Watchability Rankings: Blue Jays face Rangers in week's must-see series
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. 24.
All stats and standings are through Sunday, Aug. 23.
Two of baseball's hottest teams clash under the blazing Texas sun as the Blue Jays head to Arlington to face the Rangers. Texas has surprisingly pushed his way into the playoff race in the American League, as the Rangers have taken over the league's second wild-card spot thanks to a 22–13 second half, a .629 winning percentage. The Jays have been even better, though, with 24 wins in 33 games since the All-Star break, or a .727 winning percentage. Currently in first place in the AL East, Toronto will bring its majors-best offense (5.4 runs per game) to the hitter-friendly confines of Globe Life Park looking to widen its division lead and slow the Rangers' climb.
Others To Watch
Astros vs. Yankees, Aug. 24–26: Houston is rolling right now, coming off a three-game sweep of the Dodgers and comfortably in first in the AL West. The Yankees, meanwhile, are hurting after losing three of four to the Indians but are still in good postseason position thanks to a four-game lead in the wild card.
Angels vs. Tigers, Aug. 25–27: Two MVPs square off in Detroit as Mike Trout faces Miguel Cabrera in a crucial series for Los Angeles, which has lost four straight and has fallen out of the second AL wild-card position.
Twins vs. Rays, Aug. 25–27: Both Minnesota and Tampa Bay are in the thick of the AL wild-card race, with the Twins back in contention after a four-game sweep of the Orioles, while the Rays are just 2 1/2 games back of the second spot.
Orioles vs. Royals, Aug. 25–27: Baltimore got blitzed over the weekend by the resurgent Twins, losing four straight. The task doesn't get any easier with a trip to Kansas City and a matchup with the AL-best Royals.
Cubs vs. Dodgers, Aug. 28–30: Is it panic time in Los Angeles? The Dodgers have dropped five straight heading into Monday's play and have a mere 1 1/2-game lead in the NL West. The big bats of the Cubs will try to extend the Dodgers' misery in this weekend series on the West Coast.
Pitching Matchup To Watch: Tyson Ross vs. Max Scherzer, Aug. 26
Nothing much has gone to plan for the Padres in 2015—San Diego is 61–63 and buried in both the NL West and wild card—but Ross has been a productive spot in the team's beleaguered rotation. His 3.32 ERA, 109 ERA+ and 2.92 FIP are all tops among the starting five, and his 9.5 strikeout-per-nine ratio is just a hair behind James Shields's 9.9 for best on the Padres. He's got a tough assignment in dueling with Scherzer, though the Nationals' nominal ace has hit a rough patch in the second half. Since the All-Star break, Scherzer has a 5.08 ERA and eight homers allowed in 39 innings, albeit with 51 strikeouts. He'll try to rebound against Ross and help the slumping Nats get back into contention.
Hitter To Watch: Josh Donaldson
The Blue Jays' third baseman continues to state his case as the AL's best player, hitting .524/.560/1.143 with three homers and 13 RBIs over the last week and establishing himself as Trout's top competition for this year's AL MVP award. Donaldson now leads the majors in RBIs with 100, making him the first player to reach that plateau this year, and his 34 homers rank second only to Nelson Cruz in all of baseball. He'll take his bat on the road for a big series in Texas to start the week before returning to Canada for a weekend tilt against the Tigers.