Baseball is definitely in the air. Sure, a lot of us are paying attention to the NBA Playoffs. Why wouldn’t we? But, many of us are also keeping an eye on what’s happening on the diamond. This week, I think I’ve got some nice MLB games that could yield decent profits.
On Thursday, Houston battles Cleveland. Then, on Friday, Chicago takes on Boston in what many are calling a preview of this year’s World Series. Check out my picks for Thursday, April 27, Friday, April 28, Saturday, April 29, and Sunday, April 30 on this 2017 MLB Week 4 Weekend preview.
2017 MLB Week 4 Weekend Preview and Picks
Thursday, April 27
Houston Astros at Cleveland Indians
Houston listed starter Charlie Morton had his worst foray to the mound yet this season on April 22. He threw for 5 innings, yielded 5 earned runs off 8 hits, struck out 6, and walked 2. It wasn’t a great performance by Morton who now has a 4.29 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP. Morton faces a hot team in Cleveland on Thursday.
Cleveland has won 6 out of their last 8 games. The Indians are now in first place in the AL Central after starting out the season cold. Cleveland sends ace Corey Kluber to the mound. Kluber has a 4.28 ERA to go along with a 1.13 WHIP. He’s struck out 27 batters from 27.1 inning pitched.
It’s difficult to gauge how well Morton performs in this match up. He’s only faced Cleveland batters 18 times. The Indians have 2 hits from 18 at-bats versus Morton. They’ve got a .111 batting average against the Astros listed starter.
Could Cleveland’s bats come alive against Morton and the Stros on Thursday? They could, but it’s hard to know, which is why although Corey Kluber looked great in his last start, I’m siding with Houston.
I fully admit that Kluber could make me look silly. In his last, the Indians’ ace pitched a full 9 innings. He allowed 0 runs. He only allowed 3 hits. He struck out 9 while he walked 2. He’s also only allowed the Astros to bat .202 as a team against him.
There are many reasons to go with Kluber and Cleveland in this match up. I’m still siding with the Astros. I believe Morton has an edge because Indian batters are unfamiliar with him. Not only that, but Kluber’s got to do it again before I believe he’s back on track.
Pick: Houston moneyline
Friday, April 28
Chicago Cubs at Boston Red Sox
The Cubs send Jake Arrieta to the mound this Friday to battle the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Arrieta hasn’t been lights out this season. His ERA is a just okay 3.65. But, he is 3-0. He’s also got a 1.01 WHIP, which signifies that Jake’s kept batters from reaching base. That’s always a good thing.
Boston counters with Steven Wright. Wright was solid to start 2016. He hasn’t been solid to start 2017. His ERA is a monstrous 8.66 while his WHIP is an equally horrendous 2.09. What that means is that Wright’s not good at allowing players to get on base against him. Then, his Red Sox teammates aren’t good at not allowing those base runners to score.
Arrieta has had his issues, and by no means do I believe that he shuts out the mighty Boston batting line-up on Friday. But…come on, man! Seriously? Steven Wright has an 8.66 ERA and a 2.09 WHIP? Don’t get me wrong, Wright has some talent. But, I’m not sure he’s ready for the onslaught of excellent hitters that he’s bound to face on April 28.
The Cubs are in the lead in the NL Central mainly because they blast the baseball. It’s not their pitching that has led to 4 wins in their last 5 games as of April 23. Chicago is all about putting runs on the scoreboard. They took apart Milwaukee starter Jimmy Nelson for 7 earned runs off 9 hits on April 18. They dominated Cincinnati starter Cody Reed with 7 earned runs off 4 hits in only 2 innings on April 22.
I don’t see how Wright lasts more than 3 to 4 innings versus the Cubs’ batting line-up. The Red Sox have a great bullpen. But, since they’ll have to go to it early, Chicago could get to Boston’s bullpen as well.
Pick: Chicago Cubs run line
Saturday, April 29
Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees
Baltimore starter Kevin Gausman hasn’t pitched well yet in 2017. His ERA of 7.50 isn’t going to cut it. He also has a 2.04 WHIP. The Yankees bat .250 versus Gausman. That’s a legit number since Gausman has faced Yankee batters 176 times.
The Yankees counter with Jordan Montgomery. Montgomery has a 3.78 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP. Montgomery’s struck out 16 batters in 16.2 inning pitched. He’s done very well in his last 2 starts when pitching a total of 12 innings, yielding a total of 5 earned runs off a total of 14 hits.
Batters should end up adjusting to Montgomery. He’s only 24-years-old, which means that eventually the big bats with teams like Baltimore are going to take him to school. But, I’m not sure if the O’s take him to school this Saturday, on April 29.
I think Montgomery pitches well enough to give the Yankees the lead by the 6th inning. He’s got a much better shot at keeping Baltimore from putting up runs than Gausman does from keeping the Yankees from putting up runs.
Gausman has had serious control issues in his last couple of starts. Versus Cincinnati on April 18, he lasted only 2.2 innings because he allowed 8 earned runs, yes, 8 earned runs, off only 8 hits. Then, in what should have been a bounce back game on April 23, Gausman gave up 8 hits in 5.1 innings of work versus Boston.
The Red Sox scored 5 runs off the 8 hits. 3 of the 8 hits were home runs. The Yankees should have no trouble pummeling Gausman this Saturday. I like the Yankees to win on the moneyline.
Pick: New York Yankees moneyline
Sunday, April 30
Tampa Bay Rays at Toronto Blue Jays
Sunday’s match up between Tampa Bay and Toronto is important for both teams. It should be interesting because both teams send their aces to the mound.
Tampa has listed Chris Archer as their starter on Sunday. Archer has a 3.20 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. He’s struck out 27 batters in only 25.1 innings pitched as of April 23. He appears back on track after a frustrating 2016.
The Blue Jays counter the heat throwing Archer with Marco Estrada. Although Estrada is listed second in Toronto’s rotation, his numbers are better than pitcher Marcus Stroman. Estrada’s ERA is a more than respectable 2.63. His WHIP is a nice 1.17. The 33-year-old has struck out 24 batters in 24 innings pitched.
Chris Archer is the name pitcher in this match up. What it means is that the odds are almost definitely going to favor Archer and the Tampa Bay Rays. That’s good news because Marco Estrada has pitched very well versus Rays’ batters.
Estrada allows the Rays to bat .218 against him. In 133 at-bats, Tampa Bay has 29 hits versus Estrada. 6 of the 29 hits were home runs. Estrada has struck out 40 TB batters from those 133 at-bats.
Archer has been better versus Toronto than Estrada has been against the Rays. The Blue Jays only bat .203 versus Archer. Since Toronto has faced Archer 246 times, it goes to reason that they simply have trouble hitting Tampa Bay’s top pitcher.
With that being written, I still like Toronto. This is a toss-up game where anything can happen. I’m 99.9% sure that Tampa and Archer go off the favorites. I’ll take the above even money odds. I’m siding with Toronto.
Pick: Toronto moneyline