MLB Picks Tuesday April 4th – Free Predictions and Betting Insight for Every Game

by Taylor Smith
on April 4, 2017

Day three of the 2017 MLB season blasts off on Tuesday, as the lingering impact of Opening Day is in the rearview mirror and teams without wins will try to get their fresh seasons on the right track.

The schedule is considerably lighter as opposed to a hefty 12-game slate on Monday, but we still have 8 games to peruse and gauge for MLB betting purposes. Let’s take a look at each matchup and see which way you’ll want to consider betting with our daily MLB picks:

New York Yankees +1.5
VS
Tampa Bay Rays -1.5
Total: 7.5
  • CC Sabathia (9-12, 3.91 ERA) vs. Jake Odorizzi (10-6, 3.69 ERA)
  • Weather: Irrelevant (Dome)

The Yanks head back to Tropicana Field for their second game of 2017, where they’ll try to get their first win of the year after falling to Chris Archer on Sunday. That could be a little harder than expected, of course, as Odorizzi handled New York (2-1) in three games last year and was also 5-4 at home a year ago.

Tampa Bay brought the bats in their opening win on Sunday, hanging seven runs on Masahiro Tanaka. It will be interesting to see if a normally inconsistent Rays offense will be able to do the same against the seasoned Sabathia.

The 36-year old Sabathia will try to will his Yankees to their first win in his 2017 debut, and could have a chance to do that here following a mild revival in 2016. Sabathia still picked up a win in three starts versus Tampa Bay in 2016, but overall tended to struggle against this lineup.

Offensively, the young Yanks figure to potentially liven up in this one, as star center Gary Sanchez is a constant home run threat and the likes of Matt Holliday, Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge provide enough power to possibly open this game up. That being said, the Rays are tough to hate at home in a matchup Odorizzi should be able to control.

Pick
Rays
4
Yankees
3
Colorado Rockies +1.5
VS
Milwaukee Brewers -1.5
Total: 8.5
  • Tyler Anderson (5-6, 3.54 ERA) vs. Zach Davies (11-7, 3.97 ERA)
  • Weather: Irrelevant (Roof)

The Rockies and Brewers will clash for the second day in a row on Tuesday night, with Colorado looking to take a 2-0 lead in an intense four-game series. Game one lived up to the high-scoring expectations, as a back and forth contest produced a fun 7-5 win for the Rockies.

Things could get even more explosive on Tuesday, as big bats like Ryan Braun, Charlie Blackmon and Carlos Gonzalez (combined 0-13 on Monday) are sure to show up a little more in this second go around. That could be bad news for two shaky defenses, especially with pitchers Tyler Anderson and Zach Davies both still looking to prove themselves in the majors. Both pitchers can get some strikeouts, but have proven to be fairly erratic in the past.

The slight edge may reside with Davies, who was slightly more impressive overall a year ago and was specifically on top of his game at home (7-5, 3.75 ERA). That ERA isn’t smoldering, but it was far better than how Davies performed on the road. With their defense hopefully a little more dialed in, the Brew Crew could have a shot at evening this series. That, of course, isn’t to mislead MLB bettors into thinking this will be a pitcher’s duel. On the contrary, we expect plenty of runs in this one, but the Brewers to return the favor and tie this series up.

Pick
Brewers
8
Rockies
6
Cleveland Indians -1.5
VS
Texas Rangers +1.5
Total: 9
  • Carlos Carrasco (11-8, 3.32 ERA) vs. Martin Perez (10-11, 4.39 ERA)
  • Weather: Cloudy, 85 degrees. 20% chance of rain.

The Indians are back in Texas for the second straight night to battle the Rangers. Unlike Monday’s proposed pitcher duel between Corey Kluber and Yu Darvish, Tuesday’s rematch gives us one top shelf arm in Carrasco going up against the barely passable Perez.

It’d be nice to say Perez has the leg up being at home with an explosive Texas offense backing him, and maybe that’s true. However, this is a bad setting for both arms, with Globe Life Park notoriously being a hitter’s park. What it does do, however, is level the playing field, as Carrasco may be the better pitching talent, but his volatile nature won’t be allowed quite as much against a dangerous offense in a park that loves scoring.

While both offenses can blow up and this park could feed the desire to see the run total be topped, Carrasco was surprisingly at his best on the road a year ago. Whether or not that trend lives up here remains to be determined, but we need to find the edge somewhere. Both offenses are highly capable in this spot, but Cleveland undeniably has the pitching edge. We could still brace for a firestorm of offense, but it’s tough to not love the Indians here.

Pick
Indians
6
Rangers
4
Seattle Mariners +1.5
VS
Houston Astros -1.5
Total: 8.5
  • Hisashi Iwakuma (16-12, 4.12 ERA) vs. Lance McCullers (6-5, 3.22 ERA)
  • Weather: Irrelevant (Roof)

The Mariners and Astros continue their nasty divisional series to open up the new season, as two very capable arms in Iwakuma and McCullers go to war on Tuesday night. Houston arguably has the advantage from the get go from a talent perspective on the mound, as McCullers remains one of the more tantalizing young arms in the game.

McCullers showed serious strikeout upside in just 14 starts in 2016 and could be ready to pick up where he left off a season ago. He also comes in having been at his best at home (5-3) last year, which could have him in a solid spot. On top of his own ability, McCullers is backed by a very explosive Houston offense, with the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and George Springer primed to blast off at any time.

Iwakuma is obviously the more seasoned product at this point, but he’ll be leading the Mariners into hostile territory against a lethal Astros offense. This wasn’t a great matchup for Iwakuma in 2016, as he went just 1-2 versus Houston, delivering a 3.52 ERA. While not awful, Iwakuma’s ERA versus the Astros last year showed his struggles. That’s to be expected against a fully capable offense, but being on the road on Tuesday could further complicate matters.

Ultimately, we like the upside of McCullers and wouldn’t be shocked to see Houston’s bats show up in this one.

Pick
Astros
7
Mariners
4
Chicago Cubs -1.5
VS
St. Louis Cardinals +1.5
Total: 7.5
  • Jake Arrieta (18-8, 3.10 ERA) vs. Adam Wainwright (13-9, 4.62 ERA)
  • Weather: Partly cloudy, high of 63 degrees. 10% chance of rain.

On the heels of a thrilling walk-off win on Sunday night, the Cardinals will look to make it two in a row at the hands of the defending World Series champs. Jake Arrieta will make his first start of the year opposite veteran right-hander Adam Wainwright.

Arrieta and the Cardinals certainly saw plenty of one another last season. Arrieta made four starts and logged 22.2 innings against Chicago’s chief rivals and fared well, posting a 3-1 record with a 2.38 ERA. Wainwright, meanwhile, had limited success against the Cubs’ potent lineup. He went 1-1 across three starts and allowed 13 runs in just 14.2 innings of work. Those numbers are a tad bloated, though, as seven of those runs came in just one outing.

The Cubs struck out a whopping 12 times in the opener, with Carlos Martinez looking every bit like the ace the Cardinals think he is. Contact should be easier to come by for the Cubbies against Wainwright, who posted a strikeout rate of just 19 percent a season ago. Waino was particularly vulnerable against left-handed bats, allowing a hard contact rate north of 33 percent to southpaws.

As a result, it wouldn’t be much of a shock to see guys like Kyle Schwarber, Anthony Rizzo and Ben Zobrist do some damage from that side of the plate in this one. Arrieta wasn’t exactly convincing during spring training, but he’ll be strong enough to keep the Cards’ attack at bay here.

Pick
Cubs
6
Cardinals
3
San Francisco Giants -1.5
VS
Arizona Diamondbacks +1.5
Total: 9
  • Johnny Cueto (18-5, 2.79 ERA) vs. Patrick Corbin (5-13, 5.15 ERA)
  • Weather: Irrelevant (Roof)

The opener between these clubs on Sunday afternoon was a doozy. Madison Bumgarner blasted a pair of solo home runs and kept Arizona’s bats quiet for most of the afternoon before faltering a bit later on as he grew more fatigued. San Francisco scored the go-ahead run against Fernando Rodney in the top of the ninth, only to see their bullpen nightmares from last season return in the bottom half of the frame. New closer Mark Melancon promptly coughed up two runs, with an RBI single from Chris Owings bringing in the winning run for the Diamondbacks.

The Giants will look to get into the win column for the first time with co-ace Johnny Cueto on the hill. The burly, dreadlocked right-hander was predictably fabulous in his first season with the club, posting a record of 18-5 with a 2.79 ERA across 219.2 innings. Arizona will counter with southpaw Patrick Corbin, whose last couple of seasons have been hampered by injuries.

While Corbin was extremely hittable last season, the Giants’ lineup is rather lefty-heavy. As a team last season, San Francisco ranked 24th in the league in wOBA (.307), 20th in homers (46) and 20th in average (.253) against left-handed pitching. Regardless, it’s hard to imagine SF not having at least moderate success against Corbin, who gave up a hard contact rate of 38.5 percent to all hitters. That’s an awful lot of hard-hit balls, ya know.

Cueto’s five starts against the D-Backs last season were a mixed bag. He went 3-2 with a 4.63 ERA against Arizona, with three of those outings coming at Chase Field. In 21 innings of work in this park last year, Cueto allowed eight earned runs. Arizona is a tough venue for any pitcher, but it’s hard not to favor the team with a legitimate ace on the mound. Cueto should be able to handle the D-Backs fairly well, while the Giants’ offense should be able to put some runs on the board against the vulnerable Corbin.

Pick
Giants
7
Diamondbacks
2
Los Angeles Angels +1.5
VS
Oakland Athletics -1.5
Total: 7.5
  • Matt Shoemaker (9-13, 3.88 ERA) vs. Sean Manaea (7-9, 3.86 ERA)
  • Weather: Partly cloudy, 66 degrees. 10% chance of rain.

Here we have a matchup between a resurgent Matt Shoemaker and an up-and-coming Sean Manaea. Following a disappointing 2015 campaign and a rocky start to 2016, Shoemaker decided to start relying more heavily on his splitter as an out pitch. The results were phenomenal, as the bearded right-hander posted an excellent strikeout rate of 23.1 percent from mid-May until the end of the season. His campaign was cut short in early September after he was crushed in the head by a line drive off the bat of Kyle Seager, but he’s back and ready to roll.

Manaea endured an up-and-down rookie season, but the lefty really came on in the second half. After posting an ERA of 5.24 over his first 67 innings, Manaea got that number down to just 2.67 over his final 77.2 frames. His K-rate also went up from 18.9 percent in the first half to 22.8 percent over the season’s final months.

Runs could be tough to come by in this one considering the quality of the starting pitchers, but the Angels have an advantage from a raw talent perspective. That’s where having Mike Trout comes in handy. He’s obviously matchup-proof, and the rest of the Halos’ lineup goes as he goes. Trout saw four at-bats against Manaea last season, and went 3-for-4 with a home run.

Oakland is certainly a park that favors pitchers, and Manaea was excellent at home as a rookie. He went 5-3 with a 3.02 ERA at home compared to 2-6 and 4.99 on the road. If he can keep Trout at bay, he has a great shot at picking up a win here.

Pick
Athletics
5
Angels
3
San Diego Padres +1.5
VS
Los Angeles Dodgers -1.5
Total: 7.5
  • Clayton Richard (3-4, 3.33 ERA) vs. Kenta Maeda (16-11, 3.48 ERA)
  • Weather: Mostly sunny, 75 degrees.

Here we have the biggest on-paper matchup of the night. The Dodgers predictably thrashed Jhoulys Chacin and the Padres yesterday, 14-3, and they’ll be making to look it two straight tonight. Clayton Richard came to San Diego from the Cubs last season and actually pitched fairly well. He doesn’t strike anybody out (13.4 percent K-rate), but he survives by inducing grounders. Richard’s ground ball rate of 65.4 percent would’ve led the league by a wide margin had he pitched enough innings to qualify. Marcus Stroman led qualifiers with a GB% of 60.1 percent.

On the flip side, we have Kenta Maeda, who was a steadying hand for a Dodgers rotation that was crushed by injuries for the majority of 2016. He isn’t what you’d call a power arm, but he has a vast array of pitches that are constantly moving all over the place. As a result, Maeda struck out an excellent 25 percent of the hitters he faced during his rookie season.

Left-handers were the Dodgers’ Achilles’ heel last season, but they worked in the offseason to balance the lineup out a bit better. Lefty masher Logan Forsythe was brought in to headline the lineup at second base. There are still plenty of lefties in the everyday lineup, but they shouldn’t struggle to hit southpaws as much as they did last season.

This game likely won’t feature much scoring, but the Dodgers certainly have the advantage both with the bats and on the mound. Richard may keep the Padres in this one, but it’s tough to imagine them being able to score enough off of Maeda to earn the victory.

Pick
Dodgers
4
Padres
1
Detroit Tigers PICK
VS
Chicago White Sox PICK
Total: 7.5
  • Clayton Richard (3-4, 3.33 ERA) vs. Kenta Maeda (16-11, 3.48 ERA)
  • Weather: Mostly sunny, 75 degrees.

After yesterday’s game was postponed due to rain, the White Sox and Tigers will officially open up the season this afternoon with Tuesday’s lone matinee affair. 2016 Cy Young runner-up Justin Verlander will get to face a Chicago lineup that’s expected to struggle. The Sox made some big trades in the offseason, though most of the players they got in return may not blossom in the immediate future.

So, other than Todd Frazier and Jose Abreu, there really isn’t much here for Verlander to worry about. He was solid in three starts against Chicago last season, posting a 2.57 ERA across 21 innings. He did, however, give up five home runs in that stretch. Guaranteed Rate Field can be a tough place to pitch, but Verlander should still be considered the favorite in this spot.

On the other side we have Jose Quintana, who has been the subject of trade rumors for months. A deal involving Quintana feels inevitable, but Chicago seems more than comfortable waiting on it in order to get the best possible package in return. The southpaw is one of the more unheralded top-tier arms in the game, though he did struggle a bit with the Tigers last season. The Colombian went 1-1 with a 4.26 ERA in four starts against Chicago’s AL Central rival.

The Tigers have the bats to get to Quintana early, and Verlander is strong enough to keep the Sox quiet on the other side.

Pick
Tigers
6
White Sox
2
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