There is starting to be some separation in the division races with the Minnesota Twins now leading the American League Central by 4½ after a four-game winning streak and the Los Angeles Dodgers up by four games in the National League West. The division races will continue to dominate the MLB news cycle.
When looking at the MLB predictions, the matchup between Cincinnati and Miami is the only one on Monday featuring two teams with winning records.
Gerrit Cole of the New York Yankees, listed by the MLB picks as one of the front-runners in the the American League Cy Young Award race, is back on the mound looking for his 11th win of the season.
The teams listed by the MLB spreads as the favorite went 5-10 on Sunday. The most eye-opening result was Toronto’s 13-1 win over the favored Boston Red Sox.
Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Max Muncy is among the key players dealing with injuries.
According to MLB playoff odds, the Atlanta Braves (+350) have the best odds to win the World Series, followed by the Los Angeles Dodgers at +450. Houston (+650), the Tampa Bay Rays (+700) and the Texas Rangers (+800) aren’t far behind.
The Miami Marlins are bringing back talented rookie pitcher Eury Perez for Monday’s series opener with the slumping Cincinnati Reds.
Perez had a six-game stretch when he allowed one run and struck out 36 batters in 33 innings. However, Miami put the 20-year-old in an innings restriction coming into the season. Even though he was 5-3 with 2.36 ERA in 11 starts, he was sent to the minors after allowing three hits and one run with seven strikeouts in six innings against St. Louis on July 6.
Speaking of returns, three pitchers came back to the majors on Sunday with different results.
Jose Urquidy made his first appearance for the Houston Astros since April 30. He wasn’t around for very long as he surrendered three hits and five runs in 3⅓ innings. However, the Astros topped the New York Yankees 9-7 behind two home runs and six RBIs from outfielder Jake Meyers.
Brandon Woodruff, pitching for the first time since April 7, gave up four hits and two runs in a 4-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Pirates starter Johan Oviedo allowed just two hits and no runs in seven innings as he won his third straight start.
Dallas Keuchel, pitching in the majors for the first time this season, scattered eight hits over five innings. He did not factor into the decision for the Minnesota Twins as Max Kepler and Matt Wallner each homered in the ninth inning for the 5-3 win over Arizona.
The Diamondbacks lost despite going 8-for-8 in stolen bases with recent acquisition Tommy Pham having two of those stolen bases – as did Jake McCarthy while catcher Carson Kelly recorded his first stolen base of the season and the third of his career.
Not a Bad First Impression
Davis Schneider played for six different teams in the minor leagues since being a 28th-round pick by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2017.
With a .275 average to go with 61 runs, 21 doubles, 21 home runs, 64 RBIs and a .416 on-base percentage, he earned a promotion to the majors.
It might be awhile before he is going back. In his first three games with the Blue Jays he is 9-for-15 with three runs, five RBIs and a walk.
Schneider was batting third for the Blue Jays on Sunday against the Red Sox and all he did was come through with four hits and four RBIs. Two of them came on a home run over the Green Monster at Fenway Park in a 13-1 win as Toronto is 2½ games clear of the Seattle Mariners in the race for the final playoff spot in the American League.
Rise of the Rookies of the Year
There the “sophomore jinx” phrase was being thrown around when Michael Harris II of the Atlanta Braves headed into June with a .174 batting average and six extra-base hits while Julio Rodriguez of the Seattle Mariners was batting .205 on May 10 before he had a stretch with seven two-hit games over an span of eight games.
Harris, the 2022 National League Rookie of the Year, hit .372 in June and in his first five games in August, he has a .412 batting average with six runs and six RBIs. He has reached base in 20 of his last 21 games.
Rodriguez hit .292 in July and has a .360 batting average in August.
Harris has helped the Braves to the best record in the majors with the Mariners very much in playoff contention in the American League.
Hardly Second Best
There are 10 qualified batters with an on-base percentage of .500 or higher and three of them are second baseman.
Gleyber Torres of the New York Yankees is .545 with three doubles, two home runs and four walks.
San Diego’s Ha-Seong Kim has walked five times to go with a .421 average while Marcus Semien of the Texas Rangers had a .409 average with two doubles, three home runs and four walks.
Semien has the edge on the other two in a pretty important category as the Rangers lead the American League West Division with a 66-46 record while the Yankees and Padres are on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoff race.
Monday’s Best Bets
Kyle Schwarber of the Philadelphia Phillies only has a .270 batting average in 37 at-bats against Washington Nationals starter Trevor Williams. However, he does have four home runs and he is priced at +195 to hit a home run on Monday.
It is hard to predict how long that the Marlins will let rookie phenom Eury Perez go in Monday’s game. Keep in mind that he had eight strikeouts the last time he pitched for Miami on July 6, and the sportsbook has Perez at +110 to top 6.5 strikeouts against a Cincinnati team that has struck out 74 times in the last seven games.
It has not been the easiest of returns for Minnesota infielder Jorge Polanco as he is just 5-for-29 with two extra-base hits in nine games after coming off the injured list. He is too good of a hitter for that to continue so that makes the +115 odds for Polanco to go over 1.5 total bases pretty tempting.
Here is a look at injuries that could impact Monday’s games.
Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Max Muncy is questionable for the series finale against San Diego after missing the last three games with a wrist injury.
Miami Marlins outfielder Jazz Chisholm is questionable for Monday’s matchup with Cincinnati due to a tender hamstring.
Minnesota continues to play without designated hitter Byron Buxton and outfielder Alex Kiriloff.
Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez left Sunday’s game with a hand injury and he is questionable for the series opener with Boston.
Toronto catcher Danny Jansen is questionable for the game with Cleveland with a wrist issue.
Keep an eye on any news from the MLB office regarding suspensions for Cleveland Guardians third baseman Jose Ramirez and Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson after their on-field fight.
The New York Yankees could get relief pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga back. However, starting pitcher Carlos Rodon left Sunday’s loss with hamstring tightness.