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Braves vs Nationals Pick MLB – April 14th + 2 Bonus Picks

It was a rough day for out MLB picks yesterday as both the Reds and White Sox fell as favorites.  The Cincinnati loss was a disappointing one for me with a little tough luck with Brandon Phillips being a late scratch from the lineup to attend to a family emergency and Johnny Cueto leaving a 1-1 game in the fifth with an injury.  That’s a tough way to lose a game.

Today we will try to rebound from just our third losing day of the MLB season with a pair of picks.  Please keep in mind the first pair will be earlier games, while the last pick will focus on the only 8pm game of the day, the ESPN Sunday night matchup between the Yankees and Orioles.

Atlanta Braves +125 vs. Washington Nationals -133

Paul Maholm (2-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Gio Gonzalez (1-0, 0.82 ERA)

To say Paul Maholm has been good this season would be a bit of an understatement.  More like “perfect” would be an apt description.  Gio Gonzalez has been nearly as good, with an ERA under 1.00 and a WHIP of 0.91, which is right in line with Maholm’s 0.87.

It seems like Washington is due after dropping the first two games of this series, but if you can get positive money with a lefty starter who hasn’t given up a run this season, it seems like a pretty good value to me.  Washington’s lineup tends to struggle against lefties, which also plays to Maholm’s favor.

I’ll take the Braves to cap off a sweep (I know I said I liked Gio earlier in the week, but that was before really digging into the pitching matchup and looking at how well Maholm has been throwing the ball).

Free Pick:  Atlanta Braves to WIN +125

Houston Astros +197 at Los Angeles Angels -212 (Total: 8)

Phillip Humber (0-2, 3.09) vs. CJ Wilson (0-0, 5.25 ERA)

Phillip Humber is 0-2, but frankly deserves better with a 3.09 ERA and a WHIP of just 1.11.  Such is likely going to be the season in a nuntshell for any Astros hurler.  Meanwhile, CJ Wilson’s struggles have been more of his own making with two lackluster outings to start the season.

The Angels, despite their dreadful record, are the far superior team.  But something just isn’t quite right in Los Angeles, and until they get it all figured out, laying more than 1:2 odds on them in any game – even against Houston at home – feels a little too rich for my blood.  I’m taking a big flyer tonight and banking on the large value of the Astros and another solid start from Humber.

Free Pick:  Houston Astros to WIN +197

Baltimore Orioles +109 at New York Yankees -116 (Total: 8.5)

Wei-Yin Chen (0-1, 3.75 ERA) vs. Hiroki Kuroda (1-1, 6.75 ERA)

These two teams have been remarkably even over the past year plus, splitting last year’s season series evenly and off to a 1-1 split so far in 2013.  However, the Yankees have won eight of their last 13 games, not including the postseason success.

The Yankees have been hitting far better than expected so far this season, averaging nearly six runs per contest and batting a fantastic .274.  Considering Chen hasn’t won a game since early last August, it is a pretty tall order to expect him to shut down the Yankee lineup tonight.

I’ll admit, the Yankees have impressed me so far this season.  My biggest concern with them was the offense while so many of their reliable bats are injured.  However, the lines have caught up and are far less inflated then they were the opening week of the season.  At -116 with a superior starting pitcher on the mound and at home, it is a very reasonable and good value line.  I’ll take the Yanks capturing an important series tonight over Baltimore, and their #2 starter, Kuroda, bouncing back with a nice outing.

Free Pick:  New York Yankees to WIN -116