Washington Nationals (Stephen Strasburg) @Boston Red Sox (Justin Masterson)
Both of these teams are good enough to be favorites to get to the World Series, so they could face each other in October, but right now the Nationals are not at full strength. Justin Masterson is not a great pitcher, but he should be fine against this depleted Washington lineup.
My pick: Red Sox 6, Nationals 3
Actual score: Red Sox 8, Nationals 7
Quote of the day, from Nationals' manager Matt Williams: "It's the same recipe. If you put all the ingredients together the same way every time, then you're going to get the same meal." You know, I believe he's right about that. I've made chocolate chip cookies many times in my life and I use the same ingredients and I put them together the same way and they always turn out to be chocolate chip cookies. Not once did then end up being oatmeal raisin cookies or snickerdoodles or brownies. Matt Williams is wise. In his case, he's talking about the shoddy defense of his team, the Washington Nationals. For the second game in a row, defense cost the Nationals a few runs. They made three errors today. It was not pretty. Matt Williams needs to find a new recipe because it sounds like he's getting sick of the meal he keeps having.
(My record: 1-0)
New York Yankees (CC Sabathia) @Baltimore Orioles (Miguel Gonzalez)
CC Sabathia is still trying to recapture is old form. And by form I mean the way he used to pitch, not the shape of his body. His body is in pretty much the same form it's been since he got to the big leagues and that form could best be described as mongous, as in hu-mongous. I think he'll have trouble with the Orioles in this one.
My pick: Orioles 5, Yankees 4
Actual score: Orioles 4, Yankees 3
As expected, CC Sabathia had some trouble with the Orioles, giving up four runs in seven innings, but he did strike out seven against just one walk, so he wasn't terrible. Orioles' pitcher Miguel Gonzalez, on the other hand, was superb, allowing one run and striking out a career-high ten batters. Miguel Gonzalez has struck out 6.4 batters per nine innings in his career, so striking out ten in seven innings is very impressive for him.
(My record: 2-0)
Detroit Tigers (Shane Greene) @Pittsburgh Pirates (A.J. Burnett)
Pittsburgh starter Gerrit Cole was able to stifle the Detroit offense on Monday. The Tigers scored three of their four runs off of the Pirates' closer, Mark Melancon, but just a single run against Gerrit Cole. In today's game, A.J. Burnett gets a chance to stifle the Detroit offense. A.J. Burnett is not as good as Gerrit Cole. I don't think he can stifle the Tigers offense.
My pick: Tigers 5, Pirates 4
Actual score: Tigers 2, Pirates 0
A.J. Burnett wasn't bad. He pitched 6 2/3 innings and gave up just one run. He just couldn't keep up with Detroit starter Shane Greene, who shut out the Pirates on three hits and no walks in eight innings. Joakim Soria pitched a scoreless ninth for the save.
(My record: 3-0)
Tampa Bay Rays (Matt Andriese) @Toronto Blue Jays (Daniel Norris)
Daniel Norris got his first major league win in his last start. Matt Andriese is still looking for the first win of his career. Combined, these two pitchers have just 12 1/3 major league innings under their belts.
My pick: Blue Jays 6, Rays 3
Actual score: Rays 3, Blue Jays 2
The big hitting star in this game was Steven Souza, Jr., who attended Cascade High School in Everett, Washington. Souza was drafted in the third round of the 2007 MLB Draft right out of high school, but struggled for the first five years of his minor league career. It wasn't until 2012 that he started to hit. Once he started to hit, though, he really hit. Last year, at the AAA level, Souza hit .350/.432/.590. In the off-season, he was traded from the Washington Nationals to the Tampa Bay Rays, which opened up playing time for him this year. He was off to a slow start but went 3 for 5 with a homer, a steal, and 2 runs scored. Nice day for Mr. Souza.
(My record: 3-1)
Chicago White Sox (Jose Quintana) @Cleveland Indians (Carlos Carrasco)
Something's gotta give in this game. The Indians haven't won a home game yet. The White Sox haven't won a road game yet. They can't tie, so one of these teams will break their streak.
My pick: Indians 5, White Sox 2
Actual score: White Sox 4, Indians 1
Indians' starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco took a liner off his noggin in the first inning and was removed from the game and taken to the hospital. He had x-rays that came back negative and has shown no symptoms of a concussion or head injury at this point, which is very good news. Back in the 1930s, St. Louis Cardinals' pitcher Dizzy Dean was once hit in the head by a line drive. As he told the press, "The doctors x-rayed my head and found nothing." I think every member of Congress could say the same thing.
(My record: 3-2)
Miami Marlins (Tom Koehler) @Atlanta Braves (Trevor Cahill)
The Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton is hitting a buck-thirty, which can't go on for too much longer. Trevor Cahill is not a top pitcher, or even an average pitcher the last two years, so this could be Stanton's day.
My pick: Marlins 6, Braves 4
Actual score: Marlins 8, Braves 2
It turned out today was Giancarlo Stanton's day. Stanton raised his batting average by over 100 points with a 3 for 3, 2 run, 4 RBI day. He also walked twice and his on-base percentage is up to .412.
(My record: 4-2)
Philadelphia Phillies (David Buchanan) @New York Mets (Matt Harvey)
It's Matt Harvey Day! On Matt Harvey Day, the sky is a little more blue and the air is little more fresh. Women are prettier, food tastes better, and your favorite song keeps coming on the radio. On Matt Harvey Day, you never hit a red light, you always find a parking spot, and there's never a wait at the donut shop. So enjoy Matt Harvey Day. Enjoy that donut, sing along with your favorite song, and give that pretty woman a smile. For, on Matt Harvey Day, all is right in the world.
My pick: Mets 6, Phillies 0
Actual score: Mets 6, Phillies 5
Matt Harvey the Great pitched six innings and allowed three runs, so he was a mere mortal today. He did strike out eight without a walk, so that's pretty good. Chase Utley hit two home runs in a losing cause for the Phils.
(My record: 5-2)
Los Angeles Angels (Drew Rucinski) @Texas Rangers (Nick Martinez)
The Angels are giving Drew Rucinski his first major league start tomorrow. Drew Rucinski played college ball at THE Ohio State University before signing as an undrafted free agent with the Cleveland Indians in 2011. He pitched at four different levels for the Indians in 2011 then lasted until the final day of camp during spring training in 2012 before being cut because, as an undrafted free agent, he was more expendable than players the Indians had spent a draft pick on. He pitched in the independent Frontier League in 2012 and the first part of 2013 and looked good enough for the Angels to sign to a minor league contract. The Angels didn't really think of him as a prospect; they were just looking for pitchers to fill out their minor league system. With his big league dream back on track, Rucinski took advantage of the opportunity. He pitched well at A ball and dominated in AA and earned a spot on the Angels' 40-man roster. He pitched well during spring training and has pitched two scoreless innings in the big leagues so far this year. He's the kind of guy that everyone should root for.
My pick: Angels 6, Rangers 5
Actual score: Rangers 8, Angels 2
Well, I was rooting for Drew Rucinski in his first major league start but Drew Rucinski let me down. He was blasted for four runs on six hits and four walks in 2 2/3 innings. Texas got a monster game from light-hitting catcher Robinson Chirinos (2 for 4, 2 R, 5 RBI, 1 HR). Even after today's big game, Chirinos is only hitting .176 with a .263 OBP.
(My record: 5-3)
Cincinnati Reds (Anthony DeSclafani) @Chicago Cubs (Jake Arrieta)
The Cubs and Reds are battling for 1st place atop the NL Central but they're heading in opposite directions based on their last three games. The Cubs have won three straight. The Reds have lost three straight. For today, at least, I think the trend continues.
My pick: Cubs 5, Reds 3
Actual score: Reds 3, Cubs 2
The Reds took a 3-0 lead in this game with three runs in the top of the fourth inning. Rookie pitcher Anthony DeSclafani pitched seven shutout innings and all looked well for the Reds. Then they brought in Kevin Gregg in the bottom of the eighth. Kevin Gregg pitched nine innings in the major leagues last year and had a 10.00 ERA. He's 37 years old. In his first outing this year, on April 6th, he gave up 2 runs and 2 hits and got 2 outs. In his next outing, on April 10th, he gave up 1 run and 2 hits and got 1 out. In his third outing, he gave up 2 runs and 2 hits in 2 innings. Tonight, he came into the game with a 3-0 lead, gave up 2 runs on a walk and a home run and got 2 outs. His ERA is now 17.18. At some point, the Reds need to figure out that Kevin Gregg is not someone you should bring in to a close game in the 8th inning.
(My record: 5-4)
Oakland Athletics (Kendall Graveman) @Houston Astros (Brad Peacock)
The A's are 4-4 but have the third-best run differential in all of baseball, at +24. The Astros are 3-4 with a run differential of -9. Run differential is a better predictor than actual record. I think you know where this is headed.
My pick: Athletics 8, Astros 4
Actual score: Athletics 4, Astros 0
Actual post-game quote from Oakland starting pitcher Kendall Graveman after he noticed his uncle John had traveled from Alabama to watch him pitch this game in Houston: "I don't know how he got here. Did he drive? Did he fly?" Unfortunately, we never found out the answer to those questions so we don't know if Uncle John drove or flew from Alabama to Houston. We're pretty sure he didn't walk there, nor did he travel by boat. Did he travel by train? Did he take a bus? Perhaps he hitchhiked? I just don't think we'll ever know.
(My record: 6-4)
Seattle Mariners (Hisashi Iwakuma) @Los Angeles Dodgers (David Huff)
David Huff was a middling starter for the first four years of his career but became primarily a reliever in 2013 and didn't start a single game last year. The Dodgers are scrambling a bit for starting pitching, so Huff toes the rubber today. One thing he has going for him is the ability to pitch with his left arm. The Mariners have a very lefty-leaning lineup and have really struggled against left-handed pitching so far. They have the second worst wRC+ (31) in baseball against lefties and are hitting .178/.211/.233 against them.
My pick: Mariners 4, Dodgers 3
Actual score: Dodgers 6, Mariners 5
The two Mariners' big boppers, Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz, each hit home runs in the first inning off of Dodgers' lefty David Huff as the Mariners jumped out to a 3-0 lead. Nelson Cruz has now hit home runs in four straight games. Ken Griffey, Jr. shares the all-time record of eight straight games with a homer with Dale Long and Don Mattingly, so Cruz is halfway to the record. The Mariners led this game 5-4 going into the bottom of the ninth, but M's closer Fernando Rodney had another meltdown. He gave up a leadoff single to Justin Turner, followed by a single to Jimmy Rollins that sent Turner to third. Carl Crawford grounded into a fielder's choice, with Turner getting thrown out between third and home. Adrian Gonzalez walked to load the bases and Howie Kendrick singled to right to drive in two and give the Dodgers the victory. In his last two appearances, Rodney has given up 6 earned runs on 7 hits and 3 walks in 1 1/3 innings.
(My record: 6-5)
Arizona Diamondbacks (Jeremy Hellickson) @San Diego Padres (Odrisamer Despaigne)
Padres' pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne is fun to watch. His first outing came in relief because of an injured starter and he threw eight different types of pitchers. There are major league pitchers with only one or two different pitches and this guy has eight! I don't know how the catcher knows what's coming; he doesn't have enough fingers to call eight different types of pitches. According to Fangraphs, Despaigne has thrown at least one of each of these pitches: sinker, cut-fastball, changeup, eephus, curveball, slider, fastball, knuckle-curve. In fact, he's thrown 6 eephus pitches, all between 64 and 70 mph. How can you NOT enjoy watching a guy like this pitch?
My pick: Diamondbacks 5, Padres 3
Actual score: Padres, Diamondbacks 1
The man with 8 pitches, Odrisamer Despaigne, worked his magic in this one against the Diamondbacks. He held them to one run on two hits and two walks through seven innings. He's fun to watch, kind of like I imagine a 48-year-old Satchel Paige used to be.
(My record: 6-6)
Colorado Rockies (Christian Bergman) @San Francisco Giants (Tim Hudson)
The Giants are struggling on offense but get to face Christian Bergman in this game and Bergman has a 5.82 career ERA. Tim Hudson is old but still has a little something left in the tank, even if he has nothing on the top of his bald dome. I like the Giants in this one.
My pick: Giants 4, Rockies 3
Actual score: Rockies 4, Giants 1
Tim Hudson wasn't so bad. He gave up three runs in seven innings and didn't walk a batter, but the Giants couldn't get much going on offense against six different Colorado pitchers. For the Rockies, left fielder Corey Dickerson was 3 for 4 with 3 runs scored and an RBI.
(My record: 6-7)
My Prediction Record:
Week 1: 43-47, 47
Day 1: 9-5
Day 2: 6-7