Free MLB Picks for Saturday, June 8, 2019
Well, I was right and wrong on Tuesday's Opening Line report. In it, I mentioned that I expected both Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel to sign this week (they did), but that it would take Kimbrel longer because he likely had more suitors. I did mention that I expected him to sign with either the Braves (his first team) or closer-needy Cubs. On Wednesday night, it was announced the Cubbies had won the bidding with a three-year, $43 million deal - so things worked out pretty well for Kimbrel financially after all despite having to wait until June for a deal. Cubs ownership claimed it had no money to spend this offseason, but the fact that Ben Zobrist is on the restricted list as he goes through a divorce and is unlikely to return this season means the Cubbies all of a sudden found themselves with the $9 million or so remaining on Zobrist's deal this season to play with (players on restricted list aren't paid). Kimbrel will get $10 million this year and then a nice raise in the final two seasons. That the Cubs were willing to go three years apparently won the bidding over the Minnesota Twins, who would only go two. This signing certainly boosts Chicago's chances of winning the NL Central. Probably takes Kimbrel two weeks to get ready to pitch in the majors. Then Pedro Stop moves to an eighth-inning role. Keuchel, meanwhile, landed with Atlanta on Friday.
White Sox at Royals (+110, 8.5)
A 2:15 p.m. ET first pitch from Kauffman Stadium. Lucas Giolito (8-1, 2.54) has emerged into the ace the White Sox were hoping for when they acquired him from Washington the Adam Eaton trade a couple of years ago. Giolito was named the AL Pitcher of the Month for May, the first monthly honor for a Pale Hose pitcher since 2015. Clearly wasn't a fluke as Giolito opened June by shutting out the Indians on five hits over 7.1 innings. He's given up just five runs in 43.2 innings over his past six starts and is now in the conversation to start the All-Star Game for the American League. Giolito is 2-0 with a 2.60 ERA in three starts this year vs. the Royals. Kansas City's Brad Keller (3-7, 4.50) has lost four of his past five. He's 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in three starts this year vs. Chicago.
Key trends: The Sox are 7-2 in Giolito's past nine vs. the Royals. The "over/under" has gone under in six of those.
Early lean: White Sox and under.
Yankees at Indians (+110, 9.5)
Fox Sports 1 game at 4:10 p.m. ET. I'm quite surprised the Yankees lost out on the bidding for Keuchel. It's former Indians Cy Young winner CC Sabathia (3-2, 3.61) on the mound for the Bombers. He pitched for the Tribe from 2001-08, traded to the Brewers in the summer of 2008. The big lefty won the Cy Young in 2007. Still, I'd imagine he goes into the Hall of Fame in a Yankees cap. Sabathia lost to the Red Sox last time out, allowing three earned over six. Carlos Santana kills him, going 10-for-19 with a homer. Cleveland's Adam Plutko (1-1, 6.35) has made two big-league starts this year, last on May 23, and will be called up to take the spot of Carlos Carrasco, who is out indefinitely with some sort of blood condition.
Key trends: The Yankees are 5-2 in Sabathia's past seven in Cleveland. The under has hit in six straight Plutko home starts.
Early lean: Yankees and under.
Pirates at Brewers (-162, 9.5)
Also a 4:10 p.m. ET first pitch. One of the biggest early surprises pitching-wise in the National League was the dominance of Pirates journeyman Jordan Lyles (5-3, 3.38). To no surprise, the correction has arrived. Lyles has allowed 13 runs over his past three starts to see his ERA rise from 1.97. He faced these Brewers last weekend and gave up four runs over six innings in a loss. Eric Thames is 3-for-3 off him with a double and homer. Milwaukee's Zach Davies (6-0, 2.20) won in Pittsburgh last weekend, going a season-high eight innings and surrendering two runs. It was the first time Davies had pitched into the ninth inning in his career (faced one batter before being pulled). Pittsburgh's Starling Marte is 7-for-17 off him with two doubles.
Key trends: The Brewers are 5-1 in Davies' past six at home. The under has hit in five straight of his outings vs. Pittsburgh.
Early lean: Brewers on runline and over.
Dodgers at Giants (+178, 8)
San Francisco has put All-Star catcher Buster Posey on the injured list for the second time this season due to a right hamstring strain. Stephen Vogt will serve as the primary catcher. Posey isn't having a good season, batting just .257 with three homers. It's Jeff Samardzija (3-4, 3.61) on the bump for the Giants. On Sunday, he got his first win since April 23, allowing one run and three hits in Baltimore. He has pitched five scoreless innings vs. the Dodgers this year. Cody Bellinger is 2-for-7 with a homer off him. Dodgers lefty Rich Hill (2-1, 2.25) shut out the Phillies on three hits over seven in his last start and hasn't faced the Giants this year. Brandon Belt is 5-for-12 with a homer and two doubles off him.
Key trends: The Dodgers are 6-1 in Hill's past seven on the road. The under is 4-1 in Samardzija's past five vs. the Dodgers.
Early lean: Dodgers and under.
Nationals at Padres (+128, 7)
San Diego got star rookie shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. back from the injured list Thursday - he injured his hamstring accidentally doing the splits in late April against these Nationals. Tatis Jr. is 0-for-3 career with two strikeouts against Washington starter Max Scherzer (3-5, 3.06). He looked back in Cy Young form last weekend in striking out 15 Reds and allowing a run over eight innings. He also shook off manager Dave Martinez when he came to take out Scherzer. He took a ND vs. the Padres on April 26 (7 IP, 2 ER, 10 Ks). San Diego lefty Eric Lauer (5-4, 4.18) has won his past three, allowing an earned run in each. He took an ND in Washington on April 27 (5.2 IP, 2 ER). Juan Soto is 2-for-4 with a homer off him.
Key trends: The Nats are 2-8 in Scherzer's past 10 starts. The under is 4-1 in Lauer's past five at home.
Early lean: Padres and under.
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