Daily Expert MLB Picks: Thursday, April 26, 2018, Opening Line Report
Want more proof that the Los Angeles Dodgers are going to be a powerhouse into the next decade? They already have two of the top young hitters in the game in Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager, the past two NL Rookies of the Year. On Monday, we got a glimpse of one of the Top 3 pitching prospects in the sport, Walker Buehler. He was called up late last season and struggled in 9.1 innings but that didn't dim his star. Buehler, 23, made his MLB starting debut on Monday against the Marlins and threw five shutout innings. OK, nothing amazing. Except Buehler threw eight pitches of at least 99 mph during his first two innings. There are 16 TEAMS that have thrown fewer pitches of 99 mph or higher this season. If he can avoid arm trouble, Buehler will be a star.
Tigers at Pirates ( -133, 8 )
A 12:35 p.m. ET first pitch from PNC Park and the Tigers will lose the designated hitter. That's usually Victor Martinez, and he can't play the outfield at his age. It's ace Michael Fulmer (1-2, 3.47) for Detroit. He faced the visiting Pirates on April 1 and dominated with just one run and four hits allowed in eight innings, still a season high. Throw out one unusual start in Cleveland, and Fulmer has surrendered three runs in 20.1 innings. Corey Dickerson has seen him by far more than any Pirate, going 1-for-14. Pittsburgh's Ivan Nova (2-1, 4.20) took a no-decision on March 30 in Detroit (5 IP, 2 ER). He also comes off one, allowing one run over six in Philadelphia. Nova is working on three straight quality starts. Miguel Cabrera is 6-for-17 off him with a homer and four RBIs.
Key trends: The Tigers are 1-5 in Fulmer's past six on the road. The Pirates have won Nova's past five at home vs. teams with a losing record. The "over/under" has gone under in five straight Fulmer interleague starts.
Early lean: Pirates and under.
Diamondbacks at Phillies (-115, 8.5)
This is the Facebook Live game this week, meaning it can only be seen via the social media platform with a start time of 1:05 p.m. ET. It's Matt Koch for Arizona, he of the 26 career MLB innings since debuting in 2016. Koch (0-0, 1.13) was called up last week from Triple-A to take the spot of Taijuan Walker, who had season-ending Tommy John surgery. Koch earned another start by allowing one run over six innings against the light-hitting Padres. He has never faced the Phillies. They go with Ben Lively (0-1, 4.64). He comes off his best start of the year, surrendering one run and five hits over six against Pittsburgh. Last year as a rookie, he pitched 11.1 innings vs. Arizona (7 ER). Paul Goldschmidt is 2-for-6 off him with a homer.
Key trends: The Phillies are 1-6 in Lively's previous seven vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 6-2 in his past eight starts.
Early lean: Diamondbacks and over.
Mets at Cardinals (-107, 7)
A 1:15 p.m. ET game and terrific pitching matchup. It's ace Noah Syndergaard for the Mets, and it's almost not fair he gets to pitch during the day when shadows can hamper the hitters. Syndergaard (2-0, 3.29) is among the NL leaders with 39 strikeouts in 27.1 innings. The Mets have won all five of his starts even though he has gotten a decision in only two. "Thor" beat the Cardinals on Opening Day (6 IP, 4 ER, 10Ks). He is 1-2 with a 3.79 ERA in his career vs. St. Louis. Jose Martinez is 3-for-3 off him with a homer. The Cards' Carlos Martinez (2-1, 1.42) lost that game to Syndergaard but has surrendered just one earned run since and St. Louis is 4-0. The Mets' Jay Bruce is 4-for-20 off him with two homers.
Key trends: The Mets are 13-3 in Syndergaard's past 16 vs. the NL Central. The Cards are 1-4 in Martinez's previous five vs. the NL East. The under is 10-2-1 in Syndergaard's past 13 vs. teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Mets and under.
Red Sox at Blue Jays (+165, 7.5)
It's not often that Red Sox lefty Chris Sale (1-1, 1.86) is overshadowed in a start. Last Saturday in Oakland, Sale struck out a season-high 10 and allowed three runs over seven innings, usually good enough to win. However, Oakland's Sean Manaea no-hit the Red Sox. Sale was 2-1 with a 1.67 ERA in four starts vs. Toronto last year with 43 strikeouts in 27 innings. Kendrys Morales has had some success off him, batting .294 with three homers in 34 at-bats. Toronto's Marco Estrada (2-1, 5.32) had his worst outing of the season last time out vs. the Yankees in allowing five runs and three homers in five innings but still got the win. He was 0-1 with a 4.12 ERA in four starts last year vs. Boston. Mookie Betts is just 3-for-23 off him with six Ks.
Key trends: The Jays are 0-6 in Estrada's past six vs. the Red Sox. The under is 7-3 in his previous 10 vs. Boston.
Early lean: Red Sox on runline and under.
White Sox at Royals (-153, 8.5)
The White Sox's only series win entering this week was taking two in Kansas City to start the season. It was supposed to be a three-game series but one was postponed. Thus, this is now a five-game series with a day/night doubleheader on Saturday. The Sox put outfielder Avisail Garcia on the DL Tuesday with a strained hamstring. He was one of the AL's top hitters last year at .330 but most thought that was a fluke and it was as Garcia is back to .233 this year. Chicago starts struggling young right-hander Lucas Giolito. He threw a quality start March 31 in Kansas City (6 IP, 3 ER) but has not been good since. He allowed nine runs in just two innings last time out vs. Houston. The Royals' Lucas Duda is 2-for-5 with a homer off him. Kansas City's Jakob Junis (3-1, 2.03) has been a rare bright this year for the lousy Royals. He has gone at least seven in there of four starts but has never faced the White Sox.
Key trends: The Royals have won six straight Junis starts vs. teams with a losing record. The under is 4-0 in his previous four vs. the AL Central.
Early lean: Royals and under.
Doc's Sports is offering $60 in member's baseball picks - no obligation, no sales people - you don't even have to enter credit card information. You can use this $60 credit for any of our top MLB handicappers. Get $60 worth of premium members' picks free. Also, for a limited time only get three MLB handicappers for the price of one. Click here for details . Get free MLB picks daily on Doc's Sports homepage.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
Most Recent Baseball Handicapping
- 2020 World Series Predictions with Expert Analysis
- Free MLB Picks Thursday 10/1/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free MLB Picks Wednesday 9/30/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free MLB Picks Tuesday 9/29/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free MLB Picks Saturday 9/26/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free MLB Picks Friday 9/25/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free MLB Picks Thursday 9/24/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free MLB Picks Wednesday 9/23/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free MLB Picks Tuesday 9/22/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free MLB Picks Saturday 9/19/2020 and Opening Line Report