Red Sox vs. Yankees Is the Least Interesting Series This Weekend

Paul Francis Sullivan@@sullybaseballChief Writer IAugust 17, 2012

Red Sox vs. Yankees Is the Least Interesting Series This Weekend

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    As a diehard Boston Red Sox fan, I used to circle my team's games against the Yankees on the calendar at the beginning of the season. They were appointment television.

    In 2012, they have become the equivalent of a trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles. This particular addition of the nominal greatest rivalry in sports has become a joyless and lifeless exercise in drudgery.

    The Red Sox are a bad team. Sorry, my fellow Boston fans. A team with a losing record in mid-August is a bad team, not a contender.

    The Yankees are cruising to another division title, and yet everything in their pitching staff is pointing to this being another 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010 or 2011. They will gave a great regular season, and probably a quick October exit.

    This series features very few cast members from the years when it truly mattered. In fact, it could be the least interesting series being played this weekend.

    There are more compelling reasons to watch any other series than the team wearing Red Sox uniforms playing the team wearing Yankee uniforms.

    Here are the other, and better, options.

Mets vs. Nationals

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    The division-leading Nationals take on the Mets. Bryce Harper may be slumping, but he is always worth watching.

    The well-balanced Washington team is cruising to DC's first winning season since 1969, which was also a significant year for the Mets. Gio Gonzalez continues his unexpected Cy Young push on Sunday.

    Meanwhile, the Mets are starting Johan Santana on Friday and Jonathon Niese on Saturday as they try to play spoiler.

    Plus, David Wright could be the best hitter on either team right now.

Orioles vs. Tigers

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    This could very well be a preview of the wild-card game.

    The Tigers are starting Justin Verlander on Friday, who is making a bid for a second straight Cy Young Award. Miguel Cabrera is having an MVP-caliber season.

    The Orioles are winning despite a large run differential. Center fielder Adam Jones has a flair for the dramatic, and rising star Wei Yin Chen starts on Sunday.

    Watching Buck Showalter and Jim Leyland go toe-to-toe from the opposing dugouts is reason enough to watch this series.

Pirates vs. Cardinals

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    The defending world champion Cardinals are one game behind the upstart Pittsburgh Pirates for a wild-card spot. James McDonald vs. Jake Westbrook in the opener is the most interesting matchup.

    MVP candidate Andrew McCutchen has the Pirates not only in line for their first winning season since 1992, but their first October since then as well.

    Carlos Beltran wants to help lead the Cardinals to another title, which would be his first.

Dodgers vs. Braves

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    Two teams that are in line for a playoff spot square off. The Dodgers, emboldened by three wins in Pittsburgh and the return of Matt Kemp, have taken over first place from the reeling Giants.

    Meanwhile, the Braves are surging, thanks in part to Chipper Jones, who is hitting so well that he might need to reconsider retirement.

Giants vs. Padres

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    The Giants are at a crossroads. With star left fielder Melky Cabrera suspended for the rest of the regular season and the team fallen from first place, they can either regroup or fall apart.

    Buster Posey has been having an MVP-caliber season to date. If they make the playoffs post-Melky, he may have earned the award.

    Matt Cain starts tonight. Nothing helps a team from a bad position like winning.

    Meanwhile, the Padres are relishing their role as spoiler. And with new ownership lining up, the Padres could be giving baseball a preview of division title games to come.

Cubs vs. Reds

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    Despite a recent losing streak, the Reds still have the second-best record in baseball. Manager Dusty Baker has survived the loss of Joey Votto, and has Cincinnati in line for another division title, provided they don't slip.

    The Pirates are six games back and the Cardinals are seven back. But as last year showed us with the fate of the Red Sox and Braves, leads can slip in a hurry.

    The Cubs, recently broken up and traded away, are the perfect spoiler. They have nothing to lose and would relish ruining the weekend of their division rival.

    Reds Cy Young contender Johnny Cueto makes a bid for his 16th win on Saturday.

    Chris Volstad wants to avoid going 0-10 on Sunday, which is enough reason to cheer for Chicago in the series finale.

Rangers vs. Blue Jays

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    Yu Darvish pitches the opener in Toronto. Anytime you can see a Japanese and Iranian pitcher throw for an American team in Canada, you should.

    The two-time defending American League champion Rangers are looking to win their third straight Western Division pennant. The Blue Jays are looking to stop a losing trend and get back to .500.

    Either way, there is enough firepower on both teams to make for some high-scoring games in the Rogers Centre.

Rays vs. Angels

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    Two teams loaded with talent and potential, the Rays and the Angels could be the most interesting potential playoff matchup this weekend.

    Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Co. give the team its fireworks. Jered Weaver pitches Friday, C. J. Wilson pitches Saturday and Zack Greinke throws the finale on Sunday.

    But their pitching has been disappointing, and the Angel bullpen has been disastrous, so the chances of late power from Tampa Bay could be interesting.

    James Shields goes against Weaver tonight. Matt Moore goes on Sunday.

    If either of these teams make the playoffs, they could cause some serious damage. This could be a preview of what they are capable of.

Indians vs. Athletics

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    As I wrote in a previous Bleacher Report article, the A's are the most fun team to watch in baseball. Young, hungry, anonymous but with great personalities, the team has embraced their underdog role and become the dramatic comeback kids with a knack for the walk-off win.

    They are the true version of the movie Indians from "Major League."

    The A's had a great run against the league's elite, but struggled in their series against Kansas City. Perhaps the Indians will give them a struggle.

    Either way, when the A's are playing and it is late in the game, don't flip away. Something dramatic is about to happen.

White Sox vs. Royals

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    Robin Ventura's White Sox are a surprising division leader. Expected to fade away all season, they remain in first place in mid-August and will be there in late August if they defeat the Kansas City Royals.

    Chris Sale pitches tonight as he makes an unexpected bid for a Cy Young Award. The team is a great mixture of youth like Sale and Jose Quintana, along with familiar faces like Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn.

    The Royals are loaded with young talent who might not be quite ready yet. But they took two of three from the White Sox in Chicago recently, and just won a series against the Oakland Athletics.

    Second baseman Chris Gets has put up solid numbers against Sale, and tonight's starter, Luis Mendoza, has been pitching well.

    The Royals could relish their spoiler role and knock the White Sox off of their perch.

Diamondbacks vs. Astros

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    Last year's division champion Diamondbacks are on the periphery of the playoffs. At an even .500, they appear to be an also-ran. But like a snake in the grass, they are waiting for their moment to strike.

    With 12 games left against the Dodgers and Giants, they can make up the five games in the loss-column deficit. Tonight, All-Star Wade Miley goes into Houston to help them make their big run.

    But the Astros are the exact team that contenders need to fear. With nothing to lose, the Astros not only are not a tight bunch, they are virtually strangers. With all of the trades and new faces in Houston, the Astros clubhouse might feel like spring training.

    A loose team without a care in the world with talented players like Jose Altuve and Brett Wallace showing their worth, Houston could take great pleasure in ending the Diamondbacks' hopes.

Phillies vs. Brewers

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    These two franchises will take a moment to look at each other and ask, "What the hell happened?"

    In 2008, they played each other in the Division Series. Last year, they were division champs. The Brewers had home-field advantage over the Cardinals in the NLCS. If the Phillies had scored two runs in Game 5 of the Division Series, this would have been the NLCS matchup.

    Now here they are, both sellers at the deadline and neither a contender.

    Both teams have intriguing players on the field. Yovani Gallardo pitches Friday's game in Milwaukee. Cole Hamels pitches Saturday.

    The recent suspension of Melky Cabrera shines a light on last year's MVP, Ryan Braun, who got out of a suspension on a technicality.

    He has been slumping lately. Perhaps he needs a little bit of what Melky used.

Marlins vs. Rockies

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    The Rockies have won four in a row and are playing fun and loose baseball. Dexter Fowler, Carlos Gonzalez and Tyler Colvin are giving Colorado fans some hope for 2013.

    And hope is exactly what Ozzie Guillen's Marlins do not have right now. The team is flopping on the deck and crumbling fast. Giancarlo Stanton can still provide some fireworks in Coors, but the Marlins have to be the biggest bust this year not named the Red Sox.

    With the Showtime cameras rolling and the team sinking fast, putting the Marlins in the thin air of Denver is a recipe for a fascinating disaster.

    Perhaps the games themselves will not be great, but Ozzie Guillen's postgame comments will certainly be more entertaining that the Red Sox and Yankees series.


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