Apr 18, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros right fielder Kyle Tucker (30) reacts after hitting an RBI single during the eighth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
After another rainout and another 1-1 day Sunday, Dalton Brown (47-42 overall) hopes to avoid the rain on Monday with two picks in Houston and one in sunny Los Angeles in Monday’s edition of Gallery Sports’ Betting Picks.
7:10 p.m. CT: San Francisco Giants at Houston Astros
The Picks: Astros First 5 Innings -0.5 (-120) at BetMGM, Astros -1.5 (+110) at Caesars
The Houston Astros will begin a three-game home series with the San Francisco Giants on Monday night, and I’m backing Luis Garcia and the ‘Stros to handle business. The Giants are headed to H-Town from extremely high-elevation Mexico City, where they just played two games against San Diego in which they allowed 22 runs and had to use their bullpen for eleven innings. Making matters worse for San Francisco is that Monday’s starter, Ross Stripling (0-1, 6.89) enters the game sporting an 8.25 xERA and having completed five innings just once, on April 2. Luis Garcia, suddenly one of the American League’s hottest arms, will pitch for the Astros. Garcia enters with a 13-inning scoreless streak in progress, having won two consecutive starts in dominant fashion over elite lineups in Toronto and Tampa Bay. Houston’s bullpen, improving as the season has gone along, is now up to third in baseball in xFIP and should be able to hold any lead Luis Garcia passes along.
9:10 p.m. CT: Philadelphia Phillies at Los Angeles Dodgers
The Pick: Dodgers team total OVER 4.5 (-120) at BetMGM
After leaving Houston late Sunday night following their loss on Sunday Night Baseball, the Phillies will fly three hours west to Los Angeles and begin a three-game set with the Dodgers on Monday night. Philadelphia will open the series with Taijuan Walker on the mound, and I think the Dodgers will jump all over him. Los Angeles has scored more runs in the first inning than any other team in baseball and leads MLB in first-inning homers with eight. Walker’s first-inning ERA is 7.20 this season – during his five first innings, he’s allowed four earned runs on five hits and four walks. Overall, Walker is handing out free passes at a higher rate than 82% of MLB pitchers, and the Dodgers are a notoriously patient bunch. Add in that L.A.’s offense is finally getting healthier and building confidence after a sweep of St. Louis over the weekend, and Monday night does not look promising for Taijuan Walker. If the Dodgers (117 wRC+ vs. RHPs, fourth-best in MLB) need to add runs late, I think they can – Philadelphia’s bullpen ranks 24th in baseball with a 4.59 ERA in 2023.