There’s no such thing as a lock in sports, but it was essentially a lock that the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani was going to win AL Rookie of the Year honors in 2018. Now that’s potentially not the case as Ohtani has landed on the DL with a Grade 2 ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) sprain in his throwing elbow. He’s likely to miss at least a month but might need Tommy John surgery if rest and platelet-rich-plasma (PRP) and stem cell injections don’t solve the problem. TJS would not only rule Ohtani out for this season but a chunk of 2019 as well. Whether you root/back the Angels or not, MLB is much more exciting with Ohtani playing, whether as a pitcher or hitter. Here’s hoping he doesn’t need TJS. Here are two intriguing games this week around the majors. Check back for MLB betting odds once game time comes around.
Top MLB Betting Picks & Predictions of the Week – June 11th Edition
— CBS Sports MLB (@CBSSportsMLB) June 11, 2018
New York Mets at Atlanta Braves
When: Tuesday, 7:30 PM ET (ESPN)
The Mets are in a free-fall after a 24-19 start and things could get very uncomfortable around the team soon regarding Jose Reyes. Last week, the Mets considered releasing Reyes as the veteran simply isn’t a good player any more.
Reyes, who turns 35 years old on Monday, is batting .139/.205/.194 in 78 plate appearances. Among hitters with at least 70 plate appearances this season, the only ones with a lower OPS than Reyes’ (.399) are Pat Valaika (.359), Kole Calhoun (.374), Eric Sogard (.379), and Byron Buxton (.383). He wants to keep playing but the Mets don’t want him so they are pushing Reyes to hold a news conference announcing his retirement. You can’t exactly make a player do that, though. If the team released him, surely no team would pick Reyes up.
New York remains without its best hitter in outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. Cespedes (hip, quad) was expected to rejoin the Mets on Tuesday but had to be lifted from Saturday’s minor league rehab game due to renewed tightness in his right quad. Now he will head back to the Mets’ spring training complex in Florida to restart his treatment/rehab program and his timetable is TBA. Cespedes, 32, is hitting .255 with eight home runs and 28 RBIs.
The team is also considering sending down struggling outfielder Michael Conforto. He is batting .175 with just one extra-base hit over his past 12 games, dragging his season line down to .219/.340/.365. The team thinks that perhaps Conforto might benefit from a few weeks of steady Triple-A at-bats away from the Mets’ struggles. Conforto was very good last year, hitting .279 with 27 homers in 109 games.
Atlanta remains without its very talented rookie outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. due to a knee injury but he could come off the disabled list during the Braves’ June 14-17 series against the Padres. Acuna has been on the disabled list since May 28 with a mild ACL sprain in his left knee. He was sporting a .779 OPS with five homers and two steals through his first 29 major league games.
Who Will Start for Atlanta?
The Braves start Mike Foltynewicz (5-4, 2.31). Foltynewicz allowed two earned runs on five hits while walking three and striking out eight across five innings to take the loss last Wednesday against the Padres. Foltynewicz didn’t work with enough efficiency to pitch deep into the game, but he continued to rack up strikeouts at a prolific rate. His effort was aided by an impressive 25 swinging strikes. Foltynewicz did not allow a home run, bringing his HR/9 down to .6 for the season. That has been one of the catalysts for his very good ERA. Foltynewicz has posted a 0.97 ERA and limited opponents to a .167 batting average over his past six starts. The right-hander has allowed less than two hits through the first six innings in two of his past three starts.
Who Will Start for NY?
It’s lefty Jason Vargas (2-4, 7.71) for the Mets. Vargas allowed two runs on five hits and one walk across five innings while taking the loss last Tuesday against the Orioles. He struck out four. Vargas got off to a bit of a shaky start, allowing a pair of runs on three straight hits in the first inning. He settled down to great effect, allowing just three baserunners over the next four innings while pounding the strike zone at a 65 percent clip. The southpaw’s last two starts have been promising — he’s allowed just two earned runs over 10 total innings to lower his ERA nearly three full runs.
The first inning is key for Vargas. He owns an 18.00 ERA in the first, compared to a 4.63 mark in all other innings. Opposing hitters are batting .375 with a 1.026 OPS their first time facing him, but just .268 and .685 their second time.
Cleveland Indians at Minnesota Twins
When: Friday, 7:10 PM ET (MLB Extra Innings)
There are two pitchers in baseball you should be backing every time they take the mound, regardless of the opponent. They both happen to be multiple time Cy Young winners. One is Washington’s Max Scherzer, who appears on track to win a fourth career Cy Young. The other is Cleveland’s Corey Kluber, who is a favorite to win his third career Cy (along with Houston’s Justin Verlander).
How good is Kluber?
On Sunday he beat the Tigers to improve to 10-2 with a 1.99 ERA. He went eight innings and allowed two runs and five hits with eight strikeouts. Even more impressive, Kluber didn’t walk anyone yet again. That’s six straight starts without a walk. Kluber, the first pitcher in the AL this season with 10 wins, last issued a walk to Domingo Santana leading off the bottom of the fourth inning on May 8.
Kluber has faced 168 consecutive batters without issuing a walk, which is the third-longest streak of its kind over the last five years. Bartolo Colon had a streak of 204 batters without issuing a walk in 2015 with the Mets and Phil Hughes went through 178 batters in 2014 with the Twins.
The six straight starts without a walk is tied for the second-longest streak in Indians history along with Paul Byrd (2007) and Addie Joss (1908). Dick Donovan holds the franchise record with seven consecutive starts with no walks in 1963. The MLB record for consecutive starts with no walks is 11, by Bill Fisher of the Kansas City Athletics in 1962. During his six-start streak, Kluber has gone 5-0 with a 1.09 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 41 1/3 innings. Kluber allowed one run over 6.2 innings in a win over the Twins on April 17.
Who Will Start for the Brewers?
Minnesota counters with Kyle Gibson (1-4, 3.45). Gibson took the loss Saturday as the Twins fell 2-1 to the Angels, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks over seven innings while striking out five. Both runs scored on solo homers, just the second time all year Gibson has served up multiple home runs in a start. The right-hander hasn’t won since his first start of the season, but he’s given the Twins seven quality starts. On June 3, Gibson took a no-decision vs. the Indians in allowing two runs over 5.2 innings.
Expert MLB Betting Predictions
Take the Braves as your MLB betting pick to beat the Mets and go Indians on the runline behind Kluber.