The Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Royals are emerging as spring training powerhouses this March as the two clubs are a combined 13-1 coming into this weekend's preseason action.
But while the O's are making their run on the East Coast in the Grapefruit League, the Royals are ruling the Cactus League out West. The league has featured some exciting play thus far, with a handful of teams, including the Royals, looking like early contenders.
With players starting to find their groove and the standings beginning to take shape, here we'll highlight the biggest upcoming spring training matchups in the Cactus League this week.
*All spring training records as of Friday, March 1, 2013.
Colorado Rockies vs. Seattle Mariners, Monday, March 4 at 3:05 p.m. ET
Two of the top three teams in the Cactus League will go head-to-head on Monday afternoon in Arizona when the Colorado Rockies (5-2) meet up with the Seattle Mariners (7-1).
Seattle has won seven straight games since opening up spring training with a 9-3 loss to the San Diego Padres, while Colorado is riding a solid, three-game winning streak of its own into the weekend. Although this game doesn't carry much significance for either in terms of regular season impact, it's vital for the players taking part in it, many of whom are vying for a roster spot this spring.
The Rockies were one of the worst teams in the majors last year, and continuing their strong preseason run is only going to produce more confidence as Opening Day nears.
Kansas City Royals vs. Arizona Diamondbacks, Wednesday, March 6 at 3:10 p.m. ET
As mentioned before, Kansas City (7-0) is the top team in the Cactus League this year, having won seven of its first eight games to begin spring training (opened with a tie against Texas). The Royals will battle the Arizona Diamondbacks (4-3) on Wednesday afternoon in a pivotal matchup sure to swing momentum in the standings.
Plus, if Wednesday's clash is anything like the first meeting between these two clubs last month, fans of offensive baseball will be in for a treat. The Royals put up 16 runs on the Diamondbacks last Monday at Surprise Stadium, as 14 Kansas City players recorded a hit.
The biggest question coming in: Will there be tons more runs in this one, or will pitching prevail?
Cleveland Indians vs. Chicago Cubs, Saturday, March 9 at 3:05 p.m. ET
A battle between two Midwest franchises will go down in the desert on Saturday, as the Cleveland Indians (6-3) are scheduled to go up against the Chicago Cubs (4-3) to kick off next weekend.
Which Cactus League game are you most looking forward to this week?
The Cubs finished 27 games out of the National League Wild Card a year ago, while the Indians finished 20 games back of the Detroit Tigers for the American League Central division crown. With that said, both teams have a whole lot to prove in 2013. So look for some inspired baseball and a competitive atmosphere in Saturday's showdown.
Both Chicago and Cleveland's fan bases have been waiting for a long time for something to get excited about, and so far through nearly two weeks of Cactus League play, both teams have looked much improved.
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