Daily Expert MLB Picks: Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018, Opening Line Report
In this writer's opinion, baseball should never spill over into November. There's a reason that World Series ratings are declining so much - in late October/early November most sports fans only care about the NFL or college football, plus you also have the NBA and NHL going. Well, we don't have to worry about November baseball this year barring some sort of weather issue. MLB released its postseason schedule, and Game 7 of the World Series will be on Halloween night (Wednesday this year). Think of how wild some city will be that night if their team wins it all! Especially Cleveland. It's the first time in four years we are guaranteed no November baseball - although, again, if there's a Game 7 rainout or snow out then we still could. The playoffs begin on Tuesday, Oct. 2 with the NL Wild-Card Game and the AL one the next day. The Divisional Round starts Thursday, Oct. 4, the LCS round on Friday, Oct. 12., and the World Series on Tuesday, Oct. 23 at the site of the team with the best regular-season record.
Astros at Giants ( +112, 7 )
Houston loses the DH for this interleague matinee (3:45 p.m. ET), which is usually Evan Gattis. Solid pitching matchup of lefties, one a former Cy Young and the other a former World Series MVP. Houston's Dallas Keuchel (9-9, 3.61) has been a new guy since the start of July as he hasn't allowed more than three earned in six starts since then. He went seven in a victory in Seattle on Wednesday. Evan Longoria has seen him by far more than any Giant, going 5-for-21 with six strikeouts. The Giants' Madison Bumgarner (4-4, 2.97) won in Arizona on Thursday, allowing one run over five. He has been a bit more wild than usual this season, averaging 3.7 walks per nine innings. Not many active Astros have faced him in a regular-season game. Bumgarner is 4-1 with a 2.45 ERA career against Houston.
Key trends: The Astros are 9-3 in their past 12 road games vs. lefties. The Giants are 4-1 in Bumgarner's past five. The "over/under" has gone under in six of Bumgarner's past nine at home vs. teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Giants and under.
Padres at Brewers (-180, 9)
Not a huge surprise but the Padres have completely waived the white flag, allowing starting pitchers Tyson Ross and Jordan Lyles to be claimed off waivers and not bothering to pull them back and work out some sort of trade. Lyles is now with Milwaukee and Ross with St. Louis. San Diego also placed outfielder Wil Myers on the DL over the weekend with a foot injury. It's an Opening Day rematch on the mound here. Friars lefty Clayton Richard (7-10, 4.99) took a no-decision on March 28, allowing one run over seven. Richard was terrible in July with a 7.50 ERA in six outings. Milwaukee's Chase Anderson (7-7, 3.65) has a 2.08 ERA over his past eight starts. He also took a no-decision on March 29 in San Diego with six shutout innings.
Key trends: The Padres are 1-5 in Richard's past six series openers. The Brewers have won six straight Anderson starts on Tuesday. The under is 6-1-1 in Anderson's previous eight overall.
Early lean: Brewers on runline and under.
Reds at Mets (+100, 8.5)
Looks to be the worst pitching matchup of the night, and I'm shocked the total isn't at least a run higher. Cincinnati's Sal Romano (6-9, 5.12), who sounds like he should play for a New York team, lost in Detroit last time out, allowing four runs over 5.1 innings. He had been temporarily demoted to the bullpen. Romano took a no-decision on May 9 vs. the Mets (6 IP, 1 ER). Former Red Jay Bruce is 0-for-3 against him. Mets lefty Jason Vargas (2-7, 8.23) went five innings Thursday against the Braves, which actually matched a season high. He allowed four runs in a no-decision. Vargas lost in Cincinnati on May 8 (4 IP, 4 ER). Eugenio Suarez is 3-for-6 with four RBIs against him.
Key trends: The Mets are 6-1 in Romano's past seven vs. the NL East. The Mets are 0-5 in Vargas' past five. The over is 6-0-1 in Romano's previous seven.
Early lean: Reds and over.
Dodgers at A's (-105, 7.5)
Los Angeles adds the designated hitter - with all the bats the Dodgers have, that's a huge thing. Some NL teams (Cubs another) are truly built to have a DH. Although, one of those bats, outfielder Yasiel Puig, could be headed back to the DL as he's dealing with more soreness in his right oblique. He has been back from the DL about a week due to the problem. L.A. starts lefty Rich Hill (4-4, 3.63). He has thrown three straight quality starts, all Dodgers wins. Hill pitched for the A's in 2016 before being traded to L.A. Only two current A's have faced him. Oakland lefty Sean Manaea (10-7, 3.38) has not given up more than three earned runs in a start since May 30. He allowed one run over six Wednesday vs. Toronto. Matt Kemp is 2-for-5 off him with a double.
Key trends: The Dodgers are 1-5 in their past six on Tuesday. The A's have won five straight Manaea starts at home. The over is 4-1 in his previous five.
Early lean: A's and under.
Tigers at Angels (-170, 8)
Probably the biggest news around baseball over the weekend was that the longest-tenured manager in baseball, the Angels' Mike Scioscia, plans to step down after the season. Except, Scioscia denied that. His 10-year, $50 million contract is up, and I'm not sure why the Angels would bring him back considering the team has made the playoffs just once this decade and was swept in the ALDS (2014). One potential candidate to replace him? Brad Ausmus, who joined the Angels front office last November after serving as the Tigers manager for four seasons. The Halos go with lefty Andrew Heaney (6-7, 3.75). He lost at Tampa Bay on Thursday, allowing four runs over six. That ended a string of five straight quality starts. Heaney lost in Detroit on May 31 (5 IP, 5 ER). Nicholas Castellanos is 3-for-3 off him. Detroit's Mike Fiers (7-6, 3.48) surprisingly wasn't traded at the non-waiver deadline but could still go. He lasted just two innings in his last start due to a line drive off his left shin but apparently is OK. Mike Trout is 6-for-17 against him with a homer.
Key trends: The Tigers are 5-0 in Fiers' past five during Game 2 of a series. The Angels are 4-1 in their past five against a right-hander. The under is 8-3-2 in Fiers' past 13.
Early lean: Angels and under.
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