Analyzing the Weekends’ Best Series’
by Bryan Nichols
Here is a brief look at Major League Baseball’s most compelling series heading into the weekend. With all due apologies to Cleveland vs Minnesota, I decided to choose teams that actually had more total HRs than Josh Hamilton. Without further ado:
NYY @ Detroit – CC Sabathia heads to Detroit to try and cool off the scolding hot Prince Fielder. Fielder, after a league-adjusting lackluster start, comes into the weekend series with an 8 game hitting streak in which he has raised his batting average .035 points to an AL 6th best .321. A hopeful return of leadoff man Austin Jackson from the 15 day DL will give Detroit a 3rd player that resides in the top ten in AL batting average (Miguel Cabrera is the other). The New York Yankees head to Detroit having won its last two road series (3-0,2-1) and will need a top notch performance from either Sabathia or Hiroki Kuroda. On Sunday, they face robo-pitcher Justin Verlander that leads the AL in almost every pitching category including bad aspirin commercials.
Rating (3 ½ bats out of 4)
Atlanta @ Washington – In a battle between last week’s NL East leading Braves and current front-runner, the Washington Nationals, one can expect some pitchers’ duels. Washingon’s top three starters (Strasburg, Gonzalez, and Zimmerman) sport a combined ERA of 2.49. Atlanta counters with major league leading Brandon Beachy and his 1.77 ERA. Atlanta heads into the series having won 2 in a row after a season high 8 game losing streak thanks to some timely hitting w/ RISP and closer Craig Kimbrel. Washington not only has the best home record in MLB (15-8), but also has allowed the least amount of runs (167). Can they score enough runs against the Braveand can their less than stellar bullpen maintain the lead if they do?
Rating (3 ½ bats)
Miami @ Philadelphia – All five NL East teams have an above .500 winning percentage. However, the Phillies sport the only losing record at home. Miami heads into June after a very good offensive month. That especially includes Giancarlo Stanton, who followed up a dismal April (.247/1/9) with an insane May in which he belted 12 HRs with 30 RBIs. Philadelphia looks to cool him down without staff ace Roy Halladay, who visited the DL earlier this week after a shoulder injury. Cole Hamels looks to continue his Cy Young Campaign by becoming the major’s first 9 game winner.
Rating (3 bats)