I don't write for Doc's on Saturdays, so I want to touch on the Sunday night ESPN MLB game in this space because it will be a big night at Yankee Stadium with the Bombers retiring the No. 2 of shortstop and former captain Derek Jeter. I tend to think he was a bit overrated simply because he played for the Yankees and was a media darling in the media capital of the world. But there's no question that Jeter is a lock first-ballot Hall of Famer and could be the first player to receive 100 percent of the vote if former teammate Mariano Rivera doesn't beat him to that. I would imagine this is the last number the Yankees retire for a very long time because they are running out. He will be the 22nd player to have his number retired by the team, and now all single digits will be gone. Jeter, who is part of a group trying to buy the Marlins (why not the Rays since he lives in Tampa?), played all 20 of his seasons in a Yankee uniform and collected franchise-record 3,465 hits, which also ranks No. 6 all-time in MLB history. He made 14 All-Star teams and had numerous big hits in October. Jeter won five World Series with Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Rivera - the so-called "Core Four." The other three already have had their numbers retired. Jeter also had some impressive off-field accomplishments, if you get my drift. Here's a look at five Saturday games.
Free $60 in Member MLB Picks No Obligation Click Here
Cubs at Cardinals ( +107, 7.5 )
Fox Sports 1 national TV game at 4:05 p.m. ET. The Cubs have had some starting pitching problems this year, but 2016 NL Cy Young runner-up Jon Lester has been largely dependable and is on the mound here. He's on an extra day of rest after throwing a season-high 120 pitches in last Sunday's outing vs. the Yankees. Lester took a no-decision - the first of many - on Opening Night in St. Louis, allowing one run over five. Lester is the only NL pitcher to throw at least 100 pitches in every start. Yadier Molina hits .417 off him in 24 at-bats. Matt Carpenter is 5-for-25 with six strikeouts. It's Michael Wacha's spot here, but the Cards are skipping him just for more rest as he's not hurt (although I'll be watching that now). So it's Carlos Martinez (2-3, 3.86). He dominated on Opening Night with seven shutout innings and 10 strikeouts. He hasn't been that good since. Kris Bryant is just 3-for-22 off him with 11 strikeouts. Anthony Rizzo is 8-for-29 with three homers.
Key trends: The Cubs are 2-5 in Lester's past seven on Saturday. The "over/under" has gone under in six of Lester's past eight vs. the Cards.
Early lean: Under before side (Cards).
Rays at Red Sox (-240, 8)
Matchup of nasty lefties here. Tampa Bay's Blake Snell (0-3, 3.96) has some of the best pure stuff in the American League but is getting little run support and has lasted more than five innings once in his seven starts. Snell is still a bit wild and thus runs up pitch counts. He lost in Boston on April 17 in allowing four runs (one earned) over five innings. Andrew Benintendi is 3-for-4 off him with three RBIs. Boston's Chris Sale (3-2, 1.92) brings a steak of six straight starts with double-digit strikeouts into this one. Sale's MLB-leading total of 73 strikeouts this season is the highest in a pitcher's first seven appearances of a season since 2002 when Arizona's Curt Schilling had 75. Sale beat Tampa Bay on April 15 in allowing one run over seven with 12 Ks.
Key trends: The Rays are 2-7 in Snell's past nine on the road. The Sox are 9-1 in their past 10 at home vs. a lefty. The under is 6-1 in Sale's past seven.
Early lean: Red Sox on runline and under.
Mets at Brewers (-118, 9)
I dislike the Mets immensely and thus take great joy when they have issues - although I don't let it hamper my handicapping. That said, I almost feel sorry for that franchise with all it has dealt with this season. The latest is closer Jeurys Familia, who has been diagnosed with an arterial clot in his right shoulder. Familia, who had a career-high 51 saves last season, is 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA and three saves. No timeframe has been given until Familia gets a second opinion, but his season could be over. The Mets go with Robert Gsellman (2-2, 6.54). He has given up at least three earned in all six starts and lasted more than five innings once. Gsellman has never faced Milwaukee. The Brewers' Zach Davies (3-2, 5.00) hasn't personally lost in his past five outings. He has allowed two earned runs or fewer in his past three. Davies has faced the Mets twice in his young career and is 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA. Jay Bruce is 1-for-8 off him with a homer.
Key trends: The Mets are 4-1 in Gsellman's past five on the road. The Brewers are 4-0 in Davies' past four. The over is 7-0 in his previous seven at home.
Early lean: Brewers and over.
Padres at White Sox (+108, 9.5)
The Friars will add the DH for this interleague matchup. They are one of the worst offensive teams in baseball, so that can only help. San Diego might have a trade candidate in veteran right-hander Trevor Cahill (3-2, 3.06). He hasn't allowed an earned run in his past two starts spanning 11.1 innings. Cahill is the first Padres pitcher in seven years to allow no earned runs and three or fewer hits while pitching more than five innings in consecutive starts since Mat Latos did it in May 2010. Chicago's Jose Abreu is 2-for-2 off him with a homer. The White Sox's Dylan Covey (0-3, 8.28) might be close to losing his rotation spot. He has allowed at least six earned runs in three of his past four starts. Covey has never faced San Diego.
Key trends: The Padres are 4-0 in Cahill's past four. The Sox are 3-7 in their past 10 on Saturday. The over is 3-1-1 in Cahill's past five.
Early lean: Padres - they likely will be road favorites only a handful of times all season -- and over.
Phillies at Nationals (-165, 8.5)
If you put some money down on Philadelphia's Pete Mackanin to be the first manager fired this season - the favorites were Pittsburgh's Clint Hurdle and Cincinnati's Bryan Price - then you are out of luck unless he gets arrested or something. On Thursday, the team extended his contract through next season with a team option for 2019. The Phillies haven't been particularly good under him, but this franchise never expected to start contending again until at least 2018. Philadelphia's Vince Velasquez (2-3, 5.94) was hit hard by these Nationals last Saturday (7 IP, 6 ER) and is 0-2 with an 8.18 ERA in two starts against them in 2017. Daniel Murphy is 4-for-8 off him with two doubles and a homer. Washington lefty Gio Gonzalez (3-1, 2.64) had his worst start of the season Monday in Baltimore in allowing six runs in six innings. He took a no-decision vs. the Phillies on April 17 (7.1 IP, 2 ER). Maikel Franco is 1-for-16 against him.
Key trends: The Phillies are 3-12 in Velasquez's past 15. The over is 6-1 in his past seven.
Early lean: Nationals and over.
Get free picks from any Doc's Sports handicapper - there is no obligation for this offer and no credit card required. Just sign up for an account, and you can use the $60 in free picks for any Doc's Sports Advisory Board handicapper and any sport. Click here to get started now .
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
Most Recent Baseball Handicapping Articles
- MLB Betting Trends: Totals Report for Hot Over and Under Teams
- Daily Expert MLB Picks: Tuesday, July 10, 2018, Opening Line Report
- MLB Betting Trends: Totals Report for Hot Over and Under Teams
- Daily Expert MLB Picks: Friday, June 29, 2018, Opening Line Report
- MLB Betting Advice: Trades that Could Impact Bettors
- Expert MLB Handicapping: How Bad are the Royals?
- Daily Expert MLB Picks: Tuesday, June 26, 2018, Opening Line Report
- Daily Expert MLB Picks: Saturday, June 23, 2018, Opening Line Report
- MLB Expert Handicapping: Orioles One of All-Time Worst
- Expert MLB Betting Picks: Division Winner Props