The five must-watch series in MLB for the week of July 17

0:33 | MLB
Cubs pitcher Jose Quintana ties franchise record in debut
Monday July 17th, 2017

Looking for the must-watch series in baseball? Every week, we’ll highlight the five matchups you can’t miss around the league and give you the lowdown on what’s at stake as the teams square off.

Brewers vs. Pirates (July 17-20)

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the first half, the Brewers begin the week with a 4 1/2-game lead on the Cubs in the National League Central. More importantly for Milwaukee, though, is that the team is now tied with Colorado—currently second in the NL wild-card race—in the overall standings, giving the Brewers a backup postseason spot should their division dreams fall apart. That’s good news for Milwaukee, which starts the week facing the Pirates, who face a make-or-break couple of weeks ahead of the trade deadline in which to try to get back into the wild-card race. The two teams will clash four times, including a Thursday matinee to finish the series. Don't delay: Get your tickets here.

Mariners vs. Astros (July 17-19)

The AL West is all but over, as the Astros start the week with a whopping 16 1/2-game lead on Seattle for first place in the division—the biggest advantage of any first-place team in baseball. But the Mariners still have a chance at a playoff berth in the crowded AL wild-card race, where they sit 2 1/2 games out of the second spot. A good series against Houston could go a long way toward keeping Seattle in the hunt. You'll get three chances to check out this series, which also features a Wednesday day game, and you can get tickets for each game right here.

Cardinals vs. Cubs (July 21-23)

One of the game’s oldest and best rivalries gains some additional juice thanks to both teams’ jockeying for playoff positioning. It’s been a bad season so far for the defending world champion Cubs, who are just a game above .500 at 46–45 entering Monday’s action, but Chicago is still alive in the Central (trailing the Brewers by 4 1/2 games) and the wild card (5 1/2 back of the Rockies). Still, the Cubs need to get something going soon. They won’t find that task easy against St. Louis, which is also fighting to stay alive in the division and wild-card races. The two teams will meet at Wrigley in a traditional Friday matinee, a Saturday afternoon matchup, and a Sunday night battle. Grab tickets to any or all four contests right here.

Rangers vs. Rays (July 21-23)

While all the attention in the AL East has gone to the first-place Red Sox and the young Yankees, the Rays have quietly inserted themselves into the chase for the division crown. Taking advantage of down years from Baltimore and Toronto and boasting a powerful lineup backed by a hard-throwing rotation, the Rays are in the thick of the AL East chase and the wild-card race. They’ll get a chance to create some space in the latter when they face Texas, which is all but done in the AL West but still has a chance to sneak into the playoffs via the wild card, over the weekend in Tampa. Go snag your tickets to the game right here.

Nationals vs. Diamondbacks (July 21-23)

Washington’s place in the playoffs is more or less secure thanks to a virtually unassailable position in the NL East, where the Nationals hold a 9 ½-game lead on the Braves. Arizona, meanwhile, is staring down a 10 1/2-game deficit in the West against the Dodgers, but the Diamondbacks are in control of the wild card, with a one-game advantage over the Rockies. They’ll try to firm up their chances there when they host the Nationals for a weekend set. Pick up your tickets to this must-watch series here.

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