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Free MLB Pick Wednesday

#924 Oakland Athletics (Fiers) -115 over New York Yankees (Happ) 9:07 PM CT

Mike Fiers is 9-1 with a 2.52 ERA in 19 starts since May 1 as he has been the most reliable starter for the Athletics. He had a tough outing last week vs. Houston, the first time in that span of starts in which he had allowed more than three runs. Fiers has allowed two or fewer runs in 10 of the past 12 starts and he has terrific home splits in 84 innings at home with a 2.89 ERA. Adding J.A. Happ was a great benefit last season for the Yankees but this year the left-hander has struggled with a 5.40 ERA and a 5.55 FIP. Happ has allowed at least three runs in four of his last five starts and the results have been getting worse with a 6.85 ERA in his last nine starts. Oakland is currently the odd team out in the AL Playoff picture despite a 72-53 record but the Athletics are 21-10 vs. left-handed starters this season and 41-22 at the Coliseum. New York has great potential vs. right-handers but the power numbers are likely to slip in this spacious ballpark. New York’s offense has been held in check in the last week and this is a dangerous series ahead of a highly anticipated interleague series at Dodger Stadium this coming weekend. Oakland’s offense has cooled in the last month but this team is 14-6 in the past 20 games including a big series win over Houston and a 10-3 mark the past 13 home dates.

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Free MLB Pick Friday

#970 Minnesota Twins (Odorizzi) +120 over Oakland Athletics (Manaea) 7:10 PM CT

The Twins have been a disappointment this season but Minnesota has played respectable ball in the past two months even as one of the big trade deadline sellers. The Twins have a .784 team OPS in the past 12 games with 21 home runs and 5.5 runs per game on average. Minnesota won the season’s first meeting with Oakland last night and Minnesota could play spoiler with six more games remaining against the Athletics. Since early July Minnesota is 26-18 while scoring 5.1 runs per game and the Twins are 39-26 at Target Field on the season.

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The season numbers support a preference for facing right-handers for Minnesota but in the past 10 games the Twins have hit .260 with 7.6 runs per nine vs. southpaw pitching. Sean Manaea has a nice season line with a 3.70 ERA but take out a brilliant month of April and he is a league-average pitcher with a 4.74 ERA just a 5.6 K/9. Manaea has allowed at least two runs in 18 of his last 20 starts as he has rarely been dominant and over his last three starts (all at home) he owns a 6.91 ERA.

Jake Odorizzi has been a solid starter for Minnesota and he owns a 3.88 ERA with a 3.09 FIP in his last 10 starts. He has a 9.9 K/9 in that span with two or fewer runs allowed in seven of those 10 starts. Despite the sell off the Twins have a 1.99 bullpen ERA the past 10 games and Oakland’s lineup has also been better vs. lefties of late as Odorizzi isn’t an ideal draw. Oakland is just 4-4 the past eight games and the team has failed to top four runs in six of the last nine games. With a 26-10 record in one-run games this has been a fortunate team and the deep bullpen has been worked hard the past two games with disappointing losses dropping the Athletics 1.5 games behind Houston. Oakland has one win in the last six visits to Minneapolis and the home underdog price is appealing on a Twins squad that is still playing hard.

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Nelly’s is 10-4 in our last 14 MLB picks – check out Friday’s MLB package. Big E and Bobby Dalton also have big football picks planned for preseason Week 3.

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Free MLB Pick Tuesday

#917 Oakland Athletics (Manaea) -125 over Texas Rangers (Moore) 7:05 PM CT

The Rangers are just 7-13 vs. left-handed starters this season and Texas has the AL’s worst team batting average at just .228. Texas has 68 home runs on the season but that is seven fewer than Oakland’s count with the Athletics also seven games ahead in the standings and 82 runs better in net scoring differential. Oakland is a winning team at 16-14 on the road while the Rangers are just 11-19 in Arlington this season.

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Matt Moore is only 28-years-old but the left-hander has seen his career trajectory fall off a cliff the past two seasons, now 7-20 in his last 27 decisions with a 6.02 ERA. His strikeout numbers continue to fall, on pace for a career low at just 7.4 K/9 in 11 appearances this season while his 4.4 BB/9 is difficult to overcome. Moore has a .396 BABIP right now which is sure to go down but even with a major adjustment he remains a below average AL starter and so far he has posted disastrous numbers in his home starts where batters are hitting .340 against him with a .934 OPS.

Sean Manaea hasn’t lived up to his brilliant April numbers but he has allowed four or fewer runs in all but one start this season and he remains a viable option on the mound. His season ERA is just 3.60 while he has allowed only 14 walks in 75 innings of work this season. Manaea has a lower ERA on the road and June has often been his best month in his career so far and he has strong career numbers vs. the Rangers. Oakland isn’t a great hitting team vs. left-handers but Manaea is the more reliable option backed by the stronger lineup and bullpen with the Rangers in a potential flat spot in the first game back at home after a west coast trip.

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Nelly’s Baseball is 7-1 the past eight days with a perfect start to June – don’t miss Tuesday’s 2-for-1 MLB offer! Bobby Dalton has a 10* and a 5* for Tuesday night with a guaranteed Best Bet having won five of his past seven 10* picks and riding a 48-31 historical interleague run.

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June MLB Pitchers to Watch

June MLB Pitchers to Watch

With two months in the MLB season in the books there is enough meaningful data to form stable projections for the coming weeks. A few starters that have perhaps underachieved so far could be in line for improvement in the coming weeks. Here are five pitchers to watch in June as possible play-on starters in the upcoming weeks.

Sean Manaea – Oakland Athletics: The Oakland left-hander had a huge first month of the season with a 1.03 ERA in six starts including a no-hitter vs. the Red Sox on April 21. In six May starts Manaea posted a 7.18 ERA, allowing at least four runs in each of his six starts. He faced a few difficult matchups in that run but he also saw his strikeout rate plummet. He has also had some tough luck with more than 40 percent of his base runners coming around to score in the month of May. His xFIP in that stretch was just 4.80 as he likely deserved better results in a few outings and historically May and August have been his worst months. His FIP of 4.20 for the season is a bit above his 3.60 ERA but he should return to being an upper tier starter in the coming weeks. His next scheduled starts are at Texas, home vs. Kansas City, home vs. the Angels, and at the White Sox as he should have favorable opportunities to get back on track.

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Jon Gray – Colorado Rockies: Gray won 10 games last season in 20 starts for the Rockies posting a 3.67 ERA. His FIP last season was just 3.18 as many expected even further improvement in 2018 for the #3 pick in the 2013 draft at now 26 years of age. Gray has posted a career best 10.5 K/9 so far this season but he has been burned by a .376 BABIP so far this season. Gray has a 5.68 ERA but his 3.15 FIP is the eighth best mark in the NL among qualified starters as things should turn Gray’s way in the coming weeks. Pitching at Coor’s Field is always a challenge and he has really struggled at home this season where six of his last eight starts have been. The upcoming schedule should offer better opportunities for Gray with his next turns scheduled to be at Cincinnati, at Philadelphia, and at Texas, while his next home start if the current rotation holds would be vs. the light-hitting Marlins in late June.

Luke Weaver – St. Louis Cardinals: As a 23-year old Weaver dominated AAA in the first half of last season before posting a 7-2 record with a solid 3.88 ERA in 10 starts for the Cardinals late last season. An xFIP of 2.93 and a 10.7 K/9 sent expectations soaring for Weaver in his first full season in the big leagues. There have been some growing pains for the 2014 1st round pick with worse numbers across the board this season. His K/9 is down to just 8.2 while his ERA has ballooned to 4.63. Among NL starters he owns one of the largest differences between this FIP and his ERA however with a FIP of 3.72 suggesting that he could return to a similar pace as last season’s success. He has had tough luck with 32 percent of base runners scoring and left-handed hitters have hit .293 against him while there has been a big disparity between his home and road numbers. Weaver will get two of his next three starts at home with the road outing being against a Cincinnati team that is among the worst in the NL as he should have an opportunity to improve his numbers in the coming weeks.

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Jameson Taillon – Pittsburgh Pirates: With a hot start for the Pirates Taillon had incredible numbers through his first three starts with just two runs and nine hits allowed in more than 20 innings. After pitching over his head to open the season, he hit a tough-luck patch to even out his numbers in his final three April starts. Taillon had average results in May with one bad outing inflating his season line, leaving his ERA at 4.53 through the first two months. His FIP is just 3.87 however and he owns a strong strikeout-to-walk ratio. Taillon has dominated against right-handed batters with a .213 batting average against while walking only one right-handed batter in nearly 33 innings of work. Taillon has an extreme gap between his home and road numbers and in June three of his next four starts following a June 1 start in St. Louis should be at home. He also will get to face the slumping Diamondbacks lineup twice if the current rotation schedule holds.

Rick Porcello – Boston Red Sox: Backing Boston will generally carry a premium price tag but Porcello offers a lesser valuation than Chris Sale or David Price and he has been pitching well for the Red Sox with a 3.65 ERA in 12 starts. His season line features a 3.14 FIP and an 8.5 K/9 with both marks better than the results he produced in his surprise 2016 Cy Young season. He is on pace to have his highest groundball rate since 2013 and he has only allowed six home runs in 74 innings of work. Porcello actually has better numbers against left-handed batters this season and he has pitched nearly as well on the road as at home. June has historically been Porcello’s worst month of the season but that career log was mostly built in a disastrous six-start run last June in which he had a 6.63 ERA by virtue of a .361 BABIP. Porcello has had solid numbers since the 2017 All Star Break and he could have a strong month of June for the AL East leaders. His first call this month will be a challenge draw in Houston but then he will be slated to face the White Sox at home before facing manageable road opportunities in Seattle and Minnesota.

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Free MLB Pick – Monday, May 23

Oakland Athletics (Hill) + over Seattle Mariners (Walker)

An Oakland team that has competed reasonably well this season wiped away last week’s four-game winning streak by being on the wrong end of a four-game sweep vs. the Yankees at home over the weekend. With just nine runs in the four games the offense failed and Taijuan Walker is certainly a tough matchup Monday night. Walker has shown severe regression in May however after a brilliant month of April. In four April starts he struck out 25 while allowing four earned runs, so far in May through four starts he has struck out 16 while allowing 14 runs, including at least three runs allowed in each start. Walker made his 2016 debut vs. Oakland in a decent outing with seven hits and two runs allowed over six innings but the Mariners have oddly been a much worse performing team at home. Safeco is a pitcher’s park and Seattle is batting just .216 at home this season and the Mariners have a much worse season record vs. left-handed pitching. Rich Hill has been a terrific comeback story as a former top prospect for the Cubs who broke into the big leagues in 2005. He pitched minimally from 2008-2011 before regaining a job in various bullpens, bouncing around several organizations. He has blossomed this season for Oakland with a 2.54 ERA posting 10.7 K/9 and already picking up six wins. His command can be a little spotty at times but a fierce curveball is still his trademark and he gave Seattle fits early in the season with 10 strikeouts in six innings.  Oakland actually has three more road wins than Seattle has home wins this season as escaping the Coliseum and heading to a park that should suit Hill well should be favorable for the underdog Athletics tonight.

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