Free MLB Picks For Monday, 4/17

By in MLB on

The story of the young 2017 MLB season has to be the red hot New York Yankees, who march into a new week riding a 7-game winning streak. The Yanks are thriving with hot bats leading the way, even though star catcher Gary Sanchez remains sidelined with injury.

New York will try to keep the good times rolling with the Chicago White Sox coming to town, but another win would give them 8 in a row and could also vault them to first place in the AL East over the Baltimore Orioles.

The Yanks aren’t the only hot team rolling into Monday, as the Milwaukee Brewers have overcome a slow start to go 6-4 over their last 10 games. Suddenly the Brew Crew is threatening for first place in the NL Central and has a massive series starting against the rival Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on Monday.

Can the Yanks overtake the Orioles? Will the Brewers be drowned out by the Cubs? We find out that and more as we look ahead to Monday’s free MLB picks:

Tampa Bay Rays (+1.5)
VS
Boston Red Sox (-1.5)
Total: 10
  • Blake Snell (0-1, 3.18 ERA) vs. Steven Wright (0-1, 13.50 ERA)
  • Weather: 16 mph winds, high of 71 degrees
  • Moneyline: Rays +125, Red Sox -145

Blake Snell makes his third start of the young MLB season as he tries to make his second strong performance of the year and get the Rays to 7-7. Snell held things together for the most part in his last start, where he walked three but allowed just two hits and zero runs. That was a huge improvement from Snell’s 2017 debut, where he got shelled by Toronto.

Snell certainly doesn’t have the optimal matchup against a potent Red Sox offense at Fenway Park. Snell certainly wasn’t dominant in this same matchup a year ago, posting a poor 6.00 ERA and going 1-1 across two starts. The lefty could still get it going, though, as Boston has run hot and cold so far this year and has also merely been a middle of the pick offense against southpaws so far in 2017 (14th).

On the other side, we have knuckleballer Steven Wright, who got obliterated (4 homers) by the Orioles at home in his most recent start. Wright can dominate games when he’s on top of things, but he has not been in top form to start the year and will be trying to handle a Rays offense he had difficulty with (9.00 ERA) last season.

On paper, this matchup doesn’t seem overly appealing for either pitcher. Snell has been in far better form, but he’s on the road with a very tough offense coming at him. The odds probably favor Wright slightly in this one, while he should get enough support to get the win. The Total seems high despite there being some solid pitching talent in this one. We’ll target the Under.

Pick

Red Sox
5
Rays
4
Pittsburgh Pirates (+1.5)
VS
St. Louis Cardinals (-1.5)
Total: 8
  • Ivan Nova (1-1, 2.25 ERA) vs. Lance Lynn (0-1, 5.23 ERA)
  • Weather: 6 mph winds, high of 69 degrees, 2% chance of rain
  • Moneyline: Pirates +113, Cardinals -133

Ivan Nova looks to try to keep his solid 2017 going on Monday, as he hits the road to battle Lance Lynn and the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Both pitchers are in a decent spot with this game going down in a pitcher’s park, but Nova certainly struggled away from home a year ago (5-5, 5.74 ERA). The good news for Nova, of course, is the Cardinals are not faring well against right-handed pitching (27th in contact) at the moment.

On the other side we have Lance Lynn, who looked solid enough in his 2017 debut, but then proceeded to get worked (3 home runs) by an explosive Nationals offense. Pittsburgh isn’t quite that dangerous, but they do have plenty of power and do a solid job (10th) at establishing contact versus righties.

This might have the makings of a pitcher’s duel, but it could be tough to trust Lynn after his last outing and for one reason or another, St. Louis has not provided great offense (24th in runs scored at home) when at Busch Stadium.

We like Nova to come out and deliver 5-6 solid frames in this one, while his offense could get just enough going to get the mild upset in St. Louis. Lynn could get battered here, but we’re largely banking on a low-scoring showdown that hits the Under.

Pick

Pirates
4
Cardinals
3
Chicago White Sox (+1.5)
VS
New York Yankees (-1.5)
Total: 8.5
  • Derek Holland (1-1, 1.50 ERA) vs. Jordan Montgomery (0-0, 3.86 ERA)
  • Weather: 14 mph winds, high of 67 degrees, 2% chance of rain
  • Moneyline: White Sox +125, Yankees -145

The ever volatile Derek Holland toes the rubber for the White Sox, as they prepare for an intense series at Yankee Stadium against the red hot Yankees. The Yanks stroll into Monday with seven straight wins, while Chicago looks to improve on their solid 4-2 mark away from home. On the other side, we get young pitcher Jordan Montgomery, who looked solid in his MLB debut and will be eyeing his first win.

Holland has been surprisingly in control in two starts this year, giving up just five hits and two runs across two starts. While impressive, it’s going to be hard to get fully behind Holland, who has been known to implode in the past. Going on the road (2-7, 6.05 ERA in 2016) could complicate matters for Holland, although he also could have a distinct advantage against a Yankees offense that ranks dead last (30th) against southpaws on the year.

If Holland does survive, it’s possible we could be headed for a tight game, as Montgomery looked to have some dominant stuff (7 Ks) in his debut. It’s tough to really get behind a younger pitcher, but Holland is on the road and due for some regression, while the Yanks are coming in hot. The hitting could still be hard to come by on both sides in a game where the Under should be in play.

Pick

Yankees
4
White Sox
3
San Diego Padres (+1.5)
VS
Atlanta Braves (-1.5)
Total: 8.5
  • Jered Weaver (0-1, 4.91 ERA) vs. Jaime Garcia (0-1, 5.73 ERA)
  • Weather: 7 mph winds, high of 75 degrees, 24% chance of rain
  • Moneyline: Padres +143, Braves -166

The Human gas can, Jered Weaver hits the mound for the Padres on Monday, as he looks to get his first win of the year against Jaime Garcia and the Braves in Atlanta. The 34-year old Weaver has been surprisingly passable through 11 frames this year, but still gives up the long ball (4 homers) too much. That could be problematic in Atlanta, where Freddie Freeman can mash any pitcher.

Weaver did not fare too well on the road a year ago, where he went 6-6 with an ugly 5.54 ERA. He’s fortunately facing a Braves team that doesn’t stack a ton of power (16th in homers) and continues to be without Matt Kemp. With Kemp out, Weaver could potentially keep this game in check by pitching around Freeman and limiting Atlanta’s long ball upside.

Garcia might be able to help make this a low-scoring affair, as well. Garcia will also be on the hunt for his first 2017 win, as he’s gotten slapped around through two straight starts. Garcia could have the edge in this matchup, however, as he gets to pitch at home for the first time with the Braves and could also be a terrible matchup for a Padres offense that ranks 26th in the majors at connecting on left-handed pitching.

The Braves lack the necessary pop with Kemp out, but ultimately, it’s incredibly difficult to get behind Weaver, who lacks any kind of fastball at this stage of his career. He’s still a crafty pitcher that could easily dispatch a Kemp-less Braves offense, but doing so on the road could be a lot to ask. Instead, we’ll favor the Braves at home and assume this game won’t carry a ton of scoring. Favor the Braves and hit the Under.

Pick

Braves
4
Padres
3
Milwaukee Brewers (+1.5)
VS
Chicago Cubs (-1.5)
Total: N/A
  • Chase Anderson (1-0, 0.69 ERA) vs. John Lackey (1-1, 3.00 ERA)
  • Weather: 9 mph winds, high of 53 degrees, 5% chance of rain
  • Moneyline: Brewers +165, Cubs -190

The Brew Crew has impressed lately with some big road wins and suddenly could pull into the lead for the NL Central, but only on Monday will their true test begin. They stole a win in their first series with the Cubs, but otherwise didn’t really keep it together. They’ll have a chance to turn that around and push themselves further ahead of the NL Central pack in this one, however, as Chase Anderson looks for another dominant start in a huge road win over the rival Cubs.

Doing so could prove difficult, even though Anderson has slayed lately, limiting the Rockies and Jays to six total hits and one earned run across 13 frames of work. Anderson has been on top of his game and flexed his K muscle in his lasting outing, when he got the Jays to whiff seven times. Doing so to the Cubs might be a lot to ask, of course, but the Cubs certainly are struggling (23rd in batting) versus right-handed pitchers.

Anderson does have some upside in this matchup, as he did silence the Cubs in 2016, posting a nice 2.35 ERA in 15 innings of work. He wasn’t quite as safe on the road a year ago, however, when he went 2-6 with a nasty 4.92 ERA. The silver lining here, of course, is Chicago’s offense has been fairly erratic to start the year.

Milwaukee’s bats could show up and give Anderson the support he needs, but that may not be the safest bet against a seasoned veteran like John Lackey. Lackey will be starting for the Cubs and eyeing his second victory of the young season. Lackey has looked mostly good, delivering 17 Ks across his first two starts and keeping most of the action in the park.

Lackey was certainly reliable at Wrigley Field a year ago, when he posted a strong 7-4 mark (2.62 ERA). He wasn’t dominant versus the Brewers (3.79 ERA), but held his own and racked up 18 strikeouts.

Overall, this looks like a solid enough spot for Lackey and the Cubs. Lackey tends to hold his own at home, while Chicago’s offense can pop off in support at any moment. Anderson has K upside, but he could be due for a poor outing and this matchup would certainly make sense to deliver it.

Pick

Cubs
6
Brewers
3
Los Angeles Angels (+1.5)
VS
Houston Astros (-1.5)
Total: 8.5
  • Jesse Chavez (1-1, 5.40 ERA) vs. Charlie Morton (0-1, 4.09 ERA)
  • Weather: Irrelevant (Retractable Roof)
  • Moneyline: Angels +125, Astros -135

Here we have a couple of teams headed in completely different directions. The Angels have dropped five consecutive games after being swept over the weekend in Kansas City, while the Astros have won four in-a-row over the Mariners and Athletics, respectively.

Jesse Chavez will take the mound for the Halos after a lackluster effort against the Rangers last Wednesday. The journeyman right-hander lasted only 4.1 innings and gave up five runs on two homers and five hits. He’s been a good strikeout pitcher over the course of his career, though he did serve as a reliever for several years. The Houston bats struggled out of the gates, but they’ve really come alive during the recent road trip.

Charlie Morton was scheduled to start on Sunday in Oakland, but the game was rained out. The team will just push him back and have him toe the rubber tonight back at Minute Maid Park. He’s an elite ground ball pitcher that has fared well through his first two outings in an Astros uniform. The Angels have plenty of decent hitters in the lineup, though most of them prefer to see left-handers on the hill. If he can work his way around Mike Trout, Morton should be in good shape.

The Astros’ offense has finally awakened, and Jesse Chavez probably isn’t the guy that’ll be slowing them down here. Astros cruise against a faltering Angels team that has lost five straight coming in.

Pick

Astros
8
Angels
3
Cleveland Indians (-1.5)
VS
Minnesota Twins (+1.5)
Total: 8.5
  • Danny Salazar (0-1, 4.63 ERA) vs. Kyle Gibson (0-1, 8.00 ERA)
  • Weather: 5 mph winds, high of 56 degrees
  • Moneyline: Indians -160, Twins +140

The defending AL champs started hot with a three-game sweep of the Rangers to open the season, but they’ve won just two of their last nine games since. Cleveland has won just one of their last four games overall and they’re currently sitting at the bottom of the AL Central. The Twins haven’t exactly been lighting the world on fire, either, as they’ve now lost four of their last six contests coming into tonight’s action.

Danny Salazar was dominant in his last start against the White Sox, but dominance isn’t always rewarded in baseball. Despite striking out 11 Sox and surrendering just two runs in six innings of work, Salazar took the loss as the Tribe’s bats had no answer for Derek Holland, of all people. When he’s right, Salazar is one of the most exciting young arms in the game.

The Twins will throw Kyle Gibson, who is one of the game’s better ground ball maestros when he’s on his game. He reworked his delivery during the offseason, but it hasn’t exactly translated to success thus far. Gibson has coughed up eight runs on nine hits in nine innings to this point, which isn’t exactly ideal.

Salazar is far better than Gibson. Hopefully you’ve gathered that by now. The Indians’ bats have been rather underwhelming thus far, but this looks like a get-right spot for them. Ride with the better arm.

Pick

Indians
6
Twins
2
Texas Rangers (+1.5)
VS
Oakland Athletics (-1.5)
Total: 8
  • AJ Griffin (1-0, 6.75 ERA) vs. Andrew Triggs (2-0, 0.00 ERA)
  • Weather: 9 mph winds, high of 62 degrees, 31% chance of rain
  • Moneyline: Rangers +125, Athletics -135

The Rangers’ woeful bullpen reared its ugly head again on Sunday. Sam Dyson, who has been lights-out for the most part since joining the Rangers in 2015, has easily been the worst reliever in all of baseball to start this season. Dyson has already blown three saves, and one would imagine the Rangers will have exiled him from the closing job after botching another would-be win in Seattle on Sunday afternoon.

After getting swept by the Mariners, the Rangers will look to AJ Griffin to try and right the ship. This will be Griffin’s first ever outing against the team with which he made his big league debut back in 2012. Through two starts this season, his massive splits have played out as expected. He’s excellent in limiting damage against right-handed bats, but lefties completely dominate him. It’s a small sample, but so far he’s allowed a .257 wOBA to righties and an awful .483 wOBA to lefty bats.

The Ranger bats will have their work cut out for them going up against youngster Andrew Triggs. Triggs was fantastic to end last season, and he’s kept that form going into the 2017 campaign. He has yet to allow a run through his first 11.2 innings of work this season, though he will be facing a lineup far more potent than the Angels and Royals teams he faced in his first couple of outings. Triggs did enjoy good success in limited time against Texas last season, allowing just a run on two hits over 6.2 innings.

Triggs hasn’t been around long, but the fact that he’s been so dominant thus far in his short big league career has us thinking the Rangers will have a tough time with the sticks in this spot. The A’s don’t have a ton of fearsome lefty bats to threaten Griffin, but weird things tend to happen when these two clubs get together in Oakland.

We like Oakland in this one.

Pick

Athletics
5
Rangers
3
Miami Marlins (+1.5)
VS
Seattle Mariners (-1.5)
Total: 8
  • Tom Koehler (0-0, 3.27 ERA) vs. Ariel Miranda (0-1, 5.06 ERA)
  • Weather: Irrelevant (Retractable Roof)
  • Moneyline: Marlins +112, Mariners -132

After taking three of four from the Mets in impressive fashion, the Marlins will make the cross-country journey to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Seattle Mariners. The Ms are coming off a strong series of their own during which they swept the Rangers and got back on track after a rough start to 2017.

Tom Koehler will toe the rubber for the Fish in this one. He’s pitched well so far this season (11 innings, four earned runs), but he’s been fairly average throughout his five-plus big league seasons to this point. He’ll give up a decent number of home runs, and he’s been particularly vulnerable against left-handed power over the years.

Koehler will be opposed by lefty Ariel Miranda, who hasn’t fared particularly well through two starts (both against the Astros) to start ‘17. The Marlins have several big bats in the middle of the order that obliterate left-handed pitching, and Miranda has already allowed 15 bombs in just under 69 innings at the Major League level.

We like Miami to keep the hot streak going in this one. There should be no shortage of runs put on the board, but the Marlins power their way to a W here.

Pick

Marlins
7
Mariners
5
Arizona Diamondbacks (+1.5)
VS
Los Angeles Dodgers (-1.5)
Total: 7
  • Robbie Ray (1-0, 2.19 ERA) vs. Brandon McCarthy (2-0, 1.50 ERA)
  • Weather: 5 mph winds, high of 65 degrees, 7% chance of rain
  • Moneyline: Diamondbacks +135, Dodgers -155

The D-Backs will look to earn a split of this weekend’s four-game series with the rival Dodgers. They’ll send fireballing lefty Robbie Ray to the hill, fresh off a dominant start in San Francisco last week.

Ray has all the stuff necessary to be an ace. His primary problem along the way has been command. He walks too many hitters and he allows quite a bit of hard contact. He clearly has swing-and-miss stuff, and we have a feeling this is the season he becomes a household name at the top of this rotation. He has the platoon advantage here, as well, as the Dodgers have really struggled against southpaws since the start of 2016.

The Dodgers will counter with former D-Back Brandon McCarthy. McCarthy was very impressive in his last start in Chicago, going six shutout innings while allowing just four hits and striking out four against the defending champs. He’s proven to be an excellent big leaguer when healthy, and he seems to be at the top of his game at the moment.

Because both pitchers come into this one in fine form, and Dodger Stadium profiles as a pitcher-friendly park, we’ll go with the under here. This one feels like a toss-up, but we’ll give LA the edge because they’re at home and they have the superior bullpen to support McCarthy.

Pick

Dodgers
4
Diamondbacks
2
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