Some fairly significant injury/suspension news over the weekend. Toronto lost first baseman Chris Colabello for an 80-game drug suspension, which might put the Jays in the market for a lefty-hitting guy who can play there (Cardinals might be a match) or as a DH. Colabello was a revelation last year in hitting .321 with 15 homers and 54 RBIs but was batting just .069 this season. So maybe you can figure out for yourself what the difference has been (ahem, steroids). Justin Smoak takes over as the every-day guy for now. Cleveland and Baltimore lost starting pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Yovani Gallardo, respectively, to the disabled list. Carrasco has a 2.47 ERA dating back to last July 30. Only three Jake Arrieta, Clayton Kershaw and Stephen Strasburg have a lower ERA in that span.
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Reds at Mets (-120, 7.5)
Cincinnati will be without Jay Bruce for a couple of games as he was placed on the paternity list. Bruce, who by the way also has been linked to the Blue Jays, is hitting .265 with four homers and 15 RBIs this season. So that's one less good bat Mets starter Bartolo Colon (1-1, 2.89) has to worry about. His starts have gotten progressively worse but still pretty solid. He allowed three runs and four hits over six innings last time out. Colon's next win will be No. 220 for his career, moving him past Pedro Martinez for the second-most among Dominican-born pitchers. Colon didn't face the Reds last year. Joey Votto is 2-for-2 career off him. It's lefty Brandon Finnegan (1-1, 3.74) for Cincinnati. He lasted only four innings on Thursday against the Cubs, allowing five runs and seven hits. He has never faced the Mets.
Key trends: The Mets are 1-7 in Colon's past eight at home. The "over/under" has gone under in four of his past five there.
Early lean: Mets and under.
Phillies at Nationals (-205, 6.5)
Even when Washington's Bryce Harper gets the day off, he still homers. Harper hit a tying ninth-inning pinch-hit shot Sunday against Minnesota -- Harper's first in his career as a pinch-hitter -- and the Nats went on to win in 16 innings and sweep the three-game series. At 5 hours, 56 minutes, it was the longest regular-season game in Nationals' history. Harper and Co. face young Phillies right-hander Vincent Velasquez (2-1, 0.93) here. He allowed five runs, two earned, in 4.1 innings last time out vs. the Mets. Velasquez has never faced Washington. Max Scherzer (2-1, 4.32) goes for the Nationals. He wasn't sharp last time out, allowing five runs and eight hits in five innings in Miami. Originally Joe Ross was going to go here and Scherzer on Wednesday with extra rest, but Ross is dealing with a blister. Philly's Ryan Howard might get this game off considering he's 1-for-16 with 10 strikeouts vs. Scherzer.
Key trends: The Nats are 6-1 in Scherzer's past seven vs. the NL East. Washington is 5-0 in his past five vs. Philly. The under is 3-1-1 in Scherzer's past five on regular rest.
Early lean: Nationals and under.
White Sox at Blue Jays (+120, 7.5)
Chicago's Chris Sale (4-0, 1.80) was the spring favorite to win the AL Cy Young Award, and he's pitching like it. The lefty held the Angels to one unearned run and just two hits over seven innings on Monday. He has allowed four hits combined and no earned runs in his past two starts over 16 innings. Sale was originally to start Monday but is being pushed back a day simply for extra rest. Toronto's Josh Donaldson is 3-for-11 off him with two homers and six RBIs. Toronto knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (1-2, 6.10) comes off his best start of the year, allowing three runs and five hits over six innings in Baltimore. Dickey was 0-1 with a 5.25 ERA in two starts vs. the White Sox last year. Jose Abreu is 4-for-9 with three homers and five RBIs against him. Melky Cabrera is 6-for-18 with two homers and a triple.
Key trends: The Sox are 5-0 in Sale's past five following a quality start in his most recent outing. The Jays are 1-4 in Dickey's past five vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 5-2-2 in Sale's past nine on the road. The over is 5-2-2 in Dickey's past nine.
Early lean: White Sox and over.
Red Sox at Braves (+165, 7)
I wonder if Boston is having buyer's remorse yet on lefty David Price (2-0. 7.06). He was torched for eight runs and eight hits over 3.2 innings in his last start vs. Tampa Bay but avoided the loss. He struck out five, but hit two batters and gave up a pair of homers. It was the most runs Price has ever allowed. Former Oriole Nick Markakis has faced Price more than any Brave, going 14-for-51 with three extra-base hits and nine strikeouts. Atlanta's Matt Wisler (0-1, 3.10) took a no-decision last time out despite not allowing any earned runs and four hits over 6.2 innings vs. the Dodgers. Keep an eye on him here only because he threw a career-high 115 pitches. Wisler has never faced the Red Sox. And presumably he won't get to face David Ortiz as the Red Sox lose the DH. Big Papi can pinch-hit. He has 12 hits in 15 career games in Atlanta, and seven of them have been home runs.
Key trends: Atlanta is 2-5 in Wisler's past seven at home. The under is 6-1 in those seven.
Early lean: Red Sox and under.
Marlins at Dodgers (-240, 6)
This is the lowest total on the board and that will be the case often when Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (2-0, 1.50) is on the bump. I speculated he might no-hit the Braves in Atlanta in his last start but Kershaw gave up 10 of them -- as many as his first three starts combined -- and one run over eight innings with 10 strikeouts. Eight of the 10 hits were singles. Kershaw also threw an "eephus" pitch in the game that should have been called a strike, but it so surprised the umpire that he didn't. Here's hoping Kershaw makes that a regular part of his arsenal. Kershaw lost his lone start vs. Miami last year, allowing one earned run in seven innings. He's 5-2 with a 1.91 ERA in his career against Miami. Giancarlo Stanton has two doubles and a homer in 15 at-bats off Kershaw. The Marlins' Tom Koehler (1-2, 4.80) beat the Nationals on Thursday, allowing one run and two hits over five innings. Chase Utley hits him well, going 6-for-15 with two doubles, a homer and six RBIs.
Key trends: The Marlins are 2-5 in Koehler's past seven on the road. The under is 9-3 in Kershaw's past 12 at home.
Early lean: Dodgers on runline and under.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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