MLB Preview and Predictions For Tuesday 5/2

by Kevin Roberts
on May 2, 2017

We’re back at it on Tuesday with our MLB picks, after an odd opening to the week. You know baseball is set up to give you a difficult time when you can’t even count on Clayton Kershaw, who was not himself in a 4-3 home loss to the rival Giants.

That was probably the worst burn for MLB bettors, but we also saw Toronto silence the Yanks on the road, the Brewers upset the Cardinals in St. Louis and the Phillies drop 10 runs on the Cubs at Wrigley.

Yeah, it was a crazy night for MLB picks. Let’s hope logic plays out a bit more on Tuesday as dive into our MLB predictions for a fully loaded 15-game slate:

Toronto Blue Jays (+1.5)
VS
New York Yankees (-1.5)
Total: 9
  • Mat Latos (0-0, 3.27 ERA) vs. Masahiro Tanaka (3-1, 4.20 ERA)
  • Moneyline: Jays +178, Yanks -190
Betting Value: The Jays are a solid value play after winning last night but the best bet is the Over.

The Jays could have a tough time getting past the Yanks on Tuesday, as they’ll force the ever shaky Mat Latos onto the mound. Latos laughed off his critics by blanking the Cardinals in his last start, but the odds don’t support him doing anything remotely close to that at Yankee Stadium.

The Yanks have the early edge offensively in this matchup, while Tanaka also gives them the superior arm in this showdown. Tanaka hasn’t been elite in 2017, but he’s far more stable than Latos’ history suggests. He’ll also be at his home base against a Jays offense that lacks much upside these days.

Vegas is firmly backing New York at home, and rightfully so. The Jays did come in yesterday and snag a surprise 7-1 win, but we don’t expect that to happen in this one. Look for Tanaka to contain the Jays and Aaron Judge and co. to tee off in a win. The Yanks are the easy call and the Over is doable in this spot, as well.

Pick

Yankees
6
Jays
4
Arizona Diamondbacks (+1.5)
VS
Washington Nationals (-1.5)
Total: 8.5
  • Taijuan Walker (3-1, 3.94 ERA) vs. Tanner Roark (3-0, 3.64 ERA)
  • Moneyline: Diamondbacks +126, Nats -136
Betting Value: The value lies with the Over, as these are two nasty offenses and the pitching isn’t unbeatable.

The Washington Nationals hope to continue their battery against opposing MLB teams on Tuesday when they host a dangerous Diamondbacks offense. Washington shouldn’t be too scared, as they’ve been popping off with regularity and also have one of their top arms hitting the mound in Tanner Roark.

Roark will be making his 6th start of the year and has been strong overall. He’ll be looking to stay a perfect 4-0 and continue mixing strikeouts with ground balls. Of course, he’s still been giving up a considerable amount of contract and against a hard-hitting Arizona offense, that could go poorly.

He’s the best arm in this showdown and he’ll be at home, however. Taijuan Walker has been solid this year and offers serious K upside, but he’s on the road with an even tougher matchup on paper. It can’t help that the Nats lead the league in batting average against right-handed pitching and are also second in home runs.

We’ve got two solid pitchers here, but we’ve also got two elite offenses and these pitchers give up hard contact. Ultimately, it’s easy to back a red hot Nats team (7-3 in their last 10 games). Even if Roark falters, their offense should provide enough support to get the win. It should probably go without saying, but the offensive upside is through the roof in this one, so we can safely chase the Over.

Pick

Nats
8
Diamondbacks
5
Baltimore Orioles (+1.5)
VS
Boston Red Sox (-1.5)
Total: 8
  • Alec Asher (1-0, 2.16 ERA) vs. Chris Sale (1-2, 1.19 ERA)
  • Moneyline: Orioles +216, Red Sox -235
Betting Value: The Orioles are the obvious value play but Sale is tough to bet against. Instead, with the pitching in this one we’d attack the Under or favor the Sox.

Game two of this AL East showdown gets started on Tuesday night, as the Red Sox again welcome the Orioles into Fenway Park. Baltimore stole a 5-2 win last night and will be looking to get closer to a series sweep. That should prove difficult as they take on the elite Chris Sale, who has been amazing with his new team all year.

The 28-year old lefty has really been on top of his game this year, allowing one jack all season and giving up five runs across five starts. Sale is not allowing too much hard contact and is making batters whiff at an alarming rate. Tuesday could be his fifth straight game with 10+ strikeouts and if he gets there, Boston naturally has an excellent chance at coming away with a win.

The Red Sox seem set defensively even against a dangerous Orioles offense, especially considering Baltimore does not do great against southpaws. The O’s are just a middle of the pack unit (15th) at connecting on left-handed pitching this year, while they also K much more often (4th most strikeouts in the league against lefties).

As we can see, this isn’t a great spot to vouch for this Orioles offense. On the other side Baltimore will also be relying on the young Alec Asher, who has been terrific early on but faces a stiff challenge on the road in a hitter’s park against an elite offense. He’s flashed potential to this point but this isn’t a spot to back him in.

Instead, we’re banking on a strong performance from Sale and the Sox should chime in with some solid offense. There is a lot of offensive potential here, but Sale should limit Baltimore enough to keep the Under in play.

Pick

Red Sox
5
Orioles
2
Cleveland Indians (-1.5)
VS
Detroit Tigers (+1.5)
Total: 8
  • Corey Kluber (3-1, 4.19 ERA) vs. Justin Verlander (1-2, 4.60 ERA)
  • Moneyline: Indians -123, Tigers +113
Betting Value: The Tigers as a home underdog are the easy value play, while the pitching pushes for the Under.

Arguably the top matchup on Tuesday’s MLB slate goes down at Comerica Park in Detroit, where aces Justin Verlander and Corey Kluber will wage war. Both arms look to get their teams a much-needed victory in a heated AL Central clash.

Detroit got a big 7-1 win on Monday to open up the series, but things could go differently now that Kluber is on the other side. Kluber has certainly rediscovered his elite form lately, as the former Cy Young winner has struck out 19 batters and given up just three runs across his last two starts. Keeping that up on the road against a powerful Tigers lineup won’t be easy, especially considering this very offense blasted him for 6 runs earlier this year.

Verlander has been surprisingly hit or miss this year, as well, and also got tagged heavily (9 runs) the last time he battled a potent Indians offense. He tends to pitch his best ball at home and delivered a gem in his most recent start, but it’s clear that he combines with Kluber to keep us guessing in this matchup.

There is upside either way in this spot, but Verlander is at home and both offenses are capable of sounding off. Still, with this level of pitching we need to assume these guys could bring their best stuff against each other. There is value in the Over, but we’ll back the Tigers and take the Under in a game that could very easily be low-scoring.

Pick

Tigers
4
Indians
2
Pittsburgh Pirates (+1.5)
VS
Cincinnati Reds (-1.5)
Total: 9
  • Tyler Glasnow (0-1, 7.98 ERA) vs. Scott Feldman (1-2, 3.25 ERA)
  • Moneyline: Pirates +108, Reds -118
Betting Value: There isn’t much value here, but a hitter’s park and some suspect pitching has us targeting the Over.

Another divisional clash will go down at Great American Ballpark on Tuesday, this time being a NL Central meeting between the Pirates and the Reds. Pittsburgh dropped a tight 4-3 affair in extra innings on Monday night, but will be looking to bounce back in this one.

The Pirates certainly have a chance to do that, as the hittable Scott Feldman isn’t an imposing arm. Feldman has been annoyingly decent to start 2017, however, as he’s mixed in strikeouts with ground balls and has gotten lucky despite giving up a good amount of fly balls. He’s kept it together to this point, but an argument could be made that he’s due to implode in a hitter’s park.

On the other side we have the young Glasnow, who has tons of upside but has had serious issues with control and isn’t making batters miss enough yet. That could be a problematic combination against a deadly Reds offense on the road. Cincinnati is oddly enough not great (6-8) at their home park, but they do a solid job against righties and could take advantage of a young pitcher in this spot.

The Reds feel like the offense to be feared more in this game, while the Pirates rank 28th against right-handed pitching when it comes to power and still just 19th at connecting. It is never fun to back Feldman, but his offense is in a better spot at home. The pitching isn’t great here and there’s some offensive upside to be had, so we like the Over, as well.

Pick

Reds
7
Pirates
4
Tampa Bay Rays (+1.5)
VS
Miami Marlins (-1.5)
Total: 8
  • Alex Cobb (1-2, 4.66 ERA) vs. Edinson Volquez (0-3, 4.44 ERA)
  • Moneyline: Rays +115, Marlins -125
Betting Value: There isn’t much value here, but with so-so arms and some power on both sides, we’ll shoot for the Over.

Everything stays in Florida on Tuesday for the Rays and Marlins, as these two will go head to head in South Beach. Edinson Volquez will try to deliver a solid performance in an up and down 2017 campaign. Control has been his real issue to this point, but if he can be on top of his game he could be in a great spot against a Rays team that doesn’t perform well (4-10) on the road and bats just 16th versus righties.

Alex Cobb isn’t some dynamo on the other side, as he’ll be tasked with taking on a powerful Marlins offense. Cobb depends largely on inducing ground balls and while he hasn’t blown up yet this year, could be in trouble if the Marlins get under some of his balls.

The pitching isn’t awful here, but it also shouldn’t scare us off of the Marlins or the Over. There could be enough power to target the Over in this one, while Volquez and the Marlins have a good shot at getting over .500 at home.

Pick

Marlins
5
Rays
4
New York Mets (-1.5)
VS
Atlanta Braves (+1.5)
Total: 8
  • Matt Harvey (2-1, 4.25 ERA) vs. RA Dickey (2-2, 3.80 ERA)
  • Moneyline: Mets -108, Braves -102
Betting Value: There isn’t much value to see here, but the shaky pitching and power on both sides supports the Over.

It’s back to the divisional rivalry game we go, as the Mets and Braves clash for the second straight night. New York got a hold of Julio Teheran quite a bit in a 7-5 win last night and will hope to do something similar in a more favorable tilt with knuckleballer, R.A. Dickey.

Dickey has actually been solid so far with his new team, as he’s inducing a lot of ground balls and limiting his runs to a few dongs here and there. Dickey is surely having trouble with the long ball, but he’s otherwise eating up innings and providing solid enough value for the Braves. The Mets are a powerful lineup to sneak past, but Dickey has a shot at home.

He might be in even better shape considering he’s going up against Matt Harvey. The would-be ace has not been delivering good K numbers in 2017 and got slapped around pretty good in his last outing (against these very Braves). That weak performance even came at home in a contest where Harvey simply had nothing to offer.

Harvey can always turn it on and shock us, but he’s become difficult to trust. On the road with mashers like Matt Kemp and Freddie Freeman waiting to take him to dong town, we’ll pass backing him and his Mets. We wish the betting line was more favorable, but we like the Braves and with the pitching being less stable than you’d think, the Over is in play in this one.

Pick

Braves
5
Mets
4
Philadelphia Phillies(+1.5)
VS
Chicago Cubs (-1.5)
Total: 7.5
  • Jeremy Hellickson (4-0, 1.80 ERA) vs. Jon Lester (0-1, 3.68 ERA)
  • Moneyline: Phillies +203, Cubs -220
Betting Value: The Phillies are the obvious upset play but the best play might be the Over when you look at the power upside with these two teams.

We mentioned the Phillies in the opener, as they went into Chicago and steamrolled the Cubs behind an insane 10-run performance. Brett Anderson didn’t last long and the Cubs couldn’t offer a rebuttal in a lopsided home loss to an inferior opponent.

Chicago will undoubtedly hope to bounce back tonight, as ace Jon Lester toes the rubber. Lester has been strong for most of 2017, but he’ll have to snap out of a recent funk, where he’s given up 10 runs in his last two starts. It’s likely that happens at home against the Phillies, but we did see their raw power just last night.

The Cubs could have their hands full on the other side, too, as Hellboy takes the mound with a very strong start to the year behind him. Hellickson is tossing strong ball right now, although he’s getting pretty lucky with a ton of fly balls. It’s not crazy to think his strong start comes to a crashing halt at Wrigley Field, where an explosive Cubs offense could fire off.

If we want to have a knee-jerk reaction to what we saw last night, we may want to pay special attention to the Phillies and their ability to mash southpaws. That could put Lester and the Cubs on high alert, but Lester is bound to bounce back at some point and the Cubs could get going if Hellboy keeps giving up this hard contact.

Instead of a pitcher’s duel, we might get a shootout. The Over is very appealing here and we like the Cubs to even this series up at home tonight.

Pick

Cubs
6
Phillies
4
Texas Rangers (+1.5)
VS
Houston Astros (-1.5)
Total: 8
  • Cole Hamels (2-0, 3.03 ERA) vs. Mike Fiers (0-1, 5.12 ERA)
  • Moneyline: Rangers +113, Astros -123
Betting Value: Over, plus the Rangers on the Moneyline.

Last night’s game was fun, wasn’t it? The Rangers and Astros clearly don’t like each other, and we saw yet another bench-clearing incident in the Silver Boot Series opener on Monday. The Astros alleviated some pressure on themselves, earning a much-needed 6-2 triumph over their neighbors to the north.

The pitching matchup tonight would clearly seem to favor the Rangers. Hamels has been decent this season, but there is some cause for concern. He’s not striking out nearly as many batters as we’re used to seeing. Hamels’ K-rate through five starts is way down at just 11.5% after hovering in the 22-25% range for the majority of his career. He’s giving up a lot of hard contact (36%) and that .219 BABIP allowed should come up a bit.

Fiers has easily been the weakest link in the Astros’ rotation to this point. He hasn’t pitched deep into games and he’s giving up dongs by the truckload. Fiers has already surrendered eight homers through his four starts, which is the second-highest total of any starter to this point.

Texas has been playing terribly, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Houston found a way to get to a struggling Hamels. Still, we can’t trust Fiers to keep the ball in the ballpark. Give us Texas as a slight underdog on the road.

Pick

Rangers
5
Astros
4
Oakland Athletics (+1.5)
VS
Minnesota Twins (-1.5)
Total: 8
  • Sonny Gray (2017 debut) vs. Ervin Santana (4-0, 0.77 ERA)
  • Moneyline: Athletics +130, Twins -140
Betting Value: We can’t know what to expect from Gray, so move along.

Sonny Gray is set to make his 2017 debut after beginning the season on the disabled list with a lat strain. The A’s will be hopeful that the righty can rediscover the ace form that he lost last season. In 22 starts in 2016, Gray went just 5-11 with a 5.69 ERA, which looks like quite the outlier considering his ERAs over his first three seasons were 2.67, 3.08 and 2.73. Was last season a blip on the radar? If he starts to flash that ace form again, he’s an interesting trade candidate later in the year.

Ervin Santana will toe the rubber for the Twins in the midst of arguably the best stretch of his career. The traditional numbers look outstanding, but could he start regressing soon? One would imagine that’s inevitable. He’s allowed an astonishingly low BABIP of .129 thus far, and he’s also managed to strand a whopping 99 percent of runners that have reached base against him. Once those numbers start to crawl back to normal, Santana will come back down to earth.

This game is a tough call considering Gray is a complete wild card at this point. He’s fully capable of dominating the Twins, but what if he’s broken for good? For now, we’ll side with the pitcher that appears to be the more known commodity.

Pick

Twins
4
Athletics
3
Chicago White Sox (+1.5)
VS
Kansas City Royals (-1.5)
Total: 8
  • Jose Quintana (1-4, 5.22 ERA) vs. Danny Duffy (2-1, 2.81 ERA)
  • Moneyline: White Sox +115, Royals -125
Betting Value: White Sox as road dogs look good here. Take them on the Moneyline.

Here we have a rematch from a game that went down in Chicago last week. Jose Quintana pitched easily his best game of the young season against the inept KC offense. The lefty struck out 10 while giving up a pair of runs on five hits in six innings of action. This season as a whole hasn’t gone as expected for the 28-year-old, but another date with the Royals is likely just what the doctor ordered.

Duffman got off to a hot start, but he ran into a wall last week against the White Sox. Chicago blasted him for six runs on nine hits in only 4.2 innings of work in an eventual 10-5 defeat. The Sox have been awful against righties on the season, but they’ve been one of the best offenses in all of baseball against southpaws (.347 wOBA, 5th in MLB). They did struggle to hit lefty Jason Vargas last night, however.

The projected total of eight runs seems to indicate that Vegas doesn’t trust that we’ll have a pitcher’s duel between these teams’ respective aces tonight. The Royals are favored, but taking the ChiSox as underdogs wouldn’t be a bad choice considering KC just snapped a nine-game losing skid last night.

Pick

White Sox
4
Royals
2
Milwaukee Brewers (+1.5)
VS
St. Louis Cardinals (-1.5)
Total: 8
  • Wily Peralta (4-1, 5.19 ERA) vs. Carlos Martinez (0-3, 4.71 ERA)
  • Moneyline: Brewers +160, Cardinals -170
Betting Value: Runs could come in bunches here tonight, so we’re leaning toward the Over.

Carlos Martinez has looked like the opposite of an ace this season, so he decided to throw his hair extensions out of superstition. He’s allowed at least three runs in each of his last four starts, and command has been an issue. Martinez has given free passes to 13 batters in his last three starts, but he’s also struck out 26 in that span. His current poor run of form includes a start against these Brewers in which he was touched up for five runs on seven hits, including a pair of homers.

The Brewers came out victorious in Wily Peralta’s last start, but he sure tried his best to give the game away. Peralta gave up four runs, all on solo homers, on eight hits in five innings of work, but still wound up getting the win. That’s now 10 earned runs in Peralta’s last two starts after he began the season in excellent form.

The Cardinals’ offense is awakening after a dormant start to the season. They recently bashed Peralta for six runs on nine hits in just four innings, and a similar result tonight wouldn’t be particularly surprising. Martinez may continue his struggles, but this does look like a decent bounce-back spot for him at home.

Pick

Cardinals
6
Brewers
4
Los Angeles Angels (+1.5)
VS
Seattle Mariners (-1.5)
Total: 7.5
  • Matt Shoemaker (1-1, 4.72 ERA) vs. James Paxton (3-0, 1.39 ERA)
  • Moneyline: Angels +138, Mariners -148
Betting Value: Move along.

After being roughed up in Oakland in his previous start, James Paxton once again flashed his Cy Young form in his last start in Detroit. The big left-hander held a depleted Tigers lineup to just four hits and no runs in seven innings of work while striking out nine along the way. He’s the clear-cut ace of the Mariners’ staff these days, especially with Felix Hernandez on the shelf.

The Angels will counter with righty Matt Shoemaker, who has pitched well recently. He’s allowed exactly two earned runs in each of his last three starts, though homers have been problematic for him. Shoemaker has already coughed up six homers through five starts, but he did hold the A’s dongless in his most recent game. He was knocked around the first time he faced the Mariners, lasting just 4.1 innings while giving up seven runs on five hits.

Shoemaker is a quality arm, but Paxton’s form is nearly impeccable at the moment. The Angels have a sneakily strong offense, but Paxton has already mowed through the Astros (twice) and Rangers this season. We’ll side with Seattle in what should be a low-scoring affair.

Pick

Mariners
5
Angels
2
San Francisco Giants (+1.5)
VS
Los Angeles Dodgers (-1.5)
Total: 7
  • Matt Moore (1-3, 4.80 ERA) vs. Alex Wood (1-0, 2.29 ERA)
  • Moneyline: Giants +144, Dodgers -154
Betting Value: Giants as an underdog moneyline play makes sense with a lefty on the hill.

The Giants have to feel pretty good about themselves after toppling Clayton Kershaw and winning the first game of this series last night. They’ll look to make it two in a row when they throw Matt Moore on the hill against fellow southpaw Alex Wood at Dodger Stadium tonight.

We know the Dodger bats tend to go quiet against lefties, and Moore took full advantage of that in his most recent start. He held the relatively punchless LA lineup two a run on two hits over the course of seven innings before the Dodgers rallied in the 10th inning for a 5-1 win. Moore is 0-2 with a bloated 8.68 ERA in two starts away from AT&T Park this season.

Wood also pitched extremely well against the Giants in his last start, only to see his team falter in the later innings. He shut out San Francisco in six innings of work while allowing just a single hit while striking out five. Wood is far from the most heralded arm on the Dodgers’ staff, but he’s quietly pitched very well in a variety of roles for them early in the season.

This game comes with a tiny implied total, and with good reason. Neither of these offenses should do much damage against a pair of quality left-handed starters. With the Dodgers at home and holding a hefty bullpen advantage, we’ll give them the slight edge in the end.

Pick

Dodgers
3
Giants
2
Colorado Rockies (+1.5)
VS
San Diego Padres (-1.5)
Total: 7.5
  • Tyler Chatwood (2-3, 4.88 ERA) vs. Trevor Cahill (1-2, 4.50 ERA)
  • Moneyline: Rockies -111, Padres +101
Betting Value: Nothing jumps out here. Possible Over, if anything.

Here we have a matchup between two of the National League’s preeminent ground ball artists. Tyler Chatwood is inducing grounders at a 54.8% rate so far this season, while Trevor Cahill checks in at 60.7% in the same category. Neither has exactly been lights-out this season, but if they can each keep the ball on the ground their chances of success increase.

Chatwood has surrendered at least four earned runs in four of his five starts, three of which have come at Coors Field. Fortunately for him, this game tonight is being played in the pitcher-friendly confines of Petco Park. He dominated the Padres there last season, posting a 2-0 record in his two starts with a tiny 0.61 ERA. He gave up just a run on eight hits in over 14 innings of work.

Three of Cahill’s four outings this season have come on the road, and he went exactly 5.2 innings in all of them. In his lone home start, Cahill pitched seven innings and allowed just a run on three hits against the Marlins. Control has been an issue for him to start 2017, as he’s walked 11 hitters already. Strikeouts have been good, though, as he’s whiffed 30, as well.

Chatwood is a different pitcher when he’s not facing the daunting task of pitching at Coors Field. Colorado just took two of three from Arizona over the weekend, and we think they keep the good times rolling here.

Pick

Rockies
5
Padres
3
MONEYLINE
DECIMAL
FRACTIONAL
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