What?? Exciting American Soccer? Games of the Weekend 7/26 – 7/28

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.

Thuuz Excitement All-Stars 2013

Good news, sports fans! The MLB All-Star Game is tomorrow. In addition to seeing Mariano Rivera pitch his final All-Star Game and Matt Harvey pitch at home, we see all of the best players in the league compete in one place. In the end, no matter how many stars there are on the field, everyone just wants to see an exciting game, with exciting players.

We here at Thuuz track the Excitement Quotient (EQ) of every player in the league, a stat that boils down to the simple question: how exciting is this player? After crunching the numbers, here are our All Star lineups — determined by which eligible players had the highest EQ’s in the first half of 2013. We chose 34 players for each team, and represented every major league squad with at least one player. Each team has one starter and one back-up at all 9 non-pitching positions (DH is included), 13 pitchers, and 3 players from any position. Here are Thuuz’s 2013 All-Excitement Teams:

AL
Catcher: John Jaso, A’s
First Base: Chris Davis, Orioles
Second Base: Jason Kipnis, Indians
Short Stop: Jhonny Peralta, Tigers
Third Base: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
Outfield: Mike Trout, Angels
Outfield: Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox
Outfield: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
Designated Hitter: David Ortiz, Red Sox
Back-up Catcher: Carlos Santana, Indians
Back-up First Base: Kendrys Morales, Angels
Back-up Second Base: Robinson Cano, Yankees
Back-up Short Stop: Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians
Back-up Third Base: Josh Donaldson, A’s
Back-up Outfield: Coco Crisp, A’s
Back-up Outfield: Adam Lind, Blue Jays
Back-up Outfield: Nelson Cruz, Rangers
Back-up Designated Hitter: Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays
Any Position: Evan Longoria, Rays
Any Position: Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
Any Position: Alex Gordon, Royals
Pitcher: Clay Buchholz, Red Sox
Pitcher: Max Scherzer, Tigers
Pitcher: Chris Sale, White Sox
Pitcher: Felix Hernandez, Mariners
Pitcher: Alex Torres, Rays
Pitcher: Hisashi Iwakuma, Mariners
Pitcher: Hiroki Koruda, Yankees
Pitcher: Alex Cobb, Rays
Pitcher: Ervin Santana, Royals
Pitcher: Bartolo Colon, A’s
Pitcher: John Lackey, Red Sox
Pitcher: Joe Nathan, Rangers
Pitcher: Jordan Lyles, Astros

NL
Catcher: Yadier Molina, Cardinals
First Base: Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks
Second Base: Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
Short Stop: Jean Segura, Brewers
Third Base: David Wright, Mets
Outfield: Yasiel Puig, Dodgers
Outfield: Dexter Fowler, Rockies
Outfield: Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
Designated Hitter: Allen Craig, Cardinals
Back-up Catcher: Buster Posey, Giants
Back-up First Base: Joey Votto, Reds
Back-up Second Base: Matt Carpenter, Cardinals
Back-up Short Stop: Everth Cabrera, Padres
Back-up Third Base: Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals
Back-up Outfield: Carlos Gomez, Brewers
Back-up Outfield: Shin-Soo Choo, Reds
Back-up Outfield: Carlos Quentin, Padres
Back-up Designated Hitter: Domonic Brown, Phillies
Any Position: Freddie Freeman, Braves
Any Position: Carlos Beltran, Cardinals
Any Position: Jay Bruce, Reds
Pitcher: Cliff Lee, Phillies
Pitcher: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
Pitcher: Matt Harvey, Mets
Pitcher: Travis Wood, Cubs
Pitcher: Francisco Liriano, Pirates
Pitcher: Patrick Corbin, Diamondbacks
Pitcher: Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dodgers
Pitcher: Jeff Locke, Pirates
Pitcher: Jordan Zimmerman, Nationals
Pitcher: Adam Wainwright, Cardinals
Pitcher: Stephen Strasburg, Nationals
Pitcher: Madison Bumgarner, Giants
Pitcher: Jose Fernandez, Marlins