Free MLB Picks for Saturday, August 31, 2019
Saturday is the last day of August and also will be my last Opening Line Report of the 2019 MLB regular season, although certainly the site will continue to provide daily baseball picks through the World Series . For obvious reasons, Doc's and I will shift the focus largely to college football and the NFL going forward. Hopefully getting an early betting start on some MLB games has made you some money this year. Before signing off, let's go through my final futures picks of the year. American League pennant: Houston Astros. National League pennant: Washington Nationals. World Series winner: Nationals with first-ever title - only if Max Scherzer stays healthy. AL MVP: Mike Trout. AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander (even though teammate Gerrit Cole is having a better season in many regards). AL Rookie of the Year: Yordan Alvarez. NL MVP: Cody Bellinger. NL Cy Young: Some Los Angeles Dodger (Hyun-Jin Ryu, Clayton Kershaw or, yes, even Walker Buehler). NL Rookie of the Year: Pete Alonso. Lot of chalk in those picks except for the Nationals.
A's at Yankees (-178, 11)
First game of the day at 1:05 p.m. ET and on the MLB Network. Monitor the status of Oakland's Matt Chapman and Khris Davis. Chapman took a pitch to the helmet on Wednesday and didn't play Thursday but apparently has avoided the concussion protocol (for now). Davis was placed on paternity list but seems likely to return on Saturday. Oakland goes with Homer Bailey (12-8, 5.04). He has been shockingly effective in winning his past three outings, allowing a combined four earned runs. Bailey beat the Yankees on Aug. 20 (5.2 IP, 1 ER, 8 Ks). Gleyber Torres is 1-for-5 off him with an RBI. New York's Domingo German (17-3, 4.03) could be the only 20-game winner this year. He won at the Dodgers on Sunday but was roughed up in Oakland before that (5.1 IP, 6 R).
Key trends: The Yankees are 9-1 in German's past 10 vs. teams with a winning record. The "over/under" is 3-0-1 in Bailey's past four on the road.
Early lean: Yankees on runline and over.
Reds at Cardinals (-170, 9)
A 1:15 p.m. ET first pitch. Cincinnati's trade for Sonny Gray (10-6, 2.92) didn't look good early in the season but has turned out to be a heist for the Reds - think the Yankees could use Gray right now? Some guys just don't pitch well under the bright lights, so to speak, though. He was scheduled to go here but has been given an extra day of rest and the Reds will recall Tyler Mahle (2-10, 4.93) from Triple-A, where he had been on a rehab assignment. Mahle went on the injured list July 22 with a hamstring strain. He's 0-1 with a 7.84 ERA in two starts this year against the Cardinals. St. Louis' Michael Wacha (6-6, 5.24) hasn't won since July 19. He lasted just 4.2 innings last time out vs. the Rockies. Wacha has allowed two runs and 10 hits in nine innings this year vs. the Reds. Eugenio Suarez hits .423 off him in 26 at-bats.
Key trends: The Reds have lost Mahle's past six vs. teams with a winning record. The over has hit in four straight.
Early lean: Cardinals on runline and over.
Mets at Phillies (-130, 9.5)
Fox Sports 1 game at 4:05 p.m. ET. A few days before the trade deadline, the Mets shipped veteran lefty Jason Vargas (6-6, 4.09) to the Phillies in essentially a salary dump and to open up a spot for Marcus Stroman. Vargas faces the Mets for the first time since. He's 0-1 with a 4.34 ERA in five starts with the Phillies. Wilson Ramos is 2-for-6 with a double off him. New York lefty Steven Matz (8-8, 4.06) pitched through a blister last time out and seemed quite fine, allowing a run and two hits over six innings - yet he took the loss vs. Atlanta. Matz is 1-2 with an 11.45 ERA in 11.0 innings in 2019 vs. the Phillies. Cesar Hernandez is 7-for-15 off him. Scott Kingery 5-for-11 with two homers.
Key trends: The Mets have lost Matz's previous four in Philly. The under is 4-1 in Vargas' past five.
Early lean: Phillies and under.
Dodgers at Diamondbacks (+135, 8.5)
The southpaw Kershaw (13-3, 2.76) is Top 5 in the NL in wins, ERA and WHIP (1.00). He still has yet to go less than six innings. He lost for the first time since June 29 last weekend in allowing three hits - all solo homers - over seven innings while striking out 12 Yankees. Kershaw is 16-9 with a 2.69 ERA against Arizona in his career. Christian Walker is 4-for-8 with three homers off Kershaw. Snakes lefty Robbie Ray (11-7, 3.86) is among the NL strikeout (193) and walk (67) leaders. He's 0-2 with a 4.07 ERA in four starts this year vs. the Dodgers. Bellinger is 2-for-10 off him with five Ks. Corey Seager just 5-for-29 with 14 Ks.
Key trends: The Dodgers are 8-3 in Kershaw's past 13 vs. Arizona and the under is 8-3 in those.
Early lean: Dodgers and under.
Pirates at Rockies (-108, 13.5)
Two last-place teams playing out the string. The Rockies have lost have three starting pitchers on the injured list, two for the season, so they are starting 29-year-old journeyman Tim Melville (1-0, 0.75). Hard not to root for a guy like that. He pitched thee times for the Reds in 2016 and a combined three times in 2017 for the Twins and Padres. He was out of the majors in 2018 and has made two starts for the Rockies, allowing just one run and seven hits over 12 innings. Only two Pirates have ever faced him. Pittsburgh's Joe Musgrove (8-12, 4.67) looks for his first win since July 30. He was good last time out in a no-decision at the Phillies (6 IP, 2 ER). The Rockies' Daniel Murphy is 2-for-2 with a double off him.
Key trends: The Bucs are 5-13 in Musgrove's past 18 on the road. The over is 6-2 in his previous eight away.
Early lean: Rockies and over.
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