Kick off your weekend with five free Friday MLB winners!
Look below to find our free MLB Picks for the five best games on today’s schedule!
Cincinnati Reds @ Chicago Cubs – 2.20PM ET
A pair of NL Central rivals will kick off their three game weekend series on Friday when the Cubs host the Reds at Wrigley Field.
As a result of their recent 5-3 victory over the Pirates, Chicago completed a three game series sweep in Pittsburgh and have moved to equal top spot in the NL Central, sharing a 27-22 record with the St Louis Cardinals.
Cincinnati closed out their series against the Nationals in Washington with a double header on Thursday. The Reds split the two seven inning games to take a 2-1 series win on the road. Cincinnati pitched a shutout in the final game of the series, winning 3-0 thanks to Sonny Gray. Gray allowed just two hits in six scoreless innings with the ball.
RHP Vladimir Gutierrez is set to be promoted from Louisville to make his big league debut for the #Reds Friday at Wrigley.
In three starts at Triple-A this season, he went 2-0 with a 2.65 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, .153 average against and 21 K in 17.0 IP.
Welcome to The Show, Guti! pic.twitter.com/UtJzFVqYJn
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) May 26, 2021
With Wade Miley on the IL, Cincinnati will call Vladimir Gutierrez up from the minors to make his major league debut on Friday. Gutierrez is 2-0 with a 2.65 ERA, 0.941 WHIP and 21 strikeouts over 17 innings with Louisville this year. The Reds will support their debutant with the second worst pitching staff in baseball, who currently have a 5.06 team ERA.
Chicago’s Adbert Alzolay will take the mound for his ninth start of the season in this contest. Alzolay has a 2-4 record, 4.30 ERA, 0.864 WHIP and 45 strikeouts over 44 innings of work on the year. The right hander threw seven innings in his last start, allowing two runs on five hits with no walks and six strikeouts in a 2-1 Cubs loss.
Alzolay has been a solid performer in 2021 and we think he will give Chicago enough of an edge at the mound over the debuting Gutierrez. As well as that, the Cubs have won eight of their past 10 games, scored 4+ runs in seven of those games and will be at home for this encounter. Contrastingly Cincinnati has a 3-7 record from their last 10 games, a 10-13 record on the road and will be coming off a double header on Thursday.
Atlanta Braves @ New York Mets – 7.10PM ET
The Braves and the Mets will kick off their three game series on Friday night, as the two NL East rivals face off in New York.
After rain delayed their game on Thursday, New York won both games of their Thursday double header against Colorado to complete a 3-1 series victory and maintain their two and a half game lead over Atlanta and Philadelphia on top of the NL East.
After not playing on Thursday, The Braves will enter this weekends series fresh. Atlanta split their two game set against the Red Sox in Boston earlier this week, winning Tuesday’s clash 3-1 before going down 5-9 on Wednesday.
Ian Anderson will make his 10th start for the Braves this season. Anderson is 4-1 with a 2.82 ERA and 1.20 WHIP this season. The right hander threw six scoreless innings and collected a win in his last start against Pittsburgh.
New York will counter by sending Taijuan Walker to the mound for his ninth start of the year. Walker has been a key contributor to the Mets No. 3 ranked pitching staff this season (3.19 team ERA), as the right hander boasts a 3-1 record, 2.05 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 41 strikeouts across 44 innings this year. Walker has allowed just one earned run on six hits across 17 innings over his last three starts.
Given the state of the Mets growing injury list, we like the Braves to get a win in this matchup and make up some ground on their division leaders. We think Ian Anderson has been performing well enough with the ball to match it with Taijuan Walker and New York’s No. 3 ranked bullpen. While offensively, the Braves rank fifth in the league for runs scored this year and we can’t see them being outplayed by a Mets lineup that has scored the fewest runs in the majors.
Miami Marlins @ Boston Red Sox – 7.10PM ET
The Miami Marlins are headed to Fenway Park to kick off their three game weekend series against the Boston Red Sox.
Having not played since Wednesday or travelled since Sunday, the Red Sox should be feeling fresh entering Friday’s matchup. Boston split their recent two game set against the Braves at home, dropping Tuesday’s clash 1-3, before reigniting their offense on Wednesday with a 9-5 win.
As for the Marlins, they recently split their four game series with the Phillies 2-2. After playing their last seven games at Marlins Park, Friday will be Miami’s first of nine consecutive games on the road.
#RedSox win 9-2
Xander Bogaert’s 5th career grand slam.
✈️ Baltimore pic.twitter.com/XOzlGWUSqu
— Guerin Austin (@guerinaustin) May 5, 2019
Cody Poteet will make his third start of the season for the Marlins on Friday. Poteet is 2-0 this year, with a 1.06 ERA, 0.71 WHIP and 13 strikeouts across 17 innings. The right hander threw seven scoreless innings in his last outing against the Mets, allowing just three hits and collecting four strikeouts.
Boston will give Martin Perez the ball for his 10th start of the season. Perez in 2-2 with a 3.55 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 44 strikeouts over 45.2 innings of work this year. The left hander has thrown for six innings in each of his last two starts, most recently allowing three earned runs on five hits against Philadelphia.
Miami are scoring an average of 3.92 runs per game, ranking them 25th in the majors. However, the Marlins pitching staff is sporting a solid 3.34 team ERA, good for seventh in the league. The Red Sox 5.18 runs per game are the second most in baseball, while Boston’s pitching staff enters with a 3.92 team ERA, placing them 14th in the league.
Although Cody Poteet has been nothing shy of tremendous this season, his dominant numbers are from quite a small body of work. As Boston are at home and the No. 2 scoring offense in the league, we think that the Red Sox will get on top of Poteet in this matchup. As well as that, Martin Perez has been in solid form this year and should be able to restrict Miami’s 25th ranked lineup.
San Diego Padres @ Houston Astros – 7.10PM ET
Two teams with World Series Championship aspirations will face off on Friday when the Houston Astros host the San Diego Padres for the first match of their three game weekend series.
Although the Padres dropped their final game against the Brewers 5-6, San Diego left Milwaukee with a 2-1 series victory. But more importantly, the Padres improved to 32-19, which is the best record in baseball.
As for the Astros, they recently split a two game set against the Dodgers in Houston, going down 2-9 on Tuesday before winning Wednesday’s game 5-2. Having not travelled since Sunday or played since Wednesday, Houston should be fresh coming into Friday’s series.
Framber Valdez will make his first start of the season and 24th career start for Houston on Friday. Valdez has a 4.19 career ERA, however the southpaw is coming off a solid 2020 where he posted a 5-3 record and 3.57 ERA from 10 starts.
San Diego’s Dinelson Lamet will take the mound for his fourth start and sixth appearance of the year on Friday. Lamet is 1-0 this season with a 1.64 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 12 strikeouts from just 11 innings. The right hander has not thrown more than three innings in his last three appearances.
Prior to Friday’s clash, both Houston (second) and San Diego (seventh) are top 10 lineups in the league, having scored 255 and 237 runs respectively in 2021. However, the Padres will undeniably have an advantage with the ball, as they boast the No. 1 ranked team ERA in baseball, 2.60. Houston are the ranked 12th pitching staff with a 3.84 team ERA
Seeing as both teams are capable of large hitting/high scoring games, we’re going to take the Padres on the road in this encounter. We think San Diego’s lineup will respond from a loss in their last outing and pile on the runs against Framber Valdez, who will be making his season debut. As well as that, Dinelson Lamet has been in solid form recently and whether he pitches deep into this game or not, the Padres will support him with the No. 1 ranked pitching staff in baseball.
Kansas City Royals @ Minnesota Twins – 8.10PM ET
A pair of AL Central rivals will close out our Friday MLB schedule when the fourth placed Minnesota Twins host the third placed Kansas City Royals.
The Royals will be looking to bounce back from a 1-2 series loss to the Rays in Tampa Bay earlier this week. Kansas City stole game one of the series 2-1 on the road, before they were outscored 3-9 in the following two games.
As for the Twins, they recently moved out of last place in their division thanks to a series sweep over the Orioles at home. Minnesota outscored Baltimore 18-9 in the three game series, scoring eight runs on Monday and seven runs on Tuesday.
— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) May 26, 2021
Randy Dobnak will look to continue the Twins winning streak on Friday when he makes his second start and ninth appearance of the season. Dobnak is 1-3 with a 5.75 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 16 strikeouts over 20.1 innings this year. The right hander has been in solid form recently, allowing just two earned runs on seven hits across 11 innings in his last three appearances.
The Royals will counter by sending Kris Bubic to the mound for his third start and seventh appearance this season. Bubic has a 1.52 ERA and 1.14 WHIP from his 23.2 innings this year. The southpaw has thrown 16 innings in his last three outings, allowing just two earned runs on 10 hits in that time.
As the Twins are a poor pitching outfit and the Royals struggle with the bat, this game will likely be decided based on how well the Twins lineup fares against Kris Bubic. Seeing as Minnesota’s recent stretch of wins came against the lowly Orioles, while Kansas City proved to be competitive against Tampa Bay, we like the Royals to win this one on the road. The Twins are simply too inconsistent in their offensive performance to pick against a pitcher in as good a form as Bubic.
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.