Free MLB Picks for Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Sometimes the fans make a game more interesting than it normally would be, and I think that will be the case in San Francisco on Tuesday night between the Cubs and Giants. That's because Giants legend - and I think legend is fair to say with his postseason success - Madison Bumgarner is on the mound and it's probably better than 90 percent that it's his final start at Oracle Park as a member of the Giants. Just about every MLB media expert out there agrees that Bumgarner will be traded by the July 31 deadline - even with the Giants playing better of late -- and will be the biggest-name pitcher to move. No reason for the Giants to keep the pending unrestricted free agent, and their farm system is horrible so any prospects would help. The Giants head out on a nine-game road trip Friday so they obviously won't be back home before the deadline. I guess the team itself can't "honor" Bumgarner on Tuesday because it's not a sure thing he's a goner, but the fans will know what's up.
Rockies at Nationals (-168, 8.5)
Good pitching matchup between former Top 3 draft picks. Colorado's Jon Gray (9-7, 4.11) wasn't good last time out, though, allowing six runs and 11 hits over 5.1 innings of a loss to the Giants. He still has a 3.47 ERA over his previous seven starts. It's his first look at the Nats this year. Washington first baseman Ryan Zimmerman is hurt yet again, set for an MRI on his right foot Monday. Expect a return to the injured list. Stephen Strasburg (12-4, 3.52) won his fifth straight start Wednesday, allowing three runs over 5.1 innings and homering against the Braves. Colorado's Charlie Blackmon is 7-for-17 with four doubles and a homer career off him.
Key trends: The Nats are 12-2 in Strasburg's past 14 on Tuesday. The "over/under" has gone under in four of his past five at home in this series.
Early lean: Nats and under.
Indians at Blue Jays (+137, 8)
MLB has been putting games on YouTube since I believe last season, but I can't remember one being in prime time like this one; usually they are afternoon games. Both these starting pitchers, Cleveland's Trevor Bauer and Toronto's Aaron Sanchez, could be traded by July 31, and I think Bauer (9-7, 3.67) is nearly as certain to be as MadBum (although Bauer's price will be significantly higher because he's under contract through next year). Bauer beat Detroit last time out, striking out 10 over 6.2 innings. The Jays' Justin Smoak is 3-for-9 with three RBIs off him. Sanchez (3-14, 6.26) is pretty clearly the worst pitcher in baseball this season and has walked at least two batters in every outing but one. He still has great stuff, but the Jays have lost the past 11 times he has taken the mound.
Key trends: The Indians are 4-1 in Bauer's past five against the Jays and the under is the same.
Early lean: Indians and under.
Red Sox at Rays (+145, 8)
The Rays have lost two-time Gold Glove-winning outfielder Kevin Kiermaier to the injured list. For some stupid reason, he slid headfirst into first base and sprained his thumb. He's hitting .248 with 10 homers and 43 RBIs this year. It's Yonny Chirinos (8-5, 3.29) on the mound. Arguably the best start of his young career was on June 7 in Boston, where he threw eight shutout innings and allowed only two hits. Jackie Bradley Jr. is 4-for-10 with a double off him. Boston lefty Chris Sale (4-9, 4.05) looked back to normal Thursday against Toronto with six shutout innings and 12 strikeouts. He lost to Tampa Bay on April 28 (7 IP, 2 ER). Kiermaier is really the only Rays batter who has had much success against him.
Key trends: The Rays are 1-6 in Chirinos' past seven starts. The under is 8-0-1 in Sale's previous nine on the road.
Early lean: Red Sox and under.
Padres at Mets (+112, 8)
You may remember last week that we touched on Padres rookie right-hander Chris Paddack (6-4, 2.70) taking a no-hitter two outs into the eighth inning against the Marlins. As a reminder, San Diego is the only active franchise without a no-no. It was the 21st time in franchise history a pitcher got at least to the eighth inning with one. It was just the second time in his young career Paddack reached the eighth inning (yet to hit 100 pitches) and he looked strong pitching on 10 days of rest. Mets lefty Jason Vargas (4-5, 4.25) won at the Twins in his most recent outing, allowing three runs over six. This could be his last start in a Mets uniform as Vargas is drawing trade interest. The Friars' Ian Kinsler is a career .373 hitter against him in 67 at-bats.
Key trends: The Mets are 3-7 in Vargas' past 10 on Tuesday. The under is 9-4-1 in Paddack's past 14.
Early lean: Padres and over.
Cubs at Giants (-112, 7.5)
Bumgarner (5-7, 3.65) has been one big reason why the Giants have played themselves into the fringes of Wild-Card contention (they are still expected to be sellers) as the southpaw has given up two earned runs or fewer in five straight starts. If this is his last outing at Oracle Park, he has 57 wins and a 2.74 ERA in 133 career starts there. The Cubs' Anthony Rizzo is just 3-for-16 off him with seven strikeouts. Chicago's Yu Darvish (3-4, 4.40) has had back-to-back starts of six innings with no runs and just two hits allowed. That's the guy the Cubs thought the were getting in free agency before last season. Only a handful of Giants have faced him.
Key trends: The Giants have won five straight MadBum home starts. The under is 5-1-1 in Darvish's past seven.
Early lean: Giants and under.
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