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This week in baseball it’s all about inter-league play and playoff previews! Lots of interesting series that, based on the current standings, could be ones we see in the postseason. If you love baseball this week is for you. Grab your peanuts and cracker jacks and get ready for this week in baseball.
Two series that start on Monday that are worth keeping your eye on are New York Mets vs Pittsburgh Pirates and the Kansas City Royals vs the Baltimore Orioles. I’m picking these match ups because of their play off potential.
Last season the NL Central was the most competitive division in baseball. Win totals were as follows; St Louis Cardinals 100, Pirates 98, and the Chicago Cubs 97. Any of these teams, based on wins alone, could have won a division, but the Pirates had to play the infamous single game wild card game to see who would the Cardinals and go to the NL Divisional Championship game. The Pirates were no match for Jake Arrieta and the Cubs so their 98 win season was for not. This season they are looking for redemption and no better way to make a statement than against the NL Champion Mets. Additionally, last off season the Pirates traded their 2nd baseman and Pittsburgh native Neil Walker to the Mets for pitcher Jon Niese. This will be Walker’s first time playing against his former team.
Monday’s eyes on the AL series this week is the Royals vs Orioles. The Royals are currently 2nd in the AL Central, 1.5 games behind the Cleveland Indians. Yes you read that right, Terry Francona’s Indians lead the AL Central. The Orioles are on top of the AL East. They are tied in wins but the Boston Red Son in wins, but the Sox have one more loss thus putting them in 2nd place. These teams have already met this season in Kauffman Stadium, the Royals won that series and the Orioles will be looking to show that they are contenders. Right now the Boston Red Sox are surging through the AL East, but Buck Showalter’s Orioles could easily over take them and dominate that division.
The two inter-league series this week that could be potential World Series match ups are the Washington Nationals vs the Chicago White Sox and the Red Sox vs the San Francisco Giants.
The Nationals are currently on top of the NL East. Last year they were the pick to win the division after they further solidified their dominant pitching rotation with the signing Max Scherzer in January of 2015 to a 7 year $210 million dollar contract. The Nationals have been at or near the top of the division since 2012 but have yet to make it to a World Series, let alone win one. With the rotation and lineup that have in place, this could be their year.
The White Sox started off the season strong and were shocking critics that said they were plagued with limited pitching and weak offence. At one point that lead the AL in wins, but are now 3rd in the AL Central with 29; 2.5 games behind the division leading Indians. James Shields was recently acquired by the White Sox from the floundering San Diego Padres and will make his first start for his new team Wednesday. The opposing pitcher is Max Scherzer and Shields will have to hope the Sox are on their game if he wants to get a win against this powerhouse team.
Another interesting inter-league match up this week is the Red Sox vs the San Francisco Giants. According to Baseball-reference.com these 2 teams have only played 12 games against each other, so this (if the other meetings were 3 game series) will only be the 5th time they have competed against one another. To give a contrast to that last statistic, the Red Sox have played the New York Yankees 2143 times.
Aside from the limited amount of game play between these teams, these other reason it is a choice for a game of the week is that they are both strong contenders to win their divisions. The Giants currently lead the NL West and the Red Sox are tied with follow game of the week pick team the Orioles. Top game of this series has to be Wednesday match up of dueling aces David Price vs Madison Bumgarner. The game doesn’t start until 10:15pm EST, but if you appreciate awesome pitching, this game will be worth losing some sleep over.
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