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Posted at 10:30 AM EST.
8:40 PM EST. The Rockies are promoting right-hander Jeff Hoffman to start this game. It’s been a rough start to the season for the once-premium pitching prospect, as Hoffman will lug a 7.57 ERA with him from Triple-A to the Majors. It’s been a boom or bust year for Hoffman so far in the minors, as he’s had two absolutely disastrous starts but also mixed in a series of impressive outings; Hoffman yielded 10 earned runs in four innings on April 16 and another eight earned runs in his most recent start, but he was quite good in the interim (1.96 ERA, 27-to-5 K/BB ratio in 18.1 innings of Triple-A ball, plus a respectable outing at the MLB level). This is a make or break year for Hoffman in many regards, as it’s his final option season. It’s also worth noting that all of his minor league starts were for Albuquerque of the PCL, which is the most hitter friendly minor-league in the country. In his one start for Colorado this year back on April 23, Hoffman went five full against the Nationals, struck out six, didn’t walk a batter and allowed six hits.
After 11 appearances (7 starts) covering 44 innings, John Means (LHP - BAL) carries a 2.68 ERA into this start at Colorado. We’re not sure how Means has avoided disaster after disaster but his charmed life is not going to last and we now get to back the Rockies on the run-line without spotting anything because of Means’ misleading surface ERA. Truth be told, Means’ high-wire act is about to blow up. For one, his 44% fly-ball rate and weakening strikeout rate is a bad fit for Coors Field. In his last start, Means walked three, struck out one and had a 2% swing & miss rate. Over his last five starts, he struck out 17 batters in 28 frames. His xERA over his last three starts is 7.41 but credit his unsustainable 83% strand rate and 25% hit rate for one of the most misleading ERA’s in the game.
John Means was an 11th round pick in 2014 out of West Virginia University with more of an imposing figure than quality stuff on the mound. It’s a four-pitch mix of mostly below average grades that resulted in a lot of hard hit (23.1% ine-drives) and fly ball (43.3%) outcomes last year for Triple-A Norfolk in the International League.
Finally, the Orioles played their hearts out in their last series at home against the Yanks and got swept in four games to drop 20 games (15-35) under .500. They have dropped nine of 10 and losing takes a big toll. The O’s will now play in a very unfamiliar, quirky and difficult park for those unfamiliar with it. The Rocks just scored 20 runs in three games at Pittsburgh’s pitcher-friendly park and against this staff and team, they might score 40 in the three-game set. Can this one end any other way? We think not.
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COLORADO -1½ +108 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.16)