Free MLB Picks for Thursday May 16, 2019
Have we seen the end of the career of Dustin Pedroia? The Red Sox second baseman and former AL MVP is easily one of the most popular Red Sox ever just because he looks like a normal guy at 5-foot-9, 175 pounds and hustled on every play. Pedroia played in only three games last season due to an ongoing knee injury and the club thought he'd be good to go as the every-day guy this year, but he lasted only six games before returning to the injured list. Recently, the four-time Gold Glove winner and longest tenured player on the Red Sox roster suffered a setback in rehab at Double-A with his surgically-repaired knee and it's obviously within the realm of possibility that Pedroia simply hangs up his cleats so he can live a normal life post-baseball. Pedroia is under contract through 2021, but the Red Sox can afford it (Pedroia won't officially retire as he would lose that guaranteed money, but he and the team could work something out as an advisor, etc). Plus, rookie Michael Chavis is playing too well right now to pull from second base.
Rangers at Royals (-101, 9.5)
Kansas City has called up one of its top prospects in infielder Nicky Lopez from Triple-A Omaha. He should play every day at second base, shifting Whit Merrifield to the outfield. It's the always entertaining Homer Bailey (4-3, 4.83) on the mound for Kansas City. As historically terrible as Bailey was for the Reds last year, he's been OK at times in 2019 with his new club. He has allowed three runs over 11 innings in winning his past two outings. Texas' Hunter Pence is 6-for-21 off him with a homer and two doubles. The Rangers' Lance Lynn (4-3, 5.48) lost in Houston last time out, allowing three solo homers over seven innings. He is 2-2 with a 5.13 ERA in seven career starts against Kansas City. Alex Gordon is 10-for-19 off him.
Key trends: The Royals are 8-17 in their past 25 Thursday games. The "over/under" is 10-2-1 in the Rangers' past 13 on the road.
Early lean: Rangers and over.
Orioles at Indians (-300, 8.5)
The Tribe are calling up one of their key prospects in outfielder Oscar Mercado - he's a speed demon. Cleveland has a spot open in the outfield with Tyler Naquin out with a calf injury. It's Trevor Bauer (4-2, 3.02) on the bump for Cleveland. He took a no-decision last time out vs. the A's despite not allowing an earned run over seven and striking out 10. In six career starts against the Orioles, Bauer has gone 1-4 with a 5.45 ERA. Chris Davis is 4-for-13 off him with a homer and five Ks. Baltimore's Dan Straily (1-3, 8.23) was released on March 25 by the Marlins and has clearly been terrible with the Birds. He allowed six runs over 4.1 innings last time out vs. the Angels and might be closed to being released as he didn't sign for much. Jason Kipnis is 1-for-6 with a triple off him.
Key trends: The Indians are 1-5 in Bauer's past six vs. the Orioles. The under is 5-1 in those.
Early lean: Indians on runline and under.
Cubs at Reds (-137, 8.5)
Very quietly, Cincinnati's Luis Castillo (4-1, 1.76) is having a breakout season at age 26 as he's among the NL leaders in ERA, strikeouts (70), innings (56.1), WHIP (0.99) and, oddly, walks (24). Castillo has allowed more than five hits in just one start and has one of the best changeups in the majors. He's 2-1 with a 3.82 ERA in six career starts vs. the Cubs. Kyle Schwarber is 3-for-6 with a double and two homers off Castillo. Cubs lefty Jose Quintana (4-2, 3.50) comes off a loss to the Brewers, allowing three runs over 6.2 innings. His only other loss is also to Milwaukee. Quintana went 2-2 with a 3.27 ERA in four starts vs. the Reds in 2018. Joey Votto is 7-for-14 off him with four doubles.
Key trends: The Reds are 12-5 in Castillo's past 17 at home. The over is 5-1 in Quintana's past six vs. Cincinnati.
Early lean: Reds and under.
Blue Jays at White Sox (+118, 9)
The White Sox have officially confirmed that presumed ace Carlos Rodon will have Tommy John surgery, knocking him out until the second half of 2020. Rodon's injury is the only reason that Dylan Covey (0-2, 5.91) is in the rotation because he simply should not be a big-league starter with a career 6.09 ERA in 202.1 innings. He pitched in Toronto last Friday and allowed four runs with five walks in 4.2 innings. Randal Grichuk is 1-for-2 with a homer off him. The Jays' Marcus Stroman (1-6, 3.12) obviously isn't getting much run support. He pitched Saturday vs. the White Sox, giving up three earned over 6.1 innings. Tim Anderson is just 2-for-15 off him with seven strikeouts.
Key trends: The Sox have lost eight straight Covey home starts. The over is 6-2-2 in his previous 10 vs. teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Jays and over.
Twins at Mariners (-103, 9)
ESPN+ game. It's one-time Mariners top prospect Michael Pineda (2-3, 5.85) the Twins. His return from Tommy John surgery has been a mixed bag in 2019. Minnesota has dropped his past five. Edwin Encarnacion has seen him the most of any Seattle batter, going 10-for-30 with a homer. It's rookie Erik Swanson (1-4, 6.35) for the M's, and he's only in the rotation due to an injury to Wade LeBlanc. Swanson was bombed for seven runs and seven hits over 4.2 innings last time out in Boston. He has never faced the Twins, who got good news early this week with an MRI on the injured wrist of DH and former Mariner Nelson Cruz coming up negative.
Key trends: The Twins are 1-5 in their past six in Seattle. The over is 4-0 in Swanson's past four.
Early lean: Mariners and over.
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