I know several Detroit Tigers fans. You will rarely hear cheers from a fan base when it is learned that their team's closer has been lost to a season-ending injury. Yet that's what every Tigers fan I know is thinking with the news that Joe Nathan suffered a torn UCL and tendon in his pitching elbow while on a minor-league rehab assignment and will need Tommy John surgery. I'm presuming that's it for the former All-Star considering he's going to be 41 in November and in the last year of his contract (he says he wants to pitch again). Nathan was a gas can last season and the object of much derision in Tigers home games. He made only one appearance this year. Joakim Soria has done well in his spot.
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Mets at Yankees (+110, 7)
The Mets are now the toast of New York and could be going for their 13th straight win in this one. And it will be a great crowd at Yankee Stadium for this matinee with the "Dark Knight," Matt Harvey, on the mound for the visitors. Harvey (3-0, 3.50) is now the most popular player in the city -- I don't count Alex Rodriguez. Harvey has a mild ankle sprain but has been cleared to start. He pitched against the Yankees in 2013 and allowed a run and six hits over eight innings. Thus not many current Yankees have faced him. Former Met Carlos Beltran is 1-for-3 with two strikeouts. He has been terrible this season entering Friday with a .184 average and 15 strikeouts. CC Sabathia (0-3, 4.35) goes for the Bombers. He has gotten better each time out. Michael Cuddyer has faced him more than any Met with 11 hits in 55 at-bats, a homer and six RBIs.
Key trends: The Mets are 2-7 in their past nine interleague games vs. a lefty. They are 1-4 in Harvey's past five on the road. The Yankees have lost six straight Sabathia starts. The "over/under" has gone over in seven of his past 10 at home.
Early lean: Mets and under.
Giants at Rockies (-120, 10)
It's obviously not breaking news that the Rockies can rake but struggle to pitch, especially at home. Yet ace Jorge De La Rosa was great at Coors Field last year, going 10-2 with a 3.08 ERA in 15 starts. His 2015 season debut was delayed due to a groin injury and it was ugly as De La Rosa was bombed for nine runs and nine hits in 2.0 innings at home vs. the Padres on Monday. That could be an ominous sign or maybe De La Rosa was simply rusty. De La Rosa was 1-2 with a 4.87 ERA in five starts vs. the Giants in 2014. Buster Posey is 8-for-28 with two doubles, a homer and seven RBIs off him. Tim Hudson (0-2, 3.93) gets the call for the Giants. He lost at home to the Rockies on April 14, allowing three runs and eight hits in seven innings. Corey Dickerson, who is off to a strong start, is 4-for-10 with a homer off Hudson.
Key trends: The Giants are 6-1 in their past seven vs. a lefty starter. They are 1-6 in Hudson's past seven vs. the NL West. Colorado is 8-2 in De La Rosa's past 10 at home vs. the Giants. The over is 8-2 in his past 10 vs. the NL West.
Early lean: Rockies and over.
Dodgers at Padres (-110, 7)
Ian Kennedy returns to the rotation for San Diego. He injured his hamstring in his season debut on April 9 against the Giants and left after 2.1 scoreless innings. Kennedy is healthy now and will be activated, pushing Odrisamer Despaigne back to the bullpen. Last season, Kennedy was 13-13 with a 3.63 ERA over 201 innings. He was 0-3 with a 4.00 ERA in six starts, by far his most against any team, against the Dodgers. Andre Ethier should get a start in the L.A. outfield as he is 11-for-34 with two homers and five RBIs off him. Yasiel Puig is just 3-for-21 off Kennedy. Maybe he gets the night off. Brandon McCarthy (2-0, 4.50) starts for L.A. His season debut was against San Diego, allowing four runs and nine hits in five innings, striking out nine. Yonder Alonso is 5-for-15 with two doubles and a homer vs. McCarthy.
Key trends: San Diego is 9-3 in Kennedy's past 12 at home. The under is 5-2 in his past seven overall.
Early lean: Kennedy might be rusty. Take L.A. and the over.
Royals at White Sox (TBA)
Kansas City is carrying an "us against the world mentality" that seems to be working as the Royals have the best record in the AL, but they act like a******* sometimes. The Royals had their second brawl of the season Thursday night with the White Sox, and it was totally K.C. pitcher Yordano Ventura's fault. So keep an eye on these two teams the rest of this series -- especially Sunday in the finale. Royals pitcher Edinson Volquez came off the bench during the scrum and was one of the guys ejected Thursday but he still should pitch Saturday. Even if suspended, which I doubt happens that quickly, guys always appeal. Volquez (2-1, 1.99) has been great. He is 1-1 with a 4.26 ERA career against Chicago (allowed one run over eight innings vs. the Sox in his season debut) but has never pitched at U.S. Cellular. Adam LaRoche is 6-for-19 with a homer and four RBIs off him. Lefty John Danks (0-2, 6.06) goes for the Pale Hose. His debut was in Kansas City and he allowed four runs and seven hits in 5.2 innings. Eric Hosmer is a .364 hitter off him.
Key trends: Chicago is 1-7 in Danks' past eight vs. teams with a winning record. The over has hit in four of his past six at home vs. Kansas City.
Early lean: The books likely are waiting on a Volquez suspension, and he probably will be suspended as it appeared he took a swing at a White Sox player. I still say he pitches Saturday and the Royals will be favored. Take them as Danks isn't very good.
Twins at Mariners (-155, 7.5)
Seattle is clearly one of the disappointments in baseball thus far despite a huge start from Nelson Cruz: .328, eight homers, 17 RBIs entering Friday. This is one of those series that the M's should sweep to get rolling and back to .500. One reason the M's are struggling is the lousy start from lefty James Paxton (0-1, 8.40). The Canadian was routed for seven runs and 10 hits in 2.2 innings last time out against Texas yet avoided a loss. He didn't face the Twins last year. Torii Hunter has faced him, going 1-for-5 with a solo homer. Trevor May (1-1, 4.76) goes for the Twins. He dominated the Indians last time out. The only Mariner to face him is Cruz, who is 0-for-2 with a strikeout.
Key trends: Minnesota is 2-5 in its past seven against a lefty. The Mariners are 7-1 in Paxton's past eight in Game 2 of a series. The over is 9-2 in May's past 11 starts. The under is 5-1 in Paxton's past six at home.
Early lean: Mariners and over.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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