Free MLB Picks for Friday, July 19, 2019
Some interesting news trickled out of Philadelphia this week that team president Andy MacPhail and general manager Matt Klentak got three-year extensions. Those deals didn't happen all that recently but they weren't reported until this week. I do find that it leaked out now somewhat curious because Phillies fans are practically screaming for those two guys to fire Manager Gabe Kapler, who is only under contract through next season. The Phils have been very disappointing and their chances of winning the NL East are dwindling by the day. It also seems every day that you hear of some Phillies player who isn't hustling. Kapler benched third baseman Maikel Franco this week for that but he didn't do the same when shortstop Jean Segura did it not long ago, basically insinuating that Segura was too important to lose and Franco wasn't. That's how you lose a locker room. Asked this week if he thinks he needs to express more anger to his players, Kapler said, "I'm not f---ing Dallas Green." The pressure might be getting to him.
Padres at Cubs (-145, TBA)
Per usual when Cubs are home on Friday, it's a 2:20 p.m. ET start and on the MLB Network. I'll be curious the reception Manny Machado gets in Chicago only as the crosstown White Sox thought they had a deal with him before he signed with the Padres. I'm sure it will come up somehow by some fans even at Wrigley Field. It's lefty Eric Lauer (5-7, 4.04) for the Friars. His last turn in the rotation was skipped as Lauer was on the bereavement list. He has allowed just one earned in three straight outings. Anthony Rizzo is 2-for-2 off him. Chicago lefty Jon Lester (9-6, 3.74) won his second straight start Saturday, giving up three runs and two homers over 6.2 innings against the Pirates - a pretty typical outing for him nowadays. Ian Kinsler hammers Lester, going 10-for-37 with two homers.
Key trends: The Cubs have won nine of Lester's past 10 as home favorite. The "over/under" is 4-5-1 in those.
Early lean: Cubs on runline.
Rockies at Yankees (-225, 11)
MLB Network prime-time game. Colorado adds the designated hitter. That the Rockies are hanging around the NL Wild-Card race is a minor miracle because ace lefty Kyle Freeland (2-6, 7.39) has looked nothing like the Cy Young contender and All-Star he was a season ago. He returned from a long injury list stint Saturday and wasn't much better, tagged for five runs and nine hits over four in a no-decision vs. the Reds. Freeland hasn't faced the Yankees. New York lefty J.A. Happ (7-5, 4.93) has been pushed back a day with the Yanks playing a doubleheader on Thursday. Happ comes off a loss vs. Toronto (5.1 IP, 2 ER). Colorado's Daniel Murphy is 4-for-10 with two doubles and a homer career against him.
Key trends: The Rockies have split their past 10 at AL East teams. The O/U is 4-6 in Happ's past 10 at home.
Early lean: Rockies on runline and over.
Red Sox at Orioles (+185, 10)
Boston lefty David Price (7-2, 3.16) hasn't lost since April 27 vs. the Rays and has surrendered two earned or fewer in five straight. He comes off a no-decision vs. the Dodgers (5 IP, 1 ER, 7 K). Price dominates in his career at Camden Yards, going 8-0 with a 2.72 ERA in 12 starts. Chris Davis is a career .244 hitter off him with 20 strikeouts and two homers. Baltimore lefty and All-Star John Means (7-5, 2.94) comes off his worst start, hammered for six runs and three homers over six innings in a loss to Tampa Bay. He's 1-1 with a 2.12 ERA in three starts this year vs. Boston. JD Martinez is 2-for-7 with a homer off him.
Key trends: The Red Sox are 8-2 in Price's past 10 overall vs. the Birds and the under has hit in five of the past six.
Early lean: Orioles on runline and under.
Royals at Indians (-260, 9.5)
Kansas City seemed to do pretty well in dealing light-hitting but good defensive catcher Martin Maldonado, on the last year of his deal, to the Cubs early this week to acquire pitcher Mike Montgomery, who still has a few years of team control. Montgomery (1-2, 5.67) makes his Royals debut; his numbers don't look good, but he preferred to start and not pitch out of the bullpen and it seemed to affect him this year. He was on the mound when the Cubs got the final out in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series in, ironically, Cleveland, so Montgomery will always be remembered for that. Cleveland's Shane Bieber (8-3, 3.49) was the unlikely All-Star Game MVP and took a no-decision his first outing since then vs. the Twins (6.1 IP, 3 ER). Bieber also got an ND on June 25 vs. Kansas City (5.1 IP, 2 ER).
Key trends: The Indians have won two of Bieber's three career starts in the series and the over has hit in all.
Early lean: Royals on runline and over.
Blue Jays at Tigers (+135, 10)
Plenty of scouts likely at this game to check out Toronto's Marcus Stroman (5-10, 3.25), who could be pitching his final game in a Jays uniform - if he gets scratched beforehand, that means he probably already was dealt. No question he's going somewhere. Stroman was good again Sunday at the Yankees (6 IP, 3 ER) but yet again got no run support. He pitched Opening Day vs. Detroit, and that set the tone for Stroman's season as he had seven shutout innings but still didn't win. Detroit's Jordan Zimmermann (0-6, 7.01) has allowed 14 runs and 21 hits over 7.1 innings in his past two outings and might be the worst pitcher in the AL right now. Zimmermann also pitched seven shutout innings on March 28 vs. Toronto.
Key trends: The Jays are 3-7 in Stroman's past 10 on the road. The O/U is 6-4 in Zimmermann's past 10 at home.
Early lean: Jays and over.
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