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MLB: The Cleveland Indians are 9-2 in Justin Masterson’s last 11 trips to the hill.
MLB: The over is 7-1-1 in Washington’s last nine overall.
MLB: San Diego was 1-10 in its last 11 road games heading into Monday night’s action.
MLB: Florida is 1-8 in its last nine games against Atlanta.
$21 million – The St. Louis Cardinals have reportedly agreed to a two-year contract extension with starting pitcher Chris Carpenter, who has bounced back from a 1-7 beginning to the season to even his record at 9-9. Carpenter climbs the hill Tuesday in Pittsburgh with his Cards set around -175.
Injury that shouldn’t be overlooked
Colorado Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez is expected to return to the lineup Tuesday after struggling with a stiff back over the weekend. Gonzalez said his back stiffened up Saturday, and it prevented him from playing in Sunday's series finale against the visiting Cincinnati Reds. The 25-year-old is hitting .299 for the season with 25 homers, 89 RBIs and 19 steals in 469 at-bats.
Game of the day
Detroit Tigers at Chicago White Sox (+170, 7)
"Ibrahimovic is one of the world's best players, he's Milan's most important player. It's always better to play against the whole team so it's a shame he couldn't come. He's a player on another level. I'm happy for everything he brought for us." – Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola on AC Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was injured in Monday’s training session and won’t play when the two teams clash Tuesday. Ibrahimovic left Barcelona for following a falling out with Guardiola. Barcelona is a big -435 favorite with the draw at +450 and a Milan victory at a whopping +950.
Notes and tips
This is just getting awkward for Tim Wakefield as he tries to pick up his 200th career win. The veteran knuckleballer makes his eighth try at the milestone win Tuesday against the Toronto Blue Jays, but has allowed at least four runs in each of his last four starts. The BoSox are set around -165 at home to Toronto.
UEFA Champions League group stage action kicks off Tuesday with a couple of interesting matches on the schedule. Bayer Leverkusen veteran midfielder Michael Ballack will face off against his former club Chelsea. "We have a bit of international experience thanks to the Europa League [last season, reaching the round of 16], but of course it's completely different to be playing in the Champions League," said the 34-year-old. "I know from experience that it's a different level. Yet in the opening match in London, where we can go without any pressure, we may spring a surprise." Chelsea is pegged as a -250 favorite with the draw at +315 and a Bayer Leverkusen win at +630.
Slugger Adrian Beltre is on an absolute tear after coming off the disabled list on Sept. 1. He drove in seven runs over the weekend as Texas took two out of three from the Athletics and is now hitting .395 with 12 RBIs since coming off the shelf (he also had a 16-game hitting streak before reinjuring his hamstring). The Rangers are just 11-12 in their last 23 games, but are still clinging to the AL West lead as the Angels are charging.
We realize Justin Verlander and Ian Kennedy are climbing the hill Tuesday, but to be totally honest, we’re getting a little sick of talking about those guys – you know what they do. Instead, check out Gavin Floyd, who is 3-0 with a 3.61 ERA in his last six trips to the hill. He gave up just a single earned run over 5 2/3 innings to pace the Pale Hose to an 8-1 win over Cleveland last week.
Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies (14-7, 2.60 ERA)
Those shoulder concerns that kept Hamels out of the rotation for a few starts last month seem to be behind him. He is 1-0 over his last three starts, boasting a 2.45 ERA while striking out 16 batters over 21 innings. Hamels hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a starts since mid-July. The Phillies have a shot at clinching the division Monday, so beware the possible champagne hangover.
Ryan Dempster, Chicago Cubs (10-11, 4.74 ERA)
Dempster was a rock in the Cubs’ rotation for much of the year, but even he’s faltering down the stretch of another lost season for Chicago. He hasn’t won a game since Aug. 11 even though he gave up more than three runs just once over those five starts. The Canadian gave up 10 hits in six innings during a no-decision against the Reds last week.
Brandon Morrow, Toronto Blue Jays (9-10, 5.12 ERA)
Morrow was pasted for eight runs and two dingers in 4 1/3 innings of work in last week’s loss 11-10 win over Boston, marking the third time he has allowed at least five earned runs over his last four starts. Some are speculating he’s tiring down the stretch, but he’s shooting those notions down.
“I feel good, I thought there was good life on my pitches,” he told reporters of his last start. “I watched every single pitch and I liked the pitch on six of the eight hits. I thought for the most part they were good pitches.”