Crushing news for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday, and here's hoping you bet "under" their wins total of 82.5 at sportsbooks entering the season. Andrew McCutchen might be their best-known player and is a former NL MVP, but the Pirates' star these days is outfielder Starling Marte. He has been suspended 80 games for PED use. In each of the past four seasons, he had a WAR of at least 4.9. The only other outfielder with at least that number over that span? Mike Trout. Last year, Marte set career highs in BA (.311), OBP (.362), SLG (.456), OPS (.818) and stolen bases (47) in being named an All-Star. He also led all left fielders in Defensive Runs Saved (19). Marte was so good defensively that the Bucs moved McCutchen against his will to right field and Gregory Polanco to left. Keep in mind that even if the Pirates somehow reached the playoffs, which I doubt but isn't impossible, that this suspension means Marte is ineligible for it. The Pirates are off Thursday.
Free $60 in Member MLB Picks No Obligation Click Here
Red Sox at Blue Jays ( +133, 7.5 )
A 12:37 p.m. ET first pitch north of the border. As if the news couldn't get worse of late for the putrid Jays, they lost another guy to the DL on Tuesday: lefty J.A. Happ, who was sixth in last year's Cy Young voting. Southpaw Chris Sale (1-1, 1.25) has been everything the Red Sox could have hoped thus far as Sale has allowed just three earned runs over 21 2/3 innings while striking out 29. Opponents are hitting .149 against him. Sale has joined Pedro Martinez in 1998 as the only Red Sox since 1913 to pitch at least seven innings, give up no more than two runs and strike out at least seven batters in his first three games of a season. Sale is 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA in his career in Toronto. Russell Martin probably gets the day off as he's 0-for-10 off Sale. Toronto's Marco Estrada (0-1, 3.50) shut out the Orioles on four hits over seven innings last time out. He was 2-2 with a 3.18 ERA last year in five starts vs. Boston.
Key trends: The Jays are 2-5 in Estrada's past seven at home. The "over/under" has gone under in five of his past six vs. Boston.
Early lean: Love the under; go Red Sox.
Tigers at Rays (-120, 8)
A 1:10 p.m. ET first pitch at what will surely be a 90 percent empty Tropicana Field. It's lefty Daniel Norris (1-0, 2.19) for the Tigers. He blanked the Indians in Cleveland last time out, allowing two hits over six innings - he did walk four and that has been a minor problem thus far. Norris faces the Rays for the first time since April 25, 2015, when he was in the Jays rotation.Norris came over to Detroit that summer from Toronto in the David Price deal. Evan Longoria is 3-for-4 off Norris with a double and RBI. Steven Souza is 1-for-5 with a homer. Tampa's Erasmo Ramirez (1-0, 3.72) has taken the rotation spot of the injured Jake Odorizzi. Ramirez pitched four innings after Odorizzi suffered left hamstring tightness Saturday in Boston, allowing one run in four innings. Miguel Cabrera is 3-for-4 career off Ramirez with a homer.
Key trends: The Tigers are 5-0 in Norris' past five on the road. The Rays are 1-4 in Ramirez's past five at home. The over is 5-0-1 in Norris' past six on the road.
Early lean: Tigers and over.
Indians at Twins (+145, 8)
A 1:10 p.m. ET getaway day first pitch. Good pitching matchup here, and I'm assuming you'd be surprised that Minnesota's Ervin Santana has much better numbers than Cleveland's former Cy Young winner, Corey Kluber. Santana has been the AL's best pitcher thus far with a 3-0 record and 0.41 ERA. He threw a complete-game one hitter last time out vs the White Sox with eight strikeouts. I'm not ready to crown Santana a Cy candidate yet as he has only faced the White Sox and Royals. He was 1-1 with a 3.18 ERA in two starts last year vs. the Tribe. Jose Ramirez kills him, going 9-for-13 with seven RBIs. Kluber (1-1, 6.38) has had two shaky starts and one quality outing. He was roughed up Saturday by Detroit in allowing six runs in 6.1 innings. In 18 career starts against the Twins, Kluber is 8-5 with a 3.51 ERA and 127 strikeouts. Brian Dozier is just 6-for-40 off him with 12 strikeouts.
Key trends: The Indians are 7-0 in Kluber's past seven vs. the AL Central. The under is 6-0-1 in Santana's past seven. The under is 4-0 in Kluber's past four in Minnesota.
Early lean: Twins and under.
Phillies at Mets (-197, 6.5)
Mets closer Jeurys Familia is eligible to return from his 15-game suspension under Major League Baseball's domestic violence policy for this one. He was great last year with a 2.55 ERA and 51 saves. Decent chance the Mets will be leading in the top of the ninth here because they start ace Noah Syndergaard (1-0, 0.95). He had to leave last Friday's start in Miami after six strong innings due to a torn fingernail. For now, Syndergaard is planning to pitch with fake nails. I honestly don't even know what that means for a guy. Bit surprised that's legal. "Thor" was 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two starts last year vs. the Phillies. They go with Aaron Nola (1-0, 3.27). He has only faced Washington this season, allowing four earned in 11 innings. Nola didn't face the Mets last year. Jay Bruce is 2-for-6 career off him.
Key trends: The Mets are 4-0 in Syndergaard's past four vs. the Phillies. The under is 3-1-1 in his past five at home. The under is 7-3 in Nola's past 10 on five days of rest.
Early lean: Mets on runline and over.
Royals at Rangers (+114, 9)
Opener of a series here. The Royals go with lefty Danny Duffy, who got a big extension this past offseason after a breakthrough 2016 season. So far so good this year too as he's 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA and hasn't allowed more than two earned in his three outings. Duffy beat Texas in his lone start a year ago, allowing one run and four hits over 6.2 innings. Mike Napoli is 4-for-5 off him with two homers and three RBIs. The Rangers' Andrew Cashner somehow got a one-year, $10 million free-agent deal this past offseason. Only in baseball. Cashner made his AL debut off the DL last Saturday in Seattle and allowed four runs in 5.1 innings in a loss. He will be making his first career start at Globe Life Park and is 0-2 with a 2.70 ERA in two career starts against the Royals. Eric Hosmer is 1-for-4 off him with two RBIs.
Key trends: The Royals are 3-9 in their past 12 series openers. The under is 9-2-1 in their past 12 on Thursday. K.C. has lost six straight in the series.
Early lean: Royals and under.
Doc's Sports is offering $60 worth of member's picks absolutely free - no obligation, no sales people - you don't even have to enter credit card information. You can use this $60 credit any way you please for any handicapper and any sport on Doc's Sports Advisory Board list of expert sports handicappers. Click here for more details and take advantage of this free $60 picks credit today .
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
Most Recent Baseball Handicapping Articles
- Five to Follow Expert MLB Betting Picks: 8/16/2017, Opening Line Report
- Five to Follow Expert MLB Betting Picks: 8/15/2017, Opening Line Report
- Five to Follow Expert MLB Betting Picks: 8/12/2017, Opening Line Report
- Five to Follow Expert MLB Betting Picks: 8/11/2017, Opening Line Report
- Five to Follow Expert MLB Betting Picks: 8/10/2017, Opening Line Report
- Five to Follow Expert MLB Betting Picks: 8/9/2017, Opening Line Report
- Five to Follow Expert MLB Betting Picks: 8/8/2017, Opening Line Report
- Five to Follow Expert MLB Betting Picks: 8/5/2017, Opening Line Report
- Five to Follow Expert MLB Betting Picks: 8/4/2017, Opening Line Report
- Five to Follow Expert MLB Betting Picks: 8/3/2017, Opening Line Report