The Chicago Cubs have built their young powerhouse team around hitting. The New York Mets have built their young powerhouse team around pitching. The one worry with doing it that way is that pitchers are so much more likely to suffer major arm/shoulder injuries that can cost them at least a season. For the most part, everyday players don't suffer those types of career-threatening injuries. I mention this because the Mets apparently avoided disaster on young lefty Steven Matz. He missed his last start due to forearm soreness but has no ligament issues in that arm after visiting a specialist on Monday. He might miss another start, however. This comes on the news that Mets fire-baller Noah Syndergaard got his arm checked out secretly early this month but also apparently was fine. I realize you need pitching to win, but this is why I'm not paying pitchers $20 million-plus a season if I ever own or run a team (not looking good for me in that regard).
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Twins at Tigers (-164, 9)
A 1:10 p.m. ET getaway game. If you want to be entertained, go YouTube the video of Tigers manager Brad Ausmus losing his mind after being ejected in Monday's game with the Twins. It's like Ausmus is asking the front office to fire him, and he might have been late Monday night if the Tigers had lost that game because they were up 8-0, blew that but then still won. Detroit goes with Justin Verlander here, and I've just about given up on forecasting what he will do in a given start. Verlander (2-4, 4.71) has been very good in his past two, allowing one run and seven hits over 15 innings, but Detroit lost them both. Verlander also has two starts this season where he allowed seven runs. He hasn't faced Minnesota in 2016. Joe Mauer is a career .353 hitter off him with three homers and 10 RBIs in 68 at-bats. Minnesota's Ricky Nolasco (1-1, 4.87) has regressed to his level of the previous two years, allowing at least four runs in four straight starts. He gave up five runs over 5.2 innings on May 1 vs. Detroit in a no-decision. Nick Castellanos is 3-for-11 off him with two homers and eight RBIs.
Key trends: The Twins are 4-10 in Nolasco's past 14 on the road. The Tigers are 5-0 in Verlander's past five on Wednesday. The "over/under" has gone under in three of his past five at home vs. Minnesota.
Early lean: Tigers and over.
Red Sox at Royals (TBA)
This is Game 1 of a day-night doubleheader, starting at 2:15 p.m. ET, necessitated by a postponed game on Monday. Both teams are off Thursday and could have made it up then but the Red Sox didn't want to lose their day off. Both teams must agree. The Sox are expected to go with knuckleballer Steven Wright (3-3, 2.36) here. He had been fantastic but was hit around Friday by Houston, allowing five runs and nine hits over 4.1 innings in easily his worst start of the year. It snapped a streak of six straight outings of six-plus innings and two or fewer earned runs for Wright. It was apparently a wet night in Boston, and Wright was having trouble getting a grip on the ball. The Royals are likely going with Ian Kennedy (4-3, 3.25). He comes off his worst start of the year, allowing seven runs and five hits (three homers) at the Yankees last Thursday. Boston's Hanley Ramirez is 4-for-24 off him career. Dustin Pedroia is 2-for-2.
Key trends: The Sox are 3-7 in their past 10 in Game 1 of a doubleheader. Kansas City is 5-0 in its past five in that situation. The under is 4-0 in Wright's past four on the road. It's 4-1-2 in Kennedy's past seven overall.
Early lean: I probably should have known better than to preview a game in a doubleheader because the managers could opt to switch their pitchers around to Game 2. If it stays this way, I like Kansas City.
Nationals at Mets (TBA)
ESPN game so should have live betting at sportsbooks. The Nationals start lefty Gio Gonzalez (2-1, 1.93), who is among the NL ERA leaders. He allowed two unearned runs over five innings Friday against Miami but again took a no-decision. Gonzalez has allowed only two homers in 42 innings this season. He was 2-0 with a 1.14 ERA in four starts last season against the Mets. Curtis Granderson struggles against him, going 4-for-30 with 10 strikeouts. David Wright is 6-for-21 with a homer and four RBIs. The Mets will go with Bartolo Colon (3-2, 3.53). He was hit hard at the Dodgers in his last start, allowing five runs and seven hits (two homers) over five innings. He was 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in seven innings vs. Washington last year. Bryce Harper is 3-for-13 off him with a homer. Jayson Werth is 4-for-9 with two doubles.
Key trends: The Nats are 14-4 in Gonzalez's past 18 on Wednesday. The Mets are 1-4 in their past five against a lefty. The under is 4-0-1 in Gonzalez's past five in New York.
Early lean: This is TBA because it's not 100 percent that Colon will go but he should. Part of the uncertainty was due to Matz. I like the Nats in this matchup.
Astros at White Sox (-115, 8.5)
That Carlos Gomez trade Houston made with Milwaukee last July looks worse and worse by the day. Gomez was being threatened with a benching because he's not hitting. Gomez didn't do much after coming over from the Brewers in 2015, either, and Milwaukee got some good prospects for him and pitcher Mike Fiers. Instead of benching Gomez, the team put him on the DL Tuesday. He is batting .182, has yet to hit a homer and has driven in only five runs. He also has struck out 46 times. Houston starts Doug Fister (3-3, 4.22) here. He has been getting better each time out it seems. Last Wednesday, he gave up two runs and six hits over seven innings against the Indians as the Astros won his third straight outing. The White Sox's Melky Cabrera is 5-for-14 off him with a double. Austin Jackson is 2-for-14. It's Mat Latos (5-0, 3.40) for Chicago, and he has been brought soundly back to earth after a great start. Latos had a third straight start of 5.1 innings or less and at least four earned runs allowed last time out vs. Texas. The Pale Hose now might have to think about trading for an arm. Gomez does hit Latos well, going 10-for-24 with two homers and eight RBIs.
Key trends: The Sox are 4-0 in Latos' past four vs. teams with a losing record. The under is 3-0-3 in Fister's past six.
Early lean: Astros and over.
Giants at Padres (+133, 6.5)
Thus far, San Francisco is getting its money's worth from big free-agent addition Johnny Cueto (5-1, 2.97) as returning to the National League clearly agrees with him. The Giants won his fourth start in a row Thursday in Arizona as Cueto allowed two runs over seven innings and struck out nine. His top start of the year was April 26 at home vs. San Diego, throwing a complete-game seven-hitter with 11 strikeouts. Matt Kemp is 7-for-20 off him with two homers. Jon Jay is 13-for-33 with three dingers and seven RBIs. If the Padres were willing to listen on offers for lefty Drew Pomeranz (4-3, 1.80), they could do pretty well. He hasn't allowed a run over his past two starts, spanning 11 innings vs. the Cubs and Mets. Pomeranz lost April 25 in San Francisco, giving up four runs and seven hits in 4.1 innings. Hunter Pence is 3-for-11 with three homers and six RBIs against him. Buster Posey is 5-for-8 with two homers.
Key trends: The Giants are 4-0 in Cueto's past four on the road. The under is 4-1 in his past five vs. teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Giants and under.
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