Looking ahead to the top baseball games of this week, it’s all about pitchers. Former Cy Young winners to be more exact. Here are three top matchups not to be missed this week and I’d certainly recommend backing the Cy Young winner in each of them — their teams will certainly be favorites in online sports betting.
This game will feature live betting as it’s televised nationally by ESPN. And the Cubs look to set a big-league record by winning the 24th straight start of ace Jake Arrieta, the reigning NL Cy Young winner. Arrieta (9-0, 1.72) actually looked rather shaky last time out. He pitched five innings, allowing four runs, seven hits and one walk while striking out four in last Wednesday’s win over the Cardinals. They were the first team to score four runs against Arrieta since the Indians did so June 16, 2015. That snapped a streak of 30 consecutive starts of three earned runs or fewer for Arrieta, the longest such streak in MLB history. Arrieta allowed four runs in a regular-season game for the first time since June 16, 2015. Arrieta, who allowed a first-inning run for the first time since May 29, 2015, became the first Cub to win his first nine decisions since Kenny Holtzman in 1967 and it is the best start to a season for the franchise since Jim McCormick went 16-0 in 1886. The last time Arrieta faced the Dodgers, Aug. 30 of last year, he no-hit them. He will be opposed by Scott Kazmir (4-3, 4.84). Kazmir struck out a dozen Reds over six innings Wednesday, allowing just one run on four hits and two walks in a 3-1 victory. Kazmir has been a bit unpredictable this year. Two starts back he walked seven. Next time out he fanned 12. He won his lone career Wrigley Field start.
Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox, Friday
It’s former AL Cy Young winner David Price facing his former Blue Jays team for the third time this season. He spent the second half of last season there after being traded from Detroit last July. Price was fantastic in a Blue Jays uniform and finished second in the AL Cy Young voting behind Houston’s Dallas Keuchel. The Red Sox gave him $217 million in free agency this past winter. Price (7-1, 5.11) has disappointed thus far. But Boston has won his past four and he beat Toronto on Sunday, allowing two runs and five hits in 6.1 innings. Price was given a standing ovation in Toronto by the fans. Price is 17-2 lifetime against the Blue Jays – still 7-0 as an opponent at the Rogers Centre – with a 2.43 earned run average. The Jays go with their ace, Marcus Stroman (5-1, 4.46). Stroman didn’t factor into the decision in Saturday’s 10-9 victory over the Red Sox, but was hit hard. He surrendered 11 hits, seven earned runs and a walk over 5.1 innings. He struck out five.
Atlanta at LA Dodgers, Friday
This might be the biggest mismatch of the week as the Dodgers start ace lefty Clayton Kershaw against the majors’ worst team. Kershaw finished May 5-0 with an 0.91 ERA, with 65 strikeouts, two walks, 24 hits allowed and one home run allowed in 49 2/3 innings. His 65 strikeouts are the most by any pitcher who walked five batters or fewer in a calendar month within the modern era. Kershaw’s work in May made him the fourth pitcher to have a sub-1.00 ERA and 65 strikeouts in a calendar month. The other three are Randy Johnson (June 1997), Roger Clemens (August 1998) and Pedro Martinez (September 1999). The Braves start Julio Teheran (1-5, 2.77). Teheran suffered his fifth loss of the season Sunday versus the Marlins, allowing three runs on five hits and three walks across just 5.1 innings. He struck out three. Teheran had allowed one or no runs in each of his last six starts entering Sunday.