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MLB Picks and Predictions for Thursday April 9

MLB Picks and Predictions for Thursday April 9

MLB Picks and Predictions for Thursday April 9

Our team of writers and handicappers hand out their MLB picks and predictions for Thursday April 9.

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Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres, 3:35PM ET

The Los Angeles Dodgers didn't waste much time keeping Clayton Kershaw in the minor leagues, bringing their latest young pitching star up in May and watching him encounter some ups-and-downs as he adjusted to the majors.

They're hoping to see more of his phenom side this season.

Kershaw will make his 2009 debut Thursday afternoon when the visiting Dodgers wrap up their series with the San Diego Padres looking for a third win in four games.

Kershaw (5-5, 4.26 ERA) was the youngest player in the majors when he was called up on May 24, and the seventh overall pick of the 2006 draft made his debut a day later despite having little over a year of minor-league experience.

It took him two months and 10 starts to pick up his first win, but following an 0-3 start with a 5.18 ERA in his first nine outings, Kershaw settled down. He went 5-2 with a 3.68 ERA the rest of the way, striking out 65 in 66 innings and limiting opponents to a paltry .241 average.

The Dodgers (2-1) saw Kershaw's inconsistent side again in the spring, when he had a 4.55 ERA in eight starts. What they also saw, though, was a changeup that's quickly becoming the 21-year-old's out pitch.

MLB Free Pick: Los Angeles | Best Line: -145 SBG Global

Milwaukee Brewers at San Francisco Giants, 7:05PM ET

Matt Cain is regarded as one of the top young pitchers in the majors, but his record over the past two seasons hasn't backed up that status thanks to a lack of run support from his San Francisco Giants teammates.

After the Giants struggled at the plate in their last game, the 24-year-old right-hander hopes to avoid more misfortune Thursday night when San Francisco hosts the Milwaukee Brewers in the decisive contest of their three-game set.

Cain went 8-14 with a 3.76 ERA in 34 starts last season, and has started at least 32 games in each of his last three years. For the second straight year, however, Cain received the second-lowest run support in the majors.

Since the start of the 2007 season, the Giants scored one or no runs in 29 of Cain's 66 starts. He's 15-30 with a 3.71 ERA during that span after winning 13 games in 2006.

MLB Free Pick: San Francisco | Best Line: -115 SBG Global

Oakland A’s at Los Angeles Angels, 10:05PM ET

The Oakland Athletics' parade of young pitchers continues Thursday night with another one of their top prospects - and Olympic hero - making his major league debut.

In Brett Anderson's first career start, the A's will also look for their third straight series win over the Los Angeles Angels in Thursday night's finale of a four-game set in Anaheim.

Anderson, a 21-year-old acquired in the 2007 trade that sent Dan Haren to Arizona, played at all three levels of Oakland's minor league system and struck out 118 in 105 innings while walking just 27 and posting a 3.69 ERA. He took a break in August to lead the U.S. Olympic team to the bronze medal with a win over Japan.

The left-hander continued that strong pitching into Oakland's spring training, finishing 3-1 with a 2.83 ERA with 15 strikeouts and six walks in 28 2-3 innings.

Fellow youngsters Dallas Braden (25 years old), Trevor Cahill (21) and Dana Eveland (25) have already made starts for the A's (2-1). Only Eveland had started more than 25 games coming into this season, and the trio combined to allow eight earned runs in 17 innings.

Offensively, Oakland has also taken advantage of a struggling Angels' bullpen, which gave up six runs in Wednesday night's 6-4 loss. After earning a save in Monday night's season-opening victory, new closer Brian Fuentes couldn't follow up with an encore for Los Angeles (1-2).

MLB Free Pick: Oakland | Best Line: +120 SBG Global

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