Has any potential free-agent pitcher cost himself more money in 2014 than Washington's Doug Fister? First off, he missed a month or so with a strained flexor muscle in his right forearm. So that's a warning sign. And when he has pitched, he hasn't been very good with a 4-7 record, 4.60 ERA and 1.42 WHIP. Those latter two are easily career-worsts. In 2014, he was 16-6 with a 2.41 ERA. And now Fister's value figures to drop even more because he has been bumped to the bullpen. With Stephen Strasburg returning, the Nats opted to keep Joe Ross in the rotation over Fister, and with the way Ross is pitching that was the right move. Fister may want to take a one-year deal somewhere this offseason to prove himself worthy of one last big contract.
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Rockies at Nationals (-182, 8)
Washington needs to take this opportunity against the lousy Rockies to start playing better baseball as it has won just four of its past 10 games to fall behind the Mets. Strasburg (5-5, 5.16) takes the mound, and he has been perhaps the biggest pitching disappointment in the majors (his ERA and 1.49 WHIP are the worst of his career) this season. Strasburg hasn't pitched since July 4 due to an oblique injury. In his latest minor-league rehabilitation assignment for Triple-A Syracuse on Monday, Strasburg struck out 11 in 5⅔ innings without allowing a walk. Colorado's Jose Reyes is 5-for-14 career off him with two doubles. Carlos Gonzalez is 2-for-8 with five strikeouts. It's lefty Yohan Flande (2-1, 3.54) for the Rockies. He pitched an inning of relief on Wednesday and got the win in the 11th. Ian Desmond is 3-for-4 with two doubles off him.
Key trends: The Rockies are 1-5 in Flande's past six vs. teams with a winning record. Washington is 1-5 in Strasburg's past six vs. teams with a losing record. The "over/under" has gone over in four of Strasburg's past five vs. Colorado.
Early lean: Nationals and over.
Blue Jays at Yankees (+120, 8.5)
This is your earliest game with a 1:05 p.m. ET first pitch and will have live betting at sportsbooks with it televised by the MLB Network. And it's the second Toronto start for David Price (10-4, 2.45). He was fantastic in his Blue Jays debut last weekend against the Twins, allowing just three hits and one run over eight innings, striking out 11. That latter number tied a franchise record in a Toronto debut. Price faced New York early in the season while with the Tigers, and it was easily his worst start of 2014 as the lefty was bombed for eight runs and 10 hits in just 2.1 innings. Jacoby Ellsbury is a career .353 hitter off him in 51 at-bats. A-Rod hits only .239 off him with 18 strikeouts in 46 at-bats. New York goes with Ivan Nova (4-3, 3.10), only his eighth start of the year off Tommy John surgery. He was strong last time out, allowing one run over six innings vs. the White Sox. Edwin Encarnacion is 8-for-22 with a homer and six RBIs off him.
Key trends: The Yankees are 6-0 in their past six at home against lefties. New York is 1-4 in its past five Nova starts vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 7-1-1 in Nova's past nine at home vs. teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Blue Jays and over.
Dodgers at Pirates (-133, 7)
While Price makes his second start since being traded to the Jays, Mat Latos (4-7, 4.29) does the same here for the Dodgers. Latos did all that his new team could have asked as he went six innings against the Angels and allowed one run and four hits in his debut. Since returning from the DL on June 13, Latos has a 2.79 ERA and is re-establishing his worth as a free-agent-to-be. He hasn't faced the Pirates this season. Andrew McCutchen is 6-for-22 with three homers off him. Pedro Alvarez is 8-for-27 with two dingers. Lefty Francisco Liriano (7-6, 2.92) goes for Pittsburgh. He went two innings Monday against the Cubs before the game was rained out. The Dodgers' Howie Kendrick is 8-for-17 with a homer off him.
Key trends: The Dodgers are 4-1 in their past five against lefties. The Pirates are 5-0 in Liriano's past five at home. The over is 6-0 in his past six at home vs. teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Pirates and under.
Red Sox at Tigers (-107, 8.5)
Even though Detroit was a seller at the trade deadline and then dumped GM Dave Dombrowski, the team is still only four games out of the second wild-card spot entering Friday and could get Miguel Cabrera back in a little over a week. So it's not over yet. By the way, the Red Sox are expected to talk to Dombrowski to take a role in their front office. Alfredo Simon (10-6, 4.55) goes here for Detroit. He was bothered by a groin injury in his last start against Baltimore but did pitch 5.2 innings and the Tigers won his third straight outing. As of now he's set to go here. Simon pitched in Boston on July 25 and allowed one run over six innings. David Ortiz is 2-for-8 with four walks off him. The Red Sox have lost six straight starts by lefty Wade Miley (8-9, 4.55). He hasn't faced Detroit this season.
Key trends: Boston is 2-5 in Miley's past seven on the road. The Tigers are 5-1 in Simon's past six vs. teams with a losing record. The under is 7-2 in Miley's past nine on five days of rest. The over is 8-2 in Simon's past 10.
Early lean: Big on over. Take Tigers I suppose.
Twins at Indians (-145, 7.5)
Minnesota was just destroyed four games in Toronto to start this week, and the Twins are dropping like a stone in the wild-card standings. That was always fool's gold. They go with Ervin Santana (2-2, 3.89) here. He has made only six starts due to that 80-game drug suspension and hasn't faced the Tribe yet. Minnesota has lost his past two, and he has allowed 11 runs over 11.2 innings. Carlos Santana is 5-for-19 with a homer off him. It's Trevor Bauer (8-8, 3.98) for the Indians. They have lost his past four despite Bauer allowing only three earned over his past two. Cleveland has scored exactly one run in each of those four starts. He lost to the Twins on May 8, allowing five runs over five innings. Torii Hunter is 6-for-12 with two homers off Bauer.
Key trends: The Indians are 2-6 in Bauer's past eight vs. the AL Central. The under is 4-0 in Santana's past four on the road. The under is 6-1 in Bauer's past seven overall.
Early lean: Indians and under.
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