Daily Expert MLB Picks: Thursday, May 17, 2018, Opening Line Report
Seattle's Robinson Cano suffered a broken bone in his hand on Sunday and was going to miss quite a while. That we knew. What we didn't know was that Cano already had failed an MLB drug test and been suspended 80 games but had appealed. The broken hand, in one regard, came at an opportune time because news broke Tuesday that Cano would sit 80 games after he decided to drop the appeal. Cano tested positive for the diuretic Furosemide (also known as Lasix), which he said was prescribed to him by a doctor in his native Dominican Republic for a legitimate medical condition. That's fine, but that drug is also known as a masking agent to cover PED use. Under MLB's drug policy, a player is not automatically suspended for use of a diuretic unless the league can prove he intended to use it as a masking agent. Clearly Cano was proven guilty. What does this mean? For 2018, it means that the Mariners probably aren't ending the longest playoff drought in baseball. Even if they did, Cano - who cost himself around $12 million in salary; I don't see how it's fair he can serve his suspension while on the DL -- is now ineligible for postseason baseball. Longer term, this probably kills Cano's Hall of Fame chances, and he already has some of the best offensive numbers of any second baseman ever. He was going to get in. Probably not now as no player who has tested positive for PEDs has gotten in.
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Dodgers at Marlins ( +146, 8 )
MLB Network matchup and lone matinee on the schedule (12:10 p.m. ET), which is somewhat unusual for a Thursday as that's often getaway day for some teams as it is for these two. Seriously, if the Dodgers lose this series to the sorry Marlins after getting stunningly swept over the weekend at home by the Reds, Manager Dave Roberts might want to start worrying about his job. At least 2B Logan Forsythe and 3B Justin Turner returned from the DL on Tuesday. It's Kenta Maeda (2-3, 4.75) for L.A. Remember when he was good in 2016 as a rookie? He's just not much anymore, although he did pitch well in a no decision vs. the Marlins on April 24 (6 IP, 1 ER). Miami's Dan Straily (1-0, 5.54) got a late start to the season due to injury. The Marlins have won all three of his outings, but he has yet to go more than five. The Dodgers' Yasiel Puig is 2-for-4 with two homers off him.
Key trends: The Dodgers are 2-6 in Maeda's past eight on the road. The Marlins have won six straight Straily home starts. The "over/under" is 13-2-1 in Straily's past 16 at home.
Early lean: Marlins and over.
Phillies at Cardinals (-140, 8.5)
ESPN+ game. The St. Louis rotation is a bit in flux because ace Carlos Martinez and Adam Wainwright are both on the disabled list. Martinez has already missed one turn in the Cardinals' rotation and will miss at least one more. Wainwright isn't much of a loss at this point as I referenced earlier this week . It's expected to be Luke Weaver (3-2, 4.91) here, and he comes off five shutout innings in San Diego, his first win since April 13. Only a few Phillies have seen him; Cesar Hernandez is 3-for-3 with a homer. Philadelphia's Vince Velasquez (3-4, 5.05) perhaps has found something in his past two starts, both wins, after a rough patch. Last time out, he struck out a season-high 12 and allowed three runs in six innings vs. the Giants. Those were his most Ks since Velasquez looked like a rising star in 2016 with a 16-strikeout game.
Key trends: The Phillies are 6-15 in Velasquez's past 21 vs. teams with a winning record. The Cards are 9-1 in Weaver's past 10 on five days of rest. The over is 6-0 in Velasquez's past six vs. the NL Central.
Early lean: Cardinals and over.
A's at Blue Jays (-115, 9)
Interesting schedule for Toronto. The Jays finished a six-game homestand on Sunday, went to the Mets on Tuesday & Wednesday and now are back for a seven-game homestand starting Thursday with their first look of the season at Oakland. The Jays will remain without closer Roberto Osuna through next Monday as MLB extended his administrative leave at least through then. Osuna is set to appear in court on June 18 on a charge of assaulting a woman, so he probably won't be seen anytime soon. Tyler Clippard has taken over the closing role. Oakland starts Andrew Triggs (3-1, 5.31). He was roughed up for six runs over 4.1 innings Saturday at the Yankees. No Blue Jay has more than two at-bats off him. Toronto's Aaron Sanchez (2-3, 4.08) will be strong one game and average the next. He hasn't been good the past two, allowing seven runs in 8.2 innings.
Key trends: The Jays have won 11 of Sanchez's past 14 Game 1 starts. The under is 9-1 in his previous 10 series-opening starts.
Early lean: Jays and over.
Tigers at Mariners (-157, 8.5)
The Mariners apparently aren't planning to move former All-Star and Gold Glove second baseman Dee Gordon to second base, at least for now, as he hasn't worked at the position at all this season and has done pretty well in center field. Gordon Beckham is the guy at second initially, but history has shown he's not good enough to keep the job. Detroit starts lefty Matt Boyd (2-3, 3.21) in this series opener. He gets some of the fewest run support in the majors as you can see by that record despite a very good 3.21 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. He beat these Mariners on Saturday in Detroit, allowing three runs and three hits over six. Not only will Boyd not have to deal with Cano, but Nelson Cruz is expected to miss a few games after fouling a ball off his foot Tuesday. Seattle lefty Marco Gonzales (3-3, 5.31), whose dad was a former Tigers minor-leaguer, took the loss opposite Boyd, allowing four runs over six. Jose Iglesias went yard off him.
Key trends: The Tigers have lost seven straight in Seattle. The under has hit in five of Boyd's past seven overall. The over is 9-2 in Gonzales' past 11.
Early lean: Tigers and under.
Rockies at Giants (-122, 8)
The Rockies have lost All-Star second baseman DJ LeMahieu back to the disabled list with a sprained left thumb. The two-time All-Star and Gold Glove winner also was on the DL from April 30 to May 8 with a strained right hamstring but had never had a DL stint before this year. Colorado starts Chad Bettis (4-1, 3.12) in this series opener. Betts saw his ERA rise by more than a run last time out when he was bombed for seven runs over five innings vs. the Brewers, although he avoided a loss. It's Betts' first look at the Giants in 2018. Brandon Belt is 7-for-16 off him with two doubles. San Francisco's Jeff Samardzija (1-2, 6.94) has been largely awful in his five starts this year and yet to reach six innings. Colorado's Ian Desmond is a .417 hitter off him. Nolan Arenado .414. Gerardo Parra .400.
Key trends: The Giants are 1-4 in Samardzija's past five vs. the Rockies. The under is 6-2 in his previous eight against them. The under is 4-0 in Betts' past four on the road.
Early lean: Rockies and under.
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