Free MLB Picks for Saturday, August 24, 2019
While Houston is the nation's fourth-largest city and the Astros and Dodgers played a wildly entertaining World Series two years ago, I promise you the folks at Fox TV are praying that the Astros don't win the American League pennant again and face the Dodgers in the 2019 Fall Classic. The Astros are the +105 AL pennant favorites at Bovada and the +225 World Series favorites. Great team, but it just doesn't move the needle nationally. Frankly, few baseball teams do nowadays - it has become a hugely regional sport. Two franchises that definitely are nationally popular are the Yankees and Dodgers, and that matchup would provide mega-ratings for Fox. Arguably, the last massive World Series rating we might ever see with the way MLB numbers are trending. The last crazy ratings were for Cubs-Indians in 2016, and that was mostly about the Cubs (another national franchise) trying to end the 108-year title drought. The Yankees are +450 to win their first World Series since 2009 and the Dodgers +275 their first since 1988. They continue a mega-series on Saturday with potentially the top overall seed in the playoffs on the line.
Nationals at Cubs (-145, TBA)
First game of the day at 2:20 p.m. ET and on the MLB Network. Cubs catch a break in this series in avoiding Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin but will see Stephen Strasburg on Sunday. It's Joe Ross (3-3, 5.48) for Washington on Saturday. Ross has allowed just one earned run over his past four but lasted only 3.1 innings last time out after taking a comebacker off his leg. Chicago's Anthony Rizzo, who is rolling right now, is 5-for-11 with two doubles off him. Cubs lefty Jose Quintana (11-7, 3.91) can be maddening because he can be fantastic for 3-4 starts and then not so much for 5-6. He's in a great run right now, allowing four total earned runs over his past four with 33 strikeouts. Hasn't seen the Nats in 2019. Brian Dozier has seen him by far the most of any National, going 11-for-52 with 14 Ks.
Key trends: The Cubs are 6-4 in Quintana's past 10 as a home favorite. The "over/under" is 4-5-1 in those.
Early lean: Cubs on runline.
Yankees at Dodgers (-135, 9.5)
Fox Sports 1 game at 4:05 p.m. ET. Not exactly a marquee pitching matchup here, although Yankees lefty CC Sabathia (5-7, 5.01) will be in Cooperstown someday - he's from the Los Angeles area. Sabathia returned from another injured list stint Sunday and allowed four runs in three innings against Cleveland. He hasn't won in two months but, again, has been hurt some. Most of the good young Dodgers (Cody Bellinger, etc.) haven't seen him. Justin Turner is 2-for-8 with an RBI. L.A.'s Tony Gonsolin (1-1, 3.00) was recalled from Triple-A last week and allowed one run over four innings in Atlanta. He has never seen the Yankees.
Key trends: The Yanks have lost five straight Sabathia starts as a road dog. The O/U is 4-6 in his past 10 as one.
Early lean: Yankees and over.
Tigers at Twins (-300, 10.5)
We won't see Tigers top prospect and 2018 No. 1 overall pick Casey Mize in the majors after all this year. Thought there was a decent chance he would be called up in September, but the team has shut him down just for innings prevention. Very good chance he makes the big club out of spring training in 2020. It's truly awful Edwin Jackson (3-6, 8.46) here, which tells you how sorry the 2019 Tigers are. He allowed five runs over five innings last time out in a loss in Houston, which is about par for the course. Jackson hasn't seen Minnesota this year. Marwin Gonzalez is 4-for-11 with a homer off him. The Twins' Kyle Gibson (11-6, 4.40) was rocked for five runs and eight hits over five innings in Detroit on June 8, a rare Tigers home win.
Key trends: The Twins are 3-7 Gibson's past 10 in the series and the O/U is 4-5-1.
Early lean: Twins on runline and over.
Rockies at Cardinals (-192, 9)
Fox Sports 1 prime-time game. You should be fading the Rockies on a near-daily basis at this point, but even more so now with ace Jon Gray suffering a season-ending foot fracture. That pitching staff has been hammered of late with fellow starter and 2018 ace Kyle Freeland (groin) and excellent reliever Scott Oberg (blood clot) also landing in the IL. Oberg also is done for this year. It's Chi Chi Rodriguez (he's a golfer if you don't know) … err, Gonzalez for the Rockies here. Chi Chi (0-4, 5.87) has taken the mound seven times this year and the Rox have lost them all. The Cards' Dakota Hudson (12-6, 3.63) has a very promising future at 24. He hasn't allowed a run in back-to-back starts (6.2 no-hit innings last time out but pulled). Hudson has thrown 2.1 career innings vs. Colorado.
Key trends: The Cards are 6-1 in the seven Hudson starts as a home favorite and the O/U is 1-5-1 in them.
Early lean: Cardinals on runline and under.
Red Sox at Padres (-108, 9)
The Boston rotation is in such shambles right now with Chris Sale and David Price hurt that the Sox have no choice but to return free-agent bust Nathan Eovaldi (1-0, 6.69) back there. At one point when he returned from a long injury absence, the plan was for Eovaldi to close. That didn't work. He did start last week vs. Baltimore but lasted all of two innings and allowed five runs to a god-awful offense. This will be Eovaldi's first start in San Diego since 2016. It's Dinelson Lamet (2-2, 3.95) for the Friars, and like Eovaldi already has had Tommy John surgery (Eovaldi has had two). Lamet struggled in his first few starts but has been much better of late with a 2.50 ERA in three August starts.
Key trends: The Padres are 3-7 in Lamet's past 10 at home and the O/U is 4-6.
Early lean: Padres and over.
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