Free MLB Picks for Thursday July 4, 2019
July 4 is the most "baseball-centric" of the American holidays and there have been some memorable moments on Independence Day, but arguably the most iconic July 4 in the MLB world was in 1939. That was Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day at Yankee Stadium when the No. 4 of the "Iron House" would become the first ever retired by the team. Gehrig of course would give the most iconic speech in baseball history, describing himself as "the luckiest man on the face of the earth." That overshadowed a pretty amazing feat on the field that day elsewhere when the Red Sox's Jim Tabor had four homers and 11 RBIs against the Philadelphia Athletics. No, it wasn't the same game or you probably would know more about it but the teams played a doubleheader. Those were much more common back then. Still quite an impressive day for Tabor, who was just 22. He played nine years in the majors and had a solid if unremarkable career.
Marlins at Nationals (-192, 10)
It's now tradition for the Nationals to play their July 4 home game at 11:05 a.m. ET - lot going on in D.C. on July 4, especially this year with Trump's plans -- and it will be on the MLB Network. Washington's Anibal Sanchez (4-6, 3.82) was 0-6 with a 5.27 ERA at one point this season. He won in Detroit last time out, allowing a run and six hits over six. It was his fourth straight start lasting six innings. Sanchez lost in Miami on April 19 (5.1 IP, 3 ER). Martin Prado is a .417 hitter off him in 36 at-bats. The Marlins' Elieser Hernandez (1-2, 4.07) makes his fifth start of the season. He hasn't allowed more than three earned yet but hasn't gone all that deep in games. Last year, he had a 9.82 ERA in 11 innings of relief against Washington. Juan Soto is 3-for-6 with two doubles off him.
Key trends: The Nats are 6-1 in Sanchez's past seven. The "over/under" has gone under in five straight Hernandez starts vs. the NL East.
Early lean: Love the under here as the batters will not be used to that early start and pitchers should have the huge advantage.
Brewers at Reds (-110, 9)
A 2:10 p.m. ET first pitch. It's All-Star Luis Castillo (7-3, 2.47) on the mound for the Reds. A well-deserved nod for Castillo as he's sixth in the NL in strikeouts (115) and third in ERA (2.47) … but also first in walks (52). Guy's living dangerously but batters are hitting only .178 off him. The 26-year-old hasn't had much success vs. the Brewers this year, going 0-2 with a 6.08 ERA in three starts. Yasmani Grandal is 5-for-9 with two homers off him. An argument could be made that Milwaukee's Brandon Woodruff (10-2, 3.79) should have been an All-Star. He leads the NL in wins and is fifth in strikeouts (120). Woodruff beat the Reds on June 23 (7 IP, 3 ER, 12 Ks). Joey Votto is 5-for-6 with two homers off him.
Key trends: The Reds have lost Castillo's past four vs. the Brewers. The under has hit in his past four at home against them.
Early lean: Brewers and under.
Cubs at Pirates (+112, 9.5)
ESPN game with a first pitch of 4 p.m. ET. Cubs lefty Jose Quintana (5-7, 4.21) was great against the Reds on Saturday, shutting them out on six hits over six for his first win since May 5 against the Cardinals. Alas, those types of outings are too far in between for Cubs backers. The Colombian dominated vs. Pittsburgh on April 11 (7 IP, 0 ER, 11 Ks). Josh Bell is 2-for-7 with a dinger against him. The Bucs' Jordan Lyles (5-4, 3.71) returned from three weeks on the injured list … and ended up facing Milwaukee for a third straight outing last time out. He allowed three runs over six in a loss. Lyles won at the Cubs on April 10 (6 IP, 1 ER). Addison Russell is 3-for-4 with a homer against him.
Key trends: The Cubs are 4-1 in Quintana's past five against Pittsburgh. The over is 6-1-1 in the Bucs' previous eight vs. lefties.
Early lean: Pirates and over.
Phillies at Braves (-140, 10.5)
ESPN prime-time game. It's NL Rookie of the Year contender and All-Star Mike Soroka (9-1, 2.13) for the Braves. He won at the Mets on Friday, allowing two earned over 6.1 innings. Soroka's an interesting pitcher because he doesn't strike out too many or walk many - simply lets his defense do the work. His ERA is the lowest for a qualified Braves pitcher since Greg Maddux in 1995. This will be Soroka's first look at the Phillies. They go with Zach Eflin (7-7, 3.34). He comes off a no-decision in Miami, giving up three earned over six. He hasn't faced the Braves since August 2017. Josh Donaldson is 4-for-5 with three doubles and a homer off him.
Key trends: The Braves have won eight straight Soroka starts vs. the NL East. The under is 5-0 in his previous five against teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Braves and under.
Padres at Dodgers (-225, 8.5)
MLB Network and latest game on holiday schedule at 9:10 p.m. ET. Padres lefty Eric Lauer (5-7, 4.22) hasn't won since June vs. the Phillies but other than one start has pitched relatively well since then. He did throw only four innings last time out due to a high pitch count, allowing one run against the Cardinals. Lauer took a no-decision on May 3 vs. the Dodgers (5 IP, 2 ER). Max Muncy is 2-for-3 with a homer off him. L.A. lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu (9-2, 1.83) makes his final start before he will take the mound for the National League in next Tuesday's All-Star Game. Ryu, the MLB leader in ERA, was bombed Friday in Colorado (4 IP, 7 ER) but Coors Field will do that. That jacked up his season ERA from 1.27. Ryu hasn't faced the Friars in 2019.
Key trends: The Dodgers are 5-1 in Ryu's past six at home in the series. The over is 4-0 in his previous four against the Friars.
Early lean: Dodgers on runline and under.
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