It might only be the beginning of May, but plenty of baseball series still matter. From playoff rematches to division rivals going at it as they battle for position in the standings. These interdivisional series matter all the more now since every team plays each other once during the season. As we dive head into the week, here are a few series to watch as a baseball fan.
3 Baseball Series To Watch Over The Weekend
Pirates vs. Orioles
Two upstart teams meet in Camden Yards in Baltimore as the Pittsburgh Pirates, who had a stellar April, find themselves in a 1-9 skid in their last 10 games. However, they still have a slim lead in the National League Central with a record of 21-17. The Baltimore Orioles are 24-13 second in the American League East, 4.5 games behind the leading Rays.
The most intriguing pitching matchup might be Sunday. The matchup of Mitch Keller and Kyle Gibson would not be on most people’s radar, but let’s look at the stats of both pitchers. Keller, in his last start, threw a four-hit complete game shutout. It was the first complete game for the Pirates since 2018. Keller was once a top 50 prospect in all of baseball, who had possibly turned a corner in 2022. So far, in 2023, Keller has a 4-1 record in 8 starts sporting a 2.27 ERA and 1.09 WHIP.
Gibson is now the veteran on a young talent Orioles pitching staff. This 10-year veteran has a record of 3-2 in 8 starts with an ERA of 4.07 and a WHIP of 1.33. Gibson, at this point if his career knows what he has to do to win. A signing that was incredibly under the radar signing for the Orioles so far, it looks like the quality signing for a fifth starter in a rotation.
Rays vs. Yankees
The last place New York Yankees taking on the American League East-leading Tampa Bay Rays was something most would not have said going into the season. However, it is where we are on the 12th of June. After the Rays win on Thursday to start this four-game set, they have a record of 30-9, while the Yankees are 21-18, which is nine games behind the Rays in the East. Worth noting New York lost 2 out of 3 in Tampa Bay last weekend.
Tampa Bay always seems to find themselves in contention for not just a deep run in the American League Playoffs but a World Series. They might be the most intelligent organization in the entire sport. They are filling it constantly with talent from trades or the draft just by operating with a total payroll of 74 million dollars. The only player making more than 10 million dollars is pitcher Zach Eflin who has an 11 million dollar deal, part of a 3-year, 40 million dollar deal he signed last year.
In contrast, there are the Yankees, who have a payroll of over 100,000,000 and just resigned Aaron Judge to a 9-year 360 million dollar deal in the offseason. They were missing Judge last weekend in Tampa Bay due to an injury, now Judge is back, and I’m sure he will have an impact in this rematch during the weekend. New York is getting healthier by the day and week as players return from the IL. Harrison Bader returned from the injury list a week ago and is on a great start, with an OBS of 1.341 in the season’s early going. Get used to the Yankees and Ray going back and forth not only this season but many seasons to come.
Padres vs. Dodgers
Last weekend, fans saw an NLDS rematch between these two division rivals. The Dodgers sport a first-place record of 23-15, whereas the Padres are 19-19, sitting four games back in 3rd place in the National League West. Coming into the 2023 season, everyone assumed it would be the Padres and Dodgers fighting for the division title. The Diamondbacks have entered the picture and are making noise with a 20-17 record.
San Diego has one of the most talented baseball rosters, topped off by Juan Soto and Fernando Tatis Jr. Unfortunately for the Padres and their fans, Soto has had a prolonged start to the season. He has 36 strikeouts in 37 games, leading the league in walks with 35. Tatis missed the first 20 games due to a PED suspension from last year. In the 17 games he has played in 2023, he has a slugging percentage of .468 and an OBS+ of .761. Time will tell if both of these guys will get it going as the season continues. One thing is for sure though San Diego has a deep roster without those guys being at their best.
The Dodgers, on the other hand, have the lead in the National League West. Even with their countless injuries, they are still in the driver’s seat. The biggest driver of this has to be Max Muncy, who, in the last two weeks, has hit 5 home runs. He is now tied for second in the National League with 12 homeruns. On top of Muncy having found his power stroke, Clayton Kershaw is tied for the National League lead in wins for a pitcher. With those 6 wins, he has a 2.36 ERA with a microscopic 0.95 WHIP. It could be a long Summer for the National League if Kershaw is back to his Cy Young potential.
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