Pretty shocking news out of Washington, D.C. on Monday night when it was revealed the Nationals and pitcher Stephen Strasburg agreed to a seven-year, $175 million extension with an opt-out clause after three or four years (also some deferred money and potential bonuses). I say this is shocking because Strasburg's agent is Scott Boras and he ALWAYS takes his guys to the market. Strasburg's camp had said they weren't negotiating during this season. I thought Strasburg might set the record for total dollars for a pitcher this winter because it's an incredibly weak free-agent market overall. I know he would have gotten offers higher than $175 million. Obviously the one worry with Strasburg has been injuries, but he has been lights out since returning from a DL stint last summer. That he has signed could push pitching-needy teams to be more aggressive in trades before the July 31 deadline with so little to choose from in free agency this winter.
White Sox at Rangers (-138, 9)
A 2:05 p.m. ET getaway game. I think the league is starting to figure out White Sox pitcher Mat Latos (5-0, 2.62). He allowed just two runs combined over his first four starts. But his past two, he has given up eight runs and 18 hits over 10 innings along with three homers. Latos beat Texas on April 24, giving up a run and seven hits over six innings. Ian Desmond is a .304 hitter against him in 23 at-bats. Rougned Odor is 2-for-4 with a solo homer. Texas ace lefty Cole Hamels (4-0, 2.68) comes off his best start of the year, shutting out the Tigers on one hit over seven innings with a season-best nine strikeouts. He didn't pitch in the first series with the Pale Hose. Melky Cabrera hits .353 off him in 17 at-bats with a homer. Todd Frazier is 4-for-16 with four RBIs and five strikeouts.
Key trends: The White Sox are 5-2 in their past seven vs. a lefty. Texas is 9-1 in Hamels' past 10 at home. The "over/under" is 10-4-1 in Hamels' past 15 overall.
Early lean: Rangers and under.
Blue Jays at Giants (-131, 7)
Toronto loses the DH in this interleague 3:45 p.m. ET matinee. The Jays' usual DH is Edwin Encarnacion, but I'd imagine they want to keep his big bat in the lineup and will play him at first base and bench Justin Smoak. Fine pitching matchup. Toronto's Marcus Stroman (4-0, 3.60) held the Dodgers to two runs over seven innings with eight strikeouts in his last outing but got a no-decision. He hasn't lost a game since September 2014, but that's a bit misleading as he only made four regular-season starts in 2015. Stroman has never faced the Giants. Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner (4-2, 3.14) won his third straight start Friday, striking out a season-high 10 against Colorado. He hasn't allowed a homer in that three-start winning streak. This is his first 2016 start vs. an AL team. Only a few Jays have faced him. Troy Tulowitzki has the most, batting .379 with two homers and five RBIs in 29 at-bats. Josh Donaldson is 1-for-6 with a homer.
Key trends: The Jays are 6-0 in Stroman's past six on the road. The Giants are 5-2 in Bumgarner's past seven interleague starts. The under is 4-0-1 in his past five interleague outings.
Early lean: Blue Jays and under.
Royals at Yankees (-131, 7.5)
ESPN game so should have live betting at sportsbooks. Yordano Ventura (2-2, 4.65) get the call for the Royals. He began the season with four straight good starts but has been hit around in losing his past two, allowing 10 runs and walking 11 over eight innings. Control has always been an issue with him and he leads the AL with 25 walks. Ventura didn't face the Yankees in 2015. Aaron Hicks is 2-for-8 with a homer off him. Mark Teixeira is 1-for-3 with a strikeout. New York's Michael Pineda (1-3, 5.73) comes off a quality start against Boston, allowing two runs and eight hits over six innings. New York had lost his previous four outings. He was 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in two starts last year vs. Kansas City. Eric Hosmer is 3-for-12 off him with a home run. Alex Gordon is 3-for-18 with two doubles and five strikeouts.
Key trends: The Royals are 7-3 in Ventura's past 10 road starts vs. teams with a losing record. The Yankees are 0-6 in their past six in Game 3 of a series. The over is 5-2-2 in Ventura's past nine vs. the AL East. The over is 5-2-1 in Pineda's past eight.
Early lean: Royals and over.
Tigers at Nationals (-160, 7)
Great pitching matchup here between guys who used to be on the opposing team. It's Jordan Zimmermann (5-1) for the Tigers, the AL ERA leader. Of course he spent 2009-15 with Washington, leaving as a free agent this past winter. Zimmermann allowed a season-high three runs over eight innings in losing his first game of the year Friday vs. Texas. Not many Nationals have faced him as you would expect. Former Met Daniel Murphy has the most by far, going 20-for-61 with five doubles and four home runs. For the Nats, it's Max Scherzer (3-2, 4.60), who spent 2010-14 with the Tigers and won the 2013 Cy Young Award there. Scherzer's ERA rose nearly a run in his last start as he was clocked for seven runs and seven hits (four homers) over five innings Friday in a loss at the Cubs. J.D. Martinez is 1-for-3 off him with a homer. Jarrod Saltalamacchia is 6-for-15 with a dinger. Keep in mind that the Tigers lose the DH here.
Key trends: The Tigers are 2-5 in their past seven in Game 3 of a series. The under is 8-1-2 in Scherzer's past 11 during Game 3 of a series.
Early lean: Nationals and under.
Mets at Dodgers (-106, 6.5)
If a Mets pitcher hasn't plunked the Dodgers' Chase Utley by Wednesday, I'd be shocked if Noah Syndergaard doesn't take care of business here as "Thor" isn't exactly a bashful guy in terms of such things. Remember, Utley broke the leg of Mets infielder Ruben Tejada during last year's NLDS on a hard slide into second base. Utley initially was suspended for his takeout slide but appealed, and the punishment was waived in February. The Mets were pretty ticked off. Maybe the only thing that prevents it from happening is that Tejada is no longer with the Mets. Utley's slide motivated MLB to change the rule on slides into second base. Syndergaard (2-2, 2.58) has lost back-to-back starts. He lost Game 2 of the NLDS in L.A. as well, allowing three runs in 6.1 innings. Adrian Gonzalez is 1-for-3 with a homer off him. Utley is 0-for-3. The Dodgers' Kenta Maeda (3-1, 1.66) has come back to earth a bit. He allowed two runs on two hits over six innings in his last start, in Toronto. Maeda has never faced the Mets.
Key trends: The Mets are 5-2 in Syndergaard's past seven on the road. The over is 4-1-1 in his past six on four days of rest.
Early lean: Mets and under.
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