Daily Expert MLB Picks: Tuesday, June 26, 2018, Opening Line Report
This could be an important week for the Arizona Diamondbacks in their quest to win the NL West for the first time since 2011. That's because two starting pitchers are set to return from injury. The first is Shelby Miller, who was set to pitch Monday in Miami. Miller was acquired before the 2016 season from Atlanta in one of the most lopsided trades (in favor of the Braves) this century. Miller flopped to a 3-12 record and 6.15 ERA in 2016 and then lasted only four starts in 2017 before undergoing Tommy John surgery. But maybe, just maybe, he can be the guy he was in 2013-14 with the Cardinals and in '15 with Atlanta. And Miller was very good then. The other guy is lefty and 2017 All-Star Robbie Ray, who hasn't pitched in the majors since April 29 due to an oblique injury. If no setbacks, he could be back this weekend against the Giants. If Ray resembles his 2017 self and Miller is at least solid, all of a sudden the Snakes look pretty potent in their rotation and maybe they focus their trade ambitions elsewhere (there's been some Manny Machado talk).
Nationals at Rays ( +209, 7 )
MLB Network game and the only matinee of the day at 12:10 p.m. ET. Also a No-hitter alert! OK, I could probably say that anytime Max Scherzer is on the mound, but the Rays don't hit much and Scherzer (10-3, 2.09) already dominated them on June 5, allowing two runs with 13 strikeouts over eight innings. Scherzer then went on his first two-game losing streak in three years but snapped that Thursday by beating Baltimore (7 IP, 2 ER, 9 K). Rays shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria might get the game off considering he's 2-for-19 off Scherzer with seven strikeouts. Tampa's Nathan Eovaldi (1-3, 4.91) lost in Washington on June 5, allowing four runs over five innings. He's 2-5 with a 5.30 ERA career against the Nats. Daniel Murphy is 8-for-19 off him with four doubles and a homer. Bryce Harper 7-for-19 with a dinger.
Key trends: The Nationals are 19-7 in Scherzer's past 26 road starts vs. teams with a losing record. The Rays are 3-13 in their previous 16 home games vs. teams with a winning record. The "over/under" has gone under in five straight Scherzer interleague starts.
Early lean: Nats on runline and under.
Reds at Braves (-157, 9.5)
Atlanta has placed closer Arodys Vizcaino on the 10-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, which often is an ominous sign. He was 2-2 with a 1.82 ERA and 15 saves this season. Rookie left-hander A.J. Minter figures to get the first shot at ninth-inning duties. The Braves go with Anibal Sanchez (3-1, 2.55). He allowed four runs over five innings with four walks last time out in a loss in Toronto. Only a few Reds have seen him. Joey Votto is 1-for-5. Cincinnati's Matt Harvey (2-5, 5.66) beat the Cubs on Thursday, surrendering two runs over six for his first victory since May 22. His final outing as a Met was May 3 vs. Atlanta (2 IP, 5 ER). Freddie Freeman is just 6-for-29 off him with six strikeouts. Ozzie Albies is 3-for-5 with a homer.
Key trends: The Reds are 1-4 in Harvey's past five. The Braves have won five straight on Tuesday. The over is 5-0 in Atlanta's previous five vs. teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Braves and over.
Angels at Red Sox (-172, 9.5)
First of a three-game set and it's not impossible this is the wild-card matchup. The Angels really haven't been quite the same since they were destroyed in a three-game home sweep at the hands of the Red Sox by a combined score of 27-3. To make things even harder in this series, L.A.'s scheduled off day Monday was replaced by a stopover in Kansas City to make up an April 15 postponement. It's journeyman lefty John Lamb (0-0, 5.40) for the Halos, and he's only in the majors due to injuries elsewhere in the rotation. He missed all of last season following back surgery and wasn't very good in 2015-16 with the Reds. It's his first career look at Boston. The Sox go with lefty David Price (8-5, 3.81). He suffered his first loss since May 3 last Wednesday in Minnesota but still pitched pretty well (6 IP, 3 ER). Mike Trout can't hit him much, going 4-for-23 with 11 strikeouts. Albert Pujols can, though, as he's 10-for-31 with two homers.
Key trends: The Angels are 1-8 in their past nine vs. a lefty. The Sox are 6-0 in Price's past six vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 4-1 in his past five Tuesday.
Early lean: Red Sox on runline and over.
Royals at Brewers (-180, 8.5)
Kansas City loses the DH for this interleague matchup. The Brewers may have to place third baseman Travis Shaw on the DL after he left Sunday's game with a right wrist injury. It's been an issue that has been bothering him for a while. Shaw is hitting .243 with 14 homers and 47 RBIs. It's rookie Freddy Peralta (2-0, 2.30) on the mound for the Brewers in his Miller Park debut. He made two starts in May, was sent back down and then recalled and beat the Pirates with six innings of scoreless ball last Tuesday. No Royals have faced him. Kansas City's Jakob Junis (5-8, 4.43) hasn't won since May 18. He had been shelled in back-to-back outings but allowed three runs over six last time out in a loss to Texas. Junis has never faced the Brewers.
Key trends: The Royals are 2-6 in their past eight interleague road games. The Brewers are 11-4 in their past 15 on Tuesday. The under is 11-1 in Kansas City's past 12 interleague games vs. a right-hander.
Early lean: Brewers and over.
Cubs at Dodgers (-145, 7.5)
ESPN game and the same pitching matchup from last Wednesday at Wrigley Field when the Cubs won 4-0. Lefty Jon Lester (9-2, 2.10) threw seven shutout innings that day, allowing five hits with just one strikeout. He let his defense do the work, forcing 16 ground balls. It was Lester fifth straight win, and he should be heading to the All-Star Game. Justin Turner can't hit the guy, going 0-for-16 with four strikeouts. Neither can Logan Forsythe (2-for-16, 5 K). Enrique Hernandez can (5-for-16, 2 HR). L.A.'s Ross Stripling (6-2, 1.99) had a six-game winning streak snapped in allowing three runs over six opposite Lester to lose for the first time since April 30. Kyle Schwarber homered off him.
Key trends: The Cubs are 10-2 in Lester's past 12 on Tuesday. The Dodgers are 4-0 in Stripling's past four at home. The under is 7-3-1 in Lester's previous 11.
Early lean: Cubs and under.
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