Cardinals vs. Braves — 7/26, 7:30 p.m. ET on MLB Network — 90
Wainwright is an animal. He leads the MLB in innings pitched and the NL in wins, all while maintaining a 2.44 ERA (sixth in the league). He’ll need to prove his ace-ness here, as the Cardinals are embarking on a pivotal stretch of 11 road games in 10 days vs. a medley of divisional and NL foes. The Braves pitching has been hurting recently, but Mike Minor’s been excellent. Now that Hudson’s gone, will he step up? With two struggling offenses and two dominant pitchers, star this one as a possible pitching gem.
Real Salt Lake vs New York Red Bulls — 7/27, 7 p.m. ET on local channels — 87
RSL – still sitting atop the entire MLS after a loss in KC. New York – still holding onto a tie for second place after a tie in Toronto, hoping to gain some ground in their division. Recent stagnation doesn’t change the fact that these are two of the best teams in the entire league, and with Fabian Espindola and Jamison Olave facing RSL for the first time since switching squads, it’s a guarantee that sparks will fly.
Sporting Kansas City vs Montreal Impact — 7/27, 7 p.m. ET — 81
The general hotness of KC is undeniable. They’re unbeaten in their last six, and have won their last three games. Montreal hasn’t won in five games. Don’t think this game already over — Sporting will be without Matt Besler (Gold Cup) and Aurelien Collin (suspension). Kansas City will need Ike Opara to come up big again if they hope to continue their streak to the top of the league.
Gold Cup Finals , USA vs. Panama — 7/28, 4 p.m. ET, Fox Sports — 88
Okay, so it’s not quite Spain vs. Brazil. But this is our equivalent of Confederations Cup, so cut some slack. Landon Donovan and his merry medley of ‘Merican marauders are aiming to bring home the US’ fifth Gold Cup trophy, whereas Panama is in just their second final ever. After being denied by Mexico the last two years, the US is relieved to be facing a different team. The matchup contains all of the tournaments highest scorers, (USA’s Landon Donovan and Chris Wondolowski and Panama’s Gabriel Torres are all tied with five goals). Expect big things.
Red Sox vs. Orioles — 7/28, 1:35 p.m. ET, TBS — 84
The Orioles enter the weekend trailing the Red Sox by 4 games. The Sox are holding onto their lead over Tampa Bay in the AL East by just a half game. After a Friday and Saturday game, this Sunday matchup could just be the most critical. Lester will be chasing his 10th win for Boston, but will have to face down Hammel, the O’s Opening Day starter who has the ability to come up big.