So we are into September, the final full month of baseball's regular season. Thus, let's look at how the standings were on Sept. 1 last season and see which of those teams made the playoffs. In the American League, your division leaders were Baltimore (8.5 games), Kansas City (half game) and the LA Angels (4.5 games). Oakland and Detroit led the wild-card standings. Those would be your five playoff teams, with the Tigers taking the AL Central over the Royals. In the NL, the leaders were Washington (7 games), St. Louis (1 game) and the LA Dodgers (2 games). The wild-card leaders were San Francisco and Milwaukee. All three Sept. 1 division leaders won their divisions. The Brewers missed the playoffs, with the Pirates taking that other wild-card spot. I think the current NL playoff field is going to stay as it is. Mets, Cardinals and Dodgers will win divisions and Pirates and Cubs will square off in wild-card game. Also think Blue Jays, Royals (that's a lock) and Astros will keep their division leads. I'm not sold on the Yankees and Rangers as the wild-card teams, however. Think the Angels will get one of those.
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Yankees at Red Sox (+120, 9)
This game will have live betting at sportsbooks with it being shown nationally on the MLB Network. Of course it's on national TV, it's Yankees-Red Sox. Boston interim manager Torey Lovullo has changed closers. He will now go with Jean Machi over Junichi Tazawa, who had a rough outing over the weekend. Koji Uehara, Boston's closer for the last three seasons, is out for the year with a fractured right wrist, sustained Aug. 7. It's right-hander Rick Porcello (6-11, 5.47) here for the Sox. He had his best outing of the season last time out in his return from the disabled list, shutting out the White Sox on five hits and without a walk. Porcello hasn't faced the Yanks in 2015. Jacoby Ellsbury kills the guy, going 11-for-17 with four solo homers. It's Michael Pineda (9-8, 4.19) for the Bombers. He has lost three straight, allowing at least four runs in each. Pineda's last win was July 10 in Boston where he allowed a run over 6.2 innings.
Key trends: The Yanks are 2-5 in Pineda's past seven. Boston is 1-6 in Porcello's past seven vs. teams with a winning record. The "over/under" is 9-2 in Pineda's past 11 on the road. The under is 4-1in Porcello's past five vs. the AL East.
Early lean: Red Sox and over.
Tigers at Royals (-150, 7)
Kansas City gets back All-Star left fielder Alex Gordon back on Tuesday. Gordon has been out since July 9 with a strained left groin. He is hitting.279 with 11 homers and 39 RBIs in 78 games before the injury. He's also a fantastic defensive player. The Royals start Johnny Cueto (9-9, 2.94) on the mound. He may have hit a bit of a wall, allowing six earned in each of his past two starts. Cueto has a 2.11 ERA in three starts this season against the Tigers. Victor Martinez is 0-for-13 off him. Detroit's Justin Verlander (2-6, 3.45) takes the mound for the first time since losing a no-hitter in the ninth inning Wednesday against the Angels. He is 0-1 with a 6.43 ERA in one start vs. the Royals in 2015. Gordon is a career .208 hitter off him with 27 strikeouts in 77 at-bats.
Key trends: Detroit is 2-7 in Verlander's past nine vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 6-1 in his past seven overall. The Tigers are 2-5 in Verlander's past seven at K.C.
Early lean: Royals and under.
Mariners at Astros (-150, 8.5)
Houston hasn't had excellent rookie shortstop Carlos Correa since Aug. 25 due to a hamstring injury. There's a slim chance he plays Tuesday. The Astros go with Scott Feldman (5-5, 3.75) here. He had one of his best outings of the year last time out in shutting out the Yankees on six hits over eight innings but got a no-decision. He faced Seattle on April 30 and allowed two runs over seven innings. Robinson Cano is 8-for-22 off him with two RBIs. Mariners lefty Roenis Elias (4-7, 4.20) hasn't won since beating Houston on Jun 19 when he gave up two runs over seven innings and struck out a season-high 10. Jose Altuve is 2-for-8 with a solo homer off him.
Key trends: Seattle has won four straight on Tuesday. Houston is 5-1 in its past six against lefties. The under is 7-1 in Elias' past eight on the road.
Early lean: Astros and over.
Nationals at Cardinals (-145, 7)
I've officially given up on Washington at this point and have zero doubt that Manager Matt Williams will be an offseason casualty. The Nats just can't keep their regulars healthy. Denard Span was lost back to the disabled list last week and now Stephen Strasburg is hurt again. Washington goes with Joe Ross (5-5, 3.24) here. Ross has allowed just one run in each of his past two starts and sees the Cardinals for the first time in his career. It's Carlos Martinez (13-6, 2.91) for the Redbirds. He has allowed at least three earned in six straight starts. Martinez already has thrown a career high in innings so he might be tiring. Washington's Anthony Rendon is 2-for-2 with an RBI off him.
Key trends: The Nats are 0-5 in Ross' past five vs. teams with a winning record. The Cards are 6-1 in Martinez's past seven vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 5-0-1 in Martinez's past six vs. teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Cardinals and under.
Giants at Dodgers (-150, 7)
Spectacular pitching matchup between Cy Young contenders here. Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner already has beaten the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw a couple of times this season and now he gets MLB ERA leader Zack Greinke. Bumgarner (16-6, 2.97) was 5-0 with a 1.43 ERA in five August starts. He is 2-0 with a 1.31 ERA in three starts this year against Los Angeles. Greinke (14-3, 1.61) shut out the Reds on four hits over seven innings in his last start. Greinke has lasted at least six innings in all 26 of his starts this season. He has faced the Giants once this season, allowing three runs over six innings on April 29. Buster Posey is a career .333 hitter off him in 21 at-bats.
Key trends: The Giants are 6-1 in Bumgarner's past seven road starts vs. teams with a winning record. The Dodgers are 10-2 in Greinke's past 12 on Tuesday. The Dodgers are 7-0 in Greinke's past seven vs. the Giants. The under is 4-0 in Bumgarner's past four at the Dodgers.
Early lean: Dodgers and under.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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