Daily Expert MLB Picks: Tuesday, July 31, 2018, Opening Line Report
Tuesday is one of my favorite days of the year: the MLB non-waiver trade deadline. In my opinion, only the NBA's deadline day beats it. While I think there will be plenty of action leading up to the deadline (4 p.m. ET), I believe most of the heavy lifting has been done and that there won't be any futures odds-altering moves. So, no, the Mets won't be trading Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard to the Yankees or Dodgers or the like (but maybe Zack Wheeler). Most of the big-market contenders have made their moves: the Yankees have gotten Zach Britton and J.A. Happ, the Red Sox landed Nathan Eovaldi, the Astros upgraded at catcher with Martin Maldonado, the Dodgers got the big fish in Manny Machado and the Cubs helped the rotation with Cole Hamels. Remember, too, that teams can still make deals until Aug. 31 but that players must clear waivers or a trade must be made with the claiming team. That's how the Astros got Justin Verlander last year.
Giants at Padres ( -104, 8 )
Lone matinee of the day at 4:10 p.m. ET. The Giants had won seven straight outings by rookie Dereck Rodriguez (5-1, 2.75), but that ended Thursday when he personally took a no-decision after allowing two runs over six against Milwaukee, which would win 7-5. It was Rodriguez's fifth straight quality start. There's some talk that the Padres are the leaders to acquire Tampa Bay pitcher Chris Archer, which is sort of odd considering San Diego isn't close to contention this year. Apparently, the front office believes it will be a playoff-caliber team as early as 2019. It's lefty Clayton Richard here. He might lose his rotation spot if Archer comes aboard as Richard has walked 20 over his last five starts and has an 8.28 ERA in July. He's 1-1 with a 7.20 ERA in three 2018 starts vs. the Giants. Andrew McCutchen is 7-fof-15 off him with two homers.
Key trends: The Giants have lost four straight in Game 2 of a series. The Padres are 2-6 in Richards' past eight on five days of rest. The "over/under" is 5-1 in Richards' past six at home in the series.
Early lean: Giants and over.
Phillies at Red Sox (-150, 10)
ESPN matchup of division leaders. Philadelphia has won the past five outings of Jake Arrieta (8-6, 3.45). He went six innings Wednesday vs. the Dodgers, allowing two earned over six. Arrieta was really bad in June but is 3-0 with a 3.18 ERA in July. Boston's Andrew Benintendi is 1-for-3 off him with a homer. Mitch Moreland is 3-for-8 with a double and dinger. Red Sox left-hander Drew Pomeranz (1-4, 6.91) returned from a long DL stint last Tuesday and lost in Baltimore (which is tough to do in 2018), allowing four runs over 4.2 innings. He threw a first-pitch strike to just 10 of 22 batters. Only a handful of Phillies have seen him. New Phillie Asdrubal Cabrera is 2-for-4 with two RBIs off Pomeranz.
Key trends: The Phillies are 5-14 in their past 19 vs. lefties. The Red Sox are 16-6 in Pomeranz's past 22 at home. The over is 5-1 in his past six at home vs. teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Red Sox and over.
Mets at Nationals (-173, 8.5)
One of the worst pitchers in baseball in terms of money units lost this season has been Tanner Roark (4-12, 4.55) as the Nationals are 6-14 in his starts, and that would have cost you minus-$1140 if you bet $100 on Washington in each of starts. The Nats had dropped seven straight of his outings, but Roark was fabulous last time out, shutting out Milwaukee on three hits over eight innings with a season-high 11 strikeouts. Roark is 0-1 with a 5.82 ERA in three starts this year vs. the Mets. Jay Bruce is 3-for-19 off him with six Ks. New York lefty Steven Matz (5-8, 3.79), who could also be traded by Tuesday, won in Pittsburgh last Thursday, allowing four runs over six. He tied his career with nine strikeouts. Matz is 0-1 with a 3.52 ERA in three 2018 outings vs. Washington. Bryce Harper is just 2-for-15 off him.
Key trends: The Mets are 1-7 in Matz's past eight on Tuesday. The Nats are 1-5 in Roark's past six at home. The over is 3-1-1 in Roark's previous five against New York.
Early lean: Mets on runline and over.
Reds at Tigers (-122, 9)
If you are betting the Reds any time that Homer Bailey (1-7, 6.29) starts, you must like throwing your money away. Cincinnati is just 1-12 in his starts, the worst winning percentage of any qualified pitcher this season. That lone victory was May 12 at the Dodgers. Bailey returned from a long DL stint last Tuesday and was pretty good, allowing two runs over 6.2 inning vs. the Cardinals, but naturally the Reds lost. The only active Tiger to have faced him in Victor Martinez (2-for-9). Detroit lefty Matthew Boyd (5-9, 4.53) won in Kansas City on Wednesday, allowing two runs over six. He lost in Cincinnati on June 19 (4 IP, 5 ER). Joey Votto is 1-for-3 with a grand slam off him - the first Boyd has ever allowed.
Key trends: The Reds are 5-12 in Bailey's past 17 vs. teams with a losing record. The Tigers are 4-1 in Boyd's past five at home vs. teams with a losing record. The over is 4-1 in Boyd's past five interleague outings.
Early lean: Tigers and over.
Astros at Mariners (+120, 8)
Houston has lost reigning AL MVP and second baseman Jose Altuve to the disabled list with soreness in his right knee. It's the first time that Altuve has landed on the DL in his eight-year potentially Hall of Fame career. He is having another fine if not MVP-caliber season, batting.329 with nine home runs and 46 RBIs in 104 games. Houston starts Charlie Morton (11-2, 2.89) in this one. He comes off a no-decision in Colorado, allowing one run over six. He was a bit wild with four walks and just 58 of 102 pitches thrown for strikes. Morton threw seven shutout innings in Seattle on April 19. Kyle Seager is 1-for-13 off him. The Mariners' Mike Leake (8-6, 4.15) hasn't won since June 23 in Boston. One had to figure regression was coming. He lost to Houston on April 18 (6 IP, 5 ER). Evan Gattis is 1-for-10 off him with five Ks.
Key trends: The Astros are 16-3 in Morton's past 19 on five days of rest. The Mariners are 5-2 in Leake's past seven at home. The over is 4-1 in Leake's past five vs. the AL West.
Early lean: Astros and over.
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