Free MLB Picks for Thursday May 23, 2019
The most important position player on the Angels is of course Mike Trout, but Nos. 2 and 3 are probably shortstop Andrelton Simmons and DH/pitcher Shohei Ohtani (Ohtani even more so when he can actually pitch, which he won't be doing this year off Tommy John surgery). Those two were hurt on back-to-back plays in the bottom of the eighth inning Monday in a home loss to the Twins. Ohtani was hit by a pitch on his hand, but X-rays were negative and he surprisingly played Tuesday. Simmons, though, gruesomely twisted his ankle trying to beat out a play at first. He was diagnosed with a Grade 3 sprain, which is the worst kind. So that's likely months instead of weeks on the injured list. That's a big loss, especially on defense where Simmons is historically good. Luis Rengifo has been called up from Triple-A Salt Lake and may take over as the everyday shortstop. Ah well, just another MLB postseason that won't feature Trout.
Nationals at Mets (+110, 7.5)
First game of day at 12:10 p.m. ET. Washington's Stephen Strasburg (4-3, 3.32) ended a two-start losing streak last time out, holding the Cubs to one earned run and just four hits over eight. Strasburg has allowed more than six hits once and his WHIP of 0.98 is among the NL leaders. He's 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA in two starts this year against the Mets. Robinson Cano is 0-for-8 career off him with three strikeouts. New York lefty Steven Matz (3-3, 3.96) returned from the injured list (forearm strain) on Saturday in Miami and lasted only 3.2 innings, allowing two runs and five hits. Matz did come out of it healthy, though. He threw five shutout innings vs. the Nats on April 6. Anthony Rendon is 8-for-25 off him with three homers.
Key trends: The Nats are 10-1 in Strasburg's past 11 at the Mets. The "over/under" is 6-0 in Matz's previous 10 against Washington.
Early lean: Nats and over.
Yankees at Orioles (+182, 9.5)
MLB Network game at 12:35 p.m. ET. New York's Masahiro Tanaka (3-3, 3.09) has been cleared to start here. Tanaka threw six shutout innings last time out vs. the Rays with no walks and only three hits allowed but was hit by a comebacker in the seventh inning that left him with a bruised shin. Tanaka's season debut was April 28 vs. the Orioles, allowing one earned in 5.2 innings of a victory. Chris Davis is 7-for-33 with a homer and nine Ks off him. The Birds' Dylan Bundy (2-5, 4.66) didn't allow an earned run in his most recent start for the first time this year but still only went 5.2 innings in Cleveland. He doesn't have a decision in two starts this year vs. the Yankees despite a 7.36 ERA. Gary Sanchez is 3-for-14 with a homer off him.
Key trends: The Orioles are 1-6 in Bundy's past seven at home. The over has hit in four straight Tanaka's starts in Baltimore.
Early lean: Orioles on runline and over.
Marlins at Tigers (-146, 8.5)
Miami adds the designated hitter for this interleague game at 1:10 p.m. ET. The pitcher who had cost bettors the most money this season if you wagered $100 on each of his games had been Miami's Trevor Richards (1-5, 4.44). That's because the Marlins had lost all eight of his starts. That ended Friday when he allowed three runs over 6.1 innings in beating the Mets. Now he tries for that first road win, as he's 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA in three away starts. Only two Tigers have ever faced him. Detroit left Matthew Boyd (4-4, 3.41) has been touched up by the long ball of late, allowing five dingers his past three games after just two his first seven. Only a few Marlins have seen him.
Key trends: The Tigers are 6-1 in Boyd's past seven at home vs. teams with a losing record. The over is 6-0 in Richards' past six vs. the AL.
Early lean: Tigers and over.
Braves at Giants (-115, 7.5)
MLB Network game at 3:45 p.m. ET. Always possible that the next start for lefty Madison Bumgarner (3-4, 4.21) will be his last in a Giants uniform. All but a sure thing he's traded by the July 31 deadline, and most experts believe that trades will happen earlier this year because July 31 is the new 100 percent drop-dead date for deals. The Giants have won his past four and he has gone at least six innings in each. Atlanta's Freddie Freeman is a .241 hitter off him in 29 at-bats. The Braves' Kevin Gausman (2-3, 4.31) allowed two runs over six in his last outing vs. Milwaukee. San Francisco's Kevin Pillar is 13-for-31 off him career.
Key trends: The Giants are 7-1 in Bumgarner's past eight vs. the Braves. The over has hit in five straight at home against them.
Early lean: Braves and under.
White Sox at Astros (-195, 9.5)
Only prime-time game of the night and also on the MLB Network. It's the White Sox's last game in Houston this year and they start Lucas Giolito (5-1, 3.35), who appears to have turned the corner in his young career. He held the Blue Jays to one earned run and three hits over five in winning his third start in a row Saturday. It counted as a complete game because it was rain-shortened and it's the second time in Giolito's career he's won three consecutive starts. Houston's Michael Brantley is 3-for-6 with two solo homers off him. The Astros' Corbin Martin (1-0, 3.38) makes his third big-league start and first vs. Chicago. He has allowed two earned in each of the first two (Boston and Texas).
Key trends: The White Sox have won Giolito's past four on the road. The under is 7-1-1 in his previous nine on the road vs. teams with a winning record.
Early lean: White Sox in upset and under.
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