MLB – Seattle Mariners @ Chicago White Sox

The Seattle Mariners (31-30) look to avoid being swept in their latest series against the Chicago White Sox (30-33). In order for them to do this they must do something they have had little success in doing; winning a game at US Cellular Field. The last time Seattle beat Chicago in their ball park was way back in April 28, 2009 when Felix Hernandez led them to a victory. Chicago has won an astounding 14 of their last 15 games against Seattle at home and look to continue their dominance Wednesday night.

Chicago will send out pitcher Gavin Floyd who is 6-5 with a 3.84 ERA, 57 Ks, and a 1.13 WHIP. Seattle will oppose Floyd with Justin Vargas who is coming off of a complete game shutout victory over the Tampa Bay Rays. Vargas has been pretty effective this year posting a record of 4-3 with a 3.96 ERA, 48 Ks, and a 1.27 WHIP. It looks like both pitchers will be pretty decent here so the x-factor will be the offense.

Seattle’s bats have been on a major slump lately as Justin Smoak, Ichiro, and the rest of the Mariners have been mired in a team slump. Suzuki has struggled the most putting up a paltry .210 average in May, a career worst. In order for the Mariners to get things rolling, their table setter needs to get things started. On the other hand, Paul Konerko has been red hot lately for the White Sox and looks to continue his torrid pace. After missing two games due to wrist surgery, Konerko has returned and belted 2 HRs in his last two games both against the Mariners. Konerko has gone .536 (15 for 28) with 10 RBIs his last eight contests.

For the Mariners to overcome history and get a rare win against Chicago at their ballpark Seattle’s offense must come alive. The good thing for them is that they are a good night team posting a solid 24-18 record during night contests on the year. Chicago has only managed a record 19-20 during the late starts. However, their offense seems to be clicking at a higher rate than Seattle’s especially with Konerko on a tear. If this is a close game and Seattle is in the lead in the late innings it might be tough to call a Chicago victory as they have a solid bullpen and have been great in 1 run ball games as of late. Chicago’s bullpen has been up and down this year and have made many blunders allowing many games to slip away. However,  their new closer Sergio Santos has made things a little easier to relax in the ninth inning.

Overall, I see the White Sox completing the sweep as their offense is just much better than Seattle’s right now. Vargas might keep Seattle in it but I don’t see their offense helping him out to get the win. Besides, Gavin Floyd isn’t a bad pitcher to put out there.

Pick: Chicago White Sox.

MLB – Colorado Rockies @ San Diego Padres

San Diego defeated Colorado 3-0 on Monday as the slumping Rockies finally post back to back wins Colorado’s Clayton Mortensen threw six scoreless innings and it was a good thing he did because Colorado is still having trouble scoring runs.  The Rockies have scored three runs or fewer in eight straight contests which is not conducive to winning and a lack of support is one of the reasons this team hasn’t won back to back games since May since the middle of May. The rotation can hardly be blamed for their struggles as of late and has allowed just five runs in the last five games and even much maligned starter Ubaldo Jimenez got in on the act last time out with a four hit shutout of the Dodgers. He has had great success versus San Diego, defeating the Padres in five straight while posting a 3.27 ERA in that span and hasn’t lost to them since the 2009 season.

San Diego had a three game winning streak coming into yesterday’s contest but their bats were very quiet.  This does not surprise me all; the Padres are not going to beat most teams with bats. That being said over the past 7 wins they have scored 31 runs which is very good for this team.  San Diego will have to lean very hard on their pitching once again as the team has the same look as a year ago needing solid performances from the rotation to be competitive. But as we saw on Monday that still doesn’t translate in to winning. The soft hitting Padres look to bounce back tonight when they send right hander Tim Stauffer to the hill, who is in need of a good because he allowed seven runs (five earned) in a 7-4 defeat at the hands of Houston while lasting only five innings.

Stauffer has not faced Colorado much over the past several years; four relief appearances allowing 3 runs over 7 innings.  I am not sure what to expect from Jimenez, who looked great last time out.

Pick: Colorado Rockies

NHL – Boston Bruins @ Vancouver Canucks

Absolutely nothing has changed in this matchup since I wrote the below preview a few days ago.

“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 a few things have changed. Vancouver has now won 8 of their last 10 games, Vancouver completely shut down Boston in Game 1 and won 1-0. Boston’s struggles have continued and they are now 2-3 over their last 5 games and 1-3 in their last 4 road games. I feel the exact same way as I did about the previous review. I don’t think Vancouver will sweep Boston but at home and on a roll I just don’t see Vancouver losing. I could be wrong, it wouldn’t be the first time, but I would be very surprised if Boston took Game 2.

Pick: Vancouver Canucks

PGA – Johnson vs Garcia – Lower 2nd Round

Dustin Johnson has played more rounds this year, but also has had more success than Sergio Garcia.  Sergio hasn’t found his swing for a few years, but has been putting the ball phenomenally as of late.  He might need that today in order to beat Johnson’s booming drives.  Dustin isn’t always the most accurate, which can hurt him on this course.  Let’s see how they’ve done:

Dustin Johnson: 66
2010: 67/68/72/67
2009: 68/65/66/66
2008: 68/73/73/76
2007: Did Not Play
Average: 68.85 (Average 2nd Round: 68.67)

Sergio Garcia: 66
2010: Did Not Play
2009: Did Not Play
2008: 71/70/65/75
2007: 71/70/71/75
Average: 70.44 (Average 2nd Round: 70)

Sergio got a little lucky yesterday with an eagle 2 on 11, and I doubt that will happen again.  Dustin booms the ball down the holes, which makes this course a lot smaller for him and much easier for him to post low numbers.  He has had great results at the Byron Nelson and only 3 rounds above a 70, compared to Sergio’s 5 with less rounds played.

Pick: Dustin Johnson

NBA – Miami Heat @ Chicago Bulls

The Miami Heat have been loathed by every other NBA fan out there this year for trying to “buy” their way to a championship.  Well, it sure seems like it’s panning out!  Lebron Jams, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh have formed an incredible trio that has really turned up the focus for this year’s NBA Playoffs.  League MVP Derrick Rose might have something else to say about that as he tries to lead his team back from down 3-1 in this crucial Game 5.  The Bulls are 36-5 at home this year during the regular season and they’ll need that statistic to help them tonight.  After taking a heartbreaking Overtime loss in Game 4, the Chicago Bulls will need to screw their heads on straight and play as a team, not just the Rose Show.  Game 1’s 103-82 blowout was promising and I think that they took a little breather, but while they were resting, Miami came in and took 3 right from underneath them.

The keys for tonight’s game? If Lebron can keep shutting down Derrick Rose with his defense and his teammates help defense, the Bulls probably don’t have a good shot at winning.  They’d need someone else to get hot from the field and it hasn’t happened as of late.  Otherwise, Rose is going to have to orchestrate his team by passing and creating instead of putting up 25 points.  It should be a very good game to watch as the Bulls’ fans will be rowdy in Chicago helping their team to a victory.

((This last part is just personal opinion, but I’ve always felt like the NBA is a tad bit rigged, and if you don’t think that the Lakers losing in 4 and getting these Playoffs their highest ratings in years has anything to do with that, be my guest, but with that said, it definitely gives the edge to continue this incredible series to Game 6.))

Pick: Chicago Bulls

MLB – Los Angeles Angels @ Seattle Mariners

The Mariners (18-24) have started to slowly turn their season around after an awful start where they lost seven games in a row.  Doug Fister (2-4, 3.22 ERA) will get the start for them as they look to win two in a row off of the Angels.  Fister has pitched okay throughout the season, but nothing spectacular aside from his one game where he left the Red Sox scoreless through 5.   Otherwise, he takes his 1.33 WHIP to the mound to face the Angels offense that hasn’t been producing as of late.  We’ll see how he fares.  Against him for the Angels (22-22) is Dan Haren (4-2, 1.93 ERA).  Haren has been pitching really well this season, and I don’t think that Seattle is a big challenge for him.  Having allowed more than 2 runs only once this season, I can only expect a gem from him tonight as he faces the slow bats of Seattle.  The 0.84 WHIP and the potential to strike out just about anyone is a deadly combination.

The Angels have a decent offense led by Howie Kendrick and Alberto Callaspo, which ranks in the Top 15 in most hitting categories.  The bats have been cold lately and they’ll need to get out of that slump in order to avoid sinking below .500.  The Mariners’ bats are hardly much to talk about.  Ranking in the bottom 5 in all categories, they’ve relied mostly on pitching and the occasional run support to get to where they are now.  Justin Smoak and Ichiro can’t carry the team all season and I don’t think they will tonight either.

Pick: Los Angeles Angels

MLB – Cleveland Indians @ Chicago White Sox

The Cleveland Indians (26-13) square off against the Chicago White Sox (18-25) in this AL Central match up. The White Sox took two of three games in Cleveland to start the season.

Justin Masterson (5-1, ERA 2.73) takes the mound for the Indians. Masterson has been brilliant for Cleveland this season. However, he has a rocky go of it his last start. Against the Rays on May 12th, he only lasted 5.2 innings and surrendered five runs on eight hits and four walks. Masterson did beat the Sox on April 3rd thanks to a seven inning one run performance. He will face Jake Peavy (0-0, ERA 6.00) of the White Sox. Peavy has only pitched once this season since coming back from shoulder surgery. In his start against the Angels, Peavy threw six innings giving up four runs on seven hits. He was accurate and his pitch count was limited. The same can be expected for tonight’s game.

Cleveland leads the AL in runs and has been hot the last five games averaging 7 runs a game and have slugged .526. The White Sox O has shown a little life the past few games but are not exactly tearing the cover off the ball. I think the Indians will get to Peavy early, as he is still finding his touch on the mound.

Pick: Cleveland Indians