We’ve got four series openers and a series finale headlining our free moneyline picks on this busy Thursday of Major League Baseball!
Look below to find our free MLB Picks for the five best games on today’s schedule!
Houston Astros @ Detroit Tigers – 7.10PM ET
The Astros and Tigers will kick off our Thursday night MLB schedule with the first clash of their four game series in Detroit.
The Tigers will enter this series feeling confident after their two game series sweep over the Cardinals in Detroit extended their active winning streak to three games. Detroit outscored St Louis 14-4 in the two game set.
As for the Astros, they will also be riding the high of a sweep, having recently won each of their three games against the Orioles in Baltimore. Their 13-0 victory on Wednesday has also extended their active winning streak to 10 consecutive games. Houston outscored Baltimore 26-3 in the three game series.
— Houston Astros (@astros) June 24, 2021
Detroit will send Jose Urena to the mound for his 14th start of the season on Thursday. Urena has a 2-7 record this year, to go along with a 5.79 ERA, 1.59 WHIP and 41 strikeouts across 51.1 innings of action. Urena has been horrible in his last two starts, allowing 14 earned runs across just six combined innings.
Although it is not confirmed, the Astros are expected to counter with Luis Garcia on Thursday. In 12 starts (14 appearance) this season, Garcia owns a 5-4 record and 2.82 ERA. Garcia pitched 4.1 shutout innings as a reliever in his last appearance against Detroit.
Houston have been the best team in baseball recently, winning nine of their 10 consecutive games by two runs or more. As well as their form, the Astros will be looking to vindicate their last performance against the Tigers, which resulted in them being swept at home. Seeing as Houston’s offense is scoring a league high 5.74 runs per game in 2021 and they will be coming up against an out of form Jose Urena (who has conceded 14 runs in his last six innings), we are going to take the Astros on the road in this series opener.
Boston Red Sox @ Tampa Bay Rays – 7.10PM ET
The two top sides in the AL East will conclude their three game set in Florida on Thursday night when the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays face off for the final time this week.
As a result of their 8-2 victory on Wednesday, Tampa Bay tied their three game series against Boston at 1-1, and they also brought an end to their seven game losing streak.
Austin Meadow’s two run homer at the top of the first gave the Rays a 2-1 lead, and after Mike Zunino (two run homer in the second) and Brandon Lowe (three run homer in the third) hit homers of their own, Tampa Bay Bay had scored eight consecutive runs, which proved to be too much for Boston in this matchup.
Garrett Richards took the loss for Boston on Wednesday, allowing four earned runs on three hits with two walks in just 1.2 innings at the mound.
Nick Pivetta will make his 15th start of the season for the Red Sox on Thursday night. The right hander has a 6-3 record, 4.36 ERA, 1.35 WHIP and 86 strikeouts from 74.1 innings of action this year. Despite his strong start to the season, Pivetta has struggled in June. He owns an 0-3 record and 5.66 ERA in four starts this summer and he has allowed six home runs in that time.
The Rays are yet to announce their starting pitcher for Thursday’s series finale.
Although they brought an end to their losing streak on Wednesday, the Tampa Bay Rays haven’t shown enough recently to suggest that they are capable of defeating the Red Sox on a bullpen day. Nick Pivetta has had a rough start to the summer, however we believe his experience will help him contain a struggling Rays offense, who recently averaged just 3.57 runs per game across their seven game losing streak. As well as that, Boston’s lineup has scored 6.28 runs per game throughout the first seven matches of this eight game road trip and we like the Red Sox to finish with a bang against the Rays on a bullpen day.
Atlanta Braves @ Cincinnati Reds – 7.10PM ET
The Braves and Reds will kick off their four game weekend series in Cincinnati on Thursday.
Atlanta will enter this set feeling disappointed after failing to make up ground on the NL East leading Mets in New York during their most recent series. The Braves led the four game series 2-1 heading into Thursday’s decider, however the Mets won the final match 7-3 which resulted in a 2-2 series split.
As for the Reds, they recently brought an end to their five game losing streak with a 10-7 victory in their final game against the Twins in Minnesota. Although they tied the series at 1-1, Cincinnati outscored Minnesota 15-14 across the two games.
Final: Mets 7, #Braves 3.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) June 24, 2021
Tony Santillan will make his third start of the season for the Reds on Thursday. The right hander has a 0-1 record in 2021, to go along with a 4.70 ERA, 1.83 WHIP and eight strikeouts from 7.2 innings of action. Santillan threw three innings in his last start, allowing three earned runs on four hits in that time.
Atlanta are yet to name their starting pitcher for this matchup. However, the Braves 4.33 team ERA is good for the 19th best in baseball.
Seeing as the Braves are 5-3 in their past eight games while the Reds are 1-5 in their past six games, we are going Atlanta on the road in this matchup. Cincinnati has a 16-16 record at home this season, meaning that home field will not be a big factor, and Atlanta are starting to find some form at the mound which is taking the pressure off their already dangerous batting lineup.
Cleveland Indians @ Minnesota Twins – 8.10PM ET
A pair of AL Central rivals will kick off their four game weekend set in Minnesota on Thursday night when the last placed Twins host the third placed Indians.
Although they swept the Orioles at home last week, Cleveland has not been playing their most consistent baseball recently and they will be looking to string some form together in this series against Minnesota. The Indians recently split their two game set against the Cubs in Chicago, winning game one 4-0 before losing game two 1-7.
As for the Twins, their recent 7-10 loss to the Reds at home brought an end to their five game winnings streak. Although the two game series finished in a 1-1 split, Cincinnati outscored Minnesota 15-14 across the two games.
Jose Berrios will make his 15th start of the season for Minnesota on Thursday. Berrios has a 7-2 record, 3.56 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 87 strikeouts from 83.1 innings this year. The right hander has a 2-0 record from his last three starts, allowing nine earned runs in 19 innings in that time.
Cleveland will send J.C Mejia to the mound for his fifth start (eighth appearance of the season). Mejia has a 1-2 record in 2021, to go along with a 6.11 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 16 strikeouts over 17.2 innings of work. The right hander has thrown 9.2 innings in his last three appearances, allowing 12 earned runs and owning an 0-2 record in that time.
Given the Indians retched run of rotation injuries, sending Mejia to the mound against the Twins in Minnesota is an unfortunate necessity that is not going to help Cleveland’s chances of a victory. As well as that, Berrios has been Minnesota’s best starter this season and we like him to get the better of an Indians offense that is scoring just 2.5 runs per game across their last four matches. Seeing as the Twins are 5-1 in their past six matches and their lineup has scored 5.83 runs per game in that time, we like Minnesota to continue their good form against the Indians on Thursday.
Pittsburgh Pirates @ St Louis Cardinals – 8.15PM ET
The two bottom teams in the NL Central will close out our Thursday night MLB schedule when the fourth placed St Louis Cardinals host the last placed Pittsburgh Pirates in the first clash of their four game weekend set.
As a result of their most recent 2-6 loss, the Cardinals have now lost five out of their last six games, including being swept by the Tigers in Detroit in their recent two game set. St Louis were outscored 4-14 across the two losses.
The Pirates also lost their most recent game 3-4 against the White Sox at home, however Pittsburgh won Tuesday’s clash 6-3 to walk away with a 1-1 split series against Chicago. Although they were recent losers of 10 consecutive games, the Pirates now have a 3-2 record in their last five matches, all of which came against above .500 opponents.
Series split. pic.twitter.com/oPmC8GTFBO
— Pirates (@Pirates) June 23, 2021
Chad Kuhl will make his ninth start of the season for Pittsburgh on Thursday. Kuhl has a 1-4 record, 5.66 ERA, 1.49 WHIP and 27 strikeouts from 35 innings of action this year. In two of his last three starts, Kuhl has allowed a combined three earned runs in 12 innings, however the right hander did concede five earned runs in just 3.1 innings in the remaining appearance.
Carlos Martinez will make his 14th start of the season for the Cardinals on Thursday. The right hander owns a 3-8 record, 6.62 ERA, 1.37 WHIP and 47 strikeouts across 68 innings or work. Martinez has taken a loss in each of his last three starts, allowing 15 earned runs on 20 hits in 14 innings at the mound.
Neither team is entering this matchup with great form behind them, however the Pirates are at home with a 3-2 record from their past five, while the Cardinals are on the road with a 1-5 record in their past six outings. Both offenses have struggled recently, however seeing as Martinez gave up eight earned runs on eight hits in 3.0 innings his last start, we believe Pittsburgh’s lineup will be able to post a winnable score against the Cardinals starter at home on Thursday. Especially when considering that Chad Kuhl is coming off a solid six innings (where he allowed just one run) performance for the Pirates in his last start.
If you need more news, information and predictions, head over to our MLB hub page for all your baseball needs!
Want more picks? We have just launched our Premium Picks service, and for a limited time only, it is free! *T&Cs Apply.