Free MLB Picks for Thursday April 18, 2019
The Los Angeles Dodgers have avoided potential disaster on X-rays of Cody Bellinger's knee. He left Monday's win over the Cincinnati Reds after taking a 96-mph Luis Castillo fastball off his right knee. Bellinger did take first base but was then replaced in right field. Bellinger clearly is going to miss at least a game or two, though (sat Tuesday). He's an early MVP candidate - although everyone might be trailing reigning MVP Christian Yelich of the Brewers - as Bellinger leads the National League in average (.433), homers (nine), runs (22), on-base percentage (.513) and slugging (.925). It was otherwise a great night for the Dodgers as Clayton Kershaw looked good in his first start of the season.
Giants at Nationals (-201, 8)
MLB Network game at 1:05 p.m. ET. It's a matchup of lefties here in the Giants' Drew Pomeranz and Nationals' Patrick Corbin. Pomeranz (0-1, 3.86) has given up two earned runs in each of his three starts but still hasn't gone more than five innings yet. That might simply be who he is at this point of his career. Pomeranz is 2-0 with a 2.19 ERA in two career starts against Washington. Michael Taylor could get a spot start in the outfield as he's 3-for-3 with two homers off Pomeranz. Corbin (0-0, 2.84) has been about everything Washington could have hoped for as a big-ticket free-agent addition with three quality starts. He just hasn't gotten much help from his lineup or bullpen yet. In his last seven starts against the Giants, Corbin is 4-1 with a 1.93 ERA. Buster Posey is a career .296 hitter off him but no homers in 54 at-bats.
Key trends: The Giants are 3-8 in their past 11 road games vs. a lefty. The Nats are 1-5 in their past six against a southpaw. The "over/under" is 4-1 in the Giants' past five vs. a lefty.
Early lean: Nationals and under.
White Sox at Tigers (TBA)
A 1:10 p.m. ET first pitch on ESPN+. Which Ivan Nova (0-2, 5.28) shows up for the Pale Hose? He has allowed just one run and pitched at least six innings in two of his starts, but in the third he was bombed for seven runs in 2.1 innings by the Mariners. The White Sox haven't scored for him whatsoever. Miguel Cabrera has faced him more than any Tiger, going 6-for-20 with a homer and five Ks. Detroit hasn't named its starter as of yet. It was through to be Daniel Norris (0-0, 4.32). He has pitched only in relief this year but is taking the rotation spot of Matt Moore, who is out following knee surgery. Except that Norris now may pitch Saturday. So, it's not clear who will start if that's the case as it might be a committee-type effort.
Key trends: The White Sox are 5-11 in their past 16 road games. The over is 7-2-1 in the previous 10 meetings.
Early lean: Won't be our last TBA of the year!
Royals at Yankees (-190, 9)
Always fun to make fun of Homer Bailey (1-1, 5.29) when he takes the mound as he does here for the Royals. Yet, we'll eat a bit of crow as Bailey comes off his best start in years, throwing seven innings of two-hit shutout ball against Cleveland. Who saw that coming? This will be Bailey's first road outing of the year. The Yankees' DJ LeMahieu is 1-for-6 off him. New York's Domingo German (3-0, 1.38) had two good starts to open the year but comes off two scoreless innings of relief vs. the White Sox. German gets his first career look at the Royals.
Key trends: The Royals have won just 17 of their past 63 at the Yankees. The over is 4-1 in German's past five outings.
Early lean: Yankees and over.
Phillies at Rockies (-105, 10.5)
The Phillies' presumed closer this season was supposed to be free-agent addition David Robertson, but he has struggled and now perhaps it's clear why: Robertson has landed on the injured list with right elbow soreness, which is obviously always a concern. Manager Gabe Kapler figures to use a mix of Hector Neris, Pat Neshek and Seranthony Dominguez going forward. Kapler apparently doesn't believe in a single closer as nine Phillies had saves last year. The Phils go with Zach Eflin (2-1, 3.94) here. He was excellent his first two times out but shelled for six runs on 10 hits, three homers, last time out at light-hitting Miami. Colorado's struggling Charlie Blackmon is 4-for-7 career off him with two homers. Rockies ace lefty Kyle Freeland (1-3, 5.40) has been rather inconsistent thus far. Freeland left his last start, a loss to the Giants, after five innings with a left middle finger blister but is apparently good to go. Bryce Harper is 2-for-8 against him.
Key trends: The Rockies are 13-3 in Freeland's past 16 at home. The over is 5-0 in Eflin's past five on the road.
Early lean: Rockies and over.
Dodgers at Brewers (+101, 9.5)
MLB Network prime-time game, and this already is the last series between the two NLCS participants from last year. The Dodgers go with young lefty Julio Urias (0-1, 5.27). He wasn't good against these Brewers on April 12, surrendering six runs, two homers, in five innings of a loss. Before Hyun-Jin Ryu got hurt, the plan was for Urias to start that game and then go to the bullpen. The Brewers' Yasmani Grandal, a former Dodger, is 2-for-3 with a homer off him. Milwaukee's Zach Davies (2-0, 1.53) beat the Dodgers last week, going a season-high seven innings and allowing one run with no walks and six Ks. Bellinger, if he's ready, is 3-for-6 with a homer against Davies.
Key trends: The Dodgers are 1-5 in Urias' past six road starts vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 7-2 in Davies' past nine at home.
Early lean: Brewers and under.
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