- Royals vs. Giants: Giants (-175) at FanDuel
- Athletics vs. Rays: Rays -1.5 (-133) at BetMGM
- Nationals vs. Rockies: Nationals (+115) at Caesars Sportsbook
Usually, all 30 teams around Major League Baseball play Fridays because that’s generally when weekend series start. However, the Red Sox and Tigers are the two clubs off this Friday as their series in Motown resumes Saturday.
Here’s a lean on three Friday games with help from the computer picks from OddsTrader.
Friday, April 07, 2023 – 04:35 PM EDT at Oracle Park
These are two bad offensive teams as they meet in the Giants’ home opener Friday and the Royals’ first road game. The schedule-makers did San Francisco no favors with three at the Yankees and three at the White Sox to open the season, although the Giants’ bats woke up big time Thursday with a 16-6 win.
Kansas City Royals
Kansas City already has been blanked three times and it became the ninth team since 1901 to get shut out on two hits or fewer twice within the first six games of a season and the first since the 2013 Pirates. Despite the lack of results on offense, the Royals lead the majors with a 91.8 mph average exit velocity.
First-year manager Matt Quatraro is out for this series after testing positive for COVID on Wednesday. Bench coach Paul Hoover will serve as the interim manager. Apparently, no players caught it (yet). Outfielder Kyle Isbel landed on the paternity list on Wednesday and probably won’t be back for this one.
It’s Brad Keller (0-1, 3.86) on the bump for KC, who has been a good starting pitcher thus far for the most part. Keller allowed two runs and five hits over 4.2 innings last Sunday against Minnesota. He went 3-5 with a 5.69 ERA in 61.2 innings on the road last year and has never faced the Giants.
San Francisco Giants
Alex Cobb (0-0, 2.45) starts for the Giants. He allowed two runs over 3.2 innings in his 2023 debut at the Yankees. Cobb had a 2.68 ERA in 16 home starts last year and didn’t face the Royals.
The computer has the Giants winning 4.9-3.3.
- Royals are 18-41 in their last 59 road games.
- Giants are 5-2 in their last 7 during game 1 of a series.
MLB Pick: Giants ML (-175) at FanDuel
Friday, April 07, 2023 – 06:40 PM EDT at Tropicana Field
On the field, these teams have little in common as the Rays are the lone unbeaten in the majors at 6-0 and might be the best-run organization in the sport despite a tiny payroll. Tampa Bay was actually the favorite to be the last team to lose in large part to a very easy opening schedule (Detroit and Washington so far).
The A’s have MLB’s lowest payroll and they are quite terrible at 2-4 and with a minus-19 run differential. Can you name one everyday Oakland starter in the lineup?
Off the field, these teams have one huge thing in common: Terrible stadiums, which leads to poor attendance. Both might be in different cities by 2030 because of it. The A’s have made no secret about wanting to move to Las Vegas.
Tampa Bay Rays
Tampa Bay’s specialty is turning mediocre pitchers into very good ones, and it might have done it again with former Phillies right-hander Zach Eflin (1-0, 1.80). In his Rays debut last Saturday, he held the Tigers to one run over five. Eflin made his first career start against Oakland last April while with the Phillies and allowed two hits over 4.0 scoreless innings.
It’s Ken Waldichuk (0-1, 9.53) for Oakland. The lefty allowed six runs and nine hits over 5.2 innings in his season debut, a loss to the Angels. The second-year player hasn’t faced Tampa Bay.
The computer likes the Rays in a 6.5-3.4 rout, so we’ll play the run line.
- Athletics are 18-38 in their last 56 road games.
- Rays are 14-3 in their last 17 games vs. a left-handed starter.
MLB Pick: Rays -1.5 (-133) at BetMGM
Friday, April 07, 2023 – 08:40 PM EDT at Coors Field
The Washington Nationals are not going to be favored to win many games this season as that is just a stripped-down, terrible club that was shut out in Game 1 of the series on Thursday. They aren’t favored Friday, either, but the computer has Washington winning outright 5.3-4.4.
Nats outfielder Corey Dickerson landed on the 10-day injured list Sunday due to a mild left calf strain, so he won’t play in the series. The Rockies have won each of their last four home series against the Nationals since 2018, going 8-4 over that span (the two teams did not play in 2020).
It’s former highly touted prospect MacKenzie Gore (1-0, 1.69) for Washington. He was a big piece back from San Diego last year in the Juan Soto trade. Gore pitched 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball and struck out six as the Nationals upset the Braves 4-1 last Sunday. He allowed just three hits and no balls hit over 100 mph.
Gore has been a bright spot in the rotation and the bullpen has been very solid so far, holding opposing batters to a .220 batting average.
The main reason the computer likes Washington here is that the Rockies are starting one of the worst pitchers in the league in Jose Urena (0-1, 15.43).
Last year, he made 17 starts for the team and was 3-8 with a 5.14 ERA. He allowed 10 home runs while opponents slashed .289/.356/.425. At Coors Field, he was 2-5 with a 6.30 ERA.
This spring, Urena was 1-2 with a 6.52 ERA and then was roughed up for four runs on five hits with four walks in his season opener in San Diego. Urena hasn’t faced Washington since 2019.
As we said earlier, the computer has Washington winning outright 5.3-4.4, so let’s roll with it.
- Rockies are 1-7 in their last 8 home games.
- Rockies are 1-5 in their last 6 during game 2 of a series.
MLB Pick: Nationals ML (+115) at Caesars Sportsbook