Free MLB Picks for Friday, April 19, 2019
Sometimes I don't know if baseball players are stupid, unlucky or a mix of the two because you never hear of football, hockey or basketball players - shoot, not even golfers, who aren't freaking athletes (well many of them aren't) - getting injured in such strange ways. The latest happened to Rays lefty and reigning AL Cy Young winner Blake Snell. He was placed on the injured list Tuesday with a fractured toe. How did it happen? Apparently as he stepped out of the shower, Snell tried to move some sort of granite decorative item in his bathroom. He didn't realize it was in multiple pieces (uh, it's your house dude!), and as he lifted it the bottom piece fell on his right foot. The good news is that Snell hopes to miss just one start. That was to be Friday against the Red Sox, who I am sure are thrilled with the news. After allowing five runs against the Astros on Opening Day, Snell has allowed just one run in 19 innings in his last three starts.
Diamondbacks at Cubs (-163, TBA)
Per usual when the Cubs at home on Friday, their game is the lone matinee (2:20 p.m. ET) and on the MLB Network. The Cubbies are starting to play better baseball but won't go anywhere without Kyle Hendricks (0-3, 5.40) returning to form. Maybe Hendricks is one of those guys simply trying too hard after getting a nice offseason extension. Hendricks doesn't throw hard so he has to have pinpoint control. He has surrendered a whopping 24 hits in 13.1 innings and yet to last more than five innings. Arizona's Eduardo Escobar is 3-for-7 with two doubles off him. The Snakes' Merrill Kelly (1-1, 3.79) is a 30-year-old rookie. He allowed four runs over five innings last time out vs. the Padres and hasn't faced the Cubs (maybe in the Cactus League).
Key trends: The Cubs are 5-2 in Hendricks' past seven at home. The "over/under" has gone over in seven of Arizona's past nine on the road.
Early lean: Cubs (and probably over but obviously depends on wind/number).
Giants at Pirates (-110, 7.5)
Is Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner (1-2, 3.12) still one of the National League's best pitchers. Probably not, but he's still pretty good at times. Bumgarner has had two shaky outings this season and two where he went seven innings and allowed two runs. That was the case last time out vs. Colorado. Starling Marte has seen him more than any Pirate, going 1-for-9. Pittsburgh's Jordan Lyles (1-0, 0.82) has been a nice surprise in allowing one run and six hits over his two outings. Opponents are batting just .158 against the veteran righty, who won the No. 5 job in spring training. The Giants' Joe Panik is a .357 career hitter against him in 14 at-bats.
Key trends: The Giants have lost six straight Bumgarner series-opening starts. The under is 5-2 in the Pirates' previous seven at home vs. lefties.
Early lean: Pirates and under.
Phillies at Rockies (-113, 10.5)
The Phillies will be without shortstop Jean Segura for a while after he left Tuesday's game with a mild left hamstring strain, but the team thinks he will avoid the injured list. Segura, acquired in trade this offseason from Seattle, was off to a nice start with a .328 batting average. The Phils go with Vince Velasquez (0-0, 2.25) here. He comes off his best start of the season, allowing one run and two hits in Miami (no-hitter through five innings). Colorado's Trevor Story is 3-for-12 off him with a homer. The Rockies' German Marquez (2-1, 2.00) allowed just one hit in a complete game last time out vs. the Giants, a one-out single by Evan Longoria in the eighth inning. Marquez didn't walk anyone and whiffed nine in the best game pitched in the majors so far this year. Philly's Andrew McCutchen is 2-for-4 with a double off him.
Key trends: The Rockies are 11-5 in Marquez's past 16 vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 13-3-2 in his past 18 overall.
Early lean: Rockies and under.
Braves at Indians (-147, 7.5)
Atlanta adds the designated hitter for this interleague matchup. The Braves go with 22-year-old right-hander Touki Toussaint (1-0, 0.00), one of their many good-looking young arms. He started the year in the minors and has made one big-league start on the year, allowing one unearned run and four hits over six vs. the Mets last Saturday. It's his first career look at the Indians. Cleveland's Corey Kluber (1-2, 6.16) has had a very strange year. The two-time Cy Young winner has had two quality starts and two where he allowed six runs in 3.1 innings or fewer. He walked a career high five in 2.2 innings last time out in Kansas City. Atlanta's Josh Donaldson, the former Indian, is 7-for-19 off Kluber with a homer.
Key trends: The Indians are 21-9 in Kluber's past 30 Game 1 starts. The under is 5-2 in his previous seven interleague outings.
Early lean: Indians and under.
Mets at Cardinals (-145, 9.5)
MLB Network prime-time game. The Cardinals are probably thrilled to be away from Milwaukee's Christian Yelich for a while as he has completely murdered them this season. St. Louis starts Adam Wainwright (1-1, 3.94). He was a tough-luck loser in Cincinnati last time out, allowing two runs and three hits over six. Wainwright has notched consecutive quality starts for the first time since 2017. New York lefty Jason Vargas (1-0, 14.21) has clearly not been good in his three outings, two of them starts. Mets fans are clamoring for the team to release the veteran and sign Dallas Keuchel. Originally, it was to be ace Jacob deGrom here but he was pushed back to Saturday with strep throat. The Cards' Yadier Molina has had success career off Vargas, going 5-for-11 with a homer.
Key trends: The Cards are 5-1 in Wainwright's past six vs. the Mets. The over is 5-2 in Vargas' past seven overall.
Early lean: Cardinals and over.
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