All-star week concludes Sunday and Don Best Sports analyst Pat Williams is keeping his focus on the two marquee series of the weekend in New York and Cincinnati.
The Angels and Yankees will wrap up their series in the Bronx with a mound matchup between Jered Weaver and Ivan Nova. TBS will have the broadcast from Yankee Stadium starting at 1:00 p.m. (ET). Don Best is sending this game out with the Halos priced at -115 and 8½ for the total.
Weaver (10-1, 1.96) continued his outstanding season against the Baltimore Orioles in Anaheim a week ago, tossing the first eight innings of a 3-0 Halos shutout. Three of Weaver's four starts since coming off the DL have ended in shutouts for the Angels staff, and the team is working on a streak of seven consecutive wins with their ace on the mound.
Nova (10-3, 3.92) coaxed his ERA under four last Sunday in Boston with six innings of 6-hit, 1-run baseball. The victory ended a 2-game skid for New York with Nova on the mound, only the second time in his career that the Yankees have lost back-to-back starts by the Dominican.
The Angels have been able to hit Nova pretty well in two clashes this season, slapping 16 hits and three homers while scoring nine times over the course of 12-2/3 innings. Still, both games went into the win column for the Yankees.
Weaver's only 2012 assignment vs. the Yanks was his final appearance before back trouble pushed him to the disabled list. Four of his last six starts against New York have gone into the win column for Mike Scioscia and the Angels, including Game 3 of the 2009 ALCS.
Porkopolis is the setting for ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball as the finale between the Reds and Cardinals at Great American Ball Park gets prime-time treatment. The mound duel pits St. Louis' Jake Westbrook against Cincy's Johnny Cueto who is the $1.45 favorite in the matchup with a 7½-run total.
Westbrook (7-7, 3.75) has run both hot and cold this season, and has been mostly hot recently. St. Louis has won four of his last five starts, a stretch that includes road victories at Detroit and Miami, and the veteran right-hander's ERA during the stretch is a solid 2.67.
Cueto (10-5, 2.39) grabbed his 10th win of the season in San Diego just before the all-star break after Reds hitters failed to support him in tough-luck setbacks in San Francisco and Los Angeles. He suffered the same fate in St. Louis earlier this year, tossing seven innings and allowing just one run only to get a no-decision in Cincinnati's 2-1 loss.
Glancing ahead to Monday, the Angels continue their post-break road trip with the first of four games in Detroit against the Tigers. Los Angeles is listing Ervin Santana for the game while the Tigers have yet to officially announce their starting pitcher for the 7:00 p.m. (ET) contest to be televised by ESPN.
Santana (4-9, 5.75) is hoping to get a fresh start after a horrible month of June (5.85 ERA) and even worse beginning to July. The righty was soundly whipped in Cleveland on July 4, surrendering eight runs and never getting out of the second inning.
Don Best is projecting Rick Porcello to get the nod for Jim Leyland and the Tigers. A bicep injury forced him out of his last start (July 4), not to mention the fact he was no mystery to Twins hitters in that outing with Minnesota coming up with 12 hits and three runs during Porcello's 3-2/3 innings of work.
Bettors will need to follow Don Best throughout the weekend to monitor Porcello's availability for Monday's contest.