05 Jul MLB Weekend Series To Watch: Week 14
By: Lou Landers – @RealSportsCrew
Tune into the MLB Diamond Dash Podcast for an even further in depth look at these series and a whole lot more of fun baseball discussion. You can listen to the podcast right here.
Boston Red Sox @ Tamp Bay Rays
The Red Sox and the Rays; an AL East battle between two ball clubs who are playing great baseball right now. The Red Sox were expected to be the elite of the East and they currently find themselves in first place after a great month of June. The offense is coming together and their rotation has been well above average, led by Chris Sale and Drew Pomeranz. Even with the struggles of Rick Porcello and David Price not being at full force yet, this Red Sox ball club should only go up from here and has the prospects in their farm system to go out and improve before the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline. I believe they are still a 3B away from really making noise in the American League, considering the Astros are the cream of the crop and Cleveland is starting to play great baseball.
The Rays on the other hand have been pretty surprising thus far. Coming into the season, most experts had them finishing in 5th place, yet they are currently right in the race for first with these Red Sox and the Yankees. The offense has been the bright spot for them with breakout seasons from Logan Morrisson, Corey Dickerson and even Steven Souza. Chris Archer continues to lead them on the mound and they’ve gotten solid production out of new comer Jacob Faria. This weekend set at the Trop will be a big test for these Rays, but a test that could prove whether or not they’re contenders or pretenders.
My Prediction: Red Sox Win Series 3-1
Kansas City Royals @ Los Angeles Dodgers
These ball clubs have been two of the hottest teams in baseball lately. The Dodgers have been almost unstoppable since they promoted Cody Bellinger in late April while the Royals may have started slowly but now find themselves in the hunt for not only the Wild Card but also the AL Central. The next few weeks for the Royals are extremely crucial in deciding whether or not they will sell, buy or stand pat. They have a number of impending free agents this winter and up until recently, it was expected that they would be selling those pieces and looking towards the future. On paper this team is nothing special, however they still have most of their core from their World Series championship in 2015 and those guys are proven winners. If they want to stay afloat in the playoff races, they would be smart to go out and get a SP to anchor their staff, especially with news that their current ace Danny Duffy is expected to come off the DL in the not so distant future.
They match up with a Dodgers team that seems to have a playoff spot already locked down in the National League. The Dodgers have been on cruise control lately, yet they still find themselves in a highly competitive divisional race with the D-Backs and the suddenly cold Colorado Rockies. Kershaw, Alex Wood and Brandon McCarthy are their top 3 SP but they have been linked recently to Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers. Despite Verlander’s struggles in 2017, a change of scenery and a move to the NL might be exactly what he needs to get back on track. With two hot teams matching up this weekend, somethings gotta give. These games mean more to the Royals at this point but I’m not sure they match up well with this high flying Dodgers ball club.
My Prediction: Dodgers Win Series 2-1
Milwaukee Brewers @ New York Yankees
This is the second inter league match up on this weekend series list. Both teams have surprised this season with the Brewers still holding down first place in the NL Central and the Yankees having one of the leagues best offenses led by super rookie Aaron Judge. The Yankees have been playing underwhelming baseball as of late but traditionally have had a lot of success in inter league action. I don’t love either teams SP, however they both have high powered offenses that can put runs on the board very quickly. While the Brewers are trying to fight off the Cubs and Cardinals, the Yankees are trying to stay within reach of the Red Sox in the AL East while also holding down 1 of the 2 AL Wild Card Spots.
Both these teams were expected to be sellers come the trade deadline, but now it seems that they will both be looking to make additions to help in 2017. Both teams could use a SP and some middle relief help, but it’s actually the Yankees who are in more need of a trade than the Brewers. This Brewers lineup appears to have no real weaknesses and have been without arguably their best player in Ryan Braun more a large chunk of the season. The Yankees on the other hand, lack consistent production at both 1B and 3B and would benefit greatly from adding at least one hitter if not two. At this point, the Brewers are in a better spot than the Yankees simply because they lead their division, but if one team can sweep the other, the team that gets swept will not only be looking over their shoulders, but possibly find themselves out of a playoff spot altogether.
My Prediction: Yankees Win Series 2-1