If the Miami Marlins are even thinking about trading ace Jose Fernandez because they know he's leaving as a free agent after the 2018 season and they can't re-sign him (they won't be able to), his value will never be higher than after this year if Fernandez keeps going at his current pace -- plus the team acquiring him would get two full seasons. The single-season major-league record for strikeout rate -- percentage of plate appearances that the pitcher strikes out batters -- is 37.5 percent, set by Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez in 1999 when he whiffed 313 batters and won the Cy Young for the Red Sox. Right now, Fernandez is at 37.7 percent with his 110 strikeouts. Fernandez brings an eight-game winning streak into Saturday's start. That's tied with Chris Hammond (1993) for longest in Marlins history.
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Cubs at Braves (+263, 7.5)
A 4:10 p.m. matinee here. No-hit alert for the Cubs' Jake Arrieta (9-1, 1.80)? Actually, the reigning NL Cy Young winner is slacking a bit as the Cubs have lost his past two starts. Arrieta's franchise-record streak of 20 straight wins, tied for the third-most consecutive winning decisions in MLB history, ended Sunday against Arizona when he allowed three runs and nine hits in five innings, although he struck out 12. The D'backs had 10 balls put in play against Arrieta and nine were hits. That's crazy luck. Arrieta's previous personal loss was July 25, 2015, when the Cubs were no-hit by then-Phillies lefty Cole Hamels. Arrieta was 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA last year against the Braves in two starts. A.J. Pierzynski is 8-for-14 with two homers against him. Atlanta's Matt Wisler (2-6, 3.98) was destroyed Sunday at the Dodgers, allowing eight runs and nine hits (three homers) in four innings. The Cubs' Kris Bryant, Dexter Fowler and Miguel Montero all have homered in their career off Wisler. No Cub has more than three official at-bats against him.
Key trends: The Cubs are 23-3 in Arrieta's past 26 road starts. The Cubs are 0-6 in Wisler's past six at home. The "over/under" has gone under in 20 of Arrieta's past 32 vs. teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Braves and under. Yes Braves. I believe in trap games in MLB and this is one. Plus Joe Maddon likes to rest a regular or two in a day game after a night one.
A's at Reds (-136, 9.5)
Another 4:10 p.m. ET start. Oakland again loses the DH in the weekend's only interleague series. Cincinnati will be without outfielder Billy Hamilton as he's in MLB's concussion protocol. The A's were hoping to start top trade candidate and current ace Rich Hill here. He might be the top arm available for a reasonable price on the market, but Hill had to be scratched after reinjuring his groin during a bullpen session Wednesday. Hill originally suffered the injury on May 29. He was the AL Pitcher of the Month in May. So the A's turn to Kendall Graveman (2-6, 5.49), who was originally set for Sunday. He last pitched in Houston last Sunday and allowed five runs and seven hits in 4.1 innings. Graveman has never faced the Reds. Cincinnati goes with former A's right-hander Dan Straily (3-2, 3.34), another trade candidate; in fact, he's a goner barring injury. Straily got a no-decision last time out vs. Washington, allowing two runs and two hits in seven innings. Straily was with Oakland from 2012-14 and has never faced the A's.
Key trends: The A's are 0-5 in Graveman's past five on the road. The Reds are 4-1 in Straily's past five at home. The over is 4-1 in Graveman's past five on the road.
Early lean: Reds and over.
Padres at Rockies (-215, 12.5)
Yet another 4:10 p.m. ET first pitch. At least for right now, the Padres have to be tickled they traded James Shields to the White Sox last weekend because Shields was crushed in his Chicago debut on Wednesday. Perhaps the Friars actually sold Shields at his highest value? One of the two minor-leaguers the White Sox sent back to San Diego was 26-year-old right-hander Erik Johnson, once Chicago's top pitching prospect, and he makes his Padres debut here. Johnson did make two big-league starts with the Pale Hose this year and was 0-2 with a 6.94 ERA. He is 7-6 with a 4.50 ERA in 98 career MLB innings. Johnson was having a very good year in Triple-A. A few Rockies have faced him. Charlie Blackmon, Carlos Gonzalez and DJ LeMahieu are each 2-for-3 off Johnson. Colorado goes with Tyler Chatwood (7-2, 2.79). At this point, the Rockies should simply save him for road starts as Chatwood leads the majors with a 0.65 road ERA. He's 2-4 with a 5.30 ERA at home. Chatwood won in San Diego on May 5, throwing eight shutout innings.
Key trends: The Rockies are 2-5 in Chatwood's past seven at home. The under is 5-1 in his past six there.
Early lean: Rockies and over -- highest total of the year.
Astros at Rays (-127, 7.5)
A fourth 4:10 p.m. ET start. Houston avoided complete disaster on Thursday when star shortstop and reigning AL Rookie of the Year Carlos Correa hurt his ankle while running out a grounder against Texas. It looked potentially bad, but X-rays were negative and the team is calling it a sprain. He might obviously miss a few games. Correa is hitting .256 with eight homers and 32 RBIs this season. It might be an easier lineup for Tampa Bay ace Chris Archer (4-7, 4.73) to face. He snapped a three-start losing streak last time out in Arizona, allowing three runs and striking out a season-high 12 in six innings. Archer is 3-1 with a 0.80 ERA in five career starts against Houston. Jose Altuve is 3-for-13 off him. Houston goes with Mike Fiers (3-3, 5.00). He hasn't won since May 9, and the Astros are 0-5 in his five road starts this year with Fiers carrying a 7.20 ERA. He has never faced Tampa Bay.
Key trends: Houston is 0-5 in Fiers' past five road starts. The Rays are 2-7 in Archer's past nine following a quality start in his most recent appearance. The over is 6-0-1 in Fiers' past seven on the road.
Early lean: Rays and over.
Marlins at Diamondbacks (TBA)
Fernandez (9-2, 2.29) is certainly putting himself in the Cy Young conversation. He outdueled the Mets' Matt Harvey last Sunday in throwing seven shutout innings and striking out a career-high-tying 14. Fernandez thus became the first pitcher since ERA became an official statistic to go five consecutive starts earning a win while allowing no more than one earned run and striking out at least nine batters in each outing. The last time Fernandez allowed more than one earned was in a win over Arizona on May 4 when Fernandez allowed three in five innings. That tied his shortest outing of the season. The Snakes' Paul Goldschmidt is 2-for-9 with a double off him. David Peralta is 1-for-5 with a homer. Arizona is expected to call up Zack Godley for a spot start here. The 26-year-old right-hander is 4-5 with a 3.61 ERA this season in the minors, splitting time between Double-A and Triple-A. Godley was 5-1 with a 3.19 ERA in 36.2 innings last year as a rookie with Arizona.
Key trends: The Marlins are 9-1 in Fernandez's past 10 Saturday starts. The under is 6-1 in his past seven.
Early lean: TBA because Arizona hasn't officially announced its starter yet. Obviously the Marlins will be favored regardless of who it is behind the red-hot Fernandez -- stick with him.
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