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Struggling Ballclubs Try To Find A Spark On The Last Getaway Day Before The Break

Posted by Dale “Skip” Lalonde on 7/10/2013 6:09:05 PM

It’s hard to believe, but it’s true: Entering play on July 11, only one of the six teams you see below will be more than five games over .500. Many of these teams were expected to do more.

Game 1: Toronto Blue Jays @ Cleveland Indians – Thursday, July 11

The sound sports bet in this situation will make a reasoned case for the Blue Jays. Toronto will send veteran lefthander Mark Buehrle to the hill in this tilt. Buehrle has fared well against the Indians in his career, and he knows the team well from his days with the Chicago White Sox. Buehrle has improved as the season has continued, so one should expect a solid outing from him in this midday matinee. Cleveland, on the other hand, has not yet decided on its starting pitcher in this contest. Manager Terry Francona knows that this past Saturday, young pitcher Carlos Carrasco got shelled by Detroit. Francona is reluctant to use Carrasco again, so he is assessing his options. In all likelihood, Cleveland will not be able to find a starting pitcher who can go toe-to-toe with Buehrle. Take Toronto in this spot.

MLB Betting Pick: Toronto

Game 2: Washington Nationals @ Philadelphia Phillies – Thursday, July 11

Consistent performance earns the respect of online betting specialists. The pitcher in this matchup who has been performing at a much higher level over the first three-plus months of the season is clearly Jordan Zimmermann of the Nationals. Zimmermann has been motoring along this season, registering a 12-3 record while producing a very tidy 2.57 ERA, one of the best marks in the National League. Meanwhile, Philadelphia starter Kyle Kendrick hasn’t been as good or as fortunate. Dogged by a recent injury, Kendrick faces an uphill battle in terms of being able to shut down opposing hitters. ESPN’s game notes tell the tale: “Kendrick (concussion) allowed six runs on 12 hits over five innings Saturday to take his sixth loss of the season… Kendrick's struggles against the Braves on Saturday did not appear to be related to his recent concussion, but rather to a lack of effective pitches. He threw 66 of his 99 pitches for strikes, but he was only able to strike out two of the 28 batters he faced. He will try to right the ship against the Nationals in his next start.”

Kendrick’s ERA sits at 3.90, much higher than Zimmermann’s mark. It would simply be foolish to bet against Zimmermann in this matchup to begin with; the fact that Kendrick is trying to bounce back from a concussion only makes it that much more unreasonable to think that Kendrick will outpitch Zimmermann in this spot. Go with Washington here.

MLB Betting Pick: Washington

Game 3: St. Louis Cardinals @ Chicago Cubs – Thursday, July 11

When people in the online sports betting legal realm size up this game, the odds should be firmly on the side of the Cardinals. St. Louis starter Jake Westbrook owns a superb 2.78 ERA, the product of a stellar first half of the big-league season. Chicago starter Edwin Jackson has an ERA that’s roughly twice as big as Westbrook’s mark. Jackson checks in with a bloated 5.50 ERA. This isn’t a remotely close pitching matchup – take St. Louis.

MLB Betting Pick: St. Louis

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