Daily Expert MLB Picks: Wednesday, June 20, 2018, Opening Line Report
I won't try to explain some trends in sports. For example, the Boston Red Sox used to have a "Ben Affleck Curse." Of course, Affleck, a well-known Red Sox fan, became a star with the release of "Good Will Hunting" on Jan. 9, 1998. Affleck's birthday is Aug. 15. For 15 straight years on Affleck's birthday following the release of the movie, the Red Sox lost. What can I say, this was a thing in Boston. I bring this up because you might want to drop some serious cash on the Atlanta Braves on Father's Day 2019 if Julio Teheran is on the mound. Teheran returned from the disabled list Sunday and threw six no-hit innings against the Padres, striking out a season-high 11. The Braves, who won 4-1, weren't about to let him try for the no-no just returning from an injury, and the Friars broke it up against the Atlanta bullpen. Teheran has now started four times in his career on Father's Day (2013, '15, '16 and this year) and has thrown 28 scoreless innings with just nine hits allowed to 31 strikeouts. Just something to keep in mind if his turn happens to come up again June 16, 2019. At this point, the Braves should ensure that it does.
Braves at Blue Jays ( -152, 8.5 )
A 12:37 start time on Facebook Live only with Atlanta adding the designated hitter. It's another trade audition for Blue Jays lefty J.A. Happ (8-3, 3.48), who is almost a sure thing to be gone by the afternoon of July 31. A recent report by Jon Morosi of the MLB Network stated that the Yankees and Mariners, one of Happ's former teams, are very interested. The Jays normally wouldn't want to help the division-rival Yankees, but Toronto's not going anywhere this year and Happ will be a free agent. He comes off five shutout innings against the Rays and hasn't personally lost since May 10. Nick Markakis has seen him more than any Brave, going 5-for-16 with two doubles. Atlanta's Anibal Sanchez (3-0, 1.93) continues to surprise. He blanked the Padres over seven innings in his most recent start. Toronto's Toescar Hernandez is 2-for-3 with two homers off Sanchez.
Key trends: The Braves are 2-5 in their past seven against lefties. The Jays are 8-2 in Happ's past 10 interleague starts. The "over/under" has gone under in five of Happ's past seven at home vs. teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Jays and under.
White Sox at Indians (-310, 7.5)
First pitch of 1:10 p.m. ET from the Land. Corey Kluber (10-3, 2.24), you are a slacker! He hadn't issued a walk in his past six starts, one shy of tying the franchise record, but he was very mortal last Friday in a home loss to the Twins, allowing four runs with one walk and just three strikeouts over five innings. He hadn't personally lost since May 8. Kluber shut out the White Sox on three hits over six innings with 10 strikeouts on May 30 in Cleveland. Jose Abreu is 16-for-47 off him with five homers and 15 strikeouts. Chicago's Reynaldo Lopez (2-4, 3.35) comes off a no-decision vs. Detroit (6 IP, 3 ER) in his third straight quality start. By far his worst outing of the year was opposite Kluber on May 30 (2.2 IP, 7 ER).
Key trends: The Indians are 7-1 in Kluber's past eight vs. the White Sox. The over is 4-1 in his previous five against them. The under is 5-1-1 in Lopez's past seven.
Early lean: White Sox on runline and under.
Marlins at Giants (-145, 8)
A 3:45 p.m. ET matinee from the Bay area. It's also the last game that the Giants will be without shortstop Brandon Crawford, the team's leading hitter and almost surely an All-Star. He was placed on the paternity list Monday and is allowed to miss a maximum of three games. It's Mr. Unlucky Jose Urena (2-8, 4.18) for the Marlins, but his luck might be turning. He shut out the Orioles on three hits over eight innings Friday to earn his second win in three starts after losing 12 straight dating to 2017. Urena did throw a career-high 112 pitches, so we'll see if there's a bit of a hangover here. Andrew McCutchen is 4-for-8 off him. San Francisco lefty Derek Holland (4-7, 4.48) lost to the Dodgers on Friday, surrendering two earned over five. He has been much better on the road this year than at pitcher-friendly AT&T Park (5.55 ERA in five starts).
Key trends: The Marlins are 8-1 in Urena's past nine road starts vs. teams with a losing record. The under is 7-3 in his past 10. The under is 6-2 in Holland's past eight.
Early lean: Marlins and over.
Red Sox at Twins (+126, 8.5)
The reason I think Boston will hold off the Yankees in the AL East is because the Red Sox have a superior rotation (for now) thanks to the re-emergence of lefty David Price (8-4, 3.76) as one of the AL's best pitchers. He improved to 6-0 with 2.64 ERA in his past seven starts by beating the Mariners last Thursday, allowing one run and no walks over seven innings. Price hasn't lost since May 3, which is the last time Boston did in one of his outings. Lifetime at Target Field, Price is 4-3 with a 2.93 ERA. Brian Dozier is 8-for-36 off him with two homers. Minnesota's Lance Lynn (4-5, 4.98) threw a fifth straight quality start Thursday (6.2 IP, 3 ER) but lost in Detroit. His ERA was 7.47 before this run. Mookie Betts is 3-for-5 with a homer against him.
Key trends: The Sox are 4-0 in Price's past four on the road. The Twins are 2-6 in Lynn's past eight vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 5-2 in Price's past seven. The under is 4-1 in Lynn's past five.
Early lean: Red Sox on runline and under.
Rays at Astros (-272, 8)
ESPN+ game and features two of the hardest-throwing right-handed starters in the game in Tampa Bay's Nathan Eovaldi and Houston's Charlie Morton. Eovaldi (1-2, 4.63) allowed five runs at the Yankees on Friday over a season-high 7.1 innings in a loss; he ran out of gas in the eighth, giving three runs. Eovaldi is getting a bit unlucky as batters are hitting just .188 off him. Red-hot Evan Gattis is 6-for-20 off Eovaldi. Morton (8-1, 2.94) won in Kansas City on Friday by surrendering three runs over six. He has been wild his past two outings with 10 walks. Morton is 5-1 with a 2.76 ERA in eight starts at home this year. Tampa's Carlos Gomez is 6-for-16 off him with a homer.
Key trends: The Astros are 6-1 in Morton's past seven vs. teams with a losing record. The over is 4-1 in Morton's past five.
Early lean: Astros on runline and over.
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