Watchability Rankings: 86th All-Star Game is this week's must-see game
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 July 13.
All stats are through Sunday, July 12.
Game To Watch: The All-Star Game, July 14
This week's pick was an easy one: Baseball's biggest stars and rising names will all be on hand in Cincinnati for the 86th edition of the Midsummer Classic, to be held on Tuesday night at Great American Ball Park. The Dodgers' Zack Greinke will take the ball as the National League's starter, while the Astros' Dallas Keuchel gets the starting nod for the American League. At stake: Home-field advantage in the World Series. The AL won last year's game in Minnesota, sending out Derek Jeter on a high note with a 5–3 victory. Can the NL, led by Bryce Harper, get revenge and take out Mike Trout and his Junior Circuit compatriots?
Others To Watch
Dodgers vs. Nationals, July 17–19: Two division leaders meet in D.C. as the Nationals host the Dodgers in a three-game set to open the second half. There should be plenty of pitching to go around in this matchup, with Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer and Jordan Zimmermann all lined up to start.
Royals vs. White Sox, July 17–19: The Royals ended the first half on a high note and hold a solid 4 1/2-game lead on the Twins for first place in the AL Central. To start the second half, they'll head to Chicago to face a White Sox team that's woken up as of late and is trying to claw its way into the playoff race.
Mets vs. Cardinals, July 17–19: New York's stellar young pitching has the team right in the hunt for a Wild Card spot in the NL, but the Mets' talented staff will face a stiff test against the NL Central-leading Cardinals in St. Louis.
Pitching Matchup To Watch: Carlos Carrasco vs. Johnny Cueto, July 19
Will this Sunday's Reds-Indians game be the final start for Cueto in Cincinnati? With the Reds dead and buried in the playoff hunt, Cueto is likely to be dealt by the July 31 trade deadline. Assuming he gets through the All-Star break without being shipped to another team, he'll take the rubber at Great American Ball Park in Sunday's series finale against Cleveland against another tough righty in Carrasco. The Venezuelan was nails in his last start of the first half, holding the Athletics to two runs in seven innings, striking out seven.
Player To Watch: Mike Trout
The majors' best player finished the first half with a flourish, hitting .478/.556/1.130 over his last seven games, including five homers and 10 RBIs, to help the Angels jump the Astros for first place in the AL West. On the season, Trout is now up to a blistering .312/.405/.614; that slugging percentage, his 26 homers, 199 total bases and 188 OPS+ all lead the AL. After taking part in his fourth All-Star Game on Tuesday, Trout will head back to Los Angeles to lead the Angels against the Red Sox in a three-game weekend set to start the second half.