In our two featured games yesterday, the division leaders on the road held off their home challengers. The Yankees and Brewers both got out to early leads and defeated Tampa Bay and St. Louis, respectively, to increase their leads and take the first game of their four-game sets.
In winning New York but losing Minnesota -1.5 thanks to a late Kansas City rally, we needed the Brewers and Cardinals’ pitching to come through in the late innings, as we backed the under of 7.5 and the score was 4-3 after the seventh inning. Joe Hader allowed a couple of baserunners, but he closed out the win for his 37th straight scoreless appearance in earning the save for the Brew Crew and a winning night for us.
Most teams will be close to the 50-game mark by the time the Memorial Day weekend comes to a close, which is often the first time of the year that teams can take stock in what they have and what they might need going forward.
As the holiday weekend is about to begin in the U.S., let’s take a look at our MLB best bets for this Friday night in baseball.
Kansas City Royals vs. Minnesota Twins
The Bet: Minnesota -1.5, +115 (Caesars Sportsbook)
We’re not going to be undeterred by yesterday’s result and jump right back on this one due to longer-term trends. As we mentioned yesterday, the Twins swept the Royals in KC last weekend and are one of the better home teams in the league, while the Royals have struggled on the road. After falling behind 2-0 early last night, the Twins’ offense went dormant, and Kansas City scored three in the eighth to pull out the win.
The Twins are sending Bailey Ober to the mound, who went five innings and allowed just one run in his last outing against KC on Sunday. In his last four starts, Ober has given up a total of three runs in 19.2 innings pitched.
Brad Keller (1-4, 3.20 ERA) will be going for the Royals. His overall numbers aren’t bad, but he hasn’t received much run support in his games, leading to the 1-4 record. More concerning for the Royals, however, is that Keller’s last three starts have been shaky, allowing a total of 12 runs in 19.2 innings pitched and includes giving up four runs to the Twins in seven innings last Saturday.
It’s difficult to envision Minnesota dropping three in a row to the likes of the Tigers (Wednesday) and Royals (last night), so we’re counting on a bounce-back effort tonight with the bats waking up.
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. San Diego Padres
The Bet: Pittsburgh +1.5, -120 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Pittsburgh has the edge in the pitching matchup tonight at San Diego, where despite holding an overall 28-16 record, the Padres have been shaky at home and have had trouble scoring runs.
The Pirates are coming off winning two out of three at home over Colorado and send Jose Quintana to the mound, who has pitched to a 2.43 ERA this season. Walks have been problematic early in the season, but he’s only allowed more than one free pass in one of his last five starts. Last time out, he had a short 3.2 inning outing against St. Louis but didn’t allow any runs in his previous two starts against Cincinnati and the powerful Dodgers offense.
Sean Manaea goes for the Padres, and while his 55 strikeouts are impressive, he’s allowed 16 walks on the year and has an ERA of 4.04. He’s allowed at least three earned runs in each of his last five starts, and included in that stretch is a 6.2-inning outing against the Pirates on April 30 where he allowed three runs and three walks while striking out six in what would be a 7-6 Pittsburgh win in extra innings.
San Diego is just 11-9 at home this season. In 10 home games in May, they are 5-5, but notably, all five wins were by just one run. With that and the pitching edge going to Pittsburgh, we like the Pirates with the +1.5 cushion on the run line.
Houston Astros vs. Seattle Mariners
The Bet: Houston -1.5, -120 (Bet MGM)
AL West rivals Houston and Seattle open a three-game series tonight at T-Mobile Park in Seattle with each team heading in different directions. The Astros have won four of their last five, whereas the Mariners have dropped four of their last five, including two in a row at home to lowly Oakland. Making matters worse for the M’s, Houston swept Seattle in their last series that saw the Mariners scratch just two runs across the plate in the three games combined.
Houston is sending Justin Verlander to the mound, having another incredible season after missing significant time due to Tommy John surgery. Verlander is 6-1 with a 1.22 ERA. On May 4, he allowed two runs in 6.2 innings pitched in a 7-2 win over Seattle, and since then, he hasn’t allowed a run in his last three starts (19 innings). He struck out eight and didn’t walk a batter over six innings against Texas his last time out.
Seattle’s Chris Flexen is in need of a good start, as he’s allowed 14 runs in his last 14 innings pitched over three starts. His last decent outing was against Houston on May 3, when he gave up one run in five innings of work. His record on the season is 1-6 with a 4.98 ERA.
Given both teams’ recent play, the lopsided pitching matchup, and Houston having no problem shutting the M’s down in their three-game series earlier this month, we are confident in a comfortable Astros win tonight.