MLB Picks: Slide Into Home a Winner With Today's Totals

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, April 5, 2016 3:27 PM GMT

Tuesday, Apr. 5, 2016 3:27 PM GMT

Barring weather interfering, and it did in a few spots Monday, every baseball team will have played at least one game by the end of Tuesday night. Here are my top three MLB picks for the day.

Detroit Tigers vs. Miami Marlins (Total of 7.5 On MLB odds)
It's the season opener for these two and the Tigers will be losing a big bat because there's no designated hitter in this interleague game in an NL park. That would be Victor Martinez. Detroit gives Justin Verlander his eighth career Opening Day start. He started last season late due to injury and was very shaky for a while. But then Verlander had a 2.27 ERA over his final 14 starts, leading the American League over that span.

The Tigers were only 5-5 in those games as they struggled to score. Overall, Verlander was 5-8 with a 3.38 ERA. If he doesn't pitch like an ace this season, the Tigers will miss the playoffs again. Verlander didn't face the Marlins last year and not many Miami players have faced him in regular-season action. Giancarlo Stanton is 0-for-3 against him with three strikeouts. Miami starts lefty Wei-Yin Chen, whom the team signed to a five-year, $80 million free-agent deal this winter.

The lefty was 11-8 with a 3.34 ERA last year with the Orioles. It's a bit surprising he is getting the Opening Day call over ace Jose Fernandez, but new Marlins manager Don Mattingly is doing so to limit Fernandez's innings down the line. Chen faced the Tigers once last season and was shelled for six runs and 10 hits over 3.1 innings. Detroit hit three homers off Chen. Ian Kinsler is 5-for-12 with two doubles career off him.

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Free MLB Pick: 'Under.' It has hit in five of Detroit's past seven interleague road games vs. lefty starters. The 'under' is 23-11-2 in Miami's past 36 interleague home games vs. a right-handed starter.
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

 

Colorado Rockies vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (8.5 In MLB Betting)
The Rockies start Chad Bettis, who really shouldn't be a No. 2 starter on any team. The right-hander was 8-6 with a 4.23 ERA last year and that was the best of his three seasons in the majors. Obviously all Colorado pitchers' ERAs are going to be  somewhat inflated pitching half their games in the thin air at Coors Field. Bettis faced Arizona twice last year and was 0-1 with a 3.75 ERA.

Snakes batters hit .340 off him. One guy Bettis won't have to worry about is rising star outfielder A.J. Pollock. In crushing news for the Diamondbacks, Pollock broke his elbow on Saturday in a headfirst slide into home. There is no timetable for Pollack's return, though he is hoping for this season. Last year, Pollock was a first-time All-Star and hit .315 with 39 doubles, 20 home runs, 39 stolen bases, 111 runs scored and 192 hits -- all career highs. He also won a Gold Glove.

Truly a devastating injury for Arizona. The Diamondbacks start one of their big offseason acquisitions here in pitcher Shelby Miller. The team gave up a lot to acquire Miller from Atlanta. He had a career-best 3.02 ERA last season but was just 6-17 because the Braves were so terrible offensively. Miller was 0-2 with a 6.94 ERA in two starts against Colorado.

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Free MLB Pick: 'Under.' It has hit in six of Bettis' past seven starts. The 'under' is 5-1 in Arizona's past six vs. a right-handed starter.
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

 

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Diego Padres (6.5 For MLB picks)
This is the lowest total on the board and you are going to see a lot of low totals for Padres games this season because it looks likely to be one of the worst offensive teams in the  majors. Plus their home field, Petco Park, is perhaps the most pitcher-friendly in baseball. The Dodgers start left-hander Scott Kazmir. When the team couldn't re-sign Cy Young runner-up Zack Greinke this offseason, the Dodgers turned to Kazmir.

The southpaw started last season with Oakland but then was traded to Houston. He struggled with the Astros, going 2-6 with a 4.17 ERA compared to a 5-5 mark with a 2.38 ERA with the A's. In his one postseason start for Houston, he allowed three earned runs in 5? innings in the ALDS against the Royals. Kazmir got a three-year, $48 million contract from Los Angeles but he can opt-out after this season already. If you go by adjusted ERA, which compares a player's ERA to the league average ERA and adjusts for the effects of different ballparks, then Kazmir was the fourth-best lefty in baseball last season with an Adjusted ERA of 130.

The average Adjusted ERA is 100. Teammate Clayton Kershaw, who pitched Monday's opener, was first at 175. The Padres counter with  James Shields, whom the team would love to trade. But it hasn't found any takers for the remaining three years and $65 million owed. Shields was 13-7 with a disappointing 3.91 ERA last year, his first in the National League. Homers were a problem -- he allowed 33 of them. Shields was 1-0 with a 3.24 ERA in four starts against the Dodgers in 2015. He had a 3.29 ERA in 16 home starts.

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Free MLB Pick: 'Over.' It has hit in eight of the Dodgers' past 10 in Game 2 of a series. The over is 12-3-1 in Shields' past 16 at home. 
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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