The New York Mets need every win they can get in their battle for a wild-card spot -- I'm presuming the NL East title is going to Washington -- so the news that the team's best hitter, Yoenis Cespedes (.292, 22 HRs, 59 RBIs), is headed to the 15-day disabled list with a right quad injury obviously isn't good. The injury has been bothering him for a while as he had played in only 14 of the Mets' 21 games since he originally suffered the injury and was hitting .227 with just one homer in that span. He apparently tweaked the problem on Wednesday when he was at DH against the Yankees. What is ticking Mets fans off is that while Cespedes was struggling and missing games, he was still golfing nearly every morning and did so Wednesday. Obviously what a guy does in his free time is his business, but I would think if you need rest from games at times that you shouldn't be golfing.
50% Match Play Reward
Reduced Juice Wagering
Click Here to signup with 5Dimes
Indians at Yankees (-126, 8.5)
Of course the Yankees traded closer Andrew Miller to Cleveland last weekend. The Bombers did really well in that deal in getting two top Indians prospects and have capably replaced Miller with Dellin Betances. The Tribe go with Josh Tomlin (11-3, 3.43). He beat Oakland on Saturday in allowing two runs and six hits over seven innings. This will be his first look this year at the Yankees. Mark Teixeira is 4-for-13 with two homers against him. Jacoby Ellsbury is 3-for-19 with two doubles. New York's Michael Pineda (5-10, 5.13) lost at Tampa Bay on Sunday, giving up five runs and walking four over six innings. This will be his first career start vs. Cleveland. Red-hot Mike Napoli has faced him, going 2-for-7.
Key trends: The Indians are 12-2 in Tomlin's past 14 on the road. The Yankees are 5-2 in Pineda's past seven in Game 1 of a series. The "over/under" has gone under in four of Tomlin's past six on the road. The under is 5-0-1 in Pineda's past six at home.
Early lean: Indians and under.
Orioles at White Sox (-115, 9.5)
You don't want to be a White Sox rookie making your major-league debut this season. On Monday, the Pale Hose acquired minor-league outfielder Charlie Tilson from St. Louis for reliever Zach Duke. The Sox promoted Tilson immediately and started him in center field on Tuesday, obviously hoping he showed enough the rest of this season to determine if he's a legitimate big-leaguer. We won't know the rest of this season as Tilson had to leave the game with what turned out to be a torn hamstring and was put on the DL on Wednesday. He will have season-ending surgery. Tilson is the third Sox player making his debut to leave a game injured in 2016. A fourth, catcher Kevan Smith, hurt his back during pregame warm-ups and never got on the field. The Sox start former Oriole Miguel Gonzalez (2-5, 4.06); he was released this spring by Baltimore. He is working on a string of six straight quality starts. The O's were his only other big-league team, so he hasn't faced them. Mark Trumbo has seen him, though, going 2-for-7 with two homers. Baltimore goes with Yovani Gallardo (3-3, 5.70). He is on extra rest, last pitching Saturday in Toronto and allowing five runs in 4.1 innings in a loss. Todd Frazier is a career .344 hitter off him with a homer in 32 at-bats.
Key trends: The Orioles are 6-0 in Gallardo's past six vs. teams with a losing record. The Sox are 1-6 in their past seven in Game 1s of a series. The under is 4-1 in Gallardo's past five.
Early lean: Orioles and over.
Giants at Nationals (-145, 8.5)
Lone national TV game of Friday as it will be shown in the MLB Network and should have live betting at sportsbooks. Monitor the status of Nats first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who hasn't played since taking a pitch off his left wrist Sunday. The Nats start lefty Gio Gonzalez (6-9, 4.29). He pitched in San Francisco on Sunday and allowed one earned run and six hits over six innings in a tough loss. That's three straight quality starts after a rough patch for Gio. Buster Posey is 6-for-22 against him with a homer. Hunter Pence is just 1-for-17. The Giants go with Jeff Samardzija (9-7, 4.30), who might be the No. 4 on the team now with the addition of Matt Moore. Samardzija will be on extra rest here as he most recently pitched last Friday vs. Washington and continued to scuffle, allowing four runs in six innings in a loss. Daniel Murphy is 6-for-12 off him with three extra-base hits and four RBIs. Zimmerman might simply sit again as he's 1-for-19 off "Shark."
Key trends: The Giants are 0-6 in their past six series openers. They are 1-4 in Samardzija's past five vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 8-3-1 in his past 12.
Early lean: Nationals and over.
Mets at Tigers (-120, 7.5)
The Mets add the DH for this interleague matchup. It would have been Cespedes against his former team. Here's the pitching matchup of the night between Detroit's Justin Verlander, the 2011 Cy Young winner, and New York's Noah Syndergaard, whom I'd bet wins a Cy Young in his career if he stays healthy. Syndergaard (9-5, 2.48) is winless in his past four starts but has pitched pretty well in them. Last time out he took a no-decision vs. Colorado, allowing two earned and six hits over six innings. He might be pulled a tad early here as Syndergaard has thrown 232 pitches in his past two outings combined. He has never faced the Tigers. Verlander (11-6, 3.54) is pitching like his 2011 self of late. He threw a complete game against Houston on Saturday, allowing two runs and striking out 11. He had a 1.69 ERA in six July starts. Neil Walker is 2-for-12 off him.
Key trends: The Mets are 4-1 in Syndergaard's past five interleague starts. The Tigers are 8-2 in Verlander's past 10 vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 6-1-1 in Verlander's past eight at home.
Early lean: Tigers and under.
Angels at Mariners (-194, 8)
The Halos have lost closer Huston Street to the DL with knee inflammation, so look for Cam Bedrosian to get most of the ninth-inning chances going forward. He struck out the side for his first career save Tuesday night against the A's but then struggled Wednesday. You may remember his father Steve was a good reliever -- and one-year starter -- in the 1980s and early 1990s. He won the Cy Young with the Phillies in 1987 with a league-leading 40 saves. About six years ago, this would have been the pitching matchup of the season. Seattle's Felix Hernandez won his only Cy Young Award in 2010 and the Angels' Tim Lincecum won back-to-back Cy Youngs with the Giants in 2008-09. Lincecum (2-5, 8.49) looks shot in his comeback with Los Angeles. The Washington native makes only his second career start at Seattle's Safeco Field. Robinson Cano is 0-for-6 off him. Chris Iannetta is 7-for-18 with a homer and eight walks. Hernandez (5-4, 3.46) has made three starts since coming off the DL, and they have each gotten better. He's 0-2 with a 3.77 ERA in two starts this year against the Angels. Mike Trout is a .375 hitter off him with five homers and 15 RBIs.
Key trends: The Angels are 1-4 in Lincecum's past five vs. teams with a winning record. The Mariners are 0-4 in Hernandez's past four vs. the Angels. The under is 7-1-1 in his past nine at home in the series.
Early lean: Mariners and under.
Check this out! $60 worth of member's baseball picks absolutely free - no obligation, no sales people - you don't even have to enter credit card information. 2 minute sign up for free baseball picks here.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
Most Recent Baseball Handicapping Articles
- 2017 World Series Predictions
- Five to Follow Expert MLB Betting Picks: 9/2/2017, Opening Line Report
- Five to Follow Expert MLB Betting Picks: 9/1/2017, Opening Line Report
- Five to Follow Expert MLB Betting Picks: 8/31/2017, Opening Line Report
- Five to Follow Expert MLB Betting Picks: 8/30/2017, Opening Line Report
- Five to Follow Expert MLB Betting Picks: 8/29/2017, Opening Line Report
- Five to Follow Expert MLB Betting Picks: 8/26/2017, Opening Line Report
- Five to Follow Expert MLB Betting Picks: 8/25/2017, Opening Line Report
- Five to Follow Expert MLB Betting Picks: 8/24/2017, Opening Line Report
- Five to Follow Expert MLB Betting Picks: 8/23/2017, Opening Line Report