Daily Expert MLB Picks: Tuesday, May 8, 2018, Opening Line Report
We saw some history made on Friday when future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols of the Angels (his Hall of Fame cap will definitely be Cardinals) became the 32nd member of the 3,000-hit club and just the fourth of the 3,000-hit, 600-homer club along with Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Alex Rodriguez. This is the fourth straight year we've seen a player get his 3,000th career hit, following Adrian Beltre in 2017, Ichiro Suzuki in 2016 and A-Rod in 2015. Just don't expect to see anyone join next year. Barring injury, Miguel Cabrera should be next, but it's probably not happening until early in the 2021 season. After him, Robinson Cano but not likely until later in the 2022 season. Then there's a huge drop-off. Pujols' historic moment overshadowed the fact the Dodgers threw a combined no-hitter on Friday. Ironically enough, when Pujols joined the 600-homer club on June 3, 2017, there was also a no-hitter thrown: by Edinson Volquez of the Marlins.
Twins at Cardinals ( -190, 8 )
Lone matinee of the day at 1:15 p.m. ET and on ESPN+. The Twins will lose the designated hitter, which is usually Logan Morrison. He can also play first, but I highly doubt the team would bench Joe Mauer simply to allow Morrison in the lineup. It's Cardinals ace Carlos Martinez (3-1, 1.40), who is second in the National League in ERA even though he's also fourth in walks with 19. Batters are hitting just .179 against him. He beat another AL Central team, the White Sox, last Wednesday, allowing one run and five hits over 7.1 innings. No Twin has more than three at-bats against him. Mauer is 1-for-3 with a double. Minnesota's Jake Odorizzi (2-2, 4.10) took a no-decision in his last start, also against the White Sox. He allowed three earned over 5.1 innings. The Cards' Marcell Ozuna is 4-for-10 against him with a homer and five strikeouts.
Key trends: The Cards have won Martinez's past four interleague starts. The "over/under" has gone under in six of his past seven vs. teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Cardinals on runline and under.
Red Sox at Yankees (-175, 8.5)
MLB Network game. Monitor the status of early AL MVP favorite Mookie Betts. He was pulled from Sunday's game against Texas after being hit by a throw while running from first to second and is considered day-to-day. Boston starts lefty Drew Pomeranz (1-1, 6.14). He went a season-high six innings last time out, allowing three earned against Kansas City. In his career at Yankee Stadium, he has a 3-2 record and 3.12 ERA. Gary Sanchez is 8-for-18 against him with three homers and six RBIs. New York's Luis Severino (5-1, 2.11) comes off the first shutout of his young career, holding high-powered Houston to five hits with a season-high 10 strikeouts. Severino's worst start of the season was April 10 in Boston, allowing five runs over five. Betts, if he plays, is 6-for-19 with three doubles off hi. Andrew Benintendi is 8-for-16 with two homers and nine RBIs.
Key trends: The Sox are 5-1 in Pomeranz's past six vs. the Yankees. New York is 17-5 in Severino's previous 22 at home. The over is 5-1-1 in Pomeranz's past seven vs. the Yankees.
Early lean: Yankees and over.
Mariners at Blue Jays (+101, 8.5)
What will Mariners lefty James Paxton do for an encore here? Last Wednesday, he struck out 16 Oakland batters over seven innings and didn't allow a run yet took a no-decision because his bullpen blew a lead. Paxton wasn't allowed to try for the strikeout record (20 by Max Scherzer, Kerry Wood and Roger Clemens twice) because he already was at 105 pitches. That's modern-day baseball for you. I guarantee you that even 10 years ago Paxton is allowed to keep going. He was the first Mariners pitcher with 16 strikeouts in a game since Randy Johnson had 19 on Aug. 8, 1997. This one might have a bit more meaning for Paxton because he's from Canada. Josh Donaldson has seen him more than any Blue Jay, going 6-for-15 with a homer. Toronto's Marcus Stroman (0-4, 7.52) has been one of the biggest disappointments in the AL this season but does come off his best outing (7 IP, 2 ER at Twins). Nelson Cruz is 4-for-9 against him.
Key trends: The Mariners are 8-3 in Paxton's past 11 on the road. The Jays have won nine straight Tuesday games. The under is 7-1 in Paxton's past eight vs. teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Blue Jays and under.
Mets at Reds (-137, 9.5)
Generally, can't go a week now without an injury update on Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. He was pulled from Sunday's game against the Rockies due to right quad injury. He's day-to-day, but then aren't we all? It's lefty Jason Vargas (0-2, 16.20) for the Mets, and he has been horrendous in his two starts. He has allowed a whopping 20 hits and five homers in just 8.1 innings. Matt Harvey (released over the weekend) couldn't do better than that? The only Red to have faced Vargas is Eugenio Suarez (1-for-4). Cincinnati's Luis Castillo (1-4, 7.01) comes off his best outing of the season, allowing two runs over six against the Brewers. The only Met to have seen him is Todd Frazier (1-for-2).
Key trends: The Reds are 2-6 in Castillo's past eight at home. The over is 4-0 in Vargas' past four. It's 5-2 in Castillo's past seven.
Early lean: Reds and over.
Indians at Brewers (+190, 8)
Cleveland loses the DH for this interleague matchup. That's usually Edwin Encarnacion, but there's a decent chance he plays first base and Yonder Alonso goes to the bench. It's Tribe ace Corey Kluber (5-1, 2.41), who could be on track for a third career Cy Young award. He leads the AL in victories and is among the leaders in WHIP (0.78), BAA (.174) and strikeouts (53). Kluber beat Texas last Wednesday, giving up three runs over seven. All three runs were solo homers. Southpaw Wade Miley made his Milwaukee debut last Wednesday in Cincinnati and allowed three hits and one run over six. He did walk three, which is moderately concerning because Miley led the majors with 93 free passes last year while with Baltimore. Yeah, I'm pretty sure Encarnacion will be in there as he's 7-for-16 off Miley with three homers and seven walks.
Key trends: The Tribe are 16-5 in Kluber's past 21 in a series opener. The under is 14-3 in his past 17 on Tuesday.
Early lean: Indians on runline and under.
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