MLB Thursday Plays: Reds at Pirates, Rangers at Angels

Profile Picture: Robert Criscola

April 4th, 2019

Cincinnati Reds (1-4) at Pittsburgh Pirates (1-3)

Watch: April 4, 7:05 p.m. Eastern

Tyler Mahle (0-0, 0.00 ERA) (CIN) +110 / +1.5 runs (-200) / Over 8 runs (-105) Jordan Lyles (0-0, 0.00 ERA) (PIT) -120 / -1.5 runs (+170) / Under 8 runs (-115)

Two slumping teams in the NL Central meet for the first of a four-game series at PNC Park, as Tyler Mahle and the Cincinnati Reds take on Jordan Lyles and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Neither starter inspires confidence, so the over looks like an easy call.

Mahle’s rookie year could have gone much better, as he was 7-9 with a 4.98 ERA and opponent batting average of .283. He was downright dreadful in night games in 2018, pitching to a 6.55 ERA and opponent batting average of .300. Starling Marte has tallied six hits in 12 at-bats against Mahle.

Lyles is a vagabond swingman who lowered his career ERA to 5.28 through stops in Milwaukee and San Diego last year. Joey Votto (7-for-14), Yasiel Puig (5-for-13) and Matt Kemp (5-for-14) all have great numbers against Lyles, so perhaps they’ll be able to break out of their early-season slumber here.

MLB Free Play: Reds vs. Pirates Over

Texas Rangers (4-2) at Los Angeles Angels (1-5)

Watch: April 4, 10:07 p.m. Eastern

Edinson Volquez (0-0, 9.00 ERA) (TEX) +125 / +1.5 runs (-160) / Over 8.5 runs (-115) Matt Harvey (0-0, 3.00 ERA) (LAA) -135 / -1.5 runs (+140) / Under 8.5 runs (-105)

Matt Harvey has hardly been reliable over the last couple of years, but off an encouraging 2019 debut and with a solid bullpen behind him, he and the Los Angeles Angels look like a good bet against the Texas Rangers on Thursday night.

Harvey hurled six innings of four-hit, two-run ball in his season debut in Oakland last Friday. The Rangers roster has little experience against Harvey, but those who do have struggled, going 1-for-18 combined. At 0-for-7 lifetime, catcher Jeff Mathis stands out. The Angels’ bullpen ERA is 1.47, the second-best mark in baseball so far.

Edinson Volquez got a quick hook in his lone start of 2019, allowing four runs on six hits and four walks in four innings against the Cubs. Several Angels hitters have good lifetime numbers against Volquez, including the resurgent Jonathan Lucroy (10-for-30).

MLB Free Play: Angels runline

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