Dodgers Over Rockies and Friday’s MLB Predictions for April 7
Friday gets the coming weekend started off right when it comes to pro baseball, as all 30 MLB teams will be in action to close out the regular work week.
In addition to the massive quantity getting thrown our way, we’re also getting serious quality within these games. However, quite a bit of the starting pitching tonight leave much to be desired. Several clubs are cycling through their Nos. 4 and 5 starters today, with the exception of teams like Washington and San Francisco. As a result, we could see more than our fair share of crooked numbers on the scoreboard tonight.
The matchups look great across the board, however, as the Cubs and Brewers face off in Milwaukee, the Dodgers visit Coors Field and the Yankees clash with the Orioles. The defending AL champion Indians will also visit the desert to take on a high-powered D-Backs offense.
It should be a fun Friday night of MLB action, but it’ll be even better if we can all win some cash while enjoying the games. Here’s a quick breakdown of all 15 contests to help you bet the right way tonight:
- Mike Foltynewicz (9-5, 4.31 ERA) vs. Ivan Nova (12-8. 4.17 ERA)
- Moneyline: Braves +130, Pirates -150
- Weather: 21 mph winds, high of 39 degrees, 24% chance of rain
The Braves and Pirates kick off a new series, as Atlanta comes in after going 1-2 against the New York Mets and Pittsburgh dropped two games to the Red Sox in Boston. Both teams will shoot for a win with talented but volatile arms in Mike Foltynewicz and Ivan Nova taking the mound on opposite sides.
We could have a good one at PNC Park, where the Pirates were a mediocre 38-42 a year ago. The 25-year old Folty will be looking for his first win of the year in his debut and he has the fastball to give Pittsburgh troubles. Inconsistent control could spark problems, of course, as the Pirates do have some big bats in Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco.
Nova toes the rubber on the other side and will look to build off his solid momentum he sustained after being traded to Pittsburgh last year. Nova looked like a different pitcher, dealing three complete games during a solid 5-2 run where he posted a respectable 3.02 ERA.
It will be interesting to see if that production holds up against the Braves, who don’t have a great offense but does have a dangerous lefty masher in Freddie Freeman and two other capable left-handed hitters in Ender Inciarte and Nick Markakis. Nova’s struggles against left-handed hitting could end up being put to the test.
While the latter is possible, we saw a different Nova late last year. If he’s that guy and the Pirates bats come to play at home, there’s a good chance Pittsburgh gets their first victory of 2017 on Friday.
Neither offense has showed much this year and we’d really only expect the Pirates to pop off, so shooting for the Under makes sense in this one. It’s also worth noting that the conditions for this game will be miserably cold and super windy. That’s not helping the bats, either.
- Steven Wright (13-6, 3.33 ERA) vs. Michael Fulmer (11-7, 3.06 ERA)
- MoneyLine: Red Sox +102, Tigers -122
- Weather: 21 mph winds, high of 46 degrees, 2% change of rain
The Tigers and Red Sox have had the short end of the stick when it comes to MLB weather to start the year, combining to have a whopping three games postponed already. Boston comes in with a solid 2-0 mark after handling Pittsburgh at Fenway Park, while the Tigers will play host with a 1-1 mark.
Boston was a more than capable road team in 2016 (46-35), while Detroit usually had their best stuff at Comerica Park (45-35). Today we get a very solid battle on the mound between two competent pitchers in Wright and Fulmer. Wright benefited from games outside of the extremely hittable Fenway Park in 2016, going 6-4 while posting a strong 2.09 ERA. The knuckleballer won’t have much wiggle room in this matchup, however, as Detroit has a stacked lineup and plays in one of the most explosive parks in all of baseball.
That could make this showdown equally challenging for Fulmer, as Boston has an even more potent lineup. This wasn’t a matchup that treated Fulmer too kindly, either, as the 24-year old righty got mashed in two appearances versus the Red Sox, giving up 17 hits and four jacks while posting a terrible 6.08 ERA
Fulmer has the comfort of playing at home, but the Tigers are down a nasty bat with J.D. Martinez out. We can expect fireworks at some point and shoot for the Over here, but we like Boston to get this series rolling.
- Max Scherzer (20-7, 2.96 ERA) vs. Vince Velasquez (8-6, 4.12 ERA)
- Moneyline: Nationals -173, Phillies +148
- Weather: 23 mph winds, high of 48 degrees
Fans of defensive baseball could be in for a real treat on Friday, as one of the best aces in the game (Scherzer) makes his season debut against a shaky Phillies offense. Scherzer can give up some long balls, but one of the best strikeout pitchers in the game could easily have his way against a lineup he posted a 3-0 record and 2.08 ERA against in 2016.
Philadelphia has their own solid pitcher in Velasquez, who handed in a solid 2.88 ERA at Citizens Bank Park in 2016. Velasquez can bring the heat and has a fairly versatile arsenal of pitches, which helped him survive in his only tilt with the Nats last year, where he gave up three runs across six passable innings of work.
The logic still promotes the Nats here. Washington certainly got in some work on Velasquez the last time they faced him and the bats could heat up even more on Friday. Washington is stacked across the board and they have their ace out there – a guy who hasn’t lost to the Phillies since his rookie year. At the top of his game with a loaded offense backing him, it’s tough not to get behind Scherzer in this one.
The only angle for the Phillies is the Moneyline, but Vegas isn’t give us a whole lot to work with. In what could be a pitcher’s duel or a one-sided affair, the Under also makes good sense in this spot.
- Hyun-Jin Ryu (2014 stats: 14-7, 3.38 ERA) vs. Kyle Freeland (MLB debut)
- Moneyline: Dodgers -150, Rockies +130
- Weather: 10 mph winds, high of 73 degrees
We could get all of the home runs on Friday, as the Rockies make their season debut at Coors Field and welcome the rival Dodgers to come swing their bats. Everyone will be aiming for the fences in this one, especially with Colorado delivering lackluster offensive production in a 3-1 series win in Milwaukee to start the year.
The Dodgers have been a mixed back to start the year, but they exploded twice to down the sorry Padres, 3-1. While nobody is really confusing the Rockies to be a serious threat to the Dodgers right now, this is still a huge series despite it being very early.
As much hitting as we want and will hope for in this one, it’s fair to wonder if we will come away disappointed. Ryu returns after basically missing the past two years with injury. He looked strong in his first two runs with L.A. and the 30-year old southpaw could be a menace for a hard-hitting Rockies squad that has had trouble against lefties.
On the other side we have Kyle Freeland, who gives the Rockies their second straight MLB debut in their last two games. Antonio Senzatela had a sizzling debut on Thursday and Colorado will understandably hope Freeland’s first run in the majors goes half as smoothly. An elite prospect and the 8th overall selection in the 2014 MLB Draft, Freeland gives Colorado their own lefty on the other side. That could make things just as difficult for the Dodgers, who were terrible against lefties a year ago.
Suffice to say, this game is going to be hyped as some kind of home run derby and it probably isn’t going to happen. Both offenses are stacked and can certainly blow up, but the pitching talent is pretty good, plus it’s always impossible to know how a MLB debut will go. On one hand the guy is talented and at home and the guys he’s facing don’t know his tendencies. On the other hand, the batters he’s facing could also just as easily take advantage of any mistakes.
Ultimately, the draw might go to the Dodgers. At least Ryu has actually pitched in the big leagues before and of these two offenses, L.A. has looked much more cohesive (and explosive) this year. They’re facing a pitcher making his first start, too, so maybe they can find a few wrinkles and get some easy runs. Even though that could happen this Total is insane and given the circumstances, we’d shoot for the Under.
- Matt Cain (4-8, 5.64 ERA) vs. Luis Perdomo (9-10, 5.71 ERA)
- Moneyline: Giants -123, Padres +103
- Weather: 10 mph winds, high of 67 degrees
After losing three of four up in Los Angeles, the Padres will host the Giants in their home opener at Petco Park this afternoon. The Giants come into this one in relatively poor form, as well, as they dropped three of four in Phoenix against the Diamondbacks to start the season.
Luis Perdomo will toe the rubber for the home team, and he was passable at times last year for the Padres, but overall proved to be far too volatile. Perdomo had mixed results against the Giants last season, scoring one win in two starts, while posting a weak 4.30 ERA. His shaky performance at a pitcher’s park last year (4-5 with a 6.33 ERA) could also be cause for alarm. Perdomo tries to induce grounders and won’t strike many out.
Ultimately, this one doesn’t require a whole lot of analysis. Perdomo is a capable pitcher in a pitcher friendly park, but he doesn’t have a good offense behind him and the Giants are at their best against right-handed pitchers. They have several big lefty bats, and a couple of right-handed sluggers in Hunter Pence and Buster Posey. Cain has been in steep decline over the last several years, and he’s become one of the more hittable pitchers in the game. Even so, the Padres just don’t have a ton of bats that really stick out as dangerous opponents for him.
Overall, this game doesn’t promote a ton of offense. If we get it, it’d come from the Giants side and Perdomo will probably do all he can to hang in this one. He could have a shot and we like this one to stay low-scoring, which promotes the Under.
- Luis Severino (3-8, 5.83 ERA) vs. Ubaldo Jimenez (8-12, 5.44 ERA)
- Moneyline: Yankees -110, Orioles -110
- Weather: 19 mph winds, high of 48 degrees, 1% chance of rain
The Yankees keep the AL East rivalry tour going in Baltimore today, as they kick start a nice three-game series with the Orioles before facing off with the Rays again. New York limps in with a 1-2 record, but their young bats will look to go off on the ever volatile Ubaldo Jimenez.
Luis Severino takes the mound for New York on the other side, as he’ll try to contain a potent Orioles (2-0) offense. Baltimore has been by far at their best at home, and we can see that with a quick look at their 50-31 home mark from 2016.
This game feels like it could explode, as both pitchers can be shaky and everyone knows any game at Camden Yards can produce a show. More specifically, neither of these offenses have really taken flight yet. Both teams are averaging just 3 runs per game so far this year and have combined for 15 total.
Chris Davis could go to work in this one (he crushes righties) and the rest of the Orioles in general feel scary, with Severino posting a 4.26 ERA with three homers in four appearances (two starts) against Baltimore in 2016. It could be just as lively on the other side, as Jiminez last faced New York in 2015 and didn’t deliver positive results, managing just a 7.08 ERA and 16 earned runs across four starts.
Volatile pitching combined with explosive power hitting in a hitter’s park. Yes, please! This is a fun spot to bet on the Over in a potentially intense AL East clash, while the Orioles feel like the easy bet with their superior power and success at home.
- Wei-Yin Chen (5-5, 4.96 ERA) vs. Zack Wheeler (2014 stats: 11-11, 3.54 ERA)
- Moneyline: Marlins +105, Mets -125
- Weather: Cloudy, lows in the high-30s.
After taking two of three from the Braves to start the season, the Mets will play host to another divisional foe this weekend with the Marlins coming to town. Miami is coming off a hard-fought series with Washington during which they went just 1-2, though they did come out with a win on Thursday evening in the finale.
The Marlins are hopeful that Chen can put last season behind him and prove that he’s a capable top-of-the-rotation kind of starter. He had shown that kind of upside to start his big league career with the Orioles, but his first season in Miami was a rough one. Chen thrived in Baltimore throwing high in the zone and inducing pop-ups, but he changed his philosophy last season with disastrous results. An elbow injury in the middle of the year certainly didn’t help things, either. He’ll be facing a Mets team that was better than average against southpaws in 2016 here tonight.
On the other side we have Zack Wheeler, who hasn’t been seen pitching in a big league game since 2014. It’s been a long road back for the former top prospect. He struggled a bit during spring training, but raised some eyebrows towards the end of camp when he touched 97 with his fastball. The Mets will likely be careful with him in his first start back, but he’ll be going up against a Marlins team that was one of the worst in baseball last season in hitting against righties.
Neither of these offenses has been able to fully find their footing as of yet. That said, the Mets, with a few lefty mashers in Yoenis Cespedes, Wilmer Flores and Neil Walker, look to be better suited to attack this starting pitching matchup. It’s worth noting we’ll have another cold night in New York, which could help keep the ball in the ballpark.
- Francisco Liriano (8-13, 4.69 ERA) vs. Matt Andriese (8-8, 4.37 ERA)
- Moneyline: Blue Jays -124, Rays +104
- Weather: Irrelevant (Dome)
The Jays and Rays will play their second of a four-game set tonight after Toronto stormed into Tropicana Field and came out with a 5-2 victory last night. Marcus Stroman was stellar for Toronto, and both of these teams have split their first four games of the season, respectively.
The question for the Jays tonight is which Francisco Liriano will show up? The enigmatic lefty struggled last season for the Pirates, but really turned the thing around after being traded to Toronto. In 10 regular season appearances with the Blue Jays at the end of 2016, Liriano allowed just 16 earned runs across 49.1 innings (2.92 ERA). He has been wildly inconsistent in the past, though, so there’s no telling which version we’ll see in this one.
Andriese brings a pretty unique skill-set to the mound for the Rays. He was a solid strikeout arm as a rookie last season (20.7 percent K-rate), and he hardly walks anybody. However, he struggles with home runs (17 allowed in 127 innings) and base stealers will have a field day with him. Andriese has a bit of Jon Lester in him in that he’s reluctant to throw to the bases, and as a result base stealers were successful 16 times out of 17 attempts last season.
Fortunately for Andriese, the Jays aren’t a team that runs very often. Kevin Pillar led Toronto with just 14 swipes a season ago. Frankly, it’s tough to get a clear read on this game. Liriano was atrocious on the road last season (5.54 ERA), while Andriese’s numbers split slightly better at home. We’ll give Tampa Bay a slight edge here, though the Toronto bats can go off at any time.
- Raul Alcantara (1-3, 7.25 ERA) vs. AJ Griffin (7-4, 5.07 ERA)
- Moneyline: Athletics +121, Rangers -141
- Weather: Clear, high of 78 degrees.
The two-time defending AL West champs seem to have hit the skids to start this season. They faced a motivated Indians squad to open the season and were swept in dramatic fashion. The pitching has been rocky so far, as Texas has surrendered a league-worst 20 runs to this point. The bullpen alone gave up 10 of those runs, and five of them came in the ninth inning of a dramatic defeat at the hands of Cleveland on Wednesday.
AJ Griffin will take the mound against his former club. Griffin was mediocre last year in his first season with the Rangers, but earned a rotation spot largely due to a lack of healthy options. He’ll look to stop the bleeding here, but the A’s do boast a veteran lineup that’ll now be playing in a better hitters’ park than their home venue. Griffin was absolutely blitzed by lefties last season, allowing a .406 wOBA and hard contact rate of 44.4 percent to hitters from that side of the plate.
Alcantara beat out Jesse Hahn for the fifth spot in the Athletics’ rotation out of spring training. He wasn’t overly impressive in his 22.1 innings of action at the end of last season for Oakland, and he was also batted around a good deal. Alcantara allowed hitters from both sides of the plate to a hard contact rate north of 43 percent. In a park like Texas, that doesn’t bode well.
We are going to see some home runs in this game. Whenever you have a couple of gas cans on the mound like we do here, you almost have to take the over. It won’t be overly hot in Texas tonight, but it won’t be so cold that the hitters will be negatively affected either. Prepare for scoring.
- Jason Vargas (0-0, 2.25 ERA) vs. Mike Fiers (11-8, 4.48 ERA)
- Moneyline: Royals +153, Astros -178
- Weather: Clear and 80 degrees during the day. 40% humidity boosts hitting conditions.
After being swept by the Twins to open the season, the Royals continue their road trip tonight at Minute Maid Park in Houston. The Astros took home three wins in their first four games against Seattle to open the season, and they’ll look to keep the train rolling tonight.
Lefty Jason Vargas returned late last season from Tommy John surgery and looked largely solid despite a limited workload. While he put up strong numbers, he only pitched 12 innings. He rates out as about a league average left-hander that won’t strike anybody out. The Astros have feasted on left-handed pitching for the most part over the last couple of seasons, so they’re in a strong spot tonight in their home yard.
Vargas will be countered by Mike Fiers, making his 2017 debut. The lanky righty was largely disappointing last season in his first full campaign in an Astros uniform. His strikeout rate has typically hovered in the mid-20s throughout his career, but that was down to just 18.5 percent in 30 starts in 2016. His funky delivery sometimes makes it tough for hitters to pick up the ball early, but he was knocked around a good bit last season.
Kansas City’s bats have been largely quiet through the first three games, as they’ve mustered just five runs. This looks like a good spot for them to wake up, but we’ll have to actually see it happen before we’re fully comfortable picking them to suddenly bust out. The Astros’ offense hasn’t been firing on all cylinders, either, but this grades out as a plus situation for the home nine.
- Phil Hughes (1-7, 5.95 ERA) vs. Derek Holland (7-9, 4.95 ERA)
- Moneyline: Twins -105, White Sox -115
- Weather: Clear but cold, lows in the high-30s.
They haven’t garnered much national attention thus far, but the Twins are quietly off to a 3-0 start after sweeping the Royals in the first series of the year. The offense lit it up against KC, as Minnesota put a whopping 21 runs on the board over the course of the three games and surrendered just five along the way.
Veteran Phil Hughes will take the ball for the first time this season after a horrid ‘16. The former Yankee was getting crushed routinely before his season was ended prematurely after taking a line drive to the knee in early June. This came a season after he required surgery to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome, so there’s no telling how Hughes will fair if he’s feeling fully healthy this year. He allowed a hard contact rate of 37.7 percent to all hitters last season, which is certainly cause for concern.
He’ll be opposed by new White Sox lefty Derek Holland, who himself is coming off a rough campaign with Texas. Holland has shown massive upside in the past, but injuries combined with inconsistent performance saw him leave Texas on shaky terms. He’s really only had one good all around big league season so far in his career, and he hasn’t really given us any reason to believe he’s going to suddenly figure things out at the age of 30.
The Twins boast some a couple of big bats that have a history of dominating lefties, including Miguel Sano and Brian Dozier. Chicago grades out as one of the best parks for hitters in the league, and it’s tough to see Minnesota not having its way with Holland.
- Brett Anderson (1-2, 11.91 ERA) vs. Jimmy Nelson (8-16, 4.62 ERA)
- Moneyline: Cubs -170, Brewers +145
- Weather: Irrelevant (Retractable roof)
Following a stirring come-from-behind win in St. Louis Thursday afternoon, the defending champs will continue their road trip in Milwaukee tonight. Lefty Brett Anderson will be making his Cubs debut opposite right-hander Jimmy Nelson for the Brew Crew.
It’s been a rough start for Milwaukee, as they were beaten three times in four games by the Rockies to open up the season. The pitching staff was fairly impressive against a loaded Colorado lineup, but the bats failed to hold up their end of the bargain for the most part. Nelson’s coming off a rough individual campaign during which he lost 16 games and was generally knocked around rather regularly.
Injuries have largely derailed Anderson’s career after a promising start with Oakland several years back. He’s been a solid arm when healthy, but he has made at least 30 starts just twice in his career, and just once since 2010. The southpaw has generally done a solid job in limiting hard contact against him over the years, though he is vulnerable to the occasional homer against right-handers.
We’ve been expecting the Brewers to be involved in high-scoring games all week long, but it hasn’t really come off yet. We’ll go back to the well again tonight with a pair of subpar pitchers on the hill and say that this is another game for which you should opt for the over.
- Amir Garrett (MLB debut) vs. Mike Leake (9-12, 4.69 ERA)
- Moneyline: Reds +145, Cardinals -170
- Weather: Clear and 60 degrees. no chance of rain.
Following an impressive spring, the Reds gave No. 2 prospect Amir Garrett a spot in the rotation as their No. 4 starter. The lanky left-hander has a long delivery and typically relies on a fastball that sits between 91 and 96 miles an hour. Trying to accurately predict how a guy will fare in his MLB debut is usually a fool’s errand. He could crater, or he could give the Reds a solid five innings or so. Neither would be a shock.
He’ll be opposed by former Red Mike Leake, who was shaky in his first season in St. Louis in 2016. Leake eats up innings, but he typically pitches to contact and relies on his defense to bail him out most of the time. His old team certainly wasn’t kind to him last season. In four starts against Cincy, Leake hemorrhaged 18 runs on 29 hits in just 22.1 innings of action.
Leake’s splits were about even last season, but he has historically fared worse against lefties than righties. The Cardinals could have a tough time picking up Garrett considering none of the hitters have ever seen him before. The fact that Busch Stadium is more of a pitcher’s park and the game taking place in the midst of cool conditions would seem to indicate the ball should be able to stay in the ballpark for the most part here.
- Josh Tomlin (13-9, 4.40 ERA) vs. Shelby Miller (3-12, 6.15 ERA)
- Moneyline: Indians -148, Diamondbacks +128
- Weather: Partly cloudy, 91 degrees if roof open.
The Indians are riding high following a season-opening three-game sweep of the Rangers in Arlington. The third and final game was particularly amazing, as Cleveland rallied from a two-run deficit on the shoulders of a dramatic ninth-inning grand slam from Francisco Lindor off of Texas closer Sam Dyson. It’s safe to say the defending AL champs are hungry to take the next step this season.
They’ll be in quite the hitter-friendly environment again tonight in Arizona going up against Shelby Miller, who will be looking to put his disastrous 2016 behind him. Miller was one of the worst starters in all of baseball last season after coming over from Atlanta. It got so bad that the D-Backs eventually optioned Miller to Triple-A in mid July in an attempt to revive him. He looked far better after returning, and ended the season with back-to-back scoreless outings against the Orioles and Nationals.
The Indians will be countering with right-hander Josh Tomlin, who gave them some massive outings down the stretch and in the postseason last year. In spite of that, he’s not really an arm to truly fear. He gave up lots of hard contact last season, especially to lefties (37.6%). Curiously enough, he actually stifled left-handers on the whole (.287 wOBA) while getting raked by fellow right-handed bats (.356 wOBA). For his career, he’s allowed a wOBA 30 points higher to righties than lefties, so it’s safe to say he’s a reverse-splits guy.
We don’t really know what we’ll get out of Miller, but these are a couple of offenses that have been lighting it up to start the season. Warm conditions in Phoenix (assuming the roof is open) make Chase Field even more of a hitter’s haven than it usually is, so taking the over here would seem like the way to go. Both teams should have little issue putting runs on the board.
Miller’s wild card status makes this a tough pick, but we like the D-Backs to get to Tomlin early and often here.
- Yovani Gallardo (6-8, 5.42 ERA) vs. Jesse Chavez (2-2, 4.43 ERA)
- Moneyline: Mariners +110, Angels -130
- Weather: Mostly clear, 73 degrees.
The nightcap will feature the Angels in their home opener down in Anaheim hosting the limping Seattle Mariners. The Mariners come into this one having lost three of four against the Astros in Houston, though they did get into the win column last night. The Angels, meanwhile, split their first four against the A’s in Oakland.
A pair of veteran journeymen making their respective team debuts will take the hill in this one. Yovani Gallardo has certainly been around the block, and he’ll be playing for his fourth different team in the last four years. While he did a solid job in limiting hard contact last season with Baltimore, he’s a guy that won’t miss many bats. His strikeout rate has been gradually trending downward in recent seasons, and he allowed a .349 wOBA to both lefties and righties last season.
He’ll be squaring off with right-hander Jesse Chavez, who has bounced to and from the bullpen over the course of his career. Chavez has historically fared far better as a starter than as a reliever (4.14 starter ERA, 4.89 reliever), and he earned a spot in the Halos’ rotation with a solid spring.
Seattle struggled tremendously with the bats against the Astros, but this lineup is too powerful to stay dormant for long. However, Angel Stadium isn’t a great environment for hitters, and both Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz have looked shaky at the plate so far this season. The Angels’ lineup isn’t exactly imposing outside of Mike Trout, but neither Gallardo nor Chavez can be trusted to pitch deep into the ballgame.
Hitting the over on this one could be the sneaky play, and this looks like a perfect get-right spot for the Mariners’ bats.