MLB Picks and Predictions for April 8th

This Friday there is a full fifteen game schedule, including five early starts with home openers for the Braves, Red Sox, Tigers Mets, Twins, Astros, Diamondbacks, Angels, Mariners and World Series Champion Giants.

Today’s MLB Picks:

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves (7:34pm ET)

The pitching matchup for the Braves home opener features two of the best pitchers in the National League in Phillies southpaw Cliff Lee (1-0, 3.86 ERA) facing off against the Braves Tim Hudson (1-0, 1.29 ERA). This early season matchup features two playoff teams from 2010 and the two leading contenders in the NL East this season. Lee gave up three runs over seven innings in his season-opening win over the Astros on Saturday at home, while Hudson, who was 17-9 with a 2.83 ERA last season, allowed one run in seven innings in a 11-2 win over the Nationals on Sunday. The Phillies lead the major leagues with a .353 team batting average, and average 7.2 runs and 12.7 hits per game, but were only 4-5 at Turner Field last season. The Braves offense has not fared as well thus far in 2011, Atlanta is hitting .226 as a team, ranking 24th in the majors. Shortstop Alex Gonzalez is four for twelve with a homerun against Lee in his career, and Lee has posted a 5.06 ERA against Atlanta in his career with a .313 batting average allowed. Atlanta posted a .691 winning percentage at home last season, the pick here is to take the underdog with the strong pitcher at home.

Pick = Atlanta Braves (+1.5 R/L)

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Texas Rangers vs. Baltimore Orioles (7:05 pm ET)

Texas and Baltimore are two of the hottest teams in the majors, this game features a contrast in styles with the Rangers explosive offense facing off against Baltimore’s excellent young pitching. The defending AL Champion Rangers are the last undefeated team (6-0) in the Major Leagues, and their offense has been red hot, outscoring the Red Sox and Mariners by a combined score of 42-20. The starting pitchers are Colby Lewis (12-13, 3.72 ERA in 2010) for the Rangers, who is 0-1 with a 4.97 ERA in two starts against the Orioles; and rookie left-hander Zach Britton (1-0, 1.50 ERA) , who allowed one run and struck out six in six innings in his major league debut against Tamp Bay last time out. Texas was 4-6 against the Orioles last season, and their left-handed hitters, Mitch Moreland (.190 career avg. vs. LHP) and David Murphy (6 career HRs vs. LHP) in particular, have had problems with left-handed pitching. It is always tough for a team to face a pitcher for the first time, and the bet here is that the Rangers will stumble for the first time this season against Britton.

Pick = Baltimore Orioles (+1.5 R/L)

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