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MLB: Cincinnati is 15-6 in its last 21 games as a favorite.
MLB: Seattle has won 24 of its last 74 overall.
MLB: Only two of Arizona’s last 11 games have played over the total.
3 – Barcelona sharpshooter Lionel Messi has a pair of hat tricks in his last three games heading into the club’s Champions League match against BATE Borisov on Wednesday. Messi is also just three goals away from overtaking Ladislau Kubala as Barcelona’s second-leading scorer of all time. Barcelona is set as a big -715 favorite with the draw at +620 and a BATE victory at +1350.
Injury that shouldn’t be overlooked
Chipper Jones, Atlanta Braves - Jones is dealing with a bone bruise on his right knee. An MRI confirmed that the injury was not more serious and Jones will continue to play through the discomfort.
Game of the day
Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves (N/A)
''It's like you sit down to a great dinner and you eat your dinner. You feel great but you still want that dessert, and you want it to be the best dessert ever and that's how I feel. I'm satisfied because I am full from that main meal but I'm waiting on that fabulous dessert. The finals is going to be that dessert for me.” – Minnesota Lynx 41-year-old center Taj McWilliams-Franklin about advancing to the WNBA finals. The Indiana Fever and Atlanta Dream square off Tuesday night for a chance to battle the Lynx in the finals.
Notes and tips
The Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays both won on Tuesday, so they'll head into Wednesday's action tied for the AL wild card. Boston is set as a -230 favorite at Baltimore with Jon Lester facing Alfredo Simon, while Tampa Bay sends David Price to the mound against the Yankees, who have yet to name their starter. Same story in the National League where the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals are tied for the final playoff spot. The Cardinals are expected to have Chris Carpenter on the hill against Houston's Brett Myers. Meanwhile, Tim Hudson will start for Atlanta against Philadelphia's Joe Blanton.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick likely will play Sunday vs. San Francisco despite a badly bruised hand, Philly.com reported Tuesday. The lefthanded Vick was thought to have suffered a broken right hand in Sunday's loss to the New York Giants. But a second examination Monday revealed that what was thought to be a break was a blood vessel, and Vick has a deep bone bruise near his wrist. The report said Vick will play if the swelling in his hand decreases and he is cleared by a doctor for contact. He is wearing a large wrap over the hand.
Chelsea’s starting lineup will garner a lot of attention ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League match with Valencia. Frank Lampard has been a staple in center midfield for Chelsea for years, but 33-year-old manager Andre Villas-Boas has stuck the veteran on the bench in three of the club’s last four games, which is causing a major uproar among some team supporters. Meanwhile, Fernando Torres will likely start as he will have to serve an EPL suspension following Saturday’s red car against Swansea. Chelsea is pegged at +140 with the draw at +215 and a Valencia win at +180.
Myers’ numbers still don’t look great, but he has been a force on the mound lately for Houston. He is 4-0 with a 1.24 ERA in his last five starts and has allowed just one home run over the hot streak. Last week he held the Rockies to one earned run on four hits over six innings. He has a tough assignment against Chris Carpenter and the St. Louis Cardinals to cap off the year.
Brandon Morrow, Toronto Blue Jays (11-11, 4.78 ERA)
Morrow hasn’t allowed a run in 15 consecutive innings and baffled the Tampa Bay Rays last week, shutting them out over seven innings with nine strikeouts.
"His conviction to each pitch, his aggressiveness was outstanding," Toronto manager John Farrell told reporters of Morrow’s outing. "He was powerful. For the most part he pitched ahead in the count, and when he does that with that type of stuff, he can be dominant."
Anthony Vasquez, Seattle Mariners (1-5, 8.89 ERA)
The rookie isn’t exactly making a good impression for a roster spot next season. He has lost five consecutive starts and has now served up 12 dingers in his six total outings. Vasquez got the hook after just 3 1/3 innings in a 5-3 loss to Texas last week that saw him allow all five runs and three homers. In 27 1/3 innings, he has just 12 strikeouts against 10 walks.
Alfredo Simon, Baltimore Orioles (4-9, 4.85 ERA)
Simon hasn’t picked up a win since Aug. 23 and the Orioles are only 2-4 in his last six starts, but he has had some bright spots. He gave up just three runs in eight innings of work in a 4-3 loss to Detroit last week. That was a nice bounce-back start after he allowed six runs in five innings against the Angels. The long ball continues to be a problem for him as he’s allowed five homers in his last three starts.