I would tell you that the Los Angeles Angels are now going into fire-sale mode with superstar center fielder Mike Trout out 6-8 weeks following surgery Wednesday to repair a torn ligament in his thumb. It's just that the Halos don't really have any players other clubs would covet (other than Trout). Trout was somehow off to the best start of his career and was projected to finish with a season Wins Above Replacement of 11.0, which is simply obscene. Trout was leading MLB by a mile in WAR this year at 3.5. The single-season record for a position player by Baseball Reference's tabulation is 14.1 by a guy named Babe Ruth in 1923. The modern-day high was 11.8 by Barry Bonds in 2001 & '02. The Angels are done this season, not that they were going anywhere. What this does make interesting is the AL MVP race. If Trout could get back on the early side of that timetable, perhaps he could win a third MVP. This opens it up, though, to guys like Yankees rookie Aaron Judge, Boston's Mookie Betts, Cleveland's Francisco Lindor, Minnesota's Miguel Sano and perhaps a few others. There should be updated MVP odds out soon now that Trout's diagnosis is back.
A's at Indians ( -205, 8.5 )
First game of the day at 12:10 p.m. ET and on the MLB Network as the teams close out a series. Oakland's Jharel Cotton (3-5, 5.56) was sent down to Triple-A after getting torched against the Angels on May 9 but returned Saturday at Yankee Stadium and brought a no-hitter into the sixth inning but settled for allowing three runs and two hits in 5.2 innings and took the loss. This will be his first career look at Cleveland. The Tribe are set to activate ace Corey Kluber (3-2, 5.06) from the disabled list. He last pitched May 2 in Detroit and allowed five runs and seven hits in just three innings and then landed on the DL with back troubles. Oakland's Yonder Alonso is 3-for-6 off him. Trevor Plouffe has three homers and 10 RBIs in 46 at-bats vs. Kluber but 13 strikeouts.
Key trends: The Indians are 9-0 in Kluber's past nine vs. teams with a losing record. The "over/under" has gone under in five of his past seven at home.
Early lean: Indians on runline (-105) and under.
Brewers at Mets (-146, 8.5)
Another getaway day game with a start time of 1:10 p.m. ET. The Mets, however, are home all weekend so they should be less likely to rest guys for this one. Milwaukee's Chase Anderson (3-1, 3.72) comes off arguably the start of his career, throwing seven innings of one-hit ball against Arizona and striking out a career-high 11. Nick Ahmed broke up the no-hitter with a sharply hit ball up the middle to start the eighth that deflected off second baseman Eric Sogard's glove. It was Anderson's first win since April 17. Jay Bruce has seen him more than any Met, going 1-for-11 with seven strikeouts. New York's Zack Wheeler (3-2, 3.83) left his last start in Pittsburgh after six strong innings due to a blister but is apparently good to go. Wheeler has allowed three earned or fewer in five straight starts - a rare pitching bright spot for the 2017 Mets.
Key trends: The Brewers are 6-14 in Anderson's past 20 on the road. The Mets are 2-5 in Wheeler's past seven at home. The under is 5-2 in Anderson's past seven on four days of rest.
Early lean: Like under better than side (Brewers).
Red Sox at Orioles (+107, 9)
Boston will be without second baseman Dustin Pedroia for at least 10 days after he injured his left wrist in a collision Monday at the White Sox. This is good news because an MRI ruled out any major damage. Josh Rutledge should play most nights at second. The Sox activated third baseman and free-agent bust Pablo Sandoval off the DL to take Pedroia's spot. Kung Fu Panda wasn't hitting before he got hurt and wasn't in seven rehab games, either. The Sox go with lefty Eduardo Rodriguez in this series opener. Rodriguez (4-1, 2.77) has been Boston's second-best starter behind Chris Sale and hasn't allowed more than four runs since his season debut. He won in Baltimore on April 23 in allowing one hit over six innings but walking five. Mark Trumbo is 0-for-14 against him with five strikeouts. Baltimore lefty Wade Miley (1-3, 3.02) lasted only five innings and allowed four runs for the second time in three starts last time out vs. Houston. He might be coming back to earth. Miley also leads the AL with 31 walks. Boston's Chris Young is 5-for-12 off him with two doubles.
Key trends: The Sox are 4-0 in Rodriguez's past four in Baltimore. The under is 5-0-1 in his past six there.
Early lean: Red Sox and over.
Yankees at Blue Jays (-134, 9.5)
It's New York's first visit of the season to Toronto. Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury won't return for this series although he's eligible to come off the concussion DL. He's feeling a bit better but hasn't started baseball activities. The Bombers go with lefty CC Sabathia (5-2, 4.42). He won a third straight start Saturday, allowing two runs over 6.1 innings vs. Oakland. Sabathia took a no-decision on May 3 vs. the Jays (4 IP, 6 ER). Jose Bautista can't hit him, going 6-for-42 with 11 strikeouts. Toronto's Marco Estrada (4-2, 3.15) has allowed one run in each of his past two starts over 13.2 innings with 20 strikeouts. He won in New York on May 1 in giving up one run over seven. Starlin Castro is a career .429 hitter against him in 35 at-bats.
Key trends: The Jays are 5-0 in Estrada's past five vs. the Yankees. The over is 5-2 in his past seven against them.
Diamondbacks at Marlins (+129, 8.5)
Interesting news Tuesday that former Florida governor Jeb Bush is no longer interested in buying the Marlins, although Derek Jeter still wants to be part of a group. Jeter was slated to be the "control person" as part of the Bush group. Bush was reportedly set to only contribute $20 million, so he could be replaced easily in the grand scheme of things. Arizona goes with ace right-hander Zack Greinke (6-3, 3.24) in the series opener. He had a four-start winning streak snapped Saturday in Milwaukee as he tied a season high with five runs allowed. Miami's Giancarlo Stanton is 2-for-12 off him with a homer and five Ks. Marlins lefty Jeff Locke will make his season debut. He has been on the DL with left shoulder tendinitis and had a 1.77 ERA in four rehab starts. Locke spent 2011-16 with Pittsburgh. He was 9-8 with a 5.44 ERA last year. Arizona's Yasmany Tomas is 2-for-3 off him with a dinger.
Key trends: The Diamondbacks are 13-3 in Greinke's past 16 vs. teams with a losing record. The under is 4-1 in his past five on the road.
Early lean: Diamondbacks and over (because of Locke).
Want to try a baseball handicapper for free? Doc's Sports is offering $60 worth of member's baseball picks absolutely free with no obligation. Sign up for winning baseball picks here. Get free MLB picks daily at Doc's Sports baseball predictions page .
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
Most Recent Baseball Handicapping
- 2020 World Series Predictions with Expert Analysis
- Free MLB Picks Thursday 10/1/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free MLB Picks Wednesday 9/30/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free MLB Picks Tuesday 9/29/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free MLB Picks Saturday 9/26/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free MLB Picks Friday 9/25/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free MLB Picks Thursday 9/24/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free MLB Picks Wednesday 9/23/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free MLB Picks Tuesday 9/22/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free MLB Picks Saturday 9/19/2020 and Opening Line Report