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MLB Previews, Articles, Info. Tuesday 9/29/15

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    Five To Follow MLB Betting: Tuesday, September 29, 2015 Opening Line Report
    by Alan Matthews

    In some ways, this is the best week of the baseball season to bet. Because you can really take advantage of teams that have nothing to play for. An example: the National League playoff field is set. Well, the Dodgers haven’t officially clinched the NL West as of Monday but are about to. They would thus have squat to play for the rest of the week. Ditto the Chicago Cubs, who are all but locked into the second wild-card spot in the NL. The Mets have already locked down the NL East and have no reason to even play this week. The Nationals are in-fighting and I’d bet against them all week — they have quit. It’s a bit different in the AL. We know the Blue Jays and Royals are in the postseason, but they are still battling for the top overall seed. The AL West is still a crapshoot between Texas, Houston and the Angels as is the final AL wild-card spot.

    Red Sox at Yankees (-189, 8)

    This is your first ESPN game and thus will have live betting at sportsbooks. It’s Rick Porcello (8-14, 5.04) for Boston. He is crazily overpaid as the Sox gave him a ridiculous extension at the beginning of the season. Porcello has been better in the second half of the season, though, with an ERA of 3.51. Porcello has faced the Yankees once this season and allowed one earned run over eight innings. Jacoby Ellsbury is 11-for-21 off him with four homers. Carlos Beltran is 7-for-15. It’s Michael Pineda (12-8, 3.99) for the Yankees. They have won his past two and Pineda has allowed just one run over 11.1 innings. Pineda is 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA in two starts vs. the Yankees. Xander Bogaerts is 4-for-10 with three strikeouts off him. David Ortiz is 2-for-12 with five whiffs.

    Key trends: The Red Sox are 2-8 in Porcello’s past 10 vs. teams with a winning record. The “over/under” has gone under in seven of his past 10 vs. the AL East.

    Early lean: Not sure why this is TBA. The pitchers have been set. Go Yankees.

    A’s at Angels (-158, 8)

    The ESPN nightcap and will offer live betting at the books. The Angels have lost closer Huston Street for the rest of the regular season (and maybe the playoffs) due to a groin strain suffered on Saturday. Manager Mike Scioscia says he will go with a closer-by-committee. Trevor Gott, Fernando Salas, Mike Morin, Jose Alvarez and Cesar Ramos are all likely to be in the mix. The Angels go with Nick Tropeano (2-2, 4.35) here. He would make a fill-in start for Matt Shoemaker, who is dealing with a right forearm strain. But if for some reason the Angels have to use Tropeano out of the bullpen on Monday night then that would of course change things. It’s Chris Bassitt (1-7, 3.07) for Oakland. He has pitched two scoreless innings this season against the Angels.

    Key trends: The A’s are 0-4 in Bassitt’s past four starts. The over is 3-0-1 in Tropeano’s past four overall.

    Early lean: Angels and over.

    Royals at White Sox (+114, 7.5)

    Has any player cost himself more money this season than White Sox pitcher Jeff Samardzija? Well, maybe Washington’s Ian Desmond, but no other pitcher has. Samardzija (10-13, 5.04) has been totally Jekyll and Hyde at times this season. Two starts ago, he was bombed for 10 runs and 11 hits in three innings against Oakland. Then last time out, he threw a complete-game one-hitter at Detroit. Samardzija is 0-3 with an 8.15 ERA this season against the Royals. Mike Moustakas is 3-for-9 with two homers and four RBIs off him. Jonny Gomes is 1-for-2 with a homer and three knocked in. It’s Johnny Cueto (10-12, 3.45) for the Royals. He threw a second straight quality start last time out, allowing three runs over seven innings. He won for the first time since Aug. 15. Cueto lost to the White Sox on Sept. 6, allowing five runs in three innings.

    Key trends: The Royals are 0-5 in Cueto’s past five on the road. The White Sox have lost seven straight home starts by Samardzija. The over is 8-0 in Cueto’s past eight. The over is 10-2 in Samardzija’s past 12.

    Early lean: White Sox and under.

    Blue Jays at Orioles (+130, 8.5)

    Toronto could clinch the AL East as soon as Tuesday depending on what they and the Yankees do on Monday and then Tuesday — the Jays’ magic number is four. Marcus Stroman (3-0, 1.89) gets the call here for Toronto. He has been great since making his season debut on Sept. 12 off torn ligaments in his knee that was supposed to end Stroman’s season this spring. He hasn’t faced the Orioles this season. Adam Jones is 2-for-3 with an RBI off him. The Orioles counter with Miguel Gonzalez (9-11, 4.85). He has been out since Aug. 30 due to a shoulder problem. Gonzalez beat the Jays in his lone start against them in 2015, shutting them out over 7.2 innings. Edwin Encarnacion is 3-for-25 with three homers and seven RBIs off him.

    Key trends: The Jays are 4-0 in Stroman’s past four vs. the AL East. The Orioles are 0-7 in Gonzalez’s past seven vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 6-1 in his past seven vs. Toronto

    Early lean: Blue Jays and under.

    Dodgers at Giants (TBA)

    Clearly the pitching matchup of the night as three-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw (15-7, 2.25) faces off against 2014 World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner. Kershaw won’t win a fourth Cy Young this season but probably finishes third in the voting behind teammate Zack Greinke and the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta. Kershaw was lifted after only five inning last time out and clearly wasn’t happy about it. The lefty is 1-2 with a 2.76 ERA in four starts against the Giants this season — Bumgarner (well, the Giants) not only has beaten him three times but also became the first pitcher to ever homer against Kershaw. Bumgarner (18-8, 2.88) still has the carrot of trying to win 20 games — he would be lined up to start the regular-season finale. He’s 2-1 with a 1.63 ERA in 27 2/3 innings against Los Angeles this season.

    Key trends: The Dodgers are 7-3 in Kershaw’s past 10 vs. teams with a winning record. The Giants are 7-1 in Bumgarner’s past eight at home. The under is 5-0 in Bumgarner’s past five vs. the Dodgers. The under is 11-1-1 in Kershaw’s past 13 at the Giants.

    Early lean: This is TBA because the Dodgers could clinch on Monday. Go Giants here if L.A. does so.


    World Series futures crazy close heading into final week
    Andrew Caley

    There is just one week left in the Major League Baseball season and the race for the World Series couldn’t be tighter, at least according to Las Vegas.

    At the Westgate LV Superbook, there are five teams currently listed between 4/1 and 5/1 to win this year’s Fall Classic.

    The Royals and Blue Jays are both on the board at 4/1, while the the Dodgers, Mets and Cardinals are all up at 5/1.


    MLB Betting Cheat Sheet: Pirates Plundering

    Here’s a comprehensive look at betting notes for the mid-week major-league schedule:

    Pirates Plundering

    Pittsburgh returns home after winning eight of 10 on the road, and they host the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1 of a three game series at PNC Park on Monday. The Pirates have narrowed the gap in the standings, trailing St. Louis by just three games. Pittsburgh has won five of it’s last six home meetings against the Cardinals, and they will have a favorable matchup on the mound in Game 1. Lance Lynn has a career ERA of 5.75 in 17 starts against Pittsburgh.

    Johnny Be Good

    The Royals thought they had finally acquired a true ace when they picked up Johnny Cueto at the trade deadline, but the deal hasn’t worked out as well as they had hoped. Ceuto went 2-6 in his first eight starts for the Royals, but he’s since put together back to back quality starts, and he looked good in a home win over Seattle his last time out. His next start comes on the road in Chicago, and he’s 1-1 with a 7.15 ERA in two previous starts versus the White Sox.

    The Wild Wild West

    Get ready for an exciting finish in the AL West. The Houston Astros trail division leaders Texas by 2.5 games, while they are just a half a game up on the Angels for the final Wild Card spot in the American League. The Angels will finish the season at home in a four game series versus Texas starting Thursday. If the Astros are going to hold on to first place, they will need to win on the road, as they play a three game series at Seattle before wrapping up the season with a four game series in Arizona. They have been brutal on the road, going 14-39 in their last 53 away from Minute Maid Park.

    Hitting Notes

    *Rookie Kris Bryant is batting .458 with a home run and four RBIs over the last seven days. The Cubs are in Cincinnati this week, and Bryant is hitting .340 with a home run and nine RBIs against the Reds in the season series.

    *Nelson Cruz is tied with Chris Davis for the major league lead with 43 home runs. He’s really crushing left-handed pitching this year, batting .360 versus southpaws. He’ll face Houston’s rookie left-hander Lance McCullers in Seattle on Monday.

    Pitching Notes

    *Madison Bumgarner will start at home against Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers on Tuesday, and Bumgarner has gotten the better of the Dodgers this season, going 2-1 with a 1.63 ERA in four starts. Kershaw hasn’t had as much luck against the Giants, going 1-2 with a 2.76 ERA in four starts. He’s 0-1 with a 4.05 ERA in two starts at AT&T Park.

    *Jose Fernandez is 6-0 with a 2.91 ERA in 10 starts this season, and the 23 year old right-hander has never lost in Miami. He’ll make his final start of the season in Tampa on Thursday, and he lost his only previous start versus the Rays.

    Totals Streak

    The Pirates have seen the total go over in six of their last eight home games, and the total has trended over at a rate of 6-2-1 in their last nine games versus St. Louis. We could see plenty of scoring in Game 1 of this series at PNC Park, as this looks like a tough spot for both pitchers. St. Louis is hitting a combined .308 over 93 at bats versus J.A. Happ.

    Injury Notes

    *The Angels have lost their closer Houston Street for the rest of the season after an MRI revealed a grade 1 groin strain.

    *Adam Wainwright has missed most of the season with a torn Achilles, but he’s making progress in an attempt to come back for the post-season.


    Preview: Blue Jays at Orioles

    Current Conditions – Baltimore
    CLOUDY 86 °F
    Wind: NNW 3
    5-Day Forecast GAME: Toronto Blue Jays (91-65) at Baltimore Orioles (76-80)
    DATE/TIME: Tuesday, September 29 – 7:05 PM EST
    WHERE: Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland

    The Toronto Blue Jays have the opportunity to clinch their sixth American League East crown – and first since 1993 – when they play the second contest of their four-game series with the host Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday. Toronto has won five in a row and can wrap up the division with a victory and a New York Yankees’ loss to the rival Boston Red Sox.

    Kevin Pillar continued his torrid stretch with two hits in Toronto’s 4-3 victory on Monday, improving to a staggering 13-for-22 (.591) with two homers, six RBIs and four runs scored in his last six games. The reigning AL Player of the Week is 29-for-86 (.337) in 25 career contests versus Baltimore, but is just 1-for-4 in a small sample size against Tuesday starter Miguel Gonzalez. Although Toronto holds a magic number of two to clinch the division (91-65), it is also is battling Kansas City (90-66) for the best record in the AL and home-field advantage in the playoffs. Baltimore is heading in the other direction, having dropped four in a row as it plays out the string.

    TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, RSN (Toronto), MASN2 (Baltimore)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Blue Jays RH Marcus Stroman (3-0, 1.89 ERA) vs. Orioles RH Miguel Gonzalez (9-11, 4.85 ERA)

    Stroman is paying immediate dividends for the Blue Jays this season despite being just six months removed from surgery to repair a torn ACL. The 24-year-old has posted three victories in as many starts in September, yielding just four earned runs in 19 innings this month after scattering five hits over seven frames in a 4-0 triumph over the Yankees on Wednesday. Stroman flustered the Orioles in his last meeting, allowing just one hit over four scoreless innings to record a save.

    Gonzalez will be making his first start since Aug. 30 as he’s dealt with right shoulder tendinitis. The 31-year-old has enjoyed facing the Blue Jays, improving to 7-2 in his career after permitting one run on three hits in 7 2/3 innings of a 6-1 victory on May 13. Edwin Encarnacion belted a solo homer in Monday’s contest and is just 3-for-25 – albeit all three hits left the park – in his career versus Gonzalez.


    1. Toronto RF Jose Bautista is 5-for-15 with three homers, six RBIs and three runs scored in his last four contests.

    2. Baltimore C Matt Wieters is 6-for-15 with three runs scored in his last four games after going 0-for-14 in his previous four tilts.

    3. Blue Jays LF Ben Revere has hit safely in four straight and eight of his last nine contests.

    PREDICTION: Orioles 4, Blue Jays 2


    Preview: Red Sox at Yankees

    Current Conditions – Bronx
    CLOUDY 84 °F
    Wind: CLM 0
    5-Day Forecast GAME: Boston Red Sox (76-80) at New York Yankees (86-70)
    DATE/TIME: Tuesday, September 29 – 7:05 PM EST
    WHERE: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York

    After long since being removed from the discussion of winning the American League East title, the Boston Red Sox would like to do their part in preventing the rival New York Yankees from doing the same. The Red Sox vie for their fifth straight victory when they play the second contest of their four-game series at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday.

    Travis Shaw and Jackie Bradley Jr. are doing their best to break out of pronounced slumps, with each belting a two-run homer in a 5-1 series-opening triumph on Monday. Shaw collected three hits after going 0-for-15 in his previous four contests while Bradley’s blast provided a positive spin after he limped to a 2-for-21 mark in his last prior games. While the playoffs haven’t been a topic of conversation in Boston for quite some time, New York is inching closer to a postseason berth – although it trails AL East-leading Toronto by five with six games remaining on its schedule. Former Red Sox star Jacoby Ellsbury is 5-for-12 with three runs scored in his last three games and is a staggering 11-for-21 (.524) in his career versus Tuesday starter Rick Porcello.

    TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, ESPN, NESN (Boston), YES (New York)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox RH Rick Porcello (8-14, 5.04 ERA) vs. Yankees RH Michael Pineda (12-8, 3.99)

    Porcello suffered his second straight loss on Wednesday after allowing three runs on 11 hits in seven innings of a 6-2 setback to Tampa Bay. The 26-year-old sinkerballer looks to rebound versus New York, against which he suffered a hard-luck loss on Sept 1 after yielding one earned run on five hits in eight innings while striking out a career-high 13. Porcello was taken deep in that contest and surrendered three homers in his next two contests before keeping the ball in the park in his last two starts.

    Pineda improved to 3-0 in his last five starts on Thursday after overcoming one solo homer in six innings to pick up the victory in a 3-2 triumph over the Chicago White Sox. The 26-year-old Dominican owns a 4-2 career mark versus Boston, with strong outings in both meetings this season. Pineda yielded one run in 6 2/3 innings of a 5-1 win over the Red Sox on July 10 and did the same on just four hits in six frames in a 3-1 victory on Sept. 1.


    1. New York RHP Masahiro Tanaka will start Wednesday’s game versus Boston after being sidelined for 11 days with a Grade 1 right hamstring strain.

    2. Boston SS Xander Bogaerts has turned it on in September, going 38-for-100 with 21 runs scored and 19 RBIs.

    3. Yankees 3B Chase Headley is riding a six-game hitting streak after going 0-for-14 in his previous four contests.

    PREDICTION: Yankees 5, Red Sox 2


    Preview: Cardinals at Pirates

    Weather information is currently unavailable. 5-Day Forecast GAME: St. Louis Cardinals (99-58) at Pittsburgh Pirates (95-62)
    DATE/TIME: Tuesday, September 29 – 7:05 PM EST
    WHERE: PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    The St. Louis Cardinals can clinch their third consecutive National League Central title with a victory over the rival Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on Tuesday. Matt Carpenter, who scored the eventual game-winning run in Monday’s 3-0 triumph, is 19-for-52 (.365) with six homers, 11 runs scored and 10 RBIs in his last 13 games.

    Carpenter scored on a single in the ninth inning by Jon Jay, who entered the game after rookie Stephen Piscotty (head contusion) was involved in a horrific outfield collision. While the Cardinals reside one victory shy of 100, the Pirates sit four games out of the division while holding a 3 1/2-game lead over the Chicago Cubs for the top wild card. Pittsburgh, which has lost nine of the 17 meetings with St. Louis this season, has dropped two in a row following an eight-game winning streak. Andrew McCutchen has struggled mightily to the tune of 4-for-25 (.160) in his last eight contests, but is 7-for-15 (.467) in his career versus Tuesday starter Michael Wacha.

    TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, FSN Midwest (St. Louis), ROOT (Pittsburgh)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Cardinals RH Michael Wacha (17-6, 3.15 ERA) vs. Pirates RH Charlie Morton (9-8, 4.54)

    After a sizzling summer, Wacha has cooled down considerably by alternating wins and losses over his last four starts. The 19th overall pick of the 2012 draft, Wacha has allowed 15 earned runs in his last 20 frames and issued 14 walks in that span. Wacha, however, has handcuffed Pittsburgh in his career, permitting four earned runs in 18 2/3 innings versus the Pirates this season and just seven in 32 2/3 frames en route to a 3-0 career mark.

    While Wacha has dominated the Pirates, Morton has endured constant nightmarish performances en route to a 2-11 career mark versus St. Louis while allowing the club to bat .305 against him. The 31-year-old is 1-4 in his last six outings overall and escaped with a no-decision despite permitting six runs on 10 hits – including two homers – in 4 1/3 frames versus Colorado on Wednesday. Morton has yielded 12 runs on 19 hits in his last two starts (8 1/3 innings) and four homers in his last three outings after keeping the ball in the park in each of his previous four.


    1. St. Louis C Yadier Molina will miss the remainder of the regular season after he partially tore ligaments in his left thumb on Sept. 20.

    2. Pittsburgh SS Jordy Mercer is 0-for-7 in his last two games after collecting 10 hits in his previous six contests.

    3. Cardinals RHP Adam Wainwright (leg) could be activated as early as Wednesday and appear out of the bullpen for the first time since 2006.

    PREDICTION: Pirates 3, Cardinals 2


    Preview: Mets at Phillies

    Weather information is currently unavailable. 5-Day Forecast GAME: New York Mets (89-67) at Philadelphia Phillies (59-97)
    DATE/TIME: Tuesday, September 29 – 7:05 PM EST
    WHERE: Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Having already wrapped up the National League East title, the New York Mets have one order of business left as they prepare to open a three-game series against the host Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday night. The Mets are trying to maintain their slim edge over the Los Angeles Dodgers for home-field advantage in the first round of the divisional playoffs.

    Playing away from home has not fazed the Mets, who carried a franchise-record 11-game road winning streak into the series with the Phillies. New York put on an offensive clinic in its last visit to Citizens Bank Park, amassing 40 runs in a four-game sweep against Philadelphia from Aug. 24-27. The Phillies have much more modest goals, attempting to avoid losing three more games to reach 100 defeats for the first time since 1961. Mets right-hander Bartolo Colon goes for his 15th win overall and fifth victory of the season versus Philadelphia when he opposes David Buchanan.

    TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, SNY (New York), CSN Philadelphia

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Mets RH Bartolo Colon (14-12, 4.15 ERA) vs. Phillies RH David Buchanan (2-9, 7.96)

    Colon continued his dominance against the Phillies with a pair of wins five days apart in late August, running his scoreless streak against them to 16 innings. The 42-year-old matched his season high with nine strikeouts with eight innings of four-hit ball on Aug. 31 and fanned eight in seven innings five days earlier. Colon did not factor in the decision last time out, giving up three runs in 6 1/3 innings versus Atlanta.

    Buchanan is trying to salvage what has been a disastrous season, but he is trying to build off momentum from a pair of solid performances in his last two turns. The 26-year-old took the loss versus Washington despite six innings of two-run ball on Sept. 15 and did not factor in the decision on Wednesday after giving up two runs (one earned) versus Miami. He has never beaten the Mets, posting an 0-3 record and 4.44 ERA in four starts.


    1. Phillies 1B Ryan Howard (knee) and rookie 3B Maikel Franco (wrist) could both return to the lineup this week.

    2. Mets OF Yoenis Cespedes has five homers and 10 RBIs in seven career games versus Philadelphia.

    3. The Phillies announced that rookie RHP Aaron Nola will be shut down for the season.

    PREDICTION: Mets 6, Phillies 3


    Preview: Marlins at Rays

    Current Conditions – St. Petersburg
    M/CLOUDY 85 °F
    Wind: SW 12
    5-Day Forecast GAME: Miami Marlins (69-87) at Tampa Bay Rays (75-81)
    DATE/TIME: Tuesday, September 29 – 7:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida

    The Miami Marlins are making the best out of this season’s final few weeks as they embark on a six-game road trip to close out an overall disappointing campaign. Slugger Justin Bour and the Marlins look to continue their recent surge when they visit the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday to begin a three-game interleague set.

    Bour went 7-for-12 with four homers and eight RBIs in a three-game sweep of Atlanta over the weekend and boasts five blasts during Miami’s string of five straight victories. Leadoff hitter Dee Gordon owns a career-best 196 hits for the Marlins (69-87), who are 17-8 since Aug. 31 while the Rays have gone 10-15 in September. Tampa Bay (75-81) must win its final six games of the season at home to finish at .500 after being swept at Toronto last weekend. Kevin Kiermaier is finishing the season strong for the Rays while going 9-for-23 with two homers and four RBIs the last six games.

    TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, FSN Florida (Miami), Sun Sports (Tampa Bay)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Marlins LH Adam Conley (4-1, 3.93 ERA) vs. Rays LH Matt Moore (2-4, 6.48)

    Conley is unbeaten in his last five starts with three victories and has allowed three or fewer runs in six consecutive outings with a 2.70 ERA in that span. The Washington State product yielded one run and six hits across 13 frames with 14 strikeouts and one walk in his last two starts. Conley faces the Rays for the first time and gave up four runs in 5 2/3 innings against two other American League East opponents earlier this season.

    Moore has appeared to turn the corner the last two starts after struggling in his first eight major league turns since returning from Tommy John surgery. The 26-year-old has permitted two runs and nine hits over 13 2/3 innings with 16 strikeouts and two walks in the past two starts combined. Ichiro Suzuki is 8-for-18 in his career against Moore, who is 2-0 all time with a 2.77 ERA in two starts versus the Marlins – both in 2012.


    1. The Rays are 11-6 in interleague play this season – 5-2 at home – and will finish .500 or better in five straight seasons against National League clubs.

    2. Miami 3B Martin Prado is 10-for-26 with two homers and nine RBIs over his last seven contests.

    3. Tampa Bay RF Steven Souza Jr. is 7-for-18 with a homer and three RBIs in his last four contests.

    PREDICTION: Rays 5, Marlins 1


    Preview: Twins at Indians

    Current Conditions – Cleveland
    CLOUDY 72 °F
    Wind: N 15
    5-Day Forecast GAME: Minnesota Twins (81-75) at Cleveland Indians (77-78)
    DATE/TIME: Tuesday, September 29 – 7:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio

    The Minnesota Twins are playing solid baseball at the right time, but it remains uncertain whether or not the team can land the American League’s second wild-card berth. Minnesota posted a 4-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Monday for its sixth win in eight games and trails Houston by 1 1/2 games for the final spot.

    The Twins’ victory in the opener of the four-game set is close to being a death knell for the Indians’ wild-card hopes as they fell five games behind the Astros and dropped back below .500 at 77-78. Minnesota’s Trevor Plouffe is just 1-for-15 over his last four games, but the lone hit was a two-run homer during Monday’s three-run first inning. Cleveland’s Michael Brantley is 0-for-6 in two contests since returning from a four-game absence due to a shoulder injury. Brantley hasn’t gone deep in his last 11 games after opening the month with four homers in nine contests.

    TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, FSN North (Minnesota), SportsTime Ohio (Cleveland)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Twins RH Kyle Gibson (10-11, 3.96 ERA) vs. Indians RH Cody Anderson (6-3, 3.31)

    Gibson was roughed up by Cleveland on Thursday, when he gave up six runs and seven hits in 2 2/3 innings of a 6-3 loss. He served up two homers in the contest after going six straight starts without surrendering one. Gibson is 1-2 with a 6.99 ERA in six career outings against the Indians and struggles with Yan Gomes (6-for-11, two homers).

    Anderson has won four consecutive starts, allowing four runs during the stretch. He notched the victory against Gibson last week, when he gave up one run and 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings. Anderson was torched for six runs in 2 2/3 frames of a no-decision versus the Twins on Aug. 7.


    1. Indians OF/3B Lonnie Chisenhall is 3-for-24 over his last seven contests.

    2. Minnesota 2B Brian Dozier has homered just once in his last 19 games and is two shy of his first 30-homer campaign.

    3. Cleveland 1B Carlos Santana is 3-for-29 over his past eight contests but has recorded two homers, a triple and eight RBIs during the stretch.

    PREDICTION: Indians 5, Twins 1


    Preview: Cubs at Reds

    Current Conditions – Cincinnati
    M/CLOUDY 80 °F
    Wind: N 9
    5-Day Forecast GAME: Chicago Cubs (91-65) at Cincinnati Reds (63-93)
    DATE/TIME: Tuesday, September 29 – 7:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, Ohio

    The Chicago Cubs already know their postseason fate, so they’re simply trying to stay sharp as they begin their final road trip of the regular season. The Cubs begin the trip with a three-game series at Cincinnati starting Tuesday.

    The Cubs have won two straight following a three-game skid, but their offense finds itself in a minor slump. Chris Denorfia’s walk-off home run in the 11th inning provided the only scoring in a 1-0 win over Kansas City on Monday as the Cubs have scored only eight runs in their past five games. The struggling Reds have lost nine straight and managed only three hits in a 5-1 loss at Washington on Monday. Cincinnati is playing its final series of the season at home, where it has lost five consecutive games and is 34-44 this season.

    TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, CSN Chicago, FSN Ohio (Cincinnati)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Cubs RH Dan Haren (9-9, 3.83 ERA) vs. Reds RH Josh Smith (0-2, 7.23)

    Haren is 2-2 with a 5.00 ERA in nine starts since the Cubs acquired him from Miami, and he hasn’t been able to work deep into games on a regular basis. The 34-year-old hasn’t made it through five innings in his last two starts, and he was skipped in the rotation last time around after giving up three runs (one earned) in 4 1/3 innings Sept. 18 against St. Louis. Haren is 5-4 with a 4.21 ERA in 12 games (11 starts) against the Reds.

    Smith hasn’t pitched past the fifth inning in any of his five major-league starts. The 28-year-old rookie put together one of his best outings in his brief major-league career Thursday against the New York Mets, allowing three runs and seven hits over five innings with a career-high five strikeouts. Smith is 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA in four games (two starts) at home.


    1. The Cubs have 13 walk-off wins, the most in the majors.

    2. Reds 1B Joey Votto has reached base in 45 consecutive games, tied for the longest streak in the majors this season and three shy of the franchise record set by Pete Rose in 1978.

    3. Chicago has recorded 20 shutouts, tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the most in the league, while the Reds have been shut out 12 times.

    PREDICTION: Cubs 6, Reds 4


    Preview: Nationals at Braves

    Current Conditions – Atlanta
    P/SUNNY 89 °F
    Wind: WNW 10
    5-Day Forecast GAME: Washington Nationals (80-76) at Atlanta Braves (62-94)
    DATE/TIME: Tuesday, September 29 – 7:10 PM EST
    WHERE: Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia

    The Washington Nationals have six games left in their disappointing season, starting Tuesday night at the Atlanta Braves, but Jonathan Papelbon’s season already is finished. The Nationals’ closer was suspended four games by the team Monday, one day after he charged teammate Bryce Harper in the dugout, and Papelbon subsequently dropped his appeal of a three-game suspension for throwing at Baltimore’s Manny Machado last week.

    It is a fitting end to Washington’s 2015 campaign, which began with the Nationals pegged as an overwhelming favorite to repeat as National League East champions, thanks in part to the signing of free-agent ace Max Scherzer. Even Scherzer falling five outs shy of his second no-hitter of the season in Monday’s 5-1 victory over Cincinnati could not dilute the distraction of Papelbon, who was acquired at the trade deadline but has two blown saves and two losses this month. The Braves return home after being swept in a weekend series at Miami with 94 losses, the most by the franchise since 1990, but Atlanta has played somewhat better of late. The Braves have won six of their past 12 after losing 24 of their previous 27 contests.

    TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, MASN (Washington), SportSouth (Atlanta)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals RH Tanner Roark (4-6, 4.76 ERA) vs. Braves RH Matt Wisler (6-8, 5.40)

    Roark gave up three runs on five hits in five innings Thursday against Baltimore, getting a no-decision in his third start of September. The 28-year-old won 15 games in making 31 starts last season before pitching most of this year out of Washington’s bullpen. He gave up one run on five hits in 4 1/3 innings against the Braves on Sept. 4, in his first start since June 28.

    Wisler, a strong candidate to begin 2016 in the Braves’ rotation, won his first start since late July on Sept. 22, holding the Mets to two runs on five hits in seven innings with eight strikeouts. The 23-year-old posted a 9.49 ERA in seven starts from Aug. 1 through Sept. 3, but he has allowed two earned runs in two of his past three starts. Wisler is 1-2 with a 7.62 ERA against the Nationals this season, but he did fire two scoreless innings out of the bullpen Sept. 6.


    1. Harper, a strong contender for NL MVP honors who leads the league in batting average (.336), homers (41) and runs scored (117), did not play Monday as punishment for Sunday’s fracas.

    2. Atlanta 1B Freddie Freeman left Sunday’s loss in Miami with soreness in his right wrist and is considered day-to-day; Freeman, who played all 162 games last season, has missed 43 games with injuries in 2015.

    3. The Nationals have owned the Braves this season, winning 13 of the 16 matchups between the two clubs while outscoring Atlanta 108-54.

    PREDICTION: Braves 3, Nationals 2


    Preview: Royals at White Sox

    Current Conditions – Chicago
    SUNNY 77 °F
    Wind: NNW 12
    5-Day Forecast GAME: Kansas City Royals (90-66) at Chicago White Sox (73-83)
    DATE/TIME: Tuesday, September 29 – 8:10 PM EST
    WHERE: U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago, Illinois

    A makeup game may have taken its toll in more ways than one on the Kansas City Royals, who kicked off their season-ending seven-game road trip Monday with an 11-inning, 1-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs. Kansas City now ventures to the south side of Chicago to open a three-game series against the American League Central-rival White Sox on Tuesday.

    Monday’s setback dropped the Royals one game behind Toronto for the best record in the AL, which essentially is a two-game deficit since the Blue Jays own the tiebreaker. Kansas City’s chances of overtaking Toronto appear increasingly slim since the team has not won more than two games in a row since a three-game run from Aug. 27-29. The White Sox have dropped five of six entering their season-ending six-game homestand and were limited to two runs or fewer in four of the five setbacks. Jeff Samardzija will look to build on his masterpiece from last time out for the White Sox when he opposes Kansas City’s Johnny Cueto.

    TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, FSN Kansas City, WPWR (Chicago)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Royals RH Johnny Cueto (10-12, 3.45 ERA) vs. White Sox RH Jeff Samardzija (10-13, 5.04)

    Cueto went seven innings for the second straight outing, limiting Seattle to three runs and seven hits Thursday as Kansas City clinched the AL Central title. He also ended an ugly five-start skid in his previous turn with seven frames of two-run ball at Detroit after being knocked around for 30 runs and 48 hits during the 0-5 drought. One of those losses was to the White Sox on Sept. 6, when he gave up five runs in only three innings.

    Samardzija is coming off his best performance of the season – a complete-game gem against Detroit in which he permitted one hit without walking a batter to win for only the second time in 10 starts. It ended a wretched 1-8 stretch for Samardzija, who had been battered for 51 runs over his previous nine turns. The former Notre Dame star has lost all three starts against the Royals this season, giving up 16 runs over 17 2/3 innings.


    1. Royals 3B Mike Moustakas is 6-for-15 with a homer, three doubles, four RBIs and four runs scored in his last four games.

    2. White Sox CF Adam Eaton, who has hit safely in 15 of his last 16 contests, went 8-for-15 during a three-game sweep at Kansas City earlier this month.

    3. Royals CF Lorenzo Cain is 9-for-23 over his last five games.

    PREDICTION: Royals 4, White Sox 3


    Preview: Tigers at Rangers

    Current Conditions – Arlington
    SUNNY 84 °F
    Wind: S 7
    5-Day Forecast GAME: Detroit Tigers (73-83) at Texas Rangers (84-72)
    DATE/TIME: Tuesday, September 29 – 8:05 PM EST
    WHERE: Globe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, Texas

    The Texas Rangers have lost three consecutive games and soon may find themselves in a battle for the American League West crown. Monday’s 7-4 loss to the Detroit Tigers dwindled the Rangers’ lead to 1 1/2 games over Houston and two over the Los Angeles Angels in the suddenly tight three-team race.

    Texas closes the season with four games against the red-hot Angels, making the loss to the Tigers in the opener of the three-game set even more painful to absorb. Rangers slugger Prince Fielder – a former Detroit standout – recorded a homer and four RBIs on Monday and has driven in 11 runs over his last five games. Tyler Collins slugged a three-run shot during a five-run fifth inning as the Tigers racked up 12 hits in the opener. Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera is mired in a 28-game homerless drought but leads the AL with a .336 average.

    TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, FSN Detroit, FSN Southwest (Texas)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Tigers LH Daniel Norris (2-2, 3.88 ERA) vs. Rangers LH Cole Hamels (11-8, 3.56)

    Norris tossed five perfect innings against the Chicago White Sox on Sept. 22 but was pulled after 63 pitches as he was making his second start since returning from an oblique injury. He is 1-1 with a 3.90 ERA in six outings for the Tigers after being acquired as part of the package that sent David Price to Toronto. Norris has struck out 24 and walked five in 30 innings for Detroit.

    Hamels has won his last five decisions and is 5-1 with a 3.41 ERA in 10 starts since being acquired from Philadelphia. He has allowed just one earned run in 13 innings over his last two turns, beating Oakland and Seattle. Hamels is 1-1 with a 2.77 ERA in two career outings against Detroit and has been hammered by Cabrera (8-for-11), who played part of his career for the Marlins while Hamels was on the Phillies.


    1. Tigers RF J.D. Martinez drove in a run with a fielder’s choice on Monday and is one away from his first 100-RBI season.

    2. Texas LF Josh Hamilton went 1-for-3 in the series opener as he made his second start since returning from minor knee surgery.

    3. Detroit DH Victor Martinez was 2-for-3 in the opener before departing with quadriceps soreness and is questionable for Tuesday’s contest.

    PREDICTION: Rangers 6, Tigers 5


    Preview: Athletics at Angels

    Current Conditions – Anaheim
    CLOUDY 74 °F
    Wind: WNW 3
    5-Day Forecast GAME: Oakland Athletics (65-92) at Los Angeles Angels (82-74)
    DATE/TIME: Tuesday, September 29 – 10:05 PM EST
    WHERE: Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, California

    The Los Angeles Angels attempt to continue their surge toward a postseason berth when they host the American League West-rival Oakland Athletics on Tuesday in the middle contest of their three-game set. Los Angeles posted its sixth consecutive victory in the series opener, a 5-4 triumph in which David Murphy delivered a pinch-hit, walk-off RBI single in the ninth inning, to remain a half-game behind Houston for the second AL wild card.

    The Angels also climbed within two games of division-leading Texas and visit the Rangers for a season-ending four-game series that begins Thursday. C.J. Cron recorded three of Los Angeles’ seven hits to extend his hitting streak to five games. Slugger Albert Pujols homered for the third time in six contests to raise his season total to 38, his most since belting 42 for St. Louis in 2010. Oakland squandered a 4-3 lead Monday en route to its third straight loss and eighth in nine games as it kicked off its season-ending six-game road trip.

    TV: 10:05 p.m. ET, ESPN, CSN California (Oakland), FSN West (Los Angeles)

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Athletics RH Chris Bassitt (1-7, 3.07 ERA) vs. Angels RH Nick Tropeano (2-2, 4.35)

    Bassitt lasted only three innings against Texas on Thursday in his first start in just under a month, yielding three runs and six hits en route to his third straight loss. The 26-year-old native of Ohio had been sidelined with a sore shoulder since surrendering four runs on seven hits and four walks over 4 1/3 frames of a setback at Seattle on Aug. 26. Bassitt made his only career appearance against the Angels on April 29, when he struck out three in two scoreless innings of relief.

    Tropeano also is coming off a short outing in which he allowed two unearned runs on four hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings of a no-decision at Houston on Wednesday. The 25-year-old from West Islip, New York, had tossed a scoreless frame in relief at Minnesota three days earlier. Tropeano was superb in his only career start against Oakland on April 23, scattering five hits over six scoreless innings in his season — and Angels — debut.


    1. Angels CF Mike Trout was named the team’s MVP while RHP Huston Street, who is sidelined with a groin injury but leads the AL with 40 saves, received the Nick Adenhart Award as the club’s pitcher of the year.

    2. Oakland manager Bob Melvin announced RHP Sonny Gray has been shut down for the season due to a sore hip while LHP Barry Zito will start the finale of the series with the Angels on Wednesday.

    3. The Angels on Monday signed RHP Mat Latos, who was released by the Los Angeles Dodgers three days earlier.

    PREDICTION: Angels 7, Athletics 3


    Preview: Rockies at Diamondbacks

    Weather information is currently unavailable. 5-Day Forecast GAME: Colorado Rockies (66-90) at Arizona Diamondbacks (75-81)
    DATE/TIME: Tuesday, September 29 – 9:40 PM EST
    WHERE: Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona

    The Arizona Diamondbacks open up their final homestand of the season against a team they have dominated at Chase Field over the years when the Colorado Rockies pay a visit Tuesday for the first of three games. The Diamondbacks have won five of seven at home against the Rockies this year and are 102-53 all-time in their meetings in Phoenix.

    Arizona is hitting .320 while averaging 6.4 runs in 16 games overall with Colorado in 2015, clinching a season series win for the fourth time in the last five years. A.J. Pollock and Paul Goldschmidt have combined to hit .354 with seven homers, 11 doubles and 23 RBIs against the Rockies this year. Those two were virtual non-factors in a 4-2 win at San Diego on Sunday, which gave Arizona 40 road wins — nine more than it had in 2014. The lone remaining drama for the last-place Rockies involves the home run chase with third baseman Nolan Arenado (41 homers, tied for first in National League entering Monday) and right fielder Carlos Gonzalez (39).

    TV: 9:40 p.m. ET, ROOT (Colorado), FSN Arizona

    PITCHING MATCHUP: Rockies RH Christian Bergman (3-1, 4.62 ERA) vs. Diamondbacks LH Robbie Ray (5-12, 3.53)

    Bergman will be making his third start of the year – and second in a row – to go along with 26 relief appearances. The last start did not go so well, as the 27-year-old was rocked for seven runs and 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings against Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Bergman has a 6.21 ERA in 12 career starts but has allowed just two runs and four hits in eight innings over two games (one start) all time at Arizona.

    Ray has posted two scoreless outings in his last three starts, including six frames in an 8-0 win at the Los Angeles Dodgers last Tuesday. He has allowed two runs or fewer in four out of five appearances, posting a 2.39 ERA in that stretch. The run began with a quality start at Colorado on Aug. 31, which left the 23-year-old with a 1.54 ERA in two career starts versus the Rockies.


    1. Arenado had two homers and nine RBIs in two games against the Dodgers over the weekend.

    2. Goldschmidt (407) needs one RBI to tie Chris Young for fourth place on Arizona’s all-time list.

    3. Diamondbacks RHP Brad Ziegler has converted 27 straight saves, the longest active streak in the majors.

    PREDICTION: Diamondbacks 7, Rockies 4

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