This Saturday there is a full fifteen game schedule including two early and two late afternoon games.
Today’s MLB Picks:
New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox (1:10pm ET)
The most intense rivalry in the major leagues continues with an early afternoon matchup between AL East superpowers from Boston and New York. The pitching matchup for this latest installation of the rivalry features rookie Ivan Nova (1-0, 4.50 ERA) for the Yankees against Clay Buchholz (0-1, 5.68 ERA) for the host Red Sox. Nova is 0-2 with a 6.43 ERA in his only 2 appearances against Boston with a .296 batting average allowed. The rookie was sharp in his first outing of 2011 against the Twins, allowing 3 earned runs in six innings. Buchholz, who posted a 17-7 record with an outstanding 2.33 ERA in 2010, has been much better over his career at Fenway than on the road. His ERA is 3.10 at home vs. 4.26 on the road and he has allowed opponents to hit .229 against him at home vs. .264 on the road. Boston cannot afford to fall too far behind the Yankees even if the season is only in its second week, the Sox’ offense will step up against the rookie Nova and Buchholz will hold down the Yankees’ murders row offense in the game of the day.
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Los Angeles Angels (9:05 pm ET)
The starting pitchers for this inter-divisional matchup are Bret Cecil (15-7, 4.22 ERA in 2010) for the visiting Blue Jays and Scott Kazmir (9-15, 5.94 ERA in 2010) for the Angels. Cecil and Kazmir both had rough outings in their first starts of the season, with Cecil allowing 6 hits and 3 earned runs in 5 innings in a loss to the Twins last Sunday and Kazmir was shelled for 5 earned runs in only 1 2/3 innings against the Royals last Sunday. Cecil is 1-1 with a 4.85 ERA and .245 batting average allowed in his two career starts against the Angels. Kazmir is 4-5 with a 3.80 ERA in 15 career starts against the Blue Jays. Kazmir had a 6.83 ERA at night last season compared to a 3.06 ERA during the day, the bet here is to take the Jays against a pitcher who gives up more than twice as many runs at night as he does during the day and has been steadily declining in performance for the past four seasons with his velocity and strikeouts dropping precipitously form a high of 1.16 K/IP in 2007 to .62 K/IP last season.