Interesting decision over the weekend by the Washington Nationals, who signed Bryce Harper to a contract worth $21.625 million for the 2018 season. I would think the MLB Players' Association might be a bit unhappy with that because it eliminated the need for arbitration. Harper would have gotten easily the highest arbitration award ever, and the MLBPA is all about raising the salary bar. Harper still gets the highest salary for an arbitration-eligible player in major league history, so he won't exactly be struggling to make ends meet. Does this make Washington more likely to re-sign Harper when he hits free agency after next season? Doubtful. Harper's agent is Scott Boras, and he almost always takes his guys to the market. Everyone seems to believe the Yankees will throw at least $400 million at Harper and that the Nats won't match that number. The Nats' thinking here is to get on the good side of Boras and Harper as arbitration can be contentious. The team basically goes in there and explains everything that's wrong with a player in trying to win.
Free $60 in Member MLB Picks No Obligation Click Here
Astros at Marlins ( +137, 8.5 )
Houston loses the DH for this interleague game. That's usually Carlos Beltran, but he can also play left field. Astros ace lefty Dallas Keuchel (6-0, 1.69) leads the AL in wins and innings pitched (58.2). He beat the Yankees on Thursday, allowing one unearned run in six innings, which was his shortest outing of the year. Keuchel is now 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA over his last three regular-season starts in the Bronx. In the past 25 years only two other pitchers won three consecutive road starts against the Yankees while posting an ERA below 1.00 during that stretch. Not many Marlins have seen him. Marcell Ozuna is 1-for-3. Miami's Tom Koehler (1-1, 5.60) hasn't lasted more than 5.1 innings in his past three starts, giving up a combined 10 runs. The third time through the lineup tends to get him into trouble. Houston's Evan Gattis is 5-for-11 off Koehler with two RBIs. Beltran is 1-for-3 with a homer.
Key trends: The Astros are 5-0 in Keuchel's past five on the road. The Marlins are 3-12 in Keuchel's past 15 overall. The "over/under" has gone under in four of Keuchel's past five vs. teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Astros on runline and under.
Red Sox at Cardinals (TBA)
MLB Network game. Boston loses the DH for this interleague matchup, meaning Hanley Ramirez either sits or plays first base, which would mean Mitch Moreland sits. It sounds as if John Farrell is planning to start Moreland. Boston lefty Eduardo Rodriguez (1-1, 2.80) has thrown a quality start in each of his past four outings and faces an NL team the second straight game after allowing a run over six innings Thursday in Milwaukee. This is the first time Rodriguez has faced the Cardinals. They go with Lance Lynn (4-1, 2.75). He tied a season high by allowing four earned runs Wednesday in Miami. Lynn had allowed just two runs in his previous four starts combined. This will be his second career start against the Red Sox. In 2014 against them, Lynn gave up one run over seven innings. Ramirez is 2-for-7 off him with a double. Dustin Pedroia is 1-for-3.
Key trends: The Red Sox are 4-1 on Rodriguez's past five interleague starts. The Cards are 4-0 in Lynn's past four in Game 1 of a series. The over is 4-1 in Lynn's past five at home.
Early lean: Honestly not sure why the TBA here. Like the Cards.
Mets at Diamondbacks (-165, 9)
Ah the poor, cursed Mets. Over the weekend, closer Jeurys Familia had surgery to remove a blood clot from his shoulder and could miss the rest of the season. The surgery calls for a 3-4 month recovery. Addison Reed will handle save chances in his absence, although Reed was lit up Sunday by the Brewers. Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera is the latest injured Met as he aggravated a torn ligament Saturday against the Brewers and sat Sunday. So keep an eye on his status, although it sure seems like he'll land on the DL. Arizona outfielders AJ Pollock and David Peralta both left Sunday's game with injuries, Pollock with a groin issue and Peralta with a glute injury. It sounds like the team is bracing for Pollock to miss some time. Pollock, Arizona's leadoff hitter, is batting .299 with 11 stolen bases and 26 runs scored, while Peralta, who primarily bats second in the lineup, is batting .301.New York starts waiver wire pickup and lefty Tommy Milone (1-0, 5.88). He took a no-decision in his Mets debut Wednesday, allowing two runs over five innings vs. San Francisco. Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt is 2-for-3 off him with a homer. The Diamondbacks' Zack Greinke (4-2, 2.79) threw seven no-hit innings vs. the Pirates on Thursday, with Gregory Polanco homering to lead off the eighth. That would be the lone run Greinke allowed in his eight innings with 11 strikeouts. Cabrera, if he plays, is 15-for-35 off him.
Key trends: The Diamondbacks are 6-1 in Greinke's past seven at home vs. teams with a losing record. The over is 4-1 in his past five at home.
Early lean: Diamondbacks and under.
A's at Mariners (-103, 8.5)
Will Seattle have second baseman Robinson Cano for this game? He hasn't played since Wednesday due to a quad issue. The team doesn't think he will go on the DL. Cano is hitting .296 with eight homers and 28 RBIs. The injury came at a lousy time as Cano was hitting .349 (29-for-83) with 17 runs, 20 RBIs and seven homers in his last 21 games. It's Andrew Triggs (5-2, 2.21) for the A's. He beat the Angels last time out, allowing a run over six. His worst outing of the season was April 23 vs. the Mariners (4.2 IP, 6 ER). Cano is 2-for-4 off him with a homer. Seattle's Chase De Jong is 0-2 with an 8.56 ERA in three starts in place of the injured Felix Hernandez. The rookie was tagged for six runs in five innings Thursday in Toronto. This will be his first start against Oakland.
Key trends: The A's are 4-1 in Triggs' past five vs. the AL West. The under is 6-1 in his previous seven vs. the division.
Early lean: A's and under.
Dodgers at Giants (+132, 7.5)
The Dodgers will activate lefty Rich Hill of the DL, although his blister history tends to hint that he'll be back on that eventually; he has landed on the DL twice already in 2017 due to the issue. Hill threw five shutout innings in his final minor-league rehab start in Single A. Hill has started just two games in the majors this season and has given up three runs with five walks in eight innings. He hasn't faced the Giants in 2017. Buster Posey is 4-for-8 against him. Eduardo Nunez is 3-for-7 with a homer. Giants lefty Ty Blach (0-2, 4.88) deserved his first win Thursday in allowing two runs over seven innings against the Reds, his fourth start since coming out of the bullpen to replace the injured Madison Bumgarner. Blach lost at home to the Dodgers on April 25, giving up two runs over five innings. Yasiel Puig and Justin Turner are each 2-for-6 against Blach.
Key trends: The Dodgers are 1-4 in Hill's past five vs. the NL West. The Giants are 0-4 in Blach's past four. The under is 8-1-2 in Hill's previous 11.
Early lean: Dodgers and under.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
Most Recent Baseball Handicapping Articles
- MLB Betting Odds and Expert Predictions: Live Long Shots for Futures Wagering
- Expert MLB Betting Advice: World Series Matchup Props
- MLB Home Run Totals Props Odds with Expert Betting Predictions
- Betting Odds for Houston Astros to Repeat as World Series Champs with Expert Predictions
- 2018 MLB MVP Odds with Expert Betting Predictions for Most Valuable Player
- Which Teams Will Make the MLB Playoffs: Yes or No Betting Props and Predictions
- 2018 Cy Young Futures Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
- MLB Wagering and Expert Baseball Handicapping: Rotations Bettors Can Trust
- Expert MLB Betting Advice: 2018 Rotations that Are Tough to Wager On
- 2018 Atlanta Braves Expert Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series