Chicago Cubs (Feldman) vs. Atlanta Braves (Minor)
The Cubs will begin a three-game set with the Braves at Turner Field this evening, with Scott Feldman going up against Mike Minor.
Current MLB odds have Atlanta anywhere from a -185 to a -200 favorite, with Chicago available at roughly +175. The total is at 7.5.
The Braves started off the season hot, scoring a combined 16 runs in their first two wins of the series against Philadelphia. They were cooled off by Cliff Lee yesterday in a shutout loss, but we like their chances of bouncing back offensively here.
Feldman will get his first real taste of the NL after moving over from Texas during the offseason. He went 6-11 with a 5.09 ERA and 1.38 WHIP for the Rangers last season.
It was a brutal spring for the Cubs starter too. Feldman posted a 11.25 ERA and 2.20 WHIP in six starts and now has to face one of the MLB's most dangerous offenses in his official debut for his new team.
For the Braves, Minor will take to the mound. He was solid in 2012, going 11-10 with a 4.12 ERA, while posting a 7-4 mark and a 3.25 ERA in 16 starts at Turner Field. The third-year lefty also had a successful outing in his only appearance against Chicago last year.
Find out why Jeff Grant also picks the 'Over' in this matchup.
We have two plays that we want to add to our MLB picks for this game. Atlanta should be able to score a comfortable win at home and we think they could easily put up eight runs by themselves. So many of these Braves hitters can hit for power, which could spell disaster for a shaky Feldman.
MLB Pick: Atlanta Braves -1.5 (+115) and OVER 7.5
Pittsburgh Pirates (Sanchez) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (Greinke)
For the second of our free picks, we head west where Zack Greinke makes his Dodgers debut tonight, and we think he'll be the catalyst in an easy win for the home team.
Despite being the number four starter for L.A., Greinke is a consistent right-hander who is capable of shutting teams down completely when on his game. He was as good as anyone in the closing stages of 2012, going 5-0 with a 2.04 ERA over his last eight starts for the Los Angeles Angels.
Greinke has always been terrific in home starts, no matter if it was in Kansas City, L.A., or Milwaukee. Over the years he's compiled a 55-30 W/L record in home starts with a 3.42 ERA. Away from home, he's gone 36-48 with a 4.15 ERA.
Now, the Dodgers' bats have been asleep to start the season, but facing Jonathan Sanchez could cure all of those troubles.
Sanchez is coming off one of the worst years you'll see out of a starter, as he went 1-9 with a 8.07 ERA in stints with Colorado and Kansas City. Perhaps a change of scenery will help, but we're not holding our breath.
Injuries are the only reason Sanchez is even getting a shot at starting, as Jeff Karstens, Francisco Liriano, and Charlie Morton are all on the shelf right now.
A solid start for Sanchez here against a top club in L.A. could do fantastic things for his confidence, but the Dodgers offense is due to break out at any time and tonight could be the night. After an underwhelming start to the new season, look for L.A. to start off this new series the right way with a victory.
MLB Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers -1.5 (+110)[gameodds]3/223932/43/us[/gameodds]