behind after the 7th inning to win a game as well as only the second time the Mets had lost such a lead after the 7th. And so on to the picks.

1) Andy Murray vs. Fernando Gonzalez - Gonzalez
2) Dominika Cibulkova vs. Maria Sharapova - Sharapova
3) Turkey (v. Azerbaijan) vs. Germany (@ United Arab Emirates) - Germany win margin
4) Chicago Cubs @ Atlanta Braves - Chicago
5) Boston Red Sox @ Detroit Tigers - Detroit
6) Los Angeles Angels hits off Halladay vs. Roy Halladay strikeouts - Angels hits off Halladay
7) Florida vs. Washington - Florida
8) Detroit Red Wings @ Pittsburgh Penguins - Detroit
9) Brad Hawpe vs. Carlos Lee - Hawpe records more total bases
10) Earned Runs Allowed by Jake Peavy: 3 runs or less vs. 4 runs or more - 3 runs or less
11) Will Ichiro Suzuki Extend His Hit Streak To 26 Games: Yes vs. No - Yes
12) Arizona Diamondbacks @ Los Angeles Dodgers - Los Angeles

1) (#3) Andy Murray and (#12) Fernando Gonzalez meet in the quarterfinals of the 2009 French Open today in a highly anticipated match between two players who have mostly rolled through their competition.
2009 French Open Stats
1st Serve %64.1%64.6%
1st Serve Win %73.8%85.7%
2nd Serve Win %50.3%70.8%
Receiving Win %47.1%44.5%
Unforced Errors8576
Games Lost5137
Data over rounds 1 through 4
Both players are putting 2/3 of their first serves into play with Murray winning 74% of his first serve points and Gonzalez winning 86% of them. Overall Gonzalez has won an impressive 80% of his service points with Murray winning 64% of his service points facing slightly tougher competition.

Murray is coming off one of his more impressive clay court matches, defeating #13 Marin Cilic in straight sets 7-5 7-6(7-4) 6-1. He was pushed to the limit early on, but never stopped giving up and played with great composure, committing only 14 errors while racking up 10 aces. "I'm playing well, I mean, you don't get to the quarters of the French not playing good clay-court tennis." said Murray after the match. Fernando Gonzalez fairly waltzed through his foruth round match as he overpowered #33 Victor Hanescu 6-2 6-4 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals.

Murray gives the crazy eye to Gonzalez, loses a service point, and chides those who doubt he will win the match.

Murray and Gonzalez have only faced one another twice in their careers, and never on clay. Both men respect the challenge the other presents and both are feeling very confident in their present play. "I think Murray is No. 3, and he deserves it, I can tell you, so it's going to be a difficult match." said Gonzalez after his fourth round victory.

I think it will be a very exciting match, but once again a player who has had more success on clay will triumph in this one. It will be difficult for Murray to maintain his composure if he is down a set after losing 7-6(7-5) rather than up a set won in that manner and it has been that composure, that lack of committing errors that has helped him advance this far. Gonzalez has been dominant holding serve through four rounds and I think that could be the difference here.

@@__==--^^Click here to watch the 2009 French Open live^^--==__@@

2) Maria Sharapova continues her remarkable comeback from a rotator cuff tear she had been playing through for three months in 2008. She took the rest of the year off along with the first part of 2009 to recover playing in only one tournament, at Warsaw, where she lost in the quarterfinals.

Cibulkova has a powerful shot, but Sharapova might be the more aggressive of the two.
She has been in superb form here at the French Open having already defeated #11 Nadia Petrova in the second round and #25 Na Li in the fourth round to reach her quarterfinal match with #20 Dominika Cibulkova. Cibulkova has been even more dominant in her march to the quarters losing only one set, in the first round, to #28 Alona Bondarenko. The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour site contains a a nice preview of the match. They note that Cibulkova has also missed playing time this year with a hip adductor strain and that she seems surprised to have been this successful in the French Open.

The two have played twice in the past, both times on clay court, and both in 2008. Sharapova won both matches, but Cibulkova took it to three sets in one and forced a tie break in the other. I think Cibulkova has a good chance to win in this match, but she may be overwhelmed by a fan favorite in Sharapova who is on her way to regaining a top 10 ranking by the end of the year.

@@__==--^^Click here to watch the 2009 French Open live^^--==__@@

4) Before the season started the Chicago Cubs were favorites to win the NL Central for a third straight year, but a slew of injuries have left the Cubs 41/2, behind Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Cincinnati. If not for their starting pitching, 2nd best ERA in the division, they may have found themselves trailing even - *gasp* - Pittsburgh. Chicago will start Randy Wells tonight who has an impressive 1.80 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in three Major league starts.
"It's that middle ground where you have to be aggressive but you can't be out of control,.... You watch him and he's very much in control with his body. You don't see him overthrow. When you get that, that's why you see consistent command." --Cubs pitcher Ted Lilly on Randy Wells' pitching style
He will be facing an Atlanta Braves team that is batting .305 and slugging .475 in their last three games, scoring 21 runs in that span.

Atlanta is praying that recent burst is a sign of things to come and not just a result of poor pitches being thrown their way. Considering they rank last in the National League in stolen bases and next to last in OPS and have two outfielders rounding out the bottom five in OPS the latter seems more likely.

In that case the Braves will rely on 33 year old rookie Kenshin Kawakami to put in another quality start. Kawakami is coming off a mundane performance against the San Francisco Giants where he gave up 3 earned runs from 9 hits in 52/3 innings. He is certainly capable of better, as when he held the Blue Jays scoreless for 8 innings, giving up 3 hits while striking out 7 batters.

Randy Wells (1.80 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 0-2 record) seeks his first win.

Neither team has faced the opposing pitcher before so it is difficult to say whether there will be a poor matchup there, but as far as who will have a better start I favor Wells who has been extremely consistent in the Majors and the minors this year. Both teams are hitting above average in their previous series' so it would not be surprising to see a pitchers duel in this game making it difficult for either team to secure a win. Chipper Jones is suffering from some bunions on his right foot and may rest for this game, which would hinder the Braves' chances, but even if he does play his limited mobility could reduce the effectiveness of Atlanta's defense on some hits. With strong bullpens I favor the team whose pitcher stumbles least and as I said before I think it will be Wells. Of course, he has to have a bad start eventually.

6) The Los Angeles Angels rank 2nd in the Majors and 1st in the American League in terms of fewest strikeouts recorded with 287 in 49 games. They are also 5th in the Majors in batting average at .276 for the season. Looking at the graph below one can see the Angels have had more batters get a hit off of the starting pitcher than be struck out by him in 5 out of 49 games this season. Those pitchers were Greinke and Davies of the Royals, Bedard(&mult;2) from the Mariners, and Gavin Floyd of the White Sox. Since Vlad Guerrero returned to the lineup they seem to have struggled a bit, averaging only 5 hits per game off the starting pitcher. Guerrero himself started off slow and is batting .240 since his return, but the Angels are probably just experiencing a natural slump in production that may or may not continue into this game.

In one previous game this season Halladay struck out 6 Angels batters while giving up 6 hits. Vlad Guerrero was not in the lineup.
Looking at Roy Halladay's numbers against the Angels' current roster it appears this should be a very close matchup. Halladay has given up 49 hits and struck out 44 in 227 at bats against them. The player most likely to whiff on a Halladay toss has been Bobby Abreu, with 12 strikeouts in 34 at bats and only 6 hits. The biggest plus for the Angels has been Howie Kendrick who is batting .400 in 10 at bats with only 1 strikeout. Whatever lineup the Angels field for this game it should be very close. With their batting numbers low for the past 6 games I might give the advantage to Halladay, but the Angels' lack of strikeouts all season long make me think they will have one more hit or push at worst.

9) Looking at the graph below one can see that last season Carlos Lee would have been a runaway favorite to have more total bases than Brad Hawpe in any given game. Hawpe was getting zero hits in over a third of his games while Lee went '0'-fer in under a quarter of his. This season Lee has not been able to avoid going hitless as reliably, with at least one hit in 36 of 50 games, while Hawpe has improved his hitting drastically, reaching base safely in 33 of 45 games.
Pitching Stats
COL blpnHOU blpn
HIP - Hits per Inning Pitched (season);
blpn - bullpen; SlgAg - Slg. Avg.(against opponent)
Hawpe has also increased the number of games he has with 2 or 3 total bases from around 22% last season to 31% this season. Carlos Lee has 2 or 3 total bases in around 24% of his games this season, finishing games with one single, or a home run, more often than Hawpe has. A quick comparison of Hawpe's stats with Carlos Lee's shows Hawpe is having the better season overall in terms of hits and total bases.

As far as the pitching matchups go the Rockies are starting Ubaldo Jiminez who has a 1.01 HIP (hits per inning pitched) this season. In 4 at bats against Lee he has given up one single. The Houston Astros are starting Felipe Paulino whose HIP this season is at 1.39, and who has given up a double and a single in two at bats against Hawpe. Both bullpens give up home runs at a higher than average rate for the Majors, and Colorado's gives up more hits. With the batters likely to have more at bats against the starting pitchers however, I'll take Paulino's higher HIP to favor Hawpe's chances more.

11) Ichiro Suzuki will get most of his at bats in this game against David Hernandez. Hernandez gave up 5 hits in 52/3 innings in his first ever Major league start and has been devouring the minor leagues, with a 1.06 WHIP in 8 starts for AAA Norfolk. Ichiro is batting .352 for the season, however, and with 4 at bats assured (he's not one to intentionally walk) those are good odds he gets a hit.

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