Daily Expert MLB Picks: Tuesday, May 15, 2018, Opening Line Report
Many thought the Washington Nationals vastly overpaid when they traded three excellent pitching prospects to the Chicago White Sox a couple of winters ago for outfielder Adam Eaton. There's no question the White Sox have won that deal so far only because Eaton hasn't been able to stay on the field for Washington. He has played a total of 31 games for the Nats due to injuries (torn ACL last year) and just underwent arthroscopic ankle surgery last Thursday. It was performed in Green Bay by the Packers' orthopedist, Dr. Robert Anderson, an expert in the field of ankle injuries. Anderson was the third doctor Eaton visited, and the doctor found some sort of cartilage tear. The Nationals are saying there's no timetable for a return, but it's possible that Eaton will not be back this season. That would be such a shame because Eaton is a fine player, and it might alter my preseason pick of the Nationals beating the Red Sox in the World Series. I'll stick with that choice for now, but we could see another World Series preview on Tuesday as Washington hosts the New York Yankees. Think those games will be a hot ticket in D.C.?
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Rockies at Padres ( +118, 8 )
Only matinee of the day with a 3:40 p.m. ET first pitch. It's German Marquez (2-4, 5.35) for Colorado, and he's undoubtedly happy that he's not pitching at Coors Field, where he has a 10.34 ERA. He lasted just 4.2 innings there last time out, surrendering 12 hits and five runs in a loss to Milwaukee. On the road, Marquez is 2-1 with a 1.96 ERA in four starts this year. Marquez pitched three scoreless innings vs. San Diego on April 11 but was one of a few players ejected for his role in a brawl. Could there be some retribution coming? San Diego's Jordan Lyles (0-1, 3.28) had pitched 13 times in relief in 2018 before starting Thursday vs. the Cardinals, allowing one earned run over five. Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez is 7-for-14 with two homers and five RBIs career off Lyles.
Key trends: The Rockies are 4-1 in Marquez's past five road starts. The Padres are 0-4 in Lyles' past four. The "over/under" has gone under in 15 of Marquez's past 22 overall.
Early lean: Rockies and under.
Yankees at Nationals (+112, 8.5)
How is this not nationally televised? Washington is now down four regulars as first baseman Ryan Zimmerman joined Eaton, second baseman Daniel Murphy (knee, yet to play this season) and catcher Matt Wieters (hamstring) on the DL. Zimmerman, who wasn't hitting much, is dealing with a back injury. The team called up Mark Reynolds from Triple-A and he should be the primary first baseman while Zimmerman is out. Reynolds went yard twice in his first game Sunday. It's lefty Gio Gonzalez (4-2, 2.22) on the mound for the Nationals. He has allowed just two earned runs combined in his past three starts. However, he's is 1-5 with a 6.65 ERA in eight career starts against the Yankees. New York's Masahiro Tanaka (4-2, 4.66) is unbeaten over his last four outings, going 2-0 with three quality starts and a 3.38 ERA. He beat Washington in his lone start against the team in 2015. Bryce Harper is 1-for-3 off him with a homer.
Key trends: The Yanks are 4-0 in Tanaka's past four on the road. The Nats are 12-5 in Gonzalez's past 17 vs. teams with a winning record. The 'under' is 7-0 in New York's past seven vs. a lefty. It's 10-1 in Washington's previous 11 interleague games.
Early lean: Yankees and under.
White Sox at Pirates (-158, 8)
Chicago loses the designated hitter for this interleague matchup. Probably not what pitcher Reynaldo Lopez (0-2, 2.44) wants to hear considering he gets little run support as it is (3.14 per game, among fewest in majors). He went a career-high 7.1 innings last time out against Pittsburgh on Wednesday and allowed two runs and only three hits but took a fourth straight no decision. Gregory Polanco is 2-for-3 off him with a solo homer. Pittsburgh's Trevor Williams (4-2, 3.13) was opposite Lopez and also took a no decision, allowing four runs and seven hits over five. After completing six innings in five of his first six starts, Williams hasn't been able to in his past two. Chicago's Tim Anderson is 1-for-2 with a homer off him.
Key trends: The Sox are 3-13 in their past 16 interleague road games vs. a team with a winning record. The Bucs are 5-1 in Williams' past six vs. teams with a losing record. The under is 10-3 in his previous 13 in that scenario.
Early lean: Pirates and under.
Astros at Angels (+150, 8)
ESPN+ game. It's Cy Young candidate Gerrit Cole (4-1, 1.43) for Houston. Cole leads the majors with 86 strikeouts despite throwing fewer fastballs than he did while with the Pirates (60.1 percent of his pitches last year were fastballs compared to 53.6 percent this year) but more off-speed stuff. He was dominant again last Wednesday in Oakland, allowing one run and four hits with nine strikeouts over six. All eight of his starts in 2018 have been quality. His loss came to the Angels on April 23 (7 IP, 2 ER, 8Ks). Zack Cozart is just 1-for-16 off him. Ian Kinsler 2-for-20. L.A.'s Jaime Barria (3-1, 2.45) is having a good rookie season. He threw 5.1 shutout innings last time out in Colorado. It's his first look at Houston.
Key trends: The Astros are 4-0 in Cole's past four on the road. The under is 5-2 in his previous seven overall.
Early lean: Astros on runline and under.
Rangers at Mariners (-138, 8.5)
Bad news for the AL West cellar-dwelling Rangers as third baseman and future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre reaggravated a hamstring injury and is surely headed back to the disabled list. It's pretty clear the 39-year-old simply can't be counted on to stay healthy at this point. Still a good player, though, with a .314 average, but just one homer. The Mariners, meanwhile, are going to be without one of their best players, second baseman Robinson Cano, for quite a while. He left Sunday's game with a broken bone in his right hand after being hit by a pitch in Detroit. Cano hasn't played in fewer than 150 games in any of the past 11 seasons. Texas starts lefty Mike Minor (3-2, 4.73). He was tagged for five runs, three homers, over seven innings last Tuesday in a home loss to Detroit. He took a no decision on April 20 vs. Seattle (5.1 IP, 1 ER). The Mariners' Mike Leake (4-3, 5.72) beat the Jays on Thursday in a rare quality start (7 IP, 2 ER). Leake hasn't faced Texas this year.
Key trends: The Rangers are 1-5 in their past six vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 4-1 in Minor's past five in 7-1 in Leake's past eight.
Early lean: Mariners and over.
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