The All-Star Game voting closes on Thursday night, so it's your last chance to vote online (sad you can't in the ballparks any longer). It looks like the Royals are doing to dominate the American League team as five of their guys led the last update on Monday. I don't have a huge problem with four of them, but second baseman Omar Infante might be the worst All-Star ever if he holds onto his lead over Houston's Jose Altuve. Come on Astros fans! The National League voting looks pretty accurate in terms of guys who should be there. However, two of the starting outfielders as of now, Miami's Giancarlo Stanton and the Cardinals' Matt Holliday, aren't going to play due to injury (maybe slight chance Holliday will). The starters will be announced Sunday night on ESPN and the reserves on Monday.
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Giants at Marlins (-128, 7)
I'm not a fan of the Miami Marlins at all, but I am very eager to see this game as it's the first time that 2013 NL Rookie of the Year Jose Fernandez, who looked like young Dwight Gooden that season, will pitch since undergoing Tommy John surgery last May. I don't think his return will save the Marlins' season, but certainly let's hope he stays healthy and can pitch a full season in 2015. Fernandez was apparently throwing bullets in his minor-league rehab starts but will be on a pitch limit here and for a while. It's a big day for San Francisco as well as its former ace, Matt Cain, makes his season debut. He hasn't pitched since July 2014. Cain had elbow surgery last year and has been out this season with a strained flexor tendon. I think he's done. Cain will take the spot of Tim Lincecum, who is headed to the disabled list.
Key trends: The Giants are 2-8 in Cain's past 10 on the road. The Marlins are 15-1 in Fernandez's past 16 at home. The "over/under" has gone under in 11 of Miami's past 13 in Game 3 of a series.
Early lean: Marlins and under.
Indians at Rays (+115, 6.5)
It's a big day for Florida's other MLB franchise as the Rays' projected ace (well that's Chris Archer now), lefty Matt Moore, makes his return from Tommy John surgery. He hasn't made a big-league start since April 7, 2014, and had TJS a few weeks later. Moore was one of the AL's best pitchers in 2013 when he was an All-Star. He will definitely help a Rays team that's a surprise contender in the AL East. The Tribe start ace Corey Kluber (3-9, 3.66). He pitched against the Rays on June 20 and allowed four runs over seven innings. David DeJesus is 4-for-12 with three doubles off him. Evan Longoria is 4-for-10 with a homer and three RBIs. The Tribe have lost his past five.
Key trends: The Indians are 1-8 in Kluber's past nine on the road. The Rays are 4-1 in their past five on Thursday. The under is 5-2 in Kluber's past seven road starts vs. teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Indians and under.
Cubs at Mets (-119, 6.5)
I have no idea why the Mets signed Rockies free-agent outfielder Michael Cuddyer, 36, this offseason as he was breaking down and his numbers inflated by Coors Field. The Mets also had to give up their first-round pick this season by doing so. To no surprise, Cuddyer has been a bust and is now hurt. He left Tuesday's game early with a left knee injury and was to have an MRI on Wednesday. Cuddyer is batting .243 with six homers and 28 RBIs. Jake Arrieta (7-5, 2.94) goes for the Cubs. He was great against the Mets on May 12, allowing a run and three hits over eight innings, striking out a season-high 10. He has allowed a combined one run over his past two starts overall. Curtis Granderson is 9-for-26 with three homers and eight RBIs off him. The Mets' Jacob deGrom (8-5, 2.15) blanked the Brewers on four hits over eight innings last time out. He faced the Cubs on May 11 and allowed four runs in five innings. Anthony Rizzo is 2-for-6 with a homer off him. Kris Bryant has a two-run homer.
Key trends: The Cubs are 4-0 in Arrieta's past four vs. the NL East. The Mets are 4-1 in deGrom's past five at home. The over is 5-2 in deGrom's past seven at home.
Early lean: Cubs and under.
Rangers at Orioles (-128, 8.5)
The hottest pitcher in the American League right now? Might surprise you to learn that it's the Rangers' Yovani Gallardo (7-6, 2.72). Over his past three starts: 20.1 innings, zero runs, 12 hits. He actually hasn't allowed a run in 23.1 straight. Gallardo hasn't faced the Orioles this season. Steve Pearce is 2-for-14 with a solo homer career off him. Chris Davis is 0-for-3. Baltimore will recall right-hander Kevin Gausman from Triple-A to make this start. He last pitched in the majors on June 20 in Toronto and allowed two runs in five innings. He's 1-0 with a 4.24 ERA in 17.0 big-league innings overall this season, the rest in relief. Prince Fielder is 1-for-2 with a homer off him.
Key trends: The Rangers are 4-0 in Gallardo's past four vs. teams with a winning record. The Orioles are 1-4 in Gausman's past five at home. The under is 4-1 in Gallardo's past five on the road. The under is 4-1 in Gausman's past five at home vs. teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Rangers and under.
Nationals at Braves (+190, 7)
Whenever dominant Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer (9-5, 1.79) takes the mound, it's a no-hitter alert this season. Scherzer was slacking last time out, allowing two runs and five hits over eight innings in beating the Phillies a starter after his no-no. Scherzer hasn't faced Atlanta this season. A.J. Pierzynski has seen him the most of any Brave, going 11-for-33 with a homer and seven RBIs. Nick Markakis is 5-for-16 with two doubles. Former Yankees top prospect Manny Banuelos will make his big-league debut for Atlanta. The 24-year-old was traded to the Braves this past winter for relievers David Carpenter and Chase Shreve. Banuelos had a 2.29 ERA in 15 starts at Triple-A this season.
Key trends: The Nats are 5-1 in Scherzer's past six on the road. The Braves have lost four straight on Thursday. The over is 5-2 in Scherzer's past seven vs. teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Nationals and under (notice a trend? Lot of good pitchers Thursday).
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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