There's no question that Seattle's Felix Hernandez was one of the best pitchers of his era with one Cy Young Award and one runner-up. Hernandez made at least 30 starts for the Mariners every season from 2006 through 2015. But have we seen the last of dominant King Felix? Injuries hit him for the first time last season, and he slipped to a 3.82 ERA - not bad, really, but not at Hernandez's usual level. The guy has thrown nearly 2,500 regular-season innings, so you almost had to figure arm troubles were overdue. Well, Hernandez was placed on the disabled list Wednesday due to shoulder inflammation after lasting only two innings in Detroit on Tuesday. We don't want to jump to conclusions, but shoulder inflammation obviously is never a positive development. We will have to wait and see what doctors say, but he's out at least a few weeks. Hernandez is 2-2 with a 4.73 ERA this year.
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Mets at Nationals (TBA)
Spectacular matchup (probably) between excellent right-handers who have been really good in their young careers but somewhat injury-prone. It's Jacob deGrom (0-1, 2.55) for the Mets, who have been shuffling their rotation all week because of Tuesday's rainout in Atlanta and then Noah Syndergaard being scratched Thursday due to biceps tendinitis (Mets are done if that's serious). DeGrom faced these Nationals last Saturday, and it was his worst start of the year, allowing three runs and eight hits with a whopping six walks in 5.2 innings. He did strike out 10. Bryce Harper is 7-for-18 off him with a homer. Anthony Rendon is 0-for-12. Washington's Stephen Strasburg (2-0, 2.89) is expected to come off paternity leave for this start. He has gone seven innings in all four starts and not allowed more than three earned. Strasburg was 3-0 with a 1.83 ERA in three starts last year vs. the Mets. Curtis Granderson is just 3-for-19 against him with six strikeouts. Yoenis Cespedes is 4-for-9.
Key trends: The Mets are 1-5 in their past six in Washington. The "over/under" has gone under in the past five there.
Early lean: Our first TBA of the season as Strasburg hasn't officially been named yet, but all signs point to him. If so, go Nats and under regardless.
Cubs at Red Sox ( +106, 8 )
Arguably the most anticipated series of the year and what many think will be a World Series preview. This one will be shown on the MLB Network.The Cubs add the DH, which surely will be Kyle Schwarber, allowing Joe Maddon to also keep Javy Baez and Ben Zobrist in the lineup too. It's Jake Arrieta (3-0, 3.65) for the Cubs. He was a bit shaky last time out in allowing five runs and eight hits over six innings vs. the Reds, but he still got the win. He's 1-3 with a 4.66 ERA career against Boston and hasn't faced the Red Sox since June 30, 2014. Mitch Moreland is 2-for-6 off Arrieta with a homer. Boston lefty Drew Pomeranz (1-1, 4.60) was beaten in Baltimore last Friday, allowing two runs and five hits over 5.1 innings. Last year while with San Diego, Pomeranz beat the Cubs in his lone start against them with six shutout innings. Jason Heyward is 2-for-4 off him. Anthony Rizzo is 0-for-8.
Key trends: The Cubs are 8-2 in their past 10 interleague road games. The Red Sox are 2-5 in their past seven at home vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 8-1 in the Cubs' past nine overall.
Early lean: Cubs and over.
Mariners at Indians (-200, 8.5)
Seattle also put outfielder Mitch Haniger on the DL with a strained oblique. He's an early AL Rookie of the Year candidate as he's hitting .338 and had been leading the American League in runs (20) and second in on-base percentage (.442). The M's go with lefty Ariel Miranda (1-2, 4.35). He was limited to three innings in his last start in Oakland, allowing four runs and seven hits (two homers). This will be the Cuban's first career start vs. Cleveland. The Tribe are scheduled to throw Carlos Carrasco (2-1, 1.65), who has been their best starter thus far. Carrasco had his third straight quality outing Saturday at the White Sox, shutting them out on three hits over eight innings with eight strikeouts. Carrasco was 1-1 with a 3.46 ERA in two starts a year ago vs. the Mariners. Robinson Cano is 6-for-14 against him with two doubles and a homer. Nelson Cruz is 3-for-14 with six strikeouts.
Key trends: The Indians are 11-2 in Carrasco's past 13 in Game 1 of a series. The under is 5-1 in Miranda's past six. It's 5-0 in Carrasco's past five.
Early lean: Indians on runline at +105 and under.
White Sox at Tigers (-168, 9.5)
The White Sox saw slugging first baseman Jose Abreu leave Wednesday vs. the Royals with a mild right hip flexor strain. Abreu took an awkward spill while trying to field a groundball. Abreu is off to a slow start and hasn't homered yet but had a third straight two-hit game Wednesday before leaving. He thinks he will play Friday. I'm not so sure. Meanwhile, the Tigers have activated shortstop Jose Iglesias off the concussion DL. The Pale Hose start Mike Pelfrey here, and he was released by the Tigers at the end of March even though Pelfrey had $8 million left on his contract. Pelfrey (0-1, 4.15) was called up and got a spot start for an injured James Shields last Saturday vs Cleveland and allowed four runs in 4.1 innings. Pelfrey is 4-8 with a 6.22 ERA lifetime at Comerica Park, although obviously some of that pitching for the Tigers and not against. Justin Upton is 4-for-12 off him with three RBIs. Detroit lefty Matthew Boyd (2-1, 3.86) debuted this season in Chicago and allowed five runs in 2.1 innings in a loss on April 6. Too bad for Abreu if not in there as he's 6-for-12 off him with two homers against Boyd. Todd Frazier is 0-for-11.
Key trends: The White Sox are 1-4 in their past five after an off day. The Tigers are 7-2 in Boyd's past nine at home. The over is 6-0-1 in his past seven on five days of rest.
Early lean: Tigers and over.
Pirates at Marlins (-104, 8)
I don't know if he'll play much if at all, but the Pirates have promoted minor league infielder Gift Ngoepe from Triple-A despite him hitting only .241 down there. Why is this relevant? The 27-year-old Ngoepe was born in Pietersburg, South Africa, and becomes the first African player in the majors. He likely will be used as a defensive replacement while in the Show. Ngoepe did have a hit Wednesday in his debut. Pittsburgh's Jameson Taillon (1-0, 2.13) comes off his worst start of the season, allowing four runs and five hits in a season-low 5.1 innings vs. the Yankees in a no-decision. Taillon is 4-2 with a 3.12 ERA in nine career starts on the road. He has never faced Miami. Marlins lefty Adam Conley (1-1, 3.00) held the Padres to a run over six innings in his last start but took a no-decision. Conley threw six scoreless innings vs. the Bucs in 2016 in his lone career appearance against them.
Key trends: The Bucs are 1-4 in Taillon's past five on five days of rest. The Marlins are 7-2 in Conley's past nine at home. The under is 5-2-1 in his past eight vs. teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Marlins and under.
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