2018 MLB Week 29 Weekend

 

As always, there’s great baseball action going on this Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, one of the greatest rivalries in sports takes place when the Chicago Cubs throw down versus the St. Louis Cardinals.  The final Saturday game I handicap in this blog is the defending World Series Champion Houston Astros going against the tough Arizona Diamondbacks.

There are also 3 games I handicap that take place on May 6. The Cleveland Indians battle the New York Yankees. The Tribe and Yankees are two of the top teams in the American League. The Colorado Rockies battle the New York Mets and the Boston Red Sox travel to Texas to go against the Rangers.

Keep reading for MLB picks for May 5 and May 6.

2018 MLB Week 29 Weekend for May 5 and 6

Saturday, May 5

Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals

Anybody who loves baseball knows what a great rivalry Cubs vs Cardinals is. The Cubs were terrible since 1908. The Cardinals have been good for what seems like forever. The Cubs won the World Series in 2016, which is why interest in the rivalry has renewed.

On Saturday, the home team Cardinals start Luke Weaver. Weaver hasn’t become the ace pitcher St. Louis envisioned him to be after his decent 2017. His record is 2 and 2. His ERA is 5.17. His WHIP is 1.37. He hasn’t been nearly as good as so many expected. What’s really discouraging is that in his 6 starts so far this season, the Cardinals are a terrible 2 and 4 straight up.

The Cubs’ starter on May 5, Tyler Chatwood, has had his own issues this season. Chatwood has a good 2.83 ERA. But, his record is 2 and 3. His WHIP is also an issue. It’s 1.47. That’s not good. Chatwood has faced St. Louis batters 36 times. The Cardinals have 8 hits off Chatwood. They haven’t a hit a home run off the Cubs’ starting pitcher.

Chicago battles St. Louis on the road this Saturday. That means there’s a good chance the Cubbies are dogs on the moneyline. I’m not sure Weaver has a shot. Chicago should run him off the mound after 3 to 4 innings. Once Chicago gets to St. Louis’ bullpen, I like the Cubs to pull away.

Pick:  Chicago Cubs

Houston Astros at Arizona Diamondbacks

The Stros start Charlie Morton on Saturday. Morton was one of last year’s World Series’ heroes. This year, he’s pretty much picked up where he left off. Morton is 4 and 0 this season. His ERA is a Justin Verlander-like 1.72. His WHIP is .98. In 36 innings pitched, Morton has recorded 45 strikeouts.

The man’s turned into an ace pitcher. Right now, he’s the reason Houston appears destined for another trip to the World Series. Can Morton keep it going versus one of the best hitting teams in the National League?

Arizona D’Backs’ ace Zack Greinke takes the mound on May 5. Greinke’s 4.29 ERA is okay because he’s got a 4 and 2 record and a nice 1.05 WHIP. Greinke’s faced Houston batters 80 times. He’s allowed a .238 batting average. Zack almost most definitely will be the favored pitcher on Saturday.

That means, we could get Charlie Morton at much better odds than we should. If Morton is his usually stellar self on May 5, the Astros should beat the D’Backs by at least 2 runs. Greinke never pitches as well at Chase Field as he does on the road.

I believe this is a great time to back the Astros on the run line.

Pick:  Houston Astros

Sunday, May 6

Cleveland Indians at New York Yankees

The Tribe sends Mike Clevinger to the mound. Clevinger has come into his own this season. His ERA is a sparkling 2.82. His record is 2 and 0. His WHIP is a very nice 1.15. Clevinger has only faced New York Yankee batters 3 times. He’s faced Didi Gregorious once, Aaron Judge once, and Brett Gardner once.

The Yankees have strong bats, but Clevinger appears to have an edge in this game. Without knowing Clevinger’s nuances, the Yankees are prone to swing at bad pitches.  That means Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, who often strike out anyhow, could be in for a long afternoon.

NYY will try to counter Clevinger with listed starter Jordan Montgomery. Montgomery is having a somewhat decent year. His ERA of 3.76 isn’t bad. His WHIP, 1.41, isn’t great, but Jordan is 2 and 0. That means even though he’s allowed base runners, it hasn’t cost him a win. Montgomery’s been great versus Cleveland batters. He’s allowed the Yankees to hit .188 against him.

Granted, that’s only from 32 at bats. Still, his success is a good sign that the Yankees are favored in this matchup. If the Yankees are favored, that means I must go with Cleveland. The Tribe is good enough to beat the Yankees on Sunday.

Pick:  Cleveland Indians

Colorado Rockies at New York Mets

The New York Mets have really come down to earth. As of May 1, the Mets are only 1.5 games ahead of the Atlanta Braves. They’re 2 games ahead of Philadelphia.  They’re 5.5 games ahead of Washington. Gone is the first two weeks of the season where the Mets looked invincible.

On Sunday, NYM has listed Noah Syndergaard as their starter. Thor has pitched well this season. He’s got a 2 and 0 record and a 1.13 WHIP. His ERA is a decent 3.10 while he’s struck out 49 batters in 40.2 inning pitched. The Colorado Rockies appear to bat well versus Syndergaard, though. The Rockies bat .281.

But, they’ve only faced Thor 32 times. Could Syndergaard pitch a good enough game to keep the Rockies from pulling off the upset? Most definitely, he could. I’m not going that way, though. In their last 5 games before their May 1 battle versus the Braves, the Mets have scored more than 2 runs only once. That was in a 3 to 4 loss to the Cardinals.

I know Colorado will put up around 4 in this battle. It might take them until Syndergaard leaves the game to put up the fourth run, but it will happen. The Rockies are the play.

Pick: Colorado Rockies

Boston Red Sox at Texas Rangers

Boston continues to play lights out. The Red Sox lead the New York Yankees by 3 games in the American League East Division. As of April 30, Boston is 21 and 7. The New York Yankees are 18 and 10. Sunday should be another easy win for the Boston Red Sox. The reason is because they send Chris Sale to the mound.

Sale has a 1.98 ERA to go along with a 1.00 WHIP. His record is 2 and 1. He has struck out 49 batters in only 40 innings pitched. Versus the Rangers, Sale has been stellar. It shouldn’t be a surprise that he’s held Ranger batters to 14 hits from 97 at bats. Texas’ team batting average versus Sale is a ridiculous .188. Sale has struck out 39 of those 97 at bats. That’s a great 40% strikeout rate.

Texas counters the great Chris Sale with pitcher Martin Perez. Perez’s ERA is 9.67. He’s got a 2.37 WHIP. His record is 2 and 3. He’s had trouble striking out batters. He’s only recorded 13 strikeouts in 22 innings pitched. Does Perez have any shot versus the Boston Red Sox?

Strangely, he does. The Red Sox only bat .200 versus Martin Perez. In 85 at bats, they have 17 hits. They haven’t hit a home run versus Perez. While Perez has only struck out 9 Red Sox batters, he’s also only yielded 4 extra base hits. He’s also only walked 11 Red Sox batters. Some of those most assuredly were intentional walks because Xander Bogaerts bats .154 versus Perez and Jackei Bradley Jr. bats .182 against him.

Sounds nuts, but I’m calling the upset. I believe Perez, who yielded only 2 runs off 7 hits in 6 innings in his last home start, shuts down Boston’s bats. If he can do that, the Rangers will have a big shot at the moneyline upset in the later innings after Sale has headed to the showers.