Free MLB Picks for Tuesday, August 6, 2019
Every season, there's one team that takes a big leap forward to playoff contention after being lousy the previous year. Looking for an early contender to be that club in 2020? I give you the Seattle Mariners. They are quite bad this year, but that was planned by GM Jerry Dipoto, and he has done a terrific job of jettisoning guys like Robinson Cano and Jean Segura with big salaries for salary relief and prospects - Mike Leake was the most recent ahead of last week's Trade Deadline. Seattle is now widely considered to have a Top 5 farm system in baseball. Looking at the team's projected 2020 payroll, only three current players have base salaries north of $10 million and are under contract at least through next season: Third baseman Kyle Seager, pitcher Yusei Kikuchi and second baseman Dee Gordon. (The M's tried to trade both Seager and Gordon this year.) Thus, ownership could spend big next winter to make a splash -- or trade some of those prospects for a star -- and add some buzz back to what once was the most popular team in the area. Nowadays, attendance is down to 22,000 or so per game and the Mariners are being dwarfed in the market by the Seahawks. Oh, and the NHL is coming to Seattle in 2021-22 so that could also push ownership to be aggressive this offseason.
Game 1: White Sox at Tigers (-115, 9.5)
First game of a doubleheader at 1:10 p.m. ET and on the MLB Network. It's top White Sox pitching prospect Dylan Cease (1-4, 6.43) making his sixth big-league start. The Sox have lost his past four because they have totaled four runs in those games. Cease went a career-high seven innings last time out vs. the Mets but got zero run support. His big-league debut was on July 3 vs. Detroit (5 IP, 3 ER). Jeimer Candelario went yard off him. Detroit lefty Daniel Norris (3-8, 4.67) blanked the Angels over five last Wednesday for his first win since May 12. He's 1-1 with a 6.00 ERA in three starts this year vs. Chicago. Jose Abreu is 6-for-16 off him with two doubles. No Chicago player has homered off Norris.
Key trends: The White Sox are 1-8 in their past nine vs. the AL Central. The "over/under" has gone under in 12 of Norris' past 17 at home vs. teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Tigers and under.
A's at Cubs (-140, TBA)
MLB Network prime-time game. Oakland loses the designated hitter, which is usually Khris Davis. Chicago has lost All-Star catcher Willson Contreras back to the 10-day injured list with a hamstring strain that appears very likely to sideline him longer than 10 days. Perhaps the team is regretting shipping Martin Maldonado to Houston at the Trade Deadline now. It's lefty Brett Anderson (9-7, 4.04) for Oakland. He hasn't won in his past four outings but was pretty good last time out vs. Milwaukee (7 IP 3 ER). The Cubs' Anthony Rizzo is 2-for-4 off him career. Chicago southpaw Jon Lester (9-7, 3.86) lost in St. Louis last Thursday, allowing five runs over five. Lester pitched with the A's the second half of the 2014 season.
Key trends: The Cubs are 8-2 in their past 10 at home vs. the AL. The under has hit in eight of Oakland's previous 10 against teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Cubs.
Rockies at Astros (-195, 8.5)
Colorado adds the designated hitter. Rather ironic that Zack Greinke (10-4, 2.90) gets traded to the American League and he still can't avoid the Rockies from his NL West days with Arizona and before that the Los Angeles Dodgers. Greinke's final start as a National Leaguer was five innings last Wednesday (not long before he was dealt) at the Yankees in a no-decision. Greinke is 1-1 with a 3.12 ERA in four starts this year against Colorado. Trevor Story is 13-for-44 off him with five homer and 11 strikeouts. The Rockies' German Marquez (10-5, 4.68) was brilliant for six innings Wednesday vs. the Dodgers with just two hits allowed, no runs and 10 strikeouts but left with cramps an took a no-decision. He also got an ND July 2 vs. Houston (6 IP, 5 R).
Key trends: The Rockies are 3-10 in their past 13 on the road. The under is 10-2 in Marquez's past 12 on Tuesday.
Early lean: Astros and under.
Phillies at Diamondbacks (-113, 10)
Philadelphia has demoted former starting third baseman Maikel Franco to Triple-A. Has to be humiliating for a guy who has been in the majors since 2014, but the 26-year-old was hitting just .231 with an OBP of .296 this year. Not long ago, he was considered a big part of the franchise's future. Scott Kingery likely will play most days at the hot corner. The Phils go with Jake Arrieta (8-8, 4.44). He lasted only four innings last time out as his issues with a bone spur popped up. He's essentially a five-inning pitcher now because of it. Arrieta beat Arizona on June 11 (6 IP, 3 ER). Leake (9-8, 4.27) makes his Arizona debut after last week's trade. Bryce Harper is 3-for-8 with two homers career off him.
Key trends: The Phillies have won their past eight on Tuesday. The over is 5-2 in Arrieta's past seven.
Early lean: Phillies and over.
Cardinals at Dodgers (-181, 8.5)
Potential NLDS preview. The Cards' Miles Mikolas (7-11, 4.00) didn't allow an earned run last Wednesday vs. the Cubs but still took the loss, which you don't see every day. Mikolas beat the Dodgers on April 8, allowing three runs over six. Enrique Hernandez is 3-for-5 with a double off him career. L.A. lefty Clayton Kershaw (10-2, 2.85) hasn't lost since June 29 at Colorado. He still has gone at least six innings in every start. Kershaw was uncharacteristically wild last time out with five walks against the Padres but got the win (6 IP, 2 ER). He was still on the injured list when the Cards and Dodgers played in April. Dexter Fowler is a career .375 hitter off him in 48 at-bats.
Key trends: The Dodgers are 5-2 in Kershaw's past seven vs. the Cardinals. The under is 6-0-1 in Mikolas' previous seven against teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Dodgers and under.
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