With the Blue Jays making it quite apparent that they're fine not putting up much of a fight as the season winds down, the only thing left to do is start watching the standings and predicting where the team's second draft pick of the first round will be. Although I don't believe management has told the team to start losing every game, the performance on the field doesn't inspire much confidence. Combined with the fact that watching some sort of a race between different teams in the Major Leagues is fun, it's clear it won't be a playoff race we're following so it will have to be a draft pick race. Without further ado, here is the bottom part of the standings before play on this Friday afternoon:
With focus on the top ten teams' (Philadelphia and San Diego are tied for that spot) upcoming weekend series, here is a short preview of what to watch for and expect.
The Phillies play hosts to Arizona this weekend as the Diamondbacks are still holding on to a slight glimmer of hope that they might be able to catch the NL Central teams for a wildcard berth. Tonight's pitching match-up features Cole Hamels going up against Wade Miley in a good contest. Another one of Arizona's great young pitchers, Patrick Corbin, gets the start for the D-Backs in the Sunday matinee. The Phillies have won two games in a row, while the Diamondbacks have lost two in a row. Series Prediction: 2 out of 3 for Arizona
San Diego and Chicago Cubs
The Padres welcome the Chicago Cubs to town in a 10th worst vs. 4th worst weekend series that sees a battle of underperforming "aces" take the hill tonight in the form of Edison Volquez against Edwin Jackson. Andrew Cashner goes up against his former team on Sunday in the middle of a pretty solid season for the fireballer. The Cubs lost three in a row to Washington at Wrigley most recently. Series Prediction: 2 out of 3 for San Diego
Toronto and Houston
Toronto goes to Houston to visit the bottom feeding Astros this weekend with some horrible pitching match-ups on the cards. Todd Redmond takes on Jordan Lyles tonight, while Brad Peacock and Dallas Keuchel are the other two probable Houston pitchers this weekend. Both teams are riding losing streaks into the series thanks to their division foes, with the Astros being swept in Arlington by the Rangers and the Blue Jays being beat up by the Yankees. Series Prediction: 2 out of 3 for Toronto
What to expect:
The Twins go to Cleveland to face the Indians who are still remarkably in the thick of the American League Wild Card battle. The Indians most recently went to Anaheim and swept the Angels, so they are riding some hot form back home for a quick weekend set before key road games against Atlanta and Detroit. They will place a lot of importance on these games. Ubaldo Jimenez faces off against Samuel Deduno (who is having a rough August) tonight. Series Prediction: Sweep for Cleveland
The Giants entertain the division leading Pirates at AT&T Park this weekend in what is another huge series for Pittsburgh, with St. Louis and Cincinnati breathing down their necks in the NL Central. The Pirates already took one game from the Giants on Thursday night. Tomorrow night sees a pitching match-up that features two pitchers going in different directions as Francisco Liriano takes on Tim Lincecum. Is it weird that the opposing pitcher's name is nearly identical to the city he's pitching against? Series Prediction: 3 out of 4 for Pittsburgh
The Angels go to Safeco to take on the Mariners who are also close to a top 10 draft pick this season. Felix Hernandez starts tonight in what should be a victory for Seattle, while Jared Weaver starts for Los Angeles on Sunday against Aaron Harang, which should be a victory for the currently Trout-less Angels. Los Angeles has lost four in a row and are plummeting through even the most pessimistic preseason predictions for the squad. Series Prediction: 2 out of 3 for Seattle
The Brewers go to Cincinnati to take on the Reds who are 2.5 game behind the NL Central lead. The Reds took 3 of 4 from Arizona and will want to sweep this series with a road trip coming up that features games against rivals St. Louis. Homer Bailey, Bronson Arroyo, and Tony Cingrani take the hill for the Reds and should be enough to sweep the Brewers minus Braun. Series Prediction: Sweep for Cincinnati
The White Sox go to Arlington to face the Rangers who are battling for the AL West lead with Oakland. Chicago holds the longest active win streak in the league after taking 3 of 4 from Minnesota and sweeping the Royals, which is even more impressive when you realize both series' were in the opposing teams' ballparks. This series features some great pitching with Chris Sale going for the White Sox tonight and Yu Darvish taking the mound for Texas tomorrow. Matt Garza goes for Texas on Sunday in what likely will be the rubber match. Series Prediction: 2 out of 3 for Texas
The Marlins look primed for another high draft pick this year as they host the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies sit just outside the top/bottom 10 as well so there will probably be about 13 people in the stadium over the course of the whole weekend. The Marlins dropped 3 of 4 to the Dodgers, while the Rockies did the same against the Phillies. Rookie of the Year candidate Jose Fernandez goes for the Marlins on Saturday, which should be the only reason anyone tunes into these games. Series Prediction: 2 out of 3 for Miami
If the Rockies win:
It doesn't look like this will be a good weekend for the Blue Jays to make up anymore ground on the draft pick front as a multitude of teams around them face playoff contenders that will be looking to sweep the weaker competition to continue their surge to the postseason. Hopefully you now know where your rooting interests lie if you turn on one of these games this weekend and decide to watch.