Free MLB Picks for Friday, April 5, 2019
This writer's pick for NL MVP this season was Nationals shortstop Trea Turner. Oops. Turner was off to an MVP-caliber start, but on Tuesday night attempted a bunt in his first at-bat vs. the Phillies and suffered a fractured right index finger. Zach Eflin's 92 mph fastball hit Turner on his finger, causing him to fall back onto the ground. In June 2017, Turner was hit on the wrist by a pitch and missed two months. I don't understand why Turner was even bunting because he had hit two homers the night before. Overall, Turner was hitting .357 with two homers, four RBIs, four steals and a .400 OBP. He's on the 10-day DL but clearly going to miss a lot longer. Wilmer Difo will play short most days, which is a major offensive downgrade. Top prospect Carter Kieboom could be called up at some point if Turner is out multiple months.
Dodgers at Rockies (+118, 10.5)
MLB Network game at 4:10 p.m. ET. It's also the Rockies' home opener - obviously smart to delay Colorado's first game as long as possible for weather reasons. It's lefty Tyler Anderson (0-1, 9.00), whose career ERA at Coors Field is 3.73, third-best in club history for a Rockies starting pitcher. Anderson was roughed up for five runs and nine hits over five in his season debut in Miami. He was 1-1 with a 3.58 ERA in five starts last year vs. the Dodgers. Justin Turner hits .464 off him in 28 at-bats. L.A.'s Kenta Maeda (1-0, 4.05) beat the Snakes in his season debut, surrendering three runs - all solo homers - over 6.2 innings. He is 4-1 with a 3.19 ERA career in Denver.
Key trends: The Rockies are 1-9 in Anderson's past 10 vs. the Dodgers. The "over/under" has gone under in seven of Maeda's past eight vs. the Rockies.
Early lean: Rockies and under.
Rays at Giants (+116, 7.5)
A 4:35 p.m. ET first pitch. Tampa Bay will lose the DH, which is usually Ji-Man Choi, but he can also play first. The Rays also get a look at former franchise icon Evan Longoria, who was traded to the Giants in December 2017. San Francisco bolstered its terrible outfield this week by trading for Toronto's Kevin Pillar. Can't hit much but a great defender. The Rays go with Tyler Glasnow (1-0, 1.80). He allowed just a run over five in beating Houston last week. Only a few Giants have seen him - Pillar has the most (1-for-5). San Francisco's Dereck Rodriguez (1-0, 3.60) allowed two runs over five in San Diego in his season debut and faces the Rays for the first time.
Key trends: The Giants have lost five straight Rodriguez home starts. The under is 8-2-1 in Glasnow's previous 11 overall.
Early lean: Rays and under.
Reds at Pirates (-125, 8)
What do we expect this season from the Reds' Sonny Gray (0-1, 6.75)? He was acquired in trade this offseason at a very low cost from the Yankees. Gray clearly was one of those guys who didn't like pitching in the limelight of New York as he was largely terrible in 2018 with the Bombers but generally so good before that with Oakland. Gray wasn't great in his Cincinnati debut, allowing three runs and five hits over 2.2 innings with four walks. Corey Dickerson has seen him the most of any Pirate, going 5-for-19 with two HRs. Pittsburgh's Joe Musgrove threw two scoreless innings of relief in Cincinnati last week. He allowed eight runs in two starts against the Reds last season.
Key trends: The Pirates are 4-1 in Musgrove's past five at home. The over is 4-1 in his previous five overall.
Early lean: Pirates and over.
Cubs at Brewers (-121, 8.5)
First matchup between these rivals since the Brewers won the NL Central tiebreaker game at Wrigley Field last October. The starter in that game for Chicago was lefty Jose Quintana (0-0, 4.50), and he did his job in allowing one run over five innings. Quintana was a Brewers killer in 2018 with a 4-1 record and 2.13 ERA in a whopping seven starts. Can't remember the last time I saw a guy start seven times vs. one team. Quintana wasn't overly sharp in his 2019 debut in Texas (4 IP, 2 ER). Christian Yelich is 4-for-14 off him. Milwaukee's Brandon Woodruff (1-0, 3.60) allowed two runs over five in his season debut vs. the Cardinals. No Cub has more than five at-bats against him.
Key trends: The Cubs are 6-2 in Quintana's past eight vs. the Brewers, and the under is 6-2 in those.
Early lean: Brewers and under.
A's at Astros (-167, 8.5)
MLB Network prime-time game. Oakland was swept two games in Japan to open the season but has been quite good in America. This will be the Athletics' first true road game. They go with Frankie Montas (1-0, 1.50). He beat the Angels in his season debut, allowing one run on three hits with six strikeouts over six. Montas was 1-1 with a 3.97 ERA last year vs. Houston. Jose Altuve is 4-for-7 against him. The Astros' Collin McHugh (0-1, 3.60) allowed two runs over five with nine strikeouts at Tampa Bay in his season debut. Last year, McHugh made six appearances in relief against the A's, allowing two runs over 7 1/3 innings. Khris Davis is just 1-for-16 off him.
Key trends: The Astros have won seven straight McHugh home starts vs. Oakland. The under is 5-2 in his previous seven at home vs. the A's.
Early lean: Astros and under.
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