Five to Follow Expert MLB Betting Picks: 8/12/2017, Opening Line Report
You probably shouldn't be backing the Mets very often as it is unless Jacob deGrom is pitching, but I'd certainly consider fading them the rest of the season soon (again, unless deGrom is on the bump). New York traded slugger Jay Bruce on Wednesday to Cleveland for shockingly little: 22-year-old minor-league pitcher Ryder Ryan. He was a 30th-round pick by Cleveland in 2016 and 3-4 with a 4.79 ERA in Class A this season. The Mets couldn't get more for a guy hitting .256 with 29 homers and 75 RBIs? They do save about $4.2 million remaining on Bruce's salary. New York could have kept Bruce, made the free-agent-to-be a qualifying offer after the season and gotten a draft pick following the second round in 2018 (new draft pick compensation rules in CBA) presuming Bruce declined the offer. Then again, the Mets have long been run more like a small-market team in terms of finances. Their ownership lost hundreds of millions of dollars in the Bernie Madoff mess. I believe the Mets aren't done dealing and getting worse for 2017. Outfielder Curtis Granderson and second baseman Neil Walker are both free agents after the season, and there's zero reason to keep them. The team has a 2018 option on shortstop/third baseman Asdrubal Cabrera that it likely won't exercise, so he could be dealt too. Yes, waivers are in play here, but the Mets likely would just let these guys walk to save a few dollars. They could all help contenders, though, if they clear waivers (or claimed by a contender).
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Red Sox at Yankees ( -130, 8 )
A 4:05 p.m. ET game on Fox Sports 1. The Yankees put highly-touted rookie outfielder Clint Frazier on the DL with a left oblique strain, and those usually take 4-6 weeks so maybe his season is over. Frazier had been struggling of late was likely going to lose his spot to the returning Aaron Hicks regardless. The Yankees, incidentally, also were trying to get Bruce. The Bombers start Luis Severino (9-4, 2.91), their future ace if he isn't already. He's third in the AL in ERA and WHIP (1.07) and fourth in strikeouts (162). Severino hasn't allowed more than one earned in five straight outings, all wins. He's 0-1 with a 0.64 ERA in two starts this year vs. Boston. Dustin Pedroia is 3-for-9 off him with two doubles and a homer. Red Sox lefty Drew Pomeranz (11-4, 3.36) beat the White Sox last time out in allowing one run over 6.1. He's 1-0 with a 4.09 ERA in 11.0 innings vs. the Yanks in 2017. Gary Sanchez is 4-for-10 with two homers against him.
Key trends: The Sox are 13-3 in Pomeranz's past 16 starts vs. teams with a winning record. The Yanks are 1-4 in their past five vs. a lefty. The "over/under" has gone under in five of New York's previous six against a lefty.
Early lean: Yankees and under.
Twins at Tigers (-120, 10)
Speaking of guys who still could be traded, reports are that the Brewers are interested in Detroit second baseman Ian Kinsler. He would have to pass through every American League team and then every National League club behind Milwaukee for the Brewers to win the claim. However, the Brew Crew are one of 10 teams on Kinsler's no-trade list. He has a $10 million club option for 2018 with a $5 million buyout. Detroit starts Jordan Zimmermann (7-9, 5.27). He has been much better of late with three consecutive quality starts but has just one win to show for it. Zimmermann is 0-2 with a 10.80 ERA this year vs. the Twins. Miguel Sano is 3-for-10 with a homer vs. Zimmermann. Minnesota's Jose Berrios (10-5, 3.86) has alternated good and bad outings over his past six. He wasn't good last time out vs. Texas (5 IP, 5 ER) but still won. Berrios hasn't faced the Tigers this year.
Key trends: The Twins are 7-1 in Berrios' past eight vs. teams with a losing record. The Tigers are 2-5 in Zimmermann's past seven on Saturday. The over is 12-3-1 in Zimmermann's previous 16 at home.
Early lean: Twins and over.
Giants at Nationals (-258, 8)
Washington's Max Scherzer, still the Cy Young favorite, has just one win in his past four - although he left one after an inning due to neck discomfort. Scherzer (12-5, 2.23) would not miss a turn and took a no-decision vs. the Marlins last time out, allowing two runs over seven with nine strikeouts. Scherzer dominated the weak-hitting Giants on May 31 in San Francisco with a complete game, surrendering one run and striking out 11. Brandon Crawford is 2-for-9 off him with a double and homer. San Francisco's Jeff Samardzija (7-11, 4.75) has won three in a row with seven earned runs given up over 21.1 innings. He lost to Washington on May 30 (4 IP, 3 ER). Daniel Murphy is 9-for-17 vs. "Shark" with two doubles and a homer. Bryce Harper is only 3-for-15.
Key trends: The Giants are 4-10 in Samardzija's past 14 road starts vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 5-1 in his past six.
Early lean: Nats on runline and under.
Braves at Cardinals (-210, 8.5)
Don't look now, but the Cardinals could find themselves leading the NL Central by the end of Saturday if things break right. I left them for dead a few weeks ago and there was talk Manager Mike Matheny was a sure thing to be fired at the end of the season. The Cards start Carlos Martinez (8-9, 3.52). He went eight innings Monday in Kansas City, his most since June 10, and allowed two runs and seven hits in the victory. Martinez ended his six-game streak of giving up a run in the first inning. He hasn't seen Atlanta this year. Freddie Freeman is 3-for-6 against him with a dinger. Atlanta rookie Lucas Sims (0-2, 5.25) was a touted prospect as a 2012 first-round pick, although is star dimmed somewhat in the minors. He has made two big-league starts and been able to last six innings in both.
Key trends: The Cards are 2-5 in Martinez's past seven vs. teams with a losing record. The over is 6-2 in his past eight overall.
Early lean: Cardinals and over.
Cubs at Diamondbacks (+123, 9.5)
MLB Network game. Arguably the Cubs' MVP this season is catcher Willson Contreras, but he's going to miss at least a few weeks and perhaps a month after leaving Wednesday's game in San Francisco with a right hamstring injury. Contreras has a cannon behind the plate, can also play left field and had settled in at cleanup in the lineup. It's a huge loss. The Cubs smartly landed a solid No. 2 in Detroit's Alex Avila at the trade deadline or they'd really be up the creek. Chicago starts lefty Jon Lester (8-6, 3.97). After three straight stellar starts and wins out of the break, he has gotten no-decisions in his past two. One was vs. Arizona on Aug. 1, allowing three runs in four innings. It took Lester 104 pitches just to get that far. Paul Goldschmidt is 5-for-8 off him with a homer. Diamondbacks lefty Patrick Corbin (8-11, 4.76) was torched at Wrigley Field opposite Lester for eight runs and 10 hits in three innings. Lester, an awful hitter, smacked his first career homer in that game off Corbin.
Key trends: The Cubs are 5-0 in Lester's past five on the road. The over is 7-2 in his previous nine against teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Cubs and over.
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