We’re close to another great Saturday and Sunday in Major League Baseball. This Saturday, there’s 4 games I’ve handicapped: Milwaukee at Chicago, L.A. Dodgers at San Francisco, Seattle at Cleveland, and NY Yankees at L.A. Angels. The 2 games I handicap on Sunday, April 29, are Arizona at Washington, and Oakland at Houston.
Check out this weekend’s Major League Baseball picks!
2018 MLB Week 28 Weekend Picks for April 28 and 29
Saturday, April 28
Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs
Brewers versus Cubs should be one of those big 2018 MLB rivalries. Both teams believe they can beat the other for the NL Central Division titles. That’s gong to make for some great baseball.
The Brew Crew has listed Junior Guerra as their April 28 starter. The 33-year-old Guerra has been phenomenal this season. His ERA is an unreal .56. His WHIP is 1.00. He’s got 15 strikeouts in 16 innings pitched, and his record is 2 and 0 from 3 games started.
Could Guerra shut down the Cubs on Saturday? It looks like he could. Guerra’s only faced Cub batters 48 times. The powerful Chicago batting lineup has 7 hits from those 48 at-bats. More importantly for Milwaukee, Guerra has struck out 16 of those 48 Cubs’ batters. That’s an excellent 33% strikeout rate.
It’s likely the Cubs are favored in this game. Although their listed starter, Jose Quintana, has a 7.78 ERA, the Brewers only bat .210 versus Quintana. They’ve faced Jose 157 times. That means many MLB handicappers will be all over the Cubs.
Not me. I believe Guerra does shut down the Cubs’ batting lineup. I like the Brewers.
Pick: Milwaukee Brewers
Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants
Dodgers versus Giants is one of the great rivalries in all of sports, not just in Major League Baseball. The Dodgers are supposed to win the National League Pennant and march into the 2018 World Series this season. The Giants are supposed to challenge for a wildcard spot.
L.A. starts young pitcher Alex Wood on Saturday. Wood hasn’t been nearly effective in the first month this baseball season as he was in the first month of baseball last year. His ERA is a solid 3.72. His WHIP is an impressive .83. But, the Dodgers’ bats haven’t stepped it up for Mr. Woods. Woods is 0 and 2 in 5 games started. He’s struck out 26 batters in 29 innings pitched.
The Giants bat .233 versus Woods. That’s not enough for San Francisco to go off the favorite on Saturday. What is enough is the fact that the G-Men start one of their top pitchers, Johnny Cueto, versus the rival Dodgers.
Cueto is looking to secure a Cy Young this season. His ERA is a ridiculous .35. His WHIP is an equally ridiculous .65. He’s only walked 4 batters in 26 innings pitched. The last time Johnny C faced the Dodgers he allowed a single hit in 7 innings. He struck out 4 and walked 0.
Cueto appears to have developed a mentality outside of striking out every batter out. Although that’s going to hurt his fantasy baseball value, it won’t hurt his ERA, record, or WHIP. I believe he’s pitching too well right now for the Dodgers to stick with the Giants.
I think Johnny C and the G-Men beat the Dodgers by at least 2 runs on Saturday.
Pick: San Francisco Giants
New York Yankees at L.A. Angels
As of April 23, the L.A. Angels are a half a game behind the Houston Astros in the AL West Division. The Angels appear set to stick with Houston this entire season. One of the reasons is because the best player in MLB, Mike Trout, plays for LAA. Trout has a .307 batting average with 9 home runs and 17 RBIs.
The Angels start one of their better pitchers, Garrett Richards, on April 28 to battle the New York Yankees. So far, the Yankees’ batting lineup hasn’t dominated as much as so many believed it would. NYY is 5 games behind the Boston Red Sox. Their top off-season acquisition, Giancarlo Stanton, is batting .224. Stanton has struck out 32 times from 85 at-bats. He’s striking out 38% of the time.
That won’t cut it versus Richards. Garrett is 3 and 0 with a 3.46 ERA. He’s struck out 35 batters in only 26 innings pitched. The Yankees haven’t seen a lot of Garrett Richards. In situations like this, advantage goes to the pitcher.
Although New York listed starter Masahiro Tanaka can throw a great game once in a while, it’s difficult to see Tanaka keeping Trout under control while it’s difficult to see Stanton, or Aaron Judge, getting to Richards. Here’s another MLB game where a team, the Angels, should beat the other team by at least 2 runs.
Best Pick: L.A. Angels
Seattle Mariners at Cleveland Indians
At 12 and 8 as of April 23, Cleveland is in first place in the woeful AL Central Division. The Tribe should have no trouble maintaining their lead in the division. Beating over matched squads like the Seattle Mariners on Sunday will help.
One of Cleveland’s ace pitchers, Carlos Carrasco, is scheduled to throw on April 28. Carrasco is 4 and 0 this season. His ERA is a sweet 2.31 while he keeps batters off the bases as evidenced by his .86 WHIP. 28 strikeouts in 35 innings means that Carrasco is being smart with his pitches. He’s not just looking to send batters back to the dugout with strikeouts.
As well as Carlos has thrown so far this season, he could have a tough afternoon on Saturday, though. The Seattle Mariners bat .286 versus Carlos Carrasco. Robinson Canoe has 9 hits from 23 at-bats. That’s a .391 batting average. Ryon Healy is 4 of 10 versus Carrasco. Ichiro Suzuki bats .286 versus Carlos.
Seattle starter Mike Leake has a 6.59 ERA. Still, I can’t help but feel the Mariners have a big shot to upset the Tribe on Sunday. If Leake can just settle down some, if he doesn’t implode before the 6th inning, Seattle’s bats should get to Carrasco for at least 2 to 3 runs.
The Seattle Mariners project as an underdog with a shot. I think they’re worth backing to upset Cleveland on April 28.
Pick: Seattle Mariners
Sunday, April 29
Arizona Diamondbacks at Washington Nationals
On Sunday, April 29, the D’Backs send strikeout king Robby Ray to the mound to battle the Washington Nationals. Although 2-0 this season, Ray has a 4.98 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP. He’s allowed 4 home runs in only 21.2 innings pitched.
The Washington Nationals have great success versus Robbie Ray. The Nats bat a sweet .286 as a team versus the D’Backs strikeout starter. They’ve got 26 hits from 85 at-bats. Washington’s taken Ray yard (home runs) 4 times from those 84 at-bats. Robbie has struck out 21 of the Nationals’ 85 batters.
Robbie must get the strikeouts going on Sunday for the D’Backs to have any shot versus Washington and their listed starter, Gio Gonzalez. I’m not sure Robbie does get the strikeouts going. I’m with the favored Washington Nationals.
Pick: Washington Nationals
Oakland Athletics at Houston Astros
Houston pitcher Gerritt Cole has already paid dividends. Cole’s been fantastic for the defending World Series Champions this season. His 1.29 ERA and .77 WHIP are terrific. He is 2 and 1, though. The loss was to the L.A. Angels. The Angels scored 2 runs versus Cole off only 4 hits. Cole pitched until the 7th inning. It was a quality start even though it shows up as an “L” on his record.
Oakland has 14 hits from 50 at-bats versus Cole. That stat must be taken with a grain of salt. Up until this season, Cole pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Stros use Cole differently than Pittsburgh did. I don’t see Oakland having success versus Gerritt on Sunday.
In fact, this could be one of those games where the Astros pummel the A’s by 4 or more runs. This one might be over before the 4th inning starts.
Pick: Houston Astros