If the Texas Rangers are going to hang on to their AL West lead and repeat in the division, they will do so sans outfielder/DH Shin-Soo Choo. He suffered a fractured forearm after being hit by a pitch Monday night in Oakland and is probably out for the rest of the regular season. The guy used to be a good player but is now really brittle as this will be his fourth DL stint of the season. He's hitting .247 with seven homers and 17 RBIs in 166 at-bats. Choo was hitting leadoff when healthy -- he took a .362 leadoff on-base percentage into the game, which ranked third among AL leadoff hitters -- and now that likely will be split between Jurickson Profar and Delino DeShields. "The professional at-bats, the ability to get on base, the power threat from the leadoff spot, it all changes the structure of our lineup somewhat," Manager Jeff Banister said. "We'll need to find someone who can solidify the leadoff spot for us."
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Blue Jays at Yankees (+150, 8.5)
Earliest start of the day with a 1:05 p.m. ET first pitch. I don't think there's any question that Toronto veteran lefty J.A. Happ is the AL Cy Young favorite now. Happ (16-3, 2.96) won his 10th straight decision last Wednesday against Tampa Bay, shutting out the Rays on four hits over six innings. Happ also usually gets plenty of run support as the Jays are averaging 6.09 runs in his starts, tops in the AL. Happ is 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA in three starts against the Yankees this season. They are hitting just .206 off him. Starlin Castro fares well off him, going 6-for-20 with two doubles and a homer. Mark Teixeira doesn't, going 2-for-14. The Yankees start lefty and former AL Cy Young winner CC Sabathia, although those days are long gone. Sabathia (7-9, 4.20) also faced the Rays in his last start and got the win, allowing three runs and four hits over six innings. He is 0-2 against Toronto this year in two starts despite a 1.38 ERA. Melvin Upton is a career .268 hitter off him with three homers and eight RBIs in 57 at-bats. Michael Saunders is 1-for-17 against him.
Key trends: The Jays are 5-0 in Happ's past five vs. the AL East. The Yankees are 1-4 in Sabathia's past five at home. The "over/under" has one under in six of Happ's past eight vs. New York, which is 0-4 in Sabathia's past four vs. Toronto.
Early lean: Jays and under.
Nationals at Rockies (+142, 10.5)
Game starts at 3:10 p.m. ET in Denver. The thin air of the Mile High City is probably not what Strasburg (15-3, 3.07) wants to see right now as he's scuffling at the moment and could be losing his lead for the NL Cy Young. Although his last three poor starts were all in D.C. so maybe the road will be what he needs. Last time out, Strasburg was tagged for six runs and seven hits in 5.1 innings in a loss to the Braves. He hasn't faced the Rockies this season. Nolan Arenado is 2-for-11 career off him with a homer and five strikeouts. Carlos Gonzalez is 2-for-14 with seven punchouts. Colorado's Jon Gray (8-6, 4.55) has had back-to-back terrible starts. He was lit up for seven runs over 4.1 innings in his last start in Philadelphia. This is his first look at Washington in his career. Daniel Murphy has faced him, going 1-for-5 with an RBI.
Key trends: The Nats are 7-1 in Strasburg's past eight vs. teams with a losing record. The Rockies are 1-5 in Gray's past six vs. the NL East. The under is 7-2 in Strasburg's past nine road starts vs. teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Rockies and under.
Pirates at Giants (-120, 8)
A 3:45 p.m. ET first pitch and should have live betting at sportsbooks as it's nationally televised by the MLB Network. San Francisco goes with Matt Cain (4-7, 5.47). He had thrown back-to-back starts of five shutout innings but reverted to previous form on Friday against Baltimore in allowing five runs and 10 hits over four innings in a loss. Cain hasn't faced Pittsburgh this season. Andrew McCutchen is 4-for-18 career off him with a double. Jordy Mercer is 1-for-3 with a solo homer. The Bucs go with trade addition Ivan Nova (9-6, 4.68). The National League has so far agreed with him as Nova is 2-0. He allowed a run and nine hits over 5.1 innings last time out at the Dodgers. He did face the Giants in his penultimate start with the Yankees and allowed one run and six hits in seven innings. Brandon Belt is 3-for-6 off him with a double. Buster Posey is 0-for-7.
Key trends: The Giants are 4-12 in Cain's past 16 vs. the NL Central. They are 6-2 in his past eight vs. Pittsburgh. The over is 20-3-3 in Cain's past 26 in Game 3 of a series.
Early lean: Pirates and over.
Red Sox at Orioles (-105, 8.5)
ESPN national TV game. On Monday, Boston's David Ortiz passed Honus Wagner for 22nd on the all-time RBI list as Big Papi now has 1,733. He's not going to get any higher on that list unless he decides not to retire this offseason. Assuming Alex Rodriguez is retired, Albert Pujols is the active leader at No. 21 with 1,787 entering Tuesday. The Sox go with lefty David Price (10-8, 4.29). He won for the first time since June 10 on Friday in allowing three runs and 10 hits over eight innings against Arizona. Price is 0-1 with a 5.54 ERA in two starts this year vs. Baltimore. Manny Machado is 7-for-25 off him career with two homers. Mark Trumbo is a .360 hitter off Price with two homers in 25 at-bats. Baltimore goes with Cy Young contender Chris Tillman (15-4, 3.46). He beat Oakland last time out, giving up two runs over seven innings. He won in Boston on June 14, giving up a run and five hits over seven. Ortiz hits just .194 career against him.
Key trends: The Red Sox are 0-5 in Price's past five on the road. The Orioles are 7-1 in Tillman's past eight at home vs. Boston. The under is 10-4 in his past 14 vs. the Red Sox.
Early lean: Orioles and under.
Royals at Tigers (-136, 9)
Monitor the status of Tigers star Miguel Cabrera here. He left Monday's game against Kansas City with a left biceps strain and is being called day-to-day. He has been red hot this month and is one RBI from his 1,000th career with the Tigers. He has a ways to go to catch franchise leader Ty Cobb, who has 1,805. Cobb also played nearly 1,500 more games in a Tigers uniform than Cabrera has. The Royals go with Yordano Ventura (8-9, 4.60), who has won his past three. He pitched in Minnesota on Friday and gave up three runs and four hits over seven. Ventura is 2-0 with a 1.96 ERA in three starts vs. Detroit this season. Cabrera, if he's in the lineup, is 5-for-16 off him with three RBIs. Ian Kinsler is a career .348 hitter against him in 23 at-bats. Detroit goes with Anibal Sanchez (6-12, 6.31), maybe the AL's worst starter right now. He was trashed at Texas on Friday, allowing eight runs and eight hits (four homers) over four innings. Sanchez has pitched 2.1 innings this year vs. K.C. and allowed four hits and a run. Eric Hosmer is 10-for-34 against him with three doubles and a homer.
Key trends: The Royals are 4-1 in Ventura's past five vs. Detroit. The over is 6-2 in his past eight against the Tigers. The under is 8-3 in Sanchez's past 11 vs. Detroit.
Early lean: Royals and over.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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