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The Five Must-Watch Series in MLB for the Week of July 31

The trade deadline is here, and with it come some terrific matchups across the league.

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.

Indians vs. Red Sox (July 31–Aug. 2)

Terry Francona returns to Boston, leading his Indians into town to face a slumping Red Sox team that badly needs a series win as it falls behind in the race for the AL East. Cleveland, meanwhile, is frantically trying to hold off the red-hot Royals—who just took two of three from the Red Sox at Fenway Park last weekend—in the AL Central. This rematch of last year's AL Division Series is sure to be a great one, and it'll feature a pitching duel between Carlos Carrasco and Chris Sale. Be sure to get your tickets for this one.

Rays vs. Astros (July 31–Aug. 2)

Tampa Bay has hit a skid as of late, losing seven of its last 10, but the Rays aren't going quietly into the night, making a few small moves before the deadline to bolster their AL East and wild-card hopes. They'll face a huge test this week, though, when they head to Houston for a three-game set with the mighty Astros, who are demolishing all comers in the AL West and have got former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel back to boot. Don't miss your chance to catch this series.

Cardinals vs. Brewers (Aug. 1–3)

Both St. Louis and Milwaukee are starting to fade away in the NL Central race as the red-hot Cubs have jumped back into first, but this series will be crucial for both in terms of reasserting themselves in the division and chipping away at large deficits in the wild card. Can the upstart Brewers regain their mojo? Can the Cardinals turn around what's been a difficult season? Grab tickets to this three-game series in Milwaukee to find out for yourself.

Nationals vs. Cubs (Aug. 4–6)

No one's been better since the All-Star break than the Cubs, who have won 13 of their last 16 to move into first place in the NL Central. The Nationals, meanwhile, are unchallenged in the NL East as they try to gain some ground, record-wise, on the Dodgers. Both teams have World Series hopes, making this weekend clash a must-watch. Get your tickets here.

Dodgers vs. Mets (Aug. 4–6)

The Dodgers are running away with the National League, winners of eight straight and boasting a ridiculous 14-game lead in the NL West, not to mention the most wins (74) and best winning percentage (.705) in all of baseball. The Mets are a far cry from that, but this classic rivalry is always a good matchup. Get yourself to Citi Field for this three-game weekend battle.