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MLB Week 11: A Look Ahead at Key Storylines and Matchups

MLB Storylines
MLB Storylines

Kansas City, MO, USA; USA pitcher Gerrit Cole delivers a pitch during the second inning of the 2012 All Star Futures Game at Kauffman Stadium. Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

It was another memorable few days in baseball with the emergence of a young star, walk-offs galore, and some developments in one of the most major news stories in the history of the league. And it all sets up another big week across Major League Baseball.

PED Investigation Continues – MLB is continuing its investigation into the Miami-based clinic that allegedly supplied at least 20 players with performance-enhancing drugs and this could be a significant week. While Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch, who has agreed to cooperate with the league, has yet to speak with Major League officials himself, his attorneys have and have turned over some documents. Bosch, though, could meet with MLB representatives within the next few days, which would be a major step forward in this case. All indications are that Commissioner Bud Selig will go all out to punish those who got PEDs from Biogenesis and, while it may take a couple months to sort out, this week could be very important for, what would be, the biggest PED bust in Major League Baseball history.

Puig’s Encore – It’s hard to believe the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig has only been in the Majors for a week. It feels like he’s had a career’s worth of memorable moments in just six games. He made his big league debut with a two-hit performance on Monday. He followed that up with three more hits on Tuesday, including two home runs. After his only hitless performance so far, he hit his first career grand slam the next night and added another home run that tied the game in the sixth the night after that. He became just the second player ever with four homers in his first five Major League games. Now, he’ll embark on his second week in L.A. where he’ll face Arizona pitchers for three at home, then face a tougher task as he’ll square off against the N.L.’s best pitching staff in Pittsburgh during his first road games.

A Top Pick Debuts – Puig’s first week has set an extremely high bar on how a rookie should make an impression, but the top pick in the 2011 draft will have his opportunity to top it this week. The Pirates’ Gerrit Cole will be making his Major League debut on Tuesday against the Giants to fill the rotation spot left vacant by Wandy Rodriguez, who left his last start with an elbow injury. Cole was drafted number one overall out of UCLA two years ago and has been dominating in the minors since. He has a career 2.84 ERA and 8.2 K/9 rate. This season in AAA, his ERA stands at 2.91 and he hasn’t allowed a run in his last 19 innings. Pittsburgh has high hopes for their future ace and they’ll find out if he’s ready to take the next step this week.

Series of the Week – As always, a new week means more important series are on the horizon. In the National League, it’s a big week for the Giants who have two tough series on the opposite coast. They’ll start on Tuesday in Pittsburgh with Tim Lincecum opposing Cole in his debut. San Francisco will then head south to take on the East-leading Braves for three. In an N.L. West showdown, the first place Diamondbacks will travel to Los Angeles for three against Puig and the Dodgers. That series will be highlighted by a pitching matchup between unbeaten Patrick Corbin and 6-2 Hyun-Jin Ryu on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the A.L. East-leading Boston Red Sox embark on a very tough and important road trip against divisional rivals within four games of them. They’ll begin a three-game series in Tampa on Monday, then head to Baltimore for four. Also in the American League, two more hot teams will meet when the Yankees play three in Oakland.

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