Free MLB Picks for Friday, August 15, 2019
With the San Diego Padres visiting the Philadelphia Phillies this weekend, it's a natural time to check in on which team got the best value with their mega free-agent signing this winter. Of course, the Friars signed third baseman Manny Machado to a 10-year, $300 million deal, and the Phillies inked Bryce Harper to a 13-year, $330 million deal - Philadelphia apparently was prepared to offer Machado about the same contract if Harper would have signed elsewhere. Harper has disappointed a bit, but the Phillies are thrilled because their attendance has skyrocketed so ownership will make back just about all that first-year money on that alone. If you want to go by wins above replacement, Harper has been worth just 1.7 this year. The Padres are equally happy because their attendance has taken a jump and Machado has been a better than Harper with a WAR of 2.8 - and he's a much better defensive player. Long story short: No buyer's remorse yet on either side. Check back in about five years.
Brewers at Nationals (-150, 9.5)
This could be a preview of the NL Wild-Card Game, although I rather doubt either pitcher Friday would start in that. Adrian Houser (5-5, 4.00) is in his third season with the Brewers but had never started before 2019 - which tells you how injury-ravaged that pitching staff is. Houser was great last time out, though, allowing one run over six innings with a career-high 10 strikeouts against Texas. Only a few Nationals have seen him. Washington lefty Patrick Corbin (9-5, 3.41) has just two decisions in his past eight starts. Bullpen let him down again last time out as he surrendered two runs and three hits over six at the Mets. Corbin hasn't seen the Brewers this year. Yasmani Grandal is 5-for-15 off him with a double.
Key trends: The Nats have won seven straight Corbin home starts. The "over/under" is 4-1 in Houser's past five on the road.
Early lean: Nats on runline and over.
Padres at Phillies (+100, 9.5)
Potential NL Rookie of the Year Fernando Tatis Jr. - although that award likely going to the Mets' Pete Alonso - was expected to land on the injured list either Thursday or Friday for San Diego. Tatis left Tuesday's game with a lower back spasm, didn't play Wednesday and the Friars were off Thursday when he was getting tests. Tatis, incidentally, is making pennies this year (relatively speaking) and has been worth a WAR of 4.2. He's going to win an MVP Award or two before it's all done. It's another stud rookie in Chris Paddack (7-5, 3.26) on the mound. He took a no-decision last time out vs. the Rockies and lost to the Phillies on June 4 (4.1 IP, 6 R). Paddack could be shut down soon. Philly's Vince Velasquez (4-7, 4.30) threw 1.1 scoreless innings earlier in the year vs. San Diego back when he was demoted to the bullpen.
Key trends: The Padres are 2-6 in Paddack's past eight on the road. The under is 11-4 in Velazquez's past 15 overall.
Early lean: Phillies and under.
Dodgers at Braves (-110, 10)
MLB Network prime-time game. I also think this will be the NLCS matchup. It's Kenta Maeda (8-8, 4.12) for the Dodgers. He hadn't won since May 31 but last time out dominated Arizona, shutting out the Snakes on three hits with no walks over seven. He hasn't seen Atlanta in 2019. Freddie Freeman is 0-for-3 with three walks off him. Atlanta's Mike Soroka (10-2, 2.32) is another NL Rookie of the Year candidate. He hasn't gotten a decision in his past four despite pitching well in all - he blanked the Marlins on three hits over seven last time out. It's the Canadian's first-ever look at the Dodgers.
Key trends: The Braves are 6-1 in Soroka's past seven at home. The under has hit in six straight Friday games for L.A.
Early lean: Braves and under.
Mets at Royals (+178, 9.5)
New York will add the designated hitter in the American League park. It's Noah Syndergaard (8-5, 3.89) on the mound and it seriously wouldn't surprise me if he no-hit the Royals the way Thor is going. He's working on six straight quality starts, going at least seven in all of them. That's a career-high streak for going that deep into games. Syndergaard, one may remember, beat the Royals in the 2016 World Series. Kansas City lefty Mike Montgomery (2-5, 5.19) is off the best start of his career when he blanked the Tigers on four hits over seven with a career-high 12 strikeouts in his first win as a Royal. Plenty of Mets have seen the former Cub but only Michael Conforto (1-for-4, solo HR) has gone yard off him.
Key trends: The Mets are 8-2 in Syndergaard's past 10 road starts vs. teams with a losing record. The over is 8-2 in his previous 10 on five days of rest.
Early lean: Mets on runline and over.
Twins at Rangers (-107, 10)
Couple of unlikely All-Star pitchers in this one, although neither pitched in the game. Minnesota's Jake Odorizzi (13-5, 3.44) had one really horrible start after the break but is back into form and blanked the Indians over 5.2 innings last Saturday. Odorizzi hasn't seen Texas this year. Rougned Odor is 3-for-10 with two solo homers off him. Rangers lefty Mike Minor (11-6, 2.90) has really settled down since staying put at the Trade Deadline as he has not allowed a run with 18 strikeouts over 15 innings in his past two outings. In 12 career games (but just one start) against the Twins, Minor has a 2.18 ERA over 20 2/3 innings. Marwin Gonzalez is 0-for-13 career against him.
Key trends: The Twins are 2-7 in their past nine vs. a lefty. The under is 7-0 in Minor's past four on four days of rest.
Early lean: Rangers and under.
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