Daily Expert MLB Picks: Thursday, June 14, 2018, Opening Line Report
Jerry DiPoto has done a great job with the Seattle Mariners this season as they attempt to end the longest playoff drought in the sport. He's probably going to be named GM of the Year for all his wheeling and dealing. DiPoto also clearly believes he has a ton of job security. Why do I say this? Because most GMs don't tell their highest-paid player that he won't be playing full time any longer. That's basically what DiPoto said this week about $240-million-man Robinson Cano for when he returns in mid-August from his 80-game PED suspension. With Dee Gordon and the team playing well since Gordon moved from center field to second in place of Cano, DiPoto said he needs to keep Gordon sharp at second for when the playoffs roll around - because Cano is ineligible for the postseason as part of his suspension. I love this, by the way. About time a GM puts his foot down for one of his players letting the rest of the team down by cheating in the offseason. That's not to say Cano won't be playing. He could also fill in at DH or perhaps first base to get his bat in the lineup when he's not at second. The Mariners open one of their most-hyped home series in years Thursday in a potential playoff preview vs. Boston.
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Indians at White Sox ( +140, 9 )
This season already is essentially over for the White Sox, and it's about seeing what some of their young guys can do. One expected important piece of the future going forward is 25-year-old lefty Carlos Rodon. He had arthroscopic surgery last September and finally returned to the majors Saturday, allowing two earned runs with seven strikeouts over five innings in a loss in Boston. Pretty good outing as Rodon, who can be a touch wild but has perhaps the best slider in baseball, threw 63 of 97 pitches for strikes. He is 4-1 with a 2.34 ERA lifetime against the Indians. Jose Ramirez is 5-for-15 off him with three RBIs. Cleveland's Mike Clevinger (4-2, 3.31) lost in Detroit last time out despite a quality outing (6.2 IP, 2 ER). He beat the White Sox on May 29 (6.2 IP, 1 ER). Jose Abreu is 3-for-11 with a homer against him.
Key trends: The Indians are 0-4 in Clevinger's past four on the road. The Sox are 7-3 in Rodon's past 10 vs. teams with a winning record. The "over/under" has gone under in four of Rodon's previous six vs. the Tribe.
Early lean: White Sox and over.
Astros at A's (+159, 8)
MLB Network game at 3:35 p.m. ET. I wasn't expecting to perhaps preview a game involving Houston's Justin Verlander where he didn't have a lower ERA than his starting counterpart the rest of 2018. However, that's the case for Oakland right-hander Frankie Montas (3-0, 1.25), another good-looking young arm the A's have. Montas has made three starts on the season, gone at least six in each and surrendered only three combined runs. No Astro has more than two at-bats off him - Marwin Gonzalez is 1-for-2 with a homer. Verlander (8-2, 1.45) won at Texas on Friday, allowing three runs over six and striking out nine. It's his first look at Oakland in 2018. This will be Verlander's 400th career start, just the third active pitcher to reach that total.
Key trends: The Astros are 6-1 in Verlander's past seven on the road. The under is 7-2 in his previous nine.
Early lean: A's on runline and under.
Rays at Yankees (-164, 9)
Fox Sports 1 prime-time game. Would the Rays consider trading young lefty Blake Snell (8-3, 2.30)? If they did, their farm system would be replenished in a big way. Sometimes smart teams like the Rays deal young arms like this before they need Tommy John surgery. That's what I'd do. Snell beat Seattle in his last start but allowed an earned run for the first time in his past four. He also struck out just one with 18 fly-ball outs. Bit of an unusual outing for him. Snell lost to the Yankees on April 4 in the Bronx (3.1 IP, 5 ER). Gary Sanchez is 4-for-10 off him with three homers. New York rookie Domingo German (0-4, 5.32) is essentially only holding down a spot until the Yankees make a trade - and they will. It's Marquez's first career look at Tampa Bay.
Key trends: The Rays are 1-5 in the past six meetings. The under is 7-3-1 in the previous 11.
Early lean: Rays on runline and under.
Padres at Braves (-134, 8.5)
One name you hear plenty about on the trade market is San Diego's Tyson Ross (5-3, 3.43). He's resembling the guy he was from 2013-15 and not the guy who struggled when he was (rarely) able to pitch through injury the past two years. The Friars have won Ross' last six trips to the mound, and he hasn't allowed more than three earned in any. He hasn't seen Atlanta this year. Ender Inciarte is 6-for-16 off Ross with a double. The Braves' Anibal Sanchez (2-0, 2.37) won at the Dodgers last time out, allowing two runs and three hits over 5.1 innings. That's about the best you can hope for at this point from him. Eric Hosmer has faced him more than all other Padres combined by a mile, going 15-for-43 with five doubles and a homer.
Key trends: The Padres are 4-1 in Ross' past five vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 4-1 in his past five vs. the NL East. The over is 4-0 in the Braves' past four vs. a right-hander.
Early lean: Braves and over.
Red Sox at Mariners (+127, 8)
MLB Network late game and first meeting of the season between the teams - they split six in 2017 and Seattle hasn't lost a home series to Boston in five years. It's also the only matchup Thursday of former Cy Young winners. The Red Sox's David Price (7-4, 4.00) has looked almost Cy-worthy in his past six starts. Boston has won all of six, and the lefty has allowed more than two earned just once. Nelson Cruz has seen him more than any Mariner, going 9-for-28 with two homers. Mike Zunino might get the night off as he's 2-for-13 with 11 Ks. Seattle's Felix Hernandez (6-5, 5.70) is the worst pitcher in his own rotation right now. He was shelled for six runs in three innings Saturday at Tampa Bay. Boston's Jackie Bradley Jr. is 3-for-10 against King Felix with a homer. Mitch Moreland hits only .192 in 52 at-bats.
Key trends: The Mariners are 5-1 in Hernandez's past six at home vs. Boston. The under is 7-1 in the past eight meetings.
Early lean: Red Sox and under.
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