The Washington Nationals will be holding their collective breath on Tuesday as the club awaits results of an MRI on the knee of All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos. He had to be helped off the field Monday after landing awkwardly when he jumped to catch a throw from the outfield. Ramos couldn't put any weight on his right knee, the same knee in which he missed time in 2012 with a torn ACL and MCL. Manager Dusty Baker wasn't optimistic it was something minor. Ramos is hitting .307 with 22 homers and 80 RBIs this season and was set to cash in as a potential free agent this winter. The Nationals had offered him a three-year, $30 million extension and he turned it down. For now, the Nationals will turn to rookie Pedro Severino, who replaced Ramos on Monday, and Jose Lobaton for catching duties.
Mariners at Astros (+106, 8.5)
MLB Network game and the lone matinee of the day at 2:10 p.m. ET. These two are mathematically alive for the second wild-card spot, but it's a long shot for one of them to get up there -- especially Houston following Monday's tough loss. Seattle DH Nelson Cruz is having wrist trouble and had an MRI on Monday, but he plans to play through it until his team is eliminated. This could be the final start as an Astro for Doug Fister, who is a free agent after the season. Fister (12-12, 4.42) hasn't won since Aug. 22, with the Astros dropping his past six. He hasn't lasted more than five innings once in that stretch and is costing himself some money this winter. Fister is 2-2 with a 6.86 ERA in four starts this year vs. Seattle. Cruz is 10-for-32 career off him with a homer. Kyle Seager is 7-fof-19 with three doubles and a homer. Seattle lefty James Paxton (5-7, 3.72) beat the Twins last time out, allowing one run and five hits over seven innings. He's 0-2 with a 4.74 ERA in three career starts vs. Houston. Carlos Correa is 2-for-6 off him with a double. George Springer is 2-for-9 with a dinger.
Key trends: The Mariners have won six straight in Game 3 of a series. The Astros are 0-5 in Fister's past five at home. The "over/under" has gone under in 11 of Paxton's past 16 vs. the AL West.
Early lean: Mariners and under (early start helps pitchers).
Indians at Tigers (-137, 9)
First of an ESPN doubleheader. Barring advancing to the ALDS, this should be the final start of the season for Tigers AL Rookie of the Year candidate Michael Fulmer, and I do think he wins that in a close vote. Fulmer (11-7, 2.95) comes off a dominant effort vs. the Royals, allowing one run and striking out nine over seven innings. It was his first win since Aug. 19, and Fulmer leads the AL in ERA again. It is possible that Fulmer could pitch in a potential tiebreaker game next week. He is 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA this year in three starts vs. the Tribe. Mike Napoli is 4-for-8 off him with two homers and seven RBIs. Carlos Santana is 3-for-8 with two RBIs. Cleveland's Trevor Bauer should next start in Game 2 of the ALDS. Bauer (12-8, 4.26) beat the White Sox in his last start but was shaky for a fourth straight one, allowing four runs over 7.2 innings. He is 2-1 with a 6.75 ERA in 14.2 innings vs. the Tigers in 2016. J.D. Martinez is 9-for-22 off him with a homer.
Key trends: The Indians are 1-4 in Bauer's past five on the road. The Tigers are 6-1 in Fulmer's past seven at home vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 10-0-2 in Bauer's past 12 road starts vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 5-2 in Fulmer's past seven at home.
Early lean: Tigers -- Indians likely to mail it in rest of way with AL Central won -- and over.
Reds at Cardinals (-167, 8.5)
Will St. Louis have excellent rookie shortstop Aledmys Diaz back for this game? He left the team to travel to Miami on Monday as he was close friends and neighbors with late Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez. Matt Carpenter is dealing with an injury to his right ring finger, so monitor his status after he didn't start Monday. The Cards go with Mike Leake (9-11, 4.72), who is winless in four starts since returning from the DL. He was knocked out after only 3.1 innings Friday at the Cubs, giving up five runs and seven hits. Leake is 0-1 with an 8.31 ERA in three starts this year against his former Reds team. Cincinnati's Anthony DeSclafani (8-5, 3.38) has lost three straight outings and allowed 14 runs over 16 innings. He's 0-1 with a 3.75 ERA vs. the Cardinals. Carpenter is 6-for-12 off him with two homers. Brandon Moss is 5-for-18 with seven strikeouts.
Key trends: The Reds are 1-4 in DeSclafani's past five vs. the NL Central. The Cards are 1-6 in Leake's past seven at home. The over is 9-3 in Leake's past 12 vs. teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Cardinals and over.
Rockies at Giants (-191, 7.5)
Second ESPN game. Colorado's Tyler Chatwood (11-9,. 4.08) comes off a loss at the Dodgers, allowing two runs and five hits over six innings. He left with the lead, but the bullpen blew that. Like pretty much every pitcher alive, Chatwood much prefers pitching away from Coors Field as he is 7-1 with 1.88 ERA and a .195 batting average against in 12 away starts. Chatwood is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in three starts vs. the Giants. Buster Posey is just 2-for-15 off him. Brandon Crawford is 7-for-23. San Francisco's Jeff Samardzija (12-10, 3.83) will be making his final start unless the Giants get to the NLDS. "Shark" comes off seven shutout innings with nine strikeouts in San Diego. He's 1-1 with a 2.38 ERA in three starts vs. San Francisco. Gerardo Parra is 9-for-24 with a homer against him. Carlos Gonzalez is 4-for-23 with seven strikeouts.
Key trends: The Rockies are 2-5 in Chatwood's past seven. The Giants are 1-5 in Samardzija's past six at home. The under is 10-1-1 in his past 12 starts overall.
Early lean: Giants and under.
A's at Angels (-109, 8.5)
Meaningless game with these teams battling to stay out of the AL West cellar. But it means a little something for the A's because they will trot out ace Sonny Gray (5-11, 5.74). He has had a disastrous, injury-plagued season that has ruined any mega-trade value he might have had this offseason. Gray hasn't pitched in the majors since Aug. 6 due to a forearm issue but felt fine after a bullpen session on Saturday. Gray won't pitch more than two innings here. He has a 3.65 ERA in 12 1/3 innings against the Angels this season. Mike Trout is just 7-for-33 career off Gray with three homers but 13 strikeouts. Kole Calhoun is 7-for-35 with 12 whiffs. The Angels' Alex Meyer (1-3, 5.91) allowed four runs over 5.1 innings last time out in Houston. His debut with the Angels after coming over from Minnesota was Sept. 6 in Oakland and he gave up a run and walked four over 3.1 innings.
Key trends: The A's are 1-5 in Gray's past six on the road. The over is 6-1 in his past seven vs. Los Angeles.
Early lean: Angels and over. Click here for more free baseball picks for Wednesday.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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