Daily Expert MLB Picks: Friday, June 22, 2018, Opening Line Report
It's great to be an intense competitor, but when you hurt yourself out of frustration you are simply an idiot. Might the Cavaliers had won a game in the NBA Finals if LeBron James hadn't injured his shooting hand punching something after that crushing Game 1 loss? By the way, couldn't have LeBron kept that injury quiet? Almost like he used it as an excuse following the sweep. But, I digress. The latest hot-head idiot is Giants closer Hunter Strickland. He'll miss 6-8 weeks after fracturing his right hand when he punched a door following a blown save earlier this week. That's just selfish. It was Strickland's fourth blown save this season. He is 3-3 with 13 saves and a 2.84 ERA. Sam Dyson will take over the role even though the Giants have high-priced former closer Mark Melancon on the roster. However, he has been a bust and injury-prone since signing a big contract.
Phillies at Nationals ( -147, 9 )
Injury updates for both teams. The Phillies have lost shortstop J.P. Crawford back to the disabled list, this time for 4-6 weeks with a fractured left hand. He was hit by a pitch Tuesday vs. St. Louis. He earlier missed around six weeks with a strained right forearm. The former top prospect hasn't hit a lick this season when healthy. Washington has lost first baseman Matt Adams to the DL with a broken finger. He was hitting well enough to take over the starting job there. Dave Martinez said he will use Daniel Murphy and Mark Reynolds at first base while Adams is out, and Wilmer Difo will be the primary second baseman when Murphy is at first. It's Zach Eflin (4-2, 3.43) for Philly in his first look this year at Washington. He has allowed two runs or fewer in three straight starts, all wins. The Nats' Tanner Roark (3-7, 3.87) has just one victory since April 30 despite usually pitching well. He lost to the Phillies on May 5 (6.1 IP, 3 ER).
Key trends: The Phillies have lost seven straight on Friday. The Nats are 1-4 in their past five series openers. The "over/under" is 5-2 in Elfin's previous seven vs. teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Phillies and under.
Diamondbacks at Pirates (+100, 8)
ESPN+ game. Arizona lefty Patrick Corbin (6-3, 3.48) was one of the NL's best pitchers the first two months but has been backsliding a bit in his past four starts as he had a 2.47 ERA before that stretch. He allowed five runs over 5.1 innings in a June 11 no-decision vs. the Pirates and then five more runs over six in a loss to the Mets last Saturday. Is Corbin healthy? His velocity is down with a max fastball of 92 mph vs. New York. Pittsburgh's Ivan Nova (4-5, 4.42) missed Arizona in the first series but has won his past two, allowing just two runs and nine hits over 11.2 innings. The Snakes' Paul Goldschmidt is 4-for-9 against Nova with two homers.
Key trends: The Diamondbacks are 1-4 in Corbin's past five vs. teams with a losing record. The Bucs are 1-6 in their previous seven vs. a lefty. The over is 13-3 in Corbin's past 16 on Friday.
Early lean: Pirates and over.
Cubs at Reds (+130, 9)
The Cubs perhaps lost the first game of their doubleheader against the Dodgers on Tuesday because closer Brandon Morrow was unavailable with back spasms. How did he hurt himself? Taking off his pants early Monday morning at home. Only a freaking baseball player. Morrow has since landed on the DL. Lefty Justin Wilson blew the save against the Dodgers but surely will share in save chances with Morrow out. Chicago starts lefty Jose Quintana (6-5, 4.06). He has allowed two earned or fewer in four straight but is just 1-1 in them because he struggles to go deep into games. He dominated the Reds in Cincinnati on May 19 (7 IP, 1 H, 0 ER). The Reds' Luis Castillo (4-8, 5.77) has lost four in a row and has been killed by homers (17) this year. He beat the Cubs on May 19 (5 IP, 1 ER).
Key trends: The Cubs are 10-2 in Quintana's past 12 vs. the NL Central. The Reds are 0-4 in Castillo's past four. The over is 6-2 in Castillo's previous eight vs. the NL Central.
Early lean: Cubs and over.
Dodgers at Mets (+133, 7.5)
Lone national TV game of the night on the MLB Network - of course it's nationally televised with the two biggest media markets. Last year, the Dodgers did something they had never done against the Mets: Sweep the season series. L.A. was 7-0 in 2017 and has won nine straight overall against the Metropolitans. It's a pair of 2-5 W's here. Dodgers lefty Alex Wood (2-5, 4.22) says he changed some mechanics before his last start, and he won for the first time since May 20, allowing one run over 5.2 vs. the Giants. Wilmer Flores has seen him more than any Met, going 4-for-13 with a homer. New York had lost eight straight starts by Zack Wheeler (2-5, 4.82), but that ended Sunday as Wheeler took a ND in Arizona (6 IP, 2 ER) and the Mets rallied to win. Wheeler is yet to win at home in 2018.
Key trends: The Dodgers have won eight straight series openers. The Mets are 1-8 in Wheeler's past nine at home vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 6-1 in Wood's past seven vs. teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Dodgers and over.
Padres at Giants (-145, 8)
San Diego has been without arguably its best offensive player, right fielder Wil Myers, since late April due to an oblique injury, but he could be activated for this game. He was off to a solid start, batting .300 with a homer in 10 games. The Friars start lefty Clayton Richard (6-6, 4.31). He's working on four consecutive quality starts and San Diego has won them all - albeit against only two teams (Braves and Marlins). His shortest start of the season was May 2 in San Francisco when he lasted four innings and allowed seven runs. Buster Posey hits .375 off him with two homers in 32 at-bats. The Giants' Chris Stratton (8-4, 4.22) beat the Dodgers on Sunday, giving up one unearned run over six. His first win of the year was April 12 in San Diego with seven shutout innings. Myers is 2-for-4 against him.
Key trends: The over is 8-2 in Richard's past 10 vs. the Giants. The Padres are 2-5 in Richard's past seven vs. the NL West. The Giants are 11-1 in Stratton's previous 12 at home.
Early lean: Giants and over.
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