Watchability Rankings: Cardinals host Giants in rematch of 2014 NLCS
Want to know which series, pitchers and players you should try to get tickets to see this week? SI.com's Watchability Rankings will give you the lowdown on the must-see games for the week ahead, including the best pitching matchup and the hottest hitter. Here are our picks for the week of Aug. 17.
All stats are through Sunday, Aug. 16.
A rematch of last year's National League Championship Series headlines this week's must-see games, as the Giants head to St. Louis to take on the Cardinals. San Francisco is rolling right now, fresh off a four-game sweep of the Nationals and just 2 1/2 games out of first place in the NL West. But the Giants will face an especially tall task in the Cardinals, who lead baseball in wins (75) and winning percentage (.641). Worse, San Francisco won't get to throw 2014 postseason hero Madison Bumgarner at St. Louis, as the burly lefty pitched on Sunday. Will that be enough to give the Cardinals the upper hand as they seek revenge for last year's playoff ouster?
Others To Watch
Rays vs. Astros, Aug. 17–20: Tampa Bay is skidding at the wrong time, having dropped three straight to the Rangers to fall 2 1/2 games back of the second wild-card spot in the AL. The Rays will try to turn it around against the AL West-leading Astros in Houston.
Tigers vs. Cubs, Aug. 18–20: Miguel Cabrera is back for Detroit, albeit too late to salvage his team's playoff hopes. Nonetheless, he'll take his MVP-caliber bat to Chicago as the Tigers face the red-hot Cubs.
Twins vs. Orioles, Aug. 20–23: Despite a poor second half to date (10–18 since the All-Star break), Minnesota is still alive in the wild-card race, just 1 1/2 games out of second. The Twins will get a golden chance to chip away at that deficit when they travel to Baltimore to take on the O's, who are the current second wild card.
Blue Jays vs. Angels, Aug. 21–23: The Yankees cooled off the Blue Jays over the weekend, but Toronto is still looking strong as it tries to lock down a playoff berth. The Jays will take their high-flying offense to Los Angeles to try to wipe out the postseason hopes of Mike Trout and the Angels.
Pitching Matchup To Watch: Carlos Carrasco vs. Masahiro Tanaka, Aug. 21
A darkhorse World Series pick for some, the Indians have instead slumped to last place in the AL Central. Carlos Carrasco deserves no blame for that, however: The Venezuelan righthander has followed up his breakout 2014 campaign by settling in as Cleveland's no-doubt No. 2 starter behind Corey Kluber, with a 115 ERA+ and 9.6 strikeout per nine ratio. He'll square off on Friday against Masahiro Tanaka, who has bounced back from last year's elbow injury scare, posting an 8.3 K/9 rate and walking just 22 in 108 2/3 innings.
Hitter To Watch: Chris Davis
The power has returned for Davis, who has bashed his way through opposing pitching in the second half. Since the All-Star break, Davis has hit a scorching .336/.413/.794 with 15 home runs in 28 games, and last week, he hit a ridiculous .440/.481/1.040, cranking five homers and driving in nine over six games. He'll get a full week's worth of at-bats with which to torture opponents, including two games against the Mets and four games against the Twins at home.