Free MLB Picks: Tuesday, August 19, 2019, Opening Line Report and Handicapping
Is Boston Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale a Hall of Famer? Right now, I'm sure the answer is no as he hasn't played long enough and has just 109 career victories. However, last week Sale became the fastest pitcher in big-league history to reach 2,000 career strikeouts. Sale got to that mark in 1,626 innings. The previous record was held by another Boston pitcher and someone in the Hall of Fame, Pedro Martinez at 1,711.1 innings. Sale has the best strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.9 to 1) in the majors since 1920. How much do wins matter to Hall of Famer voters, though? Sale is 30, so let's say he pitches five more seasons. Best-case scenario he gets to, what, 195 victories? Sandy Koufax got in with 165 wins but he was truly a legend - is Sale really one? It does seem that current voters for the Cy Young downgrade wins a bit because they are out of a pitcher's control. Jacob deGrom won the NL Award last year with just 10 victories. Sale's HOF chances might be determined on what happens Monday (see below). He was to pitch Tuesday but has been placed on the injured list.
Game 1: Angels at Rangers (+120, 11.5)
Only matinee of Tuesday with a first pitch of 2:05 p.m. ET on the MLB Network. First game of a day-night doubleheader and makeup of one postponed on July 1 due to the death of Halos pitcher Tyler Skaggs. It's lefty Andrew Heaney (2-3, 4.76) for the Angels. He went a season-high seven innings last time out, allowing three runs and four hits in a win over the White Sox. Heaney's season debut off injury was May 26 vs. the Rangers (5 IP, 2 ER). Elvis Andrus is 7-for-20 with two homers career off him. Texas lefty Brock Burke will be called up from Triple-A Nashville to make his big-league debut. He had just recently been promoted to Triple-A and had a 7.88 ERA in two starts there. The 23-year-old was a third-round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2014 draft and was traded to Texas this past offseason in the three-way deal that sent Jurickson Profar to Oakland.
Key trends: The Angels have won their past seven in the first game of a doubleheader. The "over/under" has gone over in seven of the Rangers' past 10 vs. a lefty.
Early lean: Angels and over.
Phillies at Red Sox (+106, 11)
MLB Network prime-time game. Philadelphia adds the DH in the American League park. It's ace Aaron Nola (11-3, 3.56) for the Phillies. He held the Cubs to a run and three hits over seven last time out in a victory and is 5-2 with a 2.09 ERA in his last 11 starts, allowing one or fewer earned runs in eight of those. No Boston batter has more than six at-bats off him. JD Martinez is 1-for-6 with four strikeouts. Was to be the start of Sale as noted, but he was set to be examined by Dr. James Andrews on Monday, which is a very ominous sign for not just Sale's 2019 season but also possibly 2020. Sale is dealing with elbow inflammation. Southpaw Brian Johnson (1-1, 6.45) is expected to get the call in Sale's spot. Bryce Harper is 1-for-2 off him with a double.
Key trends: The Phillies are 5-1 in Nola's past six vs. the AL. The over is 7-3 in his past 10 on the road.
Early lean: Phillies and over.
Tigers at Astros (-360, 9.5)
The moneylines in this series are going to be absolutely ridiculous in favor of the Astros. They start Aaron Sanchez (5-14, 5.79) on Tuesday. He was terrific in his first two starts for Houston after coming over in trade from Toronto but then regressed last time out, allowing six runs (four homers) over 5.1 innings in a no-decision at Oakland. Sanchez threw five shutout innings against the Tigers on March 30. Miguel Cabrera is just 2-for-16 off him. The Tigers' Spencer Turnbull (3-11, 3.75) continued his hard-luck season last time out, allowing three earned against Seattle yet losing again. Turnbull hasn't won since May 31 despite usually pitching well. He has never faced Houston.
Key trends: The Tigers are 3-13 in Turnbull's past 16. The under is 7-3 in his previous 10 on the road.
Early lean: Tigers on runline and over.
Yankees at A's (+127, 10)
ESPN late-night game. Might be time to start talking about the Yankees' Domingo German (16-2, 3.96) for the AL Cy Young Award, although his ERA isn't really Cy-worthy and we talked about how wins don't matter as much these days. German beat the Orioles last Tuesday, allowing two runs over seven. He hasn't lost since June 7. German hasn't faced Oakland this year. Khris Davis is 1-for-5 with a homer off him. A's right-hander Homer Bailey (10-8, 5.22) comes off easily his best start since the trade from Kansas City, shutting out the Giants on two hits over seven. He won in a pretty big upset at the Yankees on April 18, allowing one run over six. DJ LeMahieu is 1-for-9 off him with a strikeout.
Key trends: The Yankees are 10-1 in German's past 11 vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 10-2-1 in his past 13 on the road.
Early lean: Yankees and over.
Blue Jays at Dodgers (-295, 8.5)
Toronto loses the designated hitter in the National League park. Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw (12-2, 2.63) can break a tie with Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax with a victory here - they are tied for fifth in franchise history with 165. Don Sutton leads with 233. Kershaw was spectacular in his most recent start, blanking the Marlins on three hits with 10 strikeouts over seven. The Jays' Justin Smoak is 2-for-6 off him with two Ks. Toronto's Sean Reid-Foley (2-3, 3.00) lasted only 3.1 innings in his most recent start, allowing three runs and four hits. It's possible that Reid-Foley follows an opener here. He hasn't faced the Dodgers previously.
Key trends: The Dodgers are 12-4 in Kershaw's past 16 vs. the AL. The over is 7-3 in his past 10 at home.
Early lean: Dodgers on runline and under.
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