The biggest injury of this early baseball season (not counting spring training) has hit the Cleveland Indians as excellent catcher Yan Gomes will miss perhaps two months with an MCL sprain. His right leg was jolted violently by Detroit outfielder Rajai Davis, who slid hard on a force play and clipped Gomes' right leg during Saturday's game. "Losing Gomes, man, that can be a season-killer," Indians manager Terry Francona said. Last season, Gomes led all AL catchers in average (.278) and extra-base hits (49) and was second in RBIs (74) and homers (21). I wonder if the Tribe might call the Cubs about Welington Castillo, who is very available. For now Roberto Perez becomes Cleveland's every-day catcher.
White Sox at Indians (-135, 7.5)
I suppose the panic meter can be put away on the South Side of Chicago as the White Sox followed a season-opening four-game losing streak with back-to-back wins over Minnesota to close out last week. Chris Sale looked like his Cy Young-caliber self in Sunday's season debut. Adam LaRoche homered for the second straight day and had a run-scoring single. Lefty Jose Quintana starts this series opener. He allowed five runs on nine hits over five innings in his debut in Kansas City. Michael Brantley is 10-for-20 career off Quintana with a homer and five RBIs. Brantley has played only two games due to a back problem but will take BP on Tuesday to see if he can play. Right-hander Carlos Carrasco goes for the Tribe. He dominated Houston in his season debut, striking out 10 and allowing three hits over 6.1 innings.
Key trends: Chicago is 0-5 in its past five as a road dog. The Sox are 2-5 in Quintana's past seven as a dog. Cleveland is 0-9 in Carrasco's past nine in Game 1 of a series. The "over/under" has gone under in 13 of the past 16 meetings.
Early lean: If Brantley sits I like the Sox as solid value.
Nationals at Red Sox (-114, 8)
Before the season started, this was your favored World Series matchup at Sportsbook.ag. Now it's Nationals-Tigers at +2000. For Monday's series opener at Fenway, the Nationals welcomed back left fielder Jayson Werth off the disabled list, but they are stilling waiting on Denard Span and Anthony Rendon. Stephen Strasburg takes the mound for Washington in this one, and he wasn't great in his debut. The right-hander allowed six runs (only three earned) and nine hits over 5.1 innings in a loss to the Mets. I don't think the Red Sox will put Allen Craig into the lineup as he's 1-for-12 career of Strasburg with six strikeouts. Hanley Ramirez has done well against him, going 5-for-16 with two doubles and a homer. New Red Sox Justin Masterson looked sharp in his debut, allowing two runs and three hits over six innings in a win over the Phillies. He didn't face Washington in 2014. Werth is 0-for-6 off him with four punchouts.
Key trends: Washington is 4-0 in Strasburg's past four on the road. The under has hit in those four.
Early lean: Nationals and under.
Phillies at Mets (-226, 6.5)
I pretty much despise the Mets in all honesty, but I'll always keep an eye on them the days Matt Harvey pitches, and he makes his first start at Citi Field since Aug. 24, 2013, on Tuesday. Of course, he started the 2013 All-Star Game there as well. Harvey didn't look like a guy coming off Tommy John surgery in his season debut, holding Washington to four hits over six innings and striking out nine in a victory. He was regularly clocked at 99 on the gun. In his stellar rookie season, Harvey was 3-0 against the Phillies with a 0.45 ERA in three starts over 20 innings. He struck out 25 and walked only three as the Phillies hit .119 off him. Philadelphia goes with David Buchanan, who is younger than Harvey. He was hit hard by Boston in his debut, allowing six runs and seven hits in just three innings while walking four. He was great this spring with a 1.29 ERA. Last season, Buchanan was 0-2 with a 3.38 ERA in three starts vs. the Mets. David Wright has three hits off him in 10 at-bats.
Key trends: The Phillies are 0-6 in Buchanan's past six vs. the NL East. The Mets are 2-5 in Harvey's past seven at home. The under is 7-3 in Buchanan's past 10 on the road.
Early lean: Mets at -115 on the runline.
Rockies at Giants (-151, 7)
We have our second closer change already this young season. Toronto was the first to do it, and now the Rockies have temporarily replaced ancient LaTroy Hawkins in that role. Last week, he blew two saves and allowed five runs in 2 2/3 innings. Rafael Betancourt and Adam Ottavino will share the role for now, although most believe it will be largely Ottavino. The Rockies were hoping to have ace Jorge De La Rosa make his season debut here, but he's not ready yet (groin injury) so it's Christian Bergman. He has a 5.93 ERA as a starter in 54.2 big league innings. Bergman has pitched one scoreless inning of relief this year. The Giants counter with Tim Hudson. He shut out the Padres over 6.1 innings in his debut but did walk five. He was 0-0 with a 4.24 ERA last year in four starts against Colorado.
Key trends: The Giants are 1-4 in Hudson's past five vs. the NL West. The under is 4-1 in his past five starts.
Early lean: Giants and over.
Tigers at Pirates (-123, 7.5)
Detroit looks to avoid its first losing streak of the young season as the Tigers suffered their first loss Monday, 5-4 to Pittsburgh. They nearly did rally, however, as Detroit trailed 5-1 entering the ninth. J.D. Martinez hit a two-run homer off Pittsburgh closer Mark Melancon in that inning. Shane Greene starts this one for the Tigers. He was sharp in his Detroit debut, holding the Twins to one run and four hits over eight innings. Greene faced the Pirates in spring training and gave up three runs, two earned, over 3 2/3 innings. A.J. Burnett took a no-decision against the Reds in his season debut, allowing two runs and four hits over 5.1 innings, striking out seven. Victor Martinez has two doubles and a homer in 27 at-bats off Burnett in his career.
Key trends: Pittsburgh is 6-1 in Burnett's past seven at home. The under is 8-1 in his past nine as a home favorite.
Early lean: Pirates and under.
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