So how worried should the Nationals be now that $175 million man Stephen Strasburg, who already has had one Tommy John surgery, is back on the disabled list? At least this one isn't an arm problem but an upper back strain. It forced Strasburg to be scratched from last Monday's scheduled start vs. the Dodgers and then Sunday's outing vs. Milwaukee. The team placed him on the DL on Sunday, retroactive to June 16. The guy has only made it through one full season (2014) where he didn't miss a start. Strasburg has reached the 200-inning plateau once in six seasons and probably won't get there this year. So it was clearly smart of him to sign that extension earlier this season, but I don't really get why the Nationals offered it. Washington had to push up Joe Ross to start Monday's game because of this injury and has yet to announce a starter for Tuesday against the Mets. It's possible that arguably the top pitching prospect in baseball, right-hander Lucas Giolito, is the guy.
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Blue Jays at Rockies (+135, 12.5)
Toronto loses the DH in this interleague game but presumably will move MLB RBI leader Edwin Encarnacion to first base and bench Justin Smoak. Monitor the status of Colorado second baseman DJ LeMahieu as well. He was to have an MRI on Monday after leaving Sunday's game against Arizona with a bruised left knee. LeMahieu enters the week tied for third in the National League with a .327 average. Daniel Descalso likely will start at second for however long LeMahieu might miss. The Jays start lefty J.A. Happ (9-3, 3.42) on the mound. They have won his past three. He allowed two runs over five innings last time out against Arizona. NL home run leader Nolan Arenado is 1-for-6 career off Happ. Charlie Blackmon is as well. The Rockies' Eddie Butler (2-4, 6.71) hasn't won since mid-May. He allowed six runs and 11 hits over five innings Thursday against the Diamondbacks. Butler has never faced Toronto.
Key trends: The Blue Jays are 4-1 in Happ's past five interleague starts. The Rockies are 2-11 in Butler's past 13 vs. teams with a winning record. The "over/under" is 4-1-1 in his past six at home.
Early lean: Blue Jays and over.
Marlins at Tigers (-105, 9.5)
Miami will add the designated hitter for this interleague game. Detroit swept two games in South Florida to open the season. The Marlins start lefty Adam Conley (4-4, 3.56). He hadn't won since May 16 but did Wednesday against Atlanta in throwing eight shutout innings, allowing four hits. That was the first time this season a Marlins starter made it through eight innings. The Marlins haven't had a complete game since Henderson Alvarez against Tampa Bay on June 3, 2014, at Marlins Park. Conley has never faced the Tigers. They go with Mike Pelfrey (1-7, 5.19). His rotation spot has gotten shaky again as Pelfrey was pelted for six runs and 12 hits over five innings last time out against Seattle, although he avoided a loss. A few Marlins have seen him. Martin Prado is 10-for-22 with six doubles, a homer and three RBIs. Giancarlo Stanton is 9-for-19 with two homers.
Key trends: The Marlins are 2-6 in their past eight after an off day. The Tigers are 4-0 in Pelfrey's past four at home. The over is 8-3 in Miami's past 11 on the road. The over is 4-1 in Pelfrey's past five at home.
Early lean: Tigers and over.
Twins at White Sox (-170, 8.5)
Perhaps Chicago can start to right its season in this series as the White Sox are 6-0 against the Twins thus far. But those two series were back when the Pale Hose were one of the American League's best teams. They go with lefty Jose Quintana (5-7, 3.04) in the opener. His last win was May 8 vs. the Twins when he allowed one run in seven innings. The Sox lost his next seven but won Wednesday in Boston even though Quintana was rocked for six runs and eight hits in 5.1 innings. He walked a season-high six. Joe Mauer is a career .344 hitter off Quintana with two homers in 32 at-bats. Brian Dozier is 7-for-37 against him with nine strikeouts. The Twins go with Kyle Gibson (0-5, 6.05). Since coming off a long DL stint, he has allowed 13 runs and 21 hits over 18 innings in three starts. Gibson lost to the White Sox on April 11, allowing three runs in 5.2 innings. Brett Lawrie is 4-for-7 against him. Jose Abreu 3-for-17 with two doubles and a homer.
Key trends: The Twins are 1-4 in Gibson's past five in Game 1 of a series. The Sox are 0-5 in Quintana's past five on five days of rest. The under is 11-5-2 in Gibson's past 18 on the road.
Early lean: White Sox and under.
Dodgers at Brewers (+120, 9)
Los Angeles goes with 19-year-old lefty Julio Urias (0-2, 4.33). He made his sixth big-league start Wednesday against Washington and took a no-decision, allowing two runs and six hits over five innings with six strikeouts. There was talk that might be his final big-league start of the year, but they will go at least one more here. The Dodgers don't want him going much past 100 combined innings this year in the majors and minors combined. Urias is now at 27 innings in the major leagues -- and 68 innings when combined with his work at Triple-A Oklahoma City. This will be interesting because the Brewers will be the first team he has seen twice. On June 17, Urias threw five shutout innings against them and struck out a career-high eight. Milwaukee counters with Chase Anderson (4-7, 5.13). He was rocked for seven runs over 2.1 innings in his most recent start on June 18 at the Dodgers. The team decided to skip Anderson's last turn in the rotation, but he's not hurt. Adrian Gonzalez is 6-for-13 career off Anderson with a homer. Yasmani Grandal has three homers and six RBIs off him in 11 at-bats.
Key trends: The Dodgers have won eight straight on Tuesday. The Brewers are 1-4 in Anderson's past five vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 5-2 in the Dodgers' past seven on Tuesday.
Early lean: Urias gets his first big-league win -- I almost think the Dodgers are partly keeping him in the rotation so he can. Go under.
Cardinals at Royals (-120, 8.5)
St. Louis will add the DH. Bragging rights in the "Show Me State" on the line in this series. Not impossible the teams play in the World Series against one another this fall as they did in 1985 -- although obviously the chances of that were much higher last year when the Cardinals and Royals were the top seeds in NL and AL playoffs, respectively. The Cards go with Michael Wacha (3-7, 4.41). He looks back in form with three straight quality starts. Wacha beat Jake Arrieta and the Cubs last Wednesday, allowing two runs in 6.2 innings. The Royals' Lorenzo Cain is 3-for-9 career off him. Salvador Perez is 2-for-6 with two RBIs. Kansas City's Yordano Ventura (6-4, 4.54) makes his first start since shutting out the White Sox on six hits over 6.1 innings on June 17. Ventura then served his eight-game suspension for his role in a brawl with the Baltimore Orioles. The Cardinals' Matt Carpenter is 2-for-7 career off Ventura with a homer and three RBIs. Yadier Molina is 1-for-8 off him.
Key trends: The Cards are 4-1 in Wacha's past five interleague starts. The Royals are 0-6 in Ventura's past six interleague starts. The under is 5-1-1 in Ventura's past seven interleague starts.
Early lean: Cardinals and under.
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