Toss up of the day: Brewers (-102) over Twins
Underdog Pick of the Day: Blue Jays (+165) over Rays (First 5)
Over of the Day: Pirates at Reds (10)
Under of the Day: Royals at White Sox (4.5 - First 5)
The Skinny: It might be against my South Jersey blood, but I’m fading Bishop Eustace Prep grad Devin Smeltzer tonight in his Major League debut. Minnesota pushed back Martin Perez’s scheduled start and promoted Smeltzer from AAA Rochester to make tonight’s start. Against a lineup as good as Milwaukee’s, and a pitcher in Zach Davies who has held his own this year to the tune of a 2.43 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 10 starts, I can’t see it being a happy debut for Smeltzer. Grab the Brew Crew at even money. . . . I’m intrigued by Toronto in the first five innings tonight primarily because Tampa Bay’s usual first two hitters, Austin Meadows and Tommy Pham, are a combined 1-for-11 against Toronto starter Clayton Richard. The Rays are third in majors in first-inning scoring and so if Richard can get through their first two hitters and have a good opening inning, he should settle in nicely. Meadows and Pham are the catalysts for the Rays’ offense and if Richard can keep them off the base paths in their first couple plate appearances, I will take my chances with the Blue Jays leading after five. Toronto’s bullpen has struggled of late which makes me hesitant to back the Blue Jays for the full game. . . . Pittsburgh starter Jordan Lyles overachieved in the first two months of the season as his ERA for 2019 is currently 2.81 despite a career ERA still being above 5. Against a red-hot Cincinnati offense, Lyles should regress to his career norms tonight and Lucas Sims is making his first start at the big-league level this season. The 25-year-old has been up and down between the big leagues and AAA during the last couple seasons and that’s because he’s yet to establish himself as a regular starter in the majors. The winner of this game scores at least seven runs. . . . The Royals vs White Sox features a pair of young pitchers who can have their own consistency issues at times, but White Sox hitters in a combined 97 at-bats against Brad Keller are only slashing .186/.262/.309. The 24-year-old Chicago starter, Lucas Giolito, is having his best sustained success in the majors so far with a 2.77 ERA and 1.06 WHIP through nine starts. Kansas City hitters have struggled against Giolito the way White Sox hitters have against Keller. In 101 total at-bats against the right-hander, the Royals are slashing .158/.241/.356. Neither bullpen is trustworthy to go under for the full game, but under 4.5 for the first five innings feels like safe bet.