Free MLB Picks for Saturday, May 4, 2019
Sometimes a team stays incredibly healthy during a season - like last year's record-setting Boston Red Sox. Then, sometimes, a team is crippled by injuries and there's really no reason why one happens over the other. The Yankees have been devastated by injuries in 2019. The Cleveland Indians' rotation has also been hit hard, the latest being a broken forearm to ace and two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber. He took a line drive off his pitching arm in the fifth inning Wednesday vs. the Marlins. Kluber is obviously going to miss quite a while. He hasn't been right this season, going 2-3 with a 5.80 ERA but surely was going to turn things around. The Indians are already without starter Mike Clevinger, who is out until at least June with a back injury. Fellow starter Carlos Carrasco recently avoided a serious knee injury. Hey, maybe the Minnesota Twins can win the AL Central after all.
Twins at Yankees (-150, 8.5)
MLB Network (and ESPN+) game at 1 p.m. ET, the only game in that early window Saturday. Mentioned early this week that Yankees shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was on track to return from the injured list this weekend barring a setback. No surprise, really, that the injury-prone Tulo did suffer one and now won't be back this weekend. It's lefty J.A. Happ (1-2, 4.68) for the Bombers. He was terrible his first three starts of the year but has had quality outings the past three to lower his ERA from 8.76. The Twins' Nelson Cruz is a career .417 hitter off him but hasn't homered in 24 at-bats. Minnesota's Jake Odorizzi (3-2, 3.34) shut out the Astros on four hits over seven with seven Ks in his last outing. New Yankee Cameron Maybin is 5-for-9 off him with a homer.
Key trends: The Twins are 1-9 in Odorizzi's past 10 road starts vs. teams with a winning record. The "over/under" is 7-2 in Happ's past seven at home.
Early lean: Twins on runline and over.
Cardinals at Cubs (-120, TBA)
Fox Sports 1 matchup at 4:05 p.m. ET. It's Michael Wacha (2-0, 4.78) for the Cardinals. He returned from a short IL stint with a sore left knee and allowed three runs over five innings in a win at Washington last time out. One concern this season for Wacha has been the walks, as he has allowed 17 in 26.1 innings. He was 0-1 with an 8.68 ERA in two starts a year ago vs. the Cubbies. Anthony Rizzo is a career .476 hitter against him with three homers in 42 at-bats. Chicago's Yu Darvish (2-3, 5.02) is perhaps showing signs of actually being a decent pitcher again. He allowed one run and two hits with eight strikeouts last time out vs. Arizona. The Cards' Marcell Ozuna is 3-for-6 off him with two extra-base hits.
Key trends: The Cards are 1-5 in Wacha's past six vs. the Cubs. The over is 5-1-1 in his previous seven at Wrigley.
Early lean: Cubs.
Royals at Tigers (TBA)
A 4:10 p.m. ET first pitch. Possibly the most unlikely back-to-back starts in baseball since the 2017 season was when the Royals' Homer Bailey - who was historically bad last year with Cincinnati - shut out the Indians on two hits over seven on April 13 and followed by allowing one run and three hits over six at the Yankees. Well, Bailey (2-3, 5.70) is back to normal, allowing eight runs and nine hits over seven innings in his past two, both losses. The first inning has killed him in those. Bailey has faced the Tigers just once since 2016. Detroit's Tyson Ross (1-3, 4.03) hasn't pitched since April 24 due to rainouts, being pushed back, etc. His best outing of the year was April 7 when he allowed one run over seven innings vs. the Royals.
Key trends: The Royals have won nine of their past 12 on Saturday. The over is 7-1 in their past eight on the day.
Early lean: TBA as Tigers haven't officially named Ross as of writing. All signs points to him and Detroit should be moderate favorite. I'm going Tigers and over what should be a total of 9.
A's at Pirates (-115, 8)
Fox Sports 1 game after Cards-Cubs. The A's lose the DH in the National League park. That's usually slugger Khris Davis, but I'm guessing the team will play him in the outfield. Oakland's Chris Bassitt (1-0, 0.75) started the year in the minors but was called up when Marco Estrada was injured. Bassitt has been great in his two starts, allowing one run and five hits in 12 innings vs. the Blue Jays and Rangers. Bassitt hasn't faced the Pirates. Pittsburgh's Trevor Williams (1-1, 3.38) was hammered for five runs and eight hits over six in his last start at the Dodgers. That ended his streak of five straight quality starts. He hasn't seen Oakland.
Key trends: The Pirates have won Williams' past six vs. the American League. The under is 4-1-1 in Bassitt's previous six.
Early lean: Pirates and under.
Dodgers at Padres (+111, 7.5)
If you want to read an incredibly touching story, Dodgers pitcher Rich Hill wrote one this week on the Players Tribune about the decision he and his wife had to make in 2014 when their newborn son was diagnosed with a rare brain disorder and malfunctioning kidneys. Their son Brooks died two months after birth. Incredibly powerful story, and I'll be rooting for Hill going forward. Meanwhile, L.A. outfielder AJ Pollock, the team's big offseason free-agent addition, had surgery for an elbow infection on Thursday and will miss several weeks. With Pollock out, rookie Alex Verdugo should see most of the action in center field. Hill (0-0, 1.50) made his season debut off injury last Sunday and allowed one earned over six vs. Pittsburgh. Friars lefty Joey Lucchesi (3-2, 4.94) faced the Dodgers three times last year and allowed 13 runs in 12 2/3 innings. San Diego lost all three.
Key trends: The Dodgers are 6-2 in Hill's past eight vs. the Padres. The under is 5-0 in Lucchesi's previous five at home.
Early lean: Dodgers and under.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
Get all of Today's Free MLB Picks
Get all of Today's Expert MLB Picks