If you love baseball, there's a whole lot to love on the MLB schedule this week.
All but a handful of series on the schedule feature one or more intriguing storylines. Sure, there are some duds?(storyline for the Orioles at Athletics: It's Chris Davis vs. Kris Davis!) But most series feature a juicy angle, and in some cases, recent news?has made the series even more interesting.
Take the Yankees and Rays. The Yankees won the opener of the two-game series Monday night?at Yankee Stadium, 3-0, to take a 1 1/2-game lead on the Rays in the AL East. But Tuesday's game marks?the return of Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who has been sidelined since March 31 by injuries.
Or how about the Giants at the Dodgers, who opened a four-game series Monday night in LA with a 3-2 San Francisco?win? These two longtime bitter rivals hardly need any extra motivation when they play. But the Dodgers have that, thanks to a bizarre moment in the teams'?last series. After Giants ace Madison Bumgarner gave up a home run to?Max Muncy on June 9, he got irked when the Dodgers slugger?stood to admire the blast. The two exchanged words, which Muncy later described as Bumgarner saying,?'Don't watch the ball. You run." Muncy's response:?"If you don't want me to watch the ball, you can go get it out of the ocean." The Dodgers were spotted a few days later sporting, "Go get it out of the ocean” shirts. Bumgarner pitches on Thursday night, by the way.
Beyond those two series, there's no shortage of interesting angles around the league.
? The Phillies and Nationals opened a four-game series in Washington on Tuesday night, with Phillies $330 million man?Bryce Harper returning to the city?where he began his career.
? The Windy City rival Cubs and White Sox began a two-game series at Wrigley Field on Tuesday. Always a good series, sure, but made even better this time around by the fact the White Sox are unexpectedly in the hunt for a wild-card spot.
? The Diamondbacks and Rockies, who are?tied for second in the NL West,?opened a three-game series in Arizona on Tuesday.
? The Red Sox and Twins, two of the top-hitting teams in baseball, began a three-game series at Target Field on Monday night. Naturally, Boston won a pitchers' duel, 2-0.
? The Angels beat?the Blue Jays, 10-5, to open a four-game series in Toronto on Monday night. Mike Trout, the best player in baseball right now, homered and had four hits. Blue Jays third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., one of the contenders to one day replace?Trout as MLB's best, went hitless.?
Even?the more mundane series on the schedule have their points. The Indians beat the Rangers 10-5, Monday in the opener of a four-game series between two AL playoff contenders. The Padres won the opener of?a three-game series in San Diego on Monday against the Brewers.
It doesn't seem possible there could be that many series of interest to start off a week. As noted earlier, there are some duds. The Royals and Mariners, two teams a combined 38 games under .500, are playing in KC.
But that kind of bland?series is the exception right now. What?a great week to be a baseball fan.