Another MLB Weekend means another 4 games that could lead to profit for us MLB handicappers. As always, the first game I like is this Thursday. Boston travels to Oakland to battle the Athletics.
Then, on Friday, Cleveland takes on Houston in a game between two of the very best in the American League. Saturday’s battle has Milwaukee traveling to Wrigley Field to take on the so far disappointing Chicago Cubs while on Sunday, I like the looks of the Toronto Blue Jays versus Baltimore Orioles game.
Keep reading for analysis as well as betting advice for all four of this 2017 MLB Week 7 weekend preview matchups!
2017 MLB Week 7 Weekend Preview
Thursday, May 18
Boston Red Sox at Oakland Athletics
Boston ace Chris Sale takes the mound on Thursday, May 18. Sale has a dynamite 4 and 2 record to go along with a 2.15 ERA and a .77 WHIP. Surprisingly, the A’s hit Sale better than most of the other teams in the American League. Oakland has a .268 batting average versus Sale. They’ve gotten 38 hits from 142 at-bats versus the strikeout king.
Oakland counters Sale with Sonny Gray, their former ace. Gray has a 3.78 ERA. His WHIP is 1.32. Gray’s record is 0 and 1 from 3 games started and 16.3 total innings pitched. Historically, Gray has done well versus Boston. The Red Sox are only 15 of 69 for a .215 batting average against Gray.
It’s hard to go against Chris Sale. He’s already struck out 85 batters this season. That’s incredible. But, Sale goes into Thursday’s matchup against Oakland off his worst outing of the season. Sale allowed 2 hits, both were home runs, and gave up 3 earned runs all together in a 3 to 6 Boston loss to Tampa Bay.
Can Sale bounce back from the terrible game? Sure, he can. But, I still like Oakland in this game.
Sonny Gray finally put it together in his last start. Gray’s ERA versus Minnesota on May 2 in his first start was 6.00. In his second start, Gray brought the ERA all the way down to 4.22. He allowed only 2 earned runs off 5 hits in his last start, a 5 to 6 loss to the Texas Rangers.
Gray and the A’s are worth a shot in this game. Sale should be magnificent early. If Gray can keep the A’s close, I believe Boston’s bullpen might lose it for the emotional Sale.
I’m going with the Oakland Athletics on the moneyline.
Pick: Oakland Athletics
Friday, May 19
Cleveland Indians at Houston Astros
Cleveland pitcher Trevor Bauer is having all sorts of issues this season. His record is 3 and 4. His ERA is 3.92. His WHIP is 1.51. Bauer just isn’t pitching as well as so many expected him to pitch after his surprisingly good 2016.
Bauer has been okay versus Houston, though. From 123 at-bats, the Astros only have 31 hits. They’re batting a decent .252 versus Bauer.
Houston sends Mike Fiers to the mound on Friday. Fiers is having as bad of a season as Bauer. His ERA is a terrible 5.75 while his WHIP is a horrendous 1.47. Fiers has only struck out 33 batters in 36 innings pitched.
I like these games where two struggling pitchers take the mound against each other. The odds are usually better than fair while one pitcher gives clues as to how he’ll perform better than the other pitcher.
In this case, it’s hard to see Fiers not outperforming Bauer. Don’t get me wrong. Cleveland is going to score some runs in this game. But, the likelihood of Cleveland scoring more runs than Houston scores isn’t good at all.
I just don’t see how Bauer keeps the Astros from scoring 4 to 5 runs before Cleveland can get one of their relievers into the game. Fiers, on the other hand, has a good shot of holding the Indians to 2, maybe 3, runs before leaving in the 6th innings.
What that tells me is Houston is a great play on the run line. The Astros have a better than even money shot of outscoring Cleveland by 2 runs in this game while the odds on the run line should have the Astros at above even money -1.5 runs.
Pick: Houston Astros run line
Saturday, May 20
Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs haven’t gotten it together yet. The Cubs are 3.5 games behind St. Louis for the lead in the NL Central Division. What’s worrisome is how the Cubbies’ starters have fared on the mound this season.
Case in point? Jake Arrieta, Saturday’s listed starter, who has a 5.46 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP. Arrieta appears to be having control issues. With that being written, he has held Milwaukee to a .213 batting average. Arrieta has struck out 21 Brewer batters from 75 at-bats.
Milwaukee counters with Chase Anderson. Anderson has been great versus the Cubs. He’s allowed 13 hits form 62 at-bats. Only 3 of the hits have gone for home runs. The Cubbies bat .210 against Anderson.
Overall, Anderson’s numbers aren’t bad. He has a 3.43 ERA to go along with a 1.37 WHIP. He has a 2 and 0 record. The 2 wins that Anderson achieved occurred in his first 2 starts of the season. What it means is that Anderson never leaves the game with the Brewers in a hole. That says a lot about how Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell is utilizing Anderson.
But, Counsell’s management isn’t the real reason to like the Brewers in this battle on Saturday. The real reason to like Milwaukee is due to the recent play of Jake Arrieta. There’s something wrong with Arrieta. In 9.2 combined innings pitched in his last 2 starts, Arrieta has yielded 16 hits and 9 earned runs. That’s very un-Arrieta like.
I don’t see Jake turning it around on Saturday against one of the better offenses in MLB. I like Milwaukee on the moneyline.
Pick: Milwaukee Brewers
Sunday, May 21
Toronto Blue Jays at Baltimore Orioles
Toronto’s Marco Estrada has had a decent 2017. Although his record is 2-2, his ERA is a terrific 3.12 while his WHIP is a very good 1.16. Estrada takes the mound versus the Atlanta Braves earlier in the week on Tuesday, May 16. Make sure that Estrada is on the mound for this Sunday matchup before taking my betting advice.
Baltimore is scheduled to start Wade Miley on Sunday. Surprisingly, Miley has a decent 1 and 1 record. His ERA is downright great at 2.45 while his WHIP is somewhat high at 1.39. Miley has had trouble versus Toronto. In 170 at-bats, Toronto has 49 hits. 7 of the 49 hits have gone for home runs. The Blue Jays bat .288 versus Miley.
I’m confident that Toronto is the play on the run line in this game on Sunday. There are a few reasons why. The first reason is because Wade Miley hasn’t been able to get past the fifth inning in 2 out of his last 3 games pitched. He allowed 8 hits and 2 earned runs in 5 innings versus the Yankees on April 30. He allowed 2 earned runs off 5 hits in 5 innings versus the Washington Nationals on May 10. Baltimore beat the Yankees. They lost to the Nationals.
Miley is scheduled to pitch on Tuesday. Even if Miley pitches well on Tuesday, I still prefer the Blue Jays by at least 2 runs in this Sunday match up. Estrada has faced Baltimore batters 200 times. He’s allowed 39 total hits. 13 of the 39 hits went for home runs.
Still, the Orioles’ average versus Marco Estrada is only .195. Estrada has also struck out 53 of the 200 batters. I just don’t see how Baltimore can keep pace with the Blue Jays offense on Sunday.
I like Toronto to beat Baltimore by at least 2 runs in this game.
Pick: Toronto Blue Jays run line