Baseball has come up with a type of hat/helmet combination for pitchers to wear on the mound to protect them from comebackers, but almost no one wears it because it looks pretty funky. And barring wearing a full helmet with a facemask like a football player, there's just no way to totally protect a guy who is only 50 feet or so from home plate by the time he delivers the ball. We saw another example of that on Monday when Yankees pitcher Bryan Mitchell took a line drive off his face. Man, it looked terrible, but apparently Mitchell has only suffered a nasal fracture and is being monitored for concussion symptoms. Mitchell started Monday because the Yankees wanted to give their regular starters an extra day's rest. Four big-league pitchers have now been hit in the head by line drives this year. All four were struck below the cap line, so that helmet thing wouldn't have mattered.
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Twins at Yankees (-166, 8.5)
Monitor the status of Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira for a few days. He was also forced out of Monday's game after bruising his right leg with a foul ball during a sixth-inning at-bat. X-rays were negative, so he shouldn't miss more than a game or two. This is your earliest game of Wednesday with a 1:05 p.m. ET start, so expect a regular or two on each side to take a seat. It's Nathan Eovaldi (12-2, 4.26) goes for the Bombers. Last time out against the Indians, he won his seventh straight decision and hasn't lost since June 16, a span of 10 starts. He beat the Twins on July 26, allowing two runs over eight innings. Minnesota's Ervin Santana (2-3, 5.66) has allowed 22 runs over his past four starts, all losses. He hasn't faced New York this season. A-Rod is a career .333 hitter off him with four homers and 11 RBIs in 36 at-bats.
Key trends: The Twins are 0-9 in their past nine vs. teams with a winning record (entering Tuesday). The Yanks are 6-0 in Eovaldi's past six vs. the AL Central. The "over/under" has gone under in four of Santana's past five on the road. The over is 5-0 in Eovaldi's past five vs. AL Central teams.
Early lean: Yankees and over.
Mariners at Rangers (-126, 9.5)
Texas is right there in the wild-card mix and will get back lefty pitcher Derek Holland, the team's projected No. 2 starter, on Wednesday night. Holland threw nine pitches in Texas' home opener April 10 before being pulled with a torn muscle in his throwing shoulder. He also was limited to only five starts last year due to injury. Robinson Cano is 10-for-28 with a homer and five RBIs against him. Mark Trumbo is 11-for-38 with four homers and nine RBIs. Mariners lefty Mike Montgomery (4-5, 4.14) started his rookie campaign strong but the M's have dropped his past seven. He was rocked for nine runs in just 2.1 innings last time out vs. Boston. He allowed three runs over four innings on Aug. 8 vs. Texas.
Key trends: The Mariners are 1-4 in Montgomery's past five vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 5-2 in Seattle's past seven vs. lefties.
Early lean: Rangers and over.
Indians at Red Sox (+129, 8.5)
Cleveland will activate All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis either for Tuesday's game or this one. He has been out since Aug. 1 with a shoulder injury and might have to only DH for a few games. He's having an MVP-type season, hitting .326 (first in AL) with a .401 on-base percentage. Kipnis was leading the league in hits but has since been passed. The Tribe face Boston's Joe Kelly (5-6, 5.69), one of the AL's worst pitchers. He was solid last time out, however, allowing just a run and four hits over six innings in a win over Seattle. Only a few Indians have ever seen him. Kipnis is 2-for-2 with a double. Michael Brantley is 1-for-3. Corey Kluber (8-12, 3.34) has thrown back-to-back complete games for the Tribe, both against Minnesota. Boston's David Ortiz is 2-for-8 with a homer off him. Brock Holt is 3-for-7 with two RBIs.
Key trends: The Tribe are 2-6 in Kluber's past eight vs. teams with a losing record. The Sox are 0-5 in Kelly's past five on Wednesday. The under is 4-1 in Kluber's past five vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 5-2 in Kelly's past seven at home vs. teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Indians on runline -- rare I will say that for a road team -- and over.
Giants at Cardinals (-154, 7)
St. Louis had to put terrific rookie outfielder Randal Grichuk on the DL on Monday. He injured his right elbow in Sunday's loss to the Marlins. Grichuk was hitting .284 with a slugging percentage of .561 that was among the NL's best. He also had 15 homers and 44 RBIs. The Cards moved Jason Heyward from right to center on Monday to cover for Grichuk and then Heyward left after two innings due to hamstring tightness so he might miss a few games. Thus, things might be a bit easier for Giants starter Matt Cain (2-3, 6.05) here. He's 0-2 with an 8.24 ERA in his last four starts while earning nearly $21 million this season. Matt Carpenter is 7-for-10 off him with five RBIs. Cards lefty Jaime Garcia (5-4, 1.57) would be right there in the NL ERA race if he had enough innings to qualify. He hasn't allowed a run in his past two starts, spanning 15.1 innings. Hunter Pence is 5-for-20 with a homer off him.
Key trends: The Giants are 1-10 in Cain's past 11 vs. the NL Central. The Cards are 4-0 in Garcia's past four on Wednesday. The over is 5-0-1 in Cain's past six overall. The under is 5-0 in Garcia's past five at home.
Early lean: Cardinals and under.
Tigers at Cubs (-203, TBA)
This is the Wednesday ESPN game and thus will have live betting at sportsbooks. Detroit loses the designated hitter, meaning Victor Martinez will take a seat. It's lefty Daniel Norris (2-2, 4.24) for the Tigers. He allowed four runs over 6.1 innings last time out vs. the Royals and has one quality start in three outings since coming over from Toronto in the David Price deal. Lefty Jon Lester goes for Chicago so expect the Tigers to try and run on him since Lester just can't throw to first base to hold runners. He has some kind of mental block. Lester is 4-0 with a 2.04 ERA in his past five starts, giving up two runs or fewer in each of those games. Lester pitched in Detroit on June 9 and allowed five runs and nine hits over 4.1 innings. Miguel Cabrera owns Lester, going 14-for-25 with five extra base hits and eight walks.
Key trends: The Tigers are 12-3 in their past 15 interleague games vs. a lefty. The Cubs are 1-4 in their past five interleague games vs. a lefty. The under has hit in nine of his past 13 at home.
Early lean: Cubs and under.
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