By C. Trent Rosecrans
A little something different today for on-deck, with interleague play starting, here are the top three interleague matchups on tap this weekend. But what's really different is this ranking of the top three is done not by hype or television market or geography, nope, it's done by good ol' fashion numbers -- combined winning percentage.
BATTLE FOR OHIO -- The two teams play for the Ohio Cup -- and for the last couple of years, that's all that was at stake. Not this season. The Reds' resurgence started last season when they won the National League Central and this season they enter this series just a half-game out of first, while the surprising Indians lead the American League Central by five games, the biggest lead of any of baseball's division leaders. Indians starter Alex White, the team's first-round pick in 2009, hasn't pitched an official game in nearly two weeks and had his outing last Saturday cut short after an inning because of rain. Former Indian Brandon Phillips has absolutely punished the team that gave up on him in 2006, hitting .354/.390/.540 with five homers in 29 games against Cleveland. Combined winning percentage: .600. Reds at Indians, 7:05 p.m. ET (Watch live)
SUNSHINE STATE SHOWDOWN -- Usually you think of old folks when it comes to Florida, but between the Rays and the Marlins, you have two of the best young teams in baseball. The Rays have rebounded from their slow start to take the lead in the American League East, while the Marlins are just a game and a half behind the Phillies. There's never really been a rivalry between these two teams as neither have really been playoff contenders in the same year. That could change this season. Andy Sonnanstine goes to the hill for Tampa tonight for his second start of the season, while Anibal Sanchez is off to a hot start, going 3-1 with a 2.90 ERA. Combined winning percentage: .570. Rays at Marlins, 7:10 p.m. ET (Watch live)
DIVISION LEADERS -- Considering the Rangers made the World Series last season and are currently leading the American League West and the Phillies have the game's best rotation, this could be an October preview. As it stands, it's the only matchup (today at least) of first place teams. Oh yeah, and C.J. Wilson against Roy Halladay, that's not too bad either. Too bad there's no Josh Hamilton, Chase Utley, Shane Victorino or Nelson Cruz, but there's still plenty of star power to go around. Combined winning percentage: .563. Rangers at Phillies, 7:05 p.m. ET (Watch live)And, just to note, the three worst matchups by terms of combined winning percentage are: Twins-Diamondbacks (.412), Astros-Blue Jays (.425) and Dodgers-White Sox (.444).
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