Free MLB Picks for Thursday June 27, 2019
You may or may not be aware, but there's a new format for electing the MLB All-Star starters, with this year's game July 9 in Cleveland. The voting began with something called "the Primary," where just about every player in the majors can be voted for. That portion is over. Starting Wednesday afternoon and running through Thursday afternoon (4 p.m. ET), fans vote in the "Starters Election," which features the top three vote-getters at each position (and the top nine outfielders) in each league based on vote totals from "the Primary." Votes from "the Primary" don't carry over. The winner of each position and the top three outfielders will be announced Thursday night at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. There are 51 players in the starters' field spanning 17 teams. A total of 19 of those are bidding for their first-ever All-Star selection. The Dodgers' Cody Bellinger was the overall leading vote-getter in "the Primary." I guess it was nice that MLB changed up the voting to try something new, but not sure this is the answer.
Check out Doc's Sports Happy Hour Show where veteran handicapper Tony George talks to US Integrity CEO Matt Holt about legalized betting across America as well as Game Integrity Management.
Mets at Phillies (-148, 9.5)
A 1:05 p.m. ET first pitch for this series finale and on the MLB Network. The news gets weirder for the dysfunctional Mets. Apparently, new GM Brodie Van Wagenen has dictated some moves to Manager Mickey Callaway during games this season, even calling the dugout once from home and ordering Jacob deGrom to be removed. Just wow. New York goes with trade candidate Zack Wheeler (6-5, 4.69) here. He certainly helped his value last time out in allowing just one run over seven in beating the Cubs. Wheeler is 1-1 with a 1.93 ERA in two starts this year vs. the Phillies. Bryce Harper is just 5-for-31 off him with 13 Ks. Philadelphia's Aaron Nola (6-2, 4.55) had one of his best starts of the season Friday in giving up a run with 10 strikeouts over eight vs. Miami but still took the loss. He lost to the Mets on April 15 (4 IP, 5 ER).
Key trends: The Phillies are 5-1 in Nola's past six against the Mets. The "over/under" is 6-2-1 in Wheeler's previous nine against the Phils.
Early lean: Phillies and under.
Pirates at Astros (-205, 9.5)
Pittsburgh adds the DH for this interleague matchup. On Tuesday, Houston's Gerrit Cole faced his former Pirates team for the first time since a January 2018 trade to the Astros. One of the players who went to Houston, arguably the key piece, was pitcher Joe Musgrove (5-7, 4.57). He's on the mound for the Bucs here. Musgrove was strong Friday vs. San Diego, surrendering one run and five hits over seven with no walks in the victory. A couple of Astros have seen him: Robinson Chirinos is 2-for-5 with three walks. Houston's Brad Peacock (6-5, 3.62) has just one win in his past six despite a 3.67 ERA over that span. No Pirates have more than four at-bats off him.
Key trends: The Bucs are 3-10 in Musgrove's past 13 vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 4-1-1 in Peacock's past six vs. the NL.
Early lean: Astros on runline and over.
Nationals at Marlins (-185, 7.5)
Washington's Stephen Strasburg (8-4, 3.79) beat the Braves on Friday in giving up three runs and five hits over six innings - his fifth straight outing with a decision. The Nationals have won 11 games in a row over the Marlins that Strasburg has started. He's 9-0 in those with a 1.67 ERA. Starlin Castro is 2-for-14 off him with seven strikeouts. Miami's Sandy Alcantara (4-6, 3.51) won in Philadelphia on Friday (7.2 IP, 1 ER) and continues to be a nice surprise for the Marlins. The 23-year-old lost in Washington on May 25 (5 IP, 4 ER). Anthony Rendon is 4-for-8 with a home run and five RBIs against him.
Key trends: The Marlins are 1-6 in Alcantara's past seven at home. The under has hit in five straight Strasburg starts in Miami.
Early lean: Marlins on runline and under.
Dodgers at Rockies (+162, 11)
MLB Network prime-time game. What will stellar young Dodgers right-hander Walker Buehler (8-1, 2.96) do for an encore? Last Friday against these Rockies, he threw the first complete game of his career and struck out a career-high 16. The Dodgers have had some of the great pitchers in MLB history, but Buehler was the first to ever strikeout at least 16 and walk none. Clayton Kershaw has had close games, but he has never whiffed 16. Charlie Blackmon hits Buehler fairly well, going 7-for-24 with two homers. Rockies rookie Peter Lambert (2-0, 5.85) makes his fifth big-league start. He lost at the Dodgers on Saturday, giving up three runs and seven hits over five. Alex Verdugo was 2-for-3 with a double and homer off him.
Key trends: The Dodgers have won their past four in Denver. The under is 6-1 in the Rockies' past seven series openers.
Early lean: Rockies on runline and under.
A's at Angels (-152, 9.5)
Series opener between AL West rivals. Oakland's Mike Fiers (7-3, 4.20) had a three-start winning streak snapped on Saturday but was terrific in a no-decision vs. the Rays, allowing one run and three hits over six. Oakland would eventually win. Fiers is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in two starts this season vs. the Angels. Mike Trout hits .375 off him with three homers and nine RBIs in 24 at-bats. L.A. rookie Griffin Canning (2-4, 3.88) hasn't won since May 18, although he generally has pitched well in that stretch. The 23-year-old is 0-1 with a 3.75 ERA in two starts against the A's. Ramon Laureano is 3-for-4 with two doubles and a homer off Canning.
Key trends: The A's are 9-19 in their past 28 at the Halos. The under is 7-2-1 in Canning's past 10.
Early lean: Angels and under.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
Get all of Today's MLB Picks
Get all of Today's Guaranteed Expert MLB Picks