Five to Follow Expert MLB Betting Picks: 8/1/2017, Opening Line Report
If you aren't fading the Chicago White Sox by now, then you simply aren't paying attention. On Sunday, the Pale Hose traded essentially the last valuable asset (assuming Jose Abreu is untouchable for now) in outfielder Melky Cabrera to Kansas City for two minor-league pitchers. With All-Star Avisail Garcia out at least two weeks with a thumb injury, there are maybe four legitimate major-leaguers now in the everyday lineup: Abreu, second baseman Yoan Moncada, third baseman/DH Matt Davidson and shortstop Tim Anderson, who's having a disappointing season. Otherwise the Sox are putting clowns out there like Tyler Saladino, Leury Garcia, Willy Garcia, Kevin Smith and Adam Engel. The pitching staff isn't in any better shape after the trades of Chris Sale and Jose Quintana from the rotation and just about every decent reliever. But, White Sox GM Rick Hahn frankly wants this team to lose as much as possible and potentially earn the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft. As of now, that's a four-team race between the Sox, Phillies, Giants (I think they are too talented to keep losing like they have), and Reds.
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Indians at Red Sox ( -146, 7.5 )
MLB Network game and a rematch of last season's ALDS won by the Tribe in a sweep, which was considered an upset at the time. It's lefty and huge AL Cy Young favorite Chris Sale on the mound, and he doesn't know about playoff baseball from his time with the White Sox. Sale (13-4, 2.37) hasn't allowed a run in his past three starts with 33 strikeouts. The Sox are giving him an extra day of rest here - Sale becomes that much more important to Boston with David Price back on the disabled list. Sale hasn't faced the Tribe this year but did plenty while with Chicago. Carlos Santana is a rare Indian with career success off him, going 12-for-40 with a homer and nine RBIs. Austin Jackson is just 2-for-33 vs. Sale. Cleveland's Carlos Carrasco (10-4, 3.58) has 13 quality starts in his 20 outings and beat the Angels last time out. Boston's Mitch Moreland is 4-for-10 off him with two homers.
Key trends: The Indians are 9-2 in Carrasco's past 11 vs. the AL East. The Sox are 14-6 in their past 20 at home vs. right-handers. The "over/under" has gone under in eight of Carrasco's past nine road starts vs. teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Indians on runline and under.
Diamondbacks at Cubs (-177, TBA)
Tough blow for Arizona as it has lost shortstop Chris Owings with a fractured right middle finger suffered when he was hit with a pitch Sunday while trying to bunt. Owings, who also has played at least 20 games at second base and right field, is hitting .268 with 12 home runs and 51 RBIs this season. Ketel Marte will likely be the primary shortstop going forward unless the team makes a trade. Arizona starts lefty Patrick Corbin (8-9, 4.36) in this series opener. He has won back-to-back starts, allowing a combined three runs over 13.1 innings. It's his first look this year at the Cubs. Will they have Anthony Rizzo? He's 1-for-4 career vs. Corbin but missed Sunday's game with a sore back, and it's possible it could cost him 1-2 more. Chicago lefty Jon Lester (8-6, 3.88) has been lights out since the All-Star break with three wins and a 2.05 ERA in three starts. Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt is 3-for-6 career off him with a homer.
Key trends: The Diamondbacks are 4-0 in their past four series openers. The under is 6-2-1 in their past nine vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 5-1 in the past six meetings. Arizona is 1-5 in its past six trips to Chicago.
Early lean: Cubs.
Phillies at Angels (-121, 8)
The Halos are likely to be without outfielder Kole Calhoun for a while. He was to have an MRI on Monday after leaving Sunday's game with a tight right hamstring. He would be the third of the Angels' top three outfielders to hit the DL this season. Mike Trout missed six weeks earlier in the year, and Cameron Maybin is currently on the DL with a knee injury. Calhoun is hitting .231 with 13 homers and 45 RBIs. L.A. starts Ricky Nolasco (4-12, 5.07). He hasn't won in his past four, although two of those starts were quality. In 23 career appearances against the Phillies, Nolasco is 8-7 with a 3.83 ERA. Philadelphia's Aaron Nola (8-6, 3.17) comes off one of the best starts of his young career, shutting out Houston on four hits over six innings with 10 strikeouts. Nola has a 1.49 ERA in his last seven starts. Only a few Angels have seen him - Trout isn't one of them.
Key trends: The Phillies are 5-0 in Nola's past five pitching on five days of rest. The Angels are 1-7 in their past eight following an off day. The under is 4-1 in Nola's past five.
Early lean: Phillies and under.
Mets at Rockies (-142, 12.5)
New York shortstop Jose Reyes left Sunday's game after being hit on the left forearm by a fastball from Seattle's James Paxton. If Reyes is out awhile, the Mets could call up Amed Rosario, a consensus Top 5 prospect in all of baseball. The Mets start lefty Steven Matz (2-4, 5.51). He has been hit hard in his past four starts, allowing a combined 21 runs and not lasting more than five innings in any of them for an ERA of 14.18. Pitching in the thin air of Denver is probably the last thing he needs. It's his first time throwing there. Colorado's Charlie Blackmon is 4-for-6 career off him with two doubles. Nolan Arenado has a homer in five at-bats off Matz. This should be the Rockies debut of newly-acquired catcher Jonathan Lucroy from Texas. The Rockies' Jeff Hoffman (6-3, 5.58) also has struggled in his past four, allowing 22 runs to see his ERA rise from 4.01. The Mets' Jay Bruce is 2-for-3 off him with a double.
Key trends: The Mets are 0-4 in Matz's past four against teams with a winning record. The Rockies are 5-1 in their past six at home vs. a lefty. The over is 4-1 in Matz's past five vs. the NL West. It's 5-2-1 in Colorado's past eight at home vs. a lefty.
Early lean: Rockies and over.
Twins at Padres (-104, 8.5)
Fox Sports 1 game, with Minnesota losing the DH. The Twins were a rather interesting bunch last week in that they traded for Braves pitcher Jaime Garcia but then apparently decided they weren't in the wild-card race and flipped him to the Yankees for two prospects. One major bright spot for Minnesota this year has been second-year pitcher Jose Berrios. The 23-year-old looks like a future ace at 9-4 with a 3.76 ERA, although he might be hitting a bit of a wall with two rough outings in his past three. They were against very good teams in the Dodgers and Astros. It's his first career look at the Padres. San Diego's Jhoulys Chacin (10-7, 4.22) is unbeaten in his past five starts. He hasn't allowed more than three earned in an outing since late May. A few Twins have faced him. Joe Mauer is 2-for-5 with a homer. Jason Castro is 0-for-6.
Key trends: The Twins are 1-6 in their past seven on the road. The Padres are 5-1 in Chacin's past six at home. The over is 5-1-1 in his past seven starts in a series opener. The Twins are 9-1 in the past 10 meetings.
Early lean: Padres and under.
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