I suppose it's possible that the MLB futures odds could look vastly different by the time I write my next "Five to Follow" story for Tuesday's games, but I rather doubt it. The Cubs will be World Series favorites regardless, but a team like the Red Sox, Rangers, Nationals or Dodgers could make a big climb if they somehow landed ace Chris Sale from the White Sox. More likely, we see middling names traded by the Aug. 1 deadline. Guys like San Diego pitchers Andrew Cashner and Colin Rea, who were sent to the Marlins on Thursday night. Or Twins shortstop Eduardo Nunez, who was shipped to San Francisco (Nunez will surely play third with the Giants). Or a few guys listed below. In other words, nothing earth-shattering. I do believe we will see some big-name pitchers moved this offseason, however, because the free-agent class is terrible.
Free $60 in Member MLB Picks No Obligation Click Here
Orioles at Blue Jays (-168, 9.5)
It's the first game of the day with a 1:07 p.m. ET first pitch and should have live betting as it's televised by the MLB Network. The Birds go with Yovani Gallardo (3-2, 5.37), who is looking for his first win since June 29. Last time out he did pitch pretty well, allowing two runs and five hits over 6.2 innings against Colorado. Gallardo beat Toronto in his lone start against the Jays this year, allowing two runs over five innings on June 18. Jose Bautista is just 1-for-12 career off him with four strikeouts. Edwin Encarnacion is 6-for-17 with three homers. Toronto goes with lefty J.A. Happ (13-3, 3.27), who already has set a career high for wins. He was terrific last time out, shutting out Seattle on one hit over six innings. Toronto has won his past eight, a streak that started June 11 vs. Baltimore when Happ gave up four runs over seven innings. Chris Davis is 3-for-9 off him with a homer. J.J. Hardy is 3-for-18 off Happ.
Key trends: The Orioles are 4-1 in Gallardo's past five vs. the AL East. The Jays are 11-1 in Happ's past 12 at home. The "over/under" has gone under in Gallardo's past four. The under is 6-1 in Happ's past seven vs. Baltimore.
Early lean: Jays and over.
Nationals at Giants (TBA)
A 4:05 p.m. ET start and televised nationally on Fox Sports 1. Bit of a shame we won't see Max Scherzer or Stephen Strasburg against either Madison Bumgarner or Johnny Cueto in this terrific series. With Joe Ross still sidelined, the Nats are expected to go with one of their top prospects in Reynaldo Lopez (0-1, 11.57), although he could potentially be included in any trade the Nats might make for a reliever. Lopez made his big-league debut on July 19 vs. the Dodgers and allowed six runs and 10 hits over 4.2 innings -- but with nine strikeouts -- and was sent back down. He threw a complete-game shutout in his one outing in Triple-A since. The Giants go with Jake Peavy (5-9, 5.42). He was hit around for six runs (three homers) over five innings last time out in a loss to Cincinnati. This will be his first look at Washington this season. Bryce Harper is 3-for-5 off him with four strikeouts. Daniel Murphy is 3-for-11 with two doubles.
Key trends: The Giants are 9-0 in Peavy's past nine on Saturday. The under is 3-1-1 in his past five.
Early lean: TBA as Nats haven't officially announced Lopez yet, but it's going to be him barring a surprise. I like the Giants.
Phillies at Braves (-128, 7.5)
If I could find a prop on whether this is the last start for Jeremy Hellickson (7-7, 3.65) in a Phillies jersey, I'd drop some big bucks on that. In fact, it wouldn't shock me if he's scratched here with an impending deal in place. Although apparently the Phillies are asking a bit too much for him. So for now it's Hellickson's scheduled start. His last two outings were against the Marlins, who wanted him before that Padres deal, and he allowed just one run and six hits over 14 innings. Hellickson beat Atlanta on July 6, giving up one earned run and four hits over six innings. Jeff Francouer is 3-for-11 off him with two doubles. Nick Markakis is 9-for-44 with two homers. It's Julio Teheran (3-8, 2.71) for the Braves, who now seem likely to keep him at least the rest of this season. He left his last start after four scoreless innings in Colorado on July 22 with back tightness, so he'll go on a few extra days of rest. Teheran hasn't faced the Phillies this year.
Key trends: The Phillies are 5-1 in Hellickson's past six. The Braves are 1-10 in Teheran's past 11 at home. The under is 7-0 in Hellickson's past seven. The under is 11-3 in Teheran's past 14.
Early lean: Phillies and under.
Rockies at Mets (-137, 7.5)
I'd imagine a sellout crowd at Citi Field for this game as the team will retire the No. 31 jersey of Mike Piazza before the game. Of course Piazza, probably the best offensive catcher in MLB history, was inducted into the Hall of Fame last weekend in Cooperstown. It will be the fifth number retired by the Mets, joining Casey Stengel (37), Gil Hodges (14), Tom Seaver (41) and Jackie Robinson (42, by every team in MLB). Will Mets third baseman Jose Reyes get to play against the team that waived him earlier this season? Not looking good as he hasn't played since Tuesday due to an intercostal strain and already has been ruled out through Friday. Monitor the status of Yoenis Cespedes, too, as he was scratched Thursday due to a quad injury and it sounds like he might only be able to pinch-hit for a while. New York starts Bartolo Colon (9-5, 3.35). He had been shaky over his past few starts but dominated the Cardinals on Tuesday in allowing one run and three hits over seven innings. The Mets are a bit thin in their rotation thanks to a doubleheader on Tuesday, so Colon makes his first start on fewer than four days of rest in 11 years. Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez is 4-for-7 career off him with two solo homers. The Rockies counter with lefty Jorge De La Rosa (6-7, 5.70). He pitched well Monday in Baltimore in allowing one earned run over 6.1 innings but took a no-decision. The Mets' James Loney hits him well, going 8-for-18 with a homer and seven RBIs.
Key trends: The Rockies are 1-5 in De La Rosa's past six vs. teams with a winning record. The Mets are 5-0 in Colon's past five at home. The over is 4-1 in De La Rosa's past five on Saturday.
Early lean: Rockies and under (both if Reyes and Cespedes are out).
Red Sox at Angels (+127, 8.5)
Boston lefty Drew Pomeranz (8-8, 2.84) wasn't sharp in his first start with the Sox since being traded from the Padres, but he was much better last time out, allowing two runs and four hits over six innings against Detroit in a no-decision. His one mistake was a two-run homer by Jose Iglesias. Because Pomeranz already has thrown a career-high 111 innings, the Sox don't plan to let him throw more than 100 pitches in a game. He was pulled at 99 vs. Detroit. Pomeranz hasn't faced the Angels this year. Mike Trout is 1-for-8 career against him with a homer. Albert Pujols is 1-for-12. The Halos apparently are listening to offers for lefty Hector Santiago (9-4, 4.28), and his value is really high right now as he's 5-0 with a 1.48 ERA in July. That streak started with six innings pitched in Boston on July 2 when Santiago allowed one unearned run and four hits. Xander Bogaerts is 5-for-9 off him. David Ortiz is 3-for-14 with four RBIs.
Key trends: The Sox are 4-0 in their past four vs. a lefty. The Angels are 4-1 in Santiago's past five vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 9-4 in Santiago's past 13.
Early lean: Red Sox and over.
Doc's Sports MLB handicapping team is offering $60 worth of member's baseball picks absolutely free - no obligation, no sales people - Claim your free MLB picks here now. Also, for a limited time only get three MLB handicappers for the price of one. Click here for details.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
Most Recent Baseball Handicapping Articles
- 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
- Five to Follow Expert MLB Betting Picks: 8/22/2017, Opening Line Report