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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:59 PM

Weekend Watch

Editor's Note: Don't miss out on 30 days of Winning Baseball Picks from Joe Williams for the 2018-19 MLB regular season. Click to win! 

Thursday, April 18
The Giants and Nationals have a battle of left-handed pitchers for the matinee game from the nation's capital. San Francisco has won just three of their past 11 on the road against left-handed starting pitchers, and they're 1-6 in the past seven against NL East opponents. In addition, San Francisco is just 7-22 in the past 29 games away from home. The Nationals are 1-5 in the past six vs. LHP, although they're 4-1 in the past five against teams with a losing overall record. The 'over' has connected in five of the past six meetings overall, and the over is 4-1-1 in the past six meetings at Nationals Park.

The Reds have dropped four in a row against NL West opponents, and they're 0-5 in the past five road games against a team with a losing home mark. Cincinnati is also 10-28 in the past 38 contests against teams with a winning overall mark. The Padres have won just once in the past five at home, and they're 0-4 in the past four at home vs. RHP. The under is 22-6 in the past 28 road games, and 18-5 in their past 23 away from home against winning teams. The under is 7-3 in San Diego's past 10 home games, too. However, the over is 10-1 in the past 11 meetings, and 4-1-1 in the past six meetings at Petco Park. Weather Report The wins will be blowing in at a 14-17 mph clip from right field to home plate, and there is a 35 percent chance of rain or greater fort he White Sox-Tigers game all throughout the early-evening hours. A postponement here wouldn't be a surprise. For the Jays-Twins in Minneapolis, the wind will blow out to right field at 10-13 mph. In Denver, wind will also be an issue, but it's blowing in from left-center field at 11-14 mph in the early to middle innings, tapering off to 8-11 mph by the final third of the game.

Friday, April 19
Madison Bumgarner takes the ball on Friday for the series opener against the Pirates in the Steel City. San Francisco is just 1-5 in the past six starts by MadBum, and 0-4 in his past four assignments against NL Central opponents. In addition, they're just 9-23 in his past 32 starts away from home. The Pirates have won four in a row at home, and four of the past five overall. In addition, the Bucs have won 15 of the past 20 games against teams with a losing overall mark. San Francisco has won seven of their past nine trips to Pittsburgh, too.

Justin Verlander makes the start on the road against the Texas Rangers against Drew Smyly in a matchup which looks ultra-favorable on paper. The 'Stros have won seven in a row against teams with a winning overall mark, and they're 4-0 in the past four after an odd day. In addition, Houston has won 21 of the past 29 against AL West foes, and 20 of their past 28 vs. LHP. Houston has also won 20 of Verlander's past 24 starts on the road, and 16 of his past 22 against divisional opponents. The Rangers have won four in a row at home, and they're 5-1 in the past six at Globe Life Park vs. RHP. Houston has also won 18 of their past 23 trips to Arlington, while the under has hit in four of the past five meetings in Texas. Weather Report The Diamondbacks and Cubs will square off in an afternoon battle at Wrigley, and the wind will be blowing in briskly from left field into the face of the batters at a whopping 24-27 mph. That will help 'under' bettors immensely. There is a 30 percent chance of precipitation in Baltimore for the Twins-O's matchup. If the game does get underway, the winds will be blowing out at 17-20 mph to left-center field.

In Pittsburgh, a delay is likely, as the weather forecast calls for a 50 percent or greater chance of rain through 10 p.m., lowering to 30 percent. The Giants and Bucs might have trouble getting underway. There is a 30-40 percent chance of rain for Royals-Yankees, too. If they are able to play, the winds will blow 17-20 mph from right to left. The White Sox-Tigers will deal with 40 or more percent chance of rain, and winds 19-22 mph blowing out to right field. For the Braves-Indians, they'll also faced a steady rain, and it sounds unlikely they'll get the interleague series opener in. In Texas, the Astros and Rangers will deal with winds of 10-13 mph blowing out to the right-center field power alley. Lastly, the Mets and Cardinals will also deal with breezy conditions, blowing 15-18 mph from left field to first base.

Saturday, April 20

Matt Shoemaker will take the ball for the Blue Jays, and he knows the Athletics well from his days with the Angels. He is 4-1 with a 3.79 ERA across eight starts against the A's since the start of the 2016 season, and they're hitting just .258 against him. Shoemaker is 2-1 with a 3.91 ERA in five outings at Coliseum, and the A's are hitting just .217 against him there with 24 strikeouts over 25 1/3 innings. If anyone gives him trouble, it would be who you expect. 1B/DH Khris Davis is 6-for-15 (.400) with two doubles and two solo homers, while OF Stephen Piscotty has two homers and seven RBI vs. Shoemaker in just nine at-bats.

The Rays will take their hacks against Red Sox SP Rick Porcello, who enters 0-3 with an 11.12 ERA and 3.00 WHIP. The struggles could continue, as Tampa Bay's current roster is a collective .287 with five doubles, a triple, two homers and 13 RBI across 150 at-bats. However, since the start of the 2016 season he is 9-6 with a 3.71 ERA with 106 strikeouts over 106 2/3 innings across 17 starts vs. Tampa Bay. That includes a 5-3 mark, 2.93 ERA and 56 strikeouts over 55 1/3 innings in nine starts at Tropicana Field.

Gerrit Cole and the Astros will look to take care of the Rangers in Arlington. You know Houston's dominance vs. Texas, but he is just 1-2 overall this season despite a 3.24 ERA, 36 strikeouts and a 0.92 WHIP. Since joining the Astros he is 2-0 with a 2.88 ERA in four starts vs. the Rangers, and they're hitting just .180 against him with nine walks and 40 strikeouts across 25 innings.

Sunday, April 21

Collin McHugh will face the Rangers in the series finale. He is humming along with a 3-1 record, 1.96 ERA and 0.83 WHIP with 27 strikeouts over 23 innings in four starts. Since the start of the 2016 season he is 2-1 with a 3.62 ERA with 26 strikeouts and just three homers over 27 1/3 innings in four starts and six relief appearances against Texas. He is also 2-1 in three starts and three relief appearances at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, but he has a dismal 5.12 ERA in those appearances. If anyone gives him trouble, it might be Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor. Andrus is 7-for-22 (.318) against him overall, while Odor is 7-for-23 (.304) with a double, a home run and five RBI. 

In a replay of the 1995 World Series, the Cleveland Indians host the Atlanta Braves at Progressive Field on Sunday Night Baseball. RHP Shane Bieber will make the start, and he has impressed to date for a team already with an embarrassment of riches in the pitching department. Bieber is 2-0 with a 1.71 ERA and 0.81 WHIP over his three starts and four appearances across 21 innings with 22 strikeouts. He enters play with three consecutive quality starts. Max Fried is also on a similar roll, posting three straight quality starts heading into play, posting a 2-0 record, 0.92 ERA and 0.86 WHIP with 12 strikeouts and just four walks over 19 2/3 innings. While the Braves entered the series 5-1 in the past six interleague games, the under is 4-1 in their past five interleague road outings vs. RHP. The under is 5-1 in Cleveland's past six interleague home games against teams with a winning record entering the series, too. The under was also 9-2-1 in the previous 12 meetings between Atlanta and Cleveland heading into Friday's series opener.

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