Free MLB Picks for Saturday, July 27, 2019
What happens this weekend should determine what a few general managers of teams on the fence between buying and selling ahead of Wednesday's Trade Deadline will do. These GMs like to hold off as late as possible, but they also need a few days to work out any potential trades, so in reality Sunday is their internal deadline. Two huge "fence" teams are in the NL West with the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Francisco Giants. Neither has a chance to win the division but are in the Wild-Card race. Both teams planned to rebuild this year, and both could use an injection of talent in the farm system. Trust me when I say that GMs like rebuilding because they can prove how smart they are by eventually constructing a contender. The Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers from the AL West are in much the same situation. Technically in Wild-Card contention but not likely to earn a spot. And, how much is it worth going for it just to play in that one game? Winning a division is different because you are guaranteed a spot in the ALDS and at least three playoff games (one at home, which means huge revenue).
Rays at Blue Jays (TBA)
First game of day at 3:07 p.m. ET. It was to be Rays lefty Blake Snell for the Rays (6-7, 4.28), and he had just started pitching like the reigning AL Cy Young winner with a 1.62 ERA over his past four starts to lower his ERA from 5.01. The Rays absolutely needed that form from him to get a Wild-Card spot, but the team got crushing news Thursday that Snell will undergo elbow surgery and miss at least four weeks. Why do I think he's done for 2019? I tend to think Tampa Bay's playoff hopes are cooked now, too. Not clear whom the team will go with here, but almost surely an opener. Jays lefty Ryan Borucki (0-1, 3.86) had a solid rookie season in 2018 but didn't debut this year until Monday vs. Cleveland because of left elbow inflammation. He allowed four runs and seven hits over 4.2 innings vs. the Indians. Borucki is 0-3 with a 3.66 ERA in three career starts vs. Tampa Bay.
Key trends: The Rays have lost five straight Game 2s of a series. The "over/under" has gone under in six of Borucki's past eight at home.
Early lean: Rays probably flat for a while with Snell news; fade them for a bit.
Yankees at Red Sox (-130, 11.5)
Fox Sports 1 national TV game (of course) at 4:05 p.m. ET. ESPN's Buster Olney had an interesting column on whether the Red Sox could actually be sellers by the deadline, but I don't see any way that's possible even if Boston goes into the tank until Wednesday. The team couldn't sell that to its fans. It's a matchup of southpaws here. New York's CC Sabathia (5-5, 4.50) was roughed up Monday in Minnesota, allowing seven runs over four innings. He lost vs. Boston on June 2 (6 IP, 3 ER). The best starter for the Red Sox right now is Eduardo Rodriguez (12-4, 4.10). He hasn't allowed more than two earned in five straight outings. He took a no-decision on June 30 in London vs. the Yankees (5.1 IP, 2 ER). Aaron Judge is 1-for-12 off him with five Ks.
Key trends: The Yanks are 1-4 in Sabathia's past five vs. Boston. The under is 9-4 in Rodriguez's previous 13 against New York.
Early lean: Red Sox and under.
Twins at White Sox (+142, 10.5)
As Twins lefty Martin Perez (8-3, 4.37) regresses to the mean, it just accentuates the team's need to add a starting pitcher. At one point, Perez was 7-1 with a 2.95 ERA, but the club had to know this guy couldn't sustain that. He lasted just four innings Monday vs. the Yankees and was tagged for three homers. It's his first look this year at the White Sox. Jose Abreu is 2-for-9 with a triple against him. Chicago's Ivan Nova (5-9, 5.49) had one of the more unlikely complete games of the season on Monday, allowing one run and four hits. It was his first CG since April 29, 2017. He lost June 29 vs. the Twins (6 IP, 4 ER). Nelson Cruz is 5-for-14 with two homers off him.
Key trends: The Twins have lost their past seven in Game 3 of a series. The over is 9-1 in Perez's past 10.
Early lean: White Sox and over.
Astros at Cardinals (+159, 8)
Fox Sports 1 prime-time game. Houston loses the designated hitter in the National League park. That's sensational rookie Yordan Alvarez. He can play left field but not very well, but not sure you can take his bat out of the lineup. Houston's goes with Gerrit Cole (11-5, 3.03), a guy the Cardinals could pursue this winter in free agency. He's coming off back-to-back outings of seven innings, one run and 11 strikeouts - he leads the majors with 205 Ks. Paul Goldschmidt is 2-for-17 off him. The Cards' Daniel Ponce de Leon (1-0, 2.82) has lasted less than four innings in each of his past two, both against Pittsburgh. He has never faced Houston.
Key trends: The Astros are 6-1 in Cole's past seven vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 5-1 in Ponce de Leon's past six at home.
Early lean: Astros and under.
Rangers at A's (-179, 9.5)
Go ahead and put the Rangers in sell mode, probably the final push toward that direction with the team putting slugger Joey Gallo on the injured list with a broken bone in his wrist. Not impossible we don't see him again this year, with the team saying a minimum of a month. The 25-year-old first-time All-Star is having a nice season, batting .253 with 22 homers and 49 RBIs. He missed a few weeks earlier this season with an oblique injury, which forced him out of the All-Star Home Run Derby. The injuries are going to keep Gallo from a third straight 40-homer season. He has always had power but his average and OBP are way up this year. Texas starts Adrian Sampson (6-7, 5.19). He is 1-4 with an 8.05 ERA in his last nine outings. Oakland's Homer Bailey (8-7, 5.42) was hammered for nine runs over two innings Monday in Houston.
Key trends: The Rangers have lost nine straight Sampson road starts. The over is 5-1 in his previous six on the road.
Early lean: A's and over.
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