The New York Mets were written off as pretenders in the National League East after suffering through an injury-plagued season last year, but they're right in the thick of things with the second half on the horizon.
The surprising Mets look to close in on first-place Atlanta when they take on the Detroit Tigers in the finale of a three-game interleague series on Thursday night at Citi Field.
In stark contrast to what happened last season, New York has mostly avoided the injury bug this year. That said, the Mets continue to cash with Luis Castillo (foot) on the 15-day disabled list and Carlos Beltran (knee) on the 60-day DL.
One of the best home and runline wagers in baseball, New York sends Hisanori Takahashi (6-2, 3.13 ERA) to the hill on Thursday night. Takahashi tossed six scoreless innings to get the win in the Mets' 4-0 victory as +185 underdogs over the Yankees last Friday.
The Tigers counter with Armando Galarraga (2-1, 3.32 ERA), as they look to ride his hot hand. Detroit is 5-1 against the moneyline in Galarraga's last six starts, including four consecutive wins.
Tonights BangTheBook.com MLB pick on the game is: Take the Red Hot Mets
Elsewhere in interleague play on Thursday night, the American League East's surprise team, the Toronto Blue Jays, hosts the St. Louis Cardinals in the getaway game of a three-game set at Rogers Centre.
This is a rebuilding year for the Blue Jays, but they've hung around the rough-and-tumble AL East with a heavy dose of power hitting and starting pitching.
Toronto needs to be at its best on Thursday night with Adam Wainwright (10-4, 2.23 ERA) taking his turn for St. Louis. If not for Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez, Wainwright would be among the frontrunners for the NL Cy Young award.
Brandon Morrow (4-5, 4.97 ERA) toes the rubber for the Jays opposite Wainwright. The hardthrowing righthander has a 1.89 ERA in his last three outings, but has a 5.62 ERA in night games this season.
An avid follower of the Sweet Science, Kenneth has been covering the sport since 2005, with works appearing in local newspapers and newsletters in his home city and surrounding areas of Cagayan de Oro.
Also known as the Frustrated Sports Analyst, Kenneth's works also appear in Bleacher Report's boxing category, with some articles already featured and syndicated by CBSSports.com.