Top 5 Major League Baseball Matchups for Memorial Day Weekend

Michael McMasterContributor IIIMay 27, 2011

Top 5 Major League Baseball Matchups for Memorial Day Weekend

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    Memorial Day weekend is a wonderful release for millions of Americans across the country who will get a chance to step back, take a deep breath and enjoy some quality time with friends and family. This weekend is all about barbecues, cold beers and of course, baseball.

    The following is a list of the best Major League Baseball matchups to enjoy with friends and family this weekend. 

San Francisco Giants (Lincecum) at Milwaukee Brewers (Marcum), Fri, 8:10 PM

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    What a great way to kick off the holiday weekend. Each of these 27-win teams own two of the best records in baseball as the Brewers continue to keep pace with the NL Central leading St. Louis Cardinals. The Giants will be without their catcher and one of their best hitters, Buster Posey (.284 BA, 4 HR, 21 RBI), who was placed on the disabled list on Thursday with a fractured bone in his leg after a collision at home plate Wednesday night.

    Still, this is a special pitching matchup. Watching ace Tim Lincecum is always a treat and the 26-year-old “Freak” has continued to earn his reputation this season, boasting a 2.06 ERA and a 4-4 record coming into tonight’s matchup.

    Lincecum has won two of his last three starts including a complete game shutout of the Oakland A’s last Saturday. He should be a treat to watch.

    But Brewers pitcher Shaun Marcum is no slouch either. The 29-year-old right-hander is having a career year and will be one of the keys to success for the Brewers going forward this season.

    At a near perfect 6-1 record, Marcum has a dazzling 2.37 ERA and has won his last three starts. In 15.0 innings of work in his last two starts, the ace has only allowed two earned runs. 

New York Yankees (Burnett) at Seattle Mariners (Pineda), Fri 10:10 PM

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    At the beginning of a nine-game West Coast road trip, the Yankees have their work cut out for them on Friday night against one of the most promising young pitchers in the league today, Michael Pineda. In his rookie season with the Mariners, the 22-year-old right-hander has anchored the staff of a struggling Mariners ball club. Pitching for a team with the second fewest runs scored in the league, Pineda is still 6-2 with a 2.16 ERA, fifth best in the American league.

    Other players to watch for in this game are first baseman Mark Texeira and right fielder Ichiro Suzuki. Texeira had a big week this week, clubbing three homers. And while Ichiro’s average has dipped to .286, he always seems to play well against the Yankees.

    Still, if the Yanks are going to have a chance tonight, they are going to need to hit Pineda early. That won’t be easy. With a fastball regularly hitting 95 and 96 mph on the gun, Pineda’s off-speed pitches have made hitters look silly at the plate this year.

Boston Red Sox (Beckett) at Detroit Tigers (Verlander), Sun 1:05 PM

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    The Red Sox have been surging lately, winning eight of their last 10 games and Josh Beckett is one of the big reasons why. Heading into this season, many questioned whether Beckett was over the hill. The 31-year-old right-hander responded this season with a league best 1.69 ERA and a 4-1 record.

    In addition, Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez has been on a tear recently, hitting .455 with seven RBI in the last week alone.

    Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander has his work cut out for him for sure. The Tigers need to start winning games if they want to keep pace with the 30-win Cleveland Indians and Verlander may be their best bet. A big game pitcher, Verlander has a 3.24 ERA with four wins this season.

Kansas City Royals (Duffy) at Texas Rangers (Ogando), Sun 3:05 PM

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    OK, this may not be the best game of the weekend, but it’s worth tuning in just to get a look at Rangers 27-year-old rookie, who made his major league debut last year. This season, he has maintained a 5-0 record and 1.81 ERA, second best in the American League.

    This guy has an interesting story. He’s a Dominican guy who admitted guilt to charges of human trafficking after U.S. officials noticed that an inordinate number of minor leaguers had married women who had previously been denied visas in a short period of time. He was banned from the United States for five years and was forced to begin his career in Dominican leagues.

    With plenty of practice, it’s hard to call this guy a legitimate rookie, but he’s a very exciting pitcher to watch nonetheless.

Cincinnati Reds (Cueto) at Atlanta Braves (Jurrjens), Sun 8:05 PM

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    This is a classic matchup. Two of the best teams in baseball this year facing off on Sunday night. Braves starter Jair Jurrjens boasts a 6-1 record with a dominant 1.56 ERA this season. His last time out, the 25-year-old righty didn’t allow a run in 7.2 innings of work.

    His counterpart on Sunday, Johnny Cueto has been every bit as good this season. With a 2.19 ERA in four games started this season, this is another 25-year-old righty that the league has to keep a close eye on.

    Cinci has a good chance in this one, if for no other reason than because they have hit the cover off of the ball this season. With a major league leading 254 runs scored this season, this team has been anchored by the hitting of first baseman Joey Votto (.330 BA) and right fielder Jay Bruce (14 HR and 38 RBI). The Braves may have a slight edge in the pitching matchup, but the Reds offense makes this one very interesting.