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Weaver is making sure he’s not passed up for the AL Cy Young this season, stringing together four straight wins and going 5-0 in his last seven appearances. The Halos’ hurler gave up just one earned run in his 27 2-3 innings heading into the break.
A.J. Burnett, Pittsburgh Pirates (10-2, 3.68 ERA)
Burnett’s tenure with the Bucs got off to a rough start, breaking his face during spring training and then going 1-2 in his first three starts for Pittsburgh. Since then, the veteran righty is 9-0 in his last dozen trips to the mound. However, while Burnett has been superb at PNC Park (6-0, 2.10 ERA), he’s not as sharp on the road (4-2, 6.55 ERA).
Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals (9-4, 2.82 ERA)
The Nationals are sticking to their guns when it comes to the innings limit for Strasburg, which doesn’t sit well with the budding ace. The right-hander has dropped three straight decisions after winning six in row, but that skid has more to do with a lack of run support and bad bullpen than Strasburg.
Josh Beckett, Boston Red Sox (4-7, 4.43 ERA)
Beckett hasn’t picked up a “W” since May 20, going 0-3 in the following six starts. The BoSox ace has traditionally suffered a dip in performance after the break, which doesn’t bode well for Red Sox Nation. Luckily, he owns the Rays with a 10-4 career record and 2.82 ERA versus Tampa Bay.
Sunday's betting tips: D-backs lose bite without injured slugger
It will be hot and humid in Baltimore where the Orioles host the Tigers Sunday, with temperatures in the low 90s and a chance of thunderstorms in the forecast for Camden Yards. There is a 57 percent chance of rain Sunday afternoon.
Detroit Tigers – Heading into Saturday’s slate, the Tigers have won six in a row spanning the All-Star break. Detroit won Game 1 7-2 on Friday night.
Tony Stewart – Stewart won last weekend’s race at Daytona and heads to New Hampshire, where he has three wins and 14 Top-5 finishes and an average finish of 11.54 – third best among active drivers.
San Diego Padres – If you don’t know the Padres stink by now, maybe their four-game losing skid heading into Saturday will give you a clue. San Diego, which lost to the Dodgers 2-1 Friday, preceded this slide with a six-game winning run.
Philadelphia Phillies – The Phillies have lost five in a row heading into Saturday’s schedule. Philadelphia has easily been the most disappointing team in the majors this summer at 37-51 and down -26.21 units.
8 - Hendrick Motorsports has won eight races at Loudon heading into Sunday’s Lenox Tools 301. Hendrick’s standout Jimmie Johnson is the race favorite at +500.
Game of the Day
St. Louis Cardinals at Cincinnati Reds, 8 p.m. ET
Injury not to be overlooked
Jason Kubel, Arizona Diamondbacks – Arizona’s slugger was scratched from Saturday’s lineup due to hamstring tightness. Kubel leads the D-backs with 15 home runs, hitting .293 BA with 60 RBIs – 10th in the majors.
“With all the computers, the cybergenics (sabermetrics?), whatever they do, I think I rate the lowest possible in those things. The things I do don’t show up in box scores. Sacrifice bunting doesn’t make any sense to do. They don’t look at the guy going first to third or taking that extra bag.” – Philadelphia Phillies OF Juan Pierre told the Philadelphia Daily News.
Tips and notes
-- Sprint Cup driver Denny Hamlin is the most successful active driver at New Hampshire, owning an average finish of ninth. Hamlin has one win, five Top 5s, and eight Top 10s in just a dozen starts at Loudon. He’s the second overall favorite at +600 for Sunday’s event.
-- The New York Red Bull will have striker Sebastien Le Toux available versus Seattle Sunday after acquiring the 2010 MLS Best XI selection in a trade with Vancouver Friday. The Frenchman recorded 25 goals and 20 assists in 62 starts with the Philadelphia Union in 2010 and 2011. He had four goals and one assist with the White Caps this year.
-- Umpire Mike Winters is scheduled to be calling balls and strikes in the series finale between Houston and San Francisco Sunday. He has shown a slight lean towards the under this season, with games finishing 7-10 over/under when Winters is behind home plate. However, the under has cashed in 23 times in the last 33 Sunday games in which Winters was making the calls.
-- The Rogers Centre is rocking in 2012 and it’s got to be because of the Blue Jays’ new retro-inspired jerseys. According to the team, 1,107,908 fans have attended the first 42 home games. That’s 175,366 more than the count at this point in the season last year. Toronto, which ranks just 20th in attendance in the majors, is 23-20 (down -2.31 units) and 23-18-2 over/under heading into Saturday’s home tilt with Cleveland.
Sunday Night Baseball: Cardinals at Reds
By STEVE MERRIL
St. Louis Cardinals at Cincinnati Reds (-155, 8.5)
The Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals have the spotlight on Sunday night as they continue to battle for supremacy in a crowded National League Central division.
GO WEST YOUNG MAN
Jake Westbrook gets the start for the Cardinals. He has pitched consistently for St. Louis over the past month after a rough patch in May. The righty has allowed two runs or less in three of his last four starts.
Westbrook has been able to keep the walks down which has been the key to his recent success. Westbrook has walked two hitters or less in seven straight games and eight of his last 10 starts overall.
He hasn’t faced the Reds since April 9, when he picked up a win giving up only one run and three hits in seven innings. Westbrook has made three starts in Cincinnati between his time with St. Louis and Cleveland, allowing just three earned runs total in those outings for a fantastic 1.45 ERA and 1.13 WHIP.
TAKE THAT TONY
Johnny Cueto may have a little extra motivation for this game as he gets over the snub he received from former Cardinals' manager Tony La Russa.
Cueto has been great for the Reds this season and rightfully deserved a spot on the NL All-Star team. He has allowed two runs or less in six of his last 10 starts and hasn't really been hit hard since his May 25 appearance at home against Colorado, when he allowed five runs and 11 hits.
In a span of six days in April, the Reds starter faced the Cardinals twice, giving up only four runs and 14 hits in 12 innings of work for a solid 3.00 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. The Reds have now won three straight home starts versus the Cardinals with Cueto on the mound since last season.
CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH
Both teams enter Sunday night's game pretty healthy.
The Cardinals are without Jaime Garcia, Chris Carpenter and Kyle McClellan. They may have Lance Berkman in time for Sunday night's contest.
Cincinnati's injury list features Ryan Madson and Nick Masset from their bullpen. Scott Rolen is working his way back from injury getting some work on Friday.
Cardinals are 4-1 in Westbrook's last five Sunday starts
Cardinals are 1-4 in Westbrook's last five road starts vs. a team with a winning record
Reds are 11-4 in their last 15 Sunday games
Reds are 18-7 in Cueto's last 25 starts
HITTERS TO WATCH
Jon Jay 10-for-21 vs. Cueto
Matt Holliday 9-for-27 vs. Cueto
Brandon Phillips 7-for-17 vs. Westbrook
Jay Bruce 3-for-12 vs. Westbrook
-- Nolasco is 2-0, 1.83 in his last three starts.
-- Burnett is 5-0, 3.55 in his last six starts. Gallardo is 1-1, 2.45 in his last three outings.
-- Hamels is 1-1, 2.89 in his last four starts. Pomeranz has a 2.05 RA in his last four starts.
-- Cueto is 5-2, 2.37 in his last seven starts. Westbrook is 2-1, 3.21 in his last five starts.
-- Weaver is 4-0, 0.33 since coming off the DL. Nova is 2-0, 1.17 in his last two home outings.
-- Villanueva is 1-0, 2.45 in two starts for Toronto.
-- Verlander is 4-1, 2.77 in his last five starts. Gonzalez allowed one run in seven IP in his first '12 start.
-- Parker is 3-1, 2.59 in his last five starts.
-- Sale is 2-0, 1.21 in his last three starts.
-- Harrison is 8-1, 1.52 in his last nine starts.
-- Strasburg is 0-3, 5.40 in his last three starts.
-- JSantana is 0-1, 8.53 in two starts against Atlanta this year. Sheets makes his first start since he made 20 starts in '10 (he also missed all of '09). For his career, Sheets is 90-92, 3.79 in 241 career starts.
-- Cahill is 2-2, 7.13 in his last four starts. Garza is 2-3, 5.72 in his last five.
-- Norris is 0-5, 8.35 in his last five starts. Cain is 1-1, 4.26 in his last four.
-- Billingsley is 0-5, 6.52 in his last five starts. Marquis is 0-4, 5.74 in his last five starts.
-- Lowe is 1-3, 7.94 in his last six starts.
-- Shields is 1-1, 6.07 in his last four starts.
-- Beckett is 0-3, 4.91 in his last five starts.
-- Duensing is 0-3, 7.15 in his last three starts.
-- Mendoza is 1-2, 3.93 in his last three outings.
-- Iwakuma allowed three runs in five IP in his first '12 start.
-- Cubs won seven of their last eight home games.
-- Washington won nine of its last 14 games. Marlins won five of their last six home games.
-- Reds won eight of their last eleven home games.
-- Braves won seven of their last eight games.
-- Pirates won 11 of their last 14 games. Milwaukee is 11-6 in its last 17 home games.
-- Bronx won six of its last seven games.
-- Indians are 8-5 in their last thirteen games.
-- Detroit won six of its last seven games.
-- White Sox won ten of their last fourteen games. Kansas City won four of its last five home games.
-- A's won eight of their last nine games.
-- Arizona lost eight of its last ten road games.
-- Mets lost four of their last five games.
-- Philadelphia lost 11 of its last 13 games. Rockies lost 11 of their last 15 home games.
-- Dodgers lost 16 of their last 22 games. San Diego lost four of five.
-- San Francisco lost seven of its last eleven games. Astros lost their last 12 games on foreign soil.
-- Cardinals lost their last three road games, scoring eight runs.
-- Angels lost their last four road games, allowing 32 games.
-- Orioles lost six of their last eight home games.
-- Blue Jays are 4-6 in their last ten games.
-- Red Sox lost seven of their last nine games. Tampa Bay is 6-10 in its last 16 games, 6-9 in last fifteen at home.
-- Twins lost six of their last seven games.
-- Mariners lost five of their last seven games. Texas lost four of its last five games on the road.
-- Nine of last twelve Cub games stayed under the total.
-- Under is 7-2-1 in last ten Miami home games.
-- Nine of last eleven Cincinnati home games stayed under.
-- Over is 8-3-1 in Atlanta's last twelve home games.
-- Over is 24-5 in last 29 games at Miller Park.
-- Six of last eight games at Coors Field went over the total.
-- Six of last eight Dodger games stayed under the total.
-- 15 of last 22 Houston road games went over the total.
-- Nine of Angels' last eleven road games went over total.
-- Under is 11-5-2 in Cleveland's last eighteen road games.
-- Over is 5-1-2 in last eight games at Camden Yards.
-- Under is 13-3 in Boston's last sixteen road games.
-- Last three White Sox games went over the total.
-- Under is 12-4 in last sixteen Oakland games (1-3 in last four).
-- Under is 10-3 in last thirteen games at Safeco Field.
-- Phil-Col-- Five of last seven Barry games went over the total.
-- NY-Atl-- Home side won six of last seven Bucknor games.
-- Az-Chi-- Four of last five Runge games went over the total.
-- Pitt-Mil-- Four of last five Vanover games went over the total.
-- StL-Cin-- Under is 5-2-1 in West's last eight games behind plate.
-- Wsh-Mia-- Four of last five Foster games stayed under.
-- Hst-SF-- Road team won five of last six Winters games.
-- SD-LA-- Home side won seven of last nine Davis games.
-- LA-NY-- Last ten TWelke games stayed under the total.
-- Cle-Tor-- Six of last seven Marquez games stayed under total.
-- Det-Balt-- Over is 7-2-1 in last ten Timmons games.
-- A's-Min-- Three of last four Porter games went over total.
-- Chi-KC-- All three Baker games went under, with home side 3-0.
-- Bos-TB-- Seven of last ten Dimuro games stayed under; home team won the last five.
-- Tex-Sea-- Over is 9-3-1 in last thirteen Cederstrom games.