It’s time to learn about a few things.
If golf has its traditional “moving day” – Saturday, the third round of most tournaments – then consider this Major League Baseball Moving Weekend. Oh, a three-, four- or five-game streak alone won’t be enough to impact a sample of 162 games, especially in August, but this weekend’s quintet of showdown streaks will pack a lot of emotional baggage for teams and observers alike. .
Who do you have – Steve Cohen’s money or the indomitable spirit of Atlanta? Above five games at Citi Fieldwe can find out.
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What the hell were the Yankees thinking when they traded a medium-spin starter for a stretcher? The Cardinals and Jordan Montgomery get an immediate chance to show it was a reckless move.
Are the AL Central contenders worth our time? And will Last nuclear variant of the Padres – blow up their farm system – make them into something more than just southern Dodger Germany?
Braves-Mets: Don’t Look Back
This will be good.
The Mets have been at the top of the NL East since April 12, and since they holding a 3 ½ game lead, only the unthinkable – a five-game victory for the Braves – could change the situation on Sunday. But it’s not so much the August juggling that’s the case, it’s that it’s a long period in the ring for two sparring partners who watched each other mostly from afar during the first half, in which the Mets were solid almost every week, and “Braves”. unstoppable since the June rampage canceled the hangover at the start of the championship.
game to watch: Sunday. Nothing epitomizes what will take these teams to the World Series better than a matchup between dominant rookie Spencer Strider and recovering ace Jacob de Grom, who will make his second start of the season after missing the first four months of the season with a stress response in his shoulder. .
Along with rookie center fielder Michael Harris, Strider revived a Braves team that was 23-27 on May 31 and has been 40-15 since. Clearly, Strider is not afraid of anyone: since June 26, he has a 2.06 ERA with 61 strikeouts in 39 ⅓ innings. During this stretch, he had six shutout innings for both the Dodgers and the Cardinals and pinned the Phillies twice in one round of six-plus innings.
De Grom looked largely dominant, but only hit five innings in his debut season in Washington. Getting healthy after consecutive starts on regular rest would be a big enough win for the Mets.
effects: The teams meet four more times starting Aug. 15 in Atlanta, and not until the penultimate episode of the season begins.
Padres-Dodgers: Emotional Rescue
It seemed like these teams met every week during the first half of 2021, each game was an emotional roller coaster but ultimately just an exercise in Dodger dominance: they went 12–7 against San Diego on their way to 106 wins, while as the Padres stayed home in October.
This time around, however, the Padres bring Soto to the party and hold the wild card slot firmly, hoping to move up the slot and secure a home advantage in this best-of-three round. Dodgers? Nothing will affect their 11.5-game division lead, although it would be nice to get back in the heads of their “rivals” ahead of a potential playoff tie.
game to watch: Sunday. It’s nationally televised Sunday Night Baseball, the latest small piece of real estate that could grab the attention of the sporting nation, and the perfect time for Soto to show off on the field he won last month’s Home Run Derby. Any playoff round the Padres will go down the path cleared by pitchers Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove, and veteran Darvish will get the ball.
effects: Six more meetings at Petco Park and another three-game streak in a month at Dodger Stadium. Stay tuned for August 29-September. 14 when the Padres go 11-of-14 against the Dodgers, Giants and Mariners, an extended test for their revamped roster.
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Yankee Cardinals: You again?
A rather hilarious cross-league blue-blood showdown is spiced up with the fact that the Yankee’s starting No. 4 just three days ago will now try to beat them, wondering what he deserved to drop from 70-36 in the playoffs to 55-48. wild card position.
No, the Jordan Montgomery Revenge game might not spawn a Netflix limited series, but a strong performance against the club that traded him, despite swallowing mostly quality innings, will certainly spark some New York chatter.
game to watch: Saturday. Is Montgomery the guy who has provided seven quality starts in his last 13 games for New York, including 6 ⅓ innings and two runs in the hated Astros on July 21st? Or is he headed for regression, likely to be eliminated from any playoff roster, and the Yankees are better off without him? Traded for injured Cardinals center Harrison Bader, Montgomery has an immediate chance to prove them wrong.
effects: While the Cardinals battle the bully of the game this weekend, their division and the fate of the joker will be determined by their ability to beat some pots of tomatoes: There are just seven games left with Milwaukee and 29 of their last 54 against the Reds, Pirates, Cubs and Nationals .
Blue Jays Gemini: Open the Gifts
Minnesota’s modest but effective trade deadline — the addition of starter Tyler Male, All-Star closer Jorge Lopez and reliever Michael Fulmer — could be one of the most impressive in the game. As is often the case, AL Central feels like a pillow fight, but the 55-49 Twins are poised to develop a one-and-two game lead over the Guardians and the White Sox, who made lightning, nil, next to nothing on time. .
game to watch: Friday. It will be former twin Jose Berrios against Male and a great chance for Minnesota to prove they have “won” the last two trade deadlines. The Twins’ 2021 struggle sparked a Berrios trade that has dominated Toronto at times but has a 4.53 ERA overall, which now amounts to a full season – 33 starts – in Toronto. The Blue Jays signed him to a seven-year, $131 million extension after spending prospects Austin Martin and Simeon Woods Richardson to acquire him.
Male, a former Cincinnati Red player, may be just as fickle, but he also has the flair (114 strikeouts in 104 1/3 innings) that the Twins lacked in their two decades of playoff futility. Now he has a “welcome to the pennant race” moment.
effects: The Blue Jays are playing better than any of the wild card contenders and are looking to take home advantage from Seattle in the best-of-three round. The Twins have a pivotal season ahead of them in a 19-game showdown against the Astros, Giants, Red Sox, White Sox, Yankees and Guardian starting August 23.
Astros-Guardians: football season?
Are the Guardians a legitimate contender or just treading water at 54-50? The lack of movement from the front office may indicate that they think it’s the latter. Four games against class AL can prove it.
game to watch: Thursday. Justin Verlander vs. Zach Plesak is a superb matchup in the truest sense of the word, but it will serve as a barometer for the games Cleveland must win to stay in this business – the odds have turned a lot against them.
effects: While the Astros are tuning in and contemplating how to enjoy the first round bye, Cleveland can’t directly chase the Twins until seven games into September. Guardians had better not bury this weekend to start the dangerous last two months.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Mets-Braves to change MLB standings? Juan Soto vs Dodgers.