Dave’s Free Play, Sunday 5/19/13

  • May 19, 2013

The 2013 baseball season is now 25% complete. So here’s a quick rundown of my award winners in each league for the first quarter of the campaign.

My NL MVP goes to Justin Upton. The Braves OF has lit it up right from the starting gate, and the early returns on the blockbuster trade with the Diamondbacks are pretty lopsided on the Braves side. Upton is leading the league in several key categories, and that gets him to the top of my list. Ironically, it’s a former teammate of Upton that is trailing by just a whisker, as Paul Goldschmidt is having a phenomenal season for Arizona. Despite the fact the Brewers have been terrible, no one in Milwaukee is complaining about the play of Carlos Gomez and Jean Segura, each of whom certainly rates an honorable mention.

My NL Cy Young first quarter winner is Mets sensation Matt Harvey. One might argue that Adam Wainwright has slightly better metrics, but considering the horrendous supporting cast he’s stuck with on the Mets, I have Harvey in my top spot. Clayton Kershaw and AJ Burnett also rate plaudits, with the latter pitching some terrific baseball despite a misleading W/L record.

The NL Top Rookie is a cinch. Shelby Miller is a runaway, and no one else is even in the conversation. My Manager of the Quarter goes to Walt Weiss, who has transformed the Rockies into a much more competitive, not to mention energized squad. I don’t think this team can contend all season, but the Rockies are no longer a tomato can everyone wants to pick on.

The AL first quarter MVP is a very tough call. Miguel Cabrera is putting up monster numbers again, and it’s tough not to tab Orioles sensation Manny Machado. But I’m going with Evan Longoria as the number one guy. Longoria has been amazingly consistent, reaching base in all but one game, and he has also played terrific defense.

The first quarter AL Cy Young is a multi-coin flip. I think you can make a very strong argument for any one of three guys. Felix Hernandez has been his usual lights out, Yu Darvish has dominated. But I’m going to tab Clay Buchholz as my top dog for the first 40 games. He’s pretty close to the other two in most of the metrics, and Buchholz is also undefeated. If you’re into WAR, Buchholz is the league leader among pitchers. Plus I’m a Red Sox fan, and I’ll admit that if it’s close, I’m going to generally show my bias and side with the Boston player.

First quarter top rookie in the AL…wow, not much to choose from. I’ll opt for Twins OF Oswaldo Arcia, which pretty much tells you how weak the current crop of AL rookies appears to be. Manager is a tough call. Joe Girardi has done a tremendous job with the Yankees, especially with all those injuries. Buck Showalter is pushing the right buttons again in Baltimore, Ron Washington is probably doing the best job I’ve seen him do in Texas. But the big surprise in the AL thus far is in Cleveland, where the Indians are now in first place, and I’m saying Terry Francona is a huge reason why. Francona therefore is my choice as top first quarter skipper.

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I’ve had a lousy week with my plays. I don’t think I’m making bad choices, but I’m getting killed in close games right now and cannot seem to protect a lead. Over the course of a long season, this is an inevitability over short stretches, so it’s just something bettors have to accept without it impacting them to the point they go on tilt.  Hopefully it turns for me today with a pair of plays. They’re available by clicking on the tab to the right of the page, and you can also try me for a week if you choose. For info on lengthier packages, which include guarantees, just drop me a line at cokin@cox.net.

The free play just missed on Saturday, as the Phillies came within ten runs of Cincinnati. That’s called ending a three-game winning streak with a gigantic thud. I’ll try some home chalk for the Sunday comp.

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05/19 11:15 AM  MLB   (907) MILWAUKEE BREWERS VS (908) ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

Take: (908) ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

No question Kyle Lohse will want to pitch well for the Brewers today as they close out their weekend set with the Cardinals. This is the first trip back to St. Louis for Lohse and I’m sure he would love to send a message to Redbirds management that they should have tried a little harder to hang onto him. Considering that two starters are now DL’s for St. Louis, they probably wish they had as well. Unfortunately for Lohse, the task here figures to be easier said than done. The veteran pitcher has not been especially sharp lately and he’s facing a team that has been tearing up righties.

John Gast gets his second start for the Redbirds, and the lefty was not too bad in his debut. I’m not sold that Gast is entirely ready for this level just yet, but on the other hand I’ve always liked playing on rookie southpaws in their first trip around the loop against hitters unfamiliar with them.

The main catalyst for playing the Cardinals here, however, is the team data. The Brewers have been a terrible team thus far. Take out that one big surge where they won nine straight, and the Brew Crew is a disastrous 8-24 in their other 32 games. As usual, they’re a bad road team. Contrast that with St. Louis, which has the second best record in all of baseball, and you’re looking at a number that is somewhat of a bargain. I’ll try my luck with the Cardinals to close out this series with a win.