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It’s here! The boys of summer are back and baseball season officially starts Sunday! As excited as I am for the Blue Jays vs Rays game at at 4:05pm, this week has a lot of amazing games and interesting match ups. The first few days of baseball are filled with aces; here’s what to watch in this week in baseball.
There are three regular season games on Sunday; St. Louis Cardinals vs Pittsburgh Pirates, Toronto Blue Jays vs Tampa Bay Rays, and the always awesome World Series rematch of the New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals.
Francisco Liriano got the start for the Pirates against Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright. The NL Central was the most competitive division in the MLB in 2015. The Cubs finished the season with 97 wins, the Pirates with 98 wins, the Cardinals won the division with 100 wins. These three teams finished each with more wins than any other division leader in the league. There is no doubt 2016 will be equally as competitive and any match up between them will be worth a watch.
The Blue Jays decided to start their season with Marcus Stroman matched up against Rays ace Chris Archer. Division predictions have been mixed. Many analysts have picked the Blue Jays to come out on top of the AL East due to their 93-69 performance last season, but the Rays with their always solid pitching and revamped lineup are definite contenders.
As for the Sunday Night Baseball match-up of the Mets and Royals; you don’t need me to tell that a World Series rematch is going to be awesome. Additionally, there are rumors that the Royals may retaliate against the due to Mets Noah Syndergaard hitting shortstop Alcides Escobar in game three of the World Series. No doubt that this will be a hated matchup that should be on every fan’s radar as must see tv.
There are so many games on the rest of the week that I’m not going to bore you by listing them all. A few games of note are:
David Price and the Boston Red Sox vs Corey Kluber and the Cleveland Indians. This will be Price’s first regular season start with the Red Sox and with the largest contract of any pitcher in the MLB, all eyes will be on him. The Indians seasoned veteran Corey Kluber is a formidable opponent. The pitchers aren’t the only ones making this game intriguing. In the off season the Indians picked up former Red Sox Mike Napoli and he has had a great spring. Additionally, the Red Sox have fostered a great young talent in center fielder Mookie Betts and have chosen to bench three time World Series Champion Pablo Sandoval in favor of former ninth round draft pick Travis Shaw. If you are around a TV at the 4:10pm first pitch time, this the game you want to watch.
There are two interesting Opening Day match-ups going on on the west coast. Two time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodger are taking on ace Tyson Ross and the San Diego Padres is at 7:05pm. Currently the Dodgers are the most expensive professional sports team in the country and are looking to do more this season than just win the division. The Padres have a new skipper in Andy Green and he is looking to turn around the last five losing seasons for the team. The other pitchers duel going on in California is the matchup of ace Chris Sale with the Chicago White Sox against the Oakland Athletics with ace Sonny Grey taking the mound. If you have never seen a game when these two are pitching, you are missing out.
Tuesday my top picks are the matchup of Noah Syndergaard and the Mets vs Ian Kennedy and the Royals. The 2015 World Series rematch continues; enough said. Also on Tuesday Scott Kazmir makes his first start as a Dodger and he will be pitching against a former teammate from the Tampa Bay Rays James Shields and the San Diego Padres. Both Kazmir and Shields are known for going deep into games, so we will see who can go the distance.
Wednesday the David and Goliath matchup of the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees is what to watch. The Astros were the Cinderella of the 2015 season and plan on doing much of the same in 2016. The Yankees have a lot to prove since they have failed to make the playoffs since 2012. No doubt both teams will be looking to start off strong and set the tone for the rest of the season.
On Thursday two teams with a rivalry that can only be matched by that of the Red Sox and Yankees meet for the first time in the regular season; the Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants. The starters, Alex Wood for the Dodgers and the Jake Peavy for the Giants are evenly matched so this game will be won by defense.
Friday Jordan Zimmerman will be making his first AL start as a Detroit Tiger. Whenever a pitcher makes the switch from NL to AL or vice versa it’s interesting to see if they are able to transfer their success from one league to another. Zimmerman will definitely be looking to prove himself against the Yankees.
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