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MLB Today: German Ready for Encore

Kershaw Expected Back on Mound

Will there be fireworks with all 30 MLB teams set to be in action on Independence Day? Atlanta, a favorite among MLB predictions during its nine-game winning streak and Toronto are among the road teams favored in Tuesday’s busy slate of games.

When it came to the MLB picks, no matchup had more offense than Monday’s showdown between AL West Division rivals Houston and Texas, with Chas McCormick delivering the go-ahead run with a double in the top of the ninth inning in Houston’s wild 12-11 win.

MLB Today: German Ready for Encore
Domingo German #0 of the New York Yankees - Mike Stobe/Getty Images/afp

The favored teams won six of the 10 games on Monday. Will it be more of the same on Tuesday?

When looking at the MLB news, Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw went on the injured list rather than risk worsening the discomfort in his throwing shoulder. The Dodgers still won their game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout is among the prominent players who are questionable for Tuesday’s games.

According to MLB playoff odds, the Atlanta Braves (+400) have the best odds to win the World Series, followed by the Tampa Bay Rays at +500. The Dodgers come in at +600, with the defending World Series champion Houston Astros priced at +900.

Races Starting to Heat Up

With the calendar flipping from June to July, it’s time to focus on the division races.

The Braves have opened up a nine-game lead on Miami in the NL East, with the Rays up by six games in the AL East.

The most compelling races come in the Central Divisions.

The Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers are tied for first in the NL Central with 46-39 records.

After both teams finish their current series, they will be squaring off in back-to-back series, with the first three games in Milwaukee and the next three in Cincinnati.

The Minnesota Twins are up by a game on the Cleveland Guardians. Minnesota has only three games (all against the Baltimore Orioles) against teams with winning records for the rest of July.

Cleveland has matchups on Tuesday and Wednesday against the MLB-leading Braves, three more against the AL West-leading Texas Rangers, three versus defending NL champion Philadelphia and they end July against the reigning World Series champion Houston. The Central division races are even more intriguing since the loser is unlikely to secure one of the wildcard spots.

Texas leads Houston by three games in the AL West. Before they meet from July 24-26, Texas has to face the AL East-leading Rays and a Dodgers team looking to close the gap in the NL West.

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As the Braves topped the Cleveland Guardians 4-2 to win their ninth game in a row, outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. was in the spotlight yet again.

Acuna stole his 40th base of the season, becoming the first player to have at least 40 stolen bases, 20 home runs and 50 RBIs by the All-Star break. It is hardly a surprise that the MLB betting lines list Acuna as the favorite in the NL MVP odds.

He joins Rickey Henderson – who accomplished the feat three times – Eric Davis and Kenny Lofton as the only players with at least 40 stolen bases and 10 home runs in the first 84 games.

Acuna is on a 14-game hitting streak, with a .375 batting average, scoring 16 runs, six home runs, nine RBIs and 10 stolen bases during that stretch.

Teammate Michael Harris II stole the show with a pair of home runs to give him seven total and a .369 average since the start of June. Pitcher Bryce Elder improved to 7-1 in the victory.

Reinforcements Coming

The Detroit Tigers could be a little tougher to face moving forward.

The Tigers had to piece together a starting rotation due to various injuries. Matt Manning recently returned to the field for the first time since April.

Now, Tarik Skubal is slated to make his 2023 debut on Tuesday against the Oakland Athletics. Eduardo Rodriguez likely to start on Wednesday. Rodriguez had a 2.13 ERA and was averaging a strikeout per inning before he went on the injured list in late May.

They combined for 14 wins in 50 starts a season ago. Detroit ranks 26th out of 30 teams in ERA from its starters, so getting three of its top five back should help.

Tuesday’s Best Bets

Angels infielder Mike Moustakas is 4-for-10 with three home runs in his previous matchups against San Diego starting pitcher Joe Musgrove so it could be worth taking a chance on the +560 odds of Moustakas hitting a home run on Tuesday.

It can be risky rolling with a pitcher making his season debut in July. However, Detroit’s Tarik Skubal is facing the dreadful Oakland Athletics. Oakland has the fifth-most strikeouts in the majors so going with Skubal at +110 to top 5½ strikeouts could be worth it. Those taking part in live betting will have the added security of seeing how Skubal looks in the early innings.

Atlanta’s Michael Harris has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball, even as he hits ninth in the powerful Braves lineup. He is listed by the sportsbook at +120 to score a run against Cleveland and that is action worth jumping in on.

Pete Alonso of the New York Mets had gone six games in a row without a home run before hitting his 25th HR of the season. He is facing Arizona starter Zach Davies. Davies has only surrendered three home runs this season, but he has a 6.90 ERA over his last six starts so it will be tempting to roll with Alonso at +350 to hit another home run.

Injury Update

Here’s a look at the injuries that could impact Tuesday’s action.

The biggest news came when former Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw landed on the injured list with left shoulder soreness. He had been expected to start for the Dodgers on Monday.

The Angels continue to play without infielders Brandon Drury and Zach Neto. Now, outfielder Mike Trout is questionable with a hand injury as the series with the San Diego Padres continues.

Outfielder Jazz Chisholm Jr. and pitcher Edward Cabrera are out indefinitely for the Miami Marlins.

Baltimore outfielder Austin Hays is dealing with a hip injury. It is uncertain if he will play against the New York Yankees on Tuesday. Rookie infielder Jordan Westburg is also questionable after being hit in the hand by a pitch in Baltimore’s last series

Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez missed the last game with a foot issue. He is questionable for Tuesday’s matchup with Minnesota.

For the Twins, shortstop Royce Lewis landed on the injured list with a strained oblique. Pitcher Cole Sands is also on the injured list.

Astros shortstop Jeremy Pena has sat out the last four games with a neck issue and is questionable for Tuesday’s game with Colorado. The Astros are also dealing with an injury to key starting pitcher Framber Valdez.

Tampa Bay infielder Isaac Paredes was involved in a huge collision in his last game. He is experiencing rib discomfort leaving his status for Tuesday’s matchup with Philadelphia up in the air.

Cleveland first baseman Josh Naylor left the last game with a wrist injury and is questionable for Tuesday’s game against Atlanta.

San Francisco infielder Brandon Crawford is day-to-day. Fellow infielder Thairo Estrada is also on the injured list.

When the Red Sox face Texas, it is unknown whether outfielder Masataka Yoshida will be in the lineup.

Arizona will be without starting pitcher Merrill Kelly until late July as a result of a calf issue.

Infielder Nick Madigral is questionable to play when the Chicago Cubs face the Brewers.

Milwaukee infielder Brian Anderson is on paternity leave.

Pitcher Rob Zastryzny is expected to return later this month for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pittsburgh is also without outfielder JiHwan Bae, and infielders Ji-Man Choi, Oneil Cruz and Ke’Bryan Hayes. All except Cruz should be back at some point in July.

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