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USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - SPORTS -

DI­A­MOND­BACKS AT DODGERS (Aug. 30-31, Sept. 1-2)

Fun times here. Both teams are Na­tional League West con­tenders. The up­start Di­a­mond­backs have won eight of 12 games against Los An­ge­les thanks to a 22-10 edge in home runs and a stronger bullpen and de­fense. The Dodgers have four left-handed pitch­ers lined up but might want to throw righty Walker Buehler be­cause the D’backs slug nearly 50 points higher against left­ies. A.J. Pol­lock has ripped L.A. for seven homers and four dou­bles in the 12 games.

ORIOLES AT ROY­ALS (Aug. 31-Sept. 2)

The first pick in next year’s am­a­teur draft could be on the line when the teams with the two worst records in the ma­jors meet. The Orioles took two of three May 8-10 at Bal­ti­more as the teams com­bined for 47 runs and Bal­ti­more right fielder Adam Jones went 5-for-12 (.417) with one dou­ble, one home run and four runs scored. Kansas City sec­ond base­man Whit Mer­ri­field was 5-for-10 with two dou­bles.

CAR­DI­NALS AT NATIONALS (Sept. 3-5)

At the All-Star break, the Car­di­nals were 48-46 and had just fired man­ager Mike Ma­theny. The Nationals were 48-48 and had lost 20 of their last 30 games. The Car­di­nals have bounced back, win­ning 19 of their first 24 games in Au­gust (in­clud­ing three of four against the Nationals) to give them­selves a shot at mak­ing the play­offs for the first time since 2015. The Nationals, mean­while, are in se­ri­ous dan­ger of miss­ing the play­offs for the first time since 2015.

RED SOX AT BRAVES (Sept. 3-5)

While Bos­ton has had a vir­tual stran­gle­hold on the Amer­i­can League East, At­lanta has been in a power strug­gle in the NL East. A strong show­ing against the team with base­ball’s best record could pro­vide At­lanta some sep­a­ra­tion in its di­vi­sion along with some con­fi­dence for the post­sea­son. The Red Sox took two of three when the teams met in May at Fen­way Park. In 17 ca­reer games against Bos­ton, Fred­die Free­man is bat­ting .323 with a home run, seven RBI and 10 runs. In 10 ca­reer games against At­lanta, Mookie Betts is hit­ting .375.

CUBS AT BREW­ERS (Sept. 3-5)

Two of the three teams in con­tention for the NL Cen­tral ti­tle square off for the next-to­last time this sea­son. The Cubs have won nine of the teams’ 13 meet­ings this sea­son and are 55-34 against the Brew­ers since 2014. Chicago left-han­der Jose Quin­tana and right-han­der Kyle Hen­dricks each has two wins in the sea­son se­ries, as does Mil­wau­kee righty Jhoulys Chacin.

YANKEES AT ATH­LET­ICS (Sept. 3-5)

Two teams with hopes of play­ing in Oc­to­ber tan­gle on the West Coast. New York’s stel­lar sea­son is some­what lost with the Red Sox run­ning away with the AL East, but the Yankees have a firm grip on a wild-card spot. The A’s have shocked every­one by mak­ing a run not only for a wild-card spot but by chal­leng­ing the de­fend­ing World Se­ries cham­pion Hous­ton Astros for the AL West ti­tle. The Yankees took two of three in May at New York, but that was be­fore Oak­land started its run.

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