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And So It Goes....

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

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Monday, May 18, 2009

May 18th, 2009 Picks

1-0-0 today for me, and props to you if you picked up on Goydos, Torquay United, the Yankees, the Padres, and the Magic. My sole win of the day came with Jake Peavy and the San Diego Padres. San Diego took an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first before Arroyo settled down to give us a true pitchers duel. Arroyo started off the game by walking walking Macias and hitting Edgar Gonzalez with a pitch. He got Adrian Gonzalez and Headley to strike out and nearly got out of the jam, but Kouzmanoff and Gerut hit a pair of RBI singles before Wilson flied out to end the inning.

From there the Padres got a man or two on base but couldn't drive them home each inning while the Reds got absolutely nothing, no walks and no hits, until Dickerson hit a solo shot home run in the top of the 6th. Kouzmanoff got the run back with a solo home run of his own to lead off the bottom of the 8th. In the 9th inning Peavy got the first two outs before giving up a single to Hairston Jr., and finished the complete effort by striking out Bruce. The Padres completed the sweep with the 3-1 victory. So on the damn picks.

1) Vejle @ FC Nordsjælland – FC Nordsjælland win
2) Sunderland @ Portsmouth – Sunderland win or draw
3) Minnesota Twins @ New York Yankees – Minnesota
4) Carolina Hurricanes @ Pittsburgh Penguins – Carolina
5) Milwaukee Brewers @ St. Louis Cardinals – St. Louis
6) Los Angeles Angels @ Seattle Mariners – Seattle
7) New York Mets @ Los Angeles Dodgers – Los Angeles

1) Today the relegation focus is shifted to the Danish SAS-Ligæn when Vejle Boldklub visit Farum Stadion to take on F.C. Nordsjælland. Vejle currently sit at the bottom of the table and have 4 matches to try and gain 4 points on their closest rival, Sonderjyske. FC Nordsjælland are currently 4 spots safe of relegation with 28 points and need to secure 6 points from their final 4 matches to ensure their place in the SAS-Ligæn next season. Overall Vejle have had the better recent form, going 0-3-3 (W-D-L) in their previous 6 matches, with draws away at AaB and Sonderjyske and a draw at home with fellow relegation side AC Horsens. They have scored 4 goals in those matches but have conceded 12, being outscored by 8 in their three losses. FC Nordsjælland are only 0-1-5 in their previous 6 matches, with the draw coming at home against Sondersjyske. They have only scored 2 goals and conceded 8 in those 6 matches. FC Nordsjælland played a much tougher schedule in that stretch, however, with the losses coming against the top 4 clubs in the league and 6th place AGF Aarhus, while Vejle had played mostly bottom half teams. The selection of each side has been revealed by their managers. FC Nordsjælland will see their defense bolstered by the return of Henrik Kildentoft, while Vejle are forced to field one of their weakest sides yet this season with Brian Nielsen and Ibrahim Salou failing to pass their latest fitness tests, and defender Bora Zivkovic, and midfielders Steffan Kielstrup and Allan Gaarde being out with suspensions. It will be only the second match of the season Velje BK have played without Zivkovic, while Kielstrup and Nielsen have started a majority of their matches. All five players out started for Vejle in 1-1 draw played at home against FC Nordsjælland and their contributions will be missed. I think FC Nordsjælland will take advantage this situation, their best opportunity for 3 points, and bring themselves one victory away from safety with a 2-0 win.

2) Portsmouth F.C. interim manager Phil Hart has some decisions to make as Hull City and Newcastle United failed to make up the ground necessary to be able to catch Portsmouth in the tables, making Pompey safe and ensuring their place in the Premier League for next season. With that in mind Hart may decide to rest some of his senior players in favor of giving some younger reserves some match experience. Striker Peter Crouch may receive some rest in favor of Kanu, Younes Kaboul in the backfield could start on the sidelines as well. Look for Noe Pamarot and Armand Traore to possibly figure in the Starting XI as well for this match. Ricky Sbragia, for Sunderland, cannot be as free with his selections with Newcastle still within reach and relegation an unlikely, but real, possibility. SkySports highlights each clubs recent form. Portsmouth are 1-2-3 (W-D-L) in their last six with 3 goals scored and 9 goals conceded while Sunderland are 1-1-4 in their last 6 with only 2 goals scored and 7 goals conceded. Both sides have had an awful time finishing for the past few weeks, with Sunderland not having scored in their last 3 matches, and Portsmouth with zero goals in their previous 4. Overall Pompey are 7-3-8 with 23 goals for and 28 goals against in 18 matches this season at Fratton Park. Sunderland are 3-6-9 with 12 goals scored and 26 against away from The Stadium of Light. Sunderland look to be bolstered by the return of defender George McCarthy to the backfield. They also expect Teemu Tainio, Kenwyne Jones, and Kieran Richardson to shake off minor knocks and figure for this match. As always the BBC has a wonderful preview prepared for the match. They note that reserve keeper Craig Gordon and defender Nyron Nosworthy are out for Sunderland. They also note that Sunderland have not won at Fratton Park since 1997 and have not won a top flight match there in 51 years. Another good sign for Portsmouth, who have had 5 players sent off this season, is that referee Alan Wiley has only sent off two players in 26 matches. The BBC also carry statistics for the Black Cats and for Pompey. Sunderland F.C. will be looking to possibly continue their use of a 4-2-3-1 formation as a way of getting Kieran Richardson more scoring opportunities, although he has not been able to finish lately. Pompey fans believe their side can come away with the result, but they see it as a difficult prospect especially if Hart opts to go with a younger lineup. The London Telegraph carries a preview in which they expect these sides to play to a 'boring, lifeless draw'. Even some Pompey fans agree with the prospect of a scoreless draw being the result here. Portsmouth have won the last two matches they have played against Sunderland, both thanks to penalty kicks drilled home by Jermaine Defoe, who was transferred to Tottenham Hotspurs this January. Once the penalty came in the final minute of injury time and Sunderland lost 2-1 and the other time they were well on their way to a 0-0 draw when Portsmouth was awarded a 69' penalty that eventually led to a 1-0 win. I think barring the same kind of finish and penalties Sunderland will be motivated to get a result and can secure a 1-1 draw here.

3) After three straight games won with a walk-off run the New York Yankees hope to complete a four game sweep of the Minnesota Twins. Minnesota will start Glen Perkins on the mound for this game. Perkins has a 4.27 ERA and an impressive 1.19 WHIP through 7 starts this season. His first three games were very good, shutting down teams such as the Los Angeles Angels and Toronto Blue Jays and going 8 innings in each and allowing no more than 7 hits and 2 earned runs. Since then he has faced some control issues, walking more batters than usual and allowing more runs. In his last start he lasted only 51/3 innings against the Detroit Tigers, allowing 5 earned runs on 5 hits and walking 4 batters. The Twins still won the game 14 to 10, so even if Perkins pitches a poor game the Twins still have a chance with solid hitting on their side. The Twins have struggled a bit in their series against the Yankees, however, even at the the new Yankee Stadium with a .231 batting average and .398 slugging average. Andy Pettite will be pitching for the Yankees and try and keep the Twins from seeing a resurgence of their bats. Pettite has a 4.00 ERA and 1.38 WHIP on the season and appears to have regained his form after a rough patch saw him 13 earned runs in 3 games, including 4 home runs to the Tampa Bay Rays over 6 innings against them at Yankee Stadium. In his last start he shut down the Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre, pitching for 6 innings and giving up only 5 hits leading to 1 earned run. He did walk 4 batters while only striking out 2, but the Blue Jays' batters are skilled at taking walks. Minnesota has done well against Pettite in the past, batting .411 and slugging .548 in 73 at bats against the left-hander, so even if Pettite is on his game I expect he will give up a couple of runs in 6 innings. The Yankees have also batted well against Glen Perkins, so even though I expect he will be back in form for this game I think he will also give up a couple of runs. That would lead to another very close game, with the bullpens deciding the game. In terms of strikeouts the Yankees' bullpen is superior, and although the Yankees give up more home runs on average that could be expected for a team playing half of their games at a home run park. The reason I like Minnesota here is that Perkins is more likely to last 7 or even 8 innings and I see the Twins' batters as more likely to get the big hits in this game.

6) The Los Angeles Angels visit the Seattle Mariners after being swept by Texas at Ranger Stadium. The Seattle Mariners are feeling fairly good after taking two of three games against visiting Boston. Los Angeles played well, batting .301, though they had problems getting long hits with their slugging at .408. They simply could not outpace the Rangers' offense, even with Joe Saunders pitching for them. They will start John Lackey for this game in his first real start of the season. He was slated to pitch in the second game of the Rangers series but was ejected after hitting Ian Kinsler with his second pitch thrown. The right hander was a strong pitcher last year, with a 3.75 ERA and 1.23 WHIP through 1631/3 innings. There is some talk that the Mariners' right handed heavy batting order suffers against right handed pitchers, though their batting average is unchanged between righties and lefties and their slugging average is only a few points worse. I think the Angels will need a solid six innings out of Lackey as they will be batting against Jarrod Washburn. Washburn has a 3.11 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 7 starts this season and has only had a couple of less than quality starts, including his latest at Rangers Ballpark. Texas got 7 hits off of him leading to 4 earned runs in 6 innings with Washburn walking 4 batters that day. I think he'll settle down against the Angels' bats, give up a long ball or two, but limit their overall hits and allow 3 runs at the very most. If Lackey is fully healthy and in form the Angels could very well win this, but if the Mariners have a lead with the bullpens coming on it will be their game.

7) The New York Mets have been playing well going 7-3 in their last 10 games. They were denied a sweep of the San Francisco Giants last night partially due to the three balks by Mike Pelfrey allowing runners to advance into scoring position. Three balks is a ridiculous number for any pitcher, but the Mets were not hitting well enough off of Cain to have a good chance of picking up the win in any case. During the series they batted .327 and had a .411 slugging average, hitting well even off of Tim Lincecum and all without Jose Reyes or Carlos Delgado. Jose Reyes could make a return tonight but Delgado is expected to remain sidelined. In any case the Mets will have a difficult time against Dodgers starter Randy Wolf. Wolf has a 2.77 ERA and 1.07 WHIP through 8 starts this season, with only one mediocre start in his first of the season Wolf has followed with a 2 hit gem against Arizona and 6 straight quality starts. His last 3 starts have seen him allow 10 hits and 3 runs total in 171/3 innings pitched. The Mets' lineup has done well over 238 at bats against Wolf, batting .277 and slugging .441, but with Wolf pitching some of the best ball of his career and the Mets hitting well above average recently I think it's most likely the Mets will see 5 or 6 hits off of Wolf with 1 or 2 runs scored. The Mets will be giving Tim Redding his first major league start tonight after he began the season with a shoulder injury. Redding has been rehabbing with AAA affiliate Buffalo, giving them 13 quality innings so it appears he is fully healthy. Unfortunately for the Mets Redding has been shelled in 58 at bats facing the Dodgers, with L.A., less Manny Ramirez, batting .333 and slugging .725 against him. As long as Wolf retains a modicum of his play from the past three weeks the Dodgers should find themselves with a small lead their bullpen should be able to protect.