Daily Expert MLB Picks: Saturday, June 16, 2018, Opening Line Report
I don't write an Opening Line Report for Monday, so I want to address Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom in this story as he's set to pitch that night in Colorado. Not sure I've seen a guy in recent years with worse luck than deGrom, who should be a Cy Young candidate with his NL-best 1.55 ERA. However, he's just 4-2 overall on the season because of terrible run support. In his past 10 starts, deGrom's ERA is 0.87, but the Mets are 2-8. New York has scored a total of 31 runs across his 14 starts while deGrom is still the pitcher of record (i.e. not taken out for a reliever), an average of 2.2 runs per start. During this dominant 10-start stretch, they've scored 19 runs total. Veteran Todd Frazier showed some class following deGrom's 2-0 loss to Atlanta on Wednesday by actually apologizing to his pitcher for the lack of offense, saying perhaps guys are pressing when deGrom is on the mound to snap out of this. The one time this season deGrom allowed more than three earned (April 10), the Mets won -- but of course he didn't get the decision. My recommendation? Just bet the 'under' when he does pitch.
Astros at Royals ( +190, 9 )
ESPN+ game at 2:15 p.m. ET. Houston lefty Dallas Keuchel is set to be perhaps the top pitching free-agent on the market this winter depending on what a few other guys (Clayton Kershaw, David Price) do regarding opt-out clauses. However, Keuchel (3-8, 4.45) might be costing himself some money. He has been shelled for 13 runs and 20 hits over his past two starts spanning 11 innings. The former Cy Young winner hasn't won since May 13 and has one of the majors' best lineups behind him. Perhaps it's good this is on the road because Keuchel has a 5.02 ERA at home. He hasn't seen the Royals this year. Salvador Perez is just 2-for-18 against him. Kansas City left Danny Duffy (3-6, 5.28) comes off easily his best start of the year, throwing seven shutout innings in Oakland and striking out 10. Duffy's starting to turn his season around. Houston's Jose Altuve is 7-for-14 off him.
Key trends: The Astros are 7-3 in Keuchel's past 10 road starts vs. teams with a losing record. The Royals are 1-6 in Duffy's past seven vs. teams with a winning record. The "over/under" is 4-0-1 in Keuchel's past five.
Early lean: Royals on runline and over.
Angels at A's (-115, 8.5)
A 4:05 p.m. ET first pitch from Oakland. Poor Mike Trout. The guy is absolutely incredible and on pace for the greatest WAR season in MLB history (1923 Babe Ruth holds the mark) but isn't getting much help as the Angels begin their fade without Shohei Ohtani. Now, shortstop/third baseman Zack Cozart is likely headed to the DL with a shoulder injury suffered Wednesday - and ace Garrett Richards experienced tightness in his hamstring in that same game. The news continues to get worse. The Angels' Nick Tropeano (3-4, 4.83) has allowed five earned in each of his past two starts and not gotten out of the fifth inning in either. He hasn't faced the A's this year. Oakland lefty Sean Manaea (5-6, 3.49) had a six-start stretch where he was struggling but has allowed two earned in each of his past two. He lost to the Angels on March 30 (7.2 IP, 1 ER). Trout is 6-for-14 off him with three homers.
Key trends: The Angels are 1-7 in their past eight vs. a lefty. The A's are 1-4 in Manaea's past five vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 7-1 in his previous eight at home.
Early lean: A's and under.
Marlins at Orioles (-134, 9)
This interleague matchup has a 4:05 p.m. ET start time and Miami adds the designated hitter. It's a former Oriole against a current Oriole whom many Baltimore fans wish was a former Oriole already. Marlins lefty Wei-Yin Chen (1-3, 6.13) was a pretty good pitcher for Baltimore from 2012-15, but the Marlins overpaid him hugely on the free-agent market. He has lasted just 4.1 innings the past two times out. Chen has never faced Baltimore, but a few Orioles have seen him. Danny Valencia is 5-for-22 and Mark Trumbo 0-for-7. Baltimore's Alex Cobb (2-8, 7.23) has been a mammoth free-agent bust this year. He was bombed for nine runs and 11 hits over 3.2 innings Sunday in Toronto. A handful of Marlins have faced him. Starlin Castro is 1-for-11.
Key trends: The Marlins are 1-5 in Chen's past six on the road. The Oriole are 1-5 in Cobb's past six vs. teams with a losing record. The over is 5-1 in those six games for the Birds.
Early lean: Marlins and over.
Nationals at Blue Jays (+205, 8)
Washington adds the DH for this one. That Max Scherzer can focus solely on pitching and not worry about going to the plate should scare the Blue Jays. Scherzer (10-2, 2.00) can be beaten, however, as the Giants proved last time out. Scherzer only allowed two runs and four hits over seven, but the Nationals were blanked. It was his first loss since April 4. Scherzer has made eight career starts against the Blue Jays, posting a 2.15 ERA. Curtis Granderson has seen him the most, going 9-for-34 with two homers and eight strikeouts. Kevin Pillar is 3-for-3 with two homers vs. Scherzer. Toronto's Marco Estrada (3-6, 5.09) won for the first time since April 20 on Sunday, surrendering two runs over six with a season-high nine Ks vs. Baltimore. Bryce Harper is 4-for-7 off him with two doubles.
Key trends: The Nats are 22-5 in Scherzer's past 27 on five days of rest. The Jays are 1-5 in Estrada's past six at home. The under is 5-1 in Scherzer's past six interleague starts.
Early lean: One of these days, I'm going to take Scherzer's opponent for the upset, or at least on the runline. Not here. Nats runline and under.
Giants at Dodgers (-133, 7)
San Francisco lefty Madison Bumgarner (0-1, 4.76) had a first in his start Monday in Miami: an ejection. He was pulled with one out in the sixth inning after allowing his third and fourth runs of the game and Bumgarner clearly felt (body language) like the umpire was squeezing him regarding the strike zone. So, while walking off the field Bumgarner made it a point to walk within shouting distance of the home-plate umpire, at which point Bumgarner said something that earned his first ejection. Not a big deal since he already was coming out; maybe he wanted to head right to the showers. Enrique Hernandez doesn't play every day for the Dodgers but should here as he's a career .467 hitter off MadBum with three homers in 30 at-bats. L.A. lefty Alex Wood (1-5, 4.43) lasted just 4.2 innings in his last start due to hamstring an abductor discomfort but is expected to be ready. He's 0-1 with a 2.57 ERA in two starts this year vs. San Francisco. Buster Posey is 7-for-21 against him. Andrew McCutchen just 4-for-24 with eight Ks.
Key trends: The Giants are 1-5 in Bumgarner's past six in L.A. The under is 7-2 in his previous nine there. The Dodgers are 8-3 in Wood's past 11 at home vs. teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Dodgers and under.
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