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MLB Week 9: A Look Ahead at Key Storylines and Matchups

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MLB

May 26, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) shatters his bat in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park. Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

This coming week in Major League Baseball features the recognition of a holiday, “rivalry” games, and, very likely, more great performances. Here’s what you can look forward to seeing during the last week of May.

Memorial Day Observances – The new week kicks off on a national holiday as Memorial Day arrives on Monday. It is a day for Americans to remember and honor military men and women who sacrificed their lives while in the U.S. Armed Forces. And MLB will be doing its part, too. Every team will be wearing special uniforms with an authentic military camouflage design. Those uniforms are also available for sale online at the MLB.com Shop and all proceeds from those sales will go to Welcome Back Veterans. In addition to the uniforms, all games will stop at 3:00 p.m. local time to take part in the National Moment of Remembrance.

Interleague Takeover – Like it or not, it’s rivalry week for Major League Baseball. At least, as close as MLB gets to having “natural” interleague rivals. And, unlike past years, every team will be playing in an interleague series at the same time, now that the American and National Leagues have an equal number of teams. Among the notable matchups this week are White Sox-Cubs, Reds-Indians, Mets-Yankees, Nationals-Orioles, Royals-Cardinals, Dodgers-Angels, and Athletics-Giants. When the weekend rolls around, most teams will be back to playing intraleague games headlined by division leaders Giants and Cardinals squaring off in St. Louis and the Red Sox and Yankees meeting in The Bronx with the lead in the A.L. East potentially on the line.

Triple Crown Threat – In 2012, Miguel Cabrera won the first Triple Crown in 45 years but, as hard as it may be to believe, he’s having an even better year this year. Last season, Cabrera hit .330 with 44 home runs and 139 RBI. In the first two months of 2013, he’s hitting .385 and is on pace for 47 home runs and 192 RBI. If he finishes with anything close to those numbers it will be among the best single season offensive performances in baseball history. He’s been especially hot lately, too, hitting .404 with seven homers in the last two weeks and his prospects look great again this week. During his career against the starters he’ll likely be facing over the next seven days, he is 23-for-61 (.435) and he has five home runs.

Streaking Halos – Well, look who has decided to start winning some baseball games. The Angels and their  $142MM payroll have reeled off eight wins in a row and are within four games of getting back to .500. This is a stark turnaround from their disastrous start to the season, when they were 15-27, found themselves 12 games out of first place, and saw their manager front and center on the hot seat. While the team is still 9.5 games out of first, they are now just 4.5 out of a wild card spot, and there are still a lot of games to play to close both of those gaps. And they’ll have a good chance to do that this week with games against the disappointing Dodgers and the historically bad Astros.

Stars Returning – Not only are the Angels getting back to their winning ways, they’re also getting their ace back this week. Jered Weaver will return from the disabled list on Wednesday and get the start against the Dodgers. Weaver left his second start of the year with a broken left elbow when he fell on it while avoiding a line drive. He is 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA this season, but is 102-53 with a 3.25 ERA during his career.

Meanwhile, on the east coast, the Yankees are also getting one of their key players back. First baseman Mark Teixeira could return to the lineup late in the week. Teixeira has missed all season with a torn wrist tendon sheath. He caused the injury in March when swinging a weighted bat.  The Yankees are trying to get all of their injured regulars back as they have about half of their everyday starting lineup on the disabled list. Teixeira is the second to make his return, though Curtis Granderson has found himself back on the DL after making it back for just 8 games.

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