The Baseball Notebook

June 7, 2010 2:57 PM

Week 10: What To Watch

One game starts early this week, though it's more a wrap-up of Week 9, as the Cubs & Pirates are playing a makeup game today. Week 10 starts for real tonight. It's going to be an exciting week, as interleague play comes back again for the weekend with a lot of rivalry games and a couple more among serious World Series contenders. But when it comes down to playing the most meaningful games, the place the Notebook is watching most closely right now is Florida.

The Marlins are starting to see their grip crumble in the NL East, sitting at 5.5 back. Last week the Nationals took a big step backward and fell seven out. This could be the week Florida joins them and leaves the race to the three potential heavyweights ahead of them. The Marlins start the week off on the road at Philly and then have their interleague rivalry showdown at Tampa Bay on the weekend. Already with three teams to catch, falling 7-8 games off the pace will be a big problem for the Marlins and having to play on the road against the potential World Series teams puts one in an early make-or-break week.

That's the key storyline as far as prospective contenders go. Elsewhere, they may not have sung New York, New York at the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, but those unhappy about the lost tradition can sing it at Camden Yards. The Orioles start the week by hosting the Yankees and end it hosting the Mets. It's a good opportunity for both visitors to make some hay in the standings. It's a good opportunity for the Birds to make a stand against teams the hometown would love to see them beat. What it's not so good for is those of us who drive the Beltway home from work in the Baltimore area and will no doubt have a wave of New York tourists choosing this week to make their summer vacation to the Baltimore-Washington area.

The top of the NL West and the NL Central square off this week. St. Louis takes on the Dodgers out in L.A, while San Francisco visits Cincinnati. The Angels and A's hook up in a four-game set. And I suppose I'm obligated to mention Stephen Strasburgh's much-hyped debut against Pittsburgh tomorrow night at home. I hate to cite this one, as its unfair to heap that kind of expectation on a young pitcher. But there's no denying that he's already achieved the heretofore impossible--making a Washington-Pittsburgh game the centerpiece of the baseball world for one night.

No post on Tuesday. See you back here on Wednesday when we take a closer look at Detroit, as they try and keep pace with Minnesota, and our All-Star tour goes to American League second basemen.

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