MLB – Texas Rangers @ New York Yankees

MLB interest swings to the New York vs Texas battle on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium as the Yankees try to defend their home turf.

The Yankees will turn to Ivan Nova and his 5-3 record as they look for a win in this one, while the Rangers send Derek Holland (5-1) to the hill.

Having won four of five following a three-game skid, New York will try to continue its success against Rangers starter Derek Holland (5-1, 4.41 ERA).

The left-hander is 0-3 with an 8.31 ERA in four career regular-season starts against the Yankees, although he did earn a win in relief in Game 4 of last October’s AL championship series. He’s 0-2 with a 7.80 ERA in three career appearances in the Bronx.
When it comes to getting on base, the visiting Rangers rank No. 4 in the American League at 8.9 hits per game. That compares with New York’s No. 9 ranking in that category.

Defensively, Texas features the American League’s No. 1-rated defense on the road, allowing 3.4 runs per game. New York, meanwhile, comes in at No. 3 in the American League at home, scoring 5.1 runs per game.

Texas didn’t get the job done in their last match, falling 12-4 to New York on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium.

Texas Rangers Trends:
When playing on Wednesday are 6-4
Before playing NY Yankees are 4-6
After playing NY Yankees are 4-6
After a loss are 6-4

New York Yankees Trends:
When playing on Wednesday are 5-5
Before playing Texas are 4-6
After playing Texas are 5-5
After a win are 6-4

The Yankees have rebounded from that very bad series with the Red Sox, but they’re in for a tough game tonight against improving Derek Holland.  I like the Yankees to win because of their success against Holland, but I would not risk a high streak in this contest there are a few better picks tonight.

Pick: New York Yankees

MLB – St. Louis Cardinals @ Washington Nationals

While this game seems like a gimme as St. Louis is tied for first in the NL Central and Washington sits at the bottom of the NL East, this will be Cardinals’ pitcher Kyle McClellan first start after coming off the DL. On the season, St. Louis took two of three at home against Washington in April and ended up losing last night thanks to six runs in the seventh inning by the Nats. St. Louis has now lost a season-high four games in a row, while Washington is trying to win five in a row for the first time since 2009.

However, with Livan Hernandez at the mound, the Nationals may not get there. Hernandez has eight losses on the season so far, with only three wins. His last win was against the Mets on April 28. He’s lost six since. In his last start on Thursday at San Diego, he allowed nine hits and six runs in 5.1 innings. His ERA ballooned to 4.15. While his three wins have come at home this year, St. Louis’ offense will likely overpower the righty.

The Cardinals are second only to the Red Sox in batting average and on-base percentage and fourth in the league for runs scored. Albert Pujols has a .351 average against Hernandez and has historically played well in Nationals Park.

McClellan last pitched on May 30, where he only lasted four innings, allowed seven hits and seven runs in the loss to San Francisco. He has a 6-2 record for the season, and, except for the San Francisco game, has good stats in his starts. In his 10 starts, he’s allowed two or less earned runs in six of them. McClellan hasn’t started against the Nationals, but he did face them as a reliever in 2010. The edge still goes to St. Louis’ offense.

Pick: St. Louis Cardinals

MLB – Boston Red Sox @ Tampa Bay Rays

Tonight is the second game of a three-game series in Tampa. Last night, the Rays came away with a 4-0 victory against the Red Sox. However, tonight Jeremy Hellickson takes the mound. The rookie is 7-4 on the year with a 3.03 ERA. He had a rough start at Baltimore last Friday, allowing seven hits and five runs in the loss. Hellickson did pitch in Tampa’s 16-5 rout of the Red Sox on April 11, although he did allow five hits and two runs with only one strikeout in the win.

The Red Sox won nine in a row prior to last night. Considering a loss was eminent and it occurred last night, it’s safe to take a gamble that the red-hot Red Sox aren’t going to lose two in a row, especially with Beckett on the mound. Beckett is 5-2 with a 2.06 ERA – the lowest in the majors (assuming enough innings pitched). Beckett last faced Tampa Bay in April 2010, where he only allowed one run, one walk and eight strikeouts.

Boston is first in the entire league in runs, on-base percentage and batting average. They are only second in slugging percentage, but those stats show that offense isn’t going to be an issue for Boston. Yes, they were shut out last night, but they haven’t been shut out for two games in a row all season. They also have lost all three meetings with Tampa Bay this year, although two of those came in early April before Boston could get it together. The Red Sox aren’t going to get swept in Tampa, and they’ll prove it tonight.

Pick: Boston Red Sox

MLB – Cincinnati Reds @ Los Angeles Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Chad Billingsley has to be happy to see the Cincinnati Reds again, this time at Chavez Ravine.

Billingsley looks to help the Dodgers avoid being swept at home by the Reds for the first time in more than seven years when they meet Wednesday afternoon for the final time in 2011.  Billingsley (5-5, 4.13 ERA) tossed five effective innings and helped himself with a homer and bases-loaded walk on his way to a career-best three RBIs in the Dodgers’ 9-6 win June 5 in Cincinnati.

On offense, it’s a battle between Los Angeles and its National League No. 11-rated batting order, averaging 3.9 runs per nine innings, against the National League’s No. 1 lineup of the Reds at 4.9 runs per outing.

Los Angeles owns the National League’s No. 8 defense, allowing 4.3 men per game to cross the plate. That contrasts with Cincinnati’s National League No. 14-rated defense.

The Reds were a 3-2 winner in their most recent outing on the road against the Dodgers. Cincinnati got the job done in their last match in a 3-2 victory over Los Angeles on Tuesday at Dodger Stadium behind starter Johnny Cueto.

Cincinnati Reds Trends:
When playing on Wednesday are 5-5
Before playing Toronto are 2-7
After playing LA Dodgers are 4-6
After a win are 3-7

Los Angeles Dodgers Trends:
When playing on Wednesday are 4-6
Before playing Houston are 6-4
After playing Cincinnati are 5-5
After a loss are 6-4

LA Dodgers are 13-4 SU in their last 17 games when playing at home against Cincinnati.  I like the Dodgers this afternoon as I do not see them getting swept by the Reds.

Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers

Soccer – Toronto FC @ New England

This is a  match up between two of the bottom three on their side of the table.  Both teams haven’t won a match in quite some time so this one should be a interesting one to pick.  Let’s go behind the numbers in this prime time MLS match….

Toronto FC

Overall Record:  2-8-5

On the Road:  0-3-3

Last 5:  0-4-1

New England

Overall Record:  3-4-7

At Home:  3-2-2

Last 5:  1-0-4

Although New England has a good record at home they have not played well at all of late.  Toronto is coming off a draw at league leader Los Angeles this past weekend while New England has lost 4 straight.  While most people think that New England will come out of their slump at home I don’t see it happening especially with Toronto having the Draw option on their side.  Toronto is playing slightly better and coming off the Draw on the road last weekend Toronto should be able to draw again if not pull off a win.

Pick:  Toronto FC Win or Draw

 

Soccer – England vs Ukraine (Under 21 World Cup)

England like Spain is a favorite to win this years Under 21 World Cup. Spain like England faces a must win match in the group stage. Ukraine was defeated by the Czech Republic in their first match and they will definitely be looking for revenge and a result in this one. That said England is far more talented and should win this match handedly. England wont be taking this match lightly and if England wants to keep its destiny in its hands they will need to win this match. A must win match by England will mean Ukraine should be defeated fairly handily.

 

Pick: England, Win.

Soccer – Spain vs Czech Republic (Under 21 World Cup)

Spain is coming off of a draw against fellow U-21, World Cup favorites England. Still Spain must be considered the favorite and they are certainly the more talented team in this match. While the Czech Republic is a very talented young squad they cannot be called favorites like Spain. While Spain and England are behind the Czech Republic both teams are expected to finish above the Czech Republic in the standings. Spain knows that it needs to pick up points if it wants to advance out of the group stage. A draw would be a dangerous result forcing a must win game in their final game against Ukraine if England defeats Ukraine. Spain is the better team, and given the Czech’s first match win Spain will be going all out for a win here.

 

Pick: Spain, Win