Daily Expert MLB Picks: Wednesday, June 27, 2018, Opening Line Report
One benefit of rooting for a lousy rebuilding team like the Cincinnati Reds (not that I do), is later in the season you at least get to see the club call up its top prospects to offer hope for the future. Alas, now Reds fans don't even have that to look forward to regarding the franchise's No. 1 overall prospect and the No. 6 in all of baseball in infielder Nick Senzel. He had season-ending surgery on Tuesday to repair a torn tendon in his right index finger. Senzel, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 draft, was hurt over the weekend while playing for Triple-A Louisville and almost surely was going to be called up at some point this year. He also missed around a month earlier this season due to vertigo but had been raking in June with a .387 average with three homers and 16 RBIs along with a stretch of seven straight multi-hit games. Perhaps Senzel will make the big club next spring, although obviously missing half a season won't help his development.
Reds at Braves ( -137, 8.5 )
First pitch of the day at 12:10 p.m. ET. Atlanta may activate good-looking rookie Ronald Acuna, the No. 1 overall prospect in MLB, from the DL. He hasn't played in the majors since May 27 when he suffered a scary-looking knee injury while crossing first base but has been rehabbing in Triple-A. He's hitting .265 with five homers in 117 big-league at-bats. The Braves start young ace lefty Sean Newcomb (8-2, 2.59), who could be heading to the All-Star Game. He comes off a no-decision Friday vs. Baltimore, allowing one run and five hits over seven. He took a ND in Cincinnati on April 26 (6 IP, 4 ER). The Reds' Luis Castillo (5-8, 5.70) ended a four-start losing streak Sunday by beating the Cubs (5.2 IP, 3 ER). He missed Atlanta in the earlier series. Nick Markakis is 1-for-1 off him with a double and two RBIs.
Key trends: The Reds are 1-4 in Castillo's past five. The Braves are 6-1 in Newcomb's past seven at home vs. teams with a losing record. The "over/under" is 6-2 in Castillo's past eight and 5-2 in Newcomb's previous seven.
Early lean: Braves and over.
Royals at Brewers (-183, 8.5)
Shown solely on Facebook Live at 2:10 p.m. ET with Kansas City losing the designated hitter. Royals lefty Danny Duffy (3-7, 5.18) comes off one of his best starts of the year, throwing six shutout innings in Houston - albeit in a no-decision -- an outing after allowing seven runs to the Astros. Duffy has been lowering his ERA ever since it was a season-high 6.88 more than a month ago. He's still walking too many guys, though (44). Brewers lefty Brent Suter (8-4, 4.15) gets some of the best run support in the majors, and in fact the Brewers have totaled 36 runs in his past three starts. Suter is 2-1 with a 2.93 ERA in three outings this year against the American League. He has never faced Kansas City.
Key trends: The Royals are 2-7 in Duffy's past nine vs. teams with a winning record. The Brewers are 5-0 in Suter's past five at home. The over has hit in six straight Suter home games.
Early lean: Royals on runline and over.
Angels at Red Sox (-145, 9.5)
MLB Network prime-time game. It's Halos lefty Andrew Heaney (4-5, 3.43). He beat Toronto last Friday, allowing one run on nine hits over seven innings. Heaney has walked just four batters in his past five starts. He missed the Red Sox when they visited Anaheim earlier this season. Mookie Betts is the only Boston player with a hit off Heaney, going 2-for-3 with a strikeout. He made his lone appearance against the Red Sox on July 20, 2015, yielding two runs over seven innings. The Red Sox's Rick Porcello (9-3, 3.44) dominated the Twins last Thursday, allowing just one hit over seven shutout innings, his first scoreless outing since April 18 - which so happened to be in Anaheim, where he went six and allowed six hits. Ian Kinsler hammers him, going 11-for-22. Mike Trout is 9-for-32 with two homers.
Key trends: The Angels have lost five straight Heaney road starts. The Sox are 5-11 in Porcello's past 16 vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 7-1-1 in his past nine.
Early lean: Angels and over.
Yankees at Phillies (+121, 9)
ESPN+ game. The Bombers have lost catcher Gary Sanchez to the disabled list with a groin injury suffered Sunday. Sanchez has 14 homers and 14 RBIs but is hitting just .190. Austin Romine should be behind the plate most games while Sanchez is out. New York also loses the DH for this one. The Bombers go with Luis Cessa (0-0, 3.00) on the mound. He made three relief appearances in April and then was recalled last week, going two scoreless innings at Tampa Bay. This will be his 15th career start in his third season; he has never faced the Phillies. Zach Eflin (5-2, 3.44) won his fourth start in a row Friday at Washington, allowing two runs over five. The 24-year-old has never faced the Yankees, but Giancarlo Stanton is 1-for-3 with a homer against him.
Key trends: The Yankees are 3-7 in Cessa's past 10. The Phils are 6-0 in Eflin's past six vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 9-3 in his previous 12 against teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Phillies and over.
Cubs at Dodgers (-142, 7.5)
ESPN late game. It's Kyle Hendricks (5-7, 3.73) for the Cubbies. He has struggled to go deep in games of late, although it's more a factor that Joe Maddon doesn't seem to trust him. Hendricks has lasted six innings only once in his past four. He missed the Dodgers last week when they were in Wrigley Field. He has faced them three times in his career, going 2-1 with a 3.15 ERA. Matt Kemp is 3-for-16 off him with a homer and six strikeouts. Justin Turner is 2-for-7 with a homer. L.A. lefty Alex Wood (3-5, 4.13) also missed the Cubs last week. He won at the Mets on Friday, surrendering two runs over six. Kris Bryant (if he's able to return from injury) is 3-for-8 off Wood with a homer. Anthony Rizzo 2-for-12.
Key trends: The Cubs are 2-5 in Hendricks' past seven on the road. The Dodgers are 13-6 in Wood's previous 19 at home. The under is 7-3 in his previous 10 at home vs. teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Dodgers and under.
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