15 Jun MLB Weekend Series Match Ups
By: Lou Landers – @RealSportsCrew
This weekend doesn’t feature many highly anticipated match ups. I found myself scraping the bottom of the barrel for the 3rd one on this list. We have 2 of the best teams in the AL matching up in Houston, two AL Central rivals meeting up in Minnesota and two NL Central rivals going at it in Pittsburgh. We discussed these match ups and much more on the MLB Diamond Dash podcast, which you can listen to right here.
Boston Red Sox @ Houston Astros
If you have been following MLB this season, by now you’re well aware of the fact that the Houston Astros are baseball’s best team. They have dominated their opponents this season and currently lead the AL West by double digits over the next closest team. They did however lose their top 2 SP to the DL in the past 10 days and this could have a major impact on this weekend series against the Red Sox.
Boston started the season slow, but have since found their groove. The offense is heating up, David Price has returned from the DL and Craig Kimbrel as re-emerged as one of baseball’s best closers. The Red Sox have the edge this weekend in my opinion simply due to the fact that they won’t be facing either Dallas Keuchel or Lance McCullers Jr. The biggest question mark surrounding this series will be if the Red Sox SP can keep the Astros bats in check. The Astros have a very deep lineup 1-9 and what seems to be a perfect mix of youngsters and veterans.
My Prediction: Red Sox Win Series 2-1
Cleveland Indians @ Minnesota Twins
This is a battle of the top 2 teams in the AL Central. The Twins are definitely a big surprise to most, considering they finished with the worst record in MLB last season. They have gotten great SP from Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios, closer Brandon Kintzler has been one of the leagues best and their slugger Miguel Sano has been one of the toughest outs in baseball all season long. I do however expect the Twins to tail off quite a bit, even with their impressive start, I believe they’re the 3rd or 4th best team in this division and that’s where I expect them to end up.
The defending American League Champion Cleveland Indians had a slow start to this season. They have also seen Corey Kluber and Danny Salazar spend time on the DL which of course has affected their starting pitching. Their big ticket item via free agency; Edwin Encarnacion has also started slow, not to mention last year’s revelation Tyler Naquin struggling at the MLB level. All-Star 2B Jason Kipnis also missed the first month of the season which hurt this offense. Kipnis is now back, Michael Brantley has been healthy all season and the Indians have replaced the struggling Naquin with one of their top prospects; Bradley Zimmer. If their starting rotation can regain it’s dominance from last year, this team should have no problem winning the AL Central again and could play deep into October. This weekend series may be their chance to put some distance between themselves and the Twins.
My Prediction: Indians Win Series 3-1
Chicago Cubs @ Pittsburgh Pirates
Simply put, the Pirates have not been good this season. Although they sit within striking distance of the NL Central leaders, they appear to be the 4th or 5th best team in the division. This weekend series against the World Champion Cubs will give them an opportunity to make up some ground, however I expect them to actually fall further behind. I am waiting for them to start selling off pieces at the trade deadline such as SP Gerrit Cole and OF Andrew McCutchen. The teams around them in the division all appear to be getting better while the Pirates seem to be on the decline.
The Cubs on the other hand have all the talent in the world, yet they find themselves struggling to get above the .500 mark and stay there. They’re still in 2nd place in their division and trail a Milwaukee Brewers team who I still expect to regress. This weekend series in Pittsburgh is a big one for these Cubs. Although we haven’t reached the midway point of the season yet, they are beginning to look like a much different team than last seasons. They are still the favorites to win this division in my opinion and matching up on a weak Pirates team could be a way for them to finally get on track.
My Prediction: Cubs win series 2-1