Monday, August 27, 2007

Can MLB Get Any Better Then This?

As I combed the house for food this morning, I stumbled across ESPN while going through the channels, they did a special on the very important baseball series' that were going on this week:
Boston Red Sox @ New York Yankees
Los Angeles Angels @ Seattle Mariners
Milwaukee Brewers @ Chicago Cubs
Arizona Diamondbacks @ San Diego Padres
Those are the four that they touched on, but after doing some research, I found some more:
New York Mets @ Philadelphia Phillies
Minnesota Twins @ Cleveland Indians
This is going to be a good week of baseball. Some of the division races will be decided. Here is a preview of each series:

Boston Red Sox @ New York Yankees
Three games series, August 28-30, 2007
Boston: 80-51, 0 games back
New York: 72-58, 7.5 games back
Pitching Matchups
Game 1: Matsuzaka (13-10, 3.76) vs. Pettite (11-7, 3.69)
Game 2: Beckett (16-5, 3.21) vs. Clemens (5-5, 4.34)
Game 3: Schilling (8-5, 4.11) vs. Wang (15-6, 3.95)
My Take: The Red Sox venture into New York with a 7.5 game lead that could easily vanish. The Red Sox may very well only have a 3.5 game lead on the Yankees (if New York beats Detroit tonight and sweeps the Sox). The Yankees have struggled in their last ten, going 5-5 while the Red Sox have expanded their lead by going 7-3 in their last ten. The schedule works out perfectly for each team, as they have their top three starters starting in this series. The 7.5 game margin in the standings makes this series seem like it is only important because it's Red Sox-Yankees, but this can very well be a factor come October.
Future Matchups
September 14-16, 2007 in Boston

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim @ Seattle Mariners
Three game series, August 27-29, 2007
Los Angeles: 76-54, 0 games back
Seattle: 73-55, 2.0 games back
Pitching Matchups
Game 1: Lackey (15-8, 3.34) vs. Batista (13-9, 4.57)
Game 2: Santana (5-12, 6.03) vs. Weaver (6-10, 5.51)
Game 3: Weaver (9-6, 3.96) vs. Hernandez (10-6, 3.90)
My Take: Seattle could very well come out of this with a sweep or at least two games. Jeff Weaver (SEA) has been pitching well lately, as he usually does in the second half, while Santana has been off and on all season. The climax of this series is the third game where two of the premier young pitchers in the AL show off in a matchup between Jered Weaver and Felix Hernandez. Seattle can gain on the division and extend their wild-card league with a strong showing in this matchup.
Future Matchups
September 20-23, 2007, in Anaheim

Milwaukee Brewers @ Chicago Cubs
Three game series, August 28-30, 2007
Milwaukee: 65-65, 1.5 games back
Chicago: 66-63, 0 games back
Pitching Matchups
Game 1: Suppan (8-11, 4.85) vs. Hill (7-7, 3.67)
Game 2: TBA vs. Zambrano (14-10, 3.95)
Game 3: TBA vs. Lily (13-7, 3.85)
My Take: Milwaukee picked a very bad time to be going against two of Chicago's top starters. Coming in on a four game losing streak, including a sweep at the hands of the lowly San Francisco Giants, the Brewers are no longer the team they were in April and May. However, these two teams need to be more worried about St. Louis than each other. In their last 30, the Cubs are 13-17 while the Brewers are 9-21 (that's not good). During this span, the Cardinals were 18-12 and have pulled within a half game of the Brewers and two games of the Cubs. All three of these teams are limping towards the finish line with their eyes in the rearview mirrors, as the division seems to be the only way any three of these teams will make it into the playoffs. With no more games played against each other, this is it.
Future Matchups

Arizona Diamondbacks @ San Diego Padres
Four games series, August 27-30, 2007
Arizona: 74-54, 0 games back
San Diego: 70-59, 3.0 games back
Pitching Matchups
Game 1: Hernandez (9-8, 4.96) vs. Peavy (14-5, 2.21)
Game 2: Webb (14-8, 2.63) vs. Germano (6-7, 4.24)
Game 3: Owings (6-7, 4.69) vs. Maddux (10-9, 3.90)
Game 4: Davis (11-11, 4.09) vs. TBA
My Take: Arizona has been tearing it up in their last 30, going 21-9, while San Diego has put up a mark of 16-14 in the same span. Arizona has become the new favorite to win the West behind their young talent, but San Diego could very well steal the division by sweeping this series, a la New York sweeping Boston in five games last year, or taking three of the four games. San Diego still remains a favorite for the World Series for some people, but for them to really have a chance, they need their offense to step it up. They are facing three pitchers with ERAs over four, so this could be the series where the offense wakes up.
Future Matchups
September 3-5, 2007, in Arizona

New York Mets @ Philadelphia Phillies
Four game series, August 27-30, 2007
New York: 73-56, 0 games back
Philadelphia: 67-62, 6.0 games back
Pitching Matchups
Game 1: Lawrence (1-1, 5.57) vs. Durbin (5-3, 5.44)
Game 2: Glavine (11-6, 4.32) vs. Eaton (9-8, 6.36)
Game 3: Perez (12-8, 3.34) vs. Moyer (11-10, 5.16)
Game 4: Hernandez (9-4, 3.07) vs. Lohse (7-12, 4.47)
My Take: Even the most ardent of Phillies' fans will acknowledge that the division race is over if the Mets take three of four or sweep. However, the Phillies can swing the momentum and get back in the wild-card (3.0 games behind SD) with a few victories. When you look at the pitching they are throwing out there, this does not seem likely. How does Adam Eaton have a record over .500 (albeit one game)? The Phillies should be able to hang tough and hope to win with an offense that just exploded for 14 runs against a good pitching team in San Diego. Basically, this series decides the Phillies' season.
Future Matchups
September 14-16, 2007, in New York

Minnesota Twins @ Cleveland Indians
Three game series, August 27-29, 2007
Minnesota: 67-63, 5.5 games behind
Cleveland: 72-57, 0 games behind
Pitching Matchups
Game 1: Silva (10-12, 4.10) vs. Byrd (12-5, 4.61)
Game 2: Bonser (6-10, 4.76) vs. Westbrook (4-7, 4.40)
Game 3: Santana (14-9, 2.97) vs. Sabathia (14-7, 3.38)
My Take: Minnesota has surged back into the division hunt on a five-game winning streak that includes a sweep of the Baltimore Orioles. Only 5.5 games back of Cleveland, Minnesota can see the prize, while Cleveland can see Detroit and Minnesota in their rear view mirror. The ultimate matchup, in my opinion, is the final game of this series: Johan Santana vs. C.C. Sabathia. Two of the best pitchers in the American League duking it out. Should be a fantastic game.
Future Matchups
September 3-5, 2007 in Minnesota

So there we have it. A preview of some fantastic baseball that is taking place this week.

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