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It's officially the dog days of summer in baseball. Our team of writers and handicappers gathered three of their top picks for Friday's MLB action.

Tampa Bay Rays (73-47) at Texas Rangers (61-61)

The Tampa Bay Rays have been one of the biggest surprises in baseball. In spite of their success, though, they have not been impressive in their recent series openers.

The AL East-leading Rays look for a rare win in a series opener when they begin a three-game set against the slumping Texas Rangers on Friday.

For Friday's opener, Texas is expected to activate Kevin Millwood (6-6, 5.40 ERA) from the disabled list.

In his last start on July 23 against the Chicago White Sox, Millwood left after 1 2-3 innings with a strained right groin and was placed on the DL three days later. The right-hander made a rehab start for Double-A Frisco on Sunday, and allowed two runs and five hits in four innings.

The 12-year veteran went 0-2 with a 8.78 ERA in his final three starts before going on the DL, and has not won since July 6 at Baltimore.

Millwood has not faced the Rays since Aug. 23, 2006, and is 1-1 with a 6.63 ERA in three career starts versus Tampa Bay.

Pick: Tampa Bay - View game matchup | Best line -110 SBG Global

Baltimore Orioles (58-62) at Detroit Tigers (59-62)

Detroit Tigers left-hander Nate Robertson looks to continue his success against the Baltimore Orioles as the teams begin a three-game series at Comerica Park on Friday night.

Robertson (7-8, 5.84 ERA) lost his first career start against the Orioles on April 19, 2005, but is since 4-0 with a 3.32 ERA in seven starts against them. In his only start against them this season on July 19, however, he was tagged for seven runs in a season-low 2 1-3 innings in a 11-10 loss in 10 innings.

The southpaw won for the first time in eight starts Sunday by yielding one run over 7 2-3 innings in a 6-1 victory over Oakland. Robertson was 0-2 with an 8.42 ERA over his previous seven outings.

Baltimore (58-62) is making its only trip this season to Comerica Park, where it was swept in a three-game set in its lone visit in 2007. The Orioles and Tigers split four games at Camden Yards from July 17-20.

Pick: Detroit  - Best line –150 SBG Global

Toronto Blue Jays (62-60) at Boston Red Sox (71-51)

There were plenty of concerns over what effect the trade of Manny Ramirez would have on the offense of the Boston Red Sox.

So far, they're making a convincing argument it's made their lineup even better.

The Red Sox, the major leagues' top-scoring team in August and winners of four straight, will get a stern test from Roy Halladay and the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday when the AL East rivals begin a three-game set at Fenway Park.

Halladay wasn't at his best in his latest outing, but he was also the victim of some shaky defense. He gave up four runs - one earned - and 10 hits in 6 2-3 innings in a 4-2 loss to Cleveland on Saturday, throwing a career-high 130 pitches.

Pick: Toronto - Best line -115 SBG Global … -augu.html

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