Free MLB Picks for Wednesday, August 21, 2019
With Houston's Justin Verlander facing his former Detroit Tigers team on Wednesday in the mismatch of the night, it's a good time to look back at the Aug. 31, 2017, trade that got the former Cy Young winner and AL MVP to Houston. The Astros sent pitcher Franklin Perez (the team's No. 3 overall prospect at the time), outfielder Daz Cameron (No. 9) and catcher Jake Rogers (No. 11) to the Tigers. None of them have reached the majors yet, which is somewhat hard to believe two years later. Perez is ranked No. 6 in Detroit's system, Rogers No. 7 and Cameron No. 8. Not only did Verlander lead the Astros to their first-ever title that year and might again this season, but Detroit even kicked in $8 million per year to offset Verlander's salary. That, my folks, is what we would call a heist in favor of the Astros. Never know, this could be Verlander's last time facing his former club. He is signed through 2021, but because the Astros and Tigers play just two series a year, he could easily miss Detroit the next two years. Always the injury possibility as well for the current 36-year-old.
Padres at Reds (-138, 8.5)
First game of the day at 12:35 p.m. ET. Good pitching matchup. Padres rookie Chris Paddack (7-6, 3.44) might be hitting the rookie wall as he has been knocked around a bit in two of his past three outings. We could see the Padres shut him down anytime now. Paddack's first loss was April 18 against Cincinnati (6 IP, 3 ER). Tucker Barnhart and Joey Votto (now on the injured list) both homered off him. Cincinnati All-Star Luis Castillo (11-5, 3.10) comes off his worst outing of the year, hammered for eight runs and nine hits over 4.1 innings vs. the Cardinals. He won in San Diego on April 20 (6 IP, 1 ER). Eric Hosmer is 6-for-8 off him with a solo shot.
Key trends: The Reds are 4-1 in Castillo's past five on four days of rest. The "over/under" has gone under in five of Castillo's previous seven vs. the NL West.
Early lean: Reds and under.
Rockies at Diamondbacks (-115, 9.5)
Streamed on YouTube at 3:40 p.m. ET. Colorado's Jon Gray (11-8, 3.84) dominated the Marlins last Friday, shutting them out on five hits over eight. He has been more of a ground-ball pitcher of late. Gray is 1-1 with a 3.31 ERA in three starts this year against Arizona. David Peralta is 9-for-21 off him with a triple. The Diamondbacks' Mike Leake (9-9, 4.64) has made three starts since his trade from Seattle and none have been quality. He hasn't won since July 24. It's his first look this year at the Rockies. Nolan Arenado is 5-for-10 with two homers off him.
Key trends: The Rockies are 14-4 in Gray's past 18 on Wednesday. The under is 7-2-1 in his previous 10.
Early lean: Rockies and over.
White Sox at Twins (-165, 9)
Matchup of young All-Star right-handers, although Minnesota's Jake Odorizzi (13-5, 3.50) missed the Midsummer Classic with a minor injury. He has been able to go six full innings just once in his past four. The Twins have still won them all. Odorizzi won his lone start vs. the White Sox on May 26, shutting them out on one hit over 5.1 innings. Jose Abreu is 4-for-17 off him with five strikeouts. No White Sox have gone yard off Odorizzi. Chicago's Lucas Giolito (13-6, 3.41) has allowed two earned over six his past two times out with a combined 24 strikeouts. He's 1-1 with a 6.30 ERA in two starts this season vs. the Twins. Max Kepler is 6-for-12 with a homer against him.
Key trends: The Twins are 16-5 in Odorizzi's past 21 at home. The under is 7-2 in Giolito's previous nine vs. the AL Central.
Early lean: Twins and under.
Tigers at Astros (-425, 8.5)
Verlander (15-4, 2.81) sure looks like he's going to add another AL Cy Young Award to his Hall of Fame career. He comes off a no-decision in Oakland, allowing two runs and four hits over seven. He struck out 11, his sixth straight game fanning double digits. That's a franchise record. Verlander won in Detroit on May 15, allowing one run on two hits. Miguel Cabrera has never faced his former teammate (well, in a regulation game anyways). Detroit lefty Daniel Norris (3-10, 4.82) is on an innings limit the rest of the season and has gone just three each of the past two. He missed Houston earlier. Alex Bregman is 4-for-6 with two doubles off him.
Key trends: The Astros are 11-2 in Verlander's previous 13 vs. teams with a losing record. The over is 7-3 in Norris' past 10 vs. teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Astros on runline and over.
Yankees at A's (-115, 9.5)
ESPN late-night game. Could be the debut of one of the top pitching prospects in baseball in Oakland lefty A.J. Puk. He actually was being called up on Tuesday so maybe he debuted there; he will almost surely be in the Oakland rotation in 2020 but is expected to work as a reliever to close out this season. Oakland starts Mike Fiers (11-3, 3.46). He hasn't lost since May 1 and was fortunate to avoid one last time out, allowing five runs (four homers) over six innings vs. Houston. Gary Sanchez is 3-for-8 with a double and homer off him. New York lefty JA Happ (10-7, 5.40) beat the Orioles in his most recent outing with five solid innings. He hasn't seen the A's in 2019. Marcus Semien is 8-for-19 with two homers off him.
Key trends: The A's are 16-4 in Fiers' past 20 at home. The over is 5-0 in Happ's past five on the road vs. teams with a winning record.
Early lean: A's and over.
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