It's all baseball this week, guys!
Friday, July 12
Major League Baseball
Cincinnati Reds at Atlanta Braves
Bronson Arroyo (7-7, 3.55 ERA) - Reds vs Kris Medlen (6-8, 3.45 ERA) - Braves
Both pitchers appear to have shaken off rocky start to the year. Arroyo appears to have settled down and found his groove after giving up a lot of runs in the month of April and into early May. Medlen was the victim of some hard-luck losses (and no decisions) early in the year, but has won five of his last seven decisions.
Medlen was torched in his last start against the Philadelphia Phillies and Arroyo posted a loss in spite of a quality start in his last appearance against the often punchless Seattle Mariners. Both men are looking to get back on track.
This could be a playoff preview. Both teams are among the best in the National League, though the Reds are embroiled in an N.L. Central division dogfight with the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates, with two of the three best records in Major League Baseball. This game and this series appear very even on paper, but the Braves are very tough at home and I think that gives them the edge in this pre-All-Star matchup.
Advantages: Game – Braves, Series – Braves
Saturday, July 13
Major League Baseball
Colorado Rockies at Los Angeles Dodgers
Tyler Chatwood (5-2, 2.74 ERA) - Rockies vs Zack Grienke (7-2, 3.91 ERA) - Dodgers
I don’t know much about third year Rockies starting pitcher Tyler Chatwood, but any Rockies pitcher with an ERA under 3.00 through 11 starts has my attention. Greinke has also been hot. He has won five straight decisions. He’s anything if not a seasoned game manager.
The Dodgers are on fire after being in last place last month. Unless you’ve been in a coma, you’ve heard about the rapid ascension of rookie right fielder Yasiel Puig (.397, 8 HR, 19 RBI) to stardom. However, shortstop Hanley Ramirez’s (.402, 8 HR, 24 RBI, 1.185 OPS, 36 GP) hot streak since returning to the lineup last month has flown under the radar. He has reached base in 22 of the last 23 games and is tearing the cover off of the ball.
Puig, Ramirez, and the starting pitchers have helped L.A. close to within a game and a half of the first place Arizona Diamondbacks. The Rockies have a couple of hot hands in outfielders Carlos Gonzalez (.307, 25 HR, 64 RBI) and Michael Cuddyer (.332, 15 HR, 52 RBI). It is also not clear if Puig, who left yesterday’s game with a hip injury, will play. But the Dodgers are hot and I like them in this series.
Advantages: Game – Dodgers, Series – Dodgers
Sunday, July 14
Major League Baseball
Texas Rangers at Detroit Tigers
Martin Perez (3-1, 2.08 ERA) - Rangers vs Justin Verlander (9-6, 3.71, 122 Ks) - Tigers
The young Venezuelan Perez is off to a rapid start, with three wins in five starts this year. However, the first place Tigers are hot right now and the Rangers appear to be cooling off, being passed this week by the Oakland A’s for first place in the American League West division.
Tigers third baseman and reigning American League Most Valuable Player Miguel Cabrera (.366, 30 HR, 94 RBI, 1.138 OPS) is playing like some kind of superman right now. Also, the Rangers will be without designated hitter Lance Berkman (.254, 6 HR, 34 RBI), who is on the 15 day Disabled List with a hip injury. Berkman has been dogged all season with nagging injuries. That’s enough to tip the scales in the Tigers’ favor on Sunday, in my opinion.
Advantages: Game – Tigers, Series – Tigers
|Miguel Cabrera is the first MLB player, ever, to hit 30 home runs and 90 RBIs before the All-Star break. 3|
Monday, July 15
MLB Home Run Derby presented by Chevrolet
The best sluggers in the National League go head-to-head with their American League rivals. American league headliners include Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees, former two time (2009, 2012) derby champion Prince Fielder of the Detroit Tigers, and Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles. National Leaguers include New York Mets third baseman David Wright, Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals, and Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies.
|Well, he is a vegan. 4|
Tuesday, July 16
MLB All-Star Game
American League All-Stars at National League All-Stars
The Midsummer Classic pits the best against the best for the fans. For the players? One unlucky team will not have home field advantage in the World Series as a result of this exhibition game played by players and managed by managers who won’t give a damn the next day.
Don't forget to vote in the fan polls!
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1) Image from http://commons.wikimedia.org
2) Image from http://articles.chicagotribune.com
3) Image from www.bleacherreport.com
4) Image from www.mlbmemes.com
5) Image from www.thatsenuff.com