Thursday’s a getaway day for about half the teams in Major League Baseball, but the other half will be busy trying to make your MLB picks come true. That includes the richest team of them all: the Houston Astros!?
Jason's 2015 moneyline record as of Apr. 29: 10-7, plus-2.51 units
We may have just seen what the future of professional sports will look like. The Baltimore Orioles were forced to play Wednesday’s game against the Chicago White Sox in front of zero paid fans at Camden Yards. Unrest over the April 19 death of Freddie Gray in police custody led to the first two games of this three-game series being postponed; the third game was played anyway, but it was closed off to the public.
How long will it be until every game is played this way? The entire concept of the public sphere is under attack, both literally and figuratively. With virtually every game there is available for viewing on your mobile device, why even bother paying to go to the stadium? And from the team’s point of view, why bother dealing with a live audience when so much of your money is coming from television revenues? Just play every game in an empty stadium – or hire extras to sit in the stands and cheer for your team. Did we say extras? How about robots, like they already do in South Korea?
That’s out rant for the day. Let’s get to Thursday’s MLB picks while they’re still fresh and don't forget to check our pitchers report to maximize your Thursday's profits.
Toronto vs. Cleveland (7:10 p.m. ET)
We had the Blue Jays (10-12, minus-3.64 units) as one of three “A” teams when we handed out our early-season grades. They’ve lost five of their last six games, though. Jose Reyes (.726 OPS) is back on the injured list with a cracked rib. And while we’re fans of rookie southpaw Daniel Norris (5.16 FIP), he’s still a work in progress, and he’s apparently got a “dead arm.”
Cleveland (7-13, minus-8.48 units) earned a “D” on our report card. The Tribe are 1-4 in their last five games, and their projected starter, T.J. House (6.34 FIP), has yet to lead Cleveland to a victory in three starts. Perhaps we should add the OVER to our MLB picks. It’ll hurt less.
Free MLB Pick: Take OVER
Washington vs. New York (7:10 p.m. ET)
Excellent, another chance to fade the Nationals (9-13, minus-7.32 units). They’ve been draining money all year, their bullpen is riddled with injuries, and Stephen Strasburg (2.89 FIP) is already 2.48 units in the hole on a team record of 1-3. Maybe they should consider playing half their games in Puerto Rico. In front of robots, of course.
The Mets (15-7, plus-8.89 units) were another one of our “A” teams, but they might be coming back down to Earth after dropping two of three to the New York Yankees, and again to the Miami Marlins. Catcher Travis d’Arnaud (.892 OPS) is out with a broken finger. And Jacob deGrom (4.33 FIP) is coming off a rough start against the Yankees. But deGrom has looked good otherwise, so let’s give the Mets another chance; they're posted as short dogs on the MLB odds for tonight.
Free MLB Pick: Take the Mets
Seattle vs. Houston (8:10 p.m. ET)
Yes, the Astros (14-7, plus-9.24 units) are the most profitable baseball pick in the majors after winning six games in a row. That was after taking two of three off the Mariners (10-11, minus-4.04 units), who have made an art form out of disappointing their fans. However, Seattle is back on the good foot after sweeping the Texas Rangers. Maybe things will work out after all.
In theory, the pitching matchup should favor Seattle, but James Paxton (4.77 FIP) has been having some issues with consistency as he tries working some new pitches into his repertoire. Scott Feldman (5.03 FIP) has had three quality starts in four games, and at this point, we’ll take Feldman’s relative security over Paxton’s promise.
Free MLB Pick: Take the Astros