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Thread: 2018 MLB Preseason Stuff

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    Default 2018 MLB Preseason Stuff

    MLB regular season win totals


    American League East

    New York Yankees 93.5
    Boston Red Sox 91.5
    Toronto Blue Jays 81.5
    Baltimore Orioles 77.5
    Tampa Bay Rays 76.5


    American League Central

    Cleveland Indians 93.5
    Minnesota Twins 82.5
    Kansas City Royals 76.5
    Chicago White Sox 68.5
    Detroit Tigers 68.5


    American League West

    Houston Astros 96.5
    Los Angeles Angels 84.5
    Seattle Mariners 81.5
    Texas Rangers 78.5
    Oakland Athletics 74.5


    National League East

    Washington Nationals 91.5
    New York Mets 80.5
    Philadelphia Phillies 74.5
    Atlanta Braves 73.5
    Miami Marlins 64.5


    National League Central

    Chicago Cubs 93.5
    St. Louis Cardinals 84.5
    Milwaukee Brewers 81.5
    Pittsburgh Pirates 76.5
    Cincinnati Reds 71.


    National League West

    Los Angeles Dodgers 95.5
    Arizona Diamondbacks 86.5
    Colorado Rockies 82.5
    San Francisco Giants 81.5
    San Diego Padres 69.5
    Last edited by Udog; 02-08-2018 at 06:31 PM.

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    Best bets for 2018 MLB regular season win totals
    Rob Hansen

    In a sure sign that spring is right around the corner, MLB regular season win totals have been released in Nevada. For hardcore baseball fans, this is an opportunity to gauge your team against division rivals or the entire league, and for baseball bettors this is when the fun really begins.

    CG Technology in Las Vegas was the first to get its Over/Under numbers out to the masses, so let's dig in and grab a couple of money-making opportunities for the 2018 season.

    Detroit Tigers

    Over/Under: 68.5
    Pick: Under


    When looking at the list posted by CG Technology it was very interesting to see the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers with the same number of 68.5. These are two teams headed in exact opposite directions for the 2018 season. The White Sox dumped all of their assets for prospects over the last three seasons and look to be on the up-swing with a loaded minor league system and a young, talented big league club. The Tigers are at the beginning stages of their overhaul and the immediate future looks bleak.

    The White Sox finished with 67 wins last season and could certainly push over 70 in a very weak American League Central division in 2018. However, youth is unpredictable so the safer play when looking at these two teams is the Under 68.5 wins for the Tigers. This is a team with one good arm in their rotation and by the All-Star break Michael Fulmer will, most certainly, be pitching for a new team. They would also love to unload Miguel Cabrera and his hefty contract for some prospects.

    The Tigers only won 64 games a season ago, and they won't sniff that number in 2018.

    Pittsburgh Pirates

    Over/Under: 76.5
    Pick: Under


    As soon as the Pittsburgh Pirates traded their best starting pitcher, Gerrit Cole, and the face of their franchise, former National League MVP Andrew McCutchen, the entire baseball world knew what was happening in the Steel City. Shedding salary for prospects is, of course, one of the oldest general management tricks in the books.

    The Pirates appear poised to attempt a "soft rebuild" where they keep some good talent on the Major League roster and try to flip the switch in one or two seasons, as opposed to a total system overhaul that would take three to five seasons.

    Soft rebuilds generally do not work to their desired outcome, however, Pirates brass sees this division as unattainable until the current run of the Chicago Cubs runs dry. The Pirates went young for 2018 and it could be a long summer.

    Milwaukee Brewers

    Over/Under: 81.5
    Pick: Over


    We're seeing two different approaches in how to deal with the dominance of the Cubs in the National League Central; the Pirates decided to dump salary and look slightly into the future and the Milwaukee Brewers are in buying mode and want a piece of the division (or at least the Wild Card) right now.

    The Brewers added Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich to their outfield this off-season and appear to be in the mix on several free agent starting pitchers. Who knows what is going to happen with this current batch of frozen out free agents, but if the Brewers are able to land one of Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta, or Alex Cobb they will certainly be in the mix for a post season spot of some kind.

    Washington Nationals

    Over/Under: 91.5
    Pick: Over


    It's not too often you see a regular season win total number of 91.5 on the board and recommend playing the Over, but that is exactly what is happening here.

    The Washington Nationals come into the 2018 season with essentially the same roster that won 97 games a year ago, and they will have a healthy Adam Eaton to help with run production. Their starting rotation is, once again, one of the top three starting staffs in baseball and they will run away with the NL East by the All-Star break.

    Just like last summer, their bullpen comes into the season as a bit of a question mark. We can only assume they will address this weakness at some point. If it wasn't for their faulty bullpen last season the Nats would've easily been a 100-win team, look for them to be that 100-win team in 2018 in a weak NL East.

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    Cubs make big splash signing Darvish, but odds see little movement
    Andrew Caley

    The Cubs signed Yu Darvish to a 6-year $126 million deal on Saturday and promptly went from 8/1 to 7/1 to win the World Series at the Westgate LV Superbook.

    There was finally a splash in MLB free agency, as the Chicago Cubs landed the best starting pitcher on the market in Yu Darvish and saw their World Series futures get a small boost in a matter of minutes on Saturday.

    According to reports, Darvish and the Cubs have agreed to terms on a six-year $126 million contract, joining a starting rotation that already features Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Jose Quintana and Tyler Chatwood. So, it should come as no surprise, the Cubs were given at least a little bump to win the 2018 World Series according to the Westgate LV Superbook.

    The Cubs were moved from 8/1 to 7/1 to win their second Fall Classic in three years, just shortly after the news broke that Darvish would be joining the team.

    Chicago getting Darvish also affected the World Series odds for a couple other National League teams. The Cubs’ most hated rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals, dropped slightly from 18/1 to 20/1 and the Colorado Rockies also took a hit, going from 30/1 to 40/1.

    The defending World Series champion Houston Astros and the team they defeated for their first title, the Los Angeles Dodgers, are still the co-favorites to win it all in 2018 at 5/1 at the Superbook.

    Meanwhile over at CG Technology, Darvish to the Cubs did little to move World Series or National league futures, but they did get a very slight boost in their season win total, which was just opened earlier this week at 93.5, going up a half-win to the current number of 94. The Cubs once again only trail the Astros (96.5) and the Dodgers (95.5) when it comes to season win totals.

    Darvish has a 56-42 record since coming over to the majors in 2012, to go along with a career 3.42 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP, but is coming off a very disappointing postseason performance with the Dodgers, where he allowed eight earned runs in just 3.1combined innings pitched over two World Series starts.

    The Cubs are coming off a season in which they won a disappointing (if you can call it that) 92 games in 2017 before falling the to the Dodgers in five games in the NLCS. In 2015, they won 103 games on the way to their first World Series title since 1908.

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    Mattingly says he's excited about Marlins
    Associated Press

    MIAMI (AP) After all the deals and departures, Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly says he's enthused about the upcoming season.

    Really, he is.

    ''You probably think I'm crazy but I'm really excited about what's going on,'' Mattingly said Saturday during the team's Fan Fest event at Marlins Park. ''I can say it - look you right in the camera, look you right in the eye - I can tell you how excited I am to be here, and what we're doing.''

    This will be his third season guiding the club, and he'll see a radically revamped roster without many stars when spring training begins within a week. Soon after taking over last fall, the new Marlins' ownership, overseen by majority partner Bruce Sherman and CEO Derek Jeter, traded half the club's starting lineup in an attempt to dramatically cut payroll and build an organizational foundation.

    Gone in exchange for prospects were reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton, who hit 59 home runs, and fellow outfielders Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich. They combined for a major league-best .913 OPS among outfield trios last season.

    Also traded for additional minor leaguers was second baseman Dee Gordon, who hit .308, stole an NL-leading 60 bases in 2017 and won the league batting title in 2015.

    There is also the possibility the Marlins are not done dealing and additionally slashing payroll. Catcher J.T. Realmuto and second baseman Starlin Castro, the only acquisition with extended major league experience and who joined Miami in the Stanton deal, reportedly have asked to be traded.

    ''I know what you guys know, obviously,'' Realmuto said Saturday. ''For me it is getting ready to start the season, whether it's in Miami or somewhere else. No matter what happens my job is to play baseball.''

    The trades have resulted in widespread displeasure with Marlins fans. But Mattingly backs the new ownership's approach.

    ''We knew that we had a good lineup but also knew we were 10 games out of the wild card with those guys,'' Mattingly said. ''We didn't match up pitching and offense. There had to be something done. No matter how much offense you have you're not going to win without pitching.

    ''I know some of the things have been unpopular. When you look at it, for me, they're things that had to be done,'' he said.

    Mattingly said he reached out to the traded players he managed the past two seasons.

    ''Hopefully, we've impacted their careers,'' Mattingly said. ''As a coach you feel like you're a teacher and you want to help these guys develop.''

    As with every other team entering team approaching spring training, optimism outweighs negative expectations. Mattingly is no different even with projections of his team losing between 90 and 100 games.

    ''I don't think about losing, I think about winning,'' Mattingly said. ''It won't be any different with our guys. We're going to prepare to win. We're going to prepare to win a championship.

    ''I told my players every year that I've managed I've never been in a game that I expected to lose. I don't care if it's (Clayton) Kershaw against whoever, it doesn't look good on paper. You go into every game feeling you're going to win today and expect to win today,'' he said.

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    LHP Holland joins Giants on minor deal
    Associated Press

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Veteran left-hander Derek Holland has signed a minor league deal with the San Francisco Giants.

    Holland could compete for a job out of spring training with a rotation that has three set starters in Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. There are two spots up for grabs, and manager Bruce Bochy said Friday that Ty Blach and Chris Stratton are the leading candidates to fill out those positions.

    Blach went 8-12 in his first full major league season and emerged as a strong fill-in for Bumgarner when the 2014 World Series MVP missed nearly three months after an April 20 dirt bike accident in Colorado.

    The 31-year-old Holland pitched his first eight seasons for Texas, then went 7-14 with a 6.20 ERA in 29 outings and 26 starts last year for the White Sox.

    San Francisco's pitchers and catchers report to Scottsdale, Arizona, on Tuesday, with their first workout Wednesday.

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    Former big leaguer Geltz, 3 more banned
    Associated Press

    NEW YORK (AP) Former Tampa Bay pitcher Steve Geltz and three other minor leaguers have been suspended for drug violations.

    The penalties were announced Saturday by the commissioner's office.

    Geltz was banned 100 games after a third positive test for a drug of abuse. The 30-year-old righty was on Philadelphia's Triple-A roster.

    In 2015, Geltz set a Rays record by retiring 32 straight batters. He last played in the majors in 2016. In four seasons with the Angels and Tampa Bay, he was a combined 2-9 with two saves and a 4.23 ERA in 110 games, all but two in relief.

    Tampa Bay catcher Nick Ciuffo, on the Triple-A roster, drew a 50-game penalty for a second positive test for a drug of abuse.

    San Diego Padres pitcher Alex Cunningham was suspended 50 games after testing positive for Amphetamine, a stimulant. He was at Single-A.

    Pittsburgh second baseman Mitchell Tolman, on the Double-A roster, drew a 50-game suspension after a second positive test for a drug of abuse.

    There have been 16 players suspended this year under the minor league program and three under the major league program: Houston pitcher Dean Deetz, Washington catcher Raudy Read and Pittsburgh pitcher Nik Turley.

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    Spring training opens with turmoil
    Associated Press

    The Boston Red Sox plan to print 5,000 copies of their media guide during the last week of February. Their opening-day roster could include several players who won't make the deadline.

    Perhaps 100 free agents still seek contracts as the start of spring training workouts on Feb. 14 draws near, a group that includes J.D. Martinez, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Jake Arrieta and Yu Darvish.

    In a historically slow market, players and management are feuding publicly about riches and rules, and teams seemingly are seeking bargains like shoppers awaiting a closeout.

    "Some guys feel like they're worth a little more than maybe what they're being offered," All-Star outfielder Andrew McCutchen said ahead of his first spring training since Pittsburgh traded him to San Francisco. "It's just all about being fair."

    As soon as the Houston Astros won their first World Series title last November , attention turned toward 2018 and the start of stretching in Scottsdale, catching in Clearwater and bunting in Bradenton. But there will be two camps in Bradenton - in addition to the Pirates, based there for the 50th consecutive year, the Major League Baseball Players Association is setting up a free-agent workout facility at the nearby IMG Academy while players wait for the market to thaw.

    Job-seekers include pitchers Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn; reliever Greg Holland; infielder Eduardo Nunez; outfielders Carlos Gomez and Carlos Gonzalez; and catcher Jonathan Lucroy.

    ''There are always going to be some big names available at the beginning of spring training, but there's an exorbitant number this year,'' New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said.

    With Cincinnati, Detroit, Miami, Oakland, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay in the early stage of rebuild mode, and Atlanta, the Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia starting to emerge, it appears about one-third of the 30 teams have little chance for this year's 10 playoff berths. For their fans, hope and faith are longer-term emotions going into opening day on March 29.

    Union head Tony Clark labels this offseason a ''race to the bottom.'' Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto thinks more clubs may be competing for the top 2019 draft pick than for this year's title.

    ''There is an element or a percentage of the league that's not particularly into signing players that might help them win, but prefer the go the other route,'' he said. ''You have a number of teams that have through the course of the last few years built up to what we have now referenced as super- team status. They may not need to fill those holes, which leaves a team in the middle, let's call it eight to 12 teams, of which we are one, who are surfing through the markets.''

    And many of the perennial big spenders are cutting back, too. The Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees want to get under the $197 million luxury tax threshold, putting them in better position for a free-agent class next fall that could include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Josh Donaldson and Clayton Kershaw.

    The Yankees did make the splashiest move of the offseason, acquiring big league home run champion Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins when former New York captain Derek Jeter took over as Miami's chief executive and started a payroll purge.

    After losing to the Astros in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series, New York fired manager Joe Girardi and replaced him with Aaron Boone, who has never managed or coached at any level. Other new managers include the Mets' Mickey Callaway , Boston's Alex Cora , Detroit's Ron Gardenhire , Philadelphia's Gabe Kapler and Washington's Dave Martinez .

    They may or may not have to maneuver pitch clocks and new limits on mound visits - negotiations with the players' union continue. But a new generation drenched in analytics clearly is comfortable schmoozing about spin rates and launch angles, perfect for Ivy League-GMs and their ever-expanding staffs of programmers. A half-century after the Yankees were led by the M&M boys, the hot area of baseball is R&D.

    ''I've spent quite a bit of time looking at video and finally spending time on some numbers, which I really enjoy,'' Kapler said a week after he was hired. ''I've always liked digging into what makes a player good at his job.''

    Mike Scioscia, starting his 19th season with the Angels, is the only manager left hired by his team in the 20th century. But he may have to learn some new moves. Pitcher-outfielder Shohei Ohtani signed with Los Angeles , and Scioscia is considering a six-man rotation to accommodate the special skills of the Japanese star.

    ''Some guys have proven that they're not as functional with too much rest,'' Scioscia said, ''and some guys thrive on the extra day.''

    Seeking to follow the Astros' example and win the World Series for the first time, Milwaukee realized its rebuild was ahead of schedule. The Brewers obtained Christian Yelich from the Marlins and signed Lorenzo Cain to an $80 million, five-year contract , thus far the largest free-agent deal of the offseason.

    Milwaukee is an outlier this winter.

    ''Some teams would prefer to let young players get the reps and the opportunities,'' Dipoto said. ''Free agents by and large are players in their 30s, and if the expectation is for a long contract in your 30s, many clubs that are in that middle zone can't afford to strike out on the multi-year deals in the 30s.''

    If a free agent does sign with the Red Sox late, there's always time for the next publication: The deadline for the press run of 10,000 yearbooks is in mid-March.

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    Five steps to safely bet MLB Spring Training odds
    Jason Logan

    There is almost zero consistency in Spring Training, so when you start to see a pattern – winning or losing – jump on it.

    Betting MLB Spring Training is right up there with eating that week-old slice of pizza at the back of your fridge and lending your car to that sweet girl with the tramp stamp you met at the bar last night (she said she had to pick up her aunt from the hospital) – not the best idea.

    But for those of you dealing with massive intestinal discomfort or the ones describing your 1997 Isuzu Trooper to the local police, you know that sometimes you just can’t help yourself.

    If you are going to bet on Cactus and Grapefruit League action this spring, at least follow these guidelines.

    Do your homework

    Like betting any preseason sport, you have to know what the gameplan is before even thinking of putting your hard-earned coin on the line. Read, read and read some more.

    “One advantage that bettors have in these exhibition games is information,” Covers Expert Matt Fargo says. “Similar to NFL preseason games where coaches give out their player rotations and game plans, managers in baseball are very up front on how long starters will be pitching for and what sort of lineups they are going with.”

    Listen to what the manager is hoping to accomplish this spring: Is he working in prospects or trying to sure up the rotation? And study up on key players and how they approach spring ball: Do they pace themselves in March or come out swinging? We hate to sound like a public service announcement, but “The more you know…”

    Start cautiously

    The first few games of spring training might as well be a high school science fair. Managers are experimenting with lineups and rotations, mixing this guy with that guy and swapping bodies like he’s rolling out hockey lines. A new managers are working with players for the first time, still getting an idea of how to best use their talents.

    Players are also a tough read in the opening slate of exhibition games. Some guys are easing into the action, others are battling for positions, and others are just trying to stay healthy. Keep an ear to the base paths or sit back and watch how a manager is treating the first weeks of spring ball.

    Find the right pitching matchups

    As Spring Training marches on, starting pitchers take on more and more work. Guys will go at least five innings, giving you a pretty good idea of what to expect from the staff. The best situation is when you have an ace matched up against a No. 4 or No. 5 starter, or a young prospect trying to break into the bigs. Managers aren’t quick to change up pitchers in the spring, even if a guy is getting hammered.

    Betting the “better” team

    Roster depth and a surplus of talent can go a long way in Spring Training. Since veterans tend to limit themselves in the exhibition slate, knowing who’s behind them is imperative to betting spring baseball.

    A talent-loaded lineup can make up for the absence of one or two big bats, while a shallow roster struggles without those elite hitters at the plate. It’s the reason baseball bettors see many of the same clubs excelling spring after spring.

    Ride hot teams, fade cold ones

    There is almost zero consistency in Spring Training, so when you start to see a pattern – winning or losing – jump on it. Managers couldn’t care less about the results, so don’t expect them to rush to right the ship if their club struggles in the spring. And if a team is winning, the skip must be doing something right and will only tweak minor details.

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    Pitching Win Totals

    In the 2017 regular season, we didn't see any pitchers notch 20 or more victories and that was the first time that happened since 2009.

    Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers has the highest win total posted at 17½. Last season, he was tied with four other players for the lead league with 18 victories in the regular season.

    Listed below are the available 'over/under' odds.

    2018 Regular Season Wins by Pitcher:

    Aaron Nola (Phillies)
    Over 13½ Wins -115
    Under 13½ Wins -115
    2017 Record (12-11)

    Carlos Carrasco (Indians)
    Over 14½ Wins -115
    Under 14½ Wins -115
    2017 Record (18-6)

    Chris Sale (Red Sox)
    Over 15½ Wins -115
    Under 15½ Wins -115
    2017 Record (17-8)

    Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers)
    Over 17½ Wins -115
    Under 17½ Wins -115
    2017 Record (18-4)

    Corey Kluber (Indians)
    Over 16½ Wins -115
    Under 16½ Wins -115
    2017 Record (18-4)

    David Price (Red Sox)
    Over 14½ Wins -115
    Under 14½ Wins -115
    2017 Record (6-3)

    Johnny Cueto (Giants)
    Over 12½ Wins -115
    Under 12½ Wins -115
    2017 Record (8-8)

    Jose Quintana (Cubs)
    Over 14½ Wins -115
    Under 14½ Wins -115
    2017 Record (11-11)

    Justin Verlander (Astros)
    Over 15½ Wins -115
    Under 15½ Wins -115
    2017 Record (15-8)

    Kyle Hendricks (Cubs)
    Over 13½ Wins -115
    Under 13½ Wins -115
    2017 Record (7-5)

    Luis Severino (Yankees)
    Over 14½ Wins -115
    Under 14½ Wins -115
    2017 Record (14-6)

    Madison Bumgarner (Giants)
    Over 15½ Wins -115
    Under 15½ Wins -115
    2017 Record (4-9)

    Max Scherzer (Nationals)
    Over 16½ Wins -115
    Under 16½ Wins -115
    2017 Record (16-6)

    Noah Syndergaard (Mets)
    Over 13½ Wins -115
    Under 13½ Wins -115
    2017 Record (1-2)

    Shohei Ohtani (Angels)
    Over 10½ Wins -115
    Under 10½ Wins -115
    2017 Record (NA)

    Sonny Gray (Yankees)
    Over 13½ Wins -115
    Under 13½ Wins -115
    2017 Record (10-12)

    Stephen Strasburg (Nationals)
    Over 15½ Wins -115
    Under 15½ Wins -115
    2017 Record (15-4)

    Yu Darvish (Cubs)
    Over 13½ Wins -115
    Under 13½ Wins -115
    2017 Record (10-12)

    Zach Greinke (Diamondbacks)
    Over 14½ Wins -115
    Under 14½ Wins -115
    2017 Record (17-7)

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    Bumgarner strikes out five in spring debut

    SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) The first man to bat against San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner Sunday hit a wind-aided opposite field home run. Bumgarner was overpowering after that in his spring training debut against the Chicago Cubs, even if he was lacking some sharpness.

    The 2014 World Series MVP got all five outs with strikeouts and allowed two earned runs on four hits in 1 2/3 innings in the Cubs' 12-10 win over the Giants. He left the game with two runners on base and both scored, inflating his final line.

    ''Felt good physically, that's really all I'm looking for,'' Bumgarner said after his outing. ''Every time I tried to get on game speed, I just missed. I was just a touch off of that, which is to be expected I guess, this time of year. Stuff felt fine, besides that, just command. Stuff was a little off. Getting that dialed in, that's why we're here.''

    Bumgarner shook off Ian Happ's solo shot on a full count and struck out the side in the first inning. In between strikeouts he gave up a Kyle Schwarber single and watched Schwarber steal two bases on him, but a called third strike on the outside corner to Efren Navarro ended the inning.

    ''I thought it was going to be an out coming off the bat. Guess he hit it harder than I thought,'' Bumgarner said of the homer. ''Doesn't matter to me either way.''

    Catcher Buster Posey said Bumgarner might have been a little too ''amped up.'' But the pitches looked crisp.

    Bumgarner reached his pitch limit in the second inning and hence was removed.

    ''Location-wise, it wasn't what you would expect out of him, but first outing of the spring, it's going to happen,'' Posey said.

    Bumgarner's 2017 season was interrupted by a dirt bike accident during an off day in Colorado on April 20. He suffered bruised ribs and a sprained AC joint, and missed nearly three months.

    After six straight seasons with double-digit wins, more than 200 innings and 30-plus starts, Bumgarner went 4-9 in 17 starts and threw just 111 innings in 2017.

    ''Last year wouldn't change how I felt about doing that,'' Bumgarner said of getting back to his typical innings and starts counts. ''I always want to do that.''

    Bumgarner said he'd be fine pitching three times in the first nine games of the regular season, which could be the case based on him getting a normal four days' rest in between starts. That would include the season opener in Los Angeles -- for which he has already been named the opening day starter -- then the Giants' home opener against Seattle and after that, a home game against the Dodgers on April 8.

    ''I don't think it's being pushed,'' Bumgarner said. ''Whatever they think's best. There's no difference throwing on four days' rest or five days' rest, to me.''

    NOTES:
    Four Giants expected to be in the everyday lineup made their spring training debuts Sunday. Joe Panik played second base, Posey caught, Hunter Pence took what will be his new position in left field and new arrival Evan Longoria, who will be the third baseman, served as designated hitter. Pence had been dealing with a stiff neck and Posey a bothersome ankle. ... Manager Bruce Bochy missed the game to be in San Diego for the funeral service of former major-league executive Kevin Towers, a longtime friend. Bench coach Hensley Meulens served as acting manager, and Bochy will be back in time for Monday's game.

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    Saturday Spring training roundup: Ohtani pulled early in Angels debut

    Shohei Ohtani went only one way in his spring training debut for the Los Angeles Angels and got pulled early.

    The Japanese star pitcher and hitter was scheduled to throw two innings in his start Saturday, but was taken out after giving up two hits and two walks in 1 1/3 innings during a 6-5 win over Milwaukee.

    Angels manager Mike Scioscia didn't put Ohtani in the batting order.

    The 23-year-old righty struck out two and his fastball reached 97 mph. He allowed one run, on a homer by Keon Broxton. Ohtani threw 31 pitches, 17 for strikes.

    ''Besides the results, I mean, I had a lot of fun out there, so I think it went all well,'' Ohtani said through a translator.

    Ohtani has been hitting some long home runs in batting practice.

    ''I had a lot of fun out there today and obviously I'm excited to hit and pitch again, and I just want to keep on getting better and have good results from here on out,'' he said.

    Scioscia said Ohtani will hit early in the week, as the designated hitter.

    ''It was great to see him,'' Scioscia said. ''I think he did enough to where we certainly learned some things.''

    AROUND THE GRAPEFRUIT AND CACTUS LEAGUES

    ASTROS 6, BRAVES 1

    Collin McHugh struck out five in two innings for the defending champions. Yuli Gurriel homered and Marwin Gonzalez had two hits for Houston.

    David Paulino, a top Astros prospect who was suspended 80 games last season for a drug violation and later had surgery for bone spurs in his right elbow, fanned three in two shutout innings. Sean Newcomb allowed an unearned run in one inning with two strikeouts for Atlanta.

    PHILLIES 9, ORIOLES (SS) 6

    Philadelphia third baseman Will Middlebrooks was carted off the field after injuring his ankle when he collided with left fielder Andrew Pullin chasing a flyball.

    Jorge Alfaro hit a grand slam off Baltimore starter Dylan Bundy, who was roughed up for five runs on four hits and three walks in two innings. Zach Eflin allowed one run on two hits and a walk in 1 2/3 innings for Philadelphia.

    YANKEES 4, PIRATES 1

    New York newcomer Brandon Drury singled in his first at-bat, then was hit by a pitch in the left hand his next time up. Drury, acquired this week from Arizona in a three-team trade, stayed in the game at third base.

    Gregory Polanco homered and singled for Pittsburgh.

    CARDINALS 10, METS 5

    St. Louis star Carlos Martinez struggled, walking three in 1 1/3 innings. New York starter Seth Lugo allowed one hit in two shutout innings. Kevin Plawecki drove in three runs for the Mets.

    MARLINS 3, NATIONALS 2

    J.T. Realmuto homered and singled for Miami.

    Tanner Roark allowed one hit and struck out three for Washington. Bryan Harper gave up a run and took the loss - he is the 28-year-old brother of Nationals star Bryce Harper, and missed last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.

    Nationals outfielder Ryan Raburn was held out for precautionary reasons with tightness on his left side.

    RED SOX 4, RAYS 3

    Jackie Bradley Jr. had two hits, Brock Holt had an RBI double and Roenis Elias fanned two during two perfect innings in the start for Boston.

    Tampa Bay starter Jake Faria lasted just two outs after giving up three runs on four hits and a walk.

    TIGERS 5, BLUE JAYS 4

    Nicholas Castellanos had a two-run triple for Detroit and Miguel Cabrera singled and scored. Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann gave up two hits in two innings.

    Kendrys Morales doubled and singled for Toronto.

    ROCKIES 11, REDS 4

    Nolan Arenado launched his first home run of the spring for Colorado. Cincinnati starter Michael Lorenzen fanned three in two innings, allowing one run.

    ROYALS 8, DODGERS (SS) 4

    Alex Gordon hit an RBI double for Kansas City. Logan Forsythe drove in two runs for Los Angeles.

    ATHLETICS 8, PADRES 3

    Franklin Barreto homered off San Diego starter Tyson Ross. A's reliever Jharel Cotton fanned five of his six batters.

    CUBS 6, RANGERS 1

    Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run home run and Willson Contreras followed with a solo shot to power Chicago. Eddie Butler got five outs and allowed an unearned run in a start for the Cubs. Texas starter Clayton Blackburn allowed two hits in two shutout innings.

    GIANTS 9, DODGERS (SS) 3

    Hector Sanchez, Mac Williamson and Kyle Jensen all homered for San Francisco. Starter Chris Stratton allowed three hits and a walk but no runs in two innings for the Giants.

    Los Angeles reliever Manny Banuelos gave up four runs on five hits in 1 2/3 innings.

    WHITE SOX 5, MARINERS 3

    Hector Santiago allowed five hits but didn't surrender a run in a two-inning start for Chicago. Tyler Saladino and Jake Elmore each had two hits for the White Sox. Mariners starter Mike Leake allowed one hit in two shutout innings.

    INDIANS 11, DIAMONDBACKS 2

    Tyler Naquin hit one of Cleveland's four home runs. David Peralta had two hits for Arizona.

    TWINS 1, ORIOLES (SS) 1, 9 INNINGS

    All-Star third baseman Manny Machado started his second game at shortstop and collected his first two hits of the spring for a Baltimore split squad. Minnesota starter Adalberto Mejia gave up two hits and a walk in two innings. The game ended in a tie after nine innings.
    Last edited by Udog; 02-26-2018 at 08:58 AM.

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    Sunday Spring training roundup focus on Twins

    The Minnesota Twins have powered up their lineup.

    Free agent slugger Logan Morrison and the Twins reached agreement on a $65 million, one-year deal, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Sunday.

    The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the contract was subject to a physical.

    Morrison had a career-high 38 home runs and 85 RBIs for the Tampa Bay Rays last season, mostly as a first baseman.

    The 30-year-old Morrison has also played the corner outfield spots. With Eddie Rosario and Max Kepler in left field and right field and Joe Mauer at first base, Morrison is likely to be the primary designated hitter for a team that earned an AL wild-card spot last season.

    AROUND THE GRAPEFRUIT AND CACTUS LEAGUES:

    NATIONALS 9, BRAVES 3


    Max Scherzer allowed one run, on a homer by Dansby Swanson, in two innings and struck out three for Washington. Bryce Harper went 0 for 3 in his first spring game. Matt Wieters homered for the Nationals.

    Scott Kazmir walked two in one inning for Atlanta.

    METS 10, MARLINS 3

    Yoenis Cespedes hit a three-run homer in his second at-bat of the spring for New York. Cespedes singled his first time up and scored on new teammate Todd Frazier's double. Robert Gsellman started and allowed one hit in two innings.

    Miami starter Tyler Cloyd lasted just four outs and gave up five runs and seven hits.

    RED SOX 7, ORIOLES 1

    Xander Bogaerts singled and scored for Boston. Mookie Betts fanned in all three at-bats for the Red Sox. Gabriel Ynoa allowed a run and struck out four in a two-inning start for Baltimore.

    ASTROS 7, CARDINALS 3

    Gerrit Cole struck out two in two perfect innings in his Houston debut. World Series MVP George Springer hit an RBI double and scored on a single by Alex Bregman. Yadier Molina homered for St. Louis.

    YANKEES 8, PHILLIES 3

    Jordan Montgomery pitched two shutout innings for New York. Philadelphia starter Aaron Nola gave up three runs on four hits in two innings.

    The Phillies said infielder Will Middlebrooks broke his left leg when he collided with a teammate chasing a popup Saturday. The 29-year-old played for Texas last year, and was in camp on a minor league contact.

    PIRATES 8, TIGERS (SS) 8, 9 INNINGS

    Nicholas Castellanos homered and Jeimer Candelario doubled and scored for Detroit's split squad. Alfredo Reyes had an inside-the-park homer for Pittsburgh.

    TWINS 5, RAYS 4

    Kyle Gibson retired all six batters he faced in a start for Minnesota. Tampa Bay starter Blake Snell struck out four in two perfect innings. C.J. Cron homered and doubled for the Rays.

    TIGERS (SS) 6, BLUE JAYS 3

    Matthew Boyd allowed one run on two hits in a two-inning start for Detroit. Kevin Pillar singled and scored on a double by Randal Grichuk for Toronto.

    CUBS 12, GIANTS 10

    San Francisco ace Madison Bumgarner gave up two earned runs on four hits, and also struck out five. Giants newcomer Andrew McCutchen had an RBI single and scored on Buster Posey's two-run double.

    Kyle Schwarber got two hits and stole two bases for Chicago.

    MARINERS 2, DODGERS 0

    Los Angeles star Clayton Kershaw threw a perfect inning, throwing just 11 pitches. The Seager brothers - Corey of the Dodgers and Kyle of the Mariners -faced each other for the first time in their big league careers.

    WHITE SOX 8, REDS (SS) 5

    Matt Davidson homered, singled and drove in four runs for Chicago. Eugenio Suarez had a double and two-run homer for a Cincinnati split squad. Starter Luis Castillo allowed one hit in two shutout innings for the Reds.

    RANGERS 4, ROCKIES 2

    Rougned Odor walked twice, stole a base and scored for Texas. Rangers starter Matt Bush gave up one hit in two shutout innings. Chad Bettis allowed only a walk in two scoreless innings for Colorado. Trevor Story tripled for the Rockies.

    ATHLETICS 4, ROYALS 4, 10 INNINGS

    Paulo Orlando doubled and scored for Kansas City. Jed Lowry doubled for Oakland.

    INDIANS 2, REDS (SS) 2, 9 INNINGS

    Cincinnati ace Homer Bailey gave up two hits with three strikeouts in two shutout innings for a Reds split squad. Jason Kipnis homered for Cleveland. Indians starter Trevor Bauer pitched two perfect innings and fanned three.

    ANGELS 2, PADRES 1

    Garrett Richards allowed one hit - a solo homer by Austin Hedges - in two innings for Los Angeles. He struck out three.

    BREWERS 5, DIAMONDBACKS 1

    Milwaukee newcomers Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain both had hits and each drew a walk. Jhoulys Chacin allowed a hit and a walk in a one-inning start for the Brewers. Ketel Marte had two hits for Arizona.
    Last edited by Udog; 02-26-2018 at 08:58 AM.

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    Monday spring training roundup: Mariners ace Hernandez hit by liner


    This was not how Felix Hernandez hoped to start spring training.

    Slowed by injuries last year, the Seattle ace was struck in his pitching arm by a line drive Monday and left his exhibition debut early.

    The Mariners said a precautionary X-ray of his right forearm was negative. Hernandez was listed as day-to-day and will be re-evaluated Tuesday.

    Hernandez was hit by a liner from Victor Caratini of the Chicago Cubs. The 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner immediately grabbed his arm and didn't chase the ball on the infield grass.

    Hernandez went down to a knee, hopped up and walked around in obvious pain. He headed to the dugout with a trainer holding his arm, and Caratini gave him a tap of encouragement.

    The 31-year-old Hernandez spent considerable time on the disabled list last season because of shoulder trouble. He was 6-5 with a 4.36 ERA in 16 starts.

    OHTANI'S A HIT

    Two-way star Shohei Ohtani had a much better big league debut as a hitter than he did as a pitcher.

    After patiently drawing walks in his first two plate appearances, Ohtani hit a sharp RBI single up the middle in his first spring training start as a designated hitter for the Los Angeles Angels.

    ''I was happy to get that first hit out of the way but I was also happy with my first two at-bats,'' the 23-year-old said through a translator after getting on base three times against three different San Diego pitchers.

    His first Cactus League at-bats came two days after his first start on the mound. The Japanese newcomer allowed a home run and didn't make it through his scheduled two innings against Milwaukee.

    AROUND THE GRAPEFRUIT AND CACTUS LEAGUES:

    ASTROS (SS) 8, METS 7

    Noah Syndergaard and Justin Verlander provided the first real pitchers' duel of the spring. Syndergaard threw 11 pitches of at least 100 mph over two perfect innings, striking out two. Syndergaard, who missed five months of the 2017 season with a strained lat, matched his longest outing in a big league game since April 20, 2017.

    Verlander struck out four of the six batters he faced. Hector Rondon gave up four runs on four hits in just two-thirds of an inning. Houston prospects Kyle Tucker and J.D. Davis each hit their second home runs of the spring.

    RED SOX 13, PIRATES 2

    Andrew Benintendi scored twice and Rafael Devers got two hits for Boston. Pittsburgh starter Ivan Nova struggled, but Jameson Taillon pitched two shutout innings and struck out three.

    MARLINS 11, ASTROS (SS) 0

    Miami starter Jose Urena gave up one hit in two innings. Houston starter Francis Martes allowed three runs and three hits in 1 1/3 innings.

    TWINS 5, CARDINALS 4

    Minnesota starter Phil Hughes allowed one hit in two innings. Erick Aybar got two hits for the Twins.

    Michael Wacha threw two hitless innings for St. Louis.

    RAYS 7, BLUE JAYS 4

    Chris Archer started off with two shutout innings for Tampa Bay, fanning two. Toronto shortstop Lourdes Gurriel, the 24-year-old Cuban-born brother of Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel, had two hits.

    BRAVES 2, NATIONALS 1

    Julio Teheran threw two scoreless innings for Atlanta. Rex Brothers got the save but gave up a home run to Moises Sierra in the ninth.

    TIGERS 8, ORIOLES 6

    Baltimore starter Kevin Gausman was tagged for five runs and six hits in 1 1/3 innings. He also collided with Detroit's on-deck batter while backing up a play at the plate and left the game to be checked for a concussion.

    Jonathan Schoop and Trey Mancini homered for the Orioles. Michael Fulmer gave up one hit in two innings for the Tigers.

    DODGERS 9, RANGERS 6

    Kyle Farmer had three hits and three RBIs for Los Angeles. Mike Minor, who signed a $28 million, three-year deal with Texas, threw only 17 of 36 pitches for strikes.

    DIAMONDBACKS (SS) 7, ROCKIES 4

    Arizona slugger Paul Goldschmidt hit his first home run of the spring. Colorado pitchers Kyle Freeland and Harrison Musgrave both got roughed up.

    MARINERS 9, CUBS 9, 9 INNINGS

    Chicago starter Tyler Chatwood opened with a scoreless inning. Dee Gordon homered for Seattle.

    WHITE SOX 7, ATHLETICS 6

    Michael Kopech struck out three in two shutout innings for Chicago. Oakland starter Kendall Graveman gave up four hits in two innings. Stephen Piscotty, traded from St. Louis to the A's over the winter, hit a double.

    DIAMONDBACKS (SS) 5, REDS 2

    Robbie Ray worked two scoreless innings in the start, fanning three for Arizona. Catcher Alex Avila homered and flipped over a dugout railing for a catch. Cincinnati starter Robert Stephenson couldn't make it out of the second inning, giving up two homers.

    BREWERS 7, INDIANS 6

    Milwaukee starter Junior Guerra gave up a run on three hits in two innings. Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin threw two scoreless innings.

    ROYALS 10, GIANTS 6

    Whit Merrifield homered, doubled and drove in two runs for Kansas City. San Francisco's Derek Holland struck out four but surrendered two runs on two hits.

    PADRES 10, ANGELS 4

    Wil Myers, starting in right field to make room for San Diego newcomer Eric Hosmer at first base, struck out twice in three at-bats.

    YANKEES 4, PHILLIES 3

    Sonny Gray tossed two shutout innings for New York. Third base prospect Miguel Andujar hit an RBI double and a game-winning home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

    Philadelphia starter Ben Lively struck out three in two scoreless innings. Scott Kingery tied it with a homer in the top of the ninth.
    Last edited by Udog; 03-01-2018 at 08:46 AM.

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    Tuesday spring training roundup: Napoli joins Indians, others wait

    The Cleveland Indians gave Mike Napoli a much more familiar uniform.

    The Indians reunited with Napoli on Tuesday, agreeing on a minor league contract with the popular slugger whose powerful swing and clubhouse leadership were key to Cleveland reaching the 2016 World Series.

    Napoli had been on the roster to play in Bradenton, Florida, with a group of free agents still looking for jobs. Tyler Clippard, wearing a black jersey with a white players' union logo, pitched two hitless innings in a 2-0 win over amateurs from the East Japan Railway Company.

    ''It's a situation where a player that is universally respected in our organization, he shouldn't be in that camp,'' Indians manager Terry Francona said.

    Napoli's deal is contingent upon him passing a physical at the Indians' complex in Goodyear, Arizona. He hit .193 with 29 home runs and 66 RBIs for Texas last season.

    The Indians don't have a roster spot for the 36-year-old Napoli, but Francona wanted to give him an opportunity to showcase himself.

    Francona spoke to designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion and first baseman Yonder Alonso and told them Napoli wasn't going to challenge for their jobs.

    ''If we end up helping him out, then we've done a good thing,'' Francona said. ''If anybody deserves it, it's Nap. He did as much as anybody to help us get to the point we could play in a World Series.''

    Clippard finished last season with Houston.

    ''We know that my year last year was a bad year, but at the end of the day, how bad was it? And it wasn't as bad as some that got significant contracts,'' the 33-year-old righty said.

    Alejandro De Aza, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Nolan Reimold were among those in the starting lineup. Neil Walker is taking part, too.

    The camp is similar to the one run by the union at Homestead, Florida, following the end of the 1994-95 players' strike. Dave Gallagher attended then as a player and signed with Philadelphia. Now he is a coach under manager Bo Porter.

    ''They start to lose hope,'' Gallagher said. ''And it's a little bit humiliating.''

    Top free agents have skipped the camp to continue working out on their own, a group that includes pitchers Jake Arrieta and Alex Cobb and third baseman Mike Moustakas.

    AROUND THE GRAPEFRUIT AND CACTUS LEAGUES:

    ORIOLES 2, RAYS 1


    Tampa Bay starter Nathan Eovaldi pitched 1 1/3 hitless innings and struck out two in his first game since August 2016, when he had his second Tommy John surgery. Preston Palmiero, son of former Orioles star Rafael Palmiero, was a defensive replacement.

    TIGERS 11, PHILLIES 6

    Derek Norris went 3 for 3 with his second home run for Detroit. Rhys Hoskins hit his second homer for Philadelphia.

    MARLINS 2, NATIONALS 2, 9 INNINGS

    Miami starter Dan Straily struck out three in two scoreless innings. Gio Gonzalez gave up a hit over two innings and Tommy Milone fanned three over two fast innings for Washington. Bryce Harper doubled for the only extra-base hit.

    PIRATES 3, BRAVES 3, 9 INNINGS

    Mike Foltynewicz pitched two hitless innings for Atlanta and defensive whiz Johan Camargo homered. Jose Osuna had two hits for Pittsburgh.

    CARDINALS 6, RED SOX (SS) 1

    Shortstop Yairo Munoz got three hits for St. Louis. Brock Holt had two hits for a Boston split squad.

    RED SOX (SS) 3, TWINS 2

    Sam Travis hit a tiebreaking double in the ninth for Boston's other split squad. Byron Buxton had two hits for the Twins, and starter Jose Berrios threw a scoreless inning.

    YANKEES 9, BLUE JAYS 8

    Rookie third baseman Miguel Andujar hit his second spring homer, Danny Espinosa also connected and Austin Romine doubled twice for New York. Former Yankees catcher Russell Martin homered for Toronto and Marco Estrada worked a clean inning.

    ASTROS 8, METS 2

    Jake Marisnick doubled and drove in two runs and Brad Peacock had a solid outing in his two-inning start for Houston. Mets starter Steven Matz gave up five runs in the second inning. Tim Tebow struck out and went 0 for 2 as a Mets DH.

    GIANTS 14, DIAMONDBACKS 12

    Brandon Belt got three hits and Evan Longoria drew two walks for San Francisco. Starter Jeff Samardzija gave up two runs and four hits in 1 1/3 innings. Arizona's Archie Bradley allowed four runs on four hits and three walks in 1 1/3 innings.

    CUBS 6, WHITE SOX 5

    Jon Lester made his spring debut and worked 1 2/3 innings, striking out three allowing a run on one hit. J.A. Happ hit the Cubs' second leadoff home run of the spring. Hector Santiago threw three innings of clean relief, striking out four. Jose Abreu doubled and Matt Davidson hit his second home run.

    BREWERS 6, REDS 3

    Adam Duvall hit a two-run homer for Cincinnati. Eric Thames got his first hit of the spring for Milwaukee and Eric Sogard and Nick Franklin each drove in three runs.

    INDIANS 16, A'S 8

    Corey Kluber struck out three and gave up a run over two innings in his spring debut. Jason Kipnis homered twice and drove in four runs and newly signed Yonder Alonso doubled for Cleveland. Oakland reliever Yusmeiro Petit gave up a home run in his inning of relief.

    ROYALS 14, MARINERS (SS) 9

    Kansas City starter Wily Peralta gave up four earned runs and four hits in one inning. Whit Merrifield tripled and doubled. Andrew Moore, vying for a spot in the Seattle rotation, had a rough spring debut, giving up six runs on seven hits in 1 1/3 innings.

    RANGERS 4, DODGERS 4, 9 INNINGS

    Rougned Odor doubled, walked and stole his second base of the spring. Joey Gallo doubled in a run and scored for Texas. Kenta Maeda debuted with two solid innings for Los Angeles.

    ANGELS 5, ROCKIES 2

    Shohei Ohtani went 0 for 3 in his second game as the DH for Los Angeles. Matt Shoemaker worked 2 1/3 innings, scattering three hits and a run. Colorado starter Jon Gray allowed three hits and two runs over two innings.

    PADRES 11, MARINERS (SS) 6

    Eric Hosmer made his debut in a Padres uniform and had a hit in three at-bats. Clayton Richard gave up two runs on two hits in the start. Austin Hedges hit his second home run of the spring. Seattle's James Paxton made his spring debut and allowed a hit and a walk over two innings. Jean Segura homered and drove in three runs with two hits.

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    American League East betting preview: Yankees-Red Sox rivalry takes center stage
    Matt Fargo

    The Evil Empires have returned to power as the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry takes center stage in the American League East once again. Can anyone else challenge the hated rivals, or will the BoSox and Bronx Bombers go blow-for-blow all season long? Matt Fargo breaks down the division and makes his regular season win total picks for each team.

    Baltimore Orioles (2017: 75-87, -1,271 units, 80-78-4 O/U)

    Division odds: 80/1
    Season win total: 71.5

    Why bet the Orioles: Baltimore was able to keep most of its offense intact as it was able to sign Manny Machado to a one-year deal to avoid arbitration and also has Jonathan Schoop, Adam Jones, Tim Beckham, Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo. The Orioles finished 29th in WAR for starting pitchers last season but the good news is that they did not keep Wade Miley, who led the league in walks, Ubaldo Jimenez, who allowed the sixth most runs, and Chris Tillman, who posted a 7.84 ERA.

    Why not bet the Orioles: While the rotation lost a majority of their liabilities, the Orioles are going to have to count on mostly young arms to fill the void so there are still questions. The offense looks like it has some punch on paper but most of the above-mentioned names had drop-offs last season. That includes Machado, who is a free agency after this season, and should the Orioles struggle early on, a trade is likely as the will look to go into rebuilding mode.

    Pick: Over 71.5

    Boston Red Sox (2017: 93-69, +413 units, 71-85-6 O/U)

    Division odds: 6/5
    Season win total: 92.5

    Why to bet the Red Sox: Boston won the A.L. East last season and is loaded again to make a run. Chris Sale was a sensational pick up last season, but he came up small in the postseason as did most of the starting rotation. The Red Sox should get a bounce back season from Rick Porcello, who won the A.L. Cy Young in 2016, and David Price should rebound as well following an injury-plagued season. They landed J.D. Martinez to bolster the offense that finished just 14th in slugging percentage and 15th in home runs.

    Why to not bet the Red Sox: Expectations were high last season and are arguably higher this season which sets up Boston to underachieve. While Porcello and Price should be better, if they are not significantly better, the rotation could be in deep trouble. Martinez will no doubt help the offense, but the Red Sox took a big step backwards last season, so they need several other players to step up. Boston will be just as good, if not better, but the pieces need to fall perfectly in place to win another division title.

    Pick: Over 92.5

    New York Yankees (2017: 91-71, -1.00 units, 83-76-3 O/U)

    Division odds: 10/11
    Season win total: 94.5

    Why to bet the Yankees: The Yankees landed an unexpected prize when they were able to obtain Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins as they now pack the best one-two punch in baseball along with Aaron Judge. Gary Sanchez, Didi Gregarious and Greg Bird round out a youthful and potent offense. New York acquired Sonny Gray from Oakland last season and along with Luis Severino, who fulfilled expectations last year, and Masahiro Tanaka form one of the better top of the rotations in the A.L.

    Why to not bet the Yankees: The already publicly loved Yankees will have even more public love this year as expectations are through the roof and they will be overpriced all season. The back end of the rotation is suspect with C.C. Sabathia and Jordan Montgomery and despite having one of the best closers in the game, the bullpen was below average last season. The Yankees went 5-6 in extra innings, 18-26 in one-run games and 29-35 in games decided by two runs or less.

    Pick: Under 94.5

    Tampa Bay Rays (2017: 80-82, -6.50 units, 78-81-3 O/U)

    Division odds: 60/1
    Season win total: 73.5

    Why to bet the Rays: It was a fairly successful season for Tampa Bay last year despite possessing the third lowest payroll in baseball as it won 80 games which came after winning just 68 games in 2016. The starting rotation was the highlight, led by Chris Archer who finished fourth in the league in strikeouts and overall, the Rays finished 8th in ERA. The bullpen was also solid as they had a top ten ERA. While the trade of Evan Longoria looks like a hit, he had an OBP of just .313.

    Why to not bet the Rays: Longoria will still be a tough loss as his veteran leadership will be missed the most. The offense was almost a carbon copy from 2016 when they were near the top of baseball in home runs but were near the bottom in runs scored. Last season, Tampa Bay was 6th in home runs but 25th in runs scored and was near the bottom of the league in several other offensive categories. Archer will be sought after at the trade deadline so if he is dealt, the Rays will have a long end of summer.

    Pick: Under 73.5

    Toronto Blue Jays (2017: 76-86, -17.75 units, 73-82-7 O/U)

    Division odds: 8/1
    Season win total: 81.5

    Why to bet the Blue Jays: Toronto regressed by 13 wins last season after making the playoffs the previous two years. The Blue Jays were hit by the injury bug as Josh Donaldson missed significant time, Troy Tulowitzki played only 66 games and Aaron Sanchez made only eight starts after going 15-2 in 2016. Staying healthy cannot be predicted but the Blue Jays should have better fortunes in 2018. Marcus Stroman is a stud on the mound while Curtis Granderson and Randal Grichuk solidify the outfield.

    Why to not bet the Blue Jays: For an offense that went from one of the best to one of the worst, expecting a reversal once again may be too much to ask for. This team is not getting any younger as Granderson, Jose Bautista, who was horrible last season, Kendrys Morales and Tulowitzki are all 34 or older. Toronto made some decent acquisitions during the offseason but did not make any blockbuster move that will let them contend with the Yankees or Red Sox unless something really special takes place.

    Pick: Over 81.5

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