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A Good Weekend for Baseball

The heavy humidity along with my calendar tell me that it's now the middle of August, which means it's also time for contenders to show what they're made of, and there's no better way to do that than through head-to-head meetings.

This weekend provides some rather juicy matchups with plenty of early playoff implications. Here are the best -- and feel free to vote at the bottom for which pairing intrigues you the most.

Let's start with the American League and the most obvious pairing ...

New York Yankees (76-45) at Boston Red Sox (69-51)

When: Friday-Sunday

What's at Stake: The Yankees hold a 6½-game lead over their rivals in the AL East and completed a four-game sweep of the Red Sox when last the two teams met two weeks ago in the Bronx. While Boston would love to catch New York, the Red Sox need to also worry about maintaining their one-game lead in the AL wild card race.

Texas Rangers (68-52) at Tampa Bay Rays (65-55)

When: Friday-Sunday

What's at Stake: Only three games separate these two teams in the AL wild card standings as they chase the Red Sox. Texas has the edge, presently sitting just a game behind Boston, but the defending AL champion Rays are ready to fight to get back to the playoffs. Tampa Bay obviously has the experience having been to the postseason before, but the young Rangers presently have the inside position to reach the playoffs. With the Rays 10 ½ games back in the AL East and Texas 5 ½ behind the AL West-leading Angels, the wild card may be the only option for both teams.

San Francisco Giants (66-55) at Colorado Rockies (68-53)

When: Friday-Monday

What's at Stake: Since naming Jim Tracy their manager, the Rockies are 50-25 and sit just 3 ½ games behind the NL West-leading Dodgers but San Francisco is also lurking. Powered by what may be the majors' best 1-2 pitching combination of Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, the Giants are two games back of Colorado in both the division and the wild card standings. With a four-game set, the Giants have the opportunity to turn the tables on their division foes and take over the wild card lead.

Florida Marlins (64-57) at Atlanta Braves (64-57)

When: Friday-Sunday

What's at Stake: The division foes have identical records, which, coincidentally, mean they're tied in both the NL East (6 ½ back) as well as the wild card standings (four back). Philadelphia may have the division lead but both teams are in shouting distance and would you honestly count out Atlanta Manager Bobby Cox or the Marlins' ability to put together another postseason run? With a three-game set, one team will come out of the weekend looking a bit better but both will still have work to do in order to overtake either the Phillies in the division or the dueling NL West teams in the wild card race.

By CJ Holley  |  August 21, 2009; 11:44 AM ET
Categories:  Braves , Giants , Marlins , Playoffs , Rangers , Rays , Red Sox , Rockies , Yankees  | Tags: Florida Marlins, atlanta braves, boston red sox, colorado rockies, new york yankees, playoffs, san francisco giants, tampa bay rays, texas rangers  
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Next: Orioles Review and Preview: Rays, White Sox

Comments

It's a shame all the major media outlets will focus on the Red Sox-Yankees series to the exclusion of everything else. At least the MLB channel will show Giants-Rox on Saturday night.

The Rays and Rangers might be the most entertaining series of the week. The Rangers try to be this year's Rays, and both teams can beat you with their bats and their feet.

Posted by: dlk117561 | August 21, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

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