Free MLB Picks for Thursday August 1, 2019
Under the heading "you can never make everyone happy," some front office officials already are complaining about the new singular Trade Deadline that passed on Wednesday afternoon and want it pushed back next year to Aug. 15. "A lot of these executives are very methodical, knowing they have a soft deadline," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of the previous system where there was a second deadline at the end of August. In one regard, I can understand their concern because baseball is such a long season. What if a contender like the Cubs loses All-Star catcher Willson Contreras for a few weeks? That could be devastating because Chicago wouldn't be able to find a reasonable backup catcher to current No. 2 Victor Caratini. I mention Contreras because catcher is usually the thinnest position on any roster and no catcher plays every single day. Then of course the starting rotation. Apparently, pushing the deadline to Aug. 15 will be discussed at the GM meetings this November. Expect that to become the new norm.
Giants at Phillies (TBA)
MLB Network game at 1:05 p.m. ET. It was to be rookie Shaun Anderson (3-3, 5.06) for the Giants, but the team is pushing him back for a bit of rest and because he's struggling. So, it's thought the Giants will call-up one of two guys from the minors: Conner Menez or Dereck Rodriguez, who last started Thursday with Triple-A Sacramento. Expected to be Rodriguez (4-5, 4.99). He last pitched in the majors on July 15. The Phillies go with Jake Arrieta (8-8, 4.51), who hasn't been able to pitch six full in his past four - Arrieta has an excuse, though, as he's pitching with bone spurs in his throwing elbow. That could end his season at any time. He tends to lose his velocity no later than the fifth inning now. Arrieta hasn't seen the Giants in 2019. Brandon Belt is 0-for-10 with seven strikeouts against him.
Key trends: The Phillies are 6-1 in Arrieta's past seven in Game 3 of a series. The "over/under" is 5-2 in Arrieta's past seven at home.
Early lean: Like Phillies regardless of Giants starter and over.
Brewers at A's (TBA)
A 3:37 p.m. ET first pitch. Milwaukee adds the designated hitter. The Brewers start Chase Anderson (5-2, 3.89). Another guy who doesn't go deep into games. He went five last time out, allowing two runs in a no-decision vs. the Cubs. Pretty standard outing for Anderson. The A's Marcus Semien is 2-for-4 off him with two doubles. Oakland's Daniel Mengden (5-2, 4.85) has walked nine batters spanning nine innings in his past two outings, both A's losses. Mengden allowed three runs over six innings in a loss to Milwaukee in 2016. Yasmani Grandal is 1-for-2 with a solo shot off him.
Key trends: The A's are 9-3 in Mengden's past 13 at home. The over is 4-1 in his previous five.
Early lean: Anderson not confirmed yet (welcome to the Trade Deadline). Like the A's regardless.
Astros at Indians (+174, 8.5)
Last meeting between these clubs until potentially October. Houston's Gerrit Cole (12-5, 2.94) has allowed one earned run over seven innings in three straight starts while striking out a combined 29. He leads the majors with 212 Ks and is starting to push teammate Justin Verlander as the Cy Young favorite. Cole lost vs. the Tribe on April 25 (7 IP, 2 ER, 10 Ks). Jose Ramirez is 1-for-5 with a homer off him. It's the season debut of Danny Salazar for the Tribe - that he's finally healthy and that Corey Kluber soon will be is why the team was able to trade Trevor Bauer this week. Salazar was 5-6 with a 4.28 ERA last year and certainly will be on a quite limited pitch count at first.
Key trends: The Astros are 7-1 in Cole's past eight vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 5-2 in Salazar's past nine.
Early lean: Astros and under.
Cubs at Cardinals (-122, 8.5)
MLB Network prime-time game. Cubs lefty Jon Lester (9-6, 3.63) is going strong at age 35, coming off seven shutout innings in Milwaukee, although the Cubs wouldn't win that game. Lester is 4-1 with a 2.91 ERA in his last seven outings. He beat St. Louis on June 8 at Wrigley Field (6 IP, 4 ER). Paul Goldschmidt is 7-for-14 off him with a homer. The Cards' Jack Flaherty (4-6, 4.17) has had a bit of a disappointing second season but is still just 23. He hasn't won since May 14 in Atlanta. Flaherty is 0-1 with a 5.65 ERA in 14.1 innings vs. the Cubbies in 2019. Anthony Rizzo is 8-for-12 with two homers off him.
Key trends: The Cubs are 6-2 in Lester's past eight vs. the Cardinals. The over is 5-1 in his previous six against them.
Early lean: Cubs and over.
Padres at Dodgers (-195, 8)
MLB Network late-night matchup. Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw (9-2, 2.85) has gone at least six innings in every start this year, which is pretty rare. He went exactly six last time out, allowing two runs and striking out nine in a victory at the Nationals. Kershaw is 1-0 with a 3.15 ERA in three starts this year vs. the Friars. Eric Hosmer is 9-for-24 with two doubles and a homer off him. Wil Myers a laughable 3-for-35 with 13 Ks. San Diego lefty Joey Lucchesi (7-5, 4.12) allowed one run and two hits last time out vs. the Giants but took a no-decision. He's 1-0 with a 4.76 ERA in two starts this year vs. the Dodgers. Alex Verdugo is 4-for-7 off him.
Key trends: The Padres are 1-4 in Lucchesi's past four vs. the Dodgers. The under has hit in four straight L.A. series openers.
Early lean: Dodgers on runline and under.
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