Daily Expert MLB Picks: Saturday, June 9, 2018, Opening Line Report
On the Friday Opening Line Report, I wrote that the Yankees were surely going to be in the trade market for a starting pitcher because a promising young arm - Jordan Montgomery - was done for the season. It's likely the same situation in St. Louis, although not quite as dire in the rotation. Alex Reyes, the Cards' top prospect and Top 20 overall in MLB, is done for the year, and you have to feel bad for the 23-year-old. As a rookie in 2016, Reyes showed his promise by going 4-1 with a save and 1.57 ERA over 46 innings, striking out 52. However, he had Tommy John surgery and missed all of last season. Reyes was utterly dominant in rehab this year and returned to the majors with four shutout innings in Milwaukee on May 30. Alas, he left early because of a lat strain - which has now been confirmed as a torn tendon and Reyes' season is over. Needless to say, Reyes' innings were going to be limited in 2018 off the TJS, but it's still a loss. St. Louis does have a lot of young pitching, so it won't go out and give up a ton for a big-name guy, but I can see the team trying to land some sort of veteran to stabilize the rotation.
Giants at Nationals ( -154, 8 )
First game of the day with a 12:05 p.m. ET start on the MLB Network. Want to feel old? If you are around my age, you no doubt remember the career of Pudge Rodriguez, one of the best defensive catchers ever - maybe the best - and now a Hall of Famer. It really doesn't seem like that long ago that Pudge was playing, but his 26-year-old son Dereck is now a major-leaguer and made his starting pitching debut (he did pitch once previously in relief; how is he not a catcher?) last Sunday and beat the Phillies by allowing one run over six. Rodriguez (whose given name is Ivan Dereck) became the first San Francisco pitcher to win his initial start since Joe Martinez in 2009. Nats lefty Gio Gonzalez (6-2, 2.27) hasn't lost since April 23 in San Francisco where he allowed three runs over five innings. Gonzalez has allowed a combined five runs over 21 2/3 innings in his past three starts. Hunter Pence is just 1-for-20 off him.
Key trends: The Giants are 9-3 in their past 12 vs. lefties. The Nats are 8-3 in Gonzalez's past 11 vs. the NL West. The "over/under" has gone under in eight of Gonzalez's past 10 overall.
Early lean: Nationals and under.
Brewers at Phillies (-133, 8.5)
Milwaukee was very interested in signing free-agent Jake Arrieta this winter, both to weaken the Cubs (who passed on him) and bolster the team's chances to beat out Chicago in the NL Central. The Brewers opted against it. Arrieta (5-3, 2.66) is on the bump for the Phillies, and it's been an interesting week for him as he ripped the team and Manager Gabe Kapler's penchant for shifting defenses, which Arrieta believes is costing him (interesting to see if the Phils shelve that with him in the mound). He might have simply been ornery in allowing five runs over six innings of a loss at the Giants on Sunday - Arrieta's homer was the only Phillies run that entire series. The big right-hander hadn't allowed a run over his previous two starts. It's his first look at the Brewers in 2018. Ryan Braun is 7-for-26 off him with three homers. Milwaukee lefty Brent Suter (5-4, 4.55) lost at the White Sox on Sunday, allowing two runs over five. He rarely goes more than five innings. Only a few Phillies have seen him. Odubel Herrera is 2-for-2 with a homer.
Key trends: The Brewers are 0-4 in Suter's past four road starts vs. teams with a winning record. The Phillies are 20-9 in their past 29 vs. a lefty. The under is 6-2 in Suter's previous against teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Phillies and over.
Angels at Twins (-101, 9)
The Halos have lost one of the most valuable players in baseball to the 10-day DL, and I don't mean Mike Trout. Shortstop Andrelton Simmons is on the disabled list with a grade 2 sprain of his right ankle. Simmons is hitting .330 and is a freaking wizard on defense. He's one of the Top 10 all-around players in MLB when you factor in defense. Zack Cozart will to fill in for Simmons at shortstop, so the Halos will then have to fill third base. L.A. goes with lefty Tyler Skaggs (4-4, 3.27) here. He shut out the Rangers on six hits Sunday to win for the first time since April 23. He took a ND vs. the Twins on May 11 (6 IP, 2 ER). Minnesota's Kyle Gibson (1-3, 3.54) doesn't get much run support. He threw six innings in Anaheim on May 12 and allowed two runs and three hits but took a ND. Trout is a .333 hitter off him with a homer.
Key trends: The Angels are 2-5 in Skaggs' past seven. The Twins are 7-3 in Gibson's previous 10 at home. The under is 4-1-1 in Gibson's past six vs. the Angels.
Early lean: Twins and under.
Cardinals at Reds (+112, 8.5)
For the second time in his career, St. Louis' Michael Wacha took a no-hitter into the ninth inning but wasn't able to finish it - the Cardinals haven't had a no-no since Bud Smith in 2001, which surprises me with how many good pitchers the franchise has had. Wacha (7-1, 2.41) threw eight no-hit innings Sunday vs. the Pirates but allowed a leadoff single in the ninth and was pulled after 111 pitches. Wacha is having an All-Star-caliber season after two years of struggles. He's 2-0 this season vs. the Reds (10-1 career) with a 3.09 ERA. Scorching-hot Scooter Gennett is 10-for-31 off him with three RBIs. Cincinnati's Luis Castillo (4-6, 5.64) has allowed four earned in each of his past two, both losses. He also lost in St. Louis on April 22 (5 IP, 3 ER).
Key trends: The Cardinals are 13-3 in Wacha's past 16 vs. the Reds. The over is 4-1-1 in his previous four against them.
Early lean: Cardinals and over.
Mariners at Rays (-131, 7.5)
When Tampa lefty Blake Snell (7-3, 2.36) pitched in Seattle on Sunday, the Seattle native struck out the first seven batters of the game to tie the American League record. It also tied a team record for consecutive Ks at any point in a game. Jim Deshaies for the Houston Astros in 1986 and Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets in 2014 hold the MLB record with eight strikeouts to open a game. Snell threw six shutout innings and whiffed 12 but didn't get a decision. He now hasn't allowed an earned run in his past three. Snell was opposed that day by Felix Hernandez (6-4, 5.33), who allowed one run over eight in his best start of the season in getting the victory. Hernandez is 9-2 with a 1.90 ERA in 17 starts against Tampa Bay, including a perfect game in 2012. That's the last one in the majors.
Key trends: The Mariners are 8-2 in Hernandez's past 10 road starts. The Rays are 9-2 in Snell's past 11 vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 4-0-1 in Hernandez's previous five against the Rays.
Early lean: Mariners and under.
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