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The Leadoff 5/2: Previewing the Week Ahead

Gabe Goralnick previews the exciting week ahead in baseball.

There are several things to eye this week in baseball. The Yankees have been tearing it up recently and the Marlins are beginning to make a case to become a contender this year. Additionally, the Giants will visit the Dodgers for a rematch of last year’s NLDS which may provide some insight into who may eventually end up atop their division.

 

Stay Hot (or Not)

 

There are a couple of teams that have been on a tear recently that will be worth keeping an eye on over the next week. The Yankees have only lost once over their last 10 contests. More surprisingly, however, the Miami Marlins are in second place in their division and have won eight of their last 10 games. It will be interesting to watch if these teams can sustain their success as they play some tougher opposition over the coming week.

 

Are the Bronx Bombers Back?

 

After sweeping their last three series, the Yankees enter the week with a nine-game winning streak. Although they were against below-average opposition in the Guardians, Orioles, and Royals, it still says a lot when a team has not lost a game in 10 days.

Their first series this week, however, is against the Blue Jays who trail the Yankees by 1.5 games in the AL East. Although a sweep is unlikely, a series win is very attainable for New York. They are third in baseball in team OPS, while Toronto is eighth. Furthermore, the Yankees hold a +41 run-differential while Toronto has a +1 in that category.

New York’s success has been almost completely due to a resurgence of their bats, specifically Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo, the latter of whom has hit an MLB-leading nine home runs. A huge help has also been that Gerrit Cole found his stuff again after having a shaky start to the season. Furthermore, the Yankees pitching staff has a 2.72 ERA, the second-best in baseball.

The Yankees’ momentum-driven team going up against Toronto’s scary lineup and stellar pitching staff will make for an enticing series. It will be telling to see if George Springer and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. can break through New York’s pitching and stem their momentum and perhaps even take control of the AL East.

Catch Jordan Montgomery face off against Ross Stripling in game one on Monday night at 7:07 PM EST.

 

The Fightin’ Fish

 

Despite parting ways with Derek Jeter over the offseason, the Marlins are off to an unexpected start with their 12-9 record after winning eight of their last 10 games. Powered by a great balance of good batting and pitching, they have come out of nowhere to win games.

Miami’s offensive success can be traced back to Jazz Chisholm Jr./strong>. Aside from being in the running for the coolest player in baseball, the infielder is also among the top 5% in baseball in weighted on-base average and has produced a 1.2 bWAR so far.

On the pitching end, Pablo López has been more than anyone could have imagined. After adjusting his pitch arsenal, López has carried a .39 ERA and a .729 WHIP into May and has earned himself a team-leading 1.5 bWAR.

Miami has mostly played easier opponents recently but did pull off a series win against the Mariners over the weekend. The Marlins will open up the week by hosting the sub-.500 Diamondbacks which should not be too much of a hitch if López sets the tone with his start in game one.

The bigger test will be when the Marlins travel to San Diego for the weekend. If Chisholm, along with Brian Anderson and Joey Wendle can be on their best games and Lopez, Sandy Alcántara, and Jesús Luzardo can keep it together on the mound, then they will make for a riveting series in San Diego.

Catch game one on Thursday at 9:40 PM EST to watch Luzardo go up against Yu Darvish.

 

Rivalry Reignited

 

Beginning Tuesday, the San Francisco Giants will visit the Dodgers for a rematch of their 2021 NLDS matchup. The two teams have yet to meet this year, but are once again kneck-and-kneck in the NL West; the Dodgers hold a 14-7 record and the Giants hold a 14-8 record.

Although both teams are 6-4 over the last 10 games, the Giants have had some notable trouble recently. Through the last seven games, the Giants have had a 5.20 ERA: the second-worst in the National League during that span. The Dodgers, conversely, have the fourth-best number during that span at 3.14 and continue to hold the best team ERA in the Majors on the season at an impressive 2.33.

Largely due to their troubles on the pitching staff, but also because of injuries, the Giants ran into some trouble over the weekend and dropped a series to the Nationals. San Francisco allowed 28 runs during that series while scoring 18 runs.

As for the Dodgers, they had some similar trouble last week dropping a series to the Diamondbacks. Different from the Giants, however, was that Los Angeles’ pitching staff remained on track and did not get slammed. It was its bat, rather, that failed to offer sufficient run support to win games. Fortunately for the Dodgers, however, the team found its way over the weekend winning their series against the Tigers with ease.

Freddie Freeman has turned into the Dodgers’ most productive hitter as of yet. Expect him and Julio Urías to set the tone for this two-game set in game one. After having a troubling start to the season, Urias has settled into a 2.50 ERA.

The dominant Carlos Rodón with take the mound for the Giants in game one, and Alex Wood, who is coming off of a bad start against the Nationals in which he allowed five runs through five innings, will take game two. The Dodgers game two starter is yet to be announced.

Catch game one on Tuesday night at 10:10 PM EST. It will be broadcast nationally on TBS.

Featured image by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)

Gabe Goralnick

A junior at Yeshiva University studying political science and a diehard Red Sox fan from the Big Apple. He's either watching baseball, writing about baseball, or cooking some awesome food.

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