I get that agent Scott Boras is just looking out for his client. But he has no right, at least in my opinion, to tell the New York Mets how to use their ace pitcher Matt Harvey. Of course, Harvey missed all of last season due to Tommy John surgery and the Mets are keeping him on an innings limit. A few years ago, Washington did the same with Stephen Strasburg, and in my mind that wrecked the Nats' best chance to win the World Series. There was some talk that Boras didn't want his client pitching in the playoffs if the Mets made it because Harvey's season innings are capped at 180. Are you kidding me? Are guys not playing baseball to win? Harvey himself did say on Sunday that he will pitch if New York does make the playoffs. Harvey currently sits at 166 1/3 innings. The Mets had planned to utilize a six-man rotation the remainder of the regular season and skip Harvey at least once more. But he's scheduled to go Tuesday in Washington what Manager Terry Collins called the biggest start of Harvey's career.
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Mets at Nationals (-105, 7)
Mets GM Sandy Alderson did say that Harvey could be skipped multiple times this month to save those innings. In fact, he might not go again until the last series of the regular season against Washington and only if that actually matters. Alderson did add that Harvey's usage may be partly dictated by the standings in the NL East. Alderson ruled out using Harvey in the bullpen to conserve innings. Harvey (12-7, 2.60) is 2-1 against the Nationals this season with a 0.98 ERA in four starts. Bryce Harper can't figure him out, going 0-for-17 with seven strikeouts. It's Jordan Zimmermann (12-8, 3.38) for Washington. He has won four straight starts and allowed just one earned in each of his past two. Zimmermann is 1-1 with a 4.26 ERA in three starts this year against the Mets. Lucas Duda, who was activated off the DL on Monday, is 9-for-38 with a homer against him. Daniel Murphy is a .339 hitter off him with four homers.
Key trends: The Mets are 1-4 in Harvey's past five road starts vs. teams with a winning record. The "over/under" is 4-1 in his past five overall. The Nats are 7-1 in Zimmermann's past eight vs. New York.
Early lean: Nationals and under.
Blue Jays at Red Sox (+130, 9.5)
Boston is likely to get back second baseman Dustin Pedroia on Tuesday. He has been out since July 23 with a right hamstring injury. Pedroia was hitting .306 at the time of his injury on June 24. He returned for six games in July, but went 1-for-22 before shutting it back down. He likely won't play every single day at first. Pedroia will face Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey (10-10, 4.09). The Jays have won the knuckleballer's past nine outings. Dickey is 0-3 with a 5.76 ERA in four starts this season vs. Boston. David Ortiz is 9-for-28 career off him with three homers and eight RBIs. Red Sox rookie lefty Henry Owens (2-2, 5.87) comes off the worst start of his young career, allowing seven runs in 1.2 innings against the Yankees. He hasn't faced Toronto.
Key trends: The Jays are 6-0 in Dickey's past six vs. teams with a losing record. The over is 6-0 in Owens' past six. The under is 3-1-1 in Dickey's past five at Boston.
Early lean: Red Sox, a Big Papi homer, and over.
Dodgers at Angels (+176, 6.5)
Nothing beats watching Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw face off against the Angels' Mike Trout. Fair to call those two the best pitcher and position player in baseball. Kershaw (12-6, 2.18) threw a complete game against the Giants last time out, allowing one run and six hits while striking out 15 -- his third straight game with at least 10 whiffs. Since June 22, Kershaw has allowed more than one run only once in 12 starts and he has struck out 39 batters over his last three starts. Trout is 2-for-6 with a double and two strikeouts off him. Albert Pujols hits Kershaw well, going 10-for-23 with four doubles. It's fellow southpaw Andrew Heaney (6-2, 3.18) for the Halos. He faced the Dodgers on Aug. 1, allowing two runs and four hits in 5.1 innings. Keep in mind that the Dodgers add the designated hitter here.
Key trends: The Dodgers are 4-0 in their past four against a lefty. They are 2-5 in Kershaw's past seven on the road. The Angels are 0-4 in their past four interleague home games vs. lefties. The under is 11-2 in Kershaw's past 13.
Early lean: Dodgers and under.
Orioles at Yankees (-168, 8)
It's probably too late for the Orioles' playoff chances, but they will get back shortstop J.J. Hardy on Tuesday. He hasn't played since Aug. 23 due to a groin injury. The team may or may not get back catcher Matt Wieters. He hasn't played since Friday due to a wrist injury. Baltimore entered Monday's game 6.5 games out of the second wild-card spot. It's not happening. Kevin Gausman (2-6, 4.59) goes here for the O's. He hasn't won since Aug. 1 and lasted only 2.1 innings last time out against Tampa Bay. Gausman pitched in the Bronx on July 22 and allowed four runs over six innings in a loss. Brett Gardner is 4-for-13 off him with a homer. Alex Rodriguez is 2-for-5 with a dinger. The Yankees' Masahiro Tanaka (11-6, 3.73) beat the Orioles on July 23, allowing three runs over 7.2 innings. Jonathan Schoop is 2-for-9 with two homers and five RBIs off him.
Key trends: The Orioles are 0-7 in Gausman's past seven vs. teams with a winning record. The Yanks are 7-1 in Tanaka's past eight vs. the AL East. The over is 4-0 in his past four against teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Yankees and over.
Rangers at Mariners (+116, 7)
It's lefty Cole Hamels (8-8, 3.70) here for Texas. This will be his third start against Seattle since being acquired from the Phillies at the July 31 deadline. He is 0-1 with a 4.85 ERA vs. the Mariners this season. Logan Morrison is 10-for-25 with three doubles career off him. Robinson Cano is 2-for-12 with a solo homer. Seattle's Taijuan Walker (10-7, 4.51) hasn't lost since July 12. He is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in two starts this season vs. the Rangers. Adrian Beltre is 4-for-6 with two doubles off him.
Key trends: The Mariners are 5-1 in Walker's past six at home. The over is 6-0 in his past six at home.
Early lean: Rangers and under.
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