Daily Expert MLB Picks: Saturday, April 7, 2018, Opening Line Report
I haven't seen a first manager to be fired prop yet, and it won't be first-year Phillies skipper Gabe Kapler, but one has to wonder if the team is having some remorse over giving Kapler the job over more qualified candidates. He has been front and center of some very unusual/embarrassing moments already - the worst of which when he summoned a reliever who hadn't even been notified to warm up yet. Kapler is almost too analytical as he has made some very crazy bullpen moves. He also believes in shifting more than any manager in baseball; the other day, he instituted an outfield shift that directly led to a two-run triple that cost the Phillies a game. In perfect/awesome Philly fashion, Kapler was booed before the team's home opener on Thursday. Don't ever change Philadelphia fans! Of course, they are a bit spoiled of late with the Eagles and Villanova.
Mets at Nationals ( -155, 8.5 )
A 1:05 p.m. ET first pitch from D.C. Monitor the status of Nationals center fielder Adam Eaton as he left Thursday's game with an ankle injury and is considered day-to-day. X-rays were negative. Of course, he missed most of last season after Washington gave up a fortune in trade to the White Sox to land Eaton. Eaton had been raking in the early going this year. Good matchup of left-handers here in the Mets' Steven Matz and Nats' Gio Gonzalez. Matz lasted just four innings in his debut vs. the Cardinals, allowing three runs and walking three. He was really good this spring. Matz was 0-1 with a 2.57 ERA in two starts last year vs. Washington. Anthony Rendon is 3-for-12 off him with a homer and six Ks. Gonzalez beat the Reds on Sunday, giving up one run and striking out seven over six. I think he's poised for another huge season in a contract year. Gonzalez was 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA last year vs. the Mets. Yoenis Cespedes is 7-for-13 with two homers off him.
Key trends: The Nationals are 16-5 in Gonzalez's past 21 vs. the Mets. The "over/under" is 3-1-2 in his previous six at home against them.
Early lean: Nationals and under.
Diamondbacks at Cardinals (+100, 8)
This one starts at 2:15 p.m. ET. Both clubs come off an extremely rare Friday off and both have their starting third basemen on the DL: Jake Lamb of Arizona and Jedd Gyorko of St. Louis. Both were hurt Monday night. Lamb is a bigger loss. The Snakes' Zack Greinke dealt with a bit of groin soreness this spring that set him back briefly and took him out of the running to start Opening Day, but he looked just fine last Saturday in beating the Rockies, surrendering one run over 5.2 innings with nine strikeouts. Greinke beat the Cards in his lone start against them in 2017, allowing one run over seven. Dexter Fowler can't hit him, going 2-for-21 with 11 Ks. The Cards' Michael Wacha was pushed back from Thursday. He wasn't sharp last Saturday in a loss to the Mets, touched up for five hits and four runs in 4.2 innings. Arizona's A.J. Pollock is 3-for-7 off him with a homer.
Key trends: The Cardinals have won their past seven following an off day. The under is 4-0 in Greinke's past four on the road.
Early lean: Cardinals and under.
Tigers at White Sox (-104, 8.5)
First pitch of 2:10 p.m. ET from the South Side. There's talk the Tigers would make young ace Michael Fulmer available if the team got a Chris Sale-type of trade package. Makes sense as Detroit isn't going to be good for a while and Fulmer will be hitting free agency by the time the team is. He was a tough-luck loser in his 2018 debut, allowing one run and four hits over eight against Pittsburgh. Fulmer is likely to lose a lot of those types of games. He was 1-1 with a 4.71 ERA in three starts last year vs. the Pale Hose. Jose Abreu is 5-for-14 off him with a homer. Young Chicago right-hander Lucas Giolito finished last season strong and was pretty good last Saturday in Kansas City, surrendering three runs over six, although the one strikeout is surprising. No Tiger has more than three at-bats against him - Miguel Cabrera is 0-for-3, but he's in question with left hip flexor tightness.
Key trends: The Tigers are 1-7 in Fulmer's past eight starts. The under is 4-0 in Giolito's past four.
Early lean: Tigers and under.
Cubs at Brewers (+129, 8.5)
A Fox Sports 1 national telecast at 4:05 p.m. ET. Milwaukee isn't sure how long it will be without big trade acquisition Christian Yelich as he's dealing with an oblique injury - there's an epidemic of those around baseball. You generally have to go on the DL for those. In addition, All-Star closer Corey Knebel exited with a hamstring injury Thursday while getting some work in the ninth inning of a blowout. He's headed for the DL. I'm sure Cubs starter Yu Darvish wouldn't mind if Yelich was out. Coming off a 17-inning game, the Cubs needed innings last Saturday from their supposed ace, but Darvish lasted just 4.1 and allowed five runs in Miami. Darvish's offense bailed him out of a loss. Darvish's only previous start vs. Milwaukee came last Aug. 27 when he gave up three runs over five frames. Lorenzo Cain is 1-for-9 against him with two strikeouts. Milwaukee's Zach Davies was rocked for seven runs over 5.2 innings Monday in a loss to the Cardinals. Kris Bryant is a career .393 hitter of him in 28 at-bats.
Key trends: The Brewers are 0-4 in Davies' past four at home vs. the Cubs. The over is 13-6-1 in Davies' past 20 at home.
Early lean: Cubs and over.
Padres at Astros (-260, 8.5)
San Diego will add the designated hitter, but it won't be who it would probably normally be, Wil Myers, as he has landed on the 10-day DL with a minor nerve issue. I actually went around the diamond and I'm not sure that one Padre would start for Houston. Maybe Eric Hosmer at first base. The Friars go with Bryan Mitchell. The former Yankee was tagged for five runs and eight hits in a loss to Colorado in his San Diego debut. He was basically a throw-in from the Chase Headley trade. Houston's Josh Reddick is 2-for-3 off him with two doubles. Gerrit Cole was fantastic in his Houston debut Sunday, allowing one run and two hits with 11 strikeouts over seven innings in a victory at Texas. As a Pirate in 2017, Cole reached double-digit strikeouts just twice and didn't strike out 11 batters in any of his 31 starts. Freddy Galvis has seen him more than any Padre is and 3-for-12 with a homer.
Key trends: The Padres are 4-9 in their past 13 interleague games vs. right-handed starters. The under is 10-2-1 in the Astros' past 13 at home vs. a righty.
Early lean: Astros on runline and under.
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