MLB – San Francisco Giants @ Arizona Diamondbacks

After last night’s victory, the Arizona Diamondbacks (37-30) are almost tied with the San Francisco Giants (37-29) in the NL West as both teams vie for the top spot. The winner of this game will have sole possession of first place. San Francisco’s pitching, over both divisions, is second in batting average allowed and fourth in team ERA (3.25). The Giants’ offense, however, is second-to-last in runs scored and it certainly doesn’t help that Freddy Sanchez is now joining Buster Posey on the DL for the remainder of the year.

Matt Cain has pitched against Arizona twice already this season and has recorded wins both times. He hasn’t allowed any home runs, and has allowed 11 hits, 10 strikeouts and three walks in 13.2 innings. He’s 5-4 on the year and coming off back-to-back wins vs. Colorado and Washington. He only allowed nine hits over both of those games and recorded 18 strikeouts.

Josh Collmenter, has seemingly come out of nowhere to be a lights-out pitcher. He started the season in the bullpen, but has become a regular starter for the D-Backs. He has a 4-1 record, although that is slightly inflated, as his first win came against San Francisco on April 17 when he was still in the bullpen. He did pitch two innings that game without allowing a hit and striking out two. He made his first start in mid-May and has not allowed more than two runs. In six starts and 48.1 innings pitched, he has 30 strikeouts, a 1.12 ERA and a 0.72 WHIP. In his two starts at home, his ERA is 0.0.

Cain may be a good pitcher, but Collmenter is hot right now. While the Giants are struggling offensively, take the D-Backs.

Pick: Arizona Diamondbacks

MLB – Chicago White Sox @ Minnesota Twins

This is the first of a three-game series in Minnesota between the Minnesota Twins (26-39) and the Chicago White Sox (33-35). Keep an eye on the weather as well, as thunderstorms are predicted. Chicago’s Gavin Floyd (6-5) hasn’t faced Minnesota yet this season, but did pitch to the Twins four times last year. He allowed four HRs in his four starts. Two of those HRs were to Justin Morneau, who is day-to-day with a sore wrist. Floyd last faced Minnesota on September 15, where he took the loss. Floyd has historically lost his past five starts to the Twins. Four of those starts occurred in 2010, where he only pitched into the sixth inning once and has allowed at least seven hits per start.

The White Sox apparently are also cursed in Minneapolis. Out of the nine games at Target Field last year, they only won three of them. Out of the last 28 games in Minnesota, Chicago has only won six.

Minnesota, meanwhile, won the first two meetings this year, in Chicago. Each game was only won by one run, however. They have been hitting well lately, including taking three of the four games from the Texas Rangers this past weekend.

The Twins have Carl Pavano on the mound, with a 3-5 record so far this season. He last faced the White Sox on September 16, where he got the win. He won three of the four games he started against Chicago last season. However, his one loss came on August 19, where he allowed seven runs on 15 hits. As long as he can keep his pitches under control, the Twins should take this one. They are missing some of their power hitters, but while Adam Dunn can’t buy a hit, the White Sox are vulnerable, especially given their history at Target Field.

Pick: Minnesota Twins

MLB – Boston Red Sox @ Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays (35-31) continue to stay competitive in the tough AL East division as they play host to the red hot Boston Red Sox (39-26).  The Boston Red Sox are 20-13 on the road this season will put Tim Wakefield on the mound in this game two match up.  Wakefield has made six starts this season, going 3-1 with a 4.89 ERA and posting a .246 opponents’ batting average.  He has faced Tampa Bay many times (20-6 with a 3.86 ERA in 220+ innings).  Johnny Damon (.313 average) and Evan Longoria (.462 average) are the only two Rays with good number against Wakefield.  The Red Sox are 0-2 vs the Rays this season, but they played very early in the season when the Sox were struggling.

The Tampa Bay Rays are 14-16 at home this season and on the mound Tuesday for the Rays is James Shields who is 5-4 with a 2.85 ERA and he owns a 2.38 ERA at Tropicana Fields this season.  Shields is only 5-9 with a 5.17 ERA against Boston in his career.  David Ortiz and Dustin Pedoria have owned Shields with a combined average of .388 with 5 home runs and 15 RBIs.

Both starters have a good chance of having a quality start but I am giving the edge to the Boston Red Sox in this matchup.  The Sox are just killing teams in this stretch. They’ve scored at least five runs in all nine games and at least eight runs in six of the nine. As a result, they’re up to 5.38 runs per game this year, tops in the big.  They also rank No. 1 in team batting average (.276) and team OPS (.799), and No. 2 in the league in home runs (77).

Pick: Boston Red Sox

Prop – Soccer – USA Wins by 3+ Goals, Any Other Result (USA vs Guadeloupe)

This is a dangerous prop. The USA should definitely beat Guadeloupe and handily. That being said the USA has played poorly of late and has struggled to score at all let alone win games by 3 goals. Guadeloupe is a smaller nation and is definitely outclassed but with the recent result against Panama it will be interesting to see how the USA responds. The USA needs a win to advance in the Gold Cup and they should win but the question is, wither the USA will pour it on or even be able too. I think the American side will come out firing eager to erase the horrible reception they got in the USA after their loss to Panama. That being said picking a soccer victory by 3+ is always terribly risky no matter who your picking on. Stay away from this one.

 

Pick: USA Wins by 3+ Goals.

Soccer – Belarus @ Denmark (Under 21 World Cup)

This is an interesting U-21 matchup. Normally the World Cup is played on neutral ground but in this case Denmark is the host country and that should give them an advantage. Denmark is 0-0-1 so far in this world cup while Belarus is 1-0-0. Belarus played the weakest team in the group by far in Iceland while Denmark played the strongest team in Switzerland. Belarus is probably a slightly better team than Denmark but its a close matchup. On neutral ground I would expect the win draw for Belarus but on home ground I think the U-21 match will go to Denmark.

 

Pick: Denmark, Win

Soccer – Iceland vs Switzerland (Under 21 World Cup)

This writeup will be pretty short. Switzerland is a pretty large favorite. Switzerland is a small nation but known for turning out a fair amount of soccer talent. Iceland is a small nation not really known for soccer due to being even smaller than Switzerland. Switzerland is regularly one of the better nations in Soccer while Iceland isn’t. The U-21 talent pools tend to be fairly in line with the over 21 talent pools. I would expect the better team to win here on neutral ground, but in U-21 games is really hard to say anything for sure. Stay away from this match if you have a streak.

 

Pick: Switzerland, Win