Here's a statistic I thought I would never see since closers became such a vital part of baseball: the Toronto Blue Jays have won their past 18 games without a save. How is that possible? Since Toronto's last save the team is 18-16. The opposing team had 14 saves in those 16 wins and Toronto zip. That's because 14 of those Blue Jays wins have come by four or more runs and three more were of the walk-off variety. So the only chance for a save was May 29 in Minnesota with the Jays taking a 6-4 lead into the bottom of the ninth. But Manager John Gibbons let starter Mark Buehrle get a complete game. So, of course, now that I've said this, the Jays will get a save Friday.
Reds at Cubs (-113, TBA)
This is your only matinee with a 4:15 start at Wrigley, and it should be a nice pitching matchup. The Reds will be without shortstop Zach Cosart for a while after he suffered a knee injury on Wednesday against the Phillies and was placed on the DL. He was having a solid season, batting.259 with nine home runs and 28 RBIs. Johnny Cueto (4-4, 2.64) starts for the Reds. So much for any potential elbow problems as Cueto had probably his best start of the season last time out, shutting out San Diego on four hits over seven innings, striking out nine. He hasn't seen the Cubs this season. Anthony Rizzo is just 2-for-18 off him with five strikeouts. Miguel Montero 2-for-16. The Cubs' Jason Hammel (5-2, 2.76) has won two straight starts. He has allowed three runs over 14.2 innings and struck out 18 over that span. Joey Votto is 2-for-12 with a homer off him.
Key trends: The Reds are 3-10 in Cueto's past 13 road starts vs. teams with a winning record. The Cubs are 2-8 in Hammel's past 10 vs. teams with a losing record. The "over/under" has gone under in six of Cueto's past seven vs. teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Assuming no crazy wind, should be a total of 7. Go under. Take Cincinnati.
Yankees at Orioles (+104, 8)
Big loss for the Yankees as excellent closer Andrew Miller has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained forearm. He was 17-for-17 in save opportunities with a 1.03 ERA and 43 strikeouts over 26 1/3 innings. He's likely to miss more than 15 days. Unhittable set-up man Dellin Betances will replace him. Michael Pineda (7-2, 3.33) starts for New York, and the Bombers have won his past two. When he last faced the Orioles, on May 10 at home, he held them to a run over seven innings and struck out a career-high 16, the second-most in team history. J.J. Hardy is 6-for-11 with three solo homers off him. It's Ubaldo Jimenez (3-3, 3.02) for the Birds. He hasn't faced the Yanks this season and hasn't gotten a win since May 11. Carlos Beltran is 6-for-15 with two doubles and two homers off him.
Key trends: New York is 7-1 in Pineda's past eight vs. the NL East. The Orioles are 6-2 in their past eight series openers. The over is 7-0 in Pineda's past seven road starts. The under is 6-0 in Baltimore's past six series openers.
Early lean: Yankees and under.
Blue Jays at Red Sox (-119, 9)
Toronto brings a major-league best eight-game winning streak into this one, has climbed a game over .500 and is just three games out of first in the AL East. Toronto has outscored opponents 57-21 during its current streak. About the only negative is Edwin Encarnacion is having some problems with his left shoulder, but the team doesn't think it's a big deal. He may miss a game or two, however. Drew Hutchison (5-1, 4.91) starts here for Toronto. He is 1-0 with a 7.00 ERA in two starts this season against the Red Sox. Slumping David Ortiz is just 2-for-15 off him. Mike Napoli is 4-for-9 with three doubles. Boston's Joe Kelly (2-4, 5.40) has barely held on to his rotation spot. He has pitched better in his past two outings. He is 0-1 with an 8.49 ERA in two starts vs. Toronto this season. Russell Martin is 4-for-10 with a homer and six RBIs against Kelly.
Key trends: The Jays are 6-0 in Hutchison's past six vs. the AL East. Boston is 7-2 in its past nine at home. The over is 6-0 in Hutchison's past six vs. teams with a losing record. The over is 4-1 in his past five vs. Boston.
Early lean: Jays and over.
Diamondbacks at Giants (-204, 6.5)
San Francisco has placed outfielder Gregor Blanco on the concussion disabled list. It didn't even happen during a game but when he was hit on the head with a between-innings practice throw (they still do that?). Hunter Pence is expected to join him on the DL on Thursday. It's a thinned-out offense, so Giants ace Madison Bumgarner (7-2, 3.38) will need to shine Friday. He allowed a season-high five runs over eight innings last time out but did strike out a season-high 11 against the Phillies. The lefty is 1-0 with a 3.21 ERA in two starts this year vs. the Snakes. Paul Goldschmidt is hitting just .194 off him but does have two homers in 31 at-bats. It's Arizona's Chase Anderson (1-1, 3.12) first career look at the Giants. Anderson is 1-0 with a 2.97 ERA in six road starts in 2015.
Key trends: The Snakes are 0-7 in Anderson's past seven road starts against teams with a winning record. The Giants are 2-8 in Bumgarner's past 10 at home vs. teams with a losing record. The over is 8-1 in his past nine in that scenario.
Early lean: Giants and under.
Dodgers at Padres (+178, 6)
I suppose we can stop the worrying about Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (5-3, 3.36). His past three starts are all wins, and he has pitched 22 innings, allowed two runs and 10 hits while striking out 29. He's pretty good. Kershaw has made one start against the Padres this season, on Opening Day, and allowed three runs and six hits over six innings, striking out nine. Justin Upton is just 4-for-36 with 12 strikeouts off him. Wil Myers is 0-for-5 -- he was activated off the disabled list on Thursday. Odrisamer Despaigne (3-4, 4.72) goes for San Diego. He allowed four runs and nine hits over six innings last time out in a loss to the Reds. He has pitched one inning of relief vs. L.A. in 2015. Yasiel Puig is 2-for-5 with a double and RBI off him.
Key trends: The Dodgers are 2-5 in Kershaw's past seven road starts. The Padres are 6-2 in Despaigne's past eight at home. The Dodgers are 5-0 in Kershaw's past five against San Diego. The over is 4-1 in his past five in San Diego.
Early lean: Dodgers at -110 on the runline and over.
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