Daily Expert MLB Picks: Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018, Opening Line Report
Boston's four-game home sweep over the weekend of the Yankees crystalized the AL playoff picture somewhat. The Red Sox are winning the AL East now, and the Indians will do the same in the Central. The Astros should take the AL West again. That leaves the Yankees, A's and Mariners to fight it out for the two wild-card spots. Surprising Oakland made a deal to boost its rotation for a playoff push on Monday in trading for Detroit's Mike Fiers. All it cost to get one of of the most profitable pitchers in baseball this year was two players to be named later or cash considerations. The Tigers had no use for Fiers (7-6, 3.48), who was supposed to start Tuesday at the Angels. One benefit of Oakland having a worse record than the Red Sox, Yankees and Astros is that the A's have a higher waiver claim. I have a feeling that the Yankees, with their pitching issues all of a sudden in the rotation, might have made a claim on Fiers.
Mariners at Rangers ( +121, 11 )
Facebook Watch game at 2:05 p.m. ET. Seattle starts lefty Marco Gonzales (12-6, 3.46). He is 5-1 with a 2.18 ERA in his past six but comes off that loss, allowing four runs over seven innings against the Blue Jays. Gonzales faced the visiting Rangers on May 28 and allowed an unearned run and four hits over 6.2 innings in a victory. Shin-Soo Choo is 3-for-5 off him. Rougned Odor 2-for-3. Texas veteran Yovani Gallardo (6-1, 6.51) gets some of the best run support in the majors - Texas has scored 28 combined runs in his past two, for example. He is 2-2 with a 2.42 ERA in four career starts against the Mariners, one of his former teams, all coming in 2015. Nelson Cruz is 6-for-10 off him with two homers and three RBIs.
Key trends: The Mariners have won seven straight Gonzales starts vs. the AL West. The Rangers are 6-0 in Gallardo's past six vs. teams with a winning record. The "over/under" is 4-0 in Gallardo's past four vs. Seattle.
Early lean: Rangers and over.
Phillies at Diamondbacks (-148, 8)
MLB Network telecast at 3:40 p.m. ET. Philadelphia's Vince Velasquez (8-8, 3.80) threw 6.1 scoreless innings Friday in beating the Marlins. He was pulled for some reason after just 85 pitches despite still going strong. Velasquez has a 2.18 ERA in eight starts since he was bombed for 10 runs by the Brewers on June 8. Velasquez lasted only 4.2 innings (4 ER) vs. Arizona on April 24. Alex Avila is 2-for-2 off him with a homer. Diamondbacks lefty Patrick Corbin (8-4, 3.31) has gone at least six in four straight starts. He missed the Phillies earlier this season. Only a few have faced him. Odubel Herrera is 3-for-6 with a triple.
Key trends: The Phillies are 1-4 in Velasquez's past five vs. teams with a winning record. The Diamondbacks are 4-1 in Corbin's past five. The under is 6-0 in Velasquez's past six.
Early lean: Diamondbacks and under.
Braves at Nationals (-112, 9)
ESPN game at 7 p.m. ET. Atlanta's Mike Foltynewicz (8-7, 3.04) broke a two-start losing streak Thursday, allowing two runs over six at the sorry Mets. Foltynewicz had allowed 18 runs over his last four starts, raising his season ERA from 2.02 to 3.04. He is 2-2 with a 2.52 ERA and a complete game vs. Washington this year. Bryce Harper is 5-for-20 off him with eight strikeouts. Daniel Murphy is 8-for-19 with three doubles. Nationals lefty Tommy Milone (1-0, 3.00) makes his third start in place of the injured Stephen Strasburg. Milone allowed a run and three hits last time out, also vs. the Mets. He hasn't seen Atlanta this year.
Key trends: The Braves are 5-2 in Foltynewicz's past seven vs. the NL East. The under is 4-1-1 in his previous six vs. Washington.
Early lean: Braves and under.
Yankees at White Sox (+250, 8.5)
The Yankees need to start worrying about All-Star ace Luis Severino if he struggles again here. Severino (14-5, 3.08) lost in Boston on Friday, allowing four runs over 5.2 innings. He hasn't lasted six full in his past five starts with an ERA of 8.28. Is the 24-year-old healthy? Maybe a 10-day DL stint would help simply for rest. The White Sox's Jose Abreu is 4-for-11 off him with three RBIs. Matt Davidson 0-for-6 with four strikeouts. Chicago's Lucas Giolito (7-8, 5.97) is starting to show why he was once a highly-touted prospect with a 3.19 ERA in his past five to see his ERA get under 6.00 for the first time since mid-April. He has never faced the Yankees.
Key trends: The Yankees are 13-3 in Severino's past 16 vs. teams with a losing record. The White Sox are 4-0 in Giolito's past four following a quality start in his last appearance. The over is 11-0 in Severino's past 11 vs. the AL Central.
Early lean: White Sox on runline and over.
Dodgers at A's (+145, 7.5)
MLB Network late game at 10:05 p.m. ET. Oakland has also fortified its bullpen by landing Shawn Kelley from Washington after the Nationals surprisingly designated him for assignment last week. It's Mike Fiers (7-6, 3.48) in his Oakland debut after being acquired on Monday from Detroit. He was most recently on the mound last Wednesday and was knocked out vs. Cincinnati after two innings with a left shin bruise but has been confirmed to go here. Former Twin Brian Dozier has easily seen him the most of any Dodgers player and is 5-for-23 with two homers. The Dodgers will add the DH. L.A. lefty Clayton Kershaw (5-5, 2.55) beat the Brewers on Thursday in allowing two runs over six. It was his sixth straight quality outing. I'm thinking A's catcher Jonathan Lucroy will get the night off as he's 1-for-20 career off Kershaw.
Key trends: The Dodgers are 8-1 in Kershaw's past nine on Wednesday. The A's are 2-6 in Anderson's past eight vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 4-1 in Kershaw's past five vs. the AL.
Early lean: A's on runline and under.
Doc's Sports is offering $60 in member's baseball picks - no obligation, no sales people - you don't even have to enter credit card information. You can use this $60 credit for any of our top MLB handicappers. Get $60 worth of premium members' picks free. Also, for a limited time only get three MLB handicappers for the price of one. Click here for details . Get free MLB picks daily on Doc's Sports homepage.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
Get all of Today's MLB Picks
Get all of Today's Guaranteed Expert MLB Picks