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MLB Week 10: A Look Ahead at Key Storylines and Matchups

MLB storylines
MLB storylines

Glendale, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Yasiel Puig (66) jogs to first after singling during the third inning against the Oakland Athletics at Camelback Ranch. Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

A lot of what is coming this week in Major League Baseball is based in Los Angeles. The Dodgers have some exciting and not-so-exciting news they’ll be dealing with over the next few days. Meanwhile, there will also be some very important series across MLB and two very hot hitters will get some very favorable matchups.

Dodger Blues Cure? – It’s no secret the Dodgers are having a tough go of it with the bats this season and a slew of injuries hasn’t helped either. So, to try to get something going offensively, L.A. has decided to promote highly-touted prospect Yasiel Puig to the Majors. The Dodgers signed the Cuban to a 7-year, $42MM contract last year and has spent all of this year at Double-A, even after a monster spring training, during which he hit .517 with a .828 slugging percentage. He’s done more of the same in the minors this year, posting a .313/.383/.599 line with eight home runs, three triples, 37 RBI, and 13 steals in 40 games. Even if he’s not the answer to all the Dodgers’ problems, he will create some excitement in southern California. He’ll join the team on Monday.

The End of a Career?- On the other side of the spectrum for the Dodgers is the fate of Josh Beckett. The former ace has continued to struggle this year. He’s winless in eight starts, has posted a 5.19 ERA, and has a WHIP of 1.50. He, and to a lesser degree Carl Crawford, was the piece the Red Sox made L.A. take in their trade to acquire first baseman Adrian Gonzalez last season as part of a salary/attitude dump. Even as a back-end-of-the-rotation starter they needed him to be, Beckett has still been a disappointment and, now, he fears his career could be over. He has experienced numbness in his fingers that has kept him on the disabled list since May 14th. He is scheduled to meet with a nerve specialist on Monday who will provide a better idea on the future of Beckett’s career.

Meaningful Series – Once again, this week will feature quite a few series involving teams near the top of their respective divisions. In the American League, the Indians and Yankees will square off for three in New York, with a Justin MastersonAndy Pettitte duel to start things off on Monday. In other series, the Tigers and Rays meet in Detroit for three, the Red Sox and Rangers will play three at Fenway, and the Tigers will also host the Indians over the weekend.

In the National League, two division leaders get things started on Monday with a four-game set at Busch Stadium. The Central-leading Cardinals and West-leading Diamondbacks will face off, with none of Arizona’s scheduled starters having a record above .500 while all of St. Louis’s scheduled pitchers are at .500 or better. Other series worth keeping an eye on include a Pirates-Braves set in Atlanta and Cardinals-Reds in Cincinnati.

Mid-Atlantic Power Surge – Make sure to watch a couple of players on mid-Atlantic teams who are crushing the ball right now. In the N.L., Domonic Brown of the Phillies is on the type of tear only Miguel Cabrera would know much about. In his last eight games, Brown has hit .355/.375/1.065 with seven home runs, 11 RBI, eight runs scored, and two stolen bases. There isn’t much he isn’t hitting right now. And, this week, he gets to face the Marlins and Brewers pitching staffs, which have two of the three highest BAAs in the National League.

Meanwhile, Chris Davis of the Orioles is now past the point of being a fluke. He has established himself as one of the best young power hitters in baseball as he now leads the Majors with 20 home runs and is second with 52 RBI. In his last five games, he has hit .474/.474/.947 with three home runs, five RBI, and six runs scored. Like Brown, Davis will see some favorable pitching early this week, with three games against the Astros, whose pitchers have a terrible .290 and have allowed more home runs than anyone except Davis’s own Orioles. There could be some fireworks coming in Texas in the next few days.

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