Daily Expert MLB Picks: Thursday, April 12, 2018, Opening Line Report
Look, I know that some guys become millionaires or billionaires because they know how to take advantage of loopholes in laws. But, man, does it seem like the new Marlins ownership does one weaselly thing after another. The latest? Apparently, the group is claiming corporate ownership in the British Virgin Islands to avoid dealing with a Miami-area judge. The issue at hand is a lawsuit filed by Miami-Dade authorities against former owner Jeff Loria and the Marlins regarding the profits from the sale of the team. The city owns the parking garages and the county the stadium itself. So they want a share of the $1.2 billion that Loria got from a group led by Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter. The local government hasn't gotten a thing yet and is thus pursuing litigation against both Loria and the Sherman/Jeter group. No clue how this will end, it just seems rather odd to have an MLB team partially owned by Mr. Baseball himself claim it's from the BVI.
Pirates at Cubs ( -165, TBA )
A 2:20 p.m. ET first pitch on the MLB Network. The Cubs have put ironman first baseman Anthony Rizzo on the 10-day DL with a lower back injury, retroactive to April 6. You never want to see a back injury, but especially to a big guy like Rizzo who has to torque his body at times taking errant throws at first. There are no concerns that it's serious, but it's news whenever Rizzo doesn't play. Since 2013, he has played fewer than 155 games just once. The Cubs have a few guys who can play first but have mostly been using Ben Zobrist. The Cubs are scheduled to start Kyle Hendricks (0-0, 4.09). He was very good in his season debut in Miami but not so much last time out in Milwaukee. The Cubs ended up losing both of those. He has generally been much better at home as he debuts at Wrigley in 2018. Pittsburgh's Gregory Polanco is 9-for-22 off him with a homer. The Pirates' Trevor Williams (2-0, 1.59) didn't allow a hit over six innings in his 2018 debut but 10 over 5.1 last time out vs. Cincinnati yet only two runs. The Cubs' Kris Bryant is 2-for-5 off him with four walks.
Key trends: The Cubs are 6-2 in Hendricks' past eight vs. the Bucs. The "over/under" has gone under in four of the past five Hendricks outings vs. Pittsburgh.
Early lean: Pirates on runline.
Tigers at Indians (-190, 7.5)
Detroit ace Michael Fulmer (1-1, 0.68) has that stellar ERA and has allowed only 10 hits over 13.1 innings but does have just seven strikeouts to five walks. The cold weather could be contributing to some wildness. Fulmer made one start against the Indians last season, allowing two earned runs on seven hits over six innings in a win. Jose Ramirez is 3-for-8 off him with a homer and three walks. Cleveland's Trevor Bauer (0-1, 2.08) was a tough-luck loser last time out, allowing one run and three hits over eight innings against Kansas City. He has struck out 14 with only eight hits allowed in 13 innings. Bauer was 0-2 with a 13.00 ERA last year in two starts vs. the Tigers. Miguel Cabrera is 7-for-22 off him with a homer and six walks.
Key trends: The Indians are 1-7 in Bauer's past eight vs. Detroit. The over is 8-0 in his previous eight at home vs. the Tigers. The over is 4-0-1 in Fulmer's past five vs. the Tribe.
Early lean: Tigers and over.
Rockies at Nationals (-165, 8.5)
First meeting of the season between 2017 playoff teams. Certainly both could be again, more likely Washington. The Rockies go with Chad Bettis (1-0, 2.53). He has yet to last more than 5.2 innings in two starts but also yet to give up more than two runs. Betts hasn't faced Washington since 2016, when he was 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in two outings. Anthony Rendon is 2-for-7 off him with two doubles. Nationals lefty Gio Gonzalez (1-0, 1.59) has allowed just one earned run in each of his first two starts this season. Last year, he beat the Rockies in his lone start against them surrendering two runs and seven hits over 6.2 innings. Charlie Blackmon is 3-for-9 off him with a homer. Nolan Arenado 1-for-8 with a dinger.
Key trends: In Game 1 of a series, the Rockies are 2-6 in their past eight and the Nats 5-2 in their previous seven. The over is 8-3 in the past 11 meetings.
Early lean: Nationals and over.
Yankees at Red Sox (-106, 9)
MLB Network game and the series finale. The Yankees are short a starting pitcher after recently putting big lefty CC Sabathia on the DL. He exited his last start following 58 pitches due to hip discomfort. The Bombers will go with Sonny Gray in Sabathia's spot against a Red Sox team that also had interest in acquiring Gray from Oakland last year. Gray (1-0, 3.60) beat the Orioles last time out, allowing three runs and four hits over six. Last year, Gray was 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA in three starts vs. Boston. The Sox hit a combined .232 off him. Mitch Moreland is 6-for-25 off him with four homers and six RBIs so he could get a spot start ahead of Hanley Ramirez (5-for-14, four Ks) at first base. Boston's Rick Porcello (2-0, 2.84) went 7.1 innings Saturday vs. the Rays, allowing three runs and six hits. After a career-low 39.2 percent groundball rate last year, Porcello has a 51.3 percent rate through his first two starts. In 18 career starts against the Yankees, Porcello is 8-8 with a 3.27 ERA. Giancarlo Stanton is 1-for-1 off him with three RBIs. Aaron Judge 1-for-10 with a homer.
Key trends: The Yankees are 2-6 in Gray's past eight on the road. The under is 6-0-1 in Porcello's previous seven against New York.
Early lean: Red Sox and under.
White Sox at Twins (-175, 8.5)
These could be the next two powerhouses of the AL Central in a couple of years with some good young talent on each side, and it's two formerly very touted young right-handers on the mound. Chicago's Lucas Giolito (0-1, 6.17) had a quality start in his 2018 debut in Kansas City but allowed five runs over 5.2 innings last time out vs. Detroit. He was pretty wild on a freezing day. Giolito still hasn't allowed a homer yet this year. In his only career start vs. Minnesota last August, Giolito surrendered three homers and four runs over six innings. Eddie Rosario is 1-for-3 off him with a homer. Minnesota's Jose Berrios (1-1, 3.29) threw a complete-game shutout in his season debut and maybe that was too many pitches too early as he was roughed up for five runs over 5.2 innings last time out vs. Seattle. Berrios was 2-1 with a 2.21 ERA in three starts vs. the White Sox last year. Tim Anderson might get the day off as he's 0-for-11 with six Ks vs. Berrios.
Key trends: The Twins are 8-1 in Berrios' past nine at home. The under is 5-0 in Giolito's past five starts.
Early lean: Twins and under.
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