If Yankees rookie and AL MVP favorite Aaron Judge isn't in the Home Run Derby at next month's All-Star Game in Miami, then that whole thing is a sham. That event usually bores me, but watching Judge and presumably Marlins hometown boy Giancarlo Stanton bash balls should be pretty good TV. On Saturday, Judge hit a dinger that was recorded with an exit velocity of 121.1 mph, which it the hardest-hit ball in the Statcast era (which, granted, has only been around for a few years). The previous record was Stanton's 120.3 mph base hit in 2015. Judge now has the four hardest hit balls on the season. In Sunday's win over the Orioles, Judge went 4-for-4 with two homers to increase his big-league lead to 21 dingers. One of those Sunday went a whopping 496 feet, the longest in the majors this season. The only home run hit further last season was Stanton's 504-foot blast, according to Statcast. Don't look now, but Judge is leading all three Triple Crown categories in the AL. If he accomplishes that, there can be no argument that Judge will have had the greatest rookie season in MLB history.
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Brewers at Cardinals ( -164, 9 )
Only matinee of Tuesday with a first pitch at 2:15 p.m. ET on the MLB network. It's the first of a doubleheader. The Brew Crew put second baseman Jonathan Villar on the DL over the weekend and called up top prospect and outfielder Lewis Brinson. He came to the Brewers last summer as part of the return in the Jonathan Lucroy trade from Texas and was having a great year in Triple-A. Brinson made his MLB debut Sunday in Arizona and hit leadoff. He finished 0-for-2 with a steal. The Brewers are expected to start Jimmy Nelson (4-3, 3.45). He had a third straight quality start last time out, allowing three runs over six innings in a win over San Francisco. He lost April 23 vs. the Cardinals (5.1 IP, 4 R). Matt Carpenter is 8-for-18 off him with two homers and seven RBIs. The Cards have dropped the past five starts of Lance Lynn (4-3, 2.88), although he has pitched well in four of those. Lynn won in Milwaukee on April 22 in giving up one run over six. Eric Thames is 0-for-2 against him with two walks.
Key trends: The Brewers are 1-5 in their past six in Game 1 of a series. The Cards are 4-1 in Lynn's past five vs. Milwaukee. The "over/under" has gone under in five of his past six against the Brewers.
Early lean: I like the under here more than the side (Cards).
Braves at Nationals (-185, 9.5)
Another MLB Network game at 7:05 p.m. ET. Washington placed closer Koda Glover on the DL over the weekend. In the type of injury that could only happen to a baseball player, he hurt his back in the shower prior to Saturday's game, didn't tell the team about it and then went out and blew a save vs. Texas in a game the Nationals would lose in extra innings. Also monitor the status of Ryan Zimmerman, the NL's leading hitter. He didn't start for the third time in the past four Sunday due to his own back problems. The Nats go with Joe Ross (3-2, 6.16). He might have saved his rotation spot last Thursday in dominating the Orioles with 12 strikeouts and one run allowed over 7.1 innings. Ross won in Atlanta on April 19 (7 IP, 3 ER). Nick Markakis is 5-for-8 against him. Atlanta's R.A. Dickey (4-4, 4.73) comes off his best start of the season (7 IP, 1 ER) in a win over Philadelphia. He is 0-1 with a 5.11 ERA this year in two starts vs. Washington. Zimmerman is 12-for-36 off him with two homers.
Key trends: The Braves are 4-1 in Dickey's past five vs. the NL East. The Nats are 9-3 in Ross' past 12 at home vs. teams with a losing record. The over is 7-1-1 in his past nine.
Early lean: Nationals and over.
Dodgers at Indians (+165, 8.5)
Los Angeles will add the designated hitter for this interleague matchup. Many experts around the sport projected this as the 2017 World Series matchup and it's certainly possible. Dodgers ace lefty Clayton Kershaw (8-2, 2.20) is on the mound. He outdueled Stephen Strasburg last time out, giving up one run and three hits over seven innings with nine strikeouts. The Dodgers have won his past seven. Kershaw hasn't faced an AL team this year. He has only faced the Indians once. On June 20, 2008, Kershaw allowed four runs in five innings against the Tribe at Dodger Stadium. Only a few Indians have ever seen him. Edwin Encarnacion is 0-for-3. Cleveland's Trevor Bauer (5-5, 6.10) lasted 3.1 innings in his last start in Colorado, surrendering four runs and walking five. In two career starts against the Dodgers, Bauer is 1-0 with a 2.31 ERA in 11 2/3 innings. Yasmani Grandal is 1-for-3 off him.
Key trends: The Dodgers are 4-0 in Kershaw's past four interleague starts. The Indians are 0-5 in Bauer's past five interleague starts. The under is 15-5-1 in Kershaw's past 21 on the road.
Early lean: Dodgers on runline and under.
A's at Marlins (-123, 9.5)
Oakland loses the DH for this one. Stanton is expected back in the Marlins' lineup Tuesday following Monday's off day. He didn't start Sunday after exiting Saturday's contest with a bruised right hand.In the top of the first inning in Pittsburgh, Stanton took an inside fastball on a 2-2 pitch off the inside part of his wrist. It was fortunate there were no broken bones. Stanton is hitting .286 with 16 homers and 42 RBIs. Oakland starts Jharel Cotton (3-6, 5.20). The A's have dropped his last four. He allowed four runs over six innings Wednesday vs. Toronto. It's his first career start vs. Miami. The Marlins go with Jose Urena (4-2, 3.96). They have won his past four even though Urena hasn't lasted more than five innings in any of them. He won in Oakland on May 23 despite giving up a season-high six runs.
Key trends: The A's are 0-4 in Cotton's past four. The Marlins are 3-11 in Urena's past 14 at home. The over is 4-0 in Urena's past four.
Early lean: Marlins and over.
Royals at Giants (-119, 8)
Kansas City loses the DH for this rematch of the 2014 World Series, won by San Francisco in seven games. At least the Royals don't have to worry about Madison Bumgarner this time as he basically won that series by himself. These teams split two games in Kansas City back in mid-April. It's lefty Jason Vargas (8-3, 2.18) for Kansas City, and he deserves to be an All-Star. He won a third straight start last time out, giving up two runs over five against Houston. Vargas dominated the Giants on April 19 (7 IP, 4 H, 0 R) in a win. Buster Posey is 3-for-10 against him with a homer. San Francisco lefty Ty Blach (4-3, 3.64) has made a solid transition from the bullpen but does come off a rough outing and loss in Milwaukee (6 IP, 5 ER). Blach threw two-thirds of an innings vs. the Royals on April 18 when he was still in the bullpen.
Key trends: The Royals are 8-1 in Vargas' past nine vs. teams with a losing record. The Giants are 1-6 in their past seven on Tuesday. The under is 7-1 in Vargas' past eight on the road.
Early lean: Royals and under.
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