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The Baseball Week Ahead
by Matt Fargo - 04/27/2008
Monday, April 28th
New York Yankees at Cleveland Indians
The Yankees took Game Three of this series on Sunday, avoiding a 0-3 hole in the four-game set as well as avoiding a four-game losing streak. The victory pushed New York back to .500 while it also snapped the Indians five-game winning streak. While it was a win, the offense continues to be very average as it scored just one run and dropped its average to .268, a far cry from its Major League leading .290 average last season. The Yankees face resurgent Detroit for a three-game series up next.
Tuesday, April 29th
San Diego Padres at Philadelphia Phillies
The Padres managed only one victory during their short five-game homestand and they are struggling right now with losses in 10 of their last 12 games. They will play against a relatively hot Phillies team that is 6-3 over their last nine games but the real storyline is Greg Maddux as he tries to secure victory number 350. He has had two chances and came up short both times. He has faced the Phillies only twice since 2004, going 1-0 with a 3.46 ERA. Maddux will become just the 9th pitcher in history to possess 350 victories.
Wednesday, April 30th
Houston Astros at Arizona Diamondbacks
Randy Johnson will be making his fourth start of the season and he is coming off his first victory since June of last year. He has looked good in his return, tossing two quality games, making it seven of his last 10 dating back to last season. He will be opposed by Shawn Chacon who has been the unluckiest pitcher in baseball this year. He has tossed five quality games yet does not have a victory to show for it. The Astros have scored an average of 3.4 rpg in his five starts, scoring three runs or fewer four times.
Thursday May 1st
Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs
This is the final game of the three-game set between the Brewers and the Cubs. The Cubs had the second best record in baseball going into the week and Milwaukee is expected to be the one team that can give them a run in the National League Central. The Brewers won the first series in 2008 to open the season and even though it is early, these games can go a long way. Chicago ace Carlos Zambrano will get the ball and in his six starts, he has allowed two runs or fewer five times.
Friday, May 2nd
New York Mets at Arizona Diamondbacks
The Mets will be making their first trip to the west coast as they begin a six-game roadtrip starting with the Diamondbacks this weekend and then the Dodgers beginning next week. New York will be facing Brandon Webb, who is once again off to a hot start with a 5-0 record. He is now 23-4 in April and May since 2005, easily the best two-month record of any pitcher in baseball. However he is just 2-6 in nine career starts against the Mets despite sporting a 2.26 ERA and 1.04 WHIP.
Saturday, May 3rd
San Francisco Giants at Philadelphia Phillies
This might not sound like a great matchup from a team against team standpoint but the starting pitching duel makes it just that. Two of the best young pitchers in the game square off as 23-year old Tim Lincecum takes on 24-year old Cole Hamels. Lincecum has started the season 4-0 with a 1.23 ERA and while Hamels is just 2-3, he has pitched better than that indicates as he has a 2.75 ERA and 1.08 WHIP while opposing hitters are batting just .201. This has the makings of a classic.