Daily Expert MLB Picks: Friday, May 25, 2018, Opening Line Report
Something happened earlier this week that I can't remember ever hearing: a player homered off his brother-in-law. That would be Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford, who went yard off Houston's Gerrit Cole in the Astros' 11-2 victory on Tuesday (I recommended Astros on the runline) - ironically, the ball landed in the Crawford Boxes in left field at Minute Maid Park. Cole is married to Crawford's sister, Amy, a former softball player whom Cole met on his first day of college at UCLA. They were married in November 2016. It wasn't the first time Crawford and Cole faced off as Crawford is now 6-for-20 off his brother-in-law, but it was the first time Crawford homered. Gerrit Cole took everything quite humorously in stride, sending the pair of cleats he wore during the game to Crawford afterward with "outta here" written on one and "adios, pelota" on the other. Amy Cole was in attendance and the cameras found her right after: She looked rather unsure what to do but didn't show any real emotion either way.
Giants at Cubs ( -205, TBA )
Per usual, the only matinee on the Friday schedule and on the MLB Network at 2:20 p.m. ET. The injury-ravaged Giants might get a guy back here in outfielder Mac Williamson. He's been on the concussion disabled list since April 28. Williamson was off to a fine start, hitting .316 with three homers in 19 at-bats. Giants lefty Derek Holland (2-5, 4.94), who spent last year on the South Side of Chicago, lost to the Rockies in his most recent start, allowing four runs over six. That's fairly typical this year. Only a few current Cubs have seen him, led by Ben Zobrist, who is 8-for-38 with three doubles and a homer. Chicago's Kyle Hendricks (3-3, 3.40) has allowed more than three earned just once all season and generally pitches much better at home. He's 2-2 with a 3.49 ERA in five career starts vs. the Giants. Brandon Belt is 5-for-10 off him with a homer.
Key trends: The Giants are 3-10 in their past 13 vs. teams with a winning record. The Cubs have won five straight Hendricks starts in a series opener. The "over/under" has gone under in 12 of his past 17 overall.
Early lean: Cubs on runline.
Astros at Indians (-145, 7)
Houston has placed outfielder Josh Reddick on the DL with an infection in his left knee that apparently started with a spider bite. Reddick was hitting .226 with six homers and 18 RBIs in 132 at-bats. Outfielder Jake Marsinick has been called up to replace him. Houston starts lefty Dallas Keuchel (3-6, 3.43). He lost a duel of former Cy Young winners last Saturday vs. Corey Kluber and the Indians, allowing four runs in five innings. Here's guessing Rajai Davis won't be in the lineup Friday as he's 0-for-18 vs. Keuchel. Kluber (7-2, 2.36) got the win opposite Keuchel, giving up two runs and striking out 10 in seven innings. Kluber will be on five days of rest here and was 3-1 with a 3.64 ERA in seven outings last year in that scenario. One Astro who hits him is Marwin Gonzalez (8-for-17, 2 HRs).
Key trends: The Astros are 2-5 in Keuchel's past seven on the road. The Tribe are 11-5 in Kluber's past 16 at home vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 5-2 in Kluber's past seven vs. Houston.
Early lean: Indians and under.
Nationals at Marlins (+229, 7)
It appears to be one of the pitching mismatches of the season between three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer, who is looking like he will win a fourth, against the pitcher with the worst money line units in the majors in Miami's Jose Urena, as the Marlins are 0-10 in his starts in 2018. Not fair to solely blame Urena (0-7, 4.55) as he also gets the fewest run support in the majors at 2.3 runs per game. He has pitched well enough to win a few times this year. Bryce Harper is 2-for-3 career off him with four walks. Scherzer (7-1, 1.78) became the fastest pitcher in the modern era (in innings) to reach 100 strikeouts in a season last time out. He took a ND against the Dodgers in allowing two runs and whiffing 13 over seven innings. It was Scherzer's 13th straight outing allowing two earned or fewer, tying the franchise record set by Pedro Martinez back in the Expos days.
Key trends: The Nats are 5-2 in Scherzer's past seven vs. Miami. The over is 5-2 in those seven. The under is 4-1 in Urena's past five.
Early lean: Nats on runline and under.
Diamondbacks at A's (-121, 7.5)
As expected, the A's have put DH Khris Davis on the DL with a Grade 1 groin strain. Davis, who has 13 home runs this season, has more dingers than any other player since the start of 2016 (98). Arizona, meanwhile, enters having lost 13 of 14 and is almost to .500 after being 24-11 before this skid began. The Snakes, who will add the DH, turn to lefty Patrick Corbin to right the ship. Corbin (4-1, 2.60) hasn't won since April 22 but largely has pitched well - the Snakes just aren't scoring the past few weeks. He has never faced Oakland, but Stephen Piscotty is 4-for-9 against him. Oakland lefty Sean Manaea (5-4, 2.71) hasn't been quite the same since his no-hitter and then one start after that. He has allowed four runs in each of his past four after just five earned in his first six overall. A few Diamondbacks have seen him with other teams. Ketel Marte is 2-for-5. Jarrod Dyson 0-for-7.
Key trends: The Diamondbacks are 6-18 in Corbin's past 24 road starts. The A's are 1-5 in Manaea's past six interleague outings. The under is 12-3-2 in Manaea's past 17.
Early lean: A's and under.
Twins at Mariners (-180, 7.5)
Rough week or so for the Mariners. Robinson Cano got suspended 80 games, so the team moved Dee Gordon from center field to second - only he's now on the DL with a fractured right big toe. Gordon has an AL-best 16 steals and hitting .304. Since his game is built on speed, he might be out longer than, say, a DH would be with the same injury. Outfielder Mitch Haniger left Tuesday's game after getting hit on the left wrist by a pitch. Seems he may have avoided disaster as X-rays were negative. He's having a very good offensive season. The Mariners start ace lefty James Paxton (3-1, 3.30). He threw his second complete game of the season (other was a no-hitter) in allowing two runs and just three hits vs. Detroit last Saturday. He took a ND at the Twins on April 5 (5 IP, 2 ER). Minnesota rookie Fernando Romero (2-0, 1.66) took a no decision in his last start vs. Milwaukee (5 IP, 3 ER). It's his first look at Seattle.
Key trends: The Twins have lost six straight after an off day. The Mariners are 8-3 in Paxton's past 11 on Friday. The under is 4-1 in his previous five series openers.
Early lean: Mariners and under.
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