Five to Follow Expert MLB Betting Picks: 8/8/2017, Opening Line Report
Kansas City's chances of winning the AL Central or grabbing a wild-card spot took a hit over the weekend when All-Star catcher Salvador Perez was placed on the disabled list with an intercostal strain. He could miss up to four weeks. Perez is probably the most important Royal as he's hitting .278 with 21 homers and 65 RBIs while playing great defense and being a strong pitch framer, etc. He was fourth in the majors in innings caught. It's Perez's first trip to the disabled list since 2012 when he had a knee injury. That's pretty remarkable considering the demanding position he plays. It's possible that the Royals could look to acquire a catcher via trade - although you have the whole waivers issue - if indeed Perez is going to miss that long (Perez is hopeful it will only be two weeks). His backup, Drew Butera, isn't in the same stratosphere. Royals management opted against selling at the trade deadline in an effort to make one more push for the playoffs with this current group. While Perez is signed long term, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain and Jason Vargas are all set for free agency and likely too expensive for the Royals to re-sign.
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Rockies at Indians ( -215, 7.5 )
Colorado adds the designated hitter for this interleague matchup. It's Tribe ace Corey Kluber (9-3, 2.77) on the mound, and he might be gaining on Boston's Chris Sale in terms of the AL Cy Young. Kluber comes off a complete game against the Yankees, allowing one run and three hits with 11 strikeouts - his fourth straight game with at least that many. He has struck out at least eight batters in 12 straight starts, and 10 or more in 10 of those outings. Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez is 1-for-2 off him with a homer. The Rockies counter with German Marquez (9-4, 4.11), who hasn't lost since June 26. He comes off a no-decision vs. the Mets, surrendering three runs over six innings. It's his first career look at the Indians, who activated second baseman Jason Kipnis from the DL on Sunday. He had been out nearly a month with a right hamstring strain.
Key trends: The Rockies are 3-14 in their past 17 road games vs. a right-handed starter. The Indians are 9-1 in Kluber's past 10 series openers. The "over/under" has gone un in his past six on Tuesday.
Early lean: Indians on runline and under.
Cardinals at Royals (-107, 9)
Fox Sports 1 national TV game with the Cards adding the designated hitter before this series shifts to St. Louis for two games. The Cardinals might activate outfielder Dexter Fowler off the DL for this one. He has been out with a forearm injury and on the DL since July 25. They go with Michael Wacha (8-4, 3.66). He was pulled after just four innings last time out in Milwaukee despite allowing only a run. Manager Mike Matheny opted to pinch-hit for him in the top of the fifth. Wacha has a 2.12 ERA over his past eight. Hosmer and Cain are both 4-for-12 off him with a double. Kansas City lefty Jason Vargas (13-5, 3.10) was originally to pitch Monday but the team's rainout on Saturday altered the rotation. The All-Star hasn't been the same since the calendar flipped to July as he was 12-3 with a 2.22 ERA entering that month. The Cards' Matt Carpenter is 4-for-4 career off him with a double.
Key trends: The Cards are 2-6 in Wacha's past eight vs. teams with a winning record. The Royals are 23-8 in Vargas' past 31 at home. The over is 21-6-2 in Wacha's past 29 road starts. The under is 11-4 in Vargas' past five at home.
Early lean: Cardinals and over.
Yankees at Blue Jays (-109, 9.5)
New York has lost designated hitter Matt Holliday to the 10-day DL with a left lumbar strain. He was really hitting well earlier this season but since the beginning of July, the 37-year-old was just 11-for-81 (.136) with one home run. The Bombers are likely to use a DH by committee while he's out. New York starts lefty CC Sabathia (9-4, 3.81). He has allowed four runs over each of his past two outings. He is 1-1 with a 7.62 ERA in three starts this year against Toronto. Jose Bautista is just 7-for-43 off him with 13 strikeouts. Justin Smoak is 7-for-23 with two homers. Jays lefty J.A. Happ (4-8, 3.92) beat the White Sox in his last start, giving up one run and striking out 10 over seven innings. Happ won his lone start vs. the Yankees this year on July 4 in the Bronx (6 IP, 1 ER). Chase Headley is a .323 hitter off him with two homers in 31 at-bats.
Key trends: The Jays are 7-1 in Happ's previous eight vs. the Yankees. New York is 2-7 in Sabathia's last nine against Toronto. The under is 6-2-1 in Sabathia's past nine in Toronto.
Early lean: Jays and under.
Brewers at Twins (-110, 9.5)
Milwaukee adds the DH. The Twins' best hitter, All-Star third baseman Miguel Sano, was to have an MRI and CT scan on his injured hand Monday. He was hit by a pitch on his left hand and sat out the weekend due to lingering soreness. X-rays were negative, but that doesn't show everything. Sano is hitting .270 with 25 homers and 71 RBIs. The Brewers' Domingo Santana left Sunday's game after being hit on the hand by a pitch but X-rays were negative. He's hitting .278 with 18 homers and 58 knocked in. Milwaukee goes with Matt Garza (5-5, 3.68). He returned from a DL stint on Thursday and beat St. Louis (5.2 IP, 1 ER). Minnesota's Jason Castro is 5-for-12 off him with two homers. Twins lefty Adalberto Mejia (4-5, 4.30) hasn't won since July 3. He was touched up for four runs over four innings last time out vs. Texas. Mejia has never faced the Brewers.
Key trends: The Brewers are 6-15 in their past 21 Garza road starts. The Twins are 2-5 in Mejia's past seven at home. The under is 7-0 in Garza's past seven.
Early lean: Brewers and under.
Cubs at Giants (+157, 8)
MLB Network game. The Cubs won last year's NLDS in Game 4 at AT&T Park, staging a big ninth-inning rally in that game or else the series was headed back to Chicago. It's lefty Jose Quintana (6-9, 4.42) on the bump for the Cubs. He has made four starts with the Cubbies since the trade across town and comes off easily his worst of them, giving up six runs over five innings against Arizona. Quintana had allowed three runs or fewer in each of his past 10 starts for a 2.59 ERA dating back to his White Sox days. San Francisco's Denard Span is 4-for-7 career against him. Giants southpaw Ty Blach (7-7, 4.24) ended a two-start losing streak on Wednesday in beating Oakland (8 IP, 2 ER). He also homered and had three RBIs. Blach was only the third Giants rookie pitcher to drive in at least three runs in a game since the team began playing in San Francisco in 1958, joining Jim Duffalo (four in 1961) and Brad Hennessey (three in 2005).
Key trends: The Cubs are 5-1 in their past six on the road vs. a lefty. The Giants are 6-13 in their past 19 vs. a southpaw. The under is 5-1 in Blach's past six.
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