18:05 Cleveland Indians-Toronto Blue Jays 1=2.20 5/10
The Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians get together for some afternoon action at Progressive Field.
Toronto's hot streak has come and gone and if they are to get back in the American League East race, they have to not give it back this time. The Blue Jays squeezed by Cleveland 5-4 on Wednesday but are hovering around the .500 mark over the past few weeks and that won't get the job done. A late scoring burst and solid pitching from Esmil Rogers, who gave up a lone run on four hits and three BB, while whiffing seven in six innings pitched. The offense totaled just six hits, but walked seven times. Emilio Bonifacio and Munenori Kawasaki drove in two runs each. Veteran right-hander RA Dickey needs a big rebound when he takes the mound at Progressive Field. Dickey has been either good or bad and it was the latter in a 6-0 loss to Minnesota, with all six runs allowed in seven frames.The streaky Indians seem just as likely to win six in a row as they are to lose six straight. Ironing out the highs and lows would be a huge step toward becoming more of a threat to Detroit in the American League Central and Wednesday didn't help. Late inning relief and a 9th inning rally both came up short and squandered a strong effort from Justin Masterson, who allowed only two runs through 6.2 frames, before the relief corps gave up three 9th inning runs. The bats had their chances on their nine hit, six walk attack that saw three players knock in runs, while three scored. The Indians scored twice in the 9th, but stranded the winning runs on base. Rookie right-hander Danny Salazar is scheduled to make his major league debut on Thursday versus the Blue Jays. Salazar was is 3-2 with a 3.40 ERA for AAA Columbus covering 42.1 innings.To be up front, I have no clue what Dickey will do and even less of an idea what we'll see from Salazar. I'm taking Cleveland because of the odds, but I won't touch this...
18:10Tampa Bay-Minnesota Twins,Tampa Bay -1.5=2.006/10
The Minnesota Twins hope to get hot heading towards the All-Star break with Tampa Bay standing in the way.This article was written with the score tied 3-3 in the 13th inning Wednesday.Minnesota needs a winning streak in the worst way, but they need several and they need to be long. Nothing has gone well for the Twins, who have been slowly but surely dropping out of view in the American League Central. No one area is to blame, with both the bats and arms coming up short more often than not over the last several weeks. The Twins received stellar work on the mound Wednesday, but the bats didn't excel. Time is not on the Twins side with so much ground to make up, even though half the seson is still in front of them. Minnesota turns to Mike Pelfrey for his second start since coming off the disabled list when he faces the Rays. Pelfrey was at the top of his game in his first outing and he tossed a three hit shutout in a 3-0 win over Toronto.Before the season began, Tampa Bay was pegged as a contender in the American League East and right now the Rays are living up to expectations. Before Wednesday's clash with Minnesota, TB had won nine of ten to climb to second in the division with both the pitching and hitting getting on the same page to make a formidable combination. Of course, we saw this team go through periods like this in 2012 and they eventually fell off the pace so with half the season still in front of them, the Rays have to be on guard to avoid any slumps that could potentially kill their chances in the toughest division in baseball. The Rays have the arms if Jeremy Hellickson continues to produce as he did Wednesday and with David Price back, the potential is there. Left hander Matt Moore will be on the bump to face Minnesota as one of the hottest hurlers in the game right now. Moore has won three straight with a sparkling 0.47 ERA in this stretch, covering 19.1 frames. I seldom bet any game Pelfrey pitches because he can get hammered for weeks and than toss a shutout. Moore is obviously more consistent so I give him the advantage, unless Pelfrey tosses another gem...
19:05 New York Yankees-Kansas City Royals 1=1.79 7/10
The Kansas City Royals look to end their visit with the New York Yankees with a victory.
The Royals might be an improved team, but the question is whether they are improved enough to challenge in the American League Central. In my view, the Royals have to get above .500 to be considered a threat and they missed out on reaching the break even point in Wednesday's 8-1 defeat to the Yankees. Kansas City simply had one of those nights where nothing went well, with starter Wade Davis allowing all eight runs on six hits and a trio of bases on balls. The bats didn't come close to digging out of that hole on their five hit, two walk attack, with Eric Hosmer doubling in an 8th inning run. Ervin Santana is scheduled to be on the mound for the final game of the series. Santana is just 5-5 on the season, but is actually throwing the ball as well as he ever has. However, he's been hurt by poor support and work out of the bullpen.The Yankees could use a hot streak in the worst way heading in to the All-Star break and carrying over to the second half. The Bronx Bombers did break a three game slide in convincing fashion in Wednesday's rout of Kansas City. Both the work at the plate and on the mound were outstanding. Starter Ivan Nova continued to throw the ball well since coming off the disabled list, with the lone run given up on five hits and a pair of free passes over eight frames, while striking out six to pick up the win. The offense connected on nine hits and walked three times. Robinson Cano smacked a three-run bomb, while Lyle Overbay hit a grand slam. Veteran left hander Andy Pettitte toes the rubber in the final game of the series with Kansas City on Thursday. Pettitte has been able to give the Yankees some quality innings thus far, but he has to be able to deliver more consistently if the team expects to make a run at the postseason.I think Santana is having the better season over the aging Pettitte, who I don't have a ton of confidence in. He is still capable, though, and hopefully shows it so I'll back the...
19:08Detroit Tigers- Chicago White Sox,Detroit -1.5=2.30 5/10
The Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers finish off their weekday set in the Motor City Thursday.
Momentum in baseball might be the most overrated part of the game and the White Sox should have had some after hanging eleven runs on the Tigers on Tuesday. The bats did continue to score, but the work on the mound left a lot to be desired in an 8-5 defeat. Chicago has now dropped five of six and when they score, they have to win the way the offense has struggled. Starter Dylan Axlerod struggled from the first pitch and never got going, with seven runs plated on eleven hits and a pair of BB through 5.2 frames. The bats showed a little punch on nine hits and and three walks and Gordon Beckham and Conor Gillaspie left the yard. The White Sox hand the ball to ace left hander Chris Sale for the final game of the series in Detroit. Sale continues to throw the ball well, but is not adding to the win column because the bats have not given him more than a few runs to work with.Like I said above, momentum is fleeting in this game and Detroit made sure to retake it in Wednesday's victory, as they scored early and often and didn't give their American League Central rivals a chance to breathe. The first place Tigers have now won seven of nine and picked up a game in the standings with everyone else losing. Starter Rick Porcello had fared well in the past versus the White Sox and got the job done once again, with three runs allowed on seven hits and six strikeouts over six innings. That was more than enough for a potent Detroit attack that produced 15 hits and two free passes. Prince Fielder went deep and drove in three, while Alex Avila knocked in two more. The Tigers send Anibal Sanchez to the bump Thursday afternoon to square off with the White Sox. Sanchez has been a steady performer for the Tigers despite a few injury problems, as he shoots for win number eight.I love Chris Sale because he goes about his business and performs well, even though he is often left to fend for himself. Anibal Sanchez obviously plays for the better team so I'm leaning his way, but I won't play this juice against Sale...
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