Weekday Series Rankings: Wacha-Cingrani Part II headlines
Let's take a look at all the series we're set to see this week and rank them. The Cardinals-Reds tilt in St. Louis sits at the top, alongside the Tigers-Dodgers interleaguer.
Just as we'll do every week, let's look ahead at the series (not "serieses," as series is one of those awesome words that is the same plural as singular) that we'll see this coming week. That is, only the 15 series that we'll see in the weekdays, not including the series from this coming weekend. For those, we'll be back Friday for another installment.
As usual, this is a sandwich scale (fun!), with the best matchups being the "footlong" ones, followed by, in order, six-inch, wraps and sliders.
Cincinnati Reds (2-4) at St. Louis Cardinals (3-3)
Monday: LHP Tony Cingrani (0-0) vs. RHP Michael Wacha (0-0)
Tuesday: RHP Homer Bailey (0-1) vs. RHP Lance Lynn (1-0)
Wednesday: RHP Mike Leake (0-1) vs. RHP Shelby Miller (0-1)
Why watch? Generally speaking, this has been a great rivalry in the recent past and these two clubs just had a three-game series last week in which every game was decided by exactly one run. Specifically speaking, Cingrani and Wacha combined last Wednesday to throw 13 2/3 shutout innings with 16 strikeouts. The two young studs will square off again Monday.
What to watch for: Three of the Reds' four losses have come by one run while the fourth came on a walk-off grand slam. Two of the Cardinals' three losses have come by one run. Who is gonna get the breaks and/or big hits?
Detroit Tigers (4-1) at Los Angeles Dodgers (5-3)
Tuesday: RHP Max Scherzer (0-0) vs. RHP Dan Haren (1-0)
Wednesday: RHP Anibal Sanchez (0-0) vs. LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (1-1)
Why watch? There are lots of different matchups early in the season where we get to say something like, "could this be a World Series preview?" and this is one of them. It's entirely possible we'll see these two clubs squaring off in the Fall Classic and while we don't get Clayton Kershaw or Justin Verlander, we do get two solid pitching matchups.
What to watch for: Is Matt Kemp back to form? How will Sanchez bounce back after a sub-par first outing? Can the Tigers bullpen get it together? Can Ryu bounce back after an awful outing?
Tampa Bay Rays (4-3) at Kansas City Royals (2-3)
Monday: LHP Matt Moore (0-1) vs. LHP Jason Vargas (0-0)
Tuesday: RHP Chris Archer (1-0) vs. RHP Yordano Ventura (0-0)
Wednesday: RHP Jake Odorizzi (1-0) vs. RHP Jeremy Guthrie (1-0)
Why watch? It's the James Shields/Wil Myers Bowl! Yeah, that's probably better reserved for 2013. Still, this is two teams we expect to be contenders in 2014. The Archer-Ventura pitching matchup in particular is absolutely one to watch -- albeit probably an underrated matchup, nationally.
What to watch for: In three losses, the Royals have had three bullpen meltdowns. That needs to be fixed or they won't be a contender. Also, the Rays lead the AL in on-base percentage. Will this trend continue?
Texas Rangers (3-3) at Boston Red Sox (2-4)
Monday: RHP Tanner Scheppers (0-0) vs. RHP John Lackey (1-0)
Tuesday: LHP Martin Perez (0-0) vs. LHP Felix Doubront (1-0)
Wednesday: LHP Robbie Ross (0-0) vs. RHP Jake Peavy (0-0)
Why watch? Two powerhouse franchises is pretty much the only reason we need.
What to watch for: The Red Sox have started the season 0-3 at home after going 53-28 in Fenway Park last season. Also, how will Scheppers react in his second career start after getting shelled in his first?
Miami Marlins (5-2) at Washington Nationals (4-2)
Tuesday: RHP Henderson Alvarez (0-1) vs. LHP Gio Gonzalez (1-0)
Wednesday: RHP Jacob Turner (0-0) vs. RHP Tanner Roark (1-0)
Thursday: RHP Tom Koehler (1-0) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (0-0)
Why watch? The surprising Marlins are off to a 5-2 start while the Nationals are close to the top of the NL East as well. It's an early tilt for first place.
What to watch for: The Marlins' offense is among the league leaders in several offensive categories. Casey McGehee has 10 RBI in seven games. Marcell Ozuna is hitting .360. Adeiny Hechavarria is hitting .393. Giancarlo Stanton is out of his mind. Can this continue against the Nationals' stout pitching staff?
Baltimore Orioles (2-4) at New York Yankees (3-3)
Monday: RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (0-1) vs. RHP Hiroki Kuroda (0-1)
Tuesday: LHP Wei-Yin Chen (0-1) vs. RHP Ivan Nova (1-0)
Wednesday: RHP Miguel Gonzalez (0-1) vs. RHP Masahiro Tanaka (1-0)
Why watch? These are two teams with high upside but also a pretty decent-sized downside. They've been inconsistent thus far in 2014, so we need to know what to make of them.
What to watch for: While Jimenez wasn't terrible in his 2014 debut, he wasn't good at all. Kuroda got no run support but still lost to the Astros. So that'll be an interesting duel. Tanaka's home debut will also be very intriguing. On a broader scale, the Orioles are last in the AL in on-base percentage. If you wanna score some more runs, put some more guys on the bases.
Los Angeles Angels (2-4) at Seattle Mariners (4-2)
Tuesday: LHP Hector Santiago (0-1) vs. LHP James Paxton (1-1)
Wednesday: RHP Garrett Richards (1-0) vs. LHP Roenis Elias (0-0)
Why watch? Star power! King Felix (wait, he isn't pitching), Robinson Cano, Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and, um ... oh yeah, Mike Trout.
What to watch for: The Mariners started the season 4-1 and the only loss came in extra innings. They were firing on all cylinders and had the look of an early sleeper. They also crushed the Angels in three games by a count of 26-8. Can the Angels avenge the losses in this short series? Tuesday night's game also marks the home opener for Seattle and it'll be interesting see what kind of home fanfare they have. Expect Safeco Field to be rocking.
Pittsburgh Pirates (4-2) at Chicago Cubs (2-4)
Tuesday: RHP Charlie Morton (0-0) vs. RHP Edwin Jackson (0-0)
Wednesday: LHP Wandy Rodriguez (0-1) vs. RHP Jason Hammel (1-0)
Thursday: RHP Gerrit Cole (1-0) vs. LHP Travis Wood (0-1)
Why watch? The two clubs just played a three-game series in which two went to extra innings and all three were decided by one run. There weren't many runs scored, but there definitely was plenty of drama.
What to watch for: The Cubs' offense had combined for eight total runs in five games before Sunday's eight-run explosion while the Pirates sport a 2.18 ERA right now and look to have a stellar pitching staff. Runs will be at a premium.
New York Mets (2-4) at Atlanta Braves (4-2)
Tuesday: RHP Bartolo Colon (0-1) vs. RHP Aaron Harang (1-0)
Wednesday: RHP Zack Wheeler (0-1) vs. RHP Ervin Santana (0-0)
Thursday: RHP Jenrry Mejia (1-0) vs. RHP David Hale (1-0)
Why Watch? It's a classic, throwback, NL East throwdown.
What to watch for: The Mets are hitting .178/.251/.346 as a team right now while the Braves sport a 1.56 ERA and are adding Ervin Santana to their rotation. Watching how the Mets fare -- because while they might not be great, they aren't this bad, offensively -- against this staff should be fun.
Arizona Diamondbacks (2-7) at San Francisco Giants (5-2)
Tuesday: RHP Trevor Cahill (0-2) vs. RHP Tim Hudson (1-0)
Wednesday: RHP Bronson Arroyo (0-0) vs. RHP Tim Lincecum (0-0)
Thursday: RHP Randall Delgado (0-1) vs. RHP Ryan Vogelsong (1-0)
Why watch? The Giants are playing as well as anyone right now and the D-Backs have more losses than some teams have games played. There's intrigue in that, right?
What to watch for: Only two players in the NL have more than two home runs right now: Mark Trumbo (5) and Brandon Belt (4). The Giants as a team lead the NL in homers and are second in runs and slugging. Will the power continue?
Oakland Athletics (3-3) at Minnesota Twins (3-3)
Monday: LHP Scott Kazmir (1-0) vs. RHP Kevin Correia (0-0)
Wednesday: RHP Jesse Chavez (0-0) vs. RHP Phil Hughes (0-0)
Thursday: RHP Dan Straily (0-1) vs. RHP Mike Pelfrey (0-1)
Why watch? The AL West favorite A's could pretty easily be 5-1, but they aren't. The Twins themselves blew a game and could be a surprising 4-2. So there looks to be a chance to late-inning fireworks.
What to watch for: Speaking of which, the A's use of Jim Johnson in a close game bears watching. He was horrible in his first two outings -- taking the loss in each -- but settled down at least mildly in the last two outings. Still, he's allowed at least one hit in all four outings and at least one walk in three of the four. On the Twins' end, Chris Colabello has 11 RBI in six games.
Milwaukee Brewers (4-2) at Philadelphia Phillies (3-3)
Monday: Postponed due to weather
Tuesday: RHP Kyle Lohse (0-1) vs. RHP Kyle Kendrick (0-0)
Wednesday: RHP Matt Garza (0-1) vs. RHP Roberto Hernandez (1-0)
Thursday: RHP Marco Estrada (0-0) vs. LHP Cliff Lee (2-0)
Why watch? The Brewers just swept the defending champions in Fenway Park and the Phillies are two bullpen meltdowns from being 5-1, so there's good upside here in both clubs.
What to watch for: Ryan Braun's thumb injury continues to hamper him and the Brewers can't really live up to their sleeper potential without him anchoring the lineup. It'll be interesting to see how he swings the bat. He did go 2-for-4 Sunday. On the Phillies' end, can Chase Utley (.458/.536/.833) stay hot?
San Diego Padres (2-4) at Cleveland Indians (3-3)
Monday: LHP Robbie Erlin (0-0) vs. RHP Corey Kluber (0-0)
Tuesday: RHP Tyson Ross (0-1) vs. RHP Zach McAllister (0-0)
Wednesday: LHP Eric Stults (0-1) vs. RHP Danny Salazar (0-0)
Why watch? The Indians were a playoff team last season while the Padres were a popular sleeper pick in the NL West this preseason.
What to watch for: McAllister and Kluber both need to have better starts for the Indians after bad debuts. The same can be said for Ross and Stults on the other end. The Padres' offense, meanwhile, has been among the worst in baseball. Can they reverse it?
Houston Astros (3-3) at Toronto Blue Jays (3-4)
Tuesday: LHP Brett Oberholtzer (0-1) vs. LHP Mark Buehrle (1-0)
Wednesday: RHP Lucas Harrell (0-1) vs. RHP Brandon Morrow (0-1)
Thursday: LHP Dallas Keuchel (0-1) vs. RHP Dustin McGowan (0-1)
Why watch? I'm feeling a huge offensive series for the Blue Jays. The Astros lead the AL in home runs, too, so there could be a power display here.
What to watch for: Mark Buehrle is coming off a dominant opening-week start in Tampa Bay, in which he struck out 11 in 8 2/3 shutout innings. What does he do for an encore? Also, Dexter Fowler's ridiculously hot start (.500/.500/.1.083) was interrupted by a nasty stomach virus. Can he get it going again?
Chicago White Sox (3-3) at Colorado Rockies (3-4)
Monday: RHP Felipe Paulino (0-0) vs. RHP Jordan Lyles (1-0)
Tuesday: LHP Franklin Morales (0-0) vs. LHP Jose Quintana (0-0)
Wednesday: RHP Erik Johnson (0-1) vs. RHP Juan Nicasio (1-0)
Why watch? If you like offense, you'll find plenty here.
What to watch for: The White Sox lead the AL in hits while ranking ninth in ERA and don't have Chris Sale going in this three-gamer. The Rockies lead the NL in average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage while ranking 14th in ERA. Coors Field is still a hitter's haven. So a fun game would be to guess how many combined runs are scored in this three-game series. I'll go with 39.
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