MLB Picks and Predictions for April 13th

I get it. The baseball season is a marathon. Today’s mark would be the equivalent of halftime of the second game in an NFL season. Still, it isn’t too early to take note of some of the more pleasant surprises in MLB.

Cleveland, despite last night’s loss, has the second best record in the American League at 8-3. I’m not convinced playoff baseball is returning to The Jake anytime soon, but after last year’s miserable season, anything is an improvement.

Baltimore’s lead in the AL East also feels temporary, but it is hard to ignore the work Buck Shoewalter has done in at least getting the O’s to competitive pretty rapidly.

Things are still a little too early to make any sweeping season – but some trends are already starting to emerge. Let’s get to today’s games…

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Today’s Free MLB Picks:

Cincinnati Reds @ San Diego Padres

Small ballpark, big ballpark; the Reds can win in either. After their opening week offensive explosion at home that left them 5-1 and with the most runs scored in the National League, they headed out to Arizona and San Diego; the latter being known as a historically pitcher-friendly park.

Today they go for the sweep after taking two straight close ballgames. Last night’s final score was 8-2, but the Reds needed a huge 11th inning to put the Padres away. It was the second straight night the Reds held San Diego to just two runs.

Today they send their young left-hander, Travis Wood to the mound to face Tim Stauffer. Wood is in his first full-season in the bigs, though not a rookie as he started most of last season. Stauffer is also a little green, habing made just eight starts in the majors, posting a 3-3 record with an impressive 2.80 ERA.

Cincinnati historically struggles on get-away days, particularly in series they have already won. Add in Stauffer’s past dominance over Cincinnati (2-0 with a 1.65 ERA in four starts) and it looks like the kind of day the Pads should be able to salvage at least one game on this tough series. With the favorable money line of +103, it’s a really good value pick.

PICK: San Diego Padres to win (+103)

Milwaukee Brewers @ Pittsburgh Pirates
Sean Marcum (1-1, 4.22 ERA) vs. Kevin Correia (2-0, 1.29 ERA)

Correia and the Pirates have been better than anticipated through their first ten games, dominating in his only two starts. Today he attempts to become the first Pirate to win his first three starts in eight years for the Pirates. Yeah – it’s been that kind of decade in Pittsburgh.

I hate to rain on their parade, but I think that wait may have to continue another season. Milwaukee’s bats are beginning to wake up, and will be easily the toughest lineup Correia has faced this season.

Prince Fielder is hitting .400, and Ryan Braun is off to an MVP-like start, already with 4 homers and 11 RBIs. The Brewers have yet to win a road game, but have erased their ugly 0-4 start and have already crept back to .500.

There is a reason so many experts were high on Milwaukee this year – they have a really good team. If they get quality pitching, which I expect Marcum to settle down starting with today and be the front-line starter they expected when acquiring him, their offense is one of the best in the National League.

Look for Milwaukee to scratch a few early runs on Correia, and to ride Marcum’s first good start for the Brewers to a win.

PICK: Milwaukee Brewers to win (-127)

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Chris Scheeren / Author

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