Free MLB Picks for Wednesday, July 17, 2019
There were two starting pitchers traded over the weekend from AL dregs to playoff contenders, with the Baltimore Orioles shipping Andrew Cashner to the Boston Red Sox (debuted Tuesday) and the Kansas City Royals sending Homer Bailey to the Oakland A's (was to debut Wednesday). Neither of those moves is going to put either team over the top. However, someone like the Mets' Zack Wheeler could. Well, in typical Mets luck they had to put Wheeler on the injured list Monday with shoulder fatigue. The team hopes he can be activated next Monday and still make a start or two to prove to teams that he's healthy ahead of the July 31 trade deadline, but his price tag surely just dropped quite a bit. And the way the Mets' fortunes have been going this year, we doubt Wheeler is ready that early. Steven Matz, another trade possibility, was to start Wednesday at Minnesota but was moved up to Tuesday. I believe the floodgates are about to open in regards to trades now that the Red Sox and A's have kickstarted things. The Yankees clearly will make a move to counter Boston. Houston suddenly has rotation issues with Brad Peacock's injury setback.
Mets at Twins (-165, 10.5)
First game of day with 1:10 p.m. ET pitch. New York adds the designated hitter. Not official yet, but expected to be lefty Jason Vargas (3-5, 4.23) for the Mets here as the team is scrambling a bit. He would be on normal rest, last pitching Friday and getting roughed up for six runs over five innings in a loss in Miami. Vargas is also on the market but wouldn't fetch much. Nelson Cruz has seen him plenty, with the Twins DH going 12-for-33 with five homers off him. The Twins certainly are looking for starting pitching as well and were known to have interest in Wheeler. It's lefty Martin Perez (8-3, 4.26) for Minnesota. He won for the first time since May 23 last time out, allowing four runs over six against Texas. He allowed three runs in relief to the Mets on April 10. Robinson Cano has faced him by far more than any Met, going 7-for-37.
Key trends: The Twins are 4-1 in Perez's past five vs. teams with a losing record. The "over/under" is 7-1 in his previous eight.
Early lean: Twins and over.
Braves at Brewers (-112, 10)
A 2:10 p.m. ET start from Miller Park. The Braves are looking more and more brilliant for their signing of southpaw starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel (3-2, 3.09). He has gotten better each time out, allowing one run and six hits over seven on Friday in San Diego. The Brewers also were in pursuit of him. Milwaukee's Lorenzo Cain is 5-for-17 with two doubles and a homer off him. The Brewers' Chase Anderson (4-2, 4.27) has had three straight no-decisions - all losses for his team. Hasn't been his fault as he has allowed two earned or fewer in his past four. Atlanta's Nick Markakis is 3-for-8 with a double and triple against him.
Key trends: The Brewers are 1-7 in Anderson's past eight vs. the NL East. The under is 5-0 in Keuchel's five starts.
Early lean: Braves and under.
Reds at Cubs (-132, TBA)
First pitch of 2:20 p.m. ET from Wrigley. Yu Darvish (2-4, 4.72) STILL hasn't won a game at Wrigley Field in his career. I predicted he would last time out and he deserved to, shutting out the Pirates on two hits over six but getting another no-decision. If he keeps pitching like that, the Cubs will win the NL Central. He hasn't gotten a decision in two starts vs. the Reds in 2019 with a 5.84 ERA. Derek Dietrich is 4-for-9 with two homers and five RBIs off him. Cincinnati's Sonny Gray (5-5, 3.42) comes off a no-decision in Colorado (7 IP, 1 ER). Gray has allowed one earned run while striking out 21 batters over his last 15 innings. He's 1-0 with a 3.97 ERA in two starts this year vs. the Cubs. Albert Almora Jr. is 3-for-4 with a homer off him. The Cubs have put All-Star catcher Willson Contreras on the 10-day IL with a foot injury.
Key trends: The Reds have won eight straight Gray starts against teams with a winning record. The under is 4-1-1 in Darvish's previous six.
Early lean: Reds.
Giants at Rockies (-174, 13.5)
A 3:10 p.m. ET first pitch. Likely at least a few scouts on hand for this one to watch Colorado's Jon Gray - the Rockies probably wait until the last minute to decide if they are sellers or not. How much is it worth to simply earn a Wild-Card spot? Because the NL West isn't winnable with the Dodgers' huge lead. Gray (9-6, 3.83) keeps building value, allowing three earned or fewer in his past six outings. He's 1-1 with a 0.71 ERA in two starts this year against the Giants. Brandon Belt is 4-for-14 with a homer and four walks against him. San Francisco's Shaun Anderson (3-2, 4.48) hasn't lost since mid-June. It's the 24-year-old rookie's first career look at the Rockies.
Key trends: The Rockies are 14-2 in Gray's past 16 on Wednesday. The over is 4-1 in Anderson's past five on the road.
Early lean: Rockies and under.
Rays at Yankees (-149, 9.5)
ESPN prime-time game. Tampa Bay's Yonny Chirinos (8-4, 3.11) has quietly become one of the American League's better starting pitchers. He'd have double-digit wins if he got much run support. Chirinos beat the Orioles last time out, allowing two runs and four hits over seven. The righty has gone at least six innings in each of his past seven starts. He's 1-1 with a 3.32 ERA in 21.2 innings this year against the Yankees. DJ LeMahieu is 4-for-10 with two homers off him. New York's Domingo German (11-2, 3.40) has been terrific in two starts since being activated off the injured list, allowing one run over 12 innings. He won at Tampa Bay on May 10 (5 IP, 3 ER). Austin Meadows is 2-for-3 with a homer against him.
Key trends: The Yankees have won eight German starts in a row vs. the AL East. The under is 5-1 in Chirinos' previous six on the road.
Early lean: Yankees and under.
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