Sunday, April 30, 2006

Baseball Post: 3-picks - San Francisco, Cincinnati, Phoenix

May 1
Jake Peavy (1-3) (SD) vs. Jamey Wright (2-1) (SF)
The NL West is the hardest one to call because it's a weak division just like it was last year. With the Colorado Rockies spending some time in first place through April we won't know much about this division until the NL East and NL Central teams take some shots at these clubs. The chances of the Padres to defend their title rests squarely on the shoulders of their ace pitcher Jake Peavy. His first month has not been encouraging for the friars. In nearly every comparison graph between Peavy and Jamey Wright they seem to have swapped places performance-wise this year.
update: final score - SD 10, SF 4 -- W - Jake Peavy, L - Jamey Wright
Wright lost this one with that big inning in the fourth as seven Padres came around to score. More than enough to determine the final outcome. Peavy had far fewer strikeouts than I would expect from him over 8 innings of work.
Jake Peavy: 8.0IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, 1BB, 4SO, 0HR - W
Jamey Wright: 5.1IP, 10H, 10R, 8ER, 2BB, 2SO, 0HR - LMay 2
Sidney Ponson (3-0) (STL) vs. Bronson Arroyo (4-0) (CIN)
actual: Sidney Ponson (3-0) (STL) vs. Dave Williams (1-2) (CIN)
These are two starting pitchers off to a great start after switching over to the National League this year. Both are undefeated. Ponson has a much better defense working behind him and Arroyo has better numbers overall so this should be an even matchup.
update: final score - STL 2, CIN 3 -- W - Todd Coffey, L - Brian Falkenborg
At some point the scheduled starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo was moved up by a day. Both starters pitched well as this was a close game that came down to a walk-off single from Jose Valentin (pinch hitting even) to give the win to Cincinnati. Who are now off to an unbelievable 19-8 start that puts them in first place in the crowded NL Central. I really expected this team to be near the bottom. Though I suspect they will be like last year's Baltimore Orioles and do a long dive in the standings through the second half of the season.
Sidney Ponson: 6.0IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 2SO, 2HR - ND
Dave Williams: 6.2IP, 8H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 2SO, 1HR - ND

May 3
Greg Maddux (5-0) (CHC) vs. Miguel Batista (2-1) (ARI)

Mad Dog has been phenomenal this year. Batista had that one 11-strikeout performance followed by inconsistency. Anything can happen, but the smart money's on Maddux in this one.
update: final score -CHC 1, ARI 5 -- W - Miguel Batista, L - Greg Maddux, SV - Jose Valverde
Anything really can happen. Batista defied the odds and beat mad dog with the help of an offense that is suddenly hot for the D-backs. I actually think that the D-backs have a better shot at the NL West title than they get credit for. (ERA and Win Probability graphing from Fangraphs)

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