Have we seen the last of the best of Dodgers ace and three-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw? After missing nearly a month with left biceps tendinitis, Kershaw lasted just five innings Thursday vs. the Phillies before leaving with back tightness. He has missed significant time in each of the past two seasons — and three of the past four — with back injuries. Not good news for L.A., which might have to go trade for a starting pitcher. Here’s a look at two intriguing MLB betting matchups this week. Check back our online sportsbook for the latest odds on gameday.
Top MLB Betting Picks & Predictions of the Week – June 4th Edition
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Arizona Diamondbacks at San Francisco Giants
When: Tuesday, 10:15 PM ET (MLB Network)
It’s an even-numbered year, so that means the San Francisco Giants are supposed to make the playoffs. They won the World Series in 2010, ’12 and ’14 and lost in the 2016 NLDS to the Chicago Cubs. The Giants’ chances of making the postseason are going to improve starting Tuesday because it’s the season debut of ace pitcher Madison Bumgarner.
The lefty, who was so incredible in the 2014 playoffs when he was named World Series MVP, has been out since March 23, when he was hit by a line drive from Kansas City’s Whit Merrifield in the Giants’ final game of spring training. The San Francisco ace had surgery to insert three pins into his finger. Bumgarner was dominant in two rehab starts in the minors. He struck out eight in 3⅔ innings for Triple-A Sacramento, then fanned seven in 4⅔ innings for Class A San Jose. With Bumgarner returning to the rotation, Ty Blach will be moved to the bullpen as San Francisco’s long man.
The Giants are finally getting a bit healthier, with second baseman Joe Panik, outfielder Hunter Pence and closer Mark Melancon recently activated off the disabled list. Melancon has essentially lost his job to Hunter Strickland, though. First baseman Brandon Belt, who was having his best season, landed on the DL over the weekend. Belt had his appendix removed late Friday in an emergency procedure. There’s no real set timetable for a return from those types of injuries. No. 2 starter Johnny Cueto was leading the NL in ERA when he went on the DL. Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Sunday that it’s possible Cueto (elbow) returns before the end of June.
Arizona will have no empathy for the Giants as Diamondbacks outfielders Steven Souza and AJ Pollock are both on the DL. Souza (pectoral) will have a follow-up MRI on Monday. It’s a scheduled exam to determine whether Souza can ramp up his physical activity. Pollock could miss another month with an avulsion fracture in his left thumb. The 30-year-old sustained the injury May 14.
Who Will Take the Mound for Arizona?
It’s ace lefty Patrick Corbin on the mound, and he could be ticketed for the All-Star Game. Corbin (5-2, 2.99) does come off a rough outing where he allowed eight hits and six runs over six innings Wednesday in the Diamondbacks’ loss to Cincinnati. Corbin was handed an early 4-0 lead but it didn’t last long as Adam Duvall brought the Reds back with a game-tying grand slam in the fourth inning. The left-hander encountered more trouble in the sixth, allowing a two-run blast to Scott Schebler.
Even with the rare bad outing, Corbin was able to pad his strikeout numbers and is now posting an 11.7 K/9 that ranks behind only Max Scherzer, Gerrit Cole and Chris Sale among qualified starters. Corbin got off to a brilliant start this year but has slowed down considerably over the past month, winning just one of his last seven starts. The last time he faced the Giants, Corbin he nearly threw a no-hitter, but Belt’s infield single in the eighth broke it up.
Baltimore Orioles at New York Mets
When: Wednesday, 1:10 PM ET (MLB Network)
The Orioles will lose the designated hitter for this interleague matchup. Speaking of a potential DH, the Birds reportedly are considering adding Hanley Ramirez, who recently was released by the Boston Red Sox. There’s a history between Dan Duquette and Ramirez, as the GM orchestrated Ramirez’s four-year, $88 million deal with the Red Sox back in 2014. After a four-year run with the Sox, the 34-year-old first baseman/DH was released on Friday in order to clear roster space for the now-injured Dustin Pedroia. He’s batting .254/.313/.395 with six home runs and a .708 OPS in 195 plate appearances this year. Seems like the Orioles already have too many DH/first base types in Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo, Danny Valencia and Pedro Alvarez.
The Birds remain without All-Star closer Zach Britton (Achilles), but he hopes that he’ll be able to return to the Orioles’ bullpen during their next homestand. Britton needed just eight pitches to get three outs in his latest minor league rehab appearance with Double-A Bowie on Friday night. Britton surely will be traded by the July 31 trade deadline as will Manny Machado and Adam Jones.
Who Will Start for the Orioles?
Baltimore starts ace Dylan Bundy here. Bundy (3-7, 4.46) gave up three runs on 11 hits and struck out four over six innings to take the loss against the Nationals last Tuesday. He did not issue a walk. Bundy was hurt by the home run ball yet again, giving up solo shots to Bryce Harper and Mark Reynolds, but was otherwise able to limit the damage. The 25-year-old has allowed 10 runs on 20 hits over his last four outings (28 innings) since giving up seven without recording an out May 8, although he has still given up six homers in that stretch.
New York’s Zach Wheeler (2-4, 5.14) posted six strong innings on Friday night vs. the Cubs, but the righty and the bullpen faded in the seventh inning in a 7-4 loss. Wheeler will face the Orioles for the first time in his career.
Expert MLB Betting Predictions
Take the under in Snakes-Giants – it probably will be set at 7.5-8. Go Orioles at Citi Field.