Daily Expert MLB Picks: Wednesday, May 16, 2018, Opening Line Report
Have we seen the end of St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright? If we have, the big right-hander belongs in not quite the Hall of Fame but the Hall of Very Good with his 147-84 record and 3.30 ERA. From 2008-14 he was clearly one of the best pitchers in baseball, but then injuries hit and Wainwright, except for a brief part of 2015 (limited to 28 innings), hasn't been the same since. His ERA in 2013 was 4.62 and then last year in 123.1 innings it ballooned to 5.11. This year, he's 1-3 with a 4.00 ERA and 1.83 WHIP. Wainwright is likely headed back to the disabled list with elbow wain. The 36-year-old had recently been activated from the DL after a bout with right elbow inflammation. On Sunday in a 5-3 loss to the Padres, he lasted just 2.1 innings with six walks before leaving with more elbow soreness. At what point does he say enough is enough? Wainwright is in the last season of a five-year, $97.5 million contract.
White Sox at Pirates (TBA)
MLB Network game at 12:35 p.m. ET, and the White Sox again lose the designated hitter. The team also expects to have second baseman Yoan Moncada (hamstring) back off the DL by Wednesday, perhaps even Tuesday. Chicago's Carson Fulmer (2-3, 6.23) probably is one more poor start from either being kicked to the bullpen or back to the minors. He lasted just 1.2 innings last time out at the Cubs, allowing five runs. Fulmer has never faced Pittsburgh. The Pirates' Jameson Taillon (2-3, 4.08) left his start Friday after three scoreless innings vs. the Giants due to a finger laceration on his pitching hand. He threw Sunday and seems likely to start (you may want to Google his name and urine). It would be first career look at the White Sox. Fulmer and Taillon are both former first-round picks from Lakeland, Fla.
Key trends: The Sox are 4-1 in Fulmer's past five vs. teams with a winning record. The Pirates are 8-2 in their past 10 interleague games vs. a right-hander. The "over/under is 5-1 in Fulmer's past six.
Early lean: Our first TBA in a while - it's because Taillon isn't official yet, although the team's game notes list him as Wednesday's starter. I would bet against Fulmer and go over regardless of the total.
Cardinals at Twins ( +102, 9.5 )
St. Louis adds the DH for this 1:10 p.m. ET interleague matchup in the AL park. One of the biggest surprises in the National League this season has been 29-year-old Cardinals right-hander Miles Mikolas. Before this year, he last pitched in the majors in 2014 and was terrible in 57.1 innings for the Rangers. Mikolas went over to Japan to resurrect his career, and it worked. Now he's 5-0 with a 2.51 ERA and 0.96 WHIP. Talk about a potentially unlikely All-Star. Since allowing four earned in his of his first two starts, he hasn't allowed more than two ER in one since. Only a couple of Twins have ever faced him (in the USA anyways). It's former Cardinal Lance Lynn for the Twins. He was oddly frozen out of the free-agent market, landing just a one-year, $12 million (must be rough) deal. Lynn (1-3, 7.34) has clearly been a bust so far with those numbers. He averaged a 3.06 ERA over his previous three seasons as a member of the Cards.
Key trends: The Cards are 1-5 in Lynn's past five vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 5-0 in his past five.
Early lean: Cardinals and over.
Rays at Royals (-105, 9)
Kansas City has placed one of its few guys who was hitting, first baseman Lucas Duda, on the 10-day DL with right foot plantar fasciitis. That's usually longer than a 10-day stint. In May, Duda was hitting .366 with a homer and eight RBIs. Probably a platoon of Chelsor Cuthbert and newly-recalled Hunter Dozier to man first base. It's former Rays right-hander Jason Hammel (0-4, 6.13) on the mound for Kansas City. He was bombed for nine runs over 3.2 innings last time out in Cleveland but escaped a loss. Tampa's Wilson Ramos is 4-for-12 with two solo homers off Hammel. The Rays' Jacob Faria (3-2, 5.09) was knocked around for seven runs over six innings in his last start, a loss in Baltimore. He has a 1.74 ERA at home this year and 8.55 on the road. Faria has never faced the Royals.
Key trends: The Rays are 4-1 in Faria's past five. The Royals are 1-7 in Hammels' past eight. The over is 4-1 in Faria's past five on the road.
Early lean: Rays and over.
Reds at Giants (-140, 8.5)
I would have given you at least 20/1 odds that the Reds wouldn't have swept a four-game series at the Dodgers over the weekend. Absolutely stunning. Here, it's new Red Matt Harvey, acquired last week from the Mets for Devin Mesoraco. Harvey (0-2, 6.10) was solid in his debut in L.A. on Friday, allowing no runs and one hit over four. He hit a season-high 95.8 mph on the gun a few times. Presumably, he'll be allowed to go deeper into this game. Buster Posey is 5-for-8 off him with two doubles and a homer. San Francisco lefty Andrew Suarez (1-2, 4.57) lasted a season-low four innings in his most recent start in Pittsburgh, surrendering five runs. It's his first career look at Cincinnati.
Key trends: The Reds are 15-36 in their past 51 vs. a lefty. The Giants are 4-1 in their past five in Game 3 of a series. The over is 5-1 in the Giants' past six on Wednesday.
Early lean: Giants and over.
Yankees at Nationals (-175, 7.5)
ESPN game as these two wrap up their terrific two-game interleague set. Just think, the next time the Yankees visit D.C., if it's not in the 2018 World Series, Bryce Harper could be in pinstripes. Although, most believe the Yanks' trade for Giancarlo Stanton took them out of the Harper free-agency sweepstakes this winter. It's a matchup of former Cy Young winners in New York's CC Sabathia and Washington's Max Scherzer. Sabathia (2-0, 2.23) comes off his worst outing of the year, giving up four runs and nine hits over four against Boston but obviously avoided a loss. In three career starts against Washington, he is 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA. Scherzer (7-1, 1.69) won in Arizona on Friday, allowing one run and striking out 11 in seven innings. He was originally scheduled to throw again Thursday, but Monday's off day allowed the team to move him up on normal rest. It's his first look at the Yankees in three years. Stanton is 4-for-18 off him with two homers and nine strikeouts.
Key trends: The Yanks are 18-7 in Sabathia's past 25 interleague starts. The Nats are 19-7 in Scherzer's past 26 at home. The under is 6-2-1 in Scherzer's past nine interleague starts.
Early lean: Nationals and under.
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