Baseball Weekend Preview

McCutchen brings his .356 average into the weekend.

If you’re one of those people who likes the heat of the summer, I hope you’re enjoying yourself. Me, I can’t wait until November and December, even January. I hope it’s 20 degrees or less for weeks on end. You won’t hear me complain. This heat wave in the Midwest is Brutal. The Mercury is at 100 as I type this, with a 104 degree day on tap for tomorrow. Sunday we go all the way down to a chilly 93. This sucks.

Stay inside, don’t try to be a hero and enjoy the following top five series of the weekend:

1) San Francisco Giants (45-38) at Pittsburgh Pirates (46-36)
Pittsburgh is a great story. They’re now two full games up on the Reds in the National League Central after staking their claim to being relevant last weekend in St. Louis. And who am I to begrudge the Pirates? They’ve been so bad for so long. They have what I think could be the National League MVP in Andrew McCutchen. James McDonald is absolutely filthy. Other than that, it’s a bunch of guys. It will be interesting to see what half-piece they add around the deadline to try and make a run. Everyone keeps waiting for them to collapse. If they win this series, I think they’re here to stay. This is probably the biggest series played in Pittsburgh in a number of years. Can you name a bigger one? It would be a great weekend for my first trip to PNC Park, but I’m feeling crummy.

2) Baltimore Orioles (44-38) at Anaheim Angels (46-37)
I’m going to put the Angels series here because Mike Trout is must-see TV right now. If you’re sitting around bored this weekend and he’s on, get an account and stop making excuses. Baltimore is “hannnging around” Teddy KGB-style. Matt Wieters, please get hot. My fantasy team needs you.

3) Colorado Rockies (31-51) at Washington Nationals (48-32)
Anyone catch that game last night in Washington? There was high drama, and the pesky Nationals came back and beat Matt Cain to earn the sweep over the Giants. They’ve now won four in a row. With the lowly Rockies coming to town, they have a chance to enter the All-Star break on a roll. They have a lot of character, and they’re fun to watch even beyond our man-crush victim Bryce Harper. And how about the Rockies? When this blog was in it’s seedling stage they were in the World Series. They’re not the first team to fall that far that fast, but they’re the first team with a nucleus containing Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez that did so. Someone needs to do a Rockies case study or something. Jim Tracy is a bad manager but he’s not this bad.

4) Boston Red Sox (42-40) at New York Yankees (49-32)
Another go-round between baseball’s best rivalry. What will be new about this one? They command the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball spot. This series could get the BoSox back in things or could serve to completely bury them. I think the Yankees are extremely legit this year.

5) Tampa Bay Rays (43-40) at Cleveland Indians (43-39)
My best friend Justin has high hopes for his Indians this year. Everyone else had high hopes for the Rays. I am not buying either. Shin-soo Choo and Asdrubal Cabrera are fun to watch at the top of the Indians lineup, and Jason Kipnis is coming along as a guy you spend the next five years building around. The Indians would be a nice story if they can keep this thing going into August, but they’re lacking starting pitching and one more big bat to do true battle with the Chicago White Sox.

Pitching Match-ups to DVR

None, unless you want to watch Drew Pomeranz vs. Stephen Strasburg

Zach Greinke vs. Wandy Rodriguez
Ryan Vogelsong vs. James McDonald
Matt Moore vs. Ubaldo Jimenez
Jason Hammel vs. Jered Weaver

James Sheilds vs. Zach McAllister
Tim Lincecum vs. Trevor Bauer

Video of the Week:

We’ve got a real treasure for you this week. Here’s the 1992 All-Star game introductions. This was my first Midsummer Classic. It’s amazing to see how much the game has changed, how much the figures of our childhood have aged, and there are just so many memories in this 11+ minutes walk through time.