MLB 2017: The 5 Best Matchups To Watch This Season
Oct 20, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant (17) doubles in the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game five of the 2016 NLCS playoff baseball series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
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During this 2017 MLB season, there is an overwhelming amount of games that don’t attract viewers or produce much on the stat sheet. There are, however, games that do feature plenty of stars, stat sheet stuffers, and intriguing storylines. Below are the 5 best matchups for the 2017 MLB season.
New York Mets vs San Francisco Giants- Two of the best pitching staffs in the MLB square off with the playoffs in their sights. The Mets haven’t forgotten about losing 3-0 to the Giants last October, that only raises the importance of this season series. Both teams are using different methods to improve their offensive production. New York is relying on veterans such as Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, and Yoenis Cespedes to drive in runs.
San Francisco, on the other hand, isn’t doing much. They have called up Jarrett Parker to play in left field and they have chosen seven-year veteran, Eduardo Nunez to be their primary third baseman.
Sure, there may not be a lot of runs scored in this matchup, but at least we know what we’re getting from these clubs. This matchup gives us an opportunity to witness playoff caliber baseball between two teams from opposite sides of the country that are constantly asking for a World Series refill in their Koozie covered, playoff glasses.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs Cleveland Indians- Two iconic baseball franchises go head to head in Cleveland with nothing, but redemption on their minds. Francisco Lindor had a fantastic 2016 season hitting over .300 with 78 RBI and 19 stolen bases. Clayton Kershaw posted a 1.69 ERA in 21 games a year ago and was named to his sixth consecutive all-star game. Both clubs received a significant boost to their rosters over the offseason. Los Angeles obtained Logan Forsythe in a trade from the Rays and
Both clubs received a significant boost to their rosters over the offseason. Los Angeles obtained Logan Forsythe in a trade from the Rays and Hyun-Jin Ryu returned to the rotation after only one start in the past two seasons. Cleveland acquired Edwin Encarnacion (42 homers and 127 RBI in 2016) in free agency.
Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar returned to the Indians’ rotation after both suffered injuries last September (Carrasco(hand) and Salazar(forearm)). Kenley Jansen and Andrew Miller provide plenty of flames from the back end of these two bullpens. Don’t be surprised if the Tribe and Dodgers each grab a pennant in 2017.
Boston Red Sox vs Baltimore Orioles- This AL East rivalry continues to feature a ton of hitters that can light up the scoreboard: Hanley Ramirez, Adam Jones, Xander Bogaerts, Mark Trumbo and Manny Machado combined to smash 164 home runs in 2016.
The potential hitter vs pitcher matchups in this season series will only propel further interest. Chris Sale vs Adam Jones, Zach Britton vs Andrew Benintendi, Rick Porcello (reigning CY Young Award Winner) vs Chris Davis (38 HR in 2016).
Don’t forget the young guns trying to impose their will again this year. Dylan Bundy, a 24-year-old right-hander, is in line to be an ace of Baltimore’s staff after pitching about 110 innings that included striking out 104 batters. Jackie Bradley Jr has been in The Show for a few years now, but last season was his coming out party in Beantown as he launched 26 homers with 87 RBI. With both teams fighting to win their division, this will sure to be another intense matchup. So, expect this fight to go beyond seven rounds.
Chicago Cubs vs Toronto Blue Jays- The defending, World Series Champions host Toronto in what is sure to action packed from the first pitch of the series to the last. The star will align as Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Jake Arrieta go toe to toe with Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson, and Aaron Sanchez. The atmosphere at Wrigley Field will be electric and the unknown is just as special as the known in this matchup.
Will this turn into a series of offensive explosions or a series of great pitching? Will Kevin Pillar show his Gold Glove capabilities? Or will Addison Russell steal that spotlight away from him? Also, let’s not forget both teams had a starter that finished first in ERA in 2016 (Kyle Hendricks (Cubs) in the NL and Sanchez (Jays) in the AL. Barring any significant injuries, I expect this series to be chalk full of fireworks as the playoff races heat up the MLB.
Cleveland Indians vs Toronto Blue Jays- A rematch of the 2016 ALCS would draw an abundance of fans to the television screen. This year the Tribe and Jays kick off their season series in early May in what could be a preview for the 2017 ALCS.
Carlos Santana (34 homers and 87 RBI in 2016) and his new hitting partner and former Jay, Edwin Encarnacion look to take J.A. Happ and the rest of the Jays staff deep and extend their winning streak vs Toronto. Troy Tulowitzki (24 homers and 79 RBI in 2016), Marco Estrada and Marcus Stroman (World Baseball Classic MVP) want to put Danny Salazar and the Indians on notice and take their first AL Pennant in 24 years.
Keep your eyes on this matchup during the regular season, get your chocolate popcorn ready and get to the nearest recliner! Hurry up and watch it! it doesn’t happen very often.