The American League East will once again take center stage on MLB Network on Thursday night as baseball fans will be treated to regional coverage of Baltimore at Toronto and Boston at St. Louis.
Matchup: Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays
Date/Time: August 7, 7:07 p.m. ET
TV: MLB Network
Probable Starters: BAL: Miguel Gonzalez (4-6, 3.93) v. TOR: JA Happ (8-5, 4.25)
Moneyline: Toronto -108
Total: 9 100/-110
Thurday’s finale will decide a series winner as the Orioles try to pick up a game in the standings on the Blue Jays, while the Blue Jays try to inch closer to the top of the AL East and attempt to put a little distance between themselves and the rest of the teams in the Wild Card hunt. The Orioles took the first game by a 9-3 score, but the Blue Jays responded for a 5-1 win on Wednesday night behind 8.2 nearly flawless innings from Drew Hutchison. The only blemish was a Chris Davis home run. The Blue Jays got back the game they lost on Tuesday and trail by four games in the AL East. They also maintained their one-game lead over Seattle in the Wild Card standings.
Miguel Gonzalez will be called upon to win the series for the Orioles. He’s 4-6 on the year with a 3.93 ERA. It’s been a tough season at times for the Mexico native with just three starts in an injury-shortened June and just four starts in July with the All-Star Break. Gonzalez has just two wins since late May, with a 3.65 ERA over his last eight starts. He pitched into the eighth inning in three of his four July starts, but August started on a poor note with four runs allowed in five innings against the Mariners. In his last 49.1 innings, he has allowed 11 home runs and an .858 OPS against, yet his ERA is still respectable, so there could be some regression there.
Save for one relief appearance prior to the All-Star Break, JA Happ has been a regular starter for the Blue Jays since the start of May. In 16 starts and that one relief appearance, Happ is 8-5 with a 4.25 ERA. He only has one victory in his last six starts. It’s been a roller coaster ride of a season for Happ, with seven starts in which he allowed one earned run or fewer, but he also has six starts with four or more runs allowed. In Happ’s eight wins, he has given up just nine earned runs in 49 innings. In his five losses, he has a 10.23 ERA.
Gonzalez will be facing the Blue Jays for the 10th time overall and ninth time as a starter. He’s fared well in those games with a 4-2 record and a 3.07 ERA. Over his last six starts against the Blue Jays, Gonzalez has allowed just 10 earned runs in 37 innings for a 2.43 ERA. The Orioles are 9-9 for a modest profit of 0.73 units.
Happ will be facing the Orioles for the fifth time as a starter and sixth time overall. He’s 1-1 with a 2.45 ERA against them. This season, Happ has made two appearances, one start, with a 2.08 ERA in 8.2 innings of work. The Blue Jays are 10-6 in Happ’s 16 starts for a profit of 3.91 units.
Free MLB Pick: Toronto
The Blue Jays bullpen got a day off thanks to Drew Hutchison’s gem and that was needed after the pen worked a lot in Tuesday’s game. With Wednesday’s victory, the Blue Jays moved to 31-24 at home and it snapped a four-game winning streak. Neither pitcher has been all that consistent this season, but Happ seems to have more potential to put together a strong effort.
Matchup: Boston Red Sox at St. Louis Cardinals
Date/Time: August 7, 7:15 p.m. ET
TV: MLB Network
MLB Betting Odds From 5Dimes Sportsbook
Probable Starters: BOS: Brandon Workman (1-4, 4.08) v. STL: Adam Wainwright (13-6, 2.26)
Moneyline: St. Louis -176
Total: 7.5 100/-110
The night after two former teammates and best friends faced off at Busch Stadium, the pitching matchup couldn’t look any different as Brandon Workman has the unenviable task of squaring off against Adam Wainwright. The Cardinals lost on Wednesday night to even up the series. The Red Sox are now 13 games below .500 on the road with Wednesday’s victory in what continues to be a very tough season.
Brandon Workman will be working with little margin for error on Thursday night. Workman was recalled just before the Red Sox rotation fire sale and struggled in his July 30 start against Toronto. He only lasted four innings and gave up five runs, but the defense didn’t help him, as evidenced by the fact that only two were earned. In nine starts, Workman is 1-4 with a 4.41 ERA this season. The defense has been a problem for Red Sox starters all season, but Workman has allowed five unearned runs in just 59.1 innings. Bad defense will make things very difficult on Thursday.
Run support appears unlikely from the Boston offense as they take on Adam Wainwright. Then again, Wainwright struggled in last season’s World Series by allowing eight runs, six earned, over 12 innings against the Red Sox. He’s in the midst of another strong regular season with a 2.26 ERA and 127 strikeouts over 155 innings. Wainwright has allowed two earned runs or less in 17 of his 22 starts this season. One of the bad starts came in his last outing against the Brewers when he tied a season-high by allowing seven runs over 4.1 innings.
Workman made three appearances in last year’s World Series and allowed an unearned run in 3.1 innings of work. This will be his first regular season appearance against them. Workman has a 12.15 career ERA in 6.2 interleague innings. The Red Sox are just 2-7 in his nine starts for a loss of 6.15 units.
Wainwright will be making his first regular season start against the Red Sox. The Cardinals are 16-6 for a profit of 7.16 units when Wainwright starts this season, making him the 10th-most profitable pitcher in the league. He is 10-6 with a 2.81 ERA in 156.2 innings of interleague play during the regular season.
Free MLB Pick: St. Louis
It’s chalky, but Wainwright and the Cardinals are making some strides in the NL Central and this is a big game for them with a series victory on the line. Workman has struggled as a starter at the Major League level and the Red Sox have struggled as an offense all season long.
Adam Burke is a freelance writer and amateur handicapper with a knack for finding value through matchup analysis and a deep understanding of the sports betting market. His main area of expertise is baseball, with a background in sabermetrics and advanced statistics. He is the host of The Gridiron Gambling Report and our college football and college basketball BangTheBook.com podcasts on the BlogTalkRadio Network.