American League Capsules : Probable Pitching Matchups for July 29th 2012

Compiled by Jim Donahue

Could Seattle’s Felix Hernandez win a second Cy Young award in three seasons? It’s somewhat unlikely considering how bad the Mariners are, but King Felix has been practically untouchable for weeks and leads the AL in strikeouts. He takes the mound on Sunday vs. K.C. and if history is any indication, will dominate the Royals. Click here to bet on Royals-Mariners and every game.

Detroit at Toronto – Tigers RHP Doug Fister (4-7, 4.03) vs. Jays LHP Brett Cecil (2-3, 5.82): The numbers say Fister is as good or better with two strikes this year compared to last, but the Indians touched him up for a half-dozen two-strike hits Tuesday in Cleveland, yielding three runs over seven innings and ending a three-game win streak. … Cecil allowed just two runs during six innings of work in his last start against Oakland. The two runs came on a home run by Derek Norris, as homers continue to be Cecil’s Achilles’ heel this season. He has now surrendered eight in seven starts.

Oakland at Baltimore – A’s LHP Travis Blackley (3-2, 3.15) vs. Orioles LHP Wei-Yen Chen (8-6, 3.82): Blackley fired seven innings of one-run ball in Toronto on Tuesday, allowing five hits and walking one with a career-high eight strikeouts. The lefty is 3-0 with a 2.07 ERA over his last seven outings. … The 26-year-old Chen was done in by a two-run run homer and suffered his first lost in three starts Tuesday night to Tampa Bay. With Jason Hammel hurt, Chen has been the Orioles’ most effective starter.

Cleveland at Minnesota – Indians RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (8-9, 4.97) vs. Twins LHP Francisco Liriano (3-10, 5.31): Jimenez pitched six scoreless innings in an important Indians win over the Tigers. Jimenez allowed seven hits, but he routinely worked out of dangerous situations. He struck out four and walked two, and took a no-decision. … Liriano’s streak of three straight quality starts ended after he allowed a career-high-tying three home runs and seven runs in just 2 2/3 innings Monday against the White Sox. He allowed seven hits in that span.

Tampa Bay at LA Angels – Rays RHP Jeremy Hellickson (5-6, 3.42) vs. Angels RHP Garrett Richards (3-2, 3.91): Hellickson ended a nine-start winless streak on Tuesday, allowing only one run and three baserunners in 6 1/3 innings against the Orioles. Manager Joe Maddon praised the righty’s aggressiveness with the fastball. … Richards gave up four runs off five hits and three walks with two strikeouts over five innings against the Royals on Tuesday. He began to settle down over the next three innings but was removed after the fifth having thrown 96 pitches. It’s also possible that Jerome Williams gets the call for L.A.

Kansas City at Seattle – Royals LHP Will Smith (2-3, 6.26) vs. Mariners RHP Felix Hernandez (9-5, 2.80): In the second start of his second stint with the big club, Smith stifled an all-right-handed-hitting Angels lineup with seven strong innings on Tuesday. He gave up two hits and one run in the first inning and that was all. … Hernandez struggled with his command from the get-go on Tuesday, walking three and hitting a career-high tying three batters, but managed to wiggle his way out of enough jams for the win.

Chicago White Sox at Texas – White Sox RHP Gavin Floyd (8-8, 4.46) vs. Rangers RHP Roy Oswalt (3-1, 5.22): Floyd was a bit rusty in his first start off the disabled list his last time out, walking six, but still tossed a quality start to earn the win against Minnesota. Floyd lost his season debut to Texas and has a 4.97 career ERA against the Rangers. … Oswalt is expected to return to the rotation after being skipped in his last start because of tightness in his back. Before he was shut down, Oswalt was 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in his past two starts. He is 2-0 with a 3.44 ERA in three starts at home.

Boston at NY Yankees – Red Sox LHP Felix Doubront (10-5, 4.54) vs. Yankees RHP Hiroki Kuroda (10-7, 3.34): Doubront was roughed up in a loss to the Rangers on Monday as he pitched five innings and allowed six runs, eight hits and three walks to go along with six strikeouts. He faced the Yanks on July 7, allowing four runs in 6.1 innings. … Kuroda continues to gain comfort as an American League pitcher, his latest win coming on Monday against the Mariners, whom he held to one run on three hits and a walk over seven innings. The righty hasn’t lost since June 19 at Atlanta.

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