I think it's fair to say that Houston blew it in the 2013 draft, taking Stanford pitcher Mark Appel over University of San Diego slugger Kris Bryant. Maybe Appel becomes a good player some day, but Bryant looks like a future MVP. Houston did appear to get it right in 2012, however, in taking high school shortstop Carlos Correa. I mentioned not long ago that the Astros probably were going to call him up soon. That happened on Monday. Correa was with Triple-A Fresno after beginning the season with Double-A Corpus Christi and was hitting a combined .335 with 10 home runs, 44 RBIs and 21 doubles with 18 stolen bases. At 20, Correa will be the youngest player in the majors. He looks legit (Monday began this year's draft by the way -- runs through Wednesday).
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Astros at White Sox (+106, 7.5)
I was a bit surprised that Houston's Dallas Keuchel wasn't the AL Cy Young betting favorite when Bovada released its updated odds last week (Seattle's Felix Hernandez was). All Keuchel has done is go 7-1 with a 1.85 ERA for a team leading the AL West. He had one of the best starts of his career against the White Sox on May 30 in Houston, throwing a complete-game four-hitter and striking out a season-high 11 while not walking anyone. Melky Cabrera is 4-for-11 with a double career off him. Avisail Garcia is 2-for-6 with a homer and three RBIs. Rookie left-hander Carlos Rodon (1-0, 3.12) goes for the Pale Hose. He's going to be one of the better starters in the AL sooner rather than later. He struck out a career-high 10 last time out vs. Texas and allowed one earned run over 6.1 innings on May 29 in Houston.
Key trends: The Astros are 6-1 in Keuchel's past seven on the road. The Sox are 1-6 in their past seven in Game 2 of a series. The "over/under" has gone under in four straight Keuchel starts. The under is 6-2 in Chicago's past eight vs. lefties.
Early lean: Big on the under. Take Houston.
Nationals at Yankees (+100, 7)
This is the clear marquee matchup of the day with Max Scherzer opposing Masahiro Tanaka. Scherzer (6-4, 1.85), who was the Bovada NL Cy Young favorite, was hit around a bit last time out, allowing four runs and six hits over six innings in a loss to Toronto. I was rather surprised the Yankees didn't bid for his services this past offseason. A-Rod is 1-for-10 off him with four strikeouts. Mark Teixeira 3-for-13 with a homer. Tanaka (3-1, 2.76) shined in his return from nearly two months on the disabled list last Wednesday, allowing only a run and three hits over seven innings in Seattle. He has never faced a member of the Nationals.
Key trends: The Yanks are 4-1 in Tanaka's past five at home vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 4-0-1 in Scherzer's past five vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 8-0 in New York's past eight during Game 1 of a series.
Early lean: You probably don't see Tanaka as a home dog the rest of this season but I like Washington. Under for sure.
Cubs at Tigers (-102, 7.5)
There was talk that the Cubs might call up Javier Baez for this series because Chicago would have the use of the designated hitter, although Baez probably would have played third and then the Cubs move Bryant to left field. Those plans have been scuttled as Baez suffered a fractured left ring finger while sliding into second base on a stolen base attempt in Sunday's game at Triple-A Iowa. He will miss 4-8 weeks. Lefty Jon Lester (4-4, 3.86) goes for the Cubs in his first outing against his former league. The Cubs have lost his past three. He wasn't sharp last time out, allowing six runs and nine hits over five innings in Miami. He is 2-4 in his career against Detroit with a 4.83 ERA. Miguel Cabrera is 12-for-23 off him with four doubles and a homer. Anibal Sanchez (3-7, 5.69), who nearly signed with the Cubs a couple of years ago, starts for Detroit. The Tigers have lost his past four.
Key trends: The Cubs are 4-1 in Lester's five Game 1 starts. Detroit is 5-1 in its past six at home vs. a lefty. The Tigers are 1-6 in Sanchez's past seven at home.
Early lean: Cubs and under.
Angels at Rays (-115, 7.5)
Tampa is hoping to get back third baseman Evan Longoria on Tuesday. He hasn't started since June 5 with a wrist injury but did pinch-hit on Sunday. He's hitting .273 with five homers and 25 RBIs on the season. Nate Karns (3-2, 3.63) gets the start for the Rays. His last start was in Anaheim, allowing four runs and five hits over five innings in a no-decision. Mike Trout is 1-for-2 with a solo homer off him. Matt Shoemaker (3-4, 5.08) goes for the Halos. He was shifted to the bullpen temporarily but wasn't used. Thus he hasn't pitched since May 31. Longoria is 1-for-6 with two strikeouts against him.
Key trends: The Angels are 12-2 in Shoemaker's past 14 on the road. The over is 5-1 in the Angels' past six during Game 1 of a series. The over is 5-2 in Karns' past seven at home.
Early lean: Angels and over.
Mariners at Indians (-183, 7)
Last week I mentioned that Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon gave closer Fernando Rodney a vote of confidence, which is essentially a kiss of death. And now Rodney is out as the closer. He has a 6.94 ERA with three blown saves in 17 opportunities. It looks like Carson Smith will get the first crack at the job. Lefty Roenis Elias (2-3, 2.94) starts for Seattle. He went a season-high eight innings last time out against Tampa and allowed two runs but lost. In six of his eight starts, the M's have not scored more than three runs. Michael Brantley is 2-for-6 with an RBI off him. Cleveland's Corey Kluber (3-6, 3.61) comes off a loss, allowing four runs and nine hits at Kansas City over eight innings. He has a 2.03 ERA with 59 strikeouts and three walks in his past 40 innings.
Key trends: The Mariners are 1-7 in their past eight against a right-hander. The Tribe are 1-4 in Kluber's past five series-opening starts. The under is 10-1 in Kluber's past 11 with five days of rest.
Early lean: Tribe at +120 on runline and under.
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