It's that time of year where you can expect teams to start calling up their top prospects because of service time reasons -- i.e., it's now late enough in the year where it will delay a player's arbitration years and thus give a team control over said player for one extra year. full year of service time equals 172 days on the big-league roster. The Washington Nationals have jumped in that pool by promoting their top position player prospect, shortstop Trea Turner. He's only up now, apparently, because first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has been placed on the paternity list. But Turner would seem an upgrade at shortstop over Danny Espinosa, who is hitting just .200 with an on-base percentage of .296. Turner, 22, was hitting .310 with a .376 on-base percentage and .848 OPS in 50 games in Triple-A and was 17-for-17 in stolen-base attempts. By the way, Turner's full-year cutoff for the season passed earlier this week -- he spent 45 days with the Nationals in 2015 and hit .225 in 40 at-bats -- so it's no coincidence he's up now.
Blue Jays at Red Sox (-130, 9)
A 4:05 p.m. ET first pitch. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop for Boston knuckleballer Steven Wright (5-4, 2.45), but he keeps winning. Wright threw his third complete game of the season (tied for MLB lead) on Monday in Baltimore, allowing two runs and four hits. Knuckleballers are supposed to allow a lot of homers, but Wright has given up only three all season. He is 0-2 in two starts against Toronto this year despite a 2.13 ERA. Jose Bautista is 1-for-7 with a homer against him. Josh Donaldson is 2-for-9 with four strikeouts. Toronto's Marcus Stroman (5-1, 4.46) was roughed up last Saturday at home by Boston, allowing seven runs and 11 hits in 5.1 innings, although the Jays won. But it was Stroman's second lousy start in the past three, so that could be why he was pushed back a day here for extra rest. Red-hot Mookie Betts is 2-for-12 off him with five strikeouts. Equally-hot Xander Bogaerts is 6-for-14 with a homer. He took a 26-game hitting streak into Friday's opener. Dustin Pedroia is 6-for-13 with three doubles off Stroman.
Key trends: The Blue Jays are 5-1 in Stroman's past six vs. Toronto. They are 2-8 in their past 10 Saturday games. Boston is 5-2 in Wright's past seven following a quality start in his last appearance. The "over/under" is 5-2 in Stroman's past seven vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 4-1 in Wright's past five at home.
Early lean: Red Sox and over.
White Sox at Tigers (+152, 8)
A 4:10 p.m. ET matinee in Motown. I'm already a huge fan of White Sox ace Chris Sale, but more so now. That's because on Monday at Citi Field, Sale challenged a fan to a game of rock-paper-scissors for an autograph and the fan won. Sale paid up with an autographed ball. Of course it was all caught on video. Sale (9-1, 2.29) hasn't won his past two outings but should have Sunday in Kansas City, allowing two runs in seven innings and leaving with a two-run lead, but his bullpen imploded. The lefty was 2-0 with a 3.93 ERA in three starts against the Tigers last year. Nick Castellanos can't hit Sale, going 1-for-16 with 10 strikeouts. Victor Martinez can, going 16-for-34 with four homers and nine RBIs. Detroit counters with Mike Pelfrey (0-5, 4.96). He comes off his best start of the season, allowing no earned runs over 5.2 innings in Oakland. Pelfrey pitched the previous three seasons with the Twins and was 0-4 with a 6.20 ERA against Chicago in that stretch. Former Tiger Avisail Garcia is 6-for-15 off him with an RBI. Another former Tiger, Austin Jackson, is 5-for-16 off Pelfrey.
Key trends: The Sox are 4-1 in Sale's past five vs. Detroit. The over is 3-0-1 in his past four in Motown. The Tigers are 2-8 in their past 10 against a lefty.
Early lean: White Sox and over.
Nationals at Reds (+180, 8)
We could see history on Saturday afternoon (4:10 p.m. ET start) as Washington ace Stephen Strasburg is nine strikeouts from 1,000 career, and no National has ever reached the mark. Then again, the franchise has only been in existence since 2005 when it moved from Montreal. Strasburg (9-0, 2.69) continued the best stretch of his career by beating the Cardinals on Sunday, allowing a run and six hits in six innings. The Nationals have won 15 consecutive starts made by Strasburg, extending his own franchise record. Strasburg became the first starter in franchise history to win his first nine decisions in a season. The previous mark of 8-0 was set by future Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez with the 1997 Expos. Cincinnati's Jay Bruce is 3-for-7 off Strasburg with two RBIs. Joey Votto has a homer in seven at-bats. The Reds go with trade candidate Dan Straily (3-2, 3.43). He comes off his worst start of the year, allowing five runs in six innings in Colorado, but he still got the win. Straily has never faced Washington.
Key trends: The Nationals are 8-0 in Strasburg's past eight on the road. The over is 8-0 in his past eight.
Early lean: Nationals and under.
A's at Astros (-113, 8)
Another 4:10 p.m. ET first pitch. And there will be plenty of scouts from contenders on hand to watch A's lefty starter Rich Hill (8-3, 2.25). The 36-year-old journeyman has had an amazing career resurgence that started late last year: He has had 15 straight starts allowing three earned runs or fewer. Clayton Kershaw, Sale and Jake Arrieta can't even claim streaks like that right now. Hill beat the Tigers on Sunday, allowing two earned in 6.1 innings. He did suffer a minor groin strain but threw on Wednesday and got through that fine. Hill lost in Houston on May 1 despite allowing only two runs in six innings. Jose Altuve is 1-for-2 with a solo homer against him. Carlos Correa is 0-for-1 with two walks. Houston's Collin McHugh (5-4, 4.82) has been much better of late after a rough start to the season. He won in Arizona on Monday, throwing a complete game and allowing three runs. McHugh hasn't faced Oakland this year and was 3-1 with a 3.24 ERA in four starts vs. the A's in 2015.
Key trends: The A's are 6-0 in Hill's past six on the road. The Astros are 5-2 in McHugh's past seven. They are 4-1 in his past five vs. Oakland. The under has hit in four of those five.
Early lean: Astros and under.
Braves at Dodgers (-380, 6)
I'm flat-out telling you that I'll likely be previewing every Dodgers game involving Kershaw the rest of the season as long as it's a day on which I'm writing. We could see something historic every time he's on the mound. You may not see a bigger favorite all season than here. Kershaw (7-1, 1.56) finished off a historic May with a no-decision at the Mets on Sunday, allowing two earned runs (tying his most of the month) and four hits in 7.2 innings. Kershaw struck out 10, his seventh double-digit Ks game of the year. Kershaw's last no-decision before that was April 21 in Atlanta when he allowed a run and a season-high 10 hits in eight innings, striking out 10 (and actually walking someone!). Freddie Freeman is 3-for-12 off him with a homer and six strikeouts. Nick Markakis is 2-for-3 with a double. The Braves start Mike Foltynewicz (2-2, 3.51), which I don't much like typing. The 24-year-old looked good Monday against the Giants, allowing one run and three hits in a win. His only other victory this year was against the Royals, so perhaps he should stick to first-place teams. Folty has never faced the Dodgers.
Key trends: The Braves are 1-8 in Foltynewicz's past nine on the road. The Dodgers are 14-3 in Kershaw's past 17 at home vs. teams with a losing record. The under is 5-0-1 in Kershaw's past six.
Early lean: I don't believe I've seen a bigger favorite than this. Like in the three years I've been doing these daily previews. So at that crazy price, I'd take a shot on Atlanta at +335. Perhaps Braves can get to the L.A. bullpen if Kershaw only goes seven innings. Go under.
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