Free MLB Picks for Saturday, June 15, 2019
I get why teams are overly cautious with young, talented pitchers. They treat these guys with kid gloves in terms of limiting innings, etc., early in their careers to in theory protect them from possible Tommy John surgery - although it seems it doesn't really work. Still, when will some of these general managers just live in the present and go for it when they can? In 2012, the Washington Nationals shut down Stephen Strasburg late in the season and into the playoffs. In my opinion, the 2012 Nats were the National League's best team with Strasburg in the rotation, but they ended up losing in five games in the NLDS to the Cardinals. I don't believe that happens with Strasburg pitching 1-2 games - oh, and he's still injury-prone so that was a waste. I mention this because the San Diego Padres just sent down NL Rookie of the Year candidate Chris Paddack to monitor his innings. Paddack had Tommy John surgery in August 2016 and threw only a combined 90 innings in the minors last year. The 23-year-old was already to 65 2/3 frames this season. Look, I get you don't want him pitching 200 innings this year but why would you send down such a talented guy? You can't use him as an opener or reliever a couple of times per week for a few weeks? If the Padres miss the playoffs by a game, I'll look back at this move and wonder if things could have been different. Paddack probably won't be in the minors for more than a few weeks.
Angels at Rays (-185, 8)
First game of day at 1 p.m. ET (only one before 4 ET) and on ESPN+. The Tampa Bay Rays can't afford to make major free-agent mistakes because they have a crappy stadium and thus one of the lowest payrolls in baseball every year due to a lack of revenue streams from said stadium. The team rarely does make such mistakes and clearly didn't in signing Charlie Morton to a two-year, $30 million deal this offseason. Morton (8-0, 2.10) hasn't allowed a run over 14 innings in his past two starts with 15 strikeouts. The Angels' Mike Trout is 3-for-12 off him with a homer. L.A.'s Jose Suarez (1-1, 4.35) makes his third career start. He allowed two runs over 4.2 innings Sunday against the Mariners. The 21-year-old hasn't seen the Rays.
Key trends: The Rays are 5-2 in Morton's past seven following a quality start in his last appearance. The "over/under" has gone under in seven of his past nine.
Early lean: Rays on runline and under.
Red Sox at Orioles (+240, 8.5)
Might Boston's Chris Sale (2-7, 3.52) finish with a losing record despite an ERA under 3.00? Could be if the Red Sox don't start scoring for him. Sale didn't allow an earned run over seven innings and just three hits with 10 strikeouts last time out against the Rangers but was saddled with a no-decision. Sale has whiffed at least 10 in eight of his past 10 outings but has just one victory since May 4. He took another hard-luck ND in Baltimore on May 8 (8 IP, 1 ER, 14 K). Trey Mancini hits him well, going 8-for-22 with three doubles. The Orioles' Dylan Bundy (3-7, 4.50) lost in Houston on Sunday in allowing two earned over six. He has been much better since a shaky April. It's his first look this year at Boston. Brock Holt hammers him, going 9-for-14 with three doubles and a homer.
Key trends: The Sox have won five straight Sale starts in Baltimore. The under is 7-2-3 in Bundy's past 12 vs. Boston.
Early lean: Orioles on runline and under.
Blue Jays at Astros (-212, 9)
The Jays put closer Ken Giles (a former Astro) on the 10-day injured list with elbow inflammation. Giles himself doesn't think it's anything serious, and the Jays better hope not because he's one of their main trade chips ahead of the July 31 deadline. Joe Biagini probably closes until Giles returns. It's lefty Clayton Richard (0-2, 7.04) on the bump for Toronto. He was torched by Arizona on Sunday, allowing seven runs and seven hits in 2.2 innings. Only a few Astros have seen him. Houston lefty Framber Valdez (2-2, 2.73) began the year in the bullpen and made his first start last Saturday. He dominated the Orioles, allowing a run and five hits over seven. The 25-year-old rookie hasn't faced Toronto.
Key trends: The Jays have lost six in a row on Saturday. The under is 4-1-1 in Valdez's past six.
Early lean: Astros on runline and over.
Royals at Twins (-228, 9.5)
Very quietly, Jake Odorizzi (9-2, 1.92) has emerged into Minnesota's ace and a Cy Young candidate. Quite a turnaround for a guy who was 7-10 with a 4.49 ERA last year, his first with the Twins following a trade from Tampa Bay. The Twins haven't lost one of his starts since April 10, and Odorizzi has allowed one earned run or fewer in his past four. He has a 0.76 ERA in his last eight starts. It's his first look at Kansas City this year. Alex Gordon is 5-for-15 with a homer and seven RBIs off him. The Royals' Glenn Sparkman (1-2, 3.58) has alternated between the bullpen and the rotation. Kansas City has lost the past seven times he has taken the mound, although he had a quality start last time out vs. the White Sox. The Twins' Jorge Polanco is 2-for-3 off him.
Key trends: The Twins are 13-3 in Odorizzi's past 16 vs. teams with a losing record. The under is 5-1 in his previous six at home.
Early lean: Twins on runline and under.
Phillies at Braves (-104, 9)
Braves southpaw Sean Newcomb (1-0, 2.59) was not long ago one of the top starting pitching prospects in all of baseball. He was a very solid 12-9 with a 3.90 ERA last year. However, Newcomb struggled this spring and early this season so he was sent back to Triple-A for about a month. He came back originally as a reliever and was very good but will return to the rotation here. Newcomb pitched 4.2 scoreless innings of relief Monday against Pittsburgh and got the win. Phillies ace Aaron Nola (6-1, 4.58) allowed three runs over 6.2 innings in a no-decision vs. Cincinnati in his most recent outing. He beat Atlanta on March 28 (6 IP, 1 ER). Ronald Acuna Jr. is 3-for-7 off him with a double.
Key trends: The Phillies are 5-11 in Newcomb's past 16 at home vs. teams with a winning record. The under has hit in five straight Phillies Saturday games.
Early lean: Phillies and under.
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