MLB Thursday best bets: Gallen to dominate enigmatic Cubs lineup
Our 3-0 record on Tuesday's MLB picks feels like a distant memory after we struck out on our trio of bets on Wednesday. Here are our top plays for a lighter Thursday slate:
After a sterling debut on May 8 and a passable encore on Saturday, how will Mariners rookie George Kirby fare in his third career MLB start? The former first-round pick made the leap straight from Double-A, where he spun a 1.82 ERA in five starts this year, and he's allowed just one earned run through 10 innings of his major-league career.
Up next? The dangerous but enigmatic Red Sox, who have struggled to find any consistency at the plate this year. Boston's lineup ranks in the middle of the road in every major hitting category but leads MLB in chase rate (31.4%), which is good news for a pitcher like Kirby who doesn't often miss bats in the zone.
The Red Sox have also struggled mightily to sustain success in consecutive outings, owning a 3-11 record immediately following a win this year. After Wednesday's surprise win over the Astros, I'd bet on another clunker from Boston in this one.
Anyone who follows our picks regularly knows how much we love Diamondbacks ace Zac Gallen, who ranks first in the majors in ERA (1.05) and WHIP (0.670) among pitchers with at least 20 innings. And we love his chances of shutting down this Cubs lineup for the second straight time.
Gallen's last start came on Saturday, when he allowed one run with nine punchouts in six frames against this Chicago lineup in a 4-2 loss. He generated a season-high 14 swinging strikes in that one and held his sixth straight opponent to two runs or fewer.
It's not as if the Cubs regularly rack up runs - they've plated five or more in just 13 of 36 games (36.1%), including just six times in their last 25 contests. I don't expect that to change with Gallen on the other side.