Minnesota Twins (Ricky Nolasco) @Detroit Tigers (Anibal Sanchez)
Monday's game between the Twins and Tigers ended with two runners on base and Torii Hunter at the dish. The final pitch of the game was a low-and-away breaking ball that Hunter checked his swing on. Home plate umpire Country Joe West rung him up on a questionable check swing call and Hunter was not please, not pleased at all. After the game, Hunter questioned the integrity of Country Joe West, suggesting Country Joe West had dinner reservations or a concert to play in (Country Joe West is a country music singer when he's not making terrible calls on check swings). Torii Hunter will be fined for his outburst because you cannot question Country Joe West on a check swing call even if it might, perhaps, maybe, kind of, should have been a call that Country Joe West asked for help on. He could have simply asked the first base umpire for a ruling, which is something many home plate umpires will do on check swings. It's not like the first base umpire has anything else to do right then. Maybe next time Country Joe West will ask for help.
My pick: Tigers 7, Twins 5
St. Louis Cardinals (Lance Lynn) @Chicago Cubs (Jake Arrieta)
The new-and-improved Jake Arrieta takes the hill after yesterday's rainout bumped the game to today. Jake Arrieta was less-than-stellar through the first four seasons of his career but became a dominant force on the mound last year. This is his first opportunity in the 2015 season to show that last year wasn't a fluke and that the new-and-improve Jake Arrieta is for real. I'm rooting for him.
My pick: Cubs 5, Cardinals 3
Boston Red Sox (Rick Porcello) @Philadelphia Phillies (Aaron Harang)
Red Sox' pitcher Rick Porcello just signed a 4-year, $82.5 million contract yesterday and now takes the hill for the first time as an extremely wealthy individual. It makes you wonder if he'll be nervous thinking he has to prove it wasn't a bad idea to sign him to such an expensive deal. Will he go out there and over-throw, trying to justify being a $20-million-per-year player? I mean, we've seen this with Jim Carrey. The guy gets $20 million to be in a film and becomes the biggest over-actor there is (I'm thinking about Liar Liar in particular). Take it down a notch, Jim Carrey.
My pick: Red Sox 8, Phillies 4
Toronto Blue Jays (R.A. Dickey) @New York Yankees (Michael Pineda)
You may remember Yankees' pitcher Michael Pineda from when he pitched for the Seattle Mariners a few years ago. Then he was traded to the Yankees for Jesus Montero. You may remember Jesus Montero from . . . well, actually, you probably don't remember Jesus Montero. His bat went missing shortly after the Mariners acquired him in that trade and he hasn't been heard of since.
My pick: Blue Jays 6, Yankees 3
Jacob deGrom is bringing sexy back with his homage-to-the-80s hairstyle. It's business in the front and party in the back, baby! His 'do isn't Hall of Fame caliber, like Randy Johnson's was, but it's not bad for a second-year player. It took Randy Johnson years to cultivate baseball's best mullet, so give Jacob deGrom some time.
My pick: Nationals 5, Mets 4
Pittsburgh Pirates (Gerrit Cole) @Cincinnati Reds (Mike Leake)
My pick: Pirates 6, Reds 2
Atlanta Braves (Shelby Miller) @Miami Marlins (Tom Koehler)
Giancarlo Stanton was signed to a $300-million contract and he's hitting .200? What a bum!
My pick: Braves 7, Marlins 4
Baltimore Orioles (Miguel Gonzalez) @Tampa Bay Rays (Jake Odorizzi)
Two years ago, there were three Miguel Gonzalezes in the major leagues. Last year, there were two Miguel Gonzalezes. Now we're down to just one Miguel Gonzalez and he's starting this game for the Orioles. He's the last remaining Miguel Gonzalez in the big leagues until one or more of the three Miguel Gonzalezes who are in the minor leagues get their chance in the show.
My pick: Rays 8, Orioles 5
Chicago White Sox (Jose Quintana) @Kansas City Royals (Danny Duffy)
The Kansas City Royals do strange things like bat Mike Moustakas second and Alex Gordon sixth, which they did in their first game of the season. Mike Moustakas has a career on-base percentage of .291. You don't put someone who struggles to get on base near the top of the lineup. It's just not a smart thing to do. You want guys on base when your big hitters come up and someone with a career .291 OBP should NOT be batting second. Meanwhile, Alex Gordon is the Royals' best hitter and he bats sixth. His career on-base percentage is .346. If Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas were each given 600 plate appearances in a season and performed up to their career on-base percentages, Alex Gordon would get on base 208 times. Mike Moustakas would get on base 175 times. That's 33 more times you have a guy on base in front of your three, four, and five hitters. Yet, the Royals still had Mike Moustakas batting second and Alex Gordon batting sixth. And, of course, they won the game 10-1 because life is just kind of ridiculous some days.
My pick: White Sox 7, Royals 3
Colorado Rockies (Eddie Butler) @Milwaukee Brewers (Wily Peralta)
Whenever I see the name Wily Peralta, a I always think of Wile E. Coyote of the old Roadrunner cartoons. I'm not even sure if Wily is pronounced the same as Wile E., I just assume it is and that's how I hear it in my head. In a related note, the Brewers have been outscored 15 to 2 in their first two games this year, so the entire team is basically Wile E. Coyote getting anvils dropped on their heads.
My pick: Brewers 6, Rockies 4
Cleveland Indians (Carlos Carrasco) @Houston Astros (Scott Feldman)
Carlos Carrasco is the Jake Arrieta of Cleveland. Both Arrieta and Carrasco were below average pitchers before breaking out last season. Both need to do it again this year to prove they are for real. As fate would have it, both are pitching today. If fate were more organized, fate would have had them pitch against each other in their first game of the year, but fate did not do that. Stupid fate.
My pick: Indians 5, Astros 1
San Francisco Giants (Chris Heston) @Arizona Diamondbacks (Jeremy Hellickson)
Matt Cain was supposed to start this game for the Giants but he has a strained flexor tendon in his throwing arm so Chris Heston will get the start. Chris Heston played college baseball at Seminole Community College and was drafted in the 47th round of the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft. He did not sign. When you're drafted in the 47th round, it's like the team is telling you, "Hey, we need someone to carry the bats from the clubhouse to the dugout for one of our minor league teams and you look like you might be able to handle that job." Heston went back to school for another year, then was drafted in the 29th round by the Washington Nationals the following year. When you're drafted in the 29th round, it's like the team is telling you, "Hey, we need someone to take up space on one of our minor league rosters so the real prospects can have someone to play against." Again, Heston chose to go back to school and ended up being drafted again, this time in the 12th round, which made him marginally a prospect. He pitched in the Giants' minor league system for five years before getting into three games during last year's Championship run. He pitched a grand total of 5 1/3 innings but he was part of the team that won the World Series so he has a ring on his finger. No matter what he does for the rest of his major league career, Chris Heston has a World Series ring. Good for him.
My pick: Diamondbacks 6, Giants 3
San Diego Padres (Andrew Cashner) @Los Angeles Dodgers (Brandon McCarthy)
With the injury histories of these two starting pitchers, we're just hoping they can get through the game without going on the DL.
My pick: Dodgers 6, Padres 5
Texas Rangers (Ross Detwiler) @Oakland Athletics (Scott Kazmir)
Both Ross Detwiler and Scott Kazmir are left-handed pitchers but in the grand scheme of things, Ross Detwiler is to Scott Kazmir as Hydrox cookies are to Oreos.
My pick: Athletics 5, Rangers 3
Los Angeles Angels (Matt Shoemaker) @Seattle Mariners (Hisashi Iwakuma)
Mariners' starter Hisashi Iwakuma has started 9 games agains the Angels in his career and is 6-1 with a 2.75 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. That's pretty good. Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good.
My pick: Mariners 4, Angels 2