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MLB Weekend Outlook

MLB Weekend Outlook

MLB Weekend Outlook

Before looking at the live play-by-play MLB action available at the book Thursday through Sunday, let's take examine how unusual Tuesday night was in the American League and perhaps its impact on the winner of that league's Cy Young Award.

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Three of the AL's top Cy Young contenders started Tuesday and their teams were favored in all three: the White Sox's Chris Sale at Baltimore, the Tigers' Justin Verlander at Kansas City and the Angels' Jered Weaver vs. Boston. The trio entered the night with a combined 43-14 record and each with an ERA under 3.00. But on Tuesday, they combined to allow 17 runs in 16.2 innings. Sale (15-5, 2.81) was the only one to actually suffer the loss - White Sox were -131 -- as he lasted a season-low four innings and allowed four runs at Baltimore. Sale's velocity was down and his control off, leading some to wonder whether the Sox needed to skip another start for the former reliever.

The Angels went off as -203 favorites behind Weaver and did manage to beat the Red Sox. But he got a no-decision, allowing five runs in seven innings. Weaver (16-3, 2.85) has won just once in his past four starts and has a 7.94 ERA in his past three.

But by far the most surprising result was Verlander against the Royals. The reigning AL MVP and Cy Young winner allowed a career-high-tying eight runs in 5 2/3 innings. It was the first time he had allowed that many since the start of the 2009 season. Verlander (12-7, 2.90) also allowed 12 hits, the most against him since 2006. Kansas City, which was a +168 underdog, had never scored more than five runs vs. Verlander.

The carnage to No. 1 pitchers early this week wasn't limited to those three. Tampa Bay's David Price (16-5, 2.53), another Cy Young favorite, was rocked for six runs and 10 hits in four innings in a loss to Texas on Monday. Before that, the lefty had allowed just two runs in 30 August innings. But perhaps that result wasn't surprising. In eight career regular-season starts against the Rangers, Price is now 1-3 with a 6.04 ERA. His career regular-season ERA at Arlington Stadium is a robust 10.26.

Finally, Washington's Stephen Strasburg (15-6, 3.05) allowed a career-high seven runs on nine hits in five innings in a loss to Miami on Tuesday. Strasburg had owned the Marlins previously with a 4-1 mark and 1.56 ERA in seven starts - he had allowed seven total runs in 40.1 innings before allowing seven on Tuesday.

Perhaps the struggles of these aces are why August is called the dog days of summer in MLB.

Weekend Live Betting Preview

With NFL exhibition finales and two college football openers, there is only one live betting game Thursday: Mets at Phillies in their series finale. On Friday, the live action has Orioles at Yankees and Angels at Mariners.

The O's are starting to look like they might return to the postseason for the first time since 1997 and actually are putting some pressure on the banged-up Yankees in the AL East. Baltimore has played well in the Bronx this season, taking two of three in both series there so far. The clubs play again for the final time next weekend.

On Saturday there is a big slate of college football live betting so just one in MLB: Cardinals at Nationals. Sunday there are three options: Orioles at Yankees, Angels at Mariners and White Sox at Tigers in the ESPN Sunday night game.

That Sox-Tigers series could be huge for the AL Central title and it's the Pale Hose's last visit to Motown in the regular season. The previous visit didn't go well as Chicago was swept July 20-22 to temporarily fall out of first in the division. Sunday's pitching matchup looks to be one of the best of the season as Verlander and Sale are scheduled to oppose one another.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland purposefully pitched Verlander on Tuesday in Kansas City even though Detroit had an off day Monday. Instead of giving his ace an extra day of rest, Leyland wanted Verlander available in the series finale vs. the White Sox. Verlander has faced the Sox once this season, beating them July 20 by allowing two runs in eight innings. Sale hasn't fared well in two starts vs. Detroit, going 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA.

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