I am completely tired of hearing about the New England Patriots' "Deflategate" and think it's the most overblown thing in modern NFL history in terms of a rule violation or whatever you want to call it. But I bring that up because we had a baseball version of tampering with a ball happen on Thursday night as Brewers reliever Will Smith was ejected against Atlanta because it was determined had had slathered rosin and sunscreen on his forearm. He said he put it on in the bullpen because it was chilly and windy and forgot to wipe it off. Come on dude! Frankly, a majority of pitchers do something like this but aren't dumb enough to have it out in the open. New commissioner Rob Manfred gave Smith an eight-game suspension. That makes me think Manfred might be fairly strict, because eight games for a reliever is a pretty long one.
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Reds at Indians (-180, 7.5)
Cleveland will get a big piece of its lineup back Sunday as catcher Yan Gomes will be activated from the disabled list. He was great last year in hitting .278 with 21 homers and 74 RBIs. He was hitting just .150 in 20 at-bats this season before going down with a knee injury. The Tribe caught a major break in this one as Reds ace Johnny Cueto was scheduled to start. But he was scratched with what is only being called "general stiffness." Hello, welcome to my world! So it's Raisel Iglesias (1-0, 3.94). He has pitched out of relief in his past two outings and has never faced the Indians. Cleveland's Trevor Bauer (3-1, 3.31) has oddly had exactly the same start the last two times out: 7.1 innings, four hits and one run allowed while walking three. Only a few Reds have ever faced him. Todd Frazier is 0-for-2 with two strikeouts. Cincinnati again will have the DH in this series finale
Key trends: The Reds are 1-7 in their past eight vs. teams with a losing record (entering Saturday). Cleveland is 6-1 in Bauer's past seven at home against teams with a losing record. The "over/under" has hit under in seven of Bauer's past nine at home against teams in his past nine at home.
Early lean: Indians and under.
Cardinals at Royals (-105, 7.5)
Could this be a preview of a 1985 World Series rematch this fall? Absolutely could be with both clubs leading their Central Divisions. The Royals and Cardinals are both +900 to win the World Series, tied for third behind the Dodgers and Nationals. The Cards' Michael Wacha (6-0, 2.13) is in the early NL Cy Young conversation for sure. He hasn't allowed more than two earned runs over his past four starts, and the Cards haven't lost one of his starts all year (whether he got a decision or not). The Royals' Lorenzo Cain is 2-for-6 with a double off him. Mike Moustakas is 0-for-4. Kansas City's Yordano Ventura (3-3, 4.56) comes off his best outing of the season, shutting out the Reds over seven innings on four hits, striking out six without a walk. Yadier Molina is 1-for-3 off him. Matt Carpenter is as well.
Key trends: St. Louis is 6-0 in Wacha's past six on the road. The Royals are 5-0 in Ventura's past five interleague starts. The over is 7-0 in Ventura's past seven following a quality start in his most recent appearance.
Early lean: Love the under. Take St. Louis.
Orioles at Marlins (-115, 8.5)
Has any team fired two managers in one season? Maybe one of George Steinbrenner's Yankees clubs. That shift of GM Dan Jennings to the dugout after he fired Manager Mike Redmond hasn't exactly spurred the Marlins entering the weekend. Miami's Tom Koehler (2-3, 3.70) had been bumped to bullpen briefly but returned to the rotation Tuesday and pitched well, allowing no earned runs over 6.2 innings against Arizona but of course the Marlins lost. Few Orioles have seen him. Travis Snider is 0-for-6 with two strikeouts. A reminder that the Birds won't have the DH. Baltimore's Miguel Gonzalez (5-2, 3.24) has won two straight starts. This will be his first this season against an NL team. Only a few Marlins have seen him. Ichiro might get a spot start in the outfield as he is 6-for-19 off Gonzalez with three doubles and two homers.
Key trends: The Orioles are 5-2 in Gonzalez's past seven against teams with a losing record. Miami is 4-0 in Koehler's past four interleague starts. The under is 8-1 in Gonzalez's past nine in Game 3 of a series.
Early lean: Orioles and under.
Angels at Red Sox (-134, 9)
Boston has to be encouraged by the past two outings of lefty Wade Miley (3-4, 5.10). He has allowed just two earned and 12 hits over 13.2 innings in wins over the Rangers and A's. I'm not ready to call him cured yet as those are two of the worst teams in the American League. The Angels should provide a better test. Miley has never faced them. David Freese knows Miley from their NL days, and Freese is 3-for-5 with a walk off him. Fellow southpaw Hector Santiago (3-2, 2.25) gets the call for L.A. The Halos have won his past two and he has allowed only two earned and 11 hits over 13 innings. Dustin Pedroia is 3-for-7 with three doubles off him. Big Papi is 2-for-5 with four RBIs.
Key trends: The Angels are 1-9 in their past 10 on Sunday. Boston is 1-6 in its past seven on the day. The over is 6-1 in Santiago's past seven on the road.
Early lean: Red Sox and over.
Rangers at Yankees (-129, 8.5)
This is your ESPN Sunday night game so will have live betting at the sportsbooks. The Yankees on ESPN? Really? The Bombers will retire the No. 51 of Bernie Williams before the game, and he will get a plaque in Monument Park in a pregame ceremony. The team will also wear a Williams patch on its hats. In postseason history, Williams ranks first all-time in RBIs and is second in home runs, hits, doubles and runs. Hall of Famer? No. But a very good player. The Yanks start lefty Chris Capuano. He made his season debut off the DL on May 17 in Kansas City and allowed four runs in three innings. Texas' Prince Fielder is 2-for-8 with two homers off him. Leonys Martin is 1-for-1 with a homer. The Rangers' Yovani Gallardo (3-6, 4.26) has lost five of his past six outings. This will be his second career start against the Yankees. Chase Headley is 7-for-19 with a homer off him. Alex Rodriguez has never faced Gallardo.
Key trends: Texas is 1-5 in Gallardo's past five on the road. The Yanks are 0-7 in their past seven vs. right-handers (entering Saturday).
Early lean: Rangers and over.
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