Entering the weekend, the Texas Rangers have a 10-game lead in the AL West Division and are -700 to repeat. But I'd now be a bit concerned about that wager. For one, 60 percent of the Rangers' rotation is on the DL in Yu Darvish, Colby Lewis and Derek Holland. While Darvish is expected back soon, you still never know how a guy will respond to Tommy John surgery, and he lasted only three starts off that. Lewis and Holland landed on the DL this week, with Lewis expected to miss two months due to a strained lat muscle in his pitching shoulder. He was 6-1 with a 3.21 ERA and ranks among the AL leaders in starts and innings. Holland has shoulder inflammation, and that could be longer than a 15-day DL stint. He was 5-5 with a 5.20 ERA. So now the Rangers have Cole Hamels, Martin Perez and injury-plagued A.J. Griffin, who will be activated off the DL for Saturday's game vs. Boston. They have to patch together two other starters. The other reason that Rangers backers might be nervous: the Astros are starting to play up to expectations. This race isn't over.
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Twins at Yankees (-193, 9)
First pitch of 1:05 p.m. and on the MLB Network, so live betting should be available. New York expects to activate first baseman Mark Teixeira off the disabled list for this one. He has been on the disabled list since June 4 with a knee injury. Tex is hitting just .180 with three homers in 167 at-bats. In an ideal world, the Yankees probably trade him by the deadline for a prospect, but no one will touch him until he proves healthy and that he can still hit. The Yankees have been using a platoon of Ike Davis and Rob Refsnyder at first base of late. New York starts Michael Pineda (3-7, 5.82) on the mound. After nearly being sent to the bullpen, Pineda has been better over his past four starts, not allowing more than three earned in any. He pitched at Minnesota last Saturday and took a no-decision in allowing three earned and striking out nine in 5.1 innings. Minnesota's Ervin Santana (2-7, 4.83) faced the Yankees on Sunday and allowed two earned over 7.1 innings in a win. Alex Rodriguez is a career .310 hitter off him with four homers in 42 at-bats. Teixeira is 6-for-38 off him with eight strikeouts.
Key trends: The Twins are 2-12 in Santana's past 14 starts. The Yankees are 4-1 in Pineda's past five vs. teams with a losing record. The "over/under" is 4-0 in Santana's past four. The over is 3-1-1 in Pineda's past five at home vs. teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Yankees and over.
Padres at Reds (-117, 9)
This 4:10 p.m. ET game is nationally televised on Fox Sports 1 and should have live betting at sportsbooks. Fox Sports 1 must be pretty desperate since these are two last-place teams. Probably will be plenty of scouts on hand to watch Padres lefty Drew Pomeranz (6-7, 3.00). I know the Orioles are among the teams looking at him. Pomeranz beat the Nationals last time out, allowing three runs (all solo homers) in six innings. He has a 2.61 ERA in two career starts vs. the Reds. Jay Bruce is 0-for-4 against him. The Reds start lefty Brandon Finnegan (3-5, 3.81). He lost in Houston on Sunday, giving up four runs over five innings. That ended a string of three straight quality starts. Finnegan has never faced the Padres.
Key trends: The Padres are 1-5 in Pomeranz's past six on the road. The Reds are 2-10 in Finnegan's past 12. The under is 8-2 in Pomeranz's past 10. The under is 4-0-2 in Finnegan's past six.
Early lean: Reds and under.
Diamondbacks at Rockies (-138, 12)
Perhaps Arizona can go on a wild-card push in the second half of the season if Shelby Miller has finally fixed himself. Miller (2-6, 6.36), acquired from Atlanta this offseason, was maybe the worst pitcher in the National League before he was placed on the disabled list following a May 24 start in Pittsburgh. The Diamondbacks said he had a finger injury, but I'm pretty sure he was just put on the DL for mental reasons. It might have worked as Miller returned on Monday and had his best start of the year, allowing one run and five hits over 6.2 innings in a victory. Miller is 0-2 with an 8.38 ERA in two starts vs. the Rockies in 2016. DJ LeMahieu is 6-for-13 off him with a homer and three RBIs. Nolan Arenado is 2-for-14. Colorado counters with lefty Jorge De La Rosa (4-4, 7.17). He was demoted to the bullpen but has been much better in two starts since coming back to the rotation, allowing three runs and eight hits over 11 innings in back-to-back wins. His season debut was in Arizona, and De La Rosa took a no-decision, allowing five runs in 4.2 innings. Yasmany Tomas is 3-for-7 off him with a homer and four RBIs.
Key trends: The Diamondbacks are 1-4 in Miller's past five on four days of rest. The Rockies are 8-3 in De La Rosa's past 11 vs. the NL West. The over is 4-0 in his past four at home.
Early lean: Rockies and over (not sure I've seen a 12 yet this year).
Astros at Royals (+111, 8.5)
Kansas City is expected to activate All-Star left fielder Alex Gordon from the DL for this game. He has been out since May 22 with a broken bone in his hand. Gordon was batting .211 with a .319 on-base percentage and four homers in 42 games with the Royals before his injury. Gordon will face Houston righty Mike Fiers (5-3, 4.42). In four starts since June 1, he's 2-0 with a 2.63 ERA. Fiers had to leave his last start Sunday vs. Cincinnati after taking a comebacker in the leg but apparently is fine. Gordon is 2-for-4 career off him with an RBI. Lorenzo Cain is 2-for-5 with a homer and four RBIs. The Royals throw 6-foot-10 Chris Young (2-6, 5.61). He comes off a strong outing, allowing one run and three hits over six innings in a no-decision vs. Detroit. Young was bombed in Houston on April 11, allowing six runs and nine hits in 4.2 innings. Jose Altuve is 3-for-12 off him with two RBIs. Carlos Correa is 2-for-3 with a double.
Key trends: The Astros are 1-5 in Fiers' past six on the road. The Royals are 4-0 in Young's past four at home. The under is 5-2 in Young's past seven.
Early lean: Royals and under.
Phillies at Giants (-300, 6.5)
The Giants could activate top set-up man Sergio Romo from the DL this weekend. He has been on the disabled list since April 15 after being diagnosed with a strained flexor tendon. The former closer had a 2.70 ERA in four appearances. Last year, he made 70 appearances with a 2.98 ERA. San Francisco might not need any relievers in this one with ace lefty Madison Bumgarner (8-3, 1.85) on the mound. The Giants had won 10 straight of his starts before Bumgarner was a tough-luck loser Monday in Pittsburgh, allowing one run and five hits over eight innings. He was 2-0 with a 4.61 ERA last year vs. the Phillies. They go with trade candidate Jeremy Hellickson (4-6, 4.41). Philadelphia has lost his past six, but Hellickson pitched pretty well in four of those. Last time out he gave up three runs in seven innings vs. Arizona. That terrible Phillies offense isn't scoring at all for him. The Giants' Brandon Crawford is 4-for-7 career against him. Buster Posey is 0-for-7.
Key trends: The Phillies have lost four straight vs. lefties. The Giants are 6-0 in Bumgarner's past six at home. The under is 4-1 in his past five vs. teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Giants on runline and under.
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