Daily Expert MLB Picks: Saturday, May 26, 2018, Opening Line Report
Angels manager Mike Scioscia just ruined what would have been one of the events of the season in Major League Baseball - unless the decision was made over his head. Shohei Ohtani was set to duel against a guy he probably idolized, Masahiro Tanaka, in a matchup of Japanese sensations on Sunday as the Angels visit the Yankees in a 1:05 p.m. ET start. Ohtani is fine, the Halos just want to limit his innings and are calling the reason for skipping Ohtani's start "workload management." Indeed, the team's decision might have a hidden benefit: Ohtani facing Tanaka as a DH. When Ohtani became a free agent last fall, the Yankees were a heavy favorite to land the two-way star, but he apparently didn't want to play on the East Coast (or, some say, be in Tanaka's shadow). Had Ohtani gone to New York, the Yanks probably don't pursue Giancarlo Stanton. Incidentally, Sunday's game will be televised live nationally at 2 a.m. in Japan and should draw some of the best ratings of any MLB game ever over there. Here's a look at five Saturday matchups.
Braves at Red Sox ( -132, 10 )
Possible World Series preview? The Braves are surprising everyone, and they are going to be good for a while with all that young talent. They probably need to add at least one starting pitcher to reach this year's playoffs, however. Atlanta adds the DH for this 1:05 pm. ET game on the MLB Network. It's young Braves lefty ace Sean Newcomb (5-1, 2.39). His 20-inning scoreless streak ended last time out, but he allowed just one run over six in beating the Marlins. He will be on six days of rest here. No Red Sox have seen him in a regular-season game. Boston lefty Drew Pomeranz (1-2, 5.97) has lasted only four innings in each of his past two starts. Pomeranz believes there has been excessive rotation in his upper torso as he goes through his throwing motion and threw a simulated game Tuesday to iron things out. He'll be on seven days of rest. Atlanta's Ender Inciarte is 3-for-4 off him with a double.
Key trends: The Braves have won seven straight road games vs. left-handers. The Sox are 9-1 in Pomeranz's past 10 home starts vs. teams with a winning record. The "over/under" has gone under in five of Newcomb's past seven on the road. The under is 4-1 in Pomeranz's past five.
Early lean: Braves and under.
Royals at Rangers (-127, 10)
Fox Sports 1 national telecast at 4:05 p.m. ET. MLB's most entertaining pitcher, Bartolo Colon, turned 45 on Thursday. Here, he will become just the 16th MLB pitcher to take the mound since 1900 age 45 or older. Colon has 242 wins, one from tying Juan Marichal for the most by a Dominican pitcher and three from tying Dennis Martinez for the most by a Latin American pitcher. Colon (2-2, 3.51) was roughed up for six runs and four homers in 5.1 innings Monday in a loss to the Yankees. New York rookie Gleyber Torres homered twice off him; Torres was 3 months old when Colon made his major-league debut in 1997. In 30 career starts vs. the Royals, he's 15-11. Kansas City's Ian Kennedy (1-5, 5.30) has been roughed up for 19 runs over his past three starts to see his ERA rise from 2.92. He's just 1-3 with a 7.84 ERA on the road this year.
Key trends: The Royals are 1-5 in Kennedy's past six on the road. The under is 7-2 in his previous nine away from home.
Early lean: Rangers and over.
White Sox at Tigers (-140, 9)
One of the rebuilding White Sox's tradeable assets no longer is: Catcher Welington Castillo has been suspended 80 games for performance-enhancing drug use. You notice that more and more guys from the Dominican Republic are being caught? It's prevalent and easy to get down there, and most guys go back to the DR in the offseason. Castillo, 31, is hitting .270 with six home runs and 15 RBIs. At least he didn't deny it. It's lefty Hector Santiago (0-2, 5.17) for Chicago. Rather amazingly, the Sox have lost all 13 times he has pitched this year, four of those starts. Detroit's James McCann is 5-for-17 with three homers off him. Tigers lefty Francisco Liriano (3-1, 3.42) continues to build his trade value. He took a no-hitter into the seventh Sunday in Seattle but had to settle for a ND following eight one-hit innings when his bullpen blew it. Castillo had been the only White Sox batter with more than six at-bats vs. Liriano.
Key trends: The Sox are 0-5 in Santiago's past five on the road. The under is 13-3 in his previous 16 overall.
Early lean: Tigers on runline and under.
Reds at Rockies (-152, 11.5)
Cincinnati has lost closer Raisel Iglesias to the DL with a biceps problem - normally that's a major warning sign, but it's to his non-pitching (left) arm. Iglesias is having a good season with a 1-0 record, eight saves and 2.08 ERA. Jared Hughes is likely to take his spot even though interim manager Jim Riggleman mentioned a committee. I'm guessing this won't be the first-ever matchup of Tylers on the mound, but … it's Reds rookie Tyler Mahle (3-6, 4.53) getting his indoctrination to Coors Field and first-ever look at the Rockies. He has allowed four runs in each of his past two starts, both losses. Colorado lefty Tyler Anderson (3-1, 4.74) has allowed at least four in three straight starts to see his ERA rise by nearly a run. He beat the Reds in his lone career start against them in 2017. Eugenio Suarez is 2-for-3 with a dinger off him.
Key trends: The Rockies are 4-0 in Anderson's past four vs. the NL Central. The over is 3-0-2 in the Reds' past five vs. a lefty. The under is 4-0 in Anderson's past four at home.
Early lean: Rockies and over.
Twins at Mariners (-135, 8)
ESPN+ game. Minnesota has activated third baseman and 2017 All-Star Miguel Sano from the disabled list. He missed nearly four weeks with a left hamstring strain and wasn't hitting much before that. Sano did rake in his Triple-A rehab. The Twins start Jake Odorizzi (3-2, 3.17). He has allowed three earned or fewer in five straight starts. That includes six shutout innings on May 14 vs. Seattle. Nelson Cruz is 7-for-22 with a homer against him. Seattle lefty Wade LeBlanc (0-0, 2.65) has nine total appearances, including four starts this year, and still is looking for that first decision. He shut out the Twins over six on May 14 opposite Odorizzi but took a no decision. Sano hasn't faced him.
Key trends: The Twins are 4-0 in Odorizzi's past four in Game 2 of a series. The Mariners are 8-0 in LeBlanc's past eight at home. The under is 4-1-1 in Odorizzi's past six vs. teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Twins and under.
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