Free MLB Picks for Friday, May 3, 2019
In December 2016, the Chicago White Sox traded ace pitcher Chris Sale to kick start a full-on rebuild to the Boston Red Sox for four prospects, headlined by two Top 10 guys in infielder Yoan Moncada and fire-balling starting pitcher Michael Kopech. Sale faces his former mates on Friday night. So who won the trade? Certainly, the Red Sox so far as Sale helped them win a World Series. However, Sale is regressing badly this season. Moncada, meanwhile, is having a breakout season and finally looking like the star he was once projected as. Kopech was called up late last season, and you could see the makings of an ace. But he got hurt and will miss all of this year following Tommy John surgery. One of the other prospects the White Sox got, outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe, might become a decent major-leaguer but has battled injuries. His TBA surely won't be before 2020. Boston still has won this trade significantly, but we might have a different opinion going forward once Kopech is back and if Moncada continues to hit as he has.
Cardinals at Cubs (-113, TBA)
First meeting between rivals this season, and per usual a 2:20 p.m. ET home start for the Cubs in a Friday home game. It's available for streaming on ESPN+. The Cubs gave Kyle Hendricks (1-4, 5.33) a nice big extension on the eve of the season, and maybe that's affecting him thus far. Two starts ago, Hendricks dominated Arizona with seven shutout innings and 11 strikeouts - and he's not a huge strikeout guy. Alas, he then faced the Snakes again last Friday and was ripped for seven runs and 10 hits over five. In 14 career starts against the Cardinals, Hendricks is 5-2 with a 3.38 ERA. St. Louis' Jack Flaherty (3-1, 4.06) shut out the Reds on four hits over a season-high seven on Sunday. He's 1-1 with a 3.29 ERA in 13.2 career innings vs. the Cubs. Anthony Rizzo is 2-for-6 with a double off him.
Key trends: The Cubs have won eight straight Hendricks starts vs. the Cardinals. The "over/under" is 8-1-1 in the past 10 in Chicago.
Early lean: Cardinals.
Twins at Yankees (-154, 8)
It's possible the injury-ravaged Yankees could get back both third baseman Miguel Andujar (shoulder) and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (calf) from the injured list as early as Friday but should be at some point this weekend. Minnesota's Kyle Gibson (2-0, 4.88) comes off his best start of 2019, allowing one run and three hits over seven against the Orioles. After posting a 7.36 ERA through his first three starts, Gibson has been much better the previous two - albeit both against the Orioles. New York's Gary Sanchez is 1-for-5 with a dinger against him. Yankees lefty James Paxton (3-2, 3.38) won at the Giants in his last outing, striking out eight with three runs allowed over 5.2 innings. The Twins' CJ Cron is 5-for-17 off him with two homers.
Key trends: The Twins have lost Gibson's past six vs. the Yankees. The over is 6-2 his previous eight against them.
Early lean: Yankees and over.
Nationals at Phillies (-163, 9)
MLB Network prime-time game, and Bryce Harper gets another look at his former team. Harper is 6-for-16 vs. the Nationals with two homers and six RBIs. He's 5-for-20 career with two homers off Washington starter Jeremy Hellickson (2-0, 5.82). Hellickson has allowed 11 runs and 15 hits over eight innings his previous two starts but is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in eight innings (one start, one relief appearance) vs. the Phillies this year. Philadelphia's Jerad Eickhoff (1-1, 2.12) was brilliant in his most recent outing, shutting out the Marlins on two hits over seven. He hasn't allowed a run in 11 innings at home this season and hasn't faced Washington in 2019. Adam Eaton is 5-for-9 with a homer off him.
Key trends: The Nats have lost their past eight on Friday. The under is 6-2 in Eickhoff's past eight at home.
Early lean: Phillies and over.
Red Sox at White Sox (+162, 8)
OK, now that we are into May it's OK for Red Sox backers to panic if Sale (0-5, 6.30) struggles again Friday. The lefty has been better in his past two starts, allowing two earned runs in each and striking out a combined 18. After getting just two swing-and-misses on his fastball through his first four outings, he has had six in each of his past two starts. So that's promising. James McCann has generally been Chicago's everyday catcher but might get this one off as he's 4-for-29 with eight Ks vs. Sale. The White Sox's Reynaldo Lopez (2-3, 6.03) comes off the best start of his young career, striking out a career-high 14 and not allowing an earned run over six against the Tigers. No Red Sox batter has more than three at-bats against him.
Key trends: The Red Sox are 13-3 in Sale's past 16 road starts vs. teams with a losing record. The under is 6-2 in Lopez's past eight vs. the AL East.
Early lean: White Sox on runline and under.
Mets at Brewers (-131, 9)
The Brewers expect reigning NL MVP Christian Yelich (back) in the lineup this weekend barring a setback. Potentially bad news for Mets lefty Steven Matz (3-1, 3.68). He comes off probably his best start of the year, allowing two runs with no walks and five hits over a season-high seven innings in a victory over these Brewers. He was the Mets' best starter in April other than one fluke start in Philly. Yelich is 5-for-18 off him career. For Milwaukee, likely to be Brandon Woodruff (3-1, 5.17), who was bumped back from Thursday. There's talk he could be bullpen-bound so this might be the determining factor. Woodruff held the Mets to a run over five innings last Saturday. Pete Alonso is 2-for-3 off him.
Key trends: The Mets are 4-1 in Matz's past five vs. the Brewers. The over is 5-1-1 in his past seven on the road vs. teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Mets and over.
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