Big news for the Los Angeles Dodgers and perhaps in the NL Rookie of the Year race as L.A. has recalled its top position player prospect, first baseman Cody Bellinger. The 21-year-old, ranked the 10th-best prospect in baseball, was overmatched during spring training as a non-roster invitee, hitting just .207 with a .639 OPS and 20 strikeouts in 58 at-bats. However, Bellinger was a standout at Triple-A Oklahoma City this year, hitting .343 with five homers, 15 RBIs and a 1.055 OPS in 67 at-bats. He also had seven steals despite being a big guy at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds. The Dodgers have been gutted by injuries to outfielders Andre Ethier, Joc Pederson and Franklin Gutierrez, all on the DL. Los Angeles has a very good first baseman in Adrian Gonzalez, so Bellinger is going to be headed to the outfield for now. He has some experience out there. Bellinger, a fourth-round pick in 2013, is the son of former major leaguer Clay Bellinger. He debuted Tuesday with a single in three at-bats.
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Marlins at Phillies ( -122, 8 )
First game of the day at 1:05 p.m. ET. The Phillies gave free-agent-to-be Jeremy Hellickson a one-year qualifying offer worth around $17 million following Hellickson's terrific bounce-back season in 2016. He obviously preferred the sure money and betting on himself than hitting the market. So far so good as Hellickson is 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA and 0.71 WHIP that's first in the National League. He could be a huge trade chip later this summer, and these Marlins nearly acquired him last July. Hellickson has a career 2.71 ERA against them. Giancarlo Stanton is just 1-for-15 off him with five strikeouts. Miami's Edinson Volquez (0-2, 4.82) had a good Marlins debut but has been off since. He allowed four runs and five hits with four walks in just three innings last time out in Seattle. Volquez has a 2-0 record with a 1.89 ERA at Citizens Bank Park in his career. Freddy Galvis is 4-for-7 off him with two doubles and a homer.
Key trends: The Phillies are 5-1 in Hellickson's past six vs. the Marlins. The "over/under" has gone under in five of those six.
Early lean: Phillies and under.
Nationals at Rockies (+105, 11.5)
A not-surprising monster total at Coors Field after these two teams played a 15-12 game Tuesday won by Washington and in which Trea Turner hit for the cycle to go with seven RBIs. It was the first cycle by the Nationals player since Cristian Guzman on Aug. 28, 2008. It's lefty Gio Gonzalez (2-0, 1.35) for Washington. He has allowed just four earned runs in 26.2 innings despite some control issues (eight walks). Last year, Gonzalez was 1-0 with a 4.00 ERA in two starts vs. Colorado. Carlos Gonzalez is just 2-for-11 off him with five strikeouts. The Rockies' Antonio Senzatela (3-0, 2.08) has been a surprise thus far as a rookie. He has allowed more than two earned once in four starts and gone exactly seven in his past three.
Key trends: The Nats are 4-10 in Gonzalez's past 14 on the road. The under is 4-1 in his past five on Thursday.
Early lean: Rockies and under.
Dodgers at Giants (+101, 8)
Also a matinee with a 3:45 p.m. ET start. Will the Giants have leadoff hitter and center fielder Denard Span back in the lineup? Span injured his right shoulder on Saturday when he crashed into the outfield wall and hadn't played through Tuesday. Span has been awful at the plate with a .200 average and .245 on-base percentage. It's lefty Julio Urias, the Dodgers' top pitching prospect, making his season debut. The team left him in extended spring training because the Dodgers used him for way more innings than expected in 2016, when Urias was 5-2 with a 3.39 ERA. He'll have a similar innings cap in 2017. He is 0-1 with a 3.68 ERA in 7.1 innings vs. the Giants. Brandon Belt is 2-for-4 off him with a homer and three RBIs. Giants southpaw Matt Moore (1-3, 5.87) has been shelled in back-to-back starts - both by the Rockies. He had a no-hitter for 8.2 innings last Aug. 25 vs. the Dodgers in L.A. before Corey Seager broke it up. Yasiel Puig is 2-for-7 with a homer against Moore.
Key trends: The Giants are 5-2 in Moore's past seven at home. The over is 7-2 in his previous nine overall.
Early lean: Giants (almost always bet against Dodgers vs. a lefty) and under.
Astros at Indians (-172, 8)
Monitor the status of Houston outfielder George Springer. Entering Wednesday, he hadn't started since April 22 due to a hamstring injury. When he sat Sunday, it ended a streak of 205 consecutive games played. Springer's average is around the Mendoza Line, but he has seven homers. Houston starts Mike Fiers (0-1, 5.40). He went five innings last time out at Tampa Bay and allowed three runs in a no-decision. Fiers is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in his two career outings vs. the Indians. Cleveland ace Corey Kluber (2-1, 4.28) dominated the White Sox last Friday in throwing a complete-game three-hitter with nine strikeouts on a season-high 110 pitches. No runner reached second base. Kluber was an ugly 0-2 with an 8.38 ERA in two starts last year vs. Houston. Jose Altuve is 4-for-18 off him. Carlos Beltran is 0-for-9 with four strikeouts.
Key trends: The Indians are 11-4 in Kluber's past 15 vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 13-4-1 in Fiers' past 18 on the road. The over is 6-0 in Kluber's past six on Thursday.
Early lean: Indians and over.
A's at Angels (-118, 8)
Oakland welcomes back ace Kendall Graveman - well, ace, with Sonny Gray hurting again. Graveman missed the past two weeks after having trouble getting loose during his April 14 start against Houston. Graveman (2-0, 2.00) threw a 42-pitch bullpen session Monday and everything was fine. He pitched Opening Day against the Angels and allowed two earned in six innings in the win. Mike Trout is 7-for-21 off him with a homer. Albert Pujols is 7-for-19 with a homer. The Halos go with Ricky Nolasco (1-2, 4.76). He hasn't pitched since April 18 as he was pushed back to work on a mechanical issue. Nolasco pitched in Oakland on April 3 opposite Graveman and allowed three runs and seven hits in 5.2 innings of a loss. Matt Joyce is 5-for-12 with two doubles and two homers against him.
Key trends: The A's are 7-1 in Graveman's past eight vs. teams with a losing record. The Angels are 5-2 in Nolasco's past seven starts. The under is 4-1 in Graveman's past five vs. the AL West. The over is 3-1-1 in Nolasco's past five at home.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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