29 Jun MLB Weekend Series To Watch: Week 13
By: Lou Landers – @RealSportsCrew
This weekend features 3 highly competitive and anticipated match ups. We have two teams in the American league facing off who currently have two of the best winning percentages in the league, an AL East rivalry and an NL West rivalry. These series, along with an MLB Injury Report and Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire will be broken down on the MLB Diamond Dash Podcast which can be heard right here.
New York Yankees @ Houston Astros
When these teams met up earlier this year in New York, the Astros took 2 of 3 and have since been the best team in the American League. They have a double digit lead in the AL West Division, and seem to be on cruise control. They are still without their ace Dallas Keuchel, yet it hasn’t seemed to slow them down. They recently got Lance McCullers Jr. back from the DL which is a big boost to their rotation. Mike Fiers has done an excellent job over the past month, winning 4 of his 5 starts, allowing 2 earned runs or less in his 4 wins. The bullpen is also a strength for this Astros team, with Luke Gregerson, Wil Harris and closer Ken Giles.
The Yankees have had their struggles in the second half of the month. After losing Sabathia and Adam Warren to the DL their pitching has struggled mightily. Tyler Clippard can’t get anyone out in the bullpen and Michael Pineda has reverted back to the pitcher who struggled in 2016. They recently placed Aaron Hicks on the DL who has been a solid and steady contributor for them all season long. They have also placed 2B Starlin Castro on the DL this week and hope that he is only out for the minimum 10 days. Jacoby Ellsbury is back, which could give the Yankees a lift, but it’s not their offense that’s been the problem. We have seen how good the Yankees can be when things are going well for them and this weekend series on the road in Houston could go a long way in determining how good this Yanks ball club really is.
My Prediction: Astros Win Series 2-1
Boston Red Sox @ Toronto Blue Jays
Entering 2017, these two teams were the front runners to win American League East. Both teams started slowly, but it was the Blue Jays who had one of the worst months of April in the league and they are still trying to climb out of the hole they dug themselves into. Their SP hasn’t been nearly as good as it was in 2016 and their bullpen has had its troubles as well. Although the lineup has been good, the production they’ve had doesn’t compare to what we have seen in season’s past. They cannot seem to get above the .500 mark this year and could be on the verge of blowing up their roster and starting a rebuild. Even with all these issues, the Jays remain in striking distance of the AL East lead and a wildcard spot, making this a crucial weekend series against their divisional foes.
The Red Sox are finally healthy in 2017 and although they are currently without SP Eduardo Rodriguez, David Price is back in the rotation. On paper, their top 3 starters of Chris Sale, Price and reigning AL Cy Young award winner Rick Porcello could be the best in the American League. The problem is, Price has struggled, Porcello has struggled and Sale only pitches once every 5 days. The struggles of Price and Porcello would be a little easier to swallow for Boston if their lineup wasn’t lacking power. Last year they were far and away the most prolific offense in the big leagues and the loss of slugger David Ortiz has taken its toll. Although they are top 10 in batting average and OBP, they rank 24th in slugging and 27th in home runs. The lineup is underachieving and if they want to repeat as AL East Champs, they will need more production 1-9 in the lineup. This weekend series with the basement dweller Blue Jays is the time for them to make a statement.
My Prediction: Red Sox Win Series 2-1
Colorado Rockies @ Arizona D-backs
Although the Rockies still have one of baseball’s best records, they’ve been playing their worst baseball of the season over the past 7-10 days. Last week they got beaten up pretty badly by these same D-Backs and then got swept by the NL West leading Dodgers. The offense has cooled down some, but their weakness during this recent skid has been their pitching. This should come as no surprise to anyone. The Rockies have been relying on young, unheralded pitchers for most of the season and unfortunately for them, all the pitchers have hit a wall at the exact same time. They are still in a comfortable spot to make the playoffs this season but are fading fast in the NL West standings. This weekend series against the D-Backs who they currently sit behind could go a long way in deciding whether this Rockies team is for real.
Arizona on the other hand has been consistently good all season long. They were an utter disappointment last season after making a number of trades and free agent signings, leading people to believe that they may not be as good as they appear on paper. This is no longer the case. They have the 3rd best record in all of baseball right now and are excelling both offensively and on the mound. Even though they play in one of the least pitcher friendly parks in all of baseball, the D-Backs currently sit 2nd in the league in team ERA, 3rd in WHIP and 3rd in batting average against. With their high powered offense, it’s no wonder why they are playing such great baseball. Hosting the struggling Rockies this weekend provides them with a great opportunity to create a lot of separation between them and the Rockies in the NL West and Wild Card standings.
My Prediction: D-Backs Win Series 3-0