I've said all year that I liked the Toronto Blue Jays to win the AL East Division assuming they added pitching and that I also recently liked third baseman Josh Donaldson as great +900 value to win the AL MVP Award. Well, the Jays are coming. They won a sixth straight game on Monday night and could get over .500 on Wednesday with a win as long as they also do Tuesday. Run differential is usually a great indicator of which team truly is the best in each division, and the Jays have the best mark in the American League thanks to MLB's AL's best offense by far (314 runs entering Tuesday; No. 2 team, Arizona, has 267). Toronto is a still +500 longer shot to win the East. Take that now.
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Marlins at Blue Jays (-148, 9)
You might not even know who Toronto's Chris Colabello is, but he entered Tuesday with the longest hitting streak in the majors at 18 in a row. Will he have a chance to extend to 20 on Wednesday? Miami starts Tom Koehler (4-3, 3.72), and he has won his past three outings after losing the previous four. He gave up a run and eight hits over seven innings in Colorado last time out. In nine career Interleague starts, he is 4-2 with a 5.01 ERA. The only Blue Jays batter who has ever faced him is Russell Martin, who is 1-for-4 with a walk. Young Jay starter Aaron Sanchez (5-4, 3.55) has been terrific over his past three starts, not allowing more than two earned in any of them. He went a career-high eight innings in a win over Houston last time out. He has never faced the Marlins. Remember, they will have the use of the DH.
Key trends: Miami is 5-0 in Koehler's past five interleague games. The Jays are 4-1 in Sanchez's past five at home. The "over/under" has hit under in six of Miami's past seven during Game 3 of a series.
Early lean: Jays and under.
Cardinals at Rockies (+100, 10.5)
The Cardinals are awaiting news on outfielder Matt Holliday, but it looks like he will land on the disabled list. Holliday injured his quad during Monday's loss to the Rockies while chasing a pop-up in left field. He's hitting .303 with three homers and 25 RBIs. Having already lost Matt Adams, St. Louis can't lose Holliday for a long period of time. The Cards start Carlos Martinez in this getaway matinee in Denver. Martinez (6-2, 2.94) has been arguably the best pitcher in the National League over his past four starts, allowing one total run over 27.1 innings with the Cards winning all of them. He has only pitched at Coors once in his career, allowing four runs on five hits in 1 2/3 innings of relief. Charlie Blackmon is 2-for-2 with a double off him. It's Chad Bettis (2-0, 2.70) for Colorado. He has been very good in his past three, allowing three total runs over 22.1 innings, all wins for the Rockies. Jason Heyward is 1-for-3 with a two-run homer off him.
Key trends: The Cardinals are 4-1 in Martinez's past five on the road. Colorado is 2-5 in its past seven on Wednesday. The over is 5-2 in Martinez's past seven on the road. The over is 4-0 in Bettis' past four at home.
Early lean: Rockies and under.
Cubs at Tigers (+107, 8.5)
The Tigers might see Justin Verlander make his season debut this weekend. Thus, this could be Shane Greene's final chance to keep his job in the rotation. Greene (4-5, 5.40) has allowed at least four runs in each of his past three starts and not lasted more than 5.2 innings in any of them, all losses. Frankly, I just think that's who he is at this point. Greene has never faced the Cubs, who will have the DH at their disposal. It's Jake Arrieta (5-4, 3.04) for Chicago. He shut down the Nationals last time out, allowing a run and striking out eight over six innings. Some Tigers have seen the former Oriole. Rajai Davis is 3-for-10 with two RBIs. Miguel Cabrera 3-for-9 with a homer and two RBIs.
Key trends: The Cubs are 4-1 in Arrieta's past five on the road. Detroit is 2-5 in Greene's past seven starts. The under is 5-1-1 in Arrieta's past seven vs. teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Tigers and over.
Astros at White Sox (-140, 8.5)
Houston's top position prospect (and tops in baseball), Carlos Correa, debuted on Monday and had a hit and RBI. One of the Astros' top pitching prospects, Vincent Velasquez, will debut here. He was 3-0 with a 1.37 ERA in five starts at Double-A. Somewhat surprising he's getting the call because those five starts are his only minor-league action above Single-A. But Houston has liked what it has seen from fellow rookie pitcher Lance McCullers in his brief big-league stint. The Astros are kicking veteran Roberto Hernandez to the bullpen. He is 2-5 with a 5.18 ERA in 11 starts. It's lefty Jose Quintana (2-6, 4.28) for Chicago. He pitched in Houston on May 30, allowed a run and five hits over 6.1 innings and was a tough-luck loser. Jason Castro is 4-for-14 with two doubles and three RBIs off him. Jose Altuve just 3-for-16 with seven strikeouts.
Key trends: The Astros are 1-5 in their past six against a lefty. The Sox are 1-9 in Quintana's past 10 during Game 3 of a series. The under is 5-0 in Quintana's past five vs. the AL West.
Early lean: White Sox and under.
Giants at Mets (-161, 6.5)
New York will get one of its starters back Wednesday as good young catcher Travis d'Arnaud is expected to be activated from the disabled list. D'Arnaud has been sidelined since April 19 with hand and wrist injuries. He was hitting .317 with two homers and 10 RBIs in 11 games. Tim Hudson (3-5, 4.41) starts for the Giants. He has been around forever and thus has faced the Mets plenty, going 17-10 with a 3.52 ERA in 32 lifetime starts against them. Lucas Duda is 12-for-30 with two doubles and a homer off him. Michael Cuddyer hits .278 with a homer vs. Hudson. New York's Matt Harvey (6-3, 3.05) has a career 2.09 ERA at home. He is 3-1 with a 2.83 ERA there in five 2015 starts. Not many Giants have seen him. Buster Posey hits him well, going 4-for-5 with a homer.
Key trends: The Giants are 5-1 in Hudson's past six vs. the NL East. The Mets are 4-1 in Harvey's past five at home. The under is 6-0-1 in Hudson's past seven vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 5-2 in Harvey's past seven.
Early lean: Mets and under.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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