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Thursday Matinee Action
The start of August baseball showcases three matinee affairs, including four pitchers taking the mound owning an ERA of 3.42 or lower. All three favorites are teams that are playing well of late, including the Mets, who have picked up a handful of victories at Miami and the Indians, who try to stay hot at home against Chicago.

White Sox at Indians – 12:05 PM EST

Probables: C. Sale (6-10, 2.69 ERA) vs. J. Masterson (12-7, 3.42 ERA)

Series recap: Either the Indians keep finding ways to win games or the White Sox keep inventing ways to lose games. Cleveland beat Chicago for the third straight night, 6-5 in 10 innings as $1.50 home favorites. The Indians won for the second time in this series thanks to a walk-off homer, as Carlos Santana capped a thrilling rally in the 10th inning. After Chicago scored two runs to take a 5-3 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth, the Tribe loaded the bases with no outs and scored two runs on deep sacrifice flies to tie the contest.

Pitching notes: Justin Masterson has mastered the White Sox in his Cleveland tenure, beating Chicago three times this season, while the Indians are 6-1 against Chicago since last May when he takes the mound. The Tribe has won nine of Masterson's 12 home starts this season, including a 1-0 shutout in his last outing against the Rangers.

Chris Sale hasn't received great run support, as the Sox have scored one run or less in seven of the southpaw's starts. Chicago is 2-4 in Sale's previous six starts, in spite of the lefty tossing six consecutive quality outings. The Sox have cashed in four of Sale's six starts in the role of a road underdog, but he has lost twice to Cleveland.

Mets at Marlins – 12:40 PM EST

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Probables:
M. Harvey (8-2, 2.11 ERA) vs. T. Koehler (2-6, 4.67 ERA)

Series recap: The Marlins finally broke through against the Mets by squeaking out a 3-2 home triumph on Wednesday. Miami lost the first two games of this series, including a 10-inning defeat on Tuesday, but the Marlins improved to 8-3 the last 11 meetings with New York. Following an 'over' in the series opener, the Marlins and Mets have each cashed the 'under' in the last two games.

Pitching notes: Matt Harvey has allowed just one (unearned) run in his last two outings since starting the All-Star Game, as the Mets split games against the Nationals and Phillies. However, the Mets' ace hasn't figured out how to slow down the Miami lineup as New York is 0-3 in his three starts against the Fish this season (all no-decisions).

The Marlins send out Tom Koehler, who owns a 1-4 record at home this season. The right-hander has put together two terrific starts as a heavy underdog at Colorado and San Francisco, but allowed five earned runs in his previous outing, a home loss to the Pirates.

Royals at Indians – 1:10 PM EST

Probables: J. Shields (5-7, 3.09 ERA) vs. S. Diamond (5-9, 5.26 ERA)

Series recap: The Royals held on for their eighth consecutive victory on Wednesday, a 4-3 triumph as short road favorites. The Twins had multiple opportunities after tying the game at 2-2, but failed to score with the bases loaded in the sixth, two runners on in the eighth, and the game-tying run on in the ninth. Kansas City has won four of the last five meetings at Target Field, while beating Minnesota nine of 12 times this season.

Pitching notes: James Shields is listed as a heavy road favorite today, as the Royals are 3-3 in his six starts as away 'chalk.' The righty dominated the White Sox in his previous outing by tossing seven scoreless innings in a 5-1 victory, as the Royals own a 9-2 record in Shields' last 11 trips to the mound.

Scott Diamond pitched well in his previous outing as a $2.20 road underdog at Seattle, limiting the Mariners to five hits and one earned run in 6.2 innings of work as the Twins edged the M's in extra-innings, 3-2. However, Minnesota hasn't had great luck with Diamond on the mound in the role of a home underdog, posting an 0-6 record.

You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at rogers@vegasinsider.com

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

  
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