So should a guy who plays only 60 or so games in a league be up for MVP honors? I certainly don't think so, but Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is at least entering the conversation. In 40 games with New York, Cespedes is hitting .308 with 16 homers and 41 RBIs for the Mets, who have the majors' best offense since he arrived from Detroit. No player switching leagues during the season has won an MVP award, and only one, Rick Sutcliffe of the 1984 Cubs, has won a Cy Young. Sutcliffe went 16-1 in 20 starts after the Cubs acquired him from Cleveland. Only five players have finished among the Top 10 in MVP balloting after going from one league to the other. Two of those came in 2008: CC Sabathia with the Brewers and Manny Ramirez with the Dodgers. Just think what might have happened if that Mets projected trade for Milwaukee's Carlos Gomez had gone through. Cespedes was the backup plan.
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Marlins at Mets (-250, 7)
Cespedes and Co. will face Marlins right-hander Tom Koehler (9-13, 3.99) in this one. He got his first win in eight starts in his last outing, beating the Brewers while tying a career-high in innings (eight) and strikeouts (10). Koehler is 0-2 with a 10.59 ERA in two four starts this season against the Mets. Cespedes is 3-for-6 with two doubles off him. David Wright is 6-for-24 with four RBIs. New York's Jacob deGrom (13-7, 2.40) beat Washington last time out, allowing two runs and five hits over seven innings. He is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in two starts this year against Miami. Dee Gordon is 3-for-12 with four strikeouts off deGrom.
Key trends: Miami is 0-4 in Koehler's past four on the road. The Mets are 6-0 in deGrom's past six on Tuesday. The "over/under" is 4-1 in Koehler's past five on Tuesday. The under is 4-0 in deGrom's past four at home.
Early lean: Mets and under.
Cubs at Pirates, Game 1 (-158, 7)
Your lone matinee of Tuesday and the start of a huge series between the two NL wild-card teams. Pittsburgh currently has a four-game lead over Chicago for the right to host that game, although the Pirates aren't out of the NL Central race yet, either. Jason Hammel (8-6, 3.59) gets the call in Game 1 of the day/night doubleheader. He beat the Cardinals last time out, allowing three runs in six innings. Hammel is 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA in two starts vs. the Pirates in 2015. Andrew McCutchen is 6-for-26 with two homers off him. Pedro Alvarez also has gone yard twice in 21 at-bats. It's ace Gerrit Cole (16-8, 2.54) for the Pirates. He was brilliant last time out, shutting out the Cardinals on two hits over seven innings. Cole is 1-1 with a 1.50 ERA in two starts this year against the Cubs. Starlin Castro is 5-for-13 with for RBIs against him. Kris Bryant is 2-for-3.
Key trends: The Cubs are 6-2 in Hammel's past eight vs. teams with a winning record. The Pirates are 2-6 in Cole's past eight vs. the NL Central. The over is 4-1 in Hammel's past five. The over is 5-1 in Cole's past six vs. Chicago.
Early lean: Pirates and under.
Astros at Rangers (+106, 8.5)
This is on ESPN and thus will have live betting at sportsbooks. It's also clearly the biggest series in the AL to start this week as Texas could take over first place in the AL West potentially. I definitely didn't see that coming. The Rangers start lefty Martin Perez (2-5, 5.43) in this one. Perez has lost his last two starts and is 1-3 with a 5.64 ERA in his last four. His season debut off Tommy John surgery was July 17 in Houston, and he allowed three runs and nine hits in five innings. Chris Carter is 6-for-13 career off Perez with two homers and four RBIs. Jose Altuve is 5-for-12 with three doubles. Houston counters with Collin McHugh (16-7, 3.89). He comes off one of his worst outings of the year, allowing five runs in 5.1 innings in Oakland but still won. McHugh had allowed just seven earned runs in his previous six outings combined. He is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA in two starts vs. Texas this year.
Key trends: The Astros are 11-1 in McHugh's past 12 vs. teams with a winning record. The Rangers are 2-5 in Perez's past seven vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 5-0 in McHugh's past five on Tuesday. The under is 5-0 in Perez's past five.
Early lean: Astros and over.
Blue Jays at Braves (+172, 8.5)
Big loss for the Blue Jays as shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has been lost for at least two weeks because of a small crack in his left shoulder blade. He was hurt when he collided with center fielder Kevin Pillar while chasing Didi Gregorius' popup in the opener of Saturday's doubleheader. The team is hopeful he can be back by the time the playoffs start. I still think the Jays win the AL East without him. The Jays will also lose the DH when they play in Atlanta this series. Lefty Mark Buehrle (14-7, 3.72) goes for Toronto. He hasn't pitched in a week as he got a cortisone shot in his shoulder. Nick Markakis has the most experience of any Braves player against him, going 22-for-49 with two homers and seven RBIs. It's Julio Teheran (10-7, 4.38) for the Braves. He has allowed just an earned run in each of his past two outings. Ben Revere is 4-for-13 with four RBIs against him.
Key trends: The Jays are 6-0 in Buehrle's past six on Tuesday. The Braves are 0-5 in Teheran's past five on Tuesday. The over is 5-0-1 in Buehrle's past six on the road. The over is 4-0 in Teheran's past four on Tuesday.
Early lean: Braves and over.
Cardinals at Brewers (+150, 8)
St. Louis is close to getting back outfielder Matt Holliday. Cardinals GM John Mozeliak said he could be ready during this series. Holliday tore his right quad on June 8 and then tore it again in late July. Holliday has been limited to 63 games this season. It's Carlos Martinez (13-7, 3.12) here for the Cards. Martinez has allowed three or more runs in each of his last eight starts. Martinez beat the Brewers in his lone start against them this year, shutting out Milwaukee over seven innings. Ryan Braun is 2-for-10 off him with four strikeouts. It's rookie Ariel Pena (1-0, 4.50) for the Brewers. He made his first big-league start on Wednesday in Miami and allowed three runs over five innings.
Key trends: The Cards are 12-3 in Martinez's past 15 vs. teams with a losing record. The under is 5-1-2 in his past eight on the road. The over is 6-1 in Milwaukee's past seven following an off day.
Early lean: Cardinals and over.
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