I can't remember a season where so many top prospects have been called up this early. It happened Sunday with the Minnesota Twins as they promoted five-tool outfielder Byron Buxton. And all he did was score the winning run in the top of the ninth to give the Twins a 4-3 victory in Texas that ended a five-game losing streak. He started in center and batted ninth. To make room for Buxton on the roster, the Twins placed outfielder Aaron Hicks on the 15-day disabled list before Sunday's game. Also debuting Sunday was Cleveland's top prospect, shortstop Francisco Lindor. He was 1-for-2 with a strikeout against the Tigers.
Free $60 in Member MLB Picks No Obligation Click Here
Twins at Cardinals (-175, 7)
Possible World Series preview? Yeah, I don't think the Twins have staying power. This is your first game of the day with a 1:45 p.m. ET first pitch. It's getaway day for all these quick two-game interleague series -- all the teams then play two at the opponent's park starting Wednesday. Kyle Gibson (4-4, 3.24) has probably been Minnesota's most consistent starter. Well, was. In two June starts he is 0-1 with a 6.23 ERA. Gibson has never faced the Cardinals. It's Michael Wacha (8-2, 2.45) for the Cardinals. He tied his season high by allowing four earned runs last time out in Colorado but did strike out 10. Wacha has never faced Minnesota, which loses the DH.
Key trends: The Twins are 2-6 in Gibson's past eight on the road. They are 0-7 in his past seven on the road against teams with a winning record. The Cards are 13-3 in Wacha's past 16 at home. The "over/under" has gone over in five of Gibson's past five interleague games.
Early lean: Cardinals on runline and under.
Rockies at Astros (-155, 8.5)
Speaking of good rookies, Houston's Vincent Velasquez (0-0, 1.40), one of the team 's top prospects, looked very good in his big-league debut last week, holding the White Sox scoreless on three hits over five innings, striking out five. He was No. 56 on ESPN's Keith Law's Top 100 list entering this season. It's lefty Chris Rusin (2-1, 3.38) for the Rockies. He was roughed up last time out, allowing six runs and 11 hits in 5.1 innings in Miami. This will be his first career start against Houston -- remember, the Rockies will add the designated hitter for this series.
Key trends: The Astros are 1-6 in their past seven against a lefty. The under is 6-1 in Houston's past seven interleague games vs. a lefty.
Early lean: Astros and under.
Yankees at Marlins (-107, 8)
Presumably, the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez will have to take a seat for this interleague series because there's no designated hitter, although he's from Miami and I'm sure wants to play somewhere. Maybe Manager Joe Girardi plays him at first, but then what do you do with Mark Teixeira? The Marlins will be without third baseman Martin Prado for a while. He suffered a shoulder injury over the weekend, spraining his right shoulder while running out a play at first base. He's batting .272 with 24 RBIs. Prado was acquired this offseason in a trade for Nathan Eovaldi (5-1, 4.13), and he's on the mound Tuesday. He was solid last time out, holding the Nationals to three runs over seven innings. Another player in that trade was David Phelps (3-3, 4.11), and he starts for the Marlins. Phelps comes off his best start of the year, shutting out Colorado on four hits over eight innings.
Key trends: The Yanks are 4-0 in Eovaldi's past four on five days of rest. The Marlins are 1-5 in Phelps' past six. The under is 4-1 in his past five.
Early lean: Yankees and over.
Indians at Cubs (-135, TBA)
To make room for Lindor, the Indians put Nick Swisher on the disabled list. He has inflammation in his left knee and was hitting just .198 with two homers and eight RBIs in 30 games. Shaun Marcum (3-1, 4.09) gets the call here for Cleveland, and he comes off his best start of the year, shutting out the Mariners on two hits over seven innings, striking out five. It was his first start of the season not allowing a homer. Chicago's Starlin Castro is just 2-for-19 off him. Anthony Rizzo is 3-for-5 with two doubles. Lefty Tsuyoshi Wada (0-1, 4.84) starts for the Cubs. He may not be long for the rotation, not lasting more than 3.2 innings in each of his past two starts. Wada has never faced the Indians -- they lose the DH.
Key trends: The Indians are 6-2 in their past eight vs. lefties. The Cubs are 7-3 in their past 10 in Game 2 of a series. The under is 4-0 in the Tribe's past four vs. lefties.
Early lean: Indians.
Braves at Red Sox (-150, 8.5)
How much is a World Series title worth? I ask because I believe the Boston Red Sox have to do something to shake things up, and that has to mean Manager John Farrell goes. Of course, the Sox won the World Series his first season but were last in 2014 and are currently in the AL East cellar. I'm not confident that things will get better with lefty Wade Miley (5-6, 5.07) on the mound for this one. He and Farrell had a dust-up in the dugout when Miley was pulled after allowing five runs (three homers) and nine hits in just four innings in Baltimore. Not sure why Miley thought he had any right to be angry. Farrell called the outburst "unacceptable" but didn't fine his pitcher. Freddie Freeman is 3-for-12 with a homer off him. Atlanta's Julio Teheran (4-2, 4.78) has been a disappointment this season and has allowed four runs in each of his past two outings. He has never faced Boston. Pablo Sandoval has seen him, though, going 3-for-9 with an RBI.
Key trends: Atlanta is 2-6 in Teheran's past eight vs. teams with a losing record. The over is 11-1 in his past 12 starts overall. The under is 7-1 in Miley's past eight.
Early lean: Braves and over.
Get free picks from any Doc's Sports handicapper - there is no obligation for this offer and no credit card required. Just sign up for an account, and you can use the $60 in free picks for any Doc's Sports Advisory Board handicapper and any sport. Click here to get started now.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
Most Recent Baseball Handicapping Articles
- Daily Expert MLB Picks: Saturday, April 21, 2018, Opening Line Report
- Daily Expert MLB Picks: Friday, April 20, 2018, Opening Line Report
- Daily Expert MLB Picks: Thursday, April 19, 2018, Opening Line Report
- Daily Expert MLB Picks: Tuesday, April 17, 2018, Opening Line Report
- MLB Betting Trends: Totals Report for Hot Over and Under Teams
- Daily Expert MLB Picks: Saturday, April 14, 2018, Opening Line Report
- Daily Expert MLB Picks: Friday, April 13, 2018, Opening Line Report
- Daily Expert MLB Picks: Thursday, April 12, 2018, Opening Line Report
- Daily Expert MLB Picks: Tuesday, April 10, 2018, Opening Line Report
- Daily Expert MLB Picks: Saturday, April 7, 2018, Opening Line Report