There will be plenty of high-profile, high-caliber talent on the mound on Sunday. All tolled, approximately seven ace-type pitchers are scheduled to start for their respective clubs. Our featured games will include some of these immensely talented arms. Join me once again for Diamond Picks as we break down the action for this Sunday, April 18th.
Betting Odds provided by Jazz Sportsbook. Please gamble responsibly.
Season Record: 7-2
Cleveland Indians at Cincinnati Reds 1:10 EDT
The battle of Ohio concludes Sunday afternoon with arguably the game’s best pitcher in Shane Bieber facing off against veteran lefty Wade Miley. Bieber has been a force over his first three starts striking out a second-best 35 batters over 21 innings, one fewer than league-leader Tyler Glasnow who has appeared in one more game. The under has hit in each of Beiber’s three games started. Wade Miley has performed well for the Big Red Machine. He has yet to allow an earned run over 11 innings of work.
Despite Miley providing timely pitching and the Reds being a premier offensive team (first in runs/9, 6.71) Cleveland still has to be the default play on the side. Bieber is a different bread, whomever the opponent you can expect nothing but elite pitching. Last time out Bieber went the distance against a formidable offense in the Chicago White Sox striking out 11 while allowing just three hits. Cleveland may be catching Cincinnati at the right time. They are averaging under four runs per game(3.80) over their last five heading into yesterday’s games.
The main concern is going to be scoring runs. The Indians are far from a dynamic offense (25th in wOBA; .294/27th in hitting; .206) but they may need only four or five runs here. Their numbers are marginally better versus left-handed pitching so they may want to pounce on Miley early. Team leader Jose Ramirez batted .386 and slugged eight homers over 57 ABs when matched up against southpaws in 2020.
Diamond Pick: Cleveland(-165)
Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres 4:10 EDT
What better way to close out your weekend than Padres/Dodgers. From top to bottom these are two teams loaded with star power. We will also be treated to a nice pitching matchup as two Cy Young winners will go head to head in Trevor Bauer and Blake Snell.
There is no question, Snell is a big-time performer, especially when the stakes are high. He will need to bring his “A” game in this high-profile matchup. Out of the gate, Snell has been fairly underwhelming with a 4.35 ERA over just 10.1 innings of work. His last game was ugly, he lasted all of 0.2 innings allowing three earned runs to, of all teams, the Pittsburgh Pirates. Snell is a fierce competitor, he will bring it for this one. He last faced the Dodgers in the 2020 World Series when he was famously pulled after just 5.1 innings. In the game, he allowed just a single run and punched out nine. The Dodgers are hitting 40 points lower against lefties (.247) than what they hit versus right-handers (.287) to start 2021.
The Padres, although maybe not as deep as the Dodgers, have a really good offense. The best is yet to come as they are currently averaging only 4.20 runs per contest. The early return of Fernando Tatis Jr. will certainly push the envelope in the near future. They have improved slightly over their last five as they are averaging 5.00 runs. Manny Machado will be a tough out for Bauer. He is 10-for-17 with four HRs over the course of his career. The Dodgers have cruised their way through the schedule to date, they finally get tested in this series, give me the Padres to narrowly grab a victory in the series finale.
Diamond Pick: San Diego(+110)
Follow Joel Dorcas on Twitter @Joel_Dorcas6
Main Image designed by Jeremy Guerin @JeremyCGuerin