Is this the end of the road for Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz? Big Papi, probably a Hall of Famer (maybe not first ballot), is 39 years old and his contract is up after this season. He is hitting just .216 with six homers and 18 RBIs with a slugging percentage of .377 that some leadoff hitters can beat. In May he's hitting .200. Red Sox manager John Farrell sat Ortiz on Thursday and said he would for a few more games to get himself mentally right. Recently, Farrell tried dropping Ortiz to No. 5 in the lineup from No. 3 to try and get him going. He may be back in there on Sunday, or Farrell could wait until Monday's series opener back at home against Minnesota because the Rangers throw a left on Sunday.
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Red Sox at Rangers (-117, 9.5)
Boston did get good news in that X-rays on the left wrist of shortstop Xander Bogaerts were negative after he was hit by a pitch there by the Rangers' Nick Martinez on Thursday. I would think there would be some kind of Wonder Woman-style wrist guard players could wear without hampering their swing but what do I know. This could be the last start for a while for Boston's Joe Kelly (1-4, 6.24) as there has been talk he might be demoted. He was rocked for seven runs and eight hits in just 1.2 innings last time out vs. the Twins. It's the fifth time he has allowed at least five runs in a start. He did pitch well on May 20 vs. Texas, allowing two runs over seven innings and whiffing seven. Adrian Beltre is 3-for-6 off him. Shin-Soo Choo is 3-for-9 with a homer. The Rangers have won two straight starts by southpaw Wandy Rodriguez (2-2, 3.60). He held the Sox to a run over 6.2 innings on May 21. Hanley Ramirez hits .370 off him with five extra-base hits in 27 at-bats.
Key trends: The Sox are 6-1 in Kelly's past seven as an underdog. The "over/under" is has gone over in seven of Boston's past 10 road games vs. a lefty.
Early lean: Rangers and over.
Marlins at Mets (-122, 7.5)
I always enjoy watching Bartolo Colon pitch because I so love it the rare time the obese Colon gets on base. It's must-see TV. But he's one of the worst hitters in MLB history so he doesn't that often. He will be glad to see May end. Colon (7-3, 4.82) entered the month with a 3.31 ERA. He is 3-2 with a 6.52 ERA this month. Colon is 1-1 with a 3.29 ERA in two starts this season against Miami. Giancarlo Stanton is 5-for-8 with two homers and nine RBIs against him. Adeiny Hechavarria is 3-for-9 with two doubles. Miami has lost three straight David Phelps (2-2, 3.56) starts. He has allowed four earned in each of his past two. Phelps is 0-0 with a 2.53 ERA in two starts vs. the Mets. Daniel Murphy is 3-for-6 with a double and RBI off him.
Key trends: The Marlins are 2-7 in their past nine on Sunday. The Mets are 7-2 in Colon's past seven as a favorite. The over is 8-0 in Colon's past eight during Game 3 of a series.
Early lean: Mets and over.
Nationals at Reds (+110, 8)
Cincinnati avoided total disaster this week when an MRI on Johnny Cueto's pitching elbow found only inflammation and no structural damage -- that would have killed the Reds' chances of getting a big haul back for him via trade in July. After missing his last start, Cueto did throw Wednesday and was supposed to start this one but for obvious reasons the team is being cautious. Thus it's Michael Lorenzen (1-1, 3.12). It will be his first-ever start vs. Washington. It's Tanner Roark for Washington. He was banished to the bullpen despite a stellar 2014 season as a starter after the Nats signed Max Scherzer. But with Doug Fister on the DL, Roark started Monday at the Cubs and allowed a run and three hits over five innings. Marlon Byrd is 1-for-7 with five strikeouts off Roark. Joey Votto has yet to face him.
Key trends: The Nats are 6-1 in Roark's past seven as a road favorite. The Reds have lost seven straight on Sunday. The under is 5-1 in Roark's past six as a favorite.
Early lean: Nats and under.
Royals at Cubs (-147, TBA)
I guarantee you that Kansas City's Jeremy Guthrie has a better start Sunday in Chicago than he did Monday in New York when Guthrie (4-3, 6.79) allowed 11 runs and nine hits, four homers, in just one inning of work. Some stats on that from ESPN: The last pitcher to allow 11 runs while throwing fewer than 60 pitches was Jason Jennings of the Astros, who gave up 11 runs on July 29, 2007, while throwing just 39 pitches; Guthrie joined Jennings as the only starters since 1914 to allow at least 11 earned runs in fewer than two innings; the last starter to allow four home runs while pitching fewer than two innings was Jae Kuk Ryu of the Cubs on May 28, 2006. Only a few Cubs have seen him. Miguel Montero is 2-for-6. Dexter Fowler is 0-for-5. It's Jason Hammel (3-2, 2.98) for Chicago. He was set to go Saturday but pushed back a day because of a fingernail issue. Only in baseball! The Royals' Alcides Escobar is 5-for-12 with a double off him. Alex Rios, who was set to be activated Saturday off the DL, is 7-for-23 with a homer and seven RBIs.
Key trends: The Royals are 4-1 in their past five as a road dog when Guthrie starts. The Cubs are 1-7 in Hammel's past eight during Game 3 of a series. The under is 6-0 in his past six during Game 3 of a series.
Early lean: Cubs and under.
Tigers at Angels (+113, 7.5)
This is your Sunday night game on ESPN and thus will have live betting at sportsbooks. No hockey or NBA opposite it, either, so it's about all you have. Although for some reason there is a later-starting game between the Pirates and Padres. That's unusual as ESPN generally has the prime-time window to itself. The story of any Tigers-Angels game is watching probably the two best offensive players in MLB in Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout, the guys who have won the past three AL MVP Awards (Trout was second to Miggy his in 2012-13). The Tigers have won six straight behind lefty David Price (4-1, 2.97). He blanked the A's on five hits over seven innings last time out. Trout is 2-for-9 with six strikeouts off him. Albert Pujols has two solo homers in 11 at-bats. The Angels' Matt Shoemaker comes off his best start and it was similar to Price's in that Shoemaker kept the Padres off the board on four hits over seven innings but he got a no-decision. Cabrera is 0-for-3 against Shoemaker, who went to college not far from Detroit at Eastern Michigan and grew up a Tigers fan.
Key trends: The Tigers are 5-0 in Price's past five on road. The Angels have won just one of their past 11 on Sunday. The over has hit in seven of Shoemaker's past 10 as a dog.
Early lean: Tigers and under.
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