Daily Expert MLB Picks: Wednesday, June 13, 2018, Opening Line Report
Now that the NBA and Stanley Cup Finals are over, we are in the dead zone of the sports calendar until the NFL Preseason begins. It's basically baseball with a dab of golf and tennis until then. The story of the summer in MLB was set up to be Shohei Ohtani, the hitting & pitching rookie sensation for the Angels. It would have been fantastic to see him perhaps compete in the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game. Mike Trout finally had some help with the Angels! Alas, we may have seen the last of Ohtani until the 2020 season. Ohtani was diagnosed with a Grade 2 UCL strain late last week and placed on the DL. The team is hoping that platelet-rich plasma and stem cell injections will allow Ohtani to return in maybe a month, but reports Monday are that Tommy John surgery is all but a formality. That's a freaking shame, and it certainly opens the AL Rookie of the Year race as that award was in Ohtani's back pocket. I think it also ends any realistic shot the Angels at the playoffs.
Cubs at Brewers ( -103, 9 )
A 2:10 p.m. ET start from Miller Park. Sometimes, an injury to a big-name player can have unintended consequences in a good way. The Cubs probably won't get Yu Darvish back until after the All-Star break, and I doubt they care much right now. That's because lefty Mike Montgomery (2-1, 3.56) has been much better than Darvish since replacing him in the rotation. Montgomery beat the Pirates last time out in allowing one run over six. That's two earned allowed spanning 17.2 innings in his three starts. He has allowed two hits and a run in a third of an inning vs. Milwaukee this year. Travis Shaw is 4-for-10 off him with two doubles and a homer. The Brewers' Jhoulys Chacin (5-1, 3.58) was gifted an 11-run lead last time out vs. the Phillies and that perhaps took the edge off as he wasn't as sharp (6.1 IP, 4 ER). He has been a huge bright spot this year. The Cubs' Anthony Rizzo is 5-for-10 with two homers off Chacin.
Key trends: The Cubs are 0-4 in Montgomery's past four vs. Milwaukee. The Brewers are 5-1 in Chacin's past six vs. teams with a winning record. The "over/under" has gone under in eight of Chacin's past 11.
Early lean: Brewers and over.
Red Sox at Orioles (+207, 8)
MLB Network game at 3:05 p.m. ET. Boston ace Chris Sale (5-4, 2.83) was north of -300 last time out against his former White Sox team but took the loss despite allowing just one run and striking out 10 in eight innings - Sale's third straight defeat (only third time in career that has happened). He's getting little run support. Sale beat the Orioles on April 15 (5 IP, 1 ER, 8 Ks). Chris Davis is 2-for-20 off him with seven Ks. Adam Jones 6-for-25 with 11 strikeouts. Baltimore's Andrew Cashner (2-8, 4.98) has allowed three runs and nine hits over six innings in both his past two outings. He hasn't faced Boston this year. Xander Bogaerts is 3-for-6 with a homer off him.
Key trends: The Sox are 9-1 in Sale's past 10 road starts vs. teams with a losing record. The Orioles are 1-6 in Cashner's past seven at home. The under is 5-2 in Sale's previous seven on the road.
Early lean: Sox on runline and under.
Twins at Tigers (+137, 8.5)
Two bad teams - the Tigers are much better than expected after landing the No. 1 overall pick with last season's 64-98 record - but two good young pitchers here. Twins 24-year-old Jose Berrios (7-5, 3.66) is among the AL leaders with a WHIP of 0.92 and is tops with two complete games. He comes off one vs. the White Sox, allowing two runs with 10 strikeouts. Berrios beat the Tigers on May 21, giving up two runs over eight with nine strikeouts. Nicholas Castellanos is 5-for-10 off him with a homer. James McCann has two dingers in 11 at-bats. Detroit 27-year-old lefty Matt Boyd (4-4, 3.20) has allowed more than three earned just once in his past six. He left a May 22 start in Minnesota (4 IP, 2 ER, 4 BB) with a minor injury but didn't end up missing a start. Brian Dozier hammers him, going 13-for-32 with three homers. Miguel Sano (3-for-18, 12 Ks) doesn't.
Key trends: The Tigers are 0-4 in Boyd's past four vs. the Twins. The under is 6-2 in his past eight overall. The over is 4-1 in Berrios' past five against Detroit.
Early lean: Twins and under.
Astros at A's (+150, 8)
Houston's Gerrit Cole (7-1, 2.16) shut down the Rangers in Arlington last Thursday, giving up one run and three hits with eight strikeouts over six. He stopped a four-start streak of surrendering at least one homer. Cole is 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 12.2 innings vs. Oakland this year. He has 124 strikeouts on the year, the most by an Astros pitcher prior to the All-Star break since Darryl Kile had 128 in 1996. Jonathan Lucroy is 9-for-23 with seven RBIs career off Cole. Oakland's Paul Blackburn missed the first two months with a forearm strain and debuted Thursday vs. Kansas City, allowing one run and three hits in a win. It's the 24-year-old's first career look at Houston.
Key trends: The Astros are 6-1 in Cole's past seven on the road. The A's are 4-1 in Blackburn's past five at home. The under is 4-1 in his past five overall.
Early lean: Astros on runline and under.
Rangers at Dodgers (-180, 7.5)
MLB Network late game. Last year, the Dodgers and Rangers made a big trade with Texas sending its best starting pitcher, Yu Darvish, to L.A. for prospects. Don't be surprised if that happens again in the next 4-6 weeks regarding Cole Hamels, a southern California native. Hamels (3-6, 3.86), who is just about a sure thing to be traded somewhere, allowed five runs over 7.1 innings in a loss to Houston in his most recent outing. Hamels is 3-2 with a 1.89 ERA in eight career starts against the Dodgers. Matt Kemp is 8-for-23 off him with three doubles. L.A. has about 10 pitchers on the DL, it seems, but one is set to come off here in Kenta Maeda (4-4, 3.61). He hasn't pitched since May 29 due to a hip injury. It's his first career outing vs. Texas, which loses the DH.
Key trends: The Rangers are 6-1 in Hamels' past seven interleague starts. The Dodgers are 5-1 in their past six interleague games vs. a lefty. The under is 7-1-1 in Hamels' past nine on the road.
Early lean: Rangers on runline and under.
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