What a week we’ve got coming up in Major League Baseball! My 2017 MLB week 8 weekend preview, as always, starts this Thursday. On June 1, the L.A. Dodgers head to St. Louis to battle the tough Cardinals. Then, on Friday, it’s a major AL Central battle when Cleveland and KC throw down.
2017 MLB Week 8 Weekend Preview and Picks
Saturday’s match up is one of the best rivalries in all of sports. The St. Louis Cardinals, arguably the greatest National League franchise of all time, travels to Wrigley Field to take on World Series defending champion Chicago.
The Sunday game I like has the Washington Nationals heading to the Bay Area to face off against the American League Oakland Athletics. Check out previews along with betting advice for all four battles from June 1 through June 4 and our MLB power rankings for this week.
Thursday, June 1
Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals
Former Cardinals’ ace Adam Wainwright takes the mound against the hot L.A. Dodgers. Wainwright isn’t nearly the pitcher he used to be. This season, A-dub has a 4.20 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP. Against the Dodgers, Wainwright has been decent. LAD bats .234 versus Wainwright. The Dodgers have 25 hits from 107 at-bats.
L.A. counters the former great with pitcher Brandon McCarthy. The 33-year-old has been a gem for the Dodgers. His 3.48 ERA isn’t bad at all while his 1.09 WHIP is flat out fantastic. What’s really great about McCarthy is his 5-1 record.
Man, McCarthy’s been good for the Dodgers, hasn’t he? In his last start, McCarthy was lights out against the Chicago Cubs. McCarthy took the Cubbies to school. He allowed only 2 hits in 6 innings of work. He struck out 6 and didn’t yield a run.
McCarthy has faced St. Louis batters 73 times. He’s given up 8 hits. The Cardinals bat .110 against Brandon McCarthy. What’s really crazy is that Jhonny Peralta has 1 hit from 21 at-bats versus the Dodgers’ listed starter. Dexter Fowler has only 2 hits from 10 at-bats versus McCarthy while Jedd Gyorko is 0 for 15.
McCarthy is listed as day-to-day. That’s really the only knock. The Dodgers not only have a terrific starting rotation this season, but they also have a great bullpen. As of May 29, the Dodgers bullpen is ranked third in MLB with a 2.74 ERA.
I don’t see how the Dodgers lose this game. In fact, unless McCarthy can’t start, I think LAD wins by at least 2 runs. That’s the way I’m going. I think the Dodgers’ bats run Wainwright off the mound before the end of the fifth inning.
I don’t believe St. Louis scores more than a single run against McCarthy unless he doesn’t start at all. Even then, the Dodgers have depth in the rotation. So, they should win the game outright no matter what happens.
Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers run line if Brandon McCarthy starts
Friday, June 2
Cleveland Indians at Kansas City Royals
Cleveland’s Josh Tomlin hasn’t been nearly as effective in 2017 as he was in 2016. Tomlin has a 5.79 ERA to go along with a 1.30 WHIP. His record of 3-6 isn’t very good. Not only that, but Kansas City has taken Tomlin to the woodshed many times in the past. The Royals bat a tremendous .273 versus Tomlin. They have 77 hits from 282 at-bats.
Kansas City ace Jason Vargas heads to the mound versus the rival Indians on Friday. Vargas has a 2.39 ERA, a 6-3 record, and a 1.13 WHIP. Just like Tomlin versus the Royals, Vargas has had issues versus the Indians. Cleveland bats .282 against Vargas. They have 55 hits from 195 at-bats.
This is not an easy match up to handicap. Both teams are close in terms of ability. Yes, Cleveland is better based on record, but KC is only 6.5 games behind AL Central Division leading Minnesota as of May 28.
Luckily, both of these pitchers faced the opposing squad just recently. Vargas battled the Cleveland Indians on May 27. He was great versus Cleveland. He gave up 2 earned runs off 9 hits in 5.2 innings pitched. The Royals beat Cleveland 5 to 2.
Tomlin last faced the Kansas City Royals on May 28. The veteran pitcher threw his best game of the year. He pitched 9 innings, gave up 1 earned run off 6 hits. He struck out 3.
Past experience leads me to believe that Josh Tomlin and the Cleveland Indians go off the dogs in this match up. Vargas is KC’s ace while Tomlin is fourth, or maybe even fifth, in Cleveland’s rotation.
But, Tomlin may have turned the corner with his brilliant performance against the Royals this past Sunday. I like Cleveland to pull off the moneyline upset.
Pick: Cleveland Indians on the moneyline
Saturday, June 3
St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs
For Saturday’s matchup between the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs, the Cards are listed as sending Mike Leake to the mound. Leake has spent his entire career in the National League. This season, he has a terrific 2.10 ERA. His WHIP is .95 while his record is 5-2.
Versus the Cubs, Leake has been effective. The Cubs bat .261 against Mike Leake. They have 52 hits from 199 at-bats. Leake’s surrendered 6 home runs, 2 to Anthony Rizzo, from those 99 at bats.
Chicago counters St. Louis’s ace with their own ace, Jon Lester. Lester hasn’t been nearly as dominant in 2017 as he was in 2016. His ERA is at 3.86 while his WHIP is at 1.33. Lester has gone 2-2 straight up in his last 4 starts. His overall record sits at 3-3.
Lester has decent numbers versus St. Louis. The Cubs’ ace allows the Cardinals to bat .225 against him. He’s yielded 41 hits from 182 at-bats. But, the last time Lester faced St. Louis, things went south in a hurry. He only lasted 5.2 innings. Lester gave up 3 earned runs off 6 hits. The Cubs lost 3 to 5.
The last time Mike Leake faced the Cubs, he wasn’t bad. He yielded 2 earned runs from 5 hits in 6 innings pitched. He walked 3 while striking out 5.
This figures to be a tough match up for both teams. In a tough match up, I always go with the team getting the better odds. In this case, that team is the St. Louis Cardinals. I like Leake to throw slightly better than Jon Lester in this one.
I’m with the Cardinals over the Cubs in this Saturday match up.
Pick: St. Louis Cardinals moneyline
Sunday, June 4
Washington Nationals at Oakland A’s
The Nationals battle the A’s in an interleague game on Sunday, June 4. Washington sends Tanner Roark to the mound. Roark has a 4.32 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. He’s struck out 50 batters in 58.1 innings pitched.
The Oakland Athletics counter Roark with ace Sonny Gray. Gray has a 3.34 ERA to go along with a 1.08 WHIP. Gray has faced Washington batters only 30 times. He’s allowed 6 hits from the 30 at-bats for a .200 batting average.
I think Oakland takes this battle on Sunday. Washington is one of the best teams in the National League. But, the Nationals aren’t ready to go against Sonny Gray.
Gray has looked better with each subsequent start this season. In his first start, Gray left the game with a 6.00 ERA. In his second start, his ERA dropped to 4.22. It went from 4.22 to 3.78 in his third start. Then, in his fourth start, the ERA went slightly up from 3.78 to 3.97.
But, Gray bounced back with a brilliant game in his last start. He dominated Miami when allowing 1 earned run from 3 hits in 7 innings. Gray’s ERA dipped all the way to 3.34. What’s also impressive is that Sonny has 28 strikeouts in 29.2 innings pitched.
I think Sonny Gray pitches a much better game against the Nationals than Tanner Roark does versus the Athletics. I like Oakland to win this match up on June 4.
Pick: Oakland Athletics moneyline