Free MLB Picks for Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Arguably the best series of the early week begins Tuesday from Cleveland as the Houston Astros visit Progressive Field for the only time this season. Or will it be? The Astros are going to repeat as AL West champions again, while about six weeks ago it looked like the Indians were dead in the water. No longer, as they are right on Minnesota's tail in the AL Central and right in the Wild-Card race as well. So we could see an Astros-Indians ALDS rematch. The last time Houston was in Cleveland was Game 3 of last year's ALDS, and the Astros completed the easy sweep with an 11-3 victory. Houston actually trailed 2-1 entering the seventh inning. The Indians hit just .144 in the series, were outscored 21-6 and were swept for the first time since the 1954 World Series. Amazingly, the Indians have lost nine straight consecutive postseason games when facing elimination, dating to Game 7 of the 1997 World Series.
Orioles at Padres (TBA)
Lone matinee of Tuesday with a 3:40 p.m. ET start and I'm surprised MLB Network didn't pick it up as it usually does in these cases. Baltimore loses the DH. At this point, the Orioles are just throwing out young pitchers to see who sticks and you probably have never heard of them. Rookie Tom Eshelman, for example. Eshelman (0-2, 5.79) makes his fifth big-league appearance and fourth start. He allowed one run over 4.1 innings last time out vs. the Angels. He'll get to bat for the first time - if he's still in the game at that point. San Diego's Dinelson Lamet (0-2, 5.00) makes his fifth start of the season off Tommy John surgery. He has yet to last more than five innings and has never faced Baltimore.
Key trends: The Padres are 1-10 in Lamet's past 11 starts. The "over/under" has gone under in four of his past five at home.
Early lean: TBA - Birds haven't made Eshelman official yet but should be him. Like Padres on runline.
Braves at Nationals (TBA)
Washington ace Max Scherzer (9-5, 2.41) returned from a few weeks on the injured list -- due to a back issue -- Thursday and wasn't overly sharp vs. the Rockies, allowing three runs over five innings with two walks on a bit of a pitch count. He would take a no-decision, which snapped his streak of seven straight decisions with a victory. Scherzer then woke up the next day feeling some pain in his back so he is going to be skipped here. Needless to say, the Nats can't afford a serious injury to the three-time Cy Young winner. Thus, it should be Erick Fedde (1-1, 3.50). He hasn't pitched in the majors since July 17 when he allowed a run over six in Baltimore. Atlanta's Julio Teheran (5-7, 3.42) hadn't lost since June 24 but did Wednesday vs. Kansas City despite not allowing an earned run over six (two unearned). He beat Washington on July 19 (5.2 IP, 1 ER). Trea Turner is a .389 hitter against him.
Key trends: The Braves are 5-2 in Teheran's past seven vs. the Nats. The under is 4-1 in his previous five against them.
Early lean: Like Braves presuming Scherzer isn't miraculously better and starts.
Astros at Indians (+119, 8.5)
AL Cy Young favorite Justin Verlander (13-4, 2.86) starts for Houston. He has won three straight, going six innings in each and striking out a combined 30. Verlander pitched Game 1 of last year's ALDS and got the win, allowing two runs and striking out seven over 5.1 innings. Francisco Lindor is a career .345 hitter off him in 29 regular-season at-bats. Cleveland's Shane Bieber (10-3, 3.44) is turning into one of the AL's better pitchers. The All-Star Game MVP comes off a complete-game one-hitter with 10 strikeouts in Toronto. That hit came in the seventh inning. Bieber took a no-decision in Houston on April 27 (6 IP, 3 ER).
Key trends: The Astros are 13-3 in Verlander's past 16 road starts vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 15-5-1 in Bieber's past 21.
Early lean: Indians and under.
Twins at Marlins (+141, 8.5)
Minnesota loses the DH, which is Nelson Cruz. The Twins may put him in the outfield to keep his bat, but whom do they bench? Jake Odorizzi (11-5, 3.84) comes off easily his worst start of the year, ravaged for nine runs and 10 hits over four innings in a loss to the Yankees. That shot his season ERA up more than half a run. Only a few Marlins have seen him. Miami might have something in 23-year-old rookie Zac Gallen (1-2, 2.76). He made his sixth big-league start Wednesday and it was his best, shutting out the White Sox on two hits over seven. It's his first look at the Twins.
Key trends: The Twins are 13-3 in Odorizzi's past 16 vs. teams with a losing record. The under has hit in four straight Gallen starts.
Early lean: Twins and under.
Mets at White Sox (+141, 9)
Will this be the last start in a Mets uniform for Noah Syndergaard (7-5, 4.33)? Very realistic chance that "Thor" is dealt by Wednesday's deadline - made more likely by the fact the Mets stunned everyone over the weekend by acquiring Blue Jays starting pitcher Marcus Stroman. Syndergaard seems to be rounding into form with three straight outings of seven innings, albeit only winning one of them. Only a few White Sox have faced him. Chicago's Reynaldo Lopez (5-9, 5.52) was one of the AL's worst pitchers in the first half but has figured something out. He had a third straight quality start Wednesday in allowing two runs and striking out 10 over a season-high eight innings vs. the Marlins yet was saddled with the loss. Only a few Mets have seen him.
Key trends: The Mets are 4-1 in Syndergaard's past five interleague starts. The under is 11-3 in Lopez's past 14 vs. teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Mets and under.
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