By: Al Walsh – Follow him on Twitter @14AdotWalsh
[7:10 p.m. EST] Over 8 – Philadelphia Phillies at Miami Marlins
PHI: Jake Arrieta – R (1-1, 2.77 ERA)
MIA: Sandy Alcantara – R (1-0, 1.50 ERA)
Both sides have seen their Implied Run Total (IRT) increase by +0.5 in this game, which is tied for the second-highest of any team on this slate. Obviously, we should have more faith in the Phillies to get us closer to the total, but their starter for tonight, Arrieta, has been prone to have control issues and give free passes. The Marlins really struggled offensively on their six-game road trip recently, specifically in Cincinnati over the last three days, but they did hit somewhat well at home prior to that.
All in all, Vegas has spoken with the IRT increase from both sides and that’s a great indicator of offensive success.
* Final Score Prediction: Philadelphia Phillies: 7 – Miami Marlins: 3 *
[7:20 p.m. EST] New York Mets at Atlanta Braves (-113) – Total: 9
NYM: Zack Wheeler – R (0-1, 10.24 ERA)
ATL: Sean Newcomb – L (0-0, 1.64 ERA)
Wheeler was supposed to take the next step in his career, but the Nationals didn’t get that memo. They are the only team to face the righty this season, knocking him around for 11 runs in those first two starts. He’ll have a tough time facing the Braves too, especially Freddie Freeman, who is 10-for-19 with three doubles, two homers and 10 walks against Wheeler.
Newcomb has looked so-so this season in two starts against the Cubs and Marlins. However, the Mets 27.5% K-rate against left-handed pitching this season ranks fifth-worst in all of MLB. I look for him to have a big start and get this Braves squad back on the good foot.
* Final Score Prediction: Atlanta Braves: 7 – New York Mets: 3 *
[8:05 p.m. EST] Over 10.5 – Oakland Athletics at Texas Rangers
OAK: Mike Fiers – R (2-1, 5.94 ERA)
TEX: Drew Smyly – L (0-1, 7.11 ERA)
Whenever these two match up in Texas, one of them always seems to have a big night with the sticks. Since both pitchers are off to extremely slow starts, the A’s and Rangers should both have themselves a marathon on the basepaths. Not to mention, we should have cooperating weather as it’ll be in the mid-70s, which is more than we can ask for during the month of April.
After two solid outings to open the season (both in Oakland), Fiers has put up back-to-back duds – more directly, 11 runs over the last 4 2/3 innings… ouuuch!!! It doesn’t help his case tonight that three different Rangers’ players have homered off him multiple times.
On the other side, you just simply have to feel bad for Smyly. Getting out of Oakland has done the A’s some good, as they have scored at least eight runs in four of the last five games.
* Final Score Prediction: Oakland Athletics: 8 – Texas Rangers: 6 *
[10:10 p.m. EST] Over 9 – Houston Astros at Seattle Mariners
HOU: Wade Miley – L (1-1, 2.31 ERA)
SEA: Wade LeBlanc – L (2-0, 4.76 ERA)
A pair of Wades take the hill on Friday night in Seattle, and each one of them will need to be on top of their games against prolific offenses. The Mariners are off to a 13-2 start, which is best in the majors, but the Astros will certainly try and remind them who has ran this division for a while.
Miley has surprisingly gotten off to a decent start, but he’ll have his hands full against a Mariners team that leads the league in home runs (34) runs scored (110).
In all actuality, there may be more favorable trends with the Astros in this matchup. LeBlanc’s 2-0 record has been the beneficiary of at least 10 runs of support in each of his first two starts.
I think this is a night where the Astros come in and take care of business, but I have a lot more confidence in there being plenty of runs scored.
* Final Score Prediction – Houston Astros: 9 – Seattle Mariners: 5 *