Yesterday’s picks got off to a rough start when the Mets hung a four-spot on Zack Wheeler and the Phillies in the first inning, spoiling our first inning under. But, the Cardinals scored four first-inning runs of their own and never looked back, as they secured a second-straight win over the Pirates to cash our second and final bet of the day.
We’re back on Sunday with two more best bets, one favorite and one underdog, in an attempt to turn this weekend into a profitable one. Here are my top MLB picks for the first Sunday in May.
YTD: 7-4 (+2.5u)
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Los Angeles Angels ML (-140)
The Angels and Mariners have split the first two games of their three-game set, as Los Angeles convincingly topped Seattle 10-5 on Saturday to bring the series even. This was actually a 10-1 ballgame through seven innings before the Mariners plated two in both the eighth and ninth innings, so yesterday’s matchup was even more one-sided than the scoreboard may indicate. I’m looking to ride that momentum and to take advantage of a taxed bullpen here on Sunday.
Seattle’s Ljay Newsome managed to toss just two innings yesterday, giving up eight runs in the process. The Mariners bullpen was asked to give them seven innings of work, and it took four relievers to get the job done. Those are four potential arms that won’t be available if needed on Sunday, which could be a problem considering their slated starter, Justus Sheffield, hasn’t exactly provided them much length this year.
Sheffield has taken the mound four times so far and has completed six innings just once. In fact, he’s allowed three or more runs in each of those starts, so I’m not expecting him to go the distance in this one against a strong hitting team, putting a lot of pressure on an already tired Mariners ‘pen.
Los Angeles leads MLB with a .265 team batting average through the first month, which isn’t great news for a starting pitcher who’s not only struggled to give Seattle length but to keep the ball in the park as well. Sheffield has allowed a home run in three of his four starts, so be on the lookout for a long ball or two this afternoon as well.
The Angels will send Dylan Bundy to the mound, and while he hasn’t exactly been great this year, his numbers have been the victim of one bad start against Texas where he allowed five runs on seven hits in just five innings of work. He was much better his last time out, striking out six Astros and allowing just two runs, and I expect him to build off that start against a much lighter hitting opponent in Seattle. They’re 28th in baseball with a brutal .211 team batting average, and Bundy’s relatively even mix of five pitches should give them fits all afternoon.
Los Angeles knows how badly they need this win, regardless of how early in the season it is. They sit in fourth place in their division but are just a game-and-a-half out of first. I’ll happily lay the juice on the hungrier team on Sunday.
Miami Marlins ML (+130)
It’s always tough to fade a pitcher with the pedigree of Max Scherzer, but he’s coming off a rough start, and the Marlins are sending a fine young starter of their own to the mound who’s been fantastic this year.
In his last outing, Scherzer was roughed up by Toronto, managing to get through just five innings while allowing five runs on seven hits in his second loss of the year. He’d been coasting before Tuesday’s debacle – he went back-to-back starts without allowing a run – so I don’t anticipate him completely falling apart for us on Sunday. Still, teams are starting to figure out how to attack him early in counts. Look for the Marlins to do more of the same.
Speaking of the Marlins, they’ll be sending their newfound ace Trevor Rogers to the hill on Sunday, and as mentioned earlier, he’s been tremendous this year. Rogers is 3-1 with an impressive 1.29 ERA, a 1.000 WHIP, and 38 strikeouts in just 28 innings. He’s been especially strong of late, having not allowed a run in two consecutive starts while striking out 15, so look for him to build off his recent success on Sunday.
Miami is a strong play today at plus-odds; they’re undervalued because of the caliber of pitcher they’re slated to face in Scherzer. However, I’ll gladly ride the red-hot left arm of Trevor Rogers on Sunday as the Marlins look to avoid the sweep and stay alive early in the National League East race.
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