Daily Expert MLB Picks: Tuesday, June 12, 2018, Opening Line Report
I'm pretty tied into baseball and can name the majority of rosters on every team. I knew, for example, that Baltimore slugger Chris Davis was having a terrible season. However, sometimes you have to read a story with some advanced analytics to understand how bad. Davis, who is making a little more than $21 million this season and will every year through 2022 (worst contract in MLB history?) is hitting .157 with four homers and a .236 on-base percentage. He has struck out 80 times in 198 at-bats and has scored just 10 runs - obviously four of those came via himself. Davis has a WAR of -1.9. Basically, that means you or I could play every day at first base for the Birds and be more productive. Davis is on pace by FanGraphs WAR to rank 81,892 out of 81,892 player seasons since 1901 by almost a full win. That's bad, folks! There are a lot of reasons why the Orioles stink and Buck Showalter might be fired. But the front office/ownership decided to give out that horrific contract to Davis.
Nationals at Yankees ( -155, 9.5 )
Bad news for both teams over the weekend as Stephen Strasburg and Masahiro Tanaka both landed on the disabled list and both could miss a month or longer. Tanaka injured both hamstrings running the bases, while Strasburg has worrisome shoulder inflammation. It is Strasburg's sixth stint on the disabled list in the past four seasons. It's possible that the Nats will activate second baseman Daniel Murphy off the DL to make his season debut Tuesday. He had offseason knee surgery, and the team can stash him at DH for a few days before putting him back in the field. It's Tanner Roark (3-6, 3.56) on the bump for Washington. Last Wednesday, he allowed two runs over six against Tampa Bay in his first win since April 30. Only a few Yankees have seen him. Giancarlo Stanton is 8-for-33 with four homers. Yanks lefty CC Sabathia (3-1, 3.59) got his first win in more than a month last Tuesday in Toronto (7 IP, 2 ER). Only a few Nationals have seen him. Murphy is 0-for-4.
Key trends: The Nats have won six straight interleague games. The Yanks have won their past four following an off day. The "over/under" has gone under in 11 of Washington's past 14.
Early lean: Nationals and over.
Rockies at Phillies (-153, 7.5)
Colorado's Jon Gray (6-6, 5.66) has been rather unlucky this season as his .379 BABIP (batting average on balls in play) is a whopping 31 points higher than any other qualified pitchers. His FIP (what a player's ERA would look like if the pitcher were to have experienced league average results on balls in play and league average timing) is 3.13. Gray beat the Reds last time out, allowing three runs over five. Philly's Odubel Herrera is 1-for-8 off him. Young Phillies ace Aaron Nola (7-2, 2.35) took a no-decision last Wednesday at the Cubs as his bullpen blew a lead in the bottom of the ninth. Nola has allowed more than three runs just once this season. Charlie Blackmon is 3-for-4 off him with three doubles.
Key trends: The Phillies are 14-3 in Nola's past 17 at home. The under is 6-1 in his previous seven overall.
Early lean: Phillies and under.
Cubs at Brewers (-101, 9)
Milwaukee made a trade over the weekend, acquiring infielder Brad Miller from Tampa Bay for first basemen Ji-Man Choi. Surprised the Brewers gave anything up for Miller considering he was designated for assignment earlier last week. Miller hit 30 homers as recently as 2016. He's headed to Triple-A for now. It's Mr. Wild Tyler Chatwood (3-4, 3.86) for Chicago. Rather amazing his ERA is that low considering Chatwood leads the majors with 56 walks. He had seven of them last Thursday vs. the Phillies but allowed only one run in 4.2 innings. His best start as a Cub was April 29 vs. Milwaukee (7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER). The Brewers' Chase Anderson (4-5, 4.57) has been unable to last six innings in three straight outings. He is 0-2 despite a 2.08 ERA in two starts this year vs. the Cubs. Ben Zobrist is 9-for-17 off him with three homers.
Key trends: The Cubs are 1-4 in Chatwood's past five vs. the NL Central. The Brewers are 5-0 in Anderson's previous five on Tuesday. The over is 5-2 in Chatwood's past seven.
Early lean: Brewers and over.
Indians at White Sox (+157, 10)
Cleveland will recall rookie Adam Plutko from Triple-A to serve as the No. 5 starter for now. Plutko (3-0, 3.93) last pitched in the majors on May 28 vs. the White Sox and allowed five runs over five innings but still won. Plutko has a 1.83 ERA in nine Triple-A starts in 2018. The White Sox would love to trade James Shields (1-7, 4.92), but he didn't help his value Thursday at Minnesota, allowing seven runs over six innings of a loss. That ended a streak of four straight quality starts. Shields gave up two homers over 40 innings in May, but he has allowed three dingers in each of his last two starts. He hasn't faced Cleveland this year. Yonder Alonso is 3-for-9 off him with three homers.
Key trends: The Sox are 1-10 in Shields' past 11 vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 5-0 in his past five at home.
Early lean: Indians and under.
Mets at Braves (-148, 8.5)
ESPN game. The Mets were hoping to activate outfielder Yoenis Cespedes for this game, but he had a setback in rehab due to renewed tightness in his quad, and that won't happen now. Absolutely nothing is going right for the free-falling Mets these days. Closer Jeurys Familia landed on the DL over the weekend and the team released Adrian Gonzalez. The Mets start Zack Wheeler (2-4, 4.57), and he has been much better over his past four to lower his ERA from 5.92. He originally had been set for Wednesday, but the Mets' day off Monday allowed them to skip Jason Vargas and put Wheeler here. The Georgia native is 4-2 with a 2.94 career ERA against his hometown Braves. Freddie Freeman is 7-for-14 with nine walks against him. The Braves' Mike Foltynewicz (5-4, 2.31) lost in San Diego on Wednesday, allowing two runs over five. He has allowed just five homers in 13 starts. It's his first look this year at the Mets. Asdrubal Cabrera is 3-for-5 against him with a homer.
Key trends: The Braves are 2-7 in Foltynewicz's past seven at home. The under is 5-2-1 in his past eight there.
Early lean: Braves and under.
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