Daily Expert MLB Picks: Tuesday, July 3, 2018, Opening Line Report
Now that we are into July, the trade chatter will really heat up. And the massively disappointing New York Mets are officially open for business. Mets interim general manager John Ricco - GM Sandy Alderson recently left the team due to a recurrence of cancer and might not ever be coming back -- admitted that the team will "have to consider" trade offers for ace pitchers Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. Both of those guys would shoot to the top of the list for any contender and would bring back a massive haul of prospects. Mets fans would likely revolt at first but it might be the best move for the franchise as it likely won't be good until deGrom and Syndergaard are free agents. While it's far from a sure thing those two are dealt, you can all but put it in stone that closer Jeurys Familia and infielder Asdrubal Cabrera will be goners as both are free-agents-to-be.
Tigers at Cubs ( -216, TBA )
An MLB Network game at 2:20 p.m. ET from Wrigley. The worst pitcher in baseball this season in terms of money units lost has been the Cubs' Kyle Hendricks (5-8, 4.21). Last Wednesday at the Dodgers, Hendricks was spotted a 2-0 lead but gave three back in the bottom of the first and lasted just 2.2 innings, allowing six runs and eight hits as Chicago fell to 5-11 in his 16 outings. It was the second-shortest start of his career and tied the most earned runs allowed. Hendricks' June ERA of 7.03 was his highest of any month with multiple starts. He has never faced Detroit. The Tigers' Michael Fulmer (3-7, 4.20) has regressed since winning the AL Rookie of the Year in 2016 but still would have a ton of trade value at age 25 if the Tigers were to make him available. Fulmer has one victory in his past six, but the Tigers don't score for him. He hasn't faced the Cubs.
Key trends: The Tigers are 3-14 in Fulmer's past 17 starts vs. teams with a winning record. The Cubs are 1-4 in Hendricks' past five vs. the AL. The "over/under" has gone under in seven straight Fulmer interleague starts.
Early lean: Tigers on runline.
Twins at Brewers (-133, 8.5)
Facebook Live game at 4:10 p.m. ET with the Twins losing the designated hitter. Reports are that the Twins have waived the white flag and are ready to sell off just about everyone other than ace pitcher Jose Berrios. I loved their offseason trade acquisition of Jake Odorizzi (3-5, 4.62), although he has disappointed a bit. Odorizzi comes off six shutout innings Thursday at the White Sox but had to settle for a no-decision. He didn't even make it out of the second inning in his previous start. Odorizzi took a ND vs. the Brewers on May 20 (5.2 IP, 10 Ks). Milwaukee's Travis Shaw is 4-for-16 off him with two doubles. Christian Yelich is 0-for-10. The Brewers' Junior Guerra (4-5, 3.05) won in Cincinnati on Thursday, allowing four runs over six. He took a ND at the Twins on May 20 (4.1 IP, 1 ER).
Key trends: The Twins are 1-4 in Odorizzi's past five vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 3-1-1 in his previous five on the road. The under is 6-2 in Guerra's past eight.
Early lean: Brewers and under.
Orioles at Phillies (-142, 9.5)
Every year, there are a few horrible free-agent signings. The Cubs, for example, definitely regret giving Yu Darvish some $126 million. Many were surprised when the Orioles gave former Tampa Bay Ray Alex Cobb $60 million over four years late in spring training since the Orioles weren't supposed to contend so why bother? Turns out they shouldn't have as Cobb has been perhaps the worst starter in the majors at 2-9 with a 6.75 ERA. He has allowed at least five earned in three of his past four. At least this game is at night because Cobb is 0-6 with an 8.80 ERA during the day. He hasn't faced the Phillies. One reason the Phils are better than expected is the breakout season of third-year Zach Eflin (6-2, 3.02). His career ERA was near 6.00 entering this year in 22 starts. He already has more strikeouts in 2018 than he did in more innings pitched in both 2016 & '17. Eflin hasn't faced the Orioles, who lose the DH.
Key trends: The Orioles are 10-26 in their past 36 series openers. The Phillies are 5-1 in Eflin's past six series openers. The over is 4-1 in Cobb's past five on the road.
Early lean: Phillies and over.
Braves at Yankees (-167, 9.5)
Possible World Series preview? Doubt it in 2018, but the Braves could be really, really good next year. Their young ace lefty Sean Newcomb (8-2, 2.71) is on the bump. Atlanta has lost his last two even though Newcomb threw a quality start in both (he didn't take a decision. I'm just guessing that Newcomb hates the Yankees because he grew up outside Boston. The only Yankee to have faced him is Giancarlo Stanton (2-for-6). The Yanks are going to trade for pitcher as we've said many times; they really shouldn't be starting someone like rookie Domingo German (2-4, 5.32). He was pummeled in his last start by the Rays on June 24 (3 IP, 6 ER) but pitched a scoreless inning of relief a few days later. It's his first career look at Atlanta.
Key trends: The Braves are 5-2 in Newcomb's past seven on the road. The over is 4-1 in his past five. The under is 5-1 in German's past six.
Early lean: Braves and over.
Mets at Blue Jays (-130, 9)
New York loses the DH for this interleague matchup. The teams split two games in Queens from May 15-16, each a blowout with the winning side scoring 12 runs in each. The Jays have started their sell-off by sending super-utility guy Steve Pearce to Boston. Toronto starts Marco Estrada, another guy who could be dealt since he'll become a free agent. Estrada (4-7, 4.53) comes off a no-decision in Houston, allowing three earned over five. He hasn't allowed more than three earned in his past five starts. Estrada didn't face the Mets in the first series. Todd Frazier is 7-for-22 off him with two homers. New York's Zack Wheeler (2-6, 4.47) hasn't won since April 29 but deserved to last Wednesday, shutting out the Pirates over seven innings. He lost to the Jays on May 16 (4 IP, 6 ER).
Key trends: The Mets are 1-10 in Wheeler's past 11. The Jays are 5-1 in Estrada's past six vs. teams with a losing record. The under is 4-1-1 in his previous six at home.
Early lean: Jays and under.
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