Daily Expert MLB Picks: Saturday, April 28, 2018, Opening Line Report
Did you actually have the stones to bet on the Miami Marlins over Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday? If you did, congratulations. But, I'm guessing you didn't. In Las Vegas, Miami's 8-6 shocker was one of the biggest upset in MLB in the past decade. The Marlins started a former substitute teacher named Trevor Richards. Behind Kershaw, the Dodgers closed as high as -450 favorites at some sportsbooks. Kershaw surrendered three runs on five hits in five innings and fell to 1-4 on the season. According to BetLabSports.com, only five teams have had odds of -400 or greater since 2005. At William Hill's Nevada books, just 10 percent of the total money bet was on Miami. Still, as ESPN noted, if you have bet $100 on the Dodgers in each of Kershaw's starts since 2008, you are up more than $1,500.
Reds at Twins ( -142, 9.5 )
First game of the day at 2:10 p.m. ET and available on the new ESPN+ streaming. With this interleague game in the AL park, the Reds will add the designated hitter. Not that it will help the sorry Reds escape the NL Central basement anytime soon (or this season at all), but Cincinnati got third baseman Eugenio Suarez, one of the team's best hitters, back off the DL earlier than expected. He broke his right thumb on a HBP April 8. So, not even three weeks missed. The Reds start Sal Romano, who sounds like a butcher (pound of pastrami, half pound of ham Sal; of course he's from New York - all guys named Sal legally must be). Romano (1-2, 4.78) beat the Braves last time out, allowing one earned over six innings. He hasn't faced the Twins. Minnesota's Jake Odorizzi (1-2, 4.50) has allowed nine runs over 9.2 innings in his past two outings - surrendering five total homers. The Reds' Scott Schebler is 2-for-3 off him with a homer.
Key trends: The Reds are 2-5 in Romano's past seven starts. The "over/under" is 4-1 in his past five.
Early lean: Twins and over.
Diamondbacks at Nationals (+115, 8)
A 4:05 p.m. ET first pitch on Fox Sports 1. An early NL Cy Young candidate is Arizona lefty Patrick Corbin. As decimated as that staff is with injuries, it was vital that Corbin blossom into an ace, and he has with a 4-0 record, 1.89 ERA (sixth in NL), 0.66 WHIP (second) and 48 strikeouts (second). Corbin was named the NL Player of the Week on Monday. Corbin is the only pitcher in the majors this season to record at least eight strikeouts in each of his first five starts, and his streak of five such games to begin a season is tied for third-longest in franchise history with Curt Schilling (2001). Washington's Bryce Harper is 3-for-7 off him with two homers. The Nats' Jeremy Hellickson (0-0, 4.50), who spent a year with Arizona (2015), was signed late in spring training and has made two starts with the big club. Paul Goldschmidt is 1-for-4 with three walks off his former teammate.
Key trends: The Diamondbacks are 5-16 in Corbin's past 21 road starts. The Nats are 1-7 in their past eight vs. a lefty. The under is 5-2 in Corbin's past seven.
Early lean: Diamondbacks and under.
Mariners at Indians (-225, 8.5)
A 4:10 p.m. ET start from The Land. Rare I will mention an injury to a set-up man as they can be a dime a dozen. That's definitely not the case for Indians lefty Andrew Miller, who is probably the best in the business and is going to get a huge contract this offseason - likely to close. He strained his hamstring on Wednesday and landed on the DL Thursday. Miller hasn't allowed a run in 10 innings with a win and a save; he's one of just three pitchers without an ER allowed in at least 10 innings. One of the others is the Cleveland closer Cody Allen. The Tribe start Carlos Carrasco (4-0, 2.31). He wasn't great in Seattle in his season debut (5.2 IP, 5 ER) but got the win. Carrasco has allowed only four runs in four starts since. Robinson Cano hits him well, going 9-for-23 with two homers and seven RBIs. Seattle's Mike Leake beat Cleveland on April 1 (7 IP, 2 ER) but has been rocked the past two times out. Jose Ramirez is 2-for-7 off him with a homer.
Key trends: The Indians are 22-8 in Carrasco's past 30 at home. The over is 5-0 in Leake's past five. The under is 4-0 in Carrasco's past four.
Early lean: Indians on runline and under.
Mets at Padres (-130, 8)
How strange was this season's free-agent market? Left-hander Jason Vargas was an All-Star last year with the Royals, setting a career high with 18 victories and a WAR of 3.8. True, he faded in the second half, but normally Vargas would have gotten something like a three-year, $30 million deal as a free agent. He only got two years and $16 million from the Mets. His debut was delayed by fractured bone in his glove hand this spring, but he threw 66 pitches Monday for Triple-A Las Vegas and fielded his position with no pain and will make his first Mets start here. He takes over as the No. 5 starter with Matt Harvey demoted. The Padres' Eric Hosmer is 1-for-13 off his former teammate. San Diego rookie lefty Joey Lucchesi (2-1, 2.70) had been the team's best starter but allowed a season-high four runs in five innings last time out in Arizona. The Mets haven't seen him.
Key trends: The Mets are 6-1 in their past seven vs. a lefty. The Friars are 0-4 in their past four vs. a southpaw. The under is 6-2 in the Mets' previous eight vs. a lefty.
Early lean: Padres and under.
Yankees at Angels (-112, 8)
This one starts at 9:07 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1. The Yankees might have Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, but by far their best hitter right now is Didi Gregorius, who is doing things in the month of April that not only did Derek Jeter never do but few Yankees ever have. Go check out his numbers. He's leading or among MLB leaders in average, slugging, HRs, RBIs, OPS, OBP, pretty much everything. Gregorius is 1-for-1 career off Angels starter Garrett Richards (3-0, 3.46). Richards wasn't sharp in his season debut but has allowed just six earned runs over his past four starts, all Angels wins. That's the guy I recommended as longer-shot value play to win the AL Cy Young. New York's Masahiro Tanaka (3-2, 4.97) dominated the Twins on Monday, allowing one run and three hits over 6.2 innings. Should be fun to watch Tanaka pitch to countryman Shohei Ohtani, presuming Ohtani is in there at DH.
Key trends: The Yanks are 1-4 in Tanaka's past five road starts vs. teams with a winning record. The Angels are 2-6 in Richards' past eight following a quality start in his most recent appearance. The over is 6-2 in Tanaka's past eight on the road.
Early lean: Angels and over.
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