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This Week in Baseball: After the All Star Break

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After another awesome All Star break that resulted Giancarlo Stanton securing his spot as top slugger and American League home field advantage in the World Series.  Friday the boys are back at it for a quick weekend series and a mini week 15.  Since it’s a short week, this is a short this week in baseball.

The All Star break gives teams a chance to reboot and reevaluate their rotations and lineups.  This mid way point in the season can be a turning point for a team; in a good or bad way.  The struggle is real for a few teams and this break could have been just what they needed.

Before I jump into the series that caught my eye on, something happened this week in baseball that has nothing to do with game play.  Shortly before the Home Run Derby the Miami Marlins sent out an email blast to their fans designed to not only encourage viewers to watch slugger Giancarlo Stanton in the contest, but also game attendance.  The email stated that the team would offer a 1% discount off future game tickets.  I guess the marketing teams was not betting on their franchise player hitting a record breaking 61 total home runs!  The team quickly tried to retract the discount and only off 25% off stating that there was fine print saying it would not exceed that amount.  Fans were quick to show their displeasure to the team’s decision and the Marlins did decide to fulfill the discount of 61% off tickets for one game, Friday July 29.  Next time, maybe the Marlins will think more highly of the slugging power of their right fielder.

There are two series I’m watching this weekend.  The first one is an inter-league duel between the division lead Texas Rangers and the Chicago Cubs.  Every pitching match up is even and will no doubt be worth the price of admission.  Although the Cubs are still first in the NL Central they were beginning to fall from grace dropping 10 or their last 15 games and the Rangers in a similar boat losing 9.  Needless to say, both teams will be looking at make a statement this first series out the All Star break.

The other series I have my eye on this weekend is the Pittsburgh Pirates vs the Washington Nationals.  Most of the pitching match ups have not been announced but Friday’s game is Francisco Liriano vs Stephen Strasburg.  The Pirates are currently tied with the St Louis Cardinals for 2nd place in the NL Central, but they unlike the division leading Cubs, won 10 of their last 15 (including 2 against the baby bears).  The evenly matched Nationals have won 11 of the last 15 games.  If the Pirates make it into the playoffs, these teams could see each other in the playoffs and should take note of this series.  


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