MLB Pick for Mariners-Red Sox: George Kirby over 4.5 strikeouts, +130
This is the third career start for George Kirby, the well-regarded Mariners prospect who struck out 12 batters (2 walks) over 7.2 spring innings, then started the season in the minors, striking out 32 batters (5 walks) over 24.2 innings. He then of course pitched great in his major league debut versus Tampa Bay, striking out seven batters (no walks) over six scoreless innings. I have no idea what happened vs. the Mets last time when he uncharacteristically struck out only one batter over four innings, but he still pitched pretty well there (four baserunners over 4.0 innings, with one earned run allowed). Based on that non-representative effort, I think we're getting a break on the price today, as Kirby should probably be good for a strikeout per inning and figures to log five or six innings here.
MLB Pick for Astros vs. Rangers Houston Astros -1.5 runs, +100
Astros starter Framber Valdez started the season a little bit shaky, pitching well vs. the Angels in his season debut, but then running into big-time trouble with walks in his next two starts (which is generally his issue when he goes off form). He seems to have cleaned that up, however, allowing no more than two walks in any of his last four starts. When he's on (as he generally is), Valdez is very hard to square up and excels at keeping the ball on the ground, allowing only one home run so far this year. On the other side of this matchup, Rangers starter Glenn Otto has yet to go past five innings and has allowed multiple runs in three of his four starts, including eight runs allowed (along with two homers) vs. the Red Sox last time out. Obviously, Houston can bring the offense, and it's notable their big power hitter Yordan Alvarez is 3-for-6 with a pair of doubles vs. Otto, while Chas McCormick is 2-for-3 with a homer. I like the Astros' chances today.
MLB Best Bets for Thursday, May 19
A quick rewind of our best MLB picks for today's action
George Kirby OVER 4.5 strikeouts (+130)
Astros -1.5 vs. the Rangers (+100)