If the Chicago Cubs win this year's World Series then team president Theo Epstein should be inducted into Cooperstown immediately if he manages that miracle after also ending the 86-year title drought of the Boston Red Sox when he was the general manager there. The Cubs were already World Series betting favorites, and Epstein made it clear on Monday that he's all-in for this season by trading a pretty nice package of prospects Gleyber Torres (No. 1 in Cubs system) and Billy McKinney (No. 5), pitcher Adam Warren and one more lesser prospect to the Yankees for fire-balling lefty closer Aroldis Chapman, who can be a free agent after the season. The Yankees did quite well in this deal, certainly getting a lot more from the Cubs than they gave up this past offseason to get Chapman from Cincinnati. Warren, incidentally, was acquired by the Cubs from New York this offseason in the Starlin Castro trade. If the Cubs had one weakness, it was their bullpen, and that no longer should be a problem with Chapman and fellow lefty Mike Montgomery, who was acquired last week from Seattle.
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Cubs at White Sox (+148, 9)
ESPN national TV game and thus should have live betting at sportsbooks. I'm assuming Chapman won't get to the Cubs in time for Monday's series opener, so he should be available here. His arrival moves current closer Hector Rondon to a likely eighth-inning setup role. The Cubs will add the DH for this interleague game. The Cubs start Kyle Hendricks (9-6, 2.27), who hasn't allowed an earned run in his past four outings (includes one two-inning relief appearance). He shut out the Mets over 6.1 innings on seven hits last Wednesday. The White Sox's Adam Eaton is 2-for-5 career off him with a homer and two RBIs. Todd Frazier is 2-for-10 with two doubles and two RBIs. It's James Shields (4-12, 4.99) for the White Sox. He had a fifth straight quality start last time out, allowing two runs and seven hits over six innings vs. Detroit. But the Sox have dropped his past three. Anthony Rizzo is 2-for-5 career off him with two doubles. Dexter Fowler is 2-for-11 against him with a homer.
Key trends: The Cubs are 6-2 in Hendricks' past eight road starts vs. teams with a losing record. The Sox are 1-4 in Shields' past five vs. teams with a winning record. The "over/under" has gone under in 10 of Hendricks' past 11 on Tuesday.
Early lean: Cubs and under.
Padres at Blue Jays (-210, 9.5)
San Diego adds the DH for this interleague game. And I'd be willing to bet almost anything that this is the final start in a Padres uniform for pitcher Andrew Cashner. One team very interested in him is Tuesday's opponent, Toronto. Cashner (4-7, 4.79) already has been quoted as saying he expects to be dealt. He was solid last time out, allowing one run and three hits over 5.2 innings in a no-decision vs. St. Louis. He now has struck out 17 and walked none over his past two starts. Not many Blue Jays have seen him. Troy Tulowitzki is 3-for-12 against him with two RBIs. It's Marcus Stroman (8-4, 4.90) for Toronto. He comes off his best start in a long while, beating the Diamondbacks and allowing one run with no walks over eight innings. It marked the first time all season in which Stroman didn't issue a walk while pitching four-plus innings. Very few Padres have seen him. Wil Myers is 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. Derek Norris, another trade candidate, is 0-for-3.
Key trends: The Padres are 1-5 in Cashner's past six on the road. The Jays are 5-1 in Stroman's past six interleague starts. The over has hit in Cashner's past six interleague starts. The over is 7-3 in Stroman's past 10.
Early lean: Blue Jays and over.
Yankees at Astros (-150, 8.5)
It sounds as if the Yankees are now going to keep lefty Andrew Miller as he's signed for two more seasons and will return to the closing role with Chapman gone. The Yankees are asking more for Miller than they were for Chapman. New York starts big lefty CC Sabathia (5-8, 4.04) here, and other teams have been scouting him for potential trades. Sabathia continued his struggles last time out, allowing four runs and seven hits in 6.2 innings in a loss to the Orioles. In his past six starts, Sabathia is 0-4 with a 7.46 ERA. He hasn't faced Houston this year. Jose Altuve is 2-for-3 off him with two RBIs. Carlos Gomez is 3-for-13 with a homer. The Astros go with Doug Fister (10-6, 3.42). He shut out the A's on four hits over seven innings last time out. Fister has won two straight after a three-game losing skid. Jacoby Ellsbury is 3-for-8 career off him with two doubles. Alex Rodriguez is 1-for-5.
Key trends: The Yankees are 1-4 in Sabathia's past five vs. teams with a winning record. The Astros are 8-1 in Houston's past nine vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 3-1-1 in Sabathia's past five on Tuesday.
Early lean: Astros and over.
Angels at Royals (TBA)
Not much has gone right injury-wise for the Angels in their rotation this season, but perhaps one bright spot for the season will be the return of Tyler Skaggs from Tommy John surgery. He will be recalled from Triple-A to start this game. It's the lefty's first big-league action July 31, 2014. He was 5-5 with a 4.30 ERA that year with the Angels. Skaggs was one a very highly-touted prospect with Arizona. He had a 1.60 ERA in 39.1 innings in the minors this season. Skaggs was originally drafted by the Angels but traded in 2010 to Arizona in the Dan Haren deal. The Halos got him back in 2013 in a trade for Mark Trumbo. Skaggs has never faced the Royals. They probably start lefty Brian Flynn (1-1, 3.03). He has made one start this year in 15 appearances. That start was July 19 vs. Cleveland, and he allowed three runs and four hits in 2.1 innings. Flynn has never faced the Angels. If It's not Flynn, it will be right-hander Dillon Gee (3-3, 4.11).
Key trends: The Angels are 4-0 in Skaggs' past four. The Royals are 1-4 in their past five in Game 2 of a series. The over is 11-2 in Kansas City's past 13 on Tuesday.
Early lean: Regardless of the Royals starter, lean Angels.
Rays at Dodgers (-126, 7.5)
Also nationally televised by the MLB Network. The Rays lose the DH. Over the weekend there were reports by ESPN's Jayson Stark that the Dodgers were 70 percent close to acquiring Rays ace Chris Archer. Well, he's on the mound against L.A. on Tuesday -- if Archer gets scratched, something's imminent. Archer (5-13, 4.60) won for the first time since June 6 last Wednesday, allowing two runs and four hits while striking out 11 over six innings in Colorado. He leads the American League in strikeouts but also walks. Archer has never faced the Dodgers, although Howie Kendrick is 1-for-6 off him with a double and three strikeouts. Los Angeles goes with Bud Norris (5-9, 4.56). He was forced into a relief role in Friday's 16-inning loss in St. Louis, allowing a run and two hits in 1.1 innings. He went five innings in his last start, against the Nationals, and gave up six runs on seven hits. Tampa's Evan Longoria is 3-for-14 off him with two homers and four RBIs. Logan Morrison is 4-for-7 with three RBIs.
Key trends: The Rays are 6-1 in Archer's past seven interleague starts. The over is 4-1 in his past five vs. the NL.
Early lean: Rays and over.
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