Got some noteworthy/interesting games on the schedule for the upcoming week of 20 May 2012 through 27 May. We’ve still got some time before we find out which baseball teams are for real and which are not and the NBA playoffs are in full effect. We’re down to 4 teams in the NHL playoffs, so I’ll take a wild stab at that as well. And hey, let’s go a grand slam and include some Major League Soccer action.
Without any more delay, let’s do it. Let’s peek at this week’s Cro-sades.
My current stats:
- 4-3 MLB
- 3-5 NBA
20 May 2012
Baltimore Orioles @ Washington Nationals—This is the third game of a quick 3-game series between division leaders. Both teams are surprises so far this season and this game is a matchup of featured pitchers. According to the schedule, we’re gonna see Wei-Yin Chen against Stephen Strasburg. Both teams are overachieving, so this might be the first year that the Beltway Series carries any importance**. I think the first two games get split and Chen leads the O’s to the victory. As long as Mark Reynolds stays out. The last thing you want to do is GIVE Strasburg free strikeouts. PICK: ORIOLES
**After watching an 11-inning thriller, I think this might be the most exciting series too.
Boston Red Sox @ Philadelphia Phillies—Did you ever expect to find both of these teams at/near the bottom of their divisions at the same time? No. You didn’t. These teams just can’t seem to get it going. We’re supposed to see Josh Beckett take on Cliff Lee. I’m not saying it’s time to panic yet… but practically all ten teams in the AL and NL Easts are playing .500 or better. It might be early, but this might be the year that EVERY win counts. Especially with that extra wild-card spot. PICK: PHILLIES
St. Louis Cardinals @ Los Angeles Dodgers—Both teams are leading their divisions. Both teams have large runs scored-runs given up differentials. The Cardinals were supposed to be hurting for Pujols a little… not the other way around. If you remember, I thought the Dodgers were going to suck. It’s early but I think these two teams could both end up playing in October. PICK: DODGERS
Miami Heat @ Indiana Pacers—This is gonna be Game 4. It could be one of the most pivotal moments for the entire NBA postseason. If the Pacers win, they go up 3-1. If the Heat win, they can even the series and put the pressure back on Indiana. It doesn’t bode well for Miami when Mario Chalmers was the high scorer in Game 3. And no Chris Bosh. Roy Hibbert had his way with Dexter Pittman/Ronny Turiaf/Joel Anthony. The Pacers are still on their homecourt, so big games from George Hill and David West should put this series away. I don’t think the Heat can come back from a 3-1 deficit. They aren’t used to being so frustrated. PICK: PACERS
San Antonio Spurs @ Los Angeles Clippers—Game 4, a playoff back-to-back. If the Clippers have any chance of stealing from the Spurs, it’s going to be by playing on back-to-back nights. But I think it might hurt them just as much. CP3 looked like a broken-down version in Game 2. If the Clippers can sneak Game 3, then I give them the benefit of a doubt in Game 4—even series. But if the Spurs continue to dominate—and Danny Green keeps dropping those daggers—then this is the end of the Clippers. PICK: SPURS
**Wow, I typed that Saturday morning and then saw Game 3 as it unfolded. A 50-17 run? I feel dumb for even suggesting the Clippers had a chance at all.
Phoenix Coyotes @ Los Angeles Kings—Game 4 of this NHL playoff series. Kings up 3-0. I’m picking the sweep. No reason. PICK: KINGS
21 May 2012
Colorado Rockies @ Miami Marlins—I’m only interested in this game because Jamie Moyer is supposed to take the mound for the Rockies. I don’t know if Moyer has pitched in the new Marlins stadium or not (I haven’t done the research), so this is a cool game just from the standpoint of Moyer having pitched in 722 different ballparks. I also think it would be cool to watch in case Ozzie Guillen gets pissed off at how slow Moyer pitches and throws a tantrum. I’d say the odds are pretty decent. PICK: MARLINS
Philadelphia 76ers @ Boston Celtics—This is not the situation I wanted. I wanted this to be the elimination game for the Celtics. I wanted them to win here and get some extra rest for what I think is going to be a dogfight series with Indiana. But this happened instead. And now the series is reset. This game is going to decide the series. Win Game 5 and I think you win the series. Will we see the Celtics run out of gas or will the Sixers ride Iguodala’s hot streak? I’m staying loyal and predicting a big game from Paul Pierce. PICK: CELTICS
Los Angeles Lakers @ Oklahoma City Thunder—Game 5 for this series as well. Much like the Boston-Philly series, OKC could have really sealed the deal with a Game 3 win. Instead, they lost and left Kobe the slimmest of windows. That’s a dangerous thing to do because while I think Kobe’s days of dominance are just about over, the only thing he needs to prove me wrong is a window of opportunity. Hello, Game 3. They played Game 4 on the backend of a back-to-back, so we will see how much momentum means. PICK: THUNDER
22 May 2012
Boston Red Sox @ Baltimore Orioles—There’s one specific reason I have this game circled on my fake calendar. And that is because Brian Matusz gets the start. A Brian Matusz start is like a box of miscellaneous rocks and gems. You don’t know if you’re getting a crappy rock or a valuable gem. And for some reason you are not surprised, regardless of the outcome. He’s on a roll lately, with 3 wins in his last 4 starts. And that makes this game extra fun. Because he’s due to collapse again, right? PICK: ORIOLES
Indiana Pacers @ Miami Heat—Here we go. This could very well be the best day of the week for me. Or it could just be frustrating. This is Game 5 of the series. It’s either going to be an elimination game or the beginning of a new, tense 3-game series. I went with the Pacers winning Game 4 and I’m going with the Heat here for a more satisfying finish. You’ll understand later. PICK: HEAT
Los Angeles Clippers @ San Antonio Spurs—Game 5, if needed. Key words: “if needed”. If they Clippers have made it to this game and the series is not 2-2, then I think they are just prolonging an ending they know is coming. But if the series does get tied, then this is a lucky restart. I don’t think we’re getting this game.
**If you watched Game 3, you’d realize how absurd this passage is.
23 May 2012
Boston Red Sox @ Baltimore Orioles—Easy reason: Jake Arrieta. I will watch every Arrieta game I can catch this season. PICK: ORIOLES
Kansas City Royals @ New York Yankees—Andy Pettitte returned against a crappy Seattle team and he got tagged pretty good. 6.1 innings, 7 hits, 4 runs, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts. Then he pitched a beaut against an underachieving Cincinnati team. 8 innings, 4 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk, 9 strikeouts. This time he’s about to take on a crappy Kansas City team. The difference is he pitched against the Mariners and Reds in New York and both suck on the road. This time he’s facing the Royals in New York, but the Royals are a better road team. Maybe Pettitte should have stayed away, maybe he’s back… I’m glad I picked up Lance Lynn for my fantasy team instead. PICK: ROYALS
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Los Angeles Lakers—Game 6, if needed. Another game that LA needs a miracle for. And like the SA-LA series, I don’t think it makes it to the extra game. Durant and company finish strong. Real strong. Catches Kobe in the window and slams it shut.
Boston Celtics @ Philadelphia 76ers—Game 6. I picked the Celtics to win the crucial Game 5. So I will go with the ONE thing I know about the Celtics and that’s that you can’t predict them based on recent play. So I’ll go with Philly winning this one. Maybe in overtime. And it’s gonna set up a Game 7. Because it should be easier for Boston to advance, so they’ll make it difficult. Just like that series against the Bulls with the 8,141 overtimes. PICK: 76ERS
San Jose Earthquakes @ Los Angeles Galaxy—I haven’t followed soccer too closely. There’s just too many leagues. I don’t understand how players are loaned and how they can play for certain teams and national teams. It’s something that you just have to sit down for an entire weekend and make charts and graphs to figure it out. But I have been a Galaxy fan since the MLS was created. It started because my favorite player Cobi Jones (who may also have been 1 of 4 soccer players I could name at the time) played for them. Then I grew to appreciate Landon Donovan. And the clincher was when David Beckham joined. I can add Robbie Keane to the list. I was genuinely happy when the Galaxy won last year and I understand this year has been much more difficult. But I think I’m gonna make more of an effort to keep up. PICK: GALAXY
24 May 2012
Detroit Tigers @ Cleveland Indians—Two words: Justin Verlander. He narrowly missed his third no-no. But the Indians are like the Orioles, in that no one expected them to be where they are. First place. That was supposed to be a given, when the Tigers signed Prince. PICK: TIGERS
Miami Heat @ Indiana Pacers—Game 6. In Indiana. That’s the sole reason I picked the Heat in Game 5. Indiana has had an awesome season and a surprising run. They deserve to advance to the conference finals with a win on their own homecourt. It will be fun to bet an over/under on how fast Lebron leaves the court and hops on a plane back to Miami. PICK: PACERS
25 May 2012
Milwaukee Brewers @ Arizona Diamondbacks—I had this as a playoff matchup. Instead, both teams are under .500. Lots of time to change things. But the Brewers replaced Prince with Mat Gamel. And then replaced Gamel with Travis Ishikawa. Who? Exactly. Even a strong start by Braun is going wasted. And the Diamondbacks… well it’s not good when your best power hitter has just 5 HR. And he’s missed a few weeks on the DL. Welcome back, Chris Young. PICK: BREWERS
San Antonio Spurs @ Los Angeles Clippers—Game 6, if needed. It won’t be.
26 May 2012
Philadelphia 76ers @ Boston Celtics—The penultimate game. I told you, Game 5 wins the series. So you know my pick. But I think this game will have telling points. Such as moments when it’s apparent that Miami would be the better opponent for the Celtics. If the Celtics want to make the Finals. Moments when you think if the 76ers had gotten someone like D12 or Tyson Chandler, they might have won the Atlantic Division. Moments when you know Doc Rivers is crafty enough for this last run. PICK: CELTICS
Indiana Pacers @ Miami Heat—Game 7, if needed. And it won’t be. We’re talking about a clutch game and a player named Lebron.
Los Angeles Galaxy @ Houston Dynamo—On paper, this looks like two evenly matched teams. Should be interesting to see how the goalie situation works out for the Galaxy. Starting goalie Josh Saunders is in substance-abuse rehab. He would have also missed the game on Wednesday, but you would expect a pro team to adapt after the first game. I think. Anyway, I still don’t know enough about the current state of soccer to make an educated pick. So… PICK: GALAXY