Free MLB Picks for Saturday, July 6, 2019
It's our last Opening Line Report of the first half of the season, so let's take a quick look at the field and Bovada odds for Monday's Home Run Derby at the All-Star festivities in Cleveland. Frankly, I won't watch a second of it but it remains quite popular ratings-wise and does well action-wise at the books because there's nothing else going on live that night. MLB home-run leader Christian Yelich of the Brewers leads the majors in homers and is the +300 favorite Monday. He's also the top seed - the seeds are in order of homers the guys have when the field is announced (last Wednesday). Yelich faces No. 8 Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (+600) of the Blue Jays in Round 1. Also on that side of the bracket, No. 4 Alex Bregman (+800) of Houston faces No. 5 Joc Pederson (+600) of the Dodgers. On the other side, it's No. 2 Pete Alonso (+400) of the Mets vs. No. 7 Carlos Santana (+850) of the hometown Indians, and No. 3 Josh Bell (+750) of Pittsburgh vs. No. 6 Ronald Acuna (+650) of Atlanta. I'd recommend Baby Vlad.
Rangers at Twins (-155, 10)
First game of day at 2:10 p.m. ET and on the MLB Network. We know one Twin who won't pitch in the All-Star Game, and that's Jake Odorizzi as he landed on the injured list with a minor right finger injury. He should be fine out of the break. He has been replaced on the AL roster by teammate Jose Berrios. It's Michael Pineda (5-4, 4.78) here. The big right-hander won for the first time since May 16 last time out, allowing one run over six at the White Sox. Texas' Shin-Soo Choo is 3-for-8 with two homers off him. The Rangers start Jesse Chavez (3-3, 2.97), who was recently moved from the bullpen. He has allowed four earned runs over 17.1 innings since the shift. This will be his first outing vs. the Twins since 2015.
Key trends: The Twins have won 14 of their past 17 Saturday games. The "over/under" has gone under in seven of the Rangers' past eight road games vs. a right-hander.
Early lean: Twins and under.
Royals at Nationals (-380, 8.5)
A 4:05 p.m. ET first pitch. Kansas City loses the DH for this interleague matchup, which just makes things easier for red-hot Max Scherzer of the Nats. Scherzer vaulted himself back into the Cy Young favored role with an amazing June, going 6-0 with 1.00 ERA and 68 strikeouts over 45 innings. He's just 2-4 at home this year despite a 2.52 ERA there. Scherzer was placed on the paternity list Wednesday but is expected to start here. Kansas City's Glenn Sparkman (2-4, 5.09) was bombed for eight runs and nine hits (three homers) over three innings Monday in Toronto. He has given up nine homers in his last four starts. Only a couple of Nationals have seen Sparkman.
Key trends: The Royals have lost nine straight Saturday games. The under is 13-2-1 in Scherzer's past 16 interleague starts.
Early lean: Nationals on runline and under.
Marlins at Braves (-188, 9)
I have no idea what to expect from Braves lefty Max Fried (9-3, 4.04) here because this is his first start since the death of his good friend Tyler Skaggs, the Angels pitcher who passed on Monday. Fried utterly dominating or being blasted - neither would surprise. Fried took a no-decision on June 9 in Miami (6 IP, 3 ER). Brian Anderson is 3-for-7 off him. Marlins lefty Caleb Smith (3-4, 3.41) hasn't pitched in the majors in a month due to a hip injury but is expected to be activated. Smith took an ND in Atlanta on April 7 (6 IP, 3 ER). Freddie Freeman is 4-for-6 with a homer against him.
Key trends: The Braves are 5-1 in Fried's past six. The over is 3-1-1 in Smith's previous five on the road.
Early lean: Marlins on runline and over.
Cubs at White Sox (+100, 9)
One of three games televised nationally by Fox, it just depends where you live. The Cubs will add the designated hitter, almost surely Kyle Schwarber. Both teams had a rare Friday off - the Cubbies needed it as they are really struggling and atrocious on the road. Lefty Jon Lester (7-6, 3.89) is on the bump. He has gotten a decision in 11 straight outings, which is almost tough to do. Lester beat the White Sox on June 19 (5.2 IP, 3 ER). White Sox ace Lucas Giolito (11-2, 2.72) could start for the AL in Tuesday's All-Star Game. He hadn't lost since April 6 until the Cubs got him on June 19 (4.1 IP, 6 ER, 3 HR). The weather was awful that day, though. Giolito has been good in two starts since. Willson Contreras is 2-for-7 with two homers off him.
Key trends: The Cubs have lost four straight Lester home starts. The over is 8-3 in Giolito's past 11 vs. teams with a winning record.
Early lean: White Sox and over.
Cardinals at Giants (-108, 7.5)
Could this be the last start in a Giants uniform for lefty Madison Bumgarner (5-7, 4.02)? I believe we could see a few trades during the break as teams would like to have new additions for those two-plus weeks ahead of the July 31 trade deadline rather than wait. Plus, the Giants risk injury every time MadBum takes the mound. He has been excellent the past two starts, allowing three earned and striking out 20 over 13 combined innings. Paul Goldschmidt is a career .333 hitter off him in 66 at-bats with three homer and 14 strikeouts. The Cards' Miles Mikolas (5-8, 4.34) has been awful on the road with a 1-4 record and 7.23 ERA. San Francisco's Brandon Crawford is 2-for-6 with a homer against him.
Key trends: The Giants are 5-2 in MadBum's previous seven at home. The over is 8-3 in Mikolas' past 11 vs. teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Giants and over.
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