Soccer – Alaniya Vladikazkav @ Torpedo Moskva

The morning soccer match this time comes straight from Russian Division 1…..another gem of a match the Streak Master has given us.  In this match both teams are playing good soccer with Alaniya at the top of the table while Torpedo is in 7th place, but only 8 points separate each team.

Alaniya

Overall Record:  8-4-1

On the Road: 5-1-2

Last 5: 3-1-1

Torpedo

Overall Record:  5-5-3

At Home:  3-1-1

Last 5:  2-3-0

By the looks of it this is a very tough match to pick and if I had any kind of streak I would stay away from this one.  Alaniya has been playing really good soccer this year and continues to stay atop the league table.  Torpedo is playing good soccer as well and are playing good at home but I have to go with the away team even if everyone else thinks otherwise.

Pick:   Alaniya Vladikazkav to Win

MLB – Tampa Bay Rays @ Los Angeles Angels

The Tampa Bay Rays (30-29) and Los Angeles Angles (30-31) meet up in Anaheim for game one tonight of a three game series, as both teams try to get back into first place in their division.

 

The Rays have been up and down the AL East standing all year so far and are in third place behind the Red Sox and Yankees.  They are four games back in the standings and have four wins in last ten games.  The Rays have a team batting average of .242, led by Matt Joyce (.348) and a team ERA of 3.71.  Tampa’s big gun, David Price (6-5, 3.52 ERA), is on the hill tonight where he has allowed 73 hits and 33 runs over 64.1 innings of work.

 

With Texas and Seattle getting red hot, the Angles have dropped back to .500 and are moving in the wrong direction.  The Angles are 14-14 at home and only 5-5 in there last ten games, while trailing Texas by four games in the division.  For game one against the Rays Los Angeles starts Tyler Chatwood, he is 3-2 on the year with a 3.64 ERA for the Angels. He’ll once again pitch against the Rays, a team he lasted just four innings against and gave up five earned runs on nine hits last time out.  For the season Chatwood has allowed 64 hits and 26 earned runs while striking out 29 in 64.1 innings of work.

 

Tampa is 8-2 in Price’s last ten road starts.  The Rays depend on Price to be their stopper and they need him now more than ever and I look for him to rise to the challenge and for the Rays to grab the rare win in Anaheim.

 

Pick: Tampa Bay Rays

MLB – Colorado Rockies @ San Diego Padres

The Colorado Rockies (27-31) travel to face the San Diego Padres (27-33) on Monday in the opener of a three game series. For Colorado to be successful they need to get back their winning ways.  The Rockies won on Saturday but were defeated by San Francisco 2-1 on Sunday.  Colorado has gone from being an elite team to a team on a slow decline.  They have lost seven of their past 10 games and major cause of that is a lack of production.  Colorado has only scored 3 runs or less in 9 of the last 10 games.

San Diego has been the total opposite of Colorado; they started out slow and have been playing better baseball of late.  They come into tonight’s game playing their best baseball of the season, with 3 straight wins and 7 wins in their last 10 games they have reached .500.  Left-hander Clayton Richard (2-6, 4.52 ERA) gets tonight’s assignment to keep the wins rolling in but he has dropped two of his last three starts and has just one win on the year after winning 14 in 2010. It’s been a combination of poor pitching and a lack of support with a bit more of the former hurting him. He hasn’t been going deep into games and has had some control issues plaguing him at times to compound things.

Neither of these teams are hitting the ball that well right now, but I am picking the hotter of the teams.  Take the Padres as they seem to be on an upward swing.

Pick: San Diego Padres

MLB – Detroit Tigers @ Texas Rangers

The red hot Texas Rangers winners of  5 in a row return the to friendly confines of  the Ball Park in Arlington for this match-up with the rejuvenated Detroit Tigers.  The Tigers who have won 6 of their last 8 games will deploy once unbeaten  Max Scherzer (6-2,  4.38) up against Colby Lewis (5-5,  3.48) in the opening game of the series. The Rangers have put up some impressive  offensive numbers of late especially after the weekend series at Cleveland where the swept the Tribe and averaged 6 runs a game in that series.  Having the services of Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz back have been helpful to a team who has won 8 of 10.

The Tigers are playing some decent baseball as well of late winning 6 of 10 and moving to within 2.5 games of the Central Division leading Cleveland Indians. The Tigers bats have woken up of late with Jhonny Peralta, Brennan Boesch and Miguel Cabrera leading the way.

This game will all depend on the pitching especially for Detroit with Scherzer on the mound. In his last 3 starts he is 0-2 with an ERA over 6 after beginning the season 6-0.  One thing in his favor is he is 2-0 against the Rangers but call it a hunch I don’t think he will stay unbeaten after this one due to his recent production.  Although I feel that this pick should be the Rangers with ease just remember the Tigers are playing good ball as well.

Pick: Rangers

NHL – Vancouver Canuks @ Boston Bruins

This is my first writeup on the Bruins, Canucks matchup. So what has changed since the below?

“Coming into the playoffs the Vancouver Canucks were probably the best team in hockey and they probably still are. The Canucks are 1st in Goals Scored, 1st in Goals Against, 1st in Power Play % and 3rd in Penalty Kill %. Compare that to the Boston Bruins who were 5th in Goals, 2nd in Goals against, 20th in Power Plays and 16th in Penalty kills.

Vancouver is cruising in the playoffs so far this  year. After a tough first series against the defending Champion Chicago Blackhawks, the Canucks won in 6 against Nashville, and 5 against a very, very good San Jose squad. Vancouver has even won 7 of their last 9 playoff games and has seemingly gotten stronger the further into the playoffs they have pushed. Vancouver has the offense to score when needed, and the defense to shut down opponents so they can control the tempo and pace of the game.

The Boston Bruins have just emerged by the skin of their teeth winning in 7 games against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Conference Finals. Boston is actually 2-2 in their last 4 and is hardly on a roll. They are a bit banged up with several players health being a question mark and they have benefited from some inspired play of some young players. Boston has also struggled on the road lately going 1-2 in their last 3 road games.

Vancouver is the odds on favorite in this series and many are even picking the Canucks to sweep the Bruins. I don’t think this series will end in a sweep but the way that the Canucks are playing entering play and the fact that they will have home ice advantage does lead me to believe they will take the opener.”

Well, what then has changed? Vancouver leads the series 2-0 but Boston looked very good in game two and really impressed me. Boston should have a fair amount of confidence going into this one, they probably should have won game 2. Now heading home I think Boston will keep the series interesting picking up a win. I still think that Vancouver is the better team and will win the series but it’s hard to argue with Boston’s great play in game 2 and returning to home ice should be the catalyst for turning a solid performance into a W.

Pick: Boston Bruins

MLB – Milwaukee Brewers @ Florida Marlins

Monday the Milwaukee Brewers (33-26) will attempt to complete one of the hardest feats in baseball, a four game sweep on the road against a quality opponent, the Florida Marlins (31-26). The Brewers will send Zack Greinke (4-1, 5.29 ERA) will attempt to finally get that signature game he has been lacking under his belt against the Marlins Javier Vazquez (3-4, 6.02). The Marlins will once again be without Hanley Ramirez while Ryan Braun shoulder is still a question mark though his play the last few days would indicate that if it’s an issue, it’s a minor one. Both these teams have very strong players but the Marlines are more balanced. The Brewers front 4 hitters (Weeks, Hart, Braun, Fielder) might be the most potent front half of the lineup but their back of the lineup also might be pretty weak if any of their other regulars don’t play on Monday. Gomez, Kotsay and Nieves are some of the worst fill ins in baseball offensively and only Gomez has defense good enough to make him worth a roster spot.

 

The real question in this one is will Greinke have that breakout game everyone’s waiting for or will he continue to pitch 5 or 6 lights out innings before the wheels fall off. I really hate picking a sweep especially for a team that has been as bad on the road as the Brewers. That said the Marlines seem to be playing distracted since the whole Posey ordeal and they have failed to close out games. This has the makings of one of those sweeps that occasionally occur due to off field issues that probably never should have occurred.

 

Pick: Milwaukee Brewers

Soccer – France @ Ukraine

This is an interesting matchup. Ukraine is a pretty strong side and are the home teams. France is the better of these two but has little motivation to play in this one. The real issue is that Ukraine has little motivation either. Ukraine is already qualified for Euro 2012 and France will likely be using an experimental lineup this time.

 

France has struggled its last two times out drawing against Belarus and Croatia. Ukraine on the other hand hasn’t really beaten a solid team in awhile, they did manage a win against Uzbekistan their last time out and has drawn Romania and Switzerland recently, but against strong opponents such as Italy and Brazil, Ukraine has come up empty.

 

Keep a close eye on the lineup in this one. If France relies heavily on Martin and Gameiro Ukraine will have a chance against an experimental French side. If France goes more conventional, then I think France takes this one. Given the likelihood of France not starting all it’s A players and going somewhat experimental I would go with Ukraine here likely to draw at home but don’t put any kind of streak on it.

 

Pick: Ukraine, Win or Draw