The Milwaukee Brewers have some interesting pieces on their team but weren't going to be competing for a wild-card spot this season - the NL Central is going to be owned by the Cubs for at least a few more years so it's wild-card or bust for the other four in that division. Ideally, the Brew Crew would flip a few of their veterans at some point before July 31 to stock up even more in the farm system. Probably trade candidate No. 1, pitcher Junior Guerra, couldn't even make it through his first start of the year healthy. He's going to miss at least six weeks with a significant calf strain. He was hurt as a batter on Monday. Guerra is 32 but super-cheap and would have some value if he was anything close to his 2016 rookie season when he was 9-3 with a 2.81 ERA in 20 starts. Now the team's starting pitching depth, already a weak spot, will be even more tested.
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Nationals at Phillies ( +146, 7.5 )
Washington ace Max Scherzer joined some exclusive company last year in winning a Cy Young in both leagues. He first won it in 2013 with the Tigers and then last year with the Nationals, beating out the Cubs' Jon Lester by a fairly wide margin. Scherzer was 20-7 with a 2.96 ERA and an MLB-best 284 strikeouts, including a record-tying 20K game. He joined Gaylord Perry, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens and Roy Halladay as the only pitchers in Major League history to win the Cy Young in both leagues. The reason Scherzer didn't start Opening Day earlier this week was a finger issue. He was 3-0 with a 2.02 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 35.2 innings vs. the Phillies last year. Howie Kendrick has had some success against him, going 5-for-14. It's the nastiest pitcher on the Phillies in Vince Velasquez, who was 8-6 with a 4.12 ERA in 24 starts last year. Control can be a problem at times, leading to high pitch counts. He beat the Nats in his lone start against them, allowing three runs in six innings.
Key trends: The Nationals are 8-1 in Scherzer's past nine against the Phillies. The "over/under" has gone under in six of the past seven meetings in Philly.
Early lean: Phillies in home opener and under.
Dodgers at Rockies (-107, 12)
Dodgers lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu was so good in his first two seasons in the majors from 2013-14 (28 wins) but has made just one appearance since then due to injuries. He had Tommy John in May 2015 and got back for one start last July, only to go back on the DL with elbow tendinitis, which eventually required surgery. He had to compete for the fifth spot in camp. Ryu has made one start at Coors Field in his career, allowing two runs in six innings. Charlie Blackmon is 5-for-10 career off him with a double. The Rockies in their home opener counter with lefty and Denver native Kyle Freeland, the team's first-round pick in 2014. He makes his big-league debut after a solid spring training. Freeland had a sub-4.00 ERA in Double-A and Triple-A last year. He will become just the fifth Colorado native to play for the Rockies.
Key trends: The Dodgers are 1-11 in their past 12 road games vs. a lefty. The over is 7-2 in the Rockies' past nine vs. a lefty.
Early lean: Rockies and under (12 wow).
Marlins at Mets (-143, 8)
This could be a very important game for the Mets and their suddenly injury-riddled rotation. That's because it will be the first big-league game for Zack Wheeler since Sept. 25, 2014. Wheeler shined as a rookie in 2013 and then was 11-11 with a 3.54 ERA in 32 starts the next year. However, he had Tommy John surgery and missed the next two. Wheeler had a 5.11 ERA this spring but was regularly hitting 97 mph on the radar gun. He will certainly be on an innings limit, probably per game and overall. Christian Yelich is just 1-for-13 career off him with four strikeouts. Miami goes with lefty Wei-Yin Chen, who largely flopped as a big-ticket free agent last year. He was 5-5 with a 4.96 ERA in 22 starts and missed time with an elbow strain. Left-handed hitters batted .325 off Chen. He beat the Mets in his lone start against them, giving up a run over seven innings.
Key trends: The Marlins are 7-1 in Chen's past eight in Game 1 of a series. The under is 4-1 in his past five vs. the NL East.
Early lean: Marlins and under.
Indians at Diamondbacks (+127, 10)
Cleveland loses the DH for this interleague series. That's usually going to be Edwin Encarnacion, but the Tribe surely won't take his big bat out of the lineup and will put him at first base with Carlos Santana coming off the bench. They start Josh Tomlin on the mound. He was 13-9 with a 4.40 ERA a career-high 174 innings last year. Tomlin was great in September and in the playoffs until getting shelled in Game 6 of the World Series by the Cubs. Only a handful of Diamondbacks have seen him. Ketel Marte is 1-for-3. The biggest overall flop of 2016 was probably Arizona's Shelby Miller considering what the team gave up for him to Atlanta. He was so bad, going 3-12 with a 6.15 ERA, that it caused ownership to clean house in the front office in the offseason. Miller is much better than that and had a good spring. Only a couple of Indians have faced him. Encarnacion is 3-for-9.
Key trends: The Indians are 16-5 in Tomlin's past 21 on the road. The Snakes are 1-8 in Miller's past nine at home. The over is 5-1 in Tomlin's past six interleague starts.
Early lean: Diamondbacks and over.
Mariners at Angels (-117, 8.5)
Seattle shipped outfielder Seth Smith to Baltimore in early January for pitcher Yovani Gallardo, who makes his Mariners debut. Gallardo was 6-8 with a 5.32 ERA in 23 starts with the Orioles, a season that included a lengthy early-season stint on the disabled list due to shoulder issues. Prior to his one season with the Orioles, Gallardo had made at least 30 starts in seven straight seasons and had an ERA under 4.00 in six of those seven years. Gallardo is 0-0 with a 7.00 ERA in two career starts vs. the Angels. Albert Pujols is a career .438 hitter off him with four homers and 12 RBIs in 32 at-bats. The Angels go with Jesse Chavez. The journeyman spent last year with the Jays and Dodgers and was a combined 2-2 with a 4.43 ERA in 62 relief appearances. He was a largely full-time starter in 2014-15 with Oakland. Seattle's Nelson Cruz is 6-for-14 career off him with three homers.
Key trends: The Mariners are 9-4 in the past 13 meetings. The under is 15-5-1 in the past 21 in L.A.
Early lean: Angels and over.
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