What on earth has gotten into Twins second baseman Brian Dozier? He hit three homers on Monday against Kansas City and now has 38 on the season, second in the majors. He's just the sixth Twin ever with a three-homer game and has joined Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew as the only players in Twins history with 36 or more homers in a single season. The all-time record by a second baseman is 42 homers by Davey Johnson in 1973, while the American League record is Alfonso Soriano's 39 in 2002. Dozier has 24 homers since the All-Star break, or one more than reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper has all year. I'm not saying something is fishy here, but Dozier hit 16 homers in four total minor-league seasons. If I'm the lousy Twins, I'm shopping this guy in the offseason because they aren't winning anything in 2017 regardless. Dozier has two years and only $15 million left on his contract after this season.
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Mets at Reds (+140, 8)
A 12:35 p.m. ET start. You won't see Reds outfielder and leadoff man Billy Hamilton again in this one He suffered an oblique injury on Sunday, and those usually take a while to heal; he won't even be re-evaluated for at least five days. Hamilton leads the major leagues with 58 stolen bases. That's one less worry for New York's Noah Syndergaard (12-8, 2.56), who is third in the National League in ERA. He had a three-start winning streak snapped last time out, allowing two runs and three hits over seven innings against Washington. Syndergaard took a no-decision on April 25 vs. the Reds, giving up three runs and seven hits over 6.2 innings with nine strikeouts. Adam Duvall is 0-for-6 career against him with four strikeouts, Joey Votto is 0-for-9 with four whiffs. Cincinnati's Anthony DeSclafani (8-2, 2.93) comes off a no-decision on Friday against the Cardinals in allowing two runs over seven innings. He has gone at least seven innings in each of his past three starts, posting a 2.35 ERA. He didn't face the Mets earlier in the season. Kelly Johnson is 2-for-5 off him with a homer. Yoenis Cespedes is 3-for-5.
Key trends: The Mets are 8-1 in Syndergaard's past nine vs. the NL Central. The Reds are 6-1 in DeSclafani's past seven at home. The "over/under" has gone under in eight of DeSclafani's past 14 overall.
Early lean: Mets and under.
Angels at A's (-122, 9)
First pitch of 3:35 p.m. ET and should have live betting with it televised by the MLB Network. This will be the first start in an Angels uniform for Alex Meyer (0-1, 12.27), a first-round pick by the Nationals in 2011. He came over from Minnesota with Ricky Nolasco for Hector Santiago at the Aug. 1 trade deadline. Meyer pitched in two games for the Twins early in the season and lasted only 2.2 innings in his lone start on May 3 in Houston. He has never faced Oakland. The A's counter with rookie Jharel Cotton in his big-league debut. He was the key prospect acquired in the deal with the Dodgers at the deadline in which Oakland sent outfielder Josh Reddick and pitcher Rich Hill to Los Angeles. Cotton had a 2.82 ERA for Oakland's Triple-A affiliate in Nashville in six starts since the trade.
Key trends: The Angels are 5-0 in their past five in Game 3 of a series. The under is 8-0 in their past eight in a Game 3. The under is 4-0 in Oakland's past four on Wednesday.
Early lean: Angels and under.
Cardinals at Pirates (-126, 8)
ESPN game. St. Louis will activate pitcher Mike Leake off the DL for this one; he had been dealing with a bout of shingles. Leake (9-9, 4.56) last pitched Aug. 21 in Philadelphia and shut out the Phillies on seven hits with eight strikeouts in seven innings, his third straight quality start. Leake is 1-2 with a 5.71 ERA in three starts this year against Pittsburgh. Andrew McCutchen is a career .257 hitter off him with two homers and 16 strikeouts in 74 at-bats. David Freese is 13-for-25 off him with three doubles and a homer. Pittsburgh rookie Jameson Taillon (3-4, 3.25) lost to the Brewers on Friday despite only allowing a run and three hits over six innings. It's his first look at the Cardinals.
Key trends: The Cards are 4-1 in Leake's past five on the road. The Bucs are 5-2 in Taillon's past seven at home. The over is 6-1 in Leake's past seven starts.
Early lean: Pirates and over.
Braves at Nationals (-235, 8)
If you have money on the Nationals to win the pennant or World Series, you will want to watch this game closely to see if Stephen Strasburg (15-4, 3.59) is healthy. He had three straight poor outings, costing himself the Cy Young Award, before being placed on the DL with elbow soreness. Needless to say, if he feels anything in that elbow the team is going to yank him immediately, and he'll probably be shut down for the season. Strasburg is 2-1 with a 4.26 ERA in three starts this year vs. Atlanta. Freddie Freeman is 14-for-34 career off him with four homers and 13 RBIs. Matt Kemp is 3-for-12 with two doubles. Atlanta's Mike Foltynewicz (8-5, 4.31) beat the Padres last Thursday, giving up three runs and four hits over six innings. He won in Washington on Aug. 12, allowing four runs and five hits over 5.2 innings. Daniel Murphy is 3-for-4 off him with two doubles. Ben Revere is 3-for-5 with two doubles and a triple.
Key trends: The Braves are 6-1 in Foltynewicz's past seven vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 7-1 in his past eight overall.
Early lean: Nationals and under.
Rangers at Mariners (-101, 8.5)
The ESPN nightcap. Texas' A.J. Griffin (7-3, 4.41) beat Houston on Friday, giving up three runs over 5.2 innings. He is 3-2 with a 3.44 ERA in six career starts against the Mariners. Robinson Cano is 4-for-10 off him with a homer. Nelson Cruz has gone yard once in 14 at-bats off Griffin. Seattle lefty Ariel Miranda (2-1, 5.76) beat the Angels on Friday, allowing four runs and five hits over six innings, tying his season-high in innings pitched. Miranda is a rookie who actually has faced Seattle (he was traded from Baltimore) but not Texas. The Mariners are completely fading from the AL wild-card chase. They have the longest playoff drought in MLB, last making it in 2001 back when Ichiro Suzuki was a rookie with the Mariners. Now with the Marlins, Ichiro has more than 3,000 career hits.
Key trends: The Rangers are 5-1 in Griffin's past six vs. teams with a winning record. The Mariners are 1-4 in Miranda's past five. The over is 4-1 in Griffin's past five vs. the AL West. The over is 4-0 in Miranda's past four.
Early lean: Rangers and over.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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