Watchability Rankings: Cardinals-Pirates is this 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 Sept. 28.
All stats and standings are through Sunday, Sept. 27.
The NL Central will be decided one way or the other this week, when the Pirates host the Cardinals in a three-game series at PNC Park. Pittsburgh trails St. Louis by three games for first place, so a sweep here would turn the Central into a tossup for the final weekend of play. A series win or sweep by St. Louis, however, will virtually lock up the team's third straight division title. Can an injury-riddled Cardinals squad hold the Pirates off in this crucial set?
Others To Watch
Red Sox vs. Yankees: New York can clinch a playoff berth in this final series of the year against the team's hated rival, while Boston can play spoiler and delay the Yankees' celebration just a little bit longer.
Dodgers vs. Giants: Los Angeles can wrap up the NL West with just one win against the rival Giants, but the Dodgers have been flummoxed in San Francisco, where they've lost all six games so far this season.
Angels vs. Rangers: Los Angeles is surging as it tries to capture either the second wild card or an improbable AL West title, but the Angels will face a tough test against a Texas team trying to hold on to first place in the division.
Nationals vs. Mets: Except some serious gloating on New York's part in this season finale against Washington, as the Mets will celebrate their NL East title while the Nats will finish up a disappointing year.
Pitching Matchup To Watch: Clayton Kershaw vs. Madison Bumgarner
It'll be the final matchup of the year for these two sterling lefthanders, as Kershaw and Bumgarner will duel in the last Dodgers-Giants series of the year. The two have faced each other three times already this season, with the Dodgers' lefty allowing eight earned runs in 20 1/3 innings, striking out 24 and twice taking the loss. Bumgarner, meanwhile, has allowed only three runs across 20 2/3 frames against Los Angeles in those three turns, striking out 21.
Hitter To Watch: Jose Altuve
The Astros' diminutive second baseman is a man on a mission over the final week of play. Last week, Altuve hit a scorching .400/.444/.920 over six games and also picked up the first two-homer game of his career, helping Houston take two of three from the Rangers to stay alive in the AL West race. Altuve will do his best this week to keep the Astros going, with Houston facing the Mariners and Diamondbacks to end the season.