Let me make it clear that I'm not a Mets fan and in fact probably anti-Mets. But I appreciate watching (and betting) on young talent. And the Mets have the best crop of young pitchers we have seen in the majors in years. So, ahem, generally go "under" their games. But I mention this because one of those touted pitchers, 24-year-old lefty Steven Matz, has a partially torn lat muscle in his left side and probably misses six weeks -- he received an injection in the muscle and won't do anything for three weeks and then be re-evaluated. Matz is 2-0 with a 1.32 ERA in his two starts. I assume this means the Mets will now revert back to a five-man rotation, and it might mean the team is more apprehensive about trading one of its other young pitchers for a bat before the July 31 non-waiver deadline.
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Diamondbacks at Mets (-163, 6.5)
It has been an usual week or so in that we have seen so many gifted pitchers make their returns from Tommy John surgery. That was the case for Arizona's projected ace, lefty Patrick Corbin, last Saturday. He was pretty solid against the Rockies, allowing two runs and eight hits in five innings, limited to 76 pitches. Corbin starts here vs. the Mets and certainly won't be allowed over 90 pitches. New York's Juan Lagares is 1-for-6 with a double off him. Daniel Murphy is 3-for-5. It's Matt Harvey (7-6, 3.11) for the Mets. He got the win in Arizona on June 4, allowing two runs and striking out nine over seven innings. Aaron Hill is 3-for-8 against Harvey. Paul Goldschmidt is 1-for-5 with a solo homer and four strikeouts.
Key trends: The Mets are 1-6 in their past seven on Saturday but 6-2 in Harvey's past eight at home. The "over/under" has gone under in eight of the Mets' past 11 vs. a lefty.
Early lean: Mets and under.
Astros at Rays (+105, 7)
Houston's Dallas Keuchel (11-3, 2.14) gets one more chance to state his case to start for the American League in Tuesday's All-Star Game. I don't see how the lefty doesn't start barring him getting destroyed here. Keuchel leads the AL in wins, ERA and innings pitched and is second in WHIP and complete games. Houston has won his past four, and Keuchel has gone at least six innings in 29 straight starts. The Rays' Asdrbual Cabrera is 2-for-8 with a homer off him. Evan Longoria is 3-for-6. Tampa's Jake Odorizzi (4-5, 2.47) will come off the DL and make his first start since June 5. He has nine quality starts in 12 outings this season. Jose Altuve is 1-for-2 off him. Jason Castro 0-for-3 with three strikeouts.
Key trends: The Astros are 7-3 in Keuchel's past 10 road starts. The Rays are 10-1 in their past 11 against a lefty. The under is 7-1 in Keuchel's past eight vs. the AL East. The under is 8-1 in Odorizzi's past nine.
Early lean: Astros and under.
White Sox at Cubs (-102, TBA)
Terrific pitching matchup here of each team's lefty aces -- great day to have a few beers and sit in the Wrigley bleachers. It's the White Sox's Chris Sale (7-4, 2.80), who is an All-Star. His streak of eight straight games with at least 10 strikeouts, tying a major-league record, ended last time out against Toronto, but Sale was still fantastic, throwing a complete game and allowing two runs. He struck out "only" six. Jon Lester (4-7, 3.48) gets the call for the Cubs. He took a no-hitter into the seventh inning Monday vs. the Cardinals but took the loss, allowing two runs and two hits over seven. He hasn't won since May 16, largely because the Cubs don't score for him. Melky Cabrera is a career .286 hitter off him with a homer and four RBIs in 42 at-bats. Jose Abreu is 3-for-6 with a double and RBI. No DH here for the Pale Hose so Adam LaRoche takes a seat presumably.
Key trends: The Sox are 6-0 in Sale's past six interleague starts. The Cubs have won six straight at home against a lefty. The Cubs are 1-5 in Lester's past six following a quality start in his last appearance. The under has hit in nine of Sale's past 11. The under is 6-0 in Lester's past six.
Early lean: White Sox and under no matter the total.
Cardinals at Pirates (-122, 6.5)
In a minor surprise, the Cardinals were likely to activate outfielder Matt Holliday from the DL for Friday's game, but he's probably just going to be used as a pinch-hitter this weekend. I know he wanted to play in the All-Star Game, so that might be why the team activated him even though Holliday probably isn't ready to play the outfield. Pirates outfielder Starling Marte hasn't played since Sunday and you won't see him in this series. John Lackey (7-5, 3.09) goes here for the Cards. He faced the Pirates on May 2 and allowed a run over six innings. Lackey has thrown seven or more innings in seven of his last eight starts. Andrew McCutchen is 3-for-5 off him. It's All-Star A.J. Burnett (7-3, 1.99) for the Bucs. He pitched in St. Louis on May 1 and shut out the Cards over six innings. Mark Reynolds is 5-for-13 with three homers off him. Jason Heyward is 7-for-17 with two dingers.
Key trends: The Cards are 4-0 in Lackey's past four against teams with a winning record. The Pirates are 9-2 in Burnett's past 11 at home vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 8-0 in Lackey's past eight vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 4-1 in Burnett's past five at home vs. St. Louis.
Early lean: Cardinals and under.
Angels at Mariners (-113, 7)
You won't see Halos closer Huston Street in this series after he suffered a groin injury on Wednesday. He is one save from No. 300 career. Joe Smith likely will close with Street out. Lefty C.J. Wilson (7-6, 3.82) gets the call here for L.A. He is 1-0 with a 1.20 ERA in two starts against the Mariners this season. M's hitters are batting just .170 off him. Seattle's Hisashi Iwakuma (0-1, 7.17) came off the disabled list on Monday after missing two-and-a-half months and wasn't sharp against the Tigers, allowing five runs and eight hits in five innings. He opened the season vs. the Angels, allowing five runs in six innings. Iwakuma is 6-2 with a 3.05 ERA in 11 career games vs. the Angels.
Key trends: The Angels are 1-4 in Wilson's past five road starts vs. teams with a winning record. The Mariners are 1-4 in Iwakuma's past five at home. The under is 5-0 in Wilson's past five vs. Seattle.
Early lean: Angels and over.
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