SERIES TO WATCH
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.