The Los Angeles Dodgers admirably lead the NL West Division despite their rotation being ravaged by injury this season. But with all due respect to Clayton Kershaw, who remains on the DL, the last guy the Dodgers can afford to see get hurt now is shortstop Corey Seager, who is your lock NL Rookie of the Year and probably finishes second or third in the NL MVP voting. Los Angeles avoided total disaster on Monday when Seager was hit by a pitch on the left wrist in Colorado as X-rays were negative. He actually was hit in the calf earlier in the game by a pitch too. Seager was to get Tuesday off from the starting lineup but could be back in there as soon as Wednesday. Meanwhile, Kershaw is set to face hitters Tuesday in a simulated game. That probably determines if the Dodgers have a real shot at winning the pennant. If Kershaw is fine and is then activated, then L.A. does. But if he has a setback with that disk herniation then I don't believe the Dodgers can win a postseason series.
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White Sox at Tigers (-119, 7.5)
It's the first game of the day with a 1:10 p.m. ET first pitch from Motown and also the top pitching matchup of Wednesday. The Pale Hose go with lefty Chris Sale (15-7, 3.14). He was a tough-luck loser last time out, throwing a complete game (his MLB-high fifth this year) vs. the Mariners and allowing three runs and five hits while striking out a season-high 14. Sale is 1-2 with a 3.80 ERA in three starts this year against the Tigers with a complete game. Miguel Cabrera hits .238 off Sale with 16 strikeouts in 42 at-bats. Victor Martinez is 18-for-38 off him with four homers. The Tigers likely won't have outfielder Cameron Maybin after he left Monday's game with a thumb injury. He was to have an MRI on Tuesday. Detroit's Justin Verlander (14-7, 3.33) beat the Angels in his last start, going 7.2 innings and giving up two runs and four hits. He's 6-1 with a 1.98 ERA in his last nine starts. Verlander beat the Sox in his lone start against them in 2016, allowing two runs over seven innings on June 5. Jose Abreu is 9-for-24 off him with three solo homers.
Key trends: The Sox are 1-4 in Sale's past five in Detroit. The Tigers are 4-0 in Verlander's past four at home vs. the White Sox. The "over/under" has gone under in five of Verlander's past seven at home overall.
Early lean: Tigers and under.
Rays at Red Sox (-170, 9.5)
A 1:35 p.m. ET start from Fenway and shown on the MLB Network. The Rays start lefty Drew Smyly (6-11, 4.80). He hasn't lost since July 18 and comes off a no-decision in Houston, giving up two earned runs in six innings. He has gone at least six innings in seven straight outings. Smyly threw eight shutout innings in Boston on April 19 and gave up just one hit with 11 strikeouts. Mookie Betts is 5-for-15 off him with a homer. Dustin Pedroia is 2-for-16 with five strikeouts. Boston All-Star knuckleballer Steven Wright (13-6, 3.18) returned from three weeks on the DL Friday and lost to Kansas City, allowing five runs over seven innings. He hasn't faced the Rays in 2016. Brad Miller is 1-for-4 off him with a homer.
Key trends: The Rays are 5-1 in Smyly's past six. The under is 5-0 in his past five vs. Boston. The under is 6-2-1 in Wright's past nine vs. the AL East.
Early lean: Rays and under.
Diamondbacks at Giants (-148, 8)
This gets underway at 3:45 p.m. ET. San Francisco lefty Matt Moore (8-10, 3.95) was one out shy of his first no-hitter last time out, but a clean single by the Dodgers' Seager broke it up. Moore was immediately pulled because he was at a season-high 133 pitches. I'd be a bit worried about him here. He pitched in Arizona on June 7 while still with Tampa Bay and allowed five runs and seven hits in seven innings. Paul Goldschmidt is 2-for-3 off him with a homer. Jake Lamb also went yard. Arizona lefty Robbie Ray (7-12, 4.28) lost to the Braves on Thursday, giving up two runs over five innings with four walks. He is 1-1 with a 3.71 ERA in three starts vs. the Giants this year. Brandon Belt is 3-for-7 off him with three RBIs. Joe Panik is 3-for-6.
Key trends: Arizona is 6-1 in its past seven vs. a lefty. The Giants are 1-5 in their past six on Wednesday. The over is 10-2 in Arizona's past 12 vs. teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Diamondbacks and over.
Blue Jays at Orioles (+137, 9.5)
If I'm Blue Jays All-Star Aaron Sanchez (12-2, 2.99), I'm a bit ticked off at the team because it cost him several thousand dollars by sending him down to Class A to open a roster spot because the Jays were skipping his last big-league start to save innings on Sanchez's arm. He'll be brought back up for this one. Sanchez wasn't too sharp in that last outing, allowing five runs in a season-low four innings in Cleveland. He is 1-1 with a 5.29 ERA in three August starts. Sanchez is 2-0 with a 4.50 ERA in three starts this year vs. the Orioles. Chris Davis is 6-for-14 with three homers off him. Adam Jones is 2-for-17. Baltimore's Yovani Gallardo (4-6, 5.69) had the shortest outing of his career Friday at the Yankees, getting just four outs and allowing eight runs and six hits. Gallardo is 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA in 2016 vs. Toronto. Troy Tulowitzki is 11-for-31 career off him with four doubles. Edwin Encarnacion is 8-for-20 with three homers.
Key trends: The Jays are 6-1 in Sanchez's past seven vs. the AL East. The Orioles are 0-6 in Gallardo's past six vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 7-0 in Gallardo's past seven at home.
Early lean: Blue Jays and over.
Pirates at Cubs (-175, TBA)
ESPN game. Pittsburgh's Ryan Vogelsong (3-3, 3.02) won in Milwaukee on Friday, allowing two runs and four hits over 5.1 innings. He has a 2.48 ERA in five starts since returning from a two-month absence after getting hit in the face with a line drive. Vogelsong has pitched 3.1 innings of relief vs. the Cubs this year and allowed a run. Anthony Rizzo is 4-for-8 against him with three homers and five RBIs. Kris Bryant is 0-for-4. Chicago lefty Mike Montgomery (1-1, 3.50) remains in the rotation until John Lackey comes off the DL. Montgomery comes off a no-decision at the Dodgers, allowing three runs in five innings, his longest stint as a Cub. He has never faced the Bucs. David Freese has seen him, going 1-for-3.
Key trends: The Pirates are 2-8 in Vogelsong's past 10 road starts vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 4-1 in his past five.
Early lean: Pirates (and probably over what should be a high total if the wind is not blowing in).
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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