The Cubs got relatively good news on reigning NL ERA champion Kyle Hendricks over the weekend. He might not return from right hand tendinitis until after the All-Star break, but it was nothing overly serious and it shouldn't be a long-term thing after an MRI revealed nothing more than the inflammation originally diagnosed in the area from his middle finger into the back of his hand. The issue produces a sharp pain in his middle finger when he grips the ball, preventing him from executing any pitch effectively. Hendricks hasn't been the same guy from last year for much of this season. He's 4-3 with a 4.09 ERA with his walks way up after going 16-8 with a 2.13 ERA in 2016. Lefty Mike Montgomery will continue to start in Hendricks' spot. There's no question that the Cubs are going to trade for a starting pitcher, it's just a matter of when. One name often heard is Oakland's Sonny Gray, although A's GM Billy Beane might be hesitant to deal with Theo Epstein after the Cubs stole Addison Russell from Oakland in the July 2014 Jeff Samardzija/Jason Hammel deal.
Free $60 in Member MLB Picks No Obligation Click Here
Cardinals at Phillies ( +129, 9 )
St. Louis pitcher Mike Leake looked like a Cy Young contender early in the season, but he clearly has remembered who he is lately as Leake (5-6, 3.14) has dropped his past four outings and allowed 18 runs in them. Leake didn't give up more than three earned in any of his first nine starts. It's his first look at Philly this year. Odubel Herrera is 3-for-12 off him with a homer. Michael Saunders is 1-for-1 with a homer. Philadelphia's Jeremy Hellickson (5-5, 4.91) is a likely trade candidate, although is value has gone down quite a bit after an outstanding 2016 season. He was roughed up for six runs and nine hits over five innings last time out vs. the Red Sox. The start before that, he took the loss in St. Louis, giving up three runs and 10 hits over six innings. Aledmys Diaz is 3-for-5 against him with two solo homers. Matt Carpenter is 3-for-7 with three walks.
Key trends: The Cardinals are 0-5 in Leake's past five in Game 1 of a series. The Phillies are 5-0 in Hellickson's past five on five days of rest. The "over/under" has gone under in Leake's past four on the road. The under is 9-3-3 in Hellickson's past 15.
Early lean: Cardinals and under.
Reds at Rays (-163, 9)
Cincinnati adds the DH for this interleague matchup. The Rays made a deal over the weekend in acquiring infielder Trevor Plouffe from Oakland. He was recently designated for assignment by the A's. It's a low-risk deal for the Rays as they will have to cover only about $1 million remaining on his salary and will send either cash or a low-level prospect back to Oakland. The Rays don't hit lefties well and are hoping Plouffe can help there. It's Reds rookie lefty Amir Garrett (3-5, 6.91) on the mound. He hasn't won since May 6 but was good last time out in allowing two runs in six innings in San Diego. No Rays have seen him. Tampa's Alex Cobb (5-5, 4.17) took a no-decision in his last start in Detroit (6.2 IP, 2 ER). In his only career start against the Reds, in 2014, he pitched seven scoreless innings. Zack Cosart is 1-for-1 with a double against him.
Key trends: The Reds are 0-4 in Garrett's past four on the road. The Rays are 7-3 in Cobb's past 10 interleague starts. The over is 5-1 in Garrett's past six.
Early lean: Rays and over.
Padres at Cubs (-193, TBA)
Probably the low point for the disappointing Cubs this season was when they were swept three games in San Diego late last month and scored just five runs in them. Chicago put infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist on the DL over the weekend and called up Tommy LaStella to replace him. Perhaps the wrist issue helps explain why the reigning World Series MVP is batting only .223. He was to see a hand specialist on Monday. Frankly, he's probably the one regular the team can afford to lose. The Cubbies go with Montgomery (0-3, 2.56) on the bump. He has gone a bit further in each of his three starts since replacing Hendricks. Montgomery didn't face the Friars in May. San Diego's Jhoulys Chacin (6-5, 5.10) beat the Reds last time out, allowing two runs over seven innings. It's his first look at the Cubs in 2017. Anthony Rizzo, who has been killing it since moving to leadoff, is 4-for-8 against him with a homer.
Key trends: The Padres are 2-7 in their past nine vs. a lefty. The over is 4-0-1 in Chacin's past five on the road.
Early lean: Cubs.
Mets at Dodgers (-197, 8.5)
ESPN game. The Mets, who lost yet another player to the disabled list over the weekend in outfielder Juan Lagares (broken thumb), start Robert Gsellman (5-4, 5.50). He was roughed up for seven runs and 11 hits against Washington on Thursday. That ended a three-start winning streak. It's the L.A. native's first career start against the Dodgers. L.A's Brandon McCarthy (5-3, 3.14) won in Cleveland last time out, giving up one run and three hits over 5.1 innings. It was his first start in eight days due to a blister. McCarthy has held opponents to two runs or fewer in each of his last five starts. The Mets' Curtis Granderson is 3-for-14 off him career with three strikeouts. Jay Bruce is 2-for-7 with four Ks.
Key trends: The Mets are 4-1 in Gsellman's past five on the road. The Dodgers are 12-3 in McCarthy's previous 15 at home. The under is 6-2-1 in McCarthy's past nine vs. teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Dodgers and over.
Astros at A's (+100, 9.5)
Houston is reportedly chasing the A's Gray as well, although Houston might have to pay a higher price than, say, the Cubs because the A's would expect a bit more for trading Gray (2-2, 4.44) inside the division. He gets the call here. Gray hasn't won in his past four outings, but they have largely been decent starts. The right-hander hasn't faced the Astros in 2017. He's 2-0 with a 3.30 in five home starts compared to a 5.96 ERA in four road outings. Houston's Jose Altuve is 10-for-27 career off him. Brian McCann is 3-for-9 with a homer. One guy that Oakland surely would insist upon on any trade is Houston pitcher Francis Martes (1-0, 5.19), who is on the mound Tuesday. The 21-year-old got his first big-league win in his second start last Wednesday, allowing one run over five innings against Texas. This will be his first road outing.
Key trends: The A's are 4-1 in Gray's past five at home vs. Houston. The under is 4-1 in those five.
Early lean: A's and under.
Doc's Sports MLB handicapping team is offering $60 worth of member's baseball picks absolutely free - no obligation, no sales people - Claim your free MLB picks here now. Also, for a limited time only get three MLB handicappers for the price of one. Click here for details . Get free MLB picks daily at Doc's Sports baseball predictions page .
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
Most Recent Baseball Handicapping Articles
- 2018 MLB MVP Odds with Expert Betting Predictions for Most Valuable Player
- Which Teams Will Make the MLB Playoffs: Yes or No Betting Props and Predictions
- 2018 Cy Young Futures Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
- MLB Wagering and Expert Baseball Handicapping: Rotations Bettors Can Trust
- Expert MLB Betting Advice: 2018 Rotations that Are Tough to Wager On
- 2018 Atlanta Braves Expert Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
- 2018 Chicago White Sox Expert Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
- 2018 Detroit Tigers Expert Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
- 2018 Texas Rangers Expert Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
- 2018 Seattle Mariners Expert Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series