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This is the stretch of the MLB season when teams are playing many games without a day off and when the stress starts to get to the bullpen. It’s also the time when division races shape up. The All-Star Break is about a week away, and these weekend matchups are the most interesting for your baseball betting strategy.

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Key MLB Matchups This Weekend

Yankees at Red Sox

These rivals haven’t played since a three-game series that opened the season. A lot has happened since. The Yankees are on pace to win 116 games, and the Red Sox have slipped into contention for a playoff spot. Records be damned, the rivalry is always inspired, and you’ll see Gerrit Cole and Nestor Cortes on the mound for the Yankees in Fenway Park this weekend.

Marlins at Mets

The Amazin’s have seen their 10 1/2 game lead dwindle to 2 1/2. It’s coincided with the absence of Max Scherzer, but the “Brown Eye Blue Eye Devil” is back, and after punching out 11 Reds batters in six innings on Tuesday, he’s back where he belongs at the top of the Mets rotation.

The Marlins are 5-1 in July, and their streaky season continues. They went 12-8 to start the season, 7-19 after that, then 20-14 since as they claw their way toward the .500 mark. Ace Sandy Alcantara, the favorite to win the NL Cy Young, will be on the hill Sunday against Taijuan Walker.

Nationals at Braves

That team breathing down the collar of the Mets? It’s the Braves. You remember them? They won the World Series last October. Atlanta has Matt Olson, who has 32 doubles and is on pace for the first 60+ doubles season since 1936, and a long lineup that gives pitchers problems. The Braves are the leading home run hitting team in the NL, and seven of their hitters are on pace for 20+ taters.

Charlie Morton pitches Saturday for Atlanta. He’s struggled to keep the ball down, so he’s a good risk for giving up some runs while still exceeding his K totals (101 punchouts in 87 innings).

Giants at Padres

It’s NoCal vs. SoCal, with the two teams chasing the Dodgers squaring off at Petco Park in San Diego. This is a four-gamer with all the top pitchers from both teams slated to pitch. Blake Snell is starting the Friday game, and SF’s Carlos Rodón faces Yu Darvish in an international pitching duel on Saturday. Rookie of the Year candidate MacKenzie Gore (4-3, 3.18 ERA) starts for the Padres Sunday. The lefty is +750 to win the award.

Phillies at Cardinals

Did anyone think the Cardinals would be this good, especially with the injuries the team has suffered in 2024? Here the Redbirds are, sitting as a wild card team and three games behind the Brewers. But the Cards are losing some feathers. They’ve lost six of seven and have a 5.29 ERA in July.

Philadelphia’s Kyle Schwarber is the hottest hitter on planet Earth. He has nine homers in his last 13 games, and two in each of his last two. He gets his hits in bunches, with a league-best 14 multi-hit games since June 1. It may be time to revisit NL MVP odds: Schwarber, who leads the National League with 27 homers, is still at +3000 from Caesars to cop the big award in the Senior Circuit. If he stays hot and drives his way to 50+ homers, he could get into the conversation with St. Louis’ Paul Goldschmidt, Manny Machado, and a few others in the MVP race.

Tigers at White Sox

Detroit just swept the Guardians in a four-game series at home. The Tigers are not a playoff team. They have lots of issues, but the offense is starting to awaken, and Miguel Cabrera is batting .400 in July with six RBIs in six games. His .386 average with runners in scoring position ranks third in MLB. Cleveland is trying to inch its way toward the Twins, who are the “by default” leader of the weak AL Central.

Hottest Pitchers in MLB, June 2024

These pitchers are red hot and should be on your list of starters to look at for Over/Under K totals in a game.

  • Dylan Cease (0.33 ERA in 5 starts, 45 K in 27.1 IP)
  • Charlie Morton (3.52 ERA in 5 starts, 45 K in 24 IP)
  • Jon Gray (2.39 ERA in 6 starts,  44 K in 37.2 IP)
  • Aaron Nola (2.51 ERA in 6 starts, 43 K in 43 IP)
  • Shane Bieber (3.13 ERA in 6 starts, 42 K in 37.1 IP)
  • Shane McClanahan (1.36 ERA in 5 starts, 42 K in 33 IP)
  • Carlos Rodon (1.25 ERA in 6 starts, 41 K in 36 IP)
  • Nick Pivetta (2.25 ERA in 6 starts, 40 K in 29 IP)
  • Shohei Ohtani (1.52 ERA in 5 starts, 38 K in 29.2 IP)
  • Robbie Ray (2.19 ERA in 6 starts, 37 K in 37 IP)

Ohtani struck out 10 batters in seven innings in his only starts thus far in July. He has 48 K’s in his last 36 IP, and he hasn’t allowed an earned run in 29.2 innings

AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

About the Author

Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes is a writer and contributor for NJ Gambling Sites and has been blogging for more than 25 years. He covered Major League Baseball for, wrote for, and spent eight years as Web Manager at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. He is the author of three books on baseball, and his writing has appeared in Huffington Post, Baseball Digest, and the Detroit Free Press. He has a degree from Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Illinois.