I must admit I take a bit of glee when bad things happen to New York teams or their star athletes. I don't mean injuries or arrests or anything but just big-time struggles. New Yorkers build their guys up like they are always better than anyone else. That brings me to Mets pitcher Matt Harvey, who used to be the toast of the town as the "Dark Knight" whenever he took the mound. It was an event. Now it's becoming rather clear that the Mets might have ruined Harvey last season by using him so much his first season after Tommy John surgery. A struggling Harvey was given the choice of having his start Tuesday vs. Washington skipped, but Harvey said he wasn't a quitter. Well, he got knocked around again and is now 3-7 with a 6.08 ERA (which is among the worst in baseball). Harvey was tagged for three homers in five innings vs. the Nats and struck out just one. Like a total jerk, Harvey quickly left the clubhouse after the game instead of talking to reporters. So he is a quitter. There's no way the Mets can let Harvey make his next start, although as of now it look as if they will. Either put him on the DL with some fictional injury or send him down for a bit. I don't think the Mets can beat out the Nationals for the NL East title without Harvey being right.
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Diamondbacks at Pirates (-170, 7)
A 12:35 p.m. ET getaway day game so some regulars are going to sit. You surely won't see Arizona's Jean Segura here after he was hit in the head by a pitch on Tuesday. He might have a concussion. Segura is having a nice season, batting .316 with 23 RBIs. It's lefty Patrick Corbin (2-3, 3.99) for the Snakes. He has had three straight quality starts. He won in St. Louis last Friday, allowing two runs and four hits over 6.1 innings. It was his first win since April 17. Corbin lost to Pittsburgh on April 22, giving up five runs (three homers) and seven hits over six innings. Andrew McCutchen is 1-for-4 with two RBIs off him. Starling Marte is 2-for-5 with a double. Jordy Mercer is 2-for-3 with a homer. The Bucs go with Gerrit Cole (5-3, 2.79). He also has had three straight quality starts, all Pittsburgh wins. He allowed one run but a season-high 10 hits in his last outing vs. Colorado. He didn't face Arizona earlier in the year. Segura is 7-for-20 off him with two doubles on the off chance he does play. Paul Goldschmidt is 1-for-8.
Key trends: The Diamondbacks are 4-10 in Corbin's past 14 vs. teams with a winning record. The Pirates are 7-1 in Cole's past eight on Thursday. The "over/under" has gone under in seven of Corbin's past nine on five days of rest. The under is 11-5-1 in Cole's past 17 vs. teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Pirates and under.
Marlins at Rays (-114, 6.5)
Another getaway matinee at 1:10 p.m. ET. And it's a fine pitching matchup -- too bad there will be almost no one in the stands at Tropicana Field on a Thursday afternoon. The Rays so badly need a new stadium with a retractable roof. Who wants to sit in that dump on a beautiful Thursday afternoon? Miami goes with Jose Fernandez (6-2, 3.02), who is rolling. Has past three outings combined: 20 innings, two runs, 12 hits and 31 strikeouts. Alas, he is 0-2 with a 5.79 ERA in two career starts vs. the Rays. Evan Longoria is 1-for-5 with a homer off him. Tampa lefty Drew Smyly (2-5, 3.54) hasn't gotten much run support this year. He lost last time out at Detroit, his former team, allowing three runs and seven hits over 6.1 innings. Smyly's final start of 2015 was a win over Miami, allowing a run over six innings. Red-hot Ichiro Suzuki is 3-for-7 career off Smyly.
Key trends: The Marlins are 6-1 in their past seven vs. lefties. They are 11-5 in Fernandez's past six on four days of rest. The Rays are 5-2 in Smyly's past seven following a quality start in his most recent appearance. The under is 4-0 in Fernandez's past four overall.
Early lean: Marlins and under.
Blue Jays at Yankees (+101, 9)
A 4:05 p.m. ET first pitch. This was to be Aaron Sanchez's spot for Toronto but the team will move him back one day for some extra rest. Lefty J.A. Happ (5-2, 3.43) was set for Friday but will make this start on normal rest as Toronto was off on Monday. Happ lost in Minnesota on Saturday, allowing three runs over 7.1 innings. He beat the Yankees on April 13 in allowing a run over six innings. Carlos Beltran, who is streaking right now, is 9-for-27 with three homers and six RBIs against Happ career. Brett Gardner is 5-for-14 with two doubles, a triple and a homer. Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia (3-2, 3.41) won his 100th career game with the Yankees on Friday in Oakland in his return from the DL, allowing a run over six innings. Sabathia became the only active pitcher with 100 wins for two teams -- he also has won triple digits for the Cleveland Indians. He hasn't faced Toronto in 2016. Jose Bautista can't hit him, going 3-for-31 with 10 strikeouts. Josh Donaldson is 5-for-19. Troy Tulowitzki is 3-for-5.
Key trends: The Jays are 2-8 in Happ's past 10 road starts. The Yankees are 4-0 in Sabathia's past four vs. the AL East. The over is 5-1 in Sabathia's past six at home vs. Toronto.
Early lean: Yankees and over.
Cardinals at Nationals (-128, 8)
One of the marquee series of the weekend gets started Thursday. Washington swept three games in St. Louis from April 29-May 1. I could easily see these two playing in an NLDS (assuming the Cards win the wild-card game). The Cardinals start Mike Leake (3-3, 4.07). He comes off easily his best start as a Cardinal, shutting out the Diamondbacks on four hits over seven innings. It was Leake's third straight quality outing and victory. His last loss was April 29 vs. Washington, allowing a season-high five earned runs in seven innings. Bryce Harper is 2-for-10 with a homer against him. Jayson Werth is 7-for-21 with a dinger. Washington goes with Joe Ross (3-4, 2.70). He has lost four starts in a row. His last win was April 30 in St. Louis, giving up a run in six innings.
Key trends: The Cardinals are 3-8 in their past 11 series openers. The over is 5-1 in Leake's past six games.
Early lean: Nationals and over.
Orioles at Astros (+101, 8.5)
Two top pitching prospects on either side in this finale. It's 25-year-old Kevin Gausman (0-1, 2.70) for Baltimore. He has now had five straight starts without a decision. He was good last time out, giving up a run over 6.2 innings vs. the Angels. Gausman has never faced Houston. It's 22-year-old righty Lance McCullers (0-1, 5.91) for the Astros. He struggled in his season debut on May 13 in Boston but threw a quality start Friday against Texas, allowing two runs and five hits over six innings. McCullers faced Baltimore as a rookie last June, and it was the best start of his career, throwing a complete game and allowing one run and four hits with a career-best 11 strikeouts. McCullers retired 15 in a row before a single by Adam Jones with two outs in the ninth, but he struck out Chris Davis to end the game. Jones is 2-for-4 against him with two strikeouts. Mark Trumbo is 2-for-4 with three RBIs.
Key trends: The Orioles are 4-11 in Gausman's past 15 on the road. The under is 6-2 in his past eight on the road. The under is 4-1 in McCullers' past five at home.
Early lean: Astros and under.
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