MLB picks: Brewers vs. Cardinals, A’s vs. Astros
Eight of the nine MLB tilts taking place this Thursday are home openers for teams who played their first two series of the season on the road. We’ll take a look at two of them below.
First up is the St. Louis Cardinals’ home opener, in which they host the Milwaukee Brewers. Then we’ll preview the Houston Astros’ initial home game of 2021 against the Oakland Athletics.
Thu, April 8 2021, 8:15 PM
Corbin Burnes and Adam Wainwright had polar-opposite beginnings to their 2021 campaigns. Burnes struck out 11 over 6 1/3 innings while allowing just one hit – a solo home run – to the Minnesota Twins, while Wainwright was shelled for six runs on seven hits in only 2 2/3 innings against the Cincinnati Reds.
However, bettors should be backing veteran starter “Waino” and the Cardinals against the Brewers on Thursday.
Burnes has pitched poorly against the Redbirds in the past, producing a 7.02 ERA over 16 2/3 innings dating back to 2019. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt has been particularly effective against the California native, gathering five hits in 11 trips to the plate with a home run.
Wainwright, by contrast, has a 3.41 ERA in his last 34 1/3 innings pitched against Milwaukee. The Brewers have begun poorly at the plate in 2021, notching a mere 3.16 runs per game (26th).
The St. Louis offense has exceeded expectations thus far, producing 5.5 runs per game (ninth) at the dish through one week of play.
Fri, April 9 2021, 12:10 AM
The Astros completed a four-game sweep of the A’s last weekend, and they should pick up where they left off in their home opener on Thursday night.
Southpaw Cole Irvin, tagged for four runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings against Houston last Friday, gets the nod for Oakland here. That effort was no fluke for the ‘Stros, who have punished lefties to the tune of an MLB-best 1.100 OPS through 102 at-bats.
The sample size is small, but second baseman Jose Altuve’s 8-for-13 mark against lefties this season can’t be ignored, nor can third baseman Alex Bregman’s two home runs in nine at-bats.
Cristian Javier counters for Houston in this spot. The second-year starter was on a short leash in his 2021 bow, allowing two runs on three hits while striking out four in just 3 2/3 innings. He should be able to go a bit longer here, but if he can’t, the Astros’ superb bullpen (2.66 ERA, fifth in the majors) can bail him out.
By contrast, the A’s relievers have been a liability through one week of play, producing a 6.16 ERA (25th).