Hope everyone enjoyed their first taste of interleague play last weekend. I know I did with the Braves taking two out of three from the AL East leading Rays. Now that we’re back in traditional league play let’s see what this week has in store. I’ll try to not put the Braves match-up with the Nationals in the top spot, but before I look at everything else, it’s a fair warning it’s going to end up there.
5) Padres at Mets
This match-up would never crack the top five usually, but it makes it for one reason, Banner Day. What is Banner Day, you ask? It used to be a Mets tradition that fans would make giant banners and after the game would walk in a parade around the stadium. Living in Connecticut, I get SNY which airs Mets games. They’ll occasionally show “Mets Yearbook” chronicling a past season and my favorite part to randomly watch is Banner Day footage. The puns are always hilarious. I’m setting the over/under at “We Like Ike” or “He’s got the Wright stuff” at 24.5. Might go under with the way Ike Davis and played this year. Watch this and enjoy!
4) Giants at Marlins
Might have to make the four spot the “Marlins” spot as they’ve now been here each of the last two weeks. The series started Thursday night with a Giants 14-7 victory. Two struggling starters take the hill on Friday in Tim Lincecum and Josh Johnson. The other two pitching battles are solid though as well with Madison Bumgarner and Mark Buehrle on Saturday and Matt Cain taking on Ricky Nolasco on Sunday. I really would like to take this time to make sure you endorse Giancarlo Stanton for the 2012 Home Run Derby. First, he breaks the scoreboard on a grand slam off of Jamie Moyer.
Then follows it up Thursday night with a bomb over the Clevelander nightclub into the Budweiser Balcony in left field.
I’ve said it from the start of the new Marlins Park. Stanton will put one off the glass in left field at some point.
3) Phillies at Cardinals
Another series that started Thursday with a high-scoring affair 10-9 in favor of the Phillies. This series also features two solid pitching duels with Cliff Lee and Kyle Lohse on Friday and Roy Halladay/Adam Wainwright on Sunday. As we discussed on Kelsey’s Kardinals Injury Korner the Cardinals offense is in shambles and add Matt Carpenter to the disabled list. Halladay and Lee should be able to pick apart the depleted Redbirds lineup. This series also features two of the best catchers in the National League in Carlos Ruiz and Yadier Molina. National League catcher might not the deepest, but also the most difficult position to choose for the 2012 All-Star Game. Who do you send home from Molina, Ruiz, Brian McCann, Buster Posey, and I’m being serious with these last two, Jonathan Lucroy and A.J. Ellis. There are going to be a lot of disappointed backstops.
2) Blue Jays at Rangers
Here’s a chance for the Jays to make a statement and show the rest of the American League that they are for real and can contend for the playoffs. Brandon Morrow goes in game one for Toronto after becoming the 1st pitcher in MLB to have two shutouts this season. Yu Darvish should be in line for a good start on Sunday for Texas, seeing as he’s dominated every team not named the Mariners in his short career. No home runs in the past 11 games for Josh Hamilton, ugh what’s wrong with that guy. Please note sarcasm.
1) Nationals at Braves
The battle for NL East lead. I tried to promise not making it number one, but it’s the only series that will decide who is leading a division come Monday. I’ll keep it short, but the Sunday match-up of Gio Gonzalez and Brandon Beachy may decide the winner of the NL Cy Young in my “Too Early MLB Awards” coming at the start of June. This is my favorite game of the weekend, no bias I promise.
Mapes Fantasy Special
I hit a rough patch going 1-2 last week with Henderson Alvarez and Jarrod Parker getting crushed at home, while John Danks through 6 shutout, go figure. Naturally, Parker’s next start was fantastic. Here’s what I have for this weekend, remember they must be 50% owned or less. 12-5 record on the season.
5/25 Ivan Nova (48% owned) at Athletics, 2-0 in his career against Oakland, the ERA isn’t great, but Nova is coming off the best strikeout performance of his career. He should be solid in that ballpark.
5/26 Mark Buehrle (47% owned) vs. Giants, Going back to the well with Buehrle who performed admirably for me at home in a Mapes Fantasy Special two weeks ago. Hard to expect a win against Madison Bumgarner or a ton of K’s, but good peripherals will carry the day.
5/27 R.A. Dickey (49% owned) vs. Padres, I might be copping out a little bit taking three guys really close to the 50% threshold, but I didn’t think Dickey would be available. He never gets enough credit and is a quality start machine. Plus, it’s Banner Day! Kudos to any Mets fans to can sneak in a Dickey pun on the field.
What would your Mets banner say? Let me know in the comments. Have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend and take some time to thank a soldier for their service to our country.
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)