The Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves both improved their pennant chances last week. The Cubbies won the bidding for free-agent reliever Craig Kimbrel, while the Braves did the same for lefty starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel. Both were in high demand. It will take both a couple of weeks, most likely, to be ready for the majors after missing all season when their original free-agent demands weren’t met. Here’s a look at two intriguing MLB matchups early this week. Check back for MLB odds.
Top MLB Betting Picks of the Week – June 10th Edition
Los Angeles Dodgers at Los Angeles Angels
- When: Tuesday, 10:07 PM ET (MLB Network)
Maybe the two best players in baseball in this series in two-time AL MVP Mike Trout for the Angels and leading 2019 NL MVP candidate Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers. He leads the majors in batting.
The Dodgers are running away from the NL West and are off a 1-0 win in San Francisco on Sunday. Kenley Jansen struck out two in a perfect inning of work, earning his 19th save of the season. The 31-year-old is amidst another terrific season in Los Angeles, posting a 3.04 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 37/5 K/BB ratio over 26 2/3 innings. His 19 saves are second in the league to only runaway leader Kirby Yates.
The Angels lost Sunday 9-3 at home to Seattle to drop four games under .500. Tommy La Stella hit his 15th home run of the season in Sunday’s loss to the Mariners. La Stella took Mariners long man Wade LeBlanc deep in the third inning, his second homer in as many games and his 15th overall. LaStella is having by far his best season and is hitting .368 (14-for-38) this month to bring his season line to .315/.371/.549.
It’s Felix Pena on the mound for the Angels. Pena was lit up for seven runs in 1 2/3 innings after taking over in the second inning Wednesday against the A’s. Pena came in after Cam Bedrosian pitched a scoreless first and got into trouble right away. He ended up allowing eight hits and two walks to the 15 batters he faced. Coming into this one, Pena hadn’t allowed more than five hits in any of his appearances this season. Overall the 29-year-old has a 4.53 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 54:15 K:BB over 51.2 innings this season.
The Dodgers go with Kenta Maeda. Maeda allowed one run on two hits with seven strikeouts and one walk across five innings during a no-decision against the Diamondbacks last Wednesday. The right-hander was very good he permitted only three hitters to reach base. He also only needed 70 pitches to get through five frames, but manager Dave Roberts still elected to go to his bullpen in the sixth. It broke Maeda’s string of four consecutive starts where he earned a victory. Still, he’s 7-2 with a 3.48 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 2.09 batting average against and 69 strikeouts in 67.1 innings.
Milwaukee Brewers at Houston Astros
- When: Wednesday, 8:10 PM ET (ESPN)
Potential World Series preview? Could be. Both clubs lost in their League Championship Series last year, the Brewers in seven to the Dodgers and the Astros in five to the Red Sox. Houston, of course, won its first-ever title the year before, while the Brewers have yet to win a World Series and have been there just once (1982).
The Astros have gone 10-3 in their 13 games since May 27, when SS Carlos Correa and IF Aledmys Díaz joined 2B Jose Altuve, CF George Springer and C Max Stassi on the injured list. Catcher Robinson Chirinos has been a boon for the Astros so far this season, as the veteran leads all AL catchers in OPS (.900), extra-base hits (21), walks (27) and runs (31).
The Brewers are 166-188 all-time during interleague play (since 1997), including 158-181 as part of the National League (since 1998). The team has gone 1-4 during interleague play this season. The Brewers are 22-13 at home this year, going 6-3-2 in series play.
Brandon Woodruff. Woodruff (8-1) allowed three runs on four hits and a walk while striking out 10 over six innings Friday in a win over the Pirates. Woodruff surrendered two runs in the third inning and another in the sixth, but he registered a quality start and managed to bounce back from an ugly outing June 1, when he was roughed up by the Pirates for six runs over four innings. The 26-year-old has hit a few bumps in the road this season, but he sits with a 3.87 ERA and 90 punchouts across 74.1 innings.
It’s ace Justin Verlander (9-2) for Houston. Verlander didn’t factor into the decision against the Mariners on Thursday, giving up three earned runs on five hits over 6.1 innings, striking out seven and walking none in the Astros’ 8-7 extra-innings victory.
The right-hander logged a sixth straight quality start but was forced to settle for a no-decision as the Astros needed 14 innings to finally claim the victory. Verlander is showing no signs of slowing down at age 36, as he’s posting his customarily dominant numbers to the tune of a 2.40 ERA, a phenomenal 0.74 WHIP and a 110:19 K:BB over 93.2 innings.
Expert MLB Betting Picks
Back Astros and Dodgers.