Five to Follow Expert MLB Betting Picks: 7/29/2017, Opening Line Report
At some point this weekend, Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre could become the 31st member of baseball's 3,000-hit club and only the fourth third baseman to do so, joining Hall of Famers Paul Molitor (who played DH late in his career), George Brett and Wade Boggs. Of the 30 players to get to 3,000 career hits, everyone is either in the Hall of Fame, will be when eligible (Derek Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki), is banned from baseball (Pete Rose) or has a PED issue (Alex Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro). Beltre has been a bit underappreciated in his career as he's never won an MVP or even played on a World Series champion. But there's no question the guy will enter Cooperstown five years after he retires. Beltre has the 29th best wins above replacement number (92.3) in MLB history by Baseball Reference's calculations. That's ahead of Brett, Boggs, Ken Griffey Jr., Rod Carew, Pete Rose, Brooks Robinson and many other big names. Beltre is third among third baseman behind Mike Schmidt (106.5) and Eddie Mathews (96.4). Beltre is signed through next season and does have some work to do - and must stay healthy - to have any shot at joining the 500 HR, 3,000-hit club.
Giants at Dodgers ( -263, 8.5 )
Fox Sports 1 national TV game at 4:05 p.m. ET. It's lefty Ty Blach (6-6, 4.50) for the Giants, and he has made a pretty solid transition to the rotation from the bullpen this season. He switched when Madison Bumgarner was hurt in April. Blach lost to San Diego last time out, allowing five runs over seven innings but did strike out a season-high seven. He's 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA in two starts vs. the Dodgers in 2017. Justin Turner is 3-for-8 off him. Corey Seager is 0-for-5. L.A. lefty Rich Hill (7-4, 3.48) beat Atlanta last Saturday in allowing two runs over 6.1 innings. He's 4-1 with a 1.93 ERA and 51 strikeouts in 37 1/3 innings since making a mechanical adjustment in mid-June. Hill beat the Giants on May 16 at AT&T Park (5 IP, 1 ER). Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford are both 4-for-8 vs. Hill.
Key trends: The Dodgers are 5-0 in Hill's past five vs. teams with a losing record. The "over/under" has gone under in Blach's past four. The under is 9-3 in Hill's previous 12 at home.
Early lean: Giants on runline and under.
Mets at Mariners (+135, 9)
A 4:10 p.m. ET interleague game with the Mets adding the designated hitter. Maybe if a few other top pitchers join the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw on the disabled list, then the Mets' Jacob deGrom could steal the NL Cy Young Award. DeGrom (12-3, 3.30) has been better than any pitcher over his past eight starts with an 8-0 record, 1.61 ERA, 58 strikeouts and a 0.83 WHIP. The Mets have had some incredible pitchers in their history but never a guy who earned a win in nine consecutive starts. That's surprising. Only six Mariners have seen deGrom and they are a combined 4-for-37 with 15 strikeouts. Seattle's Yovani Gallardo (4-7, 5.58) had been demoted to the bullpen but returned to the rotation last Sunday vs. the Yankees and allowed three runs over five innings, all on solo homers. Jay Bruce has seen him more than any Met, hitting .353 with two homers and 12 RBIs in 51 at-bats.
Key trends: The Mets are 16-5 in deGrom's past 21 road starts vs. teams with a losing record. The Mariners are 2-6 in Gallardo's past eight at home. The over is 8-1 in deGrom's past nine on the road.
Early lean: Mets and under.
Royals at Red Sox (-140, 9.5)
Potential playoff preview, either wild-card game or ALDS (or ALCS too possibly). Or both could miss the postseason entirely. Kansas City starts new addition Trevor Cahill. The Royals earlier this week went for pitching quantity over quality in landing Cahill, Brandon Maurer and Ryan Buchter from San Diego. Those latter two will work out of the bullpen, while Cahill was 4-3 with a 3.69 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and 72 strikeouts in 61 innings this season in 11 starts for the Padres. I question whether he will fare as well in the American League. Boston's Dustin Pedroia is 4-for-8 off him with a homer. The Red Sox's Rick Porcello (4-13, 4.52) hasn't won since June 23 but has pitched better of late. The Sox have scored just two total runs in his past three. The Royals' Eric Hosmer is 10-for-27 career against him with three homers.
Key trends: The Sox are 0-6 in Porcello's past six vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 7-1 in his previous eight vs. the AL Central.
Early lean: Royals and over.
Indians at White Sox (+241, 8)
Cleveland's Corey Kluber (8-3, 2.74) might be your AL Cy Young runner-up right now to Boston's Chris Sale. Kluber just doesn't get much run support as he hasn't allowed more than three earned since May 2. In 10 starts since coming off the DL on June 1, Kluber has gone 5-1 with a 1.52 ERA and 108 strikeouts. He whiffed a season-high 14 Blue Jays last time out and allowed one run over 7.2. Kluber is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA this season against the White Sox with 17 Ks in 15 innings. Jose Abreu hits him well, though, going 12-for-37 with three homers. Chicago's Miguel Gonzalez (5-9, 4.60) has been a new pitcher since missing about a month on the DL as he has given up just one earned run in each of his past two outings spanning 13.1 innings. He's 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in two starts vs. the Tribe. Jose Ramirez is 4-for-10 off him with a homer.
Key trends: The Sox are 2-9 in Gonzalez's past 11 starts. The over is 4-0 in his past four against Cleveland.
Early lean: Indians on runline and under.
Twins at A's (-106, 9)
If Oakland has a lead in the top of the ninth inning, there could be a new guy closing things out. Santiago Casilla was bombed while blowing a save Wednesday and has an ERA north of 4.00 this season. He could be replaced by Blake Treinen, who served as Washington's closer earlier this year and wasn't good in the role. He was recently acquired from the Nats. Oakland starts Chris Smith (0-1, 3.32). The 36-year-old journeyman made his big-league debut in 2008 with Boston but was out of baseball from 2011-2015. He has made three career starts, all this year, and they have all been quality. Good for him. The only Twin to face him is Joe Mauer (0-for-2). Minnesota lefty Adalberto Mejia (4-4, 4.10) lasted 4.1 innings last time out, allowing two runs vs. Detroit. It's the rookie's first look at Oakland.
Key trends: The Twins are 0-4 in Mejia's past four vs. teams with a losing record. The under is 4-1 in his previous five on the road. The over is 5-1-1 in Oakland's last seven at home vs. lefties.
Early lean: A's and over.
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