The three powers of the AL East are set for another big weekend, with one head-to-head matchup and the odd team out playing a contender. Tampa Bay goes to Boston, while New York has Texas coming into town. The Yanks are off to a nice start so far, having won all three series they have played, with all being against presumed contenders (Red Sox, Rays, Angels). Texas hasn't played a tough team yet, but is 5-4 and has won their last two series. C.C. Sabathia returns to the mound tonight in his first appearance since his no-hit bid in Tampa last weekend. Two of the game's hottest hitters, in New York second baseman Robinson Cano and Texas rightfielder Nelson Cruz will be in the house and there's a load of talent on the hot corner in A-Rod and Michael Young. I don't know if this series is worth the $2,500 the Brothers Steinbrenner want for a front row seat, but it's
surely worth the price of the MLB Extra Innings Package. It ends Sunday afternoon with a good pitching matchup between a healthy (for now) Rich Harden and Andy Pettite.
Tampa Bay is right there with New York at 6-3 even though they lost the head-to-head series. I was out at Camden Yards Wednesday afternoon to watch the Rays' smackdown of the Birds. The third-row seat behind home plate courtesy of my wife's employer was a nice view of the long balls uncorked by Carlos Pena and B.J. Upton. And David Price's stuff looked excellent. He won't pitch this weekend, but the Rays are looking like a team that will be the contender everyone expects. Boston isn't playing so well right now, sitting on 4-5. While that's certainly no disaster at this time of year, they certainly don't want to lose a home series to Tampa on top of already dropping one to New York. This is another series with a good Sunday afternoon matinee in Matt Garza and Jon Lester, the
pitchers in that epic Game 7 duel in the 2008 ALCS.
In the National League, the action is in the West and it's highlighted by a San Francisco-Los Angeles battle in SoCal. The Giants are setting the pace out of the gate, having won seven of their first nine and the Dodgers just won a key early series with Arizona. Fox-TV will be on hand for the Saturday afternoon game. I've been one who feels LAD has rough riding ahead of them this season and it's underscored by the fact they are sending Vincente Padillia and Charlie Haeger in the first two games. Clayton Kershaw pitches Sunday and this is a classic case where he has to become a real stopper, not just a nice lefthanded pitcher. Next week, the Dodgers will be one of the teams that come under the Notebook's microscope more closely in the Wednesday-Thursday posts.
Colorado will be at home in Coors Field to play Atlanta. Saturday features Ubaldo Jiminez and Kawashi Kawakami, a good pitching
matchup. This are two teams that could be fighting for wild-card position a few months from now and neither one wants to let a division leader get too far out in front right away.
See you Sunday night to recap the whole of Week 2.