Freddy Garcia (3-1) (CHW) vs. Jeff Weaver (1-2) (LAA)
This will be the first time the White Sox come into Angel Stadium since knocking the Angels out of the post-season on their way to winning everything in 2005. There should be plenty of fans on hand with bitter memories of questionable umpire calls through that series. Freddy Garcia is a longtime favorite of mine and Weaver impressed me when I watched him shut out the Rockies in a complete game effort with the Dodgers last September. If Weaver brings that level of sharpness to this one it could have the makings of a pitching duel. This is one where I almost root for both sides.
update: final score - CHW 8, LAA 5 -- W - Freddy Garcia, L - Jeff Weaver
This was Garcia's 103rd career win in the majors as he became the Venezuelan pitcher with the most wins recorded in the big leagues. There was a lot of offense early from the White Sox in this one as they strung together a lot of hits in the 2nd and 3rd innings to chase Weaver out of this one. I tuned in right about the time Weaver fell apart and he just looked awful. It looked like his location and velocity were failing him. I hope he pulls it together and gets a little more consistent going forward.
Freddy Garcia: 6.0IP, 4H, 3R, 3ER, 4BB, 5SO, 1HR - W
Jeff Weaver: 2.1IP, 8H, 8R, 8ER, 2BB, 4SO, 1HR - LApril 29
Jose Contreras (3-0) (CHW) vs. Kelvim Escobar (3-1) (LAA)
Marking the first time in my "3-picks" series I pick two games in a row between the same two teams -- this one strikes me as an interesting matchup between two pitchers off to good starts this year. Contreras has become a tough pitcher to beat since leaving the Yankees and I suspect he'll continue to thrive with the southsiders for some time.
update: final score - CHW 2, LAA 1 -- W - Jose Contreras, L - Kelvim Escobar, SV - Bobby Jenks
I was impressed with Jose Contreras in this one. He's incredibly durable and his ability to change speeds and locations kept him effective through 8 and one-third. The Angel's hitters seemed particularly off balance and unable to make good contact all night. There were lots of swings way out in front or weak hits right at fielders. This could be a good year for Contreras if he can make so many elite hitters look this bad.
Jose Contreras: 8.1IP, 5H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 4SO, 0HR - W
Kelvim Escobar: 5.0IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 3SO, 0HR - L
Gustavo Chacin (4-0) (TOR) vs. Mike Mussina (3-1) (NYY)
Chacin is quickly becoming my favorite starting pitcher this year. He was the beneficiary of a shakey Randy Johnson outing in Toronto in his last start and this time I'm definitely pulling for him to get the better of the Moose over at Yankee Stadium.
update: final score - TOR 1, NYY 4 -- W - Mike Mussina, L - Gustavo Chacin, SV - Mariano Rivera
Mike Mussina is off to a hot start this year. And over his career he's been an elite talent on the mound. He just seems to always be pitching for the "bad guys" as I've seen him work to devestating effect in the first game of the playoffs twice now. He seemed human last year as he struggled through the second and third time through the batting order. But this season he seems to have no such a trouble as he notches another win. Chacin pitched well in this one. He was just done in by a better performance that held his would-be run support way down.
Gustavo Chacin: 6.0IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, 3BB, 6SO, 1HR - L
Mike Mussina: 6.0IP, 7H, 1R, 1ER, 2BB, 7SO, 0HR - W(Win Probability graphs from Fangraphs)