Expert Baseball Picks
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The Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz has allowed three or fewer runs per game in seven consecutive starts dating back to last season, but rarely gets run support with the team losing nine of previous ten starts. The exact opposite is true for Phillies starter Nick Pivetta with Philadelphia winning nine of last ten. Pivetta also has been strong against the Braves holding them to a combined seven runs over 21 innings pitched in the previous two seasons. I'll take my shot on the road team that has proven it can score consistently tallying four or greater runs in seven of their last ten and five of Pivetta’s last six.
Neither offense can be counted on to put large numbers on the board. The Orioles have failed to score higher than three runs in four of their last five, and the Tigers went five straight games scoring three or fewer runs per game until their latest. Both pitchers have been pitching well and have good back numbers against tonight's opponent.
When you have two starters with relatively high WHIPs 1.74 for Marquez and 1.46 for Brault, the first thing that you should be doing is looking at the total. German Marquis is capable of tossing a good game, and he did do exactly that last July throwing seven innings of two-run ball, but he can also be erratic with ten walks in his first two games this season. Steven Brault rarely impresses and can be counted on to give up his share of runs. The lefty may have his work cut out for himself tonight against the Rockies who have averaged 5.43 runs per nine innings against lefties this season.
Milwaukee has been struggling at the plate over the last eight games scoring over three runs in just two of the matches. That said, the starters they have faced over the eight-game stretch are some of the best arms in the NL. That's not the case with tonight's starter Steven Matz who has gone ten straight starts without recording a QS and don't look for him to get it at home tonight. The lefty went 0-4 with a 10.38 ERA in five starts at Citi Field last season and was chased after only four innings in his one start there this season. The pitching staff of New York has been the most significant factor in their winning streak, but it's not like their bats have been silent putting up four or more points in six of their last seven contests. The Brewers starter Zach Davies is coming off a good outing against the Cubs, but he did get his pitch count extended over 100 pitches, and he may feel the effects of that tonight. I have this game hitting double digits.
New York starter Sonny Gray pitched well enough to give his team a chance at the win in his last visit to Fenway Park on 08/20/17 going five innings allowing two runs on seven hits. His overall numbers against the Bosox hitters are decent allowing a career .241 batting average to the expected starters. That said, Boston starter Rick Porcello’s pitcher vs. batter numbers are better than Gray's, and he’s been outstanding against the Yankees over the last two seasons with six QS in seven starts. Both teams have been hitting the ball well, but my money is going on the home side with an on-paper edge on the mound.
The Angels lead the majors in runs scored averaging a ridiculous 6.58 runs per game. They send out rookie Jaime Barria to make his first career major league start in tonight's game, and he didn't look out of place in spring training fanning a dozen batters in just over nine frames of work. Lefty Matt Moore gets the ball for the Rangers, and he has excellent historical numbers against the Angels, but not the lineup. LA Angels starters have lit up Moore for five home runs in just 37 career, and this season they have a projected average of 8.1 runs per nine innings against left-handed pitching. I'm willing to take a shot on the rook in this spot with him having the hitting behind him to make up for any jitters.
Both starters are coming off decent performances and the UNDER may be the way to go tonight, but I’m going to stay away from the total with the wind blowing out at Oriole Park. Baltimore starter Kevin Gausman has owned the Toronto batters in the past, but this is a different team this is a different lineup. The Jays projected starters have solid career numbers against the Orioles starter hitting a combined career .316 and Granderson, Pearce, Pillar, and Diaz all hitting well over .300 against him.
Luis Severino has pitched well this season and has decent numbers against the Bosox projected lineup which holds a career .239 batting average against him. He does have a history of not lasting deep into games pitching seven or more innings in just two of his last nine starts. That’s a concern with the way the Yankees bullpen has performed this season with an era of 4.89. Boston lost four of the previous five Sale has started for them against New York, but he pitched well in three of them. Yanks 3rd baseman Todd Frazier who has moved on to the Mets did most of the damage going long three times on Sale. Lay the money.
The Reds send out Cody Reed who will be making his first start since last April when he was shellacked for seven runs over two innings against the Cubs. The Phillies starter Ben Lively missed recording a quality start by one out in his season opener but looked good allowing two runs on six hits with five strikeouts to go with one walk. The price on Philadelphia is high, but the lack of offense by Cincinnati this season and the better overall starter makes them undervalued in my opinion. Lay the money.
It's tough going against the Angels right now and counting on the Athletics to get you a win no matter what the pitching match-up is a risky investment. The Athletics starter Andrew Triggs does have solid back numbers against the Los Angeles projected starters, but he rarely lasts more than six innings, and the Oakland bullpen has been used hard in back to back games. LA Angels starter pitched brilliantly in his only lifetime start against Oakland throwing seven frames of shutout ball, but the hitters in this year's version have had success against him.
Texas starter Matt Moore has had success against some of the Jays' top hitters, but he wasn't sharp in his opener and Rangers debut. Texas got to Toronto starter Marco Estrada for six runs in only 3 2/3 innings in his last visit to Globe Life Park. However, he looked good in his first start this year which may signal a return to form after an off 2016. The Rangers batters have been struggling, so I'll lay the small price on the visitor.
For the Cards right-hander, Adam Wainwright will make his first start of the season. Wainwright has strong numbers against Arizona historically, but he has only faced them twice in the last three years. Against the Diamondbacks projected line-up tonight he hasn't had a ton of success with six batters having a career batting average over .300 versus him, and he may not be at his best with this his first start since last August. Either pitcher could get lit up here making a play on the total line the way to go.
Arizona will send out lefty Robbie Ray to face St. Louis in their home opener. Ray hasn't seemed right since mid-September last season failing to record a quality start in his previous five starts and was atrocious in his opener allowing six earned runs over five innings.
Jon Lester takes the mound for the Cubs, and he didn't start the season off on the right foot. Lester was chased from the game after just 3 1/3 innings allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits and three walks. Additionally, Chicago's left-hander was beaten up for four runs in four in his last visit to Milwaukee. The Cubs also come into to this game cold at the plate failing to score a single run in back to back games. The Brewers counter with lefty Brent Suter who pitched adequately in his campaign opener allowing three runs over five innings. It's a small sample size, but the Cubs haven't hit left-handed pitching well this season with a .178 batting average with projected runs per nine innings of 0.44. Suter had two starts against the team in 2017 and pitched well with one run allowed over 12 1/3 frames.
Washington opened the season scoring just two runs but getting the money on the road in Cincinnati. Since then, the team has been tearing the cover off the ball amassing 27 runs on 32 hits over three games. Tonight the Braves are expected to send out Julio Teheran to start the game. Teheran was terrible at home last season, and historically the Nationals have had their way with him especially Bryce Harper who has a career .459 average against him with seven home runs. Washington starter A.J. Cole hasn't impressed, but he did look better late last season allowing three or fewer runs in his last five starts.
LAD starter Hyun-Jin Ryu ended last season on a bad stretch with just one quality start in his previous five starts. That one QS did come in a home game against Arizona, but the five-game stretch began in Arizona where he was pasted for six runs over four innings. ARI starter Taijuan Walker pitched adequately in his in the last plus month of the season and which ended with a poor outing against tonight's opponent the LA Dodgers, but the Diamondbacks won his previous three starts against LA including both starts back in April last season. Tonight's is an excellent spot to back the home team getting plus money.
The Royals starter today Jason Hammel had a rough end to last season, getting lit up for a combined18 runs in three of his previous five outings. However, those three rough starts bookended by two quality starts against the Tigers where he allowed a total of five earned runs over 12 innings. Detroit played a doubleheader yesterday taxing their bullpen using six relievers. They send out Francisco Liriano who has decent numbers against Kansas City, but he'll be starting for the first time in a regular season game since late June of last year.
Cleveland’s starter Trevor Bauer and Seattle’s starter Mike Leake both closed the season out with strong performances with Bauer recording quality starts in three of his last four and Leake in four of his previous five outings. That said, historically the Mariners expected starting lineup has had a lot of success against Bauer with five batters hitting over .300, and the Indians didn't impress in their lone outing this season against a right-handed starter.
It's always tough picking winners out of the gate, but the projected line-up of the Rockies has for the most part been successful against Arizona's starter Patrick Corbin. The same can’t be said about the Diamondbacks who do have four with lifetime averages over .300 versus Jon Gray, but the bottom half of the line-up has poor numbers.
The Astros have just two road wins in the playoffs, but one did come in this series in Game 2. The Dodgers’ bullpen came up big in the Game 6 victory last night as mentioned previously, but they did use four relievers, including closer Kenley Jensen who pitched two frames. That may turn out to be a problem tonight. Darvish hasn’t lasted more than 6 1/3 in his last three starts and has completed 7 innings just twice in his last 8 starts. Astros starter McCullers hasn’t been sharp on the road this season with a 4.89 ERA and registering a 33.3 quality start percentage. We do get an UNDER umpire behind home plate, but I feel that there are enough angles to predict tonight’s game surpassing the 7.5 runs.
With the Astros Game 5 win they are one win away from their very first World Series title. They won two of their three games at home in this series where they pounded out a combined 18 runs in the two wins but only two runs in the loss. Houston had lost four straight playoff road games prior to winning Game 2 of this series in L.A. Verlander has been fantastic in the post season and I’ll back him to put an end to the series in Game 6.