Fourth of July baseball has a full slate of games all day long, including some offensive fireworks expected between the St. Louis Cardinals and Colorado Rockies at 7:15 p.m. (ET).
We first have some late news for Tuesday night. New York is at Tampa Bay where the Bronx Bombers have lost all four meetings this year and the last eight dating back to last season. That’s surprising given the amount of Yanks fans that usually adorn Tropicana Field.
Ivan Nova (9-2, 4.03 ERA) pitches for the visitors and is a -125 favorite on the Don Best odds screen. The total is eight runs (‘over’ -120). He was 3-0 with a 1.26 ERA in five June starts and is 4-0 in six lifetime starts in Tampa Bay.
The 25-year-old Nova simply knows how to win games, going 26-8 all-time in the majors.
James Shields (7-5, 4.04 ERA) is pitching for Tampa. He tied a club record by allowing 14 hits in his last outing vs. Detroit. He struggled with his changeup in that contest and Tampa is 1-5 in his last six games overall (4.78 ERA).
Shields’ ERA is better at home this year (3.86), although having just a 2-3 mark. Don Best MLB analyst Kenny White points out that his Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP) is a bit unfortunate at .329, so expect his ERA to go down.
Switching back to the Cards and Rockies, the pitching battle is Adam Wainwright (6-8, 4.75 ERA) vs. Jeremy Guthrie (3-7, 6.56 ERA). The Cardinals are 180 home favorites with a total of nine.
Don Best’s Pat Williams loves the ‘over’ in this contest, thinking St. Louis can come close to the nine runs itself. The lineup has more than made up for the loss of slugger Albert Pujols at over five runs scored per game (first in the NL).
The 33-year-old right-hander Guthrie shouldn’t even be starting games at this point, pitching out of the 'pen his last four outings. The Rockies have been starting all lefties in a 4-man rotation recently and limiting pitch counts to 75, but the unorthodox experiment is not working.
Guthrie has at least pitched better away from Coors Field this year, 3.89 ERA in eight appearances (six starts). Wainwright isn’t having a great year coming off injury. He allowed seven earned runs last start vs. Pittsburgh, the third time he’s reached that number this season.
Wainwright’s BABIP is .326, so he’s also had some bad luck and should improve on his ERA going forward.
The Texas Rangers at the Chicago White Sox is another one to watch on Wednesday. This could be another ‘over’ game with Texas’ Scott Feldman (2-6, 6.13 ERA) going against Dylan Axelrod (0-1, 4.50 ERA).
The 26-year-old Axelrod is in his third stint in the big leagues and is making his fourth start this year. He’s not overpowering with an 89 mph fastball and is also a fly-ball pitcher. That is not a good combination at U.S. Cellular Field.
Don Best is sending out this game as a pick ‘em with the run total set at 10.