So Friday was the first day of May. What relevance does leading your division at the end of play on May 1 have? Last year your leaders were: NY Yankees, Detroit, Oakland, Atlanta, Milwaukee and San Francisco. I think our answer is nothing. Only the Tigers of that group won the division. The A's and Giants were wild-card teams. The Braves finished below .500. Also if you are wondering, no teams in last place on May 1, 2014, made the playoffs. Only Cleveland among that group finished with a better than .500 record. So there you go. Enjoy an epic Saturday of sports action!
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Yankees at Red Sox (-133, 9)
Ugh, I'm breaking my promise to try and avoid Yankees-Red Sox games, although credit to New York that it's atop the AL East -- no way the Yanks stay there with the latest injury to Masahiro Tanaka that likely keeps him out at least a month. Get the Tommy John surgery already! No, I'm looking at this game because the Red Sox gave a nice big extension to Wade Miley (1-2, 8.62), and that looks terrible thus far. Actually, Miley might be due a great start. He has alternated solid ones and absolutely terrible ones. Last time out, he was raked for seven runs and five hits in 2.1 innings vs. the Orioles. He made his Red Sox debut at Yankee Stadium on April 10 and allowed two runs over 5.1 innings, one of his good outings. Is this the day A-Rod hits No. 660 if he didn't Friday? He has a single in three at-bats off Miley. Nathan Eovaldi (1-0, 4.15) was opposite Miley on April 10 and allowed three runs and eight hits in 5.1 innings. Pablo Sandoval destroys this guy, going 10-for-14 with three doubles, a homer and 10 RBIs.
Key trends: The Yankees are 4-1 in their past five against a lefty. The Sox are 0-4 in their past four in Game 2 of a series. The "over/under" has gone over in five of the Yankees' past seven against a southpaw.
Early lean: Seems a good pitcher for A-Rod to go yard against. Do take a Sandoval prop. Go Yanks and over.
White Sox at Twins (-114, 8.5)
Not that I expect it to help the Twins much, but the team's projected No. 2 starter, Ricky Nolasco, will make his first big-league start since April 8 as he will be activated off the disabled list. He had been out with an inflamed throwing elbow -- sometimes that can be a precursor to something serious, so keep an eye out for that. Nolasco will be on a pitch limit of about 85 in this one. He shifts Tommy Milone to the bullpen. Nolasco was terrible last season and not good in his one 2015 start, allowing six runs in three innings to Detroit. Alexei Ramirez is 6-for-12 with a homer and six RBIs off him. Lefty John Danks (1-2, 5.64) starts for the Sox. He has had back-to-back quality starts, allowing three earned over six innings in each. That's pretty much his ceiling these days. Torii Hunter is a career .320 hitter off him with four homers and 11 RBIs.
Key trends : Chicago is 1-6 in Danks' past seven on the road. The Twins are 1-5 in Nolasco's past six at home. The over is 7-0 in Danks' past seven at Minnesota.
Early lean: White Sox and over.
Blue Jays at Indians (-155, 7.5)
It appears there will be no repeat winner of the AL Cy Young Award. I thought Corey Kluber's 2014 season was a slight fluke; he's a good pitcher, don't get me wrong. But that good? His history didn't show that. Kluber (0-3, 4.24) also isn't as bad as he has looked thus far in 2015. His past two have been, though: 12 runs and 23 hits allowed over 12.1 innings. Toronto's Josh Donaldson is 3-for-9 with a homer and four RBIs against him. Toronto's Aaron Sanchez (1-2, 5.03) has been rumored to be bullpen-bound, maybe to take over at closer, if he continues to struggle for the Jays. He has yet to last more than 5.2 innings, which obviously taxes the bullpen. Sanchez has never faced the Indians.
Key trends: The Indians are 8-0 in Kluber's past eight vs. the AL East. The under is 4-0 in his past four against that division.
Early lean: Indians and over.
Mariners at Astros (-140, 8)
I'm starting to believe in Houston, which is running away in the AL West and was going for an eighth straight win on Friday night. Jose Altuve for AL MVP? The defending league batting champion is hitting .367 with two homers, 16 RBIs and nine steals. That's fantasy gold! Collin McHugh (3-0, 2.92) gets the start here for Houston. He had gotten a win in eight straight decisions before taking a no-decision last time out against San Diego, allowing three runs over six innings. He won in Seattle the start before that, giving up three runs over seven innings. It was his third straight win over the Mariners. Kyle Seager is just 1-for-16 with six strikeouts off him. Seattle starts young Taijuan Walker (1-2, 6.86). He struggled mightily his first two outings but has allowed just one earned over 12.1 innings in his past two. That run came on April 21 vs. Houston in 5.1 innings. Altuve is 5-for-13 with two doubles off him.
Key trends: The Astros are 7-0 in McHugh's past seven at home. The over is 5-1 in Walker's past six vs. the AL West. The over is 4-0 in Walker's past four vs. Houston and 4-1 in McHugh's past four against Seattle.
Early lean: Astros and under.
Nationals at Mets (-105, 7)
The Nationals are hoping to have outfielder and leadoff hitter Denard Span back in the lineup for this game. His season was delayed due to core muscle surgery and he was removed from Thursday's game with abdominal soreness, which is a side effect of that. He definitely wasn't playing Friday and Saturday is probably 50-50. Span was off to a nice start, batting .302 with two homers and seven RBIs. Washington starts lefty Gio Gonzalez (1-2, 5.01) here. In eight starts at Citi Field, Gonzalez is 5-1 with a 1.88 ERA in 52 2/3 innings. Michael Cuddyer is 6-for-14 with a homer and three RBIs against him. Fellow lefty Jon Niese (2-1, 2.74) starts for the Mets. He has allowed more than one earned run just once in four starts. Jayson Werth is a career .321 hitter off him in 28 at-bats. Danny Espinosa is 7-for-18 with a homer and three RBIs.
Key trends: The Nats are 3-8 in Gonzalez's past 11 on the road. The Mets are 6-1 in Niese's past seven at home vs. teams with a losing record. The Nats are 6-1 in Gonzalez's past seven in New York. The Mets are 0-4 in Niese's past four against Washington.
Early lean: I'm going over because both offenses will be so glad to be past facing Max Scherzer and Matt Harvey, who were Friday's starters. Take the Mets.
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