Free MLB Picks for Wednesday, July 24, 2019
The Milwaukee Brewers already were in need of starting pitching and likely to make a move ahead of the July 31 Trade Deadline, but now it's a matter of urgency because their ace, All-Star right-hander Brandon Woodruff, has landed on the injured list after straining his left oblique against the Diamondbacks on Sunday. I'm not a doctor and didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but those injuries often mean at least a month on the injured list - obviously a bit worse of a problem for a pitcher. Early reports hint at six weeks on IL. Woodruff is 11-3 with a 3.75 ERA this season. He had more than double the WAR of any other starter on the team (3.2). This injury is clearly good news for the Cubs, who have a short lead over the Brewers in the NL Central, and potentially the St. Louis Cardinals as well in both the division and Wild-Card races.
Red Sox at Rays (-115, 8)
First game of the day at 12:10 p.m. ET and on the MLB Network. Former Rays Cy Young winner and southpaw David Price (7-3, 3.61) takes the mound at the Trop. He struggled last time out, allowing six runs and eight hits over four innings in a loss at terrible Baltimore. Price is 1-1 with a 2.65 ERA in three starts this year vs. the Rays. Yandy Diaz is 4-for-10 with a homer and two walks against him, but Diaz might be headed for the IL after fouling a ball off his foot Monday. Tampa All-Star Charlie Morton (11-3, 2.61) had a three-start winning streak snapped last time out, allowing five runs over 5.2 innings at the Yankees. He's 1-0 with a 3.75 ERA in two starts vs. Boston in 2019. Andrew Benintendi is 4-for-13 with two homers and five knocked in off Morton.
Key trends: The Red Sox are 4-1 in Price's past five at the Rays. The "over/under" has gone under in his past five against them.
Early lean: Red Sox and under.
Rangers at Mariners (+105, 9)
A 3:40 p.m. ET first pitch. Reportedly, the Yankees are after Rangers All-Star lefty Mike Minor (8-5, 2.86). Texas is in a free-fall so probably sells high on Minor with the 31-year-old signed through next season. He has admitted that he's "pissed off" about all the trade rumors and that it's "almost like I signed just so (the Rangers) could trade me." Minor hasn't been quite as sharp in his past three starts, all Rangers losses. He's 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in two starts this year vs. Seattle. Domingo Santana is 1-fof-6 with a dinger off him. The Mariners' Mike Leake (8-8, 4.27) comes off the start of his career, a complete-game one-hitter vs. the Angels - the same team that roughed him up the start prior. Leake lost the no-hitter to the leadoff batter in the ninth. He's 0-2 with a 10.80 ERA this year vs. the Rangers.
Key trends: The Mariners are 5-1 in Leake's past six at home. The over is 4-1 in Minor's previous five against Seattle.
Early lean: Mariners and over.
Cubs at Giants (+120, 9)
MLB Network game at 3:45 p.m. ET. It's lefty Jon Lester (9-6, 3.87) for the Cubs - the Giants were the other serious bidder for him back when Lester was a free agent before the 2015 season. If the Cubbies had lost out on Lester, they wouldn't have won a World Series, plain and simple. He took a no-decision Thursday vs. the Padres, allowing four runs and 12 hits over six. He has struggled away from home in 2019 with a 5.09 ERA. San Francisco's Tyler Beede (3-3, 4.70) dominated the Mets on Thursday with eight shutout innings but didn't get a decision. It's his first career look at the Cubs.
Key trends: The Cubs are 4-1 in Lester's past five against the Giants. The over is 6-2 in San Francisco's previous eight vs. lefties.
Early lean: Cubs and over.
Indians at Blue Jays (+115, 8.5)
It's All-Star Game MVP Shane Bieber (9-3, 3.69) for the Tribe. He wasn't great last time out, allowing five runs and seven hits with four walks over 5.2 innings but still beat the Royals. Bieber took a no-decision vs. Toronto on April 5 (6 IP, 2 ER, 9 Ks). Could be the last start in a Blue Jays uniform for Marcus Stroman (6-10, 3.06), whom I would say has about a 97 percent chance of being traded by next week. Stroman got some rare run support Thursday in Detroit but didn't need much as he blanked the Tigers on six hits over seven. He lost in Cleveland on April 7 (6 IP, 3 ER). Tyler Naquin is 7-for-12 off him with a double.
Key trends: The Indians are 12-3 in Bieber's past 15 on the road. The under is 6-1 in Stroman's previous seven against the Tribe.
Early lean: Indians and under.
Yankees at Twins (-115, 11)
ESPN prime-time game. Yankees lefty J.A. Happ (8-5, 4.86) hasn't gone six full innings since June 6 but did beat the Rockies last Thursday in allowing two runs and eight hits over five. Happ lost to the Twins on May 4 (5.2 IP, 4 ER). Nelson Cruz is a career .370 hitter off him in 27 at-bats, while Mitch Garver is 5-for-12 with a triple and homer. Twins All-Star Jake Odorizzi (11-4, 3.18) has yet to last six full innings in two starts since a short stint on the injured list that kept him from playing in the ASG. He blanked the Yankees on two hits over six opposite Happ on May 4. Didi Gregorius can't hit Odorizzi, going 2-for-22.
Key trends: The Twins are 14-3 in Odorizzi's past 17 at home. The over is 7-3-1 in Happ's previous 11 on the road.
Early lean: Twins and over.
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