The great thing about baseball is that there is a ton of action every single day.
Here’s a look at what could be the best action of the next few days, as I rank the top 3 series to keep an eye on:
3. San Francisco Giants at St. Louis Cardinals
When looking for intriguing series to keep an eye on, it’s hard to go wrong when you’ve got two serious playoff contenders squaring off.
The Giants are currently 0.5 games ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers and 4.0 in front of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West standings. With LA’s reinforced roster thanks to a very strong trade deadline period, every game is big for the Giants because the Dodgers can certainly strike at any moment.
The Cardinals, on the other hand, have really just stood pat in 3rd place in the NL Central for a while now. Still, they are only 2.5 games behind both the Pirates and Reds, who are tied for first entering Monday’s action.
While St. Louis has been quiet this year, let’s not forget what they did last year, when they overcame a huge deficit in the standings to make the playoffs at the last possible moment…and then went on to win the World Series. With a much smaller hole to climb out of as of now, the Cards have to believe anything is possible from here on out.
The series will get kicked off tonight with a great pitching matchup. It’s ol’ reliable Jake Westbrook for the Cardinals against Matt Cain of the Giants. While Cain has been dominant this year, sporting a 2.82 ERA, Westbrook’s 3.79 ERA will almost always keep you in the game.
2. New York Yankees at Detroit Tigers
This will be the tale of two playoff contenders that are in completely different situations.
The Tigers are 1.5 games behind the Chicago White Sox for the AL Central Division lead, as they’ve struggled to maintain any consistency since the very early goings of the season. The Yankees, on the other hand, have a substantial 6.5 game lead over the 2nd place Rays and a 7.5 game lead over the 3rd place O’s.
While a bad week or two could change everything in the AL East, as the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th place teams are all bunched pretty closely, the Yankees are the front runners by a long shot.
The series gets kicked off tonight in Comerica Park as Ivan Nova, who usually gives his team a very good chance to win, faces off against Justin Verlander, whose recent mild struggles have moved his record to a somewhat pedestrian 11-7 (by his standards, at least).
This will be a hard-fought series as the Tigers look to build upon their weekend sweep of the Indians, and the Yankees try to hold off any hot streak that may come their way from teams 2-5 in the Eastern division.
1. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Oakland A’s
The A’s dominated in July and got off to a good start in August, as they’ve leap-frogged LA as the AL West’s 2nd place team. They currently stand 5.5 games behind 1st place Texas and 0.5 ahead of the 3rd place Angels. So the standings speak for themselves, but yeah…this is a huge momentum series.
The Angels will have the upper hand, as they’ll trot Jered Weaver out there tonight, CJ Wilson tomorrow, and Zack Greinke on Wednesday. When you can do that, you have a good shot at a sweep in any given series.
Nonetheless, the A’s have been red-hot, and they do have some very capable opponents for the Angel aces.
Tonight it’ll be youngster Jarrod Parker, who has been a bit inconsistent, but pretty good overall, as he stands with a 3.44 ERA while 2 games above .500…though nothing looks too good going up against Weaver’s 14-1, 2.29 line.