Cardinals v Giants
Watch for a pitching duel in St. Louis when the Cardinals host the San Francisco Giants on Thursday. We’ve followed Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright all season as we waited for him to bounce back from the elbow reconstruction surgery he had a year ago. It appears the bounce back has occurred. He’s riding a streak of four straight quality starts and on Saturday he threw a five-hit, one-run complete game against the Milwaukee Brewers. What was key in the victory was the command of his fastball – an attribute that is usually last to return after an injury of Wainwright’s nature. Expect him to continue to build on that success in this game. The Giants’ Madison Bumgarner has been a consistent star this year and appears to be just getting better in the second half of the season. The pitcher has struck out seven or more batters in each of his past four starts (that’s 33 strikeouts in 26 innings pitched). Moreover, he’s limited teams to six hits or fewer in each of his past five performances. Expect these two on form pitchers to keep the total run production below 7.5 runs (on at 1.81) instead of going over at 2.00.
Yankees v Tigers
In Detroit, where the New York Yankees visit the Tigers, runs will also be limited by two pitchers who are in a groove. Doug Fister’s first half was pretty dismal, but since the All-Star Game he’s been as dominating as he was after being acquired by Detroit last August when he went 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA. This year he’s 4-1 with a 1.62 ERA so far in the second half. It took some time, but New York’s Hiroki Kuroda appears to have become comfortable in the Yankee pinstripes. Kuroda hasn’t allowed more than two runs in any of his last four starts. Overall he’s won six of his last eight decisions and has registered nine quality starts in his past twelve outings. Look for a low-scoring affair and take under 9.0 runs at 1.77 as these pitchers will make the possibility of the over at 2.05 very unlikely.