Love the trade over the weekend in Kansas City landing Reds ace Johnny Cueto for three prospects. You don't get many chances to win a World Series as a small-market club, and the Royals haven't since 1985. Now they have a No. 1 to open any playoff series. Cueto is a better pitcher than last year's Royals ace, James Shields, was. The Royals' starters are last in the AL in innings per start, so Cueto's average start of 6.9 innings will help get to Kansas City's stellar trio of relievers, Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland. It's all about shortening the game for the Royals. Kansas City is now a +270 favorite at 5Dimes to win the AL pennant again. That deal should really kick-start things. The Reds are going to keep selling players. Someone is probably going to get Philadelphia's Cole Hamels, who threw a no-hitter at Wrigley Field on Saturday.
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White Sox at Red Sox (-115, 8.5)
Maybe the Pale Hose won't deal Jeff Samardzija after all. They entered Monday having won four straight and are just five games out of the second wild-card spot. He makes potentially his final start in a Chicago uniform on Tuesday in Boston. Samardzija (7-5, 3.91) carries a streak of nine straight starts in which he has worked at least seven innings. He held the Indians to a run on four hits over eight innings last time out. Hanley Ramirez is 8-for-19 with two doubles and two RBIs off him. Pablo Sandoval is 3-for-7 with a homer. It's lefty Wade Miley (8-8, 4.33) for Boston. He held the Astros to a run on four hits over six innings last time out, but Boston lost his third straight start. Adam LaRoche is 0-for-8 against him. Jose Abreu is 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.
Key trends: The White Sox are 2-6 in their past eight against left-handers. They are 5-2 in Samardzija's past seven vs. teams with a losing record. Boston is 5-1 in Miley's past six at home. The "over/under" has gone over is four of in Samardzija's past five on the road. The under is 6-2 in Miley's past eight vs. teams with losing record.
Early lean: White Sox and under.
Nationals at Marlins (-125, 6.5)
Miami's Jose Fernandez (3-0, 2.77) hasn't much missed a beat since returning from Tommy John surgery. He struck out 11 Diamondbacks last time out. And if you are betting against him while pitching at home, you just aren't paying attention. He is an amazing 14-0 with a 1.17 ERA in 22 career starts at Marlins Park. Washington's Bryce Harper is 2-for-4 with two strikeouts off him. Ian Desmond is 0-for-9 with seven strikeouts. Washington's Jordan Zimmermann (8-5, 3.30) hasn't lost since June 17. He is 0-0 with a 2.08 ERA in two starts against the Marlins this season. Martin Prado, who is on the trade block, is 9-for-23 with three doubles and two RBIs off him. Dee Gordon is just 3-for-15.
Key trends: The Nats are 12-2 in Zimmermann's past 14 on Tuesday. The Marlins are 4-0 in Fernandez's past four against teams with a winning record. The over is 9-2 in Zimmermann's past 11 series openers. The over is 8-0 in Fernandez's past eight at home vs. teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Marlins and under.
Tigers at Rays (+103, 6.5)
Rather fitting that potentially the final start for David Price in a Tigers uniform could be in his return to Tampa Bay (9-3, 2.31). The left-hander has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 11 of his last 12 starts, including Thursday's extra-inning loss to Seattle where he allowed two runs over eight innings. David DeJesus is 4-for-10 with a double off him. Asdrubal Cabrera is 3-for-15. Evan Longoria is 0-for-3. It's Jake Odorizzi (5-6, 2.85) for Tampa. He allowed two runs over five innings last time out at Philadelphia. He has failed to last six innings in four starts since returning from injury. Victor Martinez is 1-for-2 with a double off him. Yoenis Cespedes is 1-for-6 with three strikeouts.
Key trends: The Tigers are 1-6 in Price's past seven vs. the AL East. The Rays are 11-2 in their past 13 vs. lefties. They are 0-7 in their past seven vs. the AL Central. The under is 10-2 in Odorizzi's past 12 overall.
Early lean: Tigers and under.
Reds at Cardinals (-157, 7)
Left-hander Jaime Garcia (3-3, 1.69) returns to the Cardinals rotation on Tuesday. He has been out since late June with a groin strain and had only one rehab start in the minors -- he threw five hitless innings in it. The Cardinals also made a trade over the weekend, acquiring reliever Steve Cishek from the Marlins. The Reds go with Mike Leake (8-5, 3.78), and I'm confident in staying he will be in a different uniform by Friday night. He has been very good of late, allowing two combined runs over 22 innings in his past three outings. He pitched in St. Louis on April 19 and allowed two runs over eight innings. Matt Holliday is 15-for-39 with a homer and seven RBIs off him. Jhonny Peralta is just 2-for-17 with six strikeouts.
Key trends: The Reds are 1-9 in Leake's past 10 road starts vs. teams with a winning record. The Cards are 5-1 in Garcia's past six on Tuesday. The under is 8-2 in his past 10 overall.
Early lean: Cardinals and over.
A's at Dodgers (-119, 7)
Ace Sonny Gray goes here for Oakland. Gray (10-4, 2.30) is second in the AL in ERA. He allowed two runs and nine hits over seven innings last time out against Toronto. Gray got a no-decision as there was a blown save in the ninth inning. He has never faced the Dodgers. L.A. second baseman Howie Kendrick knows Gray from his Angels days and Kendrick is 5-for-14 off him. It's former Athletic lefty Brett Anderson (5-5, 3.33) for the Dodgers. He lasted only 2.2 innings last time out, leaving with an Achilles' injury vs. Atlanta. So if I'm the A's, I'm bunting all day on this guy because he's probably not going to be moving well. Only a couple of A's have faced him. Ben Zobrist, another guy who is a lock to be dealt, is 3-for-5 with two RBIs.
Key trends: The A's are 5-0 in Gray's past five road starts vs. teams with a winning record. The Dodgers are 7-3 in Anderson's past 10 at home. The over is 5-1 in Anderson's past six series openers.
Early lean: A's and under.
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