Diamondbacks vs. Phillies
Arizona comes in to the series holding a slim, one-game lead over the Dodgers in the NL West. Philadelphia, meanwhile, is only 1 1/2 games ahead of the Marlins and Mets in the NL East.
While Friday and Saturday will likely feature a fair amount of offensive output, Sunday's matchup will probably be the highlight of the series.
Will Brandon Webb (13-4, 3.27) be able to shut down the powerful Phillies lineup? Or, will Cole Hammels (9-6, 3.18) be able to out-dual the Arizona ace? Either way, it should be a great game to watch.
After a few shaky games in late May, Hammels has been great in his last six outings. His biggest problem has been a lack of run-support, but with Ryan Howard continuing to heat up and Chase Utley due to snap out of his recent cold spell, I've got to pick Philly to take two of three at home.
Angels vs. Athletics
Oakland needs to make a serious dent in the Angels' 5-game AL West lead. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how realistic that proposition is.
Rookie Sean Gallagher (3-4, 4.45) will make his A's debut on Friday, after recently being acquired from the Cubs in the Rich Harden deal. He'll not only battle the hot Angel hitters, he'll have to out-pitch veteran Jon Garland (8-5, 3.76), who has been at his best over his last three starts.
Saturday will feature a little better matchup, with All-Star Ervin Santana (10-3, 3.53) taking on Oakland's Dana Eveland (7-5, 3.50). Eveland will look to bounce back from a rough last outing in which he gave up nine hits in 5 1/3 innings, while walking four and striking out none... and that was against Seattle (ouch).
This series will also feature a Sunday pitchers dual, with Joe Saunders (12-5, 3.07) taking on Oakland's young ace, Justin Duchscherer (10-5, 1.78).
I'll take the Angels to win Friday and Saturday, with Duchscherer tossing his way to an Athletics win on Sunday.
Marlins vs. Dodgers
On the other end of the Arizona/Philly matchup, Florida and Los Angeles will be trying to climb out of their second-place holes, and reach the All-Star break on top of their respective divisions.
This four-game set started on Thursday, with an 11-inning Florida win, and I look for the series to progress in much the same fashion.
Look for close games with lots of late-inning heroics. Also, keep your eyes on Hanley Ramirez... that kid is scorching hot, and when he's scorching hot, he's as good a hitter as anyone in the game.
Florida takes two of the final three games.
Mets vs. Rockies
The Mets have won six in a row, and as I mentioned earlier, are well on their way to climbing back to the top of the NL East. Lesson: Never, ever, leave any New York team for dead.
I do think the winning streak will stop on Friday, when Colorado's Aaron Cook (11-6, 3.66) takes the mound, but I also expect New York to come out ahead in the next two contests.
Unfortunately for the Mets, if all my predictions are correct, they will only be hoping to hold their ground this weekend.
From the Blogosphere...
After years of wishy-washy retirement talk, Brett Favre finally called it quits in a weepy press conference this off-season. Now, Brett says he felt forced out by the Packers organization. Who's fault is it? Farvism says we should blame the media. Wait... what?
If you're trying to make you way in to Major League Baseball, the best place to find scouts in the summer time is the Cape Cod League. FSU Boston gives you a brief history of this great wood-bat league, and also lets the community know about a few big prospects who are out to hot starts.
NinerNation kicks off his series of NFC West previews by breaking down the Seattle Seahawks. Shockingly, he seems to think they could win 10 games this year.