Free MLB Picks for Thursday August 8, 2019
With the Angels opening a series in Boston on Thursday night, it's a good time to talk about Mike Trout and Mookie Betts, arguably the two best offensive players in the American League. Well, there's no question that Trout is No. 1. He's going to win a third career AL MVP Award this season; Trout finished second last year to Betts. This offseason, Trout, who turned 28 on Wednesday, surprised many by agreeing to a 12-year, $432 million extension. The Angels had to overpay him a bit because Trout never gets to the postseason with them and there were rumors that he might eventually want to play for his favorite team growing up, the Philadelphia Phillies. Betts, 26, apparently is going to bet on himself in free agency. He's making $20 million this season and then has one more year of arbitration before becoming an unrestricted free agent after 2020. He has shut down any extension talks. You have to respect a guy betting on himself, but it could also backfire due to injury, regression or other factors. Betts is having a nice season but nothing close to last year when he hit .346 with 32 homers, 80 RBIs and 30 steals in 136 games.
Yankees at Blue Jays (+185, 11)
Where on earth would the Yankees be without Domingo German? Probably still in first place considering their huge lead, but their rotation has been a huge problem all season with disappointing results and injuries. German (14-2, 3.98) might not even be available much longer amid reports the team will start to severely limit his innings; his 104.0 are already a career high. German's lone start vs. Toronto this year was six shutout innings on July 12. Justin Smoak is 2-for-7 with a double off him. The Jays' Thomas Pannone (2-4, 5.98) allowed four runs over six last time out in Baltimore. He has mostly pitched in relief this year but is being transitioned into a starter. The Yanks' DJ LaMahieu is 1-for-1 with a double off him.
Key trends: The Yankees are 6-1 in their past seven meetings. The "over/under" is 14-3 in New York's past 17 overall.
Early lean: Yankees on runline and over.
Angels at Red Sox (-240, 10)
MLB Network prime-time game. It's lefty Dillon Peters (2-0, 3.20) for the Halos. The 26-year-old is being shifted into a starting role from relief and went a career-high 7.2 innings last time out in Cleveland, allowing three runs and eight hits (technically that was in relief). It's his first career look at the Red Sox. Boston lefty Chris Sale (5-11, 4.68) was hammered in his last two starts but both were by the Yankees, who have been hammering him all season. Sale hasn't faced the Angels since six inning of shutout ball in 2017. Trout is 5-for-14 with a homer off him. Albert Pujols just 2-for-21 with six strikeouts.
Key trends: The Sox are 1-8 in Sale's past nine series openers. The over is 4-1 in his previous five at home.
Early lean: Angels on runline and over.
Royals at Tigers (TBA)
Detroit lefty Matthew Boyd (6-8, 3.91) look for his first win since July 4, although he gets little run support from a terrible offense. Boyd allowed two runs with nine strikeouts Saturday in Texas in a third straight no-decision. He's 1-2 with a 5.00 ERA this year in three starts vs. the Royals. Whit Merrifield kills him, batting .441 with five doubles in 34 at-bats. Hunter Dozier is 5-for-12 with three doubles. Kansas City lefty Danny Duffy (5-6, 4.93) was rocked in Minnesota on Saturday, allowing nine runs and eight hits (four homers) over 4.2 innings. He has a 6.00 ERA and no decisions in nine innings this year against Detroit. Miguel Cabrera hits .250 off him with no homers and 11 Ks in 44 at-bats.
Key trends: The Royals are 1-5 in their past six in Detroit. The over is 7-3 in the Tigers' past 10 series openers.
Early lean: Not really sure why the TBA here as these are the expected pitchers. Tigers are horrendous at home but should be slight favorites with a total of 8.5-9. I do like Detroit.
Cubs at Reds (+105, 9.5)
Chicago lefty Cole Hamels (6-3, 2.84) returned from about five weeks on the injured list and blanked the Brewers on four hits over five innings on Saturday. He was on a pitch count there and should be able to go deeper on Thursday. Hamels has thrown just one inning against the Reds this year, and he went on the injured list after that. Jose Peraza is 4-for-9 off him with a solo shot. Cincinnati lefty Alex Wood (1-0, 3.18) started the season on the disabled list and makes only his third start - and first against the Cubs. He has allowed two earned in each of his first two. Wood is 3-2 with a 2.86 ERA in nine career games (six starts) vs. the Cubs. Kris Bryant is 3-for-8 with a homer off him.
Key trends: The Cubs are 0-5 in their past five road games vs. lefties. The over is 5-1 in the Reds' past six series openers.
Early lean: Reds and over.
Phillies at Giants (+101, 7.5)
Pitching matchup of the night and also streamed live on YouTube. Phillies ace Aaron Nola (10-2, 3.60) was terrific Saturday vs. the White Sox, allowing one run on three hits with 10 strikeouts over seven innings. Nola hasn't lost since June 21 and is back to the form that made him a Cy Young contender last year. He hasn't seen the Giants in 2019. Brandon Crawford is 2-for-8 with three RBIs off him. San Francisco lefty Madison Bumgarner (6-7, 3.92) hasn't lost since June 20. Was a bit lucky to not lose Saturday in Colorado, giving up five runs over five innings. Phillies catcher JT Realmuto is 3-for-6 with two doubles off him.
Key trends: The Phillies are 9-1 in Nola's past 10 vs. the NL West. The under is 6-2-1 in the Giants' past nine at home vs. a right-hander.
Early lean: Phillies and under.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
Get all of Today's Free MLB Picks
Get all of Today's Expert MLB Picks