The Kansas City Royals were supposed to take a big step back this season after losing James Shields and a few other key players from last season's American League champions. I still think they will, but the Royals entered Tuesday as the only unbeaten in MLB. However, the team has now lost starting outfielder Alex Rios to a fractured left hand. His official timetable isn't known, but clearly that's going to be a while. Rios was hitting .321 with a homer and eight RBIs after signing a one-year deal with the Royals this past winter to replace the departed Nori Aoki. The Royals will likely cover right field by moving Lorenzo Cain to right and starting Jarrod Dyson, who has just one plate appearance this season entering Tuesday, in center. By the way, Wednesday is Jackie Robinson Day, so all MLB players will wear his retired No. 42.
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Marlins at Braves (-105, 7.5)
It's a 12:10 p.m. getaway day start in this one, so some starters are on sit-down alert. The Marlins have been the most disappointing team in the National League (Giancarlo Stanton isn't hitting at all) thus far and the Braves the biggest surprise. I doubt either lasts. Veteran right-hander Dan Haren starts for Miami. He pitched well in his Marlins debut, allowing the Rays just a run and four hits over six innings. Last year while with the Dodgers, Haren made one start against the Braves and beat them, allowing two runs in six innings. Kelly Johnson is 6-for-14 with four doubles and two RBIs off him. Lefty Eric Stults starts for the Braves. He was decent in his Atlanta debut, allowing three runs and seven hits in five innings. Stanton is 2-for-7 career off him with a homer and two RBIs. Martin Prado hits .385 off him with a homer and six knocked in.
Key trends: The Marlins are 1-7 in their past eight against a lefty. Atlanta is 6-0 in its past six on Wednesday. The "over/under" has gone under in Miami's past four on the road against lefties.
Early lean: Marlins and under.
Yankees at Orioles (-138, 8.5)
New York is hoping to have back outfielder Brett Gardner for this game. He was hit by a pitch in the first inning Monday in Baltimore but stayed in until the seventh inning when Stephen Drew pinch-hit for him and hit a go-ahead grand slam -- the Yankees' first pinch-hit grand slam since Jorge Posada in 2001. X-rays were negative on Gardner's wrist, but he wasn't expected to play Tuesday. Manager Joe Girardi will give Alex Rodriguez this game off for rest if he didn't on Tuesday. The Bombers start Nathan Eovaldi. He hit triple digits on the gun in his Yankee debut but took the loss vs. Boston, allowing three runs and eight hits in 5.1 innings. Only a couple of Orioles have ever faced him. Everth Cabrera is 1-for-9 with three strikeouts. It's Bud Norris for the Orioles. The Blue Jays pummeled him in his season debut for eight runs and seven hits in 3.0 innings. Last year he was 4-0 with a 2.74 ERA in four starts vs. New York. Chase Headley hits .412 off him with two homers in 17 at-bats. Drew is 7-for-19 with a homer and four RBIs.
Key trends: New York is 5-1 in its past six Wednesday games. Baltimore is 4-0 in Norris' past four in Game 3 of a series. The over is 10-3 in Norris' past 13 overall.
Early lean: Orioles and over.
Royals at Twins (+113, 8)
Could Kansas City be going for 8-0 in this one? Edinson Volquez gets the start for the Royals, and he was terrific in his first start of the season. The former Pirate held the White Sox to just one run and four hits over eight innings in a 4-1 victory. I still expect him to get lit up by American League hitters this season. Volquez has faced the Twins just once in his career, and that was way back in 2007. Joe Mauer homered in that game, but that was back when Joe Mauer hit homers. It's Kyle Gibson for the Twins. He was destroyed in his season debut, allowing six runs and eight hits, walking five, in 3.2 innings at Detroit. He didn't strike out anyone. Gibson was 2-0 with a 0.68 ERA in two starts against the Royals last season. Mike Moustakas has the most success off him with two doubles in seven at-bats.
Key trends: The Twins are 2-7 in Gibson's past nine starts. They are 1-8 in his past nine vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 7-0 in his past seven at home.
Early lean: Royals and under.
Phillies at Mets (-165, 7)
New York is the biggest favorite on the board. Left-hander Jon Niese takes the bump for the Mets. He took a no-decision in his debut in Atlanta, allowing three runs (one earned) and seven hits over 5.0 innings. Last year he was 2-0 with a 2.57 ERA in four starts against the Phillies. Carlos Ruiz is 10-for-29 with a home and three RBIs off him. Chase Utley is just 3-for-28. I think it's fair to say that Ryan Howard won't play. He generally does sit against lefties and is 4-for-26 with 12 strikeouts career vs. Niese. Howard has been terrible this season, batting .167 with eight strikeouts and no walks in 24 at-bats entering Tuesday. I don't know why the Phillies don't just cut the guy. Jerome Williams starts for the Phillies. He took a no-decision in his debut, holding the Nationals to a run over six innings. No current Met has more than eight at-bats off him. Curtis Granderson has a three-run homer off him in eight at-bats.
Key trends: The Phillies are 7-2 in Williams' past nine starts. The Mets are 13-3 in Niese's past 16 vs. teams with a losing record. The over is 5-2 in Niese's past seven at home vs. the Phillies.
Early lean: Mets and over.
Diamondbacks at Padres (-137, 6.5)
This is the only opening total below seven on the board. Chase Anderson gets the call for Arizona. The second-year player was so-so in his 2015 debut, allowing three runs and five hits over five innings against the Dodgers in a no-decision. Last year, he was 2-1 with a 4.20 ERA in three starts against the Padres and struggled on the road, going 2-4 with a 4.89 ERA. Matt Kemp has four hits, including a homer, and two RBIs off Anderson. Brandon Morrow starts for San Diego. He looked great in his Padres debut, holding the Giants to just four hits and no runs over seven innings while striking out seven in a no-decision. Morrow always has had good stuff but can't stay healthy. Only a few Diamondbacks have faced him. Mark Trumbo is 1-for-3 with a strikeout.
Key trends: Arizona has lost four straight Wednesday games. The over has hit in eight of Anderson's past 10 starts.
Early lean: Diamondbacks and over.
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