I guess you can call it good news for the Cleveland Indians, already down their No. 2 and 3 pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar due to injury, on ace Corey Kluber. He was diagnosed with a quad injury on Tuesday and will be sidelined from 7-10 days. That makes him questionable for Game 1 of the ALDS -- most likely vs. the Red Sox or Rangers, two pretty darn good offensive teams. Kluber, a Cy Young candidate, left Monday's game after only four innings and 60 pitches with what was thought to be a groin injury. In 32 starts this season, Kluber is 18-9 with a 3.14 ERA and 227 strikeouts in 215 innings. I say it's good news because the Tribe don't need Kluber this weekend and at least it's not some sort of tear. But I'd frankly call the Tribe the long shots in the AL now, even behind whichever wild-card team advances to the division series.
Free $60 in Member MLB Picks No Obligation Click Here
Indians at Tigers (-137, 9.5)
ESPN national TV game at 1 p.m. ET and should have live betting at sportsbooks. Game means everything to the Tigers in their home regular-season finale. So while normally you might see a regular or two get this getaway day game off, you shouldn't here. Detroit goes with lefty Daniel Norris (3-2, 3.59). The Tigers had won five straight of his outings until Saturday when they lost to Kansas City and Norris allowed two runs and six hits over 5.2 innings. He is 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in two starts vs. the Tribe, who probably will rest some guys. Carlos Santana is 3-for-5 off Norris with an RBI. Jason Kipnis is 0-for-6. Cleveland is likely to go with rookie lefty Ryan Merritt (0-0, 1.50). He has made three big-league appearances, all out of the bullpen. But he started all season at Triple-A Columbus and was 11-8 with a 3.70 ERA in 24 starts.
Key trends: The Indians are 2-5 in their past seven vs. a lefty. The Tigers are 5-1 in Norris' past six starts. The "over/under" is 5-1 in Norris' past six overall.
Early lean: Tigers and over.
Diamondbacks at Nationals (-157, 8.5)
A 1:05 p.m. ET first pitch. Washington got the worst possible news on All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos' MRI on Tuesday as it revealed a torn ACL and he's obviously done for the season. That's about the worst injury a catcher can have with all the squatting, etc., so I would be surprised if he's ready for the start of next year. If you go by WAR rating, Ramos was the team's second-best offensive player this year behind second baseman Daniel Murphy. Yes, well ahead of Bryce Harper. Crushing loss. The Nats go with Joe Ross here. Ross (7-5, 3.48) has made two starts since returning from a long DL stint and gone just 5.2 innings and allowed 11 hits and two runs. He remains on a pitch count. Ross hasn't faced Arizona this year. Jean Segura is 3-for-6 career off him with an RBI. Arizona lefty Robbie Ray (8-14, 4.77) has been lousy this month with a 7.66 ERA in five starts. Ray was originally drafted by Washington in 2010. He lost to the Nats on Aug. 2, allowing six runs in six innings.
Key trends: The Diamondbacks are 0-5 in Ray's past five on Thursday. The Nats are 8-3 in Ross' past 11 at home. The under is 4-1 in Ray's past five on the road. The under is 4-1 in Ross' past five vs. the NL West.
Early lean: Diamondbacks and under -- Nats might be flat a few days off this injury news and with little to play for.
Red Sox at Yankees (TBA)
Final game between these rivals this season, so presumably the Yankees will do something to honor long-time tormentor David Ortiz. The only team Ortiz has more homers and RBIs against in his career is Baltimore. Assuming Ortiz plays, he will face Yankees lefty CC Sabathia (8-12, 4.02). He comes off seven shutout innings in Toronto but took a fourth straight no-decision. He is 0-1 with a 6.97 ERA in two starts this year vs. Boston. Ortiz hits .219 off him with two homers and 17 strikeouts in 73 at-bats. Mookie Betts is 5-for-11 off Sabathia with two RBIs. Red Sox lefty Henry Owens (0-1, 7.79) replaces Drew Pomeranz, who is dealing with some forearm soreness. Owens has made four big-league starts this season, last on Aug. 21. His best of the four was April 29 vs. the Yankees when he allowed two runs over six innings. In 24 Triple-A starts, Owens was 10-7 with a 3.53 ERA.
Key trends: The Yankees are 6-2 in their past eight at home vs. a lefty. The Sox are 5-1 in their past six in Game 3 of a series. The under is 8-2-3 in New York's past 13 Thursday games.
Early lean: The Yankees haven't confirmed Sabathia yet, but all signs point to him. I like New York if that's the case.
Reds at Cardinals (-185, 8.5)
St. Louis shouldn't be starting a rookie like Alex Reyes this late in the season in such an important game, but the Cardinals don't have much choice in their injury-plagued rotation. Not that Reyes (4-1, 1.58) doesn't have a bright future as he's one of the team's top prospects. He won a third straight outing Saturday at the Cubs, giving up three runs over five innings with six strikeouts. Reyes took a no-decision on Sept. 2 in Cincinnati, allowing two runs over six innings with a career-high seven strikeouts. Adam Duvall is 0-for-3 off him with two strikeouts. Cincinnati's Dan Straily (14-8, 3.74) should get some NL Comeback Player of the Year votes. He won a third straight start Saturday, allowing a run over 6.2 innings in Milwaukee. He hasn't allowed more than three earned in his past five and is 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA in 14.2 innings vs. the Cards in 2016. Jedd Gyorko is 1-for-5 with a dinger off him.
Key trends: The Reds are 8-1 in Straily's past nine vs. the NL Central. The over is 8-3 in his past 11.
Early lean: Cardinals and under.
Rays at White Sox (-130, 7.5)
I believe this will be the final start in a White Sox uniform for lefty Jose Quintana. I touched on Chris Sale earlier this week but think it's more likely the Sox hang on to him and deal Quintana this offseason. A trade of Quintana wouldn't anger the fan base -- tepid as it is -- like a Sale deal would. Quintana (13-11, 3.21) won in Cleveland on Saturday in giving up one run over six innings. He's Top 10 in the AL in innings pitched (202), ERA and WHIP (1.16). Quintana won at the Rays on April 17, allowing two earned over six innings. Logan Forsythe is 5-for-8 off him with three doubles and a homer. I'm shocked the Rays would put Chris Archer (8-19, 4.02) out there with the chance he could hit the 20-loss mark. Tampa has lost his past four even though they have all been quality starts. He's MLB's first 19-game loser since Kansas City's Darrell May in 2004. Archer hasn't faced the Pale Hose this year. Jose Abreu is 5-for-12 career off him with a homer.
Key trends: The Rays are 4-1 in Archer's past five road starts vs. teams with a losing record. The Sox are 6-0 in Quintana's past six at home. The under is 4-1-1 in Archer's past five on five days of rest. The under is 4-1 in Quintana's past five vs. the AL East.
Early lean: Rays and under. Click here for more free MLB picks for Wednesday.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
Most Recent Baseball Handicapping Articles
- Daily Expert MLB Picks: Friday, April 20, 2018, Opening Line Report
- Daily Expert MLB Picks: Thursday, April 19, 2018, Opening Line Report
- Daily Expert MLB Picks: Tuesday, April 17, 2018, Opening Line Report
- MLB Betting Trends: Totals Report for Hot Over and Under Teams
- Daily Expert MLB Picks: Saturday, April 14, 2018, Opening Line Report
- Daily Expert MLB Picks: Friday, April 13, 2018, Opening Line Report
- Daily Expert MLB Picks: Thursday, April 12, 2018, Opening Line Report
- Daily Expert MLB Picks: Tuesday, April 10, 2018, Opening Line Report
- Daily Expert MLB Picks: Saturday, April 7, 2018, Opening Line Report
- Daily Expert MLB Picks: Friday, April 6, 2018, Opening Line Report