MLB Picks and Predictions for April 21st

Baseball has a funny way of humbling even the hottest of teams. Take for example the Colorado Rockies. Sporting the best record in baseball and welcoming back their ace pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez from the disabled list, the Rockies were flying high entering their three-game series with division rival and defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants.

And of course the promptly get smoked in the first two games of the series, including a 6-0 shutout loss in which their returning ace got beat around the yard.

So now all the momentum is San Fran’s direction, right?

And so the go out in the finale, and get rocked 10-2 by the Rocks to salvage the series.

So goes life in Major League Baseball, where it is often remarked that momentum is only as important as tomorrow’s starting pitcher. Along that train of thought, let’s take a look at a few of Thursday’s starters – as well as where some good money making opportunities might be.

Today’s Free Major League Baseball Picks:

Chicago White Sox -110 @ Tampa Bay Rays -104 (Total: 8)

Gavin Floyd (1-1, 4.29 ERA) v. Jeff Niemann (0-2, 6.32 ERA)

Just when everyone was ready to bury the Rays following their 1-8 start, they have suddenly not just “gotten on track” but are actually the hottest team in the league, winners of 8 of their last 9.

It has been a combination of timely hitting and much better pitching that have gotten the Rays right back into the thick of the early AL East race. They have outscored the ChiSox 10-1 in the last two games combined, however things will be a little tougher in the finale with struggling starter Jeff Niemann taking the ball.

Niemann’s plus-6 ERA isn’t the only thing that has gone wrong for the righty this season. His WHIP of 1.66 means he hasn’t had many clean innings this season as well.

The White Sox have too good an offense to struggle a third straight day, especially against a subpar pitcher. The Sox average of 4.56 runs a game ranks tenth in the league overall. I expect they get back on track, send Niemann to the showers early and hold on against a pretty good Tampa Bay bullpen to grab the win.

PICK: Chicago White Sox to WIN (-110)

Philadelphia Phillies -110 @ San Diego Padres +100

Roy Oswalt (2-0, 2.50 ERA) vs. Matt Latos (0-2, 5.84 ERA)

You really don’t get an ‘off-night’ in a three or four game series against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Padres will open facing Roy Oswalt, off to a fantastic start. Then they see Hamels, get an ‘off-night’ against Joe Blanton, and close with a daytime duel with Roy Halladay. Have fun!

The Phillies hit in bunches and give up very few runs. That’s a pretty good recipe. I like Oswalt tonight pitching in a very pitcher-friendly ballpark tonight to give the Phills seven strong innings and earn his third win on the season.

Matt Latos is scuffling a bit in the early season, and Philadelphia is not the lineup to face while you are still working some things out.

Give me the Phils to WIN on the road.

PICK: Philadelphia Phillies to WIN (-110)

Chris Scheeren / Author

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