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The Final Series Before The All-Star Break Greet The Calendar

Posted by Dale “Skip” Lalonde on 7/11/2013 6:44:32 PM

On Friday, the Major League Baseball schedule will offer some very urgent matchups, as teams face the final weekend series before the 2013 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.

Game 1: St. Louis Cardinals @ Chicago Cubs – Friday, July 12

NFL betting experts who don't devote a lot of attention to big-league baseball might think that in this matchup will be claimed by the Cubs, due to the fact that Chicago starting pitcher Carlos Villanueva has a 3.39 ERA, a mark that is roughly three-fourths of a run lower than the mark belonging to St. Louis starter Joe Kelly (4.15). Yes, it’s true that Kelly is a spot starter who has climbed into the Cardinals’ rotation after being a reliever for the first two months of the season. Kelly is not completely accustomed to the grind of pitching many innings, though he does have 23 career starts. There’s plenty of reason to be skeptical of Kelly’s chops as a starter, and that’s another reason to think the Cubs will win.

However…

Kelly has made tremendous progress as a pitcher over the past seven weeks. On May 18, his ERA was 7.36. He also put in some long-relief appearances in which he stabilized the Cardinals’ bullpen. The fact that Kelly has shaved 3.21 runs off his ERA since May 18 is a testament to his quality. Villanueva has been solid for the Cubs this season, but if you think that he’s going to outclass Kelly, you might not have an accurate sense of this situation. Chicago could certainly win, but Kelly is improving and is likely to contain the Cubs’ bats on Friday afternoon. Go with St. Louis here.

MLB Betting Pick: St. Louis

Game 2: New York Mets @ Pittsburgh Pirates – Friday, July 12

The betting websites that are scrutinizing lineups and pitching staffs do not need to be told that this is a very even matchup of starting pitchers. New York’s Jeremy Hefner has a 3.39 ERA, while Charlie Morton of Pittsburgh checks in with a 3.38 mark. Much like the Kelly-Villanueva clash mentioned above, one of the starters in this matchup has not been a starter in 2013 for more than a full month. Morton has been a starter for the past month at the big-league level, making his in-season journey similar to Kelly’s. One cannot gain a particularly strong feel for what Morton is going, so picking the Pirates on that basis is a bit tenuous. What should lead a person to pick Pittsburgh here is that the Bucs have been a terrific team in close games and, by extension, a really good team overall. Expect Pittsburgh’s bullpen and defense to make the difference.

MLB Betting Pick: Pittsburgh

Game 3: Houston Astros @ Tampa Bay Rays – Friday, July 12

For a lover of betting, this is too good an opportunity to resist. In order to beat Tampa Bay starter David Price, you need to have a formidable starting pitcher of your own. Houston starter Dallas Keuchel, he of the 4.59 ERA, is not the kind of hurler who is likely to go toe-to-toe with Price, a Cy Young Award winner. Take the Rays here.

MLB Betting Pick: Tampa Bay

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