I monitor several MLB news sources daily to get updated injury information that might affect a betting decision on any given game. But I was just as surprised as anyone that the Marlins activated slugger Giancarlo Stanton from the DL on Tuesday after he reportedly was going to miss the rest of the regular season due to a major groin strain. If rosters weren't expanded, then Stanton probably wouldn't be active. And he's only expected to pinch-hit for a while. Why the Marlins did this is pretty obvious: they are completely fading out of the NL wild-card chase. Alas, I don't see Stanton contributing enough in one at-bat a game to change anything. He did have a pinch-hit single on Tuesday vs. the Phillies, but the Marlins lost again. Miami also activated first baseman Justin Bour off the 60-day DL on Tuesday. He was batting .268 with 15 home runs and 46 RBIs when he was hurt. The Marlins were easily the newsiest team of Tuesday because Ichiro Suzuki hit the first pinch-hit homer of his Hall of Fame career. Now he's done everything!
Astros at Indians (-142, 8.5)
The only matinee of the day with a 12:10 p.m. ET first pitch. I think it's going to be tough for Houston to be a wild-card team for a second year in a row following the news that 2015 Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel was again scratched from a start (this time Tuesday's) and has been shut down from throwing at all for a little while due to shoulder inflammation. Originally slated to start last Friday's series opener against the Rangers, the Astros pushed Keuchel back, first to Saturday or Sunday and then to Tuesday, because of what they described as fatigue and soreness. I'd be surprised if we see him again in 2016. Houston goes with rookie David Paulino in his big-league debut here. Paulino went a combined 5-4 with a 2.00 ERA and 106 strikeouts in 90 innings in the minor this year. The Tribe's Trevor Bauer (10-6, 3.70) is working on a string of four straight quality starts. He beat the Marlins on Saturday, giving up three runs and four hits over 8.1 innings. Bauer won in Houston on May 10, throwing seven shutout innings. Jose Altuve is 3-for-12 off him. Carlos Correa is 0-for-7.
Key trends: The Indians are 0-4 in Bauer's past four at home. The "over/under" has gone under in six of his past nine there.
Early lean: Indians and under.
Rays at Yankees (-130, 8.5)
Tampa Bay is going to shut down shortstop Matt Duffy, the key piece the team got in the Aug. 1 Matt Moore trade with San Francisco, for the season because of an Achilles injury that has bothered him most of the season. He didn't play anywhere near at the level he did in finishing second in the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year voting. This series is Tampa's last at the Yankees this year. The Rays go with Alex Cobb. He made his return from Tommy John surgery on Friday vs. the Blue Jays, allowing two runs and four hits over five innings with seven strikeouts. It was his first MLB start in 18 months. Jacoby Ellsbury is just 4-for-22 off him. Brett Gardner is 2-for-15. New York's CC Sabathia (8-12, 4.20) has thrown three straight quality starts but dropped the past two. He is 1-0 with a 5.06 ERA in two starts this year vs. Tampa. Evan Longoria is a career .400 hitter off him with seven homers and 16 RBIs in 70 at-bats. Logan Forsythe is 8-for-19 off him with two homers.
Key trends: The Rays are 4-0 in Cobb's past four in Game 1 of a series. The over is 4-1 in his past five overall. The over is 5-0 in the past five meetings.
Early lean: Rays and over.
Reds at Pirates (-137, 8)
Pittsburgh's deadline trade for Ivan Nova has worked well as he's 4-0 with a 2.89 ERA in six starts with the Bucs, but they are still going to miss the playoffs. Nova (11-6, 4.34), who will become a free agent after the year, took a no-decision on Saturday vs. Milwaukee, giving up two runs and five hits over six innings. Nova's Pittsburgh debut was Aug. 6 vs. the Reds, and he won that game, allowing three runs over seven innings. Joey Votto is 2-for-8 career off him with a homer. Brandon Phillips is 4-for-9 with two homers. Cincinnati's Dan Straily (11-7, 3.83) beat the Cardinals on Saturday and gave up a run and struck out seven over 5.2 innings. He is 1-1 with a 2.57 ERA in 21.0 innings this year against Pittsburgh. Josh Harrison is 3-for-10 against him with two solo homers. Andrew McCutchen is 3-for-14.
Key trends: The Reds are 5-0 in Straily's past five vs. the NL Central. The over is 6-1 in his past seven. The under is 7-2-1 in the past 10 meetings.
Early lean: Pirates and under.
Brewers at Cardinals (-153, 8)
Milwaukee's 31-year-old Junior Guerra (7-3, 2.85) has been one of the more unlikely rookie success stories this season. He returned from about a month on the DL due to some elbow soreness on Friday in Pittsburgh and was pulled after 3.1 innings despite not allowing a run because Guerra was on a pitch count. He is 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in two starts this year against St. Louis but this will be his first outing at Busch Stadium. Matt Carpenter is 3-for-3 off him. Yadier Molina is 0-for-3. Cards lefty Jaime Garcia (10-11, 4.41) lost a third straight start Saturday in giving up two runs over six innings in Cincinnati. He is 2-1 with a 1.23 ERA in three starts this year against the Brewers, who are hitting only .132 off him. Ryan Braun hits .179 off him with nine strikeouts in 56 at-bats. Chris Carter is 2-for-6 with a homer.
Key trends: The Brewers are 2-9 in their past 11 in Game 1 of a series. The Cards are 4-1 in Garcia's past five at home vs. teams with a losing record. The over is 5-2 in the Brewers' past seven vs. the lefty. The over is 4-0 in Garcia's past four.
Early lean: Cardinals and over.
Rangers at Mariners (-105, 8.5)
This is the final time the AL West rivals play this season, which is a bit surprising with still a good three-plus weeks to go. Texas goes with lefty Derek Holland (7-6, 4.57). He's working on a string of three straight quality outings and beat Houston last time out in giving up two runs over six innings. Holland is 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA in three starts vs. the Mariners this year and 12-5 with a 3.56 ERA in 24 games against them in his career. Robinson Cano is a career .356 hitter against him in 45 at-bats. But monitor his status as Cano is day-to-day with a sore right foot. Nelson Cruz is 5-for-17 with two homers. Seattle's Taijuan Walker (4-10, 4.60) still hasn't managed to live up to his tremendous promise, but he's only 24. Walker was bombed last time out by the Angels, pitching just two-thirds of an inning and allowing six runs (three homers). Walker is 0-1 with a 5.73 ERA in two starts vs. the Rangers. Adrian Beltre is 7-for-13 off him with three doubles and a homer. Rougned Odor is 5-for-10 with a homer.
Key trends: The Rangers are 5-2 in Holland's past seven in Seattle. The Mariners are 1-5 in Walker's past six vs. the AL West. The over is 13-3 in the past 16 meetings.
Early lean: Rangers and over.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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