Have we seen the last of Matt Harvey as a big-league pitcher? Harvey was once one of the most popular athletes in all of New York, nicknamed the “Dark Knight,” but injuries and ineffectiveness have turned him into a terrible pitcher.
The Los Angeles Angels were the most recent team to give up on Harvey, waving him over the weekend. They paid him $12 million and Harvey allowed 47 earned runs over 59.2 innings on 63 hits and 29 walks with 39 strikeouts. Here’s a look at two intriguing MLB matchups early this week. Check back for MLB odds.
Top MLB Betting Picks of the Week – July 22nd Edition
Cleveland Indians at Toronto Blue Jays
- When: Tuesday, 7:07 PM ET
- TV: MLB Network
- Live Stream: MLB.tv
In 2016, Aaron Sanchez of the Toronto Blue Jays looked like one of the rising star pitchers in the majors as he received some Cy Young consideration after going 15-2 with a league-best 3.00 ERA. However, injuries have hampered him since and this year, even though apparently healthy, Sanchez has been probably the worst pitcher in the majors with a 3-14 record and 6.26 ERA – could he become the first pitcher since Detroit’s Mike Maroth in 2003 to lose 20 games? The Jays would probably shut Sanchez down before they allowed him that potential embarrassment. He’s on the mound vs. the Tribe on Tuesday.
Sanchez took the loss last Wednesday as the Blue Jays fell 5-4 to the Boston Red Sox, allowing four runs on eight hits and a walk over five innings while striking out four. It actually was one of the right-hander’s better performances of the year, as it was the first time all season Sanchez didn’t walk multiple batters. He’s now lost 10 straight starts and 13 straight decisions, with his last win coming April 27. Sanchez has an 83:59 K:BB through 102 innings this year.
The Cleveland Indians counter with right-hander Trevor Bauer, who could be traded by the July 31 trade deadline. Bauer (9-7, 3.67) said after his last outing that it was the maddest he’d been in two months. He gave up three runs on two homers, explaining that his frustration was about not being able to keep the ball in the park against the terrible Detroit Tigers, as Bauer logged 6 2/3 frames with 10 strikeouts.
It’s also possible the closers on both teams could be traded. The Tribe’s Brad Hand enters the week pitching to a 2.38 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 67/10 K/BB ratio in 41 2/3 innings. He is now 27-of-28 in save opportunities this season. The Red Sox are looking at Jays closer Ken Giles. Giles, who is under team control through the 2020 season, owns a brilliant 1.64 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 57/10 K/BB ratio over 33 innings with the Jays this season while saving 14 games.
Kansas City Royals at Atlanta Braves
- When: Wednesday, 7:20 PM ET
- TV: MLB Extra Innings
- Live Stream: MLB.tv
The Kansas City Royals will lose the designated hitter for this interleague matchup against the NL East-leading Braves. Over the weekend, Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna hit his 50th career homer, making him the fourth-fastest player in MLB history to reach that mark. The 21-year-old is already one of the best players in the majors.
This series is Kansas City’s first-ever visit to Atlanta’s SunTrust Park. KC is 6-7 all-time vs. Atlanta, with the first eight games between these clubs played in Turner Field, with the Royals going 3-5, then the last five have been in Kansas City, with the Royals going 3-2.
It’s Brad Keller on the mound for the Royals. Keller (6-9) allowed four runs (two earned) on nine hits and two walks while striking out seven across 6.1 innings to earn the win Thursday against the White Sox. Keller wasn’t helped by his defense in the first inning, as the ball never left the infield yet two runs crossed the plate thanks to a passed ball, error and two infield hits. He bounced back to allow only two earned runs across his remaining five innings of work, generating 14 swinging strikes and 19 called strikes on 106 total pitches. He also effectively limited the long ball, recording nine groundball outs. Keller has lowered his ERA to 4.18 by surrendering only four earned runs across his last 20 frames — a span of three starts.
It’s Julio Teheran for the Atlanta Braves. Teheran didn’t factor into the decision in Friday’s 4-3 win over the Nationals, giving up one run on four hits over 5.2 innings while striking out five. After tossing five scoreless innings, the right-hander hit the showers after only 83 pitches (57 strikes) when he ran into trouble in the sixth, but Teheran was still in line for his sixth win of the year until Luke Jackson blew the save in the ninth.
Teheran was thrilled with the fastball command he possessed vs. the Nationals. Ten of the first 19 two-seamers he threw resulted in a called strike. It was Teheran’s 12th start of the season with one earned run or less. His 12 such starts are tied for the most in the majors among traditional starting pitchers, with the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu. Tampa Bay’s Ryne Stanek has 25 such starts serving as the club’s opener.
Expert MLB Betting Picks
Back Indians and Braves, both on the runline.