Six times division rivals San Diego and San Francisco have met this year. All six times the latter has won. The most recent series was in San Diego and saw the Padres score just one run in all three games. This week, the teams meet at AT&T Park in San Francisco. The Giants had to play Sunday Night, but the Padres went 17 innings against the Dodgers (and lost), so gone is any advantage there for the road team. Plus, the Giants are a hot team right now as they’ve won 10 of their last 11. At least the Padres will avoid Madison Bumgarner in this series (he pitched Sunday night).
No Home Field Advantage Here
Six times division rivals Oakland and Seattle have played this year. All six times the home team has lost. Ironically, the A’s were just swept at home by the Yankees over the weekend while the Mariners swept a series in Cincinnati. Thus, I suppose you could say then that the M’s are unfortunate hosts to start the week. They are just 8-10 at Safeco Field for the season and hitting .218 here as a team. But aside from the sweep earlier this season, the Athletics are by no means a dominant road team. They’re being outscored by 1.5 runs per game overall despite a .500 record. One break for the A’s this week is they won’t have to face Felix Hernandez.
For most of this season, the Yankees have occupied the basement in the American League East. But after five straight wins, the last four coming in Oakland, they now find themselves in third. Toronto, even though they won Sunday, has fallen into last. But they still have the better run differential (+2 compared to -19) compared to their Pinstriped rivals and they’re another team where the road has been kinder than home. So, I would not be the least bit surprised if they end up winning this series in the Bronx this week. They did take two of three from New York earlier this year at home.
WAG of the Week
In honor of the Yankees climbing out of the basement in the American League East, here is WAG Hall-Of-Famer Hannah Davis. Derek Jeter must really be enjoying his retirement.
* It’s a tough break for Tampa Bay losing Kevin Kiermaier from their lineup. Not only was the Gold Glove outfielder batting .313 over a nine-game stretch before breaking two bones in his left hand Saturday, he’s also a career .424 hitter against this week’s opponent, Miami.
* The White Sox cooled off considerably over the past week, losing six of eight games. Part of that is owed to some terrible hitting with runners in scoring position (1 for 23 against the Royals). However, there is at least one hitter in the lineup poised to possibly break out this week against Cleveland. That would be Jose Abreu, who has hit .440 his last seven games against the Indians.
* Washington just took two of three from the Mets last week, on the road. Now they get to host their main rival, trotting out Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg for the first two games. Gonzalez always seems to excel against division opponents (1.38 ERA last 15 starts) and has done quite well for himself overall this season (allowed 1 ER or less in six of eight starts). He’ll be a sizable favorite Monday over Bartolo Colon.
* If you’ve been following this column the last couple of weeks, then you know I’m at a loss for words over the Phillies’ surprising start. But I will certainly give a nod to starter Vince Velasquez, who is striking out nearly 11 batters per nine innings. In fact, in half of his eight starts, the 23-year old hasn’t given any runs. He’ll be a slight favorite, on the road, against Detroit Monday night as the Tigers will counter with the winless Mike Pelfrey (6.37 ERA, 1.829 WHIP).
The Under was a perfect 3-0 in the first Kansas City-Minnesota series of 2016 and that’s the way the total has generally gone in this AL Central rivalry. Since the start of last season, the Under is 15-4-3 in all Royals-Twins games. The two play a three-game set in the Twin Cities this week. All three games in the Royals’ previous series (against Chicago) also went Under by the way.
* Miggy Cabrera left the Tigers’ game Sunday with a leg injury and is listed as questionable for Monday against Philly.
* Royals left fielder Alex Gordon was forced from Sunday’s game after a collision with a teammate and he is listed as questionable Monday against the Twins.
* Mike Trout left the Angels’ game Sunday with an ankle injury, but he is expected to play Monday against the Rangers.
* Cubs’ Jason Heyward is still recovering from a crash into the outfield fence in San Francisco and is listed as doubtful Monday against the St. Louis Cardinals.
* Giants’ outfielder Hunter Pence is listed as questionable to return Monday against the Padres. Pence has missed San Francisco’s last two games with a tweaked hamstring.
* Could be a dicey evening in D.C. where the Nationals are scheduled to host the New York Mets. 75 percent chance of rain, high humidity and thunderstorms all over the area. The total for tonight is set at 7.5.
* There is a chance of thunderstorms and a 50 percent chance of rain in Miami tonight where the Marlins will host the state-rival Tampa Bay Rays. The total for tonight is set at 7.5.
* Minnesota for the Twins vs. Kansas City Royals will be another fun place to be tonight. 70 percent chance of rain, 75 percent humidity and a chance of thunderstorms all evening. There will also be a 10-15 mph wind blowing out to left field.
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