There are ten early MLB games to enjoy this week,Â split over Wednesday and Thursday.Â Â Â They provide plenty of opportunities to watch some exciting young starting pitchers, from Luke Hochevar to YovaniÂ Gallardo and we also might have the chance to watch Roy Halladay pitching for the Blue Jays.Â Of course,Â that depends on whether he’s still with the club by Wednesday.
All times are listed in British Summer Time.Â Â
There are no early games today, giving you the opportunity to look back at yesterday’s Hall of Fame induction festivities.Â The later games include the openers to two key series: Yankees vs Rays (00.08, Burnett and Shields on the mound) and Dodgers vs Cardinals (00.10, Wolf and Carpenter).Â Josh Beckett starts for the Red Sox at Fenway against the A’s (also 00.10), Carlos Zambrano starts at Wrigley against the Astros (01.05) and Tim Lincecum takes on the Pirates at AT&T Park (03.15).
There’s no live early action tomorrow either.Â Scott Kazmir will face the Yankees at 00.08, while the Dodgers-Cardinals match up should be Billingsley against Wainwright (01.15).Â Elsewhere, Mark Buehrle takes the mound for the first time since his perfect game (01.10 against the Twins), Jair Jurrjens starts for the Braves against the Marlins (00.10), the Astros-Cubs game brings together Roy Oswalt and the returning Ryan Dempster (01.05) and Dan Haren makes a start against the Phillies at 02.40.
19.20. Astros @ Cubs – Hampton (6-7), TBD,
20.35. Indians @ Angels – TBD, Lackey (6-4),
20.45. Pirates @ Giants – Duke (9-9), Cain (12-2),
21.40. Blue Jays @ Mariners – Halladay (11-3), Rowland-Smith (0-1),
Our first live early games of the week are equally divided between the AL and NL.Â The Blue Jays-Mariners game immediately stands out because it would be Roy Halladay’s scheduled start for Toronto. Whether he is still with the club remains to be seen.Â
Matt Cain has been outstanding for the Giants this season and his win-loss record reflects this fact, after two seasons when that hasn’t been the case.Â John Lackey has really hit some form of late after an injury-delayed start to the season, while Mike Hampton helped his own cause last time out by hitting his first home run since 2005.Â
It’s also worth highlighting the Royals-Orioles game that is scheduled to start at five past midnight.Â Zack Greinke is pitching for KC and Chris Tillman is expected to make his much-anticipated Major League debut for the O’s.
17.10. Rockies @ Mets – De La Rosa (8-7), Niese (1-0),
17.35. Royals @ Orioles – Hochevar (6-3), Bergeson (6-5),
17.35. Padres @ Reds – Stauffer (0-2), Cueto (8-7),
18.35. A’s @ Red Sox – Gonzalez (2-2), Lester (9-7),
19.05. Nationals @ Brewers – Martin (0-1), Gallardo (9-7),
19.20. Astros @ Cubs – Ortiz (3-5), Hart (2-1).
There are six early games on Thursday with a number of talented young pitchers toeing the rubber.Â Luke Hochever struck out a career high nine batters against the Rays two starts ago and then bettered that total by four in his last start against the Rangers.Â Tune in to see if he can top that total again.Â Johnny Cueto has struggled a bit of late but has the talent to turn things around quickly, while Yovani Gallardo has firmly assumed the role of the Brewers’ ace.
The A’s-Red Sox game brings together a young pitcher who has now established himself as an impressive Major League starter in Jon Lester and a young pitcher who has found the Big Leagues tough going in Gio Gonzalez.Â Gio rebounded from a nightmare start against the Twins on 20 July (11 earned runs conceded in 2.2 innings) with a very impressive win at Yankee Stadium on Saturday.Â Hopefully that start will give him the confidence to fulfil the promise shown in his Minor League performances.
The last day of July doesn’t bring us any early games, but the 21.00 trade deadline is sure to provide plenty of drama.Â Will we see a repeat of last year’s Manny deal?
All the above games can be followed via various resources on MLB.com (Gameday, Gameday Audio and MLB.tv), while ESPN America’s MLB schedule can be found here.