What we're watching: Wainwright vs. Kershaw

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– Roy Halladay will face a patient Boston lineup having pitched 50 innings over his past six starts. Included in that run is a complete-game victory over the Red Sox in which he gave up just one run. Halladay is just 13-12 with a 4.33 ERA lifetime against the Red Sox, but he has handled them well over the last two years, going 4-2 with a 2.27 ERA and three complete games in six starts. The Red Sox will throw Clay Buchholz as they aim for a second straight win in Toronto.
– Dan Haren, the NL’s ERA leader for the first half of the season, will match up against the red-hot Cliff Lee as the Diamondbacks and Phillies continue a three-game series. Haren bounced back from a subpar four-start run to limit the Dodgers to one run over eight innings in a win last week. Lee, on the other hand, has won six straight starts, allowing just seven runs in the process. He’s 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA since joining the Phillies.
Game of the Night
St. Louis vs. Los Angeles – Two of the game’s hottest pitchers will square off in Los Angeles, as Adam Wainwright and Clayton Kershaw are set to duel. Wainwright leads the NL with 14 wins and hasn’t given up more than two earned runs in a start in two months. Since the beginning of July, he has a 1.21 ERA in nine outings. Without working as deep into games, Kershaw has been just about as outstanding, amassing a 1.50 ERA in his last 12 starts. However, the Dodgers have lost each of his last five starts and Kershaw hasn’t been sharp in two of his three starts this month. Even if he’s at his best tonight, it’s no guarantee of a win. He pitched eight scoreless innings against the Cardinals on July 29 and ended up with a no-decision when St. Louis came back to win 3-2.

The St. Louis Cardinals announce their first Pride Night

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The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they will hold their first Pride Night on August 25th.

A lot of teams have Pride Nights, but it’s worth noting that the Cardinals are holding one given some bad press — some fair, some unfair — they have received in recent years when it comes to matters of diversity and inclusion.

Earlier this month the club received criticism from the LGBT community due to Lance Berkman’s presence for the team’s annual Christian Day, given his past comments about transgender people and his participation in a Houston political campaign over access to public restrooms. Recently, a former Cardinals minor league player claimed he left baseball after enduring anti-gay comments from his coaches and teammates.

As club president Bill DeWitt III noted in the official announcement however, the Cardinals have hosted LGBT groups in the past. He says that the club is eager to “remind fans that everyone is welcome at Busch Stadium.” He notes that the event will raise money for the PrideSTL Scholarship Fund which, in DeWitt’s words, “help courageous students in our community.”

Nice move, Cardinals.

Johnny Cueto expected to opt-out of his deal after the season

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Johnny Cueto signed a six-year $130 million deal with the Giants prior to the 2016 season. In his first season he went 18-5 with a 2.79 ERA and 198 strikeouts in 219.2 innings, helping lead the Giants to the playoffs. This season has been rocky for Cueto — he’s got a a 4.42 ERA in 15 starts and has battled blisters — but they’ve been far rockier for the Giants overall, as they sit in last place in the NL West and have the second worst record in baseball.

Many suspect that the Giants will either rebuild or, at the very least, restructure some in response to this nightmare year. If so, they’re likely going to be doing it with Cueto, who Jon Heyman reports is going to opt-out of his deal:

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Johnny Cueto is planning to opt out of his contract at the end of the year, but he would listen to any extension offer . . . Cueto has $84 million to go over four years. It would probably take an injury or major slump for Cueto not to opt out. But it makes sense that he will.

Heyman says the Giants are not inclined to give him an extension, so expect to see Cueto on the free agent market three days after the World Series ends, which is the deadline for him to exercise his opt-out rights.