We are already about 10 games into the second half of the 2010 Major League Baseball season, and things are really heating up as the July 31 deadline approaches. There are some close races for top spot in the AL East and NL Central as the clubs jockey for position, and get a read on weather they’re buying or selling at months end. Lets take a look at the top five match ups for Friday, July 23. I recommend doing your MLB betting at online of the best online sportsbooks listed below, where you will receive a Free Money Bonus for signing up!
St. Louis (54-42) at Chicago (43-53) – St. Louis has won 12 of 19 meetings with the Cubs since the beginning of 2009. That includes two victories during a three-game series at Wrigley from May 28-30. Cardinals’ starter Jeff Suppan (0-5, 6.05 ERA) is 6-10 with a 3.95 ERA in 25 career matchups with the Cubs. He will be opposed by Randy Wells (4-7, 4.33), who lost both of his career starts against the Cardinals. Like Suppan, Wells has been hampered by poor run support. Look for Chicago to snag a win on Friday.
Tampa Bay (57-37) at Cleveland (40-55) -Tampa Bay’s 31-17 road record is the best in the majors and they will try to use it to snap a 17 game losing streak at Progressive Field. The Rays have won five of six against Cleveland at home this year. Jeff Nieman (8-2, 2.92 ERA) will start for Tampa. The Rays have won both of Niemann’s home starts against the Indians this year, but the right-hander still doesn’t have a winning decision against Cleveland. The Tribe will counter with Fausto Carmona (9-7, 3.65) who has a chance to reach 10 wins for the first time since going 19-8 in 2007. He has been sharp in two starts against the Rays this year, going 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA. The Rays have been hot and I expect them to win this one.
Colorado (51-44) at Philadelphia (49-46) -Philadelphia improved to 2-6 since the All-Star break after snapping a four-game skid with an 11-inning victory at St. Louis. Meanwhile, Colorado is 2-5 after dropping three of four at Florida. Roy Halladay (10-8, 2.40 ERA) will start for Philly. The right-hander allowed three runs in 6 1-3 innings at Colorado on May 12. Jimmy Rollins is 4 for 32 in his last eight games and All-Star Ryan Howard is batting .406 during the same span. The Rockies will go with Aaron Cook (4-5, 4.56), who looks to build on the best outing of his season. The right-hander is 1-5 with a 5.85 ERA in nine starts versus the Phillies. I like the Phillies in this one as Halladay gets his grove back.
Toronto (48-48) at Detroit (50-44) –After being swept in four games at Cleveland after the break, the Tigers are looking for their third straight victory. After going 2 for 14 with one RBI against the Tribe, All-Star first baseman Miguel Cabrera bounced back to go 9 for 17 with two homers and six RBIs in the last four games. Toronto starter Shaun Marcum (8-4, 3.36) will try to slow down Cabrera in Friday’s game. The right-hander has improved to 5-2 with a 4.14 ERA in 10 road starts and is 1-1 with a 5.28 ERA in five career appearances against the Tigers. The Tigers will counter with 21-year-old right-hander Rick Porcello (4-7, 5.63 ERA) who has gone 0-3 with a 5.72 ERA in his last four outings. He went 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA in two starts against Toronto last year. I expect the Jays to get a solid pitching performance from Marcum tonight, and although it will probably be tight, Toronto wins tonight.
Cincinnati (53-44) at Houston (39-56) – Cincinnati fell 2-0 in its most recent game against Houston but have won the other five games against the Astros by a 43-16 margin. The Reds have fallen 1.5 games behind in the division and will look to get back in front with a little help from Travis Wood (0-1, 2.03 ERA) who nearly pitched a perfect game July 10 at Philadelphia, and was solid again in his first start after the All-Star break. The Astros are .500 (3-3) to start the second half and will counter with Bud Norris (2-7, 6.09), who gave up five runs over five innings of a 6-2 loss to Cincinnati on April 27 at Minute Maid Park. His home record is an awful 0-4 with an ERA of 7.36. The Reds should win this one if Wood can get a little run support this time out.
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