For the rest of the summer, Saturday MLB on FOX has moved to Fox Sports 1, the cable home of FOX’s sports programming. A two-game doubleheader is on tap for the last Saturday of July.

Matchup: Washington Nationals at Cincinnati Reds

Date/Time: July 26, 4:05 p.m., ET

TV: Fox Sports 1

MLB Betting Odds From 5Dimes Sportsbook

Probable Starters: WSH: Gio Gonzalez (6-5, 3.74) v. CIN: Johnny Cueto (10-6, 2.18)

Moneyline: Cincinnati -113

Total: 7 -110/-110

Fans at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati should be treated to a tremendous pitching matchup on Saturday when Gio Gonzalez and the Nats take on Johnny Cueto and the Reds in the middle game of a three-game set. The Nationals won by a 4-1 score on Friday night and extended their lead in the NL East over the Braves to 2.5 games. The Reds have lost seven straight and trail the Brewers by 6.5 games in the NL Central.

Gonzalez has had a down year compared to the standards that he has set in recent seasons, but some elbow discomfort in May forced him to miss a month of the season. Since returning from the DL on June 18, Gonzalez is 5-1 with a 2.50 ERA. Opposing batters are hitting just .194 off of him in that span. He draws a Reds offense that has managed just (66 / 19) runs per game in the month of July, most of that spent without Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips.

Cueto has been outstanding this season after a myriad of injuries kept him to just 11 starts in 2012. Cueto was saddled with the “injury-prone” label after last season, but they weren’t shoulder or arm injuries and there has been nothing to worry about this season. Cueto is 10-6 with a 2.18 ERA overall and his current 2.18 ERA is his highest point this season. Cueto has won six of his last eight decisions.

Gonzalez will be taking on the Reds for the fifth time in his career and his first four starts were outstanding. He’s 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA and a 32/7 K/BB in 27 innings. This is his first start against them this season. Cueto will be facing the Nationals for the tenth time in his career. He’s 5-3, but has a 4.58 ERA. In a start earlier this year against the Nats, Cueto gave up eight runs, six earned, in 5.1 innings. The Nationals are 10-5 in Gonzalez’s starts for a profit of 4.04 units. The Reds are just 12-9 in Cueto’s 21 starts for a profit of 2.35 units.

Pick: Washington

Even though the Reds are 12-11 against left-handed starters this season, their team OPS is ranked 20th at .696. Gonzalez has been excellent since the DL stint and the Reds offense has really suffered without two middle-of-the-order bats. This will be a very close, low-scoring game and the Nationals have fared better in those types of games.


Matchup: Cleveland Indians at Kansas City Royals

Date/Time: July 26, 7:10 p.m., ET

TV: Fox Sports 1

MLB Betting Odds From 5Dimes Sportsbook

Probable Starters: CLE: Zach McAllister (3-5, 5.28) v. KC: Jeremy Guthrie (5-9, 4.56)

Moneyline: Kansas City -120

Total: 8.5 -125/+105

Friday’s night’s ninth inning marked the midpoint of a four-game weekend set between the Indians and Royals from Kauffman Stadium. After the Royals won in walk-off fashion in the 14th inning on Thursday, Friday’s game ended in crushing fashion as John Axford gave up a two-run home run in the eighth inning and the Royals won 6-4. The Indians dropped to a game below .500 and the Royals are now two games above .500 in their pursuit of a wild card spot.

The Indians will recall Zach McAllister from Triple-A Columbus to make his 13th start of the season. Things haven’t gone well for McAllister this season as the horrendous Indians defense coupled with an inability to strand runners has blown his ERA up to 5.28, despite a FIP under 4.00. Opposing teams are batting .286/.355/.516 against McAllister with runners on base. He has pitched better this month in his return to the Majors with a 2.92 ERA in 12.1 innings.

Jeremy Guthrie continues to defy the odds and remain a Major League pitcher because of his above average walk rate and Kansas City’s elite defense. Guthrie has a 4.56 ERA that has fluctuated up and down throughout the season. July has not been kind to Guthrie, as he has lost all three of his starts and has posted a 10.93 ERA in those outings. The first was against the Indians, and he gave up six runs on 11 hits in four innings. Guthrie has hit a league-high 12 batters this season.

McAllister will be facing Kansas City for the fifth time and second time this season. He’s 2-2 with a 4.92 ERA, but he threw six quality innings against them earlier this season in an Indians win. Guthrie will be taking on the Indians for the 11th time as a starter and it will be his 13th appearance overall. Against the team that drafted him, Guthrie is 4-5 with a 5.89 ERA. Guthrie has lost both starts against them this season and has allowed 10 runs on 21 hits in 10.2 innings. The Indians are 6-6 for a profit of 0.09 units when McAllister starts and the Royals are 10-10 for a profit of 0.35 units in Guthrie’s outings.

Pick: Cleveland

The Indians have had Guthrie’s number and it seems that some of the adjustments that McAllister has made in Triple-A could have a positive effect on the rest of his season. McAllister took his demotion seriously and was 5-0 with a 2.23 ERA pitching in one of the top hitter’s parks in Triple-A.