Free MLB Picks for Thursday April 25, 2019
Major League Baseball is about to get more interesting as the Blue Jays are prepared to call up mega-prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at any moment - might even have happened by Wednesday (reportedly didn't Tuesday so his debut didn't come opposite Game 7 for the Maple Leafs). Baby Vlad tore up the minors last year but was kept down for service time reasons. He injured an oblique during spring training, which worked in Toronto's favor because then it didn't have to come up with some B.S. reason for sending Guerrero back down for a few weeks this year simply to delay his free agency down the road a year early (that deadline has passed so all good for the Jays now). Guerrero, who also was raking this year, is of course the son of Hall of Famer Vlad Guerrero, who was one of the most exciting hitters in MLB history because he could jack a pitch out of the park anywhere from his eyes to his toes. Baby Vlad is much the same. He'll take over at third base when called up, although he's such a big dude that the Jays may have to move him to a corner outfield spot or DH at some point.
Diamondbacks at Pirates (-113, 7)
First game of day at 12:35 p.m. ET. Here's something I may have never written: Perhaps bet a prop on a starting pitcher as a hitter. OK, maybe that doesn't exist (you can often request any prop) but Arizona's Zack Greinke (3-1, 4.60) is 5-for-10 at the plate this season with two homers. He also comes off his best start of the early going, throwing six shutout innings at the Cubs, allowing three hits. No Pirate has had much career success off him. Gregory Polanco is 1-for-7 with a homer. Pittsburgh's Jameson Taillon (1-2, 3.12) hasn't gotten much offensive support. He got just enough last time out, allowing a run over five in a win over the Giants. Taillon actually got credit for a complete game because it was shortened to five by rain. That doesn't seem right. Arizona's David Peralta is 1-for-3 off him with a homer. Greinke is 1-for-2.
Key trends: The Diamondbacks are 10-4 in Greinke's past 14 on the road. The Bucs are 6-1 in Taillon's previous seven at home. The "over/under" has gone under in nine of Taillon's past 11.
Early lean: Pirates and under.
Dodgers at Cubs (TBA)
MLB Network game at 2:20 p.m. ET. L.A.'s Ross Stripling (1-1, 3.07) likely will be shifted to the bullpen if/when the Dodgers ever get fully healthy in their rotation. In fact, that could be very soon with the return of lefty Rich Hill, although it's just a matter of time before Hill lands back on the injured list. Stripling comes off back-to-back starts vs. the Brewers, one excellent and one not great. The Cubs' Javier Baez is 5-for-5 career off him with a homer and three doubles. Chicago lefty Jon Lester (1-0, 2.57) is expected to be activated from the injured list. He hasn't pitched since injuring a hamstring on April 8 vs. Pittsburgh. The Dodgers' Cody Bellinger is 3-for-5 off him with a homer and four RBIs.
Key trends: The Dodgers are 4-1 in Stripling's past five in Game 3 of a series. The under is 7-3 in his past 10 road starts vs. teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Lester hasn't been officially listed yet, but all signs point to him - Cubs will be favored and are the pick.
Marlins at Phillies (-180, 8)
Is the pressure already getting to Bryce Harper? He was ejected for the 12 th time in his career on Monday for arguing balls and strikes - on a pitch to a teammate. Among active players, only Matt Kemp has more ejections, with 14 -- and Kemp reached the majors six years before Harper. Harper's 12 ejections have been from 12 different umpires. Harper is 0-for-2 career of Marlins lefty starting pitcher Caleb Smith (2-0, 2.35). He beat Harper's old team the Nats last time out and blanked the Phillies on one hit over six the start prior. Philly's Aaron Nola (2-0, 6.84) is lucky he has gotten plenty of run support as he hasn't been very good. He was 1-1 with a 1.86 ERA in two starts vs. the Marlins in 2018. Martin Prado is 7-for-18 off him.
Key trends: The Phillies are 14-3 in Nola's previous 17 vs. teams with a losing record. The under is 2-0-2 in his past four vs. the Marlins.
Early lean: Marlins on runline and under.
Tigers at Red Sox (-187, 9.5)
MLB Network 7:10 p.m. ET first pitch. Boston got some bad news this week with starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi needing a procedure on his elbow that will cost at least 4-6 weeks. Eovaldi signed a four-year, $68 million deal in December and has an ERA of 6.00 this year. It's former Tiger Rick Porcello (0-3, 8.47) on the bump here. Maybe he's turning the corner as he went a season-high 5.2 innings last time out and allowed two runs in easily his best start of the year. Miguel Cabrera is 2-for-7 off his former teammate. Detroit's Jordan Zimmermann (0-3, 4.94) had two great starts to open the year but has been lousy the past three. Boston's Mookie Betts is 3-for-4 off him with a homer.
Key trends: The Sox are 5-2 in Porcello's past seven at home. The over is 8-3-1 in Zimmermann's past 12.
Early lean: Red Sox and over.
Indians at Astros (TBA)
ESPN+ game at 8:10 p.m. ET. In name value, it's the pitching matchup of the night. Cleveland's Trevor Bauer (2-1, 2.20) has struck out at least seven in all five starts and comes off a 10K effort in a no-decision to the Braves, allowing two runs and three hits over 6.1 innings. It was the 20 th double-digit strikeout of his career. Bauer pitched 4.0 innings of relief vs. Houston in the 2018 ALDS, allowing four runs and seven hits. New Astros catcher Robinson Chirinos is 3-for-7 career off him with two homers. The Astros' Gerrit Cole (1-3, 5.22) had his worst start as a member of the team last time out, allowing nine runs in 4.1 innings in Texas. Cole won Game 2 of the 2018 ALDS, allowing one run and three hits with 12 strikeouts over seven. The Tribe's Jose Ramirez is 1-for-3 with a homer off him.
Key trends: The Indians have won Bauer's past eight regular-season starts vs. Houston. The under is 14-6-1 in his previous 21 overall.
Early lean: TBA as Bauer isn't official yet, but if it's him we like the Tribe in a minor upset.
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