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It’s the first full week of August, but for many teams it’s already September. The trade deadline showed us what teams were serious about a playoff run and what teams were throwing in the towel. Will the moves that were made help those that appear to be playoff bound? The push for October continues in week 18 and this is my pick for the best series this week in baseball.
Normally I’m not a huge fan of inter-league play, but hands down the Cleveland Indians vs the Washington Nationals just might be epic. Terry Francona has managed to pull the tribe out of the gutter and put them in a position to compete in the AL Central. After an unsuccessful attempt to acquire All Star catcher Jonathan Lucroy from the Milwaukee Brewers, the Indians made limited moves at the trade deadline, but they may not need them.
The like the Indians, the Nationals didn’t make many moves at the deadline either, but they did land one big fish; Mark Melancon. Melancon had been with the Pittsburgh Pirates since 2013 and was their official closer for most of that time. Last year he clocked the most saves in the league with 51 and was on his way back to being the save leader this season at the time of the trade with 30 already in the books. The Nationals were already fairly complete team, but adding a beast like Melancon to their bullpen could make them unstoppable.
This series is my pick of the week because if the sports gods keep shinning down on Cleveland, this could potentially be a World Series preview (as long as the Nationals can beat the Chicago Cubs that is).
This is a quick 2 game series. Game 1 features Nationals ace Max Scherzer (12-6). The Nats scored Scherzer off the free agent market in Jan of 2015 and he was arguably the best free agent available that year. So far he has been worth is 7 year $210 million dollar price tag. Some players struggle their first season when they transition between leagues but not Scherzer. He finished 2015 with 14 wins, a 2.79 ERA, and pitched 4 complete games. This season is shaping up to better than the last. Scherzer already has 12 wins, a 2.87 ERA, and with about 6 more starts to go in the regular season, getting more wins than 2015 is likely.
Game 2 features a pitcher that has spent his entire major league career with the Indians and he been proving his worth year after year. Nope, I’m not talking about act Corey Kluber, I’m talking about Josh Tomlin. Tomlin has been a workhorse for the Indians since 2010 and this season is shaping up to be his best yet. Prior to this season, his best was in 2011 when Tomlin fished with a 4.25 ERA and 12-7 record. So far in 2016, he has already racked up 11 wins and has been an integral part of the Indians success this season.
These 2 teams have only met 14 other times and have a split record of 7-7 against each other. These teams may meet again in October and this series is definitely worth a watch this week in baseball.
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