MLB Free Plays April 17-23

MLB Best Bets Aug 21-28

MLB Free Plays April 17-23

It’s early in the season, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make smarter MLB picks.

While some hot starts have faded, others have continued, and a few slow starts have teams wondering if the playoffs are still a viable option. Let’s get started.

On Wednesday, Cleveland travels to Minnesota. Can Cleveland take down the AL Central rival Twins in ESPN’s Wednesday nationally televised battle? On Saturday, who wins in what could be a pitcher’s duel between Washington’s Gio Gonzalez and the New York Mets’ Matt Harvey? Sunday’s most interesting game has Boston traveling to Baltimore. Who wins when those two AL East squads throw down?

MLB Free Plays April 17-23

Cleveland at Minnesota
When:  Wednesday, April 19 at 8:00 pm ET
Where: Target Field, Minneapolis, MN
Listed Pitchers: CLE-Trevor Bauer vs MIN-Adalberto Mejia

Analysis: So far, Cleveland pitcher Trevor Bauer has been horrendous this season. Bauer has an 8.44 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP. He’s allowed 10 runs off 15 hits in only 10.2 innings pitched. Bauer doesn’t have control of his pitches yet.

That’s good news for Twins fans, right? Maybe. Twins pitcher Adalberto Mejia wasn’t much better than Bauer in his first start of the season on April 8. Mejia lasted 1.2 innings versus the Chicago White Sox. He gave up 2 earned runs off 2 hits.

But in his second game versus the White Sox, Mejia pitched well. He lasted 5 innings. Allowed only a single earned run off 4 hits, walked 3, and struck out 4. Minnesota lost 1 to 2 to Chicago.

I think the Twins have better luck against Cleveland on Wednesday. Bauer and the Indians should be favorites. I’m siding with the home dog.

Pick: Minnesota

Washington at New York Mets
When:  Saturday, April 22 at 4:05 pm ET
Where: Citi Field New York, NY
Listed Pitchers: WAS-Gio Gonzalez vs NYM-Matt Harvey

Analysis: Last season, it took Gio Gonzalez a while to get his best pitches going. Not so this season. In 20.1 innings pitched, Gonzalez has a 1.77 ERA, a 1.13 WHIP, and 15 strike-outs. The Mets bat .248 versus Gio.

Versus Matt “ The Dark Knight” Harvey, the Washington Nationals bat .231. Harvey has a .245 ERA to go along with 15 strikeouts and a fantastic .98 WHIP in 17.2 innings pitched. I believe that Harvey pitches well this Saturday.

But, I still like Washington. In Harvey’s last start, the Mets lost 2 to 4 to Miami. It was a no-decision for The Dark Knight because he left the game when it was tied 2 to 2.

I think Washington’s relievers, and Washington’s electric bats, bail out Gio if he gets into any trouble on Saturday.

Pick: Washington

Boston at Baltimore
When:  Sunday, April 23 at 1:35 pm ET
Where: Camden Yards, Baltimore, MD
Listed Pitchers: BOS-Eduardo Rodriguez vs BAL–Ubaldo Jimenez

Analysis: Baltimore listed starter Ubaldo Jimenez has a 10.38 ERA and a 2.08 WHIP. He’s only pitched 8.1 innings so far this season. What’s strange is that although Ubaldo has been terrible in 2 starts so far in 2017, the Orioles have won both games where he’s started.

The O’s beat the Yankees 6 to 5 on April 7 even though Jimenez allowed 5 home runs on 7 hits in 4.1 innings pitched. Baltimore beat Boston 12 to 5 on April 12 even though Jimenez allowed 5 earned runs from 8 hits in 4.1 innings pitched. Will lightning strike twice for Ubaldo and the O’s versus the Red Sox?

I don’t think so. Baltimore bats .239 versus Boston’s scheduled starter Eduardo Rodriguez. I like the Red Sox on the run line unless they’re getting 1.5 runs in which case I’ll bet Boston on the moneyline.

Pick: Boston