Could this year be 1912 all over again? That season, the Red Sox beat the (New York) Giants in the World Series. It was the only best-of-seven World Series to ever go eight games. How'd that happen? Game 2 at Fenway Park was declared a 6-6 tie, called after 11 innings due to darkness. Not sure why they couldn't pick it up the next day. The Red Sox won the series 4-3. I mention this because it's the only time the Red Sox and Giants have played in the Fall Classic. But that could certainly happen again this fall. Boston is the clear betting favorite to win the AL pennant with MLB's top offense. San Francisco is behind the Cubs to win the NL pennant, but we all know what the Giants do in even-numbered years this decade. Boston visits San Francisco on Tuesday night to open a terrific interleague series. The teams last played in 2013 -- the year Boston won its last World Series.
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Mets at Pirates (+123, 7.5)
ESPN2 game so should have live betting at sportsbooks. I could easily see these teams playing in a wild-card game this fall. As expected and as I predicted, the Mets put third baseman David Wright on the DL late last week with that herniated disc in his neck, and he will miss at least 6-8 weeks -- and that's if he doesn't need surgery, which is still possible. I doubt we see Wright again in 2016. In fact, his career is in some jeopardy. At least the Mets have insurance on Wright's bloated contract. It first kicks in if he misses 60 days. New York starts Jacob deGrom (3-1, 2.62) here as he looks for a first win since April 30. DeGrom deserved one Wednesday against Chicago in allowing a run and striking out 10 in seven innings, but his bullpen blew it. Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen is 3-for-5 off him. Jordy Mercer is 1-for-5 with two RBIs. The Pirates' Juan Nicasio (4-4, 4.75) also comes off a no-decision, giving up three runs in six innings in Miami. The Mets' Asdrubal Cabrera is 2-for-6 off him with a homer. Neil Walker is 3-for-10 with two extra-base hits.
Key trends: The Mets are 7-1 in deGrom's past eight road starts vs. teams with a winning record. The Pirates are 0-4 in Nicasio's past four against teams with a winning record. The "over/under" has gone under in six of deGrom's past eight road starts.
Early lean: Mets and under.
Cardinals at Reds (+158, 9)
St. Louis is set to activate shortstop Jhonny Peralta from the disabled list, and he should make his season debut in this game. However, Peralta won't be playing shortstop for the time being. Because rookie Aledmys Diaz has played so well in Peralta's place, he will keep that job. Peralta apparently will move to third most days and Matt Carpenter to second, where he formerly played. That means current second baseman Kolten Wong loses his full-time job. As he should with his offensive performance. That excellent Cardinals offense just got stronger. St. Louis starts former Red Mike Leake (4-4, 3.82) here -- Cincinnati traded him to San Francisco last summer. This will be his first time back. Leake had a fifth straight quality start last Tuesday in Milwaukee, allowing two runs in six innings. It's lefty John Lamb (1-3, 5.58) for Cincinnati. He might have saved his rotation spot on Wednesday in holding the Giants to a run in seven innings in earning the win. The Reds had been 0-5 this season when he started. Peralta is 2-for-6 career off Leake.
Key trends: The Cardinals are 4-0 in Leake's past four against teams with a losing record. The Reds are 0-5 in Lamb's past five at home. The over is 6-2 in Leake's past eight.
Early lean: Cardinals and over.
Astros at Rangers (-112, 9)
I keep thinking that Cole Hamels won a Cy Young in the National League and was going to say this is a matchup of former Cy winners, but Hamels never did. But he was the 2008 NLCS and World Series MVP. Hamels (5-1, 3.39) took a no-decision Wednesday in Cleveland, allowing three runs and six hits over seven innings. He has made three starts against Houston since being acquired from the Phillies and is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA. He beat the visiting Astros on April 20, allowing a run in 6.2 innings. Jose Altuve is 5-for-13 off him with a homer and two RBIs. Evan Gattis is 7-for-20 with three solo homers. Carlos Correa is 1-for-11. Reigning AL Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel (3-7, 5.50) of Houston faced a former Cy Young winner last time out in Arizona's Zack Greinke. I took Houston and the under in that one and was only right on the total. Keuchel had a second straight quality start in giving up three runs in six innings, but Houston lost 3-0. Keuchel has had his troubles against Texas this season, going 0-2 with a 9.75 ERA in two starts. The Rangers are hitting .407 against him. Ian Desmond is 4-for-8 off Keuchel with a homer and five RBIs. Prince Fielder is 8-for-30 with two doubles, a home run and four RBIs.
Key trends: The Astros are 1-5 in Keuchel's past six vs. teams with a winning record. The Rangers are 10-2 in Hamels' past 12 at home. The over is 7-0 in Keuchel's past seven in Texas.
Early lean: Rangers and over.
Rockies at Dodgers (-149, 8)
Los Angeles designated high-priced outfielder Carl Crawford for assignment over the weekend, meaning it will have to eat the remaining $35 million left on his contract that runs through 2017. You may not remember how good that guy once was with Tampa Bay, but he never recaptured that after signing with Boston and then was even worse, and usually injured, after being traded to the Dodgers in 2012. Someone will give him another shot after he clears waivers. L.A. is giving arguably the top pitching prospect in baseball, left-hander Julio Urias (0-1, 9.39), another shot here. He hasn't been good in his first two big-league starts, getting roughed up for six runs over five innings Thursday at the Cubs. The Dodgers were expected to send Urias back down. Colorado goes with one of its top pitching prospects in Eddie Butler (2-3, 5.65). He was knocked around in his last start, allowing eight runs and 11 hits over four innings against Cincinnati. The Dodgers' Justin Turner feasts off Butler in his career, going 8-for-11 with three doubles and two RBIs.
Key trends: The Rockies are 2-10 in Butler's past 12 vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 5-2 in his past seven on the road.
Early lean: Dodgers and under.
Red Sox at Giants (+110, 8.5)
Will Boston manager John Farrell use AL MVP candidate David Ortiz at first base in this series to keep his big bat in the lineup since the Sox lose the DH? Reportedly Ortiz will start only one of these two games in San Francisco at first. The better matchup for him would be Tuesday against right-hander Albert Suarez (1-1, 3.18) instead of Wednesday against Giants ace lefty Madison Bumgarner. Suarez made his sixth appearance of the season last Wednesday in Atlanta but his first career start, allowing three runs in five innings. Boston goes with Rick Porcello (7-2, 4.00). He wasn't very sharp for a second straight start Thursday, allowing five runs in six innings in Baltimore. Porcello allowed a season-high three homers. Denard Span has faced him more than any Giant, going 11-for-29 with four RBIs. Gregor Blanco is 4-for-11 with a double and triple.
Key trends: The Red Sox are 4-9 in Porcello's past 13 vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 4-1 in his past five.
Early lean: Red Sox and over.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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