What, you thought we had seen the last of the PED suspensions this season? This broken system actually catches players in spring training, but it's not released until a long appeals process is finished. The Marlins' Dee Gordon, for example, dropped his appeal last week and that's why it came out when it did. The MLBPA wants it this way so a false positive doesn't ruin some guy's reputation. Yeah right. ESPN is reporting that any day now, baseball is going to announce another player has tested positive for the steroid Turinabol, a drug that was commonly used by East German athletes in the 1970s and is apparently making the rounds in MLB. It's expected there will be at least a few more announcements after that with other cases being processed. Any first-time offenders get 80 games, second-timers 162 and third-timers a lifetime ban. Obviously this next player(s) could be a nobody but it also could be someone who affects futures odds.
Red Sox at Yankees (-115, 7.5)
Of course, this game is televised by the MLB Network. New York has placed DH Alex Rodriguez on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring, and it's likely it keeps the 40-year-old out longer than 15 days because, well, he's 40. I'm not sure the Bombers are too torn up over this since Rodriguez is hitting .194, although he had come alive a bit in the past week. Rodriguez needs just eight more home runs to reach 700 for his career. It's likely that Carlos Beltran moves to DH and Aaron Hicks gets time in the outfield. The Yanks go with Michael Pineda (1-3, 6.33) on the mound. His ERA is inflated thanks to two terrible starts. He was solid Saturday in Boston, allowing two runs and five hits over five innings in a loss. Mookie Betts is 5-for-15 with two homers and four RBIs off him. Boston's Rick Porcello (5-0, 2.76) is rolling right now. He hasn't allowed a run in his past two starts. He was opposite Pineda last Saturday and blanked the Yanks on five hits over seven innings. Beltran is a career .409 hitter off him in 22 at-bats. Jacoby Ellsbury is 12-for-28 with four solo homers against him.
Key trends: The Red Sox are 4-0 in Porcello's past four road starts vs. teams with a losing record. They are 5-2 in his past seven on the road overall. The Yankees are 2-7 in their past nine at home vs. teams with a winning record. The "over/under" has gone under in six of Porcello's past seven in Game 1 of a series.
Early lean: Red Sox and under.
Dodgers at Blue Jays (-140, 8.5)
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts pushed Japanese rookie Kenta Maeda back a couple of days here as he wanted Maeda lined up against that right-handed powerful Toronto lineup instead of lefty Alex Wood, who pitched Wednesday at Tampa Bay. Maeda (3-1, 1.41) pitched last Thursday against Miami and had easily his worst outing of the young season, allowing four runs and seven hits in 6.2 innings. I think he's closer to that guy, maybe a bit better, than the guy who allowed just one run in his first four starts. The Jays go with ace Marcus Stroman (4-0, 3.77). He held the Rays to one run and three hits in eight innings last time out, striking out a season-high nine. Stroman has never faced the Dodgers.
Key trends: The Dodgers are 1-4 in their past five series openers. The Jays are 10-4 in Stroman's past 14 at home. The over is 5-1 in his past six there.
Early lean: Blue Jays and under.
Rangers at Tigers (-130, 8)
As good as the White Sox's Chris Sale has been, the best American League pitcher in April, and the league's Pitcher of the Month, was Detroit's Jordan Zimmermann (5-0, 0.55). He was the first Tigers pitcher to earn a Pitcher of the Month award since Justin Verlander in September 2012. Obviously that ERA is not sustainable. The guy is generally a fly-ball pitcher and has allowed just a .087 average on those. Zimmermann's fastball is down this season to a 91.7 mph average. He is looking to become the first Tigers pitcher to win each of his first six starts to begin a season since George Uhle in 1929. Never heard of that guy. Zimmermann has never faced the Rangers. Prince Fielder has seen him, though, going 1-for-2 with a double and strikeout. It's Rangers ace lefty Cole Hamels (3-0, 3.30). On Sunday, he had his shortest outing since being traded to Texas, allowing four runs and seven hits in five innings vs. the Angels. Miguel Cabrera murders Hamels, going 8-for-13 with two doubles, a triple, four RBIs and a walk.
Key trends: The Rangers are 6-1 in Hamels' past seven on the road. The Tigers are 2-5 in their past seven series openers. The under is 7-0 in Texas' past seven on the road.
Early lean: Tigers and under.
Diamondbacks at Braves (+155, 7)
While Shelby Miller looks like a lost cause right now for Arizona, Zack Greinke at least appears as if he's returning to his 2015 form. Greinke (2-2, 5.50) held the Rockies to two runs over seven innings last time out with eight strikeouts, his third quality start in the past four. He faced Atlanta once last year while with the Dodgers and beat the Braves, allowing one run and three hits in six innings. Erick Aybar is 10-for-28 off him with five doubles. Freddie Freeman is 1-for-12 with six strikeouts. Atlanta has a ton of good young pitching in the minors. One of the top guys is Aaron Blair, who was brought up recently. He has allowed four runs and eight hits over 11.1 innings in his two big-league starts but that putrid Braves offense hasn't scored for him so Blair is looking for his first MLB win.
Key trends: The Diamondbacks are 1-5 in their past six vs. the NL East. The Braves have lost four straight series openers. The under has hit in 11 of Atlanta's past 16 at home vs. right-handers.
Early lean: Diamondbacks and under.
Mets at Padres (+150, 6.5)
I frankly hate the Mets, but I like watching Noah Syndergaard (2-1, 2.51) pitch, and he's on the mound here. "Thor" is nasty and is among the NL strikeout leaders. He had thrown four straight quality starts to open the season but lost to the Giants on Sunday, giving up four runs and five hits over 5.2 innings and striking out a season-low six. The worst start of Syndergaard's young career was June 2, 2015, in San Diego, when he allowed seven runs and 10 hits over four innings. But then he faced the Padres on July 28, 2015, at home and shut them out on three hits over eight innings, whiffing nine. Matt Kemp is 0-for-6 against him with three strikeouts. Derek Norris is 2-for-6 with a homer. The Padres counter with lefty Drew Pomeranz (2-3, 2.48). He was a tough-luck loser Sunday at the Dodgers, allowing one run and three hits over seven innings. But Pomeranz has easily been the team's best starter. Only a few Mets have seen him. Asdrubal Cabrera is 1-for-2 with two RBIs. David Wright is 0-for-1 with walk.
Key trends: The Mets have won nine straight Friday games. They are 5-1 in Syndergaard's past six road starts. The over is 6-1 in his past seven vs. teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Mets and under.
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