Daily Expert MLB Picks: Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018, Opening Line Report
The most interesting team on Tuesday's non-waiver trade deadline day had to be the always penny-pinching Tampa Bay Rays. They traded three prospects for a guy who wouldn't seem to fit their long-term view in Cardinals 30-year-old outfielder Tommy Pham. It's usually the Rays trading 30-year-old guys for prospects, although there reportedly were Rule 5 considerations as to why Tampa did that (i.e. you can only protect so many guys). It was just the warm-up act as the Rays also dealt All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos (currently hurt) to Philadelphia and, in the lone shocker of Tuesday, ace pitcher Chris Archer to Pittsburgh. Archer is frankly overrated as we've stated before but has such good stuff and is on such a team-friendly deal for the next few years that I'm surprised the Rays gave him up. Clearly, what the Pirates offered - former top prospects Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows (plus player to be named) -- blew them away. Pittsburgh obviously believes it's a legit playoff contender in 2018 and if not still has Archer long term. Very interesting deal between teams somewhat in similar financial situations, although the Bucs at least have a stadium.
Rockies at Cardinals ( -140, 8.5 )
MLB Network game at 1:15 p.m. ET. Bit surprised the Cards dealt Pham with how good he was last year, although he had slipped some in 2018 and was hitting .248 with 14 homers, 41 RBIs and 10 steals. St. Louis is pretty deep in outfielders, and clearly the Cards know they aren't likely postseason bound again. Colorado did squat Tuesday but could get second baseman DJ LeMahieu off the DL for this one. It's Antonio Senzatela (4-3, 5.01) for the Rox. He ended a two-start losing streak last time out, allowing one run over 5.2 innings vs. Oakland. Still managed to throw a career-high 110 pitches. No Cardinal has more than five at-bats off him. St. Louis' Miles Mikolas (11-3, 2.83) has allowed three earned or fewer in seven straight starts. Only a couple of Rockies have seen him.
Key trends: The Rockies are 1-7 in Senzatela's past eight on the road. The Cards are 8-3 in Mikolas' past 11 following a quality start in his most recent outing. The "over/under" has gone under in seven of Mikolas' past eight at home.
Early lean: Cardinals and under.
Reds at Nationals (-275, 7.5)
Washington opted to keep Bryce Harper and other big names but puzzlingly dealt reliever Brandon Kintzler to the Cubs - a potential playoff foe. If you are making a postseason push like the Nats, why deal a pretty good arm like that? I'm stunned the Reds didn't trade Matt Harvey, although they surely will try and get him through waivers and perhaps deal him to any claiming team. It's Tyler Mahle (7-8, 4.53) here for Cincinnati. He lasted just an inning last Thursday vs. the Phillies, allowing three runs and six hits, but managed to avoid a loss. Mahle has been terrible in his past three. Washington ace Max Scherzer (14-5, 2.30) is back on track after a little hiccup with four straight victories. He held the Marlins to an unearned run and three hits with 11 Ks over eight innings Friday. Joey Votto is 4-for-13 with a homer off his fellow All-Star.
Key trends: The Reds are 1-4 in Mahle's past five vs. the NL East. The Nats are 5-11 in their past 16 series openers. The under is 6-1 in Washington's past seven vs. the NL Central.
Early lean: Nats on runline and over.
Yankees at Red Sox (-140, 10)
MLB Network prime-time game because … of course it is. Both these clubs had done all their trade work before Tuesday's deadline. The Sox were set to start lefty Chris Sale, who has yet to win a Cy Young but might be the favorite now with the Yankees' Luis Severino slipping. Sale is on a historic six-start stretch where he has allowed just one earned run with 67 strikeouts over 39 innings. Alas, he was surprisingly placed on the 10-day DL Tuesday with mild left shoulder inflammation. The Yankees have to be doing jumping jacks. It's lefty Brian Johnson (1-3, 3.45) taking his place. It will be his seventh start and 28th appearance of the year. He has thrown 4.2 scoreless innings vs. the Yankees in 2018. New York lefty CC Sabathia (6-4, 3.53) hasn't lasted six full in his past three and is 1-0 with a 4.09 ERA in two starts this year vs. Boston. Mookie Betts (12-for-28) hammers him.
Key trends: The Yankees are 6-1 in Sabathia's past seven vs. Boston. The Sox are 5-1 in Johnson's past six at home. The under is 13-2-1 in Sabathia's past 16 against Boston.
Early lean: Red Sox and under.
Brewers at Dodgers (-190, 7.5)
L.A. was another big winner Tuesday by landing power-hitting second baseman Brian Dozier from Minnesota. The Dodgers' infield is now Max Muncy/Clay Bellinger at first, Dozier at second, Manny Machado at short and Justin Turner at third - at least when Turner is back from the DL. That's offensively impressive. Milwaukee added a power-hitting second-sacker of its own in Baltimore's Jonathan Schoop. He was a monster in 2017 but having a down 2018. The Brewers start Jhoulys Chacin (10-3, 3.45), who hasn't lost since June 24. He allowed a run and three hits over seven at the Giants on Saturday. Bellinger is 4-for-10 off him with a homer. L.A. lefty Clayton Kershaw (4-5, 2.52) won in Atlanta on Friday, allowing one run with eight Ks over 7.2 innings. The Brewers' Christian Yelich is 7-for-14 off him with a homer.
Key trends: The Brewers are 5-1 in Chacin's past six vs. teams with a winning record. The Dodgers are 1-4 in Kershaw's past five on Thursday. The under is 5-1 in Kershaw's past six on five days of rest.
Early lean: Brewers on runline and under.
Giants at Diamondbacks (-140, 7.5)
The Giants were quiet Tuesday, while Arizona added relievers Brad Ziegler (Marlins) and Jake Diekman (Rangers). Meh. Lot of aces on the mound Thursday, but this appears to be the lone one where two are facing each other. Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner (3-4, 3.06) lost Friday vs. Milwaukee despite tying his season high with eight innings and giving up just two earned. Bumgarner (108 career wins) is one victory from matching Tim Lincecum for the fourth-highest total in San Francisco-era (since 1958) franchise history. Paul Goldschmidt is a career .344 hitter off him in 61 at-bats. Arizona's Zack Greinke (12-5, 2.96) hasn't personally lost since June 13. He beat the Giants on April 19 (7 IP, 1 ER). Evan Longoria is just 4-for-25 career off him.
Key trends: The Giants are 0-5 in Bumgarner's past five vs. Arizona. The Diamondbacks have won four straight Greinke starts vs. San Francisco. The under is 6-1-1 in Greinke's previous eight in the series.
Early lean: Diamondbacks and under.
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