Free MLB Picks for Tuesday, June 18, 2019
For some reason, it seems as if the Yankees-Mets and Angels-Dodgers interleague series get much more publicity than when the White Sox and Cubs play every year. I think there are two reasons for this: 1) Obviously New York and Los Angeles are the two biggest media markets in the country and all the major media companies are located there or nearby … ESPN is in Connecticut, for example; 2) White Sox-Cubs doesn't have a catchy nickname. It has been known/referred to as the Crosstown Classic, Crosstown Cup, Crosstown Showdown, Red Line Series, Windy City Showdown and a few more. Meh. Yankees-Mets is the Subway Series and Angels-Dodgers the Freeway Series. Yet I would argue that White Sox-Cubs is more intense of a rivalry than any of those other ones (great brawl in 2006) and has provided more memorable interleague games. They open a two-game set at Wrigley on Tuesday. The Cubs have won the series the past two seasons, but these White Sox are on the way up. They play two on the South Side to close the first half.
Phillies at Nationals (-110, 10)
MLB Network game. Philly's Zach Eflin (6-6, 2.81) has been the most consistent starter on the team, something you wouldn't expect in a rotation with Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta. The club has lost three of his past four but it generally hasn't been his fault. On Wednesday, he allowed two runs and just five hits over eight vs. Arizona but the Phillies were shut out. Eflin is 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA in two starts this year against Washington. Juan Soto is 4-for-10 with a double off him. The Nats' Erick Fedde (1-1, 3.68) lost to Arizona on Thursday, allowing five runs over six. He has been getting progressively worse over his past four. Fedde hasn't seen the Phillies this year.
Key trends: The Phillies are 2-11 in Eflin's past 13 road starts. The "over/under" has gone under in four of Feede's past five at home vs. teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Phillies and under.
Angels at Blue Jays (-103, 9)
The Halos activated outfielder Justin Upton for this series. Upton had been out all season dealing with turf toe. He'll help the Halos a fair amount but not enough to make them a playoff team. It's lefty Tyler Skaggs (5-6, 5.00) for Los Angeles. He won for the first time in a month Thursday, allowing three runs over five at Tampa Bay. Justin Smoak has seen him the most of any Blue Jay, going 2-for-11 with two RBIs. Toronto trade candidate (he's a goner) Marcus Stroman (4-8, 3.18) ended a two-start losing streak by allowing one earned over six in Baltimore on Thursday. Mike Trout kills him, going 8-for-16 with three doubles.
Key trends: The Angels have lost Skaggs' past four against teams with a losing record. The over has hit in four straight Stroman home outings.
Early lean: Blue Jays and over.
Astros at Reds (+148, 8)
Houston will lose the designated hitter for this interleague matchup. That has been rookie Yordan Alvarez of late. It's AL Cy Young candidate Justin Verlander (9-2, 2.41) for Houston, and he comes off a second straight no-decision in giving up three runs over seven to the Brewers. Verlander has been good but not great in those past two to see his ERA rise nearly a half-point. Not many Reds have seen him. Yasiel Puig is 0-for-4 with two walks. Cincinnati's Anthony DeSclafani (3-3, 4.43) won for the first time in five weeks Wednesday, allowing a run and four hits over 5.2 innings in Cleveland. Only a few Astros have seen him. Michael Brantley is 2-for-5 with a dinger.
Key trends: The Astros have won 10 of Verlander's previous 11 vs. teams with a losing record. The under is 4-1 in DeSclafani's past five overall.
Early lean: Reds on runline and under.
Mets at Braves (-105, 9)
Last year, Julio Teheran (5-4, 2.92) was left off Atlanta's roster for the NLDS. Now he's the ace. Teheran tied a team record by allowing one earned run or fewer for an eighth straight start on Thursday, giving up one earned over six innings in beating the Pirates. His ERA in that stretch is 0.81, although he hasn't gone more than six innings in any of them. Teheran beat the visiting Mets on April 14 (6 IP, 1 ER). Amed Rosario is just 1-for-16 off him with seven strikeouts. Mets ace Jacob deGrom (3-6, 3.38) hasn't won since May 11 but largely because of his offense. He took a no-decision last time out vs. the Cardinals in allowing two runs over seven with no walks and eight strikeouts. He lost in Atlanta (5 IP, 3 ER) opposite Teheran on April 14. Ronald Acuna Jr. is 4-for-11 off him.
Key trends: The Mets are 1-6 in deGrom's past seven vs. the Braves. The under is 4-1 in Teheran's previous five at home in the series.
Early lean: Braves and under.
White Sox at Cubs (-210, TBA)
The Pale Hose lose the DH for this one, which is usually Yonder Alonso. It's struggling Ivan Nova (3-5, 6.28) on the bump for the South Siders. He was acquired from the Pirates this offseason and has been a flop, although the White Sox didn't give up much to get him. Nova allowed four runs over 5.2 innings last time out against the Yankees, which is about as good as the Pale Hose can expect. The Cubs' Jason Heyward is a .364 hitter off him in 22 at-bats. Javier Baez has two homers. The North Siders counter with lefty Cole Hamels (6-2, 2.98), who might be pitching his way onto the NL All-Star team. He didn't allow an earned run for a third straight start Wednesday in Colorado, going seven innings. Before this stretch, Hamels' ERA was 4.02. The Sox's Jose Abreu is 4-for-9 with a homer off him.
Key trends: The White Sox are 5-21 in their past 26 interleague road games. The under is 9-3 in Hamels' past 12 at home.
Early lean: Cubs on runline.
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