Another busy trade day on Thursday with by far the most significant trade being Toronto landing the ace pitcher it so badly needed, Detroit's David Price, in exchange for top prospect Daniel Norris and two other minor-league pitchers. Jays GM Alex Anthopolous clearly knows he's going to get fired if Toronto misses the playoffs again this season -- it hasn't played in the postseason since 1993, longest drought in baseball -- so he's going all in with Price and Troy Tulowitzki emptying the Toronto farm system. I'd say there's no chance that the Jays re-sign Price when he's a free agent after this season and because they acquired him midseason they can't give him a qualifying offer and thus get first-round pick in compensation from the team that signs him. Toronto futures odds got a nice bump following the deal as it is now +700 to win the pennant and +1600 to win the World Series. Going to be tough to catch the Yankees in the AL East, but at least Toronto now has a true No. 1 to start a possible wild-card game.
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Royals at Blue Jays (-119, 8.5)
The news isn't all good for Toronto. Rookie second baseman Devon Travis sat Wednesday and Thursday with a shoulder injury after re-aggravating it on Tuesday. A shoulder problem (same shoulder) landed on him the DL for more than a month earlier this season. Travis is hitting .304 with 35 RBIs. The team was to decide on Friday whether he will head back to the DL, but it seems likely. That could force the Jays to add an infielder before the deadline. Toronto goes with lefty Mark Buehrle (11-5, 3.29) here. He won in Kansas City on July 11, allowing two runs over seven innings. Kansas City starts Yordano Ventura (5-7, 4.86). Part of the reason the Royals wanted Johnny Cueto so badly -- he made his K.C. debut on Friday -- was the impact he might have on his fellow Dominican Ventura, who is really talented but a bit of a hothead. It seemed to work in Ventura's last start as it was his best in a while, allowing one run and six hits over seven innings vs. Houston. Not many Jays have seen him. Josh Donaldson is 0-for-2. Justin Smoak is 1-for-5 with a homer.
Key trends: The Royals are 0-5 in Ventura's past five road starts. The Jays are 9-4 in Buehrle's past 13 vs. teams with a winning record. The "over/under" has gone over in four straight Ventura's past four on five days of rest. The Jays are 4-0 in Buehrle's past four vs. K.C.
Early lean: Blue Jays and over.
Tigers at Orioles (-133, 8.5)
Definitely bet against Detroit for a bit as the Tigers' players are naturally going to be in the dumps following the trade of Price and closer Joakim Soria, the latter going to Pittsburgh. This story will have posted before Friday's trade deadline, but I expect outfielder Yoenis Cespedes will be gone, too. Anibal Sanchez (10-8, 4.61) starts here for the Tigers. They had won eight straight of his starts, but last time out he allowed three runs over 5.1 innings in Tampa Bay and the Tigers lost 5-2. He beat the Orioles on July 17, allowing two runs over six innings. Matt Wieters is 3-for-6 with a homer off him. Chris Davis is 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. Baltimore's Kevin Gausman (1-2, 4.20) had been mentioned as a possible trade candidate, so maybe he doesn't start here. But I think the Orioles might be done after getting outfielder Gerardo Parra from Milwaukee on Friday, and Gausman wasn't in that deal. Cespedes, if by some miracle is still a Tiger, is 3-for-9 with a homer off him. Victor Martinez is 0-for-4.
Key trends: The Tigers are 10-1 in Sanchez's past 11 road starts vs. teams with a winning record. The Orioles are 1-5 in Gausman's past six vs. teams with a losing record. The over is 6-0-1 in Sanchez's past seven overall.
Early lean: Orioles and over.
Braves at Phillies (-110, 7.5)
Atlanta has a new closer in Arodys Vizcaino because the team included closer Jim Johnson in that 13-player, three-team swap with the Dodgers and Marlins on Thursday. Vizcaino, who used to be a very touted prospect but had Tommy John surgery and was shipped to the Cubs before being re-acquired this offseason, has allowed only one run and six hits over nine innings since returning from a PED suspension. It's top prospect Matt Wisler (5-1, 3.43) here for Atlanta. He has allowed more than three runs just twice in seven big-league starts. He hasn't faced the Phillies. It's Philadelphia's top pitching prospect Aaron Nola (1-1, 3.29). He has looked the part thus far in two big-league starts. First look at the Braves.
Key trends: The Braves are 1-6 in their past seven in Game 3 of a series. The under is 4-0 in Wisler's past four road starts.
Early lean: Phillies -- who won't be favored much the rest of the season -- and under.
Rays at Red Sox (-126, 9)
Boston's disastrous season can at least partly be blamed on vastly overpaid and overweight third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who isn't having a very good season. It does appear he avoided a major injury, however, after he was hit on the forearm by a pitch from Chicago's Chris Sale on Thursday -- Sandoval actually swung at the ball and was thus called out on strikes. X-rays were negative, but he might miss a few games. The Sox start Joe Kelly (2-6, 5.94) here and they have lost his past five. He has allowed at least four runs in four of those. One more lousy start and he probably heads to the bullpen. His lone start against the Rays was on April 22 and he allowed five runs in five innings. Rays lefty Matt Moore (1-2, 7.61), as you can see, has struggled in his return from Tommy John surgery. He hasn't faced Boston this season. David Ortiz is 6-for-13 with two doubles and a homer off him.
Key trends: The Rays are 0-4 in Moore's past four vs. teams with a losing record. The Sox are 1-5 in Kelly's past six at home. The over is 4-1 in Boston's past five vs. a lefty.
Early lean: Rays and over -- I wouldn't be surprised if this is the highest-scoring game of the day.
Diamondbacks at Astros (-190, 7.5)
Love the trade Houston made on Thursday in getting Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez -- after his deal to the Mets was scuttled -- and solid pitcher Mike Fiers in exchange for four prospects. If Gomez doesn't make it to Houston in time to debut on Friday, he surely will on Saturday. Gomez, 29, is a two-time All-Star in center field and a 2013 National League Gold Glove Award winner and is under contract through next season, so this isn't just a rental. I think that trade on top of Scott Kazmir now makes Houston the favorite over the Angels in the AL West. It's ace Dallas Keuchel (12-5, 2.32) for the Astros. .He comes off his worst start of the year, allowing five runs and 10 hits over 6.2 innings in Kansas City. Not many Diamondbacks have faced him. Aaron Hill is 3-for-8 with a homer. Paul Goldschmidt is 1-for-7. It's Jeremy Hellickson (7-6, 4.60) for Arizona. He is off his best start, shutting out Gomez's former Brewers on four hits over six innings. Gomez is 1-for-3 off him.
Key trends: Houston has lost eight straight on Saturday. The Astros are 5-0 in Keuchel's past seven on five days of rest. The over is 4-1 in his past five vs. teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Astros and over.
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