Daily Expert MLB Picks: Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018, Opening Line Report
So, if you take PEDs in baseball and get caught you aren't allowed to compete in the playoffs but if you beat up a woman (allegedly) then you are all clear for postseason baseball. I bring up this up because PED cheat Robinson Cano of the Seattle Mariners was eligible to come off his 80-game suspension on Tuesday night but will not be eligible per the CBA to play should the Mariners end the longest playoff drought in the majors; meanwhile, there are no such clauses affecting new Astros reliever Roberto Osuna, who recently completed his 75-game suspension for violating MLB's domestic violence policy. That just doesn't seem right. Cano is one of the best second basemen of his generation, but he's not getting that full-time job back - Dee Gordon will be the everyday guy there because he has been fantastic since shifting from center field to us his usual second-sacker spot. What the Mariners plan to do is use Cano at first, second, third and DH whenever the starters there need a day off or something. "We'll be creative," Manager Scott Servais has said. He'll need to be as the current starters at those position are all better offensive players these days than Cano is.
Pirates at Twins ( -122, 8.5 )
A 1:10 p.m. ET first pitch with Pittsburgh adding the designated hitter. The Twins have lost disappointing slugger Logan Morrison for the season with a left hip impingement, for which he'll have to undergo season-ending surgery. Morrison has a team option for $8 million next season but I tend to doubt the Twins exercise that as he hit just .186 with 15 homers this year. He did hit 38 bombs in 2017 with Tampa Bay. Minnesota starts young ace Jose Berrios (11-8, 3.66). He struggled Thursday in Cleveland, allowing four runs with six walks in just four innings of a no-decision. Only a couple of Pirates have seen him; Corey Dickerson is 3-for-5 with a homer. New Pirate Chris Archer (4-5, 4.36) got his first W in his new uniform last Wednesday, allowing two runs over five in Colorado. He's 4-0 with a 1.48 ERA in five career starts at the Twins. Miguel Sano is 1-for-12 off him with 10 Ks.
Key trends: The Twins are 0-5 in Berrios' past five vs. teams with a winning record. The "over/under" has gone under in seven of Berrios' past 10 interleague starts.
Early lean: Pirates and under.
Mariners at A's (-134, 9)
MLB Network game and series finale at 3:35 p.m. ET. Any time these two play the rest of the way, it's crucial as they battle for the AL's second wild-card spot (assuming Astros will win AL West and Yankees will take first wild-card spot). Seattle's Mike Leake (8-7, 4.11) has been the second-most-profitable pitcher in the majors this year. He is working on five straight quality starts but hasn't personally won since June 23 in Boston. Leake has a 2.84 ERA in two starts this year vs. Oakland but no decisions. Jonathan Lucroy hits .455 off him with two homers in 44 at-bats. A's lefty Brett Anderson (2-3, 4.53) has taken no-decisions in his past two, allowing two combined runs over 12 innings. He took a ND in Seattle in his season debut on May 2 (6.1 IP, 2 ER). Cano is 5-for-21 off him with a homer.
Key trends: The A's are 5-2 in Anderson's past seven vs. Seattle. The under is 7-1 in his previous eight overall. The under is 4-1 in Leake's past five on the road.
Early lean: A's and under.
Indians at Reds (+162, 9.5)
Cleveland loses the DH for this one, so maybe it's good timing that said player, Edwin Encarnacion, landed on the 10-day DL with a left biceps injury that's only expected to cost him the minimum amount of time. He's hitting just .229 but with 25 homers and 81 RBIs. It's Tribe rookie Shane Bieber (6-2, 4.24). He shut out the White Sox on three hits over 6.2 innings in his last outing but didn't get a decision. It's his first look at Cincinnati. The Reds' Robert Stephenson (0-1, 6.75) made his first start and appearance of 2018 last Wednesday at the Mets and allowed three runs with five walks in four innings. He managed to walk opposing pitcher Jacob deGrom on four pitches with the bases loaded. Stephenson has never faced the Indians.
Key trends: The Indians are 5-2 in Bieber's past seven vs. teams with a losing record. The Reds are 1-7 in Stephenson's past eight vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 7-2 in Stephenson's past nine.
Early lean: Indians and over.
Red Sox at Phillies (+123, 9)
ESPN game with Boston losing the DH. The Red Sox go with Nathan Eovaldi (5-4, 3.74). After two brilliant starts to begin his Boston career following a trade from Tampa Bay, Eovaldi was crushed for eight runs and 10 hits in 2.2 innings in Baltimore on Friday but managed to avoid a loss because the Red Sox scored 19 runs. Not many Phillies have seen him; Asdrubal Cabrera is 2-for-14 with five Ks. Philadelphia's Vince Velasquez (8-9, 3.98) lost last Wednesday in Arizona, surrendering four runs in four innings. He had been pitching quite well. No Red Sox batter has more than three at-bats off him, with Xander Bogaerts 2-for-3 with a double.
Key trends: The Phillies are 1-4 in Velasquez's past five at home vs. teams with a winning record. The under has hit in his past seven overall.
Early lean: Phillies and under.
Giants at Dodgers (-182, 8)
MLB Network late game. Giants lefty Derek Holland (6-8, 3.97) won for the first time since June 20 on Friday despite allowing five runs and 10 hits against visiting Pittsburgh. He is 0-2 with a 6.08 ERA in three starts this season against the Dodgers. Brian Dozier is 5-for-16 off him with a homer. Matt Kemp has gone yard in eight at-bats. L.A. lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu (3-0, 2.12) will make his first appearance since May 2. He has been out with a left groin strain; the muscle tore clean off the bone. Wouldn't wish that injury on anyone. L.A. made room for him in the rotation by sending Ross Stripling and Kenta Maeda to the bullpen.
Key trends: The Giants are 5-2 in Holland's past seven on the road. The Dodgers are 7-2 in Ryu's past nine at home. The under is 4-1 in his previous five at home vs. San Francisco.
Early lean: Dodgers and under.
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