It's Monday, and that means it's time for us at EOB to spoil the drama and tell you exactly what's going to happen in the week ahead. Lucky for that sense of drama, these predictions are almost guaranteed to be incorrect!
1. The Indians will be alone in first place by the end of the week.
The once-again-surging Tribe has been one of baseball's streakiest teams this season, and right now they're tied for first place in the AL Central. It says here that those Indians, and not the Tigers, will be alone in first by week's end.
Cleveland opens the week in Kansas City, while Detroit plays in Toronto. So that's a modestly easier start to the week for the Tribe. Then the Indians and Tigers will end the week (and begin the following week) with a four-game set in Cleveland. The Tigers have gone 6-2 against the Indians this season, but that's about to change. The Tribe will be at home, and the way the schedule falls they'll miss Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander (and don't forget that Anibal Sanchez is still on the disabled list), at least until the series finale on Monday (next week, of course, isn't our concern right now). Detroit, meanwhile, will face Indians ace Justin Masterson on Friday. Add up all the elements in play, and the Indians will be in first place by week's end. It might not last long, but there it is.
2. The Dodgers will get out of last place.
As our own Danny Knobler recently reminded us, the Dodgers, despite the ongoing hot streak and all the attention they've been getting, are still in last place in one of baseball's weakest divisions. But that changes this week. They open the week in Coors Field against the Rockies and then travel to San Francisco to face the collapsing Giants. The Dodgers are hot, the lineup is as close to full strength as it's been in some time, and it's a two-start week for Clayton Kershaw. Only one game separates the Dodgers and Giants in the standings, and this week the Dodgers will pass their arch rivals.
3. The Nationals will keep the Eye On Baseball Heavyweight Championship.
File under: Important. The Nats, as disappointing as their season has been, are the current owners of the EOB Heavyweight belt and title. They're at home all week, and they begin the week with a four-game set against the struggling Brewers. In accordance with the rules of combat, the Brewers must take three of four in order to steal the belt. Not happening. Then the Padres come to town for a three-game weekend set. That's a tougher challenge, but it says here that the Nationals will survive it. After all, Washington is a healthy 22-16 at home this season, while the Padres are just 15-24 away from San Diego.
4. Michael Cuddyer's hit streak will reach 33 games.
Yep, Cuddyer will keep it going, and this season's longest hit streak will survive another week. Cuddyer will play all his games this week in hitters' parks -- his own Coors Field vs. the Dodgers and then Arizona's Chase Field. Sure, he's tasked with facing Kershaw on Tuesday, but Cuddyer has been more effective against lefties throughout the course of his career. For what it's worth (which is not much), Cuddyer is also 2-for-6 against Kershaw in his career. Also of note: Kershaw has a 5.68 ERA in 11 career starts at Coors. Kershaw, of course, figures to be Cuddyer's stiffest challenge this week.
5. A-Rod will tweet again
Visit Alex Rodriguez's Twitter timeline, and you'll find that, at this writing, he has tweeted just nine times. Not surprisingly, he hasn't revisited the medium since his June 25 "Tweet heard 'round the Internet." That changes this week, as A-Rod will tweet out something utterly harmless and carefully messaged. It will somehow be wielded against him.
EOB Predictions Tally: Last week, Fightin' Mike Axisa went a robust 4-for-4, which means we're now 13-for-27 (.481) this season.