Free MLB Picks for Wednesday, July 3, 2019
Not sure I can ever remember a manager in the MLB All-Star Game naming his starting pitcher more than a week before the Midsummer Classic, but National League manager Dave Roberts of the Dodgers already has pegged his own team's lefty, Hyun-Jin Ryu, to start next Tuesday in Cleveland. Certainly deserving as Ryu, a first-time All-Star, leads the major leagues in ERA. Just not sure why Roberts couldn't wait to make sure Ryu didn't get injured or something in his final start before the break. AL manager Alex Cora of the Red Sox - All-Star mangers are from the previous year's World Series teams - hasn't yet named his starter. There are no Boston pitchers on the AL roster so Cora has no reason to pick so early. I would be willing to bet that if the AL has a lead in the top of the ninth that Cora uses Brad Hand to close it out because he plays for the hometown Indians. Shortstop Francisco Lindor was the only other Indian to make it.
Game 1: Tigers at White Sox (-140, 10)
Only matinee of the day with a 2:10 p.m. ET first pitch on the MLB Network. It's also Game 1 of a doubleheader and a potentially big day for the White Sox franchise because the team will give its top pitching prospect and one of the highest-rated ones in all of baseball in Dylan Cease his big-league debut. Cease came over two summers ago with Eloy Jimenez from the Cubs in the lopsided Jose Quintana deal. Cease was dominant last year in Single-A and Double-A but had a combined 4.48 ERA this year in Triple-A. Probably not a coincidence he will debut against the light-hitting Tigers. Detroit goes with lefty Daniel Norris (2-7, 4.62) in the opener. He's 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in two starts this year vs. Chicago. White Sox All-Star Jose Abreu is 4-for-13 with a double off him.
Key trends: The Tigers are 1-11 in Norris' past 12 on four days of rest. The "over/under" has gone under in seven of his previous 11 overall.
Early lean: White Sox and under.
Yankees at Mets (TBA)
ESPN prime-time game because of course it is. The Yankees lose the designated hitter, which is usually Edwin Encarnacion. He can also play first base. This might be the last game in 2019 that most Mets fans care about because that team is such a mess. They go with Jason Vargas (3-3, 3.66), who threatened to beat up a reporter two Sundays ago after a game at Wrigley Field. Vargas was fined but not suspended. He was awful to start this year but has become a trade chip with 11 straight outings allowing three earned runs or fewer. He beat the Yankees for the first time in 11 career starts on June 11 (6 IP, 3 ER). The Bombers are expected to activate Domingo German (9-2, 3.86) off the injured list. He started this year like gangbusters but was very shaky in his final three starts before landing in the IL.
Key trends: The Mets are 6-2 in Vargas' past eight at home. The over is 5-1 in the Yanks' previous six vs. a lefty.
Early lean: TBA has German isn't 100 percent official yet. Like the Mets here.
Phillies at Braves (-127, 10.5)
Was to be ace Aaron Nola's spot for the Phillies, but they need every win they can get in an attempt to catch Atlanta in the NL East so they moved Nola up to Tuesday to give him another start Sunday ahead of the All-Star break. Nick Pivetta (4-2, 5.63) moves back to Wednesday. He hasn't been good over his past three since throwing a complete game. Pivetta doesn't have a decision in two starts this season vs. the Braves with a 6.35 ERA. Ozzie Albies is just 3-for-17 off him with five strikeouts. Atlanta's Bryse Wilson (0-0, 8.31) will make his fourth appearance and third start of the year. The 21-year-old lost in Philadelphia on March 31 (3.1 IP, 4 ER). Maikel Franco homered off him.
Key trends: The Phillies have lost Pivetta's past seven on the road. The over is 7-1 in his previous eight vs. the NL East.
Early lean: Braves and over.
Red Sox at Blue Jays (+225, 9)
Rare to not see Red Sox ace lefty Chris Sale (3-7, 3.82) in the All-Star Game. He last failed to make it in 2011, Sale's first full season in the majors with the White Sox. Sale was lucky to avoid a loss last time out against the Pale Hose, surrendering five runs over six innings, although he did strike out 10. He's second in the AL with 148 strikeouts. Sale is 0-1 with an 8.00 ERA in two starts this year against Toronto. Randal Grichuk is 6-for-12 with two homers off him. The Jays' Sean Reid-Foley (0-1, 4.82) was recalled from the minors last week and threw two scoreless innings at the Yankees and then started vs. the Royals and allowed two runs over 5.1 innings. It's his first-ever look at Boston.
Key trends: The Sox are 4-1 in Sale's past five in Toronto and the under is 4-1 in them.
Early lean: Blue Jays on runline and under.
Diamondbacks at Dodgers (-255, 8)
MLB Network late-night game. Very, very dangerous to bet on a starting pitcher the first start after he throws a career high in pitches. L.A.'s Walker Buehler (8-1, 3.43) was historically good in a complete-game domination of Colorado on June 20, throwing a career-high 111 pitches. Buehler was then bombed next time out in Denver, allowing seven runs and 13 hits over 5.2 innings - although he did avoid the loss. He's 1-0 with a 4.91 ERA in two starts vs. the Snakes this year. Arizona's Merrill Kelly (7-8, 4.00) lost in San Francisco in his most recent outing, allowing three runs over five. It's the rookie's first look at the Dodgers.
Key trends: The Dodgers have won eight straight Buehler starts vs. the NL West. The under is 7-2 in Kelly's previous nine.
Early lean: Diamondbacks on runline and under.
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