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Weekend Series Rankings: Tigers, Red Sox clash in Boston

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer

More MLB: Power Rankings | Expert Picks | Latest news & notes | Fantasy news

It's hoagie scale time, so let's check out how hungry we are to consume the 15 weekend series in Major League Baseball. The bigger the sandwich, the more juicy the matchup in. Let's dig in. Nom, nom, nom!

Tigers atRed Sox

Detroit Tigers at Boston Red Sox
Friday: Max Scherzer vs. Jon Lester
Saturday: Rick Porcello vs. John Lackey
Sunday: Anibal Sanchez vs. Jake Peavy

It's the best team in baseball at the moment versus the reigning champs. It's also a rematch of the 2013 ALCS. The Tigers hit town with an increasingly healthy and vintage Miguel Cabrera in tow. Friday's matchup could be a special one, as the 2013 AL Cy Young winner matches wits and pitches with the lefty who cut a swath through the 2013 postseason. Can the Red Sox nudge above .500 and push their run differential into positive territory? It'll be a challenge against Detroit.

Braves atCardinals

Atlanta Braves at St. Louis Cardinals
Friday: Ervin Santana vs. Lance Lynn
Saturday: Aaron Harang vs Shelby Miller
Sunday: Gavin Floyd vs. Jaime Garcia

Two familiar rivals and two 2013 playoff teams go at it in this one. The Braves come in still atop a tightly bunched NL East, while the Cardinals will be angling to chip away at Milwaukee's lead in the Central. These two met in Atlanta earlier this month, and the Cardinals took two of three. The Braves will miss out on Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha, though. Can the Cardinals' power bats come to life against a staff that's been pretty stingy with homers?

Orioles atRoyals

Baltimore Orioles at Kansas City Royals
Thursday: Orioles 2, Royals 1
Friday: Chris Tillman vs. Jeremy Guthrie
Saturday: Bud Norris vs. Danny Duffy
Sunday: Ubaldo Jimenez vs. James Shields

The O's took the opener despite a strong start from Yordano Ventura. As for Sunday's starter, is Ubaldo Jimenez rounding into form? Over his last three starts, he's given up a total of one run and notched a K/BB ratio of 4.0. Of course, he'll be opposed by ace James Shields. The Royals are contenders, but making the postseason will be tough as long as they rank 13th in the AL in runs scored.

Pirates at Yankees

Pittsburgh Pirates at New York Yankees
Friday: Edinson Volquez vs. David Phelps
Saturday: Charlie Morton vs. Hiroki Kuroda
Sunday: Gerrit Cole vs. Vidal Nuno

Rematch of the 1960 World Series! Of course, Pirates catcher Russell Martin, who's on the DL with a hamstring injury, will miss out on his return to the Bronx. There's so much compression in the AL right now that this one isn't quite as critical for the Yankees. The Pirates, though, are already 8 1/2 out in the NL Central. They need to go on a run.

Rays at Angels

Tampa Bay Rays at Los Angeles Angels
Thursday: Angels 6, Rays 5
Friday: Chris Archer vs. Jered Weaver
Saturday: Cesar Ramos vs. C.J. Wilson
Sunday: David Price vs. Matt Shoemaker

Mike Trout dealt the Rays a walk-off homer in the opening game of the series. The Angels have been one of baseball's best teams against lefties this season, and they'll face lefties in two of the three games remaining in this series. One of those port-siders, David Price, is looking to shake off the bad luck that's afflicted him this season. He's pitched much better than his 4.02 ERA would lead you to believe (11.67 K/BB ratio!).

A's atIndians

Oakland Athletics at Cleveland Indians
Friday: Sonny Gray vs. Zach McAllister
Saturday: Scott Kazmir vs. Josh Tomlin
Sunday: Jesse Chavez vs. Justin Masterson

Interesting pitching match-ups here, but give the A's the edge. The Cleveland defense has been a problem thus far, and they're facing an Oakland team that's pretty good at putting the ball in play and mustering hard contact. The A's presently own MLB's best run differential with a mark of +71.

Dodgers atDiamondbacks

Los Angeles Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks
Friday: Zack Greinke vs. Wade Miley
Saturday: Clayton Kershaw vs. Josh Collmenter
Sunday: Dan Haren vs. Chase Anderson

The history of hostilities bumps this one up in the rankings. The D-backs are still punch-drunk from their awful start to the season, but it's worth noting that they've managed to go 7-5 in May. That start may have buried them in terms of playoff hopes, but Arizona is a better team than their overall record suggests. As for the Dodgers, they'll come at the Snakes with their two top starters plus Haren, who's looked rejuventated thus far in 2014 and is doing a much better job of keeping the ball in the park. Adrian Gonzalez comes in without having homered since May 1.

Blue Jays at Rangers

Toronto Blue Jays at Texas Rangers
Friday: Drew Hutchison vs. Yu Darvish
Saturday: Mark Buehrle vs. Robbie Ross
Sunday: R.A. Dickey vs. Nick Martinez

The Rangers, thanks to the strength of the division they play in and the rash of pitching injuries they've suffered, are likely done this season. As for the Jays, their offense is what's carried them to early semi-relevance. The AL East thus far looks like a division that any team could win, and in those circumstances every game has import. While it can't compare to the woes of Texas, the Toronto rotation is rife with problems, as well. It's an important "head above water" series for both teams.

Marlins atGiants

Miami Marlins at San Francisco Giants
Thursday: Giants 6, Marlins 4
Friday: Henderson Alvarez vs. Yusmeiro Petit
Saturday: Tom Koehler vs. Tim Lincecum
Sunday: Jacob Turner vs. Ryan Vogelsong

Of note: The Marlins are 4-16 on the road this season. Also of note: The Giants are 13-6 at home this season. Miami's early attempt at mattering likely dies on the vine without Jose Fernandez, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia has regressed in a hurry after his hot start to the season. As for the Giants, they'll hope that Tim Hudson misses only this one start.

Mariners atTwins

Seattle Mariners at Minnesota Twins
Friday: Chris Young vs. Kyle Gibson
Saturday: Roenis Elias vs. Samuel Deduno
Sunday: Felix Hernandez vs. Ricky Nolasco

The Mariners could get interesting when/if the rotation gets healthier. That said, it keeps getting later, and Robinson Cano has yet to hit for his customary power. He's doing other Robinson Cano things (batting .301, getting on base, playing a capable second), but the homers aren't there yet. Will they be? That's the assumption, but he's hitting a lot more balls on the ground this season. As for the Twins, the rotation is something of a mattress fire, and the offense is being buoyed by some performances that probably aren't sustainable.

Mets atNationals

New York Mets at Washington Nationals
Friday: Jon Niese vs. Tanner Roark
Saturday: Bartolo Colon vs. Gio Gonzalez
Sunday: Zack Wheeler vs. Jordan Zimmermann

The Mets have been pretty lucky to rank fifth in the NL in runs scored. After all, they rank 13th in AVG, 11th in OBP and 14th in SLG. Lucky sequencing of hits has helped, but that's almost certainly not going to continue. Those weak offensive fundamentals run into a pretty tough rotation across the way. Elsewhere, don't write off Colon just yet. The command of the two-seamer is still there, and his ERA will drop if he keeps recording seven times as many strikeouts as walks.

Brewers atCubs

Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs
Friday: Kyle Lohse vs. Jeff Samardzija
Saturday: Matt Garza vs. Edwin Jackson
Sunday: Marco Estrada vs. Travis Wood

Matt Garza is probably in for some boos after publicly encouraging Jeff Samardzija to think of life after Wrigley. The Brewers are plainly the better team in this one, but they've played .500 ball since April 25. For whatever reason, this series is usually good for some weirdness.

Padres atRockies

San Diego Padres at Colorado Rockies
Friday: Eric Stults vs. Jorge De La Rosa
Saturday: Robbie Erlin vs. Jordan Lyles
Sunday: Andrew Cashner vs. Juan Nicasio

The Padres have been playing better of late, while the Rockies come in having lost five of six. Give the slight pitching edge to Colorado, although Cashner will be the pitcher on the bump in this series.

Reds atPhillies

Cincinnati Reds at Philadelphia Phillies
Friday: Alfredo Simon vs. Kyle Kendrick
Saturday: Homer Bailey vs. Cole Hamels
Sunday: Mike Leake vs. Cliff Lee

Just the Diamondbacks and Astros have worse run differentials than the Phillies. As for the Reds, they've played better than their record, but the offense has been a problem. In a related matter, the bench has been one of baseball's worst. The Phillies get to duck Johnny Cueto this time around, which is advisable since he's been perhaps the best pitcher in baseball this season.

White Sox atAstros

Chicago White Sox at Houston Astros
Friday: Jose Quintana vs. Collin McHugh
Saturday: Hector Noesi vs. Jarred Cosart
Sunday: John Danks vs. Brad Peacock

The White Sox's slide toward the bottom has likely begun, especially without Chris Sale. The Astros, meanwhile, are pretty easily looking like the worst team in baseball. On the upside, it's a rematch of the 2005 World Series!

Last year's ALCS combatants are getting together again. (USATSI)
Last year's ALCS combatants are getting together again. (USATSI)

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