MLB Picks Tuesday April 11

by Taylor Smith
on April 11, 2017

Coors didn’t live up to the hype on Monday, but Wil Myers hit for San Diego’s second cycle in team history and we got some serious gems out of normally volatile arms in Michael Pineda, Jharel Cotton and Matt Moore.

In addition to Myers’ historic outing and some pitching gems, we saw the Nats blow up, Justin Verlander barely edged out Chris Sale and the Yanks abused Alex Cobb. Our MLB picks survived the day, as we went a stellar 7-3 across 10 games.

We got burned a bit, as the Rockies fell flat against the Padres at home, Kansas City didn’t show up at their place and Moore stifled a lifeless Arizona offense that had been scorching hot.

If you rolled with us you were still profitable with our straight up MLB picks, though, and we hope to keep the success carrying into Tuesday. Let’s see what we should expect for today’s 12-game MLB slate:

Minnesota Twins (+1.5)
Detroit Tigers (-1.5)
Total: 9
  • Hector Santiago (1-0, 1.80 ERA) vs. Matt Boyd (0-1, 19.29 ERA)
  • Weather: 13 mph winds, high of 64 degrees, 3% chance of rain
  • Moneyline: Twins +130, Tigers -150

The Twins hit up Comerica Park on Tuesday, as they kick off a series with the AL Central rival Tigers. Detroit trails the surprisingly hot Twins (5-1) at the moment and could have a huge advantage with this series taking place in their own backyard.

Minnesota shoves Hector Santiago onto the mound on Tuesday, hoping the same solid form he displayed in his 2017 debut translates to a hitter’s park. Santiago wasn’t amazing in a win over the lethargic Royals, so he will undoubtedly need to be better as he prepares for an explosive Detroit offense. The lefty was noticeably more comfortable on the road a year ago, but specifically struggled versus these Tigers, sporting a nasty 6.62 ERA across three starts.

The 26-year old Matt Boyd has flashed upside in the past but to this point hasn’t been able to produce at a consistent rate. He could have a difficult time finally figuring things out on Tuesday, as he tries to recover from a regrettable shelling by the hands of the White Sox. Boyd’s velocity can be impressive at times, which touches on that aforementioned upside. That could give him an edge against a Twins offense that ranked just 18th against left-handed pitchers a year ago.

Boyd is certainly tough to trust in this spot, but he certainly doesn’t lack in the success department in this matchup. Boyd wasn’t perfect versus the Twins a year ago (4.18 ERA), but he kept things together enough to rack up 23 strikeouts and post a strong 3-1 record in four starts.

The obvious edge goes to the Tigers, who fared far better (11th) last year after lefties and are at home. There is not obvious pitching edge here, but Santiago could very well trend downward in a brutal road tilt and Boyd could be in a better spot than advertised. That being said, the pitching isn’t amazing and both bats swing heavy, so we could be in for the Over in this one.


Chicago White Sox (+1.5)
Cleveland Indians (-1.5)
Total: 9
  • James Shields (1-0, 1.69 ERA) vs. Carlos Carrasco (1-0, 3.18 ERA)
  • Weather: 10 mph winds, high of 55 degrees, 41% chance of rain
  • Moneyline: White Sox +220, Indians -260

There is serious rain risk early in this game, which could cause a delay. The weather could taper off shortly after, however, so a flat out PPD isn’t guaranteed. If this one fires off, we could be in for a good amount of runs – largely from Cleveland’s side – as the heavily favored Indians could very well end up teeing off on a volatile Shields.

Shields was actually quite good in his 2017 debut, limiting an explosive Tigers offense to just one run and striking out five. That’s the best version of Shields we can hope for these days, but now he’s on the road against an even more potent Indians offense. Cleveland was solid against righties in 2016 and tends to be tough at home, while on the other side they’ll have Carlos Carrasco backing them. Unsurprisingly, this hasn’t been a good spot for Shields, who got lit up by the Indians in 2016 to the tune of a nasty 10.57 ERA in two appearances.

Carrasco is far easier to get behind. Carrasco was passable in his first start of the year – a tough 4-3 win over a good Rangers team – and seems ready to leave a so-so 2016 campaign behind for good. It’s possible he could find that hard to do in this matchup, as the White Sox do have some power and got to him a bit in 2016 (5.09 ERA across three starts).

While Carrasco might not necessarily be in the best spot possible, his offense has a far better matchup and the cooler weather could help him keep some balls in the field. He won’t be perfect here, but he won’t get wrecked and Shields very well could.


White Sox
St. Louis Cardinals (+1.5)
Washington Nationals (-1.5)
Total: 8.5
  • Lance Lynn (0-0, 3.38 ERA) vs. Gio Gonzalez (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
  • Weather: 8 mph winds, high of 80 degrees, 1% chance of rain
  • Moneyline: Cardinals +120, Nationals -140

Lance Lynn returned from a long absence after Tommy John surgery and was solid enough, striking out four and allowing just two runs against a lethal Cubs offense. His second game back doesn’t get any easier, as he’ll take it to the road against a troublesome Nats offense that just popped off for 14 runs on Monday night.

It’s never fun to visit the Nats, but Lynn might not be in that bad of a spot. Washington’s effectiveness drops considerably against right-handed hurlers, while Lynn has mopped the floor with Washington (0.90 ERA) the last three times he’s faced them.

Washington’s bats can still explode at home, while they’ll be backing an equally impressive arm in Gio Gonzalez. Gonzalez poses a serious problem for a Cardinals team that was 22nd in the majors last year against southpaws. Gonzalez was also in solid form in his 2017 debut, when he scattered seven hits across six innings, while fanning seven and giving up zero runs.

Gonzalez was at his best at home in 2016 and could pick up where he left off there. His 3.80 ERA in his last four appearances against the Cards isn’t anything to write home about, but St. Louis also hasn’t been ripping him to shreds. If he can just hold it together, there’s a good chance his potent offense will aid him in a win. This game could obviously get out of control, but with the solid pitching, it’s more likely we’re headed for the Under in this spot.


New York Mets (-1.5)
Philadelphia Phillies (+1.5)
Total: 8
  • Matt Harvey (1-0, 2.70 ERA) vs. Clay Buchholz (0-0, 7.20 ERA)
  • Weather: 10 mph winds, high of 77 degrees, 1% chance of rain
  • Moneyline: Mets -150, Phillies +130

Matt Harvey toes the rubber for the Mets on Tuesday, as the veteran hurler makes his second start of the year against the Phillies. Harvey was largely stellar in his 2017 debut, as he handled the Braves and really just had difficulty keeping Matt Kemp (two homers) in the park. Harvey’s strong debut was otherwise a confidence booster and he’ll hope to keep the positive momentum going in Philly tonight.

That might be easier said than done, of course, as the Phillies have been rather explosive offensively. Philadelphia will also be at home (2-2) and did just fine (three earned runs) in their last meeting with Harvey. The 28-year old righty does have a distinct advantage when it comes to splits, however, as the Phillies were among the worst teams (29th) versus right-handed pitching a year ago.

New York has the clear edge in the pitching department, as Clay Buchholz was as shaky as advertised in his 2017 debut, when he gave up four runs on eight hits versus the Reds. New York boasts plenty of mashers to potentially make things even worse on Tuesday, although the Mets weren’t a whole lot better (20th) against right-handers in 2016.

Philadelphia could easily open a can at home tonight, but Harvey looked stable in his debut and could be working his way back to elite status. He’s certainly far more capable of dealing a gem than Buchholz, who could easily unravel in his second start. The Mets are also heating up with two straight wins, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see them get this series – one they should win – off to a solid start. Harvey could potentially limit the run production in this one, but Buchholz’s presence leaves the door wide open to betting on the Over.


Cincinnati Reds (+1.5)
Pittsburgh Pirates (-1.5)
Total: 8
  • Rookie Davis (0-0, 12.00 ERA) vs. Jameson Taillon (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
  • Weather: 7 mph winds, high of 68 degrees, 34% chance of rain
  • Moneyline: Reds +167, Pirates -194

The Reds look to stay hot on Tuesday, as they head back to PNC Park to get win number two in this three-game series. That could prove to be difficult with Rookie Davis making his second MLB start, seeing as he imploded in a rough start against the Phillies five days ago. Davis has a lot of talent and upside, but will be on the road against a solid Pirates offense that destroyed right-handed pitching (3rd) in 2016.

Nothing about this matchup feels right for Davis, while the Pirates are starting the competent Taillon on the other side. Taillon is one of the better young pitchers in the league and figures to be in a solid spot at home, where the 25-year old posted a strong 2.86 ERA in 2016. The downside, of course, is Cincy has some powerful bats and are red hot. They also were a top-10 unit against righties a season ago.

The pitching matchup could easily end up being a draw, but experience and the home edge lies with Taillon. Pittsburgh’s offense has the better matchup by the numbers, too, while anything less than a completely confident Davis could spell disaster. Neither of these pitchers are elite and both offenses are capable of firing off, so the Over feels like a solid target tonight.


Milwaukee Brewers (+1.5)
Toronto Blue Jays (-1.5)
Total: 9
  • Wily Peralta (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. JA Happ (0-1, 3.86 ERA)
  • Weather: 8 mph winds, high of 56 degrees, 24% chance of rain
  • Moneyline: Brewers +160, Blue Jays -185

Many figured Wily Peralta would come out and promptly get shelled in his first start of the season against the Rockies last week, but, instead, the former top prospect dazzled. He only lasted five innings, but he held the potent Colorado offense scoreless while striking out five and giving up just three hits. Peralta topped out at 98.8 miles-an-hour with the fastball, which was faster than any pitch he threw all of last season.

He’ll be in for another stiff test tonight in the hitter-friendly environs of Rogers Centre against one of the most explosive offenses in baseball. At least, we think it’s one of the most explosive. Toronto has mustered just 20 runs through the first six games, which is better than only Atlanta to this point. They were also dealt a blow on Sunday when former AL MVP Josh Donaldson was forced to exit early with calf tightness. His status for tonight’s game is in question.

Taking the mound for the Jays will be JA Happ, who took the loss last week against the Orioles despite pitching well. He whiffed eight O’s over seven innings and allowed just three runs, but the Jays’ bats didn’t back him up. The Brewers’ offense was solid against lefties last season, but some of those power numbers were buoyed by Chris Carter, who is now a Yankee.

If Peralta can pitch like the guy we saw last week, the Brewers should be able to hang around in this one. Toronto’s offense may continue to struggle if Donaldson is out of the lineup, but we like Happ in his home yard.


Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles (+1.5)
Boston Red Sox (-1.5)
Total: 9.5
  • Dylan Bundy (1-0, 1.29 ERA) vs. Drew Pomeranz (2016 stats: 11-12, 3.32 ERA)
  • Weather: 13 mph winds, high of 71 degrees, 3% chance of rain
  • Moneyline: Orioles -105, Red Sox -115

Despite a strong effort from Chris Sale, the Red Sox dropped a tough game yesterday afternoon in the series finale against the Tigers. They’ll now head back to Boston and shift their focus onto the Orioles, who got a day off on Monday after taking two-of-three from the Yankees over the weekend.

The O’s will be hopeful that the Dylan Bundy they saw last week against the Blue Jays is the real Dylan Bundy. The 24-year-old looked electric in the 3-1 victory, holding the potent Toronto offense to just four hits and a run while striking out eight in seven innings of action. Injuries have slowed his path to the big leagues, but now that he’s here he looks like he’s happy to stick around for a while.

Boston will counter with Drew Pomeranz, who largely struggled last season after coming over in a midseason trade from the Padres. The lefty was an All-Star with San Diego, but went just 3-5 with a 4.59 ERA in 13 starts for the Sox in the second half of the season. Pomeranz is another guy whose career has been marred by injuries, though last season his struggles with the Red Sox could’ve been attributed to some fatigue.

When he’s right, he’s shown that he’s plenty capable of being a frontline starter in this league. Baltimore was one of the worst offenses in the league against southpaws last season (27th in wOBA, 29th in average), while Boston’s offense has some injury issues right now.

We expect a low-scoring affair in this one.


Red Sox
Atlanta Braves (+1.5)
Miami Marlins (-1.5)
Total: 8.5
  • Bartolo Colon (0-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. Dan Straily (0-1, 13.50 ERA)
  • Weather: If roof is open, 14 mph winds, high of 76 degrees, 14% chance of rain
  • Moneyline: Braves +110, Marlins -130

This will be the Marlins’ home opener, and they’ll be honoring the 1997 team that won the franchise’s first World Series title. The Fish will put Dan Straily on the mound, while the Braves will counter with 43-year-old veteran Bartolo Colon.

Colon last pitched in Miami late last September with the Mets in the first game for the Marlins after the tragic death of star pitcher Jose Fernandez. The Marlins obliterated Bartolo that night, chasing him after 2.1 innings after putting seven runs up on the board. Colon was excellent in his first start as a Brave last week against New York, allowing just two hits and no runs while striking out six in six innings of work.

Straily’s Marlins debut last week didn’t go so well. The Nationals made quick work of him, as the veteran coughed up five runs on six hits in just 3.1 innings. Straily came into the season looking like a major regression candidate after unexpected success with the Reds last season. If he pitches like he did last week in Washington, Miami is in some serious trouble.

They may not be as emotionally-charged as they were on that aforementioned night last September, but the Marlins’ bats will be motivated to put on a show for the home crowd in their ‘17 debut. They had no issues with Colon in his three starts against Miami last year (5.65 ERA), and that trend continues tonight.


San Diego Padres (+1.5)
Colorado Rockies (-1.5)
Total: 12
  • Jered Weaver (0-1, 7.20 ERA) vs. Antonio Senzatela (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
  • Weather: 11 mph winds, high of 69 degrees
  • Moneyline: Padres +145, Rockies -170

The Padres went into Coors Field and asserted their will against the Rockies on Monday night. Wil Myers hit for the cycle (the second cycle in San Diego’s history), while Hunter Renfroe supplied some additional power in the Pads’ 5-3 victory. Tyler Chatwood struggled with his command all night long, and he struggled to keep San Diego off the basepaths from the jump.

Here we have a matchup of old vs. young. Jered Weaver failed to impress in his Padres debut last week, as he was touched up for four runs on five hits, including a pair of Yasiel Puig homers, in an eventual blowout defeat against the Dodgers. He’s far from overpowering at this stage of his career. Weaver relies on keeping hitters off balance with his lack of velocity, but we’ll see how that plays here at Coors Field.

We keep projecting the Rockies to explode, and they keep letting us down. They were facing an incredibly hittable pitcher in Jarred Cosart last night, yet Cosart held them scoreless over the course of his four innings and the Padre bullpen handled matters from there. They’ll look to rookie Antonio Senzatela tonight after the 22-year-old’s super impressive debut last week in Milwaukee.

Senzatela is a flamethrower, but his command can be a problem. He did walk three in five innings against the Brewers, but he allowed just two hits and struck out six along the way, as well.

There’s really no reason to expect the Colorado bats to continue to struggle, and there’s no reason they should have many problems with a past-his-prime Weaver. Both teams should put some runs on the board in this spot.


Texas Rangers (+1.5)
Los Angeles Angels (-1.5)
Total: 8
  • Cole Hamels (0-0, 4.50 ERA) vs. Tyler Skaggs (0-1, 8.44 ERA)
  • Weather: 7 mph winds, high of 65 degrees, 2% chance of rain
  • Moneyline: Rangers -104, Angels -116

The Angels are feeling pretty good coming of a three-game weekend sweep of the Mariners. They scored seven runs in the ninth to overcome a 9-3 deficit to win on Sunday, and they’ll be looking to prove that they’re not just an early season flash in the pan.

Tyler Skaggs is plenty talented, but injuries have hampered his career in a big way over the last few seasons. His strikeout numbers look good, but he’ll need to cut down on the walks if he wants to take the next step as a potential No. 2 or No. 3 starter at this level.

The Halos are riding high right now, but will it last? While most expected them to be improved over last season, few believe they have what it takes to keep up with Texas, Houston and Seattle at the top of the AL West all season long. Hamels may not quite be what he once was, but we’ll back the Rangers’ co-ace in this matchup in a pitcher-friendly yard.


Houston Astros (-1.5)
Seattle Mariners (+1.5)
Total: 8.5
  • Joe Musgrove (0-0, 3.60 ERA) vs. Ariel Miranda (0-0, 3.60 ERA)
  • Weather: Irrelevant (Retractable Roof)
  • Moneyline: Astros -125, Mariners +105

The Astros, who boast legitimate hitters 1-through-9 in the order just about every time they take the field, have really struggled with the bats out of the gate. They’ve scored just 21 total runs over their first eight games, which is one of the weakest marks in the league in the early going. They’ll get it together eventually, but this was supposed to be a run-scoring machine.

They’ll have a good chance at finding their footing against lefty Ariel Miranda for the second time in under a week. He was solid in the first outing (five innings, two runs, five hits), but this is yet another lefty that Houston should be able to take advantage of.

Joe Musgrove was solid in his first outing against these Ms in the same game last week. He posted a very similar line to Miranda’s and left the game after five decent innings.

The Mariner bats have finally come alive after a dormant start, as they’ve racked up 15 runs over their last two games. Musgrove will have his work cut out for him against that powerful lineup, but the same can be said for Miranda on the flip side. Sooner or later, the Astros are going to remember how to hit.

I’d take the over in this spot, and I don’t expect either pitcher to really stick around very long. Houston has the better ‘pen, so we’ll give them the nod.


Arizona Diamondbacks (+1.5)
San Francisco Giants (-1.5)
Total: 7.5
  • Robbie Ray (0-0, 4.76 ERA) vs. Jeff Samardzija (0-1, 10.13 ERA)
  • Weather: 17 mph winds, high of 60 degrees, 24% chance of rain
  • Moneyline: Diamondbacks +110, Giants -130

The Giants were able to exact a little revenge against the Diamondbacks on Monday, winning their home opener 4-1 after losing three-of-four in Arizona last week. It did come at a slight cost, though, as Buster Posey had to leave the game in the first inning after getting plunked in the head by a pitch from Taijuan Walker. The All-Star catcher was forced to leave the game, but he’s reportedly going to be good to go today.

On the mound, we’ll have a pitching matchup that we saw last week. Jeff Samardzija got off to a solid start in that one, but the gopher ball would be his undoing. The Shark wound up conceding six runs on eight hits over his 5.1 innings of work, including homers to AJ Pollock, Paul Goldschmidt and Jake Lamb. He should have more success keeping the ball in the yard in this one, though, as just seven of the 24 homers he gave up in 2016 came at AT&T Park.

He’ll be opposed by fire balling lefty Robbie Ray. Ray was solid in his ‘17 debut, as he allowed three runs on three hits in 5.2 innings. He’s a high-strikeout arm, and his six whiffs against the Giants last week were par for the course with him. His primary bugaboo is allowing hard contact. When you throw as hard as Ray does, you’re always going to give up some smashes. It’s just a matter of limiting them.

Both of these pitchers are fully capable of being lit up, but this game is taking place in the best pitcher’s park in all of baseball. Trusting the Giants’ shaky bullpen to keep a game close late is no easy task these days, but let’s give San Fran the edge at home here.


Taylor Smith

Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, but he’s willing to take one for the team on that front every now and then.

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