Daily Expert MLB Picks: Tuesday, July 24, 2018, Opening Line Report
You will want to be careful this week and through next Monday's games wagering at Doc's affiliated sportsbooks on some teams regarding their starting pitchers (or relievers) and position players because they could easily be pulled from the middle of games or simply scratched beforehand. That's because the non-waiver trade deadline is a week from Tuesday and it's expected to be a very active market. At this time of year, just about every contending team outside of Houston needs starting pitching. Absolutely every club could use a bullpen upgrade, although Cleveland is probably done there after landing All-Star closer Brad Hand and setup man Adam Cimber from San Diego. It's those bad teams that potentially will be holding guys down or pulling them - if you see a guy yanked mid-game like Manny Machado was in his final game as an Oriole, then you know something is pending. Same thing if a projected starter is replaced 24 hours before or on game day for non-injury reasons.
Braves at Marlins ( +130, 8 )
Lone matinee of the day with a 12:10 p.m. ET start. Probably be about 50 people in attendance on a Tuesday afternoon in south Florida. Miami is absolutely a seller, while the Braves might make a minor-to-moderate move. Atlanta starts Julio Teheran (7-6, 4.00). He comes off 6.1 scoreless innings vs. Arizona. I should warn you that Teheran this season tends to alternate good starts with bad ones. He allowed six runs over five innings on May 20 at home vs. the Marlins. Miami counters with lefty Wei-Yin Chen (2-7, 5.75), whom the team would take a bag of balls for but no one is touching that contract. Chen hasn't won since June 16 but three of his past four outings have been quality. He took a no-decision opposite Teheran on May 20 (5.1 IP, 2 ER). Freddie Freeman is 6-for-12 career off him.
Key trends: The Braves are 2-5 in Teheran's past seven vs. Miami. The Marlins are 1-4 in Chen's past five vs. Atlanta. The "over/under" is 7-2 in Teheran's past eight in the series and 5-0 in Chen's past five.
Early lean: Marlins and over.
Pirates at Indians (-160, 9.5)
Pittsburgh adds the designated hitter for this interleague matchup. Did you know that Pittsburgh is closer to Cleveland than Philadelphia? That's why you always see a ton of Steelers fans when their team is at the Browns; much easier to get tickets there than for home games in Steel Town. Pittsburgh starts Joe Musgrove (3-4, 4.08). He allowed five runs over 7.2 innings last time out vs. Milwaukee in a no-decision. Cleveland's Yan Gomes is 2-for-2 off him with a homer and four RBIs. Tribe rookie Shane Bieber (5-1, 3.53; yes, he is tormented in the clubhouse for that last name) allowed three earned over seven in his last start against the Yankees and faces Pittsburgh for the first time. The Indians have lost outfielder Bradley Zimmer for the season and maybe first half of next following surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He showed some major promise as a rookie last year but hadn't hit much in 2018.
Key trends: The Bucs are 2-5 in Musgrove's past seven. The over is 5-1 in his previous five. The over is 7-2-1 in Cleveland's past 10.
Early lean: Indians and over.
Astros at Rockies (+130, 10.5)
Colorado has placed second baseman DJ LeMahieu on the 10-day disabled list with a left oblique strain. He's probably going to miss quite a bit longer than 10 days. The 30-year-old is hitting .278 with eight homers and 34 RBIs in 72 games. Garrett Hampson was called up from Triple-A and should man the position while LeMahieu is out. The Rockies go with lefty Tyler Anderson here. He has allowed just three earned runs combined over his past four. It's the 28-year-old's first career look at Houston. Astros All-Star Gerrit Cole (10-2, 2.52) might be tiring a bit as he has lasted six innings just twice in his past five. He also has walked at least three in five of the past six. Nolan Arenado hits him hard, going 5-for-11 with two homers.
Key trends: The Astros are 8-2 in Cole's past 10 road starts. The Rockies are 4-1 in Anderson's past five vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 5-2-1 in Cole's past eight on the road.
Early lean: Rockies and (love the) under.
Dodgers at Phillies (-127, 7.5)
Los Angeles might lose third baseman Justin Turner back to the disabled list after he aggravated a right groin injury in Sunday's game; that was his first start since July 11. You could see Manny Machado slide over from shortstop to third while Turner is out. It's Kenta Maeda (7-5, 3.12) on the bump for L.A. He hasn't pitched since last Sunday when he went a third of an inning in relief right before the All-Star break. Maeda hasn't allowed more than three runs in a start since May 11. Phillies ace and All-Star Aaron Nola (12-3, 2.30) makes his first post-break start. I believe he's excellent Cy Young betting value because voters like to reward guys whose teams make the playoffs, and if Philly does do that I believe Nola could beat out Max Scherzer for the award. NL MVP candidate and fellow All-Star Matt Kemp is 0-for-11 career off him.
Key trends: The Phillies are 17-4 in Nola's past 21 at home. The under is 4-0 in Maeda's previous four on the road. It's 5-1 in Nola's past six at home.
Early lean: Phillies and under.
Padres at Mets (TBA)
Probably a good time to start fading the Mets if you weren't already. They dealt closer Jeurys Familia over the weekend to Oakland and placed Noah Syndergaard on the DL with something called hand, foot and mouth disease. OK, then. Truly never heard of that, with Thor contracting it while helping out at a youth camp. Apparently, it's nothing too serious and he might only miss one start. The Mets go with veteran lefty Jason Vargas (2-6, 8.60) - who clearly shouldn't be a starting pitcher at this point and will be activated off the DL. Vargas, who hasn't pitched in the majors since June 19, was dealing with a calf injury. Eric Hosmer doesn't hit him much, going 2-for-15. San Diego rookie lefty Joey Lucchesi (4-5, 3.34) was sent down to Triple-A for the All-Star break so he could continue to pitch after missing a month with a right hip strain. He beat the Mets on April 28 (5.2 IP, 2 ER).
Key trends: The Padres are 1-5 in Lucchesi's past six. The Mets have lost their past five vs. lefties. The over is 3-0-1 in Vargas' past four vs. the NL West.
Early lean: No opening line yet as it's possible the Mets skip Vargas or push him back a day after Sunday night's rainout. If it's Zack Wheeler instead of Vargas, as it might be, I'd back the Mets. If it is the lefty, take San Diego.
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